Canada Parliament Passes Marijuana Legalization Bill

Canada’s full House of Commons and Senate has officially passed the same marijuana legalization bill, sending it towards Royal Assent.

C-45 was passed by the Senate today in a 52 to 29 vote. Having  already passed the House of Commons, it will now be sent to the Governor General for Royal Assent (final approval). With Royal Assent essentially being a formality, it’s all but official that Canada has legalized marijuana, with the law expected to be in full swing by September.

Once the law does takes effect, those 18 and older will be allowed to legally possess and grow marijuana for personal use. They’ll be able to buy the plant through licensed marijuana stores, or by purchasing  it online. Although the age limit is set at 18, some provinces are expected to set the limit at 19.

“We have witnessed today a very historic vote that ends 90 years of prohibition”, Senator Tony Dean said following the Senate’s vote. “It ends 90 years of needless criminalization, it ends a prohibition model that inhibited and discouraged public health, and community health approaches in favour of ‘just say no.’  Approaches that simply failed our young people miserably”.

Passage of the law makes Canada the second country to legalize marijuana, following Uruguay which legalized in 2013.

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California: Donated medical cannabis shouldn’t be taxed

A bill that could restore the ability to provide free, untaxed cannabis to low- or no-income patients is now being considered in the California State Assembly. SB 829 would allow taxes to be waived for medical cannabis that is donated, free of charge, for medical cannabis patients. This is a welcome improvement for patients with limited means.

It is no surprise that seriously ill patients can be faced with little or no income. Combine that with the fact that medical insurance providers don’t cover medical cannabis, and it can create a serious financial burden on medical marijuana patients. Today in California, even cannabis that is donated free of charge must be taxed an excise tax. This is unfair to those in need. SB 829 aims to provide relief. For a look at the latest bill text, click here.

Under the bill, both cultivators and retail dispensaries would be excused from the tax burden on cannabis that is donated to those who qualify. It’s a simple change but an important one.

If you are a California resident and agree patients need additional relief, please take a moment to ask your Assemblymembers to vote yes on SB 829 when it is before them for a vote. It’s a common-sense step for some of California’s most vulnerable residents.

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Recreational Cannabis Store Openings Delayed in Massachusetts

Massachusetts’ Cannabis Control Commission (CCC), tasked last June by the legislature and governor to draft and implement the establishment of a retail cannabis industry approved by Bay State voters in 2016, publicly indicated for the first-time last week that their self-directed date to open non-medical cannabis retail outlets of July 1 will not be realized.

The CCC will not issue licenses to cultivate, process or sell cannabis by July 1, explaining that the Commission’s intent is to avoid a specific date for implementation of rushed, mistake-laden employee background checks, consumer chaos and confusion and product inventory problems that incurred in the six previous states that have created commercial markets for cannabis  (Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Alaska, Nevada and California).

Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission director Steve Hoffman: “We’re going to do this right.”

At a meeting on June 15, the CCC acknowledged that nearly 1,100 applications for cannabis-related businesses had been received by the state since the application process officially opened on June 1. However, only 53 applications had been fully completed (most of the first 28 applicants are, unsurprisingly, retail medical cannabis companies already operating in Massachusetts). The next meeting is scheduled for June 19.

CCC director Steve Hoffman says the Commission wants to maximize efforts to have safe, compliant and uniformly regulated cannabis retail shops across the entire state and not rush to hit an arbitrary deadline. “We’re going to do this right,” he stated. “If that means we have few or no stores on July 1 and it takes a few more weeks, I hope and expect that everybody in the state believes that’s the right thing to do. We certainly believe that’s the right thing to do.”

Poll: For First Time, Majority in France Support Legalizing Marijuana

New polling shows that for the first time a majority of adults in France support legalizing marijuana, and a much larger majority support medical marijuana legalization.

According to the new poll from Institut français d’opinion publique (Ifop) for Terra Nova and Echo Citoyen, 51% of those in France support marijuana legalization, with 40% opposed; the remaining 9% are currently undecided on the issue.

Thierry Pech, head of Terra Nova, says the poll marks a “turning point”, saying that “French people made the finding that prohibition and repression did not work to preserve the health of users”.

The poll found that if taxes from legal marijuana were used to support the nation’s health system, 72% would be in favor.

In regards to medical marijuana, the new survey found 82% to be in favor, with 62% supporting the legal availability of the medicine through all forms.

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Marijuana Possession, Cultivation Become Legal in Vermont in Less than Two Weeks

On July 1, Vermont will officially become the ninth U.S. state where it’s legal for those 21 and older to possess marijuana for personal use.

The new law – which was signed by Governor Phil Scott in January – will also make Vermont the eighth state where it’s legal to cultivate marijuana for personal use, and the first to do so through state lawmakers (rather than a citizen’s initiative). Specifically, the law allows those 21 and older to grow up to two mature, and four immature plants in a private residence. The possession limit is set at an ounce, although the limit doesn’t apply to marijuana harvested from personally grown plants, as long as it remains stored on-site (in other words someone can grow and possess, say, four ounces, but they can’t leave their house with more than an ounce).

Unfortunately Vermont’s law doesn’t authorize marijuana retail outlets. This makes Vermont the only state where marijuana possession has been legalized that doesn’t allow marijuana stores. However, marijuana advocates continue to push lawmakers to allow such businesses, and are hopeful that lawmakers will get on board in the near future.

On July 1 Vermont will join Washington,  Colorado, Oregon, Nevada, Massachusetts, Maine, California and Alaska as legal marijuana states; Washington D.C. has also legalized. Of these locations, only Washington doesn’t allow home cultivation of marijuana.

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Poor Roger Stone Reduced to Begging for Donations Online

Roger Stone (left) and Michael Caputo (right) met with a Russian national in 2016.

Embattled Trump loyalist Roger Stone is among Robert Mueller’s targets as the special counsel continues his probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential elections.

On June 17, it was revealed that Stone and former Trump campaign official Michael Caputo took a meeting in May 2016 with a Russian national in hopes of securing information harmful to Trump’s Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton.

Stone and Caputo conveniently did not remember attending the meeting. However, during his recent interview with Mueller, Caputo’s “recollection was refreshed regarding one brief interaction with a Russian national in May of 2016,” according to a letter to House Intelligence Committee Chair Devin Nunes sent by Caputo’s attorney.

“In the course of his interview with the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, this specific contact was not discussed since at the time of this interview, Mr. Caputo had simply forgotten about this brief encounter in 2016,” the attorney added.

Roger Stone says his meeting with a Russian national in 2016 was “so ludicrous that I forgot about

Help Oklahoma become the next state to legalize medical marijuana

Later in June, Oklahomans will head to the polls and decide whether patients with serious health conditions should be allowed to safely access medical marijuana. If you know anyone living in Oklahoma who supports sensible marijuana policies, make sure they go vote on June 26.

The grassroots group backing the initiative, Yes on 788, is doing an excellent job with a limited budget, and polls look encouraging. Roughly 60% of Oklahomans say they favor the initiative. But opponents are misleading voters about what the initiative would do, and this could be a close one.

If you’re able to make a contribution to help Oklahoma patients access medical marijuana, please do so.

Tens of thousands of patients in Oklahoma would see their lives and well-being improve if voters pass State Question 788. No family should have to watch a loved one suffer from a debilitating medical condition while a safe and effective treatment is available.

There’s a lot at stake. Let’s cheer on Oklahoma and support their effort to provide compassion and relief to patients who need it.

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Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Initiative Being Voted On Next Week

Next week, on June 26, an initiative to legalize medical marijuana will be up for a vote in Oklahoma.

State Question 788, to legalize medical cannabis, will be voted on June 26 in Oklahoma. Put forth by the nonprofit Oklahomans for Health, the initiative would allow those with a doctor recommendation to legally possess and use medical cannabis and cannabis products. A state-licensed system of dispensaries would be authorized to sell the plant to qualified patients. The proposal doesn’t establish a list of qualifying conditions, instead leaving it up to physicians to decide who can benefit from the medicine.

Under the initiative patients would be allowed to purchase and possess up to three ounces of cannabis, and up to 72 ounces of cannabis-infused products such as edibles and topicals.

Below are some further details on the measure:

  • Obtaining a state-issued medical marijuana license would require a board-certified physician’s signature.
  • People with licenses would be permitted to possess up to 3 ounces of marijuana on their person and 8 ounces of marijuana in their residence.
  • A 7 percent tax would be levied on marijuana sales, with revenue being allocated to administrative costs, education, and drug and alcohol rehabilitation.
  • Licenses would be required to operate dispensaries, commercial growing operations, and processing operations. Municipalities would be prohibited from restricting zoning laws to prevent marijuana dispensaries

 

The full text of State Question 788 can be found by clicking here.

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June Swoon: A Stoned Bride Is a Happy Bride

As American society evolves, can the concept of marriage evolve too? After my discussion with one punk-rock bride who opted to smoke pot at her recent wedding, it may be time to revisit our stereotypes.

Congratulations on your recent marriage. What was the planning process like?

It’s a rabbit hole. For instance, my mother-in-law was convinced that square tables would ruin the wedding. Apparently, round tables are more “intimate.” I knew everyone was going to get drunk and dance, and no one was going to care about the goddamn table shape. That’s when I realized planning a wedding isn’t about me or my partner’s love for each other, it’s about the fucking party.

Why didn’t you just elope then?

Trust me, that was our first thought. But family excitement won out and we decided to endure the craziness. So we went ahead knowing the wedding was for them, but the marriage is for us. We got really good at saying no to just about everything.

“I never thought of myself as a stereotypical anything, let alone bride.”

Where was the wedding?

It was outdoors, at a lakeside in the mountains in Pennsylvania, all DIY. It seemed fitting because we spent a ton of time up there working on an old cabin, a teardown we fixed room by room.

Portugal Parliament Passes Legislation to Legalize Marijuana Medicines

Portugal’s full parliament overwhelmingly approved a bill today that would legalize marijuana-based medicines, reports Reuters.

Only one party, the center-right CDS-PP, abstained in the vote. The bill would legalize prescription marijuana to treat chronic pain, post traumatic stress disorder, side effects from cancer therapy, and a list of other ailments. The bill now goes to President Marcelo Rebelo de Souza who can sign it into law, allow it to become law without a signature, or veto it.

Under the proposed law all marijuana medicines will need to be licenses from regulator Infarmed, the body which last year authorized a medical marijuana plantation in central Portugal for export.

“Portugal, on the Atlantic coast has a warm temperate subtropical climate, with mild winters, warm summers and lots of sunny days, which is often compared to that of California, making it an ideal place for cannabis cultivation”, states the Reuters report.

In Portugal the possession of all drugs, including marijuana, has been decriminalized since 2001. However, if President Souza signs the parliament-approved medical marijuana law, it would mark the first time the nation has legalized marijuana for recreational or medical use.

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South Carolina: 82% of Dems vote to support medical marijuana patients

Voters using the Democratic ballot for yesterday’s South Carolina’s primary voted in support of medical marijuana by a whopping vote of 82-18%. This is an incredibly strong showing, and clearly voters are ready for this change. No doubt lawmakers from both sides of the aisle are taking notice.

Several candidates who support medical marijuana also did well. Congressional GOP candidate Katie Arrington, who supported this year’s medical cannabis bill as a House member, won her party’s primary with 51% of the vote, defeating incumbent Rep. Mark Sanford. Meanwhile, Democrat James Smith, a strong advocate for patients while serving in the House, won the primary contest for Democratic gubernatorial candidate with 62% of the vote.

In the state House races, supportive Republican lawmaker Rep. Jonathan Hill prevailed over his challenger. And challenger and supporter William Bailey won his contest against incumbent Rep. Greg Duckworth. On the Democrat side of the aisle, incumbent Reps. Leon Howard, Jerry Govan, Jr., and Cezar McKnight each prevailed against challengers.

Medical cannabis did well yesterday, as did many candidates who are supportive of change. For comprehensive election results, click here.

If you are a South Carolina resident, be sure to ask your lawmakers in the House and Senate to support medical cannabis in South Carolina!

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Delaware marijuana bills on the move

In the past 24 hours, there have been two significant advances toward modernizing Delaware’s marijuana laws. Yesterday, Rep. Helene Keeley put forth amendments to her marijuana legalization and regulation bill, HB 110, which address concerns and reduce the number of votes needed for passage. Then, this morning, the Senate unanimously approved a limited but important marijuana expungement bill!

Let them know it’s past time to end Delaware’s failed experiment with marijuana prohibition. Our software makes the process quick and easy. Just type in your contact info and your lawmakers’ names and phone numbers will appear — one at a time — along with some suggested talking points.

If you are a Delaware resident, call your lawmakers today, and urge them to support HB 110.

With the legislative session ending on June 30, there’s no time to waste. So, make a couple of calls to help make history! Then, spread the word on social media or by email, to ask other thoughtful Delawareans to speak out for sensible marijuana policies.

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Study: No Association Between Cannabis Use and Suicidal Behavior in Those With Psychiatric Disorders

A detailed, peer-reviewed study published this week by the National Institute of Health found “no association between cannabis use and suicidal behavior in men or women with psychiatric disorders”.

The purpose of the study, which was also published by the journal Biology of Sex Differences, was to ” investigate the association between cannabis use and suicide attempts in men and women with psychiatric disorders.” To do so researchers “employed a multivariable logistic regression to assess the association between cannabis use and suicide attempts in men and women with psychiatric disorders.”

Researchers analyzed data from 465 men and 444 women. Amongst these, 112 men and 158 women had attempted suicide. The average age of our participants was 40 years.

“We found no significant association between suicide attempts and cannabis use in men or women”, states the study. “Our findings indicate that there is no association between cannabis use and suicidal behavior in men or women with psychiatric disorders”.

The study concludes by noting that “The impact of cannabis use in psychiatric disorders needs ongoing examination in light of its common use, impending legalization with expected increased access and the uncertainty about cannabis‘ effects on prognosis of psychiatric disorders. In addition, research should continue to investigate modifiable risk factors of SB in this population of which cannabis is not a significant factor based on this study.”

The full study can be found by clicking here.

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Oregon Brings in Nearly $9 Million in Taxes from Legal Marijuana in April

Oregon made nearly $9 million in taxes from legal marijuana sales in April.

According to Oregon’s Department of Revenue, the state garnered $8,868,932 in marijuana sales taxes in April of this year. This marks an over 70% increase from April, 2017, when the state brought in a little over $5 million in marijuana taxes.

Of the $8.8 million in taxes garnered in April, the vast majority – $7.6 million – came from Oregon’s 17% state tax on marijuana. The remaining $1.2 million came from local taxes, which can be up to 3%.

Based in the new figures for April, Oregon is on tract to garner around $100 million in marijuana taxes for 2018, which would be a large increase from the $68.6 million the state made in 2017.

In Oregon the possession of up to an ounce of marijuana is legal for those 21 and older, who can buy the plant and products made from it at licensed marijuana retail outlets.

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U.S. Senate Committee Passes Bill to Legalize Hemp

In a historic vote, a committee of the U.S. Senate has passed legislation that would legalize industrial hemp across the nation.

The Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry voted 20 to 1 earlier today to pass the 2018 Farm Bill, which includes a provision that would explicitly legalize industrial hemp across the United States. The provision was included by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R).

“I think it’s time we took this step,” McConnell said before the committee’s vote. “I think everybody has now figured it out that this is not the other plant”. McConnell noted that “It’s a landmark piece of legislation that will benefit farmers and communities throughout our country.”

It’s unclear if the full Senate will pass the Farm Bill with the hemp legalization provision included, but there’s a better chance than ever now that it has bipartisan support including being supported by both the Senate majority and Senate minority leaders.

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Freedom Leaf’s State-by-State Guide to U.S. Cannabis Legalization

Since 2012, nine states and the District of Columbia have reformed their cannabis laws to allow adults to possess a personal amount of marijuana. In most of those places, adults can also cultivate a personal crop and purchase pot products in a manner similar to alcohol. Voter initiatives in eight states (Alaska, California, Colorado, Massachusetts, Maine, Oregon and Washington) brought about these long-sought nation-changing political reforms, and Vermont’s legislature legalized cannabis possession earlier this year. In November, voters can make Michigan the 10th state with legal marijuana. Here’s an overview of what’s happening in the states that now allow recreational use by adults.

Alaska

High prices (as much as $500 an ounce for flower) and a low tax rate have prevented consumers and the state from fully benefitting from commercial sales.

  • Ballot initiative: 2014
  • Possession maximum: one ounce in public and up to four ounces in a residence
  • Home-growing: six plants, three of which can be flowering (up to 25 in a residence)
  • Purchase maximum: one ounce
  • Taxes: $50 wholesale per oz. on flower and $15 per oz. on leaf and clones
  • Public use: not allowed
  • Home delivery: not allowed

California

By allowing public use and home delivery (and already possessing a massive variety and inventory of high-quality cannabis products), California is currently the most cannabis consumer-friendly state in the country and perhaps the world. Commercial sales began in January.

  • Ballot initiative: 2016
  • Possession maximum: up to one ounce of flower, eight grams of concentrate and all cannabis produced by personal cultivation
  • Home-growing: six plants, three of which can be flowering
  • Purchase maximum: one ounce and eight grams of concentrate in edibles
  • Taxes: 15% excise, $9.25 wholesale per oz. on flower and $2.75 per oz. on leaf, and 7.25% sales tax
  • Public use: allowed (subject to local approval)
  • Home delivery: allowed
  • Equity program for minorities: only in Oakland

Colorado

With a windfall of tax revenue since sales began …

Call your members of Congress about the STATES Act

In case you missed it, last week Sens. Cory Gardner and Elizabeth Warren introduced bipartisan legislation to end the federal war on marijuana and protect states that establish their own marijuana laws. There’s huge momentum behind this important bill.

Give your senators and representative in Congress a call right now and urge them to back the STATES Act.

Leaving marijuana policy to the states is a popular position among both Republicans and Democrats. But we have to put pressure on Congress to act.

Share this with other supporters of sensible marijuana policy and ask them to call their members of Congress, too.

Passage of the STATES Act would be a game changer. Let’s light up those phone lines.

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Delaware Senate Unanimously Approves Marijuana Expungement Measure

Legislation to provide mandatory expungement eligibility to those convicted of certain marijuana offenses has been passed by Delaware’s full Senate.

Senate Bill 197 was passed yesterday by Delaware’s Senate in a unanimous 20 to 0 vote, with one member abstaining. According to the measure’s synopsis, “This Act provides mandatory expungement eligibility to individuals who were convicted of the possession, use or consumption of marijuana prior to Delaware’s decriminalization of these offenses.” To be eligible for the mandatory expungement, “the marijuana conviction must be the applicant’s only criminal conviction.”

The legislation was introduced by Senate Minority Whip Greg Lavelle (R), and House Majority Leader Valerie Longhurst (D). It will now go to the House of Represenatives, where passage would send it to John Carney for consideration.

According to date collected by the Delaware Criminal Justice Information SystemSenate Bill 197 would effect around 1,200 individuals charges with possession of up to an ounce of marijuana prior to 2015 when it was decriminalized.

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Colorado: $124 Million in Legal Marijuana Sold in April

According to new data released by the Colorado Department of Revenue, there was over $124 million in marijuana and marijuana products sold in April.

The $124.31 million in legal marijuana sold in April is a slight increase over the total for April, 2017, which was $124.27 million. April’s totals are down from March, which was a record-setting month with  $135,183,956 in marijuana and marijuana products sold. Of the $124 million sold in April, less than $30 million came from medical cannabis sales, with the remainder coming from the sale of recreational marijuana.

The new data brings the state’s total marijuana sales for 2018 to around $490 million. This puts Colorado on track to sell around $1.5 billion in legal marijuana for 2018, which would be on par with the $1.5 billion sold in 2017 (there was $1.3 billion sold the year prior).

In Colorado, licensed marijuana retail outlets are authorized to sell up to an ounce of marijuana to anyone 21 and older. These outlets are also allowed to sell marijuana products such as edibles and topicals, as well as marijuana plants and seeds. The first outlet opened in 2014.

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Arkansas Supreme Court hears arguments over the rollout of state medical marijuana program

In March, an unsuccessful applicant sued the state, claiming that the Medical Marijuana Commission’s scoring process was flawed and that two of the commission’s members had conflicts of interest. The judge sided with the unsuccessful applicant, and the state’s rollout of the medical marijuana program was put on pause.

Yesterday, the Arkansas Supreme Court heard oral arguments in a dispute over Arkansas’ medical marijuana program. The program has been stalled since lawsuits were filed over how licenses were awarded. We learned that one commissioner was even offered a bribe from a company seeking a cultivation license.

No matter who wins this case, it’s Arkansas patients who are losing out. We hope that these legal matters will be concluded in a timely matter so that patients may have access to the medicine they need.

In other disappointing news, the Little Rock Board of Directors voted down a proposal last Tuesday to make marijuana possession the lowest enforcement priority for law enforcement.

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Study: Cannabinoids May Help Protect Blood-Brain Barrier After Intracerebral Hemorrhage

Cannabinoids may alleviate neuroinflammation and protect the blood-brain barrier following an intracerebral hemorrhage, according to a new study published by the journal Brain Research.

“The blood-brain barrier (BBB) disruption and the following development of brain edema, is the most life-threatening secondary injury after intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH)”, states the study’s abstract. “This study is to investigate a potential role and mechanism of JWH133, a selected cannabinoid receptor type2 (CB2R) agonist [meant to mimic the effects of natural cannabinoids], on protecting blood-brain barrier integrity after ICH.”

According to StrokeCenter.org, intracerebral hemorrhage “occurs when a diseased blood vessel within the brain bursts, allowing blood to leak inside the brain.”

For the study, 192 adult male Sprague-Dawley rats were randomly divided into multiple groups who received either varying levels of the CB2 agonist, or none.  They found that the agonist “ameliorated brain edema, neurological deficits and blood-brain barrier damage, as well as microglia activation”, in addition to other positive changes.

The study concludes by stating that “CB2R agonist alleviated neuroinflammation and protected blood-brain barrier permeability in a rat ICH model.”

The full text of the study can be found by clicking here.

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Hemp Legalization Included in Federal Farming Bill

The legalization of hemp has officially been included in the 2018 U.S. Farm Bill, which is expected to be voted on soon by the Senate.

“Securing the Hemp Farming Act as part of the 2018 Farm Bill has been a top priority of mine,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in a recent press release. The Hemp Farming Act would explicitly legalize hemp across the U.S. by removing it as a controlled substance.

“As a result of the hemp pilot program, which I secured in the 2014 Farm Bill, Kentucky’s farmers, processors, and manufacturers have begun to show the potential for this versatile crop”, says McConnell. “Today’s announcement will build upon that progress to help the Commonwealth enhance its standing at the forefront of hemp’s return to American agriculture. I look forward to continuing to work with my Senate colleagues and my partners in Kentucky – including Kentucky Commissioner of Agriculture Ryan Quarles — to grow hemp’s bright future.”

The inclusion of hemp legalization in the 2018 Farm Bill comes just days after the Senate unanimously passed a resolution recognizing the “growing economic potential of industrial hemp”, as  well as acknowledging its “historical relevance”.

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New Hampshire Governor Signs Bill Increasing the Number of Dispensaries Allowed in the State

New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu (R) has signed into law legislation that expands the number of medical cannabis dispensaries allowed to operate in the state.

In New Hampshire, the state’s first medical cannabis dispensary opened in April, 2016, with three others opening shortly after. Despite the state having a population of over 1.3 million, New Hampshire’s strict medical cannabis law doesn’t allow for more than these four dispensaries. Senate Bill 388, signed by Governor Sununu last week, allows for up to four additional dispensaries (which is still far from ideal, but a step in the right direction nevertheless).

According to the official text of the measure; “If the department determines that having additional locations for the dispensing of therapeutic cannabis is necessary to adequately and effectively meet the needs of qualifying patients and designated caregivers, the department may authorize the alternative treatment center allowed to operate in the geographic area that includes Carroll, Coos, and Grafton counties, not including the town of Hanover and the city of Lebanon in Grafton county, to establish a second dispensary location within that same geographic area.”

In addition, “the department may authorize the alternative treatment center allowed to operate in the geographic area that includes Cheshire and Sullivan counties and the town of Hanover and the city of Lebanon in Grafton county to establish a second dispensary location within that same geographic area.  A second dispensary location shall only be established in a geographic location approved by the department, shall be limited solely to the dispensing of cannabis and educational efforts, and shall not be used for cultivation or other activities relative to the production of cannabis.”

The new law takes effect 60 days after being signed (which happened on June 4).

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Canada’s Parliament Votes to End Marijuana Prohibition

Canada moved another step closer to ending its prohibition of marijuana on Thursday when the Senate approved legislation to legalize and regulate marijuana for adult use. Bill C-45 will now head back to the House of Commons, which has already approved a previous version.

Once approved in the House, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government is expected to move quickly to implement the legislation, with legal adult sales beginning as soon as August. Canada will be just the second country — and the first G7 nation — to legalize marijuana for adults at the national level. The first was Uruguay, where legislation was signed into law in December 2013 and a limited number of pharmacies began selling marijuana to adults in July 2017.

“Canada is demonstrating extraordinary leadership on marijuana policy,” said Mason Tvert, spokesperson for the Marijuana Policy Project. “It is setting an example not only for the U.S., where reform is already progressing at the federal level, but for countries around the world where there has been little to no debate on the subject.”

The Canadian legislation creates an overarching national regulatory framework and enables each province to establish its own system of licensing and regulating marijuana businesses. Adults will be allowed to possess up to 30 grams of marijuana, and all products will be sold in plain packaging with clearly marked labels. Home cultivation is allowed at the federal level, but it can be banned at the provincial level.

“This legislation will allow adults in Canada to start purchasing marijuana safely and legally from licensed businesses rather than tracking it down through illegal and potentially dangerous channels,” Tvert said. “Products will be tested, packaged, and labeled to ensure they are not contaminated and that consumers know what they’re getting. This newly regulated market will also create thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in tax revenue.”

Nine U.S. states and the District of Columbia have enacted laws making …