COVID-19 Will Now Derail New York Marijuana Legalization

New York lawmakers will prioritize response to the novel coronavirus pandemic and likely delay marijuana legalization.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo intended to legalize adult-use marijuana through the state budget this session, but the novel coronavirus outbreak may force the issue on the back burner. The state budget is due in two weeks and key lawmakers now believe issues around legalization, including how the state will spend tax revenue created by marijuana sales, will not be negotiated in time.

State Sen. Liz Krueger sponsored a recently revised legalization bill, but the state’s reaction to the ongoing pandemic takes precedence.

“I don’t believe marijuana is going to be negotiated in this budget in the next few days,” Krueger told WMHT. “I just don’t see it as realistic.”

Read more at The Fresh Toast

Marijuana Legalization Measure Officially Qualifies For South Dakota 2020 Ballotv

“The proposed constitutional amendment, which was submitted by a former federal prosecutor in September, would allow adults 21 and older to possess and distribute up to one ounce of marijuana. Individuals would also be allowed to cultivate up to three cannabis plants.

Under the broader recreational legalization proposal, the South Dakota Department of Revenue would be responsible for issuing licenses for manufacturers, testing facilities and retailers. And sales on cannabis products would be taxed at 15 percent, with revenue earmarked to cover the program’s implementation, public education, and the state general fund.

“As outlined in South Dakota Codified Law § 2-1-16, our office conducted a random sample of the petition signatures and found 68.74 percent to be valid,” Secretary of State Steven Barnett (R) said in a press release. Based on the results of the random sample, 36,707 signatures were deemed valid, his office projected.

“At this point, it appears increasingly unlikely that Congress will pass legislation this year to fix our nation’s broken federal marijuana laws,” Schweich, who played a central role in overseeing the signature-gathering drives for both South Dakota initiatives, said. “Therefore it is crucial that our movement win as many ballot initiative campaigns as possible this November and increase the pressure on Congress to take action. That is how we will ensure success at the federal level in 2021.”

Read the complete article at MARIJUANA MOMENT.

Is Marijuana Use Associated With A Higher Risk Of Cancer?

“As the use of marijuana is increasing in the United States, researchers are asking whether the use of this substance — particularly smoking joints — is associated with an increased risk of any form of cancer, and, if so, which.

Marijuana is one of the most widely used drugs in the United States, with more than one in seven adults reporting that they used marijuana in 2017.

Statistical reports project that sales of cannabis for recreational purposes in the U.S. will amount to $11,670 million between 2014 and 2020.

According to recent research trusted Source, smoking a joint remains one of the main ways in which individuals use marijuana recreationally.

While specialists already know that smoking tobacco cigarettes is a top risk factor for many forms of cancer, it remains unclear whether smoking marijuana can increase cancer risk in a similar way.

To try to find out whether there is a link between recreational marijuana use and cancer, researchers from the Northern California Institute of Research and Education in San Francisco and other collaborating institutions recently conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of studies assessing this potential association.

In their paper — which appears in JAMA Network OpenTrusted Source — the team notes that marijuana joints and tobacco cigarettes share many of the same potentially carcinogenic substances.

“Marijuana smoke and tobacco smoke share carcinogens, including toxic gases, reactive oxygen species, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, such as benzo[alpha]pyrene and phenols, which are 20 times higher in unfiltered marijuana than in cigarette smoke,” write first author Dr. Mehrnaz Ghasemiesfe and colleagues.

‘Misinformation — a threat to public health’

Dr. Ghasemiesfe and the team identified 25 studies assessing the link between marijuana use and the risk of developing different forms of cancer. More specifically, eight of these studies focused on lung cancer, nine looked at head and neck cancers, seven examined urogenital cancers, and four covered various other forms of cancer.

The studies found associations of different strengths between long-term marijuana use and various forms of cancer.

The researchers note that the study results regarding the link between marijuana lung cancer risk were mixed — so much so that they were unable to pool the data.

For head and neck cancer, the researchers concluded that “ever use,” which they define as exposure equivalent to smoking one joint a day for 1 year, did not appear to increase the risk, although the strength of the evidence was low. However, the studies produced mixed findings for heavier users.

Read the full article at Medical News Today

Why It’s Still So Hard to Sell Medical Marijuana in Asia

“Marijuana legalization seems to be making strides across the globe, but there are still plenty of pockets where the idea faces fierce resistance, namely in Asia.

Recreational cannabis has been legal in Uruguay since 2013—the first full legalization of the modern era—and in Canada since 2018. In the U.S., recreational pot is legal in the District of Columbia and 11 states, starting in 2012 with Colorado and Washington and most recently with Michigan this week. Medical marijuana is legal in several more U.S. states and many more countries.

Australia, New Zealand, and various countries in Europe are either looking to legalize or have already legalized medical marijuana. But in Asia, cannabis is illegal almost everywhere. In Singapore and Malaysia, possession can lead to the death penalty.

Two countries, South Korea and Thailand, broke from Asia’s anti-marijuana stance by legalizing the product for medical purposes in 2018. The move opened the door to medical marijuana companies looking for new markets.

Nicole Godresse, director of emerging markets in the Asia Pacific for Canadian medical cannabis firm Tilray, also spoke at the Infinity Ventures Summit and described Tilray’s strategy in Australia and New Zealand, which the company hopes to replicate in Thailand.

Tilray—which became the first cannabis company to list on NASDAQ when it went public in 2018—is currently the number one medical cannabis company by market share in Australia and New Zealand.

Sachdev said he is “very proud” that medical cannabis was legalized in Thailand, and hopes other Asian nations will follow suit.

Read the complete article at Fortune

Reasons Marijuana Legalization Seems To Be Failing

“When it was first proposed, the concept of marijuana legalization seemed solid enough. Take the world’s most popular illicit substance, establish a taxed and regulated marketplace and watch all of the evil associated with the herb – the criminal activity, the youth consumption –fade away into a footnote of American history. And by all accounts, it was a plan that should have worked.

One of the biggest arguments made by cannabis advocates when trying to sell their spiel to politicians and voters was that legal weed would eliminate the black market. This, they said, would make it more difficult for children to get their hands on pot than in decades past while also generating significant tax revenue for the states. But the underground pot trade hasn’t really gone anywhere. In fact, it is only growing stronger now that criminal organizations have the luxury of being domestically based instead of running distribution from Mexico.

All one needs to do is take a look at California, which legalized the leaf a couple of years ago, to see that this is true.

There is simply no shortage of illicit operations (large and small) trying to capitalize on pot’s forward momentum. It’s a development that continues to benefit the average cannabis consumer, so they’re not really complaining. As I pointed out in a previous column for Forbes, “marijuana legalization breeds a better black market.” It’s a statement that seems to be more accurate with each passing day.

But once again, this is another fail.

Diehard cannabis advocates might argue that all of the black market madness exists because of conflicting federal and state law. There was even a point where I would have been inclined to agree that federal prohibition is the real monster behind all of this ruckus. But I’m not convinced at this juncture, at least not 100 percent. Why? Well, just take a look to the north in Canada, where marijuana has been legal nationwide for the past year. Its black market pot trade is still way stronger than the legal sector.

It could even be said that the push to convince the world that pot users are something they are not might be leading the cannabis trade to ruins. While the growing and selling of marijuana was once touted as a great job creator, many leading cannabis firms have been laying off hundreds of employees as of late. Canadian-based producer Hexo is slashing 200 jobs, while CannaTrust is cutting 140. In the United States, Eaze recently announced that it was eliminating 36 positions. The popular Weedmaps is also trimming the fat. The company says it will get rid of 100 employees.

Read more at Forbes

Texas Officials Suddenly Shut Down Medical Marijuana Dispensary Licensing Process

“A week into opening the application process for medical cannabis dispensaries to apply for permits in Texas, the Texas Department of Public Safety — without warning — suspended the process.

“The Department’s Compassionate Use Program is not accepting applications at this time,” it says on the department’s website. The sudden announcement comes nearly a month after the state said it would keep the application process open for a month, from Oct. 1 through Nov. 1.

The move by the state agency came as a shock to advocacy groups who were eager for the state to move forward on medical cannabis expansion months after the Legislature expanded the list of conditions that qualify for the medicine under the Compassionate Use Program to include seizure disorders; amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS; terminal cancer and autism. Previously, the medicine was only available to people with intractable epilepsy who met certain requirements.

The move by the state agency came as a shock to advocacy groups who were eager for the state to move forward on medical cannabis expansion months after the Legislature expanded the list of conditions that qualify for the medicine under the Compassionate Use Program to include seizure disorders; amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS; terminal cancer and autism. Previously, the medicine was only available to people with intractable epilepsy who met certain requirements.

In September, the Texas Department of State Health Services held a public hearing to help determine which incurable neurodegenerative disorders would qualify for the medicine under the new bill. Until those conditions are officially determined — a process that could take months, she said — and the state has an accurate patient count, the DPS might have to stop accepting applications for new dispensaries.

Marijuana Moment

Many Teens Are Using Ultra-Potent ‘Marijuana Concentrates’

A striking proportion of teens are using highly potent forms of marijuana known as marijuana concentrates, at least in one state, a new study suggests.

The study, published today (Aug. 26) in the journal Pediatrics, analyzed data from nearly 50,000 eighth, 10th and 12th graders in Arizona. The researchers found that one-third of participants said they had used marijuana, and nearly a quarter said they had used marijuana concentrates at least once in their lives.

Marijuana concentrates are substances with very high levels of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the active ingredient in marijuana responsible for the drug’s intoxicating effects. Sometimes known as “butane hash oil,” “dab,” “wax,” “crumble” or “shatter,” these concentrates typically contain three times more THC than does the dried marijuana flower.

It’s important to note that the new study only included teens in Arizona, and the percentage of teens who use marijuana concentrates in other states is unknown. More studies will be needed to understand if the trend is confined to Arizona, or whether it’s happening in other states as well.

The usage rates could be similar in other states that have legalized medical cannabis, as Arizona has, Meier said. However, some states have legalized medical cannabis but not marijuana concentrates, so their use might be lower in those ones, she added. It’s also unclear whether states that allow recreational marijuana in addition to medical marijuana have higher rates of teen marijuana-concentrate use.

A yearly national survey known as Monitoring the Future, which looks at drug use among teens across the U.S., has also examined rates of marijuana-concentrate use to some extent. However, that survey classifies “concentrated THC” as a hallucinogen, and so only teens who report the use of hallucinogens are asked about the use of concentrated THC. As a result, this type of questioning tends to underestimate use, Meier said. In 2018, the Monitoring the Future survey found that just 1.1% of 12th graders reported the use of concentrated THC.

The new study also found that teens who used marijuana concentrates had much higher rates of electronic cigarette use. Indeed, teens who used marijuana concentrates were three times more likely to report using e-cigarettes, compared to those who used other forms of marijuana. (Teens are probably using e-cigarettes to vape marijuana.)

Read the full article at Live Science

How Legal Marijuana Is Helping the Black Market

“When the new marijuana shop opened up just down the street from his own marijuana shop, Greg Meguerian, owner of The Refinery in Los Angeles, kept an eye on it. When that shop stayed open past the legal closing time of 10 p.m. and sold customers over a quarter-pound of cannabis at once, four times more than the legal limit, Meguerian knew he wasn’t competing with a licensed dispensary.

The 15 Spot—as the tarp sign hung in front says doesn’t appear on Los Angeles’ list of authorized retail businesses. Meguerian and his lawyer reported the dispensary, but it’s still open—and Meguerian is paying a price. He said his sales are down noticeably since his illicit competitor moved in. Calls to the 15 Spot went unanswered because its phone is disconnected.

“I told the state, ‘If I lose 20 percent, you just lost 20 percent in taxes,’” he told POLITICO Magazine. “You feel like your words are falling on deaf ears.”

Though each state has its own issues, the problems have similar outlines: Underfunded law enforcement officers and slow-moving regulators are having trouble building a legal regime fast enough to contain a high-demand product that already has a large existing criminal network to supply it. And at the national level, advocates also point to another, even bigger structural issue: Problems are inevitable in a nation where legalization is so piecemeal.

“You’re never going to eliminate [the illicit market] until most of the states are legal,” says Adam Smith of the Craft Cannabis Alliance, a group in Oregon advocating for small cannabis farmers. “As long as half the country still can’t get it legally, there’s a market for it illegally.”

With Oregon growers producing three times more marijuana than consumers inside the state can handle, neighboring Idaho has reported a 665 percent increase in the number of illicit marijuana officers has seized. In 2016, the year before Oregon’s adult-use laws took effect, troopers confiscated 508 pounds of marijuana. Oregon’s new recreational market went into full effect on January 1, 2017, and the number of licensed dispensaries jumped from 99 to 260. That same year, the amount of cannabis confiscated by Idaho state troopers skyrocketed to 1,376 pounds and kept climbing. Last year, seizures totaled nearly a ton.

Read the full article at Politico

Better Buy: Medical Marijuana vs. Canopy Growth

“The global cannabis market is no doubt an exciting one, and there are many companies auditioning for your investment dollars. Cannabis stocks range from penny stocks to multi-billion-dollar global companies, so there’s quite a lot to choose from when thinking about how to play the space.

Two companies on opposite ends of the cannabis spectrum are Canopy Growth Company (NYSE: CGC) and Medical Marijuana, Inc. (NASDAQOTH: MJNA). Canopy, based in Canada, is the largest cannabis company in the world by market capitalization, and has Constellation Brands (NYSE: STZ), the owner of beer brands such as Corona and Modelo, as its largest strategic investor. Constellation invested $4 billion in Canopy last August for a 38% stake, along with warrants that give it the option to potentially purchase a controlling stake in the company.

Meanwhile, Medical Marijuana is a very small stock that trades over-the-counter in the United States at a market capitalization of just $200 million. Unlike Canopy, which focuses on medical and recreational marijuana sales in non-U.S. countries where cannabis has been legalized, Medical Marijuana decided to focus on the cannabidiol (CBD) market in the U.S. Though THC products, which contain the psychoactive agent in cannabis, remain federally illegal, the 2018 Farm Bill, passed in December, legalized the cultivation of hemp in order to produce CBD without THC, the psychoactive agent in cannabis. Medical Marijuana did have about $20 million in sales last quarter, which means there is a real potential business there.

Comparing operating results
Canopy currently generates much more revenue than Medical Marijuana, but it’s not as much as you might think. Last quarter Canopy made just over CA$106 million in revenue, more than 400% growth over the prior-year quarter, while Medical Marijuana made just over $20 million in revenue, nearly double the amount in the prior-year quarter.

Canopy is certainly larger and growing faster than Medical Marijuana, but considering Canopy’s stock is valued at roughly 68 times that of Medical Marijuana’s it’s not a stretch to think the scrappy upstart could be the better bet.

Compare that with Canopy, which posted a staggering CA$335 million net loss just last quarter, and a loss of CA$670 million for the year. The losses were due to Canopy’s heavy spending on expansion in Canada and 15 countries around the world. Even after the end of the last quarter Canopy continued its spending spree, buying Germany’s C3 Cannabinoid Compound Company, the UK’s This Works Products, a CBD company, then paying $300 million for the right to purchase Acreage Holdings (NASDAQOTH: ACRGF) for $3.4 billion should the U.S. legalize cannabis at the federal level.

Read the full article at Yahoo Finance

Does the Legalization of Marijuana Make It Safe?

“Alcohol, tobacco and prescription drugs, though legal, are often abused. People can get these substances whether they are of age or not, and the same thing is happening with marijuana. Walking through almost any neighborhood, one can smell marijuana everywhere. Dena Gorkin, educator, founder, and principal of Bnos Chomesh Academy high school for girls recalls walking down the street with her twelve-year-old daughter and her daughter said, “Smell that, Mom? That’s marijuana.”

There was a time when twelve-year-olds did not know what marijuana was, but now they know what it is and how to recognize it. With any substance that is potentially addictive, it is important that adults give children information. Adults must teach children about real dangers.

At the same time, it is very important to not give them exaggerated information. If a child or teenager is warned, “One marijuana joint will melt your brains and you’ll never be able to concentrate in school again,” they may try it anyway to see what happens. When what they were told inevitably does not happen, the adult loses all credibility and from that point on, any information that adult tells a child about other drugs or substances is potentially ignored because it is deemed unreliable. False information is not an effective way of keeping children away from drugs and other harmful substances.

Different people react in different ways just as they do with alcohol. Not everybody has the same reaction. However, some common reactions have been observed. One common reaction is people becoming very desensitized. Clinically, this is called “Amotivational syndrome.” Amotivational syndrome means a person has little or no desire to do anything – whether it is working, socializing or even completing simple tasks.

Family therapist Dr. Miriam Gross explains that when we combine this syndrome with a teenager’s developing brain, serious developmental issues arise. Teenage marijuana use affects memory, learning, and interpersonal relationships. Teenagers are still learning how to perform in life as they are discovering what they are good at. They need to put significant effort into their studies. They are learning how friendships work and are beginning to understand the dynamics of healthy friendships. These are the building blocks for a successful life. When a person becomes unmotivated, life becomes difficult, and this is particularly true for a teenager.

Marijuana use that begins in the teenage years has been associated with lower career success and income, as well as an increase in problems with interpersonal relationships. When teenagers use marijuana, it permanently affects their developing brain, which, in turn, impacts the rest of their lives.

Read the full article at BK Reader

Is CBD Really the Marijuana Molecule That Cures All?

Wonder drug or modern-day snake oil? Appearing in stores and online in the form of body lotions, capsules, tinctures, edible gummies, and bottled water, CBD has exploded in popularity as a way to reap the supposed health benefits of marijuana without the high that comes with it. All this is in spite of the paucity of evidence of its merits so far.

1. What is CBD?

CBD, or cannabidiol, is one of more than 100 molecules called cannabinoids that are found in cannabis. Unlike the nearly identical THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), which is the main active ingredient in pot, CBD doesn’t produce a buzz. According to a report by the World Health Organization, it hasn’t exhibited any potential for abuse or dependence, and there is no evidence of any public health-related problems associated with its use.

2. What does it do?

CBD has been touted as a potential treatment for any number of ailments, among them depression, insomnia, brain injury, opioid addiction, diabetes, arthritis, and graft versus host disease. Pre-clinical trials suggest CBD may have anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties, but there have been few human trials to substantiate the claims. Several clinical trials are in the works, including one testing its use to combat nausea during chemotherapy, and another on how it affects mood. For now, its only approved medical use in the U.S. is as a treatment of two rare forms of childhood epilepsy.

3. How many people are using it?

Almost 7% of Americans polled in January by investment bank Cowen & Co. reported using CBD as a supplement. Big chains such as CVS, Walgreens, and Kroger are now selling CBD lotions and other products. Cowen estimated that U.S. retail sales were as high as $2 billion in 2018, and analysts at Piper Jaffray & Co. estimated that the U.S. CBD market could be worth as much as $15 billion in five years. The research firm Brightfield Group estimated that CBD was a $318 million market in Europe in 2018.

Read the full article at Bloomberg

First Medical Marijuana Edibles for Sale in Ohio

“Limited quantities of marijuana-infused gummy candy hit Ohio medical marijuana dispensary shelves late last week.

The initial price for Ohio’s first legal edible is steep: $80 for 11 gummies. Each candy contains 10 mg of THC. THC, short for tetrahydrocannabinol, is a marijuana compound that generates a “high.”

Similar strength gummies sell for about $25 for a pack of 10 in Illinois, which has a highly-regulated medical marijuana program similar to Ohio’s.

Prices are expected to remain high as the program ramps up. Fewer than half of the state-licensed 29 growers have marijuana flower or other products on retail dispensary store shelves.

Ohio Cannabis Company in Coshocton sold out of the gummies within days of receiving its first shipment. Dispensary employee Missy Bethel said customers have been asking for alternatives to dried bud, which can be vaped but not smoked in Ohio.

Ohio’s medical marijuana law, passed in May 2016, prohibits medical marijuana products that are “attractive to children.” So you won’t see any gummy bears, worms or fruit shapes for sale.

Gummies have to be imprinted with the letters THC. Edible products also contain a warning label that their effects may be delayed.

Smoking or vaping cannabis delivers quick effects because it enters the bloodstream through the lungs. Eating cannabis takes longer and can have different effects because it is absorbed as it is digested.

Read the full article at Cincinnati.com

CBD: A Marijuana Miracle or just Another Health Fad?

“Aaron Horn first came across cannabidiol, or CBD, about three years ago in Glastonbury – the town, not the festival. “I found it at this amazing hemp shop, Hemp in Avalon,” recalls Horn, a musician who is now 35. “It’s run by a guy called Free. His last name is Cannabis. He changed his name by deed poll to Free Cannabis.” Horn bought a tube of high-concentration CBD paste – “it comes out like a brown toothpaste, almost” – and it was recommended he put a tiny dot on his finger and pop it in his mouth.

Horn’s adult life had been spent in the shadow of a horrific accident that took place when he was 22. In June 2006, he had been shooting at a target with an air rifle in the garden of his family home; his parents are the music producers Jill Sinclair and Trevor Horn. Horn didn’t realize his mother was nearby, and a stray pellet lodged in her neck and severed an artery. Sinclair experienced hypoxia, which caused irreversible brain damage, and she spent years in a coma before dying in 2014.

Almost immediately, Horn found using CBD lifted his mood. Cannabidiol is a non-psychoactive chemical found in marijuana and hemp plants. It will be present if you smoke a joint but is often overwhelmed by one of the other 100-plus cannabinoids found in cannabis: THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). This is the ingredient that mainly has mind-altering properties, but also now has worrying links with mental illness and violence. CBD products are allowed to contain only traces of THC, which makes them legal, and devotees claim that they have many of the benefits of cannabis with none of the drawbacks.

“CBD has helped me across the spectrum,” says Horn. “It definitely helped in social situations, if I was finding it hard to be around people. It brings you more into the moment. I felt more relaxed.”

“CBD will change a culture,” he predicts. “People are less interested in drinking in bars, getting really drunk, feeling shit the next day, letting their body down, having issues with their body because of that. The shift is happening: more people are interested in eating healthier, living healthier, and this is part of that. It changes it a lot more than the new iPhone or another pair of trainers, or everything we’ve had since the 90s that’s just different versions.

“It will drastically affect the way the world looks in 20 or 30 years and the way we live.”

Read the complete article at The Guardian

Rhode Island Sales of Medical Marijuana Hits New Highs

“Regulator Norman Birenbaum says Rhode Island’s three medical marijuana dispensaries are on pace to sell about $56 million worth of medicinal pot in fiscal 2019. The Providence Journal reports it is a 46.6 percent increase over sales in the fiscal year 2018.

The list of qualifying conditions to enter the medical marijuana program is short but broad, listing symptoms like severe pain or muscle spasms. Birenbaum says regulators remain concerned there are ways to ‘‘abuse the program.’’

Regulators predict they will collect over $5 million in taxes on medical marijuana in the current fiscal year.

Boston Globe

How Minnesota Can Fix Its Medical Marijuana Market

“New patients are leaving the program in droves, turning to the black market or prescription opioids because they cannot afford the processed pills and oils that are legal. Growers are losing millions because of a strict tax structure written into the law.

Lawmakers can fix this, but they might have to look beyond their home state for solutions. A slew of proposals at the State Capitol could save the manufacturers money and help them lower prices. Patients say they do not go far enough.

Minnesota’s medical cannabis program is widely seen as one of the most restrictive in the country; the costly drugs are not insured and only patients with one of 13 severe conditions can use them.

Is there a commitment to shed that reputation?

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz told the Pioneer Press that he would support legislative changes to the program, which he said is “very cumbersome” and “doesn’t work.”

“It felt like they did the bare minimum they could do just to kind of limp over,” Walz said, referring to the compromise that lawmakers and former Gov. Mark Dayton struck to legalize medical marijuana in 2014. “Now we’re stuck with a very minimal medicinal cannabis (program) that really is too expensive.”

The average patient shelled out $300 when he or she went to a dispensary, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Health. In contrast, most patients who spoke to the Pioneer Press say they spend between $200 and $500 per month.

In August, Pennsylvania officials made a major change to the program. They legalized the marijuana plant for medicinal use, and prices began to drop. By Feb. 1, the average cost per patient on a trip to a dispensary had fallen to $130.

Read more at Twin Cities

Home Grown Marijuana in New York: Will it be legal?

To David R. Clifford of Auburn, it just makes sense: If marijuana becomes legal for adult recreational use in New York, he says, consumers should be able to grow their own.

“I can grow my own tomatoes or herbs,” he said. “If I’m a beer drinker, I can grow my own hops and make some home brew. So why not let me grow my own cannabis?”

It may not happen. While New York lawmakers are considering legalizing marijuana for recreational use, the proposal offered by Gov. Andrew Cuomo earlier this year does not allow growing at home for non-medical use. Recreational users would have to buy their weed from a state-licensed retail outlet.

Versions of the legalization plans introduced in both the Assembly and Senate do appear to authorize up to six plants to be cultivated for private use. Those bills make no reference to limiting it for medical use.

Home-grown weed is just one of many details still to be worked out on New York’s path to legal recreational marijuana. Cuomo is hoping to have a law approved by April 1, in time for the upcoming state budget. Some lawmakers, including Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, think that timetable may be too fast.

At the heart of the recreational marijuana proposals are provisions allowing those over 21 to possess limited amounts of weed for personal use. The plans also deal with setting up retail outlets, authorizing taxes and addressing social issues, such as sealing the criminal records of those convicted of past marijuana offense.

Continue Reading at Syracuse.com

Weed’: Will Tennessee Ever Go There?

“NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – America’s attitude is changing. Legalized marijuana has become the new norm in 33 states, with ten of them approving recreational use of the drug. The District of Columbia has also legalized recreational use.

Gallup polls over a five-year stretch show a steady momentum. 66-percent of Americans surveyed last year say they’re in favor of legalizing marijuana. That’s up from 51% in 2014.

Tennessee and other southern states have not been so fast to embrace this evolving attitude. Arkansas, Louisiana, and Florida have approved the use of medical marijuana. Here in the Volunteer State, the legislature continues to grapple with the issue.

Approval for recreational use of marijuana is seemingly far from being on the table in Tennessee. Efforts by the cities of Nashville and Memphis to decriminalize small amounts of the drug were squashed by the state lawmakers two years ago, with then-Governor Bill Haslam signing legislation to repeal local laws.

Read the full article at Wate.com

Why Are Ohio’s Medical Marijuana Prices So High?

“Moments after CY+ Dispensary sold some of the first legal medical marijuana in Ohio, the crowd of patients waiting outside for their turn to make state history wanted to know one thing: How much?

They weren’t happy with the answer: $50 cash for a small plastic container holding 2.83 grams of dried marijuana bud, or just under $500 an ounce.

Marijuana sold in legal markets has a hard time competing with a product sold on the black market for several reasons.

Legal marijuana businesses have to comply with regulations for pesticides, tracking every plant with sophisticated software, security and more. They also pay taxes, and because marijuana remains an illegal substance on the federal level, they can’t deduct expenses the way other businesses can.

Ohio law requires every medical marijuana product to be tested by an independent state-licensed lab. There are only two in operation. The labs test for pesticides, mold and other contaminants. They also test for amounts of various marijuana compounds including THC, which generates a high, and cannabidiol, or CBD, which doesn’t.

The state has licensed 29 businesses to grow marijuana, but only 14 have finished building their facilities and been approved to start growing. None of the state-licensed processors are operating, so oils, lotions, patches, edibles and other products are not yet available.

One specific regulation sets Ohio apart from the 33 states that allow cannabis for medicinal use.

Rules set by the Ohio State Pharmacy Board, which oversees dispensaries, require marijuana flower and infused products to be packaged in certain amounts, called “whole day units.”

Read the full article at Cincinnati.com

Virginians Seek Better Access To Medical Marijuana

RICHMOND, Va. — As other states have relaxed their marijuana laws, citizens gathered Saturday to discuss how best to persuade the Virginia General Assembly to legalize medical and recreational marijuana in the commonwealth.

About 150 people, including health care providers and attorneys, attended the Virginia 2019 Cannabis Conference, held by the Virginia chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.

Virginia NORML advocates decriminalizing possession of marijuana and regulating medical and recreational-use production and sales of the substance.

Members of NORML are hopeful after Gov. Ralph Northam voiced support for decriminalizing possession of small amounts of marijuana during his State of the Commonwealth speech on Wednesday, the first day of the General Assembly’s 2019 session.

“In 2016, we passed a bill that let us go forth and write a regulatory program that was based on Connecticut’s then-program, which was also low-THC, extraction-based products only and served to a small set of patients,”
Pendini said.

In 2018, the General Assembly passed a law allowing practitioners to issue certifications for the use of cannabis-based products to alleviate symptoms “of any diagnosed condition or disease determined by the practitioner to benefit from such use.”

The Board of Pharmacy has given approval to pharmaceutical companies to open five dispensaries across the state where CBD and THC-A oils will be sold to authorized patients.

Read the full article at WTVR

Israeli Parliament Passes Bill Allowing Export Of Medical Marijuana

The Israeli Parliament (the “Knesset”), passed the 16th amendment to Dangerous Drugs Ordinance on December 25, that concerns the governance and regulatory aspects of exporting medical cannabis from Israel. Subsequently, Israel is poised to be a top-earning, global hub in the marijuana market.

The Knesset’s measure was approved unanimously by 21 votes. Following the vote, the Minister of Internal Security, Gilad Erdan, approved. (Minister Gilad previously disapproved such actions; however, his party is currently up for re-election.)

The bill passed the Knesset’s internal affairs committee and two additional votes in the Knesset’s grand hall. The legislation authorizes the Israeli Police to conduct supervision of cannabis farms, and grant approvals for cultivating, growing and exporting of cannabis and cannabis-related products. Police involvement clears a legal obstacle necessary for the final approval of export of medical marijuana from the country, during 2019, expectedly.

According to the Knesset’s website, the bill states that “any license to engage in medical cannabis will be subject to a license from the Ministry of Health.” Provisions were made stipulating that each applicant for a license to engage in medical cannabis will receive a positive or negative recommendation from the police department. An exemption from police review may occur for foreign investors. The police will be required to provide its guidance for domestic applicants within four months, and foreign investors within six months.

There are currently eight companies operating in Israel, and there are dozens of additional requests from business owners to work in the field, which are awaiting the approval of the relevant parties. Entrepreneurs and researchers, as well as the business owners themselves, cite many requests from all over the world. All are encountering roadblocks because medical cannabis is lumped in with the other types of cannabis in the sweeping prohibition on trade.

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