UN Opium Survey distorts the Facts, Says Think Tank

“YANGON — The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime has been accused of “distorting realities of the situation on the ground” in its latest Myanmar opium survey, in a report by the Transnational Institute, a think tank based in Amsterdam.

In the report, A distortion of reality: Drugs, conflict and the UNODC’s 2018 Myanmar Opium Survey, released on March 4, TNI takes issue with accusations the UN agency makes about armed ethnic groups.

They include the Kachin Independence Organisation, a political wing of the Kachin Independence Army, which issued an open letter to the UNODC on February 15 that rejected the survey’s findings and demanded a retraction.

It says the two main opium-growing areas in Kachin are at Sadung in Waingmaw Township bordering China, where cultivation takes place in areas under the nominal control of two Border Guard Force groups under Tatmadaw command, and in the tiger reserve in Tanai Township, which is also under ostensible government control.

TNI said its sources had confirmed that there was currently no substantial opium cultivation in areas controlled by the KIO, which has for several years carried out a strict anti-drugs campaign, including eradicating opium fields.

International organizations such as the UNODC need to be aware that inaccurate reporting is a high-risk activity that could have a negative effect on efforts to promote peace and political reform in Myanmar, the think tank said.

The links between drugs and conflict were a vital issue that needed to be discussed, transparently and openly, during political negotiations to achieve peace, it said. “This is a matter of concern for all Myanmar’s peoples.”

Continue Reading at Frontier Myanmar

CBD Oil and Pets: Can It Relieve Anxiety And Pain?

“CBD oil is a non-intoxicating hemp extract that many pet owners are after to treat a variety of ailments. But veterinarians say there are some things to consider first.

Pain, arthritis and seizures are just some of the health problems that have more and more people turning to CBD for their pets.

North Carolina is one of 47 states where CBD is legal for human use. Physicians in those states can recommend CBD to their patients, and consumers can purchase it at retail locations.

Cannabis for pets is largely unregulated, so it’s difficult to know which CBD products are formulated responsibly.

Consumer Reports recommends looking for the seal from the National Animal Supplement Council, which can help identify quality products.

WRAL.com

Is Auxly Cannabis a Buy?

Momentum continues to pick up for the marijuana industry. But not every marijuana stock is prospering.

Auxly Cannabis  (NASDAQOTH:CBWTF) lost more than half its value in 2018, making it one of the 10 worst-performing marijuana stocks of the year. So far in 2019, the stock is down close to 20% while the shares of many of its peers are soaring. But is Auxly now such a bargain that it’s a great pick for long-term investors to buy?

THE GOOD

Auxly’s share price hasn’t reflected the tremendous potential the company has. But that potential exists nonetheless.

Estimates vary about just how big the global marijuana market could be. However, projections of $100 billion or more within the next decade don’t appear to be unrealistic. Auxly itself estimates that the total market could be close to $50 billion by 2024. The company doesn’t have to be a big player in a market of that size to be enormously successful.

Auxly offers one key advantage to investors that most marijuana stocks don’t: diversification across the cannabis supply chain. The company’s revenue streaming partnerships, joint ventures, equity investments, and subsidiaries make Auxly a player in the upstream cultivation, midstream extraction and processing, and downstream distribution and sales segments of the cannabis industry.

THE BAD

Despite its impressive efforts in wheeling and dealing, Auxly has yet to make even a cent of profit. In the third quarter of 2018, the company posted a loss totaling nearly 4.6 million Canadian dollars, or around $3.5 million.

Auxly’s problem isn’t just that it’s spending a lot of money (which it is); the company simply isn’t making much revenue, either. In Q3, Auxly’s revenue totaled a measly CA$512,000 — roughly $385,000.

The primary issue for Auxly is that most of its upstream partners are still ramping up their production capacity. They can’t sell what they can’t produce.

Read the full article at The Motley Fool

Could Mushrooms Be The Next Drug To Be Decriminalised?

“Marijuana and magic mushrooms. One’s a plant, one’s a fungi, both are illegal – for now.

But psychedelic drug reform is already happening in the US. The city of Denver, which has already legalized recreational cannabis, is preparing to vote on whether to decriminalize magic mushrooms in May.

With New Zealand moving towards a referendum on our cannabis laws, News-hub spoke to Victoria University drug use expert Dr Fiona Hutton about whether or not we need to take a look at our laws on mushrooms.

Magic mushrooms (or shrooms) contain psilocybin, which is converted in the body to the psychedelic substance psilocin. They’re classified as Class A, meaning they come with the strongest penalties if you get caught with them.

Possession is a maximum of six months in prison – while the maximum penalty for supply is life in prison.

In medical trials, patients reported improvements in anxiety and depression. Other studies found psilocybin could help users kick their drug, alcohol, and nicotine addictions.

In the US, drug researchers, including Johns Hopkins University researcher Dr Matthew Johnson, said they were worried about the risk of bad trips and how people with psychotic disorders could be affected.

According to the 2017 annual Global Drug Survey, which relies on self-reported drug use, the rate of users who needed emergency medical care after using mushrooms was three times lower that of cannabis.

And research by UK drug expert Prof Nutt found that mushrooms were statistically the least dangerous out of 20 drugs, including alcohol, tobacco, cannabis and LSD.

Read the full article at Newshub

Denver Should Legalize Magic Mushrooms

“The decriminalization of magic (psilocybin) mushrooms is going to be on the ballot in Denver in May, and voters should definitely go for it.

On February 1, the Denver Elections Division certified a petition from decriminalization activists, noting that it had received enough signatures for voters to decide on the issue in the municipal election. The measure would decriminalize the use of psilocybin — or “magic” — mushrooms within city limits.

It’s important to note that the measure would not legalize the drug, but simply make stopping possession of it a low priority for police, prohibiting the city and county from using any of its resources to punish people ages 21 and older for possessing the drug. The drug would still, of course, be considered illegal on the federal level.

Although mushrooms are a drug that may carry a lot of stigma, voters would be right to pass this measure in May. In fact, speaking generally, I would argue that drug decriminalization is always the right choice. After all, we are supposed to be a country that was founded on the principles of freedom and individual liberty, and locking people up for what they choose to put in their own bodies certainly seems opposite to that philosophy.

Another study suggests that mushrooms are also helpful for the mental health of those who are suffering with life-threatening illnesses. In 2016, a Johns Hopkins study reported that cancer patients who had received psilocybin experienced an average 78 percent reduction in depression and an 83 percent reduction in anxiety.

Read the full article at National Review

How Will Denver Change if it Decriminalizes Magic Mushrooms?

“The Mile-High City might be about to get a bit higher. In May, the citizens of Denver, Colorado, will vote on whether or not to decriminalize magic mushrooms, the colloquial name given to a group of mushroom species that contain the psychoactive compound psilocybin.

In the US, psilocybin is classified as a Schedule I drug, taking a place alongside heroin and ecstasy, ostensibly as one of the most dangerous drugs around. However, this classification doesn’t seem to jibe with the scientific consensus on magic mushrooms.

Psilocybin is typically not abused and is not addictive (in fact, some research has shown it to reduce addiction to other drugs). Furthermore, it does indeed have some medical purposes. Research has shown that its impact on depression, anxiety, and other psychological conditions is profound.

But Denverites aren’t talking about legalizing magic mushrooms purely for their medicinal properties; rather, they will be voting on whether or not to decriminalize the drug. First, decriminalization does not mean legalization—buying and selling the drug will still be illegal, but using and possessing it will simply not be prosecuted. Since this means the infrastructure to support its medical use won’t exist, we can assume that more Denverites will be using the drug recreationally.

If decriminalization and eventual legalization go ahead in Denver, what will this mean? Well, in addition to hallucinations, a distortion of time, and a sense of connectedness to the universe, magic mushrooms also have some more interesting long-term effects. First, some studies show that psilocybin usage can make people experience greater personal meaning, spiritual significance, and life satisfaction even six months after their initial dose.

Continue Reading at Big Think

Inside the Push to Legalize Magic Mushrooms for Depression and PTSD

“IT WASN’T. The former corporate executive from Colorado retired in 2006 after an MRI revealed his spine was riddled with a dozen tumors called hemangiomas, which later spread to his brain. Todd was told he would die before the end of 2008.

Somehow, Todd has survived—he credits medical marijuana, which he now uses daily—but he is still considered terminal. “It could be tomorrow. It could be five years from now,” he says in a call.

However, the 54-year-old spent the past decade plagued by a host of mental health problems, including PTSD and treatment-resistant depression. He was suicidal and tormented by violent night terrors. Nothing, not even massive doses of Xanax or Valium, could temper his panic attacks or end-of-life anxiety.

That was about a year ago. Todd began taking homegrown psilocybin, the highly illegal alkaloid in so-called magic mushrooms. Known for prompting profound hallucinations, psilocybin was placed in the restrictive Schedule I category in 1970, meaning the US government recognizes no medical use for the drug and says that it carries a high risk of abuse.

Todd says there have been clear benefits from psilocybin with few side effects. He hasn’t had a single PTSD episode since he began taking it. His depression evaporated. The mushrooms even help ease the pain—agony that feels like being “shot in the back”—from the nerve-crushing tumors in his spine and skull.

Indeed, magic mushrooms are having a therapeutic moment. In North America, at least four organizations, each with unique strategies, are working to expand access to psilocybin for anyone with mental health issues, dying or not. These groups hope to undo decades of psilocybin prohibition by removing criminal penalties for possession or cultivation, or by providing access to psilocybin in a therapist’s offices, or both.

Read more at Wired

The Failing Battle Against Drug Production in Colombia

”Despite several strategies to eradicate domestic cocaine production, Colombia continues to struggle with the massive amount of drugs that are cultivated and manufactured within its borders. Government control measures include the arrest of major drug lords and the dismantling of their cartels, as well as the prosecution of corrupt politicians and police officers involved in the drug trade.

Colombia is a world leader in cocaine cultivation and a major heroin supplier to the world. Coca leaves, the key ingredient in cocaine production, are grown in Colombia’s Andes Mountains. This area has been the focus of crop eradication for decades.

From 2000 to 2005, the United States appropriated about $4.3 billion for the Andean Counter-Drug Initiative, according to a report from the Congressional Research Service. The funds were targeted to eradicate the coca and opium poppy plants used to produce the illicit drugs.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer, a World Health Organization affiliate, found in 2015 that the aerial pesticide spray glyphosate (also known as Roundup) exposed Colombian farmers and villagers to a possible carcinogenic. Consequently, the Colombian government banned its use after it had been on the market for nearly two decades.

The next strategy was to send government workers into remote mountainous areas where farmers cultivate cocaine and heroin ingredients and offer them crop substitution as a new solution. The goal was to entice farmers to replace their illicit crops with legitimate ones, such as fruits and vegetables.

The goal of the peace treaty was to end the epidemic of violence and formulate a definitive solution to Colombia’s drug problem. As part of the deal, Bogota promised to provide health and education services along with potable water in rebel lands. FARC members were also granted amnesty for their crimes.

However, the Insight Crime Foundation, which tracks organized criminal groups, estimates that as many as 2,800 FARC members rejected these peace efforts. They rearmed themselves, demonstrating the ineffectiveness of the treaty.

Read more at In Homeland Security

8 Things Everyone Gets Wrong About CBD

“The past year has seen a surge of interest in marijuana’s CBD, a non-intoxicating cannabis compound with significant therapeutic properties. Numerous commercial start-ups and internet retailers have jumped on the CBD bandwagon, touting CBD derived from industrial hemp as the next big thing, a miracle oil that can shrink tumors, quell seizures, and ease chronic pain — without making people feel “stoned.” But along with a growing awareness of cannabidiol as a potential health aid, there has been a proliferation of misconceptions about CBD.

CBD is Medical. THC is recreational

Project CBD receives many inquiries from around the world and oftentimes people say they are seeking “CBD, the medical part” of the plant, “not THC, the recreational part” that gets you high. Actually, THC, “The High Causer,” has awesome therapeutic properties. Scientists at the Scripps Research Center in San Diego reported that THC inhibits an enzyme implicated in the formation of beta-amyloid plaque, the hallmark of Alzheimer’s-related dementia.

THC Is The Bad Cannabinoid. CBD is the good cannabinoid

The drug warrior’s strategic retreat: Give ground on CBD while continuing to demonize THC. Diehard marijuana prohibitionists are exploiting the good news about CBD to further stigmatize high-THC cannabis, casting tetrahydrocannabinol as the bad cannabinoid, whereas CBD is framed as the good cannabinoid. Why? Because CBD doesn’t make you high as THC does.

CBD Is Most Effective Without THC

THC and CBD are the power couple of cannabis compounds — they work best together. Scientific studies have established that CBD and THC interact synergistically to enhance each other’s therapeutic effects. British researchers have shown that CBD potentiates THC’s anti-inflammatory properties in an animal model of colitis.

Continue Reading at The Growth Shop

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

Opioid Abusers Using Their Pets To Score Drugs?

”To fight America’s opioid epidemic, lawmakers and regulators have clamped down hard on doctors’ prescribing practices.

But one avenue for obtaining prescription opioids appears to have been overlooked, according to a new study.

Millions of Tablets

Veterinarians are prescribing large quantities of opioids to pets, raising concern that some people might be using Fido or Snuggles to feed their addiction.

Opioid prescriptions from the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Veterinary Medicine rose 41% between 2007 and 2017, even though the annual number of visits increased by just 13%, researchers found.

Penn Vet handed out 105 million tramadol tablets, 97 500 hydrocodone (Hycodan) tablets, and nearly 39 000 codeine tablets during the study period, results show.

Not Just For Pets

It’s very likely at least some of these drugs wound up being used by humans, said Emily Feinstein, executive vice president of the Center on Addiction.

The US opioid crisis led to roughly 50 000 overdose deaths in 2017, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Americans now are more likely to die from an opioid overdose than from a car or motorcycle crash, a fall, drowning or choking on food, a report issued Tuesday by the National Safety Council concluded.

Read more at Health 24

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

Myanmar Cracking Down On Opium, But Conflicts Push Drug Trade

“The amount of land being used to grow opium poppies continues to decline in Myanmar, but ongoing conflicts are hampering efforts to stamp out the trade at a time when the illicit drug economy is becoming increasingly diverse, according to a new United Nations report.


Some 37,300 hectares of land in the country was under poppy cultivation last year, down from 41,000 in 2017, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) said in its Myanmar Opium Survey 2018 on Friday.

Nearly 90 percent of all the opium was grown in the northeastern Shan state, where government forces continue to battle ethnic rebels.

Myanmar has been battling conflicts in its border regions for decades and the unrest has long underpinned the drugs trade; in the mid-1990s, Golden Triangle, which includes the border areas of Laos and Thailand in addition to Myanmar, had the dubious distinction of being the center of the world’s opium and heroin trade.

Since then, government eradication efforts have helped tackle the problem, but the conflicts continue to provide the kind of conditions that allow the illicit drug trade to thrive.

About 2,605 hectares of cultivation was eradicated in 2018, 26 percent less than the previous year, it said. UNODC data shows eradication has been in decline since 2015.

The agency noted that economic problems, including a lack of job opportunities and income inequality, also contributed to the resilience of the drug trade amid increasing efforts by traffickers and organized criminals to diversify the market.

Continue Reading at Aljazeera

Where does N.J. stand on legal weed as we head into 2019?

Last year was big for cannabis in New Jersey, though not nearly as big as it could have been.

The state saw a substantial increase in the size of the medical marijuana program, both regarding patients and potentially the number of dispensaries. But New Jersey still missed out on recreational marijuana, when this time last year legalization seemed a real possibility.

The next several weeks will be revelatory for the future of legal weed in the state. If lawmakers can sit down and hash out the more excellent details of legalization, it’s possible that Gov. Phil Murphy could sign a bill by February.

From the time Murphy took office in January of 2018, the state seemed on the cusp on legalization. The governor had promised it in his campaign, his election gave Democrats control of all branches of state government, and state Sen. Nicholas Scutari, D-Union, introduced a bill early last year to legalize the possession and personal use of marijuana, as well as create a regulated market.

By late November there was enough agreement on legal weed for the Scutari bill — heavily amended throughout the year — to pass legislative committees in both the state Senate and the Assembly. All it needed then was approval in the full chambers of the state Legislature and a signature from the governor.

Continue Reading at NJ.com

Can You Take Too Much CBD? Here’s What Happens If You Do

If you’re taking CBD too, perhaps you’ve also googled: Can you take too much CBD? In order for CBD to be toxic to your system, you would have to ingest almost 20,000 mg of CBD oil in a very short amount of time, according to a 2011 study published in the journal Current Drug Safety. But that doesn’t mean you can take gummy after gummy just because they taste like candy.

With the 2018 Hemp Act, part of the 2018 Farm Bill, signed Dec. 20, 2018, all products derived from industrially farmed hemp grown in the U.S. are now legal in all 50 states, ending a more than an 80-year ban of large-scale hemp farming in this country. This means that this year is really where CBD is going to hit the mainstream, as Well+Good’s 2019 wellness forecast suggested. This *also* means it will be a lot easier for researchers to test CBD and its effects, which was previously difficult because of federal regulations around hemp. Hence why scientists aren’t yet 100 percent conclusive on CBD’s effects — and why it’s important to educate yourself before getting started.

Because CBD oils are not currently regulated by the FDA, choosing the right one can be daunting, and sometimes a little bit sketchy. Luckily, you can head over to the website CBD Oil Review to research different brands. It’s also important to note that just because it’s unlikely you can take enough CBD oil to endanger your health, taking too much CBD could make you feel bajiggity. Also, studies have found that CBD oil is known to interact with certain medications, so make sure to consult your doctor or pharmacist if you’re currently taking any prescriptions.

Full story at Bustle

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.

More of this news at Forbes

Like Them or Not, Cannabis Drinks Will Be Huge in 2019

2018 was inarguably the year of CBD: Marijuana’s non-psychoactive, less giggly compound showed up everywhere promising everything from pain relief to anxiety reduction, from LaCroix-esque sparkling water and high-end gumdrops to body lotion and bath salts (not that kind of bath salts). But while CBD consumption can undoubtedly lend a chilled-out vibe at the proper dosage, to get high, there needs to be some THC involved, whether it be smoked or otherwise consumed — and it seems to drink your weed will be a significant trend for the year ahead.

Legal marijuana raked in $9 billion in 2017, and with an increasing number of U.S. states legalizing weed for recreational use, that figure is expected to swell to more than $23 billion by 2022. Far from the stereotypical old image of a tie-dye-clad stoner with bloodshot eyes, marijuana use has been transformed into a full-on lifestyle brand: There are weed-laced coffee capsules to start your day, luxury pipes and smoking accessories with hip Instagram accounts to match, subscription boxes catering to the stoner set, cannabis-infused lubes to enhance your sex life, and weed supper clubs where pot aficionados can gather around the dinner table to get high. Legal weed — and the companies profiting from it — wants to permeate every sector of adult life, from replacing your Ambien to set the vibe for your next boutique hotel stay.

The CBD boom catering to anxious millennials will only grow as cultivating industrial hemp (which does not contain THC) becomes legal in the U.S., but massive corporations (like say, Marlboro) are also increasingly looking to cash in on the kind of cannabis that gets you stoned. Big Tobacco and liquor companies worry that as legal marijuana spreads, people will increasingly replace their cigarettes and beer with weed. And while such corporations getting in on the pot gold rush certainly raises plenty of ethical objections from marijuana advocates, big business goes where the money is, and right now it seems the next big thing is weed drinks, with at least one industry analyst projecting the cannabis beverage market to be worth $600 million by 2022.

Makers of nonalcoholic drinks like Coca-Cola and Pepsi have tentatively expressed interest in the space, too, though they’re clearly more reluctant to slap their iconic brand names on adult-oriented products that are still federally illegal in the U.S. (and still have a hefty stigma attached in many parts of the country).

Read the full article at Eater

It’s Time For A Decision On Retail Cannabis Stores

Waterloo Region’s city and township councils must decide soon if they’re opting in or out when it comes to having cannabis stores.

The landscape is uncertain, and the stakes are high.

Many local councils will decide at their first meeting in January, the week of the 14th. But that will be after the first wave of store approvals.

It has been legal since Oct. 17 to purchase marijuana online from the Ontario Cannabis Store.

When it comes to physical stores set up in communities, however, most municipalities are still on the fence.

Municipalities that say yes to physical cannabis stores can’t change their minds later and opt out. They’ll be in for good.

Municipalities that say no can change their minds later. But if they wait, they’ll miss out on extra funding to help pay for extra police and bylaw enforcement officers.

One problem of agreeing to the stores is that local officials don’t have any say in the location, as long as it’s suitable for a retail outlet.

The stores can’t be within 150 meters of a school. But other than that, the city or township has no ability to require, for example, that stores stay a certain distance away from one another.

The North American experience with alcohol can offer some lessons now. When alcohol was illegal, it was easy for children to buy it because once you got to the point of sale, there were very few rules. And also, the illegal booze could make you sick, because its manufacture wasn’t regulated.

Read the full article at The Record

These States Are Most Likely To Legalize Marijuana In 2019

With the results of last month’s midterm elections—which marijuana basically won—ten states have now legalized cannabis for adults, while 33 allow medical use. Those victories at the ballot box capped a year in which the fight to reform prohibitionist cannabis policies advanced significantly at the state, federal and international levels.

“2019 could be a banner year for legalization via state legislatures,” Mason Tvert, spokesman for the Marijuana Policy Project, said in an email. “Several states across multiple regions of the country are strongly considering ending prohibition and regulating marijuana for adult use. A growing number of state lawmakers and governors are either getting behind these efforts or coming to the realization that they cannot hold them up much longer. The steady growth of public support we’ve been seeing around the country will likely translate into some major state-level victories for marijuana policy reform.”

Here are the states that are most likely to legalize marijuana next year in alphabetical order:

  • Connecticut
  • Illinois
  • Minnesota
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • Rhode Island
  • Vermont

Read the full article at Forbes