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Drug policy experts often say that the health risks of marijuana use are relatively minor compared to the steep costs of marijuana enforcement: expensive policing, disrupted lives, violence, and even death.

Law enforcement agencies, however, have often been at the forefront of opposition to marijuana legalization. One reason is that the drug, with its pungent, long-lasting aroma, is relatively easy to detect in the course of a traffic stop or other routine interaction. It’s an ideal pretext for initiating a search that otherwise wouldn’t be justified — even if that search only turns up evidence of marijuana use and nothing more.

New information on traffic stops in Colorado and Washington underscore this point: After the states legalized pot, traffic searches declined sharply across the board. That’s according to the Open Policing Project at Stanford University, which has been analyzing public data of over 100 million traffic stops and searches since 2015.

“After marijuana use was legalized, Colorado and Washington saw dramatic drops in search rates,” the study’s authors explain. “That’s because many searches are drug-related. Take away marijuana as a crime and searches go down.”

In Colorado and Washington, traffic searches of black, Hispanic and white drivers fell significantly after legalization, according to the Open Policing Project’s analysis. That pattern didn’t hold for states where marijuana use remained illegal.

The Project’s data encompasses traffic searches initiated for any reason but excludes searches following an arrest. This makes the data a good barometer of searches initiated at an officer’s discretion. The numbers changed dramatically after legalization, as we see in the above chart, suggesting, as the researches do, that suspected marijuana use is often a factor in these searches.

legalization didn’t eliminate racial disparities in the searches. Black and Hispanic motorists are still searched at considerably higher rates than white motorists. But following legalization, they are searched less often than they were before.

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Health officials in the state of Florida have issued new rules to be implemented within the state’s constitutional medical marijuana amendment.

The regulations that were shown to the public on Friday by the Department of Health use the same framework as a bill passed on June ninth by the State Legislature during a special session. Last month, the department showed an outline to the public where it would give a fifteen days notice before they decided to put into play any new rules with the public having three days to submit feedback.

Several conditions have stayed covered under the new laws including but not limited to; epilepsy, chronic muscle spasms, cancer and terminal conditions. New conditions that are covered include; HIV/AIDS, glaucoma, post-traumatic stress disorder, ALC, Crohn’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis and similar conditions.

The new law stipulates that patients and caregivers must be 21 years of age and older. In order for a minor to be certified, a caregiver must be certified as well. Both must also hold an identification card for legal purposes. Advocates for medical marijuana would also like the caregiver to not be subject to penalties if they have to administer marijuana in the case of an emergency.

The smoking of medical marijuana has remained prohibited despite the public demand for it. The driving force behind the amendment, a man named John Morgan, is working on changing the law from people not being able to smoke their medical marijuana in public.

Besides the vaporizing of the product, it can be sold as edibles, oils, sprays, or tinctures. Many rules apply to the vaping cartridges so that they cannot be wrongfully accessed by children. The flower must be given out in tamper-proof containers.

Advocates are also joyous that the requirement has changed that a patient must be in the care of a certified doctor for ninety days. Now, that is not the case. The certification for doctors has also been reduced from eight hours to two hours, making doctors more apt to attain their certification.

Seasonal residents of Florida are also now welcome to consume the plant. Those who reside a minimum of thirty-one days straight each year and maintain temporary residence are eligible to receive medical marijuana.

The new bill also states that there will not be sales tax on medical marijuana products as it would be unfair given that Florida does not tax other medications.

All of these new laws will ensure that Florida’s marijuana laws become more fair, and make it easier for patients to get the help they need.

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Because recreational marijuana has the possibility of popping up soon, the Reno Police Dept. is reminding possible consumers and current residents of the rules when sales begin.

Marijuana, much like alcohol cannot be smoked in any public place including but not limited to; parks, sporting events, casinos, hotels, concerts, festivals and special events. If one chooses to do so anyway, they will be fined $600 for their first offense.

The only place where it is legal to consume marijuana is at a private residence or in the comfort of your own home.

The only people eligible to purchase recreational marijuana are those who are over twenty-one years of age. If a person is eligible, they are only allowed to possess one ounce of marijuana or one-eighth of an ounce of concentrated cannabis.

It is technically legal for homeowners to grow up to six plants per person however the law stipulates that you cannot grow marijuana if you live within twenty-give miles of a dispensary. This makes growing in Reno or Sparks essentially off-limits.

You can legally keep cannabis within your vehicle, but the laws of driving-under-the-influence (DUI) still apply. Law enforcement can pull you over and administer classic field sobriety tests and ask if the suspected DUI-er consents to a blood test.

The Reno Police Department is still working out all of the details with legalizing the plant including the laws of being under the influence in public and more. Deputy Chief Tom Robinson said “That’s a tricky question. I don’t see the Reno Police Department aggressively enforcing people being under the influence. I do see it being reserved for those extreme cases where someone is aggressive o extremely uncooperative.”

Another gray area is if a person carrying a legal amount of marijuana is arrested for an unrelated crime, can the officers take the legal marijuana into their possession?

“Because it’s federally illegal, we’re concerned that we’re violating federal law if we give the individual back their marijuana, so those are issues that are still hanging in the balance.” Robinson stated.

From now on we will see the path that recreational legalization takes on Reno. It is a complicated area of legislation but the police and lawmakers of Reno are working hard to figure out the details.

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Up until its legalization, marijuana has been a black-market business relying solely on cash. As the business moves out of the shadows and gets it rightful government oversight, new regulators have been hired to make sure laws are being followed. All of these regulators have no experience given the nature of the industry being brand new.

The result of this can sometimes be a perfect mixture for government corruption.

Many recent cases noted in Colorado and Washington have dealt with the issue of current or former marijuana regulators and their accusal of improper dealings within the industry of legal cannabis. This is shocking given that the two recreational marijuana states have the oldest recreational programs in the country, having weed legalized in defiance of federal law since 2012.

A few cases several years into marijuana’s legalization may not seem like a big deal to many, but all it takes is a few to make a large dent in the confidence behind a medical marijuana industry. This can also bring back the feeling that the industry is criminal and fuel many fears behind its illegitimacy.

One of the cases states that former Colorado marijuana enforcement officer Renee Rayton, is accused of helping pot growers grow plants for use in out-of-state sales.

After being accused, state investigators say that the former inspector quit her job and immediately went to work for the illegal pot ring, yielding an eight thousand dollar per month job.

In Washington, the state agency behind regulating marijuana recently fired an employee who controlled the leasing of land to a prospective pot grower.

The man behind the accusal is named Grant Bulski. Bulski was charged with leasing twenty-five acres of land to a marijuana entrepreneur for close to three-thousand dollars per month. The law forbidding this states that pot regulators cannot have a financial state in the businesses, however Bulski was not charged with any crime.

These may be just a few cases concerning the affects of the recreational marijuana, but all it takes is a few to take the public into believing the market is illegitimate. However, do some research and quickly find that the market has a history of legitimacy and medicinal benefit to all who use.

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Although many people associate the legal cannabis industry with the growing and selling of marijuana, the industry has evolved into much more than that.

Canada has proven itself to be a profitable new frontier for cannabis investors and we think this is just the first inning of a multi-decade growth cycle. While licensed producers have been at the forefront of this movements, new opportunities have emerged within the Canadian cannabis market and we want to highlight two undervalued opportunities

Reliq Management Converts Debenture at a Premium

One of the most important metrics to look at when it comes to cannabis stocks is insider activity. When insiders are buying stock in their own company, it is a positive and helps reaffirm the long-term value proposition of the company. When insiders are selling, it is typically not a good sign.

Reliq Health Technologies (RHT.V) (RQHTF) is a stock we have been favorable on as the company continues to execute on its previously announced initiatives and work towards creating value for its shareholders.

Earlier this week, Reliq CFO Amandeep Thindal converted his $100,000 debenture into equity at $0.13 cents, a premium to yesterday’s closing price. This is a bullish sign for Reliq and we see value in the shares at current levels. The company significantly strengthened its balance sheet and closed an oversubscribed financing round. The company raise $763,000 after initially planning to raise only $500,000.

Over the last quarter, Reliq has significantly advanced and improved its fundamental story as it created new strategic partnerships, commenced new pilot programs, and started to generate recurring revenue.

Reliq is focused on securing new contracts with home care agencies, assisted living facilities and hospitals in North America. The company expects to achieve profitability by the end of 2017. We are favorable on Reliq due to its ability to disrupt a multi-billion-dollar market, its management team, its pilot programs, and its valuation.

Lexaria Strengthens its Patent Portfolio

Today, Lexaria Bioscience Corp. (LXRP) (LXX.CN) filed a new provisional patent application with the US Patent and Trademark Office. The new patent application expands Lexaria’s lipophilic food and beverage composition claims to include microwave (dielectric energy) processing as well as heating/dehydration in a vacuum environment.

The patent application covers processing of cannabinoids, vitamins, NSAIDs and nicotine. Lexaria believes that its patent portfolio is the broadest of any comparable company in North America. Lexaria has 19 patent applications filed and pending in more than 40 countries worldwide.

This development is significant and follows the company’s successful application in October 2016 when Lexaria was issued United States Patent pertaining to its method of improving bioavailability and taste of certain cannabinoid lipophilic active agents in food products.

Lexaria’s technology makes cannabis edibles taste better and makes the active ingredients enter the bloodstream more quickly and much more effectively. The patent protects Lexaria’s intellectual property related to the primary focus of its business, the infusion of cannabinoid compounds in edible products.

Authored By: Jason Spatafora

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Canopy Growth (WEED.TO) (TWMJF) has rallied 25% off its June lows and the shares have been trending higher ahead of the company’s fourth quarter and full-year earnings report.

Before the market opens on June 27th, Canopy will release its fourth quarter financial and operating results and we expect to see the company report strong numbers for the period.

Last week, Canopy Growth provided shareholders with a corporate update and the market responded very favorably to this update.

A Global Expansion Story

From Germany to Australia, this Canadian licensed medical marijuana producer continues to increase market share across the globe and we expect this to trend continue as management continues to execute.

Canopy announced that it is renaming its German subsidiary to Spektrum Cannabis Germany GmbH and confirmed ongoing sales of Tweed-branded products in Germany with sales growth accelerating rapidly on a month-over-month basis. Spektrum Cannabis Germany GmbH has now distributed cannabis products to over 480 pharmacies across Germany, up from 200 pharmacies in April 2017.

The company also established a new subsidiary for its entrance into Chile’s market, Spectrum Chile SpA. Canopy will enter this market with the creation of a new product, Spectrum Chile. This product will complement Canopy’s expansion into South America and Canopy Growth plans to position itself as a leader in the Chilean market.

Through a strategic partnership with a domestic Chilean medical cannabis company, Spectrum Chile will work to ensure Chilean patients have access to high-quality cannabis products.

A Company of Firsts

Canopy Growth has been a leader in the global cannabis market and the company has benefited from having a first mover advantage.

In April 2014, Canopy Growth became the first cannabis company in North America to be publicly traded. The company followed was also the first to diversify its platform to include both greenhouse and indoor growing, to acquire a major competitor and to be listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange, and the only cannabis company to be a member of a major global stock market index (S&P/TSX Composite index).

Canopy was the first Canadian producer to be approved to export dried cannabis to Germany through its Tweed subsidiary, and its wholly-owned German subsidiary continues to offer several varieties for sale through German pharmacies.

Canopy recorded another milestone this month by becoming the first company to start selling softgel capsules in Canada. This product offers consumers a new way to consume cannabis and they are being produced at Canopy’s Smiths Falls campus. Canopy will offer this product through the Tweed Main Street store, which serves over 58,000 customers.

A Favorable Outlook

We are favorable on Canopy Growth Corp due to the following reasons: 1) It is the largest and best capitalized medical cannabis producer, 2) The company continues to execute on its initiatives and work toward creating value for its shareholders, 3) Management has a proven track record of success, 4) The company continues to report earnings that show improving fundamentals, and 5) Its balance sheet is flush with cash and leaves the company flexible and able to expand through both organic and inorganic growth initiatives.

 

Authored By: Jason Spatafora

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Marijuana Stocks Cannabis Stocks

A legal cannabis movement is sweeping the United States and currently, 29 states and the District of Columbia have legalized medical marijuana and eight states have legalized recreational marijuana.

Although recent studies have shown that cannabis has medical benefits, the DEA and FDA still have it classified as a Schedule I substance. The Schedule I category is reserved for substances that have the highest potential for abuse, that have no accepted medical use and even under medical supervision cannot be used safely.

Although researchers are beginning to learn about the medical benefits associated with cannabis, they have not even scratched the surface. The cannabis industry is the fastest growing industry in the world. After spending several years researching cannabis and developing products, companies are just beginning to realize the fruits of their efforts.

Biotech Beneficiaries

The biotech sector will be one of the greatest beneficiaries of the legal cannabis movement and we expect this market to see incremental growth over the next decade.

Cannabis continues to improve daily life for millions of people all over the globe and this multi-billion-dollar opportunity is still in its infancy. The biotech sector of the cannabis industry is comprised of some of the best capitalized and most mature public companies and we have identified five companies for investors to monitor.

IGC: A Stock to Watch After Coming Off its Highs

India Globalization Capital (IGC) is one of the few cannabis-focused companies that trade on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) and earlier this month, the company entered a definitive license agreement with the University of South Florida (USF). Under the agreement, IGC is the exclusive licensee of the U.S. patent filing entitled, THC as a Potential Therapeutic Agent for Alzheimer’s Disease.

This is an important development and milestone for the company as it works toward the development of a potential cannabis-based blockbuster treatment for America’s most expensive disease, Alzheimer’s disease.

IGC received a muted reaction from the market and we see upside to current levels after this milestone. We are favorable on IGC’s recent updates as it has pivoted fully into the biotech cannabis sector and continue to monitor developments around the company’s cannabinoid-based therapies.

Insys Receives a Positive Response to Management Additions

Insys Therapeutics (INSY) continues to trade higher after the company announced the addition of four pharmaceutical industry veterans to its management team. These additions help remove some of the market’s concerns pertaining to the strength of its management team and we see further upside from current levels.

we view Insys as an acquisition candidate and expect to see the company acquired this year. In July 2016, INSY announced that the FDA approved Syndros, an orally administered liquid formulation of the pharmaceutical cannabinoid Dronabinol, a pharmaceutical version of THC. At the time of this announcement, INSY said that Syndros is awaiting scheduling by the DEA.

GW Pharma: An Industry Leader

GW Pharmaceuticals (GWPH) has come off its recent lows and the shares are trading near $105 after falling below $93 earlier this month. GW is an industry leader and the company has several catalysts occurring in the second half of this year.

GW is changing the landscape of the biotech industry and the company already sells a cannabis-derived treatment for multiple sclerosis is 27 countries. GW is a company that investors need to watch as it continues to execute on its pipeline and create value for shareholders.

Nemus Advances its THC Pro-Drug

Today, Nemus Bioscience (NMUS) announced that tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) derived from NB1111, a proprietary pro-drug of THC, achieved significant tissue concentrations in multiple compartments of the eye that are correlated with the lowering of IOP in a normotensive ocular animal model.

The abstract, Intraocular pressure lowering efficacy of NB1111 in a normotensive rabbit model expands on previously reported data by showing that the product safely penetrated multiple ocular chambers and concentrated in key tissues that help regulate intraocular pressure.

Nemus and the University of Mississippi have also collaborated on developing an analogue of CBD into an eye drop formulation called NB2222. The company plans to submit an abstract to an upcoming scientific meeting to present data on the NB2222 program.

We are favorable on this development and view Nemus’ relationship with the University of Mississippi to be a unique and differentiating factor. The shares are trading at $0.28 and this is a company investors should watch.

Cara Surges 10% on Positive Data

Cara Therapeutics (CARA) rallied more than 10% yesterday after the company announced the completion of a pre-specified interim conditional power analysis of its adaptive Phase 3 trial of I.V. CR845. The trial will continue to test two doses of CR845 against a placebo in up to 450 patients undergoing abdominal surgery. The Independent Data Monitoring Committee (IDMC) reviewed available safety information and confirmed that both doses of CR845 were well tolerated with no significant changes in the monitored safety parameters.

The primary efficacy measure is the Change in Pain Intensity over the 24-hour postoperative period using the patient-reported Numeric Rating Scale score collected at pre-specified time points through 24 hours. Postoperative nausea and vomiting will be evaluated as a secondary efficacy measure.

Although CARA has not advanced any of its cannabis initiatives, we continue to monitor the shares closely. Although we do not consider CARA to be a cannabis biotech stock, we continue to monitor the shares due to the potential it has to enter the sector.

Authored By: Jason Spatafora

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Although it may seem at first glance that there is little to no science behind the testing and determining of strength of various cannabis products, there is a lot that goes into those that the bud-tender tells you. Growers, labs, dispensaries and even individual patients have the option to send their pot-related products to many different testing labs where they can test everything from potency to the presence of pesticides as well as the various terpene levels

However, this process has remained slightly arbitrary throughout time. Still in place today, California has yet to regulate or monitor any of the testing procedures, and although there are some procedures that remain standard, it all depends on the lab.

This is where the state’s Bureau of Medical Cannabis Regulation comes in. They hope to reign upon the industry and propose different models as a set of regulations upon the testing industry. This was announced last month.

According to the statement released, the labs will need to be certified by the International Organization for Standardization. The rules will also apply to technician training, storage techniques and what factors will need to be tested. All of these will also need to be tested twice.

Dr. Robert W. Martin, co-founder and CEO of Oakland’s CW Analytical lab stated that he applauds the state’s efforts, but finds them to be expensive and unnecessary. His opinion is that the state lacks the proper barriers for monitoring quality of the product.

Martin stated “Many levels of detection recommended by the state are at such low levels that many analytical processes will have difficulty providing accurate results…Overall, the regulations, as proposed, will chase many lab operators out of the business as well as growers back to black market pursuits.”

These rules have yet to be fully finalized, and the state is still waiting for public input before they make a hard decision. The opportunity for the public to comment ends June 20th.

Dr. Robert W. Martin is hopeful that organizations across the board will have their opinions reflected on the new rules and the changes that the government wishes to put in place.

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Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto confirmed that Mexico has decided to legalize the use of Medical Marijuana after unanimous support from Mexico’s House of Congress.

After many months of speculation for what was once vehemently opposed by President Nieto, the policy has been put into re-examination after a nationwide public debate on the subject. Nieto told the 2016 National General Assembly Special Sessions that “We must move beyond prohibition to effective prevention.”

Pena Nieto even went as far as to introduce a law that would allow the citizens of Mexico to be in possession of up to an ounce of marijuana without repercussions. However, the bill stalled and did not pass in Congress.

The medical marijuana bill passed through congress with ease late in 2016 and Mexico’s lower house passed the bill almost unanimously earlier in the year with a vote of 347-7. Mexico’s Secretary of Health voiced his approval of the bill stating “I welcome the approval of therapeutic use of cannabis in Mexico.” This is a policy we are not used to seeing in a developed country.

The decree given out by the President specifies that the Ministry of Health will be given the task of drafting as well as implementing the various policies associated with the new bill. Pena Nieto’s bill will effectively decriminalize the medical use of cannabis, THC, CBD, and all of the various cannabis derivative that help to ease the suffering in numerous conditions.

Although the current stipulations only permit the amount of tetrahydrocannabinol to not exceed one percent, the Ministry of Health will be required to research the medicinal benefits of the plant in order to change the stipulations. Mexico has changed from their past policy of strict drug enforcement given the current state of criminal drug activity to a newer more lax policy as they realize the medicinal benefits.

The road to legalizing marijuana for medicinal use may be hard, but Mexico has surpassed the first major hurdle.

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Despite this interesting headline, North Korea has a much stricter policy than its Southern family, however you could be forgiven for believing so due to a group of recent headlines.

Although the news has not become popular in the U.S., the big news in South Korea is a marijuana scandal surround the singer T.O.P. who hails from a popular K-pop band named Big Bang. T.O.P. could face five years in jail after a hair follicle test by the Seoul Metropolitan Police came back positive for marijuana. The singer was forced to take the test after a young woman claimed him as a supplier for “liquid marijuana” following her arrest.

The conflict could see the end of Big Bang whose extremely large fan base makes them one of the largest boy-bands in South Korea currently. T.O.P. was found unconscious in his home from an apparent overdose of tranquilizers leading the public to believe the old myth of marijuana being a gateway drug.

A popular news outlet titled Korea Exposé notes that the hemp plant has in fact been grown on the Korean Peninsula for thousands of years where it has been mostly used to manufacture rope and traditional fabrics. The plant wasn’t outlawed in South Korea until the Narcotics Act in 1957 under pressure from Washington.

The law only mentioned “Indian Marijuana” technically leaving the locally grown product legal. Not until the 1960s did smoking the plant become popular with Korea’s youth.

Its rising popularity prompted a crackdown by then dictator Park Chung-hee, South Korea’s longest ruling military strongman. Chung-hee forced curfews and regulations upon hairstyles as well as clothing aimed at destroying the rising counterculture. The technicality in the law soon became irrelevant as conservative values became more and more emphasized.

Although marijuana users in North Korea would be sent straight to death if they could even find the plant, South Korea’s drug-policy remains extremely tense.

Maybe one day, the people of North Korea and South Korea will be able to pass a blunt across the DMZ, but for now the plant remains strictly illegal on both sides.

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