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Vinergy Resources/MJ Biopharma Appoint Scientific Advisory Board Chair to Pursue Clinical Testing of Cannabinoids for Therapeutics

 Vinergy Resources Ltd. (“Vinergy” or the “Company”) (CSE:VIN)(CSE:VIN.CN) in conjunction with its proposed acquisition of MJ Biopharma (announced December 14, 2016) is pleased to announce that it has appointed Dr. William Panenka, MD as Chair of the Company’s Scientific Advisory Board (SAB). Bringing on the right human capital through strategic hires is an important part of the Company’s strategy to develop, test and identify specific cannabinoid isolates for targeted therapeutic purposes.

Dr. Panenka received his M.D. and M.Sc. from the University of Calgary in Canada. His M.Sc. was basic science-focused utilizing Western Blotting, PCR, in-situ hybridization and other wet lab techniques to study the immune system. He completed residencies in both psychiatry and neurology at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. Dr. Panenka is one of only two specialists in Western Canada with a unique dual certification from the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada in both the specialties of neurology and psychiatry.

In 2011 Dr. Panenka began a research fellowship focusing on the mental and physical health, as well as the brain imaging correlates of drug use, addictions, and traumatic brain injuries. In 2012, he became a research fellow at Harvard University and was competitively recruited to the University of British Columbia in 2013 as an assistant professor in psychiatry. His main focus is addiction and traumatic brain injury, with multiple basic science and clinical collaborations nationally and internationally.

For the past five years Dr. Panenka has been involved in a large project funded by a CIHR team grant to longitudinally follow over 400 vulnerably housed individuals, with a high burden of addictions and mental health issues, in Vancouver’s poorest neighborhood. They perform extensive cognitive phenotyping, neuropsychiatric assessments and multimodal MRI on participant, and follow them for 10 years. This study involves collaboration between multiple medical specialties, local health clinics, and community organizations. He is a Co-Investigator on an extension study that was just funded by CIHR and slated to run for the next five years.

He is also the BC Primary Site Investigator on a national multi-site study funded by Brain Canada titled “A National biobank and database for patients with traumatic brain injury”. The goal is to enroll TBI patients of all severities and longitudinally follow them for six months with cognitive assessments and MRI, and pool this data into a national database. He is part of a multidisciplinary team within the division of neuropsychiatry at UBC that includes of neurologists, psychiatrists, physiotherapists, occupational therapists and others that contribute. Within this role he is developing a research-enabled Neuropsychiatry concussion clinic at the University of British Columbia. I am the medical lead of this clinic and the physician consultant to the Fraser Health Concussion Clinic, the largest Concussion Clinic in the province.

Dr. Panenka brings invaluable experience, expertise and insight and we look forward to developing numerous projects that he can participate in. Dr. Panenka will be granted 150,000 options exercisable at $0.55, subject to approval by the CSE.

This news release does not constitute an offer to sell or a solicitation of an offer to buy any of the securities in the United States. The securities have not been and will not be registered under the United States Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “U.S. Securities Act”), or any state securities laws and may not be offered or sold within the United States or to U.S. Persons unless registered under the U.S. Securities Act and applicable state securities laws or an exemption from such registration is available.

The CSE does not accept responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.

Vinergy Resources Ltd.

Randy Clifford

Cautionary Statement Regarding “Forward-Looking” Information

The forward-looking information contained in this press release is made as of the date of this press release and, except as required by applicable law, the Company does not undertake any obligation to update publicly or to revise any of the included forward-looking information, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as may be required by law. By its very nature, such forward-looking information requires the Company to make assumptions that may not materialize or that may not be accurate. This forward-looking information is subject to known and unknown risks and uncertainties and other factors, which may cause actual results, levels of activity and achievements to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such information.

CONTACT INFORMATION

  • Vinergy Resources Ltd.
    Randy Clifford
    780-466-6006
    drcliff@telusplanet.net

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The DEA has been taken to court by the cannabis industry after a contentious new statute on the extracts of the plant. Denver’s Hoban Law Group (who is representing the Hemp Industries Association, Centuria Natural Foods and RMH Holdings LLC), filed a judicial review action on Friday against the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, pleading the agency overstepped its boundaries when enacting a rule establishing coding for cannabis derivatives such as cannabidiol (CBD) oil. Hoban lawyers allege that the action puts a thriving hemp and marijuana industry at risk and a wide variety of cannabis-based products currently on the market. Bob Hoban said, “We’re talking about jobs and the economy and agricultural (revival).”

Last month the DEA angered many advocates in the marijuana industry with the filing of a final statute notice establishing a Controlled Substances Code Number for “marijuana extract,” and subsequently maintaining cannabis, hemp, and their derivatives as Schedule I substances. DEA agents said the code number would help in the tracking of materials for research and would aid in complying with treaty provisions. However, compliance attorney Hoban expressed worry at the time that the language could result in federal agencies viewing products produced from cannabis as against the law.

Hoban’s petition pursues an analysis of the final rule on the basis that the action was not consistent with the law, including the U.S. Controlled Substances Act and the Agricultural Act of 2014, or the Farm Bill, and effectively amounts to a scheduling action. Hoban said a scheduling action would need congressional approval. According to the lawsuit, “Additionally, the final rule creates this new drug code, indicative of being a controlled substance, for substances which are in fact not controlled pursuant to the (Controlled Substances Act),” Hoban attorneys wrote in the lawsuit. “Specifically, the final rule dictates that the mere presence of ‘cannabinoids,’ which are not controlled substances, is the determinative factor of whether a compound is a ‘marijuana extract. Further, the final rule over broadly defines ‘marihuana extract,’ without reflecting that certain portions and varieties of the genus Cannabis sativa L. are congressionally exempted from the CSA and/or are exempted from being treated as controlled substances altogether pursuant to the relevant laws, as enacted by Congress.”

Hoban said his firm plans to file a petition next week with the DEA, requesting the administration to revoke the definition. Hoban stated, “(The new rule) certainly has caused quite a chill in the marketplace over the last three or four weeks. The number of calls we get on a daily basis, you couldn’t even quantify. That is indicative to me of an environment where people are scared, they’re nervous.” Hoban said he does not expect a spike in enforcement. However, he encouraged producers to maintain strict processes and to conduct an audit of their businesses to make sure that they are in compliance with federal and state regulations. Russ Baer, DEA spokesman, stated he could not comment on a petition that he hasn’t seen yet.

Baer addressed the agency’s positions on CBDs marijuana extracts in an email earlier friday: CBD oil and other extracts derived from marijuana will continue to be Schedule I controlled substances, unless and until they are determined to have a current accepted medical use. We need conclusive scientific evidence to make these determinations and the lack of evidence regarding the efficacy of cannabis is impressive. To handle any controlled substance, an entity or individual must be a DEA registrant to be authorized to conduct research with the particular controlled substance.

Under U.S. law (the CSA), the definition of cannabis includes all parts of the marijuana plant that are the source of cannabinoids. The CSA definition of marijuana also includes “every compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation” of such parts of the cannabis plant – and CBD produced from the cannabis plant clearly falls within this category. Thus, CBD, being a derivative of marijuana, is marijuana under U.S. law. Accordingly, because cannabis is a schedule I controlled substance under the CSA (as set forth in 21 U.S.C. § 812(c), Schedule I(c)(10)), CBD is a schedule I controlled substance under the CSA.

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From the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), U.S. government agencies continue to change its stance pertaining to medical cannabis.

Last year, the NCI updated its website to include various studies that reveal how cannabis may inhibit tumor growth by killing cells. The NIDA revised their April 2015 publication to say that marijuana can kill certain cancer cells and reduce the size of others.

Countries across the globe continue to legalize cannabis and it is only a matter of time until the U.S. gets on the bandwagon. Although the market continues to keep its eyes on the U.S. cannabis industry, its neighbors to the north continue to be the global cannabis leader.

Biotech Bets

The biotech sector will be one of the greatest beneficiaries of legal cannabis and companies focused on this opportunity have outperformed the market over the last quarter.

We highlighted Vinergy Resources (VIN.CN) as a stock to watch after its acquisition of MJ Biopharma in mid-December and the market responded very favorably to this all-stock purchase.  At the time of this announcement, Vinergy also announced a non-brokered private placement offering of up to 10,000,000 units at $0.20 per unit.

MJ Biopharma is a private cannabis technology company based out of British Columbia that is currently focused on manufacturing breath strips, time release capsules, extract oils, food products such as infused juices, teas, coffee and extract drinks, as well as the development of pharmaceutical grade delivery systems. The company is also focused on licensing and partnering on the development of technologies and products for the medical and recreational cannabis market in Canada and abroad.

Vinergy’s market sentiment has improved significantly following the acquisition and investors were able to acquire stock at a more than 50% discount to the current price through the private placement. The offering generated incredible interest and is very oversubscribed. Investors should keep an eye on Vinergy as we expect to see the company build off of this momentum.

An Agreement Based on Success

One of the reasons why we were favorable on the aquisiton of MJ BioPharma was due to the milestone-based compensation strucutre. Vinergy issued 5 million shares to MJ BioPharma shareholders and can issue up 3.75 million more shares based on the completion of certain milestones.

  • The company will issue an additional 2.75 million shares upon the commercialization of MJ BioPharma’s strip technology.
  • One million shares will be issued when each of two alternative selected extractions/products are ready for commercialization.

Banking on Biotech

Although we continue to expect the biotech sector to benefit the legal cannabis movement, we are watching how these companies are impacted by a new White House administration.

The biotech sub-sector of the cannabis industry is comprised of some of the most mature cannabis businesses. We continue to view these companies as some of the most attractive cannabis investments and want to discuss our view of these companies at their current levels.

GW Pharmaceuticals (GWPH) has rallied off its recent lows and we remain bullish on the company due to its deep pipeline of pharmaceutical products that are in advanced stages of FDA testing. The company has a number of catalysts in the back half of 2017 and we see significant upside to current levels.

Zynerba Pharmaceuticals (ZYNE) continues to remain one of our top picks in the cannabis sector as we see significant upside to current levels. The average Wall Street price target on ZYNE is north of $30 and we view the company as an acquisition candidate for any biotech company interested in the cannabis industry.

Insys Therapeutics (INSY) has also rallied off its recent lows and the shares fell more than 60% during 2016. We believe that all of the legal concerns are priced into INSY and see significant upside to current levels. Like Zynerba, we view Insys as an acquisition candidate and view the company as a long-term investment opportunity.

 

Join Technical420 and Capitalize on the Rapidly Growing Cannabis Industry…

 

Important Investor Disclosures 

Disclosure.  Compensated Affiliate.  This report was authored by and is property of StoneBridge Partners LLC.  All information and data relied upon in drafting this report is publicly available.  The author believes and considers its sources to be reliable, but does not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of any information contained in this report.  Any and all information, data, analyses and opinions are provided for informational purposes only and is not intended, in any manner, as investment advice.  Any projections or other information generated by StoneBridge Partners LLC regarding the likelihood of various investment outcomes are hypothetical in nature, do not reflect actual investment results, and are not guarantees of future results.  None of the material contained in this report is intended as a solution or offer to sell or purchase a specific stock or any other investment.  This report is not directed to, or intended for distribution or use by, any person or entity that is a citizen, resident or located in any municipality, state, country or other jurisdiction where the distribution, publication, availability, or use of this report is contrary to any governing law or regulation.  The securities discussed in this report may not be eligible for purchase and/or sale in certain jurisdictions or by particular individuals.  It is important that you check any and all governing laws and/or regulations that may be applicable in your jurisdiction.  Investing in securities of issuers organized outside of the United States, including ADRs, entail certain risks.  The securities of non-United States issuers may not be registered with, nor be subject to the reporting requirements of the United States Securities and Exchange Commission.  Please contact a Financial Advisor for professional advice regarding any and all securities investments.  This report is intended for informational purposes only.  StoneBridge Partners LLC’s officers, directors, employees, affiliates, or subsidiaries may have positions in securities covered by StoneBridge Partners LLC.  StoneBridge Partners LLC receives compensation from the company and/or has a position in the securities mentioned in this report

 

Authored by: Micheal Berger

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VIA CDNMJStocks.com Twitter @CDN_mj

It’s no secret the industry has come under some pressure lately with frequent product recalls. Growing to Health Canada standards, as we’ve mentioned many times before, is not easy by any means. The 7 limited pesticides LP’s are allowed to use while growing cannabis are essentially soap based products, so you’re able to give the plants a quick bath and whatever mold, powdery mildew or pests you were trying to get rid of, are back within a few days.
We wanted to learn more about this ourselves and truly understand the depth of the problem and how much it impacts the consumers, shareholders and the future expansion plans of the LP’s. Is this actually a real problem? Is this truly a cause of concern for consumers? Should we be worried? Well, we hope this article sheds some light on these issues for all.
First of all, we wanted to bring the attention to the dispensaries and mention how there is zero testing here, you can use any chemicals or pesticides you’d like. So the second we get a legalized system for recreational marijuana in Canada, this is going to change drastically.
Secondly, having product recalled is a good thing, the system is working. After years of Health Canada working towards a system where both medical marijuana and cannabis oil are available and safe for consumption, they have figured out a viable system, implemented it, and now proving that it actually works with recalls.
Third, companies like Organigram have been completely transparent with both the consumers and investment community about the issues. Which is also a check. The goal here isn’t to jam contaminated products through the system. It’s to protect consumers and make sure patients are always safe. In our view these systems are put in place and are now proving to work, and secondly we value the transparency of the LP’s with all issues.
Fourth, we haven’t spoken to Mettrum, but chatting with Organigram, they’re committed to providing health care with high standards, hence the recall. Nothing has changed with the long term vision of the company. You can’t sell the product that’s anything less. LP’s will likely start moving towards the standards that CanniMed adopted many years ago with “GMP” rooms (Good Manufacturing Practices) which are already standard in the pharmaceutical industry.
Now that we know the system is safe, and LP’s are honest with their shareholders and patients, let’s move into the actual pesticide’s and insecticides used and determine how and why they end up in the product.
First of all, this is an agricultural environment, if one thing is for certain there will be pests, there will be insects, contaminants, mildew, and the rest of issues that have been dealt with for centuries with all agricultural undertakings.
The two main ones found are:
1) Pyrethrin – A highly effective organic insecticide, this “chemical” is completely natural and actually comes from a plant. Its effect is instant paralysis of an insect. Pyrethrin breaks down rapidly so it does not exist in the environment very long. Organic gardeners have been using this for years to get rid of insects, pests, ants, mosquitoes, moths, flies, fleas etc., it’s effectively a harmless insecticide used in organic grows and marijuana growers for ages; but, unfortunately not approved by Health due to toxicity issues. Most problems in humans stem from the allergenic properties of Pyrethrum.

2) Eagle 20 – A Myclobutanil-based fungicide – a highly effective fungicide used to combat powdery mildew and mold in a wide range of edible agricultural products including grapes, apples, spinach, marijuana etc. Typically used very early in a marijuana plants lifecycle (read: applied correctly) it is attractive because it prevents mildew throughout the whole lifecycle of the plant. It’s completely removed by consumption making it safe for consumers. The problem comes when Myclobutanil is combusted after it’s been applied later in a crops lifecycle, and not removed before consumption because it releases toxic gases. It’s stable at room temperature, but once heated past its boiling point of 205°C it becomes unstable. (For reference the average vaping temperature is 175°C). However, “The human health effects from the combustion and inhalation of myclobutanil have not been evaluated” as quoted by The Colorado Green Lab article here.
Another one that no LP’s have actually been reported to use, but is common in underground grows is:
1) Avid Miticide – With a main ingredient of Avermectin, Avid Miticide is a highly effective insecticide used to combat mites, whiteflies, aphids and thrips. Again, it runs into problems when applied late in the plants life cycle and combusted, but helps immensely in controlling mites for the duration of the plants lifecycle.
It wouldn’t be fair to talk only about non-approved pesticides, without mentioning the most commonly used approved one:
1) MilStop – MilStop is a contact fungicide that is designed to control and suppress powdery mildew on vegetables and marijuana plants. It’s effectively baking soda and acts as a bath for the plants. MilStop has to be reapplied every few days to be effective, unfortunately it turns the hairs on the cannabis plant dark red after its sprayed, and doesn’t look the best to consumers. A normal more naturally grown plant would stay whitish until harvest.
In talking to a few growers, it’s determined that most “street” marijuana contains much more dangerous versions than the above pesticides and insecticides. These chemicals have been used for years in street marijuana, decades before LP’s were around. Ironically, medicinal home growers and dispensaries can still use all these chemicals and more, with no restrictions. None of this is new or should be perceived as shocking.
If any companies use these products at the end of the day, the company can simply irradiate the product and clear it for sale. We’ve mentioned irradiating before which is perfectly safe. Most vegetables are irradiated, however it changes the look of the bud with a brownish tinge, and changes the flavor to enthusiasts, and removes any organic stamps.
We asked Jason Spatafora, better known as the Wolf of Weed Street (Twitter @Wolfofweedst) is thoughts to in order to ascertain an objective perspective. He stated “the reality is that we are observing what I would call an operational bump in the road. We saw a similar bump a few years ago with the Tweed operation and at the end of the day, management and the operators they employ adapted and evolved to the situation. Where some investors like myself see a bump, we also see an opportunity. Price pressure for LP’s usually comes from investors not understanding the news, financing or bumps in the road, but they also create opportunities to take advantage of misconceptions and lower price. I use tweed as an example because after their production hiccup the stock has rallied to multibagger status. This is cannabis people and money literally grows on trees, sometimes trees get sick, it doesn’t change the price per gram in the long run. These LP’s have massive investments and much longer time horizons than simple traders and yesterday’s news will be lining the floors of your grandma’s birdcage, come April & any legislative catalysts it won’t matter. Long term investment opportunity in LP’s remains consistent, and that’s why I believe the Canadian Market is the place to be heading into 2017, 2018, 2019 and beyond, as I believe there will be a major supply and demand issue on the horizon with a a recreational market.”

As a market in its infancy there will be mistakes, companies will learn from these mistakes and will ultimately be better because of it. Our concern is with so many reports of banned pesticides being used all across Canada and the states, have the regulators made it too difficult to actually grow without destroying crops? Are the rules so stringent that no one will be able to produce product without “GMP” compliant rooms? Time will tell, but it’s clear the system works from a Health Canada standpoint protecting the consumer, and we’re hopeful that as the industry grows there will be room for new pesticides and insecticides that are both approved for LP’s, and safe for the consumer.

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It is difficult to envision a recovery meeting without caffeine and nicotine. The constant companions of many individuals in recovery, including people escaping “harder” intoxicants, and as many recovering alcoholics can attest, switching from alcohol to sugar is almost inevitable.

Recovering addicts achieve sobriety when they abstain from “the recreational use of ‘mood-altering’ substances,” as writer Katie MacBridge recently observed in Rolling Stone. Purists may ask why it is alright for an addict to contaminate his brain with a steady flow of stimulants. However, there’s a larger problem at hand than denying someone a caffeine buzz.

Like the rest of society, alcoholics and addicts require drugs, too. As MacBridge points out, addicts with a real need for treatment for an underlying medical condition such as anxiety or chronic pain are left with a hard choice. Should they find a way to bear life while suffering the pain? Should they try to take something for it and gamble with slipping back into chemical dependency? The third option could be to use non-psychoactive cannabis.

Marijuana is not accepted by addiction researchers or 12-step program sponsors. They will point out that the point of using cannabis is to get high, which leads to poor decision-making and they may slip into old habits. There’s also the real fact that marijuana may may also be addictive. One of cannabis’ largest selling points is cannabidiol, or CBD, which is the chemical associated with treating epilepsy in children, without getting them high. Though the major review of marijuana’s stance in the medical industry released showed limited evidence for its adequacy in treating conditions like PTSD and anxiety. Individuals suffering with those disorders swear by CBD as a tonic. When faced with a choice between highly addictive medicines like Valium or Xanax, common sense indicates weed is the safer option.

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It may essentially help some people sleep and ease chronic pain, but it is also possible to heighten the danger of triggering a heart attack or develop schizophrenia. A Federal advisory panel came to those those conclusions about cannabis in a recent report.

The analysts also called for a national effort to learn more about cannabis and its chemical associates, including cannabinoids. The report, released by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, said the current lack of scientific data “poses a public health risk.” Health care professionals, patients, and policy makers require more evidence to draw clear conclusions.

Several factors have little research. While the federal government has approved some drugs containing cannabis ingredients, it still classifies pot as illegal and imposes restrictions on research. The report said a federal focus on paying for research of possible harms has also cut off studies into possible health benefits. The range of cannabis products available for study has also been restrained. However, the government is broadening the number of accepted suppliers.

Twenty-eight states and the District of Columbia have declared cannabis legal for a variety of medicinal uses. Eight of those states, plus the district, have also made marijuana legal for use recreationally. The report lists almost 100 results about cannabis and its correspondingly acting chemical associates. The study confirmed that cannabis can treat chronic pain in adults and that similar compounds can ease nausea and vomiting from chemotherapy, with varying degrees of evidence for treating stiffness in multiple sclerosis.

There is little evidence that says cannabis can boost appetite in people with HIV or AIDS, or ease symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, the report confirmed. However, it said there is not enough research to say whether they are effective for epilepsy, cancer therapy, certain symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, or irritable bowel syndrome.

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If the American people are concerned with Republican Senator Jeff Sessions’ approach to implementing federal cannabis laws, he says Congress should adjust them. Sessions, who President-elect Donald Trump has chosen to become U.S. attorney general, answered questions on cannabis among other issues during his confirmation hearing on Tuesday. Sessions did not offer a clear stance on what cannabis enforcement would look like under his justice department. Sessions stated, “I won’t commit to never enforcing federal law, but absolutely it’s a problem of resources for the federal government. Good judgement on how to handle these cases will be a responsibility of mine, which won’t be an easy decision, but I will try to do my duty in a fair and just way.”

Even though 28 states have made medical cannabis legal and eight states have passed recreational laws, the federal law still classifies marijuana as an illegal substance. The drug is classified as a Schedule I drug along with heroin. In the past, Sessions has made it clear he is against the legalization of marijuana. He said, “Good people don’t smoke marijuana.” However, in a Trump presidency, he would be asked to follow the Trump agenda and not his own. This gives the cannabis industry hope.

Almost 60% of Americans support the legalization of cannabis in the United States. The seven states that voted to legalize medical or recreational use are looking to take steps toward legalization. “It’s not so much the attorney general’s job to decide what laws to enforce. We should do our jobs and enforce laws effectively as we’re able. The U.S. Congress made the possession of marijuana in every state, and the distribution, an illegal act. If that’s something that’s not desired any longer, Congress should pass a law to change the rule,” Sessions said during his hearing.

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Rhode Island lawmakers are revisiting the notion to legalize marijuana. For the seventh year, lawmakers will introduce a bill that would allow adults to consume cannabis recreationally. However, advocates are optimistic that the proposal may finally get a vote this time, in part because of the wins marijuana had in the 2016 election.

Both Maine and Massachusetts declared adult-use marijuana legal on Election Day, joining the western states of Washington, Oregon, California, Alaska, and Nevada. The Marijuana Policy Project’s Mason Tvert said, “Now that Massachusetts has passed and made it clear the way things are headed. These guys are going to want to jump in.” Tvert said that his organization is hopeful to push legislation in Vermont and maybe other New England states in 2017.

State Representative Scott Slater and State Senator Joshua Miller, both Democrat, are making a proximity debate this time, saying that residents will cross the border to purchase legal marijuana in Massachusetts and that Rhode Island will “lose significant ground” in the process. Sales in Colorado exceeded $1 billion in 2016, yielding more than $150 million in tax revenue for the state. This gives supporters ammo for making the financial dispute, as well.

If Rhode Island were to make the move, it would be the ninth state to legalize consumption of marijuana for adults, as well as the first state to do so through the legislature instead of the ballot box. Both chambers of the legislatures are controlled by Democrats. Governor Gina Raimondo expressed openness to the idea last year. She said that she is “looking at whether Rhode Island should legalize recreational marijuana.” Medicinal cannabis has been legal in the Rhode Island since 2006. Americans’ support for legalizing recreational cannabis hit a high of 60% in October, with 67% of Democrats and 42% of Republicans voicing their approval, according to Gallup.

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The Farm, a pot shop in Boulder, Colorado is staffed with cannabis advocates, known as “bud-tenders.” The shop is booming, to the benefit of all Boulder’s residents. The city’s sales tax on recreational marijuana is almost 23% and high demand for warehouse space from cannabis farmers points to a boom. Colorado is expected to have collected almost $135 million from marijuana taxes last year. Following its example, recreational marijuana will be legal in seven states and Washington, DC. Another 24 states allow cannabis to be used for medicinal purposes.

Because marijuana is still illegal under federal law, any pot shop is, in effect, a US attorney-general’s impulse away from closure. Senator Jeff Sessions, whom Trump has nominated to be attorney-general, has a different view. He said, “We need grown-ups in Washington to say marijuana is not the kind of thing that ought to be legalized.” He also stated, “good people don’t smoke marijuana.” Trump has taken conflicting positions on the issue. When Trump was campaigning, he said whether marijuana should be legal was a matter for individual states to decide. But he also called Colorado’s cannabis regime “a real problem.” Vice-president-elect Mike Pence has presided over one of America’s toughest anti-cannabis administrations.

Marijuana advocates are worried. Andrew Freedman, Colorado’s director of marijuana a coordination said, “There’s very good reason to be concerned. This could become an enforcement priority.” A spokesman for The Farm, Adam Dickey, agreed. “It’s a little scary, we are very concerned, though we’re not in full-on panic mode yet,” Dickey stated. It’s difficult to envision Senator Sessions carrying out the clampdown he wants. Almost 60% of Americans say they are in favor of legalizing pot. That represents a swelling consensus in favor of legalization. There is no reason to expect that increasingly casual attitude to go into reverse. Legalizing marijuana looks largely successful.

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Pennsylvania growers are being encouraged to share in a newly developed pilot research program that will add toward a better knowledge of what could be a new cash crop in the state. Secretary of Agriculture Russell Redding stated, “Hemp has a long history here in Pennsylvania, and we believe it holds a promising future. If we want to realize this crop’s full potential, though, we need the benefit of sound research.”

Industrial hemp was grown commercially in the United States until after World War II. Governments began to outlaw its cultivation in the mid-20th century because of its association with marijuana. Pennsylvania joins states like Kentucky and New York where officials and growers are keeping their focus on the seemingly profitable future of hemp growth. The Department of Agriculture will award $1,000 to successful hemp research program permit recipients to balance out the costs of the project under the cost-share program.

Grain farmer Ammon Carlyle is intrigued by the program. He stated, “I looked up ‘hemp’ online and learned that early in the country’s history it was widely grown and was a way that farmers made money. I plan to make an application to join the project.” Carlyle definitely has the land to hold the project.

Researchers who finish a hemp research project are qualified to apply, as long as the project has been approved by the Department of Agriculture. Under the Industrial Hemp Pilot Research Program guidelines, a maximum of thirty projects of five acres each will be selected for the 2017 growing season. The department will select the projects based on a complete program application. The department will issue a research permit to an institution of higher education or to a person contracted to grow industrial hemp for research purposes. The pilot research program follows the state and federal laws that allow industrial hemp to be grown in states where allowed.

The cut off date for Pennsylvania growers to apply for a 2017 PDA Industrial Hemp Research Pilot Program was January 6. Applicants who are approved for research projects will be notified by February 17.

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