Tags Posts tagged with "legal"


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The state of South Carolina’s General Assembly recently legalized the farming of industrial hemp. As local newspapers quickly clarified the difference between hemp and its more popular relative marijuana, state politicians and farmers jumped for joy.

“Any agricultural crop we can cultivate here and make a profit for our farmers, we should try,” said Republican State Senator Greg Hembree.

After all, agribusiness is the No. 1 industry in the Palmetto State, so farmers are also celebrating.

South Carolina really needed this

South Carolina farmer Neal Baxley, confirmed that he is definitely interested in planting hemp on some of his available fields where “sunshine is frequent and rain is regular.”

“We’re in an economically depressed region of the state,” said Baxley “So why couldn’t South Carolina attract a new industry, something that has some growth potential? The more people who get the opportunity to get involved in agriculture, the better I think we are in the long run.”

Democratic Representative Russell Ott, co-sponsor of the bipartisan Hemp Bill, said he wouldn’t be surprised if farmers are growing hemp in the next few months.

“The bottom line is, we could have hemp being grown in South Carolina this year. And that’s exciting,” said Ott, who is also a farmer.

People are expecting South Carolina’s authorities to issue at least 20 licenses to grow crops on up to 20 acres as a pilot program, with more to be added soon.

“It’s my hope that they will act very quickly,” said State Sen. Danny Verdin, chairman of the Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee.

Today, about 90 percent of the hemp used in the United States for industrial purposes is imported from China. But, it’s time to bring it back home.

One of the fastest-growing plants in the world and known as the most versatile plant on earth, hemp is used for making all manner of essential objects such as paper, textiles, cloth, biodegradable plastics, paint, biofuel—the list is long.

But, because it is part of the marijuana plant, it was declared illegal in the U.S. in 1937. The industry is just barely getting back in on its feet again, thanks to the 2014 farm bill passed under President Obama.

One of the problems about sanctioning hemp cultivation has been due to the spread of a spurious lie that large hemp fields could be used to mask weed cultivation. John Finamore, executive director of the National Hemp Association in Denver, shot that notion down.

“The last thing a marijuana grower wants to do is grow them together,” he stated, noting that hemp is the dominant of the two species and would neutralize the psychoactive compounds in marijuana.

And no one wants that.

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According to Senator Patrick Colbeck, R-Canton, the new medical marijuana laws take home-grown industry created by a 2008 ballot proposal and have the industry explode. A caregiver could grow up to twelve marijuana plants for each patient and could not serve more than five patients under the old law. The law was unclear about dispensaries, leading to a surplus in some cities like Detroit that basically pretended not to notice the businesses in their communities and a police force in other towns that shut down businesses with immunity.

Three classes of growers are described in the new laws: people who can grow up to 500 plants, up to 1,000 plants, or up to 1,500 plants. They also create five classes of licenses: those for growers, testing facilities, transporters, the seed-to-sale tracking, and dispensaries. Communities can decide whether and where they will permit dispensaries to operate and charge an annual fee of up to $5,000 per dispensary.

The laws provide for a state tax at the dispensary level of 3 percent on gross receipts, of which 30 percent will go to the state general fund and much of the balance will go to local governments and police departments to help cover the cost of enforcement. License fees will support an comprehensive bureaucracy that is expected to cost the state about $21 million a year, including 113 full-time state licensing employees, 34 employees with the Michigan State Police to do background checks on applicants, and $550,000 to the Attorney General’s Office for legal expenses.

For the most part, licensing fees haven’t been set yet, except that the state can charge no more than $10,000 per license for the class of growers who cultivate up to 500 plants. Across the nation, eight states have legalized marijuana for recreational and medical uses. Another 20 states have medical marijuana laws and 17 more have laws legalizing medical cannabidiol, a strain of marijuana that provides pain relief without the psychoactive high that accompanies traditional marijuana.

Karen O’Keefe, director of state policies for the Marijuana Policy Project, a Washington, D.C., organization that advocates for marijuana legalization, said the regulatory structures differ from state to state. In 17 of the 20 states that have only medical marijuana, the state Health Departments approve licensing and in three others: Arkansas, Maryland and Michigan, independent commissions deal with licenses.

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Marijuana-Stocks-Nevada cannabis

Senator Tick Segerblom, a Las Vegas Democrat, wants recreational marijuana sales to begin by June. The reason he is seeking the early start is just in case something happens to extend the state’s current timeline. The original target date was July 1st, six months ahead of a voter-mandated deadline. Department of Taxation Director Deonne Contine said the state will be ready by then to license medical marijuana dispensaries to ring up the state’s first sales of pot bought for fun.

Much of what the Department of Taxation is aiming for is stated in Senate Bill 302, which include implementing sales taxes and some new rules and the general provisions of the legalization initiative voters passed in November. Segerblom stated, “We’re not trying to compete with Taxation’s early-start program. If their early-start program gets out there, we don’t need this bill, but if there’s hiccups in that or something, this would be an alternative.”

Hearings will be held regarding the tax department’s proposed marijuana rules. Continue stated, “I would like to emphasize that I feel like that process is prudent and it is with a lot of thought and so I’m confident that the state will be ready to go on July 1.” With voter approval, Nevada legalized recreational marijuana for adults 21 and older last year. However, there’s nowhere to legally buy marijuana for personal use until the state allows dispensaries to sell it.

Segerblom’s proposal would give the dispensaries permission to sell. The bill will put the 10 percent state sales tax on recreational marijuana into play that Governor Brian Sandoval floated in January, as well as another 5 percent sales tax to benefit local governments. Segerblom said his measure would streamline collection. Segerblom said to Continue, “We both agree we want to have one inventory, one accounting system.”

The proposal would have the recreational marijuana industry operate under the medical marijuana rules that took 15 years to carry out in Nevada. It would be replaced by the tax department’s regulations once that agency begins licensing recreational marijuana shops. Segerblom said he had intended the proposal to get Nevada’s recreational marijuana industry off the ground even earlier, but there was a setback in the legislative process. The proposal would take effect immediately after his colleagues in the Democrat-controlled state house and the Republican governor sign on, a constitutional process that must be finished by June.

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The Canadian cannabis industry may have received the catalyst it needed…

Yesterday, CBC News reported that the Liberal government will announce legislation next month that will legalize marijuana in Canada by July 1, 2018.

This is a huge announcement as it was one of the main reasons why Justin Trudeau and the Liberal Party won the Canadian general election in 2015.

CBC said it learned that the legislation will be announced during the week of April 10th and will broadly follow the recommendation of a federally appointed task force that was chaired by former liberal Justice Minister Anne McLellan.

A Change of Words

According to the CBC, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice Bill Blair briefed the Liberal caucus on the roll-out plan and the legislation during caucus meetings this weekend.

This is a big change from early March when Blair said the Canadian government will take as much time as it needs to correctly implement a legal recreational cannabis program. Blair previously did not suggest a specific time frame because he said it could vary from province-to-province and territory-to-territory

An Industry to Watch

The Canadian medical cannabis industry continues to record double-digit percentage growth on a month-over-month basis and has more than 100,000 patients. There are currently 38 federally licensed medical cannabis producers in Canada and we are favorable on the opportunity that these companies have on hand.

We are favorable on this update and expect to see the market rally higher off this news. Some companies investors should watch include: Cronos Group (MJN.V) (PRMCF), Emblem Corp (EMC.V) (EMMBF), OrganiGram (OGI.V) (OGRMF), Canopy Growth (WEED.TO) (TWMJF), Aphria (APH.V) (APHQF), Aurora Cannabis (ACB.V) (ACBFF), and VinergyRes (VIN.CN) (VNNYF).

Authored by: Michael Berger


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The marijuana industry is growing rapidly, as lawmakers in more states pass legislation making it legal. Twenty eight states have legalized medical cannabis, and eight states have passed recreational. According to the latest research by GreenWave Advisors, those numbers are about to greatly increase. Last November’s election transformed the cannabis state map. Ahead of the election, voters in only four states (Alaska, Colorado, Washington, and Oregon) had voted to establish recreational markets for use of marijuana, and twenty four states had passed medical cannabis laws.

As a result of the election, four more states will open up recreational markets: California, Maine, Nevada, and Massachusetts. Another four states passed laws allowing medical cannabis, including Florida. Matt Karnes, GreenWave’s founder, believes that we are on the edge of a considerable increase in the number of states that will pass recreational and medical cannabis laws.

Plans are already underway to get cannabis bills on ballots in 2018 and 2020, and depending on how those votes go, recreational or medical cannabis could be legal in all 50 states, plus D.C., by 2021. Donald Trump and his attorney general, Jeff Sessions, could be key to that projection coming true. In the past, the federal government has deferred to the states when it comes to cannabis legalization, however, that could change.

On the campaign trail, Donald Trump supported medical cannabis, but he was less than eager about recreational cannabis. His appointment of Jeff Sessions as the country’s top lawyer also creates skepticism. Sessions has been a vocal opponent of cannabis, and he may not be willing to continue with a lassez-faire policy when it comes to enforcing federal laws restricting cannabis. Recently, he suggested enforcement of federal cannabis laws could intensify, and in a speech in Virginia, he said that cannabis was “only slightly less awful” than heroin.

States have a lot of reason to legalize cannabis. According to Karnes, retail sales of cannabis clocked in at $6.5 billion last year, up from $4.8 billion in 2015. GreenWave estimates that the cannabis black market is worth $36 billion and that passage of marijuana-friendly laws nationally could lead to $30 billion in cannabis sales in 2021. Based on those predictions, the potential tailwinds for tax revenue over the next five years should be strong, and that could factor greatly into whether or not pro-marijuana laws pass.

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Israel’s cabinet recently approved a proposal to decriminalize the recreational use of marijuana, permitting it to go to a vote in the country’s parliament, the Knesset. If it passes there, as anticipated, first-time marijuana offenders will face a fine of 1,000 shekels ($270 USD), but criminal charges will only be brought on a fourth offense. Gilad Erdan, Public Security Minister who led the reform effort said, “The government’s approval is an important step on the way to implement the new policy, which will emphasize public information and treatment instead of criminal enforcement.”

Legislator Tamar Zandberg of the center-left Meretz party, chair of the Knesset Special Committee on Drug and Alcohol Abuse, stated, “This is an important step, but not the end of the road. It sends a message that a million of Israelis who consume marijuana aren’t criminals. We will carry on following the details in the committee and ensure that the change is implemented.” The proposal was based on the suggestions of a committee headed by Public Security Ministry director-general Rotem Peleg, calling for a change of focus from criminal prosecution of marijuana users to fines and educational campaigns.

Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked stated, “Israel cannot shut its eyes to the changes being made across the world in respect to marijuana consumption and its effect. Israel is already a world leader in medical cannabis, with some 25,000 registered in its national program, and cutting-edge research underway. According to the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, almost 9% of Israelis use marijuana, although many believe the figure could be higher. For now, Israel’s predominantly conservative government is only going so far. Farming and selling marijuana would continue to be criminal offenses under the proposal.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated, “On the one hand we are opening ourselves up to the future. On the other hand, we understand the dangers and will try to balance the two.” However, even some conservatives are coming around. MK Sharren Haskel of the right-wing Likud, chair of the Knesset Caucus for Medical Cannabis, said the proposal is “not enough.” Asserting that “criminalization does not work and wastes resources.” She stated, “I will keep fighting until we have a full-fledged legalization of cannabis.”

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Not far into the Trump administration, we are marking history’s most chaotic authoritarian rule via a narcissist’s Twitter account and a radical right wing presidential puppeteer, Stephen Bannon, who just moved on to the National Security Council. Despite Neil Gorsuch’s tenure on the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver, he has made few public announcements about cannabis policy. One way to gather more information is to look at his rulings. In one case, covered by the New York Daily News, Gorsuch governed a marijuana industry tax case in which a Colorado dispensary was forced by the IRS to pay taxes on their business expenses, which one typically is permitted to deduct. The dispensary in question deducted theirs but did not wish to disclose the nature of their business.

Gorsuch ruled against the dispensary, although he did go out on a limb and question the government’s strange and confusing federal versus state government pot laws and the “mixed messages” that continue to dumbfound all of us. Gorsuch stated, “This case owes its genesis to the mixed messages the federal government is sending these days about the distribution of marijuana. So it is that today prosecutors will almost always overlook federal marijuana distribution crimes in Colorado but the tax man never will.”

While Gorsuch didn’t care for the mixed messages, he didn’t really say which side of the fence he was on. He went on to wonder how the IRS gets to cash in on a business the feds consider illegal. This leaves the question lingering to many people: who has the final word and will the federal government respect the will of the people who have voted to legalize cannabis in over 50% of the United States?

Another clue on Gorsuch’s viewpoint came out on the Joint Blog, which reported that a former student of Gorsuch’s asked him several years ago whether he supported legalization of marijuana or not. Gorsuch responded by saying that, at the very least, he supports “the federal government getting out of the business of prohibiting in.” Still unsure what that means. Gorsuch also recognized the Obama administration’s willingness to allow legal cannabis states to work out their own problems. He even expressed worry that everything could come crashing down in the event of a new attorney general.

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There are two reasons for the new investigation of marijuana by policymakers and journalists. The realization that marijuana will be made legal and the possibility that it could be reversed. The third phase in the history of marijuana research is currently happening.

The main purpose of research on marijuana has been to figure out how the drug caused its characteristic effects. Lyn Howlett and her research team at Washington University in the late eighties discovered the endocannabinoid receptor system. Consequently, this new research focus on cannabis is to better understand how it affects the human body. It is this second phase of research that paved the way for marijuana’s legalization.

While research on marijuana’s effects continues, the third phase of research has developed in response to these reforms in state-level cannabis policy. Those who understand that legalization is not reversible are dedicating greater attention to comprehending the impact of legalization policies. The reactionaries who want a return to prohibition will contend that any negative discovery about marijuana approves their historical opposition to change.

New investigations on marijuana have started. There are two crucial fault lines being uncovered in the study. The first is receiving attention among policy analysts. It concerns whether the priority for public policy will be the publics health or profits. The second fault line is between the interests of the marijuana industry and the interests of its consumers. Both produce problems for the growing cannabis industry.

It may seem that the cannabis industry’s two rivals have some problems of their own. Public health proponents wish to minimize the amount of marijuana used by consumers. Regardless of their differences over the characteristics use and abuse conflicts between the public health community and marijuana consumers, they are delusional because both groups grasp the idea of responsible use.

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In America, next-to-nothing happens on marijuana without voters taking the initiative and making the moves a prohibitionist government never would. Compare that to Ireland, where the Irish Parliament’s lower house just approved a bill to allow medical cannabis without so much as a donnybrook. According to the BBC, a clear majority of elected representatives are behind the plan.

The brainchild of democratic socialists with strong anti-capitalism bents-yet another thing you’re less likely to see in the U.S. than a skateboarding leprechaun-the bill would allow people with chronic pain, epilepsy, cancer, MS, and fibromyalgia to access medical cannabis products with a doctor’s recommendation.

As for when that would happen? Therein lies the dilemma. There’s more debate yet to be had about the bill, which needs further approval before becoming law. There doesn’t appear to be much opposition.
Ireland’s controlling government says it has no qualms with the bill, and even the national health minister says he’s open to the idea. There’s going to have to be buy-in from Irish doctors.

Health Minister Simon Harris states he’ll rely on advice from the country’s Health Products Regulatory Authority to decide whether or not to determine marijuana to be a legitimate palliative. Even if there is, there’s no clear picture of how many doctors would write recommendations or how easy it would be to secure one.

The sticky debate over how and where Ireland’s legal marijuana would be grown is still in the future. In the meantime, one thing is clear: there’s absolutely no government support for recreational marijuana. Harris says he wants changes made to the current plan so as to guarantee anyone who isn’t extremely ill can’t get their hands on cannabis, he said.

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Daniel Landes; owner of “City O’ City,” a popular restaurant, considers his options a few days after Denver voters approve the use of marijuana in bars, restaurants and other public places. He could use the comedy club he owns upstairs; having a cannabis and comedy night. Or maybe the yoga studio he owns; in a pot-inspired practice.

“This has been the missing ingredient,” Landes said. “You have people coming to Denver to enjoy legal pot, and they have had no place to use it.”

Things quickly changed on Friday following a ruling by state licensing authorities stating bars and restaurants with liquor licenses could not allow pot use on the premises. As per The Colorado Department of Revenue; this decision was made last summer following talks with: the liquor industry, health experts and groups such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

State officials released a news conference stating that the ruling prohibiting the “use of alcohol and pot” concurrently is in the best interest of public health and safety. Using both substances together greatly increases the risk of motor vehicle accidents as opposed to using one substance alone.

The Colorado Restaurant Assn. agreed, stating cannabis use in bars and restaurants “will dramatically increase the liability risks for these establishments.”

This new law “put the breaks” on what many were celebrating as a big step toward the goal of marijuana normalization in Colorado as well as the nation.

Although the state denies it; advocates of marijuana accused them of openly fighting a battle for the liquor industry. The state says the ruling had nothing to do with the passage of the new marijuana measure. It is very likely that Colorado’s marijuana issues are being closely watched by other states who have legalized cannabis.

Colorado and Washington were the first states to make recreational marijuana legal back in 2012. Since then, The District of Columbia as well as six other states have joined them, including California this month. The newcomers are watching the pioneers to see what does and does not work and how to get around the conflicts with the federal government who continues to classify marijuana as illegal.

Supporters backing Initiative 300; (Denver’s new cannabis law) feel that even though they have encountered road blocks, they have come a long way toward addressing the confusion of legal cannabis vs. finding a place to eat, vape or smoke it.

“You have seen a dramatic rise in arrests in Colorado for public consumption of pot. People are using it in the parks and sidewalks where they shouldn’t,” said Kayvan Khalatbari, co-owner of Denver Relief Consulting, who campaigned in favor of the initiative. “Our hope is that [Initiative 300] will reduce public consumption.”

“They seem to think it’s fine for patrons of bars and concert venues to get blackout drunk, but unacceptable for them to use a far less harmful substance like marijuana instead,” said Mason Tvert, spokesman for the National Marijuana Policy Project. “This rule will not prevent bar-goers from consuming marijuana, but it will ensure that they consume it outside in the alley or on the street rather than inside of a private establishment.”

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