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  1. Yesterday
  2. In 2017 Oregon passed sweeping Equal Pay Legislation. Towards the end of August, Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI) issued draft rules implementing the Oregon Equal Pay Act. This series of post is exploring those new rules and how they will affect cannabis businesses. In my last post, I unpacked the definition of “compensation” under the Equal Pay Act and the proposed rules. This week I’ll discuss “work of a comparable character.” The Oregon Equal Pay Act prohibits employers from paying wages or other compensation to “any employee at a rate greater than that at which the employer pays wages or other compensation to employees of a protected class for work of a comparable character.” To put it simply, cannabis businesses need to pay employees doing the same work the same pay. But what is “work of a comparable character?” Work of a comparable character is not determined simply by job title alone. Two cannabis workers who have the same job title but perform different tasks are not necessarily performing “work of a comparable character.” Similarly, two cannabis workers that perform essentially the same tasks but have different job titles may be performing work of a comparable character. According to the BOLI draft rules, to determine if different jobs constitute “work of a comparable character” the employer must consider whether the jobs require “substantially similar knowledge, skill, effort, responsibility, and working conditions.” No one factor is determinative. Meaning, an employer should balance the factors against each other to determine if employees are performing the same work and therefore should be receive equal pay. The proposed BOLI rules further define each factor. Knowledge. When considering whether two jobs require similar “knowledge,” the employer should consider whether the jobs require similar education, experience, or training. Skill. Things to consider to determine if two jobs require the same “skill” include the ability, agility, coordination, efficiency or experience required to perform the job. Effort. Considerations to determine the “effort” of a job include the “amount of physical or mental exertion needed; amount of sustained activity; or complexity of job tasks performed.” Responsibility. To determine if responsibility of two positions are “similar,” an employer should consider the “accountability, decision-making discretion, or impact of an employee’s exercise of their job functions on the employer’s business; amount, level, or degree of significance of job tasks; autonomy or extent to which the employee works without supervision; extent to which the employee exercises supervisory functions; or extent to which an employee’s work or actions expose an employer to risk or liability. Working conditions. Finally, to determine if employees are working in similar “working conditions” an employer should consider the “work environment; hours; time of day worked; physical surroundings; and potential hazards.” Determining how to pay your employees is not an easy task. The Equal Pay Act, while it has good intentions, may make that task even more difficult. Regardless, now is the time to analyze how you are paying your cannabis employees. Now is the time to look at the jobs that are being performed, identify work of a comparable character, and adjust wages accordingly. If you’re unsure whether two workers should be receiving equal pay, you should contact an employment attorney. The Equal Pay Act pay provisions are effective on January 1, 2019. Again, now is the time to ensure compliance before BOLI starts handing out penalties next year. View the full article
  3. Last week
  4. Conservative pundits at right-wing media outlet Fox News are at it again. The network is known for taking hardline conservative positions on everything, often lying and spreading misinformation along the way. Now, the network is back on the “reefer madness” bandwagon. This time, Fox News spokespeople and other right-wing talking heads are making the spurious claim that legal marijuana is responsible for a host of social problems, including homelessness, poverty, and teen drug use. “Fox & Friends” Spreading Reefer Madness Misinformation On a recent episode of “Fox & Friends,” the network’s right-wing propagandists had plenty of anti-cannabis rhetoric to spread. In the wake of Canada making cannabis legal earlier this week, the talk show turned its focus to the U.S. In particular, they talked about whether or not the U.S. is on course for legalization. At one point in the conversation, co-host Steve Doocy asked his guest commentators about legalization. He said: “Is it a good idea… to legalize pot nationwide here in the United States? Canada just did it.” The first person to respond to the question was a guy named Joe Peters. At Fox, the fact that he’s a former cop qualifies him to be an authoritative voice on complex social and political issues. The reality, though, is that Peters is a far-right authoritarian who supports the harmful, violent, and fundamentally racist war on drugs. Peters responded that legalization would be a bad idea. As proof, he pointed to Colorado. Here’s what he claims has happened in the state since it made marijuana legal: “By every metric, it was a failure, in my view. Teen drug use is the highest in the country—teen drug use. Drug driving is off the charts, doubled with marijuana impaired driving. Homelessness is up. Emergency room admissions.” He goes on and on from there. Propaganda, Not Fact The problem for Peters and the rest of the “Fox & Friends” staff is that this entire line of reasoning is based on lies and misinformation. It’s propaganda, not fact. For starters, legal marijuana has not catalyzed any significant drug-related problems among teens. In fact, teen drug use has remained remarkably unchanged, even as more and more places begin to legalize cannabis. Actual stats about teen marijuana consumption and drug use paint a very different, much more complex reality than Peters would have it. For starters, stats show that teen consumption of marijuana has remained relatively static for the past seven years or so—even in places with legal weed like Colorado. It is true that 2017 saw the first uptick in cannabis consumption among teens. The number of teens who consumed weed in the prior year rose 1.3 percent. But that’s the only noticeable change in nearly a decade. What has changed among teens is the number of young people consuming nicotine. The metric where the biggest changes has happened is in vaping. In that category, teen use is definitely on the rise. But this has nothing to do with weed. And Fox didn’t express a whole lot of concern over this trend. Similarly, Peters’ claim that legal weed causes homelessness is false. Studies and data simply don’t back him up. For example, a study of legal marijuana in Pueblo, Colorado was published in March. The report explicitly concluded that “legal cannabis has not had a significant impact on homelessness rates.” Instead, the study found that “disconnected utilities” were the “largest single cause of homelessness in Pueblo in 2016.” Ultimately, Peters and the rest of “Fox & Friends” are focused on moving the conversation away from the realities at the root of poverty and homelessness: the rising cost of living, lack of jobs that pay a living wage, lack of affordable housing, inaccessible resources, racism, homophobia, transphobia, intimate partner violence, and more. Instead, they spread a bunch of lies about cannabis to push a far-right agenda aimed at protecting power and criminalizing already-marginalized communities. The post ‘Fox & Friends’ Hosts Blame Homelessness, Teen Drug Use on Legal Marijuana appeared first on High Times. View the full article
  5. It’s been a long time coming. Many have been waiting for the day weed would become officially legal in Canada. And today Canadians from British Columbia to Newfoundland can enjoy and celebrate the new cannabis-friendly climate. Many are joining in the spirit and finding unique ways to observe the new law. Cannabis businesses and users alike have spent the last 48 hours taking hold of this momentous occasion. For example, a Canadian delivery service hosted a Willy Wonka-style lottery where a lucky customer wins free munchies. But none commemorates the passing of Bill C-45 quite like Leaf Forward, Canada’s first and leading cannabis business accelerator. This important bill deserves attention by pot smokers in every province. And Leaf Forward has made it simple to not only honor Bill C-45, but to celebrate it in the highest of style. They have printed every single word of the historic law on rolling papers. Time’s Up, Roll Up The wait for Canada’s Cannabis Act to go into effect was a long one. Learning the ins and outs, and most importantly where to pick up the product, required Canadians to stay abreast of local and national news. Few Canadians who stand to reap the rewards of the law know the words the bill actually contains. But Leaf Forward offers all 152 pages of the full document in its pack of rolling papers. A cannabis enthusiast can go page by page of the bill by smoking joint after joint. Printed with safe, non-toxic ink, the rolling papers even come with sealed in wax in honor of the Canadian government. Though rolling papers have been printed to pay tribute to people or occasions before, these papers are truly an expression of appreciation for the hard work carried out by Canadian cannabis enthusiasts an lawmakers. Leaf Foward’s CEO and Co-Founder Alex Blumenstein wishes show gratitude to the many individuals—the activists, innovators, entrepreneurs, leaders—and “celebrate in a way that’s true to the occasion.” And by that, he means literally smoking the significant document. Leap Forward with Leaf Forward Not only does the company come up with creative ways to honor the Cannabis Act, Leaf Forward also aids cannabis companies in their early stages of growth. Central to its focus are providing new businesses with mentorship, networking, and opportunities to learn from successful industry leaders. Through its network of cannabis industry experts, entrepreneurs and leaders, Leaf Forward fosters start-ups by preparing founders to pitch to investors and raising the funds to take the business to its next stages. In practice, Leaf Forward works closely with a small group of hand-selected start-ups in the cannabis industry. During a 12-week program, these business transcend where they were when they started. And thanks to the new legal environment and Leaf Forward, the businesses can now thrive. 152 Pages to Puff These celebratory papers are currently limited in supply. But never fear. Roll a rose blunt. Pick up some other papers. Enjoy your cannabis however you do. And when you do, take a puff in honor of the monumental words in Bill C-45. Roll a joint for the canna-businesses small and large, and for those like Leaf Forward, motivated and dedicated to the cause of cannabis globally. Roll another for the Canadian lawmakers who made the bill possible. And most of all, roll a joint for the Canadian cannabis enthusiasts who stood by the cause. The post Canadian Company Launches Rolling Papers Printed with The Cannabis Act appeared first on High Times. View the full article
  6. A crime report is making the rounds, centering on a 22-year-old Phoenix woman, Reed Ibrahim, who was arrested on charges of drug possession with the intent to distribute. But there was some initial confusion over what drugs Ibrahim was attempting to move. Reports indicate that law enforcement found 50 pounds of weed and two kilos (approximately 5 pounds) of a substance that tested as cocaine, but which unnamed sources within the DEA later said was fentanyl. Media reports are conflicting over whether Ibrahim will face charges for cocaine or fentanyl. Ibrahim says she was unaware she was carrying the illegal drugs. Police Mistake 5 Pounds of Fentanyl For Cocaine Reed Ibrahim was traveling from Phoenix, Arizona to Nashville, Tennessee when TSA alerted DEA agents that Ibrahim’s luggage appeared to contain large bundles resembling narcotics packages. DEA informed Nashville law enforcement, who stopped Ibrahim after she claimed her two checked suitcases in Nashville. A subsequent search, to which Ibrahim consented, turned up two 25-pound packages of cannabis and two kilogram packages of a powder. Agents field-tested the powder and identified it as cocaine. Police arrested Ibrahim at the scene. Subsequent lab tests of the kilogram packages identified that what officers thought was cocaine was actually fentanyl. Immediately, reports about the incident began to frame Ibrahim as a potential mass murderer. Multiple reports measured the five pounds of fentanyl in its equivalent in lethal doses: law enforcement claimed it was 1 million. There is no known lethal dose of cannabis. During her interrogation, Ibrahim told police that she had no idea she was carrying the deadly synthetic opioid. She said someone had offered to pay her $1,000 to carry the two suitcases from Phoenix to Nashville. Reports are conflicting as to whether Ibrahim’s cocaine possession charges will be amended to reflect that the packages were fentanyl. Speaking exclusively with an undercover detective involved in the bust, WSMV News says police are prioritizing enforcement against opioids. The officer told WSMV reporters he believes it’s not a problem Tennessee can “arrest its way out of.” Instead, he said, combatting opioid abuse requires rehabilitation programs and changes to the law. More States Are Moving To Legalize Cannabis For Opioid Replacement Stories like Reed Ibrahim’s are a reminder that opioid abuse continues to be a crisis point for public health in the United States. Opioid overdose deaths are now a leading cause of death for those under 50. Between 2016 and 2017, the U.S. Health and Human Services department recorded 2.1 million people suffered from an opioid use disorder, and an estimated 130-plus people died every day from opioid-related drug overdoses. And while fentanyl is undeniably the driver behind deaths from illicit opioids, the rate of prescriptions for opioids isn’t declining much. In 2017, for example, more than 17 percent of all Americans had at least one opioid prescription filled. And there were 58 opioid prescriptions written for every 100 Americans, according to the CDC. In the face of the deadly epidemic, states with legal medical cannabis are considering opioid replacement as a qualifying condition. Leading the pack is New York, which announced earlier this year that it was adding opioid replacement to its list of qualifying conditions. The massive medical cannabis program expansion means that any condition for which a physician can prescribe an opioid is automatically qualified for a medical cannabis recommendation. With the over-prescribing of opioids a contributing factor to the epidemic of abuse and overdoses in the U.S., the hope is that cannabis can both help to reduce opioid prescriptions and serve as an alternative painkilling treatment. The post 50 Pounds of Weed, 5 Pounds of Fentanyl Found in Suitcases in Nashville Airport appeared first on High Times. View the full article
  7. Here we go again!This morning, the California Bureau of Cannabis Control, California Department of Public Health, and California Department of Food and Agriculture issued 15-day notices of modification to the texts of their respective proposed regulations. The California Cannabis Portal has published links to each notice and the modified texts of the proposed regulations. For each set, the respective Department will accept written comments by November 5, 2018. Stay tuned to the Canna Law Blog for future posts analyzing modified proposed regulations, which are extensive. View the full article
  8. Don’t skim over that indemnification clause!Coming from Seattle to Los Angeles, I’ve already seen one state flip from being a “gray medical cannabis state” to a fully regulated licensing system and I understand how painful a process this can be. So much of what I saw in Washington State is now happening in California. In California today, folks are jockeying for operational licenses on the state and local levels under MAUCRSA and “the cream” is rising to the top, just as it did in Washington. One-to-two-person shops and mom and pop operators are feeling the financial pinch of licensing costs and compliance woes. The secondary market for buying cannabis businesses is also beginning to open up as cities and counties solidify and stick with their local cannabis entitlement programs. Transactions between cannabis licensees are becoming increasingly sophisticated, from IP licensing agreements, to distribution agreements, to white labeling agreements, to purchase and sale agreements for inventory. And just as happened in Washington State at the onset of legalization there, we are seeing many cultivators and manufacturers overpromising on what they can deliver, more often due to overconfidence as to dishonesty. In legal terms, this means we are also seeing cultivation and manufacturing licensees, and distributors agreeing to indemnify retailers and other licensees for everything under the sun, quite often to their own detriment. Even though the cannabis industry is maturing rapidly in California, many are still using boilerplate or Google-discovered or Legal Zoom and Rocket Lawyer contracts for these very serious transactions. This use of bad template documents (most of which are modified little if at all for the realities of the cannabis industry) has got to stop, or cannabis licensees will soon find themselves embroiled in costly and counter-productive disputes/litigation. And that brings me to the crux of this post, which is one of the most important “boilerplate” contract provisions that absolutely must be tailored for a California cannabis contract: indemnification. What, exactly, is indemnification? It’s when one party (the “indemnitor”) agrees to hold harmless and compensate the other party (the “indemnitee”) for losses suffered by the indemnitee. Many cannabis sellers in California are far too willing to indemnify third parties for things completely out of their control, like lab results, changes in regulations that may affect the other party’s operations, and unforeseen conduct by users of the cannabis product. These blanket indemnification provisions are creating liability and exposure. In the past month or so, many cannabis companies have come to us (both in Los Angeles and in San Francisco) with poorly drafted, irrelevant or nonsensical indemnification provisions and agreements from cannabis sellers. So, what makes for a good indemnification provision in a cannabis contract? A preliminary question should be the breadth of the indemnification. If you are the seller and you want to protect yourself, you should tailor your indemnification to what makes sense and to what you can afford. You do not want something like the following (which is being used fairly often in California these days by inexperienced lawyers and lawyerless companies): “The Indemnitor agrees to indemnify, defend, and hold harmless the Indemnitee, its officers, directors, employees, owners, agents, assigns, and affiliates (collectively, the “Indemnified Parties”) from and against any and all claims, liability, loss, expenses, suits, damages, judgments, demands, and costs(including reasonable attorneys’ fees and expenses) (each a “Claim”) arising out of any accident, injury, or death to persons, or loss of or damage to property, or fines and penalties which may result, in whole or in part, by reason of the use or sale of any Product, or its packaging, except to the extent that such damage is due solely and directly to the gross negligence or willful misconduct of the Indemnified Parties and that the Indemnified Parties, or any of them, were acting in bad faith.” This sort of provision is a bad idea for any cannabis seller. It means that seller will be liable to the buyer for just about anything that could go wrong–anywhere, for anyone–from the product. No one wants to be on the hook for things they cannot control. Here are a few important things to consider when crafting a cannabis indemnification term: Both the cannabis seller and buyer need to focus on what kinds of losses will or will not be covered by indemnification. If I’m the seller, I’m going to want to exclude incidental, punitive, and indirect damages even if foreseeable. If I’m the cannabis buyer, I’m going to want to include at least incidental damages and foreseeable indirect damages. It is both unusual and risky for a seller to agree to indemnify a party indefinitely, and yet this too has become common in California. If you are the seller, make sure your indemnity agreement or provision has an end date. Your indemnification agreement or provision should include a protocol for making indemnification claims to the indemnifying party. The boilerplate indemnification provisions and agreements we are seeing typically never even mention any claim deadline or claim notice requirements. As the cannabis seller you should, at minimum, address these two issues in your indemnification provision or agreement. If the indemnification is mutual, and captures reciprocal indemnification obligations in the same paragraph or contract section, ask yourself “why?” Putting the same parameters around indemnification for both parties often makes no sense, because each party has a different role in the business relationship. Consider separating the indemnity obligations and applying tailored language for each party, as appropriate for that party’s role in the transaction. Finally, can you just cross it out? If you have deal leverage, and someone presents you with an indemnification provision (particularly an onerous one), you may be able to get rid of it altogether. Sometimes, you can convince the other party to give you everything they need to feel comfortable through appropriate representations and warranties. There are certainly very good and reliable stock indemnification provisions in most contracts, and there’s a reason for that boilerplate in that it’s time-tested and mostly appropriate for more standard business agreements. However, be sure that whatever you’re putting into your cannabis contracts on indemnification is tailored to your specific situation. If not, you could find yourself holding the bag on way more than what is fair — let alone what you expected or can afford. View the full article
  9. Cosmetics and beauty company Sephora is expanding its lineup of CBD-infused personal care products. The latest addition is Lord Jones’ CBD lotion. Lord Jones is one of the leading creators and distributors of CBD-infused products, with a reputation for high-quality and consistent results. Lord Jones products enjoy an almost cult-like following, and now consumers can pick them up at virtually any Sephora nationwide. Lord Jones Pain-Relieving CBD Lotion Now Available At Sephora Cannabis products are continuing their trendy takeover of health and beauty products. From creams to lotions, gels and makeup, non-psychoactive cannabidiol (CBD) has found its way into everything health and beauty-related. And for good reason, too. CBD offers a range of therapeutic and wellness benefits. It’s an anti-inflammatory, a pain reliever and it can help balance your mood and ease stress and anxiety. When it comes to the CBD-infused health and beauty market, Lord Jones calls its High CBD Formula Lotion a game-changer. With CBD derived from organic hemp cultivated in the USA and containing zero THC, Lord Jones doesn’t make its lotion with CBD isolate. Instead, it uses full-spectrum CBD oil that preserves the plant’s terpenes and cannabinoid structure. This lotion is “whole plant,” eschewing heavy processing. Lord Jones says its High CBD Formula is super-moisturizing. And its CBD infusion also makes it ideal for recovery after a tough workout, relieving cramps and everyday muscle soreness. The CBD gets some help from organic Shea butter with natural vitamins and fatty acids. There’s also a splash of menthyl ethylamido oxalate, a natural compound that imparts a cooling sensation as it stimulates blood flow beneath the skin. Those ingredients, combined, make Lord Jones CBD lotion an effective anti-inflammatory and analgesic as well as an ideal moisturizer. Everyone, Including Celebrities, Loves Lord Jones CBD Lotion The internet is awash with rave reviews of Lord Jones’ CBD lotion. And celebrities are 100 percent on board. Chelsea Handler and Busy Philipps swear by it, according to HuffPo. And Olivia Wilde says it’s her go-to lotion. Lord Jones isn’t just in the business of making CBD-infused lotion. The company also makes a top-quality line of other CBD products, including tinctures, edibles and oils. But its therapeutic body lotion is only available at Sephora. A 50 mL bottle of the High CBD Formula lotion goes for $60 online with free shipping. While you wait for yours to arrive, you can page through the dozens of 5-star product reviews. The product packaging is simple and well-designed. Each perfect pump dispenses lotion containing 2 mg of CBD. Lord Jones recommends rubbing one or two pumps into the affected area and allowing the lotion to fully absorb. And you won’t mind waiting. The herbal, lush aromas are soothing on their own! The post Sephora is Now Carrying Lord Jones CBD Lotion appeared first on High Times. View the full article
  10. On the first day of legalization across Canada on Oct. 17, Thomas H. Clarke predicted his store in Portugal Cove, Newfoundland would run out of product by Friday. He ended up running out on Wednesday afternoon, the very same day cannabis was legalized. Newfoundland and Labrador is Canada’s easternmost province, with its own time zone a half-hour ahead of mainland Canada. It was the first province to open for business as 12:01 a.m. struck on Oct. 17, heralding the beginning of legal cannabis in Canada. After opening up as one of the first stores to sell cannabis legally, Clarke’s THC Distribution ran out of product just after 4 p.m. on Oct. 17. “It’s very bad news in my eyes. I ran out at 4:20 today, believe it or not,” Clarke told CBC News. “I’m a little shocked that I sold out so fast, and also very upset that I don’t have product for everybody. I’m letting down a lot of people here and I was assured that if I paid for the cannabis I would receive it.” Clarke said he only received $10,000 worth of a $70,000 order from his supplier, adding he doesn’t know why his order was short, why there is a delay or how long it’ll take to get restocked. He gets his cannabis from suppliers such as Canopy Growth. “I pray that something gets shipped to me overnight so I’ll have some product for tomorrow,” he told CBC. “If I don’t get any product I’m going to keep the shop closed and spend a couple of days with my family.” Something Stinks The Newfoundland and Labrador Liquor Corporation (NLC), the corporation responsible for cannabis regulation, told CBC that the issue goes beyond available product. Evidently Health Canada declared one supplier’s crop unfit, and has yet to approve another supplier’s packaging for product that is otherwise ready to ship. Cannabis producers are doing their best to keep up with demand, but they can’t make marijuana plants grow any faster, an NLC spokesperson said. But the Tweed cannabis store on Water Street in downtown St. John’s, Newfoundland, which is owned by Canopy Growth, confirmed to the CBC that they are doing fine with their cannabis supply, and are still welcoming shoppers to the store. Tweed opened its doors to much fanfare as the “first” store to make a legal cannabis sale at 12:01 on Oct. 17, and Canopy Growth CEO Bruce Linton was on hand to pose with the first customers to buy legal weed under the new Canadian law. Meanwhile, across the island, stores like Clarke’s are having to shut down while they await the next shipment of cannabis from suppliers like Canopy. Is Canopy Growth employing anti-competitive business practices in Newfoundland? High Times is following the situation closely. Stay tuned for updates on legal cannabis from “The Rock.” The post Marijuana Shortage in Newfoundland One Day After Legalization appeared first on High Times. View the full article
  11. A Canadian Girl Guide capitalized on the legalization of cannabis in her country by selling cookies to consumers waiting in line for legal pot. Elina Childs, a 9-year-old girl from Edmonton, Alberta, sold a wagonload of Girl Guide cookies outside a cannabis dispensary in just 45 minutes. Elina’s father, Seann Childs, said the family had been trying to come up with a new way to sell the confections. “We’ve sold cookies in the neighborhood before with her and it’s door to door. People aren’t home. There’s dogs and everything else,” said Childs. “We thought, ‘Where can we go to sell them?’ It just so happens that legalization was coming up in a couple of days.” So on Wednesday, the day recreational cannabis sales became legal in Canada, Elina filled her wagon with three cases of cookies and headed to one of Alberta’s six cannabis dispensaries. “It was well received,” said Childs. “People thought it was awesome. There were people telling her she was doing a great thing, that it was very innovative. There were cars stopping on the street to buy cookies from her. It was really something else. I’d never seen anything quite like that.” After only 45 minutes of selling to those queueing up outside the dispensary, the cookies were gone. “We were sold out in no time,” Childs said. Childs said that Girl Guides activities are a way to help keep Elina healthy. “She actually has cystic fibrosis, so we encourage her to get out there and do things and be active,” Childs said. “Girl Guides is one part of that.” A Teachable Moment About Cannabis Elina’s father said he used the sales outing as a chance to teach her that there are medicinal uses of cannabis she might want to explore when she is older, noting that smoking is usually not good for her. “This was one day she could benefit from smoking,” said Childs. “We saw that as an opportunity to get out there and teach her a little about what cannabis is.” Childs added that he didn’t think that Elina is ready for cannabis yet. “Obviously she’s not going to be using it before she’s 18, I hope, but we like to have frank discussions with her, so she understands what it is and take away that mystery behind it—just to show her people of all ages and all walks of life are doing this and it’s legal in Canada now, just demystify it for her so it’s not a big deal for her,” he said. Girl Guides Leadership Praises Sales Savvy Heather Monahan, the commissioner of the Edmonton Girl Guides, applauded Elina’s ingenuity and efforts to sell the cookies. “Good on her and her family for thinking of it,” said Monahan. “It’s fun and it’s different and what better way to get rid of cookies.” But after Elina’s success was shared on social media, Monahan began receiving inquiries wondering if the girl’s sales tactics were permitted. “Why wouldn’t it be?” she said. “It wasn’t like she was in the store—that would be a whole different ball game.” “I think it’s wonderful,” Monahan added. The post Canadian Girl Guide Capitalizes on Cannabis Legalization With Cookie Sales appeared first on High Times. View the full article
  12. Yesterday was the first day of Canada’s history-making cannabis legalization. Not surprisingly, retailers throughout the country saw a lot of activity. In particular, marijuana sales in the Canadian province of Prince Edward Island exceeded the six-figure mark—and that was just on day one. Explosive Sales in Prince Edward Island Local media sources reported total sales in Prince Edward Island were worth $152,408 on the first day of legal weed. Those sales came from a few different sources. For starters, the province’s online sales went live at midnight on Tuesday. By the end of the day on Wednesday, online sales from the site peaked at nearly $21,000. Along with the province’s online market, there are currently three brick and mortar cannabis shops. These shops accounted for the remaining $130,000 or so. According to local reports, customers were apparently very excited to buy from their local dispensaries. Customers began lining up to make their first legal recreational purchases as early as 7 a.m. By the end of the day, Charlottetown saw the most activity. The dispensary in that town did just over $61,000 worth of marijuana sales. The town of Summerside had the second most activity, with $37,733 worth of cannabis and cannabis products being sold. And finally, the marijuana store in Montague did $32,674 in cannabis retail. There is a fourth dispensary currently in the works. That one will reportedly open in O’Leary. Prince Edward Island and Legal Marijuana Although Canada’s federal government made cannabis legal across the entire country, individual provinces and local governments still have the ability to set many of their own rules and regulations. In Prince Edward Island, local lawmakers have chosen to limit retail activity to the four dispensaries. Each of these will be government-run rather than private. In addition to these shops, the province is also operating the online sales portal. Additionally, the province is allowing a home delivery option for consumers. Prince Edward Island has chosen to set its own age limit for purchasing legal weed. The federal government has set the minimum age at 18. But in Prince Edward Island, the age is 19 and up. For adults in the province, there is no limit on how much weed consumers can have in their homes. The limit for public possession is 30 grams. That limit matches the national rule. One of the big questions for local governments so far has been whether or not to allow any sort of public consumption sites. Some places have considered the idea of cannabis cafes, lounges, bars, or tasting rooms. But others have been firmly opposed to such establishments. So far, Prince Edward Island has chosen not to allow public consumption. As a result, adults in the province are only allowed to consume cannabis in private residences. After legalizing marijuana yesterday, Canada has become the largest nation in the world to do so. To date, Uruguay has arguably been the most progressive country when it comes to cannabis legislation. Uruguay legalized marijuana in 2013. Then in 2017, the country began selling legal weed over the counter at pharmacies. Together, Uruguay and Canada are challenging international laws related to weed. These challenges could potentially open the door to similar changes in marijuana laws in countries around the world. The post Canadian Province Prince Edward Island Rakes in Over $150K in First Day of Legal Cannabis Sales appeared first on High Times. View the full article
  13. A new report shows that black cannabis users in Alabama are being disproportionately targeted for arrest and prosecution. The report, “War on Marijuana,” was released on Thursday by the Alabama Appleseed Center for Law and Justice and the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). The report details the impact cannabis prohibition can have on the lives of black Alabamans, including one man who spent 15 months in jail for a dime bag of weed. “This war on marijuana is one whose often life-altering consequences fall most heavily on black people,” the report said. Researching arrests from 2016, the most recent year data was available, the report found that black people were nearly four times as likely as whites to be arrested for marijuana possession. The disparity for marijuana felonies was even greater, with arrests of blacks five times as likely as whites. The difference comes despite research that shows that blacks and whites use cannabis at the same rate. The rate of disparity was highest in a small number of counties. Of the 50 Alabama law enforcement agencies with the most arrests for marijuana possession, the study found that seven police forces were 10 times as likely to arrest blacks. Statewide, marijuana possession had the highest disparity among blacks and whites out of 20 of the most common arrest offenses. Carlos Chaverst, a Black Lives Matter activist in Birmingham, said that members of the black community are policed more vigorously than white people. “It’s a direct correlation with what we’re seeing on the ground,” said Chaverst. “Because we are still in the deep South and the Bible Belt, there’s still overt racism here.” Prohibition A ‘Waste Of Tax Dollars’ Frank Knaack, the executive director of Alabama Appleseed, said that the prohibition of cannabis is costly and unjust. “Alabama’s war on marijuana is a monumental waste of tax dollars, undermines public safety, and is enforced with a staggering racial bias,” said Knaack. “The impact of an arrest for possessing marijuana is often significant, and the consequences can last for years. Even an arrest for the possession of a small amount of marijuana can upend somebody’s life by limiting their access to employment, housing and college loan programs, and leaving them trapped in a never-ending cycle of court debt.” Knaack said that the resources spent prosecuting marijuana offenses could be put to better use elsewhere. “In 2016 alone Alabama spent over $22 million on the enforcement of its marijuana possession laws,” Knaack said. “At the same time, the state agency tasked with analyzing forensic evidence in all criminal cases, including violent crimes, faced a crippling backlog. It’s time for Alabama to invest its resources on strategies and programs that will help keep our communities safe—investigating serious crimes and providing substance abuse and mental health programs.” Lisa Graybill, the deputy legal director for the SPLC, said that the war on marijuana continues Alabama’s legacy of racial injustice. “Alabama continues to shoot itself in the pocketbook with harsh, outdated laws that create needless suffering for its residents, particularly for black people who are still living with the legacy of Jim Crow,” said Graybill. “It’s past time to reform laws that perpetuate discrimination.” Graybill said that it is time for Alabama to reform the laws that prohibit the use and possession of cannabis. “Alabama should follow the lead of other states that have realized marijuana prohibition is self-defeating and counterproductive,” Graybill said. “We’re draining scarce resources and driving people further into poverty—and there’s no public safety benefit. Even Mississippi has decriminalized small amounts of marijuana.” The post Report Shows Alabama Disproportionately Targets Black Cannabis Users appeared first on High Times. View the full article
  14. Last Wednesday, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced it was seeking public comments regarding “abuse potential, actual abuse, medical usefulness, trafficking, and impact of scheduling changes on availability for medical use ….” of cannabis and other substances currently under international review. If you want to take FDA up on its offer, go here. The FDA’s announcement was released as the World Health Organization (“WHO”)’s Expert Committee on Drug Dependence (“ECDD”) prepares to discuss the medical and legal status of cannabis in a November meeting in Geneva, Switzerland. Specifically, the ECDD is evaluating whether to recommend that certain international restrictions be placed or removed on the plant. As we have previously discussed (here and here), marijuana is currently classified as a Schedule I substance under U.S. federal law and international drug treaties. Schedule I drugs, substances, and chemicals are defined as drugs with no currently accepted medical use and with a high potential for abuse. Consequently, nations that are signatories to these international drug treaties are expected to treat cannabis as an illegal substance. However, depending on the outcome of the survey conducted by the ECDD, the November meeting may bring us one step closer to the rescheduling of cannabis, giving signatories the freedom to decriminalize, and possibly legalize, the plant within their own borders. Legalization advocates are hopeful that a careful review of the medical values of the plant will result in the rescheduling of marijuana. Groups like the Marijuana Policy Project intend to submit scientific and anecdotal evidence detailing the benefits of cannabis. Their optimism is undoubtedly fueled by previous ECDD recommendations to deschedule “preparations considered to be pure CBD,” the non-psychoactive constituent of the cannabis plant, which the ECDD concluded did not appear to have abuse potential nor present a significant risk to the public health. However, even if the ECDD report were to favor the legalization of cannabis, it would take some time to implement this global reform. In its announcement, the FDA explained that it will not make any recommendations to the ECDD regarding whether cannabis should be subject to international controls at the moment. Instead, it will defer such consideration until the ECDD has made official considerations to the Commission on Narcotic Drugs, which are expected to be made in mid-2019. Moreover, the FDA declared that any position it takes on this issue will be preceded by another Federal Register notice, soliciting public comments. Of course, the United States could deschedule marijuana before the international community takes that step—after all Canada, Uruguay and Portugal have managed to go around the international ban. According to a recent Fox News interview of Representative Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), the Trump administration intends to relax federal marijuana laws and regulations after the midterm election. Rep. Rohrabacher declared he has been “talking to people inside the White House” about ending cannabis prohibition and that he has been “reassured” that the president will stick to his promise to protect state cannabis laws from federal interference. While it is premature to determine whether the Trump Administration will soon loosen, and possibly legalize, federal cannabis laws, it is clear that the international effort to study the medical and legal status of cannabis are promising steps. View the full article
  15. Winnipeg police are off to a white hot start so far, as the first weed-related traffic ticket has already been issued. The first ticket was issued by Winnipeg Police Service traffic division inspector Gord Spado around 1AM when he found somebody getting lit in their car — that’s only 59 minutes after the green good stuff was legalized. “An hour into legality, and something illegal,” said Inspector Spado. Winnipeg police quickly took to Twitter to share the news. So … this happened early this morning: A Consume Cannabis in a Motor Vehicle ticket was issued. Just like alcohol, consuming cannabis is legal – and like alcohol, consuming it in your vehicle is **not**. #KnowYourRole pic.twitter.com/RR9AUBv4RN — Winnipeg Police (@wpgpolice) October 17, 2018 The tweet garnered a ton of negative responses pretty quickly, with many people seemingly upset with the new rule. One user even went so far as to ask if Spado could have been sure that it was even THC that the perp was smoking. How did you know that this cannabis had THC in it? Is it ok to smoke Pot without THC in your car? Some people use pot for the CBD? Would you ticket someone for a non-alcohol beer in their car? — Blair Zingle (@BlairZingle) October 17, 2018 Although highly probable that the cannabis was purchased illegally (it only became legal at 12:01, so it’s unlikely somebody could get their hands on it that quickly), the ticket only pertained to the fact that the weed was consumed in a car. “It doesn’t look like anything was pursued as far as the illicit component of it goes,” said Spado. “I think that’s just the education piece of our members, knowing where to go with that. It’s still new to us, too, right, so we’re still learning.” According to Spado, it will be hard to say for sure if weed was acquired illegally. Same goes for edibles, as it will become increasingly difficult to tell if the snacks people consume in their car are actually just regular snacks. “If somebody has an edible in a car and we can prove it, that’s also an offense,” he said. “Sometimes we can [prove it], sometimes we can’t. And when edibles are legally produced commercially, then it might be a little bit easier, because there’ll be packaging and things like that that might be visible.” Don’t let the passive Canadian stereotype fool you — the perpetrator was hit with a hefty ticket in the amount of $672, which isn’t even the most expensive marijuana-related fine you can receive. While a driver carrying cannabis on them can rack up a $237 ticket, consuming cannabis in a car either on the highway or off-road will run you $672. Same goes for smoking or vaping in a public place or provincial park. These fines are nothing in comparison, however, to growing non-medical cannabis in a Manitoba County residence or supplying it to a person under 19. Those things will cost you a cool $2,542. It also goes without saying that driving under the influence can be dangerous; a recent study done at McGill University showed that waiting at least six hours after consumption is the safest time to drive. So, take it slow, Canada. No need to ruin a good thing right away. The post One Hour Into Legalization, Canadian Cops Write First Weed-Related Traffic Ticket appeared first on High Times. View the full article
  16. As Canada legalized the recreational use of marijuana nationwide on Wednesday, government officials announced a simplified and cost-free process to receive a pardon for past minor pot offenses. Scott Bardsley, a spokesperson for Canada’s Office of the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, told ABC News that a law was being drafted to streamline pardons for possession of less than 30 grams of cannabis. “We will be introducing legislation to introduce an expedited pardon process, with no fee, for those with previous convictions for simple possession of cannabis,” Bardsley said. Bardsley said that pardons for past low-level pot crimes were in the interest of justice and fairness. “The reason we’re doing this is because it’s now something that’s legal, and the consequences of the criminal record are disproportionate to the gravity of the offense,” said Bardsley. He also noted that the pardons would only apply to crimes of possession for personal use and “not for trafficking. We’re not talking about dealers or producers or anyone of that sort,” Bardsley said. Under current Canadian law, those with minor marijuana convictions can apply for a pardon of their offense after staying free of other criminal charges for a period of five years. But the process is pricey, costing CA$631 (about US$480). There will be no charge for cannabis possession pardons under the new policy announced on Wednesday. Offenders will be required to apply in order to receive a pardon, however. Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said at a press conference on Wednesday morning that pardons for minor convictions are in line with changing public opinion about cannabis. “We will be introducing a new law to make things fairer for Canadians who have been convicted for possession of cannabis,” Goodale said. “It becomes a matter of basic fairness when older laws from a previous era are changed.” Recreational Pot Now Legal in Canada The announcement of easier pardons for pot possession convictions coincided with the enactment of the Cannabis Act, or Bill C-45, making Canada the first G7 nation to legalize the recreational use of marijuana. As recreational sales of cannabis became legal early Wednesday morning, Ian Power became one of the first people in Canada to buy a gram of legal recreational pot. After making his purchase at a Tweed dispensary in St. John’s, Newfoundland at five seconds after midnight, Power told reporters outside the store that the experience would be a memorable one. “I think it’s one of the biggest moments of my life,” Power said. “There’s a tear in my eye. No more back alleys.” Power added that he intended to keep his purchase, rather than smoking it. “I am going to frame it and hang it on my wall,” Power said. “I’m going to save it forever.” Tom Clarke, who sold marijuana illegally for 30 years, opened a cannabis retail store in Portugal Cove, Newfoundland. He made his first legal sale to his father as customers waiting in line cheered. “This is awesome. I’ve been waiting my whole life for this,” Clarke said. “I am so happy to be living in Canada right now instead of south of the border.” The post No Fee or Waiting Period to Get a Pardon for Past Cannabis Convictions in Canada appeared first on High Times. View the full article
  17. In what is perhaps a good reminder that officers of the law also benefit when cannabis is legalized, the Toronto police force celebrated Canada’s new weed state by laying out a sassy new awareness campaign aimed at your insufferable nosy neighbor. “Asking what to do with your frozen meat during a power outage is not a 911 call,” tweeted the police force in a series of multimedia posts on Tuesday. “Smelling weed coming from your neighbour’s home isn’t either.” Asking what to do with your frozen meat during a power outage is not a 911 call. Smelling weed coming from your neighbour's home isn't either. Cannabis is no longer illegal on October 17, 2018. Consumption is allowed for anyone 19yrs or older. Do not call police for this ^sm pic.twitter.com/6aYhbStarS — Toronto Police (@TorontoPolice) October 16, 2018 The cops’ pointers are the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the massive cultural shift taking place in the country of 36.29 million, where marijuana became legal for possession, sale, and cultivation on Wednesday after Parliament passed Bill C-45 this summer. Canadians may also have to become accustomed to the fact that marijuana products are probably at the top of many of their loved ones’ holiday gift lists—Canada’s census organization has estimated that there will be some $1.02 billion in sales of weed substance by the end of 2018. On a more serious note, governmental organization Health Canada has launched a reasoned campaign that aims to educate teenagers on important subjects like driving while under the influence of weed. Asking police to call your friend because you are out of minutes is not a 911 call. Calling about your neighbour's pot plants isn't either. Cannabis is no longer illegal on October 17, 2018. Up to four cannabis plants will be allowed per household. Do not call police for this ^sm pic.twitter.com/1rUvR9yvcT — Toronto Police (@TorontoPolice) October 16, 2018 Canadian cops are still prohibited from on-the-job toking, but cities like Vancouver, Ottawa, Regina, and Montreal have made it clear that officers are allowed to consume marijuana when they are not on duty. The Canadian military has okay’d the usage of green for soldiers as long as it is not within eight hours of reporting for service. But such permissiveness is not the case everywhere. Calgary has taken a zero tolerance policy on stoner cops, which the police officers’ union has made clear it will fight. Toronto police will not be allowed to consume marijuana within 28 days of serving on active duty. Asking for directions because you're lost is not a 911 call. Reporting an adult smoking a joint isn't either. Cannabis is no longer illegal on October 17, 2018. Consumption is allowed anywhere cigarette smoking is allowed except in a motor vehicle. Do not call police for this ^sm pic.twitter.com/7SoescfLM5 — Toronto Police (@TorontoPolice) October 16, 2018 One hopes that Canadian law officers will now find themselves with more time to deal with important issues well beyond leafy green horticulture—despite the re-training challenges that will need to be undertaken by K-9 units. As police chief Mark Saunders explained, the shift occasions a learning opportunity for all involved. “This change represents a significant transition, not just for members of the Toronto Police Service but for all Canadians,” said Saunders. “Going forward it is important for everyone to take the time to educate themselves on legalisation.” The police officers’ campaign seems to have a good time breaking down a list of time-wasting reasons to bother Canadian 911 operators, including an adult smoking a joint, neighbors growing marijuana, needing directions because you took a wrong turn on the freeway, and running out of minutes on one’s phone. Let this be a reminder to be considerate of emergency operators’ time! The post Canadian Police Urge People to Stop Calling Them About Cannabis appeared first on High Times. View the full article
  18. U.S. border policy on Canadians and marijuana is tough. On the eve of the Canada’s cannabis legalization, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”) held a teleconference to explain the agency’s enforcement policy and field questions from journalists. The on-the-record teleconference featured the head of the CBP’s Office of Field Operations, which has a staff of 28,000+ employees and an operating budget of $5.2 billion to oversee the agency’s operations at 328 ports of entry and air preclearance locations worldwide. CBP officials confirmed that U.S. government policy remains unchanged in the face of cannabis legalization in Canada: past use of, and any affiliation with, cannabis is grounds for getting a lifetime ban from entering the U.S. without a waiver, as explained in a previous post. The key takeaways from the teleconference are as follows: Possession: Individuals attempting to cross the Canadian-U.S. border while possessing marijuana are subject to arrest and prosecution. If prosecution is deferred, the individual is potentially subject to a fine of $5,000. Amnesty or Pardon for Past Use: U.S. law will not recognize any amnesty or pardon by Canadian authorities for cannabis-related convictions. Admitting to a CBP officer that you used marijuana any time before legalization is the equivalent of a formal court conviction for that crime and you will likely be denied entry into the United States. Cannabis Industry Workers: Those who legally work in the Canadian cannabis industry must provide details about their role and convince U.S. border officers that their trip to the U.S. is purely personal. Cannabis workers will likely need to prove that while in the U.S., they will not engage in any networking or strategic meetings, presentations, marketing efforts, or any manufacturing or distribution activities with customers or cannabis industry colleagues. Cannabis Investors: Investors who knowingly financed and furthered the growth of the cannabis industry will almost certainly be denied U.S. entry and they risk a lifetime ban. Exceptions to this rule may be made for individuals whose mutual fund investment portfolio happens to have, without their knowledge, some stock in cannabis companies. There appears to be some latitude at the border for occasional users of marijuana who start using marijuana post-legalization, and can demonstrate to the CBP officer’s satisfaction that they will not consume marijuana while in the U.S., even in states that have legalized it. Testing this theory, however, is for the brave who will put their hand in the crocodile’s mouth after being told that the crocodile does not bite. View the full article
  19. The Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) approved on Tuesday the use of medical marijuana as a treatment for autism. The decision is effective immediately and is “a final action of RIDOH, subject to judicial approval,” according to a report from local media. The health department’s decision places several requirements on doctors who decide to recommend medical marijuana for their autistic patients. Physicians are directed to consider “pharmaceutic grade forms of pure CBD” before recommending medical marijuana. Doctors must also document the reasons for using medical marijuana and the decision not to use pharmaceutical alternatives. They must also consult with specialists in the fields of child psychiatry, pediatric neurology, or developmental pediatrics and make an assessment of progress at least three months after the patient’s initial dosage of medicinal cannabis. Doctors must discontinue the use of medical marijuana if they do not see an improvement in the patient’s condition. Joseph Wendelken, a RIDOH public information officer, said the requirements were intended “to ensure that the patient’s physician is consulting with the appropriate subspecialist to evaluate the risks and benefits.” Parents Urge Approval In April, parents petitioned the health department to allow them to use cannabis therapies such as CBD to treat their autistic children, arguing that autism should qualify as a debilitating medical condition. At a hearing on the petition in August, Nicole Cervantes testified that her autistic son had been banging his head so hard his forehead became misshapen. When she began treating him with CBD, however, his condition greatly improved. “He has been able to focus more,” Cervantes said. “He no longer bangs his head.” She said that she hoped the board would help her find the best treatment options for her son. “If I don’t fight for him, who does he have?” Cervantes asked. Dr. Randal Rockney of Hasbro Children’s Hospital in Providence also testified at the hearing. He said that the use of medical marijuana therapies could help to “manage the behavioral manifestations” of autism. He also said that the use of CBD as a treatment for autism warranted further investigation. “A trial of such a medication to manage the behavioral manifestations of autism spectrum disorder would be a good idea,” Rockney said. Dr. Henry Sachs, the medical director at Bradley Hospital in Riverside, Rhode Island, said in a statement to local media that he also believed that more research into the use of medical marijuana is needed. “As health care providers, we rely heavily on research findings to demonstrate the efficacy and safety of any new treatment,” Sachs said. “Of course, those standards would need to be met around the use of marijuana treatment for patients with autism. Research is currently lacking in that area.” Medical Cannabis In Vermont Vermont approved the use of medical marijuana for registered patients with a qualifying debilitating medical condition and a doctor’s recommendation in 2004. The relatively short list of qualifying conditions includes cancer, HIV and AIDS, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, PTSD, glaucoma, seizure disorders, and chronic pain. The program currently has approximately 4,500 registered patients. The post Rhode Island Approves Medical Marijuana as Autism Treatment appeared first on High Times. View the full article
  20. U.S. border policy on Canadians and marijuana is tough.On the eve of the Canada’s cannabis legalization, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”) held a teleconference to explain the agency’s enforcement policy and field questions from journalists. The on-the-record teleconference featured the head of the CBP’s Office of Field Operations (“OFO”), which has a staff of 28,000+ employees and an operating budget of $5.2 billion to oversee the agency’s operations at 328 ports of entry and air preclearance locations worldwide. CBP officials confirmed that U.S. government policy remains unchanged in the face of cannabis legalization in Canada: past use of, and any affiliation with, cannabis is grounds for getting a lifetime ban from entering the U.S. without a waiver, as explained in a previous post. The key takeaways from the teleconference are as follows: Possession: Individuals attempting to cross the Canadian-US border while possessing marijuana are subject to arrest and prosecution. If prosecution is deferred, the individual is subject to a fine of $5,000. Amnesty or Pardon for Past Use: U.S. law will not recognize any amnesty or pardon by Canadian authorities for cannabis-related convictions. Admitting to a CBP officer that you used marijuana any time before legalization is the equivalent of a formal court conviction for that crime and you will likely be denied entry into the United States. Cannabis Industry Workers: Those who legally work in the Canadian cannabis industry must provide details about their role and convince U.S. border officers that their trip to the U.S. is purely personal. Cannabis workers will likely need to prove that while in the U.S., they will not engage in any networking or strategic meetings, presentations, marketing efforts, or any manufacturing or distribution activities with customers or cannabis industry colleagues. Cannabis Investors: Investors who knowingly financed and furthered the growth of the cannabis industry will almost certainly be denied U.S. entry and they risk a lifetime ban. Exceptions to this rule may be made for individuals whose mutual fund investment portfolio happens to have, without their knowledge, some stock in cannabis companies. There appears to be some latitude at the border for occasional users of marijuana who start using marijuana post-legalization, and can demonstrate to the CBP officer’s satisfaction that they will not consume marijuana while in the U.S., even in states that have legalized it. Testing this theory, however, is for the brave who will put their hand in the crocodile’s mouth after being told that the crocodile does not bite. View the full article
  21. After winning nearly unanimous approval from Michigan lawmakers, a bill banning the possession, sale and consumption of cannabis-infused alcoholic drinks arrive on the desk of Gov. Rick Snyder, who signed it into law on Tuesday. Now, the state of Michigan, a state without legal adult-use cannabis, has a law on the books prohibiting marijuana-infused beer, wine, liquor and mixed drinks. The new law carves out a space for researchers to study cannabis-infused alcoholic beverages. But there are no indications any such research is currently underway in Michigan. Michigan Just Outlawed a Cannabis Product That Doesn’t Exist Michigan legalized cannabis for medical use ten years ago. And this November, Michigan voters will have the chance to make it the tenth state in the U.S. to legalize adult-use cannabis. Meanwhile, state regulators are scrambling to approve a backlog of cannabis business licenses on a compressed timeline that threatens to close down nearly one hundred dispensaries. But considering these two pressing realities, a recent expansion of Michigan’s medical use program and an impending vote on adult-use legalization, many are wondering why the state would legislate against a reality that doesn’t exist yet. House Bill 4668 amends two sections of the state’s liquor laws. The first change is a fairly technical one about the state liquor commission’s use of public funds. The second change addresses weed-infused alcohol. The bill states, “a person shall not use or offer for use, possess, sell, or offer for sale marihuana-infused [sic] beer, wine, mixed wine drink, mixed spirit drink, or spirits.” Anyone who breaks the law is guilty of a misdemeanor. Research hospitals, state institutions, private colleges and universities, and pharmaceutical and biotech companies conducting research into cannabis-infused drinks are exempt from the new rule. Asked why lawmakers felt the need for such a bill, Sen. Rick Jones (R-Grand Ledge) pointed to Colorado. “This is happening in Colorado and […] we’re going to end up with it here.” Jones went on to call cannabis-infused alcoholic beverages a “recipe for disaster.” But Jones is only half right about Colorado. Colorado does have THC-infused wine and beer. But these products are non-alcoholic. Similarly, alcoholic beverages are available with CBD-infusions, but not THC. The reason for this is simple: retail cannabis shops aren’t licensed to sell booze. Vice versa, liquor stores don’t have the license they need to sell weed. Interestingly enough, infused drinks and foods are slated to be the biggest sub-industries in the cannabis space. Michigan Will Vote on Adult-Use This November In sum, cannabis-infused alcoholic drinks aren’t legal anywhere. Even in states with legal weed, allowing unlicensed retailers to sell alcohol or cannabis is a surefire way to invite federal enforcement actions. Sure, there’s nothing stopping anyone from creating their own home-brewed cannabis cocktails. So far, however, regulated retail products containing both THC and ethanol simply don’t exist. Or in the words of Michigan NORML chapter board member Rick Thompson, the law affects “zero people in Michigan”. And that would be true whether or not voters legalize adult-use this November. Of course, cannabis-infused alcoholic drinks could exist in the future. Both Canada and California are supporting research efforts into cannabis-infused drinks. And flagship beverage companies like Constellation Brands are beginning to partner with cannabis producers to develop such products. The post Governor of Michigan Officially Bans Cannabis-Infused Alcoholic Drinks appeared first on High Times. View the full article
  22. Pot Bot

    Canada Legalizes Cannabis!

    Congratulations to all of our Canadian readers! Today is the big day! Whether you are a cannabis business owner, consumer, lawyer, doctor, advocate, or even an opponent, you can surely appreciate this historic day. Canada has bucked international trends and become the first North American country to legalize recreational, adult-use marijuana. Canada has instantly become an international leader in marijuana policy. If states like Washington, Oregon, and California are any indication, there will surely be bumps along the way, but Canadians should be excited about what comes next. For those celebrating today, be safe and enjoy responsibly! For more on Canadian cannabis, check out these posts: Bumps Ahead: The U.S. Border After Canada Cannabis Legalization Cannabis Trademarks in Canada are Attainable, Even for U.S. Companies The Potential for Cannabis Trademarks in Canada is Huge Vancouver, B.C. to Allow Off-Work Marijuana Use for Police How Canadian Companies Invest in U.S. Cannabis Investing in Marijuana Businesses Abroad ICYMI: Canada Drops Marijuana Legalization Bills View the full article
  23. A cannabis delivery service is celebrating the legalization of weed in Canada by delivering free munchies to as many people in Toronto as possible on October 17. And on top of the free snacks, the promotion will be even more exciting with a Willy Wonka-style lottery for the first day of legal recreational pot. Cannabis delivery platform Eddy is sponsoring the contest and is inviting potential customers to sign up for the giveaway on its website in order to be added to the list to receive free munchies. Contestants can increase their chances and move up the queue by sharing the promotion on their Instagram account and tagging friends. Those lucky enough to receive free munchies will also be in the running for an extra special prize as “four randomly selected winners will receive a Lucky Green Ticket which will entitle you to a tour of a local weed factory (also known as a licensed producer cultivation facility, but that doesn’t roll off the tongue),” according to the webpage for the promotion. Restrictions on Cannabis Advertising With the legalization of recreational cannabis in Canada this week, companies wishing to compete in the newly legal market will have to employ creative strategies like the Eddy promotion to gain the attention of consumers. But Bill C-45, as the country’s pot legalization measure is known, includes strict restrictions on advertising. The rules prohibit testimonials, celebrity endorsements, brand mascots, and glamorous images. But the laws lack specifics, which is causing confusion for both cannabis businesses and advertising firms, according to Scott Hulbert, the managing director of promotional products company Ideavation. “It’s still really gray,” Hulbert told Canada’s Advertising Specialty Institute. “It’s a moving target, as far as legalities, restrictions and advertising opportunities. Will it be like tobacco, which is very restricted in its advertising, or alcohol, which has been given more of a carte blanche? We just don’t know.” Hulbert said that licensed producers (LPs) will have the expertise necessary to navigate the regulations governing cannabis advertising. “These are not mom-and-pop operations,” Hulbert said. “There are private equity firms behind these pot companies. They have deep resources. It’s a cash-rich industry, and there’s so much money backing the LPs and retailers. So there’s tons of opportunity for promotional products, as long as the government allows it. I think at first there will be a lot of guerrilla marketing and companies will advertise how they want until they’re told they’re not allowed to do it that way.” Pete Thuss is a marketing partner at Talbot Marketing. He said that while he isn’t currently seeking clients in the cannabis industry, he believes that there will be some opportunities for savvy marketers who are quick to enter the new market. “I think the excitement is there and I do believe this will open a new market for the promotional products industry,” Thuss said. “At first there will be a big push to gain market share and to raise awareness for those retail outlets carrying the product, probably for the first 10 to 12 months. But once it settles down I think it will slow.” The post Canadian Delivery Service Announces Willy Wonka Lottery to Celebrate Legalization appeared first on High Times. View the full article
  24. In the United States, the ongoing federal prohibition against cannabis creates some interesting legal contradictions. In states with legal adult-use, for example, federal prohibition creates pockets of land where federal law holds and state law doesn’t. Basically, any land the federal government controls is under federal jurisdiction. And that means places in the U.S. like national parks and forests, wilderness preserves and wildlife refuges are no-cannabis zones, even if they reside in a state, like California, with legal weed. North of the border, however, will be a different story. Under the Cannabis Act of 2018, cannabis consumption will be permitted in Canada’s National Parks. Campers and Hikers Can Legally Consume Cannabis in Canada’s National Parks There are currently 39 National Parks in addition to eight National Park Reserves in Canada. These parks and reserves cover about 126,700 square miles of the country, or about 3.3 percent of its total area. And there is at least one in each of Canada’s thirteen provinces and territories. Canada’s park system is also immensely popular. From 2016 to 2017, Parks Canada says 15,449,250 people visited the country’s national parks and reserves. And once Canada’s Cannabis Act goes into effect tomorrow, October 17, those visitors will be able to consume cannabis on park grounds. Just two days ahead of legalization, Parks Canada announced a rule change to permit campers to smoke cannabis. The authorization applies specifically to registered campsites in National Parks. Hikers will also be able to enjoy cannabis on National Park hiking trails and anywhere in the untrammeled backcountry. But visitors won’t be able to smoke weed in all park common areas, like picnic shelters and playgrounds. And that’s to help minimize children’s exposure to cannabis smoke. Canada’s National Parks are A Cannabis Destination There will be some restrictions to cannabis consumption at certain National Park facilities. At public day-use areas, cannabis consumption will be subject to provincial rules regarding consuming weed in public. But rules regarding public consumption can also vary from town to town within the same province. In Alberta, for example, the massive Banff National Park, Canada’s most popular, won’t allow visitors to consume weed in shared public areas. But at day-use areas around Lake Louise in Alberta, public consumption will be totally okay. Keeping track of which town has which rules could get tricky, but parks should have signs posted, and visitors can look up information online. Still, given the federal legalization of cannabis, it’s unlikely that Canada’s National Parks will become any less permissive than they were prior to October 17. In on-the-street-interviews with Ontario residents about Parks Canada’s decision, many said smoking weed in National Parks is already extremely common. Tomorrow, it will also be legal. The post Cannabis Consumption Will Be Permitted in Canada’s National Parks appeared first on High Times. View the full article
  25. With less than a month until the election, recent polls show that support has faded for Utah’s medical marijuana ballot measure, particularly among members of the Church of Latter-day Saints. Many attribute the change to a pledge made by the governor and cannabis advocates to push through a legislative compromise regardless of voters’ conclusion on Prop 2. The Salt Lake Tribune-Hinckley Institute of Politics poll suggests that slightly above 50 percent of Utah voters now support the ballot measure, a 15 percent dip from a similar survey conducted in June. Though 35 percent of the most recent poll’s respondents still indicated that they are strongly in favor of Prop 2, a full 46 percent said they were in opposition and only three percent stated that they had yet to form an opinion. It would appear that Salt Lake City’s scripture-quoting pro-Prop 2 billboard has not been able to convince the state’s massive Mormon population. Members of the Church of Latter-day Saints showed a dramatic decrease in support for the measure. Among those who identified as very active in the church community, the percentage of individuals who said they were strongly in favor dipped from 25 to 11 percent between June and October. The drop is unlikely to be due to their church’s opposition, which has been constant throughout the ballot measure campaign. 55 percent of active members stated in the survey that the church’s position made no difference in how they personally planned on voting. Why The Sudden Dip? Hinckley Institute director Jason Perry told the Salt Lake Tribune that fading support is most likely due to Governor Gary Herbert’s recent announcement, which had to do with an agreement with state leaders and marijuana advocates that a special legislative session will be held next month. The session, Herbert says, will come up with a separate plan for Utah medical marijuana that would involve a state-run distribution system or a limited number of “cannabis pharmacies.” Opponents have taken Prop 2 to task for its “Wild West format,” expressing concern that it does not guard against black market sales, and surmising that the plan would lay the groundwork for recreational marijuana in the state. The tentative agreement hyped by the governor would axe timeline guarantees from the ballot measure. It also promises to expand access in certain regards, allowing patients without easy access to a dispensary to grow their own weed and giving non-card holders who meet certain criteria a legal defense should they be faced with drug charges. But not all are convinced that the plan is trustworthy when it comes to increasing access to marijuana for those who need it, citing the legislature’s reluctance to pass cannabis bills in the past. “[Lawmakers] could write the most perfect cannabis bill across the nation and I still would not trust that they are actually going to implement it,” commented Christine Stenquist, founder of cannabis advocacy organization TRUCE, to High Times earlier this month. The Tribune-Hinckley Institute poll found the highest level of support for the ballot measure back in January, when 76 percent of respondents indicated they would vote for Prop 2. This most recent inquiry polled 822 registered voters between October 3 to 9 and October 11 to 12, and has a 3.4 percentage point margin of error. The post Confidence in Utah’s Medical Marijuana Initiative is Waning appeared first on High Times. View the full article
  26. As the legalization of cannabis comes to Canada this week, Facebook has ended its “shadow ban” of cannabis-themed pages. Last week the social media platform announced the changes, which became effective on October 11. Prior to that time, search results were filtered to exclude pages with words such as “cannabis” and “marijuana” in the title. Even pages for government regulators like California’s Bureau of Cannabis Control were affected by the ban. Additionally, many cannabis pages were deleted without warning by Facebook. Sarah Pollack, a spokeswoman for Facebook, told MarketWatch via email that the new policy will allow cannabis pages for legitimate businesses and organizations while minimizing illegal drug sales. “We are constantly working to improve our search results so that we minimize the opportunity for people to attempt illicit drug sales while showing content that is allowed on Facebook and is relevant to what you are searching,” Pollack said. “When searching ‘cannabis’ or ‘marijuana,’ Pages that have been verified for authenticity will now be included in search results.” New Verification Process Pollack said that cannabis organizations and businesses who complete a verification process will now be included in results of searches of those words. The company will continue to monitor the platform to ensure it is not used for illegal sales of cannabis and other drugs. “This is a change in our tactics when it comes to what is discoverable when using Facebook Search. Our Community Standards make it very clear that buying, selling or trading non-medical, pharmaceutical drugs, or marijuana is not allowed on Facebook,” Pollack said to Forbes. “People largely find this content that violates our policies by searching for it, so we have made it harder for people to find content that facilitates the sale of drugs on our site. We also look to make content that does not violate our policies discoverable in Search. We use a combination of the latest technology in search ranking and our team of reviewers who work 24/7 to minimize the opportunity for illicit drug sales. We’re constantly auditing and improving this process in order to do better.” Social Media Struggles Jacqueline McGowan is the director of local licensing and business development for K Street Consulting, a Sacramento based lobbying firm. She created a private Facebook group to track cannabis regulation in California in 2016, but intentionally left out any reference to marijuana in the name. McGowan told High Times via electronic message that Facebook’s new policy is a big change for the industry. “Cannabis companies have struggled to keep their social media platforms alive for years,” McGowan said. “I’ve watched as countless pages and endless content have been deleted; and I knew from the inception of my group, that I needed to protect it from becoming obsolete. As a first consideration, not having the words marijuana or cannabis in my group’s title was much more important to its potential survival, than to boast that we track cannabis regulations. Survival became a much more vital goal and I have been able to maintain the group thus far, because of it. Now that Facebook has retreated from its restrictive stance on cannabis, we are becoming less handcuffed in our ability to inform, educate, and market to our audience.” The post Ahead of Cannabis Legalization in Canada, Facebook Lifts Ban on Weed Pages appeared first on High Times. View the full article
  27. Canada’s cannabis legalization creates yet another wrinkle in the relations between the U.S. and its northern neighbor. U.S. Attorney General Jeffrey Sessions harbors a well known hatred towards anything cannabis and he clearly has no love for Canada’s Cannabis Act either. What will this mean though for Canadians who are 100% legally involved in Canada’s cannabis industry when coming to the United States? The answer came last week, when U.S. Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”) issued its Statement on Canada’s Legalization of Marijuana and Crossing the Border: [a] Canadian citizen working in or facilitating the proliferation of the legal marijuana industry in Canada, coming to the U.S. for reasons unrelated to the marijuana industry will generally be admissible to the U.S. [H]owever, if a traveler is found to be coming to the U.S. for reason related to the marijuana industry, they may be deemed inadmissible. (Emphasis supplied). Though this statement is a welcome surprise, it still provokes skepticism from U.S. immigration lawyers who have seen countless foreign nationals banned for life from entering the U.S. because they once used marijuana or were once associated with the cannabis industry. Under the U.S. Controlled Substances Act (“CSA”), passed by U.S. Congress in May 1971, cannabis is classified as a Schedule I drug, which is reserved for substances that: (i) have a high potential for abuse; (ii) have no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the U.S.; and (iii) lack accepted safety for use under medical supervision. U.S. federal law – more specifically the Immigration and Nationality Act (“INA”) — governs entry into the United States and under the INA, a “conviction” for controlled substances renders a foreign national inadmissible into the US. INA’s definition of “conviction” expands beyond a formal finding of guilt by a court of law to include instances where a foreign national admits to the essential elements of the crime under oath to a U.S. consular or CBP officer. For example, by answering “yes” to the question, “Have you ever smoked pot?” Even a foreign national who has never consumed marijuana could be declared inadmissible under the INA based on his or her involvement in a legal cannabis business, either as “a knowing aider, abettor, assister, conspirator, or colluder with others” or “an illicit trafficker” of a controlled substance. Earlier in the year, we saw two examples of this when Canadian businesspersons Sam Znaimer and Jay Evans were banned for life from entering the U.S. because of their intended affiliations with U.S. cannabis industry. Of course, lying about the use of or affiliation with marijuana would also render a foreign national inadmissible and you should avoid this at all costs. CBP has the legal authority to search electronic devices, and if it finds conflicting and/or incriminatory evidence about a foreign national’s actual or intended activities, that foreign national may be refused entry into the U.S. or even given a lifetime ban. Once declared inadmissible, a foreign national needs a waiver of inadmissibility from the CBP to enter the U.S. These waivers are discretionary, costly, time-consuming, and limited in validity to between one and five years. Even with a waiver, a foreign national will typically face secondary questioning and delays each time he or she attempts to enter the U.S. Foreign nationals have also been historically denied entry for profiting from the drug trade. Because of this cannabis lawyers were concerned that virtually all foreign nationals lawfully engaged in Canada’s cannabis industry would be deemed inadmissible even if coming to the U.S. for purely personal reasons. The recent statement from the CBP appears to exempt individuals who seek to enter the U.S. for reasons unrelated to cannabis. However, the process of admitting foreign nationals into the U.S. remains discretionary and subjective and only time will tell just how exactly the new policy will be applied at U.S. ports of entry. View the full article
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