Burb, Green Label and Coffee & Kush: Partnership over Competition

Everyone involved in the legal industry in California has seen, while being green with envy, the moves happening up in Canada. Our neighboring country to the north legalized cannabis seemingly ages ago at this point (almost four years?), though their roll-out hasn’t been without its challenges.

While I believe we all celebrate the increased access to the plant we care for so dearly, silly federal restrictions aimed at “protecting the kids” have certainly dampened the celebrations. Though they may have more access on paper, it’s actually been more restrictive to build a brand that resonates up there.

Down here in California, however, despite still facing a federal prohibition that requires all its THC wares to remain within the state, it’s clear that the sky’s the limit when building a brand name here. With many of our elite, commanding, top-dollar the world over, even the government can’t contain the hype that’s built off of what most consider to be the best bud in the world. In fact, many don’t even have to have thorough brand identities to pop—just the right goods.

So what would happen if Canada and California combined forces? Could the prolific BC bud make the same kind of waves down here that it has up north for so long? Could the California market make a Canadian brand pop in a way that resonates internationally? Could a brand that finds success down here ride the wave across the provinces? A new amalgamation of brands is betting on it.

Burb Co-Founder John Kaye
Courtesy Burb

Enter Burb

Founded in early 2018, Burb is a British Columbia-based, culture-minded cannabis retailer and merchandiser of quality goods. Led by John Kaye, who serves as the brand’s CEO and Creative Director, the brand was initially founded to support artists and creative movements.

As John tells me, “In a time of corporate cannabis takeover, we set out to build a brand that kept the bridge between cannabis and the arts alive, so we built weed stores that gave us plenty of cash flows to put back into the community.”

Originally born in Minsk, Russia, and having lived in Israel, Vancouver, and Los Angeles, Mr. Kaye is something of an artist himself. Having toured across North America playing in a four-piece rock ‘n’ roll band in his youth, it was the business side of things that interested him the most.

After going back to school and getting his diploma, and after a brief gig in finance left him creatively starved, he called his BCIT classmate, Clayton Chessa, with the idea of building a cannabis testing lab.

After a successful exit with their lab, Northern Vine, Kaye saw an opportunity to get back to his roots while supporting a community that was losing its grip in the face of legalization. With Clayton by his side, and with the help of another childhood friend, Steve Dowsley, who had just sold his previous company, the trio started Burb.

“For me, a great brand is defined as a real community. It’s not the logo. It’s not the packaging. It’s on-the-ground relationships—late nights and being in the fucking trenches. You say you’re a ‘lifestyle’ brand? Show me,” John explained.

Burb
Courtesy Burb

What started as a Canadian pipe dream, a lifestyle shop and dispensary to lead, as opposed to follow, the culture, evolved into a full-fledged lifestyle brand. Now with five shop licenses, three of which are already operating Burb-branded dispensaries in Vancouver, with three more on the way—including the upcoming first-ever dispensary on a college campus at the University of British Columbia, Burb has rapidly established itself as a formidable player in the legal market up north.

Alongside their cannabis retail business, the team established a media arm to produce content from industry-leading creators like Paper Magazine founder David Hershkovits, and a merchandise line that includes apparel and smoking equipment you’ll actually want to have around.

What’s better, each store aims to provide a unique experience compared to other cannabis retailers. The team is hard at work building their evolution of the retail experience, a creative exploration site, which, while providing retail and merchandise sales on the first two floors, will have two more above, built exclusively for artists, by artists. Featuring specific cultural cornerstones, like music studios, and even potentially basketball courts in the future, it’s clear that pushing things forward was always part of the game plan.

 “At Burb, we’re honoring the legacy and designing the future of cannabis culture” Kaye stated matter of factly.

“Creating My Own Destiny”

Although things have been moving quite well up north, the team at Burb couldn’t help thinking there was more room to flex, both creatively and culturally. In an effort to skirt some of the restrictions plaguing them back home, the gang started working towards establishing roots south of their border down here in California.

Problem Wearing Burb’s Forthcoming Fall Collection at Hall of Flowers
Courtesy Burb

Having been connected with Los Angeles artist and producer Problem for his ‘4 the Low’ music video shoot, it seemed like the stars had started to align.

“For us, there’s a big crossover to the music space. We were already doing it. When Problem’s team approached us to be in his video with Wiz, we started to consider the bigger opportunity, especially after learning about the cannabis business he was building in Cali.” John continued.

What started as a conversation around product placement in a music video quickly snowballed. Burb was looking to make a play down here, Problem was looking to further dip his feet into the space, and it just so happened that Problem’s wife Daphne knew a woman named Chanel, who had an opp set up with her friend Kelly and her husband, Jason McKnight, who he had already heard was a real OG. The pieces were falling into place on their own.

In that vein, let’s zoom out a second and take a look at the other players here.

Coffee & Kush

Problem, born Jason Martin, had already lived several lives himself by this point. Raised in Compton, he surprisingly never planned to be a rapper, or a cannabis entrepreneur. Problem actually grew up wanting to play basketball. In fact, that’s where his name comes from.

“They used to call me a ‘Problem’ on the court!” he told me.

After realizing that basketball might not go according to plan, music—which at first was purely for fun, and impressing women, of course—became something that took more and more of his time. Eventually, it became the focus.

Now, this isn’t a piece on his storied career as an independent artist, but it’s worth noting that after being monetized by other brands throughout his career, Problem saw an opportunity with his last contracted album to utilize all his efforts to build something for himself and for his community.

Originally conceptualized as a merchandise line, Coffee & Kush has always been more of a lifestyle brand—despite how overused that term has become, this one’s it. The thing is, this wasn’t always his lifestyle, so just how much of a difference that equation makes is all the clearer for him.

Courtesy Burb

You see, Problem didn’t start to consume until he was having his first child. While he has memories of the plant dating back to childhood, having grown up with a mother who was growing and smoking as long as he could remember, he didn’t see the allure when he was young, especially with an eye on the NBA. However, it was ironically his mother who eventually got him to give it a shot.

“My mom was the one who was like, ‘You need to smoke. You’re taking on a whole lot at a very young age.” He explained, “So I tried it, and it became part of my lifestyle, in my day to day. All that shit I’ve seen since the early 80s, so to me, weed has never been wrong, I just didn’t want to do the shit my mom did,” he continued. “But the system was running me through it … Then it all happened at the same time. I’m smoking, doin’ music. Smoking, doing music.”

“Let Me Pimp Me For A Second”

Having found success with his music career, Problem began to set new sights for himself. Understanding how his creative content could be used to propel products, the rapper set his sights on diversifying his offering.

“It just came to me: Coffee & Kush. This is what I’m rapping about all day, because this is what I’m doing all day. What I’m using to finish this album.” Problem explained.

“It was really just a unique way to brand the music. Then I figured, so many companies have used me to sell their products, if I’m going to start talking about Coffee & Kush all the time, I need to have my own products. I use my own content to push my own products, not the other way around.”

Before even exploring the cannabis route, Problem had two products almost immediately ready to launch alongside the project: Coffee & Kush mugs (with a bowl fashioned into the mug so you can smoke while you drink), and Green Hour Coffee (sold exclusively through Harun Coffee in LA).

It wasn’t until his friend Mike Asseraf suggested a preroll line that things really started to take off. After putting the pieces together for the Burb video, Problem remembered a story his wife had told him about Kelly’s husband …

Green Label Rx Founder Jason McKnight
Courtesy Burb

Becoming A Pharmacist

Of all the players in this new squad, likely the most deserving of his spot is legacy operator Jason McKnight. Born in Los Angeles, and having moved to Northern California at a young age, Jason has been proliferating the plant since 1996—long before the glamorous industry we all hear about today.

Although he didn’t begin to build his own cultivations until 2001, much like Problem, Jason became familiar with the plant at a very young age. Living with family members who dealt as their primary source of income, cannabis was originally just a way for him to make ends meet.

“It was a survival tool.” Jason explains. “I wanted to make some money. It was a hustle, I didn’t even smoke weed at first. I didn’t want to do drugs. I had seen drugs destroy lives. I was going to play football.”

“But it became something that I loved,” he continues. “I remember the day I smoked … Football doesn’t always pan out. So I was stressed out; I was by myself, and I smoked some weed. My life changed, instantly. It was the medicine I needed in life to really calm me down. And then that became something that I loved.”

His love, plus his fortunate position of being in the right place at the right time, lit the fire.

“I was someone that was from Northern California at a time when there wasn’t good weed in LA. I already knew everybody from Football, but then I became the plug!” Jason recounted excitedly. “I was always wanting to try to advance myself in life, whether through cannabis or hard work. Whatever it is, I’m gonna work hard at it, but I just felt like cannabis was the thing, the future.”

A feeling that he doubled down on when a friend approached him with a $6,400 pound of OG, and he realized that the need for indoor cultivation would skyrocket.

“2001 is when I got my first plants … I was self-taught at that point because indoor cultivation, that wasn’t information that people shared. It was very hush-hush. I perfected it, learning the hard way, going through the ups and downs. It wasn’t always a success.”

“But back then, if you had five, or man, 10 pounds of [indoor] product, buyers would go crazy. There was not enough flower.”

It was at a High Times Cannabis Cup in San Bernardino, ironically the event where Problem performed, that Jason realized he needed to begin branding his work, and Green Label RX was born.

Courtesy Burb

The Dues Paid for Green Label

Despite following the rules set forth by the state at that time, scaling up proved to be a devastating blow for McKnight. After obtaining a delivery license with his wife Kelly, he was raided by the LA County Sheriff Narcos on January 19, 2016.

Having seized his products and property, the state even took his three children. It was clear, despite being only months from adult-use legalization in the state, that the government was trying to make an example out of the trailblazers of this burgeoning industry. However, despite the setbacks, the McKnights didn’t quit.

Though it took four-and-a-half years, the McKnights fought the case tirelessly. After 11 months, their children were returned—which they were told was a fast turn around. (As an aside, it’s worth noting that their now four children are all flourishing in their home, with both of their parents).

That was only the beginning of the battle, though. Upon the return of their children, prosecutors charged Jason and his wife with 30-plus felonies and used a swath of low brow tactics to try and break up their family and make an example out of them. While this also isn’t a piece on the disturbing realities of the criminal justice system in America, it’s worth looking up for yourself.

Again, though, the McKnights didn’t quit. Since Proposition 64 had passed during this process, Jason and his wife began to apply for licenses to become legal cannabis operators while on trial. Although it certainly seems like the whole case should have been thrown out after the state legalized the very products they were selling, that didn’t happen, and the McKnights ended up losing their case.

It was while he was in jail, waiting for sentencing, that Jason found out he was awarded his license—ironically because of the case he had just faced. Jason, with the help of his wife Kelly, built the foundation for his new legal business while locked up for participating in the legacy industry.

Flash forward to today, and it’s a much different picture for the McKnights. Jason is now running multiple facilities, growing some of the best cannabis in the state, and is partnered with some of the most amazing brands and breeders in the world. In his eyes, he went from his absolute rock bottom, to as high as he could imagine, in just a few years. He had already been whitelabelling for others when some Canadians, and Problem approached him to talk, so the deal just made sense.

Courtesy Burb

“You Gotta Become the Avengers to Go Against the World”

“When you know somebody has been through something, you can kind of talk to them in a different kind of way, so I just said I think we can do something really special,” Problem recalled of his first conversation with Jason.

With Burb understanding retail logistics and branding in a way their new partners couldn’t fathom, Green Label’s legacy cultivation skills earned on the back of trial and error, and the creative and marketing engine that is Problem and his team, the synergy between the three groups was almost instantaneously realized.

Although they’re quick to point out that there isn’t one parent company running the whole show, this partnership represents their collective understanding that there’s room for everyone to eat, and everyone to grow.

“It’d be impossible to push that through one brand, in one bag, the way I was thinking about it,” Problem noted.

“And that’s kind of the social equity thing, like you have two groups that come together. You have one person that, obviously he’s gone through the system, whether it’s a conviction or whatever, an arrest that’s cannabis related, and then you have another group that’s supposed to bring the financing, or someone that knows how to run a business. That’s the main thing they’re trying to add. We already got that,” Jason explained.

“This right here is a different crew of guys. I see what everybody else is doing. I get excited just watching how things get rolled out. But this—this is not built in fluff. This is built in a very very true story, and that, that’s what’s going to attract people to us. And then when you get here, the weed is so fucking fire that you’re going to stay,” Problem joked.

“We are not growers ourselves; we always come from the consumer mindset, and we know what we like. We partner with the best—we’re curators first and foremost. When I came down here, and I saw what was happening, I was convinced. This is an incredible team,” John noted.

“We’re basically bringing the future here. These guys, Burb—they’re living in the future. So you’ve got to exchange information. It’s not about who gets what, it’s about the minds melding,“ Problem continued.

“I’m looking at this like, if Martin Holdings is Interscope Records. I know what it’s like when you get a Kendrick Lamar. You can leverage everything. So what if you get a Kendrick AND Drake? Oh wow, they (consumers) are going to buy everything.”

Courtesy Burb

Teamwork Makes the Dream Work

So what did this new crew claiming Compton, NorCal, and BC turn out? So far this alliance of brands has seen a handful of their ideations enter the market, and thanks to Jason’s cultivation skill, they’re all smoking proper.

First, there was the California launch of Burb’s cannabis products at Hall of Flowers, including cultivars Butter Tarts and Beaver Tail. Then there was Green Label’s own branded eighths, as well as their new hemp blunt line, which also powers Burb’s Beaver Tail Blunts (which include a plastic beaver tail mouthpiece).

This was followed by Problem’s Coffee and Kush cannabis line, which was released exclusively through Wonderbrett in Black, and Cappuccino, and Mocha varietals. It’s clear the squad has hit the ground running in just a few short months working together.

With plenty of other projects on the horizon, including Benny’s prerolls, Roots Genetics (which will serve as Jason’s breeding and development company), as well as Burb retail stores within California’s state limits, I expect we’ll all be seeing and hearing more from the weed avengers soon.

“I’m pinching myself because, this is it. This is the dream.” Jason concludes. “I’m so excited for these next few years in the cannabis space, just to grow, and to try and achieve even higher goals. Whatever it is, I just want to always have a blunt in my hand like this.”

The post Burb, Green Label and Coffee & Kush: Partnership over Competition appeared first on High Times.

Cannabis Student Organizations 1: Canadian Students for Sensible Drug Policy

Resources for students interested in harm reduction methodologies can take note from those at the frontlines. Those students taking time out of their prime years of life to make society more civilized. Many student groups exist and some national student organizations exist. One of those is the Canadian Students for Sensible Drug Policy or CSSDP.* […]

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Is medical cannabis still green under a Liberal minority?

Child care, vaccines, gun policy, and a slue of other topics have left cannabis out of the Liberal’s $612 million 2021 election campaign. So, we cannot measure medical cannabis and its green future under a continued Liberal Minority. The direction of the legal cannabis industry under the Liberal’s ideologies over the past three years gives […]

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Up In Smoke: The Astonishingly Low Percentage of Canadian Cannabis Actually Sold

This summer, the cannabis specialty trade press discovered a story that has been floating around in the press, if not Canadian corporate cannabis company reports, for some time now.

Namely, that the amount of legally grown cannabis in the Canadian industry that is destroyed, and has been since the advent of adult legalization, is as shocking, in its own way, as adult-use cannabis reform might have seemed just a decade ago.

According to Marijuana Business Daily, a top trade media company, the amount of destroyed cannabis in Canada has been growing steadily since the fall of 2018—or the start of the Canadian recreational market. Between October and December of that year, in fact, Canadian producers destroyed just over 11 tons of cannabis. The next year, in 2019, a full 15 percent was destroyed. In 2020, that amount rose again to 20 percent of all dried cannabis produced for the market.

Indeed, according to MJBiz, Canadian cannabis producers have sold less than 20 percent of their output since the beginning of adult use legalisation in the fall of 2018.

Vice reported in September of that year that for every kilogram of legal cannabis consumed in the previous year, eight kilograms were destroyed.

Is Large-scale Destroying of Canadian Cannabis Really a Surprise?

The answer to this question is, of course, a resounding no. There have been reports of such activities going on in both the industry-watching blogosphere and other sources for some time now. Indeed, it was in the fourth quarter of 2018, just as Germany was trying to decide on a much-stalled domestic bid (and yet another lawsuit against the same arose, pushing the decision back until April 2019), when the first indications of this kind of waste made itself known. 

This includes the remarkably prescient decision of then CEO of Canopy Growth, Bruce Linton, to suddenly decide, after the firm had been in the running for German cultivation, to switch gears and buy the only (synthetically sourced) manufacturer of dronabinol in Germany.

Beyond cryptic reports and strangely unconnected moves by the largest companies, there are several reasons for this massive destruction of crops—some of which are surprising—and some of which are not.

On the unsurprising side—a great deal of legally grown cannabis had to be destroyed because of contaminants—both from mould and aphid infestation. This has everything to do with the stability of the seeds being used as well as production techniques. Indeed, such issues were also seen on the European side of the conversation, leading to the mandatory radiation of all cannabis brought in from both Canada and Holland. 

It has also led, certainly in Germany, to distributors searching a bit further afield for sources of cannabis. Many Canadian cultivators that planned on exporting product to Germany have often gone south (at least in Europe). If not to Israel.

Beyond this, of course, the reality is that the legal cannabis market’s biggest competitor has been and continues to be patient and nonprofit grows. The ability of patients to grow their own has been a constitutionally guaranteed part of the discussion since the turn of the century. Indeed, it is what the legal industry itself was birthed by and from.

Yet in all of this, of course, there looms the bigger discussion—and this is perhaps the most surprising part of all of this. The leeway and lack of complaining from investors who have taken stock in companies, which have literally thrown billions of dollars into this conversation for at least the last eight years is still quite remarkable. This includes the smaller, retail investors as well as larger, corporate entities that bought into the existing industry.

There have been, of course, slews of investor lawsuits against the industry—most of which are largely unsuccessful.

Just as in the railroad rush, or the gold rush before it, economic booms are far from guarantors of either wealth creation or market efficiency.

In the case of the cannabis industry generally, there has been a great deal of money thrown at a certain group of companies, which have established global brands. Earnings per share return to investors, however, have been dismal from the get-go.

What Next for the Industry?

One thing is for sure. This level of agricultural and financial waste will not continue unabated. The market itself is, while still highly fragmented and inefficient, much more efficient than it was. 

Cannabis, after all, is an agricultural commodity. Just like tomatoes.

And just like all agricultural commodities, no matter their ultimate destination, there are market economics that drive cultivation through end use. Cannabis is still in the process of normalization, which affects every aspect of the market. 

In the short term, as global markets begin to truly integrate, especially with the advent of full and final reform, it is inevitable that such waste will occur in both state and national markets. 

In the longer term, however, such waste will diminish, rightly labelled as completely unsustainable in every possible way.

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Global Cannabis Leaders – Most Advanced Countries for Medical Research

The United States cannabis market is the largest in the world with sales expected to surpass $92 billion by the end of 2021. Despite this, cannabis is still federally illegal. It is difficult to gauge the full scope of the health and societal problems caused by cannabis prohibition, but we do know that the plant’s illegal status has put millions behind bars, blocked safe access for patients who could benefit from its use, and drastically hindered the ability of researchers to discover more about marijuana’s therapeutic potential.

Although the United States is way behind on the cannabis research front, thankfully a handful of other countries are picking up the slack. A growing number of people are using already using cannabis therapeutically and providing anecdotal data, so the pressure is on for science to catch up by conducting appropriate clinical research and create fair and progressive new laws. Nations like Israel, Canada, and The Czech Republic are changing the global narrative surrounding this plant by offering the world ground-breaking medical studies, quality control laboratory testing, and numerous other types of important research-based services.

Cannabis medicine is the way of the future, and so much more research is needed to understand the full scope of benefits one can experience from using this plant therapeutically. From relieving mental health conditions to curing cancer, it seems there is nothing that marijuana can’t do for our bodies. To learn more, make sure to subscribe to The Medical Cannabis Weekly Newsletter for other articles like this one, as well as exclusive deals on events and products.


Israel

No country in the world is better known for cannabis research than Israel. Not only is this the nation where it all began, but they are still paving the path with their modern research efforts today. Back in the early 1960s, Israeli scientist and University Professor, Raphael Mechoulam, first identified and isolated tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) from the cannabis plant. His discovery jumpstarted the medical cannabis revolution and helped change how the entire world looked at this plant.  

Today, Mechoulam is President of The Multidisciplinary Center for Cannabinoid Research at Hebrew University of Jerusalem, where he is leading a team of researchers that continue to uncover the numerous medical benefits associated with the now hundreds of compounds that have been found in cannabis. He has received millions in grants to create cannabis-based treatments for aggressive forms of cancer, and he was recently awarded the Technion Harvey prize for his work in the field.

By 2017, many in the industry had nicknamed Israel “The Holy Land” for medical cannabis; still known as an international hub for some of the most advanced scientists and researchers in the industry and it’s one of the few countries in the world where doctors prescribe cannabis-based medications with some regularity.

A great number of our most important cannabis studies come from Israel, including many about the endocannabinoid system, cannabis and cancer, mental health, addiction, and the list goes on. Israel has seen so much success with cannabis research that more restricted countries (like the U.S.) rely on Israeli data for their own scientific and legal initiatives. Although Israel has been shipping out cannabis products for some time now, many believe the small country’s most valuable export is medical data.

Uruguay

Although Canada tends to get all the glory, Uruguay is actually the first country to legalize the sale and possession of recreational cannabis, which has now been in effect for almost a decade, since 2013. In the industry, Uruguay is known for jumpstarting the federal legalization movement in many different nations, as well as creating the first medical cannabis export program in Latin America that launched in 2019.

Shortly after legalizing adult-use cannabis, Uruguay began to seriously invest in scientific research and was soon recognized as a “hotbed” of medicinal cannabis innovation. Uruguay has many unique advantages that make it a prime location for cannabis research and emerging trends. First is the country’s size and political stability, which make it easy and safe to control cannabis production and distribution.

Also, it is also worth noting is the country’s prime growing location, at a latitude that allows for off-season production to North America and Europe. Their short and mild winter season lasts from around June to August, which means Uruguayans can cultivate cannabis almost year-round. All that, combined with other factors such as transparency, reliability, legal and economic security make Uruguay a perfect region for cannabis industry development.

Malta

Malta, officially referred to as The Republic of Malta, is a small Mediterranean country formed by a small group of islands, located south of Italy and east of Tunisia. With a population of just under 500,000 and occupying only 122 square miles, Malta is the smallest country in the European Union, both by land size and population.

However, this small European archipelago is set to become a major global hub for medicinal cannabis research and production. In March of 2018, medical cannabis was officially legalized in Malta, which was followed by the Production of Cannabis for Medicinal and Research Purposes Act a month later. This legislation included all the stipulations for cultivation, processing, consumption, importing and exporting, therein.

Earlier this year, TechforCannEU announced that it had secured funding of up to 2.5 million euros from Malta Enterprise, the nation’s economic development agency, to begin establishing the world’s first medical cannabis industry tech accelerator.

This program offers up-and-coming cannabis entrepreneurs in the areas of healthcare, biotech, agriculture, infrastructure, and digital technology to receive government funding for their work, and thus allows them to reach milestones faster, with less error and expense, ultimately increasing their probability of commercial success. The funds will go directly to the start-up companies selected to participate in the program’s first round.

Canada

Canada is the largest to country to legalize recreational cannabis for adults. In 2018, five years after Uruguay, cannabis became the second nation to end prohibition. As one of the most economically secure countries, with a large land mass and decent sized population, Canada has positioned itself as a global leader in numerous different industry sectors including agriculture, investment opportunities, and research.  

Lab testing is a big part of Canada’s cannabis market and the country is home to a very large number of labs across all of its provinces. Well known labs offer the industry a wide variety of testing services including cannabinoid and terpene content, contamination levels, analytical chromatography, and much more. Only lab tested material can be used in the production of cannabis-based medications, and Canada has cornered that sector.

Some of the largest cannabis research centers in the world, including Michael G. DeGroote Centre, McGill, and McMasters, are located in Canada; as well as some of the biggest corporate names in the industry. Companies like Tilray’s, HEXO, and GW Pharmaceuticals – to name a few – are well known to researchers, investors, and consumers alike.

The Netherlands

The Netherlands, Amsterdam specifically, is a region that is well-known for cannabis. Although it is illegal (which is a shock to many), the Netherlands has one of the most lenient marijuana decriminalization policies on earth. Recreational cannabis is used freely by adults and available for purchase and consumption in coffeeshops around the city, some of which have become famous for this exact reason.

In 2003, the Netherlands launched its national medical cannabis program and the country that has long been synonymous with cannabis tourism and redlight districts, suddenly began to make a name for itself as a beacon of marijuana science and testing.

The Netherlands has since received funding for numerous different studies, some of which were very large scale and covered everything from medical applications to treatment of mental disorders, and even limitations on academic performance. Facilities where these trials are conducted can be found all over the country.

Since Amsterdam is stuck in a legislative catch 22 (similar to the US), where cannabis is legal for adults to purchase in the coffee shops, but illegal to produce and sell, the Netherlands are conducting what they refer to as “weed trials”. Starting this year, cafes in 10 different cities will get a legal supply of quality cannabis to sell in their shops as part of a four-year experiment to see if they can deter the nation’s illicit suppliers.

Czech Republic

The Czech Republic legalized medical cannabis in 2013 and is one of many EU countries that have been loosening cannabis restrictions in recent years. What makes the Czech Republic unique, however, is that this Eastern European nation is now home to one of the most advanced and expansive cannabis research facilities in the world: The International Cannabis and Cannabinoids Institute (ICCI).

The ICCI launched in 2015 when a few prominent organizations – Americans for Safe Access (ASA), Prague KOPAC, and Dioscorides Global Holdings (DGH) – joined forces with the Czech Republic’s Minister of Health and created this medical marijuana research hub. The goal is to create a center of excellence that offers the cannabis industry a variety of science-based research services.

According to the website, “The main work of the ICCI is to provide scientific instruments to public and private institutions all over the world. The purpose is to enable scientific examination of the relation between bioactive cannabis compounds and the effect on the human organism in the treatment of specific syndromes and, in the future, systemic health disorders,” said the ICCI CEO Pavel Kubů.

The research conducted at ICCI focuses on three main subjects: Biomedicine, Life Science, and Policy Science. ICCI is an organization that “combines various institutions (universities, high-tech companies, associations) and their capabilities to provide service to the broad array of entities around the world interested in the development of cannabis and cannabinoids as medicine.”

Spain

Spain is one of the first European nations to decriminalize personal use of cannabis products for adults, but their medical laws leave much to be desired. It might have something to do with the high rates of tourism in the country. Earlier this year, the committee of the Spanish Congress voted in favor of a that will establish a subcommittee to investigate the effects of regulated medical cannabis programs in other countries.

Regardless of the difficult laws, Spain is the location of numerous largescale cannabis research projects that have helped shed new light on its pharmacological uses. In 1998, researchers at Madrid’s Complutense University found that THC can be used in the treatment of cancer, by activating programmed cell death in certain brain tumor cells without harming surround cells and tissues.

More recently, pharmacologist José-Carlos Bouso, alongside Professor Raphael Mechoulam and Dr. Franjo Grotenhermen from Germany, as well as other leading industry scientists, founded the Spanish Observatory on Medical Cannabis (OECM). The organization is comprised of the top cannabis minds in the industry, and the observatory is said to “promote the works of its members and also highlight the ongoing research done by other Spanish health professionals who are looking into marijuana research.”

What About The United States?

You likely noticed by now that the United States didn’t even make the cut. It may seem surprising that the country with largest global cannabis market is not on the list. So let’s quickly cover the DEA’s Controlled Substances Act, which still, to this day, categorizes “marihuana” as a Schedule 1 narcotic with high likelihood of leading to abuse and addiction, and no known medical applications. According to the scheduling, cannabis is more dangerous than cocaine, but sure, let’s pretend none of that is part of their political smear campaign against a healing plant.

Regardless, US cannabis prohibition has thrown a huge wrench in the wheel of the fast-paced medical research movement. Many of these restrictions can be somewhat avoided during the formation of a recreational market, but when it comes to clinical research, certain criteria needs to be met in order to secure funding and authorization to conduct studies on human subjects. One of the criteria is that the product in question also needs to be legal.

Ultimately, not much has changed here in the last five decades and researchers who do wish to study the plant are limited to acquiring subpar and very limited samples from the only government-approved cannabis production facility in the country – The University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy’s National Center for Natural Products Research, which established the “marijuana project” in 1968.

Weed politics in the US are not pretty, but pressure from the public is mounting to deschedule cannabis and open the gateways for proper research initiatives. Until the laws change, patients will continue fighting for fair access and prominent companies will get their data from elsewhere.

Final Thoughts

As a fun, recreational, adult-use product, all the most popular industry trends will likely come from the US. When considering cannabis as a powerful medicinal product with hundreds of therapeutic compounds to be harnessed and thoroughly studied, look elsewhere in the world. The countries on this list may be lacking the pizazz that our flashy recreational markets possess, but they are leading the way when it comes to research and development, testing, analysis, and data.

Thank you for stopping by CBD TESTERS, your source for all things cannabis-related. Make sure to subscribe to The Medical Cannabis Weekly Newsletter for more informative articles like this one.

The post Global Cannabis Leaders – Most Advanced Countries for Medical Research appeared first on CBD Testers.

Friday, April 30, 2021 Headlines | Marijuana Today Daily News

Marijuana Today Daily Headlines
Friday, April 30, 2021 | Curated by host Shea Gunther

// Key Senate Chair Shifts Stance On Tying Marijuana Banking Bill To Sentencing Reform (Marijuana Moment)

// Louisiana Lawmakers Approve Marijuana Licensing Bill In Anticipation Of Legalization (Marijuana Moment)

// Louisiana Governor Says He Has ‘Great Interest’ In Marijuana Legalization Bill Advancing In Legislature (Marijuana Moment)


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// Canadian Cannabis Sales Grow 74% in February to $263 Million (New Cannabis Ventures)

// Maryland Cannabis Industry Grew By 40 Percent in 2020 (Outlaw Report)

// Legal pot in R.I. ‘inevitable’ but may not happen this year State House leaders say (Providence Journal)

// Ascend Wellness Raises $80 Million in IPO (New Cannabis Ventures)

// Gage Cannabis Turns In Solid Fourth Quarter Fiscal Year (Green Market Report)

// Bipartisan Lawmakers Want Federal Protections For Marijuana States In Next Spending Bill (Marijuana Moment)

// Maine Proposal Would Legalize Psilocybin Mushroom Therapy For Adults No Medical Diagnosis Needed (Marijuana Moment)

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