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.

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Mexico Became the 4th Legalized Country

It started with Uruguay in 2013, then came Canada in June 2018. This was followed by a recreational legalization in Georgia in July 2018, and now by Mexico in 2021. Though the US and Australia both boast legal locations, Mexico is now the 4th legalized country to allow recreational cannabis use nationwide.

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The mess: how Mexico became a legalized country

In order to understand what just happened, and how it impacts life in Mexico, it helps to understand the recent history that led up to it. The legalization process began at the end of 2018 when a fifth consecutive Supreme Court ruling was made in support of defendants and their use of recreational cannabis. In Mexico, jurisprudencia kicks in when the supreme court makes five consecutive rulings on any matter, in the same way. That ruling becomes binding for all lower courts, essentially setting law that the legislative section of government must catch up with to stay in concert with the courts.

The Supreme Court rulings started in 2015 with a case against The Mexican Society for Responsible and Tolerant Self-Consumption. They ended in October 2018 with two cases that got ruled on in the same month, both about the ability for an adult to use cannabis recreationally. The court found that personally developed human beings must be allowed to choose their own recreational activities without the interference of government. It is stipulated in the Mexican constitution that personal development is a given freedom of the Mexican people.

All this enacted jurisprdencia, thereby ending the ability for lower courts to find an individual guilty of personal possession, use, and cultivation crimes. However, the Court ruling itself only stipulated that cannabis prohibition is unconstitutional, the Court doesn’t set up criminal penalties or regulated markets. This is done by legislation in Congress. Once the Supreme Court made the final ruling to end prohibition, the ball went to Congress’s court to pass an actual law with fundamentals.

Of course, if you’ve been following along, you know this didn’t happen. In fact, four times the government failed to do its duty, continuously asking for extensions until it missed its most recent deadline of April 30th 2021. The initial period of time given to the government to fulfill its duty, was one year. At the end of 2019, Congress was granted its first extension. This was followed by a second in April, 2020, and a third extension on December 15th, 2020.

mexico ends cannabis prohibition

This time around, when it came to the most recent due date on April 30th, Congress did not submit a bill, nor did it ask the Supreme Court for an extension. This threw the ball back to the Supreme Court’s court, and allowed the Supreme Court the ability to officially end prohibition without any confirmed laws on the books. This end of prohibition invalidates the laws that are stated, concerning any parts that have been changed by the new update, but it doesn’t go any deeper in terms of setting up regulated systems.

What did the court actually do?

After repeatedly allowing extensions for Congress, an essential stalemate was reached. The government seemingly doesn’t want to pass anything, and the reasons for this are debatable. Personally, I think it’s fear. Cannabis is a huge narco industry and the idea of that changing is kind of silly. Cartels aren’t likely to give up their hold on this business, and that could mean potential danger for politicians who take a side, or go up against the wrong entity. This might not be the standard line associated with these delays, but it’s the one that makes the most sense. Nothing is this difficult to pass.

I also believe that Congress specifically not asking for another extension, is a signal that the governmental body is refusing to make any finite decisions about how the industry will be run (for now). It instead left the initial legalization – without a setup system of regulation to govern it – to the court system. It’s actually a rather weak move, and I think obvious. If the government was going to take its responsibility seriously, it would have passed a bill or asked for an extension, rather than doing the action that puts the responsibility back on the Court. But that’s what it did.

Without the government to act on its ruling, the Supreme Court finally stopped waiting around, and officially ended prohibition of cannabis on June 28th, 2021. In an 8-3 decision, the court ruled on officially dropping the laws that prohibit recreational cannabis use in terms of personal consumption and person cultivation, the prohibition of which, had already been ruled as unconstitutional. This makes Mexico a recreationally legalized country, along with Uruguay, Canada, and Georgia.

Smoking in public and in front of children is still expressly banned, no mention has been made of a commercial system, and the ruling requires the Health Ministry to issue permits for actual use…which is a bit odd, and kind of funny to expect, and likely only temporary until Congress submits something. However, unlike other legalized locations, the Mexican court has set the minimum age for cultivation and use at 18 years of age. This ruling comes after the court filed a declaration of unconstitutionality earlier in June, also in hopes of getting the government moving.

cannabis in Mexico

To be clear, the only parts that the Supreme Court currently struck down officially, are relevant to personal cultivation and consumption. Mexico is a legalized country for recreational use, but possession and transportation were left out for now, and so criminal penalties attached to these things still apply. Essentially, the Supreme Court passed a partial law, but the country still waits on the details to be ironed out by Congress. In that sense, the exact provisions right now are not as important as the fact that the Supreme Court made the step of pushing this through, since the government has failed to do its job.

Why did the Supreme Court do this?

This is an interesting question, and certainly open for debate. I think the biggest issue here is power. The Supreme Court made a ruling nearly three years ago which ordered the legislature to come up with laws. By the legislature not doing this, its essentially not following orders. And not only is it not following orders, this is a slap in the face to the power of the Supreme Court. After all, if the Supreme Court can’t issue an instruction and have it followed, then it erodes the power of the institution. Nearly three years ago the Supreme Court gave this order, and yet it can’t get the government to follow it.

By pushing forward with this legalization, it forces the government to get its act together. The Supreme Court was careful as to what it dropped, as it didn’t want to create pandemonium by dropping all laws, and allowing a free market with no regulation. Instead it dropped the most basic part of cannabis prohibition, which made Mexico a legalized country for adult recreational use, but it didn’t open the door enough for it to be taken advantage of before the official laws come in.

Some might see this action as simply moving a step forward in an otherwise stalled endeavor, and perhaps that’s the case. But I think the Supreme Court is getting antsy that it can’t back up its rulings, which threatens both it, and the concept of jurisprudencia. Does this function as a complete legalization? No, not completely. But it’s now legal to use cannabis recreationally in Mexico, even if the rest hasn’t been figured out just yet.

The world view

Where are we worldwide with cannabis recreational legalizations? Mexico’s inclusion into the list of legalized countries, expands the listing out that much further. Uruguay was the first country to officially end prohibition in 2013, and the only country to set up a government-run system. Following Uruguay, Canada legalized for adult recreational use in 2018, instituting a free market system.

cannabis legalization

The third country to legalize was Georgia, though it set up some wonky laws, allowing recreational use (possession and consumption), but not allowing sale, purchase, or cultivation. This is because the law also came out of a supreme court ruling, and therefore doesn’t quite jive correctly with the other laws on the books. At least for now. But this doesn’t change the fact that this former member of the Soviet Union, is the only country in the European/Eastern European/ former Soviet bloc area, to do such a thing.

We also know that with the inclusion of Connecticut, there are 18 legalized states in the US, as well as Canberra, Australia’s capital state, which also allows adult recreational use. These are the only true legalizations, though places like Spain, South Africa, and the Netherlands are certainly known for their incredibly lax cannabis laws, and in the case of Spain and the Netherlands, the coffeeshops and social clubs that go along with them.

Conclusion

In a way, what the Mexican Supreme Court did was ceremonial. It doesn’t help establish a regulated industry, it sets up a strange requirement for licensing for use, and it doesn’t remove criminal penalties that the final legislation will. But it did get the ball re-rolling, and applies some much needed pressure to some slow-functioning politicians. Will this actually bring about a law on paper? Well, that’s certainly the idea. But I wonder if in another few months, we’re going to be reading about a new Supreme Court update in light of a non-functional Congress. Either way, Mexico officially became the 4th legalized country for recreational cannabis use.

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DisclaimerHi, I’m a researcher and writer. I’m not a doctor, lawyer, or businessperson. All information in my articles is sourced and referenced, and all opinions stated are mine. I am not giving anyone advise, and though I am more than happy to discuss topics, should someone have a further question or concern, they should seek guidance from a relevant professional.

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Delta-8 THC Threatens Legal Cannabis Industry

Let’s be honest, the cannabis market is becoming a cut-throat one, with everyone looking to make a buck, a range of low-level and possibly dangerous products on the market, and a rush by local governments to save revenue by outlawing what they can’t regulate. This brings up the question of whether a hemp-derived THC like delta-8 threatens the revenue of the legal cannabis industry, and explains why recreational states are quickly banning it.

Delta-8 THC runs the gamut from accusations that it threatens the legal industry, to governments like Texas which recently failed to fully criminalize it. What’s all the fuss about? Well, this alternate form of THC gives a milder psychoactive high, doesn’t create the anxiety that delta-9 can, and leaves users with more energy and less couch locking. There are very good reasons why delta-8 is liked by so many, and we have an array of great Delta-8 THC deals that can get you started with this new form of THC.

What is hemp-derived THC?

In short, THC and CBD are the two more prevalent cannabinoids in a cannabis plant. Some plants, which we use the term ‘marijuana’ for as a differentiator, have more than .3% of THCA in the plant, whereas the term ‘hemp’ implies cannabis with less than .3% THCA, and a higher amount of CBDA. The reason I use the terms ‘THCA’ and ‘CBDA’, instead of ‘THC’ and ‘CBD’, is because THCA and CBDA are the precursor acids that are found in cannabis flowers, and the actual compounds for which these measurements are made in fresh and dry plants. THC and CBD occur only after decarboxylation. Even the term ‘THC’ really isn’t a good one, as that merely stands for ‘tetrahydrocannabinols’, and the THC of interest is specifically delta-9.

It is much easier to extract THCA from marijuana plants since there’s way more of it there. In hemp plants, it only exists in small amounts, but CBDA exists in larger amounts. This CBDA can be converted into CBD, and then into delta-9 by way of a solvent and some processing. Realistically, this is not the issue, though. The issue, is that it can also be used to source delta-8 THC.

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Delta-8 THC is also naturally occurring, like delta-9, and is produced through the oxidation of delta-9 when it comes into contact with oxygen. This happens at an extremely low rate, however, so in order to produce enough to be used in products, human processing help is needed. This has caused an argument as to whether delta-8 should be considered a synthetic, and bound to laws related to THC synthetics.

The delta-8 legality issue

What should be pointed out about delta-8, is that while there is still talk of a federal loophole, and while it seemed briefly like this might be the case, it never was the case at all. Even if it had been, the US government ended all discussion of its federal legal status by officially adding it to the DEA’s Controlled Substances list, as an alternate name for ‘tetrahydrocannabinols’, along with delta-9, for regulation under DEA criminal code 7370. This wasn’t totally necessary in my opinion, as , even without considering it synthetic (which is indeed debatable), its still an analogue of delta-9, and therefore illegal due to the Federal Analogue Act.

CBD to delta-8

Plus, since its an isomer of delta-9, its also required that concentrations not be over .3% for processing or final products, which rules out the ability to use it anyway. As stated, whatever debate there was, ended with the Controlled Substances list update. However, why this is happening is a very good question, as delta-8 itself has not been found to be dangerous, but merely the possible processing techniques that can use harsh chemicals. I’ve said it several times already, but this means all that’s needed is regulation in the delta-8 industry, not an illegalization of it.

The reason we’re talking about this at all, is because the 2018 US Farm Bill legalized hemp production and the production of hemp-based products. The perceived delta-8 loophole gave the impression that THC could legally be sold, leading an industry to sprout up around it. Delta-8 isn’t merely a half-brother to delta-9, it has its own impressive list of characteristics that actually make it a better option for many recreational and medical users. This is primarily because delta-8 has not been shown to produce the anxiety and paranoia of delta-9, and it’s associated with less couch-locking effect, a slightly less intense psychoactive high, more energy, and a clearer-head.

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It’s no wonder that recreational users who experience anxiety with delta-9 would like this product, and the same for medical users who don’t want to be weighed down during treatment. As delta-8 produces nearly the identical list of medical benefits, it therefore provides a really great workaround for some of the issues associated with delta-9. And so, legal or not, the industry has been pushing it out, with some worried that this hemp-derived THC will cannibalize legal THC sales. This is what’s being spoken about now in Washington state.

How delta-8 threatens the legal industry

First and foremost, any black market like delta-8 threatens a legal industry, that’s just the nature of it. So what’s going on here, is essentially no different than the legal industry fighting the standard cannabis black market, which it already is doing a lackluster job with, likely because of high prices due to taxes. In that sense, complaining about delta-8 is kind of useless, and simply highlights that its a black market product. Let’s be honest though, delta-8 threatens the legal industry way less than the standard cannabis illicit industry does, and this is not likely to change.

The complaint being made, regardless of how relevant – or even true it is, is that marijuana growers in Washington are afraid they’ll be put out of business by the growing delta-8 market. The reason given by growers, as per mjbizdaily, is that its cheaper to convert CBD into delta-8 and 9, than to grow marijuana plants. This sounds a bit suspect to me, since both cases involve growing cannabis plants, with the former method requiring extra processing, thereby likely making it more expensive. It sounds more like these growers are simply angry that they’re legal, and competing with an illegal part of the industry.

Delta-8 legal industry

As of right now, Washington state law requires marijuana to be grown only by licensed producers, with only their products available in dispensaries. This is, of course, how legalized location works, and is not specific to Washington at all, or even the cannabis industry. In any regulated industry, products must come from licensed providers only in order to be in concert with the law.

It should be pointed out, that much like with federal regulation which never legally allowed delta-8, neither does Washington state as of late April, 2021. At that time, the States Liquor and Cannabis Board (WSCLB), issued a statement regarding the banning of lab-created cannabis products from hemp. This is standard, as synthetics have never been covered by any legalization in any state. The statement made, talks about “the conversion of CBD, hemp, or both to Delta-8 THC, Delta-9 THC, or any other marijuana compound that is not currently identified or defined in the RCW, the WAC, or both.”

This clarifying statement came about because products were being sold that were in violation of the State’s law, which only allows pre-approved marijuana-infused products. Legal products must be grown and produced by licensed cultivators and producers. It was found that products were being sold containing other cannabinoids, like delta-8, and other additives.

The states that have moved to illegalize delta-8, like Colorado and Vermont, did so under the guise of safety, rather than closing a tax loophole. With statements about the possibility of dangerous processing (which, is actually a worthwhile fear, just not one being handled properly). The first concern of the WSCLB is that CBD is being altered to make synthetic equivalents of compounds found in the cannabis plant. Once again, remember synthetics are always illegal. The second issue is that these compounds have then turned up in regulated markets, though they are unregulated. These products are not allowed for sale under i-502, which governs marijuana products for sale, and makes sure all relevant parties are in concert with the RCW (Revised Code of Washington).

The RWC – which regulates controlled substances, makes clear that both synthetic and non-synthetic cannabinoids are covered under the term ‘tetrahydrocannabinols’, making both kinds Schedule I compounds. Under ‘unfair and deceptive practices’, the RWC states that it’s a deceptive practice to sell or manufacture “any product that contains any amount of synthetic cannabinoid.”

However, the illegality is not clear-cut, because the RWC allows for exemptions, mainly in the form of a legal recreational cannabis market. Whether this exemption of a controlled substance therefore counts for both delta-9 and delta-8 is debatable, and many see the overall statement as not clarifying delta-8 illegality. Regardless of possible future court debates, the current standing is that Washington’s LCB disallows synthetic cannabinoids from entering the legal market.

Delta-8 legal industry

Does it matter if delta-8 threatens the legal cannabis industry?

It depends how you look at it. It might not help marijuana farmers, but competition exists everywhere in life, and that’s just a reality. The only front that this matters on, is lost tax revenue. The government doesn’t care if a producer thinks they’re not making enough money, they sure don’t care in any other industry. The government cares about the rise of products being sold that it can’t make money off of, and these illegalizations function to attempt to rid these legal markets of illegal products.

In terms of the safety issues associated with synthetics, there really aren’t any thus far, yet it keeps being the line spoken by government officials. Take a look at this study from 2014 which notes that 1/2 of all respondents currently used, or had used synthetics, and yet no truly negative issues were mentioned. Whereas a study like this indicates that synthetics are used by a large percentage of cannabis users, government sites rarely make mention of total usage, instead focusing on negative cases without giving a frame of reference in terms of whether the numbers given represent a large or small percentage of the total.

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It does the same thing with vapes, talking up 68 deaths over more than a decade of time, while failing to make the immediate comparison to the 480,000 that die every year from smoking. It’s some of the worst fear marketing out there. The government has spread intense fear over compounds like K2 and Spice, yet people aren’t falling down dead, or having issues en masse, which creates a logical quandary. If they are so bad, how are so many people using them without a problem? This subject presents a massive contradiction between what the government is warning, to what’s actually going on. In fact, the government has no issue with pushing synthetics like Dronabinol, the only difference being that this is an approved pharmaceutical product that puts money in the government’s pocket.

Yes, safety issues do exist, which is why the industry should be regulated. This is exemplified by the vitamin e-acetate issue in vape cartridges, and other additives that have caused problems. We don’t want harsh chemicals in our products. But, way more importantly, we also don’t need opiates all over the place. Yet these drugs, which accounted for approximately 75,500 deaths between March 2019 and March 2020 in the US, are still given out in huge amounts, and in every state that has banned delta-8 because of safety concerns. It makes considerably more sense that governments are concerned with losing money, more than being worried about our collective heath. Or for that matter, the loss of profit to some producers in a competitive market.

Yeah, delta-8 will cut into other cannabis product revenues, because that’s how life works. Just like Walmart takes money away from higher end stores. Markets work off competition, and if marijuana growers are unhappy with another relevant product cannibalizing their sales, they should rethink their own strategies. But one thing for sure is, the government will never care about this. Not federally, and not on any state level.

Conclusion

This particular news story is no different than those of other states that have outlawed delta-8, or even the federal government. No government wants to lose tax revenue because of unlicensed products. The better question now is, why isn’t delta-8 being regulated to end this problem? My guess? The government already knows it can’t get it under control, or is waiting for a pharmaceutical version that its willing to push for its own cut. As far as the idea that delta-8 threatens the legal industry, sure, but that’s mainly related to tax collection. As far as marijuana growers losing out, they might, but that’s life in competitive markets, and they should really stop complaining.

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DisclaimerHi, I’m a researcher and writer. I’m not a doctor, lawyer, or businessperson. All information in my articles is sourced and referenced, and all opinions stated are mine. I am not giving anyone advise, and though I am more than happy to discuss topics, should someone have a further question or concern, they should seek guidance from a relevant professional.

The post Delta-8 THC Threatens Legal Cannabis Industry appeared first on CBD Testers.

Connecticut Ready to Pass Recreational Legalization Bill

It looks like Connecticut is going to be the 18th US state to adopt a recreational cannabis legalization policy. After talks of vetos, and fighting over provisions, the bill is up for its final vote before being signed by the governor.

Another state falls as Connecticut gets ready to pass a recreational legalization bill! The whole country is going cannabis-crazy, and new markets mean more products and more options, which is great for you. Like delta-8 THC instead of delta-9 THC. All the same health and wellness benefits, but with slightly less high, no anxiety, and a clearer head. We love helping people find the products they need. If you’re a delta-9 user who wants to try something else, check out our array of Delta-8 THC deals and take advantage of the growing offering of cannabis products.

Connecticut and recreational cannabis legalization

On Tuesday, June 15th, the Connecticut senate passed legislation for the second time this week, for the recreational legalization of cannabis, and to establish an adult-use market. The original bill was passed on June 8th, during the regular congressional session, with a vote of 19-17, however it never made it to the House before adjournment by the General Assembly on June 9th. Before the second vote, revisions were made to the bill, which the governor decided were not appropriate. The revised version passed the Senate again Tuesday during a two-day special legislative session in a vote of 19-12, only to have the governor threaten a veto if it passed the House in the same form.

Recreational cannabis legalization efforts started about five years ago in Connecticut, but floundered over the years. This year, there was renewed vigor, and support by Governor Ned Lamont. The bill should have come up before the end of the legislative session, but as tends to happen in government, it stalled for months, before finally coming to light right before congressional sessions ended. Regardless, its there now, and it looks like Connecticut will be state # 18 following New York and New Mexico, which both legalized a couple months back.

What is the issue?

The issue making a mess of things has to do with a provision about equity, which was specifically designed to help those who had faced prosecution as a result of cannabis criminalization, to get something back. The idea being to allow this population the ability to more quickly obtain licensing to cultivate or produce cannabis products, and be a part of the legal market. Unfortunately, when the provision was added after the first Senate vote, lawmakers went a bit crazy, expanding that equity to other drug offenders, other criminal offenders, and even their families, which earned the ire of the governor, and rightly so.

cannabis bill

The bill, says Lamont, would open the cultivation and production industry to many people who don’t deserve to get an expedited pass. The governor’s chief of staff, Paul Mounds, issued a statement with a promise of the governor’s veto if the bill passed the House with the current language.

According to Mounds, the legislation: “Simply put, does not meet the goals laid out during negotiations when it comes to equity and ensuring the wrongs of the past are righted. To the contrary, this proposal opens the floodgates for tens of thousands of previously ineligible applicants to enter the adult-use cannabis industry… This last-minute amendment creates equity in name only by allowing these individuals expedited opportunity to obtain access to the marketplace.”

While admittedly not all criminals should have this access, he specifically stated “just about anyone with a history of cannabis crimes” would have access. Don’t we want that? Isn’t that the point? I mean, traffickers wouldn’t ever have access, so he’s talking about personal possession and use cases, which theoretically would be expunged. Yet these people shouldn’t have access to cultivation and production licenses at an expedited rate? Does the governor not want people who have already paid a price for something that wouldn’t even come with criminal implications anymore, to have expedited access to the legal market they were once punished for being a part of?

Apparently not. This is what he stated: “If a rich suburban kid is selling pot outside of a high school and he gets busted all of the sudden he’s at the front of the line to get a license, that didn’t seem to make much sense to me. I really think it’s the community, not the person, that ought to be prioritized.” Weirdly, I think it’s the person who had to serve the sentence who should get the help, and it shouldn’t matter who they are. But that’s just my opinion.

Sen. Gary Winfield, who co-chairs the General Assembly’s Judiciary Committee, and who is a major sponsor of the bill, did show an understanding of going a bit too far with including so many groups:

“I think what we were doing was trying to address the concerns of some people who felt like people who had records, particularly on cannabis, in the criminal justice system, would be able to participate under the system… I think that the initial change we made definitely allowed this to go too far, and so we made an attempt to bring it back along the lines of some of the concerns of the governor … In doing that, clearly the governor feels as though we missed the mark.”

cannabis crimes

Second thoughts?

Only hours after threatening to veto a bill that passed the Senate twice, Governor Lamont changed his tone a bit. Considering his only issue is in who gets expedited licenses, and not in the actual legalization of cannabis (which he actually was a huge proponent of), its not that surprising that something worked out in the end.

Not 24 hours after asserting his desire to veto the bill if it passed the House in the same form passed by the Senate, Lamont stated he expected a final vote to go through this week. House Speaker Matt Ritter stated that most members of the democratic caucus were happy enough to change the language, given that the bill already passed the Senate once without the revised equity provision (which originally was based on location). This means that the ever-important part about helping those who have already faced criminal penalties for cannabis, wouldn’t be a part of it.

Said Lamont of the bill going to the House: “The Senate passed a really good marijuana bill a week ago, a bill that had been carefully negotiated over a period of time… There were a couple of curveballs that came in at the very last moment late last night, and I think you’re going to see the House go back and pass what was the originally agreed-upon bill, and I think we’re going to get something passed within a week.”

As it turns out, the House did pass the bill June 16th, but with the original equity allowance based on location, not the amended one. Rather than simply changing the language to not involve other criminal offenders, the provision to help those who had been previously convicted of cannabis crimes to get expedited licensing, was dropped. Along with that, a second provision was dropped, which would have made it so that anyone earning over a certain amount wouldn’t have eligibility for equity at all, regardless of other circumstances. This sends the bill back to the Senate for yet another vote, since the House and Senate have to pass the same version of the same bill. The bill passed in a vote of 76-62 after debates on the floor. The Senate is scheduled to go at it again on Thursday the 17th.

To give an idea of the craziness that exists in marijuana thought, Representative Tom O’Dea, made this statement: “Mark my words… people will die because of this bill, because of marijuana being sold in Connecticut.” He seems to misunderstand that there isn’t really a death count associated with cannabis. Perhaps he should worry more about the 1,359 reported overdose deaths in 2020 in Connecticut, and how 85% were related to fentanyl.

What are the provisions of the bill?

Assuming the bill does end up passing, and getting signed, it would legalize cannabis for those 21 and above, starting July 1st. The new law would allow individuals to have up to 1.5 ounces on their person, and up to five ounces in a home or vehicle that is secure.

cannabis legalization bill

Products will be required to have THC labeling, and home-growing, which originally was not going to be a part of it, will be allowed. If it passes, residents will be able to have up to three mature plants, and three immature plants, in their homes by 2023.

The retail market would not be up and running until around May of 2022, and possibly later than that. And the bill would actually ban any state lawmakers from entering into the market in any capacity until at least two years after leaving office.

Conclusion

Politics sure are messy, and the majority of the time, we regular citizens have no idea what goes on behind the scenes, or why. Connecticut will almost definitely be passing a recreational cannabis legalization bill on the 17th, but unfortunately, it won’t afford extra help to those who have already been damned by the system. On the other hand, this now makes 18 states. Can’t be upset about that!

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DisclaimerHi, I’m a researcher and writer. I’m not a doctor, lawyer, or businessperson. All information in my articles is sourced and referenced, and all opinions stated are mine. I am not giving anyone advise, and though I am more than happy to discuss topics, should someone have a further question or concern, they should seek guidance from a relevant professional.

The post Connecticut Ready to Pass Recreational Legalization Bill appeared first on CBD Testers.

State by State Cannabis Legislation – What’s Legal Now and Where?

Throughout the country, cannabis regulations are changing every day. Some areas are experiencing more dramatic legislative upgrades than others, but every little step forward still counts. At the moment, there are 5 states that come to mind because, one, they are making big moves, or two, they are conservative states that most people were expecting would hold on to prohibition for much longer.

This week we’re focusing on the East Coast and Deep South, with updates from Connecticut, Tennessee, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama. To learn more about cannabis legislation, make sure to subscribe to The CBD Flowers Weekly Newsletter, where you will get all the latest news as well as access to exclusive deals on flowers and other products.


Connecticut

Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont (D), along with other state lawmakers, just reached a compromise on an adult-use cannabis bill that will likely be implemented in late spring of 2022. The bill would finally lay the groundwork for retail sales to launch in the state. According to estimates from MJBizDaily, the Connecticut recreational market could exceed $250 million in sales in just the first year, and reach a total of roughly $725 million by the fourth year.

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Senate Bill 1118 has only just been drafted, however, and it still needs to a pass votes in both the House of Representatives and Senate. Opponents may still try to interfere, which could result in Gov. Lamont calling a special session on the issue this summer. It’s hard to say whether that will also delay the launch of recreational sales or not.

One of the major points in this agreement is offering priority licensing status to social equity applicants. According to the bill text, to qualify as a social equity applicant, the individual will need to have spent the last five out of ten years living in a “disproportionately impacted area, as defined by a jobless rate above 10% or a historically high drug conviction rate. Municipalities would be limited to one marijuana retailer and one micro-cultivator per 25,000 residents until July 1, 2024.”

Tennessee

Tennessee is a relatively conservative state, but the influx of new residents from blue states along the east and west coasts might be having an impact already. Last month, Republican Governor Bill Lee passed a limited medical cannabis bill that would lead to many changes in the way businesses operate within the state.

Once implemented, the bill will legalize possession of CBD oil containing up to 0.9 percent THC for approved medical patients. This is three times higher than the federal government’s cutoff of 0.3 percent. Additionally, the enacted bill would expand on the current list of qualifying conditions by adding the following diseases and disorders: Alzheimer’s disease, ALS, cancer, inflammatory bowel syndrome, multiple sclerosis, HIV/AIDS and sickle cell disease.

People would need to keep proof of their medical conditions with them at any time they are in possession of the cannabis oil. Additionally, there is still nowhere to legally purchase these products in the state. So, although it will be legal to possess now, it will have to be obtained illegally or out of state. Further legislation will be needed to regulate the manufacture and distribution of cannabis products.

Louisiana                    

Louisiana’s medical cannabis program has faced harsh criticism from industry advocates for making it nearly impossible for patients to access product. Over regulation combined with high prices, limited cultivation licenses (only 2 issued statewide) meant that patients numbers were extremely low, and as such, so were profits.

However, the program should see a major jump in registration starting next year, when House Bill 391 is enacted and dispensaries will be permitted to sell smokable flower. In many established markets, flower accounts for roughly 50 percent of total sales and recent surveys show the demand for smokables is high in Louisiana.

As is standard, patients will have a purchasing limit, although it will fairly lenient allowing up to 2.5 ounces (70 grams) every 14 days. Qualifying conditions include cancer, positive status for HIV, AIDS, cachexia or wasting syndrome, seizure disorders, epilepsy, spasticity, Crohn’s disease, muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis, glaucoma, Parkinson’s disease, severe muscle spasms, intractable pain, post traumatic disorder, and some symptoms associated with autism spectrum disorder.

Cannabis Legislation – Alabama

Last month, Governor Kay Ivey officially signed into law the medical marijuana bill that we’ve been tracking, making Alabama the 37th state in the U.S. to legalize medical cannabis. Patients with qualifying health conditions – which include cancer, depression, epilepsy, panic disorder, chronic pain, or any chronic illness – will be permitted to register for the state’s medical program.

After signing Senate Bill 46, Gov. Ivey released this statement: “Signing SB 46 is an important first step. I would like to again thank Sen. Tim Melson and Rep. Mike Ball for their hard work over the last few years and their willingness to address the legitimate concerns. This is certainly a sensitive and emotional issue and something that is continually being studied.”

“On the state level,” he added, “we have had a study group that has looked closely at this issue, and I am interested in the potential good medical cannabis can have for those with chronic illnesses or what it can do to improve the quality of life of those in their final days.”

Mississippi

Interestingly, Mississippi is really where it all began, considering that University of Mississippi won the very first grant to cultivate and study medical cannabis back in 1968. Despite that, the laws for consumers have been less than progressive until recently.

Last week, Senate lawmakers discussed the potential of medical cannabis legalization within the state, but unless Governor Tate Reeves (R) calls a special session. It still seems promising that changes will happen before the end of the year, with Reeves telling Biloxi TV station WLOX that it is “imperative that a medical marijuana law be passed to support the will of the voters.”

The initiate is business friendly but also gives some power to municipalities should they want to utilize zoning restrictions to opt of medical cannabis programs. There is also some opposition to the proposed purchasing limits of 2.5 ounces every 14 days, which some conservatives say is “too generous” and should be lowered.

Cannabis Legislation – Final Thoughts

Progressive legislation has also been moving forward in states which have already legalized or decriminalized cannabis, such as Nevada and New Mexico. There have also been notable changes in some of the nation’s strictest states, like Wyoming, Texas, Idaho and Kansas. For more updates, make sure to subscribe to The CBD Flowers Weekly Newsletter, for all the latest news as well as access to exclusive deals on flowers and other products.

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Nevada Gearing Up For Cannabis Consumption Lounges

The long-awaited bill to allow people a place to consume cannabis in public, which has been in the works since before pandemic restrictions, has finally passed the Nevada legislature with bipartisan support.

Until now, people were only permitted to consume cannabis on private property, which is fine for residents but left roughly 40 million tourists who visit Nevada annually out of luck, with no where to smoke the flower they bought legally at local dispensaries. Not only was it a burden on consumers, but dispensaries were losing money because people were either using less flower than they otherwise would, or not buying it at all.

For more relevant news, to learn more about cannabis, and for access to exclusive deals on flowers and other products, make sure to subscribe to The CBD Flowers Weekly Newsletter, your hub for all things cannabis-related! If you’re interested in Delta 8 and other THC products, check out our other subscription, The Delta 8 Weekly!


This bill, AB 341, will create two different types of cannabis lounges – independent lounges, which are consumption lounges and nothing more, and retail lounges, which are attached to a dispensary. Both of these categories will be regulated by the Nevada Cannabis Compliance Board.

The Vegas Tasting Room, owned and operated by NuWu Cannabis Marketplace, is located on the Las Vegas Paiute Tribe’s land just north of Downtown Las Vegas, currently offers the only legal consumption lounge in the state. The Vegas Tasting Room offers 90-minute time slots with options such as pipes, bongs, dab rigs, and other consumption methods.

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Planet 13 Marijuana Dispensary has already drafted plans to open a consumption lounge at its dispensary on Desert Inn Road. “We’ve long believed that tourists needed a safe, legal, and enjoyable place to consume cannabis and have been planning for a consumption lounge at the superstore since the bill was originally proposed two years ago,” Bob Groesbeck, co-CEO of Planet 13, says in a press statement.

Las Vegas, a city almost entirely dependent on tourism for financial survival, has been struggling since the pandemic began in early 2020. City officials have been eager to get things back on track, and on June 1, Las Vegas will revert to pre-pandemic guidelines, lifting all capacity limits and social distancing requirements.

Thank you for stopping by CBD TESTERS, where you can find everything you need relating to the cannabis industry, all in one place. Remember to subscribe to The CBD Flowers Weekly Newsletter for more articles like this one and access to exclusive deals on flowers and other products. If you’re interested in Delta 8 and other THC products, check out our other subscription, The Delta 8 Weekly!

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Potential Amazon Employees Will No Longer Be Disqualified for Marijuana Use

In addition to some other internal changes, Amazon CEO announced that they will be dropping their policy of using marijuana as a disqualifying factor for potential employees.

The move, Amazon said, is aimed at reiterating the “company’s commitment to being an attractive employer.”

In a blog post, Dave Clark, CEO of Amazon’s worldwide consumer division, said changing state laws on marijuana meant Amazon (AMZN) will no longer include the substance in the company’s pre-employment drug tests and that the drug will now be treated the same as alcohol for existing employees.

For more relevant news, to learn more about cannabis, and for access to exclusive deals on flowers and other products, make sure to subscribe to The CBD Flowers Weekly Newsletter, your hub for all things cannabis-related! If you’re interested in Delta 8 and other THC products, check out our other subscription, The Delta 8 Weekly!


“In the past, like many employers, we’ve disqualified people from working at Amazon if they tested positive for marijuana use,” stated the blog post. “However, given where state laws are moving across the U.S., we’ve changed course. We will no longer include marijuana in our comprehensive drug screening program for any positions not regulated by the Department of Transportation…”

The post went on to mention that the company “will instead treat it [marijuana use] the same as alcohol use. We will continue to do impairment checks on the job and will test for all drugs and alcohol after any incident.”

Keep in mind that marijuana stays in your system for much longer than alcohol. Nanotechnology breathaizlyer tests do exists, but they are not yet in widespread use. However, the sensors on these devices can detect THC levels on molecules 100,000 times smaller than the average human hair, so they are highly efficient.

Currently, no legal threshold has been established when it comes cannabis impairment while driving (think 0.8% BAC), but employers are free to set their own limits. So, although cannabis use won’t bar you from employment, initially, it can still get you fired should an accident occur later on.

Thank you for stopping by CBD TESTERS, where you can find everything you need relating to the cannabis industry, all in one place. Remember to subscribe to The CBD Flowers Weekly Newsletter for more articles like this one and access to exclusive deals on flowers and other products. If you’re interested in Delta 8 and other THC products, check out our other subscription, The Delta 8 Weekly!

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Texas Ready to Pass Marijuana Decriminalization Bill

One by one, US states have been adopting marijuana legalization programs, with the latest two: New York and New Mexico, happening within 24 hours of each other, and bringing the total number of states with legalization policies to 17. The south has been a bit slower to adopt, with states like Maryland, Virginia, and now Texas, leading the way. Within the last month, the Texas senate approved several bills for marijuana decriminalization, as well as to expand the medical cannabis industry, lower the penalty on THC concentrates, and to force the study of psychedelics.

The recent Texas marijuana decriminalization bill shows just how accepted cannabis has become. Every state seems to be updating its policies these days, creating room for more and more products, in a bigger and bigger market. And this is excellent for you! New products are on the rise, like delta-8 THC. This alternate form of THC provides users with a clear-headed, slightly less psychoactive high, and none of the anxiety created by delta-9. Sound interesting? If it does, we’ve got a host of Delta-8 THC products to try out. So go ahead and pick your products, and we’ll get them to you ASAP.

The US and cannabis

On the nights of March 31st 2021 and April 1st, 2021, New York and New Mexico respectively, passed legislation to open the two states for recreational cannabis markets. These two added on to become the 16th and 17th states to adopt legalization policies, with 20 locations total in the US, including Washington, DC, and the territories Guam and the Mariana Islands. All locations together include: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Guam, Illinois, Maine, Mariana Islands, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Nevada, Oregon, South Dakota, Vermont, Washington, and Washington DC.

As you’ll notice, though New Mexico, Arizona, and California are in the south, or have southern parts that touch the Mexican border, no state on the list is associated with ‘the South’, and certainly not of ‘the deep South’. However, two over from Arizona to the right, is Texas. And Texas is considered ‘the South’, along with Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia.

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Of the states listed as ‘southern’, there are no current legalizations for recreational cannabis, however, the following states do have some form of medical cannabis legalization: Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia. Not bad for an area that was completely against such changes when the first medical legalizations happened a few decades ago.

The other measure to consider, are those with decriminalization policies. Here we have the following southern states: Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Tennessee (partially), and Virginia. Of these southern decriminalized states, Maryland, Mississippi, and Virginia each have both a full medical legalization, and a decriminalization measure in place.

Texas and cannabis laws

Texas might be considering marijuana decriminalization now, but it took some time to get there. Texas has had an interesting and varying relationship with cannabis. After banning it in 1931, Texas actually was known for having the strictest laws on file for marijuana users. Up until 1973, possession of even the smallest amounts was considered a felony, with such offenses garnering two years to life in prison. In 1973, this changed with the passage of House Bill 447 which reduced punishments (without decriminalizing). The new law set the policy that having up to two ounces was lowered to a class B misdemeanor, with a punishment of $1,000 in fines, and up to 180 days in prison, and with suspended driving privileges. That fine has been increased to $2,000 according to current listings.

The current law states: 2-4 ounces is also a misdemeanor, but punishable by up to one year in prison, and $4,000 in fines. 4+ ounces constitutes a felony charge. Four ounces comes with a mandatory minimum sentence of 180 days in prison, and can go as high as 99 years for those caught with more than 2,000 pounds. The largest mandatory minimum sentence is for 2,000 pounds, which is punishable by at least five years.

In terms of being caught selling cannabis, its a misdemeanor with seven grams or less, punishable by 6-12 months in prison, and fines of $2,000 – $4,000. From 7 grams – 5 pounds is a felony charge, punishable by 6 months – 2 years in prison, with the six months acting as a mandatory minimum sentence. This amount can incur a fine of up to $10,000. For 50+ pounds, the charge remains a felony, prison time goes from 2-99 years, with two years as a mandatory minimum sentence for five pounds, and 10 years as a mandatory minimum sentence for over 2,000 pounds. Fines go from $10,000 – $100,000. Selling to a minor will earn a person 2- 10 years in prison with the two being a mandatory minimum requirement. Such a sale would also constitute a fine of up to $10,000.

Relatively recent updates

In 2007, House Bill 2391 was signed by then governor Rick Perry, which gave law enforcement the ability to ‘cite and release’ for misdemeanor crimes. A policy that was meant to limit arrests, by giving officers the ability to issue a citation without making an arrest. This was actually followed up in 2015 with an attempted recreational legalization measure through House Bill 2165. The bill passed the House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee, but did not have time in the legislative session to make it further.

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In 2015, cannabis for medical purposes was legalized, but on a very limited basis though Senate Bill 339 – Texas Compassionate Use Act. This was expanded on in 2019 through House Bill 3703 which increased the number of conditions that qualified for medical cannabis. Also in 2019, the house approved House Bill 63 which would have greatly reduced penalties, but upon passage, Dan Patrick – the Lieutenant Governor, blocked it from a senate vote.

2019 was a big year for Texas and cannabis legislation. That year also saw the passage of House Bill 1325 which legalized the cultivation of industrial hemp, and the manufacture of hemp-based products like CBD, without a doctor’s approval. This officially changed the definition of ‘cannabis’ in the state, effectively causing many jail sentences to be dismissed and criminal records to be expunged. Everything that was just mentioned is federal, with local states and municipalities creating their own decriminalization measures as seen fit.

What is going on now?

Quite a bit actually. 2021 is certainly looking to be an interesting year for Texas and drugs in general. Here are the four bills currently working their ways through the system.

Texas marijuana laws
Texas marijuana laws

Texas Marijuana Decriminalization Updates:

Update #1

What is clear from looking at the legislation – both that passed and did not, is that there is definitely a push in Texas for marijuana decriminalization/legalization. This was expanded on yet again with a few different legal advances. The first is the recent passage in the House, of House Bill 441, which decreases criminal punishments for small amounts of cannabis possession. In fact, the bill would supposedly make up to one ounce a class C misdemeanor with no jail time attached, or loss of driving privileges, effectively decriminalizing that amount. Officers in this case would only be able to issue a citation.

If Texas passes this marijuana decriminalization bill, it would also purportedly end the threat of arrest for small possession cases. Fines are still attached, but the bill would set the amount at no more than $500. The offender would have to pay the fine and plead no contest or guilty to the charge (so there is one), in order for the case to be deferred for a year.

Upon completion of a year without incident, no criminal record would be attached. If you’ll notice, this isn’t really a decriminalization at all, since offenders would have to plead guilty to a crime in court, in order to not go to jail. And the idea of it being ‘decriminalized’ only comes into play if the offender follows a specific procedure, indicating that if they do not, they might still face criminal charges. In that way, it might not eliminate the threat of jail time, instead, simply giving a possible way around it. This point has not been well addressed, as its stated both that the bill would abolish prison for such crimes, and that a procedure must be followed in order to bypass a criminal charge.

Update #2

Texas is also looking to further update its medical marijuana policies. House Bill 1535 would do this to include all cancer patients and PTSD patients. It did leave out chronic pain sufferers (a strange omission considering the growing opioid epidemic). There had been a provision to the bill which allowed the Department of State Health Services to expand qualifying conditions as needed, but this was eliminated. So was a larger 5% THC cap, which was reduced to 1%. The senate vote was scheduled for May 25th, however this is not a given.

Texas marijuana decriminalization

Update #3

Another big move in Texas right now, is with House Bill 2593. This bill would lower the penalties for being caught with THC concentrates and THC infused products, which are currently felonies. This bill would make it so that under two ounces of concentrate or infused products would only be a Class B misdemeanor, making it the same penalty as cannabis flowers. While the house passed the bill, the senate added another provision to create a definition of ‘total THC’, with all isomers included under it, like delta-8 THC.

Of course, this makes sense given that every delta THC will have the same chemical structure. If/when this bill passes, it would criminalize delta-8 THC in all the same ways as delta-9. This too makes sense, since we already know that delta-8 is federally illegal. Since the senate made edits to the bill, the house has the option of either simply accepting these new additions, or to set up a committee to iron out differences, after which it would go to the governor. It is currently unclear which way it will go.

Update #4

In a confirmation of the importance of the growing medical psychedelics field, the Texas House of Representatives recently passed House Bill 1802, which would actually require the state to further study psychedelics to treat veterans. The bill specifically cites MDMA, ketamine (a close relative of eskatamine which is currently available as Spravato), and psilocybin from magic mushrooms. Research would be conducted as a partnership between the state of Texas and Baylor College of Medicine.

This bill, like the others mentioned, still requires passage in the senate or house, and then to be signed into law by the governor.

Conclusion

A full recreational legalization would have been nice, but that doesn’t always happen as desired. In place of that, it looks like Texas will be passing a marijuana decriminalization bill, as well as lightening the punishments for concentrates, expanding the medical industry, and starting the study of psychedelics. Texas is certainly doing some moving and shaking to update its very outdated laws on cannabis…and psychedelics.

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Resources

Start Spreading the News: Recreational Cannabis is Legal in New York… and New Mexico
America Is Cannabis Friendly – It’s Official Cannabis and the South: How Things Change The Delta 8 Weekly Newsletter (All you need to know about Delta 8 thc), the Best Delta 8 THC Deals and the Best Delta-10 THC deals
The US Government Secretly Illegalized Delta-8 THC Pharmaceutical Psychedelics – What’s Already Legal and Available
U.S. Cannabis Price – Which Is The Most Expensive State?

DisclaimerHi, I’m a researcher and writer. I’m not a doctor, lawyer, or businessperson. All information in my articles is sourced and referenced, and all opinions stated are mine. I am not giving anyone advise, and though I am more than happy to discuss topics, should someone have a further question or concern, they should seek guidance from a relevant professional.

The post Texas Ready to Pass Marijuana Decriminalization Bill appeared first on CBD Testers.

Major Hurdle Passed in California Psychedelics Legalization Bill

In a big move for the psychedelic industry, a bill was recently passed by a second California Senate committee which would legalize the possession of numerous different forms of psychoactive drugs in the Golden State.

The legislation, which was sponsored by Senator Scott Wiener (D), advanced through the Public Safety Committee earlier this month, followed by a pass from the Health Committee one week later. If this bill fully passes, an extensive list of psychedelics including psilocybin mushrooms, DMT, ibogaine, LSD, and MDMA would be legalized for adults aged 21 and older.

“The war on drugs has been an abject failure because it is based on the false belief, the false notion, that criminalizing people, arresting them, incarcerating them for possessing, for using drugs, will somehow deter use and improve public safety,” commented Wiener before the vote took place. “It has done neither.”

“Instead we have spent trillions in the last half century on the war on drugs, more people are using drugs now, there’s more addiction, there are more overdoses—I’m talking about drugs generally, not psychedelics. And we have busted taxpayer dollars, and we need to move towards a more health-based approach,” he added.

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According to the bill text, “the state Department of Public Health would be required to establish a working group to study and make recommendations regarding possible regulatory systems that California could adopt to promote safe and equitable access to certain substances in permitted legal contexts.” Those recommendations would be due by January 1, 2024.

Additionally, the bill would call for the expungement of prior convictions for possession of psychedelic drugs, the same way the state is trying to expunge cannabis convictions; as well as redefining what paraphernalia will be lawful to possess and use with these newly legalized substances.

The bill excludes the use of peyote, an endangered plant, to ensure its availability for traditional Native American spiritual practices, according to the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, or MAPS, a global psychedelic research and education organization.

Numerous cities, states, and regions in the U.S. have already loosened restrictions on the therapeutic use of psychedelic mushrooms, including all of Oregon and New Jersey, Denver CO, Oakland CA, and Washington D.C.

Psychedelic drugs have shown the ability to treat many different mental health disorders – such as depression, anxiety, and PTSD – in a safe, natural, and effective way. Anecdotal evidence has found that even one dose can make permanent changes in the way our brains are wired, for the better. Legalization would allow for much more in depth studies, which is desperately need at this point in time.  

Click here to learn more about SENATE BILL 519 to legalize psychedelic drugs in the state of California, and don’t forget to subscribe to The CBD Flowers Weekly Newsletter for more articles like this one and exclusive deals on flowers and other products.

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Alabama Set To Become the 37th State To Legalize Medical Cannabis

Riding the wave of cannabis legalization that has been sweeping the US for the last few years, Alabama is poised to become the 37th state to implement of comprehensive medical cannabis program. Although the bill is still in review, it’s expected to pass based on strong bipartisan support for loosening cannabis restrictions, coupled with the bill’s landslide win in the state legislature (68-34 and 20-9 respectively).

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Summarizing Alabama’s Compassionate Care Act

Point blank, the bill is likely going to pass. That said, let’s take a closer look at some of the main points of Alabama’s medical cannabis proposal.

Qualifying for the Program

  • To legally use and access medicinal cannabis products, patients must apply for and receive a medical cannabis card, which will be granted for one or more of the following medical conditions:
  • Autism; cancer-related pain, nausea, or weight loss; Crohn’s; epilepsy; HIV/AIDS-related nausea; persistent nausea that has not significantly responded to other treatments, with exceptions; PTSD; sickle cell anemia; panic disorder; Tourette’s; Parkinson’s disease; spasticity related to multiple sclerosis, a motor neuron disease, or spinal cord injury; terminal illness; or a condition causing intractable or chronic pain “in which conventional therapeutic intervention and opiate therapy is contraindicated or has proved ineffective.”
  • The Senate-passed version also includes anxiety, menopause, premenstrual syndrome, and fibromyalgia. The House-passed version includes depression.

Legal Protections

  • Qualifying patients, caregivers, and medical cannabis establishments and their staff are not subject to criminal or civil penalty for actions authorized by the bill.
  • Patients could possess up to 70 daily doses of cannabis (this is vague, and I was unable to find any specific weight limits. Also, no indication whether this is referring to smokable flowers or infused products).
  • Patients generally could not be denied organ transplants or other medical care on the basis of medical cannabis.

Physicians’ Role and Regulation

  • To certify patients, physicians must be authorized to do so by the State Board of Medical Examiners. They must meet qualifications the board establishes. The House version also requires physicians to pay a fee of up to $300 to certify patients.
  • Certifying physicians must complete a four-hour medical cannabis continuing medical education course and complete an exam. The courses can charge up to $500. A two-hour refresher is required every two years.
  • The board will develop rules for certifications including requirements for the patient-physician relationship, detailed requirements for informed consent, and how long a certification may be valid, which may not exceed one year.
  • Certifying physicians must specify daily dosage and type. This would likely require participating doctors to run afoul of federal law. If this is not revised, it would likely dramatically depress participation.

Limitations and Penalties 

  • The commission will also determine the maximum daily dosage of THC that can be recommended for each qualifying condition. In most cases, it may not exceed 50 milligrams.
  • Raw plant, smoking, vaporization, candies, and baked goods are not allowed. Pills, gelatin cubes, lozenges, oils, suppositories, nebulizers, and patches are.
  • Employers could still drug test and prohibit employees from using cannabis.
  • Patients could not undertake any task while under the influence of cannabis that would be negligent.
  • Cannabis is banned at correctional facilities and schools.
  • Health insurance would not have to reimburse for medical cannabis costs.
  • Cannabis could not be possessed in a vehicle unless it is in its original package, sealed, and reasonably inaccessible while the vehicle is moving.

Click here for the full bill text.

Final Thoughts – Alabama Medical Cannabis

Once more, this bill has not yet been signed into law, and medical cannabis is not yet legal in Alabama. The governor is continuing to review all the details, and it is expected to pass, so we’ll make sure to update you as soon as it’s signed. For more articles like this and for access to exclusive deals on flowers and other products, make sure to subscribe to The CBD Flowers Weekly Newsletter.

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