Recreational Cannabis in Colombia – Coming Soon?

In the last few years, Colombia has been shaping up its legal cannabis policies, legalizing medical cannabis and quickly joining the global medical cannabis market. Now, new legislation climbing its way through Colombian Congress, means that recreational cannabis in Colombia is one step closer to becoming a reality.

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Colombia and drugs in general

Before getting into the specifics of cannabis law in Colombia, and whether recreational cannabis in Colombia will happen, it’s important to understand the situation that Colombia is in with its drug trade.

The first thing to know about Colombia and drugs, of course, is that Colombia is the biggest global hub for cocaine production, and has been for quite some time. It’s estimated that in 2019, approximately 70% of the cocaine consumed in the world, came from Colombia. It’s also estimated that in that year, approximately 18 million people consumed the drug worldwide. Because of the constant infiltration of law enforcement, most of the coca grown in Colombia is grown in more remote areas. Law enforcement, for its part, has been attempting to eradicate fields over the years, by enforcing crop substitutions and even spraying toxic chemicals over fields where coca plants are rumored to be grown. Despite these efforts, its estimated that in 2017, 1,379 tons of cocaine were produced in the country. Efforts of law enforcement to stop the trade cripple the 130,000 families that subsist from farming and selling coca.

To give an idea how much money is made off the cocaine industry, it takes about 125 kilos of coca to produce one kilo of cocaine. This costs a local drug lab about $137.50. Once this is converted into actual cocaine, the value is increased to $2,269. Once it gets to where its going, that same kilo can bring in approximately $60,000 in revenue in a place like the US, or even more in other locations. This is a massive trade in Colombia, and its led to massive amounts of violence.

Colombia cocaine trade

When looking for the ‘all told’ measure of this violence, it’s extremely difficult to find actual death tolls. While there are a few random and varying numbers out there, none of them are direct or verifiable, and while we are all aware of the tremendous destruction of this trade, no one seems to be able to say how destructive. In fact, when questioned about it in light of the Netflix drama Narcos, and a statement made on the show about one kilo of cocaine costing six lives each, former DEA head of intelligence in Colombia, Elizabeth Zili stated, “I really couldn’t give you a number, but it was extremely high. We never totally trusted the statistics we were getting from the [Colombian] government. One never does, no matter where you are.”

The same BBC article did some math to try to figure out if the six people per one kilo made any sense even in 1992, and found the number to be extremely high, even when looking at total global deaths. It established at that time a Colombian murder rate of approximately 80 per 100,000. Even though the murder rate has been cut in half since that time, Colombia still has one of the higher murder rates with approximately 25 murders for every 100,000 people in 2019. This can be compared to the US where the rate in 2018 was 5 per 100,000.

But the funniest part about all of it? These massive cocaine trafficking networks that have been used over the years, started as pathways for the trafficking of – you guessed it – marijuana. In fact, prior to its foray into cocaine, Colombia was providing the majority of cannabis to the US in the 70’s.

Colombia and cannabis

When it comes to cannabis, much like Uruguay, Colombia has been a bit more lax than other places, but a lot of this has been directly to combat issues of drug violence. In general, cannabis is illegal for commercial sale and use, however, unless a person is committing a major cannabis crime, the punishments aren’t that dire. In 1994, around the time of Pablo Escobar’s death, Colombia decriminalized both the personal use and possession of cannabis and other drugs. This was further expounded on in 2012 when it was established that a person could have up to 20 grams without being prosecuted. It was even expanded on further with a Constitutional Court ruling in 2015 which then allowed personal cultivation of up to 20 plants.

In 2018, this was gone back on when president Ivan Duque put forth a decree saying cops could, in fact, confiscate even small amounts of cannabis, and while this didn’t apply criminal penalties to offenders, it did institute a fine of up to 208,000 pesos. It also put a ban on people being able to carry small amounts of cannabis, something that the Constitutional Court already ruled was okay. Consequently, the following year (2019), the Constitutional Court of Colombia ruled that parts of Duque’s decree were unconstitutional. This didn’t get rid of the cops being able to search and confiscate drugs, but it did mean no consequences for up to 20 grams as related earlier by the Constitutional Court ruling.

Sale and supply crimes are most certainly illegal, and having more than 20 grams is considered possession with intent to sell. The maximum prison sentence is up to 20 years, surpassing the punishment for a rape.

Colombian drug war

If it needs to be said, being caught trafficking any drug in Colombia is going to get you in some pretty hot water. Here’s the basic breakdown for what’ll happen to you if you’re dumb enough to transport illegal substances across borders:

  • 10+ kg of cannabis, 2 kg of cocaine, 60 grams poppy-based drugs (like heroin) = 10-30 years in prison.
  • 1000+ kg cannabis, 5kg cocaine, 2 kg poppy-based drugs (like heroin) = 23-30 years in prison.

Medical marijuana and how to get in on it

At the very end of 2015, President Juan Miguel Santos signed legislation for a regulated medical cannabis market. He stated, “This decree allows licenses to be granted for the possession of seeds, cannabis plants and marijuana.” On July 6th, 2016, Colombian Congress approved law 1787 to create a regulatory framework, which was itself enacted in 2017 through Decree 613. While much is written about the investment opportunities that have been opened up through this, the ability to actually obtain cannabis medications for locals seems to be hindered by supply issues, misinformation, and limitations in development and research. The four licenses that can be applied for to enter the legal medical cannabis market are the following:

  • Manufacture of cannabis derivatives – Allows the production of cannabis-derived products for use and scientific research domestically, and for exportation. Interested parties can check details and pricing here.
  • Use of cannabis seeds – Allows sale and distribution of cannabis seeds, as well as use for scientific purposes. Check links for details and pricing.
  • Cultivation of psychoactive cannabis – Allows the cultivation of cannabis as a crop, the production of cannabis derivatives (along with the first license mentioned), use for scientific purposes, storage of cannabis, disposal of cannabis, and production of cannabis seeds. Details for this license can be found here.
  • Cultivation of non-psychoactive cannabis – Allows the production of cannabis seeds for planting, the manufacture of derivatives, industrial uses, and for scientific purposes, as well as storage and disposal. If interested, check for details here.

So…what’s the deal with recreational?

What should be noticed is that Colombia is not the most stringent country when it comes to cannabis laws, and has been updating at quick speeds to allow for more freedoms. So, what about the final legalization for recreational cannabis? While it’s not quite there yet, it really doesn’t seem to be far off, with legislation already starting to make its way through the channels of government. Here’s what’s going on right now in terms of recreational cannabis in Colombia:

recreational cannabis

1st initiative for recreational cannabis in Colombia – Approved on September 16th by the first committee of the Lower House by a vote of 18-17, allowing it to move forward in the Lower House. It was, unfortunately, not able to make it past the next debate in the Lower House, and is being shelved for now. This initiative was led by opposition legislator Juan Carlos Lozada, and if it passes (in the future) it would amend Colombian Constitution article 49 which currently states, “the carrying and consumption of narcotic or psychotropic substances is prohibited unless prescribed by a doctor.” The amendment would therefore have lifted this ban and legalized cannabis for recreational use, and would actually be in line with previous rulings of Colombia’s highest court, the Constitutional Court. To become law, the bill faced eight debates, four each at the Lower House and Senate. It did not make it through this time around, but I keep it here to show what has been happening, and what could come up again in the future.

2nd initiative for recreational cannabis in Colombia – This includes 38 lawmakers led by center-right and opposition parties, initiated by two senators, Gustavo Bolivar and Luis Fernando Velasco. This bill aims to regulate the production and consumption of marijuana, in essence creating a legal framework for its recreational use. The initiative does expressly ban marijuana use for minors, its promotion and advertisement, as well as establishing specific sites for adult use. In order to become law, this bill must be approved by the end of next year, but as it is a separate bill and not an amendment to an existing law, it only requires four debates to pass. The first debate had been set for end of October, moved to Mid-November, but doesn’t seem to have happened yet. While governments have been moving slower in light of the Coronoavirus pandemic, the bill is still very much alive. Those pushing this bill point out how Uruguay diverted around 40% of business from cartels, established 500 jobs, and received €100 million in investments by 2018. They have also pointed out how prohibiting consumption has never led consumers to not be able to access the drug.

Conclusion

Uruguay had a similar problem to Colombia, though not nearly as intense. In order to cut down on the black-market trade of cannabis, it legalized it and established a government-run system to regulate it. Colombia has already done a lot to limit drug violence, decriminalizing many drugs in an effort to thwart it, and the cartels that promote it. A recreational legalization would certainly go in line with this, and I expect that if the current bill doesn’t pass, the next one to be introduced will. It might very well be that with Uruguay, Mexico’s impending legalization, and recreational cannabis in Colombia likely following suit soon, south of the border will be the place to go for legal marijuana.

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Resources

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Fly with Cannabis – Which Countries Let You Do It Newest Cannabinoid Powerhouse – CBC – What Can It Do for You?
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The CBD Flowers Weekly newsletter (your top resource for all things smokable hemp flowers)
The Medical Cannabis Weekly newsletter (International medical cannabis business report)
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Tuesday, November 24, 2020 Headlines | Marijuana Today Daily News

Marijuana Today Daily Headlines
Tuesday, November 24, 2020 | Curated by host Shea Gunther

// Canadian Cannabis Sales Increase 108% in September to C$256 Million (New Cannabis Ventures)

// Virginia Will Be A Leader On Marijuana Legalization In The South Governor Says (Marijuana Moment)

// Mike Tyson vs Roy Jones Jr: Boxers will take drug tests but not for Iron Mike’s favourite marijuana (Give Me Sport)


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Lebanon Legalized Medical Cannabis, 1st in Arab World

It’s always interesting when a new location breaks stride and changes laws. We saw it with Thailand in Asia, with Uruguay in South America, and with Lesotho in Africa. With ranging reasons as to why to open these industries, the Arab world has now put forth its own example. As of the spring, Lebanon legalized medical cannabis.

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It would be untrue to say that Lebanon is the first Middle Eastern country to legalize cannabis in some form. It’s neighbor to the south, Israel, has been a central location for the study and cultivation of cannabis for decades, pushing through its own medical legalization originally back in the 1990’s. But Israel stands apart from its Arab neighbors when it comes to many beliefs and ideologies, so Lebanon’s entrance into the legal cannabis game is still very much a first for that part of the world.

A bit about Lebanon and cannabis policy

Cannabis is illegal in Lebanon to possess or use. There are no personal use laws so even small quantities are considered a criminal offense. Regulation of the system and punishment is done through the Narcotic Drugs and Psychoactive Substances Law 673, which states that any narcotic use without a medical prescription is subject to a prison sentence of three months to three years, along with a fine. Individuals are permitted a certain amount of leniency if not involved in the drug trade, and showing of generally good character.

Lebanon legalized medical cannabis

Sale and supply crimes are illegal. Offenders found guilty of these crimes face heavier sentences than for possession and use, and do not qualify for any sort of leniency. Personal cultivation is also illegal, with no individual-use amount applicable. Cannabis seeds are not legal in Lebanon and cannot be bought, sold, or possessed.

When it comes to CBD, Lebanon makes no differentiation between the cannabis plant, and the individual parts, like cannabinoids CBD or THC. This makes CBD just as illegal as a standard marijuana plant, regardless of the lower THC content. For this reason, it is illegal to sell or use the oil in Lebanon, although the country’s recent medical legalization could certainly change how CBD is used there.

As far as industrial hemp

Prior to new legalizations this year, it was illegal to grow hemp at all in Lebanon, although this didn’t stop it from happening. The Bekaa Valley is the center of the hemp region, which provides rich, healthy soil for cultivation. Over the years the Lebanese government has worked hard to eradicate the hemp fields of the region, which has had an incredible monetary impact on local farmers, forcing many into poverty. Despite these efforts, cannabis is still grown en masse, with cultivation mainly controlled by powerful clans and Hezbollah, which has caused much conflict over the years between farmers and police. As of just a few years ago, the UN cited Lebanon as the 3rd biggest world supplier of cannabis resins.

The legal framework changed earlier in the year when Lebanon legalized medicinal cannabis, including the now-legal farming of cannabis for medical use.

Now legal for medical use

In 2018, Lebanon’s house Speaker, Nabih Berri reported to US ambassador Elizabeth Richard, that Lebanon was in preparations to begin legal cultivation of cannabis for medicinal use. The idea of legalizing cannabis in Lebanon gained a bigger following after the consulting firm McKinsey & Co. sent the Lebanese government over 1,000 pages of economic recovery information which included creating a legal cannabis market.

Lebanon parliament

On April 21st, 2020, Lebanon legalized medicinal cannabis, when legislators approved a law that allows the cultivation of cannabis for industrial and medicinal use. Hezbollah representatives provided opposition to the bill, which was still able to pass anyway, as allies of Hezbollah – including President Michel Aoun, and Speaker Nabih Berri – were still in support of the legislation. Of course, Hezbollah’s reasons for opposing the legislation probably have to do with the group’s current control of much of the cannabis cultivation in the country, particularly the Bekaa region, and the possibility of having a chunk of its revenue stream diverted to the government. Criminal organizations don’t usually appreciate these legalizations.

It bears pointing out that Lebanon legalized medical cannabis during the most globally locked-down period of the Coronavirus pandemic. While other governments were temporarily closing-up shop, or tabling cannabis legislation for the future, Lebanon was getting it done, showing, if nothing else, a very strong desire to really make this happen.

What did McKinsey & Co. say?

McKinsey & Co. is a global management firm, which in 2018 gave a longer than 1,000 page macroeconomic report to the Lebanese government which focused on ways to make short-term gains in order to stabilize a politically unstable, debt-ridden economy. McKinsey & Co. made several recommendations for ‘quick wins’ in different areas like wealth management, tourism, and construction, but of more interest was the company’s recommendation to legalize the already buoyant cannabis industry of the country, and turn it into a legal export. The recommendation did make international headlines when it was first presented, but political infighting and the inability to form a functioning government eight months after the previous election, led to delays.

The report was actually made public to the media the following year, when Economy and Tourism Minister Raed Khoury, released it in an effort to regain waning attention on the matter. While it didn’t get as much attention the second time around, a clearer picture was put out to the public of a country in very dire need of help, fraught with economic mismanagement, with deficits in every sector. One of the revelations of the paper, for example, showed a GDP slip from 9.2% in the years of 2006-2010 to 1.3% over the next seven years.

cannabis medicine

The report offered a total of 160 initiatives. These initiatives were based mainly on reinvigorating the five sectors that were acknowledged as being most-likely to help jump-start the economy, including: tourism, financial services, industry, agriculture, and knowledge economy. The recommendations provide for the projected addition of approximately 200,000 jobs in these sectors, and $11 billion incrementally added to the GDP by 2025.

What comes next?

As we already know, simply passing legislation is not enough. Once passed, a law needs to be implemented, and it needs a regulatory framework to do so. According to officials, the idea is to have a state-run system, with licenses issued to private companies for the farming, production, and sale of cannabis products, through a regulatory authority. No statement has been made on the approximate cost of these licenses, nor has information been released on licensing requirements, or if local farmers will be afforded any protection from larger international companies. The idea is to attract new investments, create a new revenue stream, and raise generated tax revenue, so it’s probably a very sad ‘no’ to the last point.

While Lebanon legalized medical cannabis, it didn’t say much yet about what it means to its own citizens. When a set of laws to govern the industry come out, it will be more clear how the people of Lebanon will benefit from the actual idea of cannabis medications, or if this legalization is really only a vehicle to enter the global medical cannabis market.

According to Alain Aoun, a senior MP in President Michel Aoun’s Free Patriotic Movement, the only reason for the decision is economic motives. He explained to Reuters, “We have moral and social reservations but today there is the need to help the economy by any means.” This attitude might be great for Lebanon’s economy, but it probably won’t do as much to help ailing patients in a medical system.

Conclusion

Sometimes change is good, even when the reason for it isn’t quite what it seems. Some medical legalizations come as the result of wanting to provide medications to sick people. Some, like Lesotho, and now Lebanon, are not only more driven by economic reasons, but possibly only driven by those reasons. In the world of medical cannabis today, the medical cannabis industry and making money off of it, often trumps the idea of how valuable this medicine is, and all the wonderful things it can do. Sometimes change comes through the backdoor. Let’s hope Lebanon really makes the most of this new industry, and that the people of the country get the chance to benefit from it, both monetarily, and medicinally.

CBDtesters is your #1 spot for all cannabis-related news. Come by regularly to stay up-to-date, and sign up to our newsletter so you never miss a beat!

Resources

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Fly with Cannabis – Which Countries Let You Do It Newest Cannabinoid Powerhouse – CBC – What Can It Do for You?
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Legal for a Day – The Mahashivaratri Festival and Nepal’s Changing Cannabis Laws
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The CBD Flowers Weekly newsletter (your top resource for all things smokable hemp flowers)
The Medical Cannabis Weekly newsletter (International medical cannabis business report)
Customize Your Cannabinoids – Now You Can Mix’ N’ Match

The Delta 8 Weekly Newsletter (All you need to know about Delta 8 thc) and the Best Black Friday Delta 8 THC Deals 2020. Cannabis Election Results – Why Israel Is (and will continue to be) A Global Leader in the Cannabis Industry
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Friday, November 20, 2020 Headlines | Marijuana Today Daily News

Marijuana Today Daily Headlines
Friday, November 20, 2020 | Curated by host Shea Gunther

// Mexican Senate Passes Bill To Legalize Marijuana Nationwide (Marijuana Moment)

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These headlines are brought to you by Green Worx Consults, a company specializing in project management, workflow mapping and design, and Lean & 6 Sigma process. If you could use help making your business better at business, get in touch with Green Worx Consults.


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Wednesday, November 18, 2020 Headlines | Marijuana Today Daily News

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Wednesday, November 18, 2020 | Curated by host Shea Gunther

// Cannabis taxes save 350 jobs in Chicago (Leafly)

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Cannabis in the Workplace: A Guide For Employees and Employers

Nearly 75% f the country has legalized cannabis to some extent – either medical, recreational, or both – which begs the question, how are employers dealing with the rapidly changing laws in their regions?

As of election day, November 3rd, 2020, a total of 36 states, District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Island have approved comprehensive medical cannabis programs. Out of those, 15 states have legalized adult-use marijuana. Recreational is even legal in our nation’s capital, Washington D.C., where you will find a robust legal market.

Despite all of that, marijuana is still federally illegal. This presents many unique challenges for employers who maintain drug testing policies and have concerns about productivity and workplace safety, as well as issues for employees who may be denied employed for cannabis use when they are responsible users who are otherwise, completely qualified.

How are these issues being resolved? Is common ground between employees and employers achievable?

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Medical use vs recreational use

When it comes to denying employment based on cannabis use, a very important distinction is whether the patient uses it recreationally or medicinally. Outlined under state laws, marijuana can be prescribed for a variety of preapproved conditions. If someone is using marijuana for panic attacks, for example, this could warrant random, all-day availability and use.

“Employers must understand their rights and duties when it comes to drug testing because state laws are evolving,” said David Reischer, attorney and CEO of LegalAdvice.com. “Marijuana is still federally illegal, and employers generally are allowed to have a drug-free workplace and to enforce zero-tolerance policies.”

It’s imperative that employers know if any of their employees are medical marijuana patients; and whether there are state laws protecting their usage and shielding them from legal and employment repercussions. Firing someone for using legally prescribed medication is grounds for a lawsuit.

“A company needs to be careful when disciplining medical marijuana users,” said Reischer. “Several states have specific laws protecting medical cannabis patients from employment discrimination. Typically, employers can require drug testing before employment and at random times, so long as there is no discrimination against medical marijuana users [who] are legally allowed cannabis for medicinal reasons.”

In recreational markets, many employees would argue that cannabis use when they’re off the clock should be permitted, adding that, as long as workplace performance is not affected, it’s none of their employers’ business what they do in their free time, comparing it to having a drink after work. Valid point.

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Workplace safety

When it comes to employee cannabis consumption, one of the most common concerns among employers is safety, especially with jobs that involve driving, heavy machinery, or anything where there will be physical contact between the employee and a customer (i.e. physical therapist, nurse, doctor, chiropractor, masseuse, etc.).

Another issue in this same vein, is the disbursement of workers’ compensation and how that would be impacted by employee cannabis use. In Wisconsin, for example, if an employee is injured in the workplace while intoxicated under any controlled substance, including cannabis and other prescription drugs, the employer can then reduce the workers’ comp indemnity benefits by 15%, with a maximum allowed reduction of $15,000. In Michigan, workplace injuries sustained while intoxicated are not covered by worker’s comp at all. Failing a drug test,

In an interesting twist, a study published in the Health Economics journal found that in states with medical cannabis programs, there was a 7% decrease in workers’ compensation claims. We’re not sure why this noticeable drop occurred, but it’s possible that instead of claiming workers’ comp, employees chose to self-medicate and treat their work-related ailments with marijuana.

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Onsite consumption

This is an interested topic and, obviously, 100% at the employer’s discretion. And while you might expect the answer to be a clear-cut “no”, many employers actually allow their workers to consume cannabis on their breaks, if it helps foster creativity and productivity.

According Steve Nelson Jr., owner of Denver cannabis club iBAKE, he finds that allowing on-site consumption helps build rapport with his customers, while establishing a relaxing environment for his employees.

“We’ve noticed that when we hire employees that do not smoke, our members get a little worried [and wonder] why,” Nelson said. “We also have found that, for most employees, it does not affect their work. It’s not for all businesses or for all employees,” he said. “[Employers] need to take careful consideration to what … your employee will be doing. Some tasks are not OK to perform while high.”

Neighboring California, the largest cannabis market in the world, and home to many west coast transplants, people have had their eye on Arizona for the last few years. This month, recreational marijuana was legalized in the Grand Canyon state, and overall, there seems to be a traditional approach to workplace cannabis consumption.

“It will be treated in Arizona now as any other legal drug,” said attorney Bob St. Clair. “Similar say to alcohol or cold medicine.” St. Clair said he expects employers will take a similar approach to their employees using recreational marijuana.

“Employer workplace rules will not primarily change as a result of the recreational aspect,” he said. Prop 207 gives employers the right to have a drug-free workplace. An employer isn’t required to allow or accommodate use, consumption or possession at work. “Moderate use makes more sense than anything else,” St. Clair said. “If you show up at work and you’re obviously high, you’re going to get sent home just like if you show up at work and you’re obviously intoxicated.”

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Employer response

Some employers aren’t swayed at all and are maintaining a zero-tolerance policy against cannabis use, whether on or off the clock. At one of these jobs, if the employee fails a random drug test they will either be disciplined or fired.

Others are taking a more personalized approach and only penalizing employees for cannabis use when it’s clear their performance at work has declined. According to Derek Riedle, owner of cannabis lifestyle company Civilized, we can safely look at this like the banking dilemma. There are ways around it, but for the most part, employers want to play it safe and keep their workplace drug policies as strict as possible. In some cases, it’s better for insurance reasons and the bottom line.

“We’re seeing more and more employers revisit their workplace rules around cannabis, but because it remains illegal at a federal level in the U.S., most companies still have a zero-tolerance policy,” Riedle said. “It’s more common to see employers loosen up their regulations for patients with a valid medical cannabis card, but even that is not guaranteed.”

“As an employer, I have no plans to relax any drug policies in and around my work environment as we move forward in this new era of cannabis tolerance and legality,” said Abtin Hashemian, owner of a Los Angeles-based Subway franchise. “[Against] the backdrop of legalization in California, I’ve had to terminate employment for several of our employees due to performance-related issues stemming from cannabis intoxication while on the clock.”

Hashemian said his franchise’s high-performance and results-oriented culture is important to him, so he feels obligated to act when productivity is impacted. However, Hashemian added that he is certain many well-performing employees consume cannabis off the clock and that he is ultimately indifferent to it as long as their work remains up to par.

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Tips for employees

As a pot smoking worker, you will have to accept the fact that even if marijuana use is legal in your state, there are some jobs you just won’t be able to get without passing a drug test. Other legal substances, alcohol for example, can also be prohibited. In some regions, even cigarettes can be against workplace policy. For example, many fire departments in California will not hire cigarette smokers because it can impact their health and performance on the job.

If you work somewhere that doesn’t drug test, you’re pretty much golden as long as productivity and performance remain up to par. When it comes to medical patients, employees should consider consulting with an attorney to determine what their rights are and how to best proceed. If possible, find employers who are cannabis-friendly, so you’re not left high and dry by a surprise drug test and termination.

Final thoughts

Whether you’re an employee or an employer, the cannabis-workplace relationship can be complicated. There is no one-size-fits-all approach, but the good news is that more and more states are implementing laws to protect cannabis uses from workplace discrimination. On the other side of the coin, many employers are finding that off-the-clock cannabis consumption has no negative impact on workplace performance, and as a result, are changing up their company drug policies for the better.


RESOURCES:

Synthetic Cannabinoids (Are they synthetic cannabinoids safe?)
The Endocannabinoid System Explained (Why Cannabis Is Good for Our Bodies)
Everything You Need To Know About CBD Isolate (a deep look into hemp extracts)

Cannabinoids 101 – Spotlight on CBN (Cannabinol)
Your Complete Guide to EU GMP-Certified CBD Isolate and Distillate – Spotlight on the regulated EU market

Everything You Need To Know About CBG Isolate
Newest Cannabinoid Powerhouse – CBC – What Can It Do for You?
What is DELTA 8 THC (FAQ: Great resource to learn about DELTA 8THC)
The CBD Flowers Weekly newsletter (your top resource for all things smokable hemp flowers)
The Medical Cannabis Weekly newsletter (International medical cannabis business report)
The Legal Landscape Of CBD Hemp Flower In Europe

The Delta 8 Weekly Newsletter (All you need to know about Delta 8 THC)
Regulators Go After Smokable Hemp Flower – What Does The Future Hold?
The Complex Issue of Marijuana and Hemp Business and Legalization On Tribal Land
Government Assistance Options for U.S. Hemp Farmers Affected By COVID-19

The post Cannabis in the Workplace: A Guide For Employees and Employers appeared first on CBD Testers.

Cannabis Ballot Initiatives Win Big on 2020 Election Night

The cannabis community is celebrating multiple historic victories today as the march to decriminalize drugs spreads further across the nation — despite continued federal prohibition.

Arizona, Montana, New Jersey and South Dakota are the latest states to legalize adult-use cannabis, with South Dakota becoming the first state to authorize both medical and recreational marijuana sales at the same time. And Mississippi joins 34 other states in legalizing medicinal cannabis. 

Additionally, Oregon voted to decriminalize small amounts of all drugs and legalized therapeutic use of psilocybin, while Washington, D.C. voted to decriminalize psychedelic plants.

Cannabis Legalization

Recreational cannabis is legal in 15 states plus the District of Columbia, while medical use will be permitted in 35 states plus D.C.

In Arizona, voters decided by a 60% to 40% margin in favor of Proposition 207, an initiative legalizing the recreational possession and use of marijuana by adults aged 21 and over. 

Proposition 207, Marijuana Legalization Initiative (2020) allows adults 21 and older to possess, consume or transfer up to 1 ounce of cannabis and create a regulatory system for the drug’s cultivation and sale.

Voters in Montana had two recreational cannabis items on their ballot, Initiative 190 and Initiative 118, and decided by a 57% to 43% margin in favor. The Montana Medical Marijuana Allowance, or I-148, legalized medicinal use in 2004.

I-190, Marijuana Legalization Initiative (2020) will allow adults in the state to possess and buy cannabis for recreational use and defined a 20% tax on recreational cannabis. It would also allow people serving sentences for certain cannabis-related acts to apply for resentencing or records expungement.

CI-118, Allow for a Legal Age for Marijuana Amendment (2020) will amend the state’s constitution to establish 21 as the legal age to purchase, possess and consume cannabis.

Mississippians had the option of weighing in on two versions of the Medical Marijuana Initiative: Initiative 65 and Alternative 65A. 

Voters approved the citizen-led Initiative 65 by a 74% majority, which will allow doctors to prescribe medical marijuana for patients with any of 22 debilitating conditions, such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The constitutional amendment would establish a regulatory program for businesses to grow and sell medical cannabis and for the products to be taxed at a 7% rate.

Initiative 65A was the state legislature’s proposed alternative to the grassroots Initiative 65. It would have limited the smoking of medical cannabis to people who are terminally ill and was designed to leave the regulatory framework up to state legislature.

New Jersey became the first state in the Mid-Atlantic to legalize recreational cannabis, with Public Question 1 passing by a 67% to 33% margin. The state legalized medicinal cannabis in 2010.

Public Question 1, Marijuana Legalization Amendment (2020) legalizes the possession and use of marijuana for persons age 21 and older and legalizes the cultivation, processing and sale of retail marijuana. The amendment is set to take effect January 1, 2021.

Voters in South Dakota had two separate ballot initiatives legalizing both recreational and medical cannabis use. Amendment A passed by a 53% to 47% margin, and the medical initiative, Measure 26, passed 69% to 31%. 

Constitutional Amendment A, Marijuana Legalization Initiative (2020) will legalize cannabis for all adults in addition to  requiring state legislators to pass laws for medical marijuana use and hemp sales by April 1, 2022.  

Initiated Measure 26, Medical Marijuana Initiative (2020) will establish a medical cannabis program and registration system for people with qualifying conditions.

Drug Reform in Oregon and Washington, D.C.

By far, the most innovative drug reform laws passed in Oregon. Voters decided to decriminalize small amounts of hard drugs like cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine. Oregon also became the first state to legalize  the active ingredient in “magic mushrooms” – psilocybin – for mental health treatment in supervised settings.  

Oregon Measure 109, Psilocybin Mushroom Services Program Initiative (2020) passed by 56% and creates a program for administering psilocybin products to people age 21 and older. The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) will be responsible for establishing the program and its regulations.  Proponents said the move would allow the drug to be used to treat depression, anxiety and other conditions. 

Oregon Measure 110, Drug Decriminalization and Addiction Treatment Initiative (2020) passed by 59% and reclassifies possession of any drug to be a “lesser violation resulting in a $100 fine or a completed health assessment.” This means possession of small amounts of what have long been considered harder drugs will no longer be punishable by jail time. The law also funds drug addiction treatment from marijuana sales taxes.

In Washington, D.C, voters approved Initiative 81, which shifts police priorities by decriminalizing a wide range of psychedelics.

Initiative 81, the Entheogenic Plants and Fungus Policy Act of 2020, does not legalize or reduce penalties for entheogens. Rather, it makes possession and use of entheogenic plants and fungi among the District’s lowest law enforcement priorities.

TELL US, did you vote for cannabis in yesterday’s election? 

Note: All cannabis ballot initiatives above have passed, but percentages could shift as ballots continue to be counted.

The post Cannabis Ballot Initiatives Win Big on 2020 Election Night appeared first on Cannabis Now.

The New Italian Cannabis Contradiction

When it comes to cannabis, there are a lot of questions about what is legal in different countries. What parts of the plant can be used, and for what purposes… Recently, Italy put out two separate decrees related to cannabis, which set up the Italian cannabis contradiction.

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Italian cannabis

Italy is an example of a country with a veritable patchwork of cannabis laws. Using cannabis isn’t illegal, for example, but possessing it and selling it is. (This is one of my favorite discrepancies in cannabis law, and it happens all over the place). In Italy punishments for first time offenders are generally light, and repeat offenders generally only incur administrative penalties (like the loss of a driver’s license, or something of that nature).

As per the usual, sale and supply crimes are illegal. Offenders caught selling can incur up to six years in prison – a much lighter sentence than offenders caught selling harder drugs like heroin, where the penalty can be up to 20 years in prison. Hemp cultivation is legal in Italy. A clarification was made in December 2019 by Italy’s Court of Cassation to Italy’s Consolidated Law, which specifies that personal hemp cultivation is, in fact, not illegal. The specification states that cultivating small amounts of narcotic drugs is decriminalized.

What about CBD?

CBD oil

To make things a bit tricky, CBD was recently classified as a narcotic in Italy. This despite the fact that many countries, including the EU in general (and this is important), have moved toward much more lenient laws concerning CBD. CBD – or cannabidiol – is one of the more prevalent cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant, but unlike its counterpart THC, doesn’t produce a psychoactive effect, making it a much more accepted medicine in many places that still hold high-THC cannabis as illegal.

Not so with Italy. The Ministry of Health in Italy recently made a decree that added CBD to Italy’s list of medicines. Subsequent to the decree being made, Italy’s Customs and Monopoly Agency started warning retailers not to have or sell products that contain anything derived from cannabis sativa, even if from hemp.

This is only half the story though, because Italy recently enacted two separate decrees that are in conflict with each other. The first (as mentioned) makes hemp extracts narcotics, requiring an authorization from the Italian Medicines Agency to produce. The second, coming from the Agriculture Ministry, now lists hemp flower extractions, as an agricultural product instead of an actual drug. If you’re following along, this would include CBD. And if you’re really following along, it means not only is Italy now in contradiction to EU standards, but its in contradiction to itself.

The other decree

It should be remembered that governments are made up of different bodies, and if not working in concert, those different bodies can sometimes enact legal mandates that are in opposition to each other. So is the case right now. The other decree recently enacted in Italy was done by the Agriculture Ministry, and this decree states that extractions from hemp flowers are agricultural products for medicinal use (but not actually medicines). This, of course, opens up Italy’s market for possibly hundreds, or even thousands, of new products based on hemp extractions.

The decree was approved by Minister of Agriculture Teresa Bellanova, and listed back in August. In the listing, hemp flower is ‘canapa infiorescenza’, and its official place is on the table of agricultural products, under ‘medicinal plants’.

Italian cannabis laws: why the discrepancy?

italian cannabis

This is no small discrepancy. One decree states that CBD and other hemp derived extracts, are narcotics that requires special permissions. And one decree says that any extraction from hemp flowers can be considered an agricultural product and sold on store shelves without a problem. And that includes CBD.

What makes the Italian cannabis contradiction that much more interesting is that there seems to be a reason for the decree from the Medicines Agency that makes CBD a narcotic, and if you haven’t guessed it yet, it has to do with putting money in corporate pockets. Enter Epidiolex!

Epidiolex is a CBD-based drug produced by UK corporate enterprise GW Pharmaceuticals. GW Pharmaceuticals just requested the ability to put its product on Italian shelves, as it rolls it out to a number of countries including France, Germany, and Spain. Making CBD a narcotic limits other products from being able to be sold, especially if they require authorization from the Italian Medicines Agency, which seems to be working in concert with GW Pharmaceuticals (this isn’t a statement so much as personal supposition).

Epidiolex is actually the first cannabis-derived drug to be approved in the US by the FDA, a position that made it headlines back in 2018. While its not my job to make assumptions about political leanings toward pharmaceutical ventures over smaller independent companies, it sure looks like there are political leanings toward pharmaceutical enterprises over smaller independent companies.

Unanswered questions

The decree by the Medicines Agency, which makes CBD a narcotic, specifically relates to extractions of hemp flowers, but not other uses of hemp flowers. So, legally, it doesn’t have an effect on smokable hemp flowers according to the Customs and Monopoly’s cease and desist order. Smokable hemp flowers are actually very popular in Italy. If CBD is really considered so bad, then it stands to reason that smokable hemp flowers would also be illegalized. Rather, it shows cracks in Italy’s logic – and preferential treatment toward pharmaceutical companies, that the products made illegal, are the ones most in competition with Epidiolex. Italy would probably have a losing battle if it tried to illegalize smokable hemp flowers now, but it creates a second Italian cannabis contradiction by making CBD a narcotic in extracts only.

italian cannabis explained

When did it all happen?

Now we know there are two Italian cannabis decrees that are in opposition to each other, but when did they come about? The first decree to be enacted is the one by the Agriculture Ministry that was put into effect in August of 2020 when hemp flower extracts were added to the table of agricultural products. The second decree is the one made by the Italian Medicines Agency which makes extracts of hemp flowers narcotics, and it was put into effect October 15th 2020. There was somewhere in the neighborhood of two months in between. That means two months of the Agriculture Ministry’s decree making hemp flower extractions agricultural products before the Medicines Agency came in with its own decree working in the opposite direction.

Implications

When medicinal marijuana was first legalized in California, there were clashes between legal patients and the feds, since cannabis was still (and is still) federally illegal. The opposition between states rights and federal law caused havoc until President Obama made the decision to stop cracking down on people legally using in legal states, even if federal law didn’t cover it. This came years after he entered office, much of which time he spent cracking down on medicinal patients.

Right now, there is a similar case of France vs the EU which will have implications in Italy now as well. France is currently fighting to uphold its ability to set its own laws in terms of legal amounts of THC in CBD oil, and the ability to keep products out of the country that don’t meet France’s standards. EU law stipulates its fine so long as the THC amount doesn’t go above .2%, and that one EU country can’t limit imports from another EU country if EU standards are met. France prefers 0% THC, which makes an essential ban since all CBD oil will have at least trace amounts of THC, and therefore limits the ability for imports from other EU countries. Just like in the US, it’s a member state vs a federal body.

If France wins, Italy can restrict CBD however it wants. If the EU wins, Italy will have to go by EU law, or its citizens can bring litigation against their government. Right now the people of Italy are being told two very different things. On one hand they’re being told that its perfectly cool to freely buy and sell products with hemp flower extracts. On the other hand they’re threatened with narcotic law punishments for doing the exact same things.

Conclusion

Cannabis laws are confusing, and contradictory, and often effected by political and economic issues that further confound what was already unclear. Italy is just the next example. Right now the two decrees create an Italian cannabis contradiction, and how that will be sorted in the weeks and months to come, is nearly impossible to predict.

Thanks for stopping by CBDtesters.co, your one-stop-shop for all cannabis-related news. Come on by frequently to stay in the loop, and sign up to our newsletter so you never miss anything.

Resources

What are THCV Flowers, and How Are They Different from What You’ve Been Smoking? (Why THCV flowers are unique)
Everything You Need To Know About CBD Isolate (a deep look into hemp extracts)

Cannabinoids 101 – Spotlight on CBN (Cannabinol)
Your Complete Guide to EU GMP-Certified CBD Isolate and Distillate – Spotlight on the regulated EU market

Everything You Need To Know About CBG Isolate
Newest Cannabinoid Powerhouse – CBC – What Can It Do for You?
What is DELTA 8 THC (FAQ: Great resource to learn about DELTA 8THC)

Cannabis Cosmetics: What’s Allowed, What’s Not, and Where to Find Them (What is the latest regulations in Europe and which products are allowed)
Grey Market and Black Market in the World of Cannabis (Read this before investing into a legal cannabis business)
The CBD Flowers Weekly newsletter (your top resource for all things smokable hemp flowers)
The Medical Cannabis Weekly newsletter (International medical cannabis business report)
The Legal Landscape Of CBD Hemp Flower In Europe

The Delta 8 Weekly Newsletter (All you need to know about Delta 8 thc)Regulators Go After Smokable Hemp Flower – What Does The Future Hold?
Investing in Delta 8 THC Flowers – Is It The Right Move For Your Business? (All you need to know about the latest hot trend: Delta-8 THC)

The post The New Italian Cannabis Contradiction appeared first on CBD Testers.

Friday, October 23, 2020 Headlines | Marijuana Today Daily News

Marijuana Today Daily Headlines
Friday, October 23, 2020 | Curated by host Shea Gunther

// Montana high court tosses challenge to adult-use marijuana measure (Marijuana Business Daily)

// Pennsylvania House Votes To Protect Medical Marijuana Patients From DUI Charges (Marijuana Moment)

// Canadian cannabis sales grow to nearly CA$245 million in August (Marijuana Business Daily)


These headlines are brought to you by Curaleaf, one of the leading vertically-integrated cannabis operators in the U.S. With legal medical and adult use marijuana dispensaries, cultivation sites, and processing facilities all over the United States, Curaleaf has served more than 350,000 medical cannabis patients and looks forward to helping many more long into the future. Swing over to Curaleaf.com to learn more about this very cool company!


// Colorado Governor Tells Texas Not To Legalize Marijuana So His Own State Can Get More Tourists (Marijuana Moment)

// US cannabis harvest price report 2020 (Leafly)

// Jushi Prices C$35.5 Million Equity Offering at C$3.55 (New Cannabis Ventures)

// West Virginia taps Metrc for medical cannabis seed-to-sale tracking system (Marijuana Business Daily)

// Michael Thompson, imprisoned for 25 years for selling three pounds of cannabis, to receive parole hearing in November (Growth Op)

// Oregon vineyards lose lawsuit against nearby cannabis operation (Oregon Public Broadcasting (AP))

// New Zealand seeks proposals to educate doctors on medical cannabis (Marijuana Business Daily)


Check out our other projects:Marijuana Today— Our flagship title, a weekly podcast examining the world of marijuana business and activism with some of the smartest people in the industry and movement. • Marijuana Media Connect— A service that connects industry insiders in the legal marijuana industry with journalists, bloggers, and writers in need of expert sources for their stories.

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