Portugal Punts (Temporarily) on Cannabis Reform as Government Collapses

Budget wars, not antipathy to the prospect of the full and final legalization of cannabis, will probably put Portugal behind on the recreational reform question within the European Union (EU). The country’s 2022 budget had included tax cuts and increased public investment to stimulate the economy post COVID. It was opposed by both hard Left- and Right-wing parties. In late October, such political opposition to the budget proposed by Prime Minister António Costa triggered a final meltdown of the coalition that has governed here since 2015. 

In a rare event for the country, indeed one that has not happened since Portugal transitioned to democracy in 1974, the government was dissolved two years early by the right-wing President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa. National elections will be held on January 30 of next year.

What happens next, even on the cannabis discussion, is anyone’s guess. That said, it is also very unlikely that any new government here will oppose forward cannabis reform. The country has a vested interest in the development of the sector. And even though the licensing process on the medical side has been fraught with difficulties if not delays, it is clearly proceeding.

Why is Portugal Important in the European Cannabis Discussion?

Portugal is famous for its liberal approach to all drugs, although it is inaccurate to say that everything has been “decriminalized.” There have been various attempts to reform the country’s drug policy ever since the 1970s. In the present, cannabis is not technically legal here, although the medical cultivation sector has certainly taken off since 2017.

In early June, a bill to formalize the legalization of the personal use of cannabis was proposed by two parties, the Left Bloc and the Liberal Initiative and forwarded to the Health Commission for debate. This debate never happened due to repeated requests for postponement.

Now that the government has been dissolved, the legislation will have to be re-introduced by the new government.

Regardless, since 2017, when Tilray began construction on its cannabis facility, Portugal has begun to play a larger and larger role in the entire European cannabis discussion. This, so far at least, is less about the liberalization of policy domestically and more about the ability to obtain cultivation licenses (although this too is not as “easy” as many in the industry have infamously claimed). That said, the country has the most operating regulated cultivation facilities and licenses of any EU sovereign state outside of Holland. Of course, unlike the Dutch, these are all of the internationally regulated, GMP variety.

As it stands, the market is geared towards the production and, coming soon, extraction of the plant primarily for export (and even more specifically, targeted at and for the German medical market). Indeed, production and labor costs here put the country, along with Greece and evolving African cannabis cultivation economies, roughly on par in terms of cost per gram (both for flower and extracts).

What Would a Portuguese Rec Market Actually Impact?

The answer is, quite obviously, that a recreational market here would positively affect not only the broader economy but the tourist sector, in the process creating a booming market with a canna flair.

That said, it is also clear that this might in turn be a bit of a stretch for a region where the most forward cannabis reform country (Luxembourg) just punted on the question and took a slower path to the entire conversation with a home grow provision (along with supporting a regulated cannabis seed market).

However, after Europe emerges from what is likely to be another hard COVID winter, such sensitivities could well be overrun by politics and politicians who are looking for economic stimulation any way they can get it. This entire conversation, of course neatly fits that bill, no matter how contentious economic development with a cannabis flair still is outside of Greece (at least within the EU). Certainly, the medical sector has gotten more respectable over the last four years. Even the German government is now considering the same, in part because of the estimated tax revenue that is likely to come of the formal development of this market.

Bottom line? Portugal is no longer the outlier it once was on the topic. Indeed it may now fall behind full reform in other countries even within the EU, starting with both Luxembourg and Germany.

That said, the development of a fully legit market here will undoubtedly continue to impact the entire industry across the continent—starting with sourcing medical production bound for elsewhere, but undoubtedly, as the entire discussion progresses, recreational cannabis products too.

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Kentucky Takes First Step Toward Legal Recreational Cannabis

A Democratic lawmaker in Kentucky on Monday took the first legislative steps toward legalizing cannabis in the Bluegrass State.

State Rep. Nima Kulkarni, who represents Louisville, prefiled a pair of bills that would upend the way cannabis consumers are treated there.

The first bill would “would amend the state’s constitution, permitting Kentuckians 21 and older to possess, use, buy or sell up to one ounce of cannabis without criminal penalty. Kentuckians would also be allowed to have up to five plants for personal use,” local television station LEX 18 reported.

The other would “would have the legislature eliminate criminal penalties for possessing, cultivating, and/or selling small amounts of cannabis,” the station explained, and “would also remove cannabis accessories from the state’s drug-paraphernalia statutes.”

“I am sponsoring these bills for several reasons, any one of which should be enough for them to become law,” Kulkarni said in a statement that was reported on by local TV station WLKY. “First, current cannabis statutes have needlessly and tragically ruined many lives, especially people of color who have suffered because of unequal enforcement. Second, thousands of citizens, from cancer patients to veterans suffering from PTSD, should have the right to use something that gives them the mental and physical relief they deserve without relying on stronger, potentially addictive medicine. Third, cannabis de-criminalization would give the state a much-needed source of reliable revenue without raising current taxes a single cent. And, finally, polls have repeatedly shown a majority of Kentuckians backs de-criminalization and allowing cannabis to be used responsibly by adults.”

LEX 18 reported that Kulkarni’s proposed constitutional amendment legalizing cannabis “would need to be approved by three-fifths of the House and Senate during the upcoming 2022 legislative session, before going in front of voters next November.”

The state’s legislative session is scheduled to begin in January.

A poll last year found that 59 percent of Kentuckians are in favor of legalizing cannabis—a whopping 20-point spike in merely seven years.           

But that doesn’t mean that Kulkarni’s two bills are a sure-thing, particularly given the general assembly’s recent history.

The state’s House of Representatives passed a bill in February 2020 legalizing medical cannabis treatment, but the legislation fizzled out after the COVID-19 pandemic brought business to a standstill.

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear, a Democrat, urged lawmakers late last year to renew their efforts to get the bill over the line. As a gubernatorial candidate in 2019, Beshear had spoken out against harsh penalties, including prison time, for cannabis consumers.

Kulkarni’s moves on Monday harken back to former Democratic Kentucky Rep. Cluster Howard, who in 2019 also prefiled a bill that would have legalized marijuana use for adults aged 21 and older and decriminalized marijuana possession of less than an ounce. Howard’s bill also would have created a regulated market for the sale of cannabis.

“Other states have shown that legalizing cannabis for adult use is a win-win situation for everyone involved,” Howard said at the time. “It’s a major revenue generator. It frees up critical jail and prison space. It helps counteract the deadly opioid epidemic. And it gives farmers a major new cash crop. The longer we wait, the more we miss out on these benefits.”

There were more than 20,000 arrests for possession and sale of cannabis in Kentucky between 2014 and 2016.

The ACLU said last year that Black Kentuckians “are 9.4 times more likely than white Kentuckians to be arrested for marijuana possession, despite both groups having similar national marijuana use rates,” a rate that “is second only to Montana, where Black people are 9.6 times more likely to be arrested than white people.”

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South Dakota Supreme Court Strikes Down Recreational Cannabis Legalization

A majority of South Dakota voters gave their blessing to cannabis legalization last year, but the state’s court system did not.

The long, drawn-out saga surrounding the Mouth Rushmore State’s flirtation with cannabis reached its coda last week, as the South Dakota Supreme Court ruled the voter-approved amendment unconstitutional on technical grounds.

In a 4-1 ruling handed down on the eve of Thanksgiving, the justices said that Amendment A, which would have legalized pot use for adults aged 21 and older, violated the state constitution’s “one subject” requirement for constitutional amendments.

Writing for the majority, Chief Justice Steven Jensen said that Amendment A clearly contained “provisions embracing at least three separate subjects, each with distinct objects or purposes.” 

Amendment A, which was approved in last year’s election with the support of 54 percent of South Dakota voters, dealt with not only recreational pot, but also medicinal cannabis and hemp.

The state’s constitution, Jensen wrote, “not only includes a single subject requirement but also directs proponents of a constitutional amendment to prepare an amendment so that the different subjects can be voted on separately.”

“This constitutional directive could not be expressed more clearly—each subject must be voted on separately—and simply severing certain provisions may or may not reflect the actual will of the voters,” Jensen wrote. “Therefore, we cannot accept Proponents’ suggestion that excising the medical marijuana and hemp provisions from Amendment A in favor of retaining the provisions regulating and legalizing recreational marijuana is an appropriate remedy. Amendment A is void in its entirety.”

The ruling upholds a previous decision by a South Dakota circuit court, which struck down Amendment A in February.

Amendment A Long Opposed by South Dakota Leaders

The amendment was staunchly opposed by Republican Gov. Kristi Noem and the lawsuit challenging its constitutionality was brought on her behalf by the South Dakota Highway Patrol Superintendent and a county sheriff.

Jensen said in his opinion last week that neither of those law enforcement officials “had standing to challenge Amendment A in their official capacities,” and that the circuit court had erred in its determination of such. But because Noem ratified the lawsuit, the “standing defect” had been alleviated and the action proceeded “as if it had been commenced by the real party in interest,” meaning the governor.

In April, the state’s Supreme Court agreed to hear the case.

After the high court’s ruling last week, Noem, widely considered a potential 2022 GOP presidential candidate, took a victory lap.

“South Dakota is a place where the rule of law and our Constitution matter, and that’s what today’s decision is about,” the governor said in a statement. “We do things right—and how we do things matters just as much as what we are doing. We are still governed by the rule of law. This decision does not affect my Administration’s implementation of the medical cannabis program voters approved in 2020. That program was launched earlier this month, and the first cards have already gone out to eligible South Dakotans.” 

In addition to Amendment A, South Dakota voters also approved a separate proposal legalizing medical marijuana last year. That proposal, Measure 26, passed with the support of 70 percent of South Dakota voters.

The state’s medicinal cannabis program is slowly getting off the ground. Earlier this month, the state announced that it would begin accepting applications from eligible medical cannabis patients.

Marijuana advocates in South Dakota have been left dismayed by the opposition from both the governor and the courts, but the road to legalization did not end last week. Activists began circulating petitions earlier this fall in the hopes of getting another recreational pot proposal on next year’s ballot. 

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It’s Official: New Ruling German Coalition to Legalize Recreational Cannabis Use

Even the most die-hard “medical only” German voices within the cannabis industry have been posting the news all over their social media including LinkedIn for the past week, even before the news was official. But as of Wednesday, that has changed, officially. The new so-called “Traffic Light Coalition” will indeed be legalizing recreational use cannabis with a bill to do so introduced in the German Bundestag next year.

For those who have fought for the same, in the trenches, for years if not decades, it is an exciting moment. It is also electrifying the industry, which now has over 100 medical cannabis specialty distribution licenses, a growing patient base (estimated 100,000 at this point), and a topic that just will not quit. Particularly as the Swiss (in part, a German language country) are doing the same thing. This is particularly momentous given the timing. Germany might even beat Luxembourg into the recreational discussion within the European Union.

That said, no matter how exciting, the devil, as always, is in the details. How much, what exactly, and how it will be implemented is all still up in the air. Cannabis is still not actually decriminalized, and there are all sorts of strange pieces of case law and to be changed statutes still very much in the room.

What Is Known So Far

The reason this is such a big deal is that the announcement comes as the three parties who won the most votes in the federal election in September have sealed the deal to work together with a common plank that includes cannabis reform (along with phasing out coal by 2030 while also having at least 15 million electric cars on the road). After that, it is just a matter of crafting the legislation and introducing it into the German parliament. Unlike the U.S., where there have been multiple, unsuccessful attempts to pass a federal legalization bill, this one is almost guaranteed to pass. The Germans are funny like that.

Here is what is actually official. In a statement released by the SDP, Greens and FDP, this is what the coalition plans to do. “We are introducing the controlled supply of cannabis to adults for consumption in licensed stores. This controls the quality [of marijuana], prevents the transfer of contaminated substances and guarantees the protection of minors.”

The government will review the experiment in four years to determine the impact (including economically and socially). That said, there is little chance such a forward step would be rolled back.

Issues And Problems Along the Way

It is not like this is going to be smooth sailing. There are a few major issues to address. Chief among those is how to amend the country’s federal narcotics law. Cannabis, including CBD, is considered a narcotic. This is already out of step with EU policy on the same (with a pending lawsuit to change that). Regardless, add THC to the mix, and there is going to be some fancy footwork and legal eagling to make the change happen not only in the new legislation, but that which governs and regulates the medical variety.

German Impact

There is little doubt that Germany’s move to recreational cannabis will forward the debate across Europe—and potentially in the same timeframe as it has impacted the medical conversation. Just four years ago, the concept of using medical cannabis even for pain relief was a very strange, often socially unacceptable topic. Today, there are about 100,000 German patients.

The Germans may not have arrived yet, but they are certainly on the way.

This is absolutely a Colorado if not Canadian tipping point. However, it may also be one that is not just about Germany, or even Europe, but an international and global one.

Coming as it is on the international news of Mexico implementing recreational reform by year’s end and Italians potentially having the ability to vote on legalizing personal possession and home grow as of next spring, not to mention both Luxembourg and Switzerland definitely moving ahead with their own recreational markets, it is clear that full and final cannabis reform is now a mainstream topic and goal on a federal level of many countries.

This will also, undoubtedly spur on the debate in the U.S. If Germany can do this, less than four years after federal legalization of its medical market, what is the U.S. waiting for? Or for that matter China? In the latter case, with a corporate real estate market melting down, perhaps finally, and on a global scale, cannabis will be considered a great if not green and global investment.

In the meantime, the last days of Prohibition have clearly arrived and on a global level.

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Indiana Democrats Announce Full Support of Recreational Cannabis

Highlighting robust public support and the potential for an economic boon to the state, Democrats in Indiana said Monday that they will pursue marijuana legalization in the forthcoming legislative session.

The Indiana Democratic Party used the announcement to broadcast “its full support for the effort to legalize recreational cannabis across the state,” and to put pressure on Hoosier State Republicans, namely Governor Eric Holcomb, to get on board with the reform effort.

The Democrats also pointed to a recent survey showing that eight out of 10 Indiana adults back marijuana legalization.

“Legalizing marijuana in some form is supported by about 80-percent of Hoosiers and would provide the opportunity to create an additional revenue stream for the state, create good-paying jobs, develop a long-term cash crop for Indiana’s ag and business communities, provide medicinal opportunities for people like the state’s veterans and seniors, and could start the process of expunging records for simple possession across the state,” the Indiana Democratic Party said in the release. 

Monday’s announcement from the Democrats came on the eve of Organization Day, the ceremonial launch of the legislative calendar when lawmakers are sworn in and make preparations with their colleagues for the upcoming session, which will begin in January. 

Mike Schmuhl, Chairman of the Indiana Democratic Party, said in the announcement that Indiana constituents have looked to their neighbors to recognize the merits of legalization, with fellow midwestern states Illinois and Michigan both ending prohibition on pot inside their respective borders.

Democrats said that Indiana residents are currently contributing “millions of dollars to Michigan and Illinois economies—where cannabis is legalized.” Legalizing marijuana in Indiana, the Democrats said, would ensure that the state economy “would have a guaranteed cash crop in the long-term for the state’s businesses and farming communities, creating a revenue stream for the General Assembly to use in future sessions.”

“Hoosiers have seen the impact that recreational and medicinal cannabis use has made on the states around us, and not only are they contributing to neighboring states’ economies, Indiana is now on the verge of losing out altogether. The Republican supermajority at the statehouse is losing its economic common sense if they do not join Democrats this session in making this opportunity a winner for the Hoosier State,” Schmuhl said.

“Marijuana is a really popular issue, and a large majority of Hoosiers want to see this get done. Democrats are ready to take the lead on this effort because it’s a win-win for Indiana, and it’ll fulfill the Party’s consistent promise of creating a better future for Hoosier families. It’s time to legalize recreational cannabis across Indiana.”

Legalization would mark a massive change for law enforcement in Indiana, where, under current law, “possession of even a single joint is punishable by up to a year of incarceration and a fine of up to $5,000,” according to the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP).

MPP said that Indiana is “now one of only 14 states with no effective medical cannabis law, and one of only 19 that still imposes jail time for simple possession of cannabis.”

The state Democratic Party said that, along with broad public approval, there is also some bipartisan support for legalization, with some GOP lawmakers eager to take the step.

But Holcomb, currently serving his second term as governor, has voiced opposition to legalization in the past. In 2019, Holcomb acknowledged that he smoked weed when he was in college, but that he could not get behind legalization until the federal government acted first.

“If the law changed, we would look at all the positive or adverse impacts it would have,” the governor said at the time. “I’m not convinced other states have made a wise decision.”

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Cannabis Legalization in Canada: Three Years On

Although the world is showing definite progress, full cannabis legalization within a nation is an overall rarity. Georgia, the Netherlands, Mexico, South Africa, Uruguay and 18 states in the US, make up the majority of places that have decided to legalize both medical and recreational cannabis.

Many countries have legalized medical cannabis, but the next step of allowing for recreational use is often a step too far for most nations. Therefore, when Canada took that step in 2018, many people were excited to see how things would change in the country. However, the year is now 2021, and three years have passed. Has the country changed? Has cannabis become easily accessible? Or is Canada in a stagnant position? Let’s find out. 

Since Canada legalized cannabis a few years ago, the entire world has had their eyes on our neighbors up north, and it has been an interesting thus far. To learn more about global cannabis regulation, make sure to subscribe to The Medical Cannabis Weekly Newsletter, your top source for all things cannabis-related including exclusive deals on flowers, vapes, edibles, and other products! Save big on Delta 8Delta 9 THCDelta-10THCOTHCVTHCP & HHC products by checking out our “Best-of” lists!


Cannabis Legalization 

Cannabis legalization is never just as simple as yes or no. The cannabis plant is a complex beast, made up of 100 cannabinoids, and countries have varying laws depending on which cannabinoid is in question. That is where things begin to become complicated. Whilst CBD is legal in the majority of countries around the world, THC is not. This is, most obviously, because CBD is not a psychoactive substance, but THC is. THC is responsible for the well-known ‘high’ that people associate with cannabis. The easiest way to judge a country’s cannabis policy is to look into its views on medical cannabis (used for medicinal purposes) vs its view on recreational cannabis (use for enjoyment).

Medical

Medicinal cannabis is cannabis that is used to treat both mental and physical conditions. Both THC and CBD have been found to assist with various health problems. These include: 

  • Chronic pain 
  • Cancer symptoms
  • PTSD
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Tourettes
  • Epilepsy
  • Insomnia 
  • Concentration

Medical cannabis is usually the first one to be legalized in a country, as government’s find it hard to disprove how many people’s conditions have been improved by the wonders of cannabis. The evidence is often a slap in the face to any anti-drug governments; it’s impossible to ignore. 

Recreational 

On the other hand, recreational cannabis is a tougher subject. Legalizing any drug for the sole purpose of allowing people to use it for fun is always something that governments find hard to do. It requires an overall trust in the population and solid knowledge of drugs. However, some would argue that any use of cannabis is, in a way, medication. Halcyon Organics states:

“I encourage all “recreational” cannabis users to reevaluate their use.  If there is a prescription or over-the-counter drug designed to treat something that cannabis helps you with, that’s medical use.  If they sell something at GNC or Vitamin World that cannabis helps you with, that’s medical use.  You may not use these other medications because you already know that cannabis is a superior treatment, you just didn’t realize it.

However, most countries do not have this view. That is why the legalization of recreational cannabis is a lot rarer than medicinal. But for those countries that have legalized both uses of cannabis, does it always lead to better conditions? Are the people who need cannabis any closer to getting it after their country has fully legalized cannabis? Let’s take a look at some of the problems that can arise in nations that say yes to marijuana.

Problems That Arise

Price 

When cannabis is legalized, the price is always majorly important. Usually those in need of cannabis will have had to get their medication from street dealers and the dark web before legalization has taken place. Therefore, it’s important that when cannabis is legalized, the companies are able to match or even beat the prices of those other sources. If not, it will be extremely difficult for those who are unable to afford the cost of prescriptions. They may be forced to return to their previous sources and risk being prosecuted and fined. In Amsterdam, the prices stay low due to the heavy competition between coffee shops. There are over 160 establishments that sell cannabis in the capital of the Netherlands, which means a lot of healthy competition and, in result, cheap weed. 

Accessibility

Accessibility is another issue that rises once cannabis has been legalized. How easy is it to get a hold of? Some countries require a huge amount of evidence from a doctor before being able to retrieve medical cannabis. This is difficult if health providers have not done proper research into cannabis as a medicine, and which illnesses require it. In addition, if there aren’t many cannabis shops or dispensaries within a city, it can be difficult for someone to purchase cannabis. Especially if they are unable to travel. This is, again, when street dealers and the dark web become an easier option. 

Cannabis In Canada

On the 17th October 2018, Canada legalized cannabis in all areas for adults 18 and over. This made Canada only the second country in the world to legalize recreational cannabis. The first was Uruguay in 2013. Under the Cannabis Act of 2018, the sale and production of cannabis products became legal by territorial retailers and federally licensed sellers of cannabis for medical purposes. 

What’s Legal?

In Canada it’s legal to purchase cannabis from specific establishments, it’s legal to consume cannabis and it’s legal to grow up to 4 cannabis plants at home. You’re able to sell cannabis only if you’re licensed by Health Canada. Medical cannabis is also legal and prescribed if authorized by a healthcare provider. 

What’s Illegal?

Selling cannabis without a license is illegal and dealt with strictly. In addition, driving high is of course illegal. The police force in Canada are especially trained in identifying high drivers. 

Why did Canada Legalize Cannabis?

Canada decided to legalize cannabis as a national experiemnet. They wanted to see if by legalizing cannabis, they would be able to regulate and own the problems that surround the drug. So why did they want to fully legalize cannabis?

Inequality

One reason was to conquer inequality.

“Legalization, the government vowed, would address the inequalities in a criminal justice system where marijuana and hashish penalties and prosecutions — and the lifelong burdens they impose — had fallen disproportionately on marginalized communities, particularly Black Canadians and Indigenous people.”

They hoped that by legalizing cannabis, strict penalties on minority groups would diminish and as such not have long-term effects on their lives. 

Accessibility

The Canadian government also hoped that by legalizing cannabis, it would become more accessible to those who desperately need it. They hoped this would also then avoid people being prosecuted or fined when using cannabis as medication.

Youth Cannabis Consumption

Another issue that Canada was facing was the amount of young people consuming cannabis. They wanted to regulate cannabis and the legal age of consumption in order to stop youngsters from purchasing it. 

Taxation

Finally, Canada wanted to benefit from the taxation on cannabis sales. The Netherlands are widely known to make around 400 million euros from cannabis sales in coffeeshops. This money can be used to put back into the economy.

How’s It Going Three Years Later?

So, the question is, after three years how is Canada’s cannabis experiment going? Have their aims been achieved or is it still too early to tell? 

Well, in regards to inequality, cannabis legalization has slightly dealt with this. National prosecutions were at 26,000 in 2018, and have now dropped significantly to 46 only. It’s still illegal to possess over 30 grams of cannabis in Canada. This has, evidently, also benefited those who were most likely to be prosecuted: minority groups. However, an important statistic to remember is that within the new cannabis industry, 84% of directors and executives are white males. So the cannabis industry in Canada is hardly diverse itself. 

Has cannabis become more accessible? Well, there are over 2000 cannabis stores in Canada, and this number is definitely rising. In addition:

“According to the government’s most recent survey, 27 per cent of participants reported having used marijuana in the past year — an increase from 22 per cent in the first cannabis survey conducted in 2017” 

Plus, the prices of legal cannabis is definitely going down. In 2020, the average price of a gram in Canada was around $11 a gram, whereas in 2021 it’s now around $9 a gram. This shows an obvious decrease and that the industry is benefitting from healthy competition between retailers.

Are Canada’s youth being deterred from cannabis consumption? Well, the truth is that it’s hard to fully find this out at this point in time. But, there’s no doubt that cannabis shops are far more strict on age checks than street dealers are. Shop owners could risk losing their licenses if they aren’t. Therefore, it’s unlikely that cannabis is being sold to underage children legally. However, it’s hard to tell if this is still happening illegally. 

And finally, what about taxation? Well, in 2020, Canada made $2.6 billion from cannabis sales. This is a 120% increase from 2019. This statistic alone proves that cannabis taxation is working within the reasonably new Canadian cannabis industry. 

What do you think? 

So, there you have it, Canada three years after they legalized cannabis. Do you think their country has improved, or could they be doing more to truly benefit from legal cannabis? The truth is, Canada set the standards for cannabis legalization round the world in 2018, let’s hope they can continue that. 

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Portugal Delays Recreational Cannabis Bills as Luxembourg Also Signals Delay

These are curious days in Europe on the recreational cannabis question. On one hand, the stated intentions of both Portugal and Luxembourg to establish recreational markets as early as next year and certainly by 2023 has been on the drawing board for the past three years. On the other, as the clock ticks down to the final quarter of 2021, politicians in both countries are suddenly pushing the pause if not long-term delay button.

Luxembourg has the longest track record outside of Holland as a country committed to a recreational market, theoretically by 2023. That said, it is suddenly being reported as of the last week of September that the ruling coalition here is now also considering the delay of the same, citing concerns about the legality of the same given current policies at the EU level. This is a little strange given the fact that the Dutch seem to have no issue with the EU policies as they go about implementing a national recreational infrastructure for the first time. Regardless it also points to a need for at least a fig leaf of legitimacy at a regional level so far missing from the discussion.

Beyond the stalling now seen in Luxembourg, for those who were hoping that at least one country in the EU will commit to a recreational market before the end of the year, Portugal had remained a beacon of hope. Portugal has long had one of the most tolerant drug policies generally because of a reaction against the policies of the late dictator Antonio Salazar which ended four years after his death in 1974.

However, the parliament in Portugal has dragged its feet this year and as of last week, began delaying discussion on a bill, which was supposed to go into effect late this year or early next.

Indeed, the timing of both decisions may have everything to do with the German elections in however backward a manner. Namely, that other countries in the EU on the verge of real reform are now stalling to see what Germany will do.

It appears that as of now, Holland remains the only country in Europe with a recreational market that is now federally regulated, and Switzerland the only sure-fire bet to go forward on a rec trial as of next year.

What Gives in Portugal and Beyond?

There are all sorts of rumors flying about why the sudden slowdown of politicians to engage on the recreational reform question especially given the results of the German election. Beyond this, the Luxembourg discussion is particularly intriguing given the fact that Canopy Growth, according to local media, has just inked a deal to sell medical cannabis to the Luxembourgian government at 100 euros a flower gram. To put this in perspective, the German bid set the price of the same at 2.20 euros a gram as of 2017, dropping to 1.87 with volume sales.

The fact that officials in Luxembourg seem unaware of the same is one problem no matter how closely they have studied the Canadian market. The second of course is that this is highway robbery of a kind not even seen so far in the rest of Europe (even as the German market was opening). The closest comparison in fact to this kind of pricing is only seen in the liquid Dronabinol market in Germany (where prices are still at a shockingly high 100 euros a liquid gram wholesale).

The fact that this outrageous sale is occurring almost simultaneously with the news of a now slowed down schedule for a rec market on the timeline since the last national election is just one more reminder of how political the discussions about forward progress are—and how much the larger public Canadian companies still shape debate if not the speed of progress here.

Indeed, the slower the pace of change, the more of these kind of short term, arbitraged commodity medical plays will occur.

Will Germany Really Drive Rec Reform in Europe?

There are all sorts of speculations afoot these days about not only the shape of the coalition that will guide Germany through the next four years, but the pace of cannabis reform here. If the statements coming out of Berlin are to be believed right now, cannabis reform, even if only decriminalization, but probably something more than that (like rec trials) is clearly on the agenda. This is because it is a clear win politically for all those in the new coalition, whatever that is likely to be.

However, Germany is not necessarily the only if not most powerful driver here. The Dutch are proceeding with the region’s first completely federally regulated recreational market. And of course, just across the border with Germany, Switzerland, while not in the EU, is not likely to slow down with its own plans to launch trials next year.

This alone, beyond the elections will certainly allow local advocates in at least Germany and potentially Austria, both in the DACH trading alliance, to face up to the fact that the momentum may be slightly slowed, but there is no stopping the great green train.

The idea of recreational reform has hit Europe, and while it may hit legal objections at every level (see not only the political yellow lights of late but the decision of the court in Strasbourg against Albert Tió), the horse has left the barn.

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Best Cannabis Stocks To Invest In This Fall 2021

The cannabis industry is expected to double in total value over the next 3 years, with legal products sales estimated to top $43 billion. That said, right now is prime time to invest and venture capitalists are taking note. Naturally, being an incipient market, there are numerous investment risks to take into consideration so it is important to have a good understanding of industry operations and patterns beforehand.

It can take some time to get educated in all the innerworkings of the complicated and everchanging cannabis industry, so until then, you can check out some of the current top stocks from our list and see if any are a right fit for you.

The cannabis industry is still relatively new, but growing at exponential rates. That’s why now is the perfect time to consider investing. If you’d like to learn more about the industry, make sure to subscribe to The Medical Cannabis Weekly Newsletter, your top-source for all things cannabis-related including more articles like this one and exclusive deals on various legal products.


1. Innovative Industrial Properties

Innovative Industrial Properties (NYSE:IIPR) is probably a name you’re already familiar with, as it’s well known, well performing, and somewhat unique in the industry. This company doesn’t deal directly with cannabis products nor is it really an ancillary company. Rather, it’s a real estate investment trust that specializes in the management of cannabis cultivation facilities, which it leases to growers across the US.

As of now, they only offer property contracts to growers that are licensed to cultivate for medical purposes. The medical market is stable, more widely accepted, and according to recent data collected by Global Market Insights, expected to surpass $15 billion in valuation over the next few years. IIP has a large portfolio in this sector that includes properties in Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, and Illinois.

Now let’s take a quick look at the numbers. In 2020, the company reported a 162% increase in revenue, as well as a net income boost of 191 percent. In the first half of 2021, they company continued to see growth by 101% in the first quarter and 119% in the second.

In 2020 alone, the company reported that its revenue increased 162% and net income rose by 191% from the prior year. In the first half of 2021, the company’s revenue and net income surged by 101% and 119%, respectively, from the same period in 2020. The company raises its payout on a regular basis and recently announced a 28% year-over-year increase. Additionally, IIR is yielding 2.6% percent, compared to the average of 1.3% noted by S&P 500.

2. Jushi Holdings

When it comes to the type of cannabis stocks most investors think of when considering the marijuana industry, Jushi Holdings (OTC:JUSHF) is one of the first that comes to mind. Jushi is a multi-state cannabis operator has a large portfolio of dispensaries across the US in states such as California, Illinois, Virginia, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania, its largest market where it current has 15 stores.

Jushi Holdings (OTC:JUSHF) is the kind of stock that most investors think of when looking at the marijuana industry. The multi-state cannabis operator has a fast-growing portfolio of dispensaries and retail locations that run from coast to coast.

Jushi Holdings has locations in Pennsylvania, Illinois, California, Virginia, and Massachusetts. The company’s most substantial presence is in Pennsylvania, where it has 15 stores. Additionally, they recently acquired an 8,000-square-foot medical cannabis production facility in Ohio, where they already sell a large percentage of their products.

Jushi Holdings reported a 220% year-over-year revenue increase in the most recent quarter, as well as 194% raise in gross profits from 12 months prior. Shares are up 80% since last year but they are still affordable enough for even novice investors to consider.

3. Cresco Labs

Cresco Labs (CRLBF), is another multistate operator with business in 10 different states. Their portfolio includes 44 ancillary retail businesses, 18 production facilities, and 32 dispensaries. National brands they represent include Cresco, Reserve, Remedi, and Mindy’s Edibles.

In April of this year, Cresco Labs announced the launch of a new line of low-dose cannabis-based edibles: Wonder Wellness. For now, this brand is only available in Illinois, but they will so be on store shelves in the all the states in which Cresco currently operates.

Cresco reported a 123% increase in sales during Q2, as well as an adjusted EBITDA of $45.5 million, which was 98% higher than the same time last year. In total, they reported a net profit of $2.7 billion, a 106% increase from 12 months ago – making it one of the safest and most reliable stocks in the industry.

4. GrowGeneration

GrowGeneration (GRWG) is the largest operator of hydroponic garden centers in the United States. Although they have been on a bit of a roller coaster ride this year as far as stock prices rising and falling, overall, they have been on a steady rise with shares doubling annually over the last 3 years.

In July 2021, GrowGeneration announced the acquisition of Michigan-based company HGS Hydro. In total, HGS operates seven stores and they are the third largest retailer of hydroponic products in the US.

In total, GrowGeneration operates 65 stores in 12 different states, and they are currently looking to expand into many of the newer markets such as Missouri, Illinois, Arizona, Pennsylvania, New York, and New Jersey. By 2023, they plan to operate over 100 stores across the country.  

Current numbers for GrowGeneration boast a year-over-year revenue increase of 190%, and a net income rise of 161% compared to last year. They also experienced 60% same-store sales growth and raised their full-year sales guidance. Despite some minor setbacks and occasional drop in prices, GrowGeneration is moving up again and stock prices are quite reasonable heading into fall.

5. ETFMG Alternative Harvest ETF

As far as industry stocks go, ETFMG Alternative Harvest ETF (MJ) is a well-known name in the world of cannabis investing and the first ETF to target the industry. Since launching in December 2015, MJ has accumulated an estimated $1.4 billion in total assets, and the company is expected to grow to $66.3 billion in annual revenue within the next 3 years. MJ has an impressive portfolio of Canadian holdings including Canopy Growth and Cronos Group.

According to Kiplinger’s Investment Outlook, “The Prime Alternative Harvest Index looks to embrace a broad strategy that not only invests in companies that grow or manufacture cannabis-related products, as well as CBD stocks; it also invests in those businesses that are likely to benefit from increased cannabis use worldwide. For example, a company such as Scotts Miracle-Gro (SMG) will benefit from the sale of lawn care, gardening and hydroponics equipment to cannabis enthusiasts. It represents 2.9% of MJ’s total portfolio, putting it outside the top 10 holdings.”

That being said, one slight setback to buying MJ stock is that their expense ratio is a bit high at 0.75%. But despite that, it’s an affordable, solid stock with tremendous growth potential.

Final Thoughts on Fall Cannabis Stocks

Right now is the perfect time to invest in cannabis. The market has solidified it’s place in our culture, so we know it’s here to stay, but the industry is still in its infancy so stock prices are affordable and seeing a lot of forward momentum.

Thank you for stopping by CBD Testers, your hub for all things cannabis-related. Remember to subscribe to The Medical Cannabis Weekly Newsletter for more articles like this one and exclusive deals on various legal cannabis products.

For more articles like this one, and for exclusive deals on delta-8 THCdelta-9 THCTHCVTHCPdelta 10HHCTHC-O and other legal THC products, make sure to subscribe to The Delta 8 Weekly Newsletter, your top-source for all things cannabis-related.

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Activists in Oklahoma Finalize Recreational Cannabis Ballot Proposals

An activist group in Oklahoma said this week that it has put the finishing touches on a pair of ballot proposals that would legalize recreational pot in the state and overhaul its medical marijuana program. 

Oklahomans for Responsible Cannabis Action, or “ORCA,” said on Tuesday that it had produced the “final drafts” of the two petitions that could help get the initiatives on next year’s ballot in the state.

Under the proposed Oklahoma Marijuana Regulation and Right to Use Act, it would be lawful for “all persons twenty-one (21) years of age and older to grow, purchase, transport, receive, prepare and consume marijuana and marijuana products,” and to “possess up to: twelve (12) marijuana plants and the marijuana harvested therefrom; one (1) ounce of concentrated marijuana; seventy-two (72) ounces of topical marijuana; seventy-two (72) ounces of edible marijuana; eight (8) ounces of suppository marijuana and eight (8) ounces of commercially sold marijuana.”

The petition explicitly addresses “impairment testing,” saying that if the initiative passed, no “test which identifies the presence of THC metabolites in a person’s blood, urine, hair, hair follicle or other body fluids or tissues shall be used as evidence of impairment or intoxication for the purposes of denying any form of healthcare, housing, employment, public assistance, license or licensed activity, public benefit, parental right, educational opportunity or extracurricular activity.”

The Oklahoma Marijuana Regulation and Right to Use Act would establish an “expungement program,” taking a cue from other states that have included retroactive expungement in their own legalization efforts.

Oklahoma Stepping it Up

Under Oklahoma’s program, a person currently serving time for a pot-related conviction “may file a petition for resentencing, reversal of conviction and dismissal of case or modification of judgment and sentence before the trial court that entered the judgment of conviction in the person’s case to request resentencing, modification or reversal in accordance with this Article.”

It would also open the door for a “person who has completed his or her sentence for a conviction, whether by trial or plea of guilty or nolo contendere, whose conduct would have been lawful had this Article been in effect at the time of the offense, [to] file a petition before the trial court that entered the judgment of conviction in the person’s case to have the conviction dismissed, expunged and vacated as legally invalid in accordance with this Article.”

The law would levy an excise tax rate of 15 percent for “marijuana and marijuana products purchased by persons without a valid Oklahoma medical marijuana patient license or Oklahoma caregiver license.” The tax revenue would be divided up among various agencies anc causes. 

Ten percent of the gross collection of taxes on retail sales would go to “the Oklahoma Water Resources Board for infrastructure financing programs to foster water supply reliability and economic and environmental resiliency,” while five percent would go to “the Department of Human Services to provide for Home and Community-Based Services Waiver Programs for the benefit of persons with physical and developmental disabilities.”

Another five percent is going to “not-for-profit organizations, whether government or community-based, to increase access to evidence-based low-barrier drug addiction treatment and to support job placement, housing, and counseling for those with substance use disorders.” 

Various other agencies would absorb the rest of the tax revenue.

ORCA’s other petition addresses Oklahoma’s new medical cannabis program, which was established after voters in the state passed a measure legalizing the treatment in 2018.

Under the so-called Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Enforcement and Anti-Corruption Act, a newly created state agency called the Oklahoma State Cannabis Commission would “assume all administrative, regulatory and appropriate adjudicative authority over cannabis, hemp and marijuana plants, the products derived therefrom, and the related services as established in the provisions set forth in this Article.”

The new OSCC would supplant the existing Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority, which was established to oversee the state’s medical cannabis program.

The post Activists in Oklahoma Finalize Recreational Cannabis Ballot Proposals appeared first on High Times.

All About THCP: A Highly Potent, Natural Cannabinoid

As the demand for cannabis research and potent new products continues to soar, it’s becoming increasingly apparent that this plant is much more complex than we ever could have imagined. It seems like every day we’re learning something new about pot, from medical applications and innovative technologies to recently discovered cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids – all with their own interesting effects and benefits.

Lately there’s a lot of talk about Tetrahydrocannabiphorol, or THCP, because it was only very recently synthesized for the first time and, according to the existing research, this THC-like compound is considerably stronger than many of the cannabinoids we’re currently familiar with.

Cannabis is full of fun and interesting compounds including HHC, all the Delta THCs, CBD, and so much more. If you would like to learn more about these cannabinoids, or try out different products make sure to Subscribe to The Delta 8 Weekly Newsletter to learn more and for exclusive deals on Delta 8, Delta 10 THC, THC-O, THCV, THCP & HHC.


Different ‘Types’ of THC

When we talk about tetrahydrocannabinols as a whole, we are referring to a specific chemical structure known as C21H30O2. This chemical structure is basically the umbrella under which numerous different-yet-very-similar compounds can be created. These molecules, known as isomers, have the same chemical formula but the arrangement of atoms within the molecule can vary – like how the words ‘live’ and “evil’ have the exact same letters, but once you switch up the configuration a bit, the words take on completely different meanings.

Take all the delta THC’s, for example. In Delta 9 THC, the most abundant compound in cannabis, the ‘9’ represents where the double bond occurs, in this case, on the 9th carbon atom in the chain. When the double bond moves to the 8th atom, it becomes Delta 8 THC, which is an isomer of Delta 9. The same holds true for Delta 10 THC, which is an isomer of Delta 9 with the double bond located on the 10th atom in the chain.

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The difference between Delta 8 and Delta 10 is that Delta 8 is a naturally occurring isomer formed via the oxidation of Delta 9 THC, whereas Delta 10 can only be created synthetically. And speaking of synthetics, let’s quickly discuss THC-O-Acetate. This compound is an analog of THC, meaning its chemical structure is similar to delta 9, but differs more than an isomer.

Then we have 11-hydroxy-THC, which has the chemical formula C21H30O3. Although it has ‘THC’ in the name, 11-hydroxy is not THC, nor is it an isomer or analog of THC. Rather, it is metabolite of THC and technically an endocannabinoid, created when our bodies digest other types of tetrahydrocannabinols. It has a very similar chemical structure to all THCs, but as you can see, there is one extra oxygen molecule making this a completely different compound, with similar, but reportedly much more powerful, effects.

THCP, on the other hand, is a special type of THC analog called a homolog. A homolog is a molecule belonging to a series of compounds that differ from each other by a repeating unit. In this scenario, the repeating unit is the alkyl side chain. Delta 9 THC has a 5-term alkyl side chain, which means that it contains 5 total carbon atoms. THCP has an elongated 7-term chain.

THCP: Enhancing THC’s Binding Ability

THCP is one of the newest cannabis compounds to be discovered, having first been documented in late 2019. Again, the main difference researchers found in THCP compared to Delta 9 THC is that THCP has a longer alkyl side chain, which is believed to be a vital factor in the way THCP interacts with the body’s CB1 receptors, compared to other THCs.

In organic chemistry, an alkyl is an alkane that is missing one hydrogen molecule. The term alkyl is intentionally unspecific to include many possible substitutions. Alkyls form homologous series and most of the simplest series have the same general formula.

A minimum chain length of three links is required for THC to bind with the receptors, with binding affinity peaking at eight links before starting to decrease. THCP’s seven-link chain puts it close to the maximum for receptor activity. When researchers checked THCP vs THC binding affinity with both cannabinoid receptors, they found that THCP was 33 times for active at the CB1 receptor and 5-10 times more active at CB2.

What Are The Implications of These Findings?

The main reason this discovery has everyone so excited is because researchers believe that THCP mimics the effects of THC in the body, but at a much more effective rate. Although THCP is a minor phytocannabinoid, its presence can still impact the high via the entourage effect and many in the scientific community believe it can do so more efficiently than other trace compounds.

This brings us to our next questions: as a minor compound, how much THCP is required to produce a noticeable difference in either medicinal or psychoactive effects, and exactly how much THCP is found in most strains? As much as I’d like to give an exact answer, the reality is that the research just hasn’t made it that far yet. The scientists who discovered THCP only had access to one strain, provided by the federal government of Italy, and in they found very little THCP. However, it’s worth noting this statement in the report claiming that “it is reasonable to suppose that other cannabis varieties may contain even higher percentages.”

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Other experts disagree, such as Dr. Samuel Banister from The University of Sydney, who believes the difference in effects is not that substantial. “While this possibility cannot be ruled out,” Banister stated, “the known potency differences for THC and THCP at cannabinoid receptors is relatively small, while the difference in abundance of each in cannabis is enormous. The same is true of CBD and CBDP, although CBD requires even higher doses to achieve many of its pharmacological effects. For this reason, I do not feel that minor or trace phytocannabinoids like THCP or CBDP contribute significantly to the psychoactive effects of different cannabis strains.” 

Bottom line, more research needs to be done in order to get a better idea of the full scope of THCP’s recreational and pharmaceutical potential. There is no way to put an exact number on how much stronger THCP is, or how much better it works than THC, if we don’t have repeatable research and solid data to reference to.

THCP Products… Where to Find Them, and Are They Safe?

Because so little is known about THCP, it’s impossible to say with 100 percent certainty whether it is safe or not. Because it’s a cannabis compound, one can assume that it has a relatively good safety profile. The consumer always assumes a certain level of risk when buying new, trendy, and barely-studied products, and this is true in more industries than just cannabis.

All that said, a few companies are already selling THCP products, and whenever we stumble on good-quality ones, we’ll make sure to include them in our newsletter. So far, all we’ve been able to source are vape carts and gummies, but either one is a great option if you’re interested in sampling THCP to see if this cannabinoid is right for your needs. As demand intensifies and more research becomes available, an inevitable wave of new products will hit the market.

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Conclusion

Cannabis has hundreds of different compounds, some major, some minor, some potent, some non-psychoactive. With so many restrictions in place, it’s impossible to know everything about certain cannabinoids at this point. The first discovery of an individual cannabinoid was in 1940, and THCP was just discovered less than 2 years, so it’s one of those subjects we’ll continue to learn about for a very long time. In the near future, additional information will be revealed about cannabis, giving us a more complete picture of what the plant and all of its compounds can really do.

Thank you for stopping by CBD TESTERS, your hub for all things cannabis-related. To learn more about marijuana, and for exclusive deals on flowers, vapes, and other products, make sure to subscribe to The Delta 8 Weekly Newsletter.

Best THC-O Products – Summer 2021

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