Legal Delta-9 THC, Is It Worth It?

The 2018 US Farm Bill created quite a stir by legalizing the production and manufacture of hemp products. With it came a possible loophole for products like delta-8 THC, which can be sourced from hemp. Now, that legal conundrum has gotten even more intense as products containing what is called ‘legal delta-9 THC’ are now available. Are these products legal? And are they worth it?

The world is definitely a changing place when legal delta-9 THC can be found on shelves. Truth is, it might not be completely legal, but it definitely is available. This is also true of compounds like delta-8 THC, delta-10, THCP, THCO, THCV, HHC and more. The cannabis world has gotten so big, that new products are coming out nearly every day. We’ve got a great overall selection of deals, and plenty of other products for you to check out and try for yourself.

Delta-9 THC

Delta-9 THC, sometimes just referred to erroneously as simply ‘THC’, is the primary psychoactive compound of the cannabis plant, and is responsible for the feelings of euphoria that come with use of the plant. Delta-9 is actually only a version of THC, which itself stands for tetrahydrocannabinols, and refers to several different compounds, not just delta-9. Often the term ‘THC’ will be used in place of ‘delta-9’, but in reality, the true name of the compound is not ‘THC’.

Plants that are higher in delta-9 than CBD, are called marijuana, with the federal cutoff being over .3% delta-9 in dry weight as the standard for ‘marijuana’. Cannabis with less delta-9 than this, is referred to as ‘hemp.’ Whereas hemp was legalized under the 2018 Farm Bill, high-THC marijuana, was not.

Delta-9 THC has been on the Controlled Substances list since its inception in 1970. Prior to that, the new age of prohibition started in 1937 with the passage of the Marihuana Tax Act, which stopped medicinal and recreational use, as well as stunting the hemp market. At that time, the hemp market contributed to tons of different industries, from building, to clothing, to paper, and so on. Delta-9 THC has this chemical formula: C₂₁H₃₀O₂, which is the same as CBD, as well as other cannabinoids like CBC (Cannabichromene) and CBL (cannabicyclo), and even the sex hormone progesterone.


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Is it legal?

No, and I’m going to be honest, I’m not sure where the debate on this one comes in. Here’s why… According to the 2018 US Farm Bill: ‘hemp’ means the plant Cannabis sativa L. and any part of that plant, including the seeds thereof and all derivatives, extracts, cannabinoids, isomers, acids, salts, and salts of isomers, whether growing or not, with a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of not more than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis.’

This definition includes extracts, so if something is extracted, like delta-9, it couldn’t legally be extracted in a higher percent than .3. To make matters worse for the claim, not only does the definition apply to the plant in question for production, but all products produced from it, and all parts of the processing procedure. If the delta-9 amount rises above .3% at any given point, then the product becomes illegal. Since these products are above .3% delta-9, they are automatically illegal.

There has been an ongoing debate about compounds like delta-8 THC, a naturally occurring oxidized version of delta-9. Though delta-8 occurs naturally through this oxidation process, it occurs at extremely low rates. This means, in order to make products with it, it must be synthesized in a laboratory, and this can then mean the use of chemicals or processes that can be dangerous. Since delta-8 can’t simply be extracted, it brings up the question of whether it should be considered natural or synthetic. Sure it occurs naturally in nature, but any product we use of it is synthesized. As a synthetic, it’s automatically illegal. Of course, there are other issues with delta-8, but this is a big one.

The difference with delta-8 and delta-9 in this regard, is that delta-9 is specifically mentioned in the definition of hemp, and so there is no question. It doesn’t matter where delta-9 is produced from, as any product that has over .3% of it would be illegal anyway on a federal level. Whereas the Farm Bill creates what appears to be a loophole for delta-8 (which really isn’t technically there), there’s really no such illusion with delta-9.

Is something illegal if you can’t do anything about it?

This, of course, brings up the question of why ‘legal delta-9 THC’ products are being advertised as legal, when there is no legal basis for them. And the answer, as far as I can tell, is actually pretty basic. Vendors can get away with advertising legal delta-9 THC, because no one’s going to do anything about it. And this begs the question, if there are no actual repercussions to an illegal activity, is it actually illegal?

The idea of ‘illegal’ depends on punishment. After all, if something is stated as illegal, but there’s never a punishment for it, it creates a form of a loophole. It’s not technically legal, sure, but anyone participating also won’t have to worry about criminal repercussions. It’s a strange loophole that exists, which can be created by different factors. In this case, the factors seem to be related to the ability to police the industry, which considering how many unregulated cannabis compounds are being sold from illegal dispensaries, isn’t happening.

cannabis cannabinoids

Taking a step back, and looking at the whole war on drugs, confirms that point further. The US government was never able to stop any kind of illegal cannabis trade, and has been generally weakened by the majority of its states adopting policies that go against federal mandate. Plus, the government has gotten plenty of backlash in the past for continuously attempting to give criminal penalties to people legally using by state law. It’s honestly hard to imagine the government really being able to do anything about it at this juncture.

What about actual legal THC?

Truth is, the US government knows it has to pass a bill very soon since it can’t keep its states under control. This can be seen in different places. One big giveaway is a state like North Carolina, and its republican-led medical cannabis bill. Republican representatives have made no bones in that state about understanding that the population wants it, and that they must comply if they want to keep their seats.

On a bigger level, the US government has two bills currently working their way through Congress, which would each work to end cannabis prohibition, though in slightly different ways, and with different laws and regulatory measures. The MORE Act, is a decriminalization act, which would also work as somewhat of a legalization measure. This is because it institutes tax rates on cannabis products, something that can’t be done in a simply decriminalized market.

A tax rate makes it on the up and up. Decriminalization only refers to a lack of criminal penalties; and decriminalization measures generally come with some kind of minor, non-criminal punishment. This bill passed the House last year, but didn’t make it to the Senate before adjournment. It’s up for another House vote this year to continue on.

Then there’s the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act, which is a full-on legalization bill introduced by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. This would go further than the MORE Act, though they would both drop cannabis from the Controlled Substances list. This bill would also drop Section 280E from the IRS tax code, which would work to allow cannabis operators to access the same tax deductions as other businesses. Both bills come with their own structures for tax and regulation, with the Opportunity Act proposing much higher tax rates, but allowing for things like interstate sales.

Is it worth it?

In my opinion, absolutely not! And I doubt many people will care much for it. We have a stable and working black market for good weed in America, and 18 states with legal dispensaries (or which soon will have them if they haven’t gotten there yet). It’s not the idea of it being technically illegal, so much as simply unnecessary. Weed is accessible, that’s why the government has always had such a hard time stopping the industry.

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The more confounding issue in my mind, is that rather than just using the plant to access delta-9, this would mean using synthetization techniques, which in this case, are sort of ridiculous. The debate exists with delta-8, because you can’t access a large enough amount naturally, and it has good enough qualities to make synthesizing it worthwhile. We can access delta-9. Pretty much anywhere in the world.

This doesn’t mean it can’t be useful, especially if its sold in places where cannabis is illegal recreationally, and perhaps harder for some to get. Although I have to question if in such places, it would be wise to expect to see these products on any shelves. If so, then perhaps its something in place of nothing. Otherwise, apart from mild curiosity, my best guess is that this is a misplaced venture that will be invalidated before it has time to really catch on anyway.


Legal or not, it seems like delta-9 THC is being sourced from low-THC hemp, and sold as a (legal) product. Maybe I’m wrong and legal delta-9 THC will be the next big thing, but in a country on the brink of a legalization/decriminalization, and with the ability to easily get real cannabis in most places, I don’t think this is anything more than a gimmick, and not the best one I’ve seen.

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

The post Legal Delta-9 THC, Is It Worth It? appeared first on CBD Testers.

California Legalizes Smokable Hemp and Food Sales in Historic Bill

Today California Governor Gavin Newsom signed Assembly Bill 45, establishing a comprehensive regulatory framework for the manufacture and sale of hemp-derived products in the state, including smokable hemp as well as hemp-infused food and drink sales. As an emergency statute, the bill goes into effect immediately.

While CBD products are freely found in stores, they are considered “adulterated” under existing California law, which is defined under the Sherman Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Law. What AB-45 will do is provide clarity for the hemp industry—more importantly, reassuring hemp consumers that products are independently tested and labeled properly.

EcoGen BioSciences, recently acquired by Kadenwood Brands, is the “largest supplier of raw hemp ingredients in the business,” and is heavily impacted by the new regulations. “AB-45 provides a model for hemp framework across the United States that we believe is necessary to move the industry forward,” Garrett Bain, President of EcoGen BioSciences told High Times. “As California takes the lead on clarifying the requirements for hemp to be included in food products and dietary supplements, we anticipate seeing other states adopt this model as well. These requirements that span labeling, serving size, testing regulations, and sourcing will allow hemp products to gain mainstream legitimacy and increased safety. Only through regulatory consistency will we see this industry grow to eliminate unlicensed and potentially harmful products from non-compliant manufacturers.”

Other leaders in hemp celebrated the bill as well. “California has been an industry leader in both cannabis and hemp throughout the years but not without its shortcomings and challenges,” Blake Schroeder, CEO of Medical Marijuana, Inc. told High Times. “As pioneers of California’s legal hemp industry, we have witnessed the many back and forth debates with respect to hemp and CBD, even after its Federal legality was outlined by the 2018 Farm Bill. We welcome the new focus on safety and consistency set by AB-45. Our company created many of the testing standards that most major players in the industry still use today. We hope that this bill helps weed out the companies that are selling fake or inaccurately labeled products.”Medical Marijuana, Inc. is a holding company with subsidiaries making a wide range of hemp-based products.

The California Cannabis Industry Association (CCIA) issued a breaking update, early this morning—alerting hemp business owners who will inevitably be impacted by the news. Assembly Bill 45 explicitly allows the sale of hemp-derived extracts that comply with testing and labeling standards—notably CBD.

“We cannot thank the author enough for her tireless and unparalleled work to get comprehensive hemp regulations passed,” said CCIA Executive Director Assemblymember Lindsay Robinson. “Aguiar-Curry has been steadfast in her approach to create a level playing field between cannabis and hemp while protecting the health and safety of all Californians.”

Robinson continued, “AB 45 establishes a long overdue, comprehensive framework for the manufacture and sale of hemp products in California, but our work is not over. We look forward to working with the author on future legislation to establish a pathway for the incorporation of hemp into the cannabis supply chain.”

Politico described the momentum of the bill as the end of the “Wild West era” of CBD. Here’s why it matters: California’s CBD market hit $730 million in sales in 2019—two and a half times more than any other state. 

The bill was authored by Assemblymember Cecilia Aguiar-Curry, representing the 4th California Assembly District. “The product is everywhere. You can walk into a World Market, a health food store, a pet store, and you’ll see CBD there,” said Aguiar-Curry. “There’s no labeling, it doesn’t tell you if it’s safe. So, I want to make sure that people know what they’re purchasing.”

A series of mishaps of mislabeled CBD products in various states—some with alarming findings—highlighted the urgent need for better regulations. A sampling from the Minnesota Hemp Farmers and Manufacturers Association (MHFMA), for instance, found over two-thirds of CBD products deviated from what the labels claimed. If a product has more than 20 percent deviation of CBD content from what the label stated, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) can deem it “misbranded.”

JD Supra reports that hemp manufacturers must register with the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) and adhere with good manufacturing practices (GMP); test extracts to ensure total THC does not exceed 0.3 percent and maximum contaminant levels; link product labels to lab testing results for THC, avoiding unproven health-related claims; demonstrate their hemp is grown in a state or country that has an established industrial hemp program.

Last but not least—hemp manufacturers must avoid marketing to children or pregnant women.

Hemp-infused food and dietary supplements must demonstrate proper sourcing, and can’t be included alongside alcohol, tobacco or nicotine.

In charge of regulations, CDPH could do anything from regulating maximum serving doses to mandating tracking standards. The bill also directs CDPH to study the introduction of hemp-derived cannabinoids into the cannabis supply chain.

The regulations apply to hemp-derived food, beverages, dietary supplements, cosmetics, pet food, inhalable products. Interestingly, inhalable hemp products can be manufactured and sold outside of California, but may not be sold within California until a tax is implemented.

Once federal law regarding hemp-derived products is clarified, new regulations will likely be adopted as it would be necessary to comply with federal law. 

The post California Legalizes Smokable Hemp and Food Sales in Historic Bill appeared first on High Times.

Where’s It From? The Specifics of Germany’s Cannabis Import Market

As the global cannabis industry expands, different markets are emerging around the world as the biggest contenders in the overall global market. When it comes to Europe, Germany reigns supreme, with a quickly growing, and quickly evolving, medical cannabis industry. Since opening up its list of import countries, this market has grown even further. Here’s a look at the specifics of Germany’s cannabis import market today.

The cannabis products market is a very interesting place these days, with all new additions like delta-8 THC. This alternate form of THC from delta-9, provides users with slightly less psychoactive effect, and does so without the anxiety, couch-locking, and cloudy head generally associated with standard weed. We’ve got a great array of delta-8 THC deals, along with tons of the other new compounds to come out, like THCA, CBDA, and CBN. Take a look and have at it!

Important points about cannabis and Germany so far

First and foremost, cannabis is illegal in Germany for recreational use. Possession of the plant can garner up to five years in prison. When it comes to use, ‘small amounts’ have been somewhat decriminalized, though the term ‘small amount’ is actually not specific, and can vary between provinces, ranging from about 6-15 grams. Strangely enough, there’s no specific mention of cannabis use in the German Federal Narcotics Act, which regulates cannabis in the country. So as long as a first-time offender is caught with just a ‘small amount’, there is generally no criminal punishment for use, though this does not necessarily extend to a further offense.

Sale, supply, and cultivation are all illegal in Germany. Such crimes can be met with prison sentences of up to 15 years, depending on extenuating circumstances, though they can start as low as one year. Extenuating circumstances can include things like children being around, or sold to; the amount in question; and if weapons were involved; among other factors.

Germany does have a comprehensive medical cannabis program for its residents which started in 2017. This expanded on a previous legalization from 1998 when Dronabinol was first legalized, and opened up an allowance for more disorders, also creating a regulated market. In 2019, this was expanded on further with the institution of an import/export market. Germany’s cannabis import and export markets are some of the largest in the world at the moment, and this without a recreational legalization.

cannabis in Germany

In terms of how many patients are being treated with medical cannabis in Germany, there has been no exact number released. In an answer to questions from political party Die Linke (the Left) to officials in parliament, on March 4th, 2020, BfArM – The Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices, which regulates the cannabis industry in Germany, stated that survey results by the agency showed 13,343 complete records. What does this mean? The market intelligence firm that wrote about it, Prohibition Partners, estimated that about 128,000 residents currently receive medical marijuana yearly in Germany.

Back in 2019, Germany was already making its place at the top of the European cannabis world, as the top importer and exporter of cannabis oils for that year. It was actually 2nd in the entire world of oil imports, with $240 million worth imported, and 4th in the world for exports, with $230 million worth of oil exported. At that time, Germany would have only been importing from a couple different countries. As a basis for comparison, in the import category, the US was 1st in the world, importing $893 million worth. And in the export category, China ruled the roost, exporting just under $1 billion worth of cannabis oil.

So how big is Germany’s cannabis import market?

Germany’s medical cannabis import market has been growing by leaps and bounds, with a large part of it due to opening up for imports from more countries. Prior to Germany updating regulation in 2019, all the cannabis used for medical purposes in the country was imported, and from mainly only the Netherlands and Canada. Since 2019 this has been changing, with new numbers showing just how much Germany is importing, and how much from each country.

In the last quarter of 2020, Germany imported 3,264 kg of cannabis flower into the country. Not only did this mark the highest quarter for imports at that time, but it brought the import total for the year up to 9,249 kg. Germany has had 100% year-over-year increases in imports between 2018-2020. The cannabis imported today is now coming from at least 17 different countries, including Portugal, Spain, Uruguay, Israel, and Australia, just to name a few (although a full list of import countries has not yet been released.)

What was released, however, was a response by the federal government to a question posed by Dr. Schinnenburg, a former member of parliament, along with the Free Democratic Party of Germany, which he represented. The response was in reference to 2021 cannabis import quantities into Germany and the countries of export. According to this response, Germany’s cannabis import market saw an 80% increase in just the first half of 2021 in comparison to the same time frame the year before.

Germany imported 8,966 kg of cannabis flowers in the first two quarters of 2021. The first two quarters of 2020 saw imports of about 4,946.3 kg. These numbers relate to cannabis flower to be sold or used as flower, whether for customers or scientific research. In terms of cannabis flowers imported for extract production, Germany imported approximately 980.4 kg in the first two quarters of 2021, whereas the year before it was about 820.3 kg imported for this purpose during the same period. This is a 19.5% increase in the flowers imported for extract production.

cannabis import

Who contributes what, to Germany’s cannabis import market?

So now we know Germany’s got a pretty big cannabis import market, but where is this weed coming from? And which are the leading countries in getting Germany’s business? The information from the government was published here by cannabiswirtschaft, and then reinterpreted a bit more clearly, here by Vice President of Investment Analysis, Alfredo Pascual, of Seed Innovations Ltd.

According to the breakdown, the two biggest exporters into Germany’s cannabis import market, are still the Netherlands and Canada, which were responsible for 22% and 32% of Germany’s imports respectively. Denmark showed itself to be a major contender, however, contributing 19% to Germany’s imports, and Portugal wasn’t far behind either, exporting out 13% to Germany.

Other countries showed lower levels, but have still been getting in on the game. Australia contributed about 5%, Uruguay about 4%, Spain exported out about 2% of what Germany imported, and Austria also provided about 2%. Another 1% came from the combination of several other countries, including Poland, Malta, Lesotho, and Israel.

In terms of what amounts these percentages relate to, here is a list of what the top exporting countries contributed to Germany’s cannabis import market in the first half of 2021. These numbers reflect both flowers imported for sale and use as flowers, and flowers imported for use to make extracts.

  • Canada – 2,998.8 kg
  • Netherlands – 1,989.4 kg
  • Denmark – 1,732.4 kg
  • Portugal – 1,583.1 kg
  • Australia – 746.2 kg
  • Uruguay – 358.2 kg

What’s next for Germany’s cannabis import market?

Germany is interesting because it’s a country with an already huge medical cannabis industry, which is also in the middle of undergoing some pretty intense political changes. In the 2021 Bundestag elections last month, the incumbent party and former leader of the last coalition government, the Christian Democratic Union (CDU/CSU), lost seats. This time around it came in second to the Social Democratic Party (SDP), 25.9% to 24.1%. This means the SDP won 206 seats, and the CDU/CSU only 196.

Germany parliament elections

Not only that, but there was an overall strong showing of left leaning parties, with the Green party taking 118 seats, the Free Democratic Party taking 96, and the Left party winning 39. This means that whatever coalition government is built, is likely to made up of at least some parties that are for cannabis legalization. As such, as Germany puts together its new government, its ability to expand its current medical cannabis industry, into an even bigger recreational one, has become a very viable possibility.

It should be remembered that the CDU has been the top party since 2005, forming coalition governments over the years with different parties, but mainly with the SDP. These partnerships affect voting, which means, when Germany shot down a recreational cannabis bill last year, it wasn’t because there weren’t technically enough parliament members who supported it, but more because the SDP voted against it along with the CDU as part of its coalition partnership, even though the SDP generally supports legalization. Without that voting partnership, a future vote of the same nature, could turn out very differently.


Germany has certainly become one of the main countries of interest when it comes to the world of weed. Not only are Germany’s cannabis import and export markets some of the biggest in the world, but with new elections and a new government forming, it could be the first country in Europe to legalize as well.

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s sourced and referenced, and all opinions stated are mine. I am not giving anyone advise, and though I am more than happy to discuss topics, should someone have a further question or concern, they should seek guidance from a relevant professional.

The post Where’s It From? The Specifics of Germany’s Cannabis Import Market appeared first on CBD Testers.

Turning Tables: Cannabis Companies Use RICO Laws Against Corrupt Law Enforcement

For years, businesses and private individuals have attempted to sue cannabis companies based on RICO laws meant to curb organized crime. In what can only be described as a stunning turnaround, legal cannabis companies are now going on the offensive, and using RICO laws against illegal cannabis operations, and corrupt law enforcement.

It’s pretty cool that cannabis companies are now using RICO laws for themselves. In fact, it’s just as cool as the introduction of products like delta-8 THC, which are currently available to the public. Delta-8 is an alternate version of THC to delta-9, and comes with the benefits of not causing the same kind of anxiety, providing slightly less psychoactive effect, and not making users cloudy in the head. Interested cannabis aficionados can check out our deals for delta-8 THC, and a range of other compounds, such as delta-10, HHC, THC-O, THCP and THCV.

What does RICO mean?

In 1970, the US passed the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, also known as RICO. The law is meant to battle organized crime in the US. The law allows the federal government to prosecute and bring civil penalties to criminal racketeers involved in ongoing criminal enterprises, and is meant to keep criminal operators from getting involved with legitimate businesses.

It covers activities like illegal gambling, bribery, kidnapping, murder, money laundering, counterfeiting, embezzling money, drug trafficking, slavery, and other crimes that fit in this general category. The way it works, is in order for a conviction to be made, the government must prove that the defendant was a part of at least two racketeering activities, as well as proving the defendant has a direct investment in a criminal enterprise which affects commerce, whether interstate or foreign.

This also includes having had an interest in, or participating in, such activities. Some of the organizations that this law has been used against, include members of the mafia, extremist groups like Operation Rescue which is an anti-abortion group, and the Hell’s Angels, a motorcycle gang. RICO suits can be criminal, and come with prison sentences. Or they can be civil suits in which plaintiffs seek payments from defendants. Civil cases come with their own requirements for substantiation, and are more relevant to legal cannabis companies.

Organized crime

Cannabis and RICO

The cannabis quandary of state vs federal is exemplified by RICO laws. Cannabis is federally illegal, yet perfectly legal in specific locations, complete with laws to govern use and regulated industries. Yet this discrepancy between federal and state laws, leaves cannabis in a strange gray area. In places where its legalized, it shouldn’t be considered a crime to lawfully take part in the industry under states rights. However, because its still federally illegal, this opens cannabis companies up to federal litigation under RICO laws, even when the companies check all boxes correctly for a legal operation in their own states.

For civil cases, so far, “federal courts have concluded that operating a marijuana business qualifies as ‘dealing in a controlled substance… as defined in section 102 of the Controlled Substances Act,’ even in states that have legalized recreational marijuana.” This is important because civil suits come with the requirement that plaintiffs must be able to allege that the defendant has been habitually committing predicate offenses in association with a commercial and legitimate enterprise. This is one of the stricter pleading requirements for civil cases, and a damning one for cannabis companies.

On the positive side, other pleading requirements in civil cases do exist, which make it more difficult to find cannabis companies guilty of RICO crimes. Like the requirement that a plaintiff must show some amount of damage/injury to the business or property where the business is located, and this must be related to financial loss. It also requires that the plaintiff be able to show that it was the defendant’s RICO violation which caused the damage/injury in the correct time period.

This requirement for showing a financial loss or injury, has been difficult for plaintiffs to prove, but some have been able to get themselves settlements, like this case from Massachusetts. In this case, the claim against the cannabis enterprise couldn’t be proven, but the company still thought it best to settle with plaintiffs. Civil cases don’t generally come with jail time, though a case can come with both criminal and civil implications. In civil cases, the plaintiff is generally looking for a monetary settlement only. Luckily, no one from a legal cannabis operation has had to spend time in jail for a RICO crime yet.

This has been an ongoing issue, for which there are open cases all over the country, with different strategies to show damage. As federal courts continue to uphold that legitimate companies growing and selling cannabis in legalized locations, are committing predicate offenses, this will likely continue. And though showing substantial harm has been difficult for plaintiffs against cannabis companies, the courts have given indications as to what could qualify as applicable damage, and plaintiffs are getting more creative in trying to show this damage.

Just in case it needs to be reminded, we aren’t talking about the cannabis black market, or the guy selling weed out of his car on the corner. We’re not talking about cartels trafficking it over the border, or large-scale growing ops happening illegally. We’re talking about legally licensed marijuana growing, production, and sales operations, which aren’t breaking laws in their locations.

cannabis RICO crimes

Private plaintiffs using RICO

RICO cases can be brought by an enterprise, or by private plaintiffs. Another issue for cannabis companies, has been private plaintiffs using the citizen-suit provision of the RICO laws, to sue cannabis farmers. These cases have been popping up more and more as plaintiffs attempt to sue marijuana farmers operating close by, but they face some issues as well. In order for a private plaintiff to win a case, they must show three things:

  • That the defendant has been habitually committing criminal, ‘predicate’ acts.
  • That the defendant is associated with a criminal enterprise.
  • That injury has been caused to business or property of the plaintiff.

Another issue that can make it difficult for private plaintiffs, is that though RICO was intended as an anti-mafia law, it does go beyond that, but not with clear-cut definitions. This leaves individual courts to decide if patterns of activity actually qualify as applicable criminal reasons for RICO suits. This creates different opinions. However, if the plaintiff can show all the necessary requirements, the court can rule in their favor.

Are the tables turning? Cannabis companies now on the offensive with RICO

There’s definitely a certain satisfaction in seeing unfair laws get turned around, and such is the case with RICO cases involving legal cannabis operations. In a great showing of a turning of tables, the same cannabis companies that have been targeted using RICO laws, are now on the offensive with their own RICO cases. Who are their cases against? Unlicensed cannabis retailers, as well as corrupt law enforcement officials.

This new phenomenon of cannabis companies going on the offensive with RICO cases, can be seen in California, where in the summer of 2021, at least two companies filed civil suits under RICO laws. Here’s how they did it:

  • Case #1 was filed on July 6th, 2021 in San Diego by the licensed cannabis retailer March & Ash. The plaintiffs target several defendants who they say are all associated with illegal dispensaries. This includes illegally-operated dispensaries, as well as publications that promote them, ATM owners that allow their machines to be used in these dispensaries, and any other enterprise that also supports the dispensaries. This case has a scheduled hearing for January 22nd, 2022.
  • Case #2 was filed August 9th, 2021 in Mendocino County by four licensed cannabis farmers. This suit targets a couple of law enforcement officers including a Sheriff’s Deputy in Mendocino Country, and a former official from the Department of Fish and Wildlife in California. The suit also points a finger at the district attorney’s office for that location, and the county sheriff’s office. The plaintiffs are alleging that a ring of corrupt authorities exist, which has been conspiring against legal cannabis enterprises for many years, stealing from them, and covering up the crimes. This case is scheduled for a hearing on February 4th, 2022.
cannabis court

It’s very hard to say how these cases will pan out, and experts believe that they could take many years to resolve. Considering how close a federal recreational legalization is getting, its quite possible that this could happen before any official verdict on either case is reached. Right now, both cases are only in state court, but could easily be moved to federal. If the cases move, they will be harder to win. Once its federal court, defendants can claim ‘unclean hands’, which means that because the marijuana industry is federally illegal, all participants are therefore criminals, and RICO cannot be used. Rico cases are notoriously tough to win regardless of who the plaintiff is and who the defendant is, but a win here could mean more cannabis companies going on the offensive with RICO claims.

According to experts…

As always, experts love to weigh in on these issues, and they make some good points.

Gerard Arsh, a Philadelphia-based RICO expert when it comes to civil cases, said “cannabis companies, having been on the receiving end, have come to recognize that it is a potential powerful tool in the toolbox… Whether they will have success or not in (using RICO) remains to be seen.”

He went on to say, regarding RICO cases, “If you’re found liable, there’s not only the reputational harms, but there are mandatory treble damages… They’re not discretionary. They’re mandatory. And because of that, courts very carefully scrutinize these cases.”

According to Ben Fox, a partner at Bondurant Mixson & Elmore law firm, and a RICO expert, “Given the nature and rapid growth of the modern cannabis industry, I would expect we’ll see more civil RICO claims involving its participants and investors moving forward”. In Fox’s estimation, about 600-900 RICO cases are filed each year, and about 85% are dropped for lack of ability to prove claims. Only a small amount settle outside of court or provide wins for plaintiffs.

Bret Peace, the general council for March & Ash, the company responsible for the first filing, has written that he expects more of these cases, as well. He makes the argument that the gray market in California is now being used to launder dirty money from illegal business into legal ones. He said, “We’re not chasing dollars with this lawsuit. We are chasing an outcome.” He believes that other companies in the legal cannabis market could end up doing the same, as many are struggling to survive in the first place.

This is not to say that everyone shares this opinion, Matt Kumin, an attorney in California for the cannabis industry, is less convinced that more cases will pop up, stating, “Most cannabis folks, even legitimate ones, the whole motivation and desire to sue isn’t there… You have to be really hard pressed to sue… It takes a lot of money, it takes a lot of energy, it takes a lot of time to put together.”

RICO crimes


While its hard to say what the turnout might be in these cases, they are certainly thought-provoking in the world of cannabis. The entire cannabis market of today shows how tables can turn in just a matter of years, but these cases go one-step further. Not only do they show a change in tides, but by cannabis companies going on the offensive with RICO laws, it allows those who have been victimized by bad systems and corrupt governments, to finally get the resolutions they deserve. This, assuming the cases can be won.

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

The post Turning Tables: Cannabis Companies Use RICO Laws Against Corrupt Law Enforcement appeared first on CBD Testers.

The MORE Act to Decriminalize Cannabis Advanced One Step Further

It’s been a long time coming, right? This wait for federal cannabis reform. To show the tides are turning, the MORE Act, which would decriminalize cannabis, advanced one step further in Congress, bringing the US that much closer to a federal decriminalization policy. Can this bill go through?

If the MORE Act does decriminalize cannabis, the USA will be an entirely different place. But even if it doesn’t there’s still a huge selection of cannabis products, like delta-8 THC, and a number of other minor cannabinoids. This is great for everyone, especially users who prefer slightly less high, and less associated anxiety. In fact, we’ve got great deals for delta-8 THC, and many other products, so stop by, and take a look at the options we’ve got for you.

Cannabis in the US of A

Most of us know the basics, but before getting into the changes that are coming, it’s best to go over where we currently stand. Cannabis, in the United States is illegal for both medical and recreational purposes. Cannabis used to be an important aspect of American life, with hemp grown for all kinds of industrial uses, and cannabis being found in tons of medical (and non-medical) products. By the beginning of the 1900’s, the one thing cannabis wasn’t used for as much, was getting high.

Getting into the story of marijuana illegalization is certainly controversial. While some will stick to the government story line of cannabis being dangerous and in need of eradication, the other story involves different factors, like pharmaceutical companies that didn’t want to compete with a plant that could be easily grown by the people themselves, or a paper industry that saw hemp paper as competition, or a chemicals industry that felt likewise about it. When it comes to the illegalization of cannabis, these two stories run counter, but regardless of why it happened, this was the outcome.

In 1937 the Marihuana Tax Act was passed which placed massive taxes and restrictions on marijuana, making it nearly impossible to either research it, without express permission, or use personally. This wasn’t a full illegalization though. Different laws were passed over the years, leading to cannabis being put in Schedule I of the DEA’s Controlled Substances list, with the advent of the 1970 Controlled Substances Act. This made all uses of it illegal, with the plant seen as having no medicinal value, whatsoever.

decriminalize marijuana

Federal vs state

Obviously, this isn’t the end of the story, as cannabis is not regulated through the constitution, giving individual states the ability to create their own laws. Not only do many states have decriminalization measures, many stemming from the 70’s when cannabis was first completely illegalized, but the majority have comprehensive medical marijuana programs, and 18 (including two of the most populous states: New York and California), allow legal recreational use, essentially 100% going against the US government.

For those who have been paying attention over the years, this has caused many problems. In the earlier days of medicinal legalizations, the federal government still targeted users, often subjecting them to criminal punishments, though they weren’t breaking state laws. It’s even seen today still. The DEA just announced intentions to expand legal cannabis cultivation in the country, but with caveats that will likely keep former cannabis cultivators who have worked legally by their own state’s laws, from having a chance to participate, since the federal government still considers their past work as criminal activity.

For the most part these attacks have lightened over the years. I expect because there’ve been too many states going against federal regulation for the US to continue attempting to punish people. And with so many states essentially flipping the bird to federal law, it’s also not surprising that the federal government has been scrambling to change directions. This is likely to save face in this changing climate of weed acceptance, where the population has been steadily, and uncompromisingly, going in the opposite direction to federal mandate.

What is the MORE act, and will it decriminalize cannabis?

The first thing to understand about the MORE act (Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act), or HR 3617, is that it isn’t a legalization measure at all, but is meant to federally decriminalize cannabis. It would officially de-schedule cannabis out of Schedule I of the Controlled Substances list, and seemingly off of it entirely. This would officially take away criminal penalties for certain crimes. Under the law, individual states could continue to make their own decisions concerning full legalizations in their own domains.

The bill takes a complete 180 degree turn from current policy, essentially saying that cannabis is no longer dangerous, and that it has medical value. In fact, it’s practically a legalization. This is backed up by the fact that the bill would introduce a 5% tax on cannabis products. Usually when the government expects for something not to be sold, it doesn’t attach a tax to it. After all, it means the government fully accepts retail sales if its setting up a system to regulate taxes for it. So though this bill works to decriminalize cannabis, it also clearly promotes its legal sale (and therefore use) by way of setting a taxation amount.

The tax from the products would go to fund projects for criminal and social reform, and would eventually rise to 8% from 5%. Tax money would be distributed by a newly formed agency called the Office of Cannabis Justice, which would reside within the Department of Justice Office of Justice Programs. At least some of the money would be used for grants intended toward communities hard hit by the war on drugs.


Along with this, it would prevent benefits like public housing, or other federal benefits, to be denied to those who have been found guilty of cannabis crimes. It would also keep simple possession or use acts from causing an impact under immigration laws. The new law would do what most legalization bills do, it would expunge past convictions of those who have been found guilty of relevant cannabis crimes. This means, if a person served time for cannabis, or received any kind of relevant conviction, they will no longer have to state this, as it will no longer apply. Those currently under active convictions would be able to petition the courts for a resentencing.

Another aspect of the MORE act is that it would allow marijuana businesses to apply for, and receive, small business administration loans, as well as other banking services and insurance. These are things that have been repeatedly denied to cannabis companies due to federal regulation against the drug.

The MORE act was originally introduced in 2019, and it officially passed the US House of Representatives on December 4th, 2020. This is the first time a part of congress has approved a bill that’s meant to end cannabis prohibition laws. It didn’t have time to go through the Senate though, and therefore had to be reintroduced in 2021. In order to become law, it must pass a final vote in the House – again, as well as make it through a full Senate. The MORE Act has 76 co-sponsors, one of whom is republican.

MORE Act to decriminalize cannabis gets one step further

On September 30th, 2021, the House Judiciary Committee voted on the bill, and passed it by a vote of 26-15. The House Judiciary Committee is chaired by Jerrold Nadler, who is also a co-sponsor of the MORE Act. Though the vote went mainly by party lines with all 26 democrats voting in favor, they were joined by two republicans, while 15 voted no.

As stated before, this bill passed the House in 2020 in a vote of 228-165, but since the Senate never got to it, it couldn’t be passed fully. When a new congress took their seats in January, the whole process actually started from scratch with the reintroduction of the bill. This means that though the same bill was passed in the House already, it will need to repass it again to continue.

The House Judiciary Committee, upon passing the bill, referred the bill for a vote by the entire House once again. As it passed by large margins the last time, it is expected to do okay again, even with a different configuration of congressmen due to the results of the 2020 elections. The much bigger obstacle is for it to get through the Senate. Once it passes the House again, that conversation can begin.

cannabis reform

Will the MORE Act to decriminalize cannabis pass?

This is an interesting question, and it can really go either way. It’s not shocking to understand that much of government is still going to be against such a decriminalization, especially those with more conservative mindsets. However, there’s a growing and undeniable reality about all this. Nearly every state has some sort of decriminalization, medical, or recreational policy, even if only a minor one. And the news is constantly filled with mentions of new states pushing through comprehensive medical bills, or full-on recreational ones. About half the country is already living in recreational locations.

The US government weakens itself by allowing this, and since it can’t stop it, or reverse it, or bully it, or arrest it, or even lie about it anymore, it must change tack if it wants to save face. And ultimately, this is non-negotiable. The US can’t have a federal mandate that no state will follow, so the question of ‘will a decriminalization measure or legalization measure go through soon’, has the very easy answer of ‘yes, because it has to.’

Having said that, though the walls are certainly closing in, it could be the next one and not this one. While I expect things can’t go on this way for more than another year tops, it doesn’t mean it has to be this particular bill. I do, however, think the MORE Act has a great chance of passing, even if just because of the timing.

To give an idea of how much the government does understand this, there are now states like North Carolina, where republicans are pushing legalization measures. Not because they agree, but simply because they understand that it’s what their constituents want, and that if they want to keep their seats, this is the new deal.

There is even yet another bill making the rounds in Congress, this one an actual legalization measure. The Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act is led by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and seeks to go a step further by legalizing cannabis and instituting a federal market for it. This is more extreme, making the MORE Act slightly more likely between the two, in my estimation. That a bill has to pass soon is a fact of US federal power and control, but chances are it will be a less aggressive one. Competition between the two bills could even cause problems, though they technically do different things, and could potentially both be passed.


This is certainly an exciting time in the world of weed. The MORE Act might just be the ticket to federal cannabis decriminalization, and the end to restrictive and silly prohibition laws. The one thing we can be almost certain of, is that a bill of this nature will pass soon. However, for now, we’ll have to carefully watch progress to see the fate of HR 3617.

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

The post The MORE Act to Decriminalize Cannabis Advanced One Step Further appeared first on CBD Testers.

Pittsburgh Leading the Charge to Legalize Cannabis in Pennsylvania

18 US states have already passed recreational cannabis legalization bills, so it’s not surprising that another sometimes left-leaning state, is entertaining legislation to do the same. It was announced on September 28th, that lawmakers out of Pittsburgh introduced a new bill to legalize cannabis in Pennsylvania for recreational use.

States are dropping left and right, with a new bill to legalize cannabis in Pennsylvania for adult-use. This means PA would join neighbors NY and NJ as a legal state. This massive expansion of the cannabis world has led to more products available for users. Compounds that were unheard of before, like delta-8 TH, THCA, and CBN, are all now available for use. If you’re looking to try something new, or re-up on your favorite products, check out our deals for delta-8 THC, and a large array of other cannabis compounds and products, as well.

Cannabis and Pennsylvania

As of right now, cannabis is illegal for recreational use in the state of Pennsylvania. Several cities do have their own decriminalization measures, like Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, both of which allow for the possession of up to 30 grams with just a $25 fine. Though this is not a statewide policy, at least 12 locations, including cities and counties, have enacted such policies.

In Pennsylvania, official state law dictates that being caught with 30 grams or less is a misdemeanor, punishable by 30 days in prison, and a fine up to $500. More than 30 grams is still considered a misdemeanor, but the prison sentence goes up to one year, and the fine as high as $5,000. While first-time offenders can be eligible for a conditional release, for offenses after this, the penalty can be doubled.

Sale and supply crimes involving 30 grams or less are considered misdemeanors, and punishable by 30 days in jail, and up to $500 in fines. Amounts over 30 grams incur a felony change, along with up to five years in prison, and $15,000 in fines. The law allows for maximum fines to be increased to the point of collecting all profits from a drug sale. Cultivation of any number of plants is a felony charge, which comes with up to five years prison time, and $15,000 in fines. Even possession of paraphernalia is a misdemeanor crime, incurring jail sentences of up to a year, depending on circumstances, as well as fines of up to $5,000.

Pennsylvania cannabis laws

Pennsylvania does have a comprehensive medical cannabis program, signed into law on April 17th, 2016, as Senate Bill 3. Obtaining medical cannabis requires a doctor’s prescription, and 17 different ailments are covered for cannabis use. The law instituted a regulated system for the sale of products through dispensaries, and set up a 5% tax rate to be imposed between growers, processors, and dispensaries. The bill does not allow for any kind of home-growing, even for the sick.

Pittsburgh lawmakers introduce bill to legalize cannabis in Pennsylvania

Two Pittsburgh democrats, State Representatives Jake Wheatley and Dan Frankel from Pittsburgh, recently put forth House Bill 2050, a bill to legalize cannabis in Pennsylvania for adult-use. The bill seeks to legalize the purchase and use of cannabis for those 21 years of age and above. In a September 28th press statement, Wheatley stated:

“I’m once again championing the effort to legalize adult-use recreational cannabis in Pennsylvania. We’ve heard from residents across the state, and the overwhelming majority agree it’s time to pass this initiative.”

Should this bill pass, it would set up a permit process for prospective growers, producers, and dispensaries. The tax rate introduced by the bill, I believe, reflects the growing issue that regulated markets have in competing with black markets. An issue that has led to a recent bailout of California’s cannabis industry. The tax rate would start out at a more reasonable rate of 6% for the first two years, go up to 12% for the following two years, and then all the way up to 19% starting year five.

Wheatley, who introduced a similar measure last year under the same name, pointed out how the bill would address ‘historical harms’, stating, “Not only would it create jobs and generate much-needed revenue, but it contains important social justice provisions that would eliminate the aggressive enforcement of simple marijuana possession laws in marginalized communities.”

As a part of this, the bill also includes a provision to expunge the criminal records of non-violent drug offenders, as well as calling for the release of currently incarcerated non-violent drug offenders. How far the bill will go to provide first opportunity licenses to those who have suffered due to the war on drugs, or been persecuted for simple cannabis crimes, was not immediately made clear.

legalize cannabis Pennsylvania

Previous efforts to legalize cannabis in Pennsylvania

This bill is not the first inkling that Pennsylvania is ready for some change when it comes to cannabis. The state government has already passed some laws, and proposed others, that show a definite leaning in the direction of marijuana reform. The PA Democratic State Committee adopted a platform position in 2017 that states cannabis is not dangerous enough to require being controlled through the Controlled Substances Act. It calls on the State’s democratic party to support the dismissal of prohibition measures.

Then in 2018, Governor Tom Wolf, the same governor to sign the medical cannabis law, also signed House Bill 163, which repealed a federal policy called “Smoke a joint, lose your license”, in which possession of cannabis is punished by a mandatory drivers license suspension of six months. The federal law was enacted in 1990, and encourages state governments to suspend drivers licenses for six months for those caught for drug offenses. A lot of states passed their own laws around that time, including Pennsylvania. HB 163 ended this practice for the state.

Wolf took it a step further in September 2020, when he, and Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman, put together a press conference specifically to reinforce their support of the creation of a cannabis legalization bill. At the time, Wolf stated, “Now more than ever, especially right in the middle of a pandemic, we have a desperate need for the economic boost that the legalization of cannabis could provide.”

For his part, Fetterman made the astute observation that “40 percent of our population will live within a 30-minute drive or less of legal marijuana”, saying that it’s better to have Pennsylvanians shop locally, then to have New Jersey take the economic benefit. It should be remembered that PA borders both New York and New Jersey, both legalized states. On October 13th, 2020, Wolf made yet another plea in Monroe County for the same thing.

The current recreational cannabis situation in the US

If the Pittsburgh bill to legalize cannabis in Pennsylvania goes through, it would join 18 other states, the District of Colombia, and the territories Northern Mariana Islands (since 2018), and Guam (since 2019) as being a recreationally legalized location. The last state to adopt such a policy, was back in June, 2021, when Connecticut passed Senate Bill 1201 to open an adult-use cannabis market in that State.

This has been a busy year for recreational cannabis legalizations, as New York and New Mexico also legalized recreational cannabis in March and April respectively, literally passing the legislation 24 hours apart. And this after New Jersey, Arizona, Montana, and South Dakota passed legalization laws through ballot measures in the 2020 elections, still less than a year ago.

cannabis in America

The funny thing is that Pennsylvania isn’t even one of the states that has been mentioned as a state to legalize next. Apart from PA, there are several other states that are also getting close to their own legalizations, like Rhode Island, Minnesota, and Hawaii. Rhode Island has a bill working its way through congress which has the support of both the Senate and Governor, and which has already passed the Senate.

Minnesota has HF 600, which is working its way through that state’s congress. The House is expected to pass it, but the republican-led senate might be an issue, leading many to believe that governor Tim Waltz – who supports legalization, will put it on a ballot measure in 2022. Hawaii is also very close, with a congress all for it, but a governor who is not. David Ige has repeatedly vetoed cannabis bills that passed the legislature, and is expected to veto two more. Since Ige is expected to leave office in 2022, a legalization is likely to follow soon after.


Pennsylvania has often been considered a swing state, with its bigger cities like Philadelphia and Pittsburgh being the democratic strongholds, and the places in between known more for their conservatism. While cannabis legalizations have mostly followed along party lines, with democratic states being more likely to legalize, this has been changing with the times, exemplified by a republican-led medicinal marijuana bill in North Carolina.

At another time in history this PA bill might have stood less of a chance of passing, but in these changing times of cannabis-friendliness, it seems pretty likely to go through. The US itself is already working two separate bills through Congress, the MORE Act, and the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act, to decriminalize and legalize respectively. So the idea this new bill to legalize cannabis in Pennsylvania wouldn’t go through, seems like an idea of the past. Perhaps Pennsylvania will be #19.

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

The post Pittsburgh Leading the Charge to Legalize Cannabis in Pennsylvania appeared first on CBD Testers.

Do BC Covid cases justify vaccine passports in the cannabis sector?

Certain non-essential services in provinces like Ontario and British Columbia now require customers to be vaccinated. But, how does the skeptical process provincial governments use to report Covid cases to justify vaccine passports in the cannabis sector? Cannabis — a medicine for many — was deemed an essential service during the pandemic in BC. This […]

The post Do BC Covid cases justify vaccine passports in the cannabis sector? appeared first on Latest Cannabis News Today – Headlines, Videos & Stocks.

The Key to Legal Marijuana Is In Laws for Personal Sovereignty

When it comes to cannabis legalizations, different factors can be at work in different locations. In some places, sick kids pushed through medical legalizations, in other places, recreational legalizations were voted in by the population. In a few cases it was something else though, it came through the courts. In these cases, legal marijuana came as a result of personal sovereignty clauses in national constitutions.

It would be great if we were all afforded the right to legal marijuana due to personal sovereignty rights in our specific countries, but unfortunately, this only works in some places. Luckily, the general expansion of the industry has made it so getting many products is much easier, with much more available. Take delta-8 THC, for example. No one knew what the stuff was five years ago. And now? This alternate, less intense, form of THC, flies right off the shelves. This goes for other cannabis compounds as well. Lucky for you, we’ve got them all, so take a look at our deals on delta-8 THCdelta-9 THCTHCVTHCPdelta 10HHCTHC-O and a broad range of other cannabis related products.

What does personal sovereignty mean?

Personal sovereignty can be summed up like this: “To be sovereign over one’s self is to be free of the control or coercion of others – to truly direct one’s own life.” In other words, personal sovereignty is self-ownership, and comes with the idea that each person is their own piece of property belonging to themselves. This includes legal and/or natural rights for bodily integrity, and to be the sole controller of one’s life.

As far as what it means to have legal or natural rights, these are the two types of rights afforded to individuals. Natural rights are inalienable rights, or what some would refer to as ‘god-given rights’. These are not supposed to be specific to a particular government or set of laws, but are instead considered fundamental laws, or human rights. As inalienable rights, they cannot be taken away by a government’s laws, unless the individual is causing harm to someone else. In the US constitution, inalienable rights include “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

Conversely, legal rights are those afforded by a specific government. They are governed by human laws, and are able to be changed or repealed if the government feels the need. These laws encompass everything not related to personal freedoms, like traffic laws, gun laws, trade laws, criminal laws, and so on.

personal sovereignty

Personal sovereignty is a principal of different philosophies in politics, namely anarchism, liberalism, and libertarianism. Clauses show up in many constitutions, specifying what the government sees as inalienable rights. Now, this concept is interesting. If the idea of ‘inalienable rights’ actually existed as I just said, they would have to be consistent everywhere. After all, if they’re not related to local laws, then they should be the same throughout the world. But this isn’t the case. And, in fact, the particular inalienable rights afforded to populations, are decided within a constitution, meaning they are specific to a given government.

Even so, they are thought of as separate from legal rights. Though this detracts from them a bit, they still hold true where they’re available. While the US doesn’t have strong principals for this in its constitution, other countries do. And three times now, at least, these principals have been used to either legalize recreational cannabis, or reduce penalties to the point of practically being legal.

How Mexico gained legal marijuana using personal sovereignty

The mess of Mexico and cannabis legalization has been going on for a few years now. At the end of 2018, the Mexican Supreme Court ruled in favor of defendants in two cases involving the right to use cannabis recreationally. These two cases were really the last of five consecutive cases, starting in 2015, all if which had to do with the right of an individual to consume cannabis in their own private life.

In Mexico, five consecutive Supreme Court rulings on the same topic, ruled on in the same way, become legally binding for all lower courts, and override legislative laws. This is called jurisprudencia. As such, in these situations, the government is then tasked with coming up with new legislation to be in line with the court rulings.

So, what was the basis for these court rulings? In the Mexican constitution, personal development is a given, or inalienable right. It reflects a specific aspect of personal sovereignty afforded by the Mexican government to its people. People must, by the constitution, be able to choose their own recreational activities in life, and they must be able to do this without government intervention. In its ruling, the Supreme Court specified that the psychoactive effects of cannabis are not enough to provide justification for prohibition. The final ruling officially made the prohibition of personal recreational cannabis use, unconstitutional.

For anyone paying attention, this didn’t come and go quietly. The government has repeatedly nixed its responsibility in coming up with written legislation, first asking for extensions for 2.5 years, and then missing a deadline without even requesting an extension this past April. This move effectively gave the Supreme Court the ability to simply drop the prohibition law, which it did. Since the Supreme Court doesn’t write legislation, this was done in a small way, legalizing the personal cultivation, possession, and use of cannabis, but leaving everything else as illegal, until the government sees fit to do its job.

Mexico cannabis

How Georgia gained legal marijuana using personal sovereignty

The first thing that makes the title to this section interesting, is simply the idea that a former Eastern Bloc country, is actually weed-legal. No other truly legalized location exists on either the continents of Europe or Asia, yet somehow, a recreational legalization snuck in, in a place completely unexpected, and not in concert with the area around. But that’s what happened, when Georgia became the 3rd legalized recreational country. Here’s the story.

Up until 2018, Georgia had some of the stricter laws concerning cannabis. Users could incur up to 14 years in prison for simple possession and use, with forced drug tests being given on 100+ people a day. Georgia had a zero-tolerance policy when it came to marijuana, and the country was making a lot of money from fines, collecting a massive $11.3 million in one year alone. Cannabis activists in the country were fighting these forced tests, as well as pushing for decriminalization measures, and to have dosage calculations made by law. It was even being spoken about politically when elections came around in 2018, with a law being drafted to allow cannabis exports.

All of what was going on was blown out of the water by the Constitutional Court in 2018. That year, amid all the other cannabis talk, the Court made a ruling in a case that its unconstitutional to punish a person for using cannabis, since it doesn’t hurt anyone else. The ruling stated that a punishment for using cannabis is restrictive of personal freedoms. Once again, personal sovereignty pushed through a legalization measure. The Court went on to state in its ruling, that unless a 3rd party is being affected, or use laws are broken, no penalties will be given out for using cannabis at all.

It says something for the stance of the Constitutional Court, that a year prior to this legalization, it was already calling to decriminalize cannabis. This shows that even in its stricter days, there was already a break towards liberalism. However, a major detraction of this legalization, is that it only applies to possession and use.

Cultivation and supply crimes were not affected by the ruling, meaning Georgia has some terribly inconsistent cannabis laws, allowing for its legal possession and use, but without the ability to buy, sell, or grow it. There is also no official regulated market in place. Chances are that written legislation will update soon enough to make this a more tenable system. For now, Georgia has the designation of becoming the 3rd legalized country, the first in Europe or Asia to do so, and the first of the former Eastern Bloc countries to adopt a pro-cannabis policy.

How South Africa gained nearly legal marijuana using personal sovereignty

South Africa is a little different because the country didn’t technically legalize anything. However, due to Supreme Court rulings, the country has some of the most relaxed cannabis laws, that in many ways do resemble a regular legalization. Much like with the two countries previously mentioned, since it came through the court system, and this requires legislation to be written, the exact specifications of this new law are still unknown. Anyway, here’s the story of South Africa and cannabis decriminalization.

South Africa marijuana

Funny enough, all three of the countries mentioned, officially changed policies due to Constitutional Court decisions made in 2018. South Africa’s came in September of 2018. The court ruling in question was originally made on March 31st, 2017, but not by a constitutional court. In this case, the judge of the local court ruled that it was unconstitutional to prevent private cultivation and use of cannabis. The reason being, that such a criminalization was an infringement to inalienable rights of personal privacy, and therefore, not justifiable.

The right to privacy was the central issue in the 2017 ruling. The right to privacy is an inalienable right of personal sovereignty afforded to South Africans through section 14 of their Bill of Rights. The clause states that every individual has the right to lead their own private life, without interference by the government or other private institutions. This is what the court stated to back up its point:

“A very high level of protection is given to the individual’s intimate personal sphere of life and the maintenance of its basic preconditions and there is a final untouchable sphere of human freedom that is beyond interference from any public authority. So much so that, in regard to this most intimate core of privacy, no justifiable limitation thereof can take place… This inviolable core is left behind once an individual enters into relationships with persons outside this closest intimate sphere; the individual’s activities then acquire a social dimension and the right of privacy in this context becomes subject to limitation.”

Of course, this was just a regular court. Appeals rolled in after the decision, leading the judgement to be heard by the Constitutional Court in 2018. When the Constitutional Court upheld the lower court’s decision, the new ruling became law, and the private cultivation and recreational use of cannabis was heavily decriminalized. It is said that police can still arrest a person for private cannabis crimes, but that the person can use this ruling as a defense in court. The new bill will hopefully shed more light on this aspect. This is different from Mexico or Georgia, where the lower courts can no longer entertain such cases. An official bill is still being worked out which will specify the particulars of the new law. Technically, South Africa had 24 months to write a bill before the court ruling automatically took over. It is now 3.5 years later, and there is no bill yet, but this is likely due to corona.


This idea that legal marijuana use can come through court rulings on personal sovereignty, is kind of cool. Take Chile, and its endeavor to create a new constitution. Should the new constitution have a personal sovereignty clause, it would open the door for cannabis legalization.

If your next question is whether the US has such a provision, the sad answer is no. The farthest we get in the US is the guarantee for the ‘pursuit of happiness’. Now, I know cannabis sure makes me happy. And it could certainly be argued in court that not allowing legal marijuana is a detraction of personal sovereignty related to the pursuit of happiness…but as of yet, it has not been done.

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

The post The Key to Legal Marijuana Is In Laws for Personal Sovereignty appeared first on CBD Testers.

SPD Win Election in Germany, Is Recreational Cannabis Next?

Germany is going through changes. Not only did the country just elect new government officials yesterday in a national election, but longstanding Chancellor Angela Merkel already stated she’s stepping down. Possibly due to this, Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union lost to the Social Democrats in the election, signaling a political change in Germany, which could lead to a recreational cannabis legalization.

If the elections in Germany result in a cannabis legalization, there will be another massive market opening up. More legalizations mean more and better products for users, and this is great for everyone. Products like delta-8 THC were never heard of before the recent cannabis boom, but this alternate to delta-9, which causes way less anxiety and couch locking, is now available thanks to the expansion of the market. We’ve got great deals for delta-8 THC, delta-9 THC, THCVTHCPdelta10, HHCTHC-O and tons of other products, so check ’em out, and see how many options are out there.

Germany and cannabis

As with nearly every European country (with the strange exception of Georgia), recreational cannabis is illegal in Germany. Having said that, Georgia did legalize the recreational use of cannabis, but without legalizing cultivation, sale, or a regulated market, meaning there is no actual industry. If Germany were to pass a recreational legalization bill, it would still be the first European country to set up a regulated market, and the first EU country to do either a legalization, or a regulated market. But, we’re not there just yet.

In Germany, cannabis is recreationally illegal at the moment, and is regulated through the German Federal Narcotics Act. Simple possession can incur up to five years in prison. Weirdly enough, there’s no law against actual use, so those caught using are more likely to be put in a program than face a more serious punishment. This is not always the case past a first offence, however, and is also dependent on the person being caught with a ‘small quantity’ only.

How much is a ‘small quantity’? The term isn’t defined specifically, and varies throughout different parts of Germany. It can be anywhere from 6-15 grams depending on location, although, in Germany, it’s not just about the amount in weight, but the amount of THC within, so the potency can help determine the amount.

cannabis reform Germany

As there is no regulated market, sale and supply crimes are illegal, and offenders can incur up to five years for more basic crimes, and up to 15 years depending on extenuating circumstances. Cultivation crimes are also illegal and are punished with the same jail time as sale and supply crimes.

Medical cannabis has been legal in some capacity since 1998, with a major expansion in 2017 to cover more illnesses, start domestic production, and allow for more imports and exports.

Germany has the largest cannabis market in Europe at the moment. In 2019, it was 2nd in the world for cannabis oil imports, and 4th in the world for cannabis oil exports. Prohibition Partners estimates that as of March 2020, Germany had approximately 128,000 patients that receive medical cannabis per year, though BfArM – The Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices, was not able to give more specific information.

In Q4 of 2020, Germany imported 3,264 kilograms of cannabis, for a total of 9,249 kilograms for 2020. The import market has seen a 100% year over year increase between 2018-2020. Germany is just starting its domestic supply market, which is expected to filter another 2,600 kilograms into the market.

National elections

The new government which is being put together from the election, is the key to Germany and a cannabis legalization. On September 26th, 2021, Germany held National Bundestag elections to institute a new government. The announcement of current-Chancellor Angela Merkel’s stepping down means that after many years, Germany is about to introduce new leadership.

Merkel has been Chancellor of Germany since 2005, making for a 16-year reign. Her party, the Christian Democratic Union (CDU/CSU), which itself is a partnership between the Christian Democrats and the Christian Social Union in Bavaria, has led a coalition government for just as long. Perhaps Merkel stepped down because she felt tides turning. Or perhaps the election outcome was a result of the knowledge of her impending departure. Either way, after many years of the same thing, Germany voted for something new.

elections 2021

The Social Democrats and the Union were a part of the same government coalition prior to the election. Now that they are no longer part of the same coalition government, they are not necessarily voting partners anymore. The two parties have differing beliefs on many topics, like cannabis, and how it should be handled. Whereas the Union is for keeping cannabis illegal, the Social Democrats are for legalization, along with other parties like the Greens. Of the three top parties in the election in Germany, two are pro-legalization for cannabis, the Social Democrats, and the Greens. THe 4th is the Free Democratic Party, and it supports legalization as well.

How did things just change?

The Social Democrats (SPD) and the Union have been voting partners in the past, which is the reason a legalization bill didn’t pass last year, despite there technically being enough support to pass it. In the past, the Union was the biggest party, beating out the SPDs. This time around, the outcome flipped.

In this election, the Social Democrats (center-left) narrowly beat out the Union (center-right), 25.9% to 24.1%. The Social Democrats won 206 parliamentary seats, the Union got 196, The Greens (left) took 118, the Free Democratic Party (FDP, liberal) won 92, Alternative for Germany (AfD, right-wing populist) got 83, the Left (democratic-socialist) got 39, and South Schleswig Voter’s Association (SSW, social-liberals) got 1. Since there is no majority here, a coalition government must be formed.

Since 2005, the Christian Democrats have formed coalitions with different parties. In 2005 it was a grand coalition with the Social Democrats, in 2009 with the Free Democratic Party, in 2013 and 2017, it formed grand coalitions with the Social Democrats again. Some see it as stabilizing to have a government of the two top parties, some see it as a threat to have such a homogenous government. It is quite possible that the two parties will partner once again, but there is also the chance that other things could happen. It’s expected this could be a long and difficult process given how close the votes were.

Its’s also quite possible that for the first time in a while, the Union could be shut out. If a coalition government is formed between the Social Democrats, Greens, and Free democratic Party, this would mean a very different government than the past eight years. In a situation like this, all parties are pro-cannabis. Whether it would actually happen or not though, is hard to say.

However, even if this full coalition doesn’t happen, the Social Democrats have apparently already signaled that they would like to partner with the Greens. Even two strong pro-cannabis-reform parties together could do it. If those two parties partner up, cannabis legislation can be expected. Because of the strong showing for the Free Democrats, this goes for them as well, making several different ways in which this election can lead Germany into passing recreational cannabis legislation.

Election Germany cannabis

What happened last time?

A cannabis legalization bill was put forward last year that would have instituted a regulated adult-use market. On October 29th of the year, it was rejected in parliament, and this was mainly due to the coalition between the Union and the Social Democrats. Though the Social Democrats are for legalization, the Union is heavily against. Since the two parties voted together, the Social Democrats voted against legalization. If they are no longer paired in the future, a future vote could turn out very differently.

At the time the bill died, the Social Democrats held 152 seats, the Union held 264, and the Greens held 67. Looking at the most recent election, and things have certainly shifted in Germany, opening the door wider for topics like cannabis reform. Given that the Union had a 41.5% majority in 2013, and is down to around 24% now, it shows a change in thoughts and opinions. It’s not shocking the bill died last year, as the government wasn’t constructed to allow it to pass.

Since the time the Union was so strong in 2013, public sentiment has gone in a different direction concerning marijuana. The German Hemp Association conducts polls yearly on legalization. In 2014, when it started, the percentage for pro-legalization was 30%, and went up to 46% within only a few years. The organization stopped polling for opinions on decriminalization in 2018, when the percentage reached 59%.


Germany is the biggest country in the EU, with the strongest economy. Its already a dominating factor in the international medical cannabis industry. A legalization there could create a large, and strong cannabis market. As the election results are still rather raw, its impossible to know how things will pan out. Politics involve many things we don’t see as private citizens, so to a certain degree we’ll have to be patient, and allow things some time to work themselves out. In the coming months, there should be a lot of talk coming out on this, and the conversation about legalization should get even stronger.

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A Majority of Companies in Tightly-Regulated Industries Say Compliance is Biggest Barrier

Out of all the issues associated with the volatile nature of industries such as the cannabis industry—compliance is the top barrier, representatives from multiple companies said. As it turns out, sectors such as the healthcare industry face similar problems with compliance.

According to a new study announced by The Harris Poll and Fyllo on September 21, nearly two-thirds, or 63 percent of companies see compliance issues as a “critical barrier to growth.” Representatives from highly regulated industries were asked a series of questions in a survey—with a selective highlight on the cannabis industry in particular.

The study is entitled, “Leading With Compliance: The Key To Growth In Highly Regulated Industries.” Researchers surveyed 305 compliance leaders at companies in highly regulated industries including cannabis, healthcare, financial services, alcohol and pharmaceuticals.

The results revealed a common denominator: all of the highly-regulated industries struggle with a complex web of federal and local legislation and an outdated compliance approach—not just the cannabis industry.

“In the face of fast-paced regulatory demands, outdated processes can’t keep up and that derails growth,” said Chad Bronstein, CEO and founder of Fyllo. “This survey revealed that companies want to utilize technology to understand regulatory updates, whether new laws or even just local legislative conversations.” Fyllo offers software to overcome the complexities of compliance. Fyllo’s Data Marketplace, for instance, can target previously inaccessible cannabis and CBD consumers.

Nearly 50 percent said noncompliance results in higher costs to attract new investors and win new customers. Eighty-two percent report that adhering to regulations drains resources that would otherwise drive expansion into new markets, new products/services and innovation.

Twenty-five percent said problems led to a loss of customers; 20 percent said it led to employee turnover. Seventy-three precent of companies say compliance issues damage trust among consumers, regulators and employees.

Survey respondents also said that getting fined for noncompliance is practically unavoidable—just something they have to learn to deal with.

Over three-quarters, or 82 percent of companies in highly regulated industries currently accept that compliance is a cost of doing business, over the past five years, these companies have been cited on average 12.6 times for noncompliance. 

This results in extensive operational, reputational and financial risks. Moreover, the majority of compliance leaders admit that they are often uncertain as to whether or not that the organization is compliant due the dynamic nature of the regulatory environment.

Constant changes in laws is getting to be the norm, but most companies said they can handle it, albeit the technological problems that make it more difficult.

When asked if their company could adapt quickly to sudden changes in its regulatory or compliance environment, 61 percent said they did not believe their company could, with 28 percent citing outdated technology as the core cause for those problems.

Compliance in the Cannabis Industry

Depending on how you define regulation and if you include nuclear industries, etc., cannabis remains one of the most-regulated industries in the U.S. However, IBIS World ranks the healthcare industry as the most regulated industry of all, which of course overlaps with medical cannabis.

The discord between state and federal law makes the cannabis industry unique in the sense that laws often contradict one another more than you’d see in other industries. It would require a figurative PhD of regulation just to understand the full scope of the patchwork of state cannabis laws.

“Cannabis professionals are operating in a regulatory environment that changes daily across federal, state and local levels,” Bronstein added. “As such, cannabis businesses have been quick to embrace tech solutions that streamline compliance processes to free up resources for growth, with the industry becoming the benchmark for effective management of compliance processes at scale.”

Noncompliance in the hemp industry, for instance, is a problem. New Frontier Data reported that over 4,000 acres of crops were destroyed in 2019 (out of the 242,565 acres that were planted) because they were considered to be “hot crops” that surpassed the THC limit. Although crops in 2020 decreased, hot crops still increased, which led to an even more devastating year with 6,234 labeled as hot.

Cannabis and hemp laws are constantly changing at a rapid pace, much faster than you see in other established sectors such as traditional healthcare.

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