Recreational Cannabis in Colombia – Coming Soon?

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

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Colombia and drugs in general

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

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

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

Colombia cocaine trade

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

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

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

Colombia and cannabis

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

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

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

Colombian drug war

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

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

Medical marijuana and how to get in on it

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

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

So…what’s the deal with recreational?

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

recreational cannabis

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

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

Conclusion

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

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Resources

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New Zealand Voted NO to Cannabis Legalization

German Cannabis Flower Market is Ready to Explode
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Fly with Cannabis – Which Countries Let You Do It Newest Cannabinoid Powerhouse – CBC – What Can It Do for You?
What is DELTA 8 THC (FAQ: Great resource to learn about DELTA 8THC)

Legal for a Day – The Mahashivaratri Festival and Nepal’s Changing Cannabis Laws
Will Mexico Become Biggest Legal Cannabis Market?
The CBD Flowers Weekly newsletter (your top resource for all things smokable hemp flowers)
The Medical Cannabis Weekly newsletter (International medical cannabis business report)
Paraguay Grows it, Brazil Takes it… Will New Cannabis Laws Change Anything?

The Delta 8 Weekly Newsletter (All you need to know about Delta 8 thc) and the Best Black Friday Delta 8 THC Deals 2020. Cannabis Election Results – Why Israel Is (and will continue to be) A Global Leader in the Cannabis Industry
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Uruguay Was The First Country to Legalize Cannabis – How Are They Doing Now?

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Lebanon Legalized Medical Cannabis, 1st in Arab World

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

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

A bit about Lebanon and cannabis policy

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

Lebanon legalized medical cannabis

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

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

As far as industrial hemp

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

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

Now legal for medical use

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

Lebanon parliament

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

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

What did McKinsey & Co. say?

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

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

cannabis medicine

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

What comes next?

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

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

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

Conclusion

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

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

Resources

Germany Leads EU in Cannabis Oil Imports…and Exports
New Zealand Voted NO to Cannabis Legalization

German Cannabis Flower Market is Ready to Explode
Uruguay Was The First Country to Legalize Cannabis – How Are They Doing Now?

Fly with Cannabis – Which Countries Let You Do It Newest Cannabinoid Powerhouse – CBC – What Can It Do for You?
What is DELTA 8 THC (FAQ: Great resource to learn about DELTA 8THC)

Legal for a Day – The Mahashivaratri Festival and Nepal’s Changing Cannabis Laws
Thailand is 1st Asian Country to Legalize Medicinal Cannabis and Enter Global Market
The CBD Flowers Weekly newsletter (your top resource for all things smokable hemp flowers)
The Medical Cannabis Weekly newsletter (International medical cannabis business report)
Customize Your Cannabinoids – Now You Can Mix’ N’ Match

The Delta 8 Weekly Newsletter (All you need to know about Delta 8 thc) and the Best Black Friday Delta 8 THC Deals 2020. Cannabis Election Results – Why Israel Is (and will continue to be) A Global Leader in the Cannabis Industry
EU Beat France, CBD Legal Throughout EU
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Is Lesotho Selling Out Its Own Citizens to Ride the African Green Rush?
Customize Your Cannabinoids – Now You Can Mix’ N’ Match

The post Lebanon Legalized Medical Cannabis, 1st in Arab World appeared first on CBD Testers.

Germany Rejected Its Recreational Cannabis Bill

The people of New Zealand just voted down a measure to legalize cannabis through a referendum. New Jersey just legalized it recreationally also through its own referendum. Germany didn’t put the question to its people, but last month the government of Germany rejected its recreational cannabis bill.

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A little about Germany and cannabis

As per the title, recreational marijuana is not legal in Germany. In fact, possessing it at all can garner a person up to five years in prison according to the German Federal Narcotics Act, though conversely, it’s not technically illegal to use it, since there is no stated law against it. If caught with small amounts, offenders are usually put in a program over anything more serious, at least for first-time offenders. The term ‘small amount’ is not very well defined, though, and can mean anywhere from about 6-15 grams depending on where in Germany the possession takes place. Plus, the amount is judged by quantity and potency over actual weight, meaning the THC content helps define the amount in the end.

Sale and supply crimes are predictably illegal, and offenders can receive up to about five years in prison. This sentence goes up from 1-15 years depending on the circumstances of the case. Cultivation on a personal level is also illegal and garners the same punishment as sale and supply crimes.

Germany rejected recreational cannabis

In terms of CBD, while Germany already had been permitting it, the recent decision of the CJEU (Court of Justice of the European Union) in the case of France vs the EU, makes it that much more clear. EU standard has now been found to trump local member state laws when it comes to the import and export of CBD between member states. As per EU standards, Germany does not allow more than .2% THC in CBD oil preparations.

Technically, the medical use of a cannabis drug has been legal since 1998 in Germany when dronabinol was rescheduled. It wasn’t until 2017, however, that Germany further legalized medicinal cannabis. As of 2017, new legislation opened the door for more disorders and sicknesses to be relevant for treatment.

What about Germany’s market?

The thing about Germany is that it already has one of the biggest cannabis markets in the EU, and even in the world, though right now it’s all a medicinal market. In 2019, for example, Germany was the biggest importer and exporter of cannabis oil in the EU. Though the country can’t compete just yet with the US in terms of imports – the US for 2019 imported approximately $893 million worth of cannabis oil making it the clear leader, Germany did get the #2 spot with $240 million worth of oil imported that year. When it comes to exports, Germany led the EU with about $230 million worth of cannabis oil exports, but that was only 4th place in the world. Topping the export list was China, sitting pretty with just under $1 billion worth of cannabis oil exports that year.

Cannabis oil is only part of it. Most of the legal cannabis world still revolves around dry flowers, and Germany just happens to have a massive cannabis flower market as well. And one that is only looking to grow and expand out more. In July, Germany released data on its medical cannabis imports for the first two quarters of the year. While Q1 showed an increase of 16%, Q2 showed a massive 32% increase, and this at the height of the Coronavirus pandemic measures being taken all over the world. To give an idea of what this means via comparison, in 2018, Germany imported about 3.1 tons of cannabis flowers, this was increased to 6.7 tons in 2019, and it looks like it will go much higher than that by the end of 2020. During this time, Germany had such an issue with supply problems that it requested extra cannabis flowers from the Netherlands to help close the gap. Part of the reason for the need for more medical cannabis is simply the increasing number of Germans receiving it as treatment. As of June 2019, about 60,000 Germans were registered with the medical marijuana program in the country, and that number is sure to be way higher by now.

parliament vote

Up until recently, Canada and the Netherlands were Germany’s two biggest and main suppliers of cannabis flowers. However, more recently, it looks like Germany has received flowers from Uruguay (through a secretive back-door move using Portugal to import), and Spain via Linneo, a Spanish cannabis producer. Canada, however, is still the main importer to Germany, with several new companies opening shop in Germany, or planning new exports to the country. To give an idea of how out-of-whack prices have gotten in Germany, consider that the current retail price of a gram of cannabis is about €20. Then consider that this is a medical price, not even a recreational price.

What’s the deal with recreational?

Everything so far should give some idea of how big Germany’s cannabis market is, and how quickly it’s growing. As the biggest market in the EU, it’s not that surprising that the question of a recreational legalization would come up, since, obviously, Germany is pretty okay with use of the plant. However, this sentiment did not come through as a recreational legalization as last month Germany rejected its recreational cannabis bill.

Germany has six main political parties. The Left (holds 69 seats and is in favor of legalizing), the Social Democratic Party of Germany (about 152 seats, technically in favor of legalization, but voted with coalition partner instead – the Union, which includes the Christian Democrats led by Angela Merkel), the Union (two parties making up 264 seats, against legalization), the Greens (67 seats, and in support of legalization), the Free Democratic Party (holds 80 seats, but did not vote on the measure), and Alternative for Germany (somewhere in the neighborhood of 89-94 seats, and against legalization).

On October 29th, the proposed bill for an adult-use recreational cannabis market in Germany was firmly rejected in parliament, despite having plenty of support from different factions of Germany’s parliament. One of the big reasons for this is the coalition between the Union and the Social Democratic Party of Germany. The Union is itself is a coalition between the Christian Democratic Union of Germany (led by Angela Merkel) and the Christian Social Union in Bavaria. The Social Democratic Party of Germany, which though technically is in favor of cannabis reform, tends to vote with its coalition partner, the Union. Together they hold enough seats that any initiative will fail without at least some of their support. In this way, by having the two parties paired together, Germany rejected its recreational cannabis bill squarely.

recreational marijuana

In a way, the coalition is a strange one. The Union, is known as a center-right party associated with Christian movements. The Social Democratic party is center-left. Technically, the two groups have very different stances, and while they might overlap on some issues, they actually seem quite at odds when it comes to cannabis, making their vote together a bit of a headscratcher. Nevertheless, by being joined together, the Social Democrats voted with the Union making for an unbeatable force.

What’s next for Germany?

In the wake of the fact that Germany rejected its recreational cannabis bill, it’s hard to imagine what the next step will be. Unlike with a country like New Zealand, it was not the people of the country who voted the measure down, but rather, parliament on its own. This means the people of Germany are not necessarily on board with this decision, and that could mean new measures arising in the near future. It is, after all, already one of the biggest cannabis markets in the world. The step to legalization gets smaller and smaller as Germany gets more and more saturated with cannabis. Personally, I expect something will happen very soon that will tip the balance in the other direction.

CBDtesters is your hub all cannabis-related news. Visit us regularly to stay in the know, and sign up to our newsletter so you never miss a beat!

Resources

Germany Leads EU in Cannabis Oil Imports…and Exports
Mexico Still Waiting on Its Promised Cannabis Legalization

German Cannabis Flower Market is Ready to Explode
Recreational Cannabis is Legal in Georgia – But Who Knew?

Fly with Cannabis – Which Countries Let You Do It Newest Cannabinoid Powerhouse – CBC – What Can It Do for You?
What is DELTA 8 THC (FAQ: Great resource to learn about DELTA 8THC)

Legal for a Day – The Mahashivaratri Festival and Nepal’s Changing Cannabis Laws
German Cannabis Flower Market is Ready to Explode
The CBD Flowers Weekly newsletter (your top resource for all things smokable hemp flowers)
The Medical Cannabis Weekly newsletter (International medical cannabis business report)
Customize Your Cannabinoids – Now You Can Mix’ N’ Match

The Delta 8 Weekly Newsletter (All you need to know about Delta 8 thc) and the Best Black Friday Delta 8 THC Deals 2020. Cannabis Election Results – Best Black Friday Delta 8 THC Deals 2020
EU Beat France, CBD Legal Throughout EU
THC Isolate Explained – Everything You Need To Know
A Complete Guide To CBN Isolate (Cannabinol)
Get EU GMP-Certified Cannabinoid Isolates and Distillates

The post Germany Rejected Its Recreational Cannabis Bill appeared first on CBD Testers.

EU Beat France, CBD Legal Throughout EU

In a high court ruling with far-reaching implications about EU governance vs member state law, the EU beat France making CBD legal throughout the EU, and setting a precedent for tons of cases in the future.

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What was the case originally about?

Before we get to the ins and outs of this landmark EU high court ruling, let’s look at the case that forced its way to the top of the EU judicial system. The story starts in 2014 when Sébastien Béguerie and Antonin Cohen were prosecuted under French law for marketing and selling a hemp-derived CBD vape product under the name Kanavape. France has very specific laws regarding the parts of a cannabis plant that can be used (only the fiber and seeds), and the amount of THC that can be in a product. The latter, in fact, is 0% as of 2018, which created an essential ban on CBD oil, since its nearly impossible to create a CBD oil without at least a trace amount of THC. France also doesn’t allow the leaves or flowers of a cannabis plant to be used for preparations of any kind, and the Kanavape product was made from the whole plant.

Béguerie and Cohen were importing and selling a Kanavape product that was made in the Czech Republic. Though this Kanavape product followed all EU mandates concerning the use and sale of CBD products, particularly the parts of the plant used, and a THC content that didn’t exceed .2%, it didn’t gel with French law which disagreed with the parts of the plant used, and the THC in the product. The two were found guilty.

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After the guilty verdict, the two men appealed their case, citing that the product they imported and sold was completely legal by EU law, and that EU law allows the free trade of products across EU member state borders so long as the products meet EU standards. In this case, they did, and in time it was eventually kicked up to the highest court in the EU, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) in Luxembourg, which had never made a ruling on CBD legality before. Today, November 19th, 2020, the court gave its ruling.

The court was tasked with making a ruling with a lot of further implications. Within the world of CBD itself it would make it impossible for any member state to deny an import that meets EU standards, thus legalizing CBD in all EU countries. The second aspect is that as part of the ruling, the court also had to decide whether CBD itself is a narcotic, thus setting an EU standard for that as well, and forcing that standard on all member states. Last, through these decisions, the EU set a standard for the general trade of products – CBD or anything else – leaving a large space open for new litigation and legislation based on this new case law.

What was the ruling?

As per the title of the article, the EU beat France as the CJEU found that France was in violation of EU law by not allowing products to be imported into the country that meet EU standards. Along with this, the CJEU also made the ruling that CBD is not a narcotic, saying “It does not appear to have any psychotropic effect or any harmful effect on human health.” It went on to say, “The national court must assess available scientific data in order to make sure that the real risk to public health alleged does not appear to be based on purely hypothetical considerations”.

Together, the two aspects of this ruling force a CBD legalization across all EU member states, reinforce that products can freely be traded between EU member countries, and also reinforce a general foundational aspect of the EU, that EU law trumps individual member state law. This, of course, gives a major boost to the CBD industry which has been operating in gray area throughout Europe for quite some time; and a major blow to any EU country that was trying to ban CBD, like Slovakia, which will now also have to allow citizens to use CBD products.

CBD

What about synthetics and pharmaceutical products?

One of the interesting pieces of information to be made clear when the EU beat France in court, was that France had actually not banned synthetic CBD, only regular CBD – or plant-derived. Synthetic CBD is essentially the same thing chemically, but created in a laboratory instead of grown as a plant, and is the basis for a burgeoning synthetics industry, led mainly by pharmaceutical and biotech companies. This industry, in fact, threatens the actual CBD and cannabis industries. The overall lower cost of producing synthetics, over a cannabis plant industry that has grown more expensive through the instilling of infrastructure like regulation and taxation, has made synthetics much more popular. What this means is that France just spent years to fight two guys in court on the basis of selling an unsafe product, when it already allowed that same product to be sold, so long as it was made in a laboratory. Basically, France just fought a fight to allow the pharmaceutical version of CBD to be sold, while banning the plant version. Luckily, the EU beat France.

CBD Oil

But let’s take a closer look at the situation for just a minute. One of the pharmaceutical cannabis products that is allowed in France is Epidiolex, a CBD-derived drug put out by GW Pharmaceuticals. This is the same drug at the center of Italy’s current legislative contradiction. Within the past few months, Italy has had two different government agencies put out opposing mandates. The Agriculture Agency listed CBD as an agricultural product in July, making it freely available for use in tons of products. About two months later, the Ministry of Health decided to list CBD as a medicine, making it only available with permission from the Medicines Agency, thus making it illegal to sell CBD products. This came complete with a warning to providers to take products off of shelves.

This discrepancy was made that much more stomach-turning by the idea that Epidiolex was just about to launch in the country. So now that makes two countries that specifically put out mandates to curb CBD usage, while accepting the pharmaceutical version instead. And funny enough, it was June, 2018 that Epidiolex was approved by the FDA in the US, the same time France made the designation that CBD oil must have 0% THC, creating the essential ban. Maybe it was just a coincidence…

Does all this sound familiar?

The case of France vs the EU highlights the same general controversy that is currently going on in the US, and has been for years. The idea of individual states legalizing cannabis (either medically or recreationally) while it remains illegal by federal standards. While there does seem to be a general upward trajectory in terms of change, starting with the latest Farm Bill which legalized hemp products with a THC content of no more than .3%, this discrepancy between federal and state law has been causing many problems for years. In fact, up until partway through the Obama administration, the federal government was constantly at odds with legal smokers, often putting them in jail even though they were going by their own state’s laws.

court ruling

If the US did the same thing as the EU, it would mean that all 50 states would be required to bend a knee and accept the legalization. As of yet, it hasn’t happened, but the EU ruling might give some indication as to what might happen in such a situation.

Conclusion

The question of why France made the ban in the first place, and why the country was willing to go to such great legal lengths when it already was allowing a pharmaceutical version of the same thing to be sold, are certainly good questions to ask. In the end, GW Pharmaceuticals might be one of the biggest losers in this, and I certainly won’t be shedding a tear for their monetary loss.

CBD is now not a narcotic by EU law, and EU member states must abide by EU mandates concerning CBD usage since the EU beat France in court. All this is fantastic and moving in the right direction, but there is one more thing to consider. In two weeks, there will be a vote on WHO cannabis scheduling recommendations. How that vote goes could very well impact what the EU just decided today.

Resources

Forced Legalizations: EU & France Battle it out Over CBD Laws
Mexico Still Waiting on Its Promised Cannabis Legalization

German Cannabis Flower Market is Ready to Explode
The New Italian Cannabis Contradiction

South Africa Introduces Some of the Most Lax Laws on Cannabis Yet Newest Cannabinoid Powerhouse – CBC – What Can It Do for You?
What is DELTA 8 THC (FAQ: Great resource to learn about DELTA 8THC)

Legal for a Day – The Mahashivaratri Festival and Nepal’s Changing Cannabis Laws
Slovakia Is Only EU State to Ban CBD
The CBD Flowers Weekly newsletter (your top resource for all things smokable hemp flowers)
The Medical Cannabis Weekly newsletter (International medical cannabis business report)
What’s France Up To? New Cannabis Fines and Litigation Over CBD

The Delta 8 Weekly Newsletter (All you need to know about Delta 8 thc) and the Best Black Friday Delta 8 THC Deals 2020. Fly with Cannabis – Which Countries Let You Do It
Is Australia’s Capital Leading the Way for Legal Cannabis Down Under?

The post EU Beat France, CBD Legal Throughout EU appeared first on CBD Testers.

Fly with Cannabis – Which Countries Let You Do It

As cannabis becomes legal in more places and in more ways, old rules are changing to let in new marijuana-friendly rules. Whereas once the sky was completely off limits to the smokable drug, things are starting to change. In fact, believe it or not, some countries now let passengers fly with cannabis.

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Different ways to be legal

Not only does every country have its own laws regarding the use, possession, sale, cultivation, and import/export of cannabis, but often these categories too can be broken down further into medical legalizations, recreational legalizations, and even religious legalizations, each with its own set of laws concerning use, possession, sale, cultivation, and import/export.

Right now, in terms of full recreational legalizations, there are only a few places that apply. Uruguay; Canada; the US states that have independently legalized; Mexico, although until legislation comes out in December, it’s technically only a judicial legalization, with no regulated system for sale of products; and Canberra, Australia’s capital city. Then there’re places like Washington DC, and Georgia (the country, not the state), which have wonkier recreational legalizations. In DC, a person can possess and use, but can’t buy or sell, although cultivation is legal. In Georgia, it’s the same, but without the cultivation part, making for a strange system where using a product is actually legal, but there is no legal way to obtain it.

travel with cannabis

When it comes to medical legalizations, these have become ubiquitous in the world. From South American countries like Argentina and Uruguay; to the majority of European countries; to Australia & New Zealand; to African countries like Zambia, Zimbabwe, and Lesotho, though these countries don’t always guarantee the use of cannabis for their own people, and are more geared toward the business end, and exportation to other markets. Nearly every US state has medical legalization; even some Asian countries like Thailand; and Middle Eastern countries like Lebanon, which just became the first of the region (apart from Israel) to allow this.

And then there are the more elusive religious legalizations, which have been coming into play more recently. The most well-known religion to use cannabis sacramentally is Rastafarianism, although others do exist. Due to the Rastafarian religion, countries like Jamaica and Barbados have specific laws that allow the use of cannabis for religious purposes. And though there isn’t an actual written law attached to it, Nepal allows cannabis to be smoked without harassment by law enforcement, for one day a year to celebrate the Mahashivrati festival.

Where can you fly with cannabis

To be clear, there are no legalized locations – recreational, medical, or religious – that have laws allowing the transport of cannabis across country borders. What this means is, whatever the legalization policy, and whatever might be allowed within a country’s borders, this has no bearing on anything, anywhere else. No country will allow you to legally cross its border with cannabis. To make it even more clear, even if a person is attempting to fly with cannabis from one recreational legalized location to another – let’s say Toronto to California, this too is not possible.

However, this doesn’t mean that making it into the sky legally with marijuana is impossible, and there are a couple countries that now let you do it. The first is Canada. As a completely legalized country, recreational marijuana is legal all throughout. As of recently, it also became legal to fly from one province to another in Canada with up to 30 grams in either a carry-on or checked bag. This does not permit passengers to light-up on the plane, but it does let them bring their stash from place to place.

cannabis in the sky

Then there’s South Africa. Though South Africa doesn’t technically make it to the legalized list, it’s one of those countries that actually kind of is. Since September, 2018, due to a constitutional court ruling, South Africa actually does allow adults to have and use cannabis at home (with no specific limit set), and for personal cultivation in the home. According to a police directive following the ruling, it is also completely legal for adult South Africans to fly with cannabis in small amounts, on plane flights within the country. As per the directive, it must be an amount that makes sense for personal consumption, and it should be well hidden. And of course, it can’t actually be used in a public place like an airport.

As mentioned previously, this means nothing for international travel, and is confined entirely to the borders of South Africa and Canada.

Why not the US?

The US is still a prickly place when it comes to federal cannabis law. While the majority of states have medical legalizations, and about 1/3 now allow recreational usage as of the last election, federal law still considers cannabis to be a schedule I drug. This makes it a controlled substance, that technically has no medical purpose. As such, even if a person is travelling between California and Colorado with no stops in between, it’s still illegal to fly with cannabis since air travel goes by federal mandates.

Just in case you were thinking, ‘hey, I’ll just take my weed on the train instead’, this too is not legally possible. Amtrak, the main train company in the US, does not allow cannabis in any form or for any purpose. Neither does Greyhound, the biggest busing company in the US. Passengers on these transportation services will be unlikely to have bags checked, but being found with marijuana on them can certainly result in some trouble. There are other smaller train and bus lines, but I have yet to hear of any that allow cannabis.

As an interesting point, though it’s not legal to fly with cannabis in the US, airports like LAX in Los Angeles, and O’Hare in Chicago do allow outbound passengers to enter the airports with cannabis. The two mentioned airports allow up to one ounce. This doesn’t mean that passengers can actually bring the cannabis onto a plane, and are required to throw it away, or deposit into an amnesty box if available, if they want to board.

If you’re wondering about whether it helps to have a medical marijuana card at the airport with you, it should be remembered that while a traveler might be treated with a little more leniency, that it won’t really get them off the hook. If this happens in a state with no medical program, the flyer is completely out of luck. If it happens locally in a state with a program, local police can evaluate the situation.

Fly with cannabis
cannabis at airport

When it comes to CBD, TSA specifically states on its website, “Marijuana and certain cannabis infused products, including some Cannabidiol (CBD) oil, remain illegal under federal law except for products that contain no more than 0.3 percent THC on a dry weight basis or that are approved by FDA. (See the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, Pub. L. 115-334.)  TSA officers are required to report any suspected violations of law to local, state or federal authorities.”

What about CBD in general?

CBD, as the darling grandchild of marijuana, gets away with a lot more all over the world. While many countries still have restrictions, the EU, for example, allows it on flights so long as the THC content is within the legal limit of .2%. The stipulation here is that the product must also meet the regulatory laws of the specific country of entry. If a product is caught at customs that does not meet the regulatory requirements of the country, it will likely be confiscated and the offender may face local law enforcement. Whether this will change or not with the ruling of France vs the EU remains to be seen. Though the case is about trade restrictions with a focus on CBD, it relates to the idea of whether an individual EU country can break with EU mandate. It’s quite possible that if France loses, it will soon be legal to fly anywhere in the EU with CBD.

CBD represents a gray area since so many different locations have their own specifications. Whether it’s legal at all, how much THC is in it, what part of the plant was used, and what plant it was sourced from… If the country of departure and the country of entry are both okay with the product in question, the traveler will likely be just fine. But this isn’t a rule.

Conclusion

A few years ago, no one in South Africa or Canada was thinking they could show up at an airport and expect to board a flight with a bag of weed in their pocket. It might not be a globally widespread practice just yet, but as laws loosen up concerning the legality of cannabis, more and more locations will likely open their airspace to marijuana-carrying passengers, and it will become more and more common to fly with cannabis.

CBDtesters is your one-stop-shop for all cannabis-related news. Visit us regularly so you never miss anything, and sign up to our newsletter to keep on top of everything!

Resources

Is Croatia Trying to Legalize Recreational Cannabis?
Mexico Still Waiting on Its Promised Cannabis Legalization

German Cannabis Flower Market is Ready to Explode
Recreational Cannabis is Legal in Georgia – But Who Knew?

South Africa Introduces Some of the Most Lax Laws on Cannabis Yet Newest Cannabinoid Powerhouse – CBC – What Can It Do for You?
What is DELTA 8 THC (FAQ: Great resource to learn about DELTA 8THC)

Legal for a Day – The Mahashivaratri Festival and Nepal’s Changing Cannabis Laws
Medical Cannabis Tourism Rising: Virgin Islands, Jamaica, and Thailand Set to Cash In
The CBD Flowers Weekly newsletter (your top resource for all things smokable hemp flowers)
The Medical Cannabis Weekly newsletter (International medical cannabis business report)
Thailand is 1st Asian Country to Legalize Medicinal Cannabis and Enter Global Market

The Delta 8 Weekly Newsletter (All you need to know about Delta 8 thc) and the Best Black Friday Delta 8 THC Deals 2020. Cannabis Election Results – What Just Became Legal in the United States
Is Australia’s Capital Leading the Way for Legal Cannabis Down Under?

The post Fly with Cannabis – Which Countries Let You Do It appeared first on CBD Testers.

Guam Legalized Recreational Marijuana, Asks Citizens to Help

We talk a lot about the 50 standard US states and where they stand on recreational marijuana policy. But the US includes more than just 50 states, and of the territories included in the repertoire of US properties, Guam legalized recreational marijuana first. Now, in order to iron out the wrinkles of regulation, Guam is asking its citizens for help!

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A little about Guam

Guam is an island located in the North Pacific Ocean which is considered an unincorporated territory. We’re all familiar with the fact that Guam is not actually part of the United States, but most of us are aware that its somehow related. The US has different territories that it governs, but not in the exact same way as the standard 50. An unincorporated territory is “A United States insular area in which the United States Congress has determined that only selected parts of the United States Constitution apply.”

Guam is governed under the Organic Act of Guam, which was established by Congress and the president on August 1st, 1950. While the act made Guam natives into US citizens, they don’t have the ability to vote in national elections. A 1968 amendment to the Act allows for local elections for a governor. Guam is also able to elect a delegate to the US House of Representatives in two-year terms, however with limited voting rights that impede the ability to vote on the final passage of legislation.

legalized cannabis

Guam is about 5,800 miles off the coast of San Francisco, and its capital city is Hagåtña, or Agana. Natives of Guam are generally of Malaysian and Indonesian decent, with a good mix of Filipino, Mexican, Spanish, and European and Asian ancestry thrown in.

Guam has multiple US military facilities housed on its premises, in particular Anderson Air Force Base. While agriculture and fishing are big industries on the Island, work on the military bases has also provided much income to locals. Tourism is also a very prominent part of the economy.

Guam has a small population numbering approximately 168,000.

Guam and cannabis

Like most places around the world, Guam spent most of the 20th century with laws illegalizing cannabis use on all levels. However, by 2014, things were starting to change. In November 2014, Guam citizens voted on a referendum measure to legalize medicinal marijuana. The measure – Joaquin KC Concepcion II Compassionate Cannabis Use Act – passed with 56% of the vote. This, as per the usual, did not result in immediate action, and in the following years there were many set-backs. The law was officially signed in 2015, and in 2017 there were still issues that kept it from being used. Now, however, the territory has an operational program for using cannabis for debilitative sicknesses.

In a strange turnaround, a month after Governor Eddie Calvo put a veto on a measure of the medical marijuana law that would allow home cultivation to license holders, he put forth a bill that not only does cover personal cultivation of cannabis, but called for the legalization of recreational marijuana in general. The bill was introduced in January 2017.

cannabis referendum

The bill – The Guam Industry Cannabis Act of 2019 – was signed into law in April 2019 by Governor Lou Leon Guerrero. The legalization covers individuals over the age of 21, and allows for up to one ounce (28 grams). This legalization also didn’t go into effect straight away as it required the institution of a Cannabis Control Board. The law does allow for individuals to grow up to six plants, but does not allow for public use, or driving under the influence.

Where are things now?

One of the things that we know about the passage of legislation, especially when it comes to subjects that require lots of complicated and interconnected laws, particularly when the subject is still a taboo one, and expressly when there are lots of competing interests, it can sure take a while. A bill being passed means that there’s enough agreement on the topic for it to go forth, but working out all the creases is a complex and time-consuming process, with lots of competing personal and business interests. As of now – fall 2020 – Guam is still working out the kinks of its recreational marijuana program.

Since Guam legalized recreational marijuana, and has been working out its regulation-related kinks, it actually is doing something nearly unheard of. It’s asking its citizens to weigh in on different measures. Citizens do often get a more direct say in Guam – after all, Guam does hold referendums which allow voters to directly decide a topic. But this is a little different. Rather than having the population voting a law in or out, the Cannabis Control Board is actually asking the public for comments in order to adjust legislation. Part of this process include three scheduled public hearings, all coming up soon on November 19th, 20th, and 21st.

While Coronavirus restrictions are limiting the number of people who can attend the hearings (which are to be held in a conference room at the governor’s office), the Cannabis Control Board has asked residents who want to make a comment, to contact them directly to set up a time and date for their opinion to be heard, either online or in person. Now, granted, this is a small territory with not many people. But what it’s doing right now is very, very cool. For once, instead of the government deciding it always knows what’s best for its people, this government is going directly to the people for help, and that’s a pretty awesome thing. Some would say its what a democracy should entail.

recreational cannabis

For any Guam residents who read this in time and want to be involved, please, take advantage of the fact that your home location is open to your opinion. You can contact the Cannabis Control Board at this address: guamccb@revtax.guam.gov. The proposed rules and regulations that Guam citizens can weigh-in on are posted on the Rev and Tax website. The public is required – by Guam law – to have at least ten days to review measures before public hearings, and also allows residents in person to review a copy of the proposals. Interested participants are given up to 15 minutes to give their opinion.

Small country, big smoke!

Alright, so Guam is tiny. So tiny that a lot of its cannabis news can fly under the radar since population-wise it just doesn’t compare to places like Germany, or any US state, or Canada. But that doesn’t mean that its tiny population isn’t getting really high. As of 2012, a World Drug Report put out by The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crimes established Guam as having the 3rd highest smoking population with 18.4% smoking cannabis. This put the tiny island behind a couple other tiny places, Palau at #1 with 24.2%, and the Northern Mariana Islands at #2 with a smoking population of approximately 22.2%. Now, whether these numbers are accurate is really not important, because even if they’re a little off, it shows that some of these smaller locations have very big smoking populations, regardless of the exact specifics.

In the same report, the US came up as #7 with 14.1% using cannabis, and Canada was right behind at #8 with a smoking population of 12.7%.

Guam, as a cool touristic island location, can also benefit from marijuana tourism, and since Guam legalized recreational marijuana, it now has a leg up. With Coronavirus restrictions still at play all over the world, it’s hard to say exactly what Guam can expect as a cannabis tourism destination, but the country has already been trying to entice residents of Asia to come on over. According to Senator Clynton Ridgell who is helping organize the bill with Speaker Tina Barnes and Senator Jose Terlaje, “I’m actively working with them to figure out how to complete the final steps, which include the need for public hearings. We’ll get this done soon and we’ll attract a new type of tourist to Guam.”

Cannabis tourism is already becoming big in other places, including other US territories like the US Virgin Islands.

Conclusion

Sometimes big things come in small packages. Guam is certainly small, but since Guam legalized recreational marijuana, it’s been taking some very big steps to include the population in legislation that directly effects it. If only more places did the same…

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

Resources

Is Croatia Trying to Legalize Recreational Cannabis?
Everything You Need To Know About CBD Isolate (a deep look into hemp extracts)

German Cannabis Flower Market is Ready to Explode
Recreational Cannabis is Legal in Georgia – But Who Knew?

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

Cannabis Cosmetics: What’s Allowed, What’s Not, and Where to Find Them (What is the latest regulations in Europe and which products are allowed)
Medical Cannabis Tourism Rising: Virgin Islands, Jamaica, and Thailand Set to Cash In
The CBD Flowers Weekly newsletter (your top resource for all things smokable hemp flowers)
The Medical Cannabis Weekly newsletter (International medical cannabis business report)
Thailand is 1st Asian Country to Legalize Medicinal Cannabis and Enter Global Market

The Delta 8 Weekly Newsletter (All you need to know about Delta 8 thc)Regulators Go After Smokable Hemp Flower – What Does The Future Hold?
Belgium Legalized Smokable CBD Flowers and Upped Its Medicinal Cannabis Game

The post Guam Legalized Recreational Marijuana, Asks Citizens to Help appeared first on CBD Testers.

New Zealand Voted NO to Cannabis Legalization

For New Zealand, the big story in the past several months was whether the people of the country would vote to legalize recreational cannabis through a non-binding referendum. As it turns out, the timing just wasn’t right, and New Zealand voted no to recreational cannabis.

In what many thought would be a turning point for New Zealand cannabis culture, the people of the country decided they just weren’t ready for legalized recreational cannabis.

The world of legal cannabis is constantly moving and changing.
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New Zealand and cannabis

In New Zealand, cannabis is considered a controlled substance, and as such, both possessing and using it are illegal. This is covered in the Misuse of Drugs Act, 1975. Cannabis is scheduled as a Class B drug meaning its associated with having a high risk of harm, and therefore, courts are forced to give custodial sentences to offenders. Sale and supply crimes are also predictably illegal, but are not differentiated from use and possession crimes so the penalties are the same. Trafficking is taken less lightly, and offenders caught importing and exporting can find themselves in prison for up to seven years. Cultivation is also illegal, and also can incur up to seven years in prison.

As far as medical marijuana, as of 2018 the laws have gotten much looser. Since the reform, some of the updates are that now terminally ill patients have better access to cannabis medicines (even without a prescription), CBD has been taken off the list of controlled substances, making it available to people who need it, and new regulation-making ability was put forth for quality control standards for medicinal cannabis products manufactured locally, or imported to the country.

When simply looking at drug laws, New Zealand isn’t the most lax, however, this doesn’t mean there isn’t a smoking culture in New Zealand, or a push for change. In 2017, the government of New Zealand stated it would hold a non-binding referendum in 2020 to assess the general feeling of the public towards cannabis decriminalization and legalization measures.

General outcome of the referendum

The referendum for legalizing recreational cannabis – the Cannabis Legalization and Control Bill – was held on October 21st, at the same time as regular elections. The final result of the referendum wasn’t released until November 6th after special votes were counted. The outcome of the referendum was that New Zealand voted no to legalizing recreational cannabis. While the numbers were close, a majority of 50.7% were against, with 48.4% pro legalization. As a non-binding referendum, even a positive result would not have guaranteed change in legislation as the government is not required to act on the results of referendums of this nature. It was generally thought, however, that if the public voted to legalize, that the government would follow through. The results of this referendum won’t in any way effect New Zealand’s already standing medical cannabis laws.

Incidentally, this wasn’t the only referendum held during New Zealand’s general election. The other referendum was actually a binding one for the legalization of euthanasia – assisted suicide, generally in the case of extreme illness or suffering. This, in fact, passed quite easily with 65% voting yes. As a binding referendum, 50% was needed to push the End of Life Choice Act into law. Clearly, New Zealanders are all for suicide, but not so much for relaxing and getting high. It was a yes vote for death while New Zealand voted no on recreational joint smoking.

recreational marijuana

There have been a lot of opinions put out there about why the vote went the way it did, and one of the more interesting points comes from an Associate Professor at the Institute of Criminology, at Victoria University in New Zealand. In an article published in the Guardian, Fiona Hutton stated “Perhaps it’s true that cannabis and other criminal justice related issues should never be decided in referendum – they are just too open to misinformation based on sensationalism, particularly in an era of fake news and clickbait headlines.” She went on to say that the loss came from “fear-mongering and misinformation about cannabis.” While this is likely true, and there is a big issue with having regular people vote on topics for which they just aren’t adequately informed, it would be sad to count out the regular population for any kind of lawmaking. And perhaps this simply shows the need for a better way to do it in this internet age.

Referendums in New Zealand

Not every country is in favor of referendums, but they are a big part of New Zealand legislative culture. Referendums are a way to gain information about how the public feels on an issue, or as a legislative measure to pass a law. New Zealand supports two kinds of referendums – citizen-initiated and government-initiated. Citizen-initiated referendums can be called by an individual or a group, but are always non-binding, meaning the government does not have to act on the result, or care about it at all. Government-initiated referendums can also be non-binding – like with this latest cannabis referendum, and are used to gage public opinion. However, government-initiated referendums can also be binding, and are binding when a piece of legislation has already been passed in parliament, and the choice of the public is what determines its ability to be set to law.

When looking at the referendums that just took place, the cannabis legalization referendum was a non-binding government-initiated referendum, while the euthanasia one was a binding government-initiated referendum.

Implications

The most obvious implication since New Zealand voted no is that as of right now, there is not enough public push to pass cannabis legalization measures. This, of course, doesn’t mean much as the numbers were so close it could practically be called 50-50. Essentially, half the population was totally cool with it, but as there always has to be a measurable cutoff or comparison, having the smaller amount, even by a tiny margin, is enough to tank a referendum of this kind.

One of the things to remember, though, is that it was a government-initiated non-binding referendum. This means there was never a guarantee that laws would be enacted, even with a positive result. But it also means that there is no guarantee against the government enacting legalization laws if it so desires. The whole point of a referendum of this nature is for the government to collect information. So even a failing referendum – especially when government run – doesn’t actually mean that legislation won’t come up or be passed. Considering that the government called for this referendum at all indicates some kind of desire to loosen things up.

cannabis in New Zealand

Perhaps the biggest implication in my mind has nothing to do with the result of the referendum, but its existence in the first place. Sometimes the biggest implication of something is that its already being thought of. Simply having it put out there shows a feeling of things changing, and a desire to make a change, even if it doesn’t happen immediately. However, having said that, New Zealand’s recently formed Labour government has said it will respect the results, meaning that for now, the issue has been tabled. The people of New Zealand voted no, and the government will uphold it. Fortunately, with cannabis, these issues don’t seem to be tabled for very long, and as I said, the fact that the referendum happened in the first place is almost as meaningful as the actual outcome.

Conclusion

For all those petitioning and working toward cannabis legalization in New Zealand – including former prime minister Helen Clarke, this most recent referendum outcome where New Zealand voted no to cannabis legalization was certainly a let-down. Even if it wasn’t a direct road to legalization, it was at least a path through the trees, and everything has to start somewhere. As I just mentioned, though, I think the fact that the referendum happened at all – and that the outcome was so close – means a lot, even if it technically failed. It does seem to be a hot topic in New Zealand right now, and chances are that this isn’t the last time a cannabis legalization question will be put to the Kiwis for a vote.

Thank you for stopping by CBDtesters.co, your hub for all cannabis-related news. Come by regularly to stay on top, and sign-up to our newsletter so you never miss a thing.

References

11-hydroxy-THC and the Power of Edibles
The Endocannabinoid System Explained (Why Cannabis Is Good for Our Bodies)
Everything You Need To Know About CBD Isolate (a deep look into hemp extracts)

THC Isolates explained (looking at the [urest form of THC available)
Will Legal Synthetic Cannabinoids Take Over Cannabis Industry?
Your Complete Guide to EU GMP-Certified CBD Isolate and Distillate – Spotlight on the regulated EU market
Will Mexico Become Biggest Legal Cannabis Market?
California’s New Banking Bill Does Little To Help The Cannabis Industry
What is DELTA 8 THC (FAQ: Great resource to learn about DELTA 8THC)
The CBD Flowers Weekly newsletter (your top resource for all things smokable hemp flowers)
The Medical Cannabis Weekly newsletter (International medical cannabis business report)
Cannabis Election Results – What Just Became Legal in the United States

The Delta 8 Weekly Newsletter (All you need to know about Delta 8 thc)Regulators Go After Smokable Hemp Flower – What Does The Future Hold?
The Complex Issue of Marijuana and Hemp Business and Legalization On Tribal Land
The New Italian Cannabis Contradiction

The post New Zealand Voted NO to Cannabis Legalization appeared first on CBD Testers.

Cannabis in the Workplace: A Guide For Employees and Employers

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

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

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

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

To learn more about cannabis, subscribe to the CBD Testers Weekly Newsletter


Medical use vs recreational use

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

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

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

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

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

Cannabis Election Results – What Just Became Legal in the United States

Workplace safety

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

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

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

The Role of Cannabinoids in Treating Chronic Pain

Onsite consumption

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

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

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

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

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

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

Half Of US Cannabis Users Lowered Their Alcohol Intake

Employer response

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

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

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

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

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

What Are The Qualifying Medical Conditions For Cannabis In Your State?

Tips for employees

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

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

Final thoughts

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


RESOURCES:

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

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

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

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

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

Will Mexico Become Biggest Legal Cannabis Market?

Uruguay started it as the first country to go cannabis legal. Canada was the second country to fall. While the US takes its time with infighting between parties and factions, Mexico is ready to sweep in and steal the show, poised to become the biggest legal cannabis market to date.

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It’s true that US states have also gone legal, but a minority of states don’t constitute a legalized country. What is most important about American cannabis legalization, is that America holds the single biggest legal cannabis market with California. This market may very well be eclipsed by the upcoming Mexican legislation that will bring Mexico into the recreational cannabis world.

But how will it really function? And how will it compare to the other legalized countries? Legalizations, after all, are not created equally, and every location has its own set of parameters, and its own structural setup.

A look at Uruguay

Uruguay cannabis

The first thing to know about cannabis reporting is that it’s not very good, anywhere. Numbers vary greatly in nearly every publication, governments don’t seem very excited to release decent information, and writers tend to focus more on long ranging predictions for the market which are so massively variant that it almost feels like they’re not all referring to the same thing. Any specific numbers about cannabis markets, legal or not, should be taken with a grain of salt. Having said that…

Uruguay certainly isn’t the biggest legal cannabis market, and its not in the running right now. Uruguay isn’t terribly concerned with having a massive free market trade when it comes to cannabis. In fact, the Uruguayan system is government run with set places where cannabis can be dispensed, maximum sale limits, and set prices that keep it cost effective. The last time the price was adjusted, it came to $1.23 per gram of flower (which is 53 Uruguayan pesos). About 70% of this amount goes back to producers, while the rest goes mainly to the pharmacy responsible for the point of sale and regulators. As of right now, all of the cannabis sold in pharmacies comes from only two producers – part of the issue for supply problems as these companies have not produced the required amount.

Uruguay had specifically wanted to chip away at the cannabis black market, which is the basis for a system with set (and low) pricing. To anyone not fully paying attention, it means Uruguay sells top quality cannabis, at approximately $4.30 per 1/8th. This greatly breaks the standard price point which globally puts 1/8th of good cannabis at about $50, give or take $10.

Uruguay’s market doesn’t move as quickly as that of Canada or the US states, likely because it doesn’t leave room for huge profits, or corporate manipulation. On the other hand, it’s a much stricter system which makes it harder to actually obtain marijuana. Uruguay has suffered from supply issues since cultivation of marijuana for recreational use is strictly monitored, and only currently allowed by two entities.

Uruguay started its program back in July of 2017, and since its inception up until February of 2020, just under 4,000 kilograms have been sold. This according to the (IRCCA) Institute for the Regulation and Control of Cannabis. More than half of this amount was sold in the capital city of Montevideo. It’s expected that sales would’ve been higher had Uruguay not fallen prey to supply issues.

A look at Canada & the US

Canada was the second country to fully go all-in with cannabis legalization, officially legalizing it in October 2018. Canada has a completely different set-up from Uruguay, offering a free market system where individual businesses can receive licenses to sell cannabis products. Products are priced however manufacturers feel like pricing them, and then duly taxed by the government, either just federally, or locally and federally as well. Based on sales statistics from May of this year, the annual revenue for recreational cannabis in Canada is approximately $1.6 billion. In comparison, Uruguay sold about 4,000 kg over three years, with the last price of $1.23. This makes for approximately $4.9 million. This is obviously a huge difference, and highlights the discrepancy between a free market and a government run system.

Canada cannabis

The US States operate like Canada, offering free markets where cannabis has been legalized, with no set price point (or max price), and the ability for massive government taxes to be added on. In the US, California is the biggest cannabis state, pulling in approximately $3.1 billion in 2019 – though some publications cite this as both medical and recreational together, with very little good information to verify. What does appear true, is that this well surpasses every other legal state (the next was Colorado with $1.6 billion), Canada, and Uruguay, to be the highest grossing single cannabis market.

Does it matter what Mexico does?

These two systems are entirely different in how they operate. One provides a steadier system that can’t be inflated or abused as easily, but comes with drawbacks including supply issues. The other has no real limit in terms of what can be charged or earned, but comes with the drawback of raised price points, and less ability to divert from black markets. So, when looking at Mexico, there are a few things to consider.

I’ve been in Guadalajara for three months now, and while I won’t consider myself an authority on weed here, I’ve certainly learned a bit about how it works. There’s a big different between 1st world and 3rd world countries when it comes to price and quality. Technically the price point for standard ‘good’ weed is about the same, although I have yet to actually buy to the standard that I have in the past. And that’s because it’s not easy to find good pot in Mexico. Most of the Mexicans I’ve encountered don’t even know that the bad smelling, seedy mess they’re smoking is a much lesser form of cannabis in general.

We know from Uruguay that it’s more than possible to provide quality cannabis at an affordable price. Maybe if Uruguay hadn’t legalized first, we might not have known that. I’ve always taken that standard $50 per 1/8th as a general benchmark, and it’s about what I paid in Mexico when I finally found something better than the standard. But Uruguay forces a new question…can the standard price of cannabis be lowered, while still maintaining quality? And if Uruguay can manage it, why is anyone paying anything else??

Mexico’s plans…

It doesn’t look like Mexico is aiming for a government run program. In July of 2020, Mexico released yet more draft legislation from the Secretary of Health regarding its progress in legislation to legalize, which is scheduled to be finalized by December 15th (after several postponements). Mexico technically legalized cannabis judicially when five supreme court rulings were made in favor of legalization. For the past two years, the country has been waiting for its legislative system to catch up, and provide the legal framework made necessary by the court rulings. When court rulings are able to effect legislation in this way, it’s called jurisprudencia.

USA cannabis

Right now, a couple of the issues causing the most concern are how accessible to make cannabis, and whether or not to protect the current 200,000 growers from competition from foreign firms. In a free market, local growers are often made illegitimate by large corporate firms, and that can have devastating effects on local citizens. As of right now, a bill waiting to clear the senate would allow for private companies to sell to the public. One of the points of activist groups is that released draft legislation has easily favored big business over small local growers. Other stipulations not included in previous draft legislation include limits for personal growing, and the need for obtaining a license from the government to smoke.

Implications

Right now, in the US, it’s being summarily discovered that if you raise the price of a good beyond a standard and appreciated price point – especially when said product is still easily available in the black market – you won’t be able to divert as much from said black market. In the US and Canada, people are used to paying more, and a certain percentage are even willing to pay inflated dispensary prices. But plenty aren’t, and that’s not even Mexico.

To give an idea, one USD is worth approximately 21 pesos. If anyone wants to wager a guess on how likely anyone in this economy is to be spending standard dispensary prices, go for it. My guess is, not so much. Which raises the question, will Mexico really be serving up high grade marijuana at prices a Mexican can afford?? After all, it raises prices to have regulation, and taxes, without even getting into company profits. How will these companies provide a better product than what’s already the norm, but without going above what the average person would pay for it? In a government run system this is way less of an issue, in a free market system, which Mexico is aiming for, it can mean totally out-of-whack prices, and the failure of a legal market.

Will Mexico Become Biggest Legal Cannabis Market? Conclusion

It’s hard to have faith in this going well. I can’t imagine the same kind of dispensary setup making it here outside of those already rich enough to buy off the menu services that populate the area. The menu services are chock full of high-quality options, geared mainly toward the Americans in Mexico, and those who pull in enough income to make the high cost worthwhile. I haven’t found a Mexican yet who uses them.

So, we’ll see. As the date comes nearer for the legislation to be turned in, I wait, along with the rest of Mexico, to see what comes next. Hopefully in the next few months, it’ll become a standard in Mexico to smoke better cannabis. Otherwise…it’ll just be business as usual. Regardless of whether actual targets are met, with a population of 128 million, Mexico is likely to become the biggest legal cannabis market once legislation is finally passed.

Thank you for stopping by CBDtesters.co, your all-in-one spot for cannabis-related news. Stop by frequently to stay up-to-date with what’s going on, and sign up to our newsletter so you’re always in the know.

Resources

Synthetic Cannabinoids (Are they synthetic cannabinoids safe?)
Everything You Need To Know About CBD Isolate (a deep look into hemp extracts)

German Cannabis Flower Market is Ready to Explode
Delta-8 THC Contaminated Products, or Just Bad Press?

Government Assistance Options for U.S. Hemp Farmers Affected By COVID-19
Newest Cannabinoid Powerhouse – CBC – What Can It Do for You?
Cannabinoids 101 – Spotlight on CBN (Cannabinol)

Cannabis Cosmetics: What’s Allowed, What’s Not, and Where to Find Them (What is the latest regulations in Europe and which products are allowed)
CBG Study Shows Antimicrobial Properties of Cannabis
The CBD Flowers Weekly newsletter (your top resource for all things smokable hemp flowers)
The Medical Cannabis Weekly newsletter (International medical cannabis business report)
The Legal Landscape Of CBD Hemp Flower In Europe

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

The post Will Mexico Become Biggest Legal Cannabis Market? appeared first on CBD Testers.

Europe THC Limit Might Be Increased to 0.3%

Big day for European hemp farmers and the CBD industry as the allowance of THC in industrial hemp was voted on by Parliament. While still low compared to countries like Switzerland, this Europe THC limit increase would certainly loosen things up.

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Hemp farmers in Europe have been pushing for change for quite some time. The .2% THC limit that was instituted many years ago has been making it difficult, and decreasing the amount of strains possible to use. Now, Parliament has voted to increase that maximum to .3%, included in the Common Agricultural Policy reform. But will it actually go through?

Where did .2% come from?

The first time a standard was set for a Europe THC limit in industrial hemp, was in 1984 when it was put at .5%. This was lowered in the 1970’s to .3%. At that time, .3% was the line that separated low-THC hemp (usually high-CBD flowers, but also high-CBG strains exist) and high-THC cannabis. In 1999 this dropped down again to the .2% that its been since, with the original aim being to prevent high-THC marijuana from being grown in low-THC industrial hemp fields. The proposal to increase the THC limit is not new, and has been pushed for quite some time.

cannabis in Europe

Before going any further, it should be pointed out that between the date in the 1970’s when THC limits were decreased to .3%, and 1999 when they were decreased further to .2%, Europe was functioning at .3% THC in hemp, and without any massive, adverse issues. It means that for at least 20 years of time, this standard was in place, which makes it almost silly that it would have to be argued for later, or that an argument against raising from .2% to .3% would be based on a fear of bad effects to people or business. If it didn’t happen in the 20+ years of recent history when it was the norm, how would it pass as a reputable argument now?

It also shines a light on this idea that we can’t learn from history or trust it at all. Cannabis has been used for thousands of years with plenty of evidence for how, when, and where. Yet it’s mainly treated like this history is meaningless, with paid-for research studies being the bottom line, when often they are not. This inability to learn from history is frustrating, and it becomes all the more obvious how much of an issue it is, when Europe makes arguments about not raising a THC limit to a level it had already functioned perfectly at for years.

It should also be noted that while this vote was made nearly a week ago, that no large publications have covered it all. In fact, the only publications to cover the news are hemp-related.

Why it matters

If a person didn’t know much about cannabis, they might expect that THC could simply be removed at whatever percentage is necessary. Unfortunately, that’s not how it works, and different strains of hemp have different amounts of THC. Not only that, CBD often goes up in proportion to THC, meaning that a lot of strains have been counted out since in order to get the level of CBD, it would mean accepting over .2% THC. While raising to .3% doesn’t make it all inclusive, it would make it so that more strains can be grown.

Is it a done deal?

cannabis regulation

Unfortunately, not. While its great that Parliament made the vote, the decision does not rely solely on Parliament. The policy for adopting and/or amending legislation in the EU is for three different bodies to approve, or come to some decision. The vote last week was not to pass legislation, but merely to establish the opinion of Parliament on the Common Agricultural Policy reform proposal.

In order for it to actually go into effect, there are two more bodies that have to approve: The Council of the European Union and the European Commission. The three bodies are slated to begin negotiations on the agricultural policy reforms come mid-November. This assuming that issues related to the Coronavirus don’t force postponements.

What are the reforms?

A broad-ranging agricultural policy includes all kinds of laws, however the only ones of concern here, are the ones related to growing hemp. The two amendments to the Common Agricultural Policy of note to cannabis-news followers are these:

  • Amendments 8 & 93 – to raise the current allowable THC amount in industrial hemp from .2% to .3%.
  • Amendment 234 – Allows hemp to be covered by marketing standards for the EU so that products can eventually be graded according to appearance, consistency, characteristics, and restrictions. This includes labeling, packaging, production methods, etc.
hemp extract products

Implications

The CBD industry has boomed exponentially in the last few years. In January of 2019, the EU amended its Novel Food Catalogue to include extracts of cannabis sativa L. like CBD. Being added to this category means that cannabis extracts are considered to have no demonstrable history of consumption. Looking at history, we know this isn’t actually true at all, but once again, history was ignored in favor of regulation tactics. Though the Novel Food regulation isn’t binding, most countries seem to go by it as a rule, and it could very well be that Europe pressures them to do so (though this is only supposition). Before any product can be placed on the market, it requires a safety assessment under Novel Food regulation (which again, isn’t actually binding).

Prior to 2019, extracts of cannabis in which CBD had higher levels than in the actual plant were considered novel, but nothing else. Cannabis sativa L. could be grown at that time so long as the specific strain was registered in the EU “Common Catalogue of Varieties of Agricultural Plant Species”, and with a THC level not above .2%. Essentially, adding cannabis extracts to the Novel Food list made it that much more restrictive to sell CBD products. Though this new update to the Common Agricultural Policy wouldn’t exclude hemp from Novel Food regulation (which is about to be updated again), it would at least ease some of the restrictions that are put on it, and the products that can come out of it. When an industry is so restrictive on so many fronts, any amount of loosening of the rules allows for more general freedom.

The European Industrial Hemp Association is viewing the parliamentary vote as a success, and in a way it is, but it’s not the end of the story. These updates do not have to be approved, or used, if the two other governing bodies decide they’re out of line. In this way, this vote is really just a stepping stone in a much longer process, for which it’s still impossible to know the ending.

Conclusion

It’s hard to tell which way legislation will go. Europe tends to lean more towards loosening restrictions than other locations, but at the same time, goes back on itself constantly. Simply adding cannabis extracts to the Novel Food category was a step backwards, made only 1.5 years ago. It might be hard to imagine Europe not taking up the agricultural recommendations, but nothing says it has to either. So while the European Industrial Hemp Association rejoices, it might be a bit soon. When it comes to cannabis regulation, things don’t tend to make sense…nearly anywhere. So expecting a straight line to legalization, is expecting way too much. Maybe the Europe THC limit really will be raised. And maybe it won’t be. But it’s just too soon to say.

Thanks so much for stopping by CBDtesters.co, your one-stop-shop for all cannabis-related news. Stop by regularly to stay up-to-date, and sign up to our newsletter so you never miss a beat.

Resources

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

Government Assistance Options for U.S. Hemp Farmers Affected By COVID-19
Newest Cannabinoid Powerhouse – CBC – What Can It Do for You?
Cannabinoids 101 – Spotlight on CBN (Cannabinol)

Cannabis Cosmetics: What’s Allowed, What’s Not, and Where to Find Them (What is the latest regulations in Europe and which products are allowed)
Government Assistance Options for U.S. Hemp Farmers Affected By COVID-19
The CBD Flowers Weekly newsletter (your top resource for all things smokable hemp flowers)
Your Complete Guide to EU GMP-Certified CBD Isolate and Distillate (European Market)
EU GMP-Certified Cannabinoid Isolates and Distillates (Why is it so difficult to get EU-GMP raw materials in Europe)
The Medical Cannabis Weekly newsletter (International medical cannabis business report)
The Legal Landscape Of CBD Hemp Flower In Europe

The Delta 8 Weekly Newsletter (All you need to know about Delta 8 thc)Regulators Go After Smokable Hemp Flower – What Does The Future Hold?

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