Week in Review: Germany Likely to Legalization; Politics a Hot Topic at SXSW

Germany’s Health Minister Indicates That Legalization Will Proceed

The German health minister has indicated that adult-use legalization will move forward in the European country, reports Marijuana Moment. Minister Karl Lauterbach said on Tuesday that he has received “very good feedback” from the European Commission and expects his bill to be formally presented “in the next few weeks.” 

“We’ll soon present a proposal that works, that is, that conforms to European law,” Minister Lauterbach said. Throughout the lobbying process, the minister has indicated that his efforts aim to improve public health in Germany via regulating adult-use cannabis. In 2022, the Federal Cabinet of Germany adopted a preliminary outline for legalization legislation. Still, the government required EU approval to ensure that adopting the change wouldn’t violate their international duties.

Under the government’s soon-to-be-revised proposal, which is currently only a 12-page framework and not actual legislation, adults 18 and older would be permitted to purchase and possess up to 30 grams of cannabis from establishments with federal licenses, potentially including pharmacies. Moreover, they may raise up to three plants for their own use.

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Andrew DeAngelo. Photo courtesy of SXSW

Legalization the Hot Topic at SXSW 2023

Global Cannabis Consultant and Strategic Advisor Andrew DeAngelo, Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Rep. Nancy Mace (R-SC) gathered onstage to discuss federal cannabis legalization at this year’s SXSW conference in Austin. The panel, called “Which Political Party Will Legalize Weed?” gave the two representatives an opportunity for a lively discussion on the end of federal cannabis prohibition. Moderator DeAngelo pushed the politicians on the lack of progress in the Capitol, according to Green Market Report.

Blumenauer is said to be “more optimistic” than last year, referencing President Biden’s pardoning of cannabis prisoners and the fact that Biden is also keeping the possibility of descheduling on the table after initiating a review of cannabis classification. However, he was said to be more critical of Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s (D-NY) inability to get a voting measure passed by the House, quoted as saying their desire for perfect legislation is behind the continued stalling but believes the two had “learned their lesson” and are more open to compromise.

Mace was reportedly less optimistic, saying if any change is going to happen, it needs to be done before June, as after that, “it’ll be about the presidential election,” she said. The South Carolina Republican also noted that President Biden could use it to his advantage to boost his reelection hopes.

Photo couresy of Death Row Cannabis

Snoop Extends Death Row Cannabis Product Offering 

 Following the sold-out first product drop of its debut offerings LA Runtz, Trop Cherry, Strawberry Garry and SFV OG, Death Row Cannabis has launched two new additions, True OG and Strawberry Gelato (Apple Fritter x Lemon Cherry Gelato hybrid), on March 10. Plus, fans of LA Runtz can be reassured that the popular strain also be returning. Like the first fire drop, these new cultivars were carefully by Death Row Cannabis’ Head of Operations, AK, a longtime West Coast legacy cultivator. 

“We’re very excited to introduce California consumers to Death Row Cannabis’s newest heavy hitter, Strawberry Gelato,” Travis “Shaggy” Marshall, head of product, said. “It has a loud, unique strawberry nose that’s tart and sharp on the front but sweet and creamy on the back. To me, it’s what I’d imagine a strawberry shortcake-flavored milkshake would taste like. Not only is it uniquely delicious, but testing at over 35% it also packs a punch for heavier smokers like me.” 

Arkansas Police: Medical Marijuana Causes Other Crimes

No Increase in Traffic-Related Hospitalizations Following Cannabis Legalization

The introduction of adult-use marijuana sales in Canada isn’t linked to a rise in hospitalizations for traffic-related injuries, according to data published in the journal Addiction, reports NORML. Researchers compared the national rates of hospital admissions and emergency room visits in the years before and immediately after legalization. 

 “Overall, there’s no clear evidence that RCL [recreational cannabis laws] had any effect on rates of ED visits and hospitalizations for either motor vehicle or pedestrian/cyclist injury across Canada,” the authors concluded.

The results align with an earlier Canadian study from 2021, which “found no evidence that the implementation of the Cannabis Act was associated with significant changes in post-legalization patterns of all drivers’ traffic-injury ED visits or, more specifically, youth-driver traffic-injury ED presentations.”

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Steve DeAngelo Wants to See an End to Corporate Cannabis, Support for Small Growers

Cannabis industry veteran Steve DeAngelo recently wrote an opinion piece, entitled “Topple the Pyramids,” in which he addresses the shift from medical to adult-use sales in California, and how small, legacy cannabis businesses struggle in comparison to corporate cannabis ownership.

DeAngelo began his piece by looking back on the medical cannabis law in California prior to the shift toward adult-use sales. “Nobody got rich. Nobody made intergenerational wealth, but everybody was taken care of,” he said of the past. “The system worked in its basic purpose of providing high quality cannabis at affordable prices, and providing all of its participants with an adequate income and dignified lifestyle—so it grew, steadily gaining more and more in-state market share from the underground market.”

After adult-use cannabis went live on Jan. 1, 2018 in California, he found that only 10 of the 500 suppliers to DeAngelo’s cannabis business at the time, Harborside, had received state licenses. Shortly afterward, prices at Harborside increased, which sent consumers “right into the arms of all the growers who had not been licensed.” He explained that this change has affected California’s cannabis industry long term, citing sales attributed to tourists or people who have enough money not to care about the price tag.

He also spoke about the people who helped build up the cannabis industry, who have been cast out by corporate companies. “Almost everywhere I go, I find that my counterculture cannabis tribe, the people who love this plant the most, and sacrificed the most to make her legal, have been mostly purged from legal companies, and many of them have entirely lost their livelihoods,” he said, adding that this mentality has spread from California to Massachusetts and Illinois.

According to DeAngelo, only 20% of product from licensed producers has been sold in Canada since 2018, and the other 80% was either too low of quality to be sold, and was either destroyed or stored in a warehouse.

DeAngelo imagines an alternate approach to regulating cannabis, in the forms of limited square foot canopy, awarding licenses without taxation, growing high-quality, small batch cannabis instead of mass produced flower, or allowing an “Etsy for weed” to solve problems related to the current scale of cannabis sales. He explains his suggestions as a way to cultivate organic growth of the industry.

He ended his statement by pitching hope for the future. “We don’t have to accept the status quo. We can move away from the boom and bust cycle that has been so destructive for so many companies and so many markets, and restore the excitement and optimism that we saw in the early days of legal cannabis. The brightest of futures is still possible if we have the courage to think outside the Pyramid.”

The same sentiments about supporting small scale growers can also be found in the recently filed bill proposal from Rep. Jared Huffman and Rep. Earl Blumenauer. “As policies change, we cannot leave our smallest family-farmers behind. With my bill, these small businesses can have the chance to compete and succeed in a fully legalized cannabis market,” Huffman wrote on Twitter on Sept. 14. Called the “Small and Homestead Independent Producers Act,” his bill would help smaller cannabis cultivators compete with corporations by shipping their products over state lines.

Only a few weeks ago, the National Craft Cannabis Coalition was founded to help protect small growers in California, Oregon, Washington, Vermont, Maine, and Massachusetts.

Earlier this year in April, Assembly Bill 2691 was introduced to allow cannabis farmers markets (although the conversation ended in late May). High quality cannabis products are being featured in similar events such as the Mendocino Craft Farmers Auction, which was held in May.

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