Tag: laws

Peru Approves Medical Cannabis Legalization Bill

After intense debate, the Peruvian Congress voted to legalize cannabis for medical use. The bill must be approved by President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski before it becomes law.

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Legislative Bill 1393, which passed on a 67–5 vote with three members abstaining—was proposed by lawmaker Alberto de Belaunde. The measure would allow the cultivation and storage of medicinal cannabis products with oversight by a regulatory committee made up of the Ministries of Agriculture and Health, the National Commission for Development and Life Without Drugs (DEVIDA), as well as an appointed panel of cannabis experts.

The bill was introduced over the summer along with two other bills to legalize cannabis for medicinal use. It was pitched as a solution for suffering patients after law enforcement raided a community cannabis cultivation site last February. Ana Alvarez, a cannabis advocate and founder of the association Buscando Esperanza, had been illegally producing cannabis oil to treat her son Anthony, who suffers from severe seizure disorder Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, when the family’s home was raided.

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Alvarez criticized another bill introduced by the executive branch that would have allowed the importation and sales of medical cannabis products, pointing out that it would be costly and inefficient to import expensive products from abroad, rather than allowing cultivation within Peru’s borders.

“Mothers are happy because it is already a step forward in this long journey. We expect self-cultivation to be allowed,” Alvarez said in support of the bill. “The import offers very high prices that would affect low-income families.”

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After being approved by the Health Committee on Oct. 11, Committee President and Congressman Eloy Narváez spoke out in favor of the measure. Defense Commission President Javier Velásquez Quesquén supported the measure in September, indicating that the cultivation and production must first be authorized by the executive branch through such institutions as authorized laboratories and the National Institute of Health.

The law will allow residents with certain qualifying conditions, such as Parkinson’s disease, cancer, and epilepsy, to use cannabis and its derivatives as part of a course of treatment. Belaunde said that regulations for the production of medicinal cannabis oil will be drafted within the next 60 days if approved by President Kuczynsnki.

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Kuczynski has been generally supportive of cannabis in the past, saying “Si quieren fumar su troncho no es el fin del mondo,” or “If they want to smoke [in moderate doses], it’s not the end of the world.”


Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

Five Things Canada’s Cannabis Act Will Legalize Besides Possession

By July 2018, adult-use recreational cannabis is scheduled to become legal across Canada—and it’s not just simple possession that’s being legalized. Here are five cannabis-related goods and activities that Trudeau’s  Cannabis Act will make legal for adult Canadians.

1. Bongs, pipes and other accessories will finally be legal

Wait, what? Bongs are illegal in Canada?! Yes, technically, though it’s a law that’s rarely enforced any more. With the Cannabis Act, this law will be amended so that the sale and possession of cannabis accessories will finally become completely legal. (Well, almost completely legal—entities selling cannabis accessories will be subject to rules restricting the promotion and display of such goods, particularly in regard to youth exposure and access.)

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Under the Cannabis Act, individuals will be able to give—but not sell—up to 30 grams of cannabis to other adults.

2. Growing your own and giving some to an adult friend

Just like they have it in Colorado, Canadians will be able to grow their own cannabis. In the initial version of the bill, Canadians were to be limited to four plants and a 100cm height limitation. In the revised version, the 100cm limit has been removed, though the four-plant limit remains. Under the Cannabis Act, individuals will be able to distribute—but not sell—up to 30 grams of cannabis to other adults. This would allow individuals to grow a little and ‘gift’ some to a friend. Just not for money.

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3. Wine cellars… but with cannabis

Under Canada’s legalization plan, there is no federal limit on the amount of cannabis one can possess privately in their own residence. What this little loophole may spur is anyone’s guess, but when I first mentioned this part of the proposed law on Twitter, I had more than one person exclaim that this could allow wine cellar-like cannabis collections. It probably wouldn’t look exactly like a wine cellar, but Canadian cannabis connoisseurs will be able to collect all the cannabis they can amass in their private residence—unless the country’s provinces decide to put such limits on it within their borders.

Under Canada’s legalization plan, there is no federal limit on the amount of cannabis one can possess privately in their own residence.

4. Weed weddings

Since states south of the border have legalized, cannabis-loving couples have been adding cannabis elements to their weddings. In Canada, throwing a cannabis wedding—where cannabis-infused products appear alongside alcohol at the bar and guests are given cannabis-flower parting gifts—appears to be something that will be legal. As long as you’re distributing under 30 grams to each guest–and as mentioned above, don’t “sell” it – you would not be violating the proposed federal law.

5. Personal extraction of cannabis using non-organic solvents

In 2015, a year after Colorado legalized adult-use recreational cannabis, the state followed up with a law banning the use of combustible organic solvents in cannabis extraction. In Canada, officials are restricting the use of organic solvents right out of the gate, but is otherwise allowing extraction of cannabis. It looks like the bill implicitly allows the use of non-organic solvents and solvent-free extraction devices, as long as you’re extracting it for your own use. (Look for Canada to see a rise in the sale of rosin presses and bubble bags.)

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So there you have it, five things the Cannabis Act will legalize beyond mere possession. A final word of caution: It’s possible that provinces and municipalities may enact their own offences and regulations closer to legalization date, so not everything is set in stone. (For example, there may be registration requirements for personal cultivation or other conditions.) Stay tuned.


Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

A Guide to Federal Drug Rescheduling (And What It Means for Cannabis)

Could the US ever legalize cannabis federally? The simple answer is yes, but the reality is far more complex. The reason laws and regulations around cannabis are so complicated leads back to the federal government – more specifically, the Controlled Substances Act, Title II of the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970.

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A Little History About the Controlled Substances Act

The Controlled Substances Act (CSA) was signed into law by President Richard Nixon on October 27, 1970. The act divides all known medicines, substances, or drugs into various categories based on their potential for abuse, medical applications and known benefits, and safety considerations. The Drug Enforcement Agency is tasked with enforcing the inventory management, records, and security of controlled substances, and individuals who order, handle, store, and distribute must be registered with the DEA.

The CSA has been amended many times over the years. For example, it’s been changed to abide by the Convention on Psychotropic Substances, to include anabolic steroids at Schedule III in 1990, and to help divert methamphetamine trafficking in 1993.

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Scheduling Controlled Substances

The tiers of drugs range from Schedule V – considered the least dangerous and therefore, requiring the least amount of regulations – all the way up to Schedule I, a tier that is considered the most dangerous, with the strictest regulations and “no medical benefit,” which includes LSD, heroin, and cannabis.

In order to be categorized as a Schedule I substance, the drug must meet three criteria:

  • The drug has a high potential for abuse
  • The drug has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States
  • There is a lack of accepted safety for use of the drug under medical supervision

Drugs may be rescheduled at a lower level or removed entirely from the list of Controlled Substances, but the process is rigorous and the criteria is incredibly restrictive.

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Petitions to Reschedule Cannabis

The first petition to reschedule cannabis from Schedule I to Schedule II was filed in 1972 by the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), but the petition was not given a hearing for fourteen years. In 1986, the petition was finally considered by the DEA, but the debate continued for years.

It was during this trial that DEA Administrative Law Judge Francis L. Young concluded that marijuana is “one of the safest therapeutically active substances. By any measure of rational analysis marijuana can be safely used within a supervised routine of medical care… The overwhelming preponderance of the evidence in this record establishes that marijuana has a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States for nausea and vomiting resulting from chemotherapy treatments in some cancer patients.  To conclude otherwise, on this record, would be unreasonable, arbitrary and capricious.”

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Despite Young’s conclusion, the DEA Administrator at the time, John Lawn ultimately rejected the petition 22 years after it was first filed.

In 1995, High Times and former NORML Director Jon Gettman filed another rescheduling petition, using studies of the endocannabinoid system conducted by the National Institute of Mental Health between 1988 and 1994. The DEA officially denied the petition on April 18, 2001, a decision upheld by the US Court of Appeals in May of 2002.

Another petition was filed by Americans for Safe Access and the Coalition for Rescheduling Cannabis in 2002, but was ultimately denied in 2011. Americans for Safe Access filed an appeal in January 2012, which led to a hearing in October, before another rejection on January 22, 2013.

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Who Holds the Power?

There are only a few select entities with the power to make such a big change at a federal level. Cannabis may be rescheduled through Congressional legislation; an example of this is the CARERS Act, repeatedly proposed by Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ), to no avail.

  • Cannabis may also be rescheduled at the executive level by the President of the United States.
  • The Controlled Substances Act also provides a process for which the US Attorney General may reschedule cannabis legislatively.
  • The Drug Enforcement Administration evaluates all petitions to reschedule cannabis.
  • The Department of Health and Human Services, however, also carry as great deal of power in the rescheduling decision process.

The DEA must first accept the petition, which is no small feat, as illustrated by past attempts to reschedule cannabis. The Health and Human Services Secretary must then submit a “scientific and medical evaluation, and his recommendations, as to whether such drug or other substance should be so controlled or removed as a controlled substance.” The HHS Secretary has the power to reschedule cannabis in their own right, if they so choose.

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In order to classify a drug or consider whether a substance should be rescheduled or decontrolled, the determining factors are as follows:

  • Its actual or relative potential for abuse.
  • Scientific evidence of its pharmacological effect, if known.
  • The state of current scientific knowledge regarding the drug or other substance.
  • Its history and current pattern of abuse.
  • The scope, duration, and significance of abuse.
  • What, if any, risk there is to the public health.
  • Its psychic or physiological dependence liability.
  • Whether the substance is an immediate precursor of a substance already controlled.

The President, the Attorney General, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, and Congress all have the power to reschedule cannabis.

With each new Congressional bill proposed, with each new politician that recognizes the therapeutic value of cannabis, with each new state that embraces medical cannabis, with each new voice speaking out in favor of cannabis, the US grows ever closer to legalization.


Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

What Makes a Medical Cannabis Program Succeed?

The Significance of Smokeables

Most cannabis patients are accustomed to smoking or vaporizing raw cannabis, but not every state medical marijuana program allows for the sale of flower. As can be seen in the table above, states that prohibit the sale of cannabis flower have the lowest patient-to-population ratios.

Despite recently adding new qualifying conditions, New York and Minnesota permit only cannabis oils, topicals, concentrate pens, and other non-smokable products. In Pennsylvania, smoking or dispensing cannabis in “dry leaf” form is also currently prohibited—but provisions exist in the law to ease that restriction upon a recommendation from the Medical Marijuana Advisory Board. Without the ability to purchase medical cannabis flower, it is questionable that enough patients will register to make the program successful.

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The Importance of Access Points

Finally, investors and entrepreneurs must consider the number and distribution of dispensaries in a state. Although it might seem advantageous to be one of just a handful of dispensaries, limited access can backfire as a business model. If obtaining medical cannabis requires two hours of driving and waiting in line, for example, patients could be discouraged and end up making infrequent purchases, buying from illegal sources, or simply avoiding cannabis as treatment altogether.

While it’s clear numbers matter, the precise number of dispensaries needed for a market to succeed is less clear. States such as Colorado and Oregon have hundreds of dispensaries and are two of the most successful markets in the country. But it’s a complicated relationship: Nevada has only about 55 dispensaries and Illinois has 53—but the Silver State is considered a vibrant market while the Land of Lincoln struggles.

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The difference between those two markets likely results from the inclusion of chronic pain as a qualifying condition in Nevada, as well as the concentrated population centers of Las Vegas and Reno having easy access to dispensaries.

Too few dispensaries and a market simply stagnates. In Massachusetts, despite an inclusive set of qualifying conditions and an embrace of other factors needed to be successful (such as smokeable flower), the medical market has had trouble attracting patients because there are currently only a dozen dispensaries. That’s about one dispensary per 560,000 state residents. And until recently, none offered delivery services to more remote regions of the state.

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Cannabis markets are complex. Each one is unique. For a business to be successful and for a state market to be sustainable, stakeholders must consider multiple factors. The types of products and qualifying conditions included in the program are questions of greater relevance and importance than the size of the state’s population. And if the law is suboptimal, how hard and long will it take to improve the program? Are legislative changes needed to make it successful, or just regulatory adjustments? Most importantly, does the medical cannabis program offer enough benefits to attract the types of patients that drive a successful market?

With the right set of conditions, a medical marijuana market will drive hundreds of millions in cannabis sales each year and allow access to patients who need it. But in the wrong regulatory scheme, a cannabis license could end up being little more than an expensive trophy.

Photo credits: LPETTET/iStock, FatCamera/iStock


Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

Blumenauer Calls for Cannabis Research to Combat Opioid Crisis

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) has made it a hallmark of his career to speak up for medical cannabis, legalization, and the transformative effect reform could have on the United States. He consistently introduces and cosponsors bills to legalize cannabis federally, as well as many efforts to improve the legal marijuana markets already in place.

His latest remarks took place on the floor of the US House Committee on Energy and Commerce. The topic was the opioid epidemic, and when Blumenauer took the floor, clad in his signature bowtie, a bicycle pin peering out from the label of his blazer, he didn’t mince words.

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“I appreciate the focus on the opioid crisis that grips every community, to some degree, and affects every state. Especially critical for our veterans, who are twice as likely to die of accidental overdose. As we’re slowly acknowledging the depths of the opioid crisis, which is good, we seldom acknowledge one of the simplest, most effective solutions: medical marijuana, cannabis. Now available in 28 states, largely driven by the voters,” he said, gesturing emphatically to drive the point home. “Not the politicians.”

He distributed a one-sheet page of information, complete with sources cited, to the members of the committee, entitled “Physician Guide to Cannabis-Assisted Opioid Reduction,” referencing how cannabis can reduce opioid overdose deaths, can reduce opioid consumption in general, and can help prevent dose escalation, as well as the development of an opioid tolerance.

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He paused and looked up to address the floor. “Mr. Chairman, we don’t talk much about this, although repeatedly on the floor over the last three years, Congress has been moving in this direction, and voted, last Congress to have the Veteran’s Administration be able to work with veterans in states where medical marijuana is legal.”

“But I focus on just one, simple item. Not the facts,” he patted the large packet of paper on the desk in front of him, “which I hope this committee would look at,” he added.

He was referring to a piece of legislation he recently introduced with a very odd bedfellow for a cannabis bill, Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD). Rep. Harris, in the past, has been far from a cannabis advocate; in fact, he was deemed quite the opposite in years past. When the District of Columbia legalized cannabis for adult use, he fought against legal retail cannabis stores, and against cannabis social clubs.

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“There’s one piece of legislation that I’ve introduced with Dr. Andy Harris, someone who doesn’t agree with me about the efficacy of medical marijuana,” Rep. Blumenauer was quick to admit. “But he strongly agrees with me that there’s no longer any reason for the federal government to interfere with research to be able to prove it.”

Their newly introduced bipartisan legislation, House Resolution 3391, would cut through the bureaucratic red tape on federally funded cannabis research by amending the Controlled Substances Act to make marijuana more easily accessible to medical researchers.

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“The federal government has a stranglehold on this research,” Blumenauer explained. “We have bipartisan legislation, which would break that stranglehold and be able to have robust research to resolve these questions so there would no longer be any doubt.”

He finished his remarks with a final, impassioned plea. “This is the cheapest, most effective way to stop the crisis. Where people have access to medical marijuana, there are fewer overdoses, and people opt for it daily with chronic pain,” he implored. “I would appreciate the subcommittee looking at this issue as your time permits.”

Physician Guide to Cannabis-Assisted Opioid Reduction (Distributed by EB) by Lisa Rough on Scribd


Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

Can You Get Evicted for Legally Using Cannabis?

Where can you legally smoke cannabis? Most often, the answer is within a private residence where you’re out of view of the general public. But what if you’re a renter of your “private residence?” This creates a confusing dilemma for those who are trying to abide by the regulations of the state but don’t want to risk eviction from their residence.

If you rent your home or apartment and are wondering if you can legally smoke in it, the answer isn’t simple or straightforward. When it comes down to landlord-tenant rights, obligations, and insurance policies, it’s less about your landlord’s feelings on the topic and a lot more about the legal contract you sign when you move into a new rental.

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Leafly reached out to Rabin Nabizadeh, a criminal defense attorney with Summit Defense based out of California, to get the full legal scoop on the particular ins, outs, and legal rights pertaining to the complex nature of consuming cannabis while renting or leasing a property.

Lease Agreements and Binding Legal Contracts

“To begin,” Nabizadeh explained, “there is a fundamental legal principle at play here that will shed some light on these issues: Contracts can and often do prohibit legal acts. A violation would not be criminal, but will be a breach of contract and will lead to remedies in civil court.”

There are certain circumstances under which courts may not enforce contractual terms:

  • If the terms are illegal (using racially biased terms, etc.)
  • If the terms are unintelligible or vague
  • If the terms are unconscionable

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“Many leases will prohibit smoking in general, and that will likely encompass marijuana smoke.”

Rabin Nabizadeh, criminal defense attorney in California

Whether or not cannabis is legal, decriminalized, or legalized for medical use in the state where the lease agreement is signed can make a difference, but it all comes down to that one, binding legal document. Nabizadeh likened the legal use of cannabis in contractual terms to the use of tobacco—also a legal substance, but prohibited in some leases.

“The focus isn’t criminal statutes, or even landlord-tenant law,” he said. “The lease is the controlling legal document. Many leases will prohibit smoking in general, and that will likely encompass marijuana smoke. It is unclear whether that would include other types of use such as vaping.”

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What About Medical Marijuana?

Nabizadeh clarified the legal perspective on medical marijuana. “Judges generally don’t view medical marijuana [recommendations] as valid, despite the clear legislative intent. Still, there is a question of whether contractual terms barring [the] use of marijuana despite medical need is considered unconscionable,” he pondered.

Therefore, a patient with a written recommendation based on state law and a legitimate medical need may be able to make a case in court that the risk posed by cannabis use is so minute that it would be unconscionable to deny use for medical treatment, especially for severe qualifying conditions.

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If a resident has a disability as defined by the Fair Housing Act, particularly one that is considered a qualifying condition in a medical marijuana state, they could try to make the claim that the use or cultivation of cannabis in their residence should  be considered a “reasonable accommodation.” However, since the Fair Housing Act is a federal law and cannabis is still illegal under the federal government, without an official prescription from a physician (which doctors are currently prohibited from doing; instead, they authorize “recommendations”), housing providers would be under no obligation to allow it.

“I would anticipate,” Nabizadeh told us, “that in states where marijuana is legal, commonly used leases will begin adding a specific clause for marijuana use.”

What Can Your Landlord Do?

Landlords are required to uphold the contractual obligations set forth in the lease both parties have signed. If you have violated the terms of your lease by smoking marijuana and it escalates to the point that your landlord has been notified, you will not immediately face eviction.

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According to Nabizadeh, “Like any unlawful detainer or eviction notice, the landlord will have to take certain very rigid steps after the initial eviction notice. Assuming the parties are unable to resolve the issue, the landlord would be forced to file action in court and prove the violation to a court.”

As a tenant, what can you do? “Of course, tenants have rights,” Nabizadeh said. “Upon a notice of eviction, [tenants] can argue their case in court. The landlord would be tasked with proving a breach of the lease terms, which may difficult in these cases compared to unauthorized tobacco use since there will likely be far less evidence of use, especially in the case of smokeless [cannabis] use.”

Worth noting as well: “The landlord can permit marijuana use, so long as it is legal in the state.”


Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

With Plans to Sell CBD Nationwide, Lucky’s Market Charts Legal Gray Area

With cannabis legalization spreading across the country, it sometimes feels like any day now you could walk into a grocery store and see some sort of pot product on the shelves. Now, at more than two dozen Lucky’s Market locations across the country, that’s true—at least in terms of items containing CBD, the non-psychoactive cannabinoid believed to have numerous medical benefits.

“This is just about the grayest of gray areas as far as federal law and policy. I think the DEA’s even confused about it.”

Vince Sliwoski

The Colorado-based grocer, which is backed by retail giant Kroger, announced this week that it will add a dozen CBD products to its apothecary shelves nationwide, where they’ll be sold alongside herbs and natural cosmetics made from ingredients like echinacea and calendula.

Lucky’s Market isn’t the first large retailer to test the waters of the CBD market, forecast to be worth $3 billion by 2021. Last month, in a short-lived move, Target added four CBD-enriched products to its online inventory. The big box yanked them from its virtual stores in less than a week without explanation, though.

Yet as consumer demand for CBD products grows, authorities at the DEA have reiterated their stance that anything derived from the cannabis plant—including hemp-derived CBD extract—is a Schedule I drug.

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“This is just about the grayest of gray areas as far as federal law and policy,” said Vincent Sliwoski, a cannabis law attorney and professor in Oregon, of CBD products. “I think the DEA’s even confused about it.” (The agency may get some clarification by way of a federal lawsuit filed by hemp farmers challenging the way the agency codifies “marihuana extract”.)

Conversations of legality surrounding cannabis usually focus on the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the agency may well take issue with grocery store-sales of CBD extract. But would-be sellers may have to tussle with the Food and Drug Administration, too. Earlier this month, the FDA made a vague announcement about its intent to crack down on unproven health claims on cannabis products.

“The FDA is the bigger issue around hemp oil and CBD oil. That’s why Target backed out,” says Mark Slaugh, former executive director of the Cannabis Business Alliance.

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In a recent statement to the press, the DEA opined that sales of Charlotte’s Web were illegal because the CBD oil has not been FDA approved. (Even if CBD is “beneficial” in treating neurological disorders, as the FDA has declared, products containing it would still need to pass the approval process.)

In the past couple of years, the FDA has sent cease and desist letters to CBD producers for making unfounded health claims or claiming products contained CBD when in fact they contained less than advertised or none at all, said Rod Kight, an attorney in North Carolina who represents numerous companies that deal with hemp.

Lucky’s Market did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Under federal law, hemp can only be grown only in states with federal hemp research programs. “If the CBD were imported it could arguably be legal,” Sliwoski noted, adding it would be unlikely that a retailer could track the provenance of CBD in numerous products. “Maybe they could prove all their source material was from China or somewhere else. That would have to be their affirmative defense and it would end up being litigated.”

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Kight isn’t so sure federal law will be the problem (he says the DEA is slowly “retreating” from earlier positions) but state law might be. “The 9th Circuit has ruled that nonpsychoactive imported hemp is legal. If you connect the dots, the DEA says CBD is not a controlled substance,” he said. “But a lot of states haven’t carved out an official position.” Lucky’s Market could force them to, he adds.

“They see a demand for the products and feel comfortable enough with the muddled state of the policy.”

Sliwoski

Food and supplement companies that sell hemp seed or oil get away with it because they don’t claim the products contain CBD, Slaugh said. “Once you start claiming CBD is an active ingredient, are you getting into the realm of a regulated drug? I think that’s the great debate. These folks aren’t held to food, nutraceutical, or drug manufacturing standards.”

While the FDA does regulate nutraceuticals, the industry has developed many self-imposed standards in an effort to put regulators at ease, Slaugh said. CBD producers may want to consider going the same route, he suggested. “The hemp industry has to step up and create those internal, self-policing standards if they want to avoid regulation.”

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That’s already taking place, noted Kight. “Hemp and CBD are moving right in line with that. We’re probably going to see a split between cannabinoid prescription medications and nutraceutical-type producers who will co-exist,” he said.

Whatever potential response Lucky’s Market might see from regulators or law enforcement could be worth the opportunity of getting into the CBD space early. “It says the potential upside of doing this is worth the risk of any law enforcement action,” Sliwoski said. “They see a demand for the products and feel comfortable enough with the muddled state of the policy. They might be thinking the DEA will probably write us a letter rather than hauling us into court and we’re going to differentiate ourselves here.”


Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

How California Cannabis Growing Laws Will Impact the Emerald Triangle

This three-part series by wine and cannabis writer Tina Caputo explores the past, present, and future of the Emerald Triangle, looking specifically at factors that have made the area a venerable growing region; current efforts to divide the region into cannabis appellations; and questions of whether the region can maintain its preeminence as adult-use legalization hits California in 2018.

California’s Emerald Triangle is in for big changes over the next few years. On January 1, 2018, cannabis will officially become legal for adult use in California, and a mature industry forced to hide in the shadows for decades will finally be able to step into the open.

“County of origin” labeling rules will also kick in on the first of the year, ensuring that cannabis labeled with the name of a particular county was actually grown in that area. By 2021, the California Department of Food and Agriculture will have a process in place for drawing deeper distinctions between regions. Taking a page from the wine industry’s book, the establishment of appellations will divide the state into distinct growing areas based on terroir, commonly grown strains, growing standards, and cultivation practices. Just as wine producers can’t label their Central Valley wine as “Sonoma Red,” cannabis growers in Stockton won’t be able to brand their pot as “Mendocino’s Finest.”

Being able to talk about what makes their regions distinct will be a huge step forward for Emerald Triangle growers after decades of prohibition.

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Potential Impacts of an Open Dialogue

“For a long time we had a lot of cultural identity issues up here,” explains Terra Carver, executive director of the Humboldt County Growers Alliance. “You couldn’t talk about what you did and you were always looking over your shoulder. One of the greatest things about having regulations is that we’ll be able to have a conversation with the consumer for the first time.”

We’ve been waiting our whole lives for a regulatory environment that would allow us to differentiate our methods from the lower-functioning aspects of the grow community.

Scott Davies, owner, Winterbourne Farms

It’s already starting to happen. Nearly 600 Humboldt County cannabis farms are now using Instagram to share photos and information with cannabis enthusiasts. Such openness would have been unimaginable to growers five years ago.

Just ask Scott Davies of Winterbourne Farms. He’s spent the last 30 years growing cannabis in Humboldt County, but very little of that time talking about it. While most everyone has heard of the Emerald Triangle, he says, fewer are aware of what distinguishes its counties from one another, or what defines the sub-regions within those counties.

“We’ve already got a lot of name recognition in Humboldt County, so appellations are going to be a pathway for us to differentiate what we’re doing here from what they’re doing in some of the other counties around the state,” says Davies, who co-founded a branding company called Humboldt Legends to help get the word out. Davies also believes that the appellations program will help change some of the negative perceptions people have about the region’s cannabis growers.

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“Unfortunately, the face of growers has largely been defined by the splashiest click-bait headlines, which tend to be about environmental destruction, crime, and guns,” he says. “Prohibition didn’t allow for a more nuanced message that there are people who have been focused on cannabis production because we’re passionately in love with the property we live on, and we want to build a business we can leave to our children. We’ve been waiting our whole lives for a regulatory environment that would allow us to differentiate our methods from the lower-functioning aspects of the grow community that have largely monopolized the headlines.”

Agri-Tourism and Premium Price Points

Marijuana Appellation Growing Regions in the Emerald Triangle | Leafly(Courtesy of Scott Buttfield/Humboldt Legends)

Those behind state and regional appellation efforts, including the Mendocino Appellations Project (MAP) and Humboldt County Growers Association, predict that raising awareness about the Emerald Triangle’s regions and farmers will drive agri-tourism to the area, which could be a boon for small growers with a story to tell, as many in the Emerald Triangle do.

“We see this working really well for the wine industry and I think a lot of people are curious because cannabis has been hidden behind the veil,” says MAP executive director Genine Coleman. “People really want to come up and meet the growers, see the farms, and buy directly from the producers.” For instance, in a legal market, small growers looking to diversify their operations could potentially add a “bud and breakfast” or farm tour to help make them more viable, Coleman says. “Only so much cannabis can be consumed within the state, so you need other revenue sources to survive.”

Terra Carver of the Humboldt County Growers Alliance (HCGA) is betting that the Emerald Triangle’s outdoor attractions will make it a magnet for visitors—once potential tourists learn about the region.

There’s a lot here that’s been largely untapped, because we haven’t regionally expressed ourselves yet.

Terra Carver, executive director, Humboldt County Growers Alliance

“Humboldt County has so much more going on than just cannabis,” Carver says. “We have such a diverse environment for eco-tourism and we produce some of California’s best beef and cheeses. There’s a lot here that’s been largely untapped, because we haven’t regionally expressed ourselves yet.”

While the benefits of tourism appear obvious, attracting visitors to the far reaches of the Emerald Triangle will require more than a good marketing campaign. It will take infrastructure. So far, there’s been little pushback from the community about adding new lodging options and other visitor amenities, but that could change if outsiders begin flooding into a community that’s largely kept to itself for the last 40 years.

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“The community knows what it wants and what it’s comfortable with in terms of building tourism and creating that interface with the public,” Coleman says. “Having those conversations on a community-by-community basis is something that our appellations map has really facilitated.”

Growers in recognized appellations may even be able to raise their prices, an important advantage as new players get into the game and drive down cannabis prices overall. “People counting on getting $1,500 a pound will be in for a rude surprise,” predicts Martin A. Lee, director of Project CBD and author of the book Smoke Signals: A Social History of Marijuana. “It will probably be more like $500 a pound, and that will be a real jolt to the economic sustainability of mom-and-pop growers.”

Humboldt County’s inaugural track and trace program allowed the consumer to scan a proof of origin sticker and have a host of information at their fingertips.

For participants in Humboldt County’s inaugural track and trace program, geographic name recognition has already proven to be a valuable asset. “[The program] allowed the consumer to scan a ‘proof of origin’ sticker on Humboldt cannabis products and have a host of information at their fingertips, including the farm’s web page,” says Carver. Growers in the program reported greater brand awareness, and were able to command higher prices. The program’s first year ended in August 2017 and has been approved to continue for a second year.

The Emerald Triangle Versus ‘Big Cannabis’

It’s uncertain whether appellations will help Emerald Triangle growers to stand up to so-called ‘Big Cannabis’ in other regions, but Davies says he isn’t particularly worried about the competition.

“I regularly hear concerns from my peers about Philip Morris and Monsanto row-cropping cannabis in the Central Valley,” he says, “and my instinctive reaction is ‘Fine. They don’t have the appellation.’ They don’t have the weather, the infrastructure, or the expertise that it would take to grow the flowers that I can grow.” Ultimately, Davies believes that success will depend on what the Emerald Triangle’s cannabis growers do now to position themselves for the future.

I regularly hear concerns about Philip Morris and Monsanto, but they don’t have the expertise to grow the flowers that I can grow.

Scott Davies

“We’re about to see a seismic shift in the cannabis industry, not only in regards to who gets to grow it, but where you get to do it and who gets to win,” he says. “This transition is only going to happen once, as it did with alcohol in the early 30s. The players who adopt the regulations quickest and most successfully win.

“Oftentimes in the arc of history, it’s difficult to see that you’re in a moment until you look back with the benefit of hindsight,” Davies adds. “This is one of those times when we can tell while we’re living it, in real time. It’s a fascinating and exciting time to be in the cannabis industry.”


Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

Ontario Hypes Penalties for High Driving While Awaiting a Reliable Test

It’s one of the loudest talking points among those who dread Canada’s impending legalization of cannabis: How will law enforcement handle the presumed influx of high drivers soon to be flooding Canadian roads?

On Monday, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne spoke publicly on the topic, announcing enhanced penalties for those caught operating motor vehicles under the influence of cannabis, with the harshest penalties reserved for young drivers, novice drivers, and commercial drivers.

“We had a goal to balance the new freedom that people in Ontario will have to use cannabis recreationally with everyone’s expectation that it will be managed responsibly,” said Wynne.

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Specifics of the upped penalties come from the Canadian Press, which reports young and novice drivers (with a G1, G2, M1, or M2 licence) caught driving high will face licence suspensions of three to 30 days and fines between $250 to $450. Similar fines await operators of commercial vehicles found driving high, along with three-day licence suspensions.

“Overall, under the proposed changes any driver who registers a fail on a roadside screening device would be fined anywhere from $250 to $450,” reports the Canadian Press. “The current fine is $198. Drivers who refuse to provide a sample for a roadside test face a $550 fine under the proposed law, up from the current $198 fine.”

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The perennial problem with tracking high driving: Authorities still lack a reliable roadside test for cannabis impairment, primarily due to cannabis’s ability to remain detectable in bloodstreams days and even weeks after impairment has waned.

The proposed best hope: oral test strips, which would examine THC levels in saliva and are currently awaiting approval by the federal government. (However, as the Toronto Star notes cryptically, “It’s unclear how effective they will be in cold weather.”)

As always, stay tuned.


Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

“Exchanging Prohibition for Extreme Regulation”: Toronto Braces for New Cannabis Reality

A month before Project Claudia began, Canadian Health Minister Jane Philpott announced that the government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau would introduce legalization legislation in the spring of 2017.

On the heels of this announcement, the dispensary market in Toronto, which had previously been operating in relative obscurity for decades, exploded. “There was this little period where I promise you it felt like cannabis was legal in Toronto,” says Cory Thompson, who owns two dispensaries in the city. “There was this overall feeling that cannabis was legal in Canada. Like quasi. It’s coming. We’re there. It’s all good. Then boom. The raids start. They start swarming all the dispensaries.”

“I wanted to be a patient and patient provider at the table but they aren’t even listening to us.”

dispensary owner and MMJ patient Cory Thompson

Thompson has multiple sclerosis and in 2012, while confined to a wheelchair, he began studying the medical potential of cannabis. Intrigued, he sought out a compassion club which secured him affordable access to the plant. He purchased a pound of bud, turned it into oil, and a few days later, his big toe moved. He skipped his next doctor’s appointment. Three weeks later, he was out of the wheelchair and moving with the assistance of a walker.

During his recovery, Thompson had to travel long distances to pick up his medicine, making trips that were often difficult and exhausting. It was enough to push him into business. With a partner, he opened a compassion club of his own, with reduced prices for medical patients. After a few years of operation, the club was raided and shut down.

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“It’s frustrating,” he says. “If you want weed you can go get it but if you want medicine, and you need it at an affordable rate, what I call dignified access, that’s few and far between.”

For the time being, Thompson is optimistic that his dispensaries will remain open. He is extremely thorough with his client screening, checking paperwork and medical records and calling doctors, but he’s not sure what the future holds. The threat of robbery or raid, Thompson says, even for those doing their due diligence, is a thought that never really goes away.

“It’s fucking trying, man. It’s not what I signed up for. I thought we were going to get regulated. I wanted to be part of that. I wanted to be a voice for the future, for regulation, for patients voices to be heard.

“I wanted to be a patient and patient provider at the table but they aren’t even listening to us.”

Shocking News from Ontario

(John Hryniuk for Leafly)

Last week, things got worse for dispensary owners. The Ontario government unveiled their plan for legalization. The province intends to restrict sales of legal cannabis to 150 government-run stores and a government-run website. Like vermin, the independent dispensaries will be eradicated.

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Almost immediately, the announcement prompted anger and disappointment. “Prohibition is not being lifted,” Harris says, “They are exchanging prohibition with extreme regulation.”

“This is a tyrannical plan from the provincial government,” says Jack Lloyd, a Toronto-based cannabis lawyer. “It’s a ridiculous plan and it doesn’t respect the cannabis culture that exists. It doesn’t respect the cannabis community that exists. It’s an attempt to deracinate our entire community and it doesn’t respect patients’ rights.”

Lloyd is not interested in the recreational side of the issue. The government can have that, he says, “but medical cannabis dispensaries are vital and patients deserve to be able to go to a storefront dispensary to be able to access their medicine.”

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“Prohibition is not being lifted. They are exchanging prohibition with extreme regulation.”

dispensary owner Trevor Harris

Last month, in Ontario Superior Court, Lloyd argued that dispensaries cannot be prohibited from operating when the government’s current medical cannabis system is broken and can’t keep up with demand. He was fighting on behalf of the Hamilton Village Dispensary, which had been ordered to shut down by the City of Hamilton. The judge sided with Lloyd, ruling that the dispensary could stay open as long as they were supplying medical cannabis to patients with a valid prescription.

A similar case will be before the courts next week in Toronto. What happens there will impact how the city handles dispensaries moving forward. “If they win there, the city is going to be forced to license them,” Lloyd says. “This is the big fight.”

Paul Lewin is one of the lawyers involved in that case and, like Lloyd, he’s frustrated by the proposed Ontario regulations.

“This plan is not very popular across a large part of the cannabis community,” he says. “[The dispensaries] are going to be driven further underground, which of course makes things less safe for Toronto. Prohibition has that effect, you drive industry further underground. So instead of well-lit stores on main streets in which they are security guards and tested products, it’s a little more old-school, which is a little less safe, but I don’t think they’re going away. The cannabis community has suffered through 100 years of prohibition and they are resilient.”

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Lewin, who represented many of the employees who were caught up in Project Claudia, says that the raids disproportionately affect young working Canadians.

“These are very serious charges that are being laid against these young people,” he says, “Some of whom were having a hard time finding a job, some who are medical patients and have great sympathy for other medical patients and have valuable knowledge and skills. They are facing very serious jeopardy. They are still Harper-era mandatory minimums on the books. I think it’s really irresponsible to be using the criminal law in this way.”

It is difficult to identify the motivating force behind the raids, though they are some popular theories.

(John Hryniuk for Leafly)

“I think it’s being pushed by higher ups,” says Paul Lewin. “I can tell you that many cops are not very excited about these raids and realize that it’s really a very low policing priority. This is being pushed from above. Dispensaries have been operating openly in Toronto for about 20 years and no one cared too much about them until we started to get closer to legalization. Ironically, it’s on the eve of legalization, when the government announces their plans for legal cannabis, that they want to launch an enforcement summit to shut down dispensaries? They’re most concerned now? When it’s about to be legal? Which really tells you what their priorities about. They’ve got this public health fig leaf that they are trying to hold up but it’s not about public health, it’s about them making money and protecting their turf.”

“It reeks of cronyism. (LPs) are using the police to enforce their business plan. It’s terrifying.”

cannabis lawyer Jack Lloyd

Some point to Canada’s licensed producers (LPs), the federally approved growing operations whose relationship with the dispensaries is acrimonious, at best. Many of the LPs are staffed with board members with political ties and individuals who were once waging the war on cannabis and are now putting themselves in a position to cash in once legalization arrives.

Former Toronto Police chief Bill Blair is handling the legalization file for Trudeau’s government. Kim Derry, who served as deputy chief under Blair, is the security adviser for THC Meds Ontario. Former Ontario deputy premier George Smitherman is also employed by the company. Canopy Growth, the largest publicly-traded medical marijuana company in Canada, was founded by Chuck Rifici while he was CFO of the Liberal Party of Canada.

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“It reeks of cronyism,” Lloyd says. “The problem is they are using the police to enforce their business plan. It’s terrifying, to be frank. And mark my words they are going to go through and arrest literally hundreds of Canadians under the age of 25, who believe in the cannabis plant and work in this world and really would never have anything to do, or never have any interaction otherwise, with criminal law.

“They could have very easily, simply licensed all the existing dispensaries and that would have solved this problem. Instead, they’ve elected to declare war on a group of political activists, moderate civil disobedient activists, cannabis enthusiasts and cannabis legalization activists. They are just arresting the culture. To say that it’s draconian is an understatement.”


Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.