Tag: Legalization

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.

‘There is a Massive Injustice Being Done’: This Week in Cannabis Quotes

This week has brought some surprising revelations from Orrin Hatch and Jeff Sessions. Canada mourned the loss of the inimitable unofficial poet laureate of Canada and lead singer of The Tragically Hip, Gord Downie, as well as another Canadian cannabis icon, John Dunsworth, more affectionately known as Mr. Lahey on the TV show, Trailer Park Boys. Sen. Cory Booker explains why, although he’s never touched the stuff, he continues to make cannabis legalization a signature issue in his career, while MassRoots sees a shakeup in leadership.

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“It’s been this experience of seeing the hypocrisy within marijuana prohibition, and how it’s destroyed so many lives and communities who get caught up in the war on drugs, while other communities are more easily able to have their breaking of the law exonerated or overlooked. There is a massive injustice being done in a nation that believes in equal justice under the law; marijuana enforcement makes a mockery of that ideal.”

 – Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) on why cannabis is his signature issue

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“I’m very concerned about recent reports that DOJ and DEA are at odds on marijuana research, particularly when it comes to granting licenses to grow marijuana for further research. Can you clarify the position of the Justice Department regarding these applications?”

 – Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) discussing the expansion of medical marijuana research

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“We have a marijuana research system working now, but there is one supplier of the marijuana for that research. People have asked that there be multiple sources of the marijuana for medicinal research and have asked that it be approved… Each one of those has to be supervised by the DEA and I have raised questions about how many and let’s be sure we’re doing this in the right way because it costs a lot of money to supervise these events. I think it’d be healthy to have some more competition in the supply.”

 – Attorney General Jeff Sessions on expanding the medicinal cannabis supply chain

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“I am so blown away by the marijuana culture that’s out here. Seems to me and it’s seemed to me for years that the government has been so ridiculous–ever since 1923 in Canada. Hemp is so beneficial in so many ways…I mean, to make marijuana legal would cost them billions of dollars, for sure. So there’s a lot of people standing in line to make it impossible to make this a legal substance, but out here in [British Columbia], you’d never know. Out here there seems to be another kind of intelligence to me. I tell ya, wouldn’t it be nice, if Canada could learn from BC?”

 – John Dunsworth, actor known as Mr. Lahey on Trailer Park Boys, on cannabis culture in British Columbia

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“Medicinal cannabis is legal in Canada, and it already greatly benefits the health and well-being of many of our fellow Canadians. There is a commitment from the Federal Government to legalize recreational use in just over a year, and with good reason. The harm wrought by the prohibition of marijuana has been thoroughly researched and documented. This is a common-sense-policy and, in our opinion, is a change for the best.”

 – Statement released by The Tragically Hip in May 2017, announcing their partnership with a medical marijuana licensed producer in Canada

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“That is the reason we want to legalize marijuana–not because we can make money off of it. That’s the last reason. If it doesn’t pass the social justice test, you can’t talk about revenue implications, and the fact of the matter is that we have the widest white-nonwhite gap of persons incarcerated in New Jersey.”

 – Phil Murphy, New Jersey gubernatorial candidate on the future of marijuana in New Jersey

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“He refuses to meet with me and Governor Inslee, despite repeated requests. If we can’t agree on what we can disagree on, where are we? We think we have good legal arguments [and] we would defend Washington’s interests.”

 – Bob Ferguson, Washington State Attorney General, when asked about the letter Jeff Sessions sent to the state claiming failures of the Washington state legal cannabis system

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 “By far one of the toughest days of my life.”

 – Isaac Dietrich, former CEO of Massroots after being ousted from the company


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.

Ex-Surgeon General, SAMHSA Director Call for Federal Legalization

A newly formed group of physicians that include former US Surgeon General Jocelyn Elders and former director of the US Center for Substance Abuse Treatment Westley Clark believe “organized medicine” should be open to federally legalizing and regulating cannabis.

Elders and Clark co-authored an editorial published online recently in the American Journal of Public Health on behalf of the new group, Doctors for Cannabis Regulation. David Nathan, the group’s board president and a New Jersey-based psychiatrist, also contributed to the editorial.

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The editorial’s publication marks the first time “a major American medical journal has ever run a pro-marijuana opinion by an organization of prominent physicians,” according to a press release issued by the group.

In the piece, Elders, Clark, and Nathan called on professional medical groups—including powerful advocacy associations like the American Medical Association and American Academy of Pediatrics—to take  several actions regarding cannabis.

First, support the federal legalization and regulation of cannabis for adults.

“The government should oversee all cannabis production, testing, distribution, and sales,” the authors wrote. “Cannabis products should be labeled with significant detail,” including CBD and THC levels, other ingredients, and dosing instructions.

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“We need to make sure this drug is regulated properly,” David Nathan said in an interview with Leafly.

Second, the group wants medical groups to lobby Congress and state lawmakers.

“We cannot abstain from the discussion,” the authors wrote. “The cannabis industry now advises lawmakers on cannabis regulation, and doctors must do so as well.”

“So far a lot of organized medicine has turned away, sticking to the dogma and pseudo-science of the 1930’s that got us to where we are now” Nathan said. “We are trying to break the stigma of speaking out in favor of legalization, and convincing other doctors you don’t have to be pro-marijuana to oppose its prohibition.”

“If nothing else, it would be important for these organizations to not oppose legalization.”

The group also suggested taking specific federal regulatory actions, including restrictions on marketing to minors, child-resistant packaging, as well as punishment for adults distributing to minors. These are all current features of state-regulated cannabis systems in Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Nevada, and other adult-legal venues.

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The authors also called for taxation to fund research, education, prevention and substance abuse treatment. Those programs, they wrote, “should include public information for adults on the use and misuse of cannabis, and youth programs that emphasize the risks of underage cannabis use.”

“Prohibition sends the message that marijuana is dangerous for everyone, because it is illegal for everyone,” they wrote, “and children know that it is not true.”

“If we want our children to believe us when we say that cannabis can be harmful for them, our laws should reflect the difference in health effects of underage and adult use.”

They added that it’s high time for change. “The unjust prohibition of marijuana has done more damage to public health than has marijuana itself…The prohibition of alcohol was a success compared with our war on marijuana.”

“Fundamentally,” said Nathan, “prohibition was always a bad idea.”

Elders and other leaders formally launched the group last year to help doctors advocate against prohibition and for legal regulation. They publicly lobbied the National Football League to allow players to consume cannabis. Many former players have acknowledged the use of cannabis as a common practice to manage the pain that comes from playing one of the world’s most violent collision sports.

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Former NFL player Eugene Monroe serves as the group’s ambassador to the sports world.

Clark and Elders are both honorary board members. Last year Elders, Surgeon General under President Bill Clinton from 1993-1994, endorsed a proposal to remove cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act.

Clark led the treatment center for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) from 1998-2014.

The group pitched their editorial to the American Journal of Public Health—as opposed to, say, The New York Times—because “we really needed to reach doctors in a very direct way,” Nathan said, “and in a way that physicians will respect and relate to.”

“Doctors for Cannabis Regulation is on the right side of history,” he added. “We are right and we know we are right.”

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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.

New Zealand to Hold Marijuana Vote Under New Leader Ardern

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — New Zealand is poised to slash immigration, rethink trade deals and vote on legalizing marijuana under a new government that takes office next week. After nine years of conservative rule, liberal Jacinda Ardern was confirmed as the nation’s next prime minister on Thursday, following negotiations after a close September election.

Ardern’s Labour Party will be joined in a coalition by the small, nationalist New Zealand First party and will also get support from the liberal Green Party. The incoming government has not yet released details of its plans, but a number of things could change based on the coalition’s campaign promises and comments from Ardern.

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Cannabis Referendum

Ardern said Friday the country would hold a referendum on whether to legalize recreational marijuana at some point over the next three years. She didn’t say whether she favored legalization but said the current system wasn’t working well.

“I’ve always been very open about the fact that I do not believe that people should be imprisoned for personal use of cannabis,” Ardern said. “On the flip side, I also have concerns around young people accessing a product which can clearly do harm and damage to them.”

Ardern said she wanted to hear the view from New Zealanders and figure out the correct wording for the referendum before taking a stance.


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.

West Virginia Wants Your Thoughts on Medical Marijuana

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — West Virginia health officials have released an online survey for people interested in obtaining medical marijuana.

A Department of Health & Human Resources news release says the survey results will be shared with the West Virginia Medical Cannabis Advisory Board in December.

State Health Officer Dr. Rahul Gupta says the non-scientific, anonymous survey will provide insight about potential patient demographics, where they seek care and what conditions they are looking to treat.

Taking the survey doesn’t sign someone up for the program.

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Gov. Jim Justice signed the West Virginia Medical Cannabis Act in April after lawmakers passed it earlier in the month.

It permits doctors to recommend marijuana be used for medicinal purposes and establishes a regulatory system. No patient or caregiver ID cards will be issued until July 2019.


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 Can Canada Learn from the US When it Comes to Cannabis Legalization?

In less than a year, The Cannabis Act will fulfill Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s campaign promise to make adult-use recreational cannabis legal nationwide. While many Canadians are excited for legal cannabis, plenty more are concerned about just what that legal system will look like, and what its potential pitfalls are.

US legalization has yielded a wealth of data on everything from traffic fatalities to underage use to enforcement costs, addressing many of Canada’s key concerns.

Recreational cannabis might be brand new to Canada, but plenty of US states have blazed this particular trail already. Indeed, many of the concerns being raised by Canadians are the same ones raised in Washington and Colorado in 2014. Since then, nine US states have legalized recreational cannabis.

These early-adopter states have yielded a wealth of data, on everything from traffic fatalities to underage use to enforcement costs, addressing many of Canada’s key concerns about legalization. While legalizing cannabis on a national scale is a challenge unique to Canada, there’s a lot to be learned from the US.

How Much Does Enforcement Cost?

Toronto Mayor John Tory has claimed that legalization will result in drastically increased law-enforcement costs for cities. His theory is that “a big part” of enforcement costs will fall to municipalities, which will face major increases in the cost of business licensing, by-law enforcement, and policing. Tory supports a special levy on cannabis to offset these costs.

US cities haven’t seen the astronomical rise in law-enforcement costs Toronto’s Mayor Tory is predicting.

However, US cities haven’t seen the astronomical rise in enforcement costs Tory is predicting. Washington’s largest city, Seattle, requires only about 3-4 dedicated employees to regulate cannabis. Those employees don’t represent a burden on the budget, as the city’s cost to regulate cannabis is only about $500,000 for 2017. It might make Tory happy to know that Seattle is also slated to get a $700,000 cut of cannabis taxes from the state this year, which he also called for in Toronto. As far as policing goes, legal cannabis doesn’t seem to be changing the budget process much.

“I can’t speak to this without data,” said Sgt. Sean Whitcomb, the Seattle Police Department’s communications director, but offered that, “We’ve had some significant cases [since legalization], but those are the same types of cases we’ve always had.”

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He’s previously stressed that his agency is primarily concerned with curbing youth access, busting big illegal grow ops, and enforcing DUI laws. Enforcement involving legal cannabis is not the SPD’s mission, according to Whitcomb.

Furthermore, contrary to Tory’s claims, cannabis legalization actually frees up law enforcement resources. According to a Drug Policy Alliance report from July 2015, written one year after the state’s first recreational cannabis sales, cannabis arrests decreased by 63%, from 6,196 in 2012 to 2,316 in 2014, with each arrest representing a cost of $1,000-2,000 to the government.

In general, legal cannabis more than covers the cost of regulation and enforcement.

In general, legal cannabis more than covers the cost of regulation and enforcement. The Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (WSLCB), the agency that regulates cannabis in Washington and handles all legal cannabis enforcement, had an annual operating budget of $34 million in fiscal year 2016, including $13 million for enforcement. Cannabis taxes and fees brought in $189 million, about six times more than the agency’s entire budget. About $90 million of that excess cannabis revenue went to funding the state’s Basic Health program to provide insurance to low-income families.

In Colorado, they’re really rolling in it, it seems. The city of Aurora was famously able to raise so much extra tax from the cannabis industry that it earmarked $4.5 million for homelessness programs. A report by the Council on Responsible Cannabis Regulation found that Colorado netted $66 million and $96 million in the 2014-2015 and 2015-2016 fiscal years, respectively, after accounting for enforcement and regulation.

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The prognosis for Canada cashing in is pretty good, too. According to a report by the C.D. Howe institute, Canada could rake in as much as $500 million USD per year from legal cannabis. That report also includes only the existing state and federal taxes, meaning that if cannabis is subject to an additional excise tax, as it is in most U.S. states where it’s legal, Canada could see even more tax revenue.

What’s the Deal with DUI?

Though low-level possession arrests are down in legal states, the question of how to deal with drivers who may be under the influence of cannabis remains a thorny one. According to the aforementioned DPA report, overall traffic fatalities decreased in Washington post-legalization, although no causality was established.

Regardless of whether cannabis causes more accidents, no one wants more people driving under the influence, no matter what substance is influencing them. Though every state has provisions regarding cannabis DUIs on the books, none can claim to have developed an effective enforcement method yet.

Of all the questions facing Canada, how to regulate DUI might be the one for which the US has the fewest answers.

In Washington, the limit is five micrograms (ug) per milliliter of blood. It’s the same in Colorado. These limits, while well-intentioned, have been confusing. For one, it’s nearly impossible to tell if that 5 ug was from five minutes ago or five days ago, as cannabis can linger in the bloodstream well after its effects have worn off.

Beyond that, it’s nearly impossible to tell how profoundly 5 ug might affect someone, because individual tolerances vary so widely with cannabis. Some people can ingest 800mg, take the bus to downtown Seattle, and film a Nazi being punched, while others eat 100mg and think they’ve become one with the wallpaper. As the director of traffic safety and advocacy for AAA, Jake Nelson, told the Washington Post, “There is no reliable number that has any meaningful value in terms of predicting impairment.”

Assessing impairment in Canada has previously fallen to Drug Recognition Experts, officers trained to perform field evaluations of suspects who might be driving on drugs. AAA prefers the DRE system, but Canada’s is woefully inadequate even for their current need.

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“The problem is that there are fewer than 600 trained DRE officers in Canada,” an article in the Ottawa Citizen concluded. “An assessment conducted in 2009 estimated that Canada needs between 1,800 and 2,000 and the training system isn’t equipped to pump out trained officers any faster.”

If Canada does decide to ease the demand for DREs with a ug/ml limit, it’ll face the same criticisms of the legal limits used by US states. Of all the questions facing Canada, how to regulate DUI might be the one for which the US has the fewest answers.

How Do You Keep It Away From Kids?

One of the other major objections raised by opponents of cannabis legalization in both the US and Canada has been that legalizing cannabis normalizes it in the eyes of teens, and ultimately leads to an increase in underage use. Legalization proponents argue that putting cannabis in tightly regulated retail outlets actually deters underage access.

Studies seem to support the latter view, with post-legalization surveys of teenagers in both Colorado and Washington showing steady rates of cannabis use or even slight declines.

If Canada’s 18+ age restriction is as vigorously enforced as age limits in the US, an increase in underage use from legalization seems unlikely.

Though Hamilton police chief Eric Girt complained in a town hall this summer that cannabis products in Colorado were “being marketed to kids” and cautioned that the same could happen in Canada, it’s worth noting that the state has had strict advertising rules in place to prevent any marketing efforts that might appeal to minors since 2013. Manufacturers are not allowed to use any packaging that appeals to children, and no cannabis business can advertise in a location frequented by minors: malls, arcades, sports venues—the interpretation is pretty broad. Ads can only be placed in publications or broadcast outlets for which “reliable evidence” exists that less than 30% of the audience consists of minors.

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Nearly the same rules are in place in Washington, and Canada’s bill includes similar language. If Canada’s 18+ age restriction is as vigorously enforced as age limits are in the US, an increase in underage use from legalization seems unlikely.

Indeed, it might even lead to the slight reductions enjoyed by US states who have legalized and regulated cannabis. While minors can always ask an older sibling to sneak them something from the store, it’s still an extra step they didn’t have to take before. Dealers definitely don’t check ID.

Can Legal Cannabis Compete With the Black Market?

Speaking of dealers, many of the concerns around tax rates in Canada are about more than just the cost of enforcement. Regis police chief Evan Bray told the CBC that he was worried tax rates on cannabis would be too high, which he theorized would be a boon for the back market.

Those concerns are not entirely invalid, as legal states have struggled to completely eliminate the black market. In Washington, the relatively high 37% state excise tax on cannabis has been cited as a major factor in the black market’s persistence. However, through increased volume and improved efficiency, legal cannabis has achieved price parity with the black market in many instances.

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However, many states have far lower tax rates. Maine has proposed a 20% tax, Oregon only takes 17%, and Massachusetts is even lower at 3.75%.

That said, one of the other major reasons the black market persists in the US is the piecemeal nature of legalization, which simply shunts drug dealers from one state to another. Even within legal states, certain cities and counties have banned legal cannabis, creating pockets of demand for the black market.

While the black market has persisted in the US, the cannabis-driven violent crime scare Jeff Sessions is constantly crowing about simply isn’t supported by data. Violent crime has decreased overall in both Washington and Colorado since legalization.

Legalization Is Looking Pretty Bright for Canada

Overall, legalization looks pretty good. Rather than exacerbating problems of youth access and violent crime, legalizing cannabis seems poised to alleviate them—and to raise quite a bit of tax revenue while doing it. Though it is still unclear how best to regulate cannabis DUIs, legalizing cannabis has at least pushed forward the study of how cannabis affects driving performance, and created a demand for devices that can reliably measure cannabis intoxication on the side of the road. A pilot program to study the efficacy of roadside saliva tests is already underway in Canada.

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There is still the difficult question of how to handle the international drug enforcement treaties to which Canada is a party, and whether that process might delay legalization. Domestically speaking, however, if things play out like they have in the U.S., legalization looks to be a win.


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.

Canadian Edibles Get a Green Light, Licensed Producers Rejoice

If approved by the House of Commons, the new amendment will ensure cannabis edibles and concentrates will be introduced to the Canadian market no later than 12 months after recreational cannabis becomes legal next summer.

The post Canadian Edibles Get a Green Light, Licensed Producers Rejoice appeared first on Leafly.


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.

Massachusetts Marijuana Legalization Advocates Urge Towns to Allow Regulated Businesses, Follow Marshfield Example

A supporter holds up a “Yes on 4” sign at the 2016 Boston Freedom Rally (Scott Gacek/The Daily Chronic)

BOSTON, MA — Towns passing legal cannabis bans and moratoriums are guaranteeing continued market control by criminals and street dealers, the group behind the legalization measure passed by voters last November said today.

The group praised Marshfield voters for rejecting a measure at a town meeting yesterday that would have banned marijuana retail facilities in the town.

“Very simply, if cannabis isn’t sold by regulated and taxed retailers, it will continue to be sold by criminals who don’t check IDs and don’t care about the safety of their product,” said Jim Borghesani, Massachusetts spokesman for the Marijuana Policy Project and former communications director for the Yes on 4 campaign. “Marshfield voters made a responsible decision yesterday to make sure their town takes commerce away from street dealers and puts significant new tax dollars in the town coffers.”

Borghesani added that the legislature’s decision to change the law passed by voters made it easier to ban marijuana businesses without a clear mandate from local residents.

“While we accepted the overall legislative compromise this past summer, we believe it was a mistake to create two classes of municipalities in the state when it comes to local bans,” Borghesani said. “The legislative changes to the law passed last year have allowed local officials to ban businesses without a convincing mandate from local voters.”

One “no” town, Mashpee, passed a moratorium this week at a town meeting attended by only 320 voters. There are 10,848 registered voters in Mashpee.

“Unfortunately, these decisions are being made by a very small percentage of voters in some towns. We’re hopeful that more towns will follow Marshfield’s example, and we will be working to inform local voters about upcoming ban proposals,” Borghesani said.

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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.

Is Ontario’s Legal Cannabis Monopoly Constitutional?

The Supreme Court of Canada is about to consider the impact of the country’s legalization plan on the country’s interprovincial trade. Canada’s top court has accepted an application from cannabis-related companies to intervene in an upcoming case that some are saying could have wide implications for interprovincial trade in the country.

In 2016, Gerard Comeau of Tacadie, New Brunswick was fined almost $300 for bringing more than 14 cases of beer into the province. (New Brunswick is home to laws that restrict the amount of alcohol that can be brought across its border.) The charge was later overturned at the New Brunswick Court of Appeal, and a subsequent appeal by the Crown means the country’s top court will wade into the boozy feud.

“It is Cannabis Culture’s position that the LCBO’s control over all recreational cannabis distribution and sale is overly restrictive and amounts…to a form of interprovincial trade barrier.”

lawyer Kirk Tousaw

Now, Cannabis Culture, the marijuana lifestyle brand that once franchised its name to dispensary locations across Canada, has hired prominent cannabis lawyer Kirk Tousaw to apply as an intervenor in the Comeau case. Their application is also being submitted on behalf of 28 other corporations, which collectively operate what the application says are more than 350 cannabis dispensaries across the country.

In their application, Tousaw says that Cannabis Culture believes the upcoming ruling is “of pressing and substantial importance” because provinces “could create barriers to the free trade of cannabis products from Province to Province … and could constitute an infringement of s. 121 of the Constitution Act of 1867.”

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Tousaw is hoping to use the case to dismantle the Ontario government’s planned cannabis monopoly – or at least get the conversation going on it. “It is Cannabis Culture’s position that the [Liquor Control Board of Ontario]’s control over all recreational cannabis distribution and sale is overly restrictive and amounts … to a form of interprovincial trade barrier.” He submits that any province seeking to “exert exclusive control over the distribution and sale of cannabis and cannabis derivative products through a Provincial entity” is in effect creating such an unconstitutional trade barrier. The application asks the Supreme Court to confirm the decision of the New Brunswick Court of Appeal, which rejected the charge against Comeau.

(AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

Tousaw is a bold cannabis litigator famous for defending the Smith case, which brought arguments over edibles and concentrates to the Supreme Court .

In that case, a man named Owen Smith was arrested for producing cookies and edibles for patients of a dispensary. In his defense, Tousaw strove for the moon, asking the Court to rule entire sections of the country’s drug rules be ruled unconstitutional and to find that cannabis should instead be regulated by the country’s Natural Health Products regime.

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Ultimately, Tousaw didn’t get everything he wanted, but the Supreme Court did rule in his client’s favour, finding that some provisions of Canada’s drug laws were unconstitutional to the extent that they prohibit individuals from procuring and consuming concentrated forms of cannabis as they need it.

Tousaw’s bringing similar determination to the Comeau case. It’s unclear if the Supreme Court will accept Cannabis Culture’s intervenor application, and even if they do, the Court may not seriously consider their arguments. It’s unlikely that the Supreme Court will even mention the word cannabis in their ruling, similar to the lower court decisions in this case.

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There are many parallels between this case and Canada’s proposed legalization plan, and it is likely that claims regarding interprovincial trade of cannabis will continue to be heard by the country’s courts. The 30-gram public possession limit contained in the Cannabis Act could be a significant barrier to interprovincial trade, since you can only cross provincial borders, well, in public.

Tousaw and Cannabis Culture don’t mention the 30-gram limit in their application, but ostensibly if the court confirms the Court of Appeal’s dismissal of the case, a challenge to the public-possession limit could be forthcoming. Stay tuned.


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