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Cannabis Industry Demands That the DEA Keep Out of Marijuana Research

Anational cannabis trade group is publicly calling for the federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to keep its hands off of medical marijuana research.

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Anational cannabis trade group is publicly calling for the federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to keep its hands off of medical marijuana research.

Doctors and public health officials—not law enforcement—should be in charge of regulating clinical cannabis research, they say.

“One of the many qualified public health agencies in the federal government (i.e. Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, etc.) should manage all of the processes related to research into the medicinal benefits of cannabis, including making decisions about who might qualify to grow and sell the product to researchers,” said the National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA) in a May 8 statement to the DEA. The lobbying group represents cannabis businesses nationally.

“This is perfectly consistent with US [global drug control] treaty obligations,” NCIA continued. “Furthermore, the US should adopt a regulatory framework that encourages and facilitates further research, rather than chilling it.”

NCIA’s demand comes after the DEA released a long-awaited proposed rule-change to its medical marijuana research regulations in late March. The agency proposed to license more institutions to grow marijuana for research purposes, and to let them produce different types of marijuana products and derivatives, like CBD. But under this proposal, the DEA would assume full ownership over all marijuana produced for research. A public comment period on this rule-change continues until May 22.

If accepted, the proposal would be a major departure from the status quo. As Filter has reported, currently the only institution that can legally produce marijuana for research in the US is the University of Mississippi, and they don’t have to forfeit ownership of the product to the DEA. The DEA first allowed other institutions to apply for a license to grow research cannabis in August 2016. More than three years later, the DEA has failed to consider 37 outstanding applications. This inaction prompted pressure from members of Congress and a lawsuit.

The NCIA is arguing that any rule-change the DEA adopts will ultimately slow down medical cannabis research and prevent positive outcomes for patients nationwide. The group cited the overwhelming public support for medical marijuana among Americans—at least 90 percent among both Democrats and Republicans. NCIA also noted that there are at least 3 million US medical marijuana patients across 47 states with some form of legal access.

That number is certainly an underestimate, however. A 2017 Yahoo News and Marist College survey found that 55 million American adults are “current” marijuana users, with 35 million “regular” users. A proportion of this huge population is undoubtedly using marijuana for medical purposes, whether or not they are doing so legally or with a doctor’s recommendation.

The NCIA argues that the DEA has an inherent conflict of interests in overseeing medical marijuana research, because the agency’s mandate is to enforce the federal prohibition of marijuana. The DEA seized 4 million cannabis plants in 2019—a 42 percent increase from the year prior.

“Unreasonable barriers placed on research, including limiting the number of qualified applicants or further delays in the process, increases the risks to millions of patients who use cannabis, contributing to ongoing uncertainties related to inaccurate dosing, inappropriate formulation application, interactions with pharmaceutical drugs and botanicals, and basic safety monitoring,” the NCIA stated.

Unwelcome regulatory complexities have been built on the fact that smoking is only one way of many to consume cannabis, which can also be eaten, vaporized, applied topically or consumed in an alcoholic tincture, to name a few. “Cannabis” is also not just one drug—there are hundreds of active components in the same plant, including cannabinoids like THC and CBD, as well as aromatic compounds called terpenes, like linalool and myrcene. “Cannabis” includes two species and a large variety of different strains, each with their own therapeutic and medicinal effects.

Filter has reported on some of the controversies that animate medical marijuana science: Can medical marijuana treat opioid use disorder, and can it help people who also use buprenorphine or methadone in recovery? Does it help young kids with epilepsy? And what does addiction to cannabis look like, and how could we treat it?

Rigorous, unhindered and widespread research into medical marijuana can answer a lot of questions about what it can or can’t do, and who can benefit. Few outside of the government would argue that the DEA is an appropriate agency to oversee this. 

“There is no putting the genie back in the bottle,” stated the NCIA. “It is clear the American public wants regulated, tested and safe cannabis.”

Source: Filter

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2021

Jamaica faces marijuana shortage dubbing it a ‘cultural embarrassment’

HEAVY rain and drought have contributed to Jamaica’s “worst ever” marijuana shortage – with locals calling it a “national embarrassment”.

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HEAVY rain and drought have contributed to Jamaica’s “worst ever” marijuana shortage – with locals calling it a “national embarrassment”.

Activists say they believe the Covid-19 pandemic and a loosening of Jamaica’s marijuana laws has led to a huge increase in local consumption. A brokerage firm for the island nation’s small but growing legal cannabis industry says a rise in usage during lockdown has led to supplies running low. The 2020 hurricane season and a devastating drought also caused tens of thousands of pounds in losses, according to farmers who cultivate cannabis outside the legal system – where a majority of people still buy the drug for cheap on the street. Chief opportunity explorer at Tacaya, Triston Thompson, also said Covid rules have also stopped farmers tending crops after they were ravaged by a bad season last year.

“Last year was the worst year. We’ve never had this amount of loss,” Thompson said.

“It’s something so laughable that cannabis is short in Jamaica. It’s a cultural embarrassment.”

In Jamaica the drug has been decriminalised in small amounts – vut much of the market remains illegal.

The governments Cannabis Licensing Authority – which has authorised 29 cultivators and issued 73 licenses – said there is no shortage of marijuana in the regulated industry. But farmers and activists say weed sold via legal “herb houses” is out of reach for many – because it costs five to 10 times more than pot on the street. This comes on top of a sharp decline in ganja-seeking tourists heading to the island in search of the drug.

Paul Burke, CEO of Jamaica’s Ganja Growers and Producers Association, said users are now not afraid of being prosecuted now the government allows possession of small amounts. He said the stigma associated with cannabis has diminished, with more people using the drug during the Covid-19 pandemic for its alleged therapeutic and medicinal benefits.mBurke also said that some traditional small farmers have stopped growing as they can’t afford to meet requirements for the legal market. Meanwhile, police are continuing to waste and destroy what Burke described as “good” ganja fields that are not included in the legal market.

This comes on top of a sharp decline in ganja-seeking tourists heading to the island in search of the drug.

Paul Burke, CEO of Jamaica’s Ganja Growers and Producers Association, said users are now not afraid of being prosecuted now the government allows possession of small amounts.

He said the stigma associated with cannabis has diminished, with more people using the drug during the Covid-19 pandemic for its alleged therapeutic and medicinal benefits.

Burke also said that some traditional small farmers have stopped growing as they can’t afford to meet requirements for the legal market.

Meanwhile, police are continuing to waste and destroy what Burke described as “good” ganja fields that are not included in the legal market.

Jamaica, which foreigners have long associated with pot, reggae and Rastafarians, authorized a regulated medical marijuana industry and decriminalised small amounts of the drug in 2015.

People caught with 2 ounces (56 grams) or less of cannabis are liabel to pay a small fine and face no arrest or criminal record.

The island also allows individuals to cultivate up to five plants, and Rastafarians are legally allowed to smoke cannabis for sacramental purposes.

Source: The Sun

Image:

Shutterstock, Adobe Stock

By Michael

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Best Bud of the Month: Toffee – Bud Tender

Frankly, you already know Toffee. In fact, if you Google “Toffee Durango Greenery,” the first ten results that pop up are from happy customers who left a review specifically for Toffee, and they’re all glowing sentiments with comments such as “great customer service” and “best budtender ever,” which makes sense. Toffee simply slays it up […]

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Frankly, you already know Toffee. In fact, if you Google “Toffee Durango Greenery,” the first ten results that pop up are from happy customers who left a review specifically for Toffee, and they’re all glowing sentiments with comments such as “great customer service” and “best budtender ever,” which makes sense. Toffee simply slays it up front, and everyone who walks in our door leaves with a smile thanks to the equal parts of friendly, sarcastic sass and superb cannabis knowledge they received from Toffee. But just in case you’re one of the few Durangans who doesn’t know this extra-fab budtender of ours, here’s your chance to learn a bit more:

 

About your Best Bud:

Q. When did you start working for The Greenery?

Toffee. I began working at the Greenery a scant 5 months ago, and I’m still having fun.

 

Q. What’s your favorite way to enjoy marijuana?

Toffee. I prefer a nice flavorful flower or a potent dab. Edibles for special occasions of course!

 

Q. What’s your favorite outdoor activity?

Toffee. Nothing beats the simple joy of a walk by the river or a gentle hike. I prefer getting fresh air and relaxing to testing my endurance and athleticism.

 

Q. Tell us about your pet.

Toffee. I don’t have a pet at the moment, but I will be remedying that as soon as possible.

 

Q. Which station do you stream while you’re working at The Greenery?

Toffee. I tend to listen to podcasts when I’m just passing time with busy work, but I’ll switch over to one of my custom playlists when I want to focus.

 

Q. What do you like most about working at The Greenery?

Toffee. I’ve always been passionate about cannabis, and this job really lets me indulge in that passion. I could talk about weed and weed-adjacent products all day long. No, really, that’s what I’m paid to do.

 

Yes! We really do pay our budtenders to “talk about weed and weed-adjacent products all day long,” which is still something we don’t take for granted—we all remember when weed was illegal, and it’s still a bit surreal to walk into this Durango dispensary daily to sell it and talk about it for a paycheck.

And really, there aren’t many people better at talking about weed than Toffee, who comes to work each day with an organic, genuine passion for the plant, and with a heartfelt desire to help the people who walk into The Greenery looking for legal weed. So, Toffee, thank you for all that you do; you’re February’s Best Bud of the Month!

The post Best Bud of the Month: Toffee – Bud Tender appeared first on The Greenery.

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2021

Brexit blow to the cannabis seed industry

There have been several reports from within the UK cannabis community over the last few weeks that seed packages from European distributors and seed banks are arriving with their contents, phone number, and email address clearly visible on the outside of the package.

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The start of this year brought with it a continuation of the on-going global Covid-19 pandemic and a whole heap of new Brexit regulations and rules for the UK to try and understand.

There have been several reports from within the UK cannabis community over the last few weeks that seed packages from European distributors and seed banks are arriving with their contents, phone number, and email address clearly visible on the outside of the package.

The reason for the change is all to do with how Brexit is affecting importation rules. As the UK has now left the European Union market – the single largest trading block in the world. We no longer benefit from the free movement of goods within the EU. Consequently, goods imported to the UK now have to follow additional regulations including packaging, customs, and importation rules that mean that the contents must clearly be labeled on the invoice attached to the package.

A few wholesalers are reporting having packages seized at the border with one being told that “if you want your box you’ll have to go to court”. This has meant that several of the big seed banks have now announced that they will be stopping deliveries to the UK until the issue is resolved.

During my investigation for this blog, I was made aware of another potentially huge negative consequence of Brexit on the UK cannabis industry. Namely, changes to the rules that govern importing cannabis and hemp seeds.

The cannabis seed industry has been able to function in the UK for decades as seeds have been designated as ‘souvenirs’ and ‘collectibles’. It is the act of germination and cultivating the seed that breaks the law. This has given the cannabis seed industry a nice gray-area to operate and grow into a rather robust and profitable industry.

As the rules stand today, all plants or plant products (including seeds) that cross an international border must be accompanied by a valid Phytosanitary certificate. This is to ensure that they have been inspected and contain no pests or diseases. This inspection and sign off must be complete in the origin country within 14 days of importation.

It is not yet fully clear if these regulations will include cannabis seeds. I can however tell you that from the correspondences that I have seen from various companies to the Animal and Plant Health Authority (APHA) and other agencies – they do not have a clue what is going on.

Although there are many UK-based seed banks, they typically get their bulk wholesale seeds from European breeders and distributors in countries like Spain and Switzerland. This means that there may very well be seed shortages here in the UK this year.

Post-Brexit the UK has to decide how to regulate the commercial sale of cannabis seeds. It is clear from conversations that I have had with some seed companies that these regulations have not been considered by the British government when agreeing to the 11th-hour deal. This gives us the golden opportunity to design a framework that protects an industry that so many jobs are dependent on.

Freedom Seeds, a Portsmouth-based seed bank issued a public statement a few days ago stating that would have to cease giving away free seeds with orders. This is due to having a shipment of wholesale seeds seized by UK customs.

A UK seed company that I spoke to has been getting around this by getting their seeds imported with other goods that are the only thing declared on the invoice – which is possibly Illegal and highly unsustainable for a legitimate company.

Another method for procuring seeds post-Brexit could be to fly over to Europe and bring them back personally, however, this could incur additional taxes or import fees and still require a Phytosanitary certificate.

All this comes on the back of a multi-million Euro raid on POT SISTEMAK SL group, the organization that produces seeds for La Mota, Dinafem, and Humboldt seeds were hit by Operation Inxer-Toro. The Spanish Medicines Agency (AEDM) ordered the Guardia civil and the tax authority to conduct an operation to stop the company’s activities in the region – culminating in the raids last September.

We are not criminals. We buy seeds and we sell them. We have been doing this for 21 years. We are one of the most important seed banks in Spain and Europe and we distribute more than a hundred brands. We are obliged to be audited because we have a turnover of more than ten million euros and they have never taken anything out, we pay our taxes every year, we go to international fairs around the world whole to exhibit our seeds for 17 years… All we ask is justice” – One of the arrest managers at POT SISTEMAK SL Group

11 cannabis grow facilities are reported to of been dismantled as part of the operation. Along with the seizure of an estimated 20 million cannabis seeds that have an estimated value of 100 million Euros.

The combination of this raid and Brexit could prove to be fatal to some seed banks and breeders around the world that have relied on the up until now relaxed attitude of Spanish authorities to produce the seeds of many of the cultivars that have now become everyday household names.

Regardless of your politics, this new post-Brexit era that we find ourselves in is going to take quite some time to adjust to. So stock up on your favourite strain and start making friends with people that supply cuttings!

Written by Simpa for TheSimpaLife.com

Image: By Denys Rudyi

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