UK Gov Concedes CBD (cannabidiol) from Cannabis is Medicine

CBD News Pick – Independent.co.uk

Exclusive: The MHRA’s assessment could ‘provide ground-breaking results’ in leading to reform over cannabis’ medicinal use in the UK

The government’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has found that Cannabidiol (CBD) has a “restoring, correcting or modifying” effect on “physiological functions” when administered to humans, in a potential milestone in the campaign to legalise cannabis and bring about evidence-based laws regarding drugs.

The review of CBD, a cannabinoid accounting for up to 40% of the marijuana plant’s extract that doesn’t contain its psychoactive THC but is purported to retain the health benefits, came about following discussions with CBD vaporiser company MediPen.

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The MHRA’s findings are not directly applicable to the government’s response to last year’s petition to legalise cannabis, but stand in stark contrast, with the petition having been batted away by the Home Office with the assessment that cannabis “can unquestionably cause harm to individuals and society”.

GW Pharmaceuticals has also just concluded a positive phase 3 clinical trial demonstrating the safety and efficacy of CBD.

“Since our inception we’ve worked hard to obtain our goal of breaking down the negative connotations surrounding Cannabis to lead to a reform in the law for medicinal use,” Jordan Owen, Managing Director of MediPen, told The Independent, “now this is finally becoming a reality, which will provide ground-breaking results,”

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Cannabis Conference ICBC comes to Vancouver Oct 13-14

CBD News Pick – Vancouver Sun

At Vancouver’s next big weed get-together, you can expect less tie-dye and more suit-and-tie.

Organizers of the International Cannabis Business Conference this week at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in downtown Vancouver expect a crowd of 650 or more to attend over Thursday and Friday.

And with tickets to attend the conference running upwards of $600 each, the event might have more of a corporate feel than the average 4/20 rally.

There has been no shortage of cannabis conferences passing through Vancouver in recent months: the Cannabis Hemp Conference came to the Westin Bayshore in July, and last month brought both Canadian Cannabis Business Week and the Lift Cannabis Expo to downtown Vancouver.

But the International Cannabis Business Conference seeks to differentiate itself from other events with its global scope and ambitions, said conference organizer and founder Alex Rogers this week. The first editions of the conference were held in San Francisco and Portland, and next April, organizers will take it to Berlin. Plans are in motion, Rogers said, for 2018 events in Australia and Croatia.

Rogers has lived and worked in five different countries, including a six-month jail sentence in Germany after a conviction for cannabis trafficking, an experience he said prompted him to “make the decision to get my life together.”

“I am international citizen,” he said. “I’m a global soul. So my goal was always to take this international.”

Rogers said it is no coincidence that Vancouver will be the first city outside the U.S. to host his event, adding: “Historically speaking, Vancouver is one of the cannabis capitals of the world.”

“I think it’s up to Canada and Vancouver to stay the leaders in this game,” he said. “They need smart, progressive policy that keeps Vancouver and Canada a leader in the cannabis world for another 100 years.”

Speakers at this week’s event include Dr. Gabor Mate, a Vancouver-based physician renowned for his writing about the science of addiction, and Kirk Tousaw, a lawyer and cannabis reform advocate. Tommy Chong, another cannabis legend with ties to Vancouver, will also appear.

Friday’s keynote speaker will be Brendan Kennedy, CEO of Privateer Holdings, a private company based in Seattle with employees in five countries (including about 130 Canada), and ambitions to be a leader in both the medicinal and recreational cannabis markets.

Privateer subsidiary Tilray, a federally licensed cannabis production facility on Vancouver Island, made history this year by becoming the first Canadian company to legally export medical marijuana overseas, said Kennedy, adding: “We’ve always viewed this industry as a global industry.”

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CDC: Marijuana use by Seniors Up 455%

CBD News Pick – LA Weekly

Worried your teen kids are smoking pot? Don’t. New research by the Center for Disease Control suggests the 55 and older crowd is much more likely to hit that vape or chow down on an edible after dinner. Or maybe before dinner, or frankly even during dinner.

Regular weed use among people between the ages of 55 and 64 is up 455 percent since 2002. Yes, 455 percent. Among seniors 65 years and older, cannabis use is up 333 percent. Now compare that to only 7.4 percent of Americans between the ages of 12 and 17 years old who admitted to smoking pot recently. Suddenly, teenagers seem like puritans compared to their parents and grandparents.

If current trends continue, seniors could overtake younger Americans as the largest weed generation. That isn’t entirely surprising given how many baby boomers experimented with drugs in their younger days, but many of them quit partying after having children or settling into more professional lives.

The resurgence of marijuana use among the generation responsible for those infamous D.A.R.E. campaigns of the 1980s and 1990s illustrates how much social perceptions have shifted in regards to cannabis. Today’s rhetoric is less about weed being a dangerous gateway drug and more about the promising properties of medicinal marijuana. Even California Republican Rep. Dana Rohrabacher publicly talked about using mmj to deal with arthritis pain.

And that’s where Green Soldiers Healers Collective comes into play. The small, Los Angeles-area group serves patients between the ages of 6 months and 99 years old with just about every kind of ailment you can imagine. Many of their patients are first-time users filled with concern or trepidation over this new form of alternative medicine.

“What happens with a lot of our older patients is that they’re doing these opiate treatments – whether it be oxycontin or valium or even morphine – and a lot of times there are a lot of side effects those patients go through,” says Lucas, co-founder of Green Soldiers Healers.

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Pennsylvania’s First Marijuana Farm?

CBD News Pick – Pittsburg Post Gazette

Laurel Green Medical aims to get state approval to supply medical marijuana

Denise Gargasz-Mueller and David Knepshield were checking out a 6.5-acre dirt lot at an Armstrong County industrial park last week, all the while envisioning a future in the cannabis growing industry.

In a matter of months, this bare flat could be the site of one of Pennsylvania’s first legal cannabis growing facilities, the home base of a company that’s already lining up medical marijuana dispensary locations in Sewickley, Cranberry and possibly Mt. Lebanon and the Strip District.

Just a few years ago, these two entrepreneurs would have made an unlikely pairing:

Mr. Knepshield is the former CEO of Ford City-based Klingensmith Healthcare, a home medical equipment supply company, while Ms. Gargasz-Mueller, who comes from a farming family, has spent the last four years lobbying to get medical marijuana legalized in Pennsylvania.

With legalization now on the books and the first dispensaries due to open in 2018, their partnership “brings all the right ingredients together,” she said.

Their fledgling company, Laurel Green Medical, has already done a lot of things right — meeting with local officials to line up community support, bringing legal and scientific specialists onboard, and setting out a detailed business plan for attracting investors.

The company is applying for one of the five state-allowed “seed-to-sell” licenses that would allow the partners to grow, process and dispense. They expect to find out if their application is approved around March of next year.

Their goal is simple, said Ms. Gargasz-Mueller: To provide high-quality medical cannabis in a safe, compassionate and discreet environment.

But they also know that while the medical marijuana industry has seen explosive growth the past five years, lurking in the background is a federal law that still considers their product illegal.

So far, Mr. Knepshield said, no major banks here want to touch the medical marijuana business, even though federal officials have indicated they will leave it to state and local agencies to enforce their own narcotics laws.

“Any bank that is federally regulated will not have anything to do with this. It’s not illegal for them to do it. They just don’t feel comfortable with it yet.”

Diane Czarkowski, who with husband Jay started one of the first cannabis dispensaries and cultivation operations in Colorado in 2009, said that’s not uncommon.

“We went through eight banks, but we did finally find one that realized they could get some new business by addressing this industry,” said Mrs. Czarkowski, who has since left the dispensary business and now offers consulting services for cannabis startup businesses through the couple’s company, Canna Advisors.

Laurel Green hopes to work with smaller, state-chartered banks and credit unions to the extent they can; to the extent they can’t, this will be a cash business handling millions of dollars. So, yes, security will be a priority.

“This place will be Fort Knox,” promised Mr. Knepshield.

Like other states that have recently legalized medical marijuana such as New York, New Jersey and Maryland, Pennsylvania is going to require applicants to show they have the financial wherewithal to make a go of it.

Just to apply for the license to grow, process and dispense medical marijuana, Laurel Green Medical has to produce a non-refundable $10,000 payment. The company has to put down another $200,000, which is refundable if the application is denied, for the license. And the partners must demonstrate they have the capital backing to pull the whole thing off, including documentation they have another $500,000 in the bank and another $2 million in assets.

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Cannabis Chocolatier Readying for California Legalization Boom

CBD News Pick – Los Angeles Times

The smell inside the production rooms of Kiva Confections, one of California’s premier  manufacturers of edible cannabis, is, in a word, intoxicating

You won’t just catch whiffs of the powdery hash that goes into Kiva’s high-quality chocolate bars. You’ll also inhale the scent of dried blueberries and the heavenly aroma of espresso beans, which are slowly being covered with cannabis-infused chocolate as they tumble in big metal machines that look like open cement mixers.

Right now, co-owners Kristi Knoblich and Scott Palmer, who founded the company six years ago when they were 24 years old, are making medicine for patients whose conditions are improved by cannabis — people with cancer pain or nausea from chemotherapy, people with neuropathy or anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder.

But if California voters approve Proposition 64, the Adult Use of Marijuana Act, next month, Kiva products will be available to anyone 21 and older. Based on what happened in Colorado after voters in that state approved recreational marijuana in 2012, Knoblich said, the couple anticipates a big — possibly huge — growth in sales.

This worries Proposition 64 opponents, who fear that potent edibles, readily available, could fall into the hands of children. They hope that raising these kinds of fears will nudge voters to reject the measure. Given the polling, I think that is going to be an uphill battle.

Proposition 64 includes safeguards aimed at keeping kids safe: Marijuana products and labels cannot be designed to appeal to children, nor be “easily confused” with commercially sold candy. They must be in childproof packages. Items must be scored into standardized serving sizes, and each serving can contain no more than 10 mgs of THC, the primary active ingredient in marijuana. Products must also carry serious warnings urging caution.

Will this be enough to prevent accidental intoxication by children?

“There have been maybe a couple of hundred cases in Colorado, called into the Denver Poison Control Center,” said Larry Bedard, a retired Marin County emergency room doctor, former president of the American College of Emergency Physicians and strong advocate of legalization.

“At the same time, there’s like 2,500 calls for kids getting into detergent under the kitchen sink,” he said. “I have seen kids in the ICU from aspirin overdoses. I have seen someone die of Tylenol overdose…. If you are a responsible parent, you don’t have Tylenol or aspirin sitting at the bedside. Same thing with edibles. Like other toxic drugs, they need to be kept under lock and key.”

So yes, accidents will happen if Proposition 64 passes, just as they do now.

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2,500 year old Cannabis found in NW China Burial

CBD News Pick 1 of 2 – National Geographic

For the first time, archaeologists have unearthed well-preserved cannabis plants, which were placed on a corpse some 2,500 years ago.

Archaeologists are hailing the discovery of an “extraordinary cache” of cannabis found in an ancient burial in northwest China, saying that the unique find adds considerably to our understanding of how ancient Eurasian cultures used the plant for ritual and medicinal purposes.

In a report in the journal Economic Botany, archaeologist Hongen Jiang and his colleagues describe the burial of an approximately 35-year-old adult man with Caucasian features in China’s Turpan Basin. The man had been laid out on a wooden bed with a reed pillow beneath his head.

Thirteen cannabis plants, each up to almost three feet long, were placed diagonally across the man’s chest, with the roots oriented beneath his pelvis and the tops of the plants extending from just under his chin, up and alongside the left side of his face. (Read how Eurasian gold artifacts tell the tale of drug-fueled rituals.)

Radiocarbon dating of the tomb’s contents indicates that the burial occurred approximately 2,400 to 2,800 years ago.

This discovery adds to a growing collection of archaeological evidence showing that cannabis consumption was “very popular” across the Eurasian steppe thousands of years ago, says Jiang.

A Truly Unique Burial

The burial is one of 240 graves excavated at the Jiayi cemetery in Turpan, and is associated with the Subeixi culture (also known as the Gushi Kingdom) that occupied the area between roughly 3,000 to 2,000 years ago. At the time, Turpan’s desert oasis was an important stop on the Silk Road.

Cannabis plant parts have been found in a few other Turpan burials, most notably in a contemporaneous burial in nearby Yanghai cemetery discovered nearly a decade ago, which contained close to two pounds of cannabis seeds and powdered leaves.

This is the first time archaeologists have recovered complete cannabis plants, as well as the first incidence of their use as a “shroud” in a human burial.

West of Turpan, cannabis seeds have also been found in first millennium B.C. Scythian burials in southern Siberia, including one of a woman who possibly died of breast cancer. Archaeologists suspect she may have been using cannabis in part to ease her symptoms. (Read “Will Marijuana for Sick Kids Get Government to Rethink Weed?“)

However, this is the first time ever that archaeologists have recovered complete cannabis plants, as well as the first incidence of their use as a “shroud” or covering in a human burial, says Jiang.

Locally Grown

Since previous cannabis finds in Turpan burials consisted only of plant parts, it has been difficult for researchers to determine whether the plant was grown locally or obtained through trade with neighboring regions.

The plants in the Jiayi burial, however, were found lying flat on the man’s body, leading archaeologists to conclude that the cannabis had been fresh—and therefore local—when it was harvested for the burial.

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CBD News Pick 2 of 2 – NPR

Researchers have unearthed 13 cannabis plants in an ancient tomb in northern China, suggesting that prehistoric central Eurasians had ritualistic or medicinal uses for the mind-altering plant.

In a recent paper published in Economic Botany, the scientists say that the “extraordinary cache” of 13 “nearly whole” female cannabis plants were arranged diagonally like a shroud over the body of a dead man. The man was about 35 years old, appeared to be Caucasian and might have been a shaman, they say.

In the tomb, the body was placed on a wooden bed with a “pillow made of common reeds,” surrounded by earthenware pots. The plants measured between 19 and 35 inches, and carbon dating indicated that the cemetery is 2,800 to 2,400 years old.

“This is the first time ever that archaeologists have recovered complete cannabis plants, as well as the first incidence of their use as a ‘shroud’ or covering in a human burial,” National Geographic quotes the study’s lead author, Hongen Jiang, as saying.

This isn’t the first time cannabis has been found at sites in Siberia and northwestern China, according to the researchers. The origins of those previous plants were not clear — they might have been transported from other areas. However, the researchers say that the way the plants were placed on this corpse means they were fresh at the time — suggesting that the marijuana was likely locally grown.

The tomb lies in northwest China’s Turpan Basin, which was “an important stop on the Silk Road,” according to the magazine.

It was found among 240 other tombs in the cemetery believed to belong to the Subeixi culture. As the study describes, the Subeixi people “led a pastoral life with only a small amount of cereal cultivation, but eventually developed a more balanced semi-pastoral and semi-agricultural society.”

And the researchers say there’s growing evidence that the Subeixi, along with other groups living in the area, used cannabis for ritualistic or medicinal purposes. Ten years ago, for example, scientists discovered “a large supply of processed female Cannabis flowers” in a nearby Yanghai cemetery. The plants were likely selected because of their “psychoactivity, possibly to facilitate communication between the human and spirit worlds and/or for its medicinal value.” They say it could have also been placed “as an appetite stimulant.”

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Oregon Farms and Growing Regions to Define Industry?

CBD News Pick – The Potlander

There’s reason to suspect the next step for Oregon cannabis is to highlight the farms, as we’ve seen with cheese, wine, hops and berries.

It’s been a bumper-crop year for Oregon cannabis entrepreneurs. Since recreational sales started last October, dispensary shelves have filled with well-marketed innovations—everything from vapes made for women to pre-rolls that can pass for cigarettes to CBD dog treats.

Agriculture is the foundation of this new industry, but it hasn’t been highlighted in marketing, partly because many cannabis growers are still secretive about their operations. But there’s reason to suspect the next step for Oregon cannabis is to highlight the farms, as we’ve seen with cheese, wine, hops and berries.

To do that, Oregon growers will have to start talking about terroir. Just like wine, outdoor-growing areas for cannabis can be defined by geographic features like soil and weather during the growing season. Just as wine is classified into American Viticultural Areas, or AVAs, the future of cannabis might be ACAs: American Cannabis Areas.

Imagine walking into a dispensary and seeing your Sour Diesel labeled “Applegate Valley” or “Yamhill-Carlton.”

It might take a while to designate regions that small, but this is already something the Oregon Cannabis Business Council says it’s working on.

“There would probably end up being at least a dozen, if not more, appellations in the state,” says Donald Morse, director of the OCBC. “It could become our most valuable cash crop.”

Right now, Oregon cannabis growers are generally split into three main regions: Willamette Valley, Eastern Oregon and Southern Oregon. Each region has a distinct climate, growing season and certain strains that flourish there, according to Norris Monson, an outdoor-grow expert and CEO of Rolling Joint Ventures, an Oregon consulting firm.

“Cannabis has a natural range that’s similar to tomatoes,” Monson says. “It likes warm and dry. Psychoactive strains traditionally originate from either high mountainous regions like Afghanistan or Pakistan for indica, or from tropical equatorial regions like Jamaica or Vietnam for sativa.”

Just as certain varieties of grapes are native to certain environments—think how pinot noir thrives in the cool, moist Willamette Valley—certain strains of cannabis do well in certain areas. Weather is a challenge for Oregon outdoor growers, especially in the northern part of the state.

When it comes to matching strains to climate, Eastern Oregon is the most like Pakistan, where indica comes from. Once you get east of the Cascades, it’s drier, colder and there’s less “insect pressure,” as Monson puts it. Indicas thrive there because they are more resilient to low temperatures, and the first frost decides when growers harvest.

In the Willamette Valley, early rains and heavy night dews make the climate the closest this state gets to Jamaica—though it’s still pretty far from it. Sativas have the best chance there, so long as they mature early, before the rainy season starts. “Some growers in the valley use leaf blowers to dry dew from plants and to expedite drying,” Monson says.

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Jamaica Changing Course to Embrace Marijuana

CBD News Pick – New York Times

MONTEGO BAY, Jamaica — Jamaica has long bemoaned its reputation as the land of ganja.

It has enforced draconian drug laws and spent millions on public education to stem its distinction as a pot mecca. But its role as a major supplier of illicit marijuana to the United States and its international image — led by the likes of Bob Marley, whose Rastafarian faith considers smoking up a religious act — have been too strong to overcome.

Now, its leaders smell something else: opportunity.

Having watched states like Colorado and California generate billions of dollars from marijuana, Jamaica has decided to embrace its herbaceous brand.

Rather than arresting and shunning the country’s Rasta population, the Jamaican authorities will leverage it. Beyond decriminalizing the possession of small amounts of marijuana last year, Jamaica has legalized the use of medical marijuana, with its ultimate sights set on “wellness tourism” and the font of money it could bring.

And for good reason: Jamaica has one of the lowest economic growth rates in the developing world, a striking contrast to the global success its citizens have enjoyed in the worlds of sports and music.

So, having done just about everything experts say a stupendously indebted nation should do — sticking to austere fiscal plans, adopting prudent macroeconomic policies and creating a friendly climate for outside investors — Jamaica is adding marijuana to its arsenal.

The new world order has brought together an odd assortment of characters. At a recent conference at a luxury hotel in Montego Bay, besuited government officials and business leaders mingled with pot farmers and Rastafarian leaders like First Man, who kicked off the conference with a speech on the global benefits of ganja.

“We are talking about a plant that bridges the gap between all of our relationships,” First Man, barefoot with a Rasta scarf around his neck, said to a packed room. “Our planet needs this relationship to happen.”

As the head of a Rastafarian village in Jamaica, First Man was speaking at the first CanEx conference, a gathering of government and local leaders trying to figure out just how the country can most effectively make this about-face, without neglecting international law.

No one is really clear how the industry will evolve. Technically, the United Nations convention on drugs — which requires nations to limit the production, trade, use and possession of drugs — still prevails, meaning that outright federal legalization is, well, illegal.

But with the United States and Canada edging toward permitting the drug’s use, Jamaica wants in, too.

“In the past, the United States really left no room for maneuver,” said Mark Golding, the former minister of justice who developed the legislation to permit medical marijuana production in Jamaica. “But with the Obama administration creating an opportunity for states to do what they wanted to, it created a window for all of us.”

“Where the real market is, and where the real money is, remains to be seen,” he added. “We are all just preparing for it.”

For some, society is at the beginning of a post-Prohibition era, much as it was with alcohol decades ago, when global brands and untold billions were still to be made.

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Meet CA Weed Czar Lori Ajax

CBD News Pick – The Mercury News

California’s Wild West of medical marijuana is about to be tamed, on the eve of a historic vote that could greatly expand recreational use of the weed.

Just as labeling allows consumers to trust the difference in potency between a strawberry-rosé spritzer and 190-proof grain alcohol, new state regulations will demand testing, labeling, certification and licensing medical marijuana — every step along the way, from seed to sale.

The new rules, starting in 2018, could also boost pot prices, as businesses face more paperwork, permits, licenses and other new requirements, driving up their costs — and likely driving some mom-and-pop growers and dispensaries out of business.

While the changes may complicate doing business, the goal is simple, said Lori Ajax, the state’s first weed czar.

“We are looking to protect patients, the public and the environment,” Ajax said during a “pre-regulatory” meeting in Oakland last week for the commercial cannabis industry by her fledgling Bureau of Medical Cannabis Regulation.

“If you are engaged in commercial medical cannabis, you need a license,” said Ajax, who has never used cannabis but has decades of experience administering the state’s notoriously complex alcohol laws with the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control.

Two decades after the Golden State pioneered the legal use of medical marijuana through Proposition 215, its vast cannabis industry has been operating under a patchwork of local regulations — or outside the law altogether.

This local control is very different than the approach taken by other states, such as Colorado, Washington and Oregon, which put the state in charge from the very beginning.

“California has always done things its own way,” said attorney Amanda Ostrowitz of CannaRegs, which tracks marijuana laws and regulations around the nation.

But while local control has worked well in some places, like San Jose and Oakland, other communities have struggled to keep tabs on businesses that operate on the margins of legitimacy.

For instance, San Mateo County has about 40 pot delivery services that are illegal under county codes, said Ryan P. Mullane, a Santa Clara-based criminal defense and cannabis licensing attorney. In Los Angeles, overwhelmed police say that public safety deserves far more attention than unlicensed dispensaries.

In the remote farms of Humboldt County, where young women make thousands of dollars trimming marijuana buds, there are stories of sexual abuse and exploitation. Others report frightening encounters with outlaws on the lam.

“Cities don’t have the capacity to enforce the same robust regulations that the state can,” said Ostrowitz, who is based in Denver. “The state has more money to run these programs and enforce them.”

The sweeping new California rules create an extensive, heavily regulated system for growing, testing and selling medical marijuana — and would become the template if voters pass Proposition 64, which would legalize recreational pot.

The change was signed into law last October by Gov. Jerry Brown. Local governments are still free to pass more restrictive laws. San Jose and Oakland, which already tax dispensaries and limit where they are located, will both keep their regulations in place. A dual-licensing system requires the industry to obtain both state and local permits.

The federal government — which still considers cannabis as a Schedule I illegal drug, alongside heroin and LSD — won’t crack down on pot dispensaries that follow the local and state rules, as long as those businesses stay within California’s borders.

Two other state agencies also will be responsible for the new marijuana oversight, including the Department of Food and Agriculture, which will license growers, and the Department of Public Health, which will license manufacturers.

The state held workshops in seven cities with members of the industry to guide how its final regulations are written. It will also offer a written comment period and public hearings.

The new regulations come as 60 percent of California voters tell pollsters that they favor passage of Proposition 64. The measure would boost sales in an industry already valued at $2.7 billion a year, according to The ArcView Group, a marijuana market research firm. If legalized for recreational use, sales are projected to jump to $6.6 billion by 2020.

“If you have state regulations, hopefully you can control the bad things while emphasizing the good things,” said Mullane, the cannabis licensing attorney.

However, the looming rules have put the cannabis industry into a tailspin, forcing a free-thinking and entrepreneurial community to wade through 300 pages of regulations.

At the recent Oakland event, where Ajax and her officers solicited feedback, swarms of people circled her with questions.

One major concern is a rule that requires growers to hire an independent distributor to take a product to a testing lab and certify the results. Only then growers can sell the certified marijuana to dispensaries. 

“Everything has to be tested,” Ostrowitz said.

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CA Gov Signs Medical Marijuana Manufacturing Bill + Vetoes Tax Amnesty

CBD News Pick – Calaveras Enterprise
Governor signs bill setting cannabis manufacturing standards

Gov. Jerry Brown on Thursday signed Assembly Bill 2679, which establishes standards for medical cannabis manufacturers. The measure will also limit law enforcement raids on manufacturers.

Assemblyman Rob Bonta, D-Oakland, is one of the authors of the bill.

“Last year, California took a historic step by regulating medical cannabis to protect patients, businesses, our communities and the environment. But across the state, locally authorized medical cannabis manufacturers continue to be targeted by municipal law enforcement. As we await full implementation of medical cannabis regulations, manufacturers cannot continue to operate in a legal gray area,” Bonta said.

“Under AB 2679, local governments will be given guidance and manufacturers will be protected in preparation for state licenses in 2018.”

Assemblyman Ken Cooley, D-Rancho Cordova, said the bill clarifies for local governments the types of manufacturing allowed in the interim period before the state’s new regulation and licensing of cannabis businesses take effect in 2018.

“I am proud to move this issue forward and continue the ongoing medical cannabis regulation conversation,” Cooley said.

AB 2769 was written by the same bipartisan group of Assembly members who wrote the Medical Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act: Cooley, Bonta, Reginald Byron Jones-Sawyer Sr., D-Los Angeles, Tom Lackey, R-Palmdale, and Jim Wood, D-Healdsburg.

The medical cannabis manufacturing provisions previously were featured in AB 1575, from the same authors, which was held in Senate Appropriations committee.


Governor vetoes tax amnesty for cannabis businesses

Gov. Jerry Brown on Thursday announced he has vetoed Assembly Bill 567, which would have granted a tax penalty amnesty to cannabis businesses that pay back taxes owned for sales before Jan. 1, 2015.

The bill by Assemblyman Mike Gipson, D-Carson, would have set a six-month amnesty period to begin on July 1, 2017. It would have allowed the state to collect somewhere between $27.4 million and $54.7 million, according to a state Board of Equalization estimate.

In his veto message, Brown noted that state agencies are now developing a system of regulations for cannabis businesses. The state is scheduled to begin issuing cannabis business licenses in 2018.

“While increasing tax compliance among medical marijuana businesses is important, it is premature to create a tax amnesty before the regulations that link enforcement to licenses are promulgated,” Brown wrote.

Brown on Thursday did sign another cannabis-related measure, Assembly Bill 821, also by Gipson. AB 821 allows medical marijuana dispensaries to pay their taxes in cash. Most large businesses are required by state law to use electronic payments. Cannabis businesses, however, are prevented by federal laws from using bank accounts, thus forcing them to use cash.

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Damian Marley Converting Prison To Pot Farm

CBD News Pick – Billboard

The musician, along with business partner Ocean Grown Extracts, has created a poetic metaphor and multi-million dollar business model in one.

Damian Marley has announced that he, in partnership with Ocean Grown Extracts, is converting a former 77,000 square foot California State prison into a cannabis grow space that will cultivate medical marijuana for state dispensaries.

 

“Many people sacrificed so much for the herb over the years who got locked up,” says Marley, 38, noting the poetic justice of turning a prison that once housed non-violent drug offenders into a cannabis cultivation facility. “If this [venture] helps people and it’s used for medicinal purposes and inspires people, it’s a success.”

Damian Marley Opening Colorado Weed Dispensary

By that measure, the prison-to-pot farm initiative is already a triumph. With their purchase of the Claremont Custody Center in Coalinga, CA for $4.1 million, Marley and his partners instantly relieved the economically-challenged Central Valley town of its roughly $3.3 million debt. The venture will also generate 100 jobs — in an economically stagnant region plagued by an ongoing, historic drought and descending oil prices, both of which have damaged the region’s traditional farming and oil industries — and will generate an estimated million dollars in annual tax revenues for Coalinga.

The new business began “in a very organic way,” says Dan Dalton, Marley’s longtime manager. “Cannabis is something that’s around Damian every day with friends, family and with his Rastafarian faith. We’ve watched people who have sacrificed their lives for it. That injustice has motivated us to be advocates as well as knowing that there are healing properties in cannabis.” 

Marley today also announced the introduction of Speak Life, a proprietary strain of cannabis he created with Ocean Grown. The strain is based on the company’s lauded OG Kush, but altered genetically with the help of a Ph.D trained chemist at who helped cultivate the unique breed.

“The OG has always been my favorite,” says Marley, who met with the chemist while making Speak Life. “When they introduced this strain of OG I really loved it and loved its consistency.” The bud is a hybrid made of 70 percent indica and 30 percent sativa, and is hand-watered and trimmed.

Marley and his partners are prepared for the “green rush” should California’s Proposition 64 — which would legalize cannabis for adult recreational use — passes in November, as the polls seem to indicate. And California isn’t alone in reconsidering marijuana’s legality, either. Voters in seven other states will choose whether to legalize recreational and/or medical marijuana — Arizona, Maine, Massachusetts and Nevada could approve the use of recreational pot; Arkansas, Florida, and North Dakota will decide on legalizing medical marijuana, which a status the plant has been assigned in 25 states and the District of Columbia. 

Marley’s Coalinga facility will begin producing oil extracts in sixty days, and by this January will harvest its first crop. But Marley, like America, isn’t limiting himself to California. Two weeks ago, in partnership with Colorado-based TruCannabis, he also launched Stoney Hill, a 3,000-square-foot dispensary in downtown Denver, just across from Mile High Stadium, along with a 30,000-square-foot grow space (pictured above), complete with RFID tags for each plant.   

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Renewed Push in New Jersey for Legal Marijuana

CBD News Pick – Philly.com The Inquirer Daily News

The newest marijuana legislation proposal in New Jersey, introduced last month by Assemblyman Michael Patrick Carroll (R., Morris), would allow cannabis to be sold the same way as tobacco, to anyone over 19.

Carroll, a Libertarian, admits the measure is bold and more “far-reaching” than other marijuana bills.

With Gov. Christie’s surprising reversal on expanding the medical marijuana program comes a new batch of very different bills that would allow recreational cannabis in New Jersey.

Christie is not likely to change his strong opposition to legalization, even though he signed a bill last month allowing patients with post-traumatic stress syndrome to obtain cannabis. It was the first time a mental-health condition was added to the list of qualifying ailments.

But lawmakers say three legalization bills introduced this year would get discussions started, in anticipation of Christie’s term ending in 2018.

The newest proposal, introduced last month by Assemblyman Michael Patrick Carroll (R., Morris), would allow cannabis to be sold the same way as tobacco, to anyone over 19. Carroll, a Libertarian, admits the measure is bold and more “far-reaching” than other marijuana bills.

Though some media reports have said the bill would allow cannabis to be purchased in convenience stores, Carroll said his bill “simply legalizes the product, and doesn’t specify where it can be sold.” It also does not limit the amount. A companion bill has not been introduced in the state Senate.

Despite Christie’s promise to veto such bills and his pledge last year as a presidential candidate to eliminate legalization in other states, Carroll wryly said that he has “high hopes that [Christie] can be persuaded on this; common sense might be contagious.”

When pressed on whether an override might be possible, Carroll said: “We’d have to get it posted and passed first. One hypothetical at a time.” Carroll was one of the original sponsors of the bill that legalized medical marijuana in 2010. His new bill also would expunge past criminal records for minor marijuana offenses.

“I think this is a way to get the debate going,” said Bill Caruso, a founding member of New Jersey United for Marijuana Reform, a coalition of civil rights and legal organizations.

In 2015, a Rutgers University-Eagleton Institute poll found 58 percent of New Jersey residents favor legalization.

Currently, four states and Washington have legalized marijuana. Colorado was the first, two years ago, and was followed by Oregon, Washington, Alaska, and the nation’s capital. Arizona, California, Maine, Massachusetts, and Nevada will ask voters to decide the issue in next month’s elections.

In November, state Sen. Nicholas Scutari (D., Union), the chairman of the Judiciary Committee and a municipal prosecutor, introduced the state’s first legalization bill. His proposal called for cannabis to be regulated the same way as alcohol, sold by stores with a state license, and restricted to those 21 and over. Under his bill, the product would be taxed and the revenues used for education and other public purposes.

Earlier this year, Assemblyman Reed Gusciora (D., Mercer), who is considered to be one of the Legislature’s most liberal members, introduced a similar bill. His bill also would allow residents to grow three mature marijuana plants at home and would restrict sales to 1 ounce of cannabis. Gusciora also is sponsoring a bill to legalize cannabis in Atlantic City only, to help spur its ailing economy.

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