Poll: For First Time, Majority in France Support Legalizing Marijuana

New polling shows that for the first time a majority of adults in France support legalizing marijuana, and a much larger majority support medical marijuana legalization.

According to the new poll from Institut français d’opinion publique (Ifop) for Terra Nova and Echo Citoyen, 51% of those in France support marijuana legalization, with 40% opposed; the remaining 9% are currently undecided on the issue.

Thierry Pech, head of Terra Nova, says the poll marks a “turning point”, saying that “French people made the finding that prohibition and repression did not work to preserve the health of users”.

The poll found that if taxes from legal marijuana were used to support the nation’s health system, 72% would be in favor.

In regards to medical marijuana, the new survey found 82% to be in favor, with 62% supporting the legal availability of the medicine through all forms.

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Marijuana Possession, Cultivation Become Legal in Vermont in Less than Two Weeks

On July 1, Vermont will officially become the ninth U.S. state where it’s legal for those 21 and older to possess marijuana for personal use.

The new law – which was signed by Governor Phil Scott in January – will also make Vermont the eighth state where it’s legal to cultivate marijuana for personal use, and the first to do so through state lawmakers (rather than a citizen’s initiative). Specifically, the law allows those 21 and older to grow up to two mature, and four immature plants in a private residence. The possession limit is set at an ounce, although the limit doesn’t apply to marijuana harvested from personally grown plants, as long as it remains stored on-site (in other words someone can grow and possess, say, four ounces, but they can’t leave their house with more than an ounce).

Unfortunately Vermont’s law doesn’t authorize marijuana retail outlets. This makes Vermont the only state where marijuana possession has been legalized that doesn’t allow marijuana stores. However, marijuana advocates continue to push lawmakers to allow such businesses, and are hopeful that lawmakers will get on board in the near future.

On July 1 Vermont will join Washington, Colorado, Oregon, Nevada, Massachusetts, Maine, California and Alaska as legal marijuana states; Washington D.C. has also legalized. Of these locations, only Washington doesn’t allow home cultivation of marijuana.

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Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Initiative Being Voted On Next Week

Next week, on June 26, an initiative to legalize medical marijuana will be up for a vote in Oklahoma.

State Question 788, to legalize medical cannabis, will be voted on June 26 in Oklahoma. Put forth by the nonprofit Oklahomans for Health, the initiative would allow those with a doctor recommendation to legally possess and use medical cannabis and cannabis products. A state-licensed system of dispensaries would be authorized to sell the plant to qualified patients. The proposal doesn’t establish a list of qualifying conditions, instead leaving it up to physicians to decide who can benefit from the medicine.

Under the initiative patients would be allowed to purchase and possess up to three ounces of cannabis, and up to 72 ounces of cannabis-infused products such as edibles and topicals.

Below are some further details on the measure:

  • Obtaining a state-issued medical marijuana license would require a board-certified physician’s signature.
  • People with licenses would be permitted to possess up to 3 ounces of marijuana on their person and 8 ounces of marijuana in their residence.
  • A 7 percent tax would be levied on marijuana sales, with revenue being allocated to administrative costs, education, and drug and alcohol rehabilitation.
  • Licenses would be required to operate dispensaries, commercial growing operations, and processing operations. Municipalities would be prohibited from restricting zoning laws to prevent marijuana dispensaries

The full text of State Question 788 can be found by clicking here.

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Portugal Parliament Passes Legislation to Legalize Marijuana Medicines

Portugal’s full parliament overwhelmingly approved a bill today that would legalize marijuana-based medicines, reports Reuters.

Only one party, the center-right CDS-PP, abstained in the vote. The bill would legalize prescription marijuana to treat chronic pain, post traumatic stress disorder, side effects from cancer therapy, and a list of other ailments. The bill now goes to President Marcelo Rebelo de Souza who can sign it into law, allow it to become law without a signature, or veto it.

Under the proposed law all marijuana medicines will need to be licenses from regulator Infarmed, the body which last year authorized a medical marijuana plantation in central Portugal for export.

“Portugal, on the Atlantic coast has a warm temperate subtropical climate, with mild winters, warm summers and lots of sunny days, which is often compared to that of California, making it an ideal place for cannabis cultivation”, states the Reuters report.

In Portugal the possession of all drugs, including marijuana, has been decriminalized since 2001. However, if President Souza signs the parliament-approved medical marijuana law, it would mark the first time the nation has legalized marijuana for recreational or medical use.

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Study: No Association Between Cannabis Use and Suicidal Behavior in Those With Psychiatric Disorders

A detailed, peer-reviewed study published this week by the National Institute of Health found “no association between cannabis use and suicidal behavior in men or women with psychiatric disorders”.

The purpose of the study, which was also published by the journal Biology of Sex Differences, was to ” investigate the association between cannabis use and suicide attempts in men and women with psychiatric disorders.” To do so researchers “employed a multivariable logistic regression to assess the association between cannabis use and suicide attempts in men and women with psychiatric disorders.”

Researchers analyzed data from 465 men and 444 women. Amongst these, 112 men and 158 women had attempted suicide. The average age of our participants was 40 years.

“We found no significant association between suicide attempts and cannabis use in men or women”, states the study. “Our findings indicate that there is no association between cannabis use and suicidal behavior in men or women with psychiatric disorders”.

The study concludes by noting that “The impact of cannabis use in psychiatric disorders needs ongoing examination in light of its common use, impending legalization with expected increased access and the uncertainty about cannabis‘ effects on prognosis of psychiatric disorders. In addition, research should continue to investigate modifiable risk factors of SB in this population of which cannabis is not a significant factor based on this study.”

The full study can be found by clicking here.

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Oregon Brings in Nearly $9 Million in Taxes from Legal Marijuana in April

Oregon made nearly $9 million in taxes from legal marijuana sales in April.

According to Oregon’s Department of Revenue, the state garnered $8,868,932 in marijuana sales taxes in April of this year. This marks an over 70% increase from April, 2017, when the state brought in a little over $5 million in marijuana taxes.

Of the $8.8 million in taxes garnered in April, the vast majority – $7.6 million – came from Oregon’s 17% state tax on marijuana. The remaining $1.2 million came from local taxes, which can be up to 3%.

Based in the new figures for April, Oregon is on tract to garner around $100 million in marijuana taxes for 2018, which would be a large increase from the $68.6 million the state made in 2017.

In Oregon the possession of up to an ounce of marijuana is legal for those 21 and older, who can buy the plant and products made from it at licensed marijuana retail outlets.

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U.S. Senate Committee Passes Bill to Legalize Hemp

In a historic vote, a committee of the U.S. Senate has passed legislation that would legalize industrial hemp across the nation.

The Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry voted 20 to 1 earlier today to pass the 2018 Farm Bill, which includes a provision that would explicitly legalize industrial hemp across the United States. The provision was included by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R).

“I think it’s time we took this step,” McConnell said before the committee’s vote. “I think everybody has now figured it out that this is not the other plant”. McConnell noted that “It’s a landmark piece of legislation that will benefit farmers and communities throughout our country.”

It’s unclear if the full Senate will pass the Farm Bill with the hemp legalization provision included, but there’s a better chance than ever now that it has bipartisan support including being supported by both the Senate majority and Senate minority leaders.

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Top Five Things Your CBD Business Needs to Consider

It is no secret that cannabidiol (CBD) is having a moment right now. Unlike its cousin tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is another cannabinoid found in the cannabis plant, CBD is not psychoactive. It has been growing in popularity for years for medical and other applications, but has really taken off lately.

Though CBD has become increasingly popular, it is still important to proceed with caution for any businesses operating in this space. Below are five important questions to keep in mind when dealing with CBD.

1. What is the source of the CBD?

It’s not an accident that this question is first on this list. The source is key. If you are selling CBD at a licensed dispensary in a state that permits the sale of marijuana, then you need to verify that the product comes from a licensed source. Some states like Washington and Oregon may allow CBD additives from other sources, while other states are silent on the topic. You should act cautiously either way.

If you are selling across state lines or in stores that are not licensed to sell marijuana, then you must ensure that your product is either derived from industrial hemp or from portions of the cannabis plant exempt from the Controlled Substances Act’s (CSA) definition of “marijuana.” If using industrial hemp, you need to make sure that the cultivator has a license from a state that has implemented an agricultural pilot program in compliance with Section 7606 of the 2014 Farm Bill. If you are using exempt plant material, you need to verify that the product was derived from mature stalks or seeds incapable of germination as those sections are specifically exempted from the CSA.

If you a buying from a cultivator or processor, you should carefully draft your purchase and sales agreements to include representations and warranties from the supplier. It’s also important to learn about who you are doing business as the question of source can determine whether or not something is legal.

2. What do the lab tests say?

If your first thought in reading this is, “should I be testing CBD products?” the answer is “yes!” It’s important to test for items that could pose a risk to public health including pesticides, heavy metals, and microbials. States may require such testing, but the risk will ultimately fall on any company in the line of production. If a consumer is harmed, the cultivator, processor, and distributor may all be sued for product liability.

CBD is not independently listed as a controlled substance in the CSA. However, THC is. This means you need to test to make sure you CBD product does not contain THC, unless you are selling it in states that have legal marijuana programs. This is important whether your are dealing with Farm Bill hemp as it is defined as containing less than .3% THC on a dry weight basis, or if you are dealing with exempt plant material as THC alone is a Schedule I controlled substance.

3. Where is the CBD going to be sold?

I recently wrote about how state law impacts the distribution of hemp-derived CBD products. If you are distributing products in a state that restricts the sale of CBD, like Michigan, you products could be seized and your company and its stakeholders could face criminal sanctions. It’s important to track where your products are being distributed and to inform your potential customers that they too must monitor state law.

4. What claims are you making about CBD?

We’ve written before that the FDA will treat products as drugs if their own labeling or marketing suggests they are “intended for use in the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease.” Phrases like “combats tumor cells” and “[has] anti-proliferative properties that inhibit cell division and growth in certain types of cancer” clearly suggest that the CDB product can cure, mitigate, treat or prevent cancer, and is thus a drug.

Any suggestion that a product might have a role in treating or diagnosing disease, or that it is intended to affect the structure or any function of the human body of humans or other animals, is a health claim that subjects the product to drug regulations (unless it falls within the narrow confines of the Dietary Supplement Health & Education Act, which the FDA has ruled that CBD does not.)

It’s important to remember that only the FDA can determine whether a drug can be labelled as safe and effective for a particular disease. Preventing health claims based on anecdotal evidence is one of the FDA’s core functions and the agency will not hesitate to issue warning letters based on CBD health claims.

Long story short, don’t make health claims about your CBD products or allow others to post testimonials on your website.

5. Has the law changed?

Finally, it’s important to keep up with the ever changing legal landscape. Tom Angell of Marijuana Moment recently reported that Mitch McConnell announced that his proposed hemp bill will be included in the broad ranging agricultural act of 2018. This comes shortly after Congress approved a non-binding resolution acknowledging the vast potential of hemp.

In addition to federal law, stakeholders need to stay informed as to how the DEA feels about CBD that week. The DEA is often changing its policy on this subject, whether that comes through a post on its website or an internal directive. It’s important to stay up-to-date on the DEA’s latest position on CBD.

Finally, monitor state law. This is probably the hardest to accomplish since there are 50 states who each may treat CBD differently. Still, if you are doing business in a state, it’s on you to know the rules.

CBD law is incredibly complex and this list only scratches the surface as to what you need to look out for. If you have additional questions, give our firm a call to see how we can help your CBD business thrive.

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