Canada’s Marijuana Legalization Law Takes Effect on Wednesday

Marijuana possession and use will officially become legal for those 18+ in Canada on Wednesday, with regulated adult sales set to begin in several provinces around the country.

Canada’s parliament approved Bill C-45, known as the Cannabis Act, in June. It creates an overarching national regulatory framework and enables each province to establish its own system of licensing and regulating marijuana businesses. Adults will be allowed to possess up to 30 grams of marijuana, and all products will be sold in plain packaging with clearly marked labels.

Canada is just the second country and the first G7 nation to legalize marijuana for adults at the national level. The first was Uruguay, where legislation was signed into law in December 2013 and a limited number of pharmacies began selling marijuana to adults in July 2017. Nine U.S. states, the District of Columbia, and one U.S. territory, the Northern Mariana Islands, have enacted laws making marijuana legal for adults 21 and older. Eight of those states and the Northern Marianas have also established systems for regulating commercial cultivation and sales.

“Canada is setting a strong example for how to end marijuana prohibition at the national level and replace it with a system of regulated production and sales that is largely governed at the local level” says Steve Hawkins, executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project. “The U.S. and other countries grappling with the complexities of such a significant policy shift will have an excellent opportunity to learn from the Canadian experience.”

Hawkins continues; “The Canadian model is rather similar to what many envision for the U.S., and in many ways it mirrors what is happening here, as states have taken the lead in regulating commercial cannabis activity. The big difference—and it is a critical difference—is the blessing provincial governments have received from their federal government. It is time for Congress to step up and take similar action to harmonize our nation’s state and federal marijuana policies.

“As just the second country and the first G7 nation to end marijuana prohibition, Canada has positioned itself as a global leader for cannabis business and development. As the U.S. continues to face federal road blocks to cannabis-related medical research, Canada could very well become the world leader in discovering new cannabis-based medicines. The country has already begun to experience some of the economic benefits that come with being one of the first nations to establish a legal marijuana market for adult use. It won’t be long before it begins to see the public health and safety benefits that stem from replacing an illegal market with a regulated one. Canada is going to generate significant revenue, create all sorts of jobs and business opportunities, and become the world leader for cannabis-related research and development. Hopefully Congress will take notice quickly and that competitive American spirit will kick in sooner rather than later.”

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Congressman Says Trump Plans to Back State Marijuana Laws, Unveil Federal Reforms, Following Midterms

Representative Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) says that the Trump Administration has made a “solid commitment” to fix federal marijuana laws in order to respect states’ rights after next month’s election.

In an interview with Fox Business on Thursday, Rohrabacher said that he had been talking with people inside the White House about ending marijuana prohibition, and says he’s been “reassured that the president intends on keeping his campaign promise” to protect state marijuana laws from federal interference.

“I would expect after the election we will sit down and we’ll start hammering out something that is specific and real,” he said. “It could be as early as spring of 2019, but definitely in the next legislative session”.

Rohrabacher says that Trump has made a “solid commitment” to do so.

In April President Trump pledged that the federal government won’t interfere with state laws that legalize marijuana, and said he’ll support legislative efforts to cement this.

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New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy Says State May Legalize Marijuana by the End of the Month

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy (D) says state lawmakers may vote on marijuana legalization on October 29.

“We’ve had good exchanges with both the legislative leadership sponsors and, most importantly, the teams in the trenches crafting this,” Murphy said during a recent live Facebook interview in which he was asked about legalizing marijuana . “I think it’s sooner than later.”

Murphy says that based on current discussions and support, having a vote on October 29 “feels about right.” The two things that may potentially delay a vote is a debate on marijuana taxes (Senate President Stephen Sweeney says he won’t support anything higher than 12%, while some have argued for as high as 25%), and disagreement about which regulatory body should oversee the legal marijuana industry.

During his election campaign last year Governor Murphy vowed to legalize marijuana within 100 days of becoming governor. He’s already missed that goal, but has continued to actively push for legalization.

According to polling released in March; “Voters support 59 – 37 percent allowing adults to legally possess small amounts of marijuana for personal use”. Support is “63 – 33 percent among men and 55 – 41 percent among women. White voters support legalized marijuana 58 – 39 percent, with non-white support at 60 – 35 percent. ”

Last month New Jersey’s Senate Economic Growth Committee passed a bill that would legalize industrial hemp. However, the measure would have had no impact on marijuana laws.

Under current New Jersey law, possessing under 50 grams of marijuana is punishable by an $1,000 fine and up to six months in jail.

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FDA Seeking Public Comment on the Potential Rescheduling of Marijuana

The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is currently seeking public comment regarding the potential rescheduling of marijuana and 16 other substances.

“The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is requesting interested persons to submit comments concerning abuse potential, actual abuse, medical usefulness, trafficking, and impact of scheduling changes on availability for medical use of” cannabis and 16 other substances, says Leslie Kux, FDA’s Associate Commissioner for Policy, in a Federal Register posting.

“These comments will be considered in preparing a response from the United States to the World Health Organization (WHO) regarding the abuse liability and diversion of these drugs. WHO will use this information to consider whether to recommend that certain international restrictions be placed on these drugs.”

The WHO’s Expert Committee on Drug Dependence (ECDD) is meeting next month to consider the classification of not just marijuana, but a list of other substances.

Kux notes that “This notice requesting comments is required by the Controlled Substances Act (the CSA).”

According to the Federal Register posting:

“You may submit comments as follows. Please note that late, untimely filed comments will not be considered. Electronic comments must be submitted on or before (enter date), 2018. The https://www.regulations.gov electronic filing system will accept comments until 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time at the end of October 31, 2018. Comments received by mail/hand delivery/courier (for written/paper submissions) will be considered timely if they are postmarked or the delivery service acceptance receipt is on or before that date.

Electronic Submissions

Submit electronic comments in the following way:

  • Federal eRulemaking Portal: https://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments. Comments submitted electronically, including attachments, to https://www.regulations.gov will be posted to the docket unchanged. Because your comment will be made public, you are solely responsible for ensuring that your comment does not include any confidential information that you or a third party may not wish to be posted, such as medical information, your or anyone else’s Social Security number, or confidential business information, such as a manufacturing process. Please note that if you include your name, contact information, or other information that identifies you in the body of your comments, that information will be posted on https://www.regulations.gov.
  • If you want to submit a comment with confidential information that you do not wish to be made available to the public, submit the comment as a written/paper submission and in the manner detailed (see “Written/Paper Submissions” and “Instructions”).

Written/Paper Submissions

Submit written/paper submissions as follows:

  • Mail/Hand delivery/Courier (for written/paper submissions): Dockets Management Staff (HFA-305), Food and Drug Administration, 5630 Fishers Lane, Rm. 1061, Rockville, MD 20852.
  • For written/paper comments submitted to the Dockets Management Staff, FDA will post your comment, as well as any attachments, except for information submitted, marked and identified, as confidential, if submitted as detailed in “Instructions.”

Instructions: All submissions received must include the Docket No. FDA-2018-N-3685 for “International Drug Scheduling; Convention on Psychotropic Substances; Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs; ADB-FUBINACA; FUB-AMB(MMB-FUBINACA_AMB-FUBINACA); ADB-CHMINACA; CUMYL-4CN-BINACA; Cyclopropyl Fentanyl; Methoxyacetyl Fentanyl; Ortho-Fluorofentanyl; Para- Fluoro Butyrfentanyl; Para-Methoxybutyrfentanyl; N-Ethylnorpentylone; Tramadol; Pregabalin; Cannabis Plant and Resin; Extracts and Tinctures of Cannabis; Delta-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol; Stereoisomers of Tetrahydrocannabinol; Request for Comments.” Received comments, those filed in a timely manner (see ADDRESSES), will be placed in the docket and, except for those submitted as “Confidential Submissions,” publicly viewable at https://www.regulations.gov or at the Dockets Management Staff between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday.

  • Confidential Submissions—To submit a comment with confidential information that you do not wish to be made publicly available, submit your comments only as a written/paper submission. You should submit two copies total. One copy will include the information you claim to be confidential with a heading or cover note that states “THIS DOCUMENT CONTAINS CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION.” The Agency will review this copy, including the claimed confidential information, in its consideration of comments. The second copy, which will have the claimed confidential information redacted/blacked out, will be available for public viewing and posted on https://www.regulations.gov. Submit both copies to the Dockets Management Staff. If you do not wish your name and contact information to be made publicly available, you can provide this information on the cover sheet and not in the body of your comments and you must identify this information as “confidential.” Any information marked as “confidential” will not be disclosed except in accordance with 21 CFR 10.20 and other applicable disclosure law. For more information about FDA’s posting of comments to public dockets, see 80 FR 56469, September 18, 2015, or access the information at: https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2015-09-18/pdf/2015-23389.pdf.

Docket: For access to the docket to read background documents or the electronic and written/paper comments received, go to https://www.regulations.gov and insert the docket number, found in brackets in the heading of this document, into the “Search” box and follow the prompts and/or go to the Dockets Management Staff, 5630 Fishers Lane, Rm. 1061, Rockville, MD 20852.”

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Pennsylvania Committee Passes Marijuana Decriminalization Bill

Legislation that would decriminalize an individual’s first two instances of personal marijuana possession has been passed by a key House committee in Pennsylvania.

House Bill 928 would reduce the penalty for possessing marijuana for the first and second time from a misdemeanor to a fine of $300 with no possibility of jail time (given the possession was for personal use). If someone is caught possessing marijuana for a third time, they could still face a misdemeanor charge.

The measure, filed by State Representative Barry Jozwiak (R) with 30 bipartisan cosponsors, was passed Tuesday by the House Judiciary Committee by a vote of 14 to 9. The legislation now moves towards a vote by the full House of Representatives, where passage would send it to the Senate.

The full text of House Bill 928 can be found by clicking here.

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Is Marijuana Legal in Maine

Is marijuana legal in Maine?

Maine is one of nine states that have legalized marijuana. Here’s some more details.

Maine voters legalized marijuana

In 2016 Maine voters passed Question 1, legalizing marijuana for everyone 21 and older. 50.26% voted in favor.

Portions of the law took effect on January 30, 2017, allowing for the possession of up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana.

Is growing marijuana legal in Maine?

It is legal in Maine for anyone 21+ to grow marijuana for personal use. They may grow up to six plants at a private residence. As with the provision of the initiative allowing marijuana possession, this took effect on January 30, 2017.

Are marijuana stores legal in Maine?

Question 1 authorizes marijuana retail outlets. However, the state’s legal marijuana system isn’t expected to be up and running until spring or summer of next year. Once up and running, the state will have a system of licensed and regulated marijuana retail outlets.

Is marijuana legal for minors in Maine?

Question 1 legalized marijuana for everyone 21 and older. However, it did not legalize marijuana for those under 21. Possessing, growing or buying marijuana remains illegal for minors as well as those 18 to 20. The penalties remain the same as they were prior to Prop 1’s passage.

Is it legal to smoke marijuana in public in Maine?

Smoking marijuana in public remains illegal in Maine. Those caught smoking marijuana in public as well as holding marijuana in the open, can be given a civil infraction (ticket). The ticket is a maximum of $100.

What other states have legalized marijuana?

Eight other states besides Maine have legalized marijuana for all uses. These are:

  • Colorado
  • Washington
  • Alaska
  • Oregon
  • California
  • Massachusetts
  • Nevada
  • Vermont

Of these states, including Maine, only Vermont legalized marijuana through the legislature. They are also the only state to not allow marijuana stores.

Washington is the only state that doesn’t allow marijuana to be grown for personal use.

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Pepsi Looking Into Cannabis Beverages

PepsiCo’s Chief Financial Officer Hugh Johnston has announced that the company is looking into the possibility of developing and releasing cannabis-infused beverages.

“I think we’ll look at it critically”, Johnston told Jim Cramer and Sara Eisen last week on CNBC’s Squawk on the Street, noting that he’s “not prepared to share any plans that we may have in the space right now”.

Johnston’s announcement doesn’t mark the first time a major beverage producer has hinted at making cannabis or CBD-infused drinks, with some actually taking action to do so. For example, earlier this year Constellation, the producers of Corona beer, took an addition $4 billion stake in the Canadian cannabis company Canopy Growth, following up on a previous investment in October.

Last month Coca-Cola said it’s “closely watching the growth of non-psychoactive CBD as an ingredient in functional wellness beverages”.

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