Medical Marijuana Now Available for Free for Patients in Sicily

Sicilian cannabis patients may be celebrating after news dropped yesterday that the region’s medical marijuana supplies would be free to certain qualified program participants. Sicily’s top health administrator Ruggero Razza signed a decree that patients with chronic or neuropathic pain, cerebral palsy, or multiple sclerosis will qualify for the government’s subsidized marijuana.

In so doing, Sicily joins national governments in the EU like Ireland and the Czech Republic who have made the decision to largely pay for some of its population’s cannabis treatments.

According to the Italian system, patients must obtain a prescription for cannabis from a doctor. With that script, they are able to buy cannabis from a licensed pharmacist, which gets its supply from either the Italian ministry of defense or from a list of certified importers. 

At the moment, most of Italy’s medical cannabis supplies come from the Netherlands, via the Dutch Office of Medical Cannabis, though the country’s Stabilimento Chimico Farmaceutico di Firenze, an agency within the Department of Defense, is also allowed to produce medicinal cannabis supply. Medical marijuana has been legal in the country since 2013. 

Canadian cannabis company Aurora is also one of Italy’s medical suppliers. It was authorized in June to import

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Toronto Spent Over $350,000 to Blockade Illegal Cannabis Shops With Concrete

The city government of Toronto spent more than $350,000 to blockade unlicensed cannabis shops with slabs of concrete last summer, according to a city official. Senior communications adviser Alex Burke said that a total of $361,459.49 was spent to install and then reinstall large concrete blocks that barred entry to four Cannabis and Fine Edibles (CAFE) shops that were operating without licenses.

The amount spent includes labor to install the concrete blocks and pay city engineers and security staff. The total was not paid by city funds, according to Burke, who wrote in an email to local media that “the city has received monies from the provincial government to support the establishment and implementation of an enforcement strategy for cannabis in the city of Toronto.”

To serve its population of nearly 3 million people, Toronto has only six licensed cannabis retailers, according to information from the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario, which is tasked with regulating commercial cannabis in the province. Eleven more shops have been proposed and are waiting for licenses to be approved.

In July, workers from the city’s Department of Municipal Licensing and Standards (MLS) installed the concrete blocks in front of the four CAFE shops,

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The 3 Most Fascinating Cannabis Businesses in San Francisco

Since recreational pot was legalized in California on Jan 1st of 2018, its citizens have witnessed intriguing developments of the already popular cannabis industry. New verticals, products, and services have been popping up all across the state (and the country).

Pot farmers, pot deliverers, dispensaries, edible producers, startups trying to service the cannabis players, hospitality industry offering cannabis tours, etc. And the list is only expected to get longer.

This year, the International Cannabis Business Conference is happening in San Francisco in February. It is suitable as SF is the technology hub of the world and legalization of cannabis there unsurprisingly would lead to the rise of new, relevant opportunities to expand and transform a fast-evolving industry.

– Read the entire article at San Francisco Examiner.

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Kiva’s New CBN Gummies Are Designed to Help You Sleep

California-based edibles brand Kiva is launching a new gummy today and with it a rather bold statement: “CBD IS DEAD.”

The brand’s newest gummies, Camino Midnight Blueberry, represent its first foray into CBN, a cannabinoid that’s been known to do things like help improve sleep quality and ease restlessness. Even better, Kiva says it does that without the next-day groggy feeling that sometimes comes with using THC in the evening hours.

“With over a third of all Americans sleep deprived, it became clear that there was a need for a product that enabled people to rest and recover from their busy lives,” Kiva CEO and Co-Founder Scott Palmer said in a statement. “CBN is a prevalent cannabinoid (similar to CBD) that has been linked with restful effects. We formulated a THC, CBN and terpene recipe with functional ingredients added to offer consumers our most relaxing product yet.”

– Read the entire article at Forbes.

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Fighting the ‘Stoner Stigma’ as a Medical Cannabis Patient

Years ago, I started using cannabis to help regulate my pain. The patient-demonizing “War on Opiates” was just getting started, and filling my valid prescription was becoming harder and harder. Fast forward a few months, and I had completely weaned off 60 mg oxymorphone and 30 mg oxycodone daily.

After about three months of using cannabis consistently, I randomly noticed I was healing faster and able to do more. My inflammation markers were nonexistent, and after 18 months of unresponsiveness to a prescription biologic rheumatoid arthritis medication, it magically started working better. At the time, I had no idea that autoimmune and inflammatory diseases were some of the bigger responders to cannabinoid therapy.

Upon further research I found studies like this one from GW Pharmaceuticals which claim, “In the first ever controlled trial of a CBM in RA, a significant analgesic effect was observed, and disease activity was significantly suppressed following Sativex treatment.” Sativex is a 1:1 THC:CBD pharmaceutical tincture. At that point the light bulb came on and I realized the combination of cannabis and my biologic were most likely working in harmony.

– Read the entire article at Yahoo News.

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West Virginia Lawmaker Plans to Introduce Marijuana Decriminalization Bill

Could West Virginia be the latest state to relax its marijuana laws? Democratic lawmakers there are sending signals that they are ready.

One such legislator, state Delegate Sammi Brown, said that she intends to re-introduce a version of a bill she offered up in last year’s session that aims to “normalize” cannabis.

“What if we had something that put a big green light out there, no pun intended, that said come on home, and this might be it,” Brown said, as quoted by local television station WOWK.

According to the station, the new bill “will focus on criminal justice reforms and de-stigmatizing cannabis by expunging certain possession charges and work towards non-criminal adult use,” with Brown’s ultimate hope of luring people to West Virginia.

Her bill introduced last year, titled the “Normalization of Cannabis Act,” would have, among other things, allowed adults aged 21 and older to “use,  grow, possess, transport, and give away cannabis and homemade cannabis products,” so long as it was strictly for personal use. 

It is unclear whether Brown’s new legislation will retain all of the same provisions as last year’s proposal. 

What is clear is that the forthcoming bill will face opposition in West Virginia’s

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Intellectual Property Protections for Cannabis Cultivars

Cultivators in the United States have been breeding new Cannabis cultivars since the 1960s, seeking to combine or enhance cultivar characteristics such as yield, flavor, aroma, potency, and neurological/physiological effects. Both federal legalization of hemp (i.e., less than 0.3% THC) and increasing state legalization of marijuana have brought about considerable financial opportunities for companies that develop commercially desirable cultivars. But, the development, refinement, and stabilization of Cannabis cultivars requires substantial investments of time and money. However, options for protecting those investments through intellectual property (IP) safeguards remain limited for marijuana cultivars. 

Relevant IP protections for Cannabis cultivars include plant patents, plant variety protection certificates, and utility patents. Below, we provide an overview of each; but, before diving in further, we note that the need for seed deposits to obtain certain IP protections may present an insurmountable hurdle. United States depositories will not take seeds or tissue derived from marijuana cultivars (i.e., greater than or equal to 0.3% THC). Industry innovators would be well-served by considering their IP strategy before federal marijuana legalization removes these impediments.

Plant Patents

Plant patents protect any new and distinct variety of plant that has been asexually reproduced. Unlike trademark law, patent law has no legal

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