Behind the Scenes With Cannabis Charities

Cannabis is the new gold rush. It’s an industry with an almost comical level of rapid growth, with cannabis spending estimated to hit $57 billion worldwide by 2027.

While there are plenty of excited prospectors waiting to capitalize on the uncertainty there’s also plenty of good to be had, too. We live in a day and age where we can watch the rise of cannabis non-profits like NORML and FOCUS honor their communities by giving back to vulnerable populations—a noble pursuit to be sure.

“If you’re going to be a non-profit in this space, you must, at a bare minimum, align your group to right the wrongs that have been done in whatever state that your nonprofit operates,” says Mr. Taba Moses, founder of the Green Soul Foundation, a newly formed nonprofit designed to address racial disparities in the cannabis industry.

– Read the entire article at Forbes.

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Florida Democrats File Bills to Legalize Adult-Use Cannabis

Just days after Florida lawmakers introduced bipartisan bills to honor out-of-state medical marijuana patients, Democrats in the House are upping the legislative ante with a pair of bills to legalize and tax adult-use. Given how much resistance even medical marijuana bills have faced in the Florida legislature, full legalization faces long odds. But state representatives Michael Grieco (D-Miami Beach) and Carlos Guillermo Smith (D-Orlando) want their bills to keep the conversation around legalization active.

Florida Democrats Opt for More Challenging Path to Legalization

Like many other states, Florida lets voters participate in the lawmaking process through ballot referendums. These up or down votes have been the primary vehicle through which states have passed laws legalizing cannabis. Voters approve a measure, and lawmakers tweak and implement it. In states where voters cannot put measures on the ballot, bills to legalize cannabis have had to come from lawmakers themselves. Vermont is a key example. It was the first state that legalized adult-use marijuana through the legislative process.

In Florida, voters have the ability to put measures on the ballot. But their last attempt at legalizing cannabis, The Florida Cannabis Legalization Initiative of 2018, failed to garner enough signatures to make in on

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Caribbean Nation St. Kitts and Nevis Announces Reform in Cannabis Laws

The Caribbean nation of St. Kitts and Nevis announced major drug policy reforms last week that will legalize medicinal cannabis and decriminalize recreational use by adults. In a statement before the National Assembly on February 20, Prime Minister Timothy Harris said that his cabinet had accepted the unanimous recommendations from the National Marijuana Commission and would introduce the bills required to make them law. The commission has been exploring options for cannabis policy reform through a series of public forums since 2017.

“This is a significant development done after 15 months of widespread consultations in Nevis and St. Kitts. We thank Dr. Hazel Laws and the entire National Commission for their excellent work,” Harris said.

The recommendations call for legislation creating a strictly regulated program for the use of cannabis and its derivatives for medicinal and scientific purposes. A licensing authority would be created to regulate cannabis cultivation, manufacturing, and importation. Two tiers of cannabis practitioners would be established, herbalists for nonprescription marijuana products and medical practitioners for prescription cannabis medications, which would be required to comply with international labeling standards.

Adult-Use Decriminalized

Harris said that his cabinet had also approved the recommendation to decriminalize small quantities of recreational pot, including cultivation.

“Those found with under 15 grams of cannabis or growing less than 5 plants

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Aurora Cannabis Shares Climb on News of Medical Marijuana Deal in Portugal

Aphria to develop cannabis skin patches created by MIT scientists, Organigram to sell cannabis in all 10 Canadian provinces.

Cannabis stocks were mostly higher on Tuesday, as investors digested the latest flurry of announcements from companies in the sector and moves among U.S. states toward legalizing weed for adult recreational use.

Aurora Cannabis Inc. shares ACB, +0.39% ACB, +6.36% rose 3%, after the company said it’s acquiring a 51% stake in Portugal’s Gaia Pharma Lda., with plans to establish a local facility to produce medical cannabis and derivative products. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Gaia Pharma, which just won approval to build a European Union GMP-compliant cannabis cultivation facility by the Portuguese Health Ministry, will be renamed Aurora Portugal Lda. GMP, or good manufacturing practice, is the EU standard for the authorization and licensing of food and beverages, cosmetics and

– Read the entire article at Market Watch.

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France’s Softening Stance On Cannabis Opens Up Huge Economic Potential

France still has some of the most stringent anti-cannabis regulations in Europe but things are slowly changing, opening up huge opportunities in the world’s seventh largest economy (France’s GDP growth has recently been overtaken by India and it has dropped from sixth place).

This is good news for cannabis startups as France is the number one European country for cannabis use. Between 2015 and 2017, according to Statista, just over 11% of the French population said they had used cannabis over the previous year, the highest of any European country.

Until recently, France had some of the most onerous punishments for cannabis use in Europe, with offenders receiving fines of €3,750 and a-year-long prison sentence. Germany and Italy amongst others, moved to decriminalise use and President Macron campaigned for a partial decriminalisation in order to free up police time to deal with more serious crimes. It was also a move which brought it more in line with its neighbours — in Belgium, Luxembourg and Switzerland, people are allowed to use cannabis recreationally without fear of reprisals — and reduced the fear that people would just head across its borders to score drugs as well as being an attempt to control

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San Francisco DA Plans to Expunge or Reduce Over 9,000 Marijuana Convictions

On Monday, San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón announced that his office would be taking on more than 9,300 cannabis related cases, expunging them from people’s criminal records, reducing them from felony to misdemeanor, or from misdemeanor to infraction.

“It was just a matter of dignity,” Gascón told the press.

But the step to help right the Drug War’s historical wrongs is also required by California law. Mass expungement and charge reductions have challenged many law enforcement agencies in what they say is bureaucratic complexity, but they are seen as central as part of the process of restitutions for eras of racially biased policing.

San Francisco is the first county in the state to announce full compliance with the record-change process stipulated by AB 1793, a regulation related to Proposition 64, the 2016 ballot initiative that legalized recreational marijuana in California that “requires automation of this process across the state” for charge reductions or expungements, Rodney Holcombe, Drug Policy Alliance staff attorney, told High Times.

Luckily, the City By the Bay, which has become a center of programming technology worldwide due to its proximity to Silicon Valley, found an agile partner to help with the alleged bureaucratic morass; a 501(c)3

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Lab Testing Reveals Banned Chemicals In Multiple Cannabis Samples In Los Angeles

A television news investigation revealed that unlicensed marijuana dispensaries in Los Angeles are selling products contaminated with pesticides that have been banned by state regulators. The report from KNBC in Los Angeles purchased vape cartridges and cannabis flower from 24 dispensaries and delivery services in the area and found nearly 30 percent had traces of prohibited chemicals.

Reporters then had the cannabis products they purchased tested by Brightside Scientific in Long Beach, a lab licensed by the state to test cannabis products. The lab found that seven of the samples tested contained chemicals banned by state regulations that went into effect in July of last year, including malathion, bifenazate, and myclobutanil. Many of the chemicals banned by the state can cause serious health problems–including organ failure–when they are smoked or vaporized. The fungicide myclobutanil, for example, can release hydrogen cyanide when heated.

“Why would you want to put poison in your body,” said Hinaxi Patel, the technical director at Brightside Scientific, noting some of the damage exposure the chemicals can cause.

“You’re talking respiratory disease, cancer,” Patel said.

Contaminated Products Purchased from Unlicensed Dispensaries

During the investigation for the report, KNBC learned that all of the contaminated products had been purchased at dispensaries

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Florida Lawmakers Aim to Give Access to Out-of-State Medical Marijuana Patients

Medical marijuana is legal in 33 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. But less than half of those states honor medical marijuana patient registrations from other states. As a result, patients who travel out-of-state are often unable to legally access medical cannabis away from home. And in southern states, where medical cannabis use is more restricted, reciprocity programs are even harder to come by. But a bi-partisan coalition of Florida lawmakers are aiming to make their state more welcoming to medical marijuana patients. On Monday, they announced a pair of bills to provide medical cannabis reciprocity for non-resident patients and caregivers.

Florida Wants to Be the Next Southern State to Honor Non-Residents’ Medical Cards

The Florida Senate and House have each filed their own version of a bill to bring medical marijuana reciprocity to Florida. Both bills would make non-resident eligibility a simple question of a patient’s or caregiver’s status in another state. In other words, valid medical cannabis authorizations from other states would have the same authority as medical cards issued in Florida. However, non-resident patients and caregivers would have to follow Florida’s medical cannabis laws, not those of their home state.

But obtaining and using medical cannabis

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Donations from Local Cannabis Dispensaries Help Homeless Shelter Get 100 New Beds

A California homeless shelter has 100 new beds this week thanks to donations from cannabis dispensaries in the Ventura County community. A regional homeless center opened in a former National Guard Armory in Oxnard last month and had begun to serve people seeking a hot meal, social services, and shelter from California’s deluge of winter rains. But when Police Chief Andrew Salinas of the neighboring town of Port Hueneme learned that people were sleeping on air mattresses on the floor of the shelter, he jumped into action.

“I reached out to our cannabis dispensaries and within two days we had over $25,000 in donations towards that effort,” said Salinas. “Then I reached out to our city manager who reminded me that we had a community benefit fund which supplied the other $10,000.”

After the money had been raised, city officials purchased the beds for the shelter. The five licensed dispensaries in Port Hueneme that contributed to the cause were Emerald Perspective, Hueneme Patient Collective, SafePort, Tradecraft Ventures, and SkunkMasters, which donated $17,500 of the $25,000 raised. Mark Tatum, the co-founder of SkunkMasters, said that the dispensary voluntarily contributes 1 percent of sales to the city for community programs and asked Port Hueneme

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Tensions Escalate Over Utah’s “Compromise” Medical Marijuana Bill

Tensions continue to escalate in an ongoing lawsuit between medical marijuana advocates and the state of Utah. Most recently, the lawyer in charge of a key lawsuit circulated a detailed letter. In it, he described Utah’s current medical marijuana bill as unconstitutional and illegal. Ultimately, the lawsuit calls for a return to the state’s previous medical marijuana program, which was approved by voters last November but overwritten by lawmakers in December.

Lawyer and Advocates Fighting House Bill 3001

In December 2018, Attorney Rocky Anderson filed a lawsuit against the state of Utah. The suit was a response to House Bill 3001, which lawmakers passed in a legislative special session earlier that month.

Lawmakers bill H.B. as a “compromise bill.” But critics of the bill say that H.B. 3001 actually functions as a replacement to Proposition 2, the medical marijuana initiative approved by voters in November 2018.

Importantly, many medical marijuana advocates throughout the state claim that H.B. 3001 fundamentally alters the bill put into place by voters. And they want to see H.B. 3001 repealed so that Proposition 2 can be reinstated.

Currently, the state is facing two separate lawsuits. The first was filed by Anderson on behalf of multiple plaintiffs, including

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