Canada legalizes marijuana!

Marijuana prohibition is history in Canada. Last night, after months of negotiations, Parliament approved a bill to legalize, regulate, and tax marijuana for adults. After one formality — Royal Assent — Canada will become the second nation to end marijuana prohibition and the first G7 country to do so.

Regulations vary by province, but most set age limits at 18 or 19 to match the legal age for alcohol and tobacco in Canada. Once the law takes effect, adults can possess up to 30 grams and grow up to four plants in their homes. Read more about this historic legislation.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government is expected to move quickly to implement the new policy, and retail marijuana stores will soon be opening just north of our border.

And that is all the more reason for our Congress to enact the STATES Act, which would allow American states to decide their own marijuana laws without federal interference.

This is an important day to acknowledge. After decades of harm caused by marijuana prohibition laws, nations around the world are beginning to come to their senses. Canadians should be proud that their country is leading the way among major governments.

Let’s not

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NY Health Dept. will expand medical program; looks favorably toward adult use

The Health Commissioner of New York, Howard Zucker, recently announced that a long-awaited study by the Cuomo administration will recommend the legalization and regulation of marijuana for adult use. The study is believed to be at least partly in response to gubernatorial primary candidate Cynthia Nixon’s strong support of marijuana legalization.

Mr. Zucker also announced that the Health Department will issue regulations to allow patients who have been prescribed opioids to qualify for the state’s medical marijuana program. Not all patients can qualify under the existing chronic pain provision, since opioids may also be prescribed for severe but short-term pain, such as after surgery. The New York Senate also passed a bill to do the same, as well as to allow patients with opioid use disorder to qualify.

While the state’s legislative session is ending soon, New York is moving closer to ending marijuana prohibition!

In other news, New York City Mayor Bill DiBlasio, under increasing pressure to address the racial disparity in low-level marijuana arrests, announced a new policy designed to reduce arrests and give more tickets instead. Unfortunately, the policy, which will take effect September 1, has so many exceptions its impact may be limited.

Related

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Now That Canada Has Legalized Cannabis, Celebrate at ICBC Vancouver

With the passage of the Senate Bill C-45 on June 19, Canada officially legalized marijuana.

Canada is the second country to make such a move. Uruguay legalized it in 2013.

“Our plan to legalize & regulate marijuana just passed the Senate,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted.

The margin in favor was an overwhelming 52 to 29, with two abstentions. The bill gives provinces until Oct. 17 to begin selling marijuana commercially. Originally, the plan was to launch on July 1, but the legislation has resulted in a 15-week start-up delay.

ICBC Vancouver at Sheraton Wall Centre is scheduled for June 24-25.

It’s the perfect time to attend an event in Canada’s cannabis capitol, Vancouver, affectionately known as Vansterdam. The International Cannabis Business Conference (ICBC) there is scheduled for June 24-25. It’s not too late to register and book flights and hotel reservations at Sheraton Wall Centre.

“The ICBC is fortunate that our Vancouver event is occurring just five days after the first G7 nation on Earth legalized,” says Alex Rogers, ICBC founder and CEO.

Why Vancouver over Toronto as a choice of location? “Toronto is clearly the Canadian cannabis financial capital,” Rogers explains. “But Vancouver is the cannabis capital of Canada. Regardless of

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California: Donated medical cannabis shouldn’t be taxed

A bill that could restore the ability to provide free, untaxed cannabis to low- or no-income patients is now being considered in the California State Assembly. SB 829 would allow taxes to be waived for medical cannabis that is donated, free of charge, for medical cannabis patients. This is a welcome improvement for patients with limited means.

It is no surprise that seriously ill patients can be faced with little or no income. Combine that with the fact that medical insurance providers don’t cover medical cannabis, and it can create a serious financial burden on medical marijuana patients. Today in California, even cannabis that is donated free of charge must be taxed an excise tax. This is unfair to those in need. SB 829 aims to provide relief. For a look at the latest bill text, click here.

Under the bill, both cultivators and retail dispensaries would be excused from the tax burden on cannabis that is donated to those who qualify. It’s a simple change but an important one.

If you are a California resident and agree patients need additional relief, please take a moment to ask your Assemblymembers to vote yes on SB 829 when it is before

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Another Epileptic Child Granted License to Use Medical Cannabis in UK

The UK government has granted a license to use medical cannabis to another child with epilepsy. Alfie Dingley, a six-year-old from Kenilworth, England will now be able to use a medical marijuana therapy to treat his condition. The news comes after another UK boy, Billy Caldwell, received a similar license over the weekend.

Home Secretary Sajid Javid announced the decision in Parliament Tuesday. Javid also told the House of Commons that he is launching a review of the regulation of medicinal cannabis. That discussion could eventually make it easier for doctors to prescribe medical marijuana therapies in the UK.

“It has become clear to me that the position we find ourselves in currently is not satisfactory,” Javid said. “It’s not satisfactory for the parents, it’s not satisfactory for the doctors, and it’s not satisfactory for me. I have now come to the conclusion that it is time to review the scheduling of cannabis.”

Alfie has a rare form of epilepsy that can cause up to 30 seizures per day. He had been successfully using a cannabis medicine to treat his illness after the family moved to the Netherlands, where it is legal. But they had to return home when funds ran out and turned to the UK government for help.

Mum Receives News on Live TV

Alfie’s mother, Hannah Deacon, received the news of Javid’s decision on live television. During an interview about her struggle to obtain medicinal cannabis for Alfie, a reporter told Deacon that Javid had approved the license. The reporter then asked Deacon for her reaction.

“It’s amazing news, thank you very much for letting me know,” Deacon said as she began to cry.

In March, Deacon and Alfie’s father, Drew Dingley, met with UK Prime Minister Theresa May in a bid to secure a prescription for her son. During

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Canada Parliament Passes Marijuana Legalization Bill

Canada’s full House of Commons and Senate has officially passed the same marijuana legalization bill, sending it towards Royal Assent.

C-45 was passed by the Senate today in a 52 to 29 vote. Having  already passed the House of Commons, it will now be sent to the Governor General for Royal Assent (final approval). With Royal Assent essentially being a formality, it’s all but official that Canada has legalized marijuana, with the law expected to be in full swing by September.

Once the law does takes effect, those 18 and older will be allowed to legally possess and grow marijuana for personal use. They’ll be able to buy the plant through licensed marijuana stores, or by purchasing  it online. Although the age limit is set at 18, some provinces are expected to set the limit at 19.

“We have witnessed today a very historic vote that ends 90 years of prohibition”, Senator Tony Dean said following the Senate’s vote. “It ends 90 years of needless criminalization, it ends a prohibition model that inhibited and discouraged public health, and community health approaches in favour of ‘just say no.’  Approaches that simply failed our young people miserably”.

Passage of the law makes

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Recreational Cannabis Store Openings Delayed in Massachusetts

Massachusetts’ Cannabis Control Commission, tasked last June by the legislature and governor to draft and implement the establishment of a retail cannabis industry approved by Bay State voters in 2016, publicly indicated for the first-time last week that their self-directed date to open non-medical cannabis retail outlets of July 1 will not be realized.

The CCC will not issue licenses to cultivate, process or sell cannabis by July 1, explaining that the Commission’s intent is to avoid a specific date for implementation of rushed, mistake-laden employee background checks, consumer chaos and confusion and product inventory problems that incurred in the six previous states that have created commercial markets for cannabis  (Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Alaska, Nevada and California).

Massachusetts’ Cannabis Control Commission director Steve Hoffman: “We’re going to do this right.”

At a meeting on June 15, the CCC acknowledged that nearly 1,100 applications for cannabis-related businesses had been received by the state since the application process officially opened on June 1. However, only 53 applications had been fully completed (most of the first 28 applicants are, unsurprisingly, retail medical cannabis companies already operating in Massachusetts). The next meeting is scheduled for June 19.

CCC director Steve Hoffman says the

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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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Maine Supreme Court: Workers’ Compensation Does Not Cover Medical Marijuana

Maine’s Supreme Court handed down a ruling today that the state’s workers’ compensation system does not cover the use of marijuana for medical purposes. The ruling is yet another instance where federal prohibition is creating problems for states with legal cannabis programs.

Tuesday’s ruling stems from a workers’ compensation case involving an employee with the Twin Rivers Paper Company, LLC. Gaetan H. Bourgoin suffered a back injury on the job with the company. Bourgoin then received a medical cannabis recommendation to treat the related back pain. An initial order required the company to pay for its employee’s medical marijuana. But the Supreme Court ultimately sided with the employer’s objections.

Maine Supreme Court Says Covering Medical Marijuana Forces Companies To Commit A Federal Crime

The conflict between federal and state drug laws has come to a head in Maine. And after a lengthy court battle, Maine’s Supreme Court ruled that companies are not required to reimburse employees for workers’ compensation claims involving medical marijuana.

Many state governments have pushed back against the looming threat of a federal crackdown on state-legal cannabis programs. But in Maine, the Supreme Court cited the federal Controlled Substances Act in its opinion on the case.

Essentially, The Maine Supreme Court ruled that federal law preempts state law. In this case, that means the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) preempts Maine’s Medical Use of Marijuana Act (MMUMA). In turn, requiring a company to pay for medical marijuana would be tantamount to requiring them to break federal law.

“Prosecuted or not, the fact remains that Twin Rivers would be forced to commit a federal crime if it complied with the directive of the Workers’ Compensation Board,” Main Supreme Court Associate Justice Jeffrey L. Hjelm wrote in the Court’s opinion.

In other words, if Twin Rivers had paid out the

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Chalice Festival Founder Sues Bureau of Cannabis Control After Permit Denial (UPDATED)

The founder of one of the largest marijuana festivals announced a lawsuit against California’s cannabis regulatory agency on Tuesday after the massive Chalice Festival was denied a permit to hold a fully licensed event.

The Chalice Festival, a three-day event that was scheduled to take place at the San Bernardino County Fairgrounds in Victorville, has run into complications with new regulations that followed the passage of California’s recreational marijuana law.

Specifically, California law requires that any “temporary cannabis event” must be held at a publicly owned venue such as a county fairground. Vendors must be licensed to sell and distribute marijuana products. And then event organizers have to get final approval from California’s Bureau of Cannabis Control (BCC).

That last part is where the Chalice Festival has found itself snagged in red tape.

The BCC requires permission from the local jurisdiction where a temporary cannabis event takes place. After consulting with attorneys, Doug Dracup, founder and producer of the Chalice Festival, determined that the San Bernardino County Fairgrounds was itself sovereign from the Southern California city of Victorville. While the board of the fairgrounds unanimously consented to the event, citing the economic benefits and the festival’s past compliance, the Victorville City Council pushed back.

“The BCC denied my application due to the city of Victorville’s disapproval of cannabis activity in their jurisdiction,” Dracup wrote in an Instagram post on Tuesday. “We went and tried to get on the agenda at the Victorville city council meeting, they refused to put us on the agenda. It is not their jurisdiction.”

Today marks a historical moment in my career. Over the last 5 years I have put everything I have into this festival because I believe in it so much. I’m grateful to be the producer and founder of @chalicefestival. Im proud of

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