Aurora extends its hand to the Danish farmers for medical cannabis

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A tomato farm near Odense is to establish the largest grower of medicinal cannabis in Europe in a joint venture with Canadian company Aurora.

From 2018, Danish companies are permitted to grow medicinal cannabis.

Mads Pedersen, described in Denmark as a ‘tomato king’, last week announced that his company, Alfred Pedersen & Søn, would be putting considerable resources into the crop in a joint venture with Aurora.

The production facility will be located near the town of Odense and ready to begin operating next year. 

Hemp Industries Association stands against Jeff Sessions' rescission of hemp

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Hemp and marijuana are one and the same, at least under the broad brush of the Controlled Substance Act. When Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded five Obama administration memoranda on Jan. 4, related to marijuana prosecution guidelines, the industrial hemp industry took note of the implications to federal non-interference practices.

In a statement released Jan. 11, in response to Sessions’ actions, the Hemp Industries Association (HIA) emphasized that hemp farming programs remain legal: “…industrial hemp remains protected under exemptions to the Controlled Substances Act, per §7606 of the Agricultural Act of 2014 (the “Farm Bill”), which permits the cultivation of industrial hemp by institutions of higher education and under state agricultural pilot programs, as defined for purposes of research.”

Peru legalises medical marijuana in move spurred by mother's home lab

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Lawmakers in Peru have voted overwhelmingly in favour of a bill to legalise medical marijuana, allowing cannabis oil to be locally produced, imported and sold.

With a vote of 68-5, Peru’s Congress approved the bill which will be written into law in 60 days, once regulations for producing and selling cannabis have been set out.

Ahead of this week's vote, pro-government lawmaker Alberto de Belaunde said: "Science is on our side, the regional current is on our side, let's not let our fears paralyse us."

Medical cannabis makes small steps in EU. Italy Suffers from the serious medical cannabis shortage.

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As of 1 January, Denmark now allows the use of medical cannabis for patients suffering from various illnesses.

The four year-trial was authorised on 18 December by the parliament in Copenhagen, in a move which also licensed some companies to grow and produce the drug in the Scandinavian country.

Capsules, cannabis extract as a mouth spray, and dried cannabis flowers for vaporising or teas are the main authorised medicines in the EU, a 2017 report by the European Monitoring Centre for Drug and Addiction (EMCDDA) states.

By contrast, no country authorises the smoking of cannabis for medical purposes – given the risks that smoking poses to health, especially if combined with tobacco.

In the EU, only Austria, the Czech Republic, Finland, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Poland and Spain currently authorise marijuana's use as a medicine - while a few other states are planning legislation on the issue.

In fact, Italy is currently experiencing a serious medical cannabis shortage, since not enough marijuana plants for medical use are grown, patients and NGOs report.

Patients had to resort to the "black market and self-cultivation" as a result of the shortage, the Italian Association for Civil Liberty & Rights (CILD) reported in December.

To tackle the lack of plants, the Italian ministry of defence (responsible for the secure growing of medicinal cannabis) was forced to look abroad to buy some 100 kilos of marijuana in November.

Colorado Delegation Moves Quickly to Stop Sessions’ War on Cannabis

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Political representatives from Colorado are leading the vanguard of Congressional resistance to U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ announcement last week that he is rescinding the Justice Department’s Cole memorandum.

That 2013 document from the Obama-era Justice Department established a federal policy of non-interference in cannabis-legal states, and created a political environment that allowed the marijuana legalization movement to spread across the United States.

While senators and representatives from California, Washington, and other legal states have expressed outrage over Sessions’ move, Colorado’s Congressional delegation has combined words with actual deeds.

While lawmakers in other cannabis-legal states have condemned Sessions’ announcement, observers say it makes sense that politicians from Colorado, one of the first states to completely legalize adult cannabis use and a state known for its political diversity, would take the lead on this issue.

Women In Weed Clap Back At Federal Government's Threat To Legal Pot

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Just a few days ago, Raeven Duckett and her partners marked a milestone: the first day of expanding their marijuana delivery service to recreational users.  The company, Community Gardens Oakland Dispensary, was the first adult-use business in the city of Oakland and the third in the entire state of California to obtain a license to dispense edibles, tinctures and cannabis buds to people over 21.  This week, California became the sixth state in the U.S. to decriminalize recreational marijuana and Duckett says she and her cofounders were working hard to "cross the t's and dot the i's" to comply with the state and the city's tough regulations on license holders. As news broke that U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions directed all U.S. Attorneys to strictly enforce existing drug laws, Duckett vowed to keep moving ahead.

Four days after prohibition on recreational marijuana ended in California, Sessions stepped up the federal threat to the industry, stating that current laws "reflect Congress's determination that marijuana is a dangerous drug and that marijuana activity a serious crime." Sessions rescinded the Cole Memorandum, Obama Administration rules that had allowed legal marijuana businesses to thrive in states where citizens approved its sale.  Although the timing was surprising for some given California's roll out on January 1st as the country's largest legal market, the Attorney General's stance on marijuana was not. Sessions has expressed anti-marijuana sentiments in the past.

New Hampshire Lawmakers Approve Marijuana Legalization. Jeff Sessions would surely be pissed.

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The New Hampshire House of Representatives voted to legalize marijuana on Tuesday, just five days after the Trump administration moved to rescind federal guidelines protecting state cannabis laws.

Under the bill, which is expected to soon move to the state Senate, people over 21 years of age would be allowed to legally possess three-quarters of an ounce of marijuana and grow up to three mature cannabis plants at home. Retail sales locations would not be allowed.

The noncommercial approach is similar to a bill advancing in neighboring Vermont. There, the House passed a legalization measure on Thursday -- the same day U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions tore up Obama-era marijuana guidance. That state's Senate, which previously OKed similar legislation, is expected to give its final approval on Wednesday, and Gov. Phil Scott (R) has pledged to sign legalization into law.

The swift action by the two states represents a stunning rebuke to the Trump administration's anti-cannabis move, which was also roundly slammed by dozens of members of Congress from both parties.

In New Hampshire, the House voted to amend a broader bill that would have allowed legal, taxed and regulated marijuana sales. The legislation, as introduced, was defeated in committee in November. Opponents argued that because a legislative study commission is currently examining how legalized marijuana commerce might work in the state, passing the bill now would be premature.

On Tuesday, supporters successfully moved a floor amendment to scale the proposal back to only legalize possession and home cultivation.

California Bill Would Ease Erasure of Cannabis Convictions

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A Democratic lawmaker wants to make it easier for Californians with cannabis convictions to reduce or erase their records as the state moves into the next phase of legalized cannabis.

Assemblyman Rob Bonta, D-Oakland, introduced legislation on Tuesday that would require county courts to automatically expunge eligible records. It’s one of several efforts to build on the choice California voters’ made to legalize cannabis despite fresh threats from the federal government.

Voters approved the ability to wipe criminal cannabis conviction records in 2016 as part of Proposition 64, which legalized cannabis and retroactively erased and reduced some cannabis-related criminal penalties from felonies to misdemeanors.

Existing law requires people with convictions to initiate the process themselves. But many people don’t, either because they’re unaware it’s an option or because it can be complicated and costly. As of September 2017, around 5,000 people had applied for a change to their records, according to state data. That’s a fraction of the people that experts estimate are eligible.

The bill would “give folks who deserve it under the law the fresh start they’re entitled to,” Bonta said, adding that cannabis convictions have disproportionality affected young minorities.

Nevada's cannabis sales in its first month of legal pot

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Nevada dispensaries sold $27.1 million of cannabis in July, the first month the state allowed recreational weed use.

The Reno Gazette-journal Reports that Nevada earned $10.2 million from the newly-formed industry, as cannabis sales outpaced what both Colorado and Oregon made in their initial months.

Nevada, along with California, Massachusetts and Maine, approved recreational cannabis during the November 2016 elections. Starting July 1, Nevada allowed recreational cannabis use and allowed dispensaries to sell pot to anyone over the age of 21.

Nevada's Department of Taxation projects that the state could pull in about $120 million in cannabis taxes over the next two years, according to the Gazette-Journal. Cannabis sales tax revenue will go toward Nevada's rainy day fund, which typically reserves money for emergencies, the Gazette-Journal reports.

Revenue coming from the industry's 15% wholesale tax will help to pay for any costs incurred by Nevada, while any remaining money will go into Nevada's School Distributive Account.

Calgary Cannabis Community appreciates the responsible behaviour of the government on drafting pot rules

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Members of Calgary's cannabis community are excited to see the proposed framework for Alberta's cannabis legislation, and they're giving it a resounding thumbs up despite many questions remaining unanswered. 

On Wednesday, the government released the draft rules, which reference a legal age limit of 18, as well as other details such as how much can be purchased at once — 30 grams — and where people will be permitted to smoke and vape. 

"If it's about getting rid of the black market, the NDP and the province of Alberta just did a much better job than any other province,"

Jeff Mooij, owner of the 420 Clinic in Inglewood called the rules "the best framework for legalization" he had seen so far.

More Ganja Crops destroyed in Vishakhapatnam

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Continuing their raids on ganja farms in Vishakhapatnam Agency, Excise officials in association with the District Police destroyed ganja plantations on 36 acres at several villages in Paderu mandal, here on Thursday. 

The officials had to face resistance from the tribal people.

According to Assistant Commissioner of Excise (Prohibition & Excise-Enforcement Wing) SVVN Babji Rao, the teams destroyed around 90,000 ganja plants on 18 acres at Yeguva Solamulu village of Paderu Mandal and another team destroyed another 90,000 ganja plants on 18 acres at Sariyapalli village of the same mandal. 

Around 1.8 lakh saplings have been destroyed, he claimed. 

Mr. Babji Rao also said that there a was mild resistance from residents of Sariyapalli of Paderu mandal, where few of the agitators broke windshields of the vehicles even though the local police and armed party were present.

National Grid Official says that cannabis grow facilities are consuming more energy

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A year ago it might have been taboo for a utility company to set up shop at a conference devoted to cannabis, but no one batted an eye Thursday when a representative from National Grid got up to talk about how his company works with cannabis cultivators.

National Grid, Eversource, Unitil and other utilities in the state work with cannabis businesses, mostly cultivators who rely on lights to grow their plants, to make such facilities more energy efficient.

"You could pay $30 to $50 a square foot annually in electric and gas costs to operate the facility and it would not be unreasonable to find out that energy is 50 percent of the cost of the product that you're selling,"
Fran Boucher, National Grid's energy efficiency program manager

Cannabis needs a lot of light to be grown properly for commercial sale -- sometimes as much as 20 hours of direct light every day -- and growers work hard to control the moisture in the growing atmosphere.

Massachusetts has among the highest energy costs in the United States, making establishing a Cannabis grow facility here a more expensive proposition than in other states. Commercial and industrial electricity prices in Massachusetts were 43.22 percent and 89.06 percent higher than the national average in June, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Boucher talked about a lot of other aspects. Between lighting, dehumidification and cooling systems to eliminate the heat given off by the lighting, the average grow operation, Boucher said, draws about 400 kW of electricity at its lowest usage -- "believe me, that's a lot of power" -- and as much as 750 kW when running at full steam.

While the average office building uses 0.7 watts of electricity per square foot for lighting, the lighting in a standard "flower room" of a cannabis cultivation center uses 60 watts per square foot, he said.

"The lighting alone here blows away anything you would see anywhere else. These facilities use more energy per square foot than anything other than maybe a few in industrial processing. It blows away hospitals, laboratories...it might be on par with extreme data processing centers, like a Google or a Facebook. It's a huge load, it's a massive load, and that's why there is a huge opportunity for utilities to help you and for you to reduce your usage and be more energy efficient."

"Utility companies can offer incentives for cannabis businesses that design or upgrade their facilities to be more energy efficient", Boucher said. 
Available services include engineering to help design an efficient facility and an energy savings cost/benefit analysis. Then, as long as the grower installs the efficient systems and uses them as agreed, the utility company will provide payments proportional to the savings. There is no upper limit to the incentives and projects as small as installing 10 LED lights could be eligible, he said.

Boucher said National Grid began working with cannabis companies about a year ago and currently has about 15 projects in its queue.

 

 

 

Cannabis producers suggest private retailers over the government for selling pot. Say that government should rely on the expertise of the cannabis producers.

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On Thursday, a day after the Alberta government unveiled its cannabis framework for when new laws legalizing recreational cannabis come into effect, a group of 12 medical cannabis producers has come forward with a plan that they say will take some of the pressure off the province.

Karasiuk said the group’s 12 co-op members have “robust” e-commerce platforms already in place and are operating in a highly regulated medical cannabis market.

On Wednesday, the province said it hadn’t decided whether to sell cannabis through government-run stores or private operators.

“Coming together as a group [and] providing a rich diversity of product … is only going to further the odds of that happening.”

But Karasiuk suggested the government should lean on the expertise of medical cannabis producers.

He said the members created a cannabis co-op because they believe an e-commerce platform is necessary to ensure all Albertans have access to safe cannabis and to keep them from turning to black market dealers.

Two people arrested with 180 pounds of cannabis in North Carolina

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Authorities in North Carolina say they found two California women driving with 130 pounds of cannabis stuffed in their trunk.

A deputy pulled the women over on I-40 East for a routine traffic violation.

During the course of the investigation, the deputy asked for assistance from a Mebane Police Department K9 unit. After arriving, the dog alerted to the odor of illegal drugs in the trunk of the car. When officers opened the trunk of the Toyota Camry, they found 130 pounds of cannabis packed inside.

The driver of the Camry, Ruth Paez Diaz of San Jose, California and her daughter Briann Marie Diaz of San Francisco, California were each charged with two counts of trafficking cannabis and are in the Orange County Detention Center under a $100,000 secured bond.

The women will appear in court later this month.

There is an increase in the support for legalising cannabis. but there is an increase in the number of cannabis-based arrests too

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Cannabis is a legal multi-billion dollar industry, yet someone in America is arrested every 48 seconds for a cannabis related crime.

Though, cannabis is now legal in 29 states for either medical or recreational use, the number of arrests involving cannabis have actually increased across the country.

Those numbers come from the Uniformed Crime Report compiled by the FBI from data sent to the agency from law enforcement operations around the country. The information covers arrests for all of 2016.

The number of people arrested on cannabis-related charges jumped 12 percent from 2015 to 2016, with 75,000 more people arrested. Overall, the number of drug-related arrests reached 1.57 million, about 5.6 percent higher than in 2015.

The FBI typically releases arrest numbers in the annual report broken down by the drug involved. However, they did not do so for 2016. Reporters had to return to the FBI and ask for the specific numbers on cannabis.

According to the Marijuana Policy Project, a pro-legalization group, the numbers were as follows:

  • There were 653,249 arrests involving cannabis
  • That’s about one arrest involving cannabis every 48 seconds
  • Cannabis arrests made up more than 41 percent of all drug busts in the U.S. in 2016

No matter how you look at it, those are very strange numbers in a country where cannabis is legal in so many places.

Morgan Fox, communications director of the Marijuana Policy Project, said in a prepared statement that the arrest numbers show cannabis users “continue to be treated like criminals across the country.”

“This is a shameful waste of resources and can create lifelong consequences for the people arrested.”

It’s already been reported that cannabis-related arrests in Washington D.C. tripled between 2015 and 2016. They are on pace so far in 2017 to have a similarly high number of arrests. Arrests numbers are also up in many states in the Deep South.

The cost to taxpayers for arresting and processing that many people through the legal system is in the billions, according to Newsweek.

All of this seemingly runs contradictory to public sentiment, not only on the War on Drugs but on cannabis. Support for cannabis legalization reached a new high in a survey released earlier this year by CBS News.

About 61 percent of those surveyed in the poll think cannabis should be legal, while 71 percent opposed federal intervention in states that have made cannabis legal.

'Legend of 420' is out. It documents cannabis' rise to legitimacy.

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Weed, pot, marijuana, mary jane, ganja, the devil’s lettuce, cannabis — whatever you call it, the wacky tobbacky’s come a long way from “Reefer Madness,” blooming into a massive industry and legitimate cultural phenomenon. The documentary “The Legend of 420” chronicles the current landscape of cannabis, from its medicinal uses to art to fine dining and beyond.

Directed by Peter Spirer, “The Legend of 420” has an enthusiastic, shaggy-dog sensibility, touting the many wonderful uses and benefits of cannabis, while occasionally touching down on the historically harsh, often racist enforcement of drug laws in the U.S., and the potential pitfalls for the federal legalization of recreational cannabis to be found in the Trump administration.

It’s a bit like having a conversation with a stoner: excited if a bit unfocused. Every now and then it unearths a profound and interesting gem, such as the ways in which cannabis can assist opioid addicts, or that the drug laws in liberal states have been bankrolled by wealthy potheads, but then it skitters off to another topic. The film is loosely strung together by a series of cannabis-themed stand-up comedy sets, as well as the journey of a dreadlocked delivery dude making a run from Humboldt to Los Angeles.

“The Legend of 420” captures a zeitgeist, but with so many facets to explore in this survey of contemporary American pot culture, it only scratches the surface.

But be prepared with munchies and good weed to smoke while you watch this.

Here is the trailer of the documentary. 

 

More gaanja is grown indoors than outdoors in California. Revealed after illegal cannabis seize.

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California’s illegally grown cannabis, once largely produced in national forests and other outdoor locations, is increasingly found indoors, federal statistics show.

In 2016, authorities seized 313,000 plants from indoor operations in California, which made up 75 percent of all indoor plants taken nationwide, according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

While the total accounts for only 8 percent of all seizures in California, that is the highest total in at least eight years.

California voters approved the legalization of recreational use of cannabis in November 2016. But local laws still place limits on how it can be grown, and federal law prohibits it.

A DEA spokeswoman in San Francisco said she was “unable to speculate” why authorities are seizing more indoor-grown cannabis. She noted that the figures come from local as well as federal law-enforcement agencies.

A November 2016 report by the DEA said cannabis is increasingly grown inside because “indoor production is more difficult for law enforcement to discover and has the advantage of not having to rely on climate conditions or growing seasons.”

Read more in the link given below.

Cannabis market price is stable but California recreational weed may cost high.

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Folks in the cannabis industry fear that cultivation, production and retail regulations could drive up the price of weed just when consumers are able to buy in stores without a doctor's recommendation. In January, recreational weed sales for those 21 and older are expected to mark a new era in California. But it could be hard enough for old-school growers and producers to jump through new regulatory hoops that supply won't match demand.

"The first quarter of next year, prices will probably go up,"

- says Jonathan Rubin, CEO of New Leaf Data Services LLC

On top of that, Californians probably can look forward to deep discounts for weed this fall harvest season. Rubin believes that growers will dump product on the market to raise the cash needed to become compliant in 2018. And those operators who just can't jump over the hurdles to become legit might put all their weed on sale for the last time, he says.

According to his firm's 2017 Mid-Year Wholesale Market Report Overview, the price of Golden State outdoor cannabis is down from $1,542 per pound in the first six months of 2016 to $1,133 for 2017. And the price could keep moving south until recreational cannabis hits stores in January.

NDLEA DESTROYS 16 HECTARES OF HEMP IN OSUN

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The Osun State Command of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) on Wednesday announced that 16.8 hectares of Indian hemp (Cannabis Sativa) farm located in Ikoyi community in the state had been destroyed. The Commandant, Mr Samuel Egbeola, made the disclosure while speaking with newsmen in Osogbo on the achievements of the agency in Osun.

He said that the farm was destroyed on Sept. 26. The commandant said that the farm was discovered and destroyed by the NDLEA, following a tip-off by an intelligence source.

He said that during the operation, 25 kilogrammes of already harvested hemp were found on the farm. The NDLEA chief said, however, that no arrest was made during the operation because nobody was found on the farm.

Egbeola re-assured people of the state that the agency would not rest on its oars until those involved in illicit drug operations were apprehended.

'He called on members of the public to cooperate with the agency by always giving useful information that would lead to the arrest of anyone involved in India hemp plantations.
 

KENTUCKY REALISES THE HIGH TIME FOR HEMP

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Like college basketball, bourbon, and thoroughbred horses, hemp seems to course through Kentucky’s bloodlines. Henry Clay grew it, back in the era when the hardy plant was used for thousands of products, from food and fuel to ropes, canvas, and medicine. Modern industrial hemp, which consumes less water than rival crops like cotton, can be used for an equally impressive range of products, including car dashboards, soaps, industrial absorbents, granola bars, and craft beer. Like cannabis, hemp is a strain of the cannabis plant, but it lacks the psychoactive chemical, THC, that provides weed’s high. The Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 helped make hemp cost-prohibitive to grow (though the government encouraged growers during the war years), and that situation worsened after the passage of the Controlled Substances Act in 1970.

Then, in 2014, the U.S. Farm Bill cracked open a legislative window: The new law allowed states to develop research programs for industrial hemp, sowing hopes of reviving the long-dormant industry. More than 30 states passed varying companion bills to enable state growing programs. The Bluegrass State embraced the opportunity: Farmers in Kentucky will grow close to 13,000 acres of industrial hemp in 2017, more than triple what it grew last year and surpassing every other state except Colorado.

Kentucky’s production is still only a fraction of its agricultural economy—even if state hemp fields tripled over what they were 2016, and the yields increased 50 percent, hemp would only be 3 percent of the agricultural market, according to University of Kentucky economist Will Snell. But in the country’s fifth-poorest state, where the opiate epidemic is prevalent, the effort by lawmakers and the agriculture department to convert old tobacco farms to hemp production offers an economic ray of sunshine.

"What this industry does is give people an enormous amount of optimism, that there are solutions, and that we’re working on them instead of holding our hands up in despair. The beauty of this plant is that we are all aware of what is possible.”
 
- Chad Rosen, the CEO of Victor Hemp Foods

Rosen argues that hemp’s promise extends beyond rural Kentucky: He and his fellow hemp processors have created close to 100 jobs in Louisville and Lexington, plus the ancillary benefits of contract labor for machinery repairs and parts. Hemp holds particular promise for places like Nashville, which has a few licensed growers already, and Asheville, near the epicenter of North Carolina’s furniture and textile industry. But the industry is hamstrung by hemp’s murky legal status: Farmers can grow it, but farm insurance bureaus won’t sell them crop insurance; companies can market it, but federally backed banks won’t lend them money.

Read the full story on the link given below.