Cannabis capitalism: America's future?

Posted on December 9th, 2015 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , .

weedThere have been quite a few histories of cannabis culture and politics, but Bruce Barcott's Weed The People: The Future of Legal Marijuana in America is the first to examine the cannabis industry and its future prospects at a moment when it taking flight. His opening overview of how we got to this point is engaging if not always strictly accurate (he loans too much credence to the '70s paraquat scare). He notes the litany of US government reports back to the 1920s exculpating cannabis of the calumnies against it—all ignored by the very government that commissioned them. He details the bureaucratic obstacles that have been raised to research on cannabis' medical benefits. And he relates the passing of the torch (or, more literally, the joint) from the jazz scene to the beatniks to the hippies to the mainstream.

Did 'greed' sabotage Ohio legalization initiative?

Posted on November 6th, 2015 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , , .

leafVoters in Ohio on Nov. 3 rejected a proposal to legalize medical and recreational use of cannabis. Issue 3 would have allowed adults 21 and older to use, purchase or grow regulated quantities, and also made cannabis available for medical use in the same vote—a unique approach nationally. It would additionally have permitted retail sale of cannabis-infused products, and created a "Marijuana Control Commission" to oversee the industry. Complicating matters, the Ohio General Assembly put a competing initiative on the ballot, Issue 2, which would have blocked Issue 3 by prohibiting the granting of special rights by the state constitution. This "anti-monopoly measure" was aimed at barring Issue 3 language that would establish exclusive rights to produce cannabis for the retail market. If both had passed, a legal quagmire loomed. In the actual fact, Issue 2 was approved while Issue 3 was defeated by over 63% of voters. (Jurist, Nov. 4; WLWT, Cincinnnati, Nov. 3; NYT, Nov. 1)

Cannabis coming to Uruguay pharmacies —at last

Posted on October 2nd, 2015 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , .

UruguayUruguay's government announced Oct. 1 the granting of licenses to two companies to grow cannabis for commercial distribution. Juan Andrés Roballo, head of the National Drug Board, said the two companies chosen out of 22 applicants were Symbiosys and Iccorp, both start-ups financed by Uruguayan and foreign capital. They will each be allowed to produce two metric tons of cannabis yearly—with the plantations to be guarded by government troops. Uruguayans will be able to purchase 10 grams (about a third of an ounce) weekly. Roballo told reporters that cannabis will go on sale in the country's  pharmacies "in no less than eight months from now."

California legislature passes medical cannabis regulation package

Posted on September 14th, 2015 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , .

CaliforniaOn Sept. 11, the California state legislature approved a trio of bills to establish comprehensive regulation and licensing of medical cannabis. Assembly Bills 243 and 266 and Senate Bill 643 were all passed, and will delegate regulation of commercial medical cannabis cultivation, manufacturing, transportation, and distribution to various state agencies as well as create a state-level licensing system. Gov. Jerry Brown is widely expected to sign all three pieces of legislation. "We're glad the legislature has finally been able to move forward on regulations," said Don Duncan, California direcotr of Americans for Safe Access (ASA). "History has shown that regulation can improve community outcomes while still preserving patient access. Passing medical cannabis regulation before the state moves forward with a potential adult-use recreational system next year is extremely important for the preservation of the medical cannabis program.”

9th Circuit deals blow to Oakland medical program

Posted on August 22nd, 2015 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , .

OaklandThe 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco on Aug. 20 rejected the city of Oakland's intervention in the US Justice Department's effort to shut the Harborside Health Center, finding that the legal move steps on the federal government's powers. In a unanimous three-judge ruling, the court acknowledged that Oakland had a right to sue, but said its arguments would undermine federal drug enforcement powers. The 9th Circuit was reviewing a 2013 lower court ruling tossing out Oakland's suit. The suit argued that a federal shut-down of one of four city-approved dispensaries would harm Oakland's interests and override California's 1996 medical marijuana law.

Israel's 'king' of medical marijuana profiled

Posted on August 17th, 2015 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , .

Middle EastIsraeli newspaper Haaretz on Aug. 15 featured an interview with the "King of Israel's Medical Marijuana Industry," Aharon Lutzky—who rose to this position by chance. The fateful moment came when his son was injured in an industrial accident in the cotton gin at Kibbutz  Gvat, the agricultural collective in Israel's north where he was then living with his family. As part of his rehabilitation process, Lutzky's son began volunteering for the company Tikun Olam—Israel's largest producer of medical marijuana. Tikun Olam eventually asked the elder Lutzky to help by giving them business advice. Lutzky so impressed the owners that they offered him the position of CEO, which he still holds today. The profile provides a fascinating look at the evolution of Israel's ground-breaking medical marijuana program.

Next: 'Jimi Hendrix' brand edibles?

Posted on June 9th, 2015 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , , , .

Jimi HendrixWe noted last year that a Seattle-based equity firm is planning to market "Marley Natural" brand cannabis in states where it is legal. Now it seems guitar god Jimi Hendrix is to be thusly immortalized. The San Diego Union-Tribune reports that Toronto-based Nutritional High International Inc announced this week that it has "entered into an exclusive licensing agreement...under which the Company may manufacture and distribute various marijuana and hemp-based edible products using the song titles and bearing the likeness of iconic guitarist Jimi Hendrix." The products in question, to be marketed under the "Edible Experiences" banner, include "Purple Haze" and "Stone Free" lines. (There's already a Purple Haze cannabis strain developed by Dutch growers, although the song was more likely about the LSD experience.) In a cute twist, the "Stone Free" line is to be a preparation infused with CBD—the cannabinoid that is thought to have medicinal value but doesn't actually get you stoned.

Texas prison riot points to privatization problems

Posted on February 22nd, 2015 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , .

TexasThe town of Raymondville, Tex., got a shock over the weekend as the local Willacy County Correctional Center exploded into an uprising by prisoners upset over conditions and poor medical services at the facility. The inmates set fire to several kevlar domes or tents that serve as housing for the 2,800 prisoners at the facility, rendering the prison "uninhabitable." The federal Bureau of Prisons and FBI as well as Texas Rangers and highway patrol were called in to evacuate the inmates to other facilities and negotiate with those who refused to move. Raymondville's residents were advised to stay indoors during the stand-off, and a local school was put on "soft lockdown." The Correctional Center, which mostly holds undocumented immigrants, is run by the private Management & Training Corp.  

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