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Canadian execs: What you need to know before taking your cannabis business global

(This is the fourth article of a four-part series examining how Canadian cannabis companies are expanding globally. Click to read Part IPart II and Part III.)

By Matt Lamers

There’s no denying the massive potential of the global medical marijuana market: A recent report pegged it at 180 billion Canadian dollars ($142 billion) over the next 15 years.

But going overseas is fraught with pitfalls, barriers and red tape. Canadian MMJ businesses, however, are export pioneers and can offer valuable guidance.

To capitalize on the global medical cannabis market, about a dozen Canadian MMJ companies are using exports as an avenue to strike local partnerships in foreign markets as well as establish licensing arrangements and distribution deals.

Six top executives at Canadian cannabis companies shared their insights with Marijuana Business Daily on where they look to expand their businesses, how they find local partners, and why they go overseas in the first place. They also talked about the contacts you need to expand abroad.

Neil Closner, MedReleaf CEO

Who: You need to find good people. Without that, any company will fail. Specifically in this space, there’s a lot of complexities – dealing with regulators, dealing with growing live plants, dealing with production process issues. You really need to trust and rely on your people. Otherwise you get tripped up. So anyone starting out should make sure they have the right complements of skills and staff.

Where: We look for markets where it’s regulated at a federal level. The fact that most of these markets are going medical only, and it’s even more strictly regulated from a medical standpoint than we are here in Canada, plays to our strength. As the only ISO- and ICH-GMP certified producer in North America, that level of rigour that we bring to the industry plays well for us.

We look at markets based on size, what the distribution’s going to look like, who the buyers are going to be, if there’s insurance coverage.

Aaron Keay, ABcann Global CEO

How: You’ve got to get on the ground over there and spend some time with the agencies and companies that are already there. That way you can build a relationship and start discussing things like collaborations and joint ventures first. We have a presence in (other) countries, but it didn’t happen overnight. We navigated through it with consultants and government officials over time before we got into a position where we now feel comfortable enough to say, “Okay, we can do some business here.”

Marc Lustig, CannaRoyalty CEO

When: Typically the math will end up being an indicator. We’ve seen management teams take on more than what is possible with time, resources and capital. A proper plan that is focused is essential. It’s very easy to build a bridge to the middle of a lake. Before you have grandiose designs on expanding into other markets, you would have to understand the compliance and licensing constraints in that market.

George Scorsis, Liberty Health Sciences CEO

Why: If we’re entering into a system, we need to ensure that we validate the rationale for why we’ve entered into the market, and that it’s to further enhance the medical system. Second, it also insulates us from potential federal interactions.

Strictly look at medical platforms prior to looking at anything recreational or adult use.

Who: Ensure that you partner with people that have great local knowledge.

Cam Battley, executive VP of Aurora Cannabis

Where: It has to be federally legal. We’ve got to make sure that everything we do it kosher with the (Toronto Stock Exchange). I’m very interested in the U.S. market, but I’m not going there until it’s federally legal.

Who: We’re looking for serious people. They have to bring a series of important things to the table. Pedanios (a German distributor) is a good example. They’ve already demonstrated they know what they’re doing through Pedanios’s role as a medical cannabis distributor.

Dooma Wendschuh, Province Brands CEO

Where: One thing we look for when we get to scale is: Let’s find one of the countries in Europe that have legalized medical marijuana and let’s find a suitable partner with whom we can work to build a brewery (the company makes alcohol-free beer using marijuana) in their country so that we don’t have to ship it across the Atlantic. Shipping costs are important to take into account.

The comments have been edited for length and clarity.

Matt Lamers can be reached at mattl@mjbizdaily.com

Daily News | Canada Marijuana News | Cultivation | Featured


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German Medical Marijuana Patients face mounting struggles to secure their medicine, while companies from the US and elsewhere are forbidden to help. #shameful

 

 

Criticism of the cannabis lawThe struggle for cannabis

In March the policy was celebrated: cannabis on prescription – a breakthrough! But many patients are dissatisfied. The funds do not want to pay the costs, the pharmacies are struggling with supply bottlenecks. The fight for hemp is in full swing.

By Christin Jordan, SWR

Magdalena Sebelka has epilepsy, ADHD and severe asthma. She has already tried a few medications – helped only cannabis.

As with the 10th of March, cannabis can be prescribed for prescription and bought at the pharmacy. The new law makes it possible for the funds to pay the costs. As far as the theory. Practically, around 1000 people in Germany have already been allowed to buy and consume cannabis products in pharmacies with an exception. But they had to pay it out of their own pocket.

In severe diseases such as cancer, Crohn’s disease, multiple sclerosis or pain patients, medical cannabis is used for therapy. The hemp blossoms are imported, certified cultivating plants are available in Canada, the USA and the Netherlands.

Fighting with the health insurance companies

The young woman has an exception license, issued by the Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices. So far she has received a prescription from the doctor and has been able to buy and consume hemp flowers – at her own expense. Your hope in the law was great. Then the disappointment: your doctor prescribes her the drug, but she must continue to pay for it herself. The checkout refuses to take over the costs.

According to the law, the first regulation has to be submitted and approved by a health insurance company at the health insurance – but this is rejected by Sebelkas Kasse. It is not proven that cannabis is the only active ingredient that helps her.

Many affected parties also report in Internet forums about the struggle with the coffers. Your guess: It’s about money. Because cannabino therapy is expensive – an average patient costs around 9000 euros per year.

Cannabis as a last resort

The leading association of statutory health insurance funds rejects the charge of wanting to save costs. The funds would have to adhere to the law whereby cannabis products can only be used as cash-in-service if no other therapy helps.

In addition, since the entry into force of the Act on 10th March, 1000 cost-taking has already been approved by the funds, so the number of legal cannabis users has risen significantly.

But why do people with an old exception permit like Magda Sebelka not automatically claim to be covered by the health insurance funds provided for by the new law? According to Speaker Florian Lanz, there is no legal basis for this. There was no provision for the existence of existing populations for the old patients; every regulation had to be examined separately, which could also reject cash applications – as in many other therapies.

Legal, but expensive

One gram of cannabis flowers costs 25 euros in the pharmacy – a lot of money for those who are self-paying. Sebelka reports that since the introduction of the law the price of medical cannabis products has almost doubled. The reason was that the pharmacists had to calculate the goods according to the German drug regulation. The German Association of German Pharmacists’ Associations rejects this – cannabis has always had to be treated as a medicinal product like any other medicinal plant. “I can not understand the alleged price increases,” explains deputy press singer Ursula Sellerberg.

Limited cannabis

But patients who have accepted the cost of taking over the costs can still not breathe. Medical cannabis is currently scarce, the foreign suppliers can not meet the needs. “Of ten cannabis medicines, I can only offer one at the moment”, says the chief pharmacist Martin Schmidt. He can only provide his regular customers – if new cash patients with cannabis recipes came, they probably went empty. Schmidt sees the fault with the policy: “The law was a quick shot, one had to have thought about where these quantities of medical cannabis products should come from.”

A quick solution is not in sight. Germany wants to build a state cannabis agency and control cannabis cultivation – however only two years. Until then, Magda Sebelka may perhaps consume at the expense of the cash box cannabis – she complains in an urgent case against the decision.

Your opinion about:Kritik am Gesetz für legalen Cannabiskonsum

July 26, 2017 – 11:22

A hemp plant

In March the policy was celebrated: cannabis on prescription – a breakthrough! But many patients are dissatisfied. The funds do not want to pay the costs, the pharmacies are struggling with supply bottlenecks. The fight for hemp is in full swing. By Christin Jordan.

Article on tagesschau.de

Comments

Finally legalize costs

Finally legalize, save money! There are arguments against it, but then one would have to honestly forbid alcohol etc.

What would the police finally release? You will not move the potatoes if you criminalize it. Consumption has been steadily increasing for years. We must pay the police.

The market regulates …

… the price and that is good so. And that the checkout does not pay is correct. I would not like to finance a cannabis as a cashier. Basta.

Simply laughable …

Delivery bottlenecks at something every 17 year old can grow. Welcome to Germany.
And what is the idea of ​​allowing hemp first when opiates do not have the desired effect?
Just look to Holland – the kids there are not as big as the one here – simply because it is nothing special – you can buy in the coffeeshop, nice to smoke there and then as after a beer to go home, the stub on the Way smoking and done.
The drilldown made here around the story is simply laughable.

Build yourself

If I was in a desperate situation would have a serious illness and would have to fight with bad pain, I would be mildly shed, whether the cultivation is illegal.
Then the just a seriously sick man in the jail are stuck …..

@ Ruffian

“I do not want to co-finance a cannabis as a cashier.” Basta. ”

I hope they stay healthy. My wife was not lucky enough, and cannabis is the only active ingredient of the (including).

@karawanke

“The market regulates the price”
The road price is around 10, – EUR per gram and thus far less than half as what pharmacies demand.

“And that the checkout does not pay is right.”
No it is not. The legal situation is clear and the coffers have to submit to this!

“I do not want to finance a cannabis as a cashier.”
And I do not want to co-finance your surgery and chemo if you get cancer, preferably by smoking. Or your physiotherapy when you break your bones while skiing. But I must. Therefore, your “desire” is irrelevant.

@ Karawanke

>>> I would like to co-finance no cannabis as a cashier. Basta.
,
Cannabis is cheaper and more effective than alternative products. Also less harmful / side effects than chemical drugs.
As a cashier, I would rather pay cannabis than an artificial, overpriced product of the pharmaceutical industry.

The only reasonable solution is

The free sale to all in pharmacies, or separate shops. Then there are also no bottlenecks. On the contrary, a new, lucrative industry for all parties would be created, decriminalizing consumers, thereby relieving the police / courts and generating tax revenues.

It is already disappointing

It is already disappointing to see how the health insurance companies are squirming, just not having to pay … what they actually have to do according to the law, so almost every complaint against social courts is also successful.

It’s damn cynical when one forces patients to be forced into illegality again.

Whoever can afford it and does not want to act illegally, can issue a private recipe. So what do you call two-class medicine ?!

Yes, I also like to see when my health insurance contributions are spent on safe and helpful substances like cannabis! To refuse a patient’s medicine is simply immoral (aka “is not at all!”).

Prices not traceable

“Because cannabino therapy is expensive – an average patient costs around 9000 euros per year.”

And what would be the cost if the legislator were to equate cannabis with the tobacco – 100 euros?

Looks to Uruguay

And learn how to do something like that!

Legal health insurance is called …

… the legislator defines the conditions, and that makes him very stringent and very concrete. Paragraph 12 of Book V of the Social Insurance Code states that
“(1) benefits must be sufficient, appropriate and economic, and must not exceed the extent of what is necessary.” Insured persons are not entitled to benefits which are not necessary or uneconomical And do not grant health insurance funds. ”
In this respect, the GKVs may only authorize if the conditions of § 31 (6) SGB V are fulfilled. In particular, no alternative recognized therapeutic method may be available for the purpose of use (cannabis is almost everywhere else).
To this extent, the hope of German consumers,

@karawanke

“I do not want to co-finance a cannabis as a cashier.” Basta. “… but the lush profit margins of the pharmaceutical industry … no further comment needed

Prices not traceable!

The pharmacy wants 25 €?
On the street the price is 10 to 12 €.

Who as a chronic patient illigal a Hanfzucht cabinet poses thereby long-term producer prices of under 3 € the gram realize.
On a large scale professionally cultivated hemp products would be spottbillig !!! “Pfennig Amounts” for the gram!

They would be cheaper than most pharma alternatives and the health insurance funds would be financially relieved by hemp medicine.

Earlier, hemp was grown on German fields. This was because of the fibers, but was the same kind.
Hemp cultivation is relatively easy: hemp is robust, needs little to no use of chemistry and the soil needs little preparation. For this purpose it is relatively dry-resistant (grows well on Moroccan fields).

The fact that we have supply bottlenecks and usurious prices is the only political failure!

@ Karawanke “no cannabis co-finance”

Aha?!

How is it with opioids? They finance you through your health insurance contributions on a grand scale.

Or benzodiazepines? A not insignificant proportion of the drug addicts are attributed to this drug. They also finance you.

What about amphetamines? You are funding Ritalin and others about your contributions.

What about cocaine derivatives? Lidocaine and other local anesthetics …

What I want to tell you: Many drug classes, which you know as an illigal drug, have at the same time a high medical potential, which has always been widely used.

The active ingredients in hemp also have high medical potential. And the side effects are relatively harmless compared to all the above active substance classes! These are facts, the medical world is largely in agreement. And although this is not in the sense of the pharmaceutical lobby.

From a scientific point of view, it is a scandal that a modern enlightened country like Germany so far does not use these drugs

@spetzki

Cent amounts per gram are nonsense! That would only go on the field so cheap and then the quality is not given. For medical purposes it is cultivated in enclosed spaces wherever it is allowed. There is the driving cost factor alone the current.

It is the GKV’s in Germany for a long time only around …

…Money.
Not only in patients who need cannabis, since other agents either do not help or have too much side effects.

Is not different with me.
My pain therapy costs around
2,662 € a year.
For cannabis it would be 3-4 times as expensive.
The big difference is that cannabis has much less side effects and is therefore less harmful to the body.
After all, I am talking about a lifelong application of the preparations.
At the moment I have to take Oxycodon acute (4 times daily).
With Hemp I need substantially less to zero.

But the coffers do not care.
Alone the regulation that if there is another means, cannabis not or difficult to maintain or even be bought at own expense, drives many people into the madness and ruin.

No, our health care system & The responsible politicians also take care of
the patient.

It’s just about money.

@ 11: 31 from OrwellAG – so please, it is not about the …

… Consumption of a killer who would like to have a intoxication.

It is a question of adopting a law that gives people free access to their medicine.

And then the cashiers are straining themselves with the simple assertion that there are substitute medications which the patient must take.
Or the patient has to pay himself.
The Otto-normal patient can not do this.
Especially since most people who need such a drug anyway can no longer work.

@ no idea


To be economical” “in particular, no alternative recognized method of healing may be available for the purpose of use (cannabis is almost everywhere else).”

Hemp is one of the oldest cultivated and medicinal plants of mankind.
This is not a new idea. And it is not an “alternative healing method”! This is not a Bachblütentee – hemp contains highly potent active ingredients.
They are well-known and well-researched active ingredients.
Hemp has been tried for decades to demonize (and still can not present any facts).
The fact is, in many cases, hemp should be the first choice, because:
– very low potential for side effects
– if done right
– unbeatable – great patient compliance. Many patients prefer a traditional herbal drug to a modern drug.

From the passages you quoted, I interpret that hemp medicine needs to be promoted more strongly.

@ Donidon: field went

One has to ask, of course, how the use of these drugs should develop in the long term.
I think: In the same as for all other active ingredients also: standardized medical products: tablets, drops, … suppositories 🙂

This would mean that the active ingredients are dissolved from the plant material and isolated and standardized products are produced therefrom.
For this application, the active ingredient content in the plant material may fluctuate smoothly.

And so “Pfennigsbeträge” can be realized.

If the hemp flower should have as much as possible reproducible concentrations of active ingredients, then you are right: you have to keep all parameters constant, including lighting, nutrient supply (via hydroponic systems), temperature and humidity.

It is not the best solution to leave the hemp flower to the patient. Because this self-medication (smoking, evaporating, baking cookies, …) is inaccurate and less effective than modern forms of administration.

11:49 by karawanke

“And that the cash box does not pay is correct, I would not like to finance a cannabis as cashier.” Basta. ”

Then I wish you heartfeltly that you will never get into the situation, that cannabis is the only way to live a certain human life and die later. My husband has ALS. Both (first and second) motoneuron are affected. Particularly painful are the muscle cramps. His doctor would prescribe in the cannabis, the cashier does not pay. For the other medicines, he has to reckon with enormous side effects, eg liver damage.

There are growing countries

There are more and more countries cunning and legalizing cannabis, why we have to make it more complicated than it is.
We leave it over pharmacies, health insurance and doctors, which is a bureaucracy.
Everyone is able to cultivate cannabis and it is made everywhere. So just legalize it and we save money and trouble.
This is a billion dollar market the D left. Cannabis has always been consumed. The purchase is as easy as buying biscuits.
This could create thousands of jobs in D, instead the pharmaceutical industry is supported, so they can sell their expensive preparations.
Even America has recognized this market. To ban a naturally growing plant and brewed beer, Baked liquor, & c. That’s funny!
D always notes it at the end!
I hope I ever experience the complete legalization!

“They are well-known and well-researched drugs.”

You should not write something, just to write something.
You can count yourself as an employee of a sawmill on one hand for an effective study for the treatment of diseases or even for the adjuvant use of dronabinol or nabilone. Evident studies, however, are a compelling basis for the preparation of therapiesand guidelines of the specialist companies.
In this respect, you can put your “facts” at least in health care in 99.5% of cases for the coming years, where the sun rarely has an opportunity to see them.
Because in exactly this relation, there are standardized procedures that are cheaper than cannabis on Rp. – and then we must prescribe this, The cash registers are not allowed to grant more expensive procedures and the patient can not claim them. That’s the way – and I do not want to be embarrassed to pay the bags of my patients myself.

We own one

We have an endocannabinoid system where the cannabinoids CBD, THC & Co. (over 100 exist) can dock. We also produce our own cannabinoids ourselves. However, since the research on cannabis has been suppressed for so long, studies are often lacking, and therefore the evidence. Look at all the people in the world to be scolded at the “Kiffer”. They are often better with the herb than with chemically produced “medicine”, the cannabis need only be determined, reaped, dried and taken.

As always, it is about maximizing profit, if patients have to suffer (see cancer medication). Not only does methadone show surprising results, cannabis too!

Doctor, “That makes psychoses!”
Patient: This with psychoses and cannabis is a hen and egg problem.

(Satire)
Is the risk of an induced psychosis very high when a “doctor” hears the word “cannabis”? Or was a psychosis VS ‘cannabis as medicine’, already there before?
(Satire off)

It is definitely harmful to health

Unfortunately, one must always keep in mind that the abuse of cannabis is a drug addictive and, just like drinking alcohol, is a serious damage to the nervous system.
Beautiful staining and Kiffer-Idyll bring there nothing.

Closing of the commentary function

Dear users,

Due to the high number of comments on meta.tagesschau.de, the news can not be commented at the moment.
We ask for your understanding.

Sincerely,
The Moderation


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Tommy Chong rumored to be re-appearing at ICBC Berlin

ICBC Berlin - The BERLIN PEACE ACCORDS...putting an end to the world war on Cannabis!

ICBC BERLIN will be held April 12-13, 2018 in Berlin Germany.

Tommy Chong and his CHONGS CHOICE offerings http://chongschoice.us/ were well-received by the international cannabis executives this year and rumor has it he will be there again in 2018.

For more information on this HIGHLY RECOMMENDED event, please go to:

http://internationalcbc.com/berlin-home/


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The State of Cannabusiness in Germany

The State of Cannabusiness in Germany

As a cannabis business executive, you undoubtedly have been following some of the significant events happening in Europe and you have asked yourself: “How does this affect my plans?”

It may be the German government establishing a nationwide medical marijuana program, or news about the Canadian companies buying or merging with their European counterparts that has your attention. But you know the times are a changin’ and you might want to benefit from this historic moment in our Industry.

For those companies that already have a strategic international plan in place, the opportunities are boundless.  Germany, a nation with 2.5 times the population of California, is leading the way with the a national, Federal-government approved, medical marijuana law already in place, and numerous regional efforts to establish recreational use are getting off the ground as I write this column.

Having been an advocate in California during the medical marijuana legalization push of 1990s, and now living here in Germany as they build their own regulated marketplace, it has been fun to be involved. I’d now like to share some of the organizations that may be able to help you and your company, if Europe is indeed on your radar.

Das Bundesinstitut für Arzneimittel und Medizinprodukte (BfArM) is the German federal government’s  Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices and is lead by Professor Dr. Karl Broich. Their website is www.bfarm.de and they are basically the cannabis bureau of Germany, charged with implementing the medical marijuana law.  Interestingly, they will also be the sole purchaser of foreign-produced medical marijuana products, and then oversee the distribution exclusively though licensed pharmacies.

So Germans will be going to their local pharmacy to obtain their medicine, which officially should be paid by their insurance company.  Of course, the details are still being worked out, and I know of at least two lawsuits against insurance companies not paying for their clients medicine.

Last month, the BfArM put out a call for bids for the first ten authorized grow licenses in the history of Germany.  Negotiations are underway and the winning bidders should be announced shortly.  We will keep you updated on this, and all important details emanating from Europe, in future columns.

The Deutscher Hanfverband (DHV) is the German Hemp Association in Berlin and a fantastic resource and advocacy organization. They have been instrumental in getting the country to this point and their website is https://hanfverband.de I highly recommend signing up for their newsletter (which can easily be translated.)  Their next big event is the Hanf Parade in Berlin in August which will bring together over 10,000 advocates calling for open access.

For companies that want to get serious about being in Europe, the best organization I know of is the German Trade and Investment office located in Berlin which is part of the German Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs. Their website is www.gtai.de.

Their knowledge is vast, their connections incredible, and there is no charge for their services. They want to make it easy for international companies in our space to help Germany build their regulated marketplace. They provide advanced research, site-selection, tax information. And.. they are just an email or phone call away.

Of course, there are a total of 51 independent states that make up Europe and 28 of those make up the European Union.  To some degree all of these countries are changing the way they treat medical marijuana and CBD products.

If you are looking for some opportunities in this region, I would suggest looking not only at Germany, but also The Netherlands, Spain, United Kingdom, Switzerland, and the Czech Republic. Although Israel is not in the EU region, their expertise, leading edge research, products and capabilities are to be noted.

Before concluding, I need to give a shout out to Mr. Alex Rogers and his team at ICBC Berlin who put together one of the best industry events I have ever attended.  Back in April, in Berlin, almost 1000 attendees and exhibitors from throughout the world gathered to share information, make connections and close business deals.

Congressman Dana Rohrabacher, chairman of the Cannabis Caucus in the U.S. House of Representatives, was the keynote speaker and shared stories on his German ancestry, his first meeting with Ronald Reagan, and why legalizing our plant makes sense in so many ways.

Tommy Chong was also in attendance, was way coherent, and meeting him was definitely one of my personal highlights.  Yes, I admit it, I listened to his albums way back in 1971.

So I wish you a productive, successful and fun month ahead as we collectively take the next steps to “Make Cannabis Great Again” here in Europe, and wherever you are reading this in the world.

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There are significant opportunities for investors looking to profit from the expanding marijuana industry in other countries.

http://host.madison.com/business/investment/markets-and-stocks/forget-the-u-s-marijuana-market—-there/article_d7702424-c20b-5e1f-9987-70105d72cc8a.html

Marijuana stocks have soared as state after state in the U.S. has legalized marijuana for medical or recreational use. The market potential is huge, with some estimating that the marijuana industry in the U.S. could generate sales of more than $18 billion by 2020.

But focusing only on the U.S. is nearsighted — literally. There are significant opportunities for investors looking to profit from the expanding marijuana industry in other countries. Here are several important areas across the world with growing marijuana markets along with some of the marijuana stocks that could benefit from that growth.

Image source: Getty Images.

North America

Canada was the first North American country to legalize medical marijuana nationwide in 2001. Through the years, the Canadian medical marijuana market has grown but still stands at only $100 million or so. However, the market for medical marijuana in the country is projected to increase to roughly $900 million by 2020.

The bigger story for Canada is the prospect of legalization of recreational marijuana. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is pushing for legislation that would legalize the drug for recreational use effective July 2018. However, there has been significant pushback that could derail the effort. If Trudeau succeeds, though, the Canadian marijuana market could increase to as much as $22.6 billion annually, according to research by international accounting and professional services firm Deloitte.

Mexico became the second North American country to legalize medical marijuana nationwide in June 2017. Legislation supporting legalization passed overwhelmingly in the Mexican congress. Recreational use of marijuana is still widely prohibited, although the government is considering the possibility of allowing Mexican citizens to legally possess up to one ounce of the drug.

How big could the Mexican marijuana industry be? It’s not likely to be nearly as large as either the U.S. or Canadian markets. However, Stuart Titus, CEO of Medical Marijuana, Inc. (NASDAQOTH: MJNA), thinks that Mexico could be an opportunity for cumulative revenue for his company alone over the next 10 years of $1 billion to $2 billion.

South America

In 2013, Uruguay became the first country in the world to fully legalize the sale and use of marijuana. As of July 2017, pharmacies in the South American nation will be allowed to sell marijuana over the counter.

While no other countries in South America have gone as far as Uruguay, several have relaxed marijuana laws in recent years. In 2015, both Chile and Colombia legalized medical use of marijuana or marijuana-based medications. Argentina approved medical use of marijuana in March of this year.

Brazil, which has the largest population of any country in South America by far, hasn’t legalized marijuana yet — although possession of small amounts of the drug has been decriminalized. There are signs that support for marijuana legalization is growing in Brazil, however, including a public statement by one of the country’s Supreme Court justices calling for legalization of marijuana.

The marijuana industry in South America remains relatively small at this point. Even in Uruguay, the industry has grown at a snail’s pace largely due to lack of funding for government agencies that oversee the marijuana market. Over time, however, it seems likely that the South American opportunity will become more significant.

Image source: Getty Images.


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Catalonia Spain Legalizes Cannabis Cultivation and Consumption

https://www.marijuana.com/news/2017/06/catalonia-spain-legalizes-cannabis-cultivation-and-consumption/

Today, the Catalonia Parliament in Spain, which operates as its own autonomous government, will be regulating the cultivation, consumption, and transport of adult-use cannabis. This ambitious and bold decision marks the first time in Europe that an adult-use system of this nature is permitted, effectively making cannabis a legal commodity in the region.

The days of Catalonia’s cannabis clubs operating in a legal limbo are coming to an end, and for a good reason.

Today, the Catalonia Parliament in Spain, which operates as its own autonomous government, will be regulating the cultivation, consumption, and transport of adult-use cannabis. This ambitious and bold decision marks the first time in Europe that an adult-use system of this nature is permitted, effectively making cannabis a legal commodity in the region.

Three years in the making, the decision is finally receiving broad party support within the Catalan government.

In 2014, a resolution was passed asking government officials to create a series of regulations for cannabis clubs, but due to a lack of consensus among the working groups, the idea quickly lost momentum.

Then in 2015, a group known as La Rosa Verda collected more than 56,000 signatures, prompting the creation of a paper in Parliament with contributions from over 30 cannabis experts. These included psychologists, sociologists, pharmacologists, doctors and a host of others.

The results culminated into this historic move, where growing, consuming and transporting cannabis will no longer be scrutinized by authorities.

“We did not want to do something halfway,” said Alba Vergés, Chairwomen of the Health Commission in Parliament. Vergés is referring to the famous “backdoor law” which existed for decades in places like Holland and Amsterdam, where selling marijuana was legal but cultivation was still run by the black market. That is why growing pot is included in this landmark decision by the Catalonians.

The new regulations say that cannabis clubs cannot produce more than 150 kg of dried marijuana per year. Each crop will require a sign-off from an agronomist to determine if the amount grown is in line with the amount consumed for each cannabis club.

When cannabis is being transported, club managers must have documents detailing the association responsible for the crop. As well, the identity of the carrier, the destination of where it’s going, the date, quantity, and type of product must be known; public transport cannot be used for distribution.

Although these new regulations are for the benefit of Catalonians who enjoy cannabis, marijuana tourism is not permitted. Because of this regulation, the new rules will stipulate that anyone who applies to be a member of a cannabis club will need to wait 15 days until they can partake in the club’s marijuana crop.

Anyone over the age of 21 can purchase up to 60 grams per month, and those who are between 18-21 are only permitted 20 grams per month, but the amounts do not apply to those who use marijuana for medical purposes. As well, these new regulations do not allow the consumption of alcohol in the cannabis clubs or marijuana edibles of any kind.

The cannabis clubs of Catalonia welcome this decision and hope that it will end cannabis arrests in the region. “The only thing we ask for is legal security,” said one cannabis club owner who asked not to be identified. “We have been working with one foot in the law for many years and another one out.”

The Catalonian government is aware that this new ruling can be challenged in constitutional court by the federal government in Spain. The Catalonian Parliament has publicly stated that consumption is legally their decision and that Catalonia is within its legal right to allow this legislation.

The significance of Catalonia legalizing adult-use cannabis for its citizens is nothing short of remarkable. It sets a precedent that acknowledges the failed war on drugs while simultaneously paving a better path for cannabis consumers in Spain and potentially other European countries.

But perhaps Alba Vergés said it best. “The law we will approve is very advanced and gives a very clear message. It’s time for a paradigm shift when it comes to legislating drugs.”

Congratulations Catalonia!

 


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INTERNATIONAL CANNABIS AND CANNABINOIDS INSTITUTE – Warning to European CBD Consumers

https://www.marijuanatimes.org/icci-offers-warning-to-european-cbd-consumers/

ICCI-CBD-warning
Image Courtesy of Bill Griffin

Oils with a high CBD (cannabidiol) content have enjoyed a rise in popularity in the European market lately. As long as the THC content is no higher than 0.2% in most (but sadly, not all) European member states, CBD oil is perfectly legal.

Consumers are more aware of the medicinal properties of CBD and its non-psychotropic effect when ingested or inhaled.

This surge in awareness and demand has created a large – and unregulated – industry. Thanks to Europe’s free market, consumers are able to buy from another EU state with ease.

In Prague, under the framework of Patient Focus Certification (PFC), the world’s first independent testing took place of the quality of cannabidiol (CBD) products available on the retail market and the composition of “cannabis oils” available in the European Union. The results were found to be worrisome and highlighted the need for independent certification of the quality of mass-produced products made from cannabis.

Essentially, consumers only have the label and claims from the producer to go on when buying their CBD products. There is no way for them to test and validate these claims on their own. It is even difficult for the producers to get their products tested, so where this information is coming from is open to discussion.

In cooperation with the first European laboratory with a PFC certification – working within the Department of Food Analysis and Nutrition of the University of Chemistry and Technology, Prague (VŠCHT) – the International Institute for Cannabis and Cannabinoids (ICCI), also headquartered in Prague, assessed the quality of certain types of commercially available CBD oils on the European market.

Professor Jana Hajšlová, who led the testing, says, “For both categories, we are interested in the quality and authenticity of used oils and possible content of environmental contaminants, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH), which accumulate in oils (for protecting the health of their consumers, maximum limits have been anchored in legislation. For “CBD oils”, we also examined the consistency of the determined contents of CBD with the producer’s stated values and the potential content of THC.” THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, is the main psychotropic substance found in cannabis that gets you high.

Professor Hajšlová and her team tested 29 oils containing the non-psychotropic biologically active substance from cannabis – CBD – and 25 oils from cannabis seeds purchased on the EU market in the last quarter of 2016.

Tomáš Zábranský, Director of Research at ICCI, explained why the following aspects were selected in the assessment of edible cannabis-based foods, “Multi-core polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, such as benzopryrene, are classified as carcinogens and genotoxic mutagens of class IIa – according to the classification of the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). That means they are substances whose carcinogenicity was proven experimentally on animals, even though not on people (otherwise being prevented for ethical reasons), they have nevertheless been proven by a multitude of epidemiological studies. This especially pertains to ill persons trying to utilize the beneficial effects of CBD, but polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons are unquestionably hazardous, mainly upon long-term (chronic) reception.”

In other words, what some people are buying to make them better could well have a detrimental effect on their health.

Another unexpected outcome of taking uncertified CBD products could be that you consume more THC than you were expecting. This could be seen as a nice problem for some, but potentially dangerous if the consumer is working in a hazardous environment, or even just doing a school or shopping run.

Tomáš explains, “Another problem is the excessive content of THC in the blood after use of CBD oils. THC is another medicinally active substance from cannabis, but it is psychoactive as opposed to CBD. Even its relatively low quantities can cause changes in perception among more sensitive individuals, which could jeopardize their ability to drive or make decisions in general – especially if they are not aware of the possibility of their psyche being influenced by an external substance.”

There could be legal implications for the consumer, too. “Another problem for drivers may be testing positive for THC upon traffic stops, which could lead at least to losing one’s driver’s license. Generally speaking, any psychoactive substance in one’s body about which one has no idea is always a problem.”

The results of their analysis exceeded expectations of the deficiencies in the claims of the producers. This lead ICCI, along with the Department of Food Analysis and Nutrition, to issue a warning to European consumers about the risks of hazardous contaminations.

They discovered that, in terms of the content of polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAH), only 9 out of 29 (31%) of tested CBD oils were satisfactory.

Cannabis oils (which are actually oils from cannabis seeds and not from the plant) enjoyed better success in this basic food safety criterion. In this category, 23 out of 25 tested sample products (92%) satisfied the legal limits of PAH in foods.

The quality analysis also uncovered a problem in the lack of awareness of customers on the composition of the given product. A full 60% of tested CBD oils did not have any mention of the THC level on the label. This is important as consumers need to know if they exceed the recommended or maximum dosage of THC. Otherwise, they could end up testing positive for a THC level higher than the limit of 2ng per ml of blood upon screening during a traffic stop or employment.

For a quarter of the tested oils, the risk is affiliated with the use of a recommended dose and another 10% evoke this risk upon using the maximum dosage stated on the packaging. Further, labels of 34% of CBD oils showed discrepancies between the true content of CBD, or sums of CBD and cannabidiolic acid (CBDA), and the content stated by the producer.

This means that CBD consumers could not only be just plain old ripped off, they could be taking substances detrimental to their health, hazardous to their safety and psychological well-being, and  they could be unwittingly breaking the law whilst driving or lose their job after a drug test.

With the European hemp industry growing so much in recent years, ICCI’s study and other independent testing of the quality of cannabis-based products designed for human consumption highlight the need to introduce and observe standards for safe production and distribution.

Having met many people working within the industry over the last few years, I get the impression they are not trying to pull the wool over the eyes of innocent consumers, but rather they lack the knowledge to setup and manage facilities involved in the production and distribution of cannabis-related products. Up until now, there was no way for them to gain this knowledge.

Therefore last year, ICCI licensed the PFC program from the nonprofit American patient organization ASA (Americans for Safe Access) for certification outside the USA and localized the certification criteria for use in the EU.

Pavel Kubů, CEO of ICC,I explains what will happen with the results of this testing, “We are contacting all producers of the tested edible cannabis-based food products, we will share with them the results and offer assistance in checking the safety and increasing the quality of their products. The list of those foods that satisfied limits in the PAH analysis will be available to all consumers on the PFC International website. Members of patient organizations associated in the international association (IMCPC) will be provided information through the association KOPAC regarding the quality of the oil that they use and find out whether it was amongst those tested, and if so, with what results.”