A new crowd is joining the world’s movers and shakers at Davos’ elite party this year — marijuana growers

The first ever ‘Cannabis Conclave’ — held at an alpine restaurant only accessible by cable car — is a sign of growing legitimacy for the business

The global elite are on their way to the Swiss alpine town of Davos for the World Economic Forum’s annual gathering, but this year a new group is joining the party: the cannabis elite.

A bevy of company executives and former politicians — all of whom are now involved in the burgeoning legal cannabis industry — are expected to attend what is being billed as the first ever “Cannabis Conclave,” a three-hour lunch at an alpine restaurant only accessible by cable car.

Attendees of the event at Restaurant Höhenweg will be able to “listen to insights by leading cannabis executives and investors while enjoying a three-course Swiss lunch” consisting of Swiss cheese pasta, meat fondue and “kaiserschmarrn” or fried pancakes.

Among those scheduled to appear at the lunch are former Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak, who serves as chairman of the Israeli medical cannabis company InterCure, and Bruce Linton, CEO of Canopy Growth Corp. 

This year marks the first time that cannabis events, attracting prominent members of the industry, are being held on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum, a sign of growing legitimacy of the global marijuana sector.

Canadian investment bank Canaccord Genuity Corp. — one of the first investment firms to become involved in cannabis dealmaking — is a co-sponsor of Cannabis Conclave, along with the Consumer Choice Center, an organization based in Brussels that calls itself a “consumer rights organization to mobilize millennials against overburdensome regulation that limits choice.”

A number of the industry leaders present at the Cannabis Conclave are also scheduled to attend a second marijuana sector event called the Canada Cannabis House, sponsored by the Canadian Securities Exchange and OTC Markets Group Inc. — two stock exchanges on which the bulk of cannabis companies are listed.

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Cannabis elite descend on Davos to familiarize global elite with sector

A bevy of company executives and former politicians — all of whom are now involved in the burgeoning legal cannabis industry — are expected to attend what is being billed as the first ever “Cannabis Conclave,” a three-hour lunch at an alpine restaurant only accessible by cable car.

Attendees of the event at Restaurant Höhenweg will be able to “listen to insights by leading cannabis executives and investors while enjoying a three-course Swiss lunch” consisting of Swiss cheese pasta, meat fondue and “kaiserschmarrn” or fried pancakes.

Among those schedule to appear at the lunch are former Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak, who serves as chairman of the Israeli medical cannabis company InterCure, and Bruce Linton, CEO of Canopy Growth Corp. 

This year marks the first time that cannabis events, attracting prominent members of the industry, are being held on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum, a sign of growing legitimacy of the global marijuana sector.

Canadian investment bank Canaccord Genuity Corp. — one of the first investment firms to become involved in cannabis dealmaking — is a co-sponsor of Cannabis Conclave, along with the Consumer Choice Center, an organization based in Brussels that calls itself a “consumer rights organization to mobilize millennials against overburdensome regulation that limits choice.”

A number of the industry leaders present at the Cannabis Conclave are also scheduled to attend a second marijuana sector event called the Canada Cannabis House, sponsored by the Canadian Securities Exchange and OTC Markets Group Inc. — two stock exchanges on which the bulk of cannabis companies are listed.

The Canada Cannabis House will take place as a series of speaking events over the course of three days, exploring everything from how to secure funding as a pot company to the potential that emerging cannabis markets such as Thailand and Malaysia hold for the sector.

Anthony ‘The Mooch’ Scaramucci will interview former Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak, who is chairman of Israeli medical cannabis company InterCure

Other key cannabis industry figures participating in both events include: Kevin Murphy, the CEO of Acreage Holdings, one of the largest cannabis companies in the U.S.; Navdeep Dhaliwal, president of Supreme Cannabis, a Canadian licensed producer; and Saul Kaye, CEO of Israel Cannabis, who led the charge to get Israeli lawmakers to approve the export of medical cannabis.

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Harm reduction should drive all drug policy

Harm reduction-based policies are known to reduce the incidence of overdose, lower disease transmission rates and reduce the presence of organized crime, writes Heather Bone.

When the Canadian government introduced legislation to legalize cannabis, the rationale was clear: Canada would abandon a model of prohibition in order to, in the words of Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould, “protect youth from the health and safety risks of cannabis and keep those same criminals from profiting from its production, distribution and sale.” This policy was sensibly guided by a philosophy of harm reduction, which aims to reduce the dangers associated with the use of drugs, without expecting people to quit their habit. Harm reduction-based policies are known to reduce the incidence of overdose, lower disease transmission rates and reduce the presence of organized crime, which is why the approach is promoted by leading health organizations, including the Canadian Mental Health Association. However, politicians at the federal, provincial and municipal levels of government have failed to extend this approach and enact harm reduction-based policies more broadly, and at times have moved in the opposite direction completely.

Take the issue of decriminalization: Liberal party members voted overwhelmingly to support decriminalizing all drugs at their most recent policy convention in April, including hard drugs like cocaine and heroin. This policy has proven to be successful in Portugal, where the annual number of drug-related deaths declined by nearly 28 per cent between 1999 (when drugs were decriminalized) and 2006. Additionally, by treating drug use as a public health issue rather than a crime, Portugal saw HIV rates among drug users plummet by more than 50 per cent. Despite this, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau reiterated his intention to maintain the status quo. As a result of this inaction, the opioid crisis will continue to take its toll on Canadian lives. According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, there were roughly 4,000 apparent opioid-related deaths in 2017 — nearly 1,000 more than the year before. Without a shift in government policy, the number of lives claimed by the opioid epidemic will continue to climb.

Safe injection sites have also been heavily politicized. These facilities provide a hygienic environment for recreational drug users to consume intravenous drugs while supervised by medical professionals. Monitoring drug users is crucial, as the Public Health Agency of Canada estimates 92 per cent of opioid-induced deaths are accidental. Studies show that safe injection sites lower overdose rates, facilitate access to treatment and lower the transmission rates of blood-borne illnesses such as HIV. A site in London, Ont., for instance, has reversed 37 overdoses and referred more than 180 people to treatment since it opened. Unfortunately, in Ontario, the PC government recently increased the red tape associated with operating a site, including subjecting the sites to random audits and increasing reporting requirements. The province capped the number of injection sites at 21 and will not allow pop-up sites to operate. Currently 19 sites are operating, which limits the potential for new locations and introduces the possibility that communities will compete against each other

To make matters worse, the two-sided nature of drug policy in Canada extends far beyond illegal drugs. The use of vaporizers, which are widely regarded as both a harm reduction mechanism and cessation aid, is increasingly under attack. Unlike traditional cigarettes, vaping devices don’t contain tobacco, or any form of combustion, which is what leads to cancer in cigarette smokers. The University of Victoria Centre for Addictions reports that vaping products only have 18 toxicants, as compared to the 79 found in cigarettes. Importantly, vape devices also deliver no tar. For this reason, Public Health England and the British Medical Association have concluded that smokers should be encouraged to make the switch to vaping because it is 95 per cent less harmful than smoking.

Despite this evidence, federal law places restrictions on how vape companies can advertise their products to smokers and bans them from correctly labelling their product as a harm reduction tool or possible aid to quitting smoking. At the provincial level, eight provinces have additional e-cigarette legislation, among which only Ontario allows product promotion. Even some municipal governments, such as the City of Halifax and Town of Port Albert, have targeted e-cigarette use with anti-vaping bylaws that treat vaping products in the same way as traditional cigarettes.

Harm reduction is a pragmatic framework, but it requires a radical change in thinking. It starts with the realistic assumption that criminalization is not an effective deterrent mechanism and rests on the belief that individuals should not be punished for crimes against their own bodies. The evidence is clear: the war on drugs has a body count, and harm reduction approaches are the solution. To reduce the harms associated with drug use, governments should apply the same logic behind cannabis legalization more widely.

Heather Bone is a research fellow at the Consumer Choice Center and an Economics PhD Student at the University of Toronto.

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About Heather Bone

Heather Bone is pursuing a doctorate in economics at the University of Toronto. Her research interests are broad, but generally relate to public policy. Right now, she is particularly focused on studying the economic functioning of cryptomarkets, including what they mean for consumer choice and how online drug markets are shaped by public policy decisions. For several years, Heather has been a dedicated advocate for consumer choice. She performed research to help advocate free trade while working in the Office of the Chief Economist in the Canadian Department of Global Affairs. She then went on to work as a legislative assistant in Ontario’s provincial government before working for the Manning Centre in Calgary, Alberta where she studied the economics of Business Improvement Areas. A list of Heather’s working papers and publications can be found on her website, heatherlynnbone.com.

A Patently Reasonable Approach to Addressing Pharmaceutical Prices

We seem to be at an impasse when it comes to getting the prices of prescription drugs under control for patients while at the same time fostering innovation. This need not be the case.

The left and the right have their own ideological approaches, none of which will advance given current political reality. Progress will only come in the form of bipartisan, good-government reforms that make the system more fair and predictable.

Both parties can work together to lower drug prices while protecting innovation. We can achieve this through rational approaches, including more transparency around pharmacy benefit managers; the continued streamlining of approvals for generic biologics (also known as biosimilars); and maintaining the delicate balance between incentivizing innovation while fostering lower prices through the entry of generic drugs to the market.

At the heart of most calls for lower drug prices is some form of government intervention requiring innovators to charge less for the medicine that their investments financed. Like waving a magic wand, some would like the government to simply mandate lower prices. But to think that such a move wouldn’t stifle innovation in the already expensive and risky field of drug research and development would require, well, magical thinking.

The financial driver of pharmaceutical R&D investment is the promise that if the drug receives Food and Drug Administration approval, a manufacturer will be able to market it exclusively for a period of time at the price it chooses, without generic competition. After the patent expires, generic drugs serve to reduce drug prices dramatically.

As Sen. Orrin Hatch’s remarkable career in the Senate came to a close at the end of the year, he introduced legislation, the Hatch-Waxman Integrity Act, which will protect the delicate balance created in his 1984 Hatch-Waxman Act that paved the way for a robust marketplace for generics while still protecting innovation through strong patent rights.

In 2011, when technology patent trolls were wreaking havoc in the tech world, Congress, in an effort to protect true innovators, created a patent adjudication process called inter partes review, where patents could be challenged by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board.

When creating IPR, Congress didn’t intend to upset the Hatch-Waxman apple cart. It intended to create a streamlined process to challenge technology patents, an area not governed by Hatch-Waxman.

But because IPR can also be used by drug patent challengers, the process inadvertently created a form of double jeopardy, allowing pharmaceutical patent challengers to try their hand in two separate venues: both the federal court, as well as in PTAB’s IPR. The use of both adjudication forums not only raises fairness questions, it drives up the cost of branded medicines through unnecessary legal costs and greater uncertainty about the patent life of a drug.

Since 2011, not only have pharmaceutical innovators had to defend their patent in two different venues, a scenario not intended under the delicate balance created by Hatch-Waxman, but the legal standards in each forum differ significantly. For instance, in federal court, there is a presumption that a patent is valid, whereas in IPR, there’s a presumption a patent is not valid.

The Hatch-Waxman Integrity Act introduced recently k wouldn’t synthesize standards between venues, nor would it prevent drug patent challengers from using IPR (as might have been wise to do when IPR was created). However, it would require challengers to pick their legal venue — and stick to it.

The proposal would restore the delicate balance between promoting innovation and fostering generics. As Hatch explained on Dec. 11th, this proposal is necessary to ensure “that newer, alternative procedures for challenging drug patents do not give one side an unintended advantage.”

Tweaks of this type are ideologically neutral and, as such, fail to satisfy partisans on both sides who seek to use the issue for political gain. But if the success of the original Hatch-Waxman Act is any indicator, it is just what the doctor ordered.

Jeff Stier is a senior fellow at the Consumer Choice Center.

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About Jeff Stier

Jeff Stier is a Senior Fellow at the Consumer Choice Center. Mr. Stier has been a frequent guest on CNBC, and has addressed health policy on CNN, Fox News Channel, MSNBC, as well as network newscasts. He is a guest on over 100 radio shows a year, including on NPR and top-rated major market shows in cities including Boston, Philadelphia, and Sacramento, plus syndicated regional broadcasts. Jeff’s op-eds have been published in top outlets including The Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times, The New York Post, Forbes, The Washington Examiner, and National Review Online.

Canadian legal cannabis prices nearly 50 percent higher than black market prices

420 INTEL: David Clement, the North American affairs manager for consumer advocacy group Consumer Choice Centre, said that it’s unsurprising that prices of cannabis have risen.     

Clement said that in legalizing marijuana, products are now subject to both federal and provincial taxes in addition to licensing costs and numerous other fees associated with running a cannabis business all the way through the production line to the retailer.

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About David Clement

David Clement is the North American Affairs Manager for the Consumer Choice Center and is based out of Oakville, Ontario. David holds a BA in Political Science and a MA in International Relations from Wilfrid Laurier University. Previously, David was the Research Assistant to the Canada Research Chair in International Human Rights. David has been regularly featured on the CBC, Global News, The Toronto Star and various other major Canadian news outlets.

Canada’s Cannabis Prices Increase After Legalization

CULTURE MAGAZINE: “The taxes and fees create prices that are high out of the gate, and then a lack of competition prevents those prices from being slowly pushed down,” said David Clement, the North American affairs manager for the Consumer Choice Center.

The money generated from taxes and licensing go to fund the cannabis program, and Clement told CBC News that they will use an estimated half a billion dollars over the next five years. On top of that, some provinces in Canada have access to legal cannabis only through government-run shop fronts or online retail.

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About David Clement

David Clement is the North American Affairs Manager for the Consumer Choice Center and is based out of Oakville, Ontario. David holds a BA in Political Science and a MA in International Relations from Wilfrid Laurier University. Previously, David was the Research Assistant to the Canada Research Chair in International Human Rights. David has been regularly featured on the CBC, Global News, The Toronto Star and various other major Canadian news outlets.

Kanada: Neue Statistiken zeigen Probleme mit dem legalen Cannabis-Markt

Das liege vor allem an den hohen Kosten, die auf legale Unternehmen zukommen. Pro Jahr lägen die Kosten, um den Bestimmungen des Cannabis Act gerecht zu werden, bei mehreren Millionen Dollar, sagte David Clement, Direktor des Consumer Choice Center, gegenüber CBC.

Außerdem ließen Steuern und Gebühren die Preise in die Höhe steigen. Durch die praktisch nicht vorhandene (legale) Konkurrenz könnten sich die Preise dann halten, so Clement.

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About David Clement

David Clement is the North American Affairs Manager for the Consumer Choice Center and is based out of Oakville, Ontario. David holds a BA in Political Science and a MA in International Relations from Wilfrid Laurier University. Previously, David was the Research Assistant to the Canada Research Chair in International Human Rights. David has been regularly featured on the CBC, Global News, The Toronto Star and various other major Canadian news outlets.

合法化後供不應求 大麻價格漲逾17%

負監督全球監管政策的消費者權益組織——消費者選擇中心(Consumer Choice Centre)的北美事務經理克萊門特(David Clement)表示,大麻價格上漲很正常,有兩個主要因素推高了大麻成本:稅收和缺乏競爭。

克萊門特表示,合法就代表要繳納省稅和聯邦稅,加上生產商的許可執照費用和固定開支成本,這些費用都轉嫁給最終用戶。他說:「執行大麻法案中的規則和條例,每年就要花費5億元,政府自然要從許可執照費上獲取收入來彌補開支。」

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About David Clement

David Clement is the North American Affairs Manager for the Consumer Choice Center and is based out of Oakville, Ontario. David holds a BA in Political Science and a MA in International Relations from Wilfrid Laurier University. Previously, David was the Research Assistant to the Canada Research Chair in International Human Rights. David has been regularly featured on the CBC, Global News, The Toronto Star and various other major Canadian news outlets.

Price of pot is up since legalization, StatsCan finds

CBC NEWS: David Clement said it’s not surprising that the price of pot has risen. The North American affairs manager for the Consumer Choice Centre, a consumer advocacy group that monitors regulatory policy around the globe, said there are two main factors pushing up cannabis costs — taxes and lack of competition.

The taxes and fees create prices that are high out of the gate, and then a lack of competition prevents those prices from being slowly pushed down.-David Clement, consumer advocate

Now that it’s legal, pot is now subject to provincial and federal taxes, plus all the fees and licensing costs imposed on producers that are passed on to end users, said Clement.

“It costs half a billion [over five years] to enforce the rules and regulations in the Cannabis Act, so in order to generate the revenues to cover that they’ve implemented fees and licences on licensed producers.”Don’t delete your dealer’s number yet — legal cannabis shortage looms

On top of that, access is restricted in the majority of provinces and territories to government-run retail and online shops only.

“The taxes and fees create prices that are high out of the gate, and then a lack of competition prevents those prices from being slowly pushed down,” Clement said.

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About David Clement

David Clement is the North American Affairs Manager for the Consumer Choice Center and is based out of Oakville, Ontario. David holds a BA in Political Science and a MA in International Relations from Wilfrid Laurier University. Previously, David was the Research Assistant to the Canada Research Chair in International Human Rights. David has been regularly featured on the CBC, Global News, The Toronto Star and various other major Canadian news outlets.