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Cannabis

Cannabis Industry Stakeholders, Policymakers Share Perspectives on States Reform Act

U.S. Rep. Nancy Mace unveiled the legislation Nov. 15 to allow state governments to regulate cannabis products through the health-and-safety oversights of their choosing.


During a Nov. 15 press conference, U.S. Rep. Nancy Mace, a Republican from South Carolina who took office at the beginning of the year, unveiled the States Reform Act (SRA), legislation that would allow state governments to regulate cannabis products through the health-and-safety oversights of their choosing.

The 131-page draft bill proposes a 3% federal cannabis excise tax, with a 10-year moratorium on excise tax increases to maintain a competitive marketplace.

The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB), which operates under the U.S. Department of the Treasury, would federally regulate the interstate commerce of cannabis products, while the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) would oversee medical cannabis.

The legislation also includes expungement provisions, but cartel members, agents of cartel gangs or those convicted of driving under the influence would be excluded from seeking expungement.

The Consumer Choice Center applauds Rep. Mace’s effort to provide Americans with a smart, safe and consumer-friendly path to legal cannabis. A focus on establishing legal and safe markets will benefit all of society by finally eliminating the black market, restoring justice and giving the incentive for creative entrepreneurs to enter the marketplace. It is past time America had smart cannabis policies.” – Yaël Ossowski, Deputy Director, Consumer Choice Center

Read the full text here

Cannabis Freedom Alliance Endorses Rep. Mace’s States Reform Act

Today, the Cannabis Freedom Alliance (CFA) announced that it has endorsed the States Reform Act. The Act strongly aligns with CFA’s vision of ending prohibition in a manner consistent with helping all Americans achieve their full potential and limiting the number of barriers that inhibit innovation and entrepreneurship in a free and open market. The States Reform Act is the truly principled vehicle for conservatives, libertarian, and all who value limited government to support cannabis reform. 

CFA was proud to work with Rep. Nancy Mace’s (R-SC)’s team in crafting this legislation and to lend it our future support. The Act creates a bill that keeps Americans and their children safe while ending the federal preemption of and interference with state cannabis laws. The States Reform Act:

  • Federally decriminalizes cannabis and fully defers to state powers over prohibition and commercial regulation
  • Regulates cannabis products like alcohol products
  • Institutes a 3% federal excise tax on those products to fund law enforcement and small business programs.
  • Ensures the continued existence of state medical cannabis programs and patient access while allowing for new medical research and products to be developed
  • Protects our veterans by ensuring they will not be discriminated against in federal hiring for cannabis use or lose their VA healthcare for following their doctor’s advice to use medical cannabis
  • Protects children and young adults under 21 from cannabis products and advertising nationwide

Read the full text here

Consumer Choice Center Praises Rep. Nancy Mace’s Smart Cannabis Legalization Bill

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Consumer Choice Center Praises Rep. Nancy Mace’s Smart Cannabis Legalization Bill

Washington, D.C. – On Monday, U.S. Rep. Nancy Mace (R-SC) unveiled the first comprehensive federal cannabis decriminalization and legalization bill by a Republican member of Congress.

The Consumer Choice Center, a global consumer advocacy group that advocates for smart cannabis policies, praises Rep. Mace’s bill as a significant first step in ending the war on cannabis and providing a consumer-friendly model for sales and distribution to spur entrepreneurship. They join the coalition of the Cannabis Freedom Alliance in endorsing the bill.

“The Consumer Choice Center applauds Rep. Mace’s effort to provide Americans with a smart, safe, and consumer-friendly path to legal cannabis,” said Yaël Ossowski, deputy director at the Consumer Choice Center. “A focus on establishing legal and safe markets will benefit all of society by finally eliminating the black market, restoring justice, and giving the incentive for creative entrepreneurs to enter the marketplace. It is past time America had smart cannabis policies.”

The bill text will be introduced by the end of the day on Monday.

“For too long, lives and resources have been wasted in the failed War on Drugs. By calling on federal lawmakers to legalize recreational cannabis, Rep. Mace is taking the next practical step to save lives and improve our communities,” said David Clement, North American Affairs Manager at the Consumer Choice Center.

“The benefits of legalization have already paid out massive dividends to the people in Colorado, California, Michigan, Oregon, and more, via tax revenues and also by reversing the harsh criminalization that has had a disproportionate impact on low-income and minority communities. Now is the opportunity to make it national,” said Clement.

“We must ensure that the federal government embraces smart cannabis policy, one that encourages competition, entrepreneurship, avoids red tape and eradicates the black market to spur a new revolution in entrepreneurship and opportunity.

“The Consumer Choice Center applauds Rep. Mace’s efforts, and hopes legislators line up behind this proposal,” said Clement.

Read more about the Consumer Choice Center’s Smart Cannabis Policy Recommendations

CONTACT:

Yaël Ossowski

Deputy Director

Consumer Choice Center

yael@consumerchoicecenter.org

The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva, Lima, Brasilia, and other hotspots of regulation and inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Learn more atconsumerchoicecenter.org.

Opinion: Missouri should learn from Canada’s cannabis experience

To say that Missouri’s medical cannabis rollout has been rocky is an understatement. First, enormous public controversy emerged when 85 percent of applicants for marijuana business licenses were denied. Second, with limitations on the number of producers and retailers, consumers have faced high prices, inconsistent quality, and other difficulties in accessing legalproducts. However, we can learn some significant lessons from places that have already legalized — most notably our neighbor to the north, Canada.  

Twenty years ago, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that medical cannabis could be used for HIV/AIDS and a variety of other illnesses. That moment ultimately set the table for the legalization of adult-use recreational cannabis 17 years later. A lot can be learned from the Canadian experience, especially the numerous mistakes that have been made since 2018.

Unfortunately, it looks like the state of Missouri is replicating many of those errors. The first and most glaring mistake is the application of pharmaceutical-grade production regulations for medical cannabis. This is problematic for a few reasons.

While medical cannabis is medicine, there is no need for it to be regulated in a similar fashion as narcotics. Any risk-based assessment would clearly demonstrate that there just isn’t a need for this level of scrutiny from regulators, especially given that alcohol is not regulated in this manner. 

Beyond being heavy-handed, these pharma-grade restrictions act as a significant barrier to entry and run the risk of preventing the legal medical market from being able to scale up if recreational cannabis is legalized, either by state ballot initiative in 2022, or if the federal government takes a leadership role on this issue. 

In fact, this is exactly the mistake that Canada made when it passed the Cannabis Act in 2018. Prior to the legalization of recreational cannabis, federally regulated licensed medical producers were forced to comply with pharma-grade production regulations, which artificially inflated operating costs and inflated prices for patients. When recreational cannabis became legalized, those licensed producers struggled immensely to scale up their operations to meet the new spike in demand, which caused shortages, exorbitant prices, and poor product availability. 

This is the situation Missouri will be in if it continues down its current path in regards to rigid production restrictions. By looking north, legislators in the Show Me State could see that those rules and regulations created a laundry list of negative externalities, all of which were easily avoidable with a more appropriate regulatory framework. 

Another significant issue with Missouri’s current setup for medical cannabis is the existence of license caps for producers, processors, and retailers. Beyond being subject to human error, a cap-based system is susceptible to gross conflicts of interest and cronyism. Over 800 lawsuits have been filed over license denials, and last week a $28 million judgment was handed down against Wise Health Solutions, the company tasked with scoring these applications. This judgment came after an arbitrator described Wise Health Solutions as negligently performing its role. Numerous other American states have seen similar controversy over license caps, including Missouri’s neighbor, Illinois.

The Canadian example showed clearly that license caps are the wrong approach. There is no federal cap on producer licenses in Canada, and several provinceshave uncapped their retail license approval process. Ontario’s conservative government decided almost immediately after forming a government that the retail market for cannabis would be uncapped, with the attorney general stating: “Not having a cap on cannabis retail outlets will mean that the cannabis market will be able to accurately respond to market pressures and demand for the product. This is a huge step in regards to combating the illegal market.” These pro-market initiatives are in large part why the legal market in Canada outsold the illegal market in 2020. 

At the end of the day, over-regulation makes it harder for patients to access their medicine and incentivizes buying from the black market, which wastes valuable police resources. Even worse, heavy-handed regulations make it harder for ordinary folks to capitalize on the economic growth that comes from either medical cannabis or recreational cannabis, and this is especially true for minority populations who have been disproportionately impacted by the failed war on drugs.  

Luckily for Missourians, there is a chance to open the medical cannabis market and lay the groundwork for a fully functional recreational market. Republican Rep. Shamed Dogan had introduced a House Joint Resolution that would entirely avoid the consequences of over-regulation. This is something that both free-market Republicans and social justice Democrats should endorse.

Originally published here

Three years on, we need to relax cannabis regulation

Moving away from the ‘one size fits all’ approach would help make Canada’s legal cannabis market more consumer-friendly Author of the article:

Three years ago Sunday (October 17, 2018), Canada legalized adult-use recreational cannabis. The Trudeau government deserves credit for making this happen, as most Canadians had for some time believed that the consequences of prohibition outweighed whatever negatives would arise from legalization. That said, the Cannabis Act is now three years old, and it needs to be amended to make the legal cannabis market more consumer- and patient-friendly.

A good first step would be to remove “CBD” products from the Cannabis Act altogether. CBD stands for “cannabidiol,” a chemical found mainly in hemp, which itself is low in THC. On its own, CBD has a variety of medicinal and wellness uses. CBD is used to treat seizures, joint pain and inflammation, and as a sleep aid. Because CBD products are not psychoactive and have a significantly lower risk profile they shouldn’t be regulated the same as cannabis products containing THC. Any CBD product with a THC concentration of less than 0.3 per cent (the U.S. legal standard) should be treated as a natural health product. Moving away from the “one size fits all” approach would help make Canada’s legal cannabis market more consumer-friendly in a number of ways.

First, it would exempt CBD products from the heavy-handed marketing, branding and packaging restrictions set out in the Cannabis Act. Regulating cannabis like tobacco rather than alcohol was a huge mistake, given the differences in risks between the two products. But treating CBD products like tobacco is downright silly.

Beyond chipping away at the paternalism built into the Act, exempting CBD would dramatically increase consumer access. The markets for CBD wellness products and beverages, including sports drinks, likely would expand significantly, especially if these products could be sold outside of licensed cannabis retailers, which in many provinces are in short supply. Even in Ontario, which has opened up retail access, some cities — Oakville is one — have maintained their cannabis retail ban. Under a looser regulatory regime, CBD products would be beyond the reach of nanny-state local councilors.

On the industry side, removing CBD products from the Cannabis Act could help reduce the current glut of over one billion grams of cannabis. Freeing the CBD market from the Act would allow producers with too much cannabis on their hands to simply extract the THC and make CBD products.

Reform of the Act should also address the excise tax system for cannabis. Medical cannabis should be exempt, period. We don’t have extra taxes for other medicines. Why this one? Removing the tax may also have the benefit of encouraging medical patients to purchase legal medical cannabis, rather than be pushed into growing their own with a Health Canada permit, an avenue that has regularly been found to be supplying the illicit market.

For recreational users, the $1/gram excise tax should be replaced with a floating percentage. The minimum excise of $1/gram artificially inflates prices, limits the availability of discount brands, and hurts the craft cannabis industry. More competition on price would obviously benefit consumers, but it would also help chip away at black market sales, which are still running at $750 million a year.

Finally, the act should be amended so that the rules for cannabis marketing and promotion are the same as those for alcohol. A legal cannabis brand should be allowed to sponsor events, advertise more broadly, creatively brand its packages, use spokespeople or endorsements, and provide discounts and other inducements for sales — all of which are allowed for alcohol.

To their credit, some provinces have done what they can to make their legal cannabis market more consumer friendly. Ontario, for example, has made significant progress in expanding retail access, and has just committed to permanently legalizing curbside pickup and delivery for cannabis retail stores. These changes at the provincial level are in large part why legal cannabis sales surpassed illegal sales for the first time in the third quarter of 2020.

The provinces seem to be committed to expanding consumer access. With the Cannabis Act now three years old, it’s time for the federal government to step up, too.

Originally published here

Ontario set to make cannabis delivery, curbside pick-up permanent

“Through the pandemic, licensed cannabis retailers have proven that we can operate home delivery in a safe and secure manner.”

A new proposal from the Ontario government, the Supporting People and Businesses Act, would allow private cannabis retailers to offer delivery and curbside pick-up permanently.

Retailers were permitted to offer delivery and pick-up services during the pandemic and advocates have argued that the success of the temporary measures proves it’s a viable and safe option for consumers.

The decision to grant these options during the pandemic helped cannabis retailers stay afloat and limit layoffs, according to Raj Grover, the president and CEO of High Tide, a retail-focused cannabis company.

Read the full article here

Cannabis Freedom Alliance Doubles Membership with Addition of New Values Members and Working Groups

Today, the Cannabis Freedom Alliance (CFA) added a new class of membership, Values Members, who share a vision with CFA of ending prohibition in a manner consistent with helping all Americans achieve their full potential and limiting the number of barriers that inhibit innovation and entrepreneurship in a free and open market; and three new working groups focused on CFA’s core values: Successful Second Chances and Competitive Open Markets.

CFA congratulates, and is proud to welcome, the newest additions to the coalition: Consumer Choice Center (CCC), End It For Good (EFIG), Nevada Policy (NP), R Street Institute (RSI), and Students for Liberty (SFL).

Read the full article here

Same-day recreational cannabis delivery service launches in 11 B.C. cities

Dutch Love Cannabis now delivering across the Lower Mainland and Kelowna area using an all-electric fleet.

Dutch Love Cannabis has announced they are now offering same-day recreational cannabis delivery in 11 cities across British Columbia, using an all-electric delivery fleet.

n mid-July, new regulations took effect in British Columbia that allows for same-day recreational cannabis delivery from private retailers.

Previously, only the BC Cannabis Store, the online public retailer, offered delivery services.

Read the full article here

Miljard gram cannabis opgeslagen zonder verkocht te worden

BNN Bloomberg kondigde deze week aan dat een miljard gram legale pot in Canada onverkocht in magazijnen in het hele land ligt te verstoffen. De vraag rijst waarom deze cannabis niet wordt gebruikt om cbd-olie van te maken.

Dat is heel veel wiet. Een voorraad die genoeg zou moeten zijn om drie jaar vooruit te kunnen. Door de steeds hogere eisen die de consument stelt aan zijn cannabisproduct ligt veel cannabis uit het middensegment nu te verstoffen in magazijnen. “Je kunt echter geen THC-producten uit het middensegment voor een cent weggeven,” vertelde Peter Machalek, vice-president verkoop en partnerschappen bij TREC Brand, aan Bloomberg. “De markt is veel geavanceerder geworden en volgt wat de consumenten eisen.”

CBD-olie van onverkochte cannabis

Het roept de vraag op waarom een deel van die miljard gram niet is gebruikt om CBD-olie van te maken. De niet-bedwelmende stof die voor veel mensen wordt gebruikt als natuurlijk medicijn tegen hoofdpijn, rugklachten, slechte knieën, artritis, angststoornissen en tal van andere klachten, aandoeningen en bijbehorende pijnen. Het is een bonafide elixer voor veroudering en pijn.

Het probleem is echter dat CBD-olie, ondanks dat ze geen high geeft, nog steeds onder de Cannabiswet valt en daarom net zo streng gereguleerd is als THC. Een lastige markt die zelfs de meest bescheiden vormen van reclame en branding verhindert. David Clement, de Noord-Amerikaanse zakenmanager voor het Consumer Choice Center, gelooft dat de overvloed aan wietproducten gedeeltelijk kan worden tegengegaan door CBD-olie uit de Cannabis Act te verwijderen. Hierdoor kunnen bepaalde extracten en dranken worden verkocht bij reguliere retailers en in supermarkten.

“Vanuit het oogpunt van consumentenbescherming en volksgezondheid is er geen redelijke rechtvaardiging om CBD-producten zo strikt te reguleren als THC”, zegt Clement. “Naar onze mening is de Cannabiswet te restrictief. Wanneer CBD-producten uit de wetgeving worden verwijderd, zouden CBD-producten op grotere schaal beschikbaar komen, wat het probleem van het overaanbod zou kunnen verlichten.

Overschot aan cannabisproducten

“Bovendien moet de federale overheid de marketing-, merk- en verpakkingsbeperkingen die momenteel gelden voor legale producenten versoepelen”, zegt Clement. Volgens het Bloomberg-rapport heeft Health Canada eindelijk branchegegevens voor oktober vrijgegeven, waaruit blijkt dat 1,1 miljoen kilo onverkochte cannabis door producenten in het hele land is opgeslagen.

Met Canada’s maandelijkse consumptie van ongeveer 30.000 kilo, betekent dit dat er een voorraad van drie jaar inactief is. Er lijkt echter licht aan het einde van de tunnel om dit probleem kan verlichten. Health Canada zal waarschijnlijk binnenkort beslissen of CBD-olie ver vrij verkrijgbare gezondheids- en welzijnsproducten mag voorkomen. Later dit jaar wordt een formeel besluit verwacht. Het is een wildcard die een game-changer zou kunnen zijn voor de markt, maar is nu nog steeds een longshot.

Originally published here.

Set CBD oil free from the restrictive Cannabis Act

Despite providing no high, it’s as strictly regulated as THC

Perhaps due to the thriving marijuana black market — cheaper prices, higher THC content, a reliable dealer? — BNN Bloomberg announced this week a billion grams of legal pot is sitting unsold in vaults across the country.

That’s a lot of weed, supposedly a three-year supply for the struggling legal market that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau assumed would flourish to extraordinary heights and put the illegal marketeers out of business.

Alas, the Trudeau Liberals’ legalization of recreational marijuana has not lived up to those expectations.

“You can’t give away mid-range THC product for a buck now,” Peter Machalek, vice-president of sales and partnerships at TREC Brand, told Bloomberg. “The market has become much more sophisticated, following what the consumers are demanding.”

It begs the question then why those billion grams have not been used to make the non-intoxicating CBD oil, seen by millions as relief from bad headaches, bad backs, bad knees, the creaks of the aging process, and a long list of other bodily afflictions and accompanying pains.

Those that use it swear by it once they have found the sweet spot when it comes to the amount needed to work its magic.

It’s a bonafide elixir for the aging and the pain-stricken.

The problem, however, is that CBD oil, despite providing no high, still falls under the Cannabis Act and is therefore as strictly regulated as THC.

It also exists in a challenging market that prevents even the most modest forms of advertising and branding.

David Clement is North American affairs manager for the Consumer Choice Center, and he believes today’s pot glut can be partially alleviated by removing CBD oil from the Cannabis Act, thereby allowing for products like extracts and beverages to be sold at retailers more commonplace for Canadian consumers such as health food outlets and grocery stores.

“From a consumer protection standpoint, there is no reasonable justification to regulate CBD products as strictly as we regulate THC,” says Clement. “In our view, the Cannabis Act is overly restrictive, and removing CBD products from the legislation would mean that CBD products would become more widely available, which could help ease the issue of oversupply,

“Additionally, the federal government should ease up on the marketing, branding and packaging restrictions that currently apply for legal producers,” says Clement.

“From the outset, we thought that these regulations were overly paternalistic, and handcuffed the legal industry from effectively communicating and advertising to adult consumers.”

According to the Bloomberg report, Health Canada finally released industry-wide data for October showing that 1.1 million kilos of unsold cannabis has been stockpiled by producers nationwide.

With Canada’s monthly consumption rate of pot pegged at approximately 30,000 kilos, it means a three-year supply is sitting idle.

It’s an overload that analysts tell Bloomberg continues to “weigh heavily on the industry, possibly spelling further write-downs and facility closures in the months to come.”

Five will get you 10 that this never crossed the mind of the Liberals when they were conjuring the wording for legalization legislation that very quickly started circling the bowl.

The illegal market could not be busier or happier.

But some breathing room might be on its way with Health Canada expected to rule soon on whether to allow CBD oil to be used in over-the-counter health and wellness products.

A formal decision is expected later this year.

It’s a wild card which could be a game-changer if the Trudeau Liberals have learned anything from their screwups at every turn on the cannabis legalization file.

But it’s still a longshot.

Originally published here.

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