fbpx

Cannabis

Ontario government makes delivery curbside pickup permanent for cannabis retailers

Only a retail store authorization holder or its employees can make the deliveries. Third-party delivery is not permitted

It’s official: the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) has announced the provincial government has permanently green-lit the ability of cannabis retailers to offer delivery and curbside pickup services.

In a bulletin posted this week, the AGCO reported that the province has established rules to make the long-awaited and much-demanded change permanent. That new rules comes into force on Mar. 15.

“Making cannabis delivery permanent rather than temporary would be a huge step forward for the legal market in Ontario. It would significantly benefit retailers. But more importantly, it would benefit consumers by expanding and enhancing their options,” David Clement, North American Affairs Manager for the Consumer Choice Center, wrote for The GrowthOp in the spring of 2020.

Read the full article here

Nancy Mace: The South Carolina Republican Who Could Deliver Legal Cannabis

By Yaël Ossowski

U.S. Rep. Nancy Mace (left) with former SC Governor and UN Ambassador Nikki Haley (right)

During the Democratic presidential candidates during the 2020 election primary, the topic of legalizing cannabis federally was explicitly endorsed by virtually every candidate in the race, save Joe Biden.

Now that the Democrats have majority control of the House and Senate, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has pledged to end cannabis prohibition in the United States with his own bill, and some of his House colleagues have said the same.

However, the legislator who may actually deliver on serious cannabis reform won’t be a major Senate figure or even a Democratic heavyweight in either chamber. It may rest on the shoulders of one first-term Republican Congresswoman from South Carolina’s Lowcountry.

A BOLD REPUBLICAN

U.S. Rep. Nancy Mace, who was propelled “from Waffle House to the US House”, has already proven to be a unique lawmaker among the elite cadre of elected representatives in the nation’s capital.

As a single mother of two children and the first woman to graduate from the Citadel, a military academy, Mace has followed a more independent streak in her short tenure thus far in DC.

As the first Republican woman from South Carolina elected to Congress, she has already made her mark as a supporter of both LGBT and reproductive rights, a skeptic of US military interventions abroad, and was forthright in condemning President Donald Trump after the events of January 6.

Now, she has made waves among House colleagues and cannabis reform advocates for the States Reform Act, one of the most inspiring bills to legalize and regulate cannabis.

STATES REFORM ACT

The bill would amend the Controlled Substances Act to reschedule cannabis, regulate it like alcohol, would offer judicial reforms to nonviolent offenders charged with marijuana crimes, empower entrepreneurs to enter the cannabis space, and give powers to the states to effectively decide what the regulations on cannabis should be. It would also apply an excise tax of just 3%, the lowest of any cannabis bill that has been introduced into Congress.

This means Mace’s law both respects federalism by giving the ultimate say to states while recognizing the federal prohibition as no longer just. Added to that, it would immediately cease all federal prosecutions and cases for nonviolent defendants in cannabis cases, would remove these charges from nonviolent offenders who were convicted, and would use the revenue to support law enforcement and community investment.

With these elements of federalism, social justice, and entrepreneurship, this bill satisfies political advocates from both the left and the right, and could actually pave the way for a real solution to cannabis prohibition in our country.

The Reason Foundation has a great breakdown of the bill for those interested.

GATHERING MOMENTUM

Even though 68% of the country supports legalizing cannabis in a Gallup poll or as high as 91% from a Pew poll, the highest recorded number, there are still many obstacles. As one can imagine, Mace’s freshman GOP status won’t be enough to draw in significant Democratic support from her House colleagues to bring this to a vote, but there have been a great number of other key endorsements.

In January, Amazon — the second-largest company in the country — formally endorsed Mace’s bill. They are most concerned about how drug testing regulations are hampering their ability to hire workers.

The Cannabis Freedom Alliance, made up of advocacy organizations pushing for market-friendly cannabis reforms, (including the Consumer Choice Center), has publicly supported the bill. That also includes the justice advocacy organization of the Weldon Project and the Law Enforcement Action Partnership.

The Consumer Choice Center supports this bill because we believe it offers the most achievable and concrete changes that would introduce smart cannabis policy at the federal level, eliminating the black market, restoring justice, and giving the incentive for creative entrepreneurs to enter the marketplace. That would be a huge benefit to consumers.

When asked, some Democrats have been receptive to the bill, and they have committed to holding hearings, but thus far most of the momentum has been among advocates and in the media.

It was enough to also get the congresswoman recognized on Real Time with Bill Maher, not necessarily the most hospitable television program for Republicans. Maher, a long-time foe of cannabis prohibition, made the point that Democrats have dragged their feet on this issue, and it was time that the GOP would “steal this issue from the Democrats”.

All of that said, this is far from the most popular political issue in Mace’s home state of South Carolina. The head of the SC GOP has blasted Mace’s bill and any attempt to legalize recreational or even medical cannabis. A Republican primarily challenger, Katie Arrington, who lost the seat to Democrat Joe Cunningham in 2018, has already put together a video criticizing Mace’s stance on cannabis. It would seem this issue is sparking more controversy than others in South Carolina Republican politics.

Former Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, also a former SC congressman, for his part, has written that the SC GOP is “ignoring the will” of voters in continuing to oppose medical cannabis in the Palmetto State.

However it falls, Congresswoman Nancy Mace has given something that all Americans could potentially benefit from. Her States Reform Act, if it can withstand the partisan dance in the nation’s capital, has some of the most positive reforms on cannabis that we have seen in over a decade.

That is something to celebrate, but it is only the beginning if we want to see true cannabis reform in our country.

Yaël Ossowski is deputy director at the Consumer Choice Center.

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

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. Ontario now has 1,000 cannabis retail stores Allowing cannabis delivery is a good start. 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.

Ontario recently surpassed 1,000 cannabis stores and making these features permanent would “enable retailers to continue supporting physical distancing and general public health directives,” a summary of the proposal notes. “Making cannabis delivery permanent rather than temporary would be a huge step forward for the legal market in Ontario,” David Clement, North American affairs manager at the Consumer Choice Center, wrote for The GrowthOp last May.

Read the full article here

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

1acdbea962554e6ea67b12e24ed7f06e.png

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

Scroll to top