• Virginia expands Medical Marijuana Law

    March 16, 2018

    Physicians in Virginia will now be able to recommend CBD and THC oils for any medical ailment, if they decide it’s the best course of treatment for patients.

    Previously, medical cannabis was only available to Virginia residents suffering from epilepsy.

    Gov. Ralph Northam on Friday signed the measures expanding the state’s cannabis oil program. 

    The Virginia Senate and House both passed House Bill 1251, also known as #LetDoctorsDecide,  in late February aiming to take effect immediately upon a signature by the governor, whereas most bills do not take effect until July.

    “The passage of HB 1251 is an important next step to improving the lives of so many Virginians and sets an important precedent for laws like this across the country,” the legislation’s chief co-patron Delegate Eileen Filler-Corn told Virginia’s News Leader last month, before Governor Northam signed HB 1251 into law.

    "Those who suffer from intractable epilepsy have already seen the benefits of cannabidiol oil and how it can improve their quality of life. These bills will allow more Virginians to benefit from cannabidiol oil as well,” she claimed.

    According to the new measures, the oils must contain at least 15 percent CBD or THC-A, but can't contain more than five percent THC, the main psychoactive ingredient in marijuana.

    The supply of CBD oil or THC-A oil can now be dispensed by a pharmaceutical processor from a 30-day supply to a 90-day supply in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

    The new law would also provide patients with a signed certificate if they were stopped by law enforcement – to defend their possession of the oil.

  • Saskatchewan sets minimum cannabis use age at 19

    March 16, 2018

    In a major development, Saskatchewan province set the minimum legal age to consume cannabis at 19, the same as alcohol.

    The government tabled legislation on Wednesday outlining its plans once the federal government legalizes marijuana later this year.

    Justice Minister Don Morgan stated that age 19 kept cannabis in line with current restrictions around alcohol.

    "We decided this kept us in line with what the age for consumption and possession of alcohol was, and that seemed to be the direction that most of the provinces were going," Morgan said."It would have been a challenge to use 23, or 25, or a later age," Morgan said. "We were afraid that it would make it easier for the black market."

    However, minors caught with a small amount won't end up with a criminal record; instead they will likely be ticketed under the rules.

    Apart from the legal age of consuming cannabis, the legalization plan will allowto grow four cannabis plants per household and possess 30 grams of cannabis per consumer.

    Saskatchewan is the last of Canada’s 10 provinces to announce its minimum age for legal use. Seven provinces have already stated 19 will be their legal ages, while Alberta and Quebec have announced 18 will be their minimum ages.

    Recreational marijuana use is expected to be legalized in Canada this year — a final Senate vote on Bill C-45 is set for June 7 — but not all rules surrounding the drug will be federally legislated.

    In Saskatchewan, cannabis will be sold by private retailers and the Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority (SLGA) will issue roughly 60 permits in municipalities and three First Nations around the province.

  • ‘Ontario Cannabis Store’ logo unveiled

    March 16, 2018

    In a major development, Canadian province Ontario unveiled the name and logo of its LCBO-run store for legal cannabis.

    The Ontario government announced that its stores will use the imaginative “Ontario Cannabis Store” name, and the logo for the retailer will be the “OCS” in a circle.

    “The name is designed to convey a safe, simple and approachable environment for consumers, and agency employees, in a clear and easily understood manner,” the Liquor Control Board of Ontario said in a statement.

    “The development of the brand name and logo was guided by the government priorities of restricting access to youth, protecting public health and addressing the illegal market,” it stated.

    The LCBO has expected the total cost of all brand and marketing from Leo Burnett to be approximately $650,000.

    The first 40 OCS outlets will begin operating later this summer in 14 communities across Ontario, including Toronto, Mississauga, Brampton, Vaughan and Hamilton.

    Ottawa-based commerce platform- Shopify’s software has been designed to support cannabis businesses who sell across multiple channels, including mobile, social media, brick-and-mortar shops and more.

    “Shopify will provide a cloud-based retail solution for both on and offline sales, so consumers can have a reliable and integrated shopping experience across desktop, mobile and in-store points-of-sale,” the LCBO said.

    Shopify will also supply the technology to power screens throughout the physical stores that give consumers product and health information which will follow federal guidelines and marketing provisions.

    The Senate is expected to vote on the bill to legalize recreation marijuana on June 7th.

  • Virginia soon to expand Medical Marijuana

    February 11, 2018

    Virginia would soon expand the use of marijuana for qualified patients in the state after the Senate passed the legislation with unanimous support on Monday, three days after its companion bill was approved by the House of Delegates.

    SB 726, which was passed 38-0 on Monday, would allow doctors to recommend cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THC-A) oils to treat the symptoms of diagnosed conditions or diseases determined by the physicians. HB 1251 was approved 98-0 on last Friday.

    The chief sponsors of SB 726 were Republican Sens. Siobhan Dunnavant of Henrico and Jill Holtzman Vogel of Fauquier and Democratic Sen. David Marsden of Fairfax.

    “This culminates four years of effort that has evolved from an effort to make it lawful for kids who have intractable epilepsy to possess non-psychoactive cannabis oils to the creation of a new industry in the Commonwealth that doctors can recommend these oils for treating any condition where they might be helpful,” said Senator Dave Marsden, chief co-sponsor for the Senate bill.

    “This is a big deal for people who suffer from a number of disorders and I am proud to have gotten this ball rolling years ago,” he added.

    The bill now heads to Governor Ralph Northam's desk, a Democrat and physician, who earlier said he would sign such a measure into law.

    If the bill approved, Virginia would become the 29th state to allow medical marijuana. Three U.S. territories also have a similar policy.

    In 2017, former Governor Terry McAuliffe signed legislation for patients with severe forms of epilepsy to use cannabis oil to alleviate symptoms.

  • 6-Year-Old Girl receives first Legal Medical Marijuana in Texas

    February 10, 2018

    A 6-year-old girl in Central Texas became the first patient in the state to receive marijuana-derived medicine legally to treat her epileptic seizures.

    The child, whose name is being withheld to protect her privacy, received a shipment of low-THC, high-CBD oil from a dispensary called Knox Medical, one of three companies licensed by the state to dispense cannabidiol to patients suffering from intractable epilepsy in Texas.

    “For Texans suffering from intractable epilepsy, the wait for medical cannabis is finally over,” said José Hidalgo, founder and CEO of Knox Medical, in a press release. “This is a historic day for Texas and we will work tirelessly to uphold the trust and responsibility the state has placed in Knox Medical.”

    “Patients deserve medical relief and Knox Medical is proud to work with physicians and caregivers, and in close coordination with the Texas Department of Public Safety, to provide this medicine that exceeds the most rigorous standards for quality and consistency,” he stated.

    Knox Medical, which was granted by the state on September 1, 2017, operates under the license Cansortium Texas.The Florida-based company is already operating in Florida, Pennsylvania and Puerto Rico.

    Two other companies- Compassionate Cultivation and Surterra Texas-have also been licensed under the 2015 Texas Compassionate Use Act to produce and sell cannabidiol, known as CBD.

    In 2015, Gov. Greg Abbott signed into law the Texas Compassionate Use Act. The law required the Texas Department of Public Safety to create a secure registry of physicians who treat epilepsy for the purpose of prescribing medical marijuana to people who are diagnosed with intractable epilepsy.

    Patients eligible for the marijuana program must have a prescription approved by two neurologists on the Compassionate Use Registry of Texas (CURT).

  • Texas' 1st Marijuana Dispensary to open in February

    February 01, 2018

    The first ever medical marijuana dispensary of the State is set to open in Manchaca, a suburb of Austin, in next month, which will allow Texan patients to purchase their low-THC cannabis products.

    Beginning February 8, Compassionate Cultivation will allow qualified patients of the State and their caregivers access to low-THC medical marijuana products and state-regulated CBD oil from a shop at 12701 Lowden Lane in Manchaca.

    “We are thrilled to offer the highest quality medical cannabis products, with plants grown and refined by our cultivation and engineering experts at our state-of-the-art facility," said Compassionate Cultivation CEO Morris Denton in a release.

    The Texas Department of Public Safety granted the first three medical marijuana licenses to Compassionate Cultivation, Cansortium Texasand Surterra Texasunder the state’s Compassionate Use Act, signed into law by Gov. Greg Abbott.

    However, Cansortium Texas and Surterra Texas have not announced when they will begin operating their dispensaries.

    The three companies will be responsible for cultivation, processing and dispensing to patients who qualify for the medical marijuana program under Texas law. 

    In 2015, the Texas Compassionate Use Act was passed. It legalized oils containing CBD, a non-euphoric component of marijuana known to treat epilepsy and other chronic medical conditions.

    Texas is among 29 states in the US that have legalized marijuana for medical purposes, as well as 15 that have legalized medical CBD.However marijuana use is still illegal under federal law in the US.

  • San Francisco to clear thousands of Marijuana Convictions

    February 01, 2018

    In an unprecedented move, San Francisco will retroactively apply California's new marijuana legalization laws to marijuana convictions -- expunging or reducing misdemeanors and felonies since 1975, the District Attorney's office announced Wednesday.

    Around 5,000 felony marijuana convictions will be reviewed, recalled and re-sentenced, and more than 3,000 misdemeanors that were sentenced prior to Proposition 64's passage will be dismissed and sealed,District Attorney George Gascón said in a statement.

    The move will affect thousands of people whose marijuana convictions brand them with criminal histories that can be barriers for finding employment and obtaining various government benefits.

    While drug policy on the federal level is going backwards, San Francisco is once again taking the lead to undo the damage that this country's disastrous, failed drug war has had on our nation and on communities of color in particular,Gascón added.

    Proposition 64, which became law in 2016 and allowed for legal pot sales from January 1 this year, legalizes the possession and purchase of up to an ounce of marijuana and allows individuals to grow up to six plants for personal use. The measure also allowed those convicted of marijuana offenses to petition their cases for dismissal or reduction to a lesser offense.

    In a statement, California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom said San Francisco's move provides new hope and opportunities to Californians, primarily people of color, whose lives were long ago derailed by a costly, broken and racially discriminatory system of marijuana criminalization.