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Arkansas medical marijuana sales hit $175M in 2020

Arkansas medical marijuana sales hit $175M in 2020

Arkansas medical marijuana sales saw a big boom in 2020

Medical marijuana sales in Arkansas reached $175 million in 2020, ending the year with a record $1.22 million day.

The Marijuana Business Factbook projects that Arkansas MMJ sales will nearly double this year to $300 million-$365 million, boosted by new items such as edibles and vape products. The state recently opened up licensing for processors.

The state’s dispensaries sold 26,000 pounds of medical marijuana products in 2020, Medical Marijuana Commission spokesman Scott Hardin told Arkansas Public Radio.

The market, which launched in May 2019, started 2020 with fewer than 10 dispensaries but ended the year with 32, according to the report.

Six additional licensed retail entities are working toward opening for business, Hardin wrote in a recent email to Marijuana Business Daily.

Meanwhile, a medical marijuana dispensary in Hot Springs filed a lawsuit alleging that three cultivators have refused to sell product to the retailer, costing the outlet $5 million.

Green Springs Medical Dispensary, once the state’s leading seller, is requesting that the Garland County Circuit Court bar the growers from boycotting the dispensary, according to The Sentinel-Record in Hot Springs.

CEO Dragan Vicentic also wants state regulators to impose a rule that prohibits cultivators from refusing to sell to dispensaries, which his lawsuit claims violates federal antitrust laws.

He claims the growers are retaliating against his comments to regulators that the state needs more cultivators because the existing ones cannot meet dispensaries’ demand. There are currently only eight licensed cannabis cultivators in the state to meet the demand of 32 dispensaries.

UFC won’t punish fighters for marijuana use in policy change

UFC won’t punish fighters for marijuana use in policy change

UFC is no longer going to punish fighter for cannabis use

The UFC will no longer punish fighters for using marijuana in most cases, making a major change to its anti-doping policy.

The world’s largest mixed martial arts promotion confirmed Thursday that it will no longer worry about positive tests for carboxy-THC, the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis, unless it believes a fighter used it intentionally to enhance performance.

All other cannabinoids derived naturally from marijuana are no longer prohibited substances, said Jeff Novitzky, the UFC’s senior vice president of athlete health and performance.

“The bottom line is that in regard to marijuana, we care about what an athlete consumed the day of a fight, not days or weeks before a fight, which has often been the case in our historic positive THC cases,” Novitzky said. “UFC athletes will still be subject to marijuana rules under various athletic commission regulations, but we hope this is a start to a broader discussion and changes on this issue with that group.”

Indeed, the UFC’s decision doesn’t affect the rules of various state athletic commissions and international governing bodies, but those groups often follow promoters’ leads on anti-doping policy. The UFC hopes state commissions will similarly relax their rules to reflect the more widespread tolerance for marijuana use.

The UFC won’t allow fighters to compete while under the influence of cannabinoids, but Novitzky said the promotion recognizes that MMA fighters often use marijuana for pain management or relaxation. Fighters advocating for legal competitive marijuana use have previously argued that a relaxation of the UFC’s anti-marijuana rules could lead to a reduction in the use of more addictive pain medications.

The UFC partnered with the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency in 2015 to produce a comprehensive anti-doping program in a notoriously fractious sport. Mixed martial arts once frequently showcased fighters semi-openly using steroids and testosterone replacement therapy, among other performance enhancements.

Despite its prior ban, marijuana and CBD products have had a prominent role in many MMA fighters’ training and financial backing. Many fighters have sponsorships from CBD businesses, while others have launched CBD-related business ventures.

Nick and Nate Diaz, two semi-retired but wildly popular fighters from Stockton, California, have built their outlaw image partly around their enthusiastic use of marijuana and CBD products. Nick Diaz, who hasn’t fought in six years, tested positive for marijuana use after two of his last three fights.

Mexico publishes medicinal cannabis regulation

Mexico publishes medicinal cannabis regulation

Mexico pushes forward rules legal medical marijuana

The legislation marks a major shift in a country bedeviled for years by violence between feuding drug cartels.

Mexico’s health ministry on Tuesday published rules to regulate the use of medicinal cannabis, a major step in a broader reform to create the world’s largest legal cannabis market in the Latin American country.

The new regulation was signed off by President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, and will now allow pharmaceutical companies to begin doing medical research on cannabis products.

 

The cannabis reform taking place includes the recreational use of marijuana, and will create what would be the world’s biggest national cannabis market in terms of population.

The new medicinal rules state companies which wish to carry out research have to obtain permission from the Mexican health regulator, COFEPRIS, and this research has to be done in strictly controlled, independent laboratories.

“The standard of regulation is very, very high,” said Luisa Conesa, a lawyer and pro-cannabis activist who spearheaded legal challenges that led to decriminalization of medical cannabis.

“(The regulation) is not aimed at patients growing their own cannabis, it is aimed at pharmaceutical companies producing pharmaceutical derivatives of cannabis which are classified as controlled substances that need prescription,” he said.

The regulation also sets rules for the sowing, cultivation and harvesting of cannabis for medicinal purposes, which would allow businesses to grow marijuana legally on Mexican soil.

While some cannabis plant imports are permitted for companies looking to create products, exports of Mexican-grown cannabis is prohibited.

Foreign weed companies from Canada and the United States have been looking at Mexico with interest. Many had delayed making investment decisions due to policy uncertainty and were waiting for the final regulation to be published.

Mexico’s lawmakers are also in the final stages of legalizing recreational use of marijuana, with the bill expected to pass in the next period of Congress.

The legislation marks a major shift in a country bedeviled for years by violence between feuding drug cartels, which have long made millions of dollars growing marijuana illegally and smuggling it into the United States.

Kansas Lawmakers Push To Legalize Medical Marijuana In 2021

Kansas Lawmakers Push To Legalize Medical Marijuana In 2021

kansas cannabis legalization being pushed for 2021

After a shortened session dashed hopes for medicinal cannabis legalization in 2020, proponents of the plant are taking a fresh approach for the upcoming legislative session.

Last year, two separate bills were filed pushing for medicinal use, but both died in committee, despite a push to consider cannabis legislation in June when lawmakers convened for a special session. One of the bills offered a more conservative cannabis policy, like that of Ohio.

This year, those pushing to pass the bill are working to create collaborative legislation that appeals to both sides of the aisle, said Daniel Shafton, a consultant for the Kansas Cannabis Business Association.

Shafton said the KSCBA has put significant effort into meetings and webinars with stakeholders and legislators to inform the bill they plan to propose.

“We need to have a cohesive message,” Shafton said. “We were very honest about what needed to happen for us to move forward, and we have been very successfully able to bring a lot of voices to the table in a unified way. We have designed this bill alongside the legislators in a way that really accomplishes major goals from the 2021 Legislature of both sides of the aisle.”

In Kansas, which has already authorized hemp production and the sale of cannabidiol products without tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the next step is legalized medical use. Although such legislation has failed in the past, advocates are confident perception is shifting enough to see a bill through the House and Senate.

Erin Montroy, co-president and CEO of the KSCBA, said a bill will be filed in the first week or so of the legislative session. She said the bill would likely lean toward the conservative end of the spectrum in the early going and could be modified as the session progressed.

“No bill is perfect. No program is perfect,” Montroy said. “If we can get one off the ground and started, we can build on it, and with these relationships that will be much easier down the road.”

Montroy said any legislation would be carefully reviewed and edited to ensure that patient outcomes are at the core of the bill.

“The route that a lot of other states were taking to get there wasn’t really working,” Montroy said. “They were building really robust platforms that sounded like they’d be really beneficial to patients. But without a truly robust business platform, the patient suffers, no matter what the legislation says.”

Amsterdam doubles down on plans to restrict tourist access to cannabis coffee shops

Amsterdam doubles down on plans to restrict tourist access to cannabis coffee shops

Amsterdam likely to restrict tourist from coffee shop access in the future.
When international tourists finally return to the canal-lined historic streets of Amsterdam, one of the city’s main travel attractions might be off limits. Amsterdam Mayor Femke Halsema has proposed a new policy that would ban foreign visitors from accessing the city’s coffee shops.
 
 
There are 166 cannabis coffee shops in Amsterdam, accounting for almost 30% of the Netherlands’ coffee shops.
In a letter to councilors on January 8, Halsema proposed introducing the “resident criterion” — a policy that permits only locals to use coffee shops — with the goal of making tourism in the city more manageable and to control the coffee shop supply chain. Halsema will discuss the measures with Amsterdam’s city council later this month.
 
 
 
In line with Covid-19 lockdown measures, nonessential shops, including coffee shops, are currently closed in Amsterdam, although coffee shops are able to do takeout and delivery.
 
 
 
The city’s website currently advises tourists not to travel to the city unless necessary, but Halsema is looking ahead to how Amsterdam might function after the Covid threat subsides.

Cannabis in the Netherlands

Different municipalities in the Netherlands have different coffee shop rules, and discussions on barring everyone except Dutch residents are not new. This conversation became heated back in 2011 and 2012, with Amsterdam fighting back against the proposed introduction of a residents-only rule across the Netherlands’ coffee shops.
 
 
 
 
Today, this rule still exists in Maastricht, in the south of the country. To add to the slightly confusing setup, buying cannabis from a coffee shop is legal in the Netherlands, but producing cannabis remains illegal.
Back in July 2019, Halsema wrote to councilors saying the city’s coffee shops can put “the quality of life in the city center under pressure.”
 
 
This preempted an August 2019 survey which questioned 1,100 international visitors between the ages of 18 and 35 who were visiting Amsterdam’s Red Light District, an area of the city that’s been the focus of much of Amsterdam’s most recent tourism regulations.
 
 
In this survey, referenced in Halsema’s most recent correspondence, over half of those surveyed said they chose to visit the Dutch capital because they wanted to experience a cannabis cafe.
 
 
The results were that 34% indicated they’d come to Amsterdam less often if they weren’t able to visit coffee shops, and 11% said they wouldn’t come at all.
UK Cannabis Cultivation License Granted for First Time in Over 20 Years

UK Cannabis Cultivation License Granted for First Time in Over 20 Years

UK Cannabis Cultivation license granted for first time in over 20 years

A Jersey-based start-up has been granted the second only license in the British Isles to cultivate pharmaceutical-grade cannabis for profit, more than two decades after the first permit was issued.

Northern Leaf has been awarded a licence to grow cannabis for medical use by the government of Jersey under UK Home Office rules and is preparing to cultivate marijuana in a greenhouse sprawling across 75,000 square feet. It plans to start supplying drugmakers in the UK, Denmark, Germany, Spain and Portugal by the end of this year.

“Demand is increasing globally and the market is currently undersupplied,” Campbell Dunlop, chief executive of Northern Leaf, told the Financial Times.

Northern Leaf, which was founded two years ago and received its permit in December, is the second only company to be granted a UK license for commercial marijuana cultivation.

GW Pharmaceuticals, a US-listed leader in cannabis-based epilepsy medicines that was founded in the UK, was awarded the first permit in 1998. The Jersey group will be up against established cannabis producers elsewhere in Europe.

These include Aurora Cannabis, which has 100,000 sq feet of greenhouses in Denmark, and Tilray and Emmac, which have 160,000 sq feet and 300,000 sq feet respectively in Portugal, according to investment firm Chrystal Capital, which has helped Northern Leaf raise funds. The UK is among many countries that have in recent years legalized the use of cannabis-based medicines for pain relief or to treat conditions from cancer to epilepsy.

While North America dominates the cannabis investment market, interest in Europe is growing. In September, the FT reported that Chrystal was looking to raise as much as $200m for a new cannabis investment fund. The European medical cannabis market was valued at €330m last year, according to Brightfield Group.

Mr Dunlop, who described securing the licence as “quite a big breakthrough”, said he expected Northern Leaf’s first shipment of cannabis to reach half a tonne — Emmac produced roughly 10 tonnes last year. The licence relates to a site that has a maximum capacity of 400,000 sq feet, he added.

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