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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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Virginia Lawmaker Introduces Bill To Legalize Marijuana In 2021

Virginia Lawmaker Introduces Bill To Legalize Marijuana In 2021

Virginia cannabis legalization bill is introduced for 2021

A Virginia lawmaker has filed a bill to legalize marijuana for adult use in the state.

The move comes one month after Gov. Ralph Northam (D) included provisions to lay the groundwork for cannabis legalization in a budget proposal that also calls for millions of dollars to support expungements.

The bill from Del. Steve Heretick (D) is the first of what could be several proposals to end marijuana prohibition that the legislature sees this session.

The new legislation would allow adults 21 and older to purchase and possess up to an ounce of cannabis. It calls for the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to regulate the marijuana program, as it currently does for hemp.

Adults could also grow up to three mature and three immature plants for personal use under the bill.

“This bill is built upon the lessons of other states throughout the country which have enacted similar reforms,” Heretick said in a press release.

A 9.6 percent tax would be imposed on cannabis sales under the bill, which was first reported by WTKR-TV, though local jurisdictions could tack on their own taxes for a maximum total of 15 percent. The municipalities would also be allowed to dictate whether marijuana businesses can operate in their area.

Most of the tax revenue from cannabis would go to the state’s general fund (67 percent) while the remaining 33 percent would be invested in a fund meant to promote public education about marijuana.

“With the support of Virginia’s Attorney General, Mark Herring, and a growing consensus of bipartisan support from legislators and local leaders around the Commonwealth, and now Virginia Governor Northam and key members of his administration, this is legislation which has now matured for enactment,” Heretick said. “I look forward to a robust and inclusive conversation about the manner in which Virginia will act on this legislation this year.”

New York Lawmakers File Marijuana Legalization Bill For 2021 Session

New York Lawmakers File Marijuana Legalization Bill For 2021 Session

New York cannabis legalization could passed in the 2021 session.

New York lawmakers representing nearly a third of the state Senate on Tuesday prefiled a bill to legalize marijuana.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) has emphasized the need to enact the reform in 2021, arguing that it could help offset economic losses from the coronavirus pandemic and promote social equity. And now there’s a new potential vehicle for legalization to happen.

Sen. Liz Krueger (D) and 18 cosponsors filed the legislation, which is identical to a bill she sponsored last year and has now been referred to the Senate Finance Committee. It would make it so adults 21 and older would be able to purchase cannabis and cultivate up to six plants for personal use.

This is the fifth version of the legalization bill that the senator has introduced since 2013. But advocates are hopeful that, given the evolved marijuana policy landscape in the region and nationally, as well as the governor’s embrace of reform, this year will see the measure advance.

“It is long past time for New York State to catch up with our neighbors and legalize, tax, and regulate adult-use marijuana,” Krueger told Marijuana Moment. “To my mind the most compelling reason for doing so has always been to end the unnecessary and destructive impact of the so-called ‘War on Drugs’ on communities of color.”

“But now, faced with the impacts of the pandemic, the potential for legalization to create new jobs, economic growth, and out-year tax revenue for the state is more important than ever,” she said. “I am cautiously optimistic about the chances of getting this done and done right—in a way that ensures that resources are directed to communities most directly impacted by the failed policies of prohibition.”

An 18 percent tax would be imposed on cannabis sales. After covering the costs of implementation, revenue from those taxes would go toward three areas: 25 percent for the state lottery fund, so long as it’s designated for the Department of Education; 25 percent for a drug treatment and public education fund and 50 percent for a community grants reinvestment fund.

The bill could finally give advocates the legislative win they’ve been working towards.

Cuomo has attempted to enact legalization through the budget for the past two years—and he’s expected to give it another try in 2021, based on recent comments from an aide and the governor—but it hasn’t come to fruition. That’d due in large part to disagreements over certain provisions such as the tax structure and where to allocate the resulting revenues

“I look forward to working with the governor and my legislative colleagues to finally make legalization a reality for New Yorkers,” Krueger said of the renewed effort for 2021.

Lack of standards, dubious business practices threaten to upend cannabis testing industry

Lack of standards, dubious business practices threaten to upend cannabis testing industry

cannabis testing labs are suffering from issues.

A lack of standards is among the factors plaguing the cannabis testing industry, threatening to undermine consumer confidence in marijuana products and making it harder for some testing businesses to operate, according to industry insiders.

But the problems don’t stop there, testing lab officials and regulators contend.

Some marijuana businesses – such as growers, processors and manufacturers – are shopping around for labs that will give them the results they want to see in the way of THC potency and contaminants, according to industry officials.

Other cannabis businesses are said to be sending in samples of their marijuana that have been adulterated with spray-on cannabis oil or dusted with THC crystals to give the impression of a higher THC content, among other practices.

Regulators, meanwhile, are shuttering testing labs for allegedly reporting results that don’t match up with audits.

Earlier this month, the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (LCB) suspended the license of Praxis Laboratory for allegedly falsifying testing data on more than 1,200 samples of cannabis by providing higher THC numbers than tests actually found.

As it stands now, the Centralia, Washington-based lab is suspended for 180 days effective Dec. 10. While the lab is shuttered, state regulators will seek to permanently revoke its license.

According to an LCB release, “during the investigation the lab owner attempted to destroy evidence of falsified data in an effort to obstruct (the agency’s) ability to conduct a complete investigation.”

Praxis said in a statement to Marijuana Business Daily that the LCB’s decision was “in error and based on inaccurate information.” The lab is appealing the ruling.

In a separate statement to the Washington state cannabis community that was shared on social media, the company said, “This is a clear cut case of agency overreach and libel and we will be pursuing legal action immediately.”

The statement also noted that a disgruntled former employee stole data from the lab, then contacted the regulators.

Regulators elsewhere have shuttered cannabis labs for inaccurate or misleading test results.

In September 2019, the Nevada Tax Commission launched an investigation into marijuana testing labs in the state.

In February 2020, state regulators suspended the license of Certified Ag Labs and fined the business $70,000 for what was described as “inaccurate and misleading” potency in cannabis products that boosted THC levels by as much as 10%.

The lab was allowed to reopen.

A Certified Ag representative told MJBizDaily the company “had some bumps, but our data was plus or minus 10% and we stand behind it.”

Lab shopping

The practice of lab shopping – where cannabis growers or product makers look for a facility that will provide favorable results – has almost put Keystone State Testing out of business, said Dr. Kelly Greenland, CEO of the Harrisburg, Pennsylvania-based marijuana testing lab.

“We have clients who test with us and never come back because their numbers are higher elsewhere,” she said.

In addition to higher potency levels, some cannabis businesses also seek favorable results for contaminants, including microbials and heavy metals.

“There are a few labs out there saying, ‘Tell me what you want it to say, and I’ll put it on the label,’” Greenland said.

Pennsylvania’s regulations are adequate, she said, but they’re not being enforced.

“If you want to make sure this market is safe, you need to have safe regulations and you need to have your enforcement enforce the regulations that you’ve made,” Greenland said.

Testing labs promising quick turnaround times – less than 48 hours, for example – might be cutting corners. Greenland said it’s normal for a lab to take up to 72 hours to return results.

Growers and processors don’t have to try that hard to find good testing labs, according to Greenland.

But she added that often it doesn’t make good business sense to play by the rules, “as messed up as this sounds.”

What is CBG? Cannabigerol and CBG Benefits

What is CBG? Cannabigerol and CBG Benefits

Cbg, what is it and what are its benefits?

CBD was just the beginning of the cannabis cannabinoid craze.

THC and CBD have become the two most well known compounds known as “cannabinoids” in the cannabis plant. The majority of cannabis products contain THC with trace amounts of CBD, however 2020 was the Year of CBD.

After the federal legalization of industrial hemp in 2018, many jumped into the hemp market to try and make a profit. While your average hemp farmer did not see too much success and still struggled through 2020, CBD specific products slowly gained traction and exploded this past year.

From health and lifestyle influencers to medical professionals, just about everyone was recommending using CBD for something in your life. But there’s something a lot of people who have recently been introduced to the wonder of cannabis/hemp don’t know.

There are over 100 different cannabinoids in the cannabis plant.

Cannabis and Cannabinoids

So far, over 113 different cannabinoids have been isolated from the cannabis plant. It starts to make you wonder if it’s really just THC and CBD making cannabis so special. But what is really special, is how our brains and bodies were design to interact with cannabis and cannabinoids in a very specific way.

Prior to the 1980s, it was thought that cannabis just interacted with cell membranes throughout the body to produce its psychoactive effects. In the 80s the first cannabinoid receptor was discovered, putting that theory to rest. And it isn’t just us humans.

Cannabinoid receptors have been found in many mammals, birds, fish and reptiles. In the field of science, cannabinoid receptors are still relatively new, and so as of now there are two known types of receptors. But there is already evidence that there are likely more.

While it would be information overload to throw every cannabinoid we know at the public at once, we are slowly learning more about the individual cannabinoids that make up the cannabis plant, and the different effects they have.

One of the latest cannabinoids gaining CBD-like attention in the cannabis and hemp community is Cannabigerol, also known as CBG.

What is CBG?

Cannabigerol or CBG, is a cannabinoid just like CBD (Cannabidiol). Both are non-psychoactive, and found more commonly in low-THC, high-CBD varieties. In other words, CBG and CBD are both more prevalent in hemp than psychoactive cannabis.

CBG is the decarboxylated form of cannabigerolic acid, the parent molecule from which other cannabinoids are synthesized. Due to this, during plant growth most CBG is converted into other cannabinoids, primarily THC or CBD, leaving about 1% cannabigerol in the plant. With the rise of hemp, strains with higher percentages of CBG have become more prevalent.

And with it’s potential benefits, it is not hard to see CBG making its way into psychoactive cannabis breeding circles to create high-THC, high-CBG strains in the future.

CBG Benefits

While research is still very limited on CBG due to its newfound interest in 2020, there are some studies that have shown CBG can help with Glaucoma, Cancer, Crohn’s Disease and Irritable Bowel Syndrome. There is currently not enough data to determine the best means of consumption, be it smokable flower or extract.

However like CBD, CBG will most likely be most effective in its extracted form and converted into various products like creams, ointments, tinctures or edibles. Because CBG is also non-psychoactive, the consumer does not need to worry about an actual “high” from consuming Cannabigerol products.

But we are also learning more about how all of the various cannabinoids in cannabis work together to create what’s known as the “Entourage Effect”. So while we may know how we react to a 50/50 THC/CBD strain thanks to the latest cultivation innovations, we haven’t gotten to experience many CBG and THC rich cannabis strains.

With over one hundred other cannabinoids to consider as well, CBG is just one little piece in the massive puzzle that is cannabis.

Montana Recreational Cannabis Officially Legal

Montana Recreational Cannabis Officially Legal

Montana legal cannabis became official on New Years day 2021

Once the clock struck midnight and 2021 began, marijuana became legal for recreational use in the state of Montana – but this new law does not come without some caveats.

“I imagine people… we’ll probably have some amount of people coming to all the stores ready to buy. But you know, we can’t do that,” said Joshua Gosney, the owner of Infinity Wellness.

While marijuana is now legal for recreational use, only two things have immediately taken effect. “Any individual will be allowed to grow a certain number of plants in their house and have a certain amount of product on them at all times,” Gosney said.

So you can grow it and possess it — but a lot goes into growing the cannabis plant.

“In Montana, you’re going to be primarily in an indoor situation, especially in the wintertime, so you’re going to need things like supplemental high-intensity lighting or LEDs, some type of watering apparatus. It’s some work,” explained Ryan Saghatelian, one of the owners of Greener Pastures.

It could be a while, though, before you can legally buy marijuana in Montana.

“Probably not going to be until 2022 when the licensing goes into play, so we’re kind of in a weird area right now where it’s legal to possess, but it’s not legal to purchase, so there’s a lot of uncertainty,” Saghatelian said.

And with new laws comes new responsibilities: “There will be limitations to what people can do. It’ll be up to the Legislature to make sure that they effectively regulate that in order to maximize tax revenue and public safety and public benefit without risking the public’s health,” Gosney said.

Smoking marijuana in public is not allowed, and Montana statute says no one can drive under the influence of any substance, according to Lt. Brandon Wooley with the Billings Police Department. He also noted: “We still will be involved in, let’s say, if you got four or five pounds on you and you’ve got evidence of trafficking and distribution. We’re still going to seize everything and we’re still going to forward through for the County Attorney’s office for prosecution.”

Supporters say legalizing recreational marijuana will generate much-needed tax revenue. A study by the University of Montana’s Bureau of Business & Economic Research estimated recreational marijuana could generate more than $43 million a year for the state.

However, some law enforcement, medical, and professional groups oppose the measures. They argue legalized marijuana will add to the state’s growing drug addiction problems, create safety concerns in the workplace, the risk of unintentional exposure to children, and increased marijuana use in adolescents.

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