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The decriminalization of cannabis in Germany from May 1?

In the coming days, the German federal government should reveal the direction it intends to take towards legalization. But before that, the German Federal Constitutional Court announced that it would make a decision on the constitutional status of the cannabis ban. Could everything go very quickly?

Cannabis outside the BtMG

As German magazine Highway reports, a trusted government source assures that a decriminalization of cannabis should take place as a first step and cannabis or the whole plant should be removed from the Narcotic Drugs Act (BtMG) .

Every German citizen would thus be free to cultivate a small number of plants within their four walls and to transport a certain amount of cannabis without risk. The implementation of the change in the law is also expected to take place as early as May 1, according to the source.

Faced with possible international and national resistance against full legalization, decriminalization, not subject to approval, could be a good starting point for Germany before fully legalizing cannabis.

Luxembourg took a similar route after its legalization efforts failed – or did not really want to – to pass the EU. A path of least resistance has been chosen: stick to legalizing the personal use of cannabis rather than implementing full regulation with sales.

Malta has also chosen to legalize cannabis without a sales system but with the establishment of associative Cannabis Clubs.

The EIHA 2023 Conference will be held from June 7 to 9

Europe’s largest industrial hemp conference, the traditional gathering of the global hemp industry, will once again take place in Brussels. For the first time however, the European Industrial Hemp Association (EIHA) is opening attendance at the general meeting to non-members to ensure that the whole industry is informed of the latest regulatory changes and challenges ahead. come.

Starting in the afternoon of June 7 with an in-depth presentation of the EIHA’s activities and the various legislative issues, the conference will extend over the following two days, with eight different high-level panels on the main markets as well as various networking opportunities.

June 8 will be devoted to the discussion on the establishment of regional value chains for hemp and bioeconomy products. A special panel will present to the public the experience and point of view of international investors.

On the final day, June 9, discussions will focus on seed, leaf and flower markets. The conference will provide a comprehensive overview of international hemp markets and will include a panel on the impact of the legalization of adult cannabis use in Germany and the Czech Republic. Two dinners will allow participants to discuss in depth in a more informal setting.

The number of on-site participants is limited and registration is available online alongside useful information and the full program: https://eiha-conference.org.

The EIHA conference is a unique opportunity for all European hemp players to strengthen their network of contacts and create business opportunities, but also to express their views on the future of the European hemp sector. .

About the European Industrial Hemp Association

The European Industrial Hemp Association (EIHA) represents the common interests of growers, producers and traders of fibre, hemp, seeds, leaves and cannabinoids derived from hemp. The EIHA notably represents the hemp sector in the EU and in international policy-making.

The EIHA covers different areas of application of hemp, namely its use for building materials, textiles, cosmetics, animal feed, foodstuffs and food supplements.

Zurich legalizes the consumption and sale of cannabis in a pilot project

The Federal Office of Public Health (OFSP), the public health center of the Swiss federal government, approved on Tuesday 21 March the city of Zurich’s project “Züri Can – Cannabis with Responsibility”, aimed at launching a pilot program for consumption and sale of cannabis, which should begin this summer.

The study, a collaboration between Zurich City Council and University Hospital Zurich, will examine how participants’ consumption and health are affected by the purchase of selected cannabis products from controlled cultivation under controlled conditions. regulated, in order to provide relevant information on how best to deal with cannabis.

Zurich is the second Swiss city to participate in the pilot program to study the effects of the legalization of cannabis in Switzerland. The first trial, which involves around 400 participants, was launched in the city of Basel.

3000 participants in this legalization experiment

Up to 3,000 residents of Zurich, Switzerland’s largest city, will be able to purchase defined amounts of cannabis for personal use under a three-year program starting this summer. In exchange, they will have to complete a questionnaire every six months on their consumption habits and their state of health.

As with the various legalization pilot tests in Switzerland, only people over the age of 18 and already cannabis users can participate in the program, with the exception of pregnant women or professional drivers.

Participants in the experiment will be able to buy cannabis in pharmacies, special dispensaries or Cannabis Social Clubs located throughout the city of Zurich. A total of 21 cannabis supply points are expected to be available and begin selling in August 2023.

Legal cannabis sold in Basel (Switzerland)

Legal cannabis sold in Basel (Switzerland)

The prices of cannabis products will be regulated and set at the level of the black market price. Several cannabis flowers, with varying concentrations of THC and CBD, and resins will be legally available and must be produced organically by licensed Swiss companies.

After obtaining government approval, Pure Production AG and Swissextract, the two producers, can start cultivating the Cannabis plants needed for the study. The first harvest is expected to take place in July 2023, while hash products, which take longer to produce and require more complex processing, are expected to be available in the second half of October 2023.

Soon legal cultivation of cannabis in Brazil?

According to information reported by Reuters, Brazil’s Superior Court of Justice (STJ), which serves as the supreme court of appeal for non-constitutional cases, “has agreed to rule on whether companies and farmers can plant Cannabis in the country, which could pave the way for legal cultivation for medical and industrial purposes, after legislative efforts have stalled in recent years.”

The case was brought by a biotechnology company called DNA Solucoes em Biotecnologia, which “advocates for the right to import seeds and plant cannabis with higher levels of cannabinoids such as cannabidiol (CBD) and less tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), a mind-altering component of the plant,” according to Reuters.

Reuters reports that the appeals court’s decision “was made public on March 14 and established its jurisdiction for a national precedent regarding the importation of seeds and the planting of cannabis.”

This decision had immediate consequences.

“From now on, all pending cases regarding permission to plant Cannabis in the country will be frozen until the STJ makes a final and binding decision,” according to the outlet.

“Brazil allows the sale and production of cannabis products, but companies must import key ingredients. The court’s final ruling on cannabis, expected sometime next year, could make her a forerunner on a topic rejected by many conservative-leaning members of Brazil’s Congress, such as the ruling by the 2011 Supreme Court that paved the way for same-sex marriage. »

Last summer, the Superior Court of Justice ruled that Brazilian patients could grow their own cannabis for medical purposes.

In this decision, the five-judge panel ruled in favor of the three patients who had taken the case to court, allowing them to grow cannabis for medical treatment. The unanimous court decision allowed the three patients to grow cannabis and extract oil from it to ease their pain.

“The discourse against this possibility is moralizing. It often has a religious character, based on dogma, false truths, stigmas,” Judge Rogério Schietti said in his judgment. “Let’s stop this prejudice, this moralism that delays the development of this issue at the legislative level, and that often clouds the minds of Brazilian judges. »

Medical cannabis is legal in Brazil, although limited. The use of cannabis for recreational purposes is prohibited.

5 discoveries about cannabis that we owe to Raphaël Mechoulam

Raphael Mechoulam, an Israeli researcher and professor of chemistry known as the “father of medical cannabis”, died recently after devoting much of his life to the study of cannabis.

If he is not the first to have researched this plant, he has contributed in a pioneering way to many scientific advances in his knowledge, for medicine and patients. Thanks to the work he has done, we all know a little more about cannabis.

Here are his 5 most important discoveries.

He isolated THC

During the first years of his research, in 1963, Dr. Mechoulam and his team focused on understanding the chemistry of cannabinoids. In 1964, they succeeded in isolating THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), one of the two best-known cannabinoids in cannabis and the one responsible for the psychotropic effects of the plant. After isolating THC, researchers were able to understand the chemical structure of THC and even synthesized it.

The isolation of THC has been of central importance to tons of other cannabis research.

Discovering the entourage effect

Dr. Mechoulam discovered the entourage effect with Dr. Shimon Ben-Shabat in 1999. This is the synergistic way that cannabinoids work together, often enhancing each other’s benefits when consumed together. rather than individually or in isolated form. He and his team observed that certain cannabinoids taken alone had little or no effect, but when combined with THC or other cannabinoids, they were found to be very beneficial.

Understanding the entourage effect is important not only for scientific purposes, but also for consumers. It can help medical patients better understand what kind of products they should consume. This is all the more important as there are dozens of different forms of cannabis today, from CBD and THC isolates to whole plant medicines. People take isolates for certain reasons, but today, due to the entourage effect, we know that to maximize the healing properties of cannabis, it’s best to take whole plant medicines.

Effect of CBD on epilepsy

In 1980, Dr. Mechoulam published the results of a small study whose findings suggested that CBD may be beneficial in reducing seizures in epileptic patients. He found CBD to be more effective than a placebo, and he expected this to spark interest from big pharma to develop CBD-based drugs for epilepsy.

That didn’t happen, at least not for several decades. It was thanks to his groundbreaking research that THC had to share the limelight with CBD, CBD does not get you high, but has powerful anti-epileptic properties that no other pharmaceutical drug is able to surpass.

Today, it’s easy to see that Dr. Mechoulam hit on something important when he studied CBD at a time when no one else was paying attention. CBD is a household name in cannabis today, being incorporated into all sorts of products, from drinks and capsules to cosmetics, edibles And many more. Thousands of people use CBD not only for epilepsy, but also for anxiety, stress, depression, inflammation, and general well-being.

Discovery of endocannabinoids

Dr. Mechoulam’s research also led to the discovery of endocannabinoids, specifically anandamide in 1992, a compound produced by the human body and capable of activating the CB1 receptor, the same receptor that binds to THC. This was a significant milestone, as it was the very first endocannabinoid to be discovered.

His discovery of anandamide not only had a great impact on cannabis research, but it had far reaching implications for the world of biology, biochemistry, chemistry, medicine and science. pharmacology as a whole.

A more potent cannabinoid than CBD and THC

Dr. Mechoulam has not stopped working on his cannabis research. In 2020, he even discovered another compound called EPM301, which was found to be more potent than THC and CBD. He was 88 when EPM301 was discovered.

It took some time to discover EPM301 due to its instability, but Mechoulam found a method to extract acidic cannabinoids that were stable for a long enough period to be used in further studies and trials. Additionally, they found that EPM301 may be useful in the treatment of nausea and anxiety, although it may also be useful in the treatment of cancer, chemotherapy, psoriasis and inflammatory bowel syndrome.

California senators approve bill to legalize psychedelics in committee

The opening to psychedelics is advancing in California. While some cities across the state have already passed decriminalization of the personal use of psychedelics, a Senate committee has approved a bill to legalize the possession of certain psychedelics and make it easier to use these substances.

Democratic Sen. Scott Wiener’s bill, which was reintroduced in December after a broader version was defeated last session, was approved by the Senate Public Safety Committee in a 3-way vote. vote against 1, last Tuesday, and will then be submitted to the Finance Committee.

The measure would legalize the “possession, preparation, procurement, transfer, as specified, or transportation” of specific amounts of psilocybin, psilocin, DMT, ibogaine, and mescaline for personal use or convenience. “Synthetic” psychedelics like LSD and MDMA would not be legalized.

Peyote is also excluded from the list of legalized substances in the bill, in part because of the risks of overexploitation of this vulnerable cactus used for ceremonial purposes by some indigenous peoples of California.

The “licensed quantity” section of the bill provides the following limits for the possession of psychedelics:

  • DMT: 2 grams
  • Ibogaine: 15 grams
  • Psilocybin and psilocin: 2 grams, or up to 4 ounces (112 grams) of a plant or mushroom containing it

Besides legalizing personal possession, the bill also makes specific provisions for “group counseling and community healing” involving entheogenic substances.

It would also repeal the state law prohibiting “any spore or mycelium capable of producing mushrooms or other material containing psilocybin or psilocin.”

“These are not addictive drugs. And these are drugs that have significant potential to help people navigate and become healthy who have mental health issues, substance use issues,” Senator Wiener said at Tuesday’s hearing. .

“We know that cities in California and elsewhere have passed resolutions to rank the enforcement of these particular criminal laws as the lowest law enforcement priority,” he added. “This is an important milestone for California. It’s about making sure people have access to the substances they need that aren’t addictive. »

Does CBD improve your sleep?

CBD is a very useful molecule to fight against stress and anxiety. But it is also an ideal product to find a better sleep. Here’s how CBD helps you sleep better.

CBD oil reduces insomnia

Insomnia is often a cause of stress and overwork. The snowball effect disturbs you even in your bed by making you lose sleep. Fortunately, thanks to Cannabidiol, you can easily fall back into the arms of Morpheus!

Consumed in oil form, CBD is said to have rapid effects on insomnia thanks to its role as a regulator of the endogenous cannabinoid system receptors CB1 and CB2 which act on the human nervous system. Thus, cannabidiol allows the body to relax by sending a message to the brain.

Thus, people prone to insomnia can fall asleep more easily thanks to a totally soothed body and relaxed muscles. But that’s not all, according to the 2019 study: Cannabidiol in anxiety and sleep, sleep quality improved by 66.7% in subjects who consumed CBD oil regularly. The treatment should be taken at bedtime to be optimal.

CBD supports deep sleep

After the sleep phase, then comes deep sleep. The brain reacts less and less to various external stimuli. The body temperature drops, the heart rate slows down, in short, it is the moment when the body takes advantage of this to fall into a certain form of hypnosis. This is also called restorative sleep.

CBD helps regulate homeostasis, i.e. the natural balance of the body. In other words, it influences heart rate, digestion, body temperature or breathing. By positioning itself on the CB1 and CB2 receptors, CBD acts directly on the nervous system by reducing the paradoxical sleep phase, responsible for dreams and nocturnal awakenings. CBD oil also decreases symptoms related to sleep apnea.

Europe is not (necessarily) against self-cultivation of cannabis

Germany and the Czech Republic are not the only European countries considering the legalization of cannabis. Even if it is smaller, Luxembourg has also been working on regulating the personal use of cannabis since an announcement made in 2018.

However, the country seeks to respect both European law and international law which, according to conservative interpretations, restricts the cultivation and/or consumption of cannabis for non-medical use.

Europe and cannabis legalization

Contacted by the Luxembourg media The Dailythe European Commission tells them that European law “prohibits the culture [non-médicale] of the cannabis plant, but does not cover personal drug use”.

“It is therefore up to the Member States to decide how to tackle the personal consumption of drugs, including cannabis”, specify the Commission services.

The Luxembourg Council of State came to the same conclusion: “The bill (…), in that it is limited to the authorization of the cultivation of a number of plants for the sole purpose of personal consumption , under strict conditions (…), contrary to extensive legalisation, is (…) not contrary to European Union law”.

The Luxembourg government therefore intends to take advantage of this legal possibility.

What are the risks of legalizing?

In its project, Germany also seeks to receive the non-disagreement of Europe as to its wish to legalize cannabis. If the intention seems honourable, the risks of a disagreement are non-existent, whether at European or international level.

Malta has thus become the first European country to end the prohibition of cannabis, without possible sanction, just as Uruguay and Canada have legalized cannabis without legal consequences. The INCB, the international narcotics control body, simply recalls at regular intervals its pro-prohibition position and criticizes countries or states that have adopted legal cannabis regulations.

For a complete legalization of cannabis, and not just for personal use, Luxembourg is already planning to set up a legalization experiment for scientific purposes, a system authorized by international conventions and already set up in Switzerland with the trials- legalization pilots in some cities.

France soon deprived of medical cannabis?

This is a real alert for patients included in the experimentation of therapeutic cannabis. According to our information, several stakeholders in phase 1 of the experimentation with therapeutic cannabis in France, representing some 70% of the products delivered, did not respond to the call for tenders for the continuation of the experiment, in because of an excessive financial burden.

The consequence could be a shortage of medical cannabis products for patients.

Free-wheeling experimentation

For 2 years, the pharmaceutical laboratories included in the experiment have been providing medical cannabis-based products free of charge. This delay was to be used to validate the distribution circuit of medical cannabis before possibly proceeding with a generalization, provided that the experimentation is conclusive.

However, the generalization has not been recorded even though the patient feedback has been convincing.

On the side of the ANSM, we plead the arrival of the Covid to explain the failure of the generalization, while many fingers point to the reluctance of the Ministry of the Interior, which without having the vocation to deal with a subject of public health, extends its repressive policy with regard to cannabis to a treatment potentially prescribed for sick people.

No one is kind to the Directorate General of Health (DGS) either. All the people interviewed, who wish to remain anonymous, report a cruel lack of involvement on the part of this body.

“It’s the only free medical experiment that has ever existed. And it’s an experiment without a pilot on the plane,” we hear.

After 4 years of work, the status of these products has still not been defined. And its reimbursement or not by health insurance, blocking subjects for a generalization and to determine a price, has still not been recorded. However, discussions took place last December, without any transparency on the subject.

Why is experimentation expensive for manufacturers?

Since France does not have an indigenous medical cannabis market, the few companies authorized to cultivate cannabis have it for research use. The patients included in the experimentation with therapeutic cannabis in France therefore consume products imported from Israel, Australia or Canada.

Two types of products are available for these patients: oils, delivered in first intention, and dried flowers which represent less than 5% of the products prescribed. In addition to manufacturing costs, with cultures grown in controlled, pharmaceutical-grade environments, suppliers must bear transportation costs – refrigerated and constant-temperature in the case of oils – and customs taxes. A 10mL CBD oil delivered to a patient then costs the manufacturer between 60 and 120€.

Moreover, while the initial specifications mentioned one bottle of CBD or THC-dominant oil per patient per month, some patients were delivered nearly ten bottles of CBD oil per month, without being able to test CBD:THC oil, THC oil or dried flowers, indicating an absence of effects and a lack of information for health professionals depending on the pathologies.

If these products have so far been provided free of charge, the call for tenders upstream of the extension provides for compensation of €14 per 10ml bottle of oil and €14 per 10 gram bottle of dried cannabis flowers, to the great displeasure of industrialists who demanded fair compensation. And hence the refusal of some to continue bearing these costs any longer.

An experiment without products?

What would happen then for the patients included in the experiment? Their processing will stop.

“A shortage would be extremely serious because there are people whose lives it has changed,” reacts Mado Gilanton, president of the Apaiser S&C association. “Our surveys and feedback from the field have already revealed the concern of patients in the event of a CBD oil rupture”.

Questioned by us, Nicolas Authier, president of the temporary Scientific Committee for the follow-up of the experimentation of cannabis for medical use, does not yet have information on the products which will be available for the third year of experimentation. “But I can’t imagine that we wouldn’t have 3 oils for the 3 ratios and 3 flower ratios,” he says.

The urgency is less but the disappointment is just as likely for French manufacturers who have started working on a potential opening of medical cannabis in France. Some have offered solutions Made in France but without the vision given by the DGS, hopes are dim.

The DGS has not yet answered our questions.

Malta unveils the rules that Cannabis Clubs will have to follow

The regulation of Maltese Cannabis Clubs is taking shape a little more. A recent legal opinion now explains what cannabis consumer associations will need to do to obtain a license to sell cannabis to registered members, whether it’s the records they must keep or the people they can employ.

The legal notice comes 15 months after the government effectively legalized recreational cannabis and a few weeks after the new industry regulator began accepting applications for registration.

Associations will be limited to a maximum of 500 members and membership in more than one association at a time will be prohibited.

Annual licenses

Associations will be required to contribute 5% of their annual revenue to a harm reduction fund and 10% of their undistributed profits to a community projects fund. These two funds will be managed by the regulator of the sector, the Authority for the Responsible Use of Cannabis (ARUC).

Registration fees for associations have been reduced compared to the amounts initially planned: small associations with up to 50 members will now only pay 1,000 euros per year, instead of the minimum 8,750 euros initially proposed.

CURA boss Leonid McKay says the decision to lower the entry fee was taken following feedback from potential applicants, who said they would not be able to afford the exorbitant fees .

However, the fees increase according to the number of members: the largest associations, which can have 351 to 500 members, will pay an annual fee of 26,000 euros.

Cultivation, Sales and Membership Records

All associations will be required to keep detailed records of each cannabis grow cycle and file a quarterly report with CURA detailing membership numbers, cannabis sold and cash flow.

The law states that the CURA “may” manage a centralized digital system for collecting data and monitoring without today’s guarantee of the confidentiality and security of the personal data of the members of the association.

Instead, the rules only state that associations must keep a register of members including all their personal data, without any specific privacy or security requirements. There is also no explicit obligation for associations to delete member data at any given time.

Wages at market rate

All associations must be “non-profit” and must remunerate their directors in accordance with market rates established by the Voluntary Organizations Act. Exceptions will only be permitted when a person has “specific skills” and with CURA approval.

Founders of Cannabis Clubs must have lived in Malta for at least five years to form an association and anyone convicted of major crimes or drug-related offenses within the last ten years cannot form an association, hold a role key in an association or work as an employee.

Inspections and fines

CURA inspectors will be authorized to carry out on-site inspections or audits. Offenders face penalties ranging from a warning to specific injunctions or, in the most serious cases, referral to the police and revocation of their licence.

The fines are more or less severe. Associations that do not file a quarterly report or do not keep a correct list of their members will be fined 1,000 euros, the lowest fine provided by the rules.

From there, the fines gradually increase to 2,000 euros (sale of alcohol in associations or excessive number of members), 2,500 euros (nuisance for neighbours), 5,000 euros (sale of cannabis that is not not clearly labeled and packaged), and finally 10,000 euros for the most serious infringements.