Quick Hit August 2022: what we missed in recent weeks

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Regular Newsweed consumers will have noticed that we have been on hiatus for the past 2 weeks. But since the news does not await us, here is a recap of what has happened in the meantime on the planet Cannabis.

France

31 senators from the Socialist, Ecologist and Republican (SER) group have signed a platform calling for the legalization of cannabis. In retaliation, the Republican group sent its finest knives on TV to try to explain that it was a bad idea.

Othman Nasrou, vice-president of the Ile-de-France region anyway, explained that it should not be legalized because “60% of cannabis still comes from the black market” in Canada, an argument that usually serves to show that legalization works well. If you read Othman, it’s more like 60% legal cannabis.

Then Patrick Karam, also vice-president of the Ile-de-France regional council, went to Cnews to justify his refusal of legalization that would lift “the moral taboo linked to the legal”. The same moral taboo that makes France the biggest consumer of cannabis in Europe? Bitch please.

Europe

German Health Minister Karl Lauterbach has admitted he has tried cannabis and is now in favor of legalization after being opposed to it. In an interview, he gave some hints about the legalization of cannabis in Germany: More than 5 billion euros per year in potential tax revenue, an “ambitious” approach in line with European legislation, cannabis will probably be available in stores specialized and also in pharmacies. Drafting of the law is expected to be completed for presentation to the Bundestag before the end of this year, before it comes into force in early 2023 and sales begin in 2024 at the earliest.

Britons are now a majority in support of a harm reduction approach, like that of Portugal, which treats addiction as a mental illness rather than a crime, in a recent YouGov poll.

The Danes also want to legalize and let the state take care of cannabis sales.

UNITED STATES

An American anti-drug organization, the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA), called on its supporters to oppose a federal bill on the legalization of cannabis, the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act (CAOA). The most surprising remains the sponsors of this non-profit organization: Purdue Pharma, Pfizer, Barclays, Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank, Deloitte, Krispy Kreme, Johnson and Johnson or the NFL which is currently carrying out its own studies on the use of cannabis to pain management in athletes. Some of these companies are actively profiting from the cannabis industry in Canada, while donating to an organization that encourages US senators to vote against legalization. CADCA has since removed the “sponsors” page.

A bill, the Medical Marijuana and Cannabidiol Research Expansion Act, was adopted by the House of Representatives and aims to develop research on the medical use of cannabis. It would facilitate the approval of various health or research establishments to “manufacture, distribute, dispense or possess cannabis or cannabidiol (CBD) for the purpose of medical research”.

Universities in states that have legalized cannabis have seen an increase in applications for admission “with no apparent decline in the quality of student applicants.”

Cannabis regulation in New York is taking too long. The sale of cannabis is nevertheless already very open, with trucks selling weed in the middle of the street. The police have just seized 20 of them.

Brittney Griner, the professional basketball player who plays in Russia and whose suitcase contained a cartridge to vape cannabis, was sentenced to 9 years in prison. Some recall the hypocrisy of the American government which, while finding Brittney Griner’s sentence ridiculous, continues to imprison its citizens, and in particular black people, for cannabis.

North Dakota will vote for (or against) the legalization of cannabis next November after a popular initiative has collected a sufficient number of signatures.

Canada

The SQDC, which markets cannabis and its derivative products in Quebec, has put on sale 3 new edibles : beets, cauliflower and dried figs infused with THC/CBD. Each bite contains 2.5mg of THC and 5mg of CBD. CA$6.90 for 4.

Canadian legal cannabis producers destroyed a record 425 million grams of unpackaged dried cannabis in 2021, far exceeding the amount they were able to sell. In addition to the destruction of unpackaged dried cannabis, more than 7 million packaged cannabis products across the country were sent for destruction in 2021, according to Health Canada data.

Canopy Growth lost $2 billion selling cannabis this quarter.

The monopoly ofOntario Cannabis Store, the only one authorized to sell cannabis online and wholesale in Ontario, is starting to irritate. It must be said that the business is good: the organization sets the purchase prices from the producers, takes a 42% margin and then resells to the shops which will also have to add a margin to try to survive. This monopoly that is gobbling up profits, stifling innovation, and slowly strangling the new cannabis industry, especially its smaller operators and independent retailers. The icing on the cake, following a computer attack on one of its servers, it was forced to stop delivering cannabis to stores for ten days.

Rest of the world

Gustavo Petro, the new president of Colombia, calls for an end to the war on drugs: “It is time to adopt a new international convention which recognizes that the war on drugs has failed”. The country is now considering decriminalization of cocaine use and public control of production to dry up cartel money. Some American companies are already interested in the business of “decocainated” coca leaves, such as those used for Coke, but whose production has so far been highly regulated.

The Thai cannabis market could already be worth €1.2 billion as early as 2025. However, the decriminalization put in place is not legalization for the time being. The government recalled that the sale of cannabis was illegal on Khao San Road, one of Bangkok’s tourist avenues, even though at least 4 cannabis stores have set up shop there. However, the police can only arrest people smoking in public. Several weed stores have also just opened in Pattaya, Pukhet or Ko Pha Ngan.

Thailand, still, takes the first steps to decriminalize the personal use of drugs, by adopting threshold quantities (1.5 g of methamphetamine, 300 mg of heroin, 600 mg of cocaine). Possession of an amount below the threshold may lead to referral to a treatment program instead of prosecution. One question remains: what “treatment program”?

Malaysia wants to take inspiration from Thailand to promote the medical use of cannabis. Thailand’s health minister said he would organize a trip for his Malaysian counterpart to study how cannabis can be used for medical purposes.

Historical cannabis growers in South Africa are mechanically excluded from cannabis legalization plans.

Research

31 young people between the ages of 12 and 25 with an anxiety disorder and showing no clinical improvement despite treatment with cognitive behavioral therapy and/or antidepressants consumed CBD for 12 weeks and up to 800 milligrams daily. Anxiety decreased by an average of 42.6%.

A study conducted by Washington State University found a 37% drop in reports of illicit synthetic cannabinoid poisoning in states where cannabis is legal, compared to states with restrictive policies.

A Canadian study has shown that the legalization of cannabis is not associated with an increase in psychoses or schizophrenia.

A Spanish study, notably conducted by GH Medical, noted that consuming 65 mg of THC was less intoxicating when combined with CBD in a 2:1 ratio than when taken alone.

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