This Week in CannabisAll around the globe, cannabis is gaining momentum. Read this week's top headlines in cannabis.
NY Governor Andrew Cuomo to Legalize Recreational Cannabis in New York in 2019
On Monday in Manhattan NY Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced his plans for the following year, specifically the first days of his third term. Among other measures such as protecting undocumented immigrants and combating climate change, Cuomo talked about legalizing recreational marijuana. His proposal is anticipated to generate annual sales of at least $1.7 billion putting New York in line next to some neighboring states.
Cuomo also referred to New York’s current legal system stating that “the fact is we have had two criminal justice systems: one for the wealthy, and one for everyone else” highlighting the injustice that had “for too long targeted the African-American and minority communities.”
In January the commission convened by Cuomo had already concluded that the adverse effects of the drug were outweighed by the benefits of regulating and taxing it. A clearer picture of what legalization would look like is depicted in July’s report issued by the state Department of Health.
New Zealanders to vote for recreational cannabis in 2020
New Zealand’s 2020 referendum for the legalization of recreational marijuana was announced on Tuesday by Andrew Little, the country’s justice minister. New Zealanders will be granted the opportunity to decide on the matter in the frame of the upcoming general elections, as promised by Prime minister Jacinda Ardern in 2017.
“This binding referendum presents an opportunity to have the will of the people trigger meaningful legislative change,” the Green Party’s spokesperson on drug law reform, Chloe Swarbrick said in an article on Reuters.
According to the NZ Drug Foundation, Cannabis is the most frequently used illicit drug in New Zealand. A study by the same Foundation, conducted in the cities of Christchurch and Dunedin shows that “by the age of 21, 80 percent of New Zealanders have tried cannabis at least once. And 10 percent developed a pattern of heavy use”.
A favorable decision would make New Zealand the very first Asian Pacific country to legalize the drug in a region with stringent rules and regulation.
Senate One Step Closer to Voting for Federal Cannabis Legalization on Tuesday
If Colorado's Senate Cory Gardner succeeds in amending a reform Bill under consideration, the door opens to legalize cannabis on a federal level, one that has President Trump’s support. According to Gardner’s statement, the provisions will be attached to the First Step Act amendment, a reform bill regarding prison and sentencing legislation, that on Monday advanced with an 81-21 senators ‘ vote.
Gardner said that the Bill of rights is protecting cannabis legalization in the United States, claiming that people living in regions with legal marijuana industry should have a legal safety net.
“While we are debating criminal justice reform, we need to address the threat of prosecution by the federal government for people in Colorado that are operating legal businesses under state law,” Gardner said.
The amendment ‘s approval will mean exemption from the controlled substances Act of cannabis-related activities complaint with tribal or State law, including transactions that are at the moment unlawful and are considered drug trafficking.
Brooklyn DA Erases Hundreds of Marijuana Possession Convictions
Hundreds of misdemeanor convictions for marijuana possession in New York City are going up in smoke. Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez ordered the vacation of more than 1,400 open warrants for drug possession cases and the deletion of 28 past convictions. It is the first time in the State’s history that a district attorney moves on to such actions.
“I do not believe these cases keep us safer. They cause a lot of distrust in our justice system,” Gonzalez said. “We all here know there is a tremendous racial disparity in respect to how these cases have been enforced in the past.”
He also added that most of the open warrants were issued under stop-and-frisk policies to Latino and Black New Yorkers. The DA announced the " Begin Again" initiative which aims to dismiss low-level possession offenses in September. However, requests from people with additional convictions such as drug sales and sex offenses will be opposed by the Gonzalez’ office.
Cannabis Company Tilray Announces Deal With Novartis, Stocks Skyrocket
Cannabis company, Tilray, plans to collaborate with the Sandoz’ generic drug business of Swiss drugmaker Novartis, supplying non-combustible and non-smokable medical cannabis products were legally allowed. Moreover, the two companies will develop new products and probably co-brand some.
Tilray announced earlier this year, it was the very first company to be given regulatory approval in Germany and also Canada to export medical cannabis flower for distribution purposes.
"This agreement represents a major milestone in the movement to provide access to safe, GMP-certified medical cannabis to patients in need across the world," Brendan Kennedy, Tilray CEO stated on Tuesday.
After Tilray’s announcement to enter the global supply market and its distribution agreement with Novartis on Tuesday, the Canadian marijuana company’ shares have escalated about 21,9% in intraday trading.
The Canadian cannabis company that already launches its products in twelve countries said the collaboration announced on Tuesday reinforces the company's vision of making medical cannabis, specifically pharmaceutical-grade products available worldwide.