Top Cannabis HeadlinesCanada attributes the unemployment rate decline to cannabis, big tobacco gets involved, the Farm Bill moves forward, and New Zealand legalizes medical cannabis.
Farm Bill Heads to the Oval Office
After easily sliding through the Senate and getting overwhelming support in the House, only one more signature is necessary to completely change the landscape of hemp farming and CBD production as we know it. While predicting the President’s actions, amid threats of a government shutdown, are difficult to discern, industry insiders are optimistic about the future for the CBD market.
The changes in the approved Farm Bill include redefining hemp, removing it from the Scheduled Substances listing, and legalizes all hemp-derived cannabinoids. Additionally, the bill designates the USDA and the Attorney General as the authority over the farming operations of hemp. Meanwhile, one can only speculate the FDA will also impose new regulations and standard regarding hemp production.
Although the bill may indicate significant changes for CBD producers, the new laws will allow all United States residents, regardless of state to gain legal access to the supplements. Until now, the explosive growth in the industry has been in spite of prohibition, with full-legalization the sector is expected to increase in growth exponentially.
Marlboro owner invests $1.8 billion in the cannabis industry
Following a 25% stock decrease this year, Altria, the worldwide tobacco giant is investing $1.8 billion in Cronos Group. Altria is taking a 45% stake in the Canadian cannabis company with an option to increase to 55% in the coming five years.
The slow sales in traditional cigarettes and the 1% expected revenue growth in 2019 has turned marijuana into Altria’s new growth area giving the means as Mike Gorenstein, Cronos’ CEO stated, to expand the business worldwide and to develop new products and brands.
Cannabis stocks such as Cronos have turned into a massive investment opportunity for many consumer goods companies in the past months, following Canada’s legalization of recreational cannabis. Corona and Heineken have already headed towards this direction.
Recreational and medical cannabis have been legal for a while in many US states, while hemp production is also expected to become legal if Congress finally decides to pass the Farm bill. In this case, the door will open for more cannabidiol (CBD) products.
New Zealand Legalizes Medical Cannabis
On Tuesday New Zealand parliament legalized medical marijuana and made cannabidiol a prescription medicine instead of a controlled drug. The legislation will take effect after going through Royal Assent, while regulations regarding quality standards and licensing will be established, according to Marijuana Business Daily, within the next 12 months.
The initial bill would have permitted for cannabis use only by patients diagnosed with terminal illnesses; it was however further broadened to comprise anyone in need of palliation. According to Health Minister Dr. David Clark, approximately 25,000 New Zealanders will now have the right to access such treatments.
WIth a certificate form from a medical or nurse practitioner, patients will be able to “procure, possess, consume, smoke or otherwise use any plant or plant material of the genus cannabis or any cannabis preparation,” as stated in the Misuse of Drugs (Medicinal Cannabis), Amendment Bill. Finally, the bill foresees a path to bring illicit used medical cannabis strains into the legal market.
Experts Employment Stats Suggest That Cannabis Industry Helped Lower Canada’s Unemployment Rate
Canada’s recently published employment stats for November 2018, unravel a remarkable correlation between employment growth and the country’s legalization of recreational cannabis back in October 2018. The new data reveals that unemployment had reached its lowest rate of 5.6% since 1976 when researchers gathered employment data for the first time.
There is no doubt that Canada’s growing cannabis industry has played a significant role in shaping these new figures. Since October, the country has shown a notable growth in the legal marijuana market, a field that has become a pole of attraction for massive investments. The demand for legal weed is strong and is expected to stay as such.
According to November’s report, published by Statistics Canada, six provinces had an increase in employment rates, particularly in the private sector. The numbers for the public sector seem to have remained the same. All in all, unemployment in November fell by 0,2%.
Michigan Officially Becomes the First State in the Midwest to Legalize Recreational Marijuana
Michigan is, since Thursday, the 10th in a row U.S. State, and the very first in Midwest, to legalize recreational marijuana. However, licensing procedures for medical marijuana shops might take up to a year to start, making some critics worry that this delay may direct people to the black market.
Though recreational users will have to wait for stores to get licensed, the new law permits the possession of up to 10 ounces recreational pot and 12 marijuana plants, all for personal use and only for people over 21.
Last year, over 20,000 people got arrested over marijuana use and possession for amounts that are now considered legal. As such the new law might prove to be good news especially for low-level pot offenders.
Fifty cases of misdemeanor marijuana offenders that were pending are as of Thursday no longer valid and therefore dismissed, one county prosecutor reported to CBS News.
Schedule I Status Hinders Cannabis Research Efforts, Says US Surgeon General
U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams who in the past has expressed interest in broadening the study of the cannabinoids for medical purposes, emphasized on Thursday at the Police Assisted Addiction Recovery Initiative conference in Massachusetts, the need for the federal government to reassess the ways drugs are classified.
Adams is not the first to raise such concern. Some scientists and legalization advocates have pointed out the difficulties cannabis researchers face due to legal restrictions. Marijuana is classified as a Schedule I drug, that is the most restrictive category under the CSA (Controlled Substance Act), making the plant’s study particularly hard.
Growing support in Congress, however, is heading towards either rescheduling cannabis or revising the CSA to create a new registration only for research purposes. Although Adams’ concerns do not touch matters of broader cannabis legislation reforms, he has supported reduction policies that are science-based, such as syringe exchange programs aiming to restrain diseases from like HIV from spreading.