This sort of infuriating story is still sadly, all over the news. These are people who consumed the Kool-Aid that was first mixed in the mid-30s about how cannabis is bad. This is nonsense and it needs to finally stop.
Every doom and gloom naysayer since the first legalization of medical cannabis at all in the 1990s has been proven wrong. Not just wrong, but so far off base that it defies logic. There is only one reason to keep cannabis illegal and that’s racism. Pure and simple. In cannabis legal states people are not running naked and wild in the streets. Kids are not getting and consuming all the reefer they can find. In fact, teenage consumption has gone down in states with legal cannabis, crime has gone down, and neighborhoods where cannabis shops are located have had increasing property values.
I don’t know this sheriff, but if he’s trying to keep the initiative off the ballot, he’s going against the will of the people. And this is an elected official. Yes, even elected officials have their own agenda (really?) but this agenda is getting to be a tired trope.
As a cannabis consumer, I want to see politics get real around cannabis. That’s not going to happen. Why? Because it’s politics, that’s why. In this time in history, our country’s political bodies and politicians themselves feel the need to posture about everything. Lies, innuendo, whatever it takes to make politicians believe they’re doing the correct political thing as opposed to doing the correct thing for the people… … Not going to go there. It would just be a rant then. I’ll let the editorial content rant for itself.
[Canniseur: Of course illicit cannabis still dominates. Ham-fisted regulators, no matter what country, just don’t understand their competition. The competition is the illegal market. Do these regulators think they can just wave a magic wand over legal pot and watch the black market disappear? Apparently so.]
It’s been nearly two years since Canada became the first G20 country to legalize cannabis for recreational purposes. However, the majority of customers are still getting their pot from the illicit market — with a lot of ground left to cover.
In the fourth quarter of 2018, legal marijuana represented only 21 per cent of total consumption in Canada, despite weed becoming lawful on Oct. 17 of that year. Fast-forward to the first quarter of 2020 and cannabis is now a $2.2 billion retail industry, yet legal consumption is still just 46 per cent of the total, according to data from Statistics Canada.
“Consumer conversion from the illicit market is clearly occurring, but it is still early days,” Cormark Securities analyst Jesse Pytlak said in an email. “Retail infrastructure is still being developed, and useful insight on consumer preferences and behaviors is just now beginning to emerge.”
The relatively slow growth can be attributed to both steep prices in the legal market, as well as the fact that physical stores remain few and far between in large provinces like Ontario. The accessibility of brick-and-mortar storefronts is critical for converting consumers from illegal consumption, Pytlak added.
“The pricing is still way too high relative to what we’re seeing in the illicit market,” Canaccord Genuity analyst Matt Bottomley said in an interview. “If you are someone that consumes cannabis on a regular interval, there’s not a lot of incentive for you to transition over.”
However, legal consumption is expected to grow exponentially, especially as edibles — which only arrived on the legal market in late 2019 — become more popular. “Those are products that make up right now about 15 per cent of industry sales,” Bottomley said. “If you look at any legal market, that number’s at least 50 per cent, so there’s a lot more growth expected in these types of derivative products.”
Although the outbreak of the coronavirus earlier this year may have dampened in-person sales, it didn’t necessarily hurt the overall industry — in fact, according to Bottomley, it could have even contributed to a bump in revenue for retailers.
“When COVID-19 first started in the form of people staying at home, from mid-March to April, that was actually some of the highest cannabis sales globally,” he said. “There’s still a bunch of potential consumers sitting on the sidelines.”
If anything, Pytlak added, the pandemic has shown the sector to be stronger than expected. “The resiliency in demand for cannabis validates cannabis’ status as a recession-proof defensive industry,” he said.
[Canniseur: At last. At least a little justice. It’s about time. Just over a 1/2 gram got this guy a LIFE sentence. A life sentence. The ludicrousness of our cannabis laws and how they’re enforced, especially against people of color, is kind of stupid. The U.S. should be a better place than this, but …]
U.S. Army veteran Derek Harris, who was sentenced to life in prison over $30 worth of weed, has gone home afree man.
Aspreviously reported by MERRY JANE, Harris got busted in 2008 for selling 0.69 grams of marijuana to an undercover agent. For this alleged offense, a judge initially sentenced Harris to an outrageous 15 years in prison. And then it got worse.
In 2012, Harris fell prey to Louisiana’s obsceneHabitual Offender Law, a nightmarish legal code that empowers judges to increase penalties after an inmate has already been sentenced. Suddenly, Harris’s term was upped to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Yes, you read that correctly.
Nearly a decade later, Harris’s work with attorneys fromThe Promise of Justice Initiative (PJI) resulted in a landmark Louisiana Supreme Court decision that changed everything and may have far-reaching positive consequences.
Harris’s sentence was reduced to time served, followed by an order for him to be released. After more than nine years behind bars, Harris has walked free from the Louisiana State Penitentiary and returned to the life that was stolen from him. Now a fresh set of challenges begins.
The PJI reported that Harris worked in the prison hospital for years. He presently has no job and is in need of “medications and other necessities to get him started in his new life.” AGoFundMe page has been set up to assist Harris with this transition.
“Supporting Derek did not end with overturning his egregious life sentence and it did not end the day he walked out of Angola,” stated Cormac Boyle, a PJI lawyer who represents Harris. “Righting the harms done to a person through incarceration includes supporting their health, housing, and adjustment to their long-deserved freedom. We need all the help we can get.”
The lawsuit that ultimately won Harris his freedom stemmed from his lack of proper representation while getting sentenced. After hearing the case, all but one member of the Louisiana Supreme Court voted to allow Harris a new hearing.
In his majority opinion on the ruling, Chief Justice John Weimerwrote that Harris “developed a substance abuse problem after returning from his honorable military service in Desert Storm, and his prior offenses were nonviolent and related to his untreated dependency on drugs.”
The court’s decision not only liberated Harris, it was a landmark victory that defies and undermines a1996 ruling that barred inmates from legally battling their “post-conviction” penalties.
“Mr. Harris’s resentencing gives hope to many others around the state who have unjustly suffered under the Habitual Offender Law,” the PJIstated on its website. “(They) will now be able to challenge their sentences post-conviction.”
“This delayed justice was a terrifying ordeal for Derek and his family,” wrote Mercedes Montagnes, PJI executive director, in a statement. “As COVID-19 rates continue to rise in DOC facilities, every day spent in Angola was a tremendous risk for Derek’s health and safety… [now] Promise of Justice Initiative will continue to fight for the release of all those who should be home safe with their families.”
[Canniseur: I know the trumpet is getting loud about legalizing cannabis around the world. The racism of prohibition is beginning to be seen for what it is and was; A systemic and racist stab at control of people. And since Israel is the land of the Bible and cannabis is all over the Bible, all I can say is; “Go for it Israel!”]
Israel could become the next country to legalize adult-use cannabis after lawmakers gave preliminary approval to two bills calling for the decriminalization of cannabis and the regulation of its sale for recreational and medical use.
Let’s take a closer look at the move and what it means for public companies operating in the country, including Isracann Biosciences Inc. (CSE: IPOT) (OTC: ISCNF)—the only Israeli pure-play opportunity in the space.
Legalization on the Horizon
The Israeli government’s approval of two preliminary cannabis bills would decriminalize the possession and use of small quantities of cannabis, as well as create a regulatory framework governing the sale of adult-use and medical cannabis in the country. While the discussions remain early-stage, it could mirror that of Canada or other legal countries.
Israel has a burgeoning medical cannabis industry already that has more than 50,000 authorized users and that figure is rapidly growing. At the same time, the country has some of the highest per capita cannabis usage rates in the world at nearly one-third of people between the ages of 18 and 65—creating an enormous market opportunity.
In addition to its legalization efforts, Israel has long been a leader in cannabis research and development. The country became the first country in the world to allow medical research and cultivation back in 2007, while THC and CBD cannabinoid structures were originally discovered at Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
The Israeli Cabinet approved the export of medical cannabis back in 2019 and the government gave the final go-ahead earlier this year. The move could open the door to exports to the European Union, which is located nearby and represents a massive and underserved market for medical cannabis and CBD products.
Capitalizing on the Market
There are several public and private companies targeting the Israeli cannabis industry, but few of them are pure-plays that trade on North American exchanges.
Isracann Biosciences Inc. (CSE: IPOT) (OTC: ISCNF) has an expected annual capacity of more than 23,000 kilograms of dried cannabis at its Cannisra farm and with Israel’s favorable climate, management anticipates becoming a low-cost cannabis producer with costs of just $0.40 per gram—translating to attractive margins.
Click the image below to view a brief overview of the cannabis opportunity in Israel
Additionally, in the Hefer Valley region, the company’s joint venture farm, Cannation Ltd., is nearing the completion of phase one construction and already has signed an offtake agreement with Israeli licensed producer Focus Medical Herbs Ltd. The property contains a 55,000 sq. ft. greenhouse that’s complete and awaiting final security inspection and a 110,000 sq. ft. facility for use as expansion.
“From our ongoing development efforts at our initial Cannisra Holdings project, to our exciting advancements in the Hefer Valley, we’ve mapped out an integrated package of properties with a multi-greenhouse strategy which includes a network of important partners and stakeholders across Israel and Europe,” said CEO Darryl Jones.
Israel is rapidly progressing toward domestic legalization and the export of medical cannabis to the undersupplied European Union. Isracann Biosciences Inc. (CSE: IPOT) (OTC: ISCNF) is well positioned to capitalize on these dynamics with its various ongoing projects and agreements that are close to reaching a commercialization point.
The above article is sponsored content. CannabisFN.com and CFN Media, have been hired to create awareness. Please follow the link below to view our full disclosure outlining our compensation: http://www.cannabisfn.com/legal-disclaimer/
[Cannisur: I wish the author had done better research. The “Land of Enchantment” is NOT Arizona. It’s Arizona’s neighbor, New Mexico! Whether or not the author got it right, Arizona voting is a big deal. Vote.]
Last month, Smart and Safe Arizona submitted around 420,000 signatures on a petition to place a cannabis legalization measure on this year’s general election ballot. This week, Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs announced that 255,080 of these signatures were valid – just barely exceeding the 237,645 signatures needed to qualify.
Proposition 207, as it is officially titled, would direct the state health department to issue business licenses and regulations covering legal adult-use cannabis sales. Adults would be allowed to possess up to an ounce of pot each, and would also be able to grow up to six plants for personal use only. Regulators would be given the authority to decide if home delivery or other services would be allowed.
The measure would tax legal weed sales at 16 percent, and this revenue would be used to fund the cost of implementation and regulation. Any additional revenue would be divided equally among funds for community colleges, justice programs, infrastructure, firefighters, and cops. The measure also includes provisions to create a social equity program for cannabis businesses and to allow former pot offenders to have their criminal records cleared.
Arizona actually voted on an adult-use legalization ballot measure back in 2016, but it failed by a narrow margin, with 48 percent in favor and 52 percent opposed. But this year, polls are indicating that the tide of support has grown. A poll conducted in June found that 65 percent of voters were in favor of legalization. Even more promising is the fact that the measure saw majority support in every demographic, including Republicans and adults over age 50.
Governor Doug Ducey and other Republican politicians are doing their best to discourage support for legal weed, though. The governor printed a series of arguments against legalization, which will be mailed to every voter in the state. Like most prohibitionists, Ducey is relying on myths and scare tactics to block the measure. In the mailout, Ducey argues that legalization has been linked to an increase in teen pot use – even though numerous research studies have shown that the exact opposite is true.
[Cannabis: Lindsay Graham, the sycophant could get beaten by an upstart??? And a Democrat? Wouldn’t that be nice. Perhaps the race for some congressional seats will come down to cannabis, although we doubt it. It could come down to race and this might be an important factor in these contests if everyone who wants to vote gets to vote. There might be a lot of voter suppression too. Might be?]
Cannabis policies could be a deciding factor for the fate of the next US senator from South Carolina.
The Yale-educated former aide to Rep. James Clyburn, Jaime Harrison, is challenging Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham for a US Senate seat in South Carolina. Harrison is a vocal supporter of cannabis legalization, and recently highlighted the disproportionate way that cannabis laws are enforced upon black communities.
Harrison raised more than $13.9 million in funding from April through June, breaking fundraising records. After outraising Graham in the first and second quarters of funding, Harrison’s war chest of money gives him a slight edge in his bid for sear, despite running in the consistently conservative state of South Carolina.
Harrison, 44, served as chair for the South Carolina Democratic Party—and used his time in that role to push cannabis laws. His proven record in promoting fair cannabis laws could weigh in on voters’ minds this election despite the uphill road ahead.
“I think we should legalize, regulate, and tax marijuana like we do alcohol and tobacco,” Harrison told CNBC in an exclusive interview on July 14. “There is simply no medical reason to lock people up over this issue. In essence, this is about common sense. However, it’s also about criminal justice. We know that marijuana arrests, including those for simple possession, account for a large number of drug arrests.”
Harrison was quick to point out his reasoning behind his firm stance in favor of cannabis legalization, which centers around righting the wrongs of the “War on Drugs.”
“The racial disparities in marijuana enforcement—Black men and white men smoke marijuana the same rates, but black men are much more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession—is just unacceptable,” Harrison explained.
On Harrison’s last day serving as South Carolina Democratic Party chairman in 2017, the party approved a resolution endorsing a medical cannabis bill in the South Carolina legislature.
He is one of the latest Democratic challengers to gain momentum in a highly volatile election year, with seemingly everything at stake.
The Deep South—dominated by strong Republican values—recently drew attention when former Attorney General Jeff Sessions lost his old seat at the Alabama GOP primary runoff to former football coach Tommy Tuberville. Tuberville will now face off against Democrat Doug Jones. Sessions held that seat for 12 years, only to be disgraced in the latest Alabama GOP primary following a rocky relationship with the president under the Trump administration.
Recent events have given hope to Democrats who hope to upseat long-standing Republicans in the South. While Lindsey Graham has retained his seat as senior United States Senator from South Carolina since 2003, this could be the year it all changes.
READEcuador: Lo Que Necesitas Saber Sobre La Despenalización Del Cannabis
Lindsey Graham’s Mixed Record on Cannabis
Graham isn’t exactly cannabis’s biggest opponent; in fact, Graham warmed up to a handful of cannabis laws over the past four or so years. But the senator has repeatedly stated that he is not in favor of recreational cannabis or legalization at the federal level.
Like Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Rep. Matt Gaetz, and others—Graham became an unlikely Republican ally to the cannabis and hemp communities in 2016 when he cosponsored the CARERS Act which would protect medical cannabis states from federal interference and reclassify the plant. Additionally, in 2017 he cosponsored a bill to remove CBD from the Controlled Substances.
But Graham voted against other cannabis bills such as the SAFE Banking Amendment. In 2016, Graham told POLITICO that he rejects recreational cannabis. NORML gave Graham a “C” grade when it comes to his general stance on cannabis laws.
Graham is also of course a fervent ally of President Donald Trump. While Graham criticized the president during the early 2016 campaign trail, he did a 180-degree turn and became one of Trump’s most loyal defenders.
Despite Graham holding his seat as senior Senator in South Carolina since 2003, Harrison, armed with his progressive stance on cannabis, could be the one to oust him once and for all.
[Canniseur: This makes me see red. Donate to his cause, if you’re able. He needs to be released from prison yesterday. Of course, he was searched and arrested because he was black. No question about his being railroaded into a felony charge. This is a grave injustice and needs our support.]
In August 2016, police officers at a gas station near Pickens County, Alabama, informed Sean Worsley that his music was too loud. Worsley, who was just trying fill up his tank, turned the volume down. The disabled, decorated Iraq War veteran and his wife, Eboni Worsley, were on a trip to help Sean’s grandmother after she was displaced by a hurricane. The police request seemed like no big deal. But, the interaction took a turn for the worse.
The cops asked to search the vehicle, and Sean Worsley acquiesced. Reasonably, he thought he had nothing to hide. But, the officers discovered marijuana in the backseat andarrested Worsley on the spot.
It didn’t matter that the cannabis was legally prescribed by an Arizona physician and was inside a clearly marked prescription bottle. The cops didn’t care that Worsley had a valid medical marijuana card, either. They booked him anyway.
Is it worth noting that Worsley is Black? Of course it is.
Four years later, Sean Worsley is now 33-years-old and remains behind bars. The incident at the gas station got him sentenced to five years in the Alabama prison system. Worsley now isn’t just deprived of freedom and justice, but he’s also without the physician-prescribed marijuana that successfully treated his combat-inflicted traumatic brain injury and PTSD-triggered nightmares.
Eboni Worsley has set up aGoFundMe to assist getting her husband out of jail and to help raise money for other legal feels. She is fighting for her cognitively-impaired husband with the support of theAlabama Appleseed Justice and Law Center.
On the GoFundMe page, Eboni acknowledges that it was an error to bring medical marijuana to a state where it remains illegal. “That mistake has cost us upwards of $80,000, loss of a child, our home, vehicle, education, and ultimately my husband’s freedom,” she wrote on the GoFundMe page. “We fully understand we broke a law but could never be prepared for how that law has broken our lives.”
Leah Nelson, Research Director at Alabama Appleseed, spoke to MERRY JANE about Sean’s present status and what we can do to help.
“What I would encourage people outside of the state of Alabama to do is engage with federal lawmakers,” Nelson said, “to push them to reconsider our cannabis policies in this country. Right now, as long as marijuana is a Schedule I controlled substance with no approved medical use, the VA is not going to be able to prescribe it, and states like Alabama will continue to be able to criminalize it. At some point, the federal government is going to need to do the right thing, so that veterans like Sean can legally use this medication.”
Nelson also pointed out how emblematic the Sean Worsley case is overall. “It illustrates so many racial and justice issues in this country and so many of the ways that we are still doing things wrong. It shows who goes to war as an enlisted soldier in the Army. It shows who gets injured in war and what happens when they’re injured.
Citing Worsley’s military record, Nelson points out that Worsley went to Iraq and his job was to make bombs explode. In other words, his job was to kill people. “Sean’s job was to pick up body parts,” Nelson told MERRY JANE. “He has a traumatic brain injury from being blown up, and he has Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder from picking up the body parts of other people who were blown up.”
Worsley came back to the US after doing that for more than a year, but still remained in the Army. He eventually was honorably discharged, Nelson explains. But, now, he’s denied the ability to use the medication that helps him, and he has incurred multiple felonies for using that medication the correct way.
The laws need to change immediately. “Sean’s story shows why we need to reclassify marijuana so that it is no longer a crime to possess it, and to make sure it is legal to be used as a medicine. How unconscionable is it that we’re not even allowed to legally conduct research on cannabis at a federal level?”
On top of the injustice, Worsley is slated to do time in particularly inhumane circumstances. “Due to Alabama’s harsh criminal policies and refusal to update them,” Nelson said, “Sean Worsley is about to be put into a prison system that has been found by the Department of Criminal Justice to be out of compliance with the 8th Amendment prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment.”
While cannabis is legal at the state level in 11 regions, we must remember that prohibition and the War on Drugs were always designed to target people — and Worsley is experiencing the worst of it, especially considering we’re in the midst of a global pandemic. Please take a moment to donate to Worsley’s GoFundMe. May justice be served.