Charlotte Figi, namesake of Charlotte’s Web medical marijuana strain, dies with COVID-19

Charlotte Figi, the little girl who inspired the low-THC medical marijuana strain, “Charlotte’s Web,” has passed away with COVID-19.

Multiple family members tested positive for the virus, said those close to the family.

As of Tuesday, 179 people have died of coronavirus in Colorado, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

Figi had suffered hundreds of grand mal seizures when her parents, exhausted of heavy-duty drugs, sought out the help of the southern Colorado-based Stanley Brothers, who eventually engineered the non-psychoactive CW Hemp in 2011.

The advent of the CW Hemp plant spurred hundreds of families to flock to Colorado, seeking alternative treatment for a variety of health issues, including seizures, shortly after Colorado legalized medical marijuana.

Figi was just three months old when she started having seizures from Dravet Syndrome. After taking oil from Charlotte’s Web, her seizures reduced to two to three per month.

A Figi family friend Tuesday posted publicly on Facebook, “Charlotte is no longer suffering. She is seizure-free forever.”

The family asked for privacy during this time.

Charlotte Figi was 13.

View the entire article here.


DEA removes cannabis drug Epidiolex from controlled substances list

Epidiolex, the only plant-derived cannabis drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, is no longer considered a controlled substance, providing a boost to its manufacturer’s stock price.

GW Pharmaceuticals, a biopharmaceutical company based in London, saw its stock go up 5.9% on Tuesday, one day after the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration said it would no longer classify Epidiolex as a Schedule 5 drug under the federal Controlled Substance Act.

Epidiolex is used to treat rare forms of epilepsy.

The DEA’s announcement lowers physician barriers to prescribing Epidiolex because they won’t have to notify the agency when prescribing it.

GW said it will now begin “implementing these changes at the state level” and through its distribution network.

The expansion comes two years after the DEA first took Epidiolex off the most-restrictive class of controlled substances.

That decision, issued months after the FDA approved the drug for treating certain types of epilepsy, was the first time the DEA removed any type of cannabis from Schedule 1.

The company’s U.S. subsidiary is Greenwich Biosciences.

GW Pharma trades on the Nasdaq as GWPH.

View the entire article here.


Illinois adult-use marijuana stores sell $110 million in first three months

Adult-use cannabis stores in Illinois sold almost $110 million in products in the first quarter of 2020, state regulators say.

In March, stores sold 812,203 marijuana products for a total of $35.9 million, according to the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulations.

Recreational retailers in Illinois sold $27.1 million, or 75.5% of total sales, to residents and $8.8 million to out-of-state customers.

That total comes on the heels of $34.8 million in adult-use sales in February, the Chicago-Sun Times reported, and $39.2 million in January.

“Three straight months of consistent adult-use cannabis sales show there is – and will continue to be – strong support and demand from consumers,” Toi Hutchinson, senior adviser to the governor on cannabis control in Illinois, said in a statement.

Illinois’ legal recreational marijuana retailers recorded almost $3.2 million in sales on Jan. 1.

Read the entire article here.


States that have allowed marijuana businesses to remain open during coronavirus pandemic stay-at-home orders

Original Article By John Schroyer at: Marijuana Business Daily

Most state governments around the nation have deemed medical marijuana companies “essential” during the coronavirus pandemic, meaning the vast majority can keep doing business after residents were told to stay at home and many businesses were ordered to scale back or close their operations.

But the picture is murkier for recreational cannabis companies.

The quickly spreading coronavirus – and the surge of states telling residents to stay home – has created confusion among cannabis companies over whether officials would require them to cease operations, even temporarily.

Decisions handed down from various government sources

Here’s where each state – and the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico – with some form of statewide, districtwide or territorywide stay-at-home order stands as of the morning of April 2:

Alaska: Cannabis companies are not specifically addressed by the governor’s stay-at-home order or in a list of “essential” businesses issued by the state. But a spokesperson for the state’s Alcohol and Marijuana Control Office confirmed that cannabis businesses are considered essential and can remain open as long as they are able to comply with strict social-distancing requirements, such as not allowing more than 10 people – including employees – inside a retail establishment at one time.

Arizona: Although neither the governor’s stay-at-home order nor a supporting document listing “essential” businesses include any mention of cannabis, multiple industry sources told Marijuana Business Daily that dispensaries are still operational and believe the MMJ retailers are included in the state’s definition of “essential” as part of the health-care sector.

California: Every state-licensed marijuana company is allowed to continue operating, according to state guidance and statements from regulators.

Colorado: Both medical and recreational marijuana retailers are allowed to continue operations, under an executive order issued by the governor last week before he released a statewide stay-at-home order on March 25. However, recreational cannabis shops are limited to curbside pickup while medical dispensaries can stay fully open.

Connecticut: Medical marijuana dispensaries and producers are classified as part of the state’s health-care sector and are exempt from closures, according to state guidance.

Delaware: All medical marijuana dispensaries are exempt from closure during the statewide stay-at-home order issued by the governor, the state’s joint information center confirmed to MJBizDaily via email.

Florida: The governor issued a stay-at-home order on April 1, and although the order doesn’t mention marijuana, the state’s surgeon general had previously provided guidance to the industry that medical cannabis companies qualify as an “essential” part of Florida’s health-care sector.

Hawaii: The governor’s stay-at-home order designates licensed MMJ dispensaries and cultivation centers as “essential.”

Illinois: All state-licensed cannabis growers and retailers are “essential” according to the governor’s stay-at-home order.

Louisiana: The medical marijuana supply chain is exempt from closure under the governor’s statewide stay-at-home order, state officials confirmed to MJBizDaily via email.

Maine: The governor issued a stay-at-home order on March 31. Regulators classified Maine’s MMJ dispensaries and caregivers among the state’s “medical facilities” in a memo shared with the industry on March 24, meaning they can continue to serve patients. The state’s recreational cannabis market has not yet launched.

Maryland: Although the governor’s stay-at-home order does not specifically mention the cannabis industry, the state had previously issued guidance classifying medical marijuana businesses as “essential.”

Massachusetts: The governor has classified “licensed medical marijuana retailers” as essential but not recreational cannabis businesses, which were required to close by March 23.

Michigan: Although the governor’s stay-at-home order doesn’t mention marijuana or cannabis directly, the state’s Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs stipulated in a news release on Monday that all licensed medical and recreational marijuana businesses can remain operational. Retailers, however, are limited to “curbside service or delivery,” meaning storefronts will not be open to the public.

Minnesota: The market’s two medical marijuana companies are exempt from statewide closures under the governor’s recent statewide stay-at-home order, according to cannabis operator Vireo Health.

Montana: The governor’s stay-at-home order classifies medical marijuana businesses as “essential,” so all state-licensed businesses can continue operations.

Nevada: The governor issued a stay-at-home order on April 1 but, before that, had already ordered all “nonessential” businesses to close. In a March 20 order, however, the governor classified all state-licensed marijuana businesses as “essential,” allowing them to continue operations. Retail sales are limited to home delivery only, according to the March 20 order.

New Hampshire: No reference to marijuana or cannabis was included in the governor’s stay-at-home order or a supporting document listing “essential” businesses in New Hampshire. However, regulators told the state’s five dispensaries that they are considered “essential” and can continue operations, according to multiple industry sources.

New Jersey: All medical marijuana dispensaries were classified as “essential” by the governor’s stay-at-home order.

New Mexico: The state Department of Health issued guidance to medical marijuana businesses before the governor’s stay-at-home order, clarifying that all MMJ producers are an “essential” part of the health-care sector.

New York: In a clarification document released after the governor’s stay-at-home order, the state Department of Health said all licensed MMJ companies are classified as “essential.”

Ohio: The governor’s stay-at-home order classified all licensed medical marijuana dispensaries and growers as “essential.”

Oklahoma: All MMJ businesses were categorized as “essential” and can remain operational, the state’s Medical Marijuana Authority clarified on Twitter this week after the governor issued a statewide Safer-at-Home order for the elderly and “vulnerable populations.”

Oregon: The governor’s stay-at-home order doesn’t specifically mention cannabis or marijuana. But the state Liquor Control Commission, which oversees the industry, issued a temporary rule allowing licensed MJ retailers to provide curbside pickups for customers who submit orders online. So far, the state has not classified the industry as “essential.”

Pennsylvania: The governor issued a statewide stay-at-home order on April 1. Before that, on March 20, the state included medical marijuana companies on a list of “life-sustaining businesses” that can remain operational during the coronavirus outbreak.

Puerto Rico: The U.S. territory deemed all medical marijuana businesses as critical parts of their health-care sector and exempt from mandatory business closures.

Rhode Island: The governor’s stay-at-home order includes “compassion centers” – which is the state’s terminology for MMJ dispensaries – as “critical retail,” indicating Rhode Island’s three dispensaries can remain operational.

Vermont: The medical marijuana industry was deemed “essential,” and dispensaries – which are considered pharmacies by state regulators – will be allowed to remain open during the governor’s statewide stay-at-home order, the state’s Department of Financial Regulation confirmed.

Washington DC: The District of Columbia’s mayor, who issued a stay-at-home order on March 30, included “medical marijuana dispensaries” last week in a list of “essential” businesses that could continue operations.

Washington State: The governor’s stay-at-home order includes an appendix that identifies cannabis retailers and workers supporting the supply chain as “essential.” Additionally, the state Liquor and Cannabis Board issued an order allowing retailers to continue sales through curbside pickups. The board also clarified in a news release Tuesday that all licensed marijuana businesses can continue operations and that retailers will be allowed to sell to both medical and rec customers.

John Schroyer can be reached at [email protected]

For more of Marijuana Business Daily’s ongoing coverage of the coronavirus pandemic and its effects on the cannabis industry, click here.


Football great Joe Montana joins investment in legal marijuana operator

SAN FRANCISCO — Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Montana, looking to hit pay dirt in the legal marijuana industry, is part of a $75 million investment in a pot operator, it was announced Thursday.

Caliva, a San Jose, California-based group, said it would use the investment to grow a company that includes a farm, a retail store, distribution center and a delivery service. It also distributes its branded products in dozens of other retail outlets in the state.

The former San Francisco 49ers star said his venture capital firm was investing in an industry he says he believes “can provide relief to many people and can make a serious impact on opioid use or addiction.” Some doctors recommend marijuana to treat opioid addiction and as an alternate relief for pain.

Montana is the latest, and one of the most prominent, professional athletes to openly endorse marijuana use. Heisman trophy winner and retired NFL running back Ricky Williams and NBA Hall of Famer Bill Walton have been particularly outspoken in their embrace of marijuana. Super Bowl-winning quarterback Jim McMahon, professional wrestling star Rob Van Dam and ultramarathon runner Avery Collins also publicly endorse marijuana.

Montana launched the venture capital firm Liquid 2 Ventures in 2015. Caliva didn’t disclose Montana’s portion of the investment.

Former Yahoo! Inc. chief executive officer Carol Bartz also participated in the investment and will join the company’s board of directors.

Bartz, 70, said the Caliva investors show the growing mainstream acceptance of marijuana, which can be legally consumed by adults in 10 states and can be used by patients with doctors’ recommendations in 33 states.

“I wasn’t a reefer head when I was in college,” Bartz said with a chuckle.

Until about seven months ago, Bartz said she had no interest in marijuana or the industry. Then the wife of a fellow Cisco Systems board member told her to try cannabis cream to treat pain caused by a knee replacement and almost overnight, she said she became marijuana’s best salesperson.

“People are discovering there are better ways to clamp down on pain than over-drugging yourself,” she said. Bartz said she doesn’t smoke or consume edible marijuana but uses cannabis-based creams and tinctures.

Bartz said the investment would be used to open more stores and expand operations and launch products, including cannabis-based beverages.

California broadly legalized marijuana on Jan. 1, and state officials predicted as many as 6,000 stores would open in a matter of a few years. But the state Bureau of Cannabis Control issued only 547 retail licenses in 2018, and sales fell below expectations.

Gov. Jerry Brown’s 2018 budget projection of $630 million in marijuana taxes fell short by $159 million.

Bartz blamed the state’s high marijuana tax and complicated regulations for slowing the industry’s growth in 2018.

Montana, 62, hasn’t publicly said if he uses marijuana, and he didn’t respond to an interview request. But this isn’t his first investment in the marijuana industry.

Montana in 2017 took part in a $4.1 million investment in Herb, which produces and distributes marijuana-related news and entertainment.

Montana retired after the 1994 season, playing 13 years of his 15-year career with the San Francisco 49ers, which won four Super Bowls with him as starting quarterback.

Read the entire article here


In major shift, UN drug chief questions whether control treaties involving cannabis are out of date

The president of the narcotics enforcement agency of the United Nations is questioning whether the agency’s decades-old drug conventions are outdated given global policy developments in recent years involving drugs such as cannabis.

During a presentation Thursday for the International Narcotics Control Board’s (INCB) 2019 annual report, President Cornelis P. de Joncheere discussed the developments taking place with regard to cannabis and synthetic drugs.

“We have some fundamental issues around the conventions that state parties will need to start looking at,” he said, adding, “We have to recognize that the conventions were drawn up 50 and 60 years ago.”

Joncheere said 2021 is “an appropriate time to look at whether those are still fit for purpose, or whether we need new alternative instruments and approaches to deal with these problems.”

Next year will mark the 60-year anniversary of the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs.

Kenzi Riboulet-Zemouli, an independent expert on U.N. drug policy, told Marijuana Business Daily that the INCB “is the most authoritative international institution on drug policy – and also the most conservative in its interpretation of the conventions.

“Having the head of the INCB suggesting that the conventions are not fit for the challenges of the 21st century is already breaking a strong taboo.”

Riboulet-Zemouli specifically highlighted as “unprecedented and unexpected” the INCB president’s mention of possible “new instruments.”

“It is possible and feasible for the international community to update international law,” Riboulet-Zemouli said. “Taboo is the only reason why there has not been any discussion about a new, a different or another drug treaty since 1988.

“Now that this taboo has been broken, perspectives will open.”

Joncheere’s comments come as the United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) – the agency’s main drug policymaking body – is scheduled to meet next week in Vienna to discuss the World Health Organization’s cannabis recommendations.

“One thing is certain: If the CND rejects the recommendations of WHO on cannabis, the divide between governments will increase,” Riboulet-Zemouli said. “If the deadlock surrounding cannabis policy reform persists in the coming years, it will likely accelerate the end of the policy regime of the conventions as a whole.”

Joncheere’s predecessor as INCB head, Viroj Sumyai, took the reins of a medical cannabis company in Thailand last week.

The 2019 INCB report

Thursday’s INCB report for 2019 insisted – as it does every year – that recreational marijuana contravenes international drug control treaties.

The Vienna-based agency serves as the independent and quasi-judicial monitoring body for the implementation of U.N. drug conventions.

One of the INCB’s functions is to make recommendations about how to comply with the treaties.

INCB statements have gradually become more progressive views over the years. For instance, the new 2019 report mentions “human rights” more than any previous INCB report in recent years.

However, the latest report’s foreword notes that the INCB “remains concerned at the legislative developments permitting the use of cannabis for ‘recreational’ uses.”

“Not only are these developments in contravention of the drug control conventions and the commitments made by States parties, the consequences for health and well-being, in particular of young people, are of serious concern,” the foreword reads.

North America

The report mentions that “measures to decriminalize or legalize cannabis are proliferating in North America” and warns that consumption is increasing.

The report cites the sales of edibles in Canada and legalization in the U.S. state of Illinois as examples.

It notes that, in Canada, “the number of first-time users of cannabis in 2019 was nearly double the estimated number of first-time users in 2018, when non-medical cannabis was not yet legal.”

Europe

According to the INCB, “the discussion of different approaches to regulating cannabis has figured prominently in the policy debate on drug control across Europe.”

The report mentions “an increasing number of European countries” that are “exploring” or have already “established” medical cannabis programs.

“The majority of European countries allow cannabis to be used only for medical and scientific purposes, in keeping with their obligations,” the report notes.

However, the INCB shows concern about “steps underway toward the legalization of the non-medical use of cannabis that included the legalization of the cultivation, distribution and use of cannabis for such purposes, notably in the Netherlands and Luxembourg.”

“The developments in a few countries that have legalized or permitted the use of cannabis for non-medical purposes or that have tolerated its legalization at the subnational level are undermining the universal adherence to the three international drug control conventions and the commitment to their goals and objectives,” the report warns.

New Zealand

New Zealand gets a special mention in the report because of that nation’s upcoming recreational marijuana legalization referendum.

The INCB reiterated that “any and all legislative or regulatory measures aimed at the legalization of cannabis for non-medical purposes are inconsistent” with the international drug control treaties.

The agency “will continue to monitor policy and legal developments in New Zealand pertaining to drug control and encourages the Government of New Zealand to continue its constructive dialogue with the Board to ensure consistency with the drug control conventions.”

Ever more legal cannabis

The report mentions an increase in the use of licit cannabis since 2000. It says that, until that year, only the United States used to report the use of some cannabis for scientific research.

After 2000, the report says, “more and more countries have started to use cannabis and cannabis extracts for medical purposes, as well as for scientific research.”

“Total licit production” was 1.4 tons in 2000, and that figure increased to 289.5 tons in 2018, according to the report.

“Since the licit cultivation of cannabis for medical and scientific purposes has increased considerably in recent years, and the yield and manufacturing processes are not standardized, some data are being clarified with the relevant Governments to ensure consistency,” the report clarifies.

Read the entire article here


Speaker Schexnayder – 2020 Session District Survey

Hello supporters and friends-

Incoming Speaker of the Louisiana House of Representatives, Clay Schexnaydre has posted a survey to his page that would take you maybe 2 or 3 minutes to complete and it has a question about a core issue for SMPL on there, decriminalization or a fine rather than arrest for possession of a small amount of Cannabis. We hope you’ll both take the time to go visit the page yourself to complete the survey and also to share it with your online network of friends, family and associates. It’s a few minutes critically well-spent.

Here it is: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/Schexnayder?fbclid=IwAR1-_CKhQ7WE34rj3jZcUUEyAcP3MxBPrUqkCfiFIAuRfKE-YSRPzF4x_U4

Thanks!
SMPL


What Percentage of Americans Smoke Marijuana?

WASHINGTON, D.C. — In a July 2019 Gallup poll, 12% of U.S. adults said they smoke marijuana, a percentage that is essentially unchanged since 2015.

The July 2019 Gallup survey found that the likelihood to smoke marijuana varies significantly by gender, age, and political ideology.

  • Men (15%) are more likely to smoke marijuana than women (9%).
  • At 22%, 18- to 29-year-olds are the most likely age group to smoke marijuana — about twice as likely as those between the ages of 30 and 64, and seven times as likely as adults older than 65.
  • Liberals (24%) are six times more likely to smoke marijuana than conservatives (4%), and twice as likely as moderates (12%).

The Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act that would federally decriminalize marijuana passed the House Judiciary Committee in November 2019, but, with that bill yet to make it to the House floor and facing an uncertain future in the Senate, the use of marijuana remains illegal under federal law. Meanwhile, 33 states have legalized marijuana in some way for adults — whether for medicinal or recreational use; however, only one of those states, Florida, is in the South, which is reflected in that region’s lower rate of marijuana users.

  • Between 13% and 16% of adults across the East, Midwest and West smoke marijuana, versus 7% in the South.

Read the entire article here


Alabama Lawmakers Approve Medical Marijuana Legalization Bill

An Alabama Senate committee approved a bill on Wednesday that would legalize medical marijuana in the state.

The legislation would allow patients with qualifying conditions to purchase cannabis products from licensed dispensaries. It would be a limited system, however, prohibiting patients from smoking or vaping marijuana.

The Senate Judiciary Committee cleared the bill in a 8-1 vote, with one abstention. The next stop for the legislation will be the Senate floor.

The proposal would establish the Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission, which would be responsible for overseeing a patient registry database, issuing medical cannabis cards and approving licenses for marijuana dispensaries, cultivators, transporters and testing facilities.

This vote comes two months after a panel created by the legislature, the Medical Cannabis Study Commission, issued a recommendation that Alabama implement a medical cannabis program.

The full Senate approved a medical cannabis legalization bill last year, but it was diluted in the House to only provide for the establishment of the study commission. Sen. Tim Melson (R) sponsored both versions of the legislation and served as chairman of the review panel.

The current bill has been revised from the earlier version. For example, this one does not require patients to exhaust traditional treatment options before they can access medical cannabis.

The committee also approved a series of amendments by voice vote, including several technical changes to the bill. Another one would shield physicians from liability for recommending medical cannabis. One would clarify that employees are ineligible for workers’ compensation for accidents caused by being intoxicated by medical cannabis, which is the same standard as other drugs.

An Alabama Senate committee approved a bill on Wednesday that would legalize medical marijuana in the state.

The legislation would allow patients with qualifying conditions to purchase cannabis products from licensed dispensaries. It would be a limited system, however, prohibiting patients from smoking or vaping marijuana.

The Senate Judiciary Committee cleared the bill in a 8-1 vote, with one abstention. The next stop for the legislation will be the Senate floor.

The proposal would establish the Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission, which would be responsible for overseeing a patient registry database, issuing medical cannabis cards and approving licenses for marijuana dispensaries, cultivators, transporters and testing facilities.

This vote comes two months after a panel created by the legislature, the Medical Cannabis Study Commission, issued a recommendation that Alabama implement a medical cannabis program.

The full Senate approved a medical cannabis legalization bill last year, but it was diluted in the House to only provide for the establishment of the study commission. Sen. Tim Melson (R) sponsored both versions of the legislation and served as chairman of the review panel.

The current bill has been revised from the earlier version. For example, this one does not require patients to exhaust traditional treatment options before they can access medical cannabis.

The committee also approved a series of amendments by voice vote, including several technical changes to the bill. Another one would shield physicians from liability for recommending medical cannabis. One would clarify that employees are ineligible for workers’ compensation for accidents caused by being intoxicated by medical cannabis, which is the same standard as other drugs.

Members also agreed to an amendment creating a restriction on who can be on the cannabis commission.

While it’s not clear how the House would approach the bill if it advances to the chamber this year, the speaker said this week that he’s “in a wait and see mode” and commended Melson for his work on the measure. The state’s attorney general, meanwhile, sent a letter to lawmakers expressing opposition to the reform move.

Under the measure, patients suffering from 15 conditions would qualify for the program. Those include anxiety, cancer, epilepsy and post-traumatic stress disorder. Patients would be able to purchase up to a 70-day supply at a time, and there would be a cap of 32 dispensaries allowed in the state.

Prior to the vote, committee heard from a series of proponents and opponents, including parents who shared anecdotes about the therapeutic benefits of cannabis for their children. Interest in the reform move was so strong that an overflow crowd has to be moved to a separate hearing room.

“Sometimes people are not able to empathize with others who have gone through something. I guarantee you if one of relatives, members of the legislature, went through something like the testimonies that we’ve heard today, they would want it,” Sen. Vivian Figures (D) said. “But they would probably have the means to fly somewhere and get it.”

There would be a number of restrictions under the bill when it comes to advertising. It would also require seed-to-sale tracking for marijuana products, set packaging and labeling requirements and impose criminal background checks for licensed facility employees.

A nine percent tax would be levied on “gross proceeds of the sales of medical cannabis” sold at a retail medical cannabis dispensary. Part of those funds would go toward creating a new Consortium for Medical Cannabis Research, which would provide grants to study the plant.

Last year, the Senate Judiciary Committee also approved a bill to decriminalize marijuana.

Read the entire article here


This Ohio county may need a second morgue to handle the number of fentanyl overdoses

If overdose deaths don’t slow down in Franklin County, Ohio, a temporary morgue may be needed to store the bodies.

The county has seen 23 overdose deaths from January 31 to February 7, Dr. Anahi Ortiz, the county’s coroner, said in a statement on her Facebook page. The next day, the county had five more.
Most of the deaths were likely due to fentanyl, Ortiz said.
Morgue techs are “constantly working [and] don’t take lunch” to keep up with the overdose deaths, the county coroner told CNN affiliate WSYX. If the overdose rate stays at the same pace or worsens, the county may have to bring in a temporary morgue for storage of bodies, Ortiz said.
Ortiz urged those in need of treatment to visit the city of Columbus’ opiate crisis information website.
Read the whole article here

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