Last Week in Weed Issue 17

In this issue of Last Week in Weed, we look at New Mexico ‘legalising’, Cumbria police warning on CBD “gummies”, & the over-subscribed Northern Leaf IPO

Last Week in Weed

(Issue 17)

Last Week in Weed: A weekly blog from The Simpa Life

In This week’s issue of Last Week In Weed, we will be looking at the US state of New Mexico pushing through legislation to ‘legalise’ cannabis, a British police force issuing an incredibly vague PSA about ‘gummies’ containing CBD, and finally, we’ll look at Northern Leaf raising capital for an IPO on the London Stock Exchange later this year.

US State of New Mexico set to ‘legalise’ cannabis

In the previous issue of Last Week in Weed, we covered New York state ‘legalising’ cannabis – the Bill was subsequently signed into law and came into effect immediately last week. This week we’ll be looking at another ‘new’ state, this week it’s New Mexico. The southern border state announced last week that legislation that has been some five years in the making will finally be sent to the Governor to sign into law. 

A special session of the New Mexican State Legislature was convened on March 31st That ultimately approved bill HB2 to ‘legalise’ adult consumption cannabis in the Mexican border state. 

As of writing this blog the Governor has not yet signed the legislation. New Mexico has been in this position before in July 2019 when a similar bill stalled, however, this doesn’t appear to be the case here given the Governor’s positive reaction to the announcement.

This is a significant victory for New Mexico. Workers will benefit from the opportunity to build careers in this new economy. Entrepreneurs will benefit from the opportunity to create lucrative new enterprises. The state and local governments will benefit from the additional revenue. Consumers will benefit from the standardization and regulation that comes with a bona fide industry. And those who have been harmed by this country’s failed war on drugs, disproportionately communities of color, will benefit from our state’s smart, fair and equitable new approach to past low-level convictions” – Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham

Once this new legislation is signed New Mexico will become the 16th US state that has ‘legalised’ adult consumption or so-called ‘recreational marijuana.’ As with other states, the bill sets out how the state plans to limit possession, cultivation, and trading of cannabis. 

New Mexico was actually the first US state to enacted a ‘medical marijuana’ law on February 21st, 1978. Thanks to the activism of a cancer patient named Lynn Pierson. A bill that allowed for the use of cannabis as a ‘research program’ approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), using cannabis supplied by the National Institute on Drug Abuse was proposed by the state.

Image: Lynn Pierson
New Mexico was the first US state to enacted a ‘medical marijuana’ law on February 21st, 1978

Lynn was ultimately successful in getting the state to enact the ‘Controlled Substances Therapeutic Research Act’ by a significant margin. Although the bill passed The federal government blocked and obfuscated the state-ran program and Lynn Pierson died in August 1978 having never received a ‘legal’ supply of cannabis. The state has not forgotten him though. 

In 2007 when the state passed its ‘medical marijuana’ program they renamed it “The Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act” This new act used state-grown cannabis for the program to prevent the federal government from blocking access to those most in need.

This new bill will see the state regulate commercial sales from 2022 and cap the tax on the sales of ‘recreational cannabis’ to 20%. The bill would also see the elimination of taxes on ‘medical marijuana’ and impose an initial excise tax on adult consumption sales of 12% rising to 18%. 

As for social justice, there will be no limit on the number of licenses given to people with previous convictions for cannabis possession and other low-level offences. They will also have their records expunged. Personal possession would be in line with most other states at 2 ounces and home growing would be allowed but limited to 6 per person and 12 per household.

Communities of color have faced the brunt of the war on drugs, and legalization removes some restrictions based on marijuana convictions. However he adds, it’s important to give those communities “market opportunities, for business ownership and employment in this new market space” – DeVaughn Ward, The Marijuana Policy Project.

With two states going ‘legal’ in just a few weeks don’t be surprised to see more following suit soon. 

The three that I think will be next to fall will be Virginia, Rhode Island, and Connecticut. As each state enacts its own version of ‘legalisation’ we move ever closer to an inevitable federal ‘legalisation’ bill that will signal the beginning of the end for global cannabis prohibition.

Cumbria Police issue nonsensical ‘warning’ about CBD ‘gummies’

A Police force in the North West of England issued a confusing and nonsensical warning about young people eating “gummies containing CBD oil” last week. The Cumbrian Police forces child-centred policing team and partners issued the rather vague warning after reports of several separate incidents across Cumbria’ were “Young people are ingesting the “sweets” known as “gummies” containing ingredients believed to include CBD oil.”

This story came to my attention because it was reported in a couple of local online newspapers the ‘News and Star’ and the ‘Times and Star’ last week. The identical articles are poorly written and actually contain little in the way of substance or actual information. 

After a little digging, the two sites are part of a media group that owns some 185 local online newspapers. Newsquest is another one of these mass media conglomerates that ‘localises’ national corporate and neo-liberalistic propaganda to make it more palatable to the people. 

So what is it that the police are trying to warn the public about here? It seems that this piece is simply to scaremonger the uninformed into supporting over-regulation of CBD products by implying that they’ll be ‘contaminated’ or adulterated by THC or other unregulated substances and compounds.

This seems evident to me in the seemingly unsubstantiated claim that a “teenager from Cumbria, has been reported to have been hospitalised, having suffered adverse reactions after consuming ‘gummies’” What were those adverse effects? How much had they consumed? I mean come on, we all know young people are smart enough to say it’s CBD rather than THC to try and avoid getting into trouble with their parents or the authorities. 

These reports are concerning, recreational cannabis use in children and young people is increasing both locally and nationally, especially in ‘gummie’ or vape form. Drugs from unregulated sources are dangerous and may contain other harmful substances.” – Dr. Mike Schofield Consultant in Emergency Medicine and Paediatric Emergency Medicine

I agree with Dr. Schofield here “Drugs from unregulated sources are dangerous and may contain other harmful substances” that’s why we so desperately need to deschedule cannabis and all drugs to create a responsible, regulated, and rigorous marketplace that prevents the sale of substances to minors, reduces the risk of adulteration and contamination while maximising safety, efficacy, and consumer education.

Ultimately, if we want to limit under 18s from accessing cannabis or any other drug we have to end prohibition, regulate and require ID for sale and consumption. We do it with alcohol and tobacco so why not cannabis?

Northern Leaf raising capital for an IPO on the London Stock Exchange.

The ‘medical cannabis’ cultivator Northern Leaf has announced that they raised £14m in an oversubscribed offering over the last month. This includes five institutional investors ahead of its London Stock Exchange debut later this year. 

The Jersey-based company Northern Leaf is the only other company to have secured a commercial cannabis cultivation license from the UK Home Office other than GW Pharmaceutical. The company was first granted a ‘low-THC’ or ‘hemp’ license to cultivate in October 2019 before being approved for a ‘High-THC’ or ‘cannabis cultivation’ license in December 2020. The license is only for ‘medical or scientific purposes’

The company has said that they intend to use the money to build an extraction plant to process the ‘medical cannabis’ flower that it intends to cultivate at its 75,000 square foot facility on the channel isle. The fact that it was oversubscribed speaks to the level of appetite and interest there is on the crown dependant islands for cannabis investment. 

Northern Leaf is likely to soon be accredited with EU GMP (Good Manufacturing Practice) and GACP (Good Agricultural and Collection Practice) qualifications. This, along with strategic partnerships places the company in a great position to capitalise in the UK and European ‘medical cannabis’ industry. All while their citizens remain criminalised for growing their own or utilising the legacy market that helped build this now thriving sector.

This announcement is emblematic of the multi-tiered system that ‘pay to play’ policies are having on access to cannabis in the UK and Europe. The preference of ‘medical cannabis’ over cannabis is having a devastating, divisive, and disruptive effect on the existing community and culture of cannabis consumers across Europe. 

Within the ‘medical cannabis industrial-complex,’ there is a war waging between regulators, speculative investors, and ‘medical cannabis’ companies seeking to become the gatekeepers, wholesalers, and main financial beneficiaries of any legislative changes to national and international policies and laws. 

In my opinion, ‘Medical cannabis’ actively criminalises the legacy market while profiteering from the foundations laid by the decades of dedication and countless lives lost in a centuries-long war on cannabis consumers. These companies will continue to flourish and devour the ‘industry’ until the millions of consumers stand up and say enough is enough, if this plant is so beneficial then why can’t we be left to cultivate and consume it in peace. 

Written by Simpa for TheSimpaLife.com

 

Simpa Carter
Simpa Carter

Simpa is a passionate drug law reform activist, mental health advocate, blogger, freelance writer, and host of The Simpa Life podcast.

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