Last Week in Weed
In this issue of Last Week in Weed, we’ll be looking at online retailer Amazon announcing its support for federal ‘legalisation’ of cannabis in the US, the UK gets its first cannabis education advertising campaign, and a Welsh man avoids prison after postman discovers 50+ cannabis packages after noticing “strange” smell.
Amazon announces support for US federal legalisation of cannabis
In a blog post released last Tuesday (1/6/21) Amazon’s head of global consumer division Dave Clark announced that the international e-retail giant will be ‘actively supporting’ the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE Act) Amazon also announced that the company would no longer ‘disqualify US employees’ for testing positive for cannabis.
In the blog, the company says that it has ‘evolved its thinking’ around cannabis as 17 states have now ‘legalised’ and 30+ states have access to ‘medical marijuana’ in one form or another. In the blog titled ‘Update on our vision to be Earth’s Best Employer and Earth’s Safest Place to Work’ Amazon states;
“In the past, like many employers, we’ve disqualified people from working at Amazon if they tested positive for marijuana use. However, given where state laws are moving across the U.S., we’ve changed course. We will no longer include marijuana in our comprehensive drug screening program for any positions not regulated by the Department of Transportation, and will instead treat it the same as alcohol use” – Amazon blog post
The company has said that it will continue to perform ‘impairment checks’ on employees and will test for alcohol or drugs following an accident or incident. Amazon is currently the second-largest employer in the US and one of the largest companies to come out in support of federal cannabis reform so far. With the US adult cannabis market expected to reach $100 billion by 2030, you can see why it finally caught the attention of one of the world’s largest online retailers.
“We hope that other employers will join us, and that policymakers will act swiftly to pass this law”
The international retailer employs more than 1.3 million people globally and is aggressively expanding into a multitude of industries and markets including pharma, data, and groceries. Amazon has previously dipped its toe into the alcohol market but didn’t find the same successful monopolisation and domination that it had previously shown in the literary space.
There are a lot of people concerned about Amazon’s announcement that it supports federal legalisation. They are worried that the already existing infrastructure the company possesses would give them a hell of an advantage when the US inevitably fully federally ‘legalises’ cannabis.
Time will tell if this is just posturing or a sign of things to come. Either way, we can all do our bit by supporting small independent local cannabis cultivators, vendors, and businesses.
The UK gets its first Cannabis education advertising campaign
Last week the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) & Committees of Advertising Practice (CAP) approved a cannabis educational advertisement in the UK public domain. The advert launched last week in several prime locations in London including Westminster, Trafalgar Square, and Oxford Street.
The education campaign will be visible on the side of buses, on the underground, and on billboards across London for the next week. The campaign was created by Endo agency, a branding and digital cannabis design solution specialist.
“For years cannabis companies have struggled to make any footprint through paid advertising, with very few brands able to have their campaigns cleared even globally. Confidence is starting to grow however, with the ASA & CAP allowing us to officially submit, and challenge old restrictions currently stopping the rest of the industry, we are confident of a new wave of growth for the space” – Marwan Elgamal from THC & Endo agency
The advert features a human body broken into 4 sections on a grey backdrop with the words “If you are reading this, you have an Endocannabinoid system.” “To learn more about the Endocannabinoid system please visit Endo.Agency” The monochrome design isn’t overly appealing with its lack of colour, but it does create a sense of intrigue and provokes curiosity.
The ‘legal’ cannabis industry in the UK was valued at £690 million in 2021 and is expected to grow exponentially over the coming years. Campaigns like this are an effective way to increase public awareness and hopefully spark interest from the general population in cannabis and the emerging industry.
“Allowing these new forms of advertising media helps the communication of complex ideas to become ‘intelligible and comprehensive’, by breaking the psychological shackles disallowing potential consumers the right to make well-informed decisions” – Helaku Whyles, Endo Agency
It is going to be interesting to see how this campaign is received by Londoners and tourists. It is my sincere hope that this will not just work to increase CBD and Hemp sales, but will actually highlight the absurdity of criminalising something so profoundly fundamental to a healthy and happy life.
Welshman avoids prison after postman sniffs out orders
It was reported last week that a man from Llanbadarn, Wales narrowly avoided a prison sentence after a postman delivering parcels from Aberystwyth to a sorting office in Chester noticed a ‘strange smell’ coming from one of the post sacks. The postman reported the smell and a subsequent search revealed 52 padded envelopes containing a total of 215g of cannabis flowers.
10 days later, a large parcel was intercepted at the International mail hub in Coventry from Canada addressed to the same man. A search of the parcel labeled as ‘a speaker for audio system’ revealed 4.5 kilograms of cannabis.
The police executed a warrant on the man’s property shortly after and discovered what they described as “a pot distribution centre” with 18 glass jars containing various cannabis cultivars in one of the bedrooms. In total police removed more than 5kg of cannabis from the property.
During the raid, the police discovered that the defendant was using PayPal and cryptocurrencies as payment. Over the next year, the defendant gave four “no comment” interviews with the police before eventually admitting possession of cannabis with intent to supply, attempting to supply cannabis, and an importation offence.
When sentencing the man Judge Huw Rees said that it was clear that he had been running a “considerable operation” buying cannabis from Canada and packaging it into small quantities for onward supply in the UK. He went on to say that this sort of activity would typically result in immediate custody, but he was mindful of the lengthy delay in the case.
The initial arrest happened in September 2017 but it wasn’t until February 2020 that he was charged by postal requisition. The court heard that the man had since started an open university course, an action that was a great source of pride for him and his family. The Judge gave him credit for this before sentencing him to two years in prison, suspended for 18 months.
It’s such a shame that this man is a criminal in this country but would be an entrepreneur in others. The law and the culture in the UK desperately needs to catch up with the times and stop ruining the lives of people just trying to get by in this world.
Written by Simpa for TheSimpaLife.com