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World News - November 2019

Israeli Start-Up Declares
Snoop Brand Ambassador

Seedo, an Israeli start-up that has brought to market a small machine that home-grows with the help of artificial intelligence, has signed American icon Snoop Dogg as it’s brand ambassador.  Snoop Dogg stated that promoting a product that enables people to grow plants in unused urban spaces was “something I’m all the way down with.”

The Self contained ‘grow box’ regulates temperature, light, carbon dioxide, and minerals via an application.  According to Seedo the device can grow a variety of plants and herbs, despite much of their advertising being blatantly aimed at marijuana users.

British Columbia Adult-Use
Cannabis Sales Double

The adult-use market in Canada rose 19% in August 2019, with the province of British Columbia doubling previous reports for a total of CA$12 million.

“British Columbia’s significant increase in cannabis sales in August is encouraging.  This is largely correlated to an uptick in licensing of cannabis retail stores across the province over the summer,” explained Alex Shiff, senior consultant for the Vancouver based communications company Navigator.  The number of issued licenses for retail locations in British Columbia has grown from 14 in March 2019 to 94 in September.

The province suffered from an exceptionally slow start at the onset of adult-use, but is now ranked fourth in Canadian cannabis sales among ten provinces and three territories.  Those numbers are expected to grow still in the coming months.

Mexico Unveils Draft
Legalization Bill

Lawmakers in Mexico moved closer to legislation that would create a federally regulated marijuana industry, making Mexico one of the few countries on the planet that have legalized at the national level.  The proposed legislation lays the foundation of what would become the world’s largest adult-use market by population, as well as legalizing the plant for medicinal and industrial hemp use.

The draft contains a theme of social equity and “fair market regulation”, prioritizing public health, human rights, and sustainable development.  Measures are included similar to those in the U.S. that give special preferences to communities impacted by marijuana prohibition when it comes to obtaining licensing, which would be available for cultivation, transformation, sales (specifically stating the inclusion of psychoactive cannabis), as well as export and import.

                                         Mexico’s Supreme Court Declared Weed a Human Right in 2015

Unlike marijuana laws in the United States, this draft prohibits a single licensee from obtaining more than one type of license.  An effort to prohibit vertical integration, this would also apply to partners, subsidiaries, shareholders, and even certain family members.  More than one license of a single type would be permitted, with the maximum number being three per federative entity.  Furthering their efforts to limit ‘big marijuana’, this bill would make all licenses non transferable, and limit foreign investments to 20% for commercial and research licenses.

On the list of things the potential law would prohibit are advertising of any kind (hemp and hemp-derived products excluded), edibles and drinks (with an exception for medical use), the use of cannabis or its derivatives for cosmetic products, online and mail sales, self-service dispensers, driving under the influence of THC, and smoking or vaping marijuana in locations where tobacco is already prohibited.  Also banned would be smoking or vaping in public parks and spaces where minors could have access.

Amendments and changes are expected before the bill is made into law.  Recent developments have Mexican officials delaying a vote on the measure, citing “unprecedented” pressure from companies trying to influence cannabis legalization in Mexico.

Jump Back, Legalization
May Come Home to Panama

Debate began two years ago as to whether or not Panama should legalize marijuana for medicinal purposes.  In late October 2019, lawmakers finally took up an initiative to begin the process.

Cannabis is second only to cocaine as the most highly used narcotic in Panama, both substances considered illegal.  Merely in the infant stages, the measure would have to survive further debates, consultations, votes, and get the final approval from President Laurentino Cortizo.  

The race is on to be the first Central American nation to legalize medicinal marijuana, as Costa Rica is also debating the issue.

Full Legalization Trial
Planned in Netherlands

Cities other than Amsterdam will see cannabis sold in coffee shops (known as cannabis cafes) in as soon as a year and a half as the Netherlands begins what is being called a “weed test”.  

Products offered will be tested, and display the THC percentages.  As growing for commercial purposes is not legal in the Netherlands, only consumption, the government must identify approved growers, as well as create safety regulations, before the test run can begin.  Shops will offer ten different varieties of hash and fifteen various strains of flower.

Uruguay Approves New
Growers to Meet Demand

The application process began last February, but the Uruguayan government has finally announced three new companies who will be licensed to grow recreational marijuana for commercial purposes.  

Uruguay Biopharmaceutical Research Company (based in the U.S. and conditioned to register a company in Uruguay), Jabelor S.A., and Ligeral S.A. (both based in Uruguay), had to impress the Uruguayan National Secretariat for the Fight Against Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing (SENACLAFT) with technique alone, as the price for cannabis is fixed by the government at 50 Uruguayan pesos per gram (US$1.35).  SENACLAFT reviewed many applicants, any businesses not awarded licensing that obtained more than 60% of the total points will be placed on a wait list.

The three winners will join the two existing growers, ICC Labs and Simbiosys, bringing the total number of authorized cultivators to five.  The additions come in response to demand for the medicinal plant, as the two were unable to fully supply the market.

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