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World News - January 2020


JANUARY 2020


African Nations Set Sights
on Global Expansion


Within the last two years the countries Lesotho, followed by Zimbabwe and most recently Zambia, have made it legal to produce marijuana for medicinal and scientific uses. This is another large step forward for the reform of cannabis laws on the continent. The first African nation that issued licenses for medicinal cannabis cultivation was Lesotho in 2018. Commercial producers, largely backed by foreign investors, plan to eventually export their medicinal cannabis products internationally to countries such as Canada. The nation’s land has produced excellent conditions for the plant to grow, the production costs will be lower than others available. “Hemp cultivation, especially given the explosive demand arising from neighboring European nations, presents a unique opportunity to Zimbabwe and other African nations well positioned to meet such demand cheaper, and possibly faster, than current suppliers from Canada and Latin America,” says Giadha Aguirre de Carcer, who is the chief executive of New Frontier Data.

According to BDS Analytics, CBD sales are expected to grow to about $20 billion by 2024. Zimbabwe hopes to also take grasp of the opportunity in the international cannabis market. Being the second African nation to legalize the cultivation of cannabis for medicinal and scientific purposes, it recently approved of the country’s first cannabis farm and production plant within a main prison in their capital, Harare. “This pilot project will provide essential knowledge… for the successful production of this crop,” says Agriculture Minister Perence Shiri. “The benefits that will be derived from the production of industrial hemp are enormous and varied.” The grow and production will be tended by a private company, Zimbabwe Industrial Hemp Trust (ZIHT), and will use the prison’s tight security to their advantage as the pilot project is being ran there. ZIHT has stated that they have planted six varieties of industrial hemp. 

These countries are leading other African nations towards the legalization of cannabis, which hopes to open them up to a large market that will boost their employment and their overall economy as well. With top exports such as diamonds and tobacco, which widely faces global scrutiny of consumption and production more and more over the years, cannabis is planned to be a major contender in the country’s future growth.


Bangkok Opens First
Medical Marijuana Clinic


It is notorious that Southeast Asian countries have very strict anti-cannabis laws, now with the exception of Thailand. Last year Thailand had legalized medicinal marijuana, hoping to lead the other countries by example.


The new clinic is in Nonthaburi, Bangkok, within the existing Phra Nangklao Hospital. Supervised by the country’s Ministry of Public Health, six doctors, five pharmacists, four nurses, and a dentist will be providing modern alongside traditional medical treatments at the newly opened location. Patients who are suffering from 9 different ailments will be seen at the cannabis clinic, including; ALS, insomnia, stroke, muscle numbness, muscle weakening, coronary disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or final stages of cancer. The Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha recently was at a press conference which he gave support to the country’s new MMJ program. As Prime Minister Prayut inhaled his cannabis vaporizer pen and applied his topical marijuana oil, The Thai government launched their educational medicinal cannabis website. Thailand plans to open another 31 more medicinal marijuana clinics throughout the country soon.



Israel to Make Breakthrough
in Medicinal Cannabis


A first-of-its-kind hi-tech incubator is being established in Yeruham, a small town in the desert region of Negev in southern Israel, announced by the Israel Innovation Authority and Economy Ministry. The CanNegev, the name given to the government-backed incubator, has projected that an estimated NIS 150 million (USD $43.16 million) was awarded through crowdfunding on OurCrowd, an investment platform based in Jerusalem. “The incubator will serve as an anchor for innovators from around the world and will upgrade the activities of entrepreneurs, who are already in the process of allocation of land for the establishment of cannabis extraction plants in Yeroham,” said the Yeroham Mayor Tal Ohana. Six medicinal cannabis start-up  companies will join annually, totalling 30 over the five year license, with an option for a three year extension available. The founder and CEO of OurCrowd, Jon Medved said, “We will find start-ups with breakthrough technologies, make seed and follow-on investments and equip them with all the necessary tools for success in the international market.”


Cannibidoil for Epilepsy
into the NHS in England


Epidiolex, a cannabis based medicine, was approved for use in children over the age of two who suffer from seizures associated with either Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS) or Dravet syndrome, which are very rare and severe forms of epilepsy. The NHS struck a deal with the manufacturing company GW Pharmaceuticals to bring the price of Epidiolex down and hopes through a speedy process that the drug will be obtainable through doctors starting January 6, 2020. Epidiolex is taken twice daily and contains a strawberry-flavored Cannabidiol (CBD), which is derived from cannabis, but does not contain THC. GW Pharmaceuticals also produces Sativex; a 1:1 THC/CBD oral spray compound approved for multiple sclerosis, but has been limited to few patients due to the high price of the drug. With the overwhelming evidence shown in clinical trials and as more information becomes readily available, people want these to be included on the NHS as an option for those with other conditions.


New Zealand Gets Ready
for Medical Marijuana



Epidiolex, a cannabis based medicine, was approved for use in children over the age of two who suffer from seizures associated with either Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS) or Dravet syndrome, which are very rare and severe forms of epilepsy. The NHS struck a deal with the manufacturing company GW Pharmaceuticals to bring the price of Epidiolex down and hopes through a speedy process that the drug will be obtainable through doctors starting January 6, 2020. Epidiolex is taken twice daily and contains a strawberry-flavored Cannabidiol (CBD), which is derived from cannabis, but does not contain THC. GW Pharmaceuticals also produces Sativex; a 1:1 THC/CBD oral spray compound approved for multiple sclerosis, but has been limited to few patients due to the high price of the drug. With the overwhelming evidence shown in clinical trials and as more information becomes readily available, people want these to be included on the NHS as an option for those with other conditions.

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