Once Bill C-45 comes into force, B.C. consumers aged 19 and up will be able to purchase Cannabis legally. There will be two methods of purchasing cannabis: in stores, through provincially controlled or licensed retailers; or online, directly from a federally or provincially operated online platform.

Cannabis legalization will allow consumers to purchase the following five cannabis products:

  • Dried Cannabis
  • Cannabis Oil
  • Fresh Cannabis
  • Cannabis Plants
  • Cannabis Seeds

Under the current plan, the sales of edibles and concentrates will be enabled within one year following the coming into force of the Cannabis Act.

Distribution in British Columbia

British Columbia announced its distribution model in December 2017. The minimum legal age to purchase cannabis in our province has been set at 19. Consumers can buy legal cannabis in private and public stores. Mirroring the current model for alcohol distribution, wholesale will be handled by the provincial government through the province’s Liquor Distribution Branch (LDB). It is currently unclear whether online sales will be done through public or private sellers or a mix.

Municipalities and Cannabis Legalization

Please note, municipalities retain the right to have different requirements and zoning restrictions for business licensing. Some municipalities may even choose not to allow retail cannabis stores within their limits. Different B.C. cities have announced a variety of different approaches to cannabis legalization.

Opportunities in the Cannabis Industry


The production of recreational cannabis will be delegated through licensed producers. These licenses are issued by Health Canada. It will remain illegal to produce cannabis for sale without first securing a license.

Entrepreneurs with questions about procuring a license should contact Health Canada.

Retail Licenses

In spring 2018, British Columbia’s Liquor Control and Licensing Branch will launch an online application portal for individuals and businesses interested in applying for a recreational cannabis retail license. This portal can be found here.

Each applicant will be required to pay an application fee and a licensing fee. The amount of this fee has not yet been determined. All applicants will be assessed using the same evaluation criteria, including background checks and local government support. Persons who have operated dispensaries prior to legalization will not receive preferential treatment during the application process.

British Columbia Announces Provincial Cannabis Legislation

British Columbia has formally announced legislation to provide for legal, controlled access to non-medical cannabis in British Columbia. The proposed Cannabis Distribution Act (CDA) will establish the Province’s exclusive jurisdiction over wholesale distribution of cannabis and provide authority for public retail sales.

The proposed Cannabis Control and Licensing Act (CCLA) establishes provincial control over the sale, supply and possession of non-medical cannabis, and establishes licensing of private cannabis retailers, including registration and training requirements for those who will work in cannabis retail. The act outlines restrictions on the possession, personal cultivation and consumption of cannabis by adults and prohibitions for minors.

The Province of British Columbia’s announcement can be read here.

Want to Learn More about Cannabis Legalization?

The Province of British Columbia have produced the B.C. Cannabis Private Retail Licensing Guide that answers commonly asked questions about retail licenses and how they’ll be distributed. The province’s consultation process with the public took place over several months during 2017 and the results can be viewed here. If your question is not answered in these documents, the relevant provincial contact can be reached via this email address.

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The top 8 emerging countries in the cannabis space

As marijuana business grows globally, many stock watchers and research analysts are making predictions about where the most significant investment opportunities are.

Investment site, The Motley Fool, recently published an analysis by Keith Speights of forecasts for the 2022 marijuana market.

A lot can happen even monthly in the ever-evolving cannabis space. Here is a different analysis of it.

8. Germany


According to Motley Fool, their third-party market and analytical researchers projected that “marijuana sales in Germany will reach close to $1.6 billion in 2022.” Germany has more than 691,000 legal consumers in the country, in a population of approximately 82.67 million. That means less than one percent of the population consumes medical marijuana.

Considering Germany just legalized medical marijuana in 2017, their market is most likely going to expand. However, the 12,000 German pharmacies that currently stock Cronos Group’s cannabis might patriotically switch to domestically cultivated medical marijuana, rather than rely on a potentially pricier import. The remaining 8,000 pharmacies that presently provide medical marijuana might stock domestic strains as well. If that occurs, Cronos’ market share in Germany might go up in smoke.

7. United Kingdom


The listing of the United Kingdom in second place is odd. Marijuana laws in the U.K. are currently strict. However, the U.K.’s Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs has “recommended that cannabis-derived medicinal products should be placed in Schedule 2 of the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2001.” As a result,“Cannabis-derived medicinal products are recommended to be available on prescription.”

While doctors will soon be able to prescribe medical marijuana, older, conservative Brits might not rush to obtain cannabis for their arthritis, instead of paracetamol, (assuming it is even a qualifying condition). Then again, who knows? Maybe senior citizens will line up around the block to consume cannabis at gin o’clock. Either way, U.K is just on the cusp of offering a medicinal market. It is better to wait and see how this aspect of the market debuts, before predicting they will be in the second-to-the-top spot in four years.

MF predicts an estimated $7 million for U.K. medical marijuana sales this year, with four months still to go. $7 million in the big scheme of things, is peanuts, considering Nevada is projected to earn $70 million in tax revenue alone from cannabis sales, while the actual sales are forecasted to make over $500 million. Keep in mind the state of Nevada has a population of approximately 2.998 million people (in 2017), while the 2016 population of the U.K was 65.64 million people.

Relatively, the U.K. market is barely noticeable for now. Let’s not get over-excited hoping that Her Majesty will provide the royal warrant of approval to a British cannabis company just yet.

6. Switzerland


According to Motley Fool, Switzerland is the only country in their top five list that “currently allows the legal adult use of low-THC marijuana,” – less than one percent THC, to be exact. The legal THC limit in most other European countries is 0.2 percent.

According to the Swiss newspaper Tages-Anzeiger, in 2017  there were 410 registered companies in Switzerland that were manufacturing or trading cannabidiol- the non-psychotropic compound of cannabis that’s also known as CBD. The combined total of their CBD sales garnered approximately $62 million (about CHF 60 million) for the year.

Sounds impressive, but in the United States, there are hundreds of companies doing a brisk business in CBD as well, such as Charlotte’s Web and CBD American Shaman, which has 150 stores and counting.

Even though CBD and THC are opposites concerning their psychotropic effects, anyone taking a product containing one percent THC for the psychoactive effects will be in for a disappointment.

All of the over-hyped European “marijuana cafes” that are serving drinks with one percent THC or less only are serving a decent cup of coffee that might put their customers in a slightly better mood. (Americans can do this at home by putting a few CBD drops in their coffee.)

Swiss supermarket Coop Cooperative is the world’s first major chain to sell cannabis cigarettes that contain less than one percent THC, in its 700 stores across the country. Europeans are used to smoking cannabis or hashish in tobacco, so this product produced by Koch & Gsell was bound to occur.

The Swiss spliffs called “Heimat” cigarettes debuted in 2017 with little fanfare. If Switzerland is still more globally-renowned for its cheese and chocolate, rather than its cannabis cigarettes, it is unlikely that it will be a significant player in the marijuana marketplace four years from now. Although, it will have a brisk CBD business, similar to several other countries.

5. Italy


Italy legalized medical marijuana in 2013. Currently, however, the country’s regulations restrict cannabis use. As a result, marijuana sales this year are expected to be less than $7 million – again, mediocre financials. Motley Fool listed Italy on the prediction that they might legalize recreational cannabis. Let’s not hold our collective breaths until that happens. That’s like predicting Afghanistan will corner the orange market if they decide to grow oranges instead of poppies.

4. Mexico


According to Motley Fool, “Mexico rounds out the top five ranking of the largest international marijuana markets of 2022.” Remember, this is according to third-party research. Common knowledge forecasts this to be highly unlikely.

Mexico has long given lip service to legalization. During President Enrique Peña Nieto’s 2016 United Nations General Assembly speech, he announced that he was going to legalize marijuana. This bombshell drew unprecedented cheers from an audience that would otherwise be half-asleep. Realistically though, in a narco-democracy like Mexico, kingpins aren’t going to give up their marijuana market share so easily.

The country’s legalized medical marijuana contains THC levels of one percent or lower, like Switzerland.

Fool predicts that Mexican sales of legal marijuana “are projected to reach $99 million by 2022, as regulations are relaxed, up from an estimated $14 million this year.” $99 Million may sound like all the money in the world, but in the marijuana marketplace, it is hardly a top earner.

Where do the potentially more significant investment opportunities occur? Below are the countries that I humbly predict will have one of the biggest slices of the marijuana market share four years from now. Let us focus on markets where the medical marijuana business is booming, like Israel. Speaking of Israel, Tikun Olam -the Coca-Cola of Israeli cannabis- exports to Mexico.

3. Canada 


Canada and Uruguay are the only countries with marijuana export licenses written into their legislation. Canadian marijuana cultivators, Tilray, (NASDAQ: TLRY) currently exports to ten other countries so far. Their stock debuted with an overvalued bang and may level off over time, primarily if the company doesn’t expand further. However, they could do well in the initial stages of Canadian legalization, until more competition occurs in the recreational marketplace. However, if more countries follow Canada’s lead and legalize adult recreational marijuana use, medical marijuana stocks will probably nosedive. Currently, Tilray is will report its first-ever earnings as a publicly traded company on Tuesday, August 28.

Meanwhile, Canadian company CROP Infrastructure Corp (NASDAQ: CROP) acquired a 49% stake in a 217,000 square foot property in the Westmoreland parish of Jamaica. The facility is perfectly prepared for cannabis production and extraction. Stay tuned for their launch of Hempire Jamaica. It could drive up the price of their stock.

Additionally, the Canadian-Jamaican partnership, Jamaican Medical Cannabis Company (JMCC), under the leadership of savvy CEO Diane Scott, is working with world-renowned Jamaican scientist Dr. Henry Lowe, whose product is recognized by as an orphan drug by the FDA, which is unusual for a cannabis-based drug. If their clinical trials of his drug have a positive impact on Leukemia, JMCC will be recognized as one of the most major players in the industry, which will garner Canada a position at the top.

The relationship between the world’s second country to fully legalize marijuana and the country that is best known for its marijuana is a strong one:

2. Jamaica


This one should be self-explanatory. Even though the U.S. put tremendous pressure on Jamaica not to “legalize it,” as Rastafarian Bob Marley said, “None of them can stop the tide.” People have been going to Jamaica for decades to smoke a spliff and listen to reggae. That is probably never going to change.

What does that mean to the global marijuana market? Jamaican cannabis is already world-renowned for its authenticity. People worldwide want to get their hands on proprietary Jamaican strains of tasty, Ital (natural), outdoor bud, even if they can’t go on vacation in Kingston or Negril.

Unlike cultivation in Puerto Rico, Jamaican cannabis can and does grow outdoors. Jamaica has the perfect climate for producing sun-grown cannabis, which is preferential to some consumers than hydroponically grown cannabis. With recent inroads from CROP Infrastructure Corp and the JMCC, Jamaican cannabis is primed and ready for export.

Bob Marley’s family has deep roots in the cannabis trade. Marley Natural is the official cannabis brand of Bob Marley, developed by his estate in conjunction with the Seattle, U.S.A.-based private equity firm Privateer Holdings, which develops cannabis industry brands. Officially launched in February of 2016, Marley’s widow, Rita Marley maintains the brand is based on her husband’s life and legacy. Marley Natural marijuana is currently grown in California and has an established fanbase.

Bob Marley’s son Julian Marley, helped to develop his own separate, namesake cannabis brand, JuJu Royal, which creates premium cannabis and cannabidiol products. Juju Royal, like so many other brands, are cashing in on the “health and wellness,” buzz that has globally taken hold of marketing medical marijuana.

JuJu Royal is a subsidiary of GEA Technologies, a Calgary, Alberta, Canada-based company that trades on the Canadian Securities Exchange, as JUJU.A. According to Juju Royal’s website, “All of the plants for our products are grown in the U.S.A. using organic farming.”

With their established companies  Marley Natural and JuJu Royal in full swing, they will probably expand their cultivation operations to their native Jamaica, either once recreational growing is legalized, or legislation frees up to allow Jamaican cannabis to be exported to the United States and elsewhere. That could potentially occur by 2022 just as easily as Motley Fool’s other predictions.

1. Israel


Israel is light years ahead of the cannabis game. It is unfathomable why so many periodicals covering pot overlook this tiny nation. An Israeli organic chemist, Dr. Raphael Mechoulam, and his partner, Y. Gaoni were the first scientists to isolate Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) – the psychoactive component within the plant. The entire free world has two Israelis to thank for their discovery.

In February of this year, Mr. POTUS Trump asked Israel to stop exportingmedical marijuana. Even so, Israel-based global cannabis brand, Tikun Olam(Hebrew for “Repair the World”), is bringing its pioneering medicinal to Puerto Rico through an exclusive licensing agreement with iaso Corporation.

iaso, a leading San Juan-based science and technology company, is Puerto Rico’s only all-indoor cultivation facility, employing soil-less, aeroponic technology. iaso will cultivate proprietary Tikun Olam cannabis strains, including the widely researched high-CBD strain, Avidekel.

iaso will also distribute Tikun Olam’s products throughout the Commonwealth in 2019.  The arrangement with iaso is the tenth struck in the United States by Tikun Olam’s US-Israeli joint venture, TO Global LLC (Tikun). With so much exciting expansion occurring by Tikun Olam, Israel tops our list.

Tikun Olam has 40% of the market share in Israel, and even though they are not a publicly traded company, their proprietary technology and research are licensed worldwide, by other companies that may be publicly traded.

“If one is to look at a county that is at the forefront of the cannabis industry, they need to consider Israel at the top of their list.  From the early discoveries from Dr. Mechoulam to the significant work in identifying the endocannabinoid system, Israel has been leading the path for some of the most significant advancements in cannabis science.  As the first nation to legalize medical cannabis over a decade ago, Israel has allowed companies like Tikun Olam, as well as medical, research and educational institutions, to undertake the groundbreaking research that has created the basis for some of the advancements in this fast-growing industry,” said Stephen Gardner, Chief Marketing Officer of Tikun Olam, USA.

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Surprisingly, these 2 popular marijuana products won’t be legal in Canada

After months of debate between Canada’s Senate and its House of Commons, and following years of promises from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, our neighbor to the north stands on the verge of becoming the first industrialized country in the world to legalize recreational marijuana.

Subsequent to the passage of the Cannabis Act on June 19, Trudeau set a date of Oct. 17, 2018 as the official in-dispensary launch for adult-use weed sales. The four-month delay was to give provinces enough time to get their regulatory infrastructure in place, as well as allow growers and cannabis supply chains ample time to get their products into retail locations.

The legalization of recreational pot is expected to generate big bucks for the industry, and hopefully for enthusiastic investors, too. Already bringing in a few hundred million dollars annually from domestic medical marijuana sales and via exports to foreign countries where medical weed is legal, Canada’s pot industry could add up to $5 billion in annual sales once it’s fully up to scale. Those are eye-popping numbers that’ll clearly make Canada the leader in pot progressivism.

Sorry, folks, but these popular pot products won’t be legal in Canada come October 17

Yet considering how aggressive Canada’s lawmakers have been with marijuana, it’s almost a head-scratcher that two very popular cannabis products won’t be legal when the proverbial green flag waves on Oct. 17. While dried cannabis and cannabis oils have been given the green light for sale and consumption, Canadians and tourists looking for edibles containing cannabis, as well as cannabis-infused beverages, are going to be disappointed.

For the sake of simplicity, and given that lawmakers in Parliament already missed Trudeau’s hopeful July 1 deadline to legalize, bill C-45, as the Cannabis Act also is known, addressed products that weren’t contemplated in the bill with an amendment. Essentially, this amendment requires the Senate and House of Commons to address the Cannabis Act in the future for products like edibles and infused-beverages, which weren’t included in the original bill.

When will that happen? While clearly nothing is set in stone, Parliament is expected to take up discussion on edibles and infused beverages sometime next year. If the two houses of Parliament can come to an agreement, both of these popular products could hit dispensary shelves at some point next year.

Of course, it’s worth pointing out that a lot will depend on the supply-and-demand outlook within the domestic industry, as well as how successfully provinces are at regulating the weed industry on the front line. In other words, the more hiccups there are, the less likely Parliament will feel pressured to push through legislation on edibles and/or cannabis-infused beverages.

A brewer carefully examining a pint of beer.

Legal or not, big deals are brewing

However, the fact that it could be months, a year, or perhaps even longer before Parliament addresses edibles and infused beverages hasn’t stopped the alcohol industry from making big cannabis deals. A little more than a week ago, Corona and Modelo beer-maker Constellation Brands (NYSE:STZ) turned heads when it made a $3.8 billion equity investment in Canopy Growth Corp. (NYSE:CGC), the largest marijuana stock by market cap.

This wasn’t Constellation’s first foray with Canopy Growth, either. In late October 2017, it acquired a 9.9% equity stake for roughly $190 million. Then in June, it gobbled up a third of Canopy’s 600 million Canadian dollars (just over $450 million) convertible note offering. Convertible notes give the holder the option of turning their debt into shares of common stock.

By purchasing these convertible notes, Constellation Brands gave itself the opportunity to further build its equity stake in Canopy Growth. Plus, with the 139.7 million warrants Constellation received as part of its newest equity investment, it could eventually push its stake to over 50% if these warrants are exercised.

The duo should be working together on a number of projects, one of which likely will be cannabis-infused beverages. Canopy Growth obviously understands the ins and outs of pot production, while Constellation can bring its marketing and distribution expertise to the table to expand the reach of Canopy’s products.

Two businessmen shaking hands.

In similar fashion, on August 1, Molson Coors Brewing (NYSE:TAP) announced that it had chosen the Hydropothecary Corporation (NASDAQOTH:HYYDFas its cannabis partner. The selection was a bit of a surprise, as Hydropothecary may not even wind up as a top-10 producer once capacity expansion for the industry is complete. However, Hydropothecary does have one thing working in its favor: a 200,000-kilogram, five-year supply deal with Quebec. This deal may likely have shown Molson Coors Brewing that Hydropothecary was ready for the main stage.

With Molson Coors’ Canadian and U.S. beer sales declining and its Canadian market share shrinking over the past decade, it’s hoping that a joint venture with Hydropothecary (Molson will own 57.5% of the joint venture) focused on infused beverages will turn things around.

Beer makers are counting on the cannabis industry to make a difference in their top and bottom line. The big question is: How long will it take before that happens?

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Marijuana use is rising among pregnant patients. Not so fast, doctors warn

Marijuana may be losing its image as a dangerous drug, but mounting research suggests women should steer clear of it if they are pregnant or breastfeeding, according to new recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics.

The advice comes as more than half of the states, including California, have legalized marijuana for medical or recreational use. Growing acceptance of the drug has made it seem harmless, or even beneficial. As a result, doctors fret that more and more babies are being exposed to the drug.

The march toward legalization has outpaced scientific research about marijuana’s health effects. Because it is a Schedule 1 drug — one with potential for abuse and no approved medical use — studies have been limited by federal law.

But in a detailed review of existing safety data, researchers cited concerns about marijuana’s effect on children’s short-term growth and long-term neurological development. Their findings were published Monday in the journal Pediatrics.

“Women should definitely be counseled that it’s not a good idea to use marijuana while pregnant,” said Dr. Seth Ammerman, a clinical professor of pediatrics at Stanford who worked on the report.

In addition, he said, “if you’re breastfeeding, we would encourage you to cut back or quit.” However, if a new mother is not able or willing to do so, she should continue nursing. “The benefits of breastfeeding would outweigh the potential exposure to the infant,” he said.

A second report, also published in Pediatrics, found that THC, the molecule responsible for most of marijuana’s psychoactive effects, accumulates in breast milk for up to six days after the mother’s last use.

The findings come as marijuana use among pregnant women is rising. Data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health show that the proportion of pregnant women who said they used marijuana in the past month increased from 2.4% in 2002 to 3.9% in 2014, according to a study in the Journal of the American Medical Assn. A separate JAMA report of pregnant women treated at Kaiser Permanente medical offices in Northern California found that marijuana use by pregnant women jumped from 4% in 2009 to 7% in 2016.

In studies of urban, young and socioeconomically disadvantaged pregnant women, 15% to 28% reported using the drug, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

Unlike for alcohol and cigarettes, marijuana may not carry a safety warning for pregnant women, even when it is sold legally. California requires safety warnings, but many other states do not.

“There’s a myth out there that it’s benign. And for many adults who are sporadic users, that’s probably true,” Ammerman said. But when it’s used by women who are pregnant or nursing, “it may be harmful.”

Of particular concern, he said, is that the potency of THC in marijuana has more than quadrupled since 1983. Several of the largest studies on marijuana and health were conducted when potency was much lower, according to the academy’s new report.

Scientists have found that THC can cross the placenta and accumulate in the brain and fat of a growing fetus. The limited studies available suggest that prenatal exposure to marijuana could interfere with children’s executive functioning, causing problems with concentration, attention, impulse control and problem-solving.

Nonetheless, online mothers groups are filled with women touting the benefits of using marijuana during pregnancy, citing the drug as a remedy for the nausea of morning sickness.

Cannabis dispensaries are another source of dubious information. A study in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, for example, found that nearly 70% of dispensaries in Colorado recommended marijuana to treat morning sickness during the first trimester despite a lack of evidence that marijuana use is safe or indicated for morning sickness. The worst nausea occurs during the first trimester, when the developing fetus might be most vulnerable to the effects of substances like THC.

“As health professionals, we need to educate women that there are a lot of concerns both for the fetus and for later development,” said Kelly Young-Wolff, a research scientist at the Kaiser Permanente Northern California Division of Research, who was not involved in the new Pediatrics reports.

But convincing women of the dangers of cannabis use during pregnancy can be challenging — especially when they’ve already decided that using it is safe.

On Facebook, the group “Stoner Moms” has more than 22,000 followers. And the Glow Nurture pregnancy app has several community groups devoted to marijuana users, including “420 Friendly,” “Ganja Mommies” and “CannaMoms.”

The conversations are filled with women asking not whether marijuana could be harmful, but whether smoking it could lead to a visit from Child Protective Services.

“A lot of the public equates legalization with some kind of endorsement of safety,” said Dr. Dana Gossett, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at UC San Francisco. “Of course, that’s not true.”

When she counsels patients to avoid marijuana, Gossett said, she runs into a “fair amount of indifference.”

Pregnancy is often a time when women are receptive to changing their habits for the sake of their growing baby. But while they generally accept that cigarette smoking is dangerous — that’s been clear since the 1960s — they often view marijuana as natural, and therefore harmless.

“Just because something is plant-based or natural doesn’t make it safe,” Gossett said. Arsenic, she added, is also a natural substance.

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4 Things Canadian Cannabis Consumers Can Do To Avoid Getting A Lifetime Ban From America

When Canada’s marijuana legalization bill received Royal Assent this past June, cannabis consumers across the country had cause for celebration. And while the magnitude of bill’s passage will continue to reverberate for months and years to come, less certain is how other countries like the United States will react to cannabis legalization.

The importance of Canada’s relationship with America can’t be overstated. Not only do the two countries share the longest undefended border in the free world, but Canada is one of America’s biggest trading partners, buying more goods from the US than China, Japan and the UK combined.  And then there’s the sheer amount of border traffic to consider.

In 2010, Canadians took almost 20 million overnight trips to the US. But that could change now because of cannabis legalization. Even though nine states have legalized recreational use and another 22 have approved medical marijuana, cannabis remains a Schedule I drug in America. And any visitor who admits to using it risks a lifetime ban from entering the US, no matter how long ago the offense might have taken place.

And there’s no reason to believe America will change that policy once legalization becomes law on October 17.

“I’ve spoken with U.S. Customs Officers and have been told that, as far as they know, it’s going to be business as usual at the border,” Len Saunders – an immigration lawyer based in Blaine, Washington – told Civilized. “They’ve said that unless they are issued guidance from US Customs and Border Control on how to handle these admissions, the policy will remain the same and will continue to be enforced.”

That should make every globetrotting cannabis consumer nervous, but you can reduce the likelihood of having a bad scene at the border by following Saunders’ tips to avoid getting a lifetime ban from America.

1. Honesty isn’t the best policy

Being forthcoming about your cannabis use is a bad idea, according to Saunders.

“A lot of people want to be open and honest with border guards when they get asked about their usage, but they simply don’t understand the consequences that can stem from that ‘honesty’,” he told Civilized.

He added that Canadian lawmakers like Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale and Border Security Minister Bill Blair are making matters more difficult by telling Canadians to be upfront about their cannabis use, even though the repercussions could have a massive impact on their freedom to travel in North America.

“Both Goodale and Blair have said Canadians should be honest with border agents, but for cannabis users, there’s no happy medium,” Saunders explained. “If you admit to having consumed marijuana, it’s a lifetime ban; if you lie about your marijuana use and they find out, that’s also a lifetime ban.”

2. Don’t lie

So if you can’t lie or tell the truth about your cannabis use without risking a lifetime ban, the only thing left is to keep quiet about your cannabis use.

“The best thing I can advise is to say nothing,” Saunders said. “Don’t answer the question. You can be denied entry that one time, but it’s nothing that will get you barred for life. The Canadian government shouldn’t be telling Canadians to be truthful because they don’t understand the consequences. They are not in the business of giving legal advice, but they also need to wake up and realize what’s going to happen after October 17 when potentially thousands upon thousands of Canadians are facing a lifetime ban from entering the US for partaking in something that’s perfectly legal within Canadian borders.”

3. ‘Have your shit together’

Of course, the best case scenario would be to avoid getting asked about using cannabis in the first place. Your best bet to fly under the guard’s marijuana radar is to avoid dressing like a stereotypical stoner.

“My first tip would be to just have your shit together,” Saunders told Civilized. “Look professional and respectable because there is a lot of profiling that happens in that interaction with the border guard. If you’re in your early 20’s, crossing the border with dreadlocks, a tie dye t-shirt and baggy pants, you’re probably going to be scrutinized a lot more than a 45-year-old man that’s crossing with his wife and kids.”

4. Be polite

This one shouldn’t be too hard given Canada’s rep for politeness, but travelers should mind their manners even if border guards are being rude.

“Another important thing is to be polite, no matter the circumstance,” Saunders said. But that doesn’t mean being a pushover. Guards might try to trick you into telling too much of the truth, so you have to be ready to stand your ground.

“[T]here’s a lot of fearmongering that takes place. Be aware of that. A lot of border agents will insist you tell them truthful answers to the questions they are asking, and some even threaten the lie detector, but they can’t legally do that. If their questions have nothing to do with your admissibility to the US, the answers aren’t any of their business.”

And if you do get banned…

Getting that dreaded lifetime ban doesn’t mean you’ll never ever be allowed to set foot on American soil again. But it does mean that you’ll face a lifetime of onerous paperwork.

“You’ll need to have a waiver in order to cross the border again,” Saunders explained. “It’s something you need for the rest of your life. There was a time when requests for waivers relating to marijuana offenses were somewhat of a rarity, but following the State of Washington’s legalization of cannabis in 2012, there began a significant uptake in people needing waivers because Canadians were crossing the border stating their intentions to go buy marijuana or having admitted to smoking it in the past.”

But hopefully you won’t need that if you follow steps 1-4 closely.

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UN Reviewing Marijuana’s Place With International Drug Treaties

The UN could force the US Government to reconsider Marijuana’s Schedule I classification.

Just two months after the U.N.’s World Health Organization published a report calling marijuana a “relatively safe drug” that only seems to lead to “euphoria, laughter and talkativeness,” the intergovernmental organization as a whole is reportedly diving in to determine whether it is even necessary to restrict the herb under international law. The outcome could force the United States to reconsider marijuana’s Schedule I classification on the Controlled Substances Act, according to a report from Marijuana Moment.

In June, the WHO’s Expert Committee on Drug Dependence (ECDD) found that cannabis is a “relatively safe drug” and not substance that has the power to lead to fatal overdoses. It went on to explain that there is very little evidence pointing to the herb as a threat to cardiovascular health, and it even suggested that marijuana had the ability to slow the growth of cancer cells.

Most of the health concerns related to cannabis consumption, the reports states, are from smoking. But “increasing use of vaporizers and other non-smoking modes of delivery is likely to reduce” health complications.

Overall, WHO said the only adverse reactions of marijuana are “euphoria, laughter and talkativeness.”

In response to that report, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus wrote this week that, “The Committee recommended that preparations considered to be pure CBD should not be scheduled within the International Drug Control Conventions” and that “there is sufficient evidence to proceed to a Critical Review” of all things marijuana.

The organization will conduct its first-ever in-depth review of the cannabis plant in November. Scientific experts will look at the chemistry, pharmacology, toxicology, epidemiology, and therapeutic use of marijuana to determine if it belongs under international control.

“This initial evaluation is also an opportunity to identify gaps in the available scientific data,” a WHO document reads. “A critical review is carried out when there is sufficient scientific evidence to allow the ECDD to make informed an recommendation that the substance be placed under international control, or if its level of control should be changed.”

Essentially, the U.N. plans to look at both CBD and THC to make a determination as to whether the compounds still fit the dangerous drug criteria as outlined in the international drug treaties.

“Several countries permit the use of cannabis for the treatment of medical conditions such as back pain, sleep disorders, depression, post-injury pain, and multiple sclerosis,” the document reads. “The evidence presented to the Committee did not indicate that cannabis plant and cannabis resin were liable to produce ill-effects similar to these other substances that are in Schedule IV of the 1961 Convention on Narcotic Drugs. The inclusion of cannabis and cannabis resin in Schedule IV may not appear to be consistent with the criteria for Schedule IV.”

If the U.N. moves to change the status of the cannabis plant, the United States government would be required to review its Schedule I status.

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Cannabis Is Becoming A Truly Bipartisan Issue

Almost all Americans are in favor of medical marijuana.

The cover of Newsweek touts the title, “Higher Office: How Republicans Learned to Love Weed.” It goes into those moved by compassion after hearing harrowing tales from their constituents, how popular opinion has swayed in both parties —  especially the red — and how if the conservative faction wants to keep up with the times, they have to change with the times.

It’s true, almost all Americans are in favor of medical marijuana and over 60 percent are in favor of legalizing cannabis outright. That’s an enormous voting block that is ready for even more change.

Since 2012, states have legalized cannabis in one form or another so that we now have 30 states plus the District of Columbia in a shade of green. We couldn’t have gotten so far without at least some Republican support.

Even former house speaker John Boehner, who was once “unalterably opposed” to cannabis and its reform, is now part of a cannabis company, Acreage Holdings. He told Newsweek that, “I kind of feel like I’m just like most of America, who found myself adamantly opposed years ago and over the years have begun to change my outlook,” and that, “It’s the right thing to do.”

One Republican, who would likely ice skate in hell before admitting that cannabis had any good use, is Jeff “good people don’t smoke marijuana” Sessions. Even as Donald Trump has shown signs of support for the plant, Sessions is out there in the ocean of unpopularity, treading water and mumbling about the devil’s lettuce.

Being a billionaire and being Republican often go hand in hand, though, of course not always. Still, think of the amount of rich investors and CEOs who are joining the Green Rush. The fact of the matter is that while cannabis may have once been a partisan issue, it no longer is. The movement has champions on both sides of the isle, and that’s a very good thing.

In order to reap the benefits of the growing support of cannabis, we must continue to be an all inclusive movement and an informational one even more than it already is. The stories of children ceasing severe seizure disorders and of cancer patients being able to eat and be comfortable again are more than tales, they’re the proofs in the pudding and they make a real impact. Cannabis should be re or descheduled at the federal level and all Americans – and citizens of the world – should have safe access.

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How California overplayed their hand in the cannabis market

The North American Marijuana Index rose again on Wednesday, with pot stocks gaining on both sides of the North American border despite news of more tax woes out of California. According to reports, California’s burdensome regulatory system is forcing more than half of cannabis consumers back to the black market, costing the state more than three-quarters of its predicted revenue from the cannabis trade. The Index rose 2.41 points, or 1.07 percent, to end the day at 228.10.

The United States Marijuana Index rose  0.69 points, or 0.76 percent, while the Canadian Marijuana Index gained 5.79 points, or 1.11 percent on Wednesday.

Due to burdensome taxes, California residents continue to purchase cannabis off the black market, despite the drug being made legal at the turn of the new year.

[Read More: Philly District Attorney To End Marijuana Prosecutions]

In fact, California has imposed such high taxes on cannabis sales that about 20 percent of Californians go the illegal route. A new report from Eaze Insights showed that in the last three months one-fifth of Californians polled purchased cannabis on the black market. Eighty-four percent said they would do it again because the black market has no taxes and cheaper products. (The term “black market” encompasses both illegal street sales and shops).

Legal Cannabis Is Just Too Expensive

Consumers report that they would like to purchase marijuana on the legal market, but it is just too expensive. In fact, California charges a 15 percent excise tax, and the taxes are a major concern for consumers who are watching their wallets.

The Eaze report goes on to say that approximately 85 percent of Californians have at one time or another purchased cannabis from unlicensed producers, due to no taxes and lower prices. Others said that it is very difficult and time-consuming to find and identify licensed cannabis businesses in California and that it is simply easier to purchase on the black market.

[Read More: A Look Inside Planet Earth’s Largest Cannabis Dispensary]

It is not good news for state finances and regulators who are depending on tax income to fund California’s government programs. The state may be looking into cutting taxes to encourage and incentivize people to purchase cannabis legally. Proposals are floating around to cut taxes by five percent, which would hopefully incentivize consumers towards the legal market.

A Five Percent Reduction Would Double Income

Some experts estimate that a five percent reduction would double the number of people who would purchase only from licensed cannabis businesses. If for some reason California were to theoretically increase the tax by five percent, to a total of 20 percent, it would double the number of Californians who purchase cannabis on the black market.

Indeed, some savvy California towns caught on early; Berkeley for instance already cut its city tax in half—from ten percent down to five percent. It is no big secret—consumers care about fair cannabis pricing just as they would any traditional purchase.

California’s theory about what would happen with legalized recreational marijuana isn’t coming through to fruition quite as the powers that be had hoped. The premise was to legalize recreational cannabis, then regulate and tax it. After that, California’s state, city, and county governments would be overflowing in money from those tax revenues. Legalization would have the added effect of stamping out the illicit black market because people would buy the legal product. And with California representing the world’s largest recreational market, what could go wrong?

Less Revenue Than Expected

In January 2018, California’s Legislative Analyst’s Office estimated $175 million in annual revenue from the excise tax. However, the state has only collected $34 million in taxes during Q1—well below the revenue that was projected.

Unfortunately, the compounded effect of high product markups and even higher taxes, as well as local red tape, has hampered legal sales in the state. Licensed producers markup their products to recoup costs from paying for things like pesticide testing and worker protection laws. The state enacted stricter regulations which went into effect in July, forcing consumers to pay for the more rigid safety standards on pesticides.

Meanwhile on Wall Street

A mixed day on the markets was caused by falling oil prices and the return of investor panic of trade war fears. China struck back against the United States on Wednesday, hitting $16 billion worth of goods with 25 percent tariffs, the latest salvo in the back and forth maneuvering between Beijing and The White House.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 45.16 points, or 0.18 percent, closing out the day at 25,583.75, while the S&P 500 fell 0.75 points, or 0.03 percent, ending Wednesday at 2,857.7. Meanwhile, the Nasdaq Composite gained 4.66 points, or 0.06 percent, to finish off the day at 7,888.33.

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First FDA-Approved CBD Medication to Cost More than $32,000 Per Year

GW Pharmaceuticals has revealed the expected consumer price for Epidiolex, the first cannabidiol-based medication to be approved by the FDA, according to a Business Insider report.

At a price tag of about $32,500 per year, it won’t be cheap, but company representatives said in a phone call with investors this week that its cost reflects that of other epilepsy medications. Patients should expect a wait time of about three weeksbetween when a physician prescribes the medication to when they actually receive the drug.

According to Julian Gangolli, the GW representative who is in charge of commercializing the drug in the U.S., the co-pays for Epidiolex — despite its high price tag — could ultimately be cheaper than buying hemp-derived CBD products online or CBD medication from a medical cannabis dispensary; many patients, however, are expected to continue opting into the more loosely regulated gray market.

Epidiolex was developed from cannabis but contains just the cannabinoid CBD, which, unlike THC, does not have an intoxicating effect.

For now, however, CBD remains a Schedule 1 drug with “no currently accepted medical use.” The DEA was given three months from the FDA’s approval of the drug to reschedule it to a lower category under the Controlled Substances Act.

“We don’t have a choice on that. … It (CBD) absolutely has to become Schedule 2, 3, 4, or 5.” — Barbara Carreno, public affairs officer for the DEA, via Business Insider

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Medical marijuana trial shows positive signs for epilepsy sufferers

SYDNEY, Aug. 13 (Xinhua) — An Australian trial which used a marijuana extract to treat 40 children with severe epilepsy found the drug has a manageable side effect profile, but only shows extensive symptom relief for a select number of patients.

Following treatment with cannabidiol, a non-psychoactive compound found in marijuana, about one in five were described as much or very much improved from their baseline, while around half reported none, or a very slight improvement.

“This was a statewide study in New South Wales (NSW) and it involves the sickest children with epilepsy in the state — children who are having seizures many times per day, who have been recently hospitalised for their epilepsy, and have failed on average about nine anti-epilepsy drugs before hand,” lead author John Lawson, paediatric neurologist at Sydney’s Children’s Hospital, told Xinhua on Monday.

“The main aim of the study was about safety. We found that there were a few safety concerns but overall those safety issues were very manageable and the drug over all was very safe for the majority.”

Although legally cannabis must be prescribed by a doctor, recent reports of cannabis derivatives being successful in treating children with epilepsy have lead to a number of parents of sick children sourcing their own medical marijuana.

“Many people do try to obtain things from overseas or through local growers, and that posses great risks for children and their families,” Lawson said.

“They’re never too sure what they’re getting and if they are getting a truly medicinal product.”

“What we’re hoping over the next couple of years is that these drugs can become part of the regular medicines and become available to everybody,” he said.

Researchers from the Sydney Children’s Hospital Network have been trialling these drugs for two years following a change of legislation by the NSW government which allows clinical trials and use of marijuana for medical purposes.

While the study’s authors said the results were significant, they stressed that the purpose of this study was about safety not efficacy and have called for further research to be done.

The study was published on Monday in the Medical Journal of Australia.

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