world wide markets
The international opportunities for cannabis related businesses are growing. Medicinal uses are permitted in several countries and recreational use is allowed in a few countries under varying degrees of control. Uruguay recently enacted legislation that would allow individuals to purchase and possess sufficient marijuana to roll twenty cigarettes. The Netherlands permits consumption in coffee houses. The intent of the Company wishes to enter these markets where both profitability and legality can be maintained. This overall plan will be pursued at several levels.
The International Industry
The following presents a compilation of the present state of the laws in the world and we believe generally indicates a slow, steady and perhaps quickening movement toward the total legalization of medical uses of marijuana and the industry required to support the patients, as well as slower legalization of recreational use.
Medical use of cannabis has been legal and regulated in the Czech Republic since April 1, 2013.
Generally possession of up to fifteen grams for personal use or cultivation of up to five plants is merely a misdemeanor from 2010 onwards. The plant still remains illegal. A bill allowing cannabis to be legally available on prescription in pharmacies as a medicine was passed by the Czech Chamber of Deputies on December 7, 2012. From the total of 200 deputies 126 voted for and only 7 against the legalization (27 abstained and 46 were absent from the vote). The Czech Senate passed the bill January 30, 2013. From the total of 81 senators 67 voted for legalization and only 2 voted against (5 senators abstained and 7 were absent from the vote). The bill passed to the President of the Czech Republic who can either sign it (than bill comes into force), veto it (than Chamber of Deputies may override the veto and bill may still come into force) or not look at the bill at all in the given period (in this case the bill also comes into force). The bill also states that only imported cannabis will be allowed for sale in the first year "to ensure standards." After that, sales may expand to include registered, domestic production that is strictly monitored. The law came into effect on April 1, 2013 and since then medical use of cannabis has been legal and regulated in the Czech Republic.
As of June 8, 2013, cannabis derivatives can be used in France for the manufacture of medicinal products. The products can only be obtained with a prescription and will only be prescribed when all other medications have failed to effectively relieve suffering. The amended legislation decriminalizes "the production, transport, export, possession, offering, acquisition or use of specialty pharmaceuticals that contains one of these (cannabis-derivative) substances", while all cannabis products must be approved by the National Medical Safety Agency (Agence nationale de sécurité du médicament -- ANSM). A Pharmacists' Union spokesperson explained to the media that the change will make it more straightforward to conduct research into cannabinoids.
Marijuana for medical use has been permitted in Israel since the early 1990s for cancer patients and those with pain-related illnesses such as Parkinson's, multiple sclerosis, Crohn's Disease, other chronic pain and post-traumatic stress disorder. Patients can smoke the drug, ingest it in liquid form, or apply it to the skin as a balm. The numbers of patients authorized to use marijuana in Israel in 2012 is about 10,000.
There are eight government-sanctioned cannabis growing operations in Israel, which distribute it for medical purposes to patients who have a prescription from a doctor, via either a company's store, or in a medical center.
THC, the psychoactive chemical component in marijuana that causes a high, was first isolated by Israeli scientists Raphael Mechoulam of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem's Center for Research on Pain and Yechiel Gaoni of the Weizmann Institute in 1964.
The Tikkun Olam company has developed a variety of marijuana that is reported to provide the medical benefits of cannabis, but without THC. The cannabis instead contains high quantities of CBD, a substance that is believed to be an anti-inflammatory ingredient, which helps alleviate pain.
Cannabis for recreational purposes is illegal, and even the smallest amounts may lead to an arrest. Up to 15g of marijuana or hash will end up with an interrogation in the police station, but no major acts against the user. Above 15g will lead to having a police record and is treated as non-personal use.
A small number of people have been granted special permission to use cannabis for medical uses by the Health Ministry.
In 2004, the Israeli military began using THC, the active ingredient in cannabis for experimental treatment of posttraumatic stress disorder of soldiers.
Since 2003, the country's pharmacies distribute medicinal cannabis (pharmaceutical form of the natural plant) by prescription, in addition to other drugs containing cannabinoids (dronabinol, Sativex).
Cannabis has been available for recreational use in coffee shops since 1976. Thus it has also been available without a prescription for medical uses. In addition, since 2003 it is a legal prescription drug known as "Mediwiet", available at the pharmacy. There are 3 different kinds of medical cannabis in the Netherlands a fourth is in the make more about this you can find on http://www.cannabisbureau.nl/en/ It is important to note that laws remain on the books classifying possession and sale as illegal, but due to a non-enforcement policy, it has been de facto legalized.
Cannabis appears to be completely legal in North Korea, and even encouraged as a healthier alternative to tobacco. It is impossible to verify North Korean law, but there is no evidence the government regime considers Cannabis to be a prohibited drug.
Since 2001, possession of any drug for personal use has been decriminalized, though sale and trafficking are still criminal offenses. One can still be arrested and fined for using cannabis in public, or be accused of drug trafficking if in possession of more than 25 grams.
Possession of marijuana is illegal in Romania. In 2013, Bulgarian news agency Novinite published an article claiming that Romania had become the tenth EU country to legalize medical marijuana. There is, however, no source for this claim, and there have been no law projects or enacted laws to this end anytime in 2013.
Since the initial report, this information has spread to other major news sites.
These claims came after the President of the National Drug Authority said that medical marijuana could legally be commercialized in Romania, if such a drug producer would put forward a request to the National Drug Authority. The President of the NDA also said that medical marijuana could have been commercialized (under license) in Romania since 2005, when law no. 339 classified cannabis as a substance of medical interest.
In Spain, the sale and public consumption remains illegal, and private cultivation and use are permitted to associations.
Several cannabis consumption clubs and user associations have been established throughout Spain. These clubs, the first of which was created in 1991, are non-profit associations who grow cannabis and sell it at cost to its members. The legal status of these clubs is uncertain: in 1997, four members of the first club, the Barcelona Ramón Santos Association of Cannabis Studies, were sentenced to 4 months in prison and a 3000 euro fine, while at about the same time, the court of Bilbao ruled that another club was not in violation of the law. The Andalusian regional government also commissioned a study by criminal law professors on the "Therapeutic use of cannabis and the creation of establishments of acquisition and consumption. The study concluded that such clubs are legal as long as they distribute only to a restricted list of legal adults, provide only the amount of drugs necessary for immediate consumption, and not earn a profit. The Andalusian government never formally accepted these guidelines and the legal situation of the clubs remains insecure. In 2006 and 2007, members of these clubs were acquitted in trial for possession and sale of cannabis and the police were ordered to return seized crops."
In October 2005, the autonomous government in the region of Catalonia launched a program of therapeutical use of Sativex for 600 patients of a wide set of illnesses, from multiple sclerosis to cancer, in order to avoid nauseas or to relax tense muscles. The project involves six hospitals, forty researchers and sixty drugstores. The product is presented as an atomizer to be taken orally, and it will be delivered at drugstores inside some hospitals. The full text of the research initiative can be seen here, in Catalan, from the Universitat Autónoma de Barcelona.
Cannabis remains a Schedule I substance under federal law as of 2014.
As a Schedule I drug under the federal Controlled Substances Act of 1970, marijuana (cannabis) is considered to have "no accepted medical use" and have a high potential for abuse and physical and/or emotional dependence. Cannabis use is illegal for any reason, with the exception of FDA-approved research programs. These programs, though, are hard to get approved. Those wishing to conduct research must get permission granted by the DEA and acquire the supply of cannabis from the NIDA. The Controlled Substances Act allows mis-controlled substances to be reclassified by petition by any member of the public, but federal agencies have so far delayed for many years each such petition on behalf of cannabis, and then denied it.
A successful "medical necessity" defense by patient Robert Randall led the FDA to create a "Compassionate Investigational New Drug program", which provides medical cannabis grown under a NIDA contract at the Research Institute for Pharmaceutical Science at the University of Mississippi to a small number of patients since 1978. The program was closed to new patients in 1992 when many AIDS patients applied, and public health authorities concluded there was no scientific value to it, and due to President George H.W. Bush administration's desire to "get tough on crime and drugs." Four living patients continue to receive federal marijuana, including, since 1983, Irvin Rosenfeld (for bone spurs), a 52-year-old stockbroker who has been featured in numerous print articles and on the Penn & Teller: Bullshit! cable television series; Elvy Musikka (for glaucoma); and George McMahon (who authored Prescription Pot, a book detailing the federal program). The marijuana is grown on a farm at the University of Mississippi in Oxford and each person receives 300 doses a month. These patients are required by the U.S. Government to smoke the marijuana through a "rolled paper tube" (not ingesting or using pipes or vaporizers). Patients and their doctors report significant medical benefits from their use of marijuana. Many have reduced the amount of pharmaceuticals in their medicine regimen. However, these patients have also experienced hardships due to legal confusions. One was detained in prison for a short time after he was found with his allowed dosages.
There is a split between the U.S. federal and many state governments over medical marijuana policy. On June 6, 2005, the Supreme Court, in Gonzales v. Raich, ruled in a 6-3 decision that Congress has the right to outlaw medicinal cannabis, thus subjecting all patients to federal prosecution even in states where the treatment is legalized. Currently, there are at least sixteen states with medical marijuana laws in effect on the books: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, New Jersey and Washington, plus the District of Columbia. Maryland's law does not legalize possession of medical cannabis, but rather makes it a non-incarcerable offense with a maximum penalty of a $100 fine. The case brought into tension two themes of the Rehnquist court: the limits it has imposed on the federal government and the latitude it has afforded law enforcement officers. Joining Justice John Paul Stevens' majority decision were Justices Anthony Kennedy, David Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Stephen Breyer. Justice Antonin Scalia wrote separately to say he agreed with the result, though not the majority's reasoning. Chief Justice William Rehnquist and Justices Sandra Day O'Connor and Clarence Thomas dissented.
DEA and NIDA opposition prevented any scientific studies of medical marijuana for more than a decade, but in the 1990s, activists and doctors were energized by seeing marijuana help dying AIDS patients. A study of smoked marijuana at the University of California, San Francisco, under Dr. Donald Abrams was approved after five years. Further research followed, particularly due to a ten million dollar research appropriation by the California legislature. The University of California coordinates this research. However, there are still significant barriers, unique among Schedule I substances, to conducting medical marijuana research in the US. Many years of work would remain before sufficient research could be approved and conducted to meet the FDA's standards for approving marijuana as a new prescription medicine.
A recent Gallup poll shows that in the past year (2012-2013), support for legalization of cannabis has shot up, with 58% of the US population now supporting the idea. While Congress has consistently rejected legislation to allow medical use of marijuana, 33 states and the District of Columbia have authorized it in some form. Most require that it be "prescribed", which is problematic when federal agencies control doctors' power to prescribe. Many states (listed above) have made laws which permit doctors to instead "recommend" marijuana, starting with California Proposition 215 (1996). In 2004, Montana legalized medical marijuana by a statewide referendum. Hawaii, Maine and Maryland have legalized medical marijuana by legislative action, and the California legislature expanded patient protections in 2003. District of Columbia voters also passed several medical marijuana initiatives, but Congress first denied the funds to count the vote, then when that was declared unconstitutional, voted to overturn the initiative, led by Rep. Bob Barr. Only years after Barr lost his election was the federal prohibition on DC medical marijuana allowed to lapse. Even where medical marijuana is legal, some law enforcement agencies and individual officers continue to harass or arrest patients, or confiscate the drug. For example, the official position of the California Narcotics Officers Association is that medical marijuana activists "misled" the public which voted to change the law. Legal and social support groups such as Americans for Safe Access have sprung up in defense.
Sale of medical marijuana is illegal or barely legal, even in states where patients have the right to grow or use it, due to public confusion between dispensaries and "drug dealers". However, medical marijuana dispensaries have been established in many locations, particularly in California, where they work openly with local government officials to resolve difficulties. Many offer social services, medical consultations, and support groups as well as medicine. The first such dispensary, known as the Cannabis Buyer's Club (CBC), was opened by Dennis Peron in February 1994. The club operated openly in San Francisco for years, even before medical marijuana was legalized. Local police and politicians did not want to be seen arresting suffering AIDS patients, or denying them any medicine that could help them. This gay community activism led directly to the "Compassionate Use Act" medical marijuana initiative, California Proposition 215 (1996), which voters approved.
Washington State Initiative 692, passed by the voters in 1998, also authorizes the medical use of marijuana. On November 2, 2004, the voters of Ann Arbor, Michigan passed a similar resolution with 74% approval. In early 2005, Rhode Island was the first state to effectively legalize medical marijuana by a vote of the legislature rather than of the citizens. In NYC, in 2001, well-known local activist Kenny Toglia, known by some as "The Dog," achieved a significant victory for medical cannabis when charges against him were dropped in the infamous "marijuana cookie case". He was arrested at "University of the Streets", a locally owned black community center on the corner of Tompkins Square at East 7th Street, with more than a pound of marijuana. Ultimately, all charges against him were dismissed following his complaint that the arresting officers had consumed a number of oatmeal cookies laced with marijuana which had been intended for use by patients with AIDS suffering from wasting syndrome. The events following his arrest led to the issue becoming important in the New York state gubernatorial campaign, and subsequently turned the statewide political tide in favor of the issue.
Although the DEA states that they "don't target sick and dying people", federal arrests of medical marijuana users and suppliers continue. Close to thirty federal criminal cases about medical marijuana are pending. Several jurisdictions, including Oakland, California and San Mateo County, California have announced plans to distribute medical marijuana to patients. Ed Rosenthal, author of dozens of books on marijuana cultivation, grew small "starter" plants for patients on behalf of the city government of Oakland. He was convicted in federal court of manufacturing marijuana, by a jury which was never told that his marijuana was for medical patients. Shortly after the trial, eight of the fourteen jurors (and alternates) who convicted him called a press conference and denounced their verdict, arguing that the trial was not fair because the evidence that Rosenthal was growing marijuana for medical use, working on behalf of the city, and was told by DEA agents and city officials that he was immune to prosecution, was all suppressed by the judge as "irrelevant under federal law". The jury discovered the real facts by reading newspapers, within hours after delivering their verdict. As a result of the intense public scrutiny, Rosenthal was given the most lenient possible sentence -- a few days of time already served -- since they had already found him guilty and could not change their verdict. He is appealing his felony conviction, and the federal government is appealing the short sentence.
The late Peter McWilliams, a vocal supporter of medical cannabis who was terminally ill with AIDS and cancer, was arrested by the DEA and convicted for violating federal marijuana laws. Even as he vomited repeatedly during court proceedings, McWilliams was not allowed by the federal judge to explain his condition or its connection to the charges against him. His mother's house had been used to collateralize the bond on which he was allowed to remain free pending sentencing, a condition of which was that he refrain from using cannabis. Prior to his death, McWilliams stated:
The federal prosecutor personally called my mother to tell her that if I was found with even a trace of medical marijuana, her house would be taken away.
Richard Cowan and many other critics of U.S. drug policies have described his death as murder by the federal government, insofar as they denied him the use of the medical cannabis which might have prevented his death.
The federal government of the United States continues to argue that smoked cannabis has no recognized medical purpose (pointing to a definition of "medical purpose" published by the DEA, not the Food and Drug Administration, the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control, or the office of the U.S. Surgeon General and the U.S. Public Health Service) -- many officials point to the difficulty of regulating dosage (a problem for treatment as well as research) despite the availability (in Canada and the U.K.) of dosage-controlled Sativex. The United States has also pressured other governments (especially Canada and Mexico, with which it shares long borders) to retain restrictions on marijuana. The Health and Human Services Division of the federal government holds the patent US 6630507 for medical marijuana. The patent, "Cannabinoids as antioxidants and neuroprotectants", issued October 2003
On November 4, 2008, Massachusetts Ballot question No. 2 decriminalized possession of an ounce or less for personal use. It passed at almost a 2:1 ratio.
As of 2013, the recreational use of cannabis has been legalized in the states of Washington and Colorado, while Massachusetts voted "Yes" to question 3, thereby allowing the use of medical marijuana. On November 6, 2012, Colorado Amendment 64 (2012) was passed by initiative, thereby legalizing the recreational use of cannabis. In a historical event with global significance, Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper signed two bills on May 28, 2013 that made Colorado the world's first fully regulated recreational cannabis market for adults. Hickenlooper explained to the media: "Certainly, this industry will create jobs. Whether it's good for the brand of our state is still up in the air. But the voters passed Amendment 64 by a clear majority. That's why we're going to implement it as effectively as we possibly can." In its independent analysis, the Colorado Center on Law & Policy found that the state could expect a to see "$60 million in total combined savings and additional revenue for Colorado's budget with a potential for this number to double after 2017."
In 2013, the parents of a two-year-old with Dravet's syndrome confronted New Jersey governor Chris Christie, who signed a bill allowing access for sick children to medical marijuana in a controversy dubbed "pot for tots". In 2014, legislative proposals in New York, Washington state, Minnesota, and Florida are being considered, where "even some staunch opponents of medical marijuana now are willing to make an exception" to allow the marijuana extract for medical treatment. On March 20, 2014, the Florida House of Representatives Budget Committee passed the "so-called Charlotte's Web measure (CS/HB 843)" designed to limit prosecutors' ability to prosecute those in possession of low THC/high CBD marijuana ("0.5 percent or less of tetrahydrocannabinol and more than 15 percent of cannabidiol") used for treating seizures. The bill takes effect July 1, 2014.
On March 21, 2014, Gary Herbert, the governor of Utah, signed a bill giving "families access to the marijuana extract for treating epilepsy." The bill, HB0105, allows import of Charlotte's Web extract across state lines from Colorado to Utah, and covers only use for intractable epilepsy with the consent of a neurologist. Also on March 21, 2014, an Arizona court found "that Arizona's medical marijuana law allows consumption of the plant in extract form."
Uruguay has no legislation regarding personal usage of cannabis. While this technically allows its consumption, the lack of definition of "personal usage" is still a cause of discrepancies between courts of law, as allows the case law system. It is popular belief that possessing over an ounce (28 grams) is illegal and prosecutable, while lesser amounts are permitted to carry.
Recently, Uruguayan government officials President Jose Mujica and his administration announced, as part of a 16 proposals "package" to be introduced to Parliament, that the State would produce and commercialize cannabis to registered consumers for personal usage. On August 8, 2012, on a bill presented to Parliament, Mujica's administration proposes that "the State assumes control and regulation of activities pertaining import, production, acquisition of any title, storage, commercialization, and distribution of marijuana and its derivatives, on terms and conditions of what the regularization states." This broad bill is explained in detail on a letter Mujica's administration wrote to Parliament explaining their philosophy on the subject. The letter was signed by the Ministry of State and president Mujica. The letter mentions supposed facts on historical usage, failure in international regulation and a lost War on Drugs, among other subjects. The bill contains no mention to a list of registered consumers, as announced by the administration, nor is it mentioned on the letter to Parliament.
On an interview with CNN En Espańol, president Mujica announced a private company, under strict governmental control, would sell cannabis to users.
On July 31, 2013, the Uruguayan House of Representatives approved a bill to legalize the production, distribution, sale, and consumption of marijuana by a vote of 50 to 46. The bill heads next to the Senate, where the left-leaning majority coalition, the Broad Front, holds a comfortable majority and is expected to pass the bill. The bill will then be presented to President José Mujica, also of the Broad Front coalition, who has supported legalization since June 2012. Relating this vote to the 2012 legalization of marijuana by the U.S. states Colorado and Washington, John Walsh, drug policy expert of the Washington Office on Latin America, stated that "Uruguay's timing is right. Because of last year's Colorado and Washington State votes to legalize, the U.S. government is in no position to browbeat Uruguay or others who may follow."