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Wednesday, January 31, 2018

World news for February 2018 - by Kathy Hess

Hash Bash 2018!

ANN ARBOR - Michigan’s countercultural cannabis holiday is less than two months away! The 47th Annual Ann Arbor Hash Bash kicks off, as per usual, the first Saturday of April at High Noon, concurrent to the Monroe Street Fair.

Hash Bash is also a folk festival and largely underfunded over the years because we cannot sell vending space and refuse to allow corporatization of the event through sponsorship. This year, working with NORML at UofM, and Students for Sensible Drug Policy at UofM, to crowdfund Hash Bash so we can provide attendees with the best experience possible. Please take a moment to visit our GoFundMe Page below.

Proceeds from this GoFundMe will provide for:
-Sound System to ensure high-fidelity sound at the maximum volume.

-Trash Removal to keep the beautiful University of Michigan campus clean.

-Entertainment including musicians and art installations to make Hash Bash a more immersive experience.

-Promotional material including posters and printed programs.

-Other costs associated with the 47th and best Ann Arbor Hash Bash.

Aurora Cannabis and CanniMed
Therapeutics Create Mega Merger

CANADA: Aurora Cannabis Inc, Canada’s No. 2 marijuana producer, has agreed to buy their rival and smaller cannabis company, CanniMed Therapeutics Inc for C$1.1 billion ($852 million) in an effort to receive maximum benefit from the country’s legalization of recreational marijuana use later
this year.
After months of tensions between the companies, they have come to an agreement to create the world’s top marijuana producer by market value.  Originally, Aurora made a hostile bid capped at C$24 per share for CanniMed, and eventually increased it to C$43 in the new offer.

The Aurora/CanniMed deal marks the world’s biggest cannabis industry transaction, bringing the value of cannabis deals so far this year to $1.2 billion, doubling the 2017 totals.

Canada is set to legalize recreational use of marijuana by mid-2018, becoming the second country in the world to do so after Uruguay.

With countries including Australia and Germany allowing medical marijuana and many others moving closer to doing so, Canada’s early move gives them an advantage. Although several U.S. states have legalized cannabis for medical or recreational use, the substance remains illegal at the federal level.

Aurora hopes that the move to buy CanniMed will boost the company’s capacity to meet domestic demand and increase distribution around the world.

Branding and Advertising Rules Will Take the
Fun Out of Legal Weed

CANADA: Producers trying to market their product will face a gruesome battle with proposed government restrictions similar to those governing cigarette sales. Restrictions include displaying graphic health warnings, adhering to standardized lettering and limiting the use of colors and brand elements. In addition, celebrity endorsements and testimonials from consumers are forbidden.

For some investors, the branding restrictions make the stock undesirable. Officials say their goal is to avoid making drug use look fun. “This is really predicated entirely upon a public health model, and not a commercial model,” said Bill Blair, the government’s marijuana point man and a former Toronto Police Chief. “We want to do a better job of protecting our kids.”

This will prove to be a challenge for marketers because pot producers will have to limit traditional advertising tools and gimmicks such as bright colors or cartoons of celebrities.
Canopy and Organigram Holdings were in the process of developing deals with hip-hop superstar Snoop Dogg and the owners of the very popular Canadian TV show Trailer Park Boys, when a federal task force suggested that it should be illegal to promote marijuana by linking it with glamour, excitement or risk.

Marijuana producers say that their sales pitches will focus on the higher quality and reliability of legal marijuana, a message that will resonate with the recent rise in fentanyl-related deaths.

Children With Severe Epilepsy Granted Early
Access to Medicinal Cannabis in Victoria

AUSTRAILIA: In 2016, Victoria was the first state to legalize medicinal cannabis and have recently trialed imported products on 29 children with severe epilepsy. The trial in question, turned out to be a success.

As a result, the state government has decided to fund up to 60 more treatments over the next two years, with more to come once local products become available.

"These are children for whom, very sadly, the long-term prognosis is not always a positive one and simply cannot afford to wait until the Commonwealth funding arrangements catch up," says Health Minister, Jill Hennessy.

For many of the children suffering from epilepsy, cannabis has led to a reduction in seizures and made an incredibly important difference in their daily lives and in the lives of their families.

The announcement was made after the Federal Government legalized medicinal cannabis exports from Australian producers.

This prompted Victoria to release an industry development plan to grow at least half of those exports by 2028. Many of the parties involved say that they believe that the possibilities are endless.


B.C. Landlords Want to Ban Cultivation in Private Homes

VANCOUVER: B.C. landlords want the province to ban marijuana growing in private homes when recreational marijuana becomes legal under federal legislation on July 1.

LandlordBC, an industry lobby group, is also pushing the B.C. government to introduce legislation that outlaws the smoking of marijuana in rental homes.

Under Quebec’s proposed marijuana law, their residents are allowed to use marijuana in their homes recreationally but they won’t be permitted to grow cannabis for their own personal use.

The federal draft legislation allows the growing of up to four plants up to a metre high in private homes. It also allows the consumption of marijuana in private residences.

Also, about 150,000 Canadians are registered as medical marijuana users and could claim discrimination against restrictions on production or use.

“I think there could be a constitutional challenge to an outright ban on growing marijuana in a private residence,” said Vancouver Lawyer and Senior Policy Analyst at the Canadian Drug Policy Coalition, Scott Bernstein.

He also stated that B.C. has the option to lower the number of plants that could be grown, but it would be difficult to have a blanket ban on people growing marijuana for their personal use, particularly for medical purposes.

Trump’s Drug Policy Appointee to Step Down
Amid Controversy

WASHINGTON D.C.: 24-year-old former Trump campaign worker, Taylor Weyeneth, who rose rapidly to a senior post in the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, plans to step down by the end of the month because of controversy surrounding his appointment, according to White House reports.

Weyeneth graduated from college in May 2016, was named a White House liaison to the drug office in March and then promoted to deputy chief of staff in July, at the age of 23. His only professional experience after college and before becoming a political appointee was working on 45's campaign.

The ONDCP is responsible for coordinating anti-drug initiatives at 16 federal agencies and supporting President Trump’s efforts to confront the opioid epidemic.

The announcement follows Washington Post stories that have been circulating through the media, which detail Weyeneth’s rapid rise at ONDCP, due in large part to the staff turnover and vacancies as well as inconsistencies and inaccuracies on three résumés he submitted to the government.


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