Cannabis Is Officially Legal In Germany

It’s official – with the clock striking midnight in Germany, and the date changing from March 31st to April 1st, the nation’s new adult-use cannabis legalization policy has become the law of the land. Adults (18 years old and older) in Germany may now partake in the newly established freedoms created by the implementation of the first pillar of the CanG law.

“It was time to initiate a paradigm shift in drug policy, ending the failed prohibition policy of the last hundred years.” stated Kai-Friedrich Niermann, leading attorney at KFN+ Law Office, about the historic change in Germany’s cannabis policies.

Germany is not the first country to have passed a national adult-use cannabis legalization measure, however, legalization in Germany is the most significant national policy change of its type since the start of global cannabis prohibition many decades ago. Below are the most noteworthy provisions of Germany’s new cannabis law that consumers and patients should know about.


Cannabis is being removed from Germany’s Narcotics List now that the new law is implemented, and the significance of that policy change cannot be overstated. One thing that may not be on everyone’s radar, but should be, is that the de-listing of cannabis in Germany will improve safe access for medical cannabis patients by removing some hurdles in the medical cannabis supply chain and streamlining processes for pharmacies. Cannabis research will be easier to pursue, and hopefully academic institutions will begin to receive national and/or EU-provided funds for specific research projects.

Historically, the cultivation of medical cannabis in Germany was regulated by a licensing procedure, with the nation’s Federal Office for Drugs and Medical Devices making the final determination on the quantity and price of domestically produced medical cannabis. Imports were not subject to the same process, and that provided a huge advantage to companies based outside of Germany. Germany’s new adult-use cannabis law should provide a tremendous boost to the domestic medical industry.


The main initial way for adults to legally source cannabis in Germany once the new law takes effect is to cultivate it in their homes. Adults will be able to cultivate up to three plants in private for personal use according to the proposed measure. Personal cannabis cultivation is popular in other jurisdictions where it is permitted, including in jurisdictions where consumers have other options from which to legally source their cannabis like storefronts.

It’s virtually guaranteed that many adult consumers in Germany will choose to cultivate their cannabis, and that will, in turn, create massive opportunities overnight for companies that specialize in cultivation-related products and services such as seeds, grow lights, plant nutrients, harvesting equipment, odor control, and drying equipment. Cannabis seeds and clones are legal in Germany now, including for adults who are not citizens of Germany.


In addition to being able to cultivate cannabis, adults in Germany are now permitted to possess a personal amount of cannabis (up to 25 grams). In addition to the expressed legal possession limit, penalties for possessing slightly more than the legal threshold will be considered an ‘administrative violation’ in Germany rather than a criminal offense yielding jail time.

According to a 2021 report from Heinrich Heine University Dusseldorf, Germany will save an estimated 1.05 billion euros annually by no longer enforcing cannabis prohibition, in addition to judicial savings of 313 million euros per year.


Another component of Germany’s new law involves permitting the launch and operation of noncommercial cannabis clubs. Clubs are currently expected to start on July 1, 2024. Membership-based noncommercial clubs, from which adult consumers can legally source their cannabis, will be subjected to various regulations. Seeds and clones are expected to be largely sourced from noncommercial clubs once they launch.

One of the sticking points leading up to the recently reported final coalition agreement was the implementation of noncommercial clubs, and part of the coalition’s compromise was to stagger the implementation date. After the launch, non-commercial clubs will likely be common throughout most of Germany.


The previously listed items are part of the ‘first phase’ of Germany’s legalization plan, often referred to as ‘the first pillar.’ The second phase/pillar involves the launch of regional adult-use cannabis commerce pilot programs, like what is already in place in the Netherlands and Switzerland, but on a significantly larger scale. Advocates will need to work extra hard in the coming months to ensure that Germany’s legalization launch is a success.

“The most interesting questions are now how the law will be applied in practice and whether, shortly after entering into force, it will be amended to keep up with the minister’s promises. The development of the coming weeks will be of great interest to the cultivation associations, which may have to adjust their intended organizational setup.” stated Peter Homberg of leading international law firm Dentons (see Peter’s full interview in the embedded podcast video below).

“There is still a long way to go before complete destigmatization and fair legalization are achieved. Neither the consumers, nor the activists, nor the industry must let up on this path, but must continue to do everything in their power every day to ensure that this path can be taken successfully.” stated Kai Friedrich Niermann of KFN+ Law Office.


Written by Johnny Green on 

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Cannabis Is Associated With Quality Of Life Improvements

Chronically ill patients who use legally prescribed medical cannabis products report improvements in their overall quality of life according to the findings of a recent analysis conducted by a team of researchers in Germany.

Per data published in the German medical journal Schmerz, eighty-four percent of medical cannabis patients surveyed reported quality of life improvements following their use of prescribed medical cannabis.

The team of German researchers assessed patient-reported data in a nationwide sampling involving 1,582 patients authorized to use cannabis by their German physicians. Since 2017, doctors in Germany have been permitted to prescribe medical cannabis to patients who are historically unresponsive to ‘traditional’ therapies.

“The survey of Copeia captured early 2022 patient-reported outcomes (PRO) in Germany under cannabis medicinal product (CAM) therapy, with particular attention to symptoms, symptom changes, indications, side effects, dosages, and cost bearers.” the researchers stated about their analysis.

“A standardized questionnaire was administered online nationwide in dialogue form over a 15-week period to collect itemized symptoms and PRO. Recruitment was supported by pharmacies, prescribing physicians, and patient associations. Inclusion criteria included physician-prescribed CAM therapy.” the researchers also stated.

Patients involved in the analysis reported suffering from chronic pain, depression, sleep disturbances, and various other symptoms.

“Of 1582 participants, 1030 data sets (65%) could be completely analyzed. There was a heterogeneous patient population, whose common feature was disease chronicity. The frequency distribution of symptoms showed a homogeneous pattern for the respective indications, in which the most frequent six (pain 71%, sleep disturbance 64%, stress/tension 52%, inner restlessness 52%, depressive mood 44% and muscle tension 43%) seem to have a special significance.” the researchers stated about their findings.

“A symptom matrix (SMX) composed of different symptoms seems to play a special role in CAM therapy to improve the quality of life of chronically ill patients, regardless of the underlying disease. The SMX could contribute to the identification of an indication and to targeted treatment monitoring.” the researchers concluded.


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Morocco Reports First Legal Cannabis Harvest

According to Morocco’s Agence Nationale de Réglementation des Activités relatives au Cannabis (ANRAC), the nation’s first legal cannabis crop totaled 294 metric tons.

The legal harvest is part of a new government program in Morocco that was launched to give cannabis farmers in the North African nation a path to join the regulated industry. Historically, Morocco is one of the world’s largest sources of unregulated cannabis, with Moroccan cannabis being particularly popular in Europe.

Morocco first adopted its current medical cannabis policy in 2021. The measure authorized the legal production of cannabis for medical, cosmetic, and industrial uses, as well as tasked a national agency to oversee the launch and operation of the industry.

In March 2022, Morocco’s government selected three provinces where medical cannabis would eventually be legally cultivated for domestic and export purposes. Roughly three months later, the nation’s national cannabis regulatory agency, ANRAC, met for the first time. In October 2022, Morocco issued its first cannabis production permits.

The recent harvest is the culmination of years of effort on the part of Morocco’s emerging industry, regulators, and elected officials. It will take a while before Morocco’s legal industry supplants its unregulated industry, however, the 294 metric ton harvest is still a major milestone. Per excerpts from Reuters:

The harvest was made by 32 cooperatives that brought together 430 farmers covering 277 hectares in the northern Rif mountain areas of Al Houceima, Taounat and Chefchaouen, ANRAC said in an email to Reuters.

This year, the regulator is examining applications by 1,500 farmers who organised themselves into 130 cooperatives, ANRAC said.

Nearly a million people live in areas of northern Morocco where cannabis is the main economic activity. It has been publicly grown and smoked there for generations, mixed with tobacco in traditional long-stemmed pipes with clay bowls.

The value of Morocco’s medical cannabis market was valued at USD 24.90 million in 2022 according to Grand View Research. The nation’s medical cannabis market is estimated to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 48.0% from 2023 to 2030.

Cannabis industry data company BDSA projects that the legal global cannabis industry will be worth $55 billion by 2027.




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Cannabis consumption spaces beginning to open in BC


A cannabis store in Penticton hopes to become one of the first cannabis stores in the province with a designated consumption area. 

Cannabis Cottage, located in downtown Penticton, says it hopes to have its grand opening for the outdoor consumption space on April 20, bringing in food trucks, local artists, and performers.

This was what we were hoping to do from the beginning. We secured a space with the hope that at some point the government would allow for consumption spaces as well. So right now we’re just jumping over the moon.


The store owner, Marianna Wolff, says she chose the location for her store, on a major thoroughfare in the city’s downtown, because it had a large front yard that could serve as a lounge space for customers. 

Initially, BC’s rules did not allow for such a consumption space, but a rule change announced in February of this year finally made it possible. That rule change made it so that existing patio spaces where smoking and vaping of tobacco products are allowed can now also allow cannabis use. 

It also made it so that cannabis stores, like Cannabis Cottage, can advertise consumption spaces. BC first engaged the public about these proposed changes in 2023 as part of a broader industry outreach initiative.

“We are totally thrilled,” says Wolff. “This was what we were hoping to do from the beginning. We secured a space with the hope that at some point the government would allow for consumption spaces as well. So right now we’re just jumping over the moon.”

She says she has worked with her neighbours, which includes a church, to ensure they are okay with the use of the outdoor space as a lounge. All of them gave their approval. The parish members did ask that no consumption occur during the operating hours of its Sunday School, something Wolff said she was happy to accommodate. 

She says she chose the space specifically because it was not near areas like parks or schools, and would have the approval of its neighbours. 

“The spot itself I feel is very indicative of spaces that can be good candidates for outdoor cannabis consumption without disrupting anybody who doesn’t necessarily want to have to smell it.”

Cannabis Cottage first experimented with bringing in local food trucks during a customer appreciation event last fall.

“It was very successful. It was a great show of how you can have designated space for people to enjoy their cannabis in a similar way that you might go to a brewery and enjoy a beer or go to a winery patio and enjoy a glass of wine.”

The format is similar to one taken by a cannabis retailer in Cumberland, BC, on Vancouver Island.

Max Oudendag has been assisting Michael Arneja, the owner of Cumberland, BC’s Trugreen Cannabis, on a large outdoor community space that will include a formal cannabis consumption area.

“We’re excited to be in a position to explore how to break down the stigma of cannabis consumption and find a way to integrate that into a healthy community gathering space,” Oudendag told StratCann late last year.

Like the pop-up event Cannabis Cottage held last fall, Trugreen held several pop-ups in 2023 as a test run for their project, which they say they have been working hand-in-hand with the province to develop.

Arneja says they also plan on launching a grand opening for the first stage of their outdoor consumption space in Cumberland on April 20, as well.

His vision extends beyond the mere creation of a cannabis consumption area, instead seeking to nurture “a stigma-free space where the community can gather and celebrate the cannabis culture with a responsible blend of cannabis use and community building.”

“We’ve been operating these pop-ups to see what the space could look like, and to get feedback from the community on what they want it to look like,” he adds, highlighting the project’s community-driven nature.

Sam Jones, the owner of 2% Jazz Coffee, a cafe in Victoria, says that beginning in April his store will be hosting monthly cannabis-themed events, as well.

“It’s a very casual affair,” explains Jones. “There’s no smoking indoors at all. No buying, nothing like that. It’s just an open cafe where people can go out on the patio and smoke a joint. Then you can come back in and enjoy a coffee and some good conversation.

Instead, he works with local cannabis companies who help host the event, which can serve as a learning session for those interested. The coffee shop will also be hosting a cannabis seed exchange on the last Friday in March.

“We just want to provide a space where the idea of having a joint can be normalized.”

-Note: This article was edited to include information on the 2% Jazz Coffee.

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Cannabis-friendly credit cards spearhead financial inclusion

British Columbia’s Community Savings credit union rolls out pre-approved credit cards for cannabis business

February 27, 2024  By Haley Nagasaki

As the five major banking institutions in Canada have largely denied cannabis businesses, industry has maintained constant difficulty in securing capital since legalization. Now, in a groundbreaking move, B.C. credit union Community Savings has unveiled pre-approved business credit cards tailored for its cannabis membership, marking a significant stride in reshaping financial accessibility for the industry.

In a recent press release, the stated offerings by Community Savings includes three business credit cards: The No Fee Cash Back Visa, the Visa Low-Rate Business Card, and the Visa Infinite Business Card – each with a variety of different benefits and protections.

The launch of pre-approved business cards may signal the beginning of the end of exclusionary practices and discrimination solely based on a company’s perceived legal standing.

The president and CEO of Community Savings, Mike Schilling, commented on the launch by emphasizing the importance of providing cannabis businesses with access to fundamental financial products. He underscored the credit union’s commitment to the support and growth of Canada’s cannabis industry, as a “pro-cannabis business financial institution,” by facilitating access to essential financial services.

“The fantastic team at Community Savings has demonstrated a steadfast commitment to the B.C. cannabis industry,” says Joshua Reynolds, partnership director at We Can Capital Inc. “The announcement of pre-approved business credit cards for cannabis businesses is another significant step forward for our sector.”

Together with We Can Capital, this month the credit union also launched an “industry-first innovative invoice factoring program” designed for B.C. LPs to access affordable capital for their business needs, initiating a spark that may motivate other provinces to follow suit.

“We are proud of our close relationship with Community Savings; initiatives like the affordable invoice factoring program further demonstrate our mutual commitment to empowering B.C. cannabis entrepreneurs,” says Reynolds. “Together, we are reshaping financial accessibility for the industry, which we genuinely believe will help drive its continued growth.”


Despite harsh taxation and regulatory challenges, still the industry has proven resilient with stats of “about 10 per cent year-on-year [growth] since legalization,” while supporting employment of nearly 100,000 Canadians.




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Germany’s parliament votes to legalize limited marijuana possession

By Geir Moulson in Berlin
February 23, 2024  By The Associated Pres

(AP) Berlin — German lawmakers on Friday approved a government plan to liberalize rules on cannabis, paving the way for the country to decriminalize limited amounts of marijuana and allow members of “cannabis clubs” to buy it for recreational purposes.

Parliament’s lower house, or Bundestag, backed the legislation, a prominent reform project of Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s socially liberal governing coalition, by 407 votes to 226. There were four abstentions.

Health Minister Karl Lauterbach said the government’s aim is to “fight the black market” and better protect young people. He said current laws in the European Union’s most populous nation have failed, with consumption rising and increasing problems with contaminated or overly concentrated cannabis.

“Whatever we do, we can’t carry on like this,” he told lawmakers. “You can stick your head in the sand … but we won’t solve a single problem that way.”

Lauterbach, who noted that he himself long opposed legalizing cannabis, argued that addiction researchers say removing the taboo around marijuana and giving information on its risks is the right approach.

The bill foresees legalizing possession by adults of up to 25 grams (nearly 1 ounce) of marijuana for recreational purposes and allowing individuals to grow up to three plants on their own. That part of the legislation is supposed to take effect on April 1.

German residents who are 18 and older would be allowed to join nonprofit “cannabis clubs” with a maximum 500 members each, starting July 1. The clubs would be allowed to grow cannabis for members’ personal consumption.

Individuals would be allowed to buy up to 25 grams per day, or a maximum 50 grams per month — a figure limited to 30 grams for under-21s. Membership in multiple clubs would not be allowed. The clubs’ costs would be covered by membership fees, which would be staggered according to how much marijuana members use.

The government plans a ban on advertising or sponsoring cannabis, and the clubs and consumption won’t be allowed in the immediate vicinity of schools, playgrounds and sports facilities. An evaluation of the legislation’s effect on protection of children and youths is to be carried out within 18 months of the legislation taking effect.

The main center-right opposition bloc vehemently opposes the change.

“You’re asserting here in all seriousness as health minister … that we will curb consumption among children and young people with the legalization of further drugs,” conservative lawmaker Tino Sorge said to Lauterbach. “That’s the biggest nonsense I’ve ever heard.”

Lauterbach told reporters after the vote that “dealers have no reason at all to celebrate.” He noted that, under the new legislation, dealers who are caught selling to children or youths can expect to face a sentence of at least two years.

The plan falls significantly short of the government’s original ambitions, which foresaw allowing the sale of cannabis to adults across the country at licensed outlets. The project was scaled back following talks with the European Union’s executive commission.

Parliament’s upper house, which represents Germany’s 16 state governments, could in principle delay the legislation, though it doesn’t formally require the chamber’s approval. Bavaria’s conservative state government has said it would examine whether legal action against the liberalization plan is possible.

The legislation is one of several that Scholz’s coalition, which has since become highly unpopular as a result of economic weakness and persistent infighting, pledged when it took office in 2021.

It has eased rules on gaining citizenship and ended restrictions on holding dual citizenship. Among other policies, it also plans to make it easier for transgender, intersex and nonbinary people to change their gender and name in official registers.

PHOTO ABOVE: German Minister of Health Karl Lauterbach speaks during the debate on the law on the controlled release of cannabis in the plenary chamber of the German Bundestag, in Berlin, Friday Feb. 23, 2024. Photo: Serhat Kocak via AP


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Ontario Cannabis Store continues to grow

The Ontario Cannabis Store helped facilitate nearly $1.5 billion in cannabis sales through the distribution of 315,000 kilograms of cannabis products across a network of more than 1,600 stores, as well as online sales, in its most recent annual report.

By provincial order, the agency was required to pay its net profits of $150 million from its cash balance into Ontario’s Consolidated Revenue Fund (“CRF”).

The report, covering the 2022-23 fiscal year ending March 31, 2023, shows the provincial cannabis distributor and online retail generated a net income of $234.2 million over the past year and revenue of $1,474.5 million, marking a growth of $293.7 million compared to $1,180.8 million in 2021–22. 

The province captured nearly 60% of the cannabis market with its sales, a continued increase in the total share of the market. 

Sales increases were assisted by establishing the OCS’ Flow-Through program, which, combined with the number of products held in stock in the distribution warehouse, grew to 2,950 SKUs, a 46.5% increase over the previous fiscal year. 

The Ontario Cannabis Store
A product sold through the OCS Flow Through program sits at the OCS warehouse

The total number of units sold through the OCS Flow Through was 1.4 million. The total number of LPs that the OCS partnered with as of March 31, 2023, was 239, which is an increase of 90 compared to 2021–22.

(Editor’s note: The above paragraph has been edited to note that the 1.4 million units sold were through Flow-Through.)

The number of stores in Ontario has continued to increase, even as store closures have also been picking up pace. Ontario added an additional 345 Authorized Cannabis Stores in the most recent fiscal year, growing to 1,661 stores across the province as of March 31, 2023. (The AGCO currently lists more than 1,700 stores as Authorized to Open.) Another 144 stores closed during this time period. 

Online cannabis sales through decreased in the last fiscal year as the provincial agency says it has made efforts to improve its wholesale service levels to retailers and deprioritized large or material enhancements to the online consumer platform.

Dried flower sales through saw a significant decline, from 49.8% of all sales in 2021-22 to 37.6% in 2022-23. Sales of generally smaller SKUs like pre-rolls, oils, capsules, vapes and concentrates, edibles and beverages increased through the online platform.

The total revenue for the OCS sales from wholesale and online sales in 2022–23 reached $1,474.5 million, marking a growth of $293.7 million compared to $1,180.8 million in 2021–22.

Wholesale sales of vapes, pre-rolls and edibles showed growth in the most recent fiscal year, but cannabis flower still dominates with 42.7% of wholesale revenue sales in 2022-23. Combined with pre-rolls at 19.4% (non-infused), this accounts for 62.1% of total revenue share.

Vapes and concentrates represented the next largest share of revenues, with 26.2%, followed by edibles at 4.5%, oils and capsules at 3.4%, and beverages at 2.7%. Vapes and concentrates were up from 18.8% in the previous fiscal year.

The OCS will be lowering its margins on wholesale products in Q2 of 2023–24, which it expects will inject approximately $35 million into the marketplace and roughly $60 million by 2024-35 with even further planned reductions.

Currently, the fixed wholesale markup OCS charges on cannabis products ranges from 20-29%.

The total finance income for the OCS in 2022–23 reached $16.8 million, marking a growth of $14.7 million compared to $2.1 million in 2021–22.

Ontario Cannabis Store Fixed Wholesale Mark-up Rates by Subcategory. Image via OCS.
Ontario Cannabis Store Fixed Wholesale Mark-up Rates by Subcategory. Image via OCS.

The most recent fiscal year was the most profitable year for the OCS so far, with a reported total comprehensive income of $234.2 million, compared to $184.4 million in 2021–22. 

The OCS has used these profits to repay the loan provided by the Ontario Financing Authority. In 2022–23, $7.6 million in loan principal was repaid, and $1.8 million in interest was paid, for a total payment of $9.4 million. The balance of the loan as of March 31, 2023, was $59.7 million. It completed a total of $37.6 million in payments to various governments in 2022-23.

The federal government received $27.6 million in harmonized sales tax (HST) remittances from Ontario cannabis sales in 2022–23, an increase from $27.0 million in 2021–22. The Ontario provincial sales tax component of the HST was $17.0 million in 2022–23, compared to $16.6 million in 2021–22.

On or before September 29, 2023, the Ontario Cannabis Retail Corporation was required to pay into Ontario’s Consolidated Revenue Fund (“CRF”) its net profits in the amount of $150 million from its cash balance as of March 31, 2023.

Each year the OCS has four scheduled product calls, one in the spring, summer, fall, and winter. The next product call is January 2024 for the 2024 summer product call schedule.

OCS schedule


| Staff

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cannabis makes its way to Dutch coffeeshops in new pilot project

A year after formally announcing plans to explore options for regulating the supply chain for its hundreds of cannabis “coffee shops,” the initial two locations have begun selling the first legally cultivated cannabis in the Netherlands.

The Dutch government announced its plans for the project in 2022, which include exploring the possibility of a “closed cannabis chain” for cannabis coffee shops in several cities across the country.

The goal of the closed-loop experiment is to explore the possibility of a quality-controlled cannabis production and distribution system in the country as an alternative to the current “tolerance policy” that has not-legal-but-tolerated “coffee shop” style points of sale, and unregulated, illicit growers who supply them. 

“By regulating the sale of cannabis, we have a better insight into the origin of the products and the quality,” Dutch Health Minister Ernst Kuipers said recently. “In addition, we can better inform consumers about the effects and health risks of cannabis use.”

The Dutch cities of Breda and Tilburg are home to the first two shops to sell this cannabis. 

Kuipers joined Breda’s mayor, Paul Delpa, and Tilburg’s mayor, Theo Weterings, in the coffeeshop De Baron in Breda to show off the first delivery of cannabis.

Another handful of cities will be participating in the program, with products supplied by ten different cannabis growers selected to supply cannabis for the project with product quality control and preventive efforts to reduce health risks being implemented. 

The selected coffee shops are allowed to have a maximum of 500 grams of cannabis from these legal growers at a time.

A research paper examines the subject here and can also be explored in-depth here.

Currently, there are around 565 cannabis coffee shops in the country. 

Dutch Cannabis supply chain

The policy that provides for these shops to exist was first introduced in the Netherlands in 1967, allowing adults to buy small amounts of cannabis in designated “coffee shops.” However, the issue of how to properly regulate the supply of these coffee shops has long-simmered in the country over concerns with public safety and law enforcement, especially with many of the commercial growers located in residential areas. 

In 2009, an advisory committee looking into the issue recommended a small-scale experiment to explore how to regulate coffee shops’ supply. In 2015 the Association of Dutch Municipalities added to the pressure on the government to regulate these supply chains. 

This led to the creation of the Coffee Shop Chain Act, which was successfully passed through parliament in 2020. Since then, the Dutch government has been preparing for the study,based on the input of its expert committee

The committee—which consisted of experts in public health, addiction, law enforcement, local government, criminology, and law—held round table discussions with stakeholders like mayors, coffee shop owners, cannabis producers, regulators, scientists, cannabis users, and addiction experts. 

The committee recommends including numerous small and medium-sized cities across the country. Seventeen out of 23 municipalities who applied were eligible to participate. 

In addition to being able to better monitor both the safety of the cannabis and its supply chains, the program will also seek to evaluate consumer purchasing habits. This includes data such as how many purchases occur within the currently “tolerated” system vs the entirely unregulated illicit market. 

Similar to Canada, the committee’s report also discusses the challenges of such an experiment and any possible future legalization, which is still in contradiction to existing international laws. This is one reason why the government is not seeking to import any cannabis for this trial.

Growers selected for the program will be required to pass various microbial and pesticide testing standards, and will potentially need to adhere to Good Agricultural Practice (GAP) and Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP). The committee also recommends a “soft” approach to any recommendations for irradiation or remediation, given stakeholder feedback citing consumer distaste for such a designation. 

Product labels will be required to include warnings, related information, and a THC logo, and products must be sealed in a resealable child-safe container. Selected growers will be required to be registered with the Chamber of Commerce.

Growers will also be asked to offer a variety of THC and CBD levels. This is based on samples of cannabis from the country’s coffee shops showing cannabis sold to have an average THC content of about 17 percent, compared to about 6.9 percent THC for samples from illicit imported cannabis (primarily from Morocco, says the report)

Imported hash had an average THC content of 20.8 percent in the 2016/17 testing. In the report, Dutch-made hash had an average THC content of 35.1 percent in the same year. Of all cannabis products, only imported hash had a significant CBD content at 8.4%.

Based on this, the committee recommended fifteen cannabis varieties and ten hash varieties should be sufficient for the initial stages of the pilot project. The committee does not recommend including “space cakes” and other edible cannabis products, citing public safety concerns, especially with accidental ingestion from young people.

Although taxes cannot be collected due to international law, the committee recommends a possible surcharge on cannabis sales through the program that could feed into a national fund for the prevention of cannabis use, abuse, and addiction

Retailers (which can be “coffee shops” or other points of sale) will be required to only sell cannabis through the closed-loop program and, like the growers, be registered with the chamber of commerce. Sales will not be allowed to those under the age of 18. 

While the goal of the experiment will be to explore the possibility of a regulated domestic cannabis supply chain, the committee also notes that the study may show such a program is not feasible. A decision will be made by the government in the future based on these results. 

At the end of 2020, the Netherlands had 564 officially “tolerated” coffee shops spread over 102 municipalities. The number of cannabis coffee shops has been declining year-by-year since at least 1999, when there were 846 coffee shops. 

According to a 2019 survey, the average price of one gram of Dutch-grown cannabis rose from 6.20 euros in 2006 to 10.31 euros in 2018, and dropped for the first time in 2019 (9.90 euros). The price of imported hashish in the Netherlands has fluctuated since 2009. The price per gram (9.97 euros) in 2019 was comparable to that in previous years (2017 and 2018).

| Sarah Clark


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Japan Lifts Ban On Cannabis-Derived Medications
Japan’s parliament approved a reform measure on Wednesday that legalizes cannabis-derived medical products. The newly approved public policy measure also imposes stiff penalties for the use of non-approved cannabis products.

Last month lawmakers in the lower chamber of Japan’s parliament approved the measure, which seeks to permit the importation, prescription, and use of products like Epidiolex. Epidiolex is a cannabis-derived medical cannabis product that is currently available in pharmacies in several countries.

The medication is prescribed to treat severe cases of epilepsy. Many patients around the world report taking the medicine and experiencing significant relief. A study conducted in 2019 found that “6.9 per 1000 individuals have epilepsy in the general Japanese population, and that the prevalence of epilepsy increases with age, probably because of elderly onset cerebrovascular diseases.”

Lawmakers in the upper chamber of Japan’s parliament, the House of Councillors, approved the measure today. The other major component of the measure was explicitly codifying the prohibition of the use of non-approved cannabis products.

Once the measure goes into effect, someone caught consuming illegal cannabis products of any kind will face a penalty of up to seven years in prison. Possession of non-industrial hemp cannabis is already prohibited in Japan, and it is unclear how the new consumption law will be enforced.

A somewhat comparator law can be found in the United States in the State of Idaho, where “public intoxication” from cannabis is prohibited and punished by up to six months imprisonment and/or a $1,000 fine.

The way the law is enforced in that jurisdiction is based on ‘reasonable suspicion’ by the officer, meaning that if an officer has a ‘reasonable suspicion’ that someone has consumed cannabis and is now out in public, they can have them tested, even if it is determined that no actual cannabis was being possessed at the time of the interaction.

It’s a subjective standard that many cannabis advocates around the world try to prevent from being implemented, with advocates pointing out that subjective enforcement is nearly impossible to prevent when such a policy is in place.

The harsher consumer law in Japan is coming after concerns were expressed by lawmakers regarding a ‘spike’ in consumption rates in Japan and a rising rate of arrest for people caught possessing cannabis, particularly young adults.

In the most recent year for which data is available, Japan experienced a 21.5% increase in measured cannabis consumption compared to the previous year. While that may sound alarming to some lawmakers inside and outside of Japan, consider the fact that less than 2% of people in Japan report having consumed cannabis during their entire lives.

By comparison, 41.5% in Canada report having consumed cannabis during their lifetime, and 44.2% in the United States. The double-digit increase in the consumption rate in Japan is more indicative of how low the overall baseline consumption rate was to begin with than it is indicative of a cannabis use epidemic.



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CBD May Provide Potential Improvements To Cognitive Performance

Cannabis opponents have spent a great deal of time and effort over many years trying to convince society that cannabis is bad for the human brain. While human biology is complex, particularly the human brain, at the macro level a growing body of evidence is proving that cannabis opponents are wrong.

The fact of the matter is that cannabis can be healthy for the human brain in certain instances. The research surrounding cannabidiol (CBD) and other cannabinoids is still largely in its infancy, and scientists are unlocking new knowledge every week.

Researchers in Brazil recently examined CBD and cognitive performance and the results are favorable. Below is more information about the study via a news release from NORML:

São Paulo, Brazil: The therapeutic use of CBD doesn’t adversely impact cognitive performance and may potentially improve it in certain subjects, according to a literature review published in the journal Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research.

Brazilian investigators reviewed 59 studies, including 23 clinical trials, assessing the cognitive safety of CBD. They reported a lack of cognitive deficits associated with CBD dosing. They further reported that CBD administration in animal models may be associated with cognitive improvements.

Authors concluded: “The results demonstrate that the chronic and acute administration of CBD seems not to impair cognition in humans without neuropsychiatric disorders. In addition, preclinical studies report promising results regarding the effects of CBD on the cognitive processing of animals. Future double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized clinical trials with larger, less selective samples, with standardized tests, and using different doses of CBD in outpatients are of particular interest to elucidate the cognitive effects of CBD.”

A 2022 open-label trial performed by doctors at Harvard Medical School reported that patients with moderate-to-severe anxiety experience symptom improvements and better cognitive performance following the daily administration of full spectrum CBD extracts. Data published earlier this year reported that cancer patients taking CBD-infused edible products report subjective improvements in their cognitive functioning.

Full text of the study, “Effects of the acute and chronic administration of cannabidiol on cognition in humans and animals: A systemic review,” appears in Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research.

Written by Frank Schuler on . Posted in Science.


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