The Advocate: Weekly Cannabis News

In Canada, Alberta thrives while other provinces play catch-up

Alberta, a province in Western Canada, is currently thriving in Canadians developing adult-use cannabis market.

The province features 65 licensed retailers, more than all other provinces combined.

“We have more product and more access to the product in Alberta than in other parts of the country,” stated Rachel Notley in a year-end interview with CTV Calgary. Notley has served as the Premier (head of govt.) of Alberta since 2015.

Other provinces, like Ontario, will be forced to play catch-up as a majority of businesses have yet to have operations fully running. Canada has largely left the ruling and regulations of adult-use cannabis up to individual provinces – which is why the disparity between legal retail stores can be found across the nation.

Advocates in Idaho increase pressure on lawmakers – aim for 2020 ballot initiative 

Idahoans have no legal access to medicinal or adult-use cannabis, unlike the majority of the US population.

On New Years Day, advocates in Idaho wasted no time in changing that as they gathered at the State Capitol to call for the legalization of cannabis.

Idaho Moms for Marijuana and Legalize Idaho, two of the states largest pro-cannabis advocacy groups, highlighted the meetup; where they asked participants to “bring something that is legal, but more dangerous than marijuana.” A handful of products could be found in the passionate crowd, including tide-pods and alcohol.

During the rally, protest leaders announced that they will be seeking a new legalization ballot measure aimed for 2020, with an unannounced date in February 2019 reserved for an official lobbying startup.

“The people of Idaho want it, the politicians might not, we don’t care what they say,” explained Serra Frank to the KTVB. Frank is an Idahoan living in Oregon as she cannot access legal medical marijuana in her home state.

Decriminalization in Maryland has failed to stop disproportionate figures in cannabis-related arrests affecting African Americans

Baltimore Fishbowl, in collaboration with the Baltimore Institute for Nonprofit Journalism, recently released a data analysis of misdemeanor cannabis possession charges following the decriminalization of cannabis in October 2014.
Out of 1,514 possession-charged arrests,1,450 of the charged individuals were black; meaning 96 percent of the city’s petty cannabis-possession related arrests featured black individuals, even though historical data strongly suggests cannabis-use and possession is similar across all major demographics.
“What the evidence that you have here shows is that no matter where you are in Baltimore, if you are black, you’re gonna be policed differently,” told Sonia Kumar to Fishbowl. Kumar is an acting senior attorney at ACLU Maryland and serves as a community advocate for social equity & prison reform.
With the recent news, lawmakers are urging the state to legalize adult-use cannabis, hoping the full legalization of the plant will help put an end to the implicit biasm within the states criminal justice system.
Oregon pushing for exportation law changes 
The Craft Cannabis Alliance is hoping to make Oregon the first state to legalize the exportation of medical grade cannabis.

On NYE, Sen. Floyd Prozanski (D-Eugene) stated his intent to consider the Alliance’s agenda. In 2017,  Prozanksi introduced SB 1042, a bill that would have authorized the Governor to enter into an agreement with another state for purpose of cross-jurisdictional coordination and enforcement of cannabis-related businesses.

The bill (SB 1042) may have failed in 2017, but this year it appears to have more public backing. Along with Prozanski, a handful of legislatures are currently working with the Craft Cannabis Alliance to create a new bill with hopes of developing an exporting market as soon as 2021.

The state would still require all exporting product to be tested through independent labs in Oregon, but on a marketing side, the rules are less clear; with different states enacting separate packaging and branding regulations, lawmakers will have to be more creative when drafting the newly proposed updates.

With the Federal Government of the United States still considering cannabis to be a Schedule 1 Drug, don’t expect any type of state-to-state trafficking in the immediate future; it’s more likely that lawmakers in Oregon are simply interested in testing the waters and gaining useful feedback.

John Kuster

As Social Media Coordinator, John oversees all things related to getting Revolution Enterprises' unique message out. An Iowa native, John joined the Revolution team to help educate, and inform the public on cannabis and all it has to offer. Prior to joining Revolution, John helped multiple companies grow and expand their reach, ranging from the tech industry to the world of international football. He is thrilled to be working in a rapidly expanding market, and is proud to represent Illinois patients and cannabis advocates across the globe.