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Entrepreneurs: How London’s healthy eaters are helping cannabis venture Love Hemp

Few business ventures are refused a bank account, see their founders blocked from travelling to the US and are served a cease and desist notice. But then laddish entrepreneurs Thomas Rowland and Tony Calamita are not dealing with any old product, but cannabis.

Specifically, they’re selling products containing cannabidiol (CBD), the non-psychoactive part of the plant which in most forms is legal. Under their own brand, Love Hemp, CBD Oils has branded itself the “home of hemp”, selling everything from body salves to gummy bears infused with the distinctive taste online.

Last month the duo got the first cannabis-infused mineral water into a mainstream retailer, Ocado. At £1.29 a bottle, they’re attempting to take on Evian et al. Revenues are forecast to hit a healthy £6 million next year as the “green rush” for cannabis-based products worldwide takes hold.

 “Cannabis is such an incredible product which is going to be making waves over the next five to 10 years and to be part of that movement is big for us. It changes people’s lives,” says the shaven-headed Calamita.

Who are their customers — maturing stoners? “Not at all,” Calamita bats away. “It’s health-conscious individuals.”

In fact, alongside Goop-types, sports people (particularly NFL footballers and Ultimate Fighting Championship stars) and body builders are embracing CBD products. “Those kinds of people have a lot of influence on social media and they are willing to try new products. They also notice the difference CBD makes on their body,” says Calamita. They’ve even started sponsoring some UFC fighters.

The venture is run from the corner of a bland trading estate in deepest Croydon. Tech City, it ain’t. But there’s plenty of bustle on entering the office, where schoolmates Rowland and Calamita share a corner desk.

The business was formed in tragic circumstances. When Rowland’s father was suffering from bladder cancer in 2014, he began researching cures and stumbled across CBD.

Their global plans and buy it, sell it past give a sense of their Del Boy-like confidence. Most bosses would bristle at the comparison with Derek Trotter, but Rowland smiles: “I’m a bit of a Del Boy, yeah I’ve done loads of things.”

On his CV is cab driving, running a family gym, selling beads and costume jewellery and an eBay electronics business, which was his first venture with Calamita. “We were selling tablets. They were breaking and being returned. It didn’t go too well,” says Rowland.

Calamita fared better. He sold his business as a broker selling peptides (used in drug and protein products) to university and research institutes, four years ago.

Rowland says their ascent in a controversial market has been “very smooth, for what it is”. But the red tape has proved a headache. They can’t extol the health benefits suggested in medical research on the packaging, and cannot have customer reviews on their site.

They even received a bombshell letter in October 2016 from the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency suggesting they would reclassify their products as a medicine. The pair threatened legal action through the trade association they had founded. “If they made it completely medicinal we wouldn’t be able to sell it. But they can never blanket ban it unless a substance is dangerous to public health,” says Rowland.

For now, their focus is on building up their water and vaping products, grabbing market share as the green rush takes hold.

Rowland Sr sadly lost his cancer battle: “He passed away on fireworks night, leaving with a bit of a bang. Out of something bad has come something good,” says his son.

Having seen the products’ popularity online, the pair spent £2500 of savings on stock, and £500 on SEO, selling out within a month on a 50% profit margin. They have simply reinvested their profits since.

The business began as a distributor for a Danish supplier before switching to their own brand, sourcing from the Czech Republic. “We contacted 30 suppliers. Back then the majority of the products were cowboys and even the testing facilities weren’t up to scratch because CBD was very difficult to test for,” says Calamita.

He was denied US access when trying to visit their current Colorado supplier, which extracts the CBD through a process similar to creating decaffeinated coffee. He hopes to return, as they lay the groundwork to launch in the US, this year.

To read more visit: https://www.standard.co.uk/business/entrepreneurs-how-london-s-healthy-eaters-are-helping-cannabis-venture-love-hemp-a3820781.html

High Times Acquires Green Rush for Estimated $6.9M

West L.A.-based High Times Holding Corp. – the parent company of cannabis lifestyle magazine High Times – plans to purchase digital publication Green Rush Daily Inc. of New York for a cash and stock package worth an estimated $6.9 million, according to documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The deal would give High Times access to Green Rush’s readers and social media followers, according to the company.

“Green Rush Daily has built a large, loyal audience and is innovating coverage of Cannabis-related news, culture, business and much more,” Adam Levin, chief executive of High Times, said in a statement. “Adding Green Rush Daily to the High Times family strongly enhances our editorial coverage, online presence, audience type and advertiser reach. The deal will significantly benefit the advertisers and readers of both High Times and Green Rush Daily.”

High Times March 30 filing comes in advance of a public stock offering to raise between $5 and $50 million. The offering is being run under the so-called Regulation A securities rules that allow companies to offer equity to both accredited and unaccredited investors alike. The company said in an earlier SEC filing it would list the offering’s share price at $11 and plans to use at least a portion of the proceeds to pay off an $11.5 million convertible debt note from ExWorks Capital due in August.

The deal was executed under High Times’ subsidiary Trans-High Corp., which purchased a select portion of Green Rush’s holdings, according to High Times’ March 30 SEC filing.

“Trans-High acquired certain of Green Rush’s assets that consisted solely of its websites, intellectual property, advertiser agreements and future revenues from such agreements,” the filing said. “No employees or liabilities of Green Rush were acquired or assumed by Trans-High.”

While the purchased assets do not include employees, High Times said in its statement that Green Rush would continue to operate as an independent unit. Green Rush operates various websites and social media channels that draw millions of unique hits a month, according to the companies.

As part of the Green Rush deal, High Times will give Green Rush owner Scott McGovern 577,651 Class A shares – worth $6.4 million at the $11 Reg A listing price – and $500,000 in cash. High Times will also bring on McGovern as an employee, paying him a $250,000 annual salary and allocating him 289,630 in Class B non-voting stock options at an $8.11 purchase price that vest over a three-year period.

To read more visit: http://labusinessjournal.com/news/2018/apr/04/high-times-acquires-green-rush-estimated-69-millio/

UK’s first medical cannabis investor floats in London

 

Britain’s first investment firm dedicated to funding medical cannabis ventures will float in London today, amid a global “green rush” of investment into products made from the widely-banned weed.

Sativa Investments has raised £1.1m through the IPO on the capital’s Nex exchange, which is also used by Arsenal football club. The fundraising values Sativa at £4m.

The vehicle has been founded by serial entrepreneur Geremy Thomas, who has made millions through ventures in the early days of mobile phone technology and consumer finance.

Mr Thomas told The Daily Telegraph the fund would enable UK investors to capitalise on the “massive growth potential” of medical cannabis – despite the products being all-but banned in Britain.

“This is the most exciting area I’ve invested in so far because of the scale of the opportunity and the benefit it delivers for people,” Mr Thomas said.

“It has been held back for too long because of political bias rooted in the drug wars of the Seventies. But public opinion has swung against this.”

Mr Thomas predicted that the UK would liberalise its laws to allow more medical cannabis products “within 18 months”, following the path set by countries including Israel, Canada, Germany and more than half of US states.

Medical cannabis products are used around the world to treat a number of ailments, including for pain relief, anxiety and to reduce seizures in epilepsy.

A limited number of medicines containing cannabidiol, a derivative of cannabis more commonly known as CBD, have been approved for use in the UK for conditions such as easing loss of muscle control in people with multiple sclerosis.

But a blanket ban on products containing the psychoactive part of cannabis – THC – has prevented a wider range coming to market.

Analysts predict cannabis sales will overtake beer in California next year following its legalisation for recreational as well as medicinal use at the start of this year, highlighting the product’s explosive growth in places that have liberalised their drug laws.

Britain is already home to one of the world’s largest medical cannabis companies. GW Pharma is listed on New York’s Nasdaq stock exchange, with a market valuation of $3.1bn (£2.2bn), but is based in the UK and grows cannabis plants in greenhouses covering the area of 23 football pitches in Norfolk.

To read more visit: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2018/03/29/uks-first-medical-cannabis-investor-floats-london/

The Challenges of Cannabis Lawyering in Nevada

Nevada’s recreational marijuana market is less than a year old, but sales and tax revenues are soaring beyond early projections. Melissa Waite, a partner at Jolley Urga Woodbury Holthus & Rose in Las Vegas, is part of the flourishing green rush in the Silver State.

To read more visit: https://www.law.com/therecorder/2018/03/13/the-challenges-of-cannabis-lawyering-in-nevada/?slreturn=20180214101748

Canadian Marijuana Company To Be Listed On The NASDAQ

The cannabis industry is set to reach yet another milestone this week. While we won’t see the passing of any new legislation or any states announcing legalization, the plant has still managed to nudge its way further into the mainstream, with one Canadian marijuana company to be listed on the NASDAQ, beginning Tuesday.

Cronos Makes History

Cronos Group Inc., a cannabis company that already trades on the Canadian Stock Exchange, is set to become the first marijuana company to appear on a major U.S. exchange. Shares will be available to trade on the NASDAQ beginning Tuesday.

Cronos founder and chief executive officer Mike Gorenstein believe this isn’t just a massive victory for his own company, but for the industry as a whole.

“It’s very significant for the company and the whole industry,” Gorenstein said in an interview with the Financial Post. “It’s a huge moment—just shows the stigma is continuing to erode on cannabis.”

In Canada, medical marijuana has been federally legal since 2001, and the country is set to legalize recreational marijuana sometime in the fall after the original July 1st deadline was pushed back by lawmakers. On the flip side, the plant remains federally illegal in the U.S., with 29 individual states allowing it for medicinal purposes, and just nine states (as well as the District of Columbia) recreationally.

Not to mention the fact that Jeff Sessions recently nixed Obama-era protections that allowed state-legal industries to create cannabis laws without government interferences. This has caused some prominent U.S. investors to think twice about investing in the Green Rush. According to Gorenstein, U.S. sanctions are what caused him to relocate his company to Canada in the first place.

However, Gorenstein expects that his company’s move to the NASDAQ could cause hesitant investors to change their tune.

“A lot of U.S. investors still are unsure about the legality: There’s not a lot of awareness about the fact that it’s federally legal in Canada versus the U.S.,” he said. “By listing on Nasdaq, it will open up the opportunities for a lot of U.S. investors that otherwise were unsure—even on the institutional level.”

Final Hit: Canadian Marijuana Company To Be Listed On The NASDAQ

Despite its current federal status in the U.S., Gorenstein hopes to eventually expand his business into the U.S. Currently, Cronos is working on building a growing facility in Israel and has received a license through a joint venture in Australia.

And while Cronos will become the first to trade on the U.S. Stock Exchange, it isn’t the first Canadian cannabis stock with U.S. ties. Back in October, Constellation Brands, which brews Corona beer, invested a whopping $191 million in the Canadian cannabis company Canopy growth.

“This move is a complete game changer, not only for Canopy but also for the entire industry,” Eight Capital analyst Daniel Pearlstein said at the time.

He certainly wasn’t wrong. After falling 7.3 percentage points over the fiscal year, Cronos shares were up as much as 11 percent following Mondays’ news. U.S. investors are clearly interested in getting in on the Green Rush from the ground floor. If more and more legal Canadian cannabis companies continue to make its way on to the U.S. exchange, it could prime marijuana investors for a big payday.

But right now, it’s up to the federal government to allow that happen.

To read more visit: https://hightimes.com/news/canadian-marijuana-company-listed-nasdaq/

San Francisco plans to wipe out thousands of older marijuana convictions

SAN FRANCISCO — San Francisco’s district attorney said Wednesday that city prosecutors will toss out or reduce thousands of criminal convictions for marijuana dating back decades, a move allowed under the 2016 state ballot measure legalizing recreational sales of pot.

District Attorney George Gascón said his office will dismiss nearly 3,000 misdemeanor cases and review nearly 5,000 felony cases for possible action.

Proposition 64 legalized the recreational use of marijuana. It also allowed people convicted of marijuana charges to petition courts to toss out the cases or reduce penalties.

Gascón says that process can be time-consuming and costly, so prosecutors in the district attorney’s office plan to review and wipe out eligible cases en masse. Some people with convictions may not know they are eligible, Gascón said.

“A misdemeanor or felony conviction can have significant implications for employment, housing, and other benefits,” Gascón said. He said prosecutors will review cases from 1975 through passage of Proposition 64 in November 2016.

He said 23 petitions for dismissal or reduction have been filed in San Francisco since passage of Proposition 64.

As of September, around 5,000 people had applied for a change to their records, according to state data. That’s a fraction of the people that experts estimate are eligible.

Laura Thomas, deputy state director for the pro-marijuana organization Drug Policy Alliance, estimated more than 100,000 people are eligible to have their records changed.

Assemblyman Rob Bonta, a Democrat from Oakland, introduced legislation on Jan. 9 that would require county courts to automatically expunge eligible records.

Recreational marijuana became legal in California last year, and on Jan. 1 it became legal for licensed dispensaries to sell it to non-medical patients.

The U.S. Justice Department announced earlier this year that it’s halting an Obama-era policy to take a hands-off approach toward states that have legalized marijuana. Pot is still illegal under federal law.

The federal move could lead to increased prosecutions of marijuana sellers and growers, although it’s unclear how aggressive federal attorneys will be.

To read more visit: https://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/legal-pot/san-francisco-plans-wipe-out-thousands-older-marijuana-convictions-n843601

Wow! Here’s How Much Marijuana Canadians Bought in 2017

That’s a lot of zeroes.

Feb 3, 2018 at 11:41AM
There’s a really good reason the marijuana industry is called the “green rush” — growth has been veritably unstoppable. According to ArcView, a leading cannabis research company, legal cannabis sales are expected to grow by 26% a year through 2021. Should this forecast come to fruition, the North American market could be generating almost $22 billion in annual sales.Consumer opinions on pot have also been improving at a steady pace. Back in 1995, the year before California became the first state to legalize medicinal cannabis, just a quarter of the respondents in Gallup’s annual survey favored legalizing weed. By October 2017, this favorability reached an all-time high of 64%.

A tale of two North American markets

Nevertheless, there’s a big difference among the U.S. and Canadian cannabis markets in North America. The U.S. has grown into a market that genuinely doesn’t support the expansion of marijuana. It remains a Schedule I substance at the federal level, meaning it’s wholly illegal, is prone to abuse, and has no recognized medical benefits. What’s more, Attorney General Jeff Sessions recently rescinded the Cole memo, which was a loose set of rules that legalized states abided by to keep the federal government off their backs. This included keeping cannabis away from adolescents, as well as keeping legal weed within a state.

By comparison, Canada has become the blueprint of success for the marijuana industry. Medicinal cannabis has been legal since 2001, and Health Canada continues to oversee the issuance of licenses for the medical industry. In fact, a handful of Canadian growers have been generating profits solely on account on medical marijuana sales thanks to growing patient demand, and strong patient enrollment.

Furthermore, Canada appears to be on the verge of legalizing recreational pot this coming summer. Conservatives, and those who oppose the expansion of legal weed, are in the minority in Canada’s parliament, and the federal government recently proposed a tax-sharing agreement from pot sales that the provinces agreed to. The green-lighting of adult-use sales could generate an additional $5 billion in annual sales once the industry is fully ramped up.

Canadians bought a lot of weed last year

But truth be told, we don’t have to wait till this summer to see just how much Canadians love their cannabis. According to recently released data from Statistics Canada, an estimated 4.9 million Canadians between the ages of 15 and 64 purchased $4.6 billion (CA$5.7 billion) worth of marijuana in 2017. This works out to about $974 per cannabis consumer. Keep in mind that this includes medical marijuana, as well as recreational cannabis, which has been given the green light in some provinces.

How does this compare to other so-called vice industries, you wonder? Data shows that the alcohol and tobacco industries in Canada generated a respective $18.1 billion and $13 billion in sales in 2016. Though cannabis still has a long way to go to catch these traditional vice industries in sales, the Canadian pot industry does have a major leg up when it comes to domestic production. The vast majority of alcohol and tobacco sold in Canada is imported. Meanwhile, practically all of the cannabis sold to Canadians is grown within the country. In fact, sales of Canadian cannabis outside the country as a percentage of total production has increased from 2% in 1961 to 20% as of 2017. Canadian growers are finding consumers, whether they be domestic or abroad.

Here’s another interesting tidbit: according to Statistics Canada, more than 90% of the $4.6 billion sales figure were for non-medical purposes! This demonstrates just how much of a monster the recreational industry could be if the federal government continues to move along measures to legalize adult-use pot.

However, it’s also worth pointing out, per the data dump by Statistics Canada, that non-medical weed prices have been in a multi-year decline. It estimates that the price per gram for non-medical purposes has fallen by an average of 1.7% annually since 1990 to around $6.09 (CA$7.50) per gram in 2017. Comparatively, the Canadian Consumer Price Index has increased by an average of 1.9% annually over that same timeframe. This would suggest that volume may be needed by growers to make up for declining prices in the future, should this trend persist.

Consolidation should work in Canadian growers’ favor

Nonetheless, these trends generally point to positives for Canadian pot stocks. It shows that consumers are demanding cannabis, and that growers have multiple channels to reach these consumers, which includes domestic sales, expanded product lines, and exports to countries that have legalized medical weed.

Unlike the pot industry in the United States, the Canadian weed industry is also highly consolidated, which is a big reason it’s so successful. Though marijuana proponents in the U.S. favor the ability of small businesses to get in on the green rush, the consolidation of the Canadian industry is responsible for keeping growing costs down, and it’ll likely stem the aforementioned decline in cannabis prices over the past 27 years.

Four growers may wind up controlling around half of Canada’s market share when all is said and done, even with Health Canada easing restrictions and shortening the process to allow more licensees to grow cannabis. For example, Canopy Growth Corp. (NASDAQOTH:TWMJF), the largest marijuana stock by market cap, is currently developing or constructing 2.4 million square feet of growing capacity in British Columbia, and has the option of leasing an additional 1.7 million square feet in B.C. It’s possible that Canopy could control 15% of the total legal weed market when fully ramped up. It has the deep pockets and production capabilities to temporarily drive margins down, if need be, in order to push smaller businesses out of the picture.

As has been the case for some time now, investors looking to get in on the green rush should overlook what had previously been touted as the world’s top marijuana market, the United States, and instead focus on Canada, the current blueprint of success for the pot industry.

Marijuana stocks are overhyped: 10 better buys for you now
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David and Tom just revealed what they believe are the ten best stocks for investors to buy right now… and marijuana stocks were noticeably absent! That’s right — they think these 10 stocks are better buys.

To read more visit: https://www.fool.com/investing/2018/02/03/wow-heres-how-much-marijuana-canadians-bought-in-2.aspx

Will New Jersey Marijuana Legalization Include Home Grow?

The Garden State seems to be gearing up to legalize weed. But will New Jersey marijuana legalization include home grow?

Will New Jersey marijuana legalization include home grow? As of now, the new governor of the state seems to only be insistent that adults be able to consume cannabis—not grow it.

“Marijuana legalization” doesn’t guarantee fully legal marijuana. Other states allow adults to grow small amounts of cannabis at home. Will New Jersey marijuana legalization allow home grow?

It’s far from certain.

What Legalization Should Do

New Jersey will almost certainly become the second state to legalize recreational marijuana without a ballot initiative.

But right now, Gov. Phil Murphy’s promise to allow adults 21 and over to use cannabis does not guarantee “home grow.”

This is a problem that needs fixing. Enter Reed Gusciora.

The state Assembly’s deputy leader, Gusciora wants to permit adults 21 and over to grow up to six cannabis plants at home.

“Looking at the marijuana laws in place in California, Oregon, Washington and the like, I thought that homegrown should be an essential element of the New Jersey law, too,” Gusciora told the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Should. Absolutely. But will home-grow be written into marijuana law in New Jersey?

The “Problem” With Home Grow

The New Jersey state Assembly and Senate are considering several legalization efforts. Gusciora, who co-authored the state’s medical-marijuana legislation, introduced his home-grow amendment to a proposal in the lower house.

Yet it’s still unclear which effort will reach Murphy’s desk. Gusciora’s bill would allow New Jersey residents to grow up to six plants. But only indoors, and only in a “controlled environment.”

Why so serious? Anyone who’s followed marijuana legalization for any length of time is familiar with the arguments legalization opponents trot out. A favorite hobbyhorse is a canard that cannabis automatically equals crime.

The notion that a few marijuana plants in someone’s backyard will cause gangsters and crooks to behave as if a supply of unguarded gold bouillon appeared in the neighborhood is false.

What’s news is Gusciora, a prosecutor, is willing to admit it. The problem is his colleagues behave as if it were true.

“They have visions of kids jumping over fences to steal Mrs. Smith’s marijuana plants,” he told the paper.

What About Hemp?

Gusciora is also pushing a bill that would legalize hemp farming.

An earlier effort to allow New Jersey residents to cultivate the non-psychoactive plant, good for fiber and fuel, died in 2012. For that, you can thank Chris Christie.

The state’s famously reactionary former governor also vowed to block a hemp bill.

For this reason, the bill died along with other efforts to expand the state’s extremely limited medical marijuana law.

By most measures, New Jersey’s medical marijuana law is terrible. Restrictions are so tough that through the end of 2016, fewer than 12,500 patients were enrolled.

Patients must also be “re-assessed” to see if they’re still sick enough to use cannabis every 90 days. And plenty of sick people who could benefit from marijuana aren’t sick enough: Jersey is only one of three states where chronic or “intractable pain” is not a qualifying condition.

In the context of an opiate crisis that kills 60,000 people a year, rules like these are criminal.

Home grow could help. So will New Jersey marijuana legalization allow home grow? Maybe not. In order for marijuana legalization to live, home grow may have to die.

Final Hit: Will New Jersey Marijuana Legalization Include Home Grow?

Christie is gone, but neither hemp farming nor home grow is a sure thing. Neither is legalization itself.

A recent poll found only 42 percent support among voters for legalization. And in preparation for legal cannabis, several townships have prepared by laying plans to ban it—even before the issue goes to a vote.

If legalization looks like it’s stalling out, home grow may be one of the first “rights” to go by the board. Stupid? Yes. But that’s how marijuana is legalized.

To read more visit: https://hightimes.com/news/new-jersey-marijuana-legalization-include-home-grow/

 

Governor of Vermont Expects To Sign Weed Legalization Bill By Monday

Vermont’s Governor Phil Scott is getting ready to sign a bill to legalize recreational greenery in his state.

Last week, lawmakers in the state of Vermont passed a bill to legalize recreational marijuana. They did this entirely through state legislature, making history by becoming the first state to pass such a bill without a vote from the state’s residents. And now, a week later, the governor of Vermont expects to sign weed legalization bill by Monday.

The State of Weed in the State of Vermont

Believe it or not, it has only been but a mere two weeks since President Trump’s right-hand man Attorney General Jeff Sessions made “good” on his threats to crack down on states with legal cannabis. Those two weeks ago, Sessions rescinded a little Obama-era piece of legislation called the Cole Memo. Basically, the Cole Memo was put in place to prevent the federal government from interfering in state’s rights. Specifically, those regarding the decriminalization or full-out legalization of cannabis.

Since then, states and lawmakers have been rallying to fight this rescission. As it turns out, members of both major political parties were sufficiently angry with Sessions over this decision. In Vermont, state lawmakers took almost immediate direct action. Last week, the Green Mountain State’s Senate passed a bill to legalize recreational cannabis. Timing aside, this social and political maneuver was particularly gutsy because it required each member of the legislation to take a definitive stance on the matter. Votes like this are public record, so the lawmakers involved were well aware of the political risks involved.

Another reason this vote was so risky is that the governor of Vermont, Phil Scott, vetoed a legalization bill this past May. He cited the need for more research and clearer wording on the bill as the reason behind his veto. He also made it known that he would be willing to revisit the matter.

And now he has the chance to do just that.

Final Hit: Governor of Vermont Expects To Sign Weed Legalization Bill By Monday

According to sources, the governor of Vermont expects to sign weed legalization bill by Monday. Or perhaps even before Monday. He has, reportedly, enlisted the help of a lawyer to go over the bill and make sure the language and specifications of the new potential law are of a high enough standard that he can sign it with a clear conscious. The specifications of the bill include maximum possession allowance of both flower and plants. If Governor Scott signs the bill into law, Vermont citizens will be permitted to possess up to one ounce of marijuana and six plants. Of those plants, two may be mature, and the grower may possess an additional four immature plants. No word yet on retailing recreational cannabis in the state of Vermont. But if the bill is signed, amendments regarding that are sure to come.

Another point to sweeten the pot? If the governor feels satisfied and signs, the new law will go into effect the first day of July. So, if all goes according to the state Senate’s plan, Vermont’s residents could have legal, recreational weed by summertime.

To read more visit: https://hightimes.com/news/governor-vermont-expects-sign-weed-legalization-bill-monday/

Former Mexican President Vicente Fox On Why Prohibition Is A Failure

High Times recently had the fortune, privilege and honor of interviewing Mexico’s former President Vicente Fox, a man whose ideas stand close to libertarianism. The state, the government, should not intervene in people’s lives unless their decisions affect third parties, he’s argued quite often.

Discussing cannabis legalization and the business opportunities that follow, Mr. Fox mentioned he actually supported the legalization of all drugs, not just cannabis. We were hooked: not often do we get to hear the former president of one of the world’s top 15 economies, of a G-20 country, defend the legalization of mushrooms, cocaine and LSD.

His argument is based on two basic premises:

  1. Keeping drugs illegal has generated nothing but violence. “We’ve seen so much violence, hundreds of thousands of young people die in the hands of drug-related violence over the last decade… It makes no sense,” Mr. Fox pointed out during our chat. “Drug lords have taken control of the markets, trafficking and the transit of drugs to the United States, and this has complicated things everywhere.”
  2. The illegality of drugs goes against the concept of individual liberty. “I am an intense believer in freedom. I think all prohibitions should disappear off the face of the earth – except for those limiting anything that affects a third party,” he explained.

“Prohibition doesn’t work and has never worked,” Mr. Fox argued, bringing up the example of Adam and Eve who, he thinks, might have never taken a bite off the Forbidden Apple if God had explained why it was bad for them instead of straight out banning them from eating it.

“We need to transform prohibition into regulation,” he said. Consumers need to have the freedom to decide what they want. But, before this can happen, we need education, access to information and time for people to digest this new information, to get comfortable with this new paradigm where the people take care of themselves and one another, instead of relying on the state to do that, he argued.

“We need to stop thinking that the government will protect our children and families from drugs. That has never happened. Only educating at home we’ll be able to create consciousness around the fact that what’s important is moderation, rather than prohibition,” he supplemented.

Legalize It All

Drug legalization will create a legitimate business community and put it in hands of honest entrepreneurs instead of criminals like we see today, Mr. Fox voiced. “In fact, legalization will help us create opportunities for many people who have been turned into criminals by this unjust system; people are not born criminals, they are pushed toward crime by the lack of opportunity.”

“But, as we re-legalize drugs, we will create a lot of new jobs that can help us keep young people away from crime,” he went on. “Legalization will create jobs for engineers, retailers, farmers, processing professionals, manufacturers… All of the formerly marginalized people will find opportunity and well-paying jobs.”

Mexico And The Opioid Crisis

The high demand for opioids in the U.S. has created in a war between cartels in Mexico. Many drug lords want to be the ones supplying poppy to opioids producers, Mr. Fox explained. “And this is intrinsically related to the fact that poppy is grown illegally,” he noted.

“So, instead of having people kill each other, why not produce poppy legally in Mexico and export it, legally, to the U.S.?” he suggested.

“Of course opioids are bad when they are used incorrectly. But opioids are also very useful and necessary to treat certain ailments.” So, we need to differentiate these two types of uses and have our laws reflect this difference, he concluded, calling for a comprehensive drug legalization plan for the U.S., Mexico, and ultimately the whole world.

 

To read more visit: https://hightimes.com/news/former-mexican-president-vicente-fox-prohibition-failure/