This Country Just Legalized Hemp, Why Online Cannabis Sales Are Slowing In Alberta & Latest Marijuana Reg Updates

Guyana Parliament Legalizes Hemp

A new hemp bill poised to curb unlicensed production in Guyana got a green light from the National Assembly last week, reported News Room Guyana.

The Industrial Hemp Bill also decriminalizes hemp cultivation, whereas any cannabis plant with a THC concentration of not more than 0.3% on a dry weight basis is classified as industrial hemp.

The approved measure seeks to create a board-managed Industrial Hemp Regulatory Authority (IHRA), which would oversee the licensing process, set cultivation quotas as well as work with the Customs Anti Narcotic Unit in supervising production.

The bill also proposes the issuance of three types of licenses, including cultivation, manufacturing, and a license to research industrial hemp.

Those producing hemp without a license could face a fine of up to $500,000 and a one-year prison sentence.

Private Online Cannabis Sales In Alberta Are Slow, Here's One Of The Reasons Why

In March, the government of Alberta, Canada, decided to officially allow private companies to sell cannabis online, shifting the responsibility from Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis (AGLC).

Some five months later, licensed cannabis retailers seem to be struggling to make up for the costs of conducting delivery, reported CBC News. Nearly a third of authorized cannabis retailers in the province operate online.

Derek Shields, owner of Northern Lights Supply in Nisku, Alta, was among the first to seize the opportunity.

"As soon as the regulation changed, we onboarded as soon as possible just to capitalize on it," he said. However, "delivery is very challenging, especially with the cost of staffing, insurance, gas, the vehicle itself."

While click and collect are among the most popular kinds of online sales, the provincial government agency directed businesses to use their own delivery people, Canada Post, or a courier service.

Still, customers are bothered mainly by the online identity verification process they must undertake to place an order.

"We found that for many consumers, they found that a bit cumbersome," Omar Khan, senior vice president of corporate and public affairs at High Tide, said. "What we've noticed in Alberta is that the additional first step of having to create a profile and upload your ID as a consumer has meant that the growth rate in terms of online sales in Alberta is much lower than what we have seen in Ontario and other provinces."

Nebraska Lawyers Can Invest In Medical Cannabis Operations Where Marijuana Is Legal

The state advisory panel recently said that Nebraska lawyers are allowed to invest in cannabis operations in states where it is legal.

According to an advisory issued by the eight-member Nebraska Lawyer's Advisory Committee last week, such a move would not violate the state's Rules for Professional Conduct for lawyers, reported Nebraska Examiner.

The majority opinion from the advisory committee stipulates that "merely investing in a cannabis company, which presumably operates within the bounds of the applicable state laws, does not in our opinion rise to the level of a criminal act, nor does such conduct reflect adversely on the lawyers honesty, trustworthiness, or fitness to practice …."

Meanwhile, Nebraskans for Medical Marijuana (NMM) have turned in signatures to place a medical cannabis proposal on the Nebraska ballot in July, after months of fighting for the cause.

America's Racist Cannabis Laws Need Redressing

For decades, the War on Drugs, a global campaign led by the U.S. federal government, sought to put an end to illegal drug use by increasing penalties, enforcement and incarceration for drug offenders.

Unfortunately, the campaign, which began in the 1970s under the Nixon administration, resulted in the criminalization of drug users and high levels of imprisonment on both state and federal levels. Moreover, the movement has its roots in racism as well as xenophobia.

According to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Black people are 3.64 times more likely to be arrested for cannabis than white people, despite both groups consuming it at similar rates. Black people are also more likely to receive longer and more punitive sentences than white people for similar offenses.

The latest call to undo the negative consequences of the War on Drugs came from Simeon Spencer, a former researcher and operations associate for NAACP LDF's Thurgood Marshall Institute, as first reported by Marijuana Moment.

"Federal cannabis decriminalization and expungement does not impact individuals who have been convicted under state cannabis laws," Spencer said in his analysis titled "Redressing America's Racist Cannabis Laws."

"To adequately redress the racial inequalities entrenched in policy around cannabis, both state and federal governments must act," he continued.

While Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act (CAOA), a federal legalization bill from Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and his fellow Democrats, awaits action from the Senate, marijuana remains illegal under federal law.

Rhode Island became the 19th state to legalize the drug in May fully, and now more states, including Maryland and South Dakota, are poised to vote on whether to legalize recreational use this November.

Spencer also urged voters in these states to speak up as the outlook for the passage of the federal cannabis reform bill is not that bright.

"Even if passed (COA), federal cannabis decriminalization and expungement does not impact individuals who have been convicted under state cannabis laws," Spencer said. "To adequately redress the racial inequalities entrenched in policy around cannabis, both state and federal governments must act."

Photo: Courtesy of succo, mrkukuruznik5 by Pixabay

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