420 with CNW – UN Committee Delays Release of Cannabis Scheduling Recommendations

The Expert Committee on Drug Dependence (ECDD) of the World Health Organization (WHO) met in November to discuss whether the scheduling of marijuana should be revised from its current status as a Schedule 1 substance to another less restrictive category. In a surprise move, the expected release of their findings has been postponed to January instead of this month as had earlier been indicated.

The ECDD called for, and received input from various stakeholders regarding various aspects of cannabis, such as its medicinal value as well as evidence of abuse or overdose incidents. The response to this call was massive, as was the situation when the FDA asked for input on the same matter in October.

The WHO committee subsequently released a pre-review report which had some positive findings about cannabis, such as the observation that no evidence had been presented that any fatality had ever occurred due to a cannabis overdose. The pre-review also indicated that there was evidence to show that some ingredients in cannabis can improve sleep and reduce pain.

The findings in the pre-review prompted the agency to take their examination a notch higher with a critical review done on the findings gathered. The findings of that in-depth critical review would then be used by the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs to decide whether to revise the scheduling of cannabis or leave it in the category where it is currently listed.

It is the release of the recommendations made after the in-depth critical review that have been delayed until January next year.

The Expert Committee said more time was needed “for clearance reasons” before the recommendations are made public. This announcement poured cold water on the marijuana advocates’ spirits since they had expected a favorable recommendation on the basis of the findings stated in the pre-review.

Speculation is rife that the delay was motivated by political factors since a recommendation to reschedule cannabis would have imposed a lot of pressure on various authorities to adjust their stance on cannabis. Remember, the UN sets the agenda for many international policies and member states are expected to follow the suggestions made by the world body.

Whatever the true reason for the delay, the Commission on Narcotic Drugs will meet in March 2019 and vote on the scheduling of cannabis. So, a decision will still be made one way or the other, and it may be hard for the Commission to keep cannabis as a Schedule 1 substance yet pure CBD (cannabidiol) was removed from international scheduling so that access by patients isn’t restricted. CBD can be extracted from cannabis.

Industry players like Medical Cannabis Payment Solutions (OTC: REFG) and Net Element (NASDAQ: NETE) eagerly await the decision made by the UN since such a decision will have a global impact on how the cannabis industry evolves.

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420 with CNW – Study Shows Your Working Memory May Improve After Smoking Cannabis

One of the stereotypes that surround marijuana consumers is that they become forgetful when high on cannabis. However, a new study at the University of Florida has established that such a stereotype is just a myth.

The researchers designed the study in a unique way that involved exposing rats to cannabis smoke so that they inhale it. The rats were first taught to perform a number of delayed response tasks, such as poking the nose into a feeding trough a defined number of times before getting a reward of food pellets.

Alternatively, the rats in the study were required to look for, and press a lever several times before getting their reward.

The rats were divided into two groups based on their gender. In total, 32 rats took part in this study. Females tended to have lower working memory scores when compared to the scores of the males before cannabis smoke was introduced.

The researchers compared the working memory scores of the two groups when the rats were sober and how they performed after being exposed to cannabis smoke. The results showed that there appeared to be no difference in the scores obtained by the male rats when sober and after inhaling cannabis smoke.

However, there was a marked improvement in the working memory of the female rats when they performed the delayed response tasks after being exposed to the marijuana smoke. Remember, the female rats had lower scores in the working memory tasks performed prior to the introduction of cannabis smoke.

The placebo smoke used as a control in the study didn’t trigger any changes in the cognitive performance of either the male or female rats. This leaves the only logical conclusion for the better working memory as attributable to the cannabis smoke to which the rats were exposed.

The researchers also experimented with the dosage, the timing and the route of cannabis administration. Each of these variables triggered a difference in the working memory of the rats in the study.

Consequently, the researchers concluded that the cognitive outcomes observed will vary based on the specific route, dosage and duration of cannabis administration. They called for additional research to be done on this subject so that a better understanding of the effects of cannabis on cognitive function can be attained.

Stakeholders in the cannabis sector, such as Lexaria Bioscience Corp. (CSE: LXX) (OTCQX: LXRP) and Marijuana Company of America Inc. (OTCQB: MCOA) welcome all scientific studies that help to separate fact from myth on the subject of marijuana.

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420 with CNW – Cannabis Cooking Classes Equip Maryland Patients with Edibles Making Skills

A couple that owns a gourmet condiment company in Baltimore has branched into a new niche of teaching medical cannabis card holders how to cook with cannabis. Will Parks and his wife Gwenele Parks decided to branch into cooking with cannabis because they are certified medical cannabis patients and needed other ways to consume their medicine instead of being restricted to smoking it. They imagined, and rightly so, that other patients were interested too.

Maryland banned edibles from its medical marijuana program, but the Parkses and others have partnered with some medical cannabis dispensaries in the state to teach people how to blend marijuana into various foods at home.

In order to avoid flouting the law, Will Parks and his wife don’t use actual cannabis as they conduct their cooking with cannabis classes. Instead, they use ordinary ingredients while teaching the concepts of infusing food with cannabis.

The couple has so far held six classes since July, with some sessions being sold out. Infusing food with cannabis makes the effects of the cannabis last longer since food isn’t digested and absorbed as quickly as smoking cannabis.

The number of patients on the medical cannabis program has been growing rapidly. For example, by November, the registered patients had more than doubled from the 22,437 who had got medical cannabis cards in April. This massive growth is fueling the demand for the lessons offered by the Parkses.

Many patients, such as Kiara Walker, said that they attended the classes in order to get skills to make edibles. The edibles can be carried around discreetly without attracting any of the stigma that is still directed towards those who smoke cannabis.

However, some people still regard cannabis edibles as another avenue for recreational users to abuse cannabis. Will Parks thinks such an attitude is wrong because people can abuse anything, including food and alcohol.

He emphasizes that the lessons he and his wife conduct pay a lot of attention to cannabis dosing so that patients aren’t exposed to the side-effects of consuming too much cannabis at once. Furthermore, this information on dosing is vital given that the effects of cannabis don’t start as quickly as is the case when you smoke the substance.

That wait time can expose you to the risk of eating too much, so knowledge about dosing requirements will safeguard you against that risk.

Will and his wife don’t just teach and leave it at that. They go a step further and give their students a packet of written instructions so that the people who attend the cooking classes can experiment with different recipes while at home.

This, however, doesn’t seem to quieten the critical voices against cannabis edibles and the classes organized by people like Will Parks and his wife. They say cannabis edibles can still end up in the hands of minors, but such critics forget that medical cannabis is also kept at home where minors may access it if care isn’t taken. Similar precautions are taken to keep edibles out of the wrong hands.

Nonetheless, Generation Alpha, Inc. (OTCQB: GNAL), Global Payout, Inc. (OTC: GOHE) and other participants in the marijuana industry applaud the creativity of Will and Gwenele Parks.

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420 with CNW – US Federal Agency Announces Funding for Cannabis Research

The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) held a workshop on December 8 to interact with representatives of various cannabis industry stakeholders and federal agencies to discuss cannabinoid research. At the end of that workshop, the federal agency announced four funding opportunities for entities that were interested in conducting research on natural products like cannabis.

For example, one funding opportunity is earmarked for looking into how cannabinoids, excluding THC, affect pain.

Those four research projects are also intended to map the “biological signature” of the natural products being studied as well as establishing dosage levels in case those products are found to be therapeutic.

The researchers who want to access the funding need to secure authorization from the different federal government agencies, such as the DEA, which have jurisdiction over the controlled substances in question. Additionally, the researchers should provide detailed plans of how they intend to conduct the studies.

It is interesting to note that only one of the four funding opportunities makes a direct reference to marijuana even if the content of the briefs appear to focus on cannabis. The careful wording may be an attempt to work around the existing restrictions on funding cannabis research.

The current call for research proposals comes after the Drug Enforcement Administration granted different cultivators authorization to grow approximately 5.400 pounds of marijuana in 2019. This quantity more than quadruples what was grown with DEA permission in 2018.

The agency explained that the spike in the quantity of cannabis grown with the agency’s approval was intended to meet the huge demand for research-grade cannabis in the coming year.

The increased supply from different sources is expected to ease some of the frustrations that researchers had with the Mississippi farm where cannabis could only be obtained in previous years. Researchers complained that they couldn’t obtain sufficient quantities from that Mississippi farm, and even when they got the cannabis it was of such poor quality that it would hardly serve the purpose for which it was obtained.

The fact that different government agencies participated in the workshop organized by NCCIH may indicate that there is a conversation going on within the federal government about cannabis. It is possible that the feds are giving serious thought to the possibility of passing legislation to allow medical cannabis at some point in the future. If that wasn’t the case, then federal money wouldn’t be channeled into cannabis research, or researchers wouldn’t be permitted to study cannabis.

Golden Developing Solutions, Inc. (OTC: DVLP), Green Hygienics Holdings, Inc. (OTC: GRYN) and other stakeholders hope that the funding opportunities increase, and that the federal government eases its prohibitionist stance on marijuana.

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420 with CNW – Interactive Cannabis Museum Opens in Las Vegas

The marijuana industry looks poised to grow massively, and the current wave of legalization in different US states has paved the way for entrepreneurs and innovators to bring new products to the market. The latest addition to the cannabis world is an interactive cannabis museum in downtown Las Vegas aptly named “Cannibition”.

This museum is the brainchild of J.J Walker. He felt that marijuana needed to be given an immersive experience akin to what ice cream, pizza, avocadoes and other products get.

The entrepreneur intends to teach visitors to Cannibition about the entire journey of cannabis from when it is a seed until it is consumed. With a ticket going for $24, museum visitors can expect an unforgettable treat that will see them observe a cannabis grow operation, admire the largest cannabis bong in the world, literally take a dive into a huge pool of cannabis buds, and have so many other cannabis-related experiences.

J.J Walker isn’t just getting into the cannabis industry. He was in thick of things when Colorado legalized medical marijuana in 2008 and he opened a dispensary at a time when the state didn’t have any regulations in place for the industry.

Walker sold the dispensary about three years later and started a cannabis tour company. He operated that tour company for four years and his work there led him to be inspired to start the museum.

He felt that people interested in cannabis deserved better. For example, the cannabis lounges in states where adult-use cannabis is legal aren’t anything to post on Instagram because they tend to be plain locations with seats where people can smoke their joints and leave half an hour later.

Cannibition is intended to address that shortcoming and give cannabis consumers and non-consumers an experience they will enjoy while learning about the plant.

For example, the experienced of “being smoked” into giant red lips before emerging on the other side to the different fragrances of cannabis will thrill all your senses. The experience of touching the 24-foot largest bong in the world is also exhilarating. Everything was designed to be “Instagrammable”, so your smartphone camera will have a very busy time while you are in the museum.

Walker selected Las Vegas because of the 43 million visitors that come there each year. He sees an opportunity to teach as many people as possible about cannabis so that the transformation of cannabis from the shunned “weed” to a lifestyle can be completed sooner.

Remember that the world’s largest cannabis superstore was also opened in Las Vegas, so the city seems to be carving a place for itself as the cannabis capital of the world. Cannabis industry participants like Earth Science Tech, Inc. (OTCQB: ETST) and FinCanna Capital Corp. (CSE: CALI) (OTCQB: FNNZF) congratulate J.J Walker and his team for contributing to the cannabis culture.

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Political Breakthrough Heralds the End of the Prohibition on Hemp

CannabisNewsWire Editorial Coverage: With federal legalization of hemp expected in the United States by Christmas, the farming and cannabidiol product industries are anticipating great changes in their future.

  • Hemp farming, which has been illegal in the United States since 1970, is about to be made legal under the newest Farm Bill legislation.
  • Pilot projects and work in Canada have allowed companies to prepare for U.S. hemp farming by developing their techniques, science and crop strains.
  • With legalization promising great growth, companies are seeking paths to investment opportunities.

Marijuana Company of America, Inc. (OTC: MCOA) (MCOA Profile) is among the innovating companies carrying out cultivation, research and development projects on sites in the United States and Canada. Canopy Growth Corp. (NYSE: CGC) (TSX: WEED) has been expanding its operations through partnerships with other companies, covering investment, supply and research. Cronos Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: CRON) (TSX: CRON) has expanded its cultivation and markets while negotiating for fresh investment. Aphria, Inc. (NYSE: APHA) (TSX: APHA) has partnered with a company specializing in branding to develop new consumer-driven brands and products for the cannabis market. Aurora Cannabis, Inc. (NYSE: ACB) (TSX: ACB) is putting out new products in the United States and looking to export those products…

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420 with CNW – New Zealand Passes Medical Cannabis Bill

The government of New Zealand passed the medical cannabis bill earlier today (December 11). The bill provides a legal defense to anyone prosecuted for consuming medical cannabis during the time when a scheme has not yet been established to regulate how medical cannabis can be accessed.

The bill stipulates that the regulatory framework for access to medical cannabis should be in place within 12 months after the bill was passed. In the meantime, those who are terminally ill and are undergoing palliative care or are otherwise in the final stages of terminal illnesses can use cannabis and rely on the legal defense provided in the bill should such patients ever be prosecuted for consuming an illegal substance (cannabis).

The third reading and eventual passing of the bill only became possible after three parties supported the bill. These were the Labor Party, the Green Party and the New Zealand First Party.

The Green Party only supported the bill after getting a concession that native strains of cannabis will be used rather than relying on imported varieties. The Green Party also pushed to have the Medicinal Cannabis Scheme established speedily, in any event not later than one year after the bill was passed.

New Zealand First pushed, and succeeded, in having the legal defense apply not just to patients having less than a year to live, but to all those undergoing palliative care.

Talking after the passing of the bill, Health Minister David Clark said he was delighted with the “most progressive” bill ever passed with regard to cannabis. He promised to do everything possible to ensure that medicinal cannabis would become increasingly affordable as the years go by.

Clark added that his ministry would draft a paper on the medicinal cannabis scheme and invite experts as well as the general public to contribute to this paper before the scheme is implemented. This draft will be ready early next year (2019).

However, the bill didn’t pass without opposition. The National Party initially supported the bill, but voted against it during the third reading in Parliament.

The National Party is of the opinion that the current bill effectively decriminalized marijuana without being explicit about it. Simon Bridges, the leader of the National Party, described the bill as an attempt at “decriminalization by stealth” because the bill doesn’t provide any guidelines regarding the implementation of the scheme.

For example, he wondered what a police officer would do in case that officer encountered someone smoking cannabis outside a school.

The National Party drafted its own National Bill containing a detailed plan of how medical cannabis can be provided without creating any unnecessary risks. For instance, their bill bans the smoking of paper-rolled cannabis and includes a photo-ID system to enable the eligible patients to access medicinal cannabis at pharmacies.

The plan suggested by the National Party may not go to waste, for its recommendations may be considered during the consultative process hinted at by the Health Minister. After all, both sides in this debate want a Medicinal Cannabis Scheme that works for all. ChineseInvestors.com (OTCQB: CIIX), Choom Holdings Inc. (CSE: CHOO) (OTCQB: CHOOF) and other players in the cannabis industry would be glad to see the US pass legislation permitting cannabis in some form at the federal level.

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420 with CNW – Hemp Legalization Could Pave the Way for Marijuana Decriminalization

The Farm Bill of 2018 is getting its final touches to reconcile the versions approved by Congress and Senate. The bill will allow the cultivation of hemp, a plant that has for long been a controlled substance alongside cannabis. Marijuana advocates see the legalization of hemp as a precursor of what will inevitably happen with regard to cannabis since both plants belong to the same family.

Hemp contains just trace amounts of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and is rich in CBD (cannabidiol) while cannabis has a high CBD and THC content.

Hemp has often been called “industrial hemp” because of its numerous industrial applications, such as its use in the production of biofuel and in the construction industry. Hemp is also used in the skincare industry as well as having medicinal uses from CBD oil.

Previously, hemp could only be grown if permission was granted in order to get a supply for pre-approved research projects. The new bill will classify hemp as an agricultural product, so one will no longer need a permit to cultivate it.

This decision may look simple at the surface, but it signals a major shift of policy since the new classification would remove the legal stigma of treating hemp as a dangerous plant/substance. It is this undertone that cannabis advocates are counting on for the rescheduling of marijuana since cannabis is closely related to hemp.

It is hoped that cannabis will soon be regarded as an intoxicant that isn’t so dangerous that it deserves the “pariah” status that has been slapped on it for decades.

Economic reasons played a major role in shifting attitudes towards hemp. The diverse uses to which hemp can be placed offer numerous avenues through which local, state and federal authorities can earn tax revenues.

The same prospects exist in the cannabis industry, so there is no reason to think that economic reasons will not come into play as the voices for cannabis legalization get louder across the country and in Congress or Senate.

Descheduling cannabis appears to be taking the same path as same-sex marriages. Society is awakening and questioning whether there is any justification to continue criminalizing cannabis, and the players in the political class are adjusting their positions in light of the shift at the grassroots. Cannabis is no longer the outlier topic it once was.

You can bet that the developments around hemp are of keen interest to companies like Canopy Rivers Inc. (TSX.V: RIV) and Chemistree Technology Inc. (CSE: CHM) (OTCQB: CHMJF) because of the medicinal applications to which CBD can be put.

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420 with CNW – Federal Report Shows More Banks Doing Business with Cannabis Companies

A quarter-three report for 2018 released by the Treasury Department’s FinCEN (Financial Crimes Enforcement Network) shows that the number of financial institutions that are doing business with marijuana businesses has increased by 20 percent from what it was at the start of this year.

The data gathered by FinCEN shows that 111credit unions and 375 banks had cannabis businesses as clients by the end of September.

This latest report has no surprises since previous quarterly reports by the agency showed a steady increase in the number of financial institutions willing to work with cannabis businesses even if national laws regard marijuana as an illegal substance.

The Q3 report comes hot on the heels of the electoral victories scored by marijuana in the midterm polls. Michigan voters approved adult-use cannabis while voters in Utah and Missouri voted in favor of medical marijuana.

The recent general political developments also seem to favor the marijuana industry in some form, especially when one considers the fact that the Democrats have taken control of Congress. National opinion polls also show record-high support for marijuana legalization, and the politicians may think twice before ignoring this tide.

Meanwhile, the ABA (American Bankers Association) started collecting data from its members regarding the challenges that they are facing as they serve the cannabis industry. The data collected will be used to apply pressure upon Congress and the relevant regulators to institute helpful reforms in the stifling banking laws.

At the same time, a number of key players in the federal government, such as the Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, have expressed a willingness to find ways for cannabis businesses to keep their cash safely instead of in bags as is the current practice.

The Federal Reserve chair has also acknowledged that the current legal regime makes it hard for financial institutions to have any certainty regarding how to work with cannabis businesses in the states where cannabis is legal. He feels that this needs to change.

States where cannabis is legal are also speaking up in different ways. For example, financial regulators in 13 states wrote to Congress asking for protections for the banks doing business with marijuana businesses.

More hope for financial institutions is coming from the consensus that seems to be forming in both Congress and Senate in favor of new legislation geared at fixing the impasse between federal and state banking laws with respect to offering services to cannabis businesses.

The big question now is whether the Republican-leaning Senate will cooperate when it matters if the Democrats in Congress pass cannabis-friendly bills. VIVO Cannabis Inc. (TSX.V: VIVO) (OTCQX: VVCIF), Youngevity International, Inc. (NASDAQ: YGYI) and the entire cannabis industry would be glad if these two houses agreed and removed the existing ambiguity in the financial laws affecting cannabis banking.

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CannabisNewsWire (CNW) is an information service that provides (1) access to our news aggregation and syndication servers, (2) CannabisNewsBreaks that summarize corporate news and information, (3) enhanced press release services, (4) social media distribution and optimization services, and (5) a full array of corporate communication solutions. As a multifaceted financial news and content distribution company with an extensive team of contributing journalists and writers, CNW is uniquely positioned to best serve private and public companies that desire to reach a wide audience of investors, consumers, journalists and the general public. CNW has an ever-growing distribution network of more than 5,000 key syndication outlets across the country. By cutting through the overload of information in today’s market, CNW brings its clients unparalleled visibility, recognition and brand awareness. CNW is where news, content and information converge.

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420 with CNW – Alaska Credit Union Opens Its Doors to Cannabis Businesses

Credit Union 1 in Alaska has announced that it will begin a pilot program of offering financial services to cannabis businesses in the state. This pilot program is scheduled to start in the first six months of 2019.

The step taken by Credit Union 1 is a brave one because the majority of the financial institutions in the country are hesitant to have cannabis businesses as clients due to the prohibitions at the federal level. Credit Union 1 is chartered at the state level.

The Credit Union revealed that it was driven by security concerns when making the decision to pilot offering banking services to the cannabis industry. James Wileman, the CEO of Credit Union 1, said that they didn’t have any moral or political opinion about cannabis when deciding to get involved in providing banking services to marijuana businesses.

Officials from the tax division of Alaska welcomed the decision taken by Credit Union 1, calling it “extremely good news.” They are right to feel that way, because it will be much easier for the tax authorities to collect their dues once there is a clear paper trail to track all the sales in the state.

Alaska is already enjoying massive tax returns from the marijuana industry. For example, the state received approximately $11 million in taxes from January up to September this year.

Marijuana businesses are also excited by the opportunity, and they are wondering why it took so long for a financial institution to take the plunge and welcome cannabis businesses. Many are wishing they could participate in the pilot program instead of waiting for the services to be rolled out to more businesses sometime in the future at the successful conclusion of the pilot program.

The situation in Alaska shows how slowly systems change in order to accommodate new realities. For example, voters approved recreational marijuana in 2014 and the state started issuing retail licenses in 2016, but not a single cannabis company has been able to get any form of banking services.

However, it was just a matter of time before the allure of the resources in the cannabis industry became too strong for the banking industry to ignore. Chances are high that many other financial institutions will be watching the developments at Credit Union 1 before coming to the table as well.

Cannabis companies like American Premium Water Corp. (OTC: HIPH) and Cannabis Strategic Ventures, Inc. (OTC: NUGS) welcome the pioneering efforts of Credit Union 1 and other financial institutions that are trailblazers in their jurisdictions in terms of providing essential financial services to this nascent industry.

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CannabisNewsWire (CNW) is an information service that provides (1) access to our news aggregation and syndication servers, (2) CannabisNewsBreaks that summarize corporate news and information, (3) enhanced press release services, (4) social media distribution and optimization services, and (5) a full array of corporate communication solutions. As a multifaceted financial news and content distribution company with an extensive team of contributing journalists and writers, CNW is uniquely positioned to best serve private and public companies that desire to reach a wide audience of investors, consumers, journalists and the general public. CNW has an ever-growing distribution network of more than 5,000 key syndication outlets across the country. By cutting through the overload of information in today’s market, CNW brings its clients unparalleled visibility, recognition and brand awareness. CNW is where news, content and information converge.

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For more information please visit https://www.CannabisNewsWire.com

Please see full terms of use and disclaimers on the CannabisNewsWire website applicable to all content provided by CNW, wherever published or re-published: http://CNW.fm/Disclaimer

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