420 with CNW – Senate Could Hold Hearings on Cannabis Banking Later this Month

The Senate Banking Committee could schedule hearings on bipartisan legislation on cannabis banking in as little as two weeks. This revelation was made by the chairman of that committee, Mike Crapo (R-ID) as he talked to American Banker.

Crapo said that he was looking into the prospect of scheduling a hearing on the matter and added that the hearings will be “relatively soon.”

This statement marks a huge change of heart for the senator from Idaho who is on record saying (in April) that he wouldn’t commit his committee to holding sessions on marijuana banking as long as marijuana is still illegal at the federal level.

Banking industry insiders believe that the committee is likely to have two hearings in the week starting July 22. One hearing will be centered on hearing from the regulators of the banking sector while the second hearing will listen to the other stakeholders on this matter.

A similar bill was passed by the Congressional Banking Services Committee in March and similar language to the contents of the STATES Act was included in the appropriations bill.

While pro-cannabis advocates have been hoping that the STATES Act is put on the schedule for a vote by the entire House before the legislative chamber goes for recess in August, this hasn’t happened as yet. It now seems that a vote on the bill may have to wait until the fall.

Concerns have also been voiced about how the STATES Act would be received once it gets to a Senate that is dominated by Republicans.

Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO), the chief sponsor of the House version of the bill, revealed that lawmakers are currently exploring other ways to generate Republican support for the bill. One of the avenues being explored is including language to the effect that regulators will not prevent payday lenders and gun manufacturers from accessing banking services.

Another avenue that could be used is the inclusion of language that protects the hemp industry so that Republicans don’t look at that the bill as one on just marijuana.

A senate hearing on marijuana business banking would mark another milestone for those who want to see marijuana policy reform. While the STATES Act will not alter the status of marijuana federally, it is a step in the right direction since many advocates see the incremental approach to legalization as a more realistic option when compared to the chances of a standalone bill on legalization passing in both chambers.

Industry watchers believe that the entire cannabis industry, including Cannabis Strategic Ventures Inc. (OTCQB: NUGS) and Youngevity International Inc. (NASDAQ: YGYI), will be waiting with bated breath to hear what comes out from the Senate committee hearings.

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CNW420 spotlights the latest developments in the rapidly evolving cannabis industry through the release of two informative articles each business day. Our concise, informative content serves as a gateway for investors interested in the legalized cannabis sector and provides updates on how regulatory developments may impact financial markets. Articles are released each business day at 4:20 a.m. and 4:20 p.m. Eastern – our tribute to the time synonymous with cannabis culture. If marijuana and the burgeoning industry surrounding it are on your radar, CNW420 is for you! Check back daily to stay up-to-date on the latest milestones in the fast -changing world of cannabis.

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420 with CNW – Congress Schedules Hearing on Ending Marijuana Prohibition

A major Congressional subcommittee plans to hold a hearing next week on ending cannabis prohibition. The Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security Subcommittee will discuss a number of proposals that are aimed at passing legislation to protect states which have enacted marijuana laws.

Considering the list of people who are expected to be invited to speak to the subcommittee on Wednesday (July 10), one is left to conclude that the subcommittee is interested in learning how prohibition can be ended rather than gathering views on whether reform should happen.

For example, one of the witnesses who is expected to testify during the subcommittee hearing is Malik Burnett, a leading physician at the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins Hospital. Previously, Burnett worked with the Drug Policy Alliance as its National Policy Advisor. In that role, he helped to secure success for a voter initiative to legalize recreational marijuana in Washington, D.C. in 2014.

Marilyn Mosby, the Baltimore State Attorney, is also on the list of those to testify. She is noted for announcing in January this year that her department would no longer prosecute any marijuana possession case.

David Nathan, a doctor and board president of Doctors for Cannabis Regulation (DFCR) is also set to make an appearance before the subcommittee. DFCR is a pro-legalization group of physicians.

As you can see, the people who are lined up to talk to the subcommittee all share a desire to see the end of marijuana prohibition.

While the legislators will not be voting on any specific bill, it is nonetheless an important hearing since it marks the most important Congressional sitting on matters of marijuana policy reform. The information that they gather is expected to be passed on to the powerful House Judiciary Committee under which this subcommittee falls.

The importance of this committee explains why Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) earmarked that committee as the one that will deliver the end of prohibition in his roadmap to cannabis legalization.

Worth noting is the fact that every Democrat on the full Judiciary Committee cast his or her vote in favor of the recent amendments preventing the Justice Department from taking action in states where marijuana laws have been passed. Six Republicans also cast their votes in support of the spending riders, and this is regarded as a positive sign that broader cannabis law reform can win bipartisan support in this crucial House committee.

It is widely expected that the entire cannabis industry, including entities like Canopy Rivers Inc. (TSX.V: RIV) (OTC: CNPOF) and Cannabis Strategic Ventures Inc. (OTCQB: NUGS), will be keenly following what transpires in the subcommittee.

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CNW420 spotlights the latest developments in the rapidly evolving cannabis industry through the release of two informative articles each business day. Our concise, informative content serves as a gateway for investors interested in the legalized cannabis sector and provides updates on how regulatory developments may impact financial markets. Articles are released each business day at 4:20 a.m. and 4:20 p.m. Eastern – our tribute to the time synonymous with cannabis culture. If marijuana and the burgeoning industry surrounding it are on your radar, CNW420 is for you! Check back daily to stay up-to-date on the latest milestones in the fast -changing world of cannabis.

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420 with CNW – Congress Votes to Stop Feds from Interfering in State Marijuana Programs

The House of Representatives has voted to block the Department of Justice (DOJ) from using its funds to enforce federal cannabis laws within states which have passed their own laws regulating recreational or medical marijuana cultivation, consumption and sales.

This measure was one of the several amendments put before the floor for inclusion in the appropriations bill for Fiscal Year 2020. The measure, which expands an existing rider that protected medical marijuana programs, was approved on Thursday by a 267-165 vote.

Marijuana industry advocates are convinced that the vote tally reflects the broad support for marijuana law reform, and this support can be used to effect further reforms of the federal marijuana laws.

A day earlier (June 19), the House had also passed another measure seeking to protect the marijuana laws of Indian tribes. This particular measure was passed through a voice vote without any lawmaker asking for a roll call vote. The rider now makes it to the appropriations bill as well.

Rep. McClintock, one of the sponsors of the measure which was approved on Thursday, wrote a letter to members of the House on the day of the vote reminding them that what was at stake was a question on whether the federal government had any authority to dictate on matters of policy regarding an issue which happens within the borders of a state. In his view, which other members appear to have agreed with from the way they voted, the federal government didn’t have that constitutional authority.

Marijuana Policy Project, Drug Policy Alliance, Cannabis Trade Federation, and other marijuana advocacy groups hailed the decision of Congress as historical and a sign that lawmakers in the House of Representatives are waking up to the fact that marijuana law reform “isn’t just good policy but has also become good politics.”

It has emerged that the makers of the only CBD-derived drug to be approved by the FDA wrote to congressional staff telling them that the spending rider before the House should be defeated since it “could interfere with the DOJ’s ability to carry out its regulatory mandate.” The letter from Greenwich Biosciences was seen as being in bad taste since the “Big Pharma” company wanted to protect its interests at the expense of the interests of the people in states with marijuana-friendly laws.

The measures now head to the Appropriations Committee of Senate for consideration, and it isn’t yet clear whether they will be favorably received there. In the past, this committee has consistently approved the spending rider stopping DOJ from interfering in state-level medical marijuana programs. Now that the new amendments include protections for recreational marijuana, the industry isn’t sure how the Republicans in the Senate Committee will react.

Industry analysts are wondering what players like Youngevity International Inc. (NASDAQ: YGYI) and Cannabis Strategic Ventures Inc. (OTCQB: NUGS) would say to the senators if they had a chance to talk to them before they vote on the amendments.

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CNW420 spotlights the latest developments in the rapidly evolving cannabis industry through the release of two informative articles each business day. Our concise, informative content serves as a gateway for investors interested in the legalized cannabis sector and provides updates on how regulatory developments may impact financial markets. Articles are released each business day at 4:20 a.m. and 4:20 p.m. Eastern – our tribute to the time synonymous with cannabis culture. If marijuana and the burgeoning industry surrounding it are on your radar, CNW420 is for you! Check back daily to stay up-to-date on the latest milestones in the fast -changing world of cannabis.

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420 with CNW – Canadian Flight Crews Banned from Consuming Marijuana 28 Days Before Flying

According to a new policy which has just been made public by Transport Canada (the federal transport regulator), flight crews as well as other industry employees will no longer be allowed to use marijuana within 28 days before they are due to fly.

The policy, which was announced on Thursday (June 6), takes immediate effect and it affects cabin crew, pilots and air traffic controllers. This policy was released in order to clarify the position of the regulator when recreational marijuana was legalized on October 17 last year.

Transport Canada asserted that aviation industry employees are required to maintain a certain minimum “level of fitness for duty” during the time when they are at work. Those employees must therefore refrain from using or being under the influence of any substance which can impair their faculties to a degree that can compromise aviation safety, the regulator added. Transport Canada also affirmed that their policy decision was informed by the current science available on the matter.

The announcement by Transport Canada isn’t altogether new in the Canadian aviation industry. The policy announcement comes after commercial airlines in the country, such as Westjet and Air Canada, had already issued blanket bans to their staff regardless of whether the employees wanted to consume recreational marijuana when they are off duty.

Speaking about Westjet’s radical policy on marijuana, the airline’s spokesperson said that the policy reflects the airline’s position as a leader in aviation safety, and that was why they were requiring Westjetters to report for duty while fit and stay that way throughout their shift.

Transport Canada has chosen to take the path similar to what the Department of National Defence decided to take on recreational marijuana. The military rules were updated to state that any serving military officer who wishes to use recreational marijuana should not do so within eight hours of starting their shift on duty.

The military rules also state that any personnel who operate weapons or vehicles aren’t allowed to consume recreational pot 24-hours before reporting for duty. Those that engage in high-altitude parachuting and those who serve on military aircraft are banned from using recreational cannabis in the 28 days prior to reporting for duty.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police also announced earlier that any of its personnel who serve in “safety-sensitive positions” are prohibited from using cannabis 28 days prior to reporting for duty.

It would be interesting to know what companies like Canopy Rivers Inc. (TSX.V: RIV) (OTC: CNPOF) and Cannabis Strategic Ventures Inc. (OTCQB: NUGS) think about these policies announced by aviation companies and regulators.

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CNW420 spotlights the latest developments in the rapidly evolving cannabis industry through the release of two informative articles each business day. Our concise, informative content serves as a gateway for investors interested in the legalized cannabis sector and provides updates on how regulatory developments may impact financial markets. Articles are released each business day at 4:20 a.m. and 4:20 p.m. Eastern – our tribute to the time synonymous with cannabis culture. If marijuana and the burgeoning industry surrounding it are on your radar, CNW420 is for you! Check back daily to stay up-to-date on the latest milestones in the fast -changing world of cannabis.

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420 with CNW – Canopy Growth Funds Digital Tools to Combat Underage Cannabis Use

Canopy Growth, one of the largest marijuana companies in Canada, has teamed up with two drugs awareness organizations to develop digital tools which will help to curb drug abuse among young people.

The two entities with which Canopy Growth has partnered are Canadian Students for Sensible Drug Policy and the second is Parent Action on Drugs. The collaboration has resulted in the creation of a text messaging service and an educational chatbot which will help parents, educators and youth to speak candidly about marijuana use.

Hilary Black, the Chief Advocacy Officer of Canopy Growth, revealed that the partnership was cemented two years ago at a time when recreational marijuana was not yet legal in Canada. The partnership was born out of the realization that once recreational cannabis was legalized, concerns and questions about the likelihood of minors abusing the drug would arise.

Black added that Canopy Growth has a responsibility to make sure that kids aren’t consuming cannabis and exposing themselves to the potential risks associated with underage consumption of the substance.

Canopy Growth therefore gave one grant to Dr. Jenna Valleriani. Valleriani serves as the strategic adviser for Canadian Students for Sensible Drug Policy. That grant was used to design the educational materials contained in the Sensible Education Toolkit. The toolkit has evidence-based marijuana education guidelines designed for young people.

Parent Action on Drugs received the other grant and they used the funds to develop a chatbot and message system to convey the educational information in the toolkit to the youth.

The chatbot can be accessed on the website of Parent Actin on Drugs. It provides an interactive experience through which parents and their kids can start a frank discussion about marijuana use.

Three types of activities are available once you start the chatbot. First, you can play a game of charades and if you identify the term provided correctly, the bot gives you a number of useful tips about marijuana use.

You can also opt for the Q&A activity on the chatbot. Here, you ask questions about cannabis use and the chatbot provides the answers. The third option is titled “Scenarios” in which different real-life situations of exposure to cannabis are raised and a discussion about what one would do in those situations begins.

One has to visit the Parent Action on Drugs website in order to sign up for the SMS service. The automated texts are sent to your phone once each day for a total of 54 days. The content of the messages varies from cannabis laws, effects of cannabis on the body, to suggestions of how one can reduce or quit cannabis use if they have already taken up the habit.

The “What’s with Weed?” campaign was launched on Tuesday (May 28) and it is expected to be a major hit due to its highly interactive design. Canopy Rivers Inc. (TSX.V: RIV) (OTC: CNPOF) and Cannabis Strategic Ventures Inc. (OTCQB: NUGS) salute Canopy Growth for making a contribution towards equipping youth with the information they need to make informed decisions about cannabis use.

About CNW420

CNW420 spotlights the latest developments in the rapidly evolving cannabis industry through the release of two informative articles each business day. Our concise, informative content serves as a gateway for investors interested in the legalized cannabis sector and provides updates on how regulatory developments may impact financial markets. Articles are released each business day at 4:20 a.m. and 4:20 p.m. Eastern – our tribute to the time synonymous with cannabis culture. If marijuana and the burgeoning industry surrounding it are on your radar, CNW420 is for you! Check back daily to stay up-to-date on the latest milestones in the fast -changing world of cannabis.

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420 with CNW – Should California Reverse its Promise to Give Local Authorities Control Over Marijuana Businesses?

When Proposition 64 was passed, one of its “key” promises was that local authorities would have the right to decide whether to license recreational cannabis businesses within their jurisdictions or not. About 70 percent of all cities and counties have opted to ban recreational cannabis sales within their jurisdictions, and this has hampered the growth of the cannabis industry. Now some lawmakers are proposing that this tenet of Prop 64 be changed to rein in the power of local authorities on the matter. Several arguments have been presented in favor of and against this suggestion.

First, those in favor of Assembly Bill 1356, the bill which would force local authorities where a minimum of 50 percent of the voters supported Prop 64 to license some pot shops, say that the blanket ban on cannabis businesses has created room for the black market to thrive since locals have no access to legal marijuana.

Because of that black market activity, the state has been unable to regulate and tax those illegal cannabis sales. This creates public health safety issues. For example, the unregulated marijuana may have high concentrations of pesticides and other contaminants which can affect the health of consumers. The loss of tax revenue also denies the state the funds that it needs to deliver services to the people in addition to funding the regulation of the pot industry.

Proponents of AB1356 also say that by banning pot sales, local authorities are disregarding the wishes of the people in their areas. This is because there is overwhelming public support for legal marijuana.

The people who oppose the reversal of the promise in Prop 64 to let local authorities have a say in whether cannabis businesses should or shouldn’t be allowed in their areas say that this right was crucial in getting Prop 64 to pass. Reversing that promise would therefore tantamount to reneging on the principles which allayed the fears of some people and led them to support the ballot measure years ago.

Some people are also concerned about the risks associated with cannabis businesses since these businesses operate on a cash-only basis as a result of the federal status of marijuana. Marijuana is still illegal federally, so marijuana businesses cannot access banking services. This raises the risk of armed robberies and other opportunistic crimes. Local authorities should therefore reserve the right to allow or ban marijuana sales, they argue.

Canopy Rivers Inc. (TSX.V: RIV) (OTC: CNPOF) and Cannabis Strategic Ventures Inc. (OTCQB: NUGS) call on all concerned to think carefully about the future they want for the cannabis industry so that this standoff between the state regulators and the local authorities is resolved in a way that puts the will of the people at the center.

About CNW420

CNW420 spotlights the latest developments in the rapidly evolving cannabis industry through the release of two informative articles each business day. Our concise, informative content serves as a gateway for investors interested in the legalized cannabis sector and provides updates on how regulatory developments may impact financial markets. Articles are released each business day at 4:20 a.m. and 4:20 p.m. Eastern – our tribute to the time synonymous with cannabis culture. If marijuana and the burgeoning industry surrounding it are on your radar, CNW420 is for you! Check back daily to stay up-to-date on the latest milestones in the fast -changing world of cannabis.

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420 with CNW – Michigan Retailers Ordered to Only Stock Cannabis from Licensed Growers

Michigan has been struggling to get a handle on the illegal cannabis market and their latest action has seen them instruct medical marijuana provisioning centers to stop accepting cannabis grown by caregivers and instead only accept supplies from growers licensed by the state.

LARA (Licensing and Regulatory Affairs) also says that caregiver growers can start selling cannabis to the licensed growers and processors, but the caregiver growers will have to meet the cost of testing their cannabis before the licensed processors and growers can accept it.

Rejecting the cannabis grown by caregivers is just another twist in the regulatory chaos as the state struggles to move from a largely informal industry to a regulated one. Their efforts in this direction have been met by legal challenges initiated by the unlicensed cannabis businesses which the regulators wanted to close.

Judge Stephen Borrello of the Court of Claims has variously described what the regulators are doing as “freakish or whimsical.” The Judge has so far made several rulings against LARA, the most recent being one in which unlicensed dispensaries can continue operating for 60 days after LARA has rejected their application for a license.

During that court session, the judge gave the regulators the liberty to decide whether caregiver growers could continue supplying medical cannabis to dispensaries. The regulators promptly acted on that and issued their guidelines barring caregiver growers from taking their cannabis to dispensaries.

This action by LARA has stirred what is an already sour relationship between the “corporate cultivators” and the caregiver cannabis growers. The caregiver growers see the large corporate cultivators as being only interested in making profit at the expense of patients while the big growers see caregiver growers as people who supply cannabis of questionable quality to undercut their profits.

Those accusations have some basis, because some of the cannabis from caregiver growers has tested positive for mold, E-coli, Salmonella and other contaminants. Nonetheless, consumers prefer the cannabis from caregiver growers because it is more affordable and is in tune with the needs of patients.

Critics of the action taken by LARA now say that the caregiver growers are simply going to start supplying the unlicensed sellers, to the detriment of the legal cannabis industry since these products will not have to undergo the costly testing processes required in the regulated market.

Canopy Rivers Inc. (TSX.V: RIV) (OTC: CNPOF) and Cannabis Strategic Ventures, Inc. (OTC: NUGS) hope that the regulators take well-considered decisions so that the medical cannabis industry in Michigan can finally stabilize.

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CNW420 spotlights the latest developments in the rapidly evolving cannabis industry through the release of two informative articles each business day. Our concise, informative content serves as a gateway for investors interested in the legalized cannabis sector and provides updates on how regulatory developments may impact financial markets. Articles are released each business day at 4:20 a.m. and 4:20 p.m. Eastern – our tribute to the time synonymous with cannabis culture. If marijuana and the burgeoning industry surrounding it are on your radar, CNW420 is for you! Check back daily to stay up-to-date on the latest milestones in the fast -changing world of cannabis.

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420 with CNW – Texas Lawmakers to Vote on Cannabis Decriminalization This Week

About a month ago, the Texas House Jurisprudence Committee passed a bill that would make low-level cannabis possession a crime punishable by a fine rather than jail time. That bill is now before the House and it will be voted on this week (Thursday).

If the bill becomes law, anyone found in possession of an ounce or less of marijuana would pay a fine of $250. Such a crime would then become a Class C misdemeanor if one is caught more than twice.

Under the current law, anyone who is found with two ounces or less of marijuana can be fined a maximum of $2,000 as well as serve 180 days in jail. Whether one pays the fine or goes to jail, they remain with a permanent criminal record that can affect them for life.

While Texas is known for being conservative, there is growing consensus that cannabis laws need to be reformed, and that is why the decriminalization bill has bipartisan support. People want to see the meager public resources devoted to more serious crimes instead of using those resources to prosecute people for minor cannabis possession infractions.

This change of heart among conservative Texans has seen various bills get House Committee approval. The decriminalization bill is one of the three most notable cannabis reform bills.

The second bill that passed at committee level is a bill to legalize industrial hemp and its derivatives. This bill was passed on Tuesday this week. If it becomes law, hemp would no longer be a controlled substance in the state.

A third bill seeks to expand the medical marijuana program in the state. This bill got unanimous support when a vote was called last week. One of the changes introduced by this bill included adding more than a dozen health conditions to the list of medical marijuana qualifying conditions.

All these three bills were supported by the Republicans in those different committees. Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, has also promised to sign the bills once they reach his desk after getting legislative approval.

This piecemeal way of easing marijuana laws may eventually culminate in the legalization of recreational marijuana in Texas, although the Republican Party hasn’t explicitly stated that it supports legalization in the state.

Cannabis Strategic Ventures Inc. (OTC: NUGS), Youngevity International Inc. (NASDAQ: YGYI) and the entire cannabis industry welcome the incremental cannabis policy reforms being instituted in Texas. Such an approach ensures that there will be minimal friction in implementing the changes needed for Texans to benefit fully from the cannabis industry.

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CNW420 spotlights the latest developments in the rapidly evolving cannabis industry through the release of two informative articles each business day. Our concise, informative content serves as a gateway for investors interested in the legalized cannabis sector and provides updates on how regulatory developments may impact financial markets. Articles are released each business day at 4:20 a.m. and 4:20 p.m. Eastern – our tribute to the time synonymous with cannabis culture. If marijuana and the burgeoning industry surrounding it are on your radar, CNW420 is for you! Check back daily to stay up-to-date on the latest milestones in the fast -changing world of cannabis.

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420 with CNW – Cannabis Inhalers Could Be the Next Asthma and Cancer Pain Medication

Whole smoking is the most common administration method for medical cannabis, not all patients are willing or able to use this method. For example, those who have respiratory challenges like asthma are unable to smoke cannabis because it may aggravate their condition. Terminally ill patients may also find it hard to smoke marijuana as part of their treatment. For such patients, two Israeli companies have teamed up to develop cannabis inhalers through which they can take their medication.

The two firms are Panaxia Pharmaceuticals and Rafa Pharmaceuticals. The two companies are working together to bring marijuana inhalers to the market so that patients have one more way to get their medication.

For now, the companies are targeting asthma and the pain suffered by cancer patients. The companies hope to avail an administration mode that will bring quick relief to cancer pain or respiratory distress resulting from asthma symptoms.

This administration mode may easily gain acceptance in the market for several reasons.

First, inhalers aren’t a new mode of administering medication to patients. Asthma sufferers carry them around, so it would not be hard for them to switch to the cannabis version.

Secondly, it is possible to determine what precise dose of cannabis a patient should receive when using inhalers since the patient can be told to inhale a given number of times at stipulated intervals in order to get the right dose of cannabis into the body. Medical practitioners can therefore easily see cannabis as medicine if its dosage can be controlled.

Additionally, inhalation can provide faster therapeutic outcomes when compared to other modes, such as consuming cannabis edibles. This is precisely why asthma sufferers often carry an inhaler so that they can use it and see results faster when an asthma attack occurs.

At the moment, the innovators are conducting clinical trials together with the Israeli Ministry of Health in order to ascertain whether the product is ready to hit the market, or some kinks remain which need to be resolved.

Meanwhile, the companies have decided to start a marketing drive for the inhalers while the clinical trial is ongoing.

The plan is to avail the inhalers on the Israel market later this year. Only patients with a doctor’s prescription will be able to access the product. It is not yet clear when the two companies will start exporting their invention to the rest of the world. Remember, the Israeli parliament passed a law towards the end of last year allowing companies that have been licensed by the state to export medical marijuana.

Youngevity International, Inc. (NASDAQ: YGYI) and Cannabis Strategic Ventures, Inc. (OTC: NUGS) congratulate the two Israeli companies for finding a solution to administering medical cannabis to patients who are unable to use the modes that are currently available on the market.

About CNW420

CNW420 spotlights the latest developments in the rapidly evolving cannabis industry through the release of two informative articles each business day. Our concise, informative content serves as a gateway for investors interested in the legalized cannabis sector and provides updates on how regulatory developments may impact financial markets. Articles are released each business day at 4:20 a.m. and 4:20 p.m. Eastern – our tribute to the time synonymous with cannabis culture. If marijuana and the burgeoning industry surrounding it are on your radar, CNW420 is for you! Check back daily to stay up-to-date on the latest milestones in the fast -changing world of cannabis.

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420 with CNW – Demand for Medical Cannabis Skyrockets on Rhode Island

As legislators on Rhode Island are thinking about legalizing recreational cannabis, the data on medical cannabis sales shows that the volume of products sold is setting state records year by year.

Currently, the state has three licensed dispensaries selling medical cannabis products. These dispensaries are on course to sell medical cannabis products worth about $56 million during the 2019 fiscal year.

If that target is hit, it will mark a 46.6 percent increase from the total sales of the previous fiscal year (2018). Medical cannabis sales for 2018 were also approximately 33.3 percent higher than what was registered in 2017.

As you can see, the medical cannabis industry on Rhode Island seems to be growing at an unstoppable pace year by year.

Rhode Island has a fairly short list of medical cannabis qualifying conditions when compared to other states where similar programs exist. However, the definition of those conditions is broad and it allows anyone with the symptoms of the listed conditions to access medical cannabis.

The state has about 18, 200 patients who are active on the medical marijuana program. Active patients are those who regularly buy medical cannabis products from the licensed dispensaries.

The uptick in medical cannabis sales has given the state a much-needed boost to its revenue. For example, the state earned $2.75 million as taxes on various aspects of the medical cannabis industry.

In this fiscal year, the state expects to earn almost double what it earned during the last fiscal year. Projections indicate that the state will collect about $5.4 million in taxes from the medical cannabis industry.

In the meantime, there are proposals to legalize recreational cannabis and also expand the medical cannabis sector. One of the proposals seeks to increase the number of dispensaries to nine.

Previous attempts to increase the number of dispensaries have been successfully resisted by the existing three dispensaries who argued that bringing in more players would hurt their businesses and result in possible closures.

However, those who want more dispensaries to be licensed argue that patients aren’t having sufficient access to dispensaries since the existing ones aren’t equally spread out across the state. Additionally, the lack of robust competition in the medical cannabis sector has denied patients competitive prices and access to a broader variety of products.

Advocates are therefore asking regulators to give priority to dispensaries that wish to operate in areas where none currently exists, and new operators should be brought on board before the existing ones are allowed to open additional compassion centers (medical cannabis dispensaries).

These reforms seem reasonable enough, and the regulators would be well advised to act upon the suggestions made. Cannabis Strategic Ventures, Inc. (OTC: NUGS) and Canopy Rivers Inc. (TSX.V: RIV) (OTC: CNPOF) hope that the state will act on the proposed reforms so that patients can have easier access a wider variety of products at competitive prices.

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