Marijuana Business Magazine - February 2018

¬NDUSTRY DEVELOPMENTS Sessions Revokes Protections for States With Legal Mari- juana Industries Attorney General Jeff Sessions ripped up an Obama-era policy that paved the way for legalized marijuana to flourish in states across the country. The move by President Donald Trump’s top law-enforcement official will likely add to confusion about whether it’s OK to grow, buy or use marijuana in states where it is legal, since long-standing federal law prohibits it. The Obama administration in 2013 announced it would not stand in the way of states that legalize mari- juana, so long as officials acted to keep it from migrat- ing to places where it remained outlawed and out of the hands of criminal gangs and children. The memo, written by then-Deputy Attorney General James M. Cole, cleared up some of the uncertainty about how the federal government would respond as states began allowing sales for recreational and medical purposes. World Health Organization Gives CBD Initial Boost, Plans to Look at Cannabis Overall Cannabis got a big boost from international authori- ties when the United Nations’ World Health Organiza- tion said CBD should not be scheduled as a controlled substance, an initial finding that comes after the agency reviewed cannabidiol therapies. The WHO also said it wants to take a closer look at cannabis overall. And it scheduled a May review of “cannabis and cannabis related substances.” Recommendations from the WHO don’t carry the force of law. But they are important guideposts for health authorities worldwide, and the agency’s evalua- tion of new drug therapies carry big consequences for drug makers and patients. The WHO’s initial decision on CBD said the drug “is not likely to be abused or create dependence” and has “some therapeutic value for seizures due to epilepsy and related conditions.” The WHO postponed a final decision on CBD until the “Special Session on Cannabis” by its Expert Committee on Drug Dependence in May. New Data Puts Size of Canada’s Marijuana Industry on Par With Wine Canadians spent almost the same amount of money on black-market cannabis in 2015 as they did on wine, according to a new estimate by Statistics Canada, indicating the legalized marijuana sector could give the country’s alcohol industry a run for its money come legalization in mid-2018. The country’s underground cannabis market in 2015 was worth as much as $4.8 billion (CA$6.2 billion), or roughly 90% of the size of the Canadian wine market and two-thirds of the beer market, the country’s statis- tics agency reported. Economists have warned alcohol makers that the legalization of marijuana could sap at least $128 million (CA$160 million) out of their industry, and cannabis pro- ducers are bracing for competition. National & ¬nternational News Developments What’s Happening: 18 • Marijuana Business Magazine • February 2018