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Achieving Authorization

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The wait is finally over. The first batch of permanent licenses for medical cannabis businesses in Michigan was approved by the state’s Medical Marihuana Licensing Board (MMLB), paving the way for business growth without the worry of compliance issues.

On July 13, four businesses were awarded seven various types of licenses. Only one provisioning center received a license. VB Chesaning, LLC was awarded four Class C cultivations licenses, Capital Transport, LLC was awarded a secure transporter license, Cannarbor, Inc was awarded a provisioning center license and Arbor Kitchen, LLC was awarded a processor license.

“The MMLB has issued seven licenses to four different licensees,” Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) Spokesperson David Harns told CULTURE in a statement. “One licensee received four stacked grower licenses.” Since each Class C cultivation license authorizes up to 1,500 plants, by stacking four, VB Chesaning could grow as many as 6,000 plants. Representatives from VB Chesaning did not respond to CULTURE for comment.

The state also granted preliminary approval to 16 businesses, which are still in the process of receiving final approval. One of those businesses, Green Peak Innovations, has ambitious plans to obtain licenses for a dozen cultivation facilities, a processing facility and 19 provisioning centers. Green Peak Innovations’ eyes are set on the Harvest Park industrial area in Windsor Township, which is set to become a medical cannabis mecca. As of mid-July, the board received 594 applications, and only 54 had been processed.

The competition, as usual, was fierce. In making the decisions to approve or deny businesses, a long list of criteria was taken into consideration by the MMLB. According to Harns, the MMLB looked at “the integrity, moral character and reputation” of businesses, as well as if they’ve passed several regulatory hurdles. Those hurdles include liability, no bankruptcies in the last seven years, tax requirements, compliance requirements and providing a criminal background check.

“The Medical Marihuana Licensing Board has issued seven licenses to four different licensees. One licensee received four stacked grower licenses.”

 

Many other businesses were denied, including 14 applications during the latest batch of approvals. According to local reports, MMLB board member and former police officer Don Bailey denied some of those applicants for cannabis-related arrests as old as 1969. In addition, having a dismissed cannabis charge could still disqualify applicants from receiving a license.

The process still isn’t completely over. While it’s great news to hear about seven licenses being completed, those businesses will still remain in “regulatory limbo,” until a testing facility can be approved.

If the seven licensees wait to pay the $48,000 fee to complete licensure, they could operate under Michigan’s existing emergency rules until a lab has opened. Once the fee is paid, however, all testing requirements automatically go into effect.

This offers yet another temporary solution to clear the regulatory gaps that have defined the medical cannabis community in Michigan during the last few years. Overall, the news is positive despite flaws in the approval process. The next MMLB meeting is scheduled for Aug. 9. LARA addressed the issue of the absence of labs, and according to Harns, a lab could be licensed as early as Aug. 15.

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Europe Cannabis Testing Market Expected to Reach $770 Million By 2027

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The European cannabis testing market is expected to grow to a little over $770 million USD from $431.58 million in 2019. The market is expected to grow with a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 7.7 percent from 2020 to 2027.

A new report, “Europe Cannabis Testing Market to 2025 – Regional Analysis and Forecasts by Type ; Services ; End User and Country,” outlined the growth of the industry to 2025. The growth of the market can be attributed to the European government funding cannabis research for doctors as well as the increasing demand for researching cannabis quality. The report mentions non-medical uses of cannabis and problems with CBD oil products are likely to have a negative impact on the growing market.

The European cannabis testing market is split into three segments: testing laboratories, drug manufacturers and research institutes. In 2019, the testing laboratories held the largest share of the market and is expected to continue growing due to testing performed in the reference labs for various diseases.

In February 2019, members of the European Parliament (MEPs) passed a joint resolution supporting medical cannabis. The resolution allows doctors to use their best judgment in prescribing cannabis-based medicines, and calls on MEPs to address barriers that prevent cannabis research. The aim is to clearly distinguish between what is considered medical-use cannabis and what is considered non-medical.

Currently, there are no countries in the European Union that allow smoking cannabis or home-growing for medical purposes. The World Health Organization has previously recommended that CBD should not be classified as a controlled substance. The European Union has already approved a CBD-based medicine that helps treat severe seizures.

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Retired Jamaican Sprinter Opens Medical Cannabis Dispensary

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Former Olympic sprinter Michael Frater has opened his own medical cannabis dispensary. Frater said a personal injury led him to opening 4/20 Sports Therapeutic Bliss in Kingston, Jamaica.

Frater represented Jamaica for over a decade and was a part of the 2012 London Olympics team that set the world record in the 4 x 100 meter relay. However, knee problems over the past five years have caused him to retire. Frater said he tried cannabis oil to treat his bad knee and felt the difference within a month.

“I started studying a lot about it and realized that a drug that has been taboo for most of my life is really a miracle drug. It’s really a drug that once taken properly with the proper prescription, the medicinal purposes are exponential,” Frater said.

A previous study found a link between cannabis athletes using cannabis as a means of recovery or treat pain. The study found a combination of THC and CBD was the most beneficial in providing well-being and calming factors in athletes, as opposed to just CBD on its own.

Jamaica’s Minister of Sports, Olivia Grange, attended the opening ceremony and helped cut the ribbon. Also in attendance were Jamaica Olympic Association President Christopher Samuda and former teammate Asafa Powell. Grange also urged other Jamaican athletes to get involved with business in Jamaica.

“What is important about what you are doing is that you are not just an athlete who at the end of your active career, sit down, fold your arms and wait for something to happen, you have set an excellent example for others to follow,” Grange said. “I always knew that you were special. There was a group of you during your era of active running that I considered special athletes.”

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Nebraska Senator Introduces Medical Cannabis Bill

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The Nebraska Senate recently introduced a new bill that would legalize medical cannabis in the state.

Introduced by Senator Anna Wishart on January 15, the bill (LB474) would pick up where a previous November 2020 ballot initiative failed. Wishart herself worked on an attempt to collect signatures for ballot consideration. They collected 190,000 signatures and only needed 120,00 but the initiative was still rejected by the Supreme Court for a technicality. The court claimed it violates single-subject rules.

“The ballot initiative was not about medical marijuana, because it was not going to be prescribed by a doctor. It was not going to be distributed through a pharmacy,” said Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts when the bill failed. “It wasn’t a real medical thing.”

Wishart hopes that her newest bill will help residents gain access to cannabis. “[Friday] I introduced another bill, LB474, to legalize medical cannabis,” said Wishart. “I do this to honor the Nebraskans I have met along this long and winding journey. They deserve representatives who will show up and go the distance for positive change that improves the lives of families in our state no matter how many challenges are met along the way.”

Parents such as Crista Eggers are frustrated that the ballot measure was not considered back in November, as she was hoping for medicine to treat Colton, her six-year-old son. Colton has intractable epilepsy and so far hasn’t found any medicine that helps treat his condition. Under the current law, he can’t try cannabis-based medicine. “So many people were counting on that, people that didn’t have time to wait,” Eggers said.

She also expresses that, as excited as she is, she is also wary of getting too excited. “It’s exciting and we’re hopeful,” she continued. “I think more hopeful than we’ve ever been, but it also comes with that feeling of, ‘Why are we here again?’ We should be doing, as a state, everything we can to help those who are in need. This fight isn’t just for Colton. Our first has become for all those individuals who so desperately need an option.”

“On the journey to legalize medical cannabis in Nebraska, I have met so many brave people that inspire me,” said Wishart about her strong desire to legalize. “Veterans who have lost limbs in war serving our country, cancer survivors who have beaten all odds, people with debilitating pain who refuse to give up, and kids like Colton who suffer from seizures at such a young age and still show up to their life with a smile. All of these Nebraskans deserve the right to access a plant-based medicine that has evolved with humans for over 10,000+ years. None of them should be treated like criminals in our state.”

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