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After Massachusetts cannabis worker died from asthma attack, state pushes marijuana industry to take extra safety steps



After a Bay State cannabis worker suffered an asthma attack and died, the state Department of Public Health is pushing the local marijuana industry to take extra safety steps to prevent work-related asthma.

A Trulieve Cannabis Corp. employee who was packaging ground cannabis into pre-rolls at the company’s Holyoke processing facility suffered an asthma attack and later died in the hospital last year. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration investigated, and the company later settled with OSHA.

DPH and OSHA confirmed that the death of the 27-year-old production technician was the first known occupational asthma fatality in the U.S. cannabis workforce.

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Anne Lopez cannabis

Hawaii Legalization Plan Via Attorney General




Hawaii had a difficult time with cannabis legalization efforts under previous Governor Ige. With Ige now gone, Hawaii has a new plan, which was put forth by the attorney general of the state.

New Hawaii legalization plan

As per a November 17th report in Hawaii News Now, Hawaii’s Attorney General Anne Lopez, who had stated in April that her office was in support of recreational cannabis legalization; followed up that statement, with the release of a comprehensive bill. As of yet, not everyone agrees on it. Some want more in the vein of equity measures, some think it keeps weed use too criminalized. Some don’t think cannabis should be legalized at all. It’s expected there will be a revised version, that will take into account some of these concerns.

While Lopez was at one point opposed to cannabis legalization, her stance has clearly changed. Her 294-page bill covers the regulatory laws surrounding a cannabis legalization, and a sales market. It includes provisions such as the following:

In terms of taxes, all cannabis products would receive a 10% sales tax (except medical products), and a 4.25% excise tax. It seems rather than a higher excise tax, there is instead a higher sales tax. This could indicate that what is generally picked up as an excise sin tax, is now picked up as a sales sin tax. It does include grants and a support system to get illegal legacy operators into the legal market; and it establishes the creation of a regulatory agency to oversee everything from the production and sale of products, to product testing, social equity provisions, and law enforcement.

Hawaii has cannabis legalization bill to consider
Hawaii has cannabis legalization bill to consider

Lopez doesn’t want this to drag on forever. According to her plan, legal dispensaries should be up and running within 18 months, assuming the bill is approved. Said House Judiciary Chair David via Hawaii News Now, “The attorney general has done a really good job pulling together all of the different input and providing a comprehensive bill.” State Sen. Jarrett Keohokalole agreed, saying this plan represents “the best version to date. And part of it is the efforts to try and address a lot of the issues that came up along the way.”

Consistent with other legalization bills, there is an expectation that medical dispensaries could sell recreational cannabis first; as these enterprises already meet all the regulation requirements. “They’re already standing up, they’re already growing, they are already prepared to go to market,” said Lopez.

The legacy aspect

The legacy part of the bill is important. What this really means, is that the state would encourage illegal growers/producers/dealers to work legally instead of in the black market. The state would help accommodate this in two ways; since its already understood that legal weed markets with expensive regulation requirements and a need for a decent amount of capital; are not automatically accessible to equity and legacy operators.

The first way is through grants and other supportive help; to provide some of the money, know-how, general help, and additional resources, to get a person started. The second way, is through law enforcement. For example, if a dealer is caught, and doesn’t choose to change over to a legal enterprise, they face a 14-member specialized law enforcement unit. So its help, but with a large threat attached.

Lopez addressed the issue like this, saying “The most important thing we can do is we can bring the people who have been growing and selling marijuana illegally into the legal market.” She continued, “It’s going to be a concerted investigative process to ensure that the law is followed.”

Pretty much everywhere, the black market continues to dwarf legal markets. Whereas adding close to 15% in taxes isn’t a move to promote competition with it; Lopez thinks the state might be able to simply take the illegal market, and convince it to be above board. While this could work, if it really is set up properly; it faces the same issues as other equity initiatives. It likely can’t account for the huge amount of money needed to build a business and meet unnecessarily pricey regulation; there isn’t a great way to get loans for this population; and it simply hasn’t worked well yet, in other locations.

Hawaii has medical and decriminalization policies
Hawaii has medical and decriminalization policies

Pushback to the bill

Like most stuff that happens in government, not everybody is on board. In fact, according to some, law enforcement is generally against it. Of course, this sentiment should be taken with a grain of salt; as law enforcement is made up of many different people and job titles. All with their own opinions on the matter.

Even so, according to Honolulu Prosecuting Attorney Steve Alm, law enforcement officials are very much against legalizing cannabis in general. Alm says its not about Lopez’s plan, per say, but a lack of desire to change from the current status quo. Alm specifically used the words ‘not broken’ when referring to prohibition; and then said that an adult use cannabis market would lead to more hospitalizations, without mitigating the black markets.

As per what he told Hawaii News Now “To me, there is no impetus to changing the system. Teenagers go to the emergency room thinking they’re going crazy because it’s such a strong drug. It’s a different drug entirely.” This is odd though, because he also just said that a legal market wouldn’t mitigate the black market. Which means these products already exist; and are already sold. A legalization wouldn’t therefore introduce something new. But it would divert some sales to a legal market. Probably more if unnecessary taxes aren’t leveraged.

Of course, Alm himself is specifically anti-cannabis. He spoke of cannabis being the cause of traffic accidents and mental illness, when these things are not backed up anywhere. On the other hand, Alm doesn’t represent all law enforcement; and The Department of Law Enforcement actually collaborated with the Attorney General’s office on the bill.

Hawaii cannabis woes

Right now, Hawaii has a medical legalization; which was the first instituted in the US, which didn’t come from a ballot measure. The law originally changed in 2000, when cultivation for medical patients was legalized. Dispensaries didn’t open until 2016; and even now, there are only a few of them throughout the state.

Hawaii also has a decriminalization measure from 2019. Governor Ige, who vetoed other cannabis measures, didn’t agree with this decriminalization; but also seemed to understand he couldn’t stop it from happening. He made a big deal of allowing the bill to pass through to law, without ever signing it. Governor’s have a certain amount of time to respond to a bill. If they don’t officially sign it or repeal it within this time, it automatically passes into law.

Former governor Ige vetoed previous cannabis bills
Former governor Ige vetoed previous cannabis bills

Around the same time he allowed the decriminalization to pass through, Ige vetoed two bills. One bill was to open inter-island medical weed transportation throughout the state, and one for an industrial hemp licensing program. In terms of the former, Ige’s excuse was that it could create confusion for foreigners who “erroneously believe they are immune from federal prosecution.” He said this because “airspace and certain areas of water fall within the exclusive jurisdiction of the federal government.”

Of course, every place with a legalization, is bordered by a place without it; and yet we somehow depend on the public to not be dumb enough to apply the rules of one place, to another. And as of yet, it hasn’t seemed to cause some huge confusion in the population. The idea is actually pretty well understood that different states have different laws. In my mind, it was quite insulting to the general population on Ige’s part, to say it.

Other legalization efforts stalled out in Hawaii during Ige’s time; as it was posited that there wasn’t much chance he would actually let one through. Now that Ige is no longer in office, it seems the state shouldn’t have much problem; and unless Alm represents the majority, a legalization is likely. As a showing that things are already changing, an inter-island transportation law was approved in June of this year; much like what Ige vetoed earlier. Plus, new Governor Josh Green, already said he’d sign a legalization bill if it came across his desk.


It seems that Hawaii might be next on the docket for a recreational cannabis legalization; with this new bill through the attorney general’s office. If it passes, it would join 24 other states with recreational measures. Stay tuned to find out if it does.

Thanks for stopping by! We welcome you to, an independent news site geared toward the drugs world at large, with a focus on cannabis and hallucinogens. Swing by daily to collect updates; and subscribe to our Cannadelics Weekly Newsletter; so you never miss a single thing.

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EMCDDA Report: What EU Drug Market Looks Like




The legal landscape of cannabis is changing in the EU; but how does this affect its illicit presence, or the overall illicit drug market? New EMCDDA report gets into it.

What is EMCDDA?

If you keep up on international politics concerning drugs, you’ve probably heard of this agency. The EMCDDA is the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction. This agency was established under the EU in 1993, but was modified via a 2022 bill, which includes a renaming of the agency to the European Union Drugs Agency.

The agency acts as a knowledge base for the EU drug world; including all member states. It’s goal is to provide reliable and objective coverage of drug topics; like usage rates, addiction potential, and health complications. The organization serves Europe and the EU; but the group works with lawmakers and scientists around the globe.

The EMCDDA operates under a stated mission, which involves three basic points: 1) To provide for the EU and beyond, ‘factual, objective, reliable and comparable information at European level concerning drugs and drug addiction and their consequences.’ 2) To obtain and assess information on emerging trends in the drug world, with a focus on multi-drug use, and the combination of legal and illegal drugs. And 3) To offer best practices information to the member states of the EU, and to help the states institute these practices.

Arrests and seizures are the main source for illicit drug market info
Arrests and seizures are the main source for illicit drug market info

How accurate is the EMCDDA? It’s hard to say. Like any government agency, it can only officially account for what’s official. Perhaps it has good feelers in the illicit world, and really knows the ins and outs of whats not reported. And alternatively, maybe its used as a way to form beliefs in the general public. If nothing else, a recent report gives us some new talking points regarding the EU, and its illicit cannabis drug market.

Report – EU Drug Market: Cannabis

The EMCDDA’s EU Drug Market: Cannabis report was published in November, 2023. It “describes the European cannabis market from production and trafficking, to distribution and use. It details the processes, materials and players involved at different stages and levels of the market. The module takes a threat assessment approach, identifying key issues and defining recommendations for action at EU and Member State level.”

The report notes that cannabis is both the most commonly used illicit drug worldwide, as well as the basis for the largest black market in Europe. It estimates that 84 million between 15-64 years of age, have used cannabis at least once in life; and that 22.6 million used it in just the past year. The report indicates that a larger choice for products is available on the black market; including oil and hash oil, vapes, edibles, and other concentrates. This is in contrast to how it was not many years ago; when the main products were flower and hash.

In its ‘key points’ section, the report states the belief that most of the cannabis ‘detected,’ is thought to be grown in the EU. It states that seized drug amounts peaked in 2021, for cannabis and resin; the highest in 10 years. And that while Spain is a key player for illicit cannabis in the EU, Morocco is still the biggest hash provider to Europe.

It comments on the expanding market, with new product offerings; as well as the increase in potency of cannabis products, and the entrance of synthetic (or semi-synthetic) cannabinoids products, like HHC. According to the report, “Violence, corruption and the misuse of legal business structures are key enablers used by the diverse, adaptable and flexible criminal networks involved in the illicit cannabis market in the EU.” And that “The environmental impact of illicit cannabis production in the EU is considerable.”

A few more points from the report

The EMCDDA report estimates the minimum value of the EU cannabis black market to be EUR 11.4 billion. While it states that indicators point to it being a stable market; it also states that between 2015-2021, prices went down for cannabis flower and hash products. The discrepancy likely indicates that stability is in general market size and number of users; while pricing for individual products, does vary through time. The falling prices in these categories mirrors falling prices in the US and Canada as well.

Illicit market offers many more products now
Illicit market offers many more products now

In terms of increasing potency, the report states that flower went up 60% in THC potency, while hash went up 200%, in the years from 2011-2021. Seizures indicate that whereas hash used to be consumed more than flower in Europe, that now flower is the more common product, with more seizures finding flower, than hash. The biggest seizures came from countries like Spain, France and Italy; which are on trafficking routes. The report indicates that the Western Balkan region is a big part of the illicit cannabis trade; and both cultivates and imports products to Europe.

The report states cannabis as the most commonly used drug worldwide. It gives the statistic of 2,014 tonnes of resin seized in 2021, and 5,226 tonnes of cannabis flower. The former is an 8% drop from the previous year’s seizures, and the latter is an 11% increase. Spain was cited as being where 75% of plants were seized in 2021, as well as 650 tonnes of resin.

Things to remember

First and foremost, this is the report of a government agency on the black markets that operate within its borders. No direct production, sales, or transport information was given to any government, or used for this report. Like with all reporting on drug trafficking and black markets, the numbers grabbing headlines, are estimates made from what is obtained through arrests, seizures, and covert operations.

All three of these are dependent on how much money a government puts behind the efforts; which is something that often changes with new laws or new measures. What I mean by this, is that if a government isn’t looking for something one year, and then starts looking for it the next; it’ll appear in the news like it doesn’t exist at all the first year, but then pops up in the second.

Or, perhaps, efforts to stop a particular drug amp up, meaning more arrests, seizures, and covert operations. Let’s remember, the same report spoke of this as a stable market; which implies any increase seen in it, is really just an increase in law enforcement efforts against it.

In the ‘cannabis production’ section of the report, it says, “Little is known about the scale of illicit cultivation in Europe due to challenges in monitoring and reporting.” Of course, logically, if authorities don’t know much about production, they also don’t realistically know much about the rest either. A statement like this should act as a reminder that we’re only going off of guesses, that relate to how good the government is at intercepting these businesses, at a given time.

EU has almost no info on illicit cultivation
EU has almost no info on illicit cultivation

When we look at black market numbers from government reporting, what we’re generally looking at is how much funding an initiative gets, and whatever protocol is currently in place. So did the industry increase in 2021 in Europe? Or did Europe put more time and money into rooting out operations? Weed has been a staple black market drug for nearly a century, and was used throughout history before then. Aspects might change, like which country produces more; but the overarching idea of the market in general, remains the same.

Another thing to remember is that this kind of information can be used to inform policy, and personal opinions. As personal opinions relate to buying preferences, and therefore shape industries; and since companies are known to contribute so much to politicians; its not out of bounds to assume political agendas are pushed by way of molding popular opinions through reporting.

The report makes a reference to the ‘dangerous’ semi-synthetic cannabinoids and increased THC levels, of concentrate products and edibles. While it does seem increased THC has led to more ER visits; this has not been linked with increased deaths, nor did the EMCDDA offer a statistic for cannabis deaths or injuries. As a reminder, the EU is totally cool with allowing synthetic opioids, which according to an EMCDDA report from August 2023, were responsible (along with heroine) for 3/4 of drug deaths in Europe. Perhaps we should question how the EMCDDA defines ‘dangerous.’


I expect these reports come out for the sake of appearances – like that of maintaining control; as well as for whatever opinion-molding they can do. But the reality is, we don’t know much about what goes on in the EU illicit drug market beyond a point, just like we don’t know it about any other black market. What we do know, is that weed is big, it always has been, and attempts to thwart markets, or divert them to costlier legal markets; doesn’t tend to work.

Hello weed fans. We welcome you to, where we report on the drugs world at large, with a focus on marijuana. Come by often to stay updated on current happenings; and sign yourself up for the Cannadelics Weekly Newsletter; so you’re never late to get the news.

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