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House revives talks to decriminalize cannabis use in the Philippines



Former House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, who used profanity to describe the classification of cannabis as a dangerous drug, argues that its legalization would generate revenues for the government

A House panel for the first time in the 19th Congress under the Marcos administration took up a bill seeking to decriminalize the production, sale, and use of cannabis in the Philippines.

The lower chamber’s dangerous drugs committee chaired by Robert Ace Barbers of Surigao del Norte’s 2nd District moved to form a technical working group (TWG) with the health committee to flesh out the bill filed by former House Speaker and current Davao del Norte 1st District Representative Pantaleon Alvarez.

In his speech, Alvarez used colorful language to describe the current state of cannabis in the country.

“The classification of cannabis and its derivatives, as a dangerous drug, is bullsh*t. It makes no sense at all. And we must correct this absurdity,” he said on Tuesday, February 21.

“If the government allows harmful products like alcoholic beverages, cancer-causing cigarettes, and diabetes-bringing sugary drinks, why can’t we decriminalize the production and sale of a substance that is less harmful, has many benefits, and can be a source of government revenue?” Alvarez said.

The former House leader also argued that legalizing marijuana in the Philippines would generate wealth that the government can use for its programs and projects.

“We can decriminalize cannabis and its derivatives, and we can collect billions worth of taxes from its production and sale. We can use the added revenues to build more roads and bridges, more classrooms and hospitals, and more public service in pursuit of the common good. We can also use the extra taxes collected to help our country pay for our deep debt brought on by the economic crisis during the pandemic,” Alvarez said.

What the bill says

Republic Act No. 9165, also known as the amended Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act, lists cannabis as a dangerous drug and substance.

Individuals convicted of cultivating marijuana, and possessing 10 grams of marijuana resin or marijuana resin oil, as well as 500 grams or more of marijuana, face a fine of up to P10 million and life imprisonment.

Alvarez’s proposal, House Bill No. 6783, seeks to exclude cannabis, cannabis resin and extracts, and tinctures of cannabis from the list.

Batanes Representative Ciriaco Gato expressed concern that the delisting of cannabis would pave the way for the recreational use of marijuana.

“I am thinking that while alcohol and tobacco are really bad, marijuana is also bad. As to which is more harmful, I think it depends on the amount,” Gato said, arguing that a variety of cannabis has negative effects. “Marijuana just like alcohol has some effects from a medical and social standpoint.”


The proposal is in its early stages, and it is not among the priority bills of the Marcos administration.

The dangerous drugs committee also seeks to conduct further review on the subject.

“I would like to listen first to the opinions of all the members, and opinions of the experts,” Barbers told Rappler when asked whether he would back the measure and eventually defend it at the House plenary.

“A lot of discussions will have to be made because if the proponent’s intention is to delist it, there must be some basis as to why he wants to delist it,” he said. “Before we pursue the idea of making it available for sale, it has to be delisted [from the list of dangerous drugs].”

Aside from the bill filed by Alvarez, there are also multiple bills referred to the health committee seeking to legalize medical marijuana.

That panel has yet to take up such measures, chairman Gato told Rappler, but he said he is in favor of medical, regulated marijuana.

The House, led by then-Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo in the 17th Congress, already approved a bill seeking to legalize medical marijuana, but the proposal languished in the Senate. The lower chamber in the 18th Congress, however, failed to move past the TWG level. –


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“Sham Unions”: Alleged Labor Law Violations Shake California’s Booming Cannabis Industry 




Several major legal cannabis companies in California are facing allegations of violating state law by collaborating with and signing labor peace agreements with organizations claiming to be labor unions but who have failed to genuinely advocate for workers’ rights. According to California law, cannabis companies with over 20 employees are required to sign a labor peace agreement with a “bona fide labor organization”. These labor peace agreements facilitate a union’s access to employees. Labor peace agreements prevent unions from picketing or boycotting the business in exchange for the business agreeing not to disrupt union organizing efforts. However, several unions are alleging some of the largest cannabis companies in the state have attempted to skirt this law by signing labor peace agreements with an organization known as Professional Technical Union Local 33 (Pro-Tech).

The Teamsters Union filed a complaint with the California Agricultural Labor Relations Board (CALRB) in March of this year, alleging that Pro-Tech was not a genuine labor organization. After conducting an investigation, the CALRB agreed with the Teamsters, finding that Pro-Tech has made no tangible efforts to organize or represent cannabis industry employees and even lacks a physical presence in the state.

At least 90 cannabis companies, including some of the largest in California, are alleged to have signed labor peace agreements with Pro-Tech and have recently had to scramble to make agreements with other labor unions. The implicated firms were provided with 180 days to establish new labor peace agreements by the California Department of Cannabis Control (CCDC).

Pro-Tech is not the only labor organization to face scrutiny. Another union, the National Agricultural Workers Union, has also recently faced similar allegations of being a “sham union” from the Teamsters.

California’s cannabis industry is significant, employing over 83,000 people in 2021. The CCDC has stated that it is working to enhance transparency regarding labor peace agreements to strengthen labor organizations’ ability to file complaints against non-compliant companies.

This news highlights the importance of having an experienced attorney review labor peace agreements that are required by CCDC. It is important to remember that the details of these agreements are subject to negotiation, and the difference between an enforceable agreement and a one-sided agreement that allows a union to engage in unfair or harassing organizational tactics can be easily overlooked. 


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Proposal to abolish medical cannabis tax fails to become Canadian Conservative Party policy




A proposal to consider the abolition of tax on cannabis for medical purposes did not have a chance to become official party policy at the Conservative Party convention over the weekend.

The proposal would have called on the Conservative Party of Canada to adopt a policy that would “abolish the excise tax on medical cannabis, fostering compassionate patient care and promoting its potential as a ‘Made in Canada’ safer alternative to addictive opioids.”

Policy 1849 had passed the first stage of voting and was then heard as a regional priority from New Brunswick in a breakout session on Friday. However, the proposal did not make it past that stage. Had it passed, it would have had a chance to proceed to the convention floor for a final vote on Saturday, September 9.

Tanner Stewart, who helped bring the proposal forward, says he is disappointed the proposal didn’t make it to the floor, but feels it was still a worthwhile effort to spread awareness of the issue. Stewart is the founder of Stewart Farms, a cannabis producer in St. Stephen, New Brunswick.


Proposal to abolish medical cannabis tax fails to become Conservative Party policy

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Sept 8 Alert: OHA to suspend rule requiring aspergillus testing on cannabis products




PORTLAND, Ore. – Oregon Health Authority (OHA) will be filing a temporary rule suspending the requirement to test cannabis products for certain species of a mold known as Aspergillus.

The agency’s decision to suspend the Aspergillus testing requirement in Oregon Administrative Rule 333-007-0390 follows an Aug. 25 Oregon Court of Appeals stay of the rule. Representatives of the state’s cannabis industry had earlier led a legal challenge to that part of the rule.

André Ourso, administrator for the Center for Health Protection at OHA’s Public Health Division, said the agency “remains concerned about the health impacts of Aspergillus on cannabis users, including Oregon Medical Marijuana Program registrants, and will consider revisiting rulemaking in the near future.”

In the meantime, OHA will amend OAR 333-007-0390 as a temporary rule to remove the requirement for Aspergillus testing. Testing for Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) and Salmonella species will continue to be required.

The part of OAR 333-007-0390 requiring Aspergillus testing went into effect March 31, 2022, when OHA required new tests for heavy metals, mycotoxins and microbiological contaminants on marijuana items and industrial hemp-derived vapor items. Testing for heavy metals and microbiological contaminants was required for items harvested or manufactured on or after March 1, 2023.

Microbiological contaminant testing included testing for the presence of four pathogenic species of Aspergillus: A. flavus, A. fumigatus, A. niger and A. terreus, which are known to be harmful to humans.



Also Cultiva are hosting this

You are invited to the following event:

September Cannabis Insiders Meeting – Federal Rescheduling, Aspergillus Testing, OHA & OLCC RACs

When: 11 Sep 2023 6:30 PM, PDT
Where: Cultiva Law – 11 NE MLK Blvd, Portland, OR

Will you be attending?

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