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Legal Cannabis Banking in the US – Cannabis | Weed | Marijuana

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Legal cannabis banking in the United States is still an open question, even after the midterms. Cannabis legalization became a reality in two more states last week, with Maryland and Missouri joining the ranks as the newly legal states.

Nearly half of Americans now live in a legal cannabis jurisdiction. This a significant step from fifteen years ago, when no state had legal cannabis. (And only a handful permitted medical exemptions.)

But what about the push for federal legalization? And what about legal cannabis banking?

As of this writing, Democrats have been declared victorious in the Senate. So what does this mean for the cannabis SAFE Banking Act?

Right now, the government prevents cannabis companies from using federally-insured banks. They also can’t use credit cards or take advantage of other financial services.

This is because cannabis remains illegal on the federal level. The cannabis SAFE Banking Act would change all that.

“With nine Republican co-sponsors, there is a reasonable chance that the Safe Banking Act, in its current form will be voted on and be passed,” says Jason Wilson, ETFMG Cannabis Research and Banking Expert.

SAFE Banking Act When?

Legal Cannabis Banking in the US

“Regardless of the potential change of control in Congress, President Biden’s recent direction to review the classification of cannabis under the Controlled Substances Act should ultimately provide a lift for the industry,” says Wilson.

Optimistic investors expect the legal cannabis banking bill to be on the President’s desk by the end of the year. While this wouldn’t legalize cannabis in the US, it would reveal a lot of financial pressure on the legal states. Including the two newcomers, Maryland and Missouri.

“Assuming the Biden administration’s review of cannabis results in rescheduling to Schedule III or higher under the CSA, the issues surrounding 280E and deductibility of business expenses would be resolved,” says Wilson.

By this, Wilson means Section 280E of the US Tax Code.

What Is 280E?

A business takes its gross income and deducts operating expenses such as payroll to arrive at its net income or operating profit. This is what companies have to pay tax on.

According to Section 280E of the Internal Revenue Code, a legal-state cannabis business cannot make these deductions.

280E means a cannabis business must pay tax on gross income. Which is often triple what they would pay if the government taxed their net income, like any other business.

And this is before state governments get a cut of their share.

Passing legal cannabis banking legislation, like the SAFE Banking Act, would go a long way to resolving these issues. And without having to legalize cannabis federally.

This, says Wilson, “would materially increase the earnings quality of many cannabis companies operating in the US. As well as bring new investors to the table.”

Legal Cannabis Banking in the US

It’s still too early to tell how the next two years will play out. But investors are hopeful that some form of the cannabis SAFE Banking Act will pass.

“In the meantime, with two additional states voting to legalize recreational marijuana yesterday and with recent legalization legislation being introduced in Germany, the size of the cannabis market continues to grow both domestically and internationally,” says Wilson.





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Poilievre Misdiagnoses Opioid Crisis – Cannabis | Weed | Marijuana

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Conservative Party leader Pierre Poilievre misdiagnoses the opioid crisis in the latest video, “Everything Feels Broken.”

In the five-minute video, Poilievre uses a Vancouver tent city as his backdrop to make a case for the drug war.

For a decade, British Columbia (among other Canadian cities) has provided a clean, safe supply of drugs for the addicted.

He calls it a “failed experiment” brought in by “woke Liberal and NDP governments,” before saying he’ll end this policy and instead put taxpayers’ money into recovery and treatment.

The narrative is easy to follow: there is a correlation between safe supply sites and opioid deaths. Ergo, one caused the other.

Unfortunately, data doesn’t support this narrative. Nor does the data support Poilievre’s claim that Alberta‘s anti-drug policy has worked better.

(In fact, how Alberta deals with opioids isn’t all that different from the rest of the country, including having safe supply sites in Edmonton and Calgary).

But if you want to critique Poilievre’s video, there are plenty of articles on this topic.

Most critics, however, defend safe supply sites, claim compassion for addicts, and, far from engaging with Poilievre on his ideas, merely parrot federal Addictions Minister Carolyn Bennett by calling the video “irresponsible” and “misguided.”

Pierre Poilievre is wrong about the cause of drug overdose deaths in Canada. And, like his critics, he’s also wrong about throwing money at “treatment and recovery.”

Just as his critics are wrong that taxpayer-funded “safe supply” is the way out of the crisis.

How Poilievre (And his Critics) Misdiagnose the Opioid Crisis

Poilievre Misdiagnoses Opioid Crisis

When Poilievre misdiagnoses the opioid crisis, it comes from a place of politics. His goal is to acquire Justin Trudeau’s PMO power, which has significantly increased since the Harper years.

Therefore, when ordinary families are facing a shortage of children’s pain medication, it’s apt time to go after the taxpayer-funded supply of hard drugs.

Especially since a decade of “safe supply” hasn’t produced immediate results.

Now, critics are right to point out that, in B.C., over 80% of overdoses don’t occur in the street but in a private residence or shelter. The problem is less about homeless people dying in the streets than the toxicity of street drugs.

That’s why safe supply sites work, say the supporters.

And Poilievre isn’t opposed to using taxpayer money to fund treatment policies. He disagrees with the means.

But in a discussion about Poilievre’s “Everything Feels Broken” video, almost no one has mentioned the elephant in the room: the corporate pharmaceutical conglomerates.

They caused the opioid crisis and profit from supplying methadone and Suboxone to safe supply sites.

Poilievre critics would be wise to stop with the surface-level attacks and get to the core of the issue. And Poilievre’s supporters would be wise to question their leader’s motives and proposed solutions.

If you want a villain, look no further than McKinsey & Company.

How McKinsey & Company Caused the Opioid Crisis

Poilievre Misdiagnoses Opioid Crisis

McKinsey & Company is a global management consulting firm. They’ve been around since the 1920s and are considered one of the “Big Three” consulting agencies worldwide.

They’ve also been involved in many controversies, from Enron, the ’08 financial crisis, insider trading, conflicts of interest, and associations with murderous dictators, including Saudi Arabia.

So it shouldn’t be a surprise they’ve played a role in the opioid epidemic.

McKinsey & Company wanted to “turbocharge” Oxycontin sales. They proposed strategies to combat the messages from real parents who lost their children to Oxy overdoses.

They also advised opioid makers on how to circumvent government regulations.

They’re the type of firm to crunch the numbers and figure out that it’s cheaper to pay $36.8 million to the families who’ve lost someone from an overdose than to stop selling the toxic crap.

In 2018/19, McKinsey & Company collected over $400 million by consulting pharmaceutical companies.

McKinsey’s services turned Endo from a small generic opioid manufacturer to one of the world’s largest opioid businesses.

McKinsey also recommended targeting and influencing doctors. They wanted elderly and long-term care patients hooked on opioids.

They’re staffed by a revolving door of consultants who either come from (or go on to work for) government regulators like the FDA and pharmaceutical clients like Purdue.

Purdue Pharma went into bankruptcy and had to pay a multi-billion-dollar settlement because it “intentionally conspired and agreed with others to aid and abet” the over-prescribing of painkillers “without a legitimate medical purpose.”

The idiom “the fox is guarding the henhouse,” has never been more relevant.

Poilievre spends five minutes criticizing his political opponents instead of the corporate-state cartel that has brought us to this point. That’s when you know Poilievre is misdiagnosing the opioid crisis.

Poilievre Misdiagnoses Opioid Crisis

While Poilievre misdiagnoses the opioid crisis, he does mention in passing the doctors who “prescribed and over-prescribed,” opioids.

For someone who goes on about gatekeepers, you’d think Poilievre could put two and two together. Yet, this was far as he went with that line of criticism.

If Poilievre wants to go after Justin Trudeau, why not point out that our blackface PM made a McKinsey crony (Dominic Barton) Canada’s ambassador to China in 2019?

(Although, in Justin’s defence, you could argue that dealing with a murderous regime that doesn’t believe in the sanctity of human life requires an ambassador who feels the same way).

Like most of Poilievre’s critiques of government, he misdiagnoses the opioid crisis by not going deeper into the issue and pointing fingers at his political opposition instead of the merging of corporate and state power.

And why would he?

Like Liberal and NDP governments, Conservatives adhere to lobbying concerns more than their constituents.

And when constituents get rowdy, like organizing an occupation in the nation’s capital, the corporate press is there to propagate a narrative that fools the masses and protects the financial interests of the elite.

That’s where critics on both sides fail to grasp the nature of the opioid crisis. Not only did pharmaceutical corporations cause this crisis (with help from the state), but they also profit from the proposed “solutions,” including safe supply.

So what’s the answer?

How Poilievre Can Reverse His Misdiagnoses of the Opioid Crisis

Poilievre Misdiagnoses Opioid Crisis

In his “Everything feels broken” video, where Poilievre misdiagnoses the opioid crisis, he proposes statist solutions like toughening security at the border to keep illegal drugs out of the country.

That’s obviously unrealistic. You’d have to claim complete ignorance of the global fentanyl trade to believe “strengthening the border” would work.

Further, Poilievre says, “There is no safe supply of these drugs.”

Indicating that even if we rid the country of killer opioids like fentanyl and carfentanyl, we’d still have a drug problem.

As if the mere existence of an opioid is enough to justify the drug war.

You won’t find the correct solution from Poilievre’s brand of quasi-libertarian politics. And you won’t find an answer from the various left-wing parties who have never found a problem more government spending couldn’t fix.

Politicians know who butters their bread. Additionally, cultural norms and attitudes about drugs shape our thinking.

But no matter how you slice it: no one has a right to your body except you.

Taken to its logical conclusion, someone throwing you in a cage for consuming opioids is an aggressor and a tyrant.

Meaning, the solution to Canada’s opioid crisis is to legalize heroin.

Legalizing “Hard” Drugs

Photo credit: Trey Patric Helten

Is there a difference between “hard” drugs like heroin and “soft” drugs like cannabis? Is one more addictive than the other? What about alcohol? Is that a “hard” or “soft” drug?

Perhaps the distinction itself is arbitrary.

Some drugs are more dangerous than others. Just as riding a motorcycle is more dangerous than driving a car. 

Too much of our conversation surrounding drugs, especially opioids, is wrapped up in language about “losing control” and “involuntarily behaviour.”

But this narrative is entirely false. Just as there are responsible cannabis consumers, there are responsible opioid consumers.

Problems arise when people behave according to the ideas they have about drugs. No one is living on the street and committing crimes to get their hands on refined sugar.

But if you limit the supply of the sweet stuff, I can guarantee you societal chaos is around the corner.

A refined sugar prohibition would incentive an illegal supply of sugar. And cutting that white powder with non-sugar is a sketchy but efficient way to boost profits.

Would the solution be to put sugar addicts into rehab centres where they lose whatever autonomy they have left?

Or would the solution be to set up clinics where the people jonesing the hardest could go for a safe supply?

Or is the solution legalizing all sugar and letting individuals decide what is best for them?

Poilievre misdiagnoses opioid crisis. But so do his critics. The answer is obvious. It’s only drug war propaganda that keeps us from seeing it. 





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Does CBD Modulate THC? No, Says Study – Cannabis | Weed | Marijuana

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Does CBD modulate the effects of THC? No, says a new study.

For years, both experience and research have indicated that CBD has a mitigating effect when consumed with THC.

For example, budtenders suggest a THC-strain balanced with CBD for new consumers to avoid overwhelming them.

When an experienced stoner has eaten an edible or taken some oil and feels too high – they use CBD to take the edge off.

But a recent study suggests this is all placebo.

How Could CBD Modulate THC?

CBD Modulate THC

More extensive studies will conclusively determine if CBD modulates THC. But for now, we’ll have to rely on conflicting research and anecdotal experiences.

CBD and THC have drastically different effects. THC stands for tetrahydrocannabinol, the most famous of all cannabis compounds. THC binds to our cannabinoid receptors to produce the “high” feeling.

CBD, on the other hand, doesn’t directly bind to our cannabinoid receptors. It is more like a psychedelic in that it targets the serotonin 5-HT1A receptors, which we find primarily in our stomach.

CBD also prolongs the life span of our endogenous cannabinoids: anandamide (AEA) and 2-arachidonoylglyerol (2-AG).

These endogenous cannabinoids bind to our cannabinoid receptors. Researchers figure that because CBD inhibits the breakdown of anandamide in the cannabinoid one receptor, THC can’t fully bind and thus has a muted effect.

Research performed under double-blind, placebo-controlled conditions suggested CBD can reduce the unpleasant effects of THC.

Other research disputes this. But what about this new study?

Does CBD Modulate THC? No, Says Study

psychosis

According to the latest study no, CBD does not modulate the effects of THC. Published in the journal Neuropsychopharmacologythis randomized, double-blind cross-over trial was thorough.

Researchers recruited 46 healthy volunteers ranging from 21 to 50 years old. They’d used cannabis before but not more than once per week during the previous year. Researchers asked them to inhale cannabis vapour containing 10mg of THC combined with different levels of CBD. 

So per experiment, they consumed a 10:0 ratio, then a balanced 10:10 ratio, followed by 10:20, and then 10:30. In other words, by the last experiment, participants were inhaling more CBD per milligram than THC. 

After each experiment, the researchers asked the participants to complete a set of tasks. Researchers measured “psychotic symptoms,” including “cognitive, subjective, pleasurable, pharmacological and physiological effects.”

For example, THC is associated with delayed verbal recall. The study said CBD did not improve those scores.

The study concludes, “There was no evidence of CBD modulating the effects of THC on other cognitive, psychotic, subjective, pleasurable, and physiological measures.”

Even going further to suggest, “This should be considered in health policy and safety decisions about medicinal and recreational cannabis.”

Yet, did this study conclusively determine these results? Even the authors admit their research can only go so far without a placebo-controlled group.

To suggest that “no evidence that CBD protects against the acute adverse effects of cannabis,” while other double-blind clinical trials have shown otherwise, indicates more to the story.

Building a CBD Tolerance 

CBD Modulate THC

This latest study suggested that CBD does not modulate the effects of THC in the short term. But what about the long term?

Cannabis connoisseurs know about tolerance. If you smoke weed daily, you build up a tolerance to THC. You can take a few days off and let your cannabinoid receptors reset. When you return to the herb, you’ll feel the effects more with less.

CBD might work the opposite way. It may promote receptor sensitivity, meaning you need less over time.

CBD may also reestablish homeostatic levels (bringing balance to your endocannabinoid system). So while it may give the impression it’s not doing anything, CBD is working with your system without producing the “psychotic symptoms,” of THC. 

At least one study suggests the longer you use CBD, the lower dosages you’ll need. Which is another way of saying: you need to build up some CBD in your system before it can work. 

With that in mind, how accurate was this new study? A short-term look at people inhaling THC-CBD vapour after a year of virtually no consumption?

And no placebo-controlled group, to boot.

Yet, these researchers want their inconclusive opinions “considered in health policy and safety decisions” about cannabis.

The Problem With the “CBD Doesn’t Modulate THC” Study

Langara College grant

Of course, the apparent problem with this “CBD doesn’t modulate THC” study is its short-term aspect, the lack of a placebo group, and the cannabis delivery method.

Cannabis is a complex plant, and if you consume THC or CBD through edibles, the body will process the cannabinoids differently.

Same for plant extracts. Were the volunteers of this study taking THC and CBD isolates in vape format? Or were these full-spectrum products containing other cannabinoids like CBG and CBN?

What would result if a participant ate 10mg of CBD edibles for two weeks straight and then smoked a one-gram joint with 25% THC? And what if we paired them with a participant who didn’t consume CBD two weeks prior? 

This is why more research is needed before inconclusive results should be “considered” in government policy. 

But the big problem with the “CBD doesn’t modulate THC” study comes down to bias.

The study says, “Cannabis users may reduce harms when using a higher CBD:THC ratio, due to the reduced THC exposure rather than the presence of CBD.”

Throughout the paper, the researchers engage in a priori extremism by labelling THC “harmful” without further discussion. It’s one of the biases built into the study. And we saw it earlier by referring to THC’s effects as “psychotic symptoms.”

But what evidence links cannabis, particularly the effects of THC, to “psychotic symptoms?”

When we consume THC, we don’t become “psychotic.” We get high. We become stoned. The fact that they didn’t use a neutral, scientific term to describe THC’s effects brings the entire paper into question.

Not to mention, English and Australian universities funded this study. Two countries not exactly known for their legal recreational cannabis markets. (Even their medical program is strictly controlled and absurdly risk-averse).

Furthermore, we have conclusive, double-blind, placebo-controlled studies that prove that CBD reduces anxiety. And since higher concentrations of THC cause anxiety in some people, it’s no surprise we have past studies indicating that CBD modulates the effects of THC. 

What Did This Study Prove?

CBD Modulate THC

The problem with this “CBD doesn’t modulate THC” study is its bias and limited scope. They created a category of “psychotic symptoms.” Then they tested this theory on a small group of participants in the short term without any placebo-controlled group.

It may be that CBD isn’t the modulating agent we think it is. Further studies may validate the conclusions of this study. 

But further research is needed. Governments destroyed nutrition science in the 20th century by accepting half-baked theories and biased research as proven facts.

With cannabis legalization sweeping the world, we cannot allow the same thing to happen to cannabinoid-based therapies. 





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Cannabis Legalization in Ireland? – Cannabis | Weed | Marijuana

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Ireland is the latest European country to take a step closer to cannabis legalization. Introduced by a People Before Profit Party member, the bill would legalize cannabis possession for adults over 18.

However, the bill doesn’t include cannabis sales or cultivation. It is more decriminalization than the commercialization of the industry. The bill says possessing up to seven grams “shall be lawful,” despite no commercial market.

A top government official is skeptical that the bill will become law. Right now, it’s in the lower chamber of Ireland’s legislature.

“I hope the government can support this legislation. It is timely. Different parts of the world are looking at different models which do not criminalize people and which take a harm-reduction approach. I look forward to the debate,” said Gino Kenny, the politician who introduced the bill.

How soon until cannabis legalization comes to Ireland?

Cannabis Prohibition in Ireland

Cannabis Legalization in Ireland?

The illegality of cannabis in Ireland stretches back to the Dangerous Drugs Act of 1934, making Ireland one of the first countries to ban cannabis (beating the United States by three years).

And like the United States, cannabis legalization in Ireland may be an uphill battle. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, in response to the popularity of cannabis, the Irish government cracked down by implementing harsher criminal penalties.

Even today, if police catch you “trafficking” a large amount of cannabis, you can face up to 10 years in prison.

That said, despite what the laws say, attitudes and tolerance have adjusted over the last twenty years. This isn’t the first time politicians have introduced a cannabis legalization bill in Ireland.

In 2013, a motion was put forth to legalize cultivation, possession, and a commercial market. However, within the Irish legislature, only eight people voted for it, with 111 voting in favour of continued prohibition.

MMJ in Ireland

In 2016, Gino Kenny introduced a private member’s bill to legalize medical cannabis. (The same politician that introduced the latest cannabis legalization in Ireland bill).

The government was cautious but went forward with it. Over two years, the Irish government only approved two dozen medical cannabis licences.

It wasn’t until June 2019 that medical cannabis legalization in Ireland took off. The Health Minister set up a new program that eased patients’ access by allowing them to buy cannabis at a pharmacy. It also expanded the criteria of who was eligible for medical cannabis.

The government called it a measure of “last resort,” since patients were travelling to countries like the Netherlands to get medical cannabis.

Cannabis Legalization in Ireland When?

There is still pushback about cannabis legalization in Ireland. The Irish prime minister worries that legalization would ” glamorize” cannabis use.

“I think we have to be careful that we don’t glamorize cannabis either because there are real concerns within the health community and the medical community about what cannabis can do to young people,” he told media.

As well, the current Irish government is a coalition between different parties, none of which have a unified (or even favourable) stance regarding cannabis legalization in Ireland.

That said, if cannabis legalization in Ireland becomes a reality, it will likely suffer from the same bureaucratic excesses that strangle cannabis legalization in Canada.

For example, the Irish PM said, “Cannabis can do real harm too, to young people, and many people in the medical world have said that to me. That’s just a concern I have.”

Translation: Cannabis may not benefit young adults. Ergo, I will take the advice of public health and continue with harmful prohibition or bureaucratic decriminalization instead of recognizing that people have a right to bodily autonomy.

It’s the same story no matter where you go. An undemocratic public health order kneecaps your right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

On a positive note, the Irish government announced a Citizens’ Assembly on Drug Use in 2023. If enough people express their desire for a classically liberal, legal market, then cannabis legalization in Ireland may be here sooner than later.





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