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Surprise, Missouri! State opens adult-use marijuana sales three days early

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Missouri officially joined the adult-use club early this morning, as state officials gave the green light to recreational sales three days ahead of schedule.

This marks the fastest vote-to-sale time in legal cannabis history. Missouri voters approved adult-use legalization on the Nov. 8, 2022, ballot. Less than three months later, local residents lined up to sample the goods.

Sales were expected to begin on Monday, Feb. 6, but yesterday afternoon state regulatory officials said they would allow adult-use sales to start on Friday morning at 196 operating medical marijuana dispensaries.

That caused some confusion, as it remained unclear whether all stores would be ready to serve non-medical customers over the weekend.

A number of stores were vying for “first sale” bragging rights. The Good Day Farm store in Independence recorded its first sale (photo above) at 8:12 a.m.

Leafly will continue to follow today’s opening as it rolls on across the state.

Congratulations, Missouri!





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Prost! Germany legalizes cannabis. Here’s the inside scoop

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Move over, Oktoberfest!

On February 23, Germany’s parliament voted to legalize both cannabis possession and social consumption lounges. Once the country’s Federal Council signs off on the law, Germany will become the largest country in Europe to legalize cannabis.

Germany’s new policy is complex, and full of nuance and caveats. Got questions? We’ve got answers.

Earlier today, Leafly Senior Editor David Downs hopped on IG live with Alex Rogers, owner and CEO of the International Cannabis Business Conference (ICBC), to get the inside scoop. Listen / watch the conversation below to learn more about the timeline for the rollout, possession limits, why Rogers thinks social clubs are the “most controversial aspect” of the program and more.

Looking for the TL;DR version? Here are a few highlights from Germany’s plan for legalization.

  • Decriminalization will go into effect quickly, on April 1. Adults will then be able to legally possess up to 25 grams of cannabis on their person in public (that’s just over 3/4 ounce). They will also be able to legally possess up to 50 grams at home.
  • Homegrow is in! As of April 1, adults can grow up to three plants at home. To be clear: that’s the limit per adult, not per household.
  • Germany will attempt a social club model. These clubs will be able to grow and sell marijuana.
  • Rogers expects legalization to be a boon for the country’s medical marijuana industry as well. He believes it could grow by 400% in the next two years.

We’ll have more from on the ground in Barcelona, Spain next month during ICBC’s March 14 event. Rogers brings ICBC to Berlin April 16-17.





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US health agency makes history, admits cannabis has medical use

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Cannabis has medical use and is less addictive than comparable drugs, a US health agency admitted for likely the first time today in newly released documents published on Substack, X and Marijuana Moment.

The long march to federal legalization took another step forward with the publication of the document from the United States Health and Human Services Agency. According to documents released under the Freedom of Information Act and requested by Matt Zorn, the US HHS has recommended (pdf) to the Department of Justice Drug Enforcement Administration on Aug. 23 that cannabis be re-ranked on the government’s list of dangerous drugs down from its No. 1 spot alongside heroin to a No. 3 slot alongside the tranquilizer ketamine or the painkiller codeine.

This process of re-ranking is called re-scheduling. Marijuana has been a Schedule I drug since it was placed there in the ’70s over the opinions of experts. Today, over 90% of Americans support medical legalization of marijuana. On Oct. 6, President Biden had urged the HHS to review cannabis’ scheduling, resulting in the August recommendation to the DOJ. The DEA has not stated when it will respond to the HHS’s recommendation.

We’ll have more details as we read the 252-page document.

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The core of a scheduling review is two legs: medical use, and potential for abuse. In the past, the federal government had deemed marijuana had no medical use and a high potential for abuse. That is no longer a tenable position.

On medical use

The HHS review of 2023 found extensive medical use of cannabis in the 40+ states with medical cannabis laws:

more than 30,000 HCPs are authorized to recommend the use of marijuana for more than six million registered patients, constituting widespread clinical experience associated with various medical conditions recognized by a substantial number of jurisdictions across the United States.

US HHS Aug. 2023

“more than 30,000 HCPs are authorized to recommend the use of marijuana for more than six million registered patients, constituting widespread clinical experience associated with various medical conditions recognized by a substantial number of jurisdictions across the United States.”

On potential for abuse

The HHS review found most people using cannabis were doing so safely and no one was dying from it, unlike far more deadly and less restricted drugs.
According to the HHS, “evidence also exists showing that the vast majority of individuals who use marijuana are doing so in a manner that does not lead to dangerous outcomes to themselves or others.”

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“although abuse of marijuana produces clear evidence of harmful consequences, these appear to be relatively less common and less severe than some other comparator drugs.”

Marijuana is the “lowest ranking group” for “serious medical outcomes, including death, observed in Poison Center data,” the HHS found.

For overdose deaths, marijuana is always in the lowest ranking among comparator drugs.

US HHS Aug. 2023

“The risks to the public health posed by marijuana are lower compared to other drugs of abuse (e.g., heroin, oxycodone, cocaine), based on an evaluation of various epidemiological databases for emergency department (ED) visits, hospitalizations, unintentional exposures, and most importantly, for overdose deaths.”

“For overdose deaths, marijuana is always in the lowest ranking among comparator drugs.”

In conclusion, the HHS writes:

“Based on the totality of the available data, we conclude that there exists some credible scientific support for the medical use of marijuana in at least one of the indications for which there is widespread current experience in the United States.”





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More Marijuana Rescheduling Hints

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Rescheduling is important to states and the marijuana industry…and people are looking for clues

States with legal marijuana want the tax revenue.  Cannabis businesses need relief and help to continue and grow. The marijuana industry needs to move to the next level of legitimate industry. And consumers and patients need reliable, safe products which are the same from store to dispensary.  This is the role of the federal government, but for the first two years, the Biden industry dithered.  But the wheels have started turning and now they are more marijuana rescheduling hints.

RELATED: California or New York, Which Has The Biggest Marijuana Mess

The biggest hint is the breaking news came today during a short email sent from HHS. “Good afternoon and thank you for your patience,” a Department of Justice attorney said in an email on Thursday. “The agency has advised that it will release the letter and its enclosures in their entirety.”

The letter and its enclosures mean The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has agreed to release documents related to its recommendation to federally reschedule marijuana in its entirety. This seems to be  do to potential litigation over a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request regarding the findings.  The release adds pressure if the DEA plans to break precedent by not following HHS’s recommendation.

SAFER Banking advocate Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer shared HHS has recommended marijuana be moved from a Schedule I to a Schedule III controlled substance.

According to the DEA, Schedule I drugs have no currently accepted medical use in the United States, a lack of accepted safety for use under medical supervision, and a high potential for abuse.  The National Institute of Health disagrees on their website.  And with rescheduling, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) would become involved, while it is more of an onerous process, it would establish guidelines to make it more acceptable to major mainstream retailers and, more importantly, the medical community.

Additionally, rescheduling the drug would reduce or potentially eliminate criminal penalties for possession. Marijuana is currently classified as a Schedule I drug, alongside heroin and LSD.

RELATED: The Most Popular Marijuana Flavors

The industry agrees with Schumer who made a clear appeal when he shared the “DEA should now follow through on this important step to greatly reduce the harm caused by draconian marijuana laws.”



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