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Switzerland Implements Wide-Reaching Medical Cannabis Program

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All eyes are on Switzerland as the country makes big moves to start its own cannabis industry. The country announced plans for a recreational measure last year, and now Switzerland is introducing a wide-reaching medical program that goes far beyond its previous limits.

Switzerland is on a rampage, both widening its medical cannabis program, and awaiting new recreational legislation. Cannadelics is an independent news source focusing on the cannabis and psychedelics fields of today. Remember to subscribe to The Cannadelics Weekly Newsletter all the latest news and industry stories, as well as exclusive deals on flowers, vapes, edibles, and other products. Also save big on Delta 8Delta 9 THCDelta-10 THCTHCOTHCVTHCP & HHC products by checking out our “Best-of” lists! 


Switzerland up until now

Switzerland is all over the board these days, but up until recently, this was not the case. So what was the deal with Switzerland up until its impressive moves of late? First off, Switzerland is not a part of the EU, so it never had to go by EU regulation. Whereas products with up to .3% THC are legal in EU countries, Switzerland has a max THC level of 1%. Outside of this, cannabis is illegal.

In 2012, the country instituted a decriminalization measure which allowed for small amounts of cannabis (up to 10 grams) with only a 100 Swiss Franc fine, and no jail time included. Once either the 10-gram limit is gone over, or the 1% THC limit, a violator is subject to both a fine, and a prison sentence up to three years.

A lot happened in 2012, though it didn’t all stick. That year, certain cities gained the ability to legally grow low-THC hemp, up to the 1% limit. But then, Just months after this started, the government itself nullified this ability, because it said it was in violation of federal drug laws. Switzerland operates like many multi-state countries where cannabis penalties vary between its different states.

cannabis in Switzerland

In another 2012 measure, legislation was instituted that made both selling cannabis, as well as possessing amounts enough to affect as many as three people, punishable by up to three years in jail, along with a possible fine. This was updated in 2017 to exclude possession, and to only fine those actively using; which allowed many states to drop possession cases for small amounts.

In terms of Switzerland and a medical cannabis program, the country didn’t have a comprehensive one until current events. The Federal Act on Narcotics and Psychotropic Substances in 2008 (implemented in 2011) allows Swiss doctors to get special permits to prescribe cannabis to terminal patients, for 12 months at a time. It also requires patients to apply for authorization from the FOPH (Federal Office of Public Health). Only tinctures and oils were approved by this measure, and its hardly wide-ranging, with only two pharmacies able to provide such medications.

This didn’t stop the pharma medicine Epidiolex from gaining approval in 2018, even as flowers and resin are both barred. From this time, however, pharmacies have been able to create specific CBD formulations for patients. Overall, the ability to access cannabis medicines has been highly restricted in Switzerland, though recent changes are now opening the country to much wider usage, with even bigger plans for the future.

Switzerland updates medical program

Everything just mentioned about Switzerland and its medical program, has now been updated thanks to a new amendment put forth by the country’s seven-member Federal Council, which is the country’s joint head of state and federal government. This amendment updates the Narcotics Act to erase the ban on medical cannabis, which in turn creates a much wider market.

Starting in the beginning of August, patients no longer have to apply for the authorization from the FOPH, and can now get a regular prescription, straight from their doctor. The new amendment isn’t just meant for patients in Switzerland, but predictably for an export market as well (very few legalizations of this sort don’t include the ability for an export market). Less was stated about an impending import market. The limit for THC is still the same for all products, at 1%.

Part of the reason for this change, was due to increasing demand for medical authorizations, which had grown to the point of burdening the government with extra administrative work, which led to treatment delays for patients in need. The conditions for treatment also expand under this new amendment, letting more people benefit from cannabis medication.

medical program market

According to the government, this update should be beneficial to those suffering from spastic diseases, and pain issues. Prior to the update, approximately 3,000 approvals for medical cannabis were given yearly to those suffering from the likes of neurological diseases, MS, and cancer.

In order for the amendment to take effect, it required changes to the Narcotics Control Ordinance and the Narcotics List Ordinance. Cultivation regulation for this new medical industry falls under the Swiss Agency for Therapeutic Products (Swissmedic).

Nothing was updated concerning reimbursement for cannabis medications by the healthcare system of the country. As medical cannabis is only reimbursed in the most dire of cases, this indicates that many people will be paying out of pocket for their cannabis medicine, even when legally prescribed by a doctor. The reason given for this omission is that there isn’t enough available evidence on cannabis as an effective treatment, which makes very little sense since it was considered effective enough to be legalized for this purpose.

What about a full recreational legalization?

Switzerland looks like it will be the first country in Europe to set up a regulated sales market, along with trials meant to help establish new regulation. In 2020 I reported about the Swiss government green-lighting trials for recreational cannabis, a project that has been in the works for many years. The trials will allow the legal production and sale of cannabis, but only in specific locations and with many restrictions. In September of 2020, the Federal Act on Narcotics and Psychotropic Substances was officially amended by way of parliamentary approval, which allows scientific trials for selected groups. This went into effect May, 2021.

These regulations set maximum THC limits to 20%, come with limits for pesticide residue, and also mandate warning labels. In order to be a part of these trials, and have access to this recreational cannabis, individual cities and municipalities must first prove that recreational cannabis is not hurting their current population.

As of April 2022, the first of these recreational test programs was authorized specifically for Basel, Switzerland. This specific program is meant to last two years, includes 400 adults, and essentially is meant to provide data for future pricing and consumption regulation, for a full recreational market.

Switzerland cannabis legalization

Though the pilot studies sound interesting, they’re really only to help with what’s coming. Even before the programs officially started, a parliamentary commission made a vote in October 2021, which ruled that cannabis shouldn’t be banned, and that the country must establish legislation to officially legalize it. In essence, Switzerland has legalized recreational cannabis, and is simply waiting for a bill (the vote doesn’t change anything without written legislation).

The whole thing is a little confusing. Switzerland is pushing for scientific trials to assess how to run a recreational market, while already working on the legislation to set up that market. And to make it more confusing, the basics of this began before Switzerland even implanted a full medical system, which is only happening now. Somehow none of this seems like its in the right order, but one thing for sure is, progress is great, no matter how it comes. And Switzerland is sure in the fast lane to major cannabis reform.

Conclusion

Perhaps competition with Germany is part of what’s spurring this on so quickly. The neighboring countries are both planning for recreational legalizations, and are both getting amped up to enter the global market. Switzerland for its part is working on both ends. Updating its medical program, before instituting its recreational one.

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Nicotine Gummies Could Save You, But FDA Prefers You Smoke & Die

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So, we know smoking damage is the absolute biggest killer. When it comes to deaths from drug damage, nothing else compares. Not in the US, and not outside. Yet, every new advance to get people away from smoking, has been met with resistance by the FDA. Vapes are constantly demonized, dry tobacco vapes are massively underplayed, and now nicotine gummies are on the horizon, and the FDA would still rather have you light up and die, than eat them.

Nicotine gummies just came out, and the FDA is already trying to keep them from you….so you won’t stop smoking. This publication is geared toward the expanding cannabis and psychedelics spaces with news stories covering important topics and happenings in these industries, and beyond. Subscribe to the Cannadelics Weekly Newsletter for regular updates, and for access to a range of awesome offers on a load of products like vapes, smoking devices, edibles, other cannabis paraphernalia, and the growing-in-popularity cannabinoid compounds like Delta 8 & HHC. Head to our ‘best of’ lists for all the details, and make sure to purchase the products you’re perfectly comfortable to use.


Nicotine gummies? For real?

Yup, guys, nicotine gummies are for real, and if you ignore government lines, they’re one of the best things to happen in light of the issue of smoking damage and death. The story came to national attention last month, when the FDA started sending warning letters to VPR Brands, which is the parent company to Krave, Inc., an outfit selling a line of flavored nicotine gummies, each containing one milligram of nicotine. The gummies come in three different flavors. The letters were of the cease and desist nature.

There are currently a lot of issues with cannabis companies using the packaging and candy designs of big-name brands in order to sell their products. Mars, Inc. just won a lawsuit against some of these companies for breaking trademark law. But that issue stems from the cannabis companies using nearly exact replicas, so close that trademark law is broken. The lawsuits weren’t about ruling out all weed gummies (all of which look like something a kid would like); and weed gummies (and edibles in general), are legally sold in tons of dispensaries.

So, the line about confusing children, well, it just doesn’t apply here. Just like it doesn’t apply to any kid-friendly looking candy sold in legal dispensaries, so long as those edibles don’t break trademark law. Yet, that’s the FDA’s ammunition. That the nicotine gummies might look a little too much like something a kid likes. And this, even though they provide an alternative to the smoking damage, which kills 480,000 people a year in the US alone, according to the very government trying to stop these new products.

Nicotine gummies
Nicotine gummies

The nicotine gummies, of course, are meant for adults. And were advertised as a safe way to get nicotine in a person without smoking. If a person doesn’t have to light a cigarette, and breathe in the products of smoke, not only do they have way less chance of developing the cancers, cardiac diseases, and pulmonary issues associated with smoking, they also can’t hurt another person with their secondhand smoke. What’s the FDA’s response to this? That said nicotine gummies are a “a public health crisis just waiting to happen among our nation’s youth.”

It said the same thing about Juul nicotine vape products. Products specifically fingered for helping people stop smoking. And products for which not one claim of a health issue has come out. And yet the FDA recently banned their products from sale, because of possible (yet currently non-existent) dangers, while leaving cigarettes on shelves! Funny move if the idea is to protect children. Somehow, nowhere in any of their letters or statements, did the FDA detail how these products could pose even a fraction of the risk of smoking.

In the fight against vapes, the FDA used vaping fear campaigns to push its point. But this time around, those fear campaigns can’t apply, because vapes aren’t a part of it. Though vaping is roundly NOT associated with the issues of smoking, the FDA has been on a mission to launch fear of these products into the public’s minds, even as we – the smokers – can physically feel the difference between the two. Now, it doesn’t have that ‘vapes are bad’ line, as all those issues which it used for vapes, don’t apply to gummies.

So, it’s just talking about kids. And instead of having a realistic conversation over what smoking dangers are, and how these gummies can prevent them, its trying to scare you from using them. Let’s remember, if you’re not buying cancer sticks, the government doesn’t make an insane profit from exorbitant cigarette taxes. The exact taxes put on to dissuade people from smoking, but which actually just bring in loads of revenue for the government. The government’s antics imply an expectation that people can and will simply stop smoking, without the need for an alternative; even as reality repeatedly proves this is not true.

How bad is nicotine? Or…is it bad at all?

I don’t know, do you think coffee is bad? They’re on par, if you haven’t noticed. They’re both minor stimulants that give a little kick, without a cocaine-like burst. That’s why nicotine and caffeine users use so much. It’s pretty standard in this world to go through 2-10 cups of coffee a day. I picked those numbers based on what I tend to see around me, but we all know the general range. And let’s not forget tea products, soda like Coke, Pepsi, and Mountain Dew, chocolate products, energy drinks, and all the other non-caffeine products that get caffeine shoved into them, so you can get that boost more often. It’s literally everywhere.

Has anyone ever complained about the detriments of caffeine addiction? Nope. Want to take a wager on why? I’m going to go out on a limb here and say it’s the inherent lack of a death or injury toll associated. But make no mistake, caffeine-addicted people have a monumentally hard time breaking the habit, and are often cranky and irritating when they don’t get their fix. Just like smokers.

Coffee addiction
Coffee addiction

The reality of nicotine is that it doesn’t hurt or kill anyone. There’s no death toll associated with it, and it doesn’t seem to be wildly different than caffeine in addiction potential, or overall use. In fact, let’s be honest for a second, not everyone smokes, but nearly everyone ingests caffeine, at least sometimes. If this doesn’t sound like what you hear from government agencies, check it out yourself. Look up death statistics for nicotine. Not for smoking, but for nicotine itself. I couldn’t find even one.

Its not about nicotine. Which means its not about tobacco, as the part of tobacco always spoken about as the danger point, is nicotine. What it really is, is that lighting anything on fire and breathing it in, means breathing in carcinogens. And nicotine is addictive enough to keep people doing that, since there aren’t a million ways to get nicotine outside of cigarettes. If you don’t want coffee or tea, there’s Coke and Mountain Dew, but the only alternatives to cigarettes, keep getting taken away under fear campaigns. Even as they act as alternatives to a yearly 480,000 death toll.

Will nicotine gummies make it?

My expectation is yes, and that’s a good thing. The fact the FDA is already trying so hard, means there’s something threatening its tax revenue line, enough that it wants to attempt to put the kibosh on it now, before you even hear about, or get used to the products. Maybe it likes using the tagline of worrying about children, but what about the adults who can benefit?

And for that matter, let’s bring it back to the kids. See, it actually is good for kids. Maybe its best they don’t develop a nicotine addiction, but don’t we want them gravitating toward the safer option if they are going to do it? And since when did telling kids not to do something, ever work? We need to expect that a certain number will take up nicotine, and for that, we want them acclimated to a version that won’t kill them.

The popularity of vapes, and the gravitating toward them in spite of smear campaigns, is a powerful indication that regardless of government lines meant to stop people from doing the healthier thing, people seem to know. Maybe it’s a subconscious understanding, maybe its an outright distrust of government.

Maybe it’s just the underlying logic that one causes noticeable damage, and the other doesn’t. Whatever it is, the smear campaign lines are getting weaker, and that’s very positive. It’s even becoming more obvious, as countries like the UK publicize reports speaking of the detriments of any smoke damage, and how vapes should be encouraged to bring down smoking numbers.

Nictone gummies instead of smoking
Nictone gummies instead of smoking

One last thing to remember… There are tons of cigarette brands including small, barely-known ones. But the majority of cigarette sales come from big cigarette companies, which are fully taxed. What the US (and all other countries) is having a hard time doing, is reining in black markets related to vaping and edibles. It doesn’t have big main companies to tax, and it can’t really get to these other, smaller companies.

So, when you switch to vaping or edibles from smoking, it means all that tax money collected from your Marlboros, probably isn’t collected by the mom-and-pop vapes or edibles company you now buy from, and therefore, not going to the government. All that money you’d pay to continue smoking, is now lost to the government. Is it really any wonder that the same country allowing the continued sale of opioids through regulation (despite overdose numbers close to 100k a year), would also prefer you continue to smoke over using healthier options?

Conclusion

If you’re a smoker, and you want to quit the actual act of smoking, switch to vapes or edibles, if you can. Until any real death statistics come out related to these products, ASIDE from additives that don’t need to be used, these are your better options. And it’s actually, and fundamentally not up for debate. Not until these methods start killing anywhere near 480,000 people a year, in a place the size of the US.

Hello readers! We appreciate you joining us at Cannadelics.com, a go-to news source specializing in providing independent and comprehensive coverage of the cannabis and psychedelics industries. Hang out with us daily to stay in-the-loop on everything going on, and check out the Cannadelics Weekly Newsletter, so you never miss a single thing.





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7 States Where Cannabis Users Can Easily Find Jobs

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As cannabis laws continue to change at bewildering speeds, the topic of employee workplace protections becomes increasingly relevant. Honestly, with how many people support legalization these days and the astronomical inflation we’ve been experiencing, it makes no sense that cannabis users should have to struggle to find decent jobs. Some states are taking action by implementing employee workplace protection to prevent unjust, adverse actions from being taken against both existing and prospective workers.

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Defining Workplace Discrimination  

First, let’s take a step back and consider where discrimination (in general) stems from. Overall, discrimination is rooted in the idea of stereotypes. And stereotypes are preconceived ideas and generalizations about how people belonging to certain groups will look, act, think, and feel. Stereotypical notions essentially oversimply entire groups of people based on impersonal attributes such as race, class, gender, sexuality, age, disability status, spiritual and religious beliefs, and other characteristics… characteristics such as smoking weed (think lazy pothead stereotypes). 

Workplace discrimination is somewhat self-explanatory but at the same time, the term encompasses a huge range of both intentional and unintentional behaviors, one-time incidents, and ongoing experiences. Discrimination can happen between employers and employees, and also amongst employees themselves.  

Generally speaking, it’s illegal for employers to discriminate against any person based on: age, ancestry, race, disability, gender, HIV positive status, birthplace, religion, sex, or sexual orientation. Most state and federal laws define workplace discrimination broadly as, “People being treated unfairly in employment based on one or more legally protected categories, or subject to illegal harassment at work, or retaliated against for exercising their rights under workplace discrimination laws.” 

Let’s zero in on “exercising their rights”, because that can vary greatly based on where a person lives… and that’s where cannabis workplace discrimination becomes of topic of discussion. In states where cannabis is legal, and especially in the case of it being used medicinally, it should be a right for people to be allowed to find gainful employment and still use whatever medicine (or recreational product) works best for them when they are not on the clock. So long as it doesn’t interfere with performance on the job.  

Weed and Work… It’s Complicated  

For current and potential employees, things are equally complicated. The idea of being able to be denied employment, which in turn impacts nearly every aspect of a person’s life, simply for smoking weed in their downtime (which is much better than many other substances people could be using when they’re off the clock, like alcohol), is beyond absurd and antiquated. Luckily, these practices do seem to be phasing out, and things are turning in favor of the employees.  

Although it’s still federally illegal to possess or consume cannabis products, because state laws are changing at such a rapid speed, it means companies in those states are scrambling to catch up. Local and state courts have started taking the workers’ sides and defending their off-the-clock pot use, leaving employers limited in their ability to fire employees for failing drugs tests, often facing discrimination charges if they do so.  

Experts do feel agree that this is hard line to tow, and that employers should have a right to implement a drug-free workplace… but since cannabis products are more often used after hours, keeping the work-place technically drug-free, it stirs up quite a conundrum for human resources departments.  

“From a legal perspective, it’s fascinating,” says Lauraine Bifulco, president and CEO of Vantaggio HR Ltd., a human resources consulting firm in Orange County, Calif. “From an HR perspective, it’s, ‘Oh my gosh, could you do anything to make my life more complicated?’ Every day we turn around and find out there’s a state or city that legalizes some form of marijuana use. The challenge for HR is keeping up to speed with the current climate and what an employer can and cannot do with regard to marijuana and the workplace. It’s changing extremely fast.” 

A Snapshot of Cannabis Use in the US 

According to a Gallup survey published in August of this year, about 16 percent of American adults smoke weed regularly. This number is up from 12 percent when the last survey was conducted just one year ago. Not to mention, these stats are substantial increase from 2013 when the number of US cannabis smokers was initially measured, at which time it was just over 7 percent.  

In total, there were about 28 million cannabis consumers in 2013, and that figure jumped to a whopping 47 million by the end of 2020. If this pattern continues, then we can expect roughly 52 million Americans will be using weed products by the end of this year.  

Among younger adults (ages 19 to 30), those numbers were even higher. A recently published report with data collected between April 2021 and October 2021 found that that numbers of young adults who use cannabis (and psychedelics, for the record) is higher than ever before! Approximate 43 percent of respondents reported having used some type of weed product in the last year, 29 percent say they use it monthly, and 11 percent claiming daily use. In 2016, the number of daily users was only 8 percent.  

The main takeaway here, is that cannabis use is on the upswing and it doesn’t seem like this trend will slow down anytime soon, especially as a growing number of middle-aged and older adults begin exploring the world or legal pot. And this is all the more reason that capable adults should not be denied jobs for cannabis use, because at this point, nearly half of the United States is using it at least occasionally.  

States With Cannabis Workplace Protections  

1. Nevada – I have to say, I’m proud of Nevada. They have certainly come a long way from the time I lived there… when I was buying weed at some of the sketchiest illegal dispensaries you could imagine, and getting denied a waitressing job at a Cheesecake Factory in Las Vegas for failing a drug test for THC. On June 5th, 2019, Governor Steve Sisolak signed into law Assembly Bill 132, which effectively prohibited employers from refusing to hire a prospective employee for testing positive for cannabis on a pre-employment drug screen. 

2. New York  – On March 31, 2021, the Marihuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA) was signed into law, which legalized adult-use cannabis in the state of New York, and also added various protections for people who choose to participate including expungement of previous pot-related criminal charges and preventing employers from denying employment based solely on a failed drug test for THC.  

3. New Jersey – Cannabis became legal for Jersey residents ages 21 and older on February 22, 2022. Along with legalizing weed, the state law included provisions that protect employees from workplace discrimination based on off-duty marijuana use.  

4. Connecticut – Last summer, Connecticut became the 19th state to legalize recreational cannabis for adults. Senate bill 1201 not only requires certain former cannabis convictions to be expunged from a person’s record, but it outlines that employees should be protected from adverse action at work for using cannabis after work hours. Their laws are a bit more limited than neighboring states like New York and New Jersey, but they are looking at making some revisions soon.  

5. Montana – Montana has always been one of the more progressive states when it comes to cannabis use and personal rights in general. Although cannabis has been a topic of discussion in Montana for the last 50 years, it wasn’t until 2014 that it was officially legalized, for good. In 2020, a couple more bills (Constitution Initiative 118 and Initiative I-190) were approved that aimed to establish more legitimate framework for how recreational cannabis should work in the state. I-190 makes it unlawful for employers to deny employment or fire a current employee for off-duty cannabis use.  

6. Rhode Island – Following legalization, cannabis use became a protected activity in the state of Rhode Island. Employers are now very limited in the type of disciplinary action they can take against an employee who fails a drug test. The only exception to this rule is if they can prove that the employee was working while under the influence.  

7. California – California is the latest to join the ranks, with Governor Newsom having signed off on Assembly Bill 2188 that offers various workplace protections for cannabis users. Despite weed having been legalized in the Golden State back in 2016, employers were still allowed to take adverse action against current and prospective employees for failed THC drug tests. Now, they have until January 1, 2024, to find a way to prove that workers are high on the job before any consequences can be dished out.

8. Other: Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico also protect employment rights of cannabis consumers, although in Puerto Rico that only applies to medical users. Furthermore, the Supreme Court of New Hampshire ruled that medical cannabis can now be covered by the state’s disability and accommodation law, although these cases will be determined on an individual basis.  

Final Thoughts 

You can consider yourself lucky if you live in one of the aforementioned areas, at least, in regards to cannabis workplace protections and the ease of which you can find jobs as a stoner. As long as the person is sober during work hours, and performing their duties up to par, there is no reason why they should be barred from employment for using pot when they’re off the clock. It’s no different than having a beer or glass of wine after a long day, and since courts are beginning to side with employees on this front, we can expect more employers in more states to start following suit.  

Hello readers! We appreciate you joining us at Cannadelics.com, a top choice news platform for independent coverage of the growing cannabis and psychedelics landscapes of today. Come by the site whenever possible for updates on current and world-changing events, and head over to the Cannadelics Weekly Newsletter, so you’re always up on what’s going down.





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President VS Supreme Court: The Mexican Vape War

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This isn’t how it’s supposed to work, but the world certainly isn’t a perfect place. Most governments have a legislative branch, a presidential branch, and a judicial branch, and these separate branches are meant to balance each other out. They also hold and maintain power in different ways. Right now, a war is going on in Mexico between the president and the court system over the legality of vape products. This Mexican vape war highlights what happens when different arms of government, don’t respect each other.

The Mexican vape war is heating up as President Obrador has now acted in complete violation of the Supreme Court of Mexico. We’re a news platform based in the cannabis and psychedelics industries of today. Sign up for our Cannadelics Weekly Newsletter to receive regular news updates, along with deals on a variety of goods from vapes and smoking devices, to edibles, other cannabis paraphernalia, and super popular cannabinoid compounds like Delta 8 & HHC. Check out our ‘best of’ lists for more details, and please make purchases for products you’re fully comfortable with.


Government is complicated…

Part of the reason the current Mexican vape war is interesting, is because of the implications it has to government at large. Indeed, government is complicated, as very few governments are made up of one ruling party. It used to be that way when the world was primarily run by monarchies, and dictators, but these days, we have multi-part governments that are meant to balance out power. Our experience with monarchies and dictators tells us it isn’t good to have all the power in one set of hands, and these multifaceted governmental structures, create systems of checks and balances. Or at least, they’re supposed to.

This doesn’t mean every country has the same government structure, and there are still plenty of nations that employ more dictator-like set-ups. One can even question how much of a difference it really makes, and how far off the actual politics are of countries ruled by dictators and those ruled by elected governments; but that’s an article for another time (and another publication).

What we tend to see a lot of, is a government structure made up of three parts, though exactly how much power each part has, is relevant to the local structure. It’s common to have a legislative branch, a presidential branch, and a judicial branch. In the US, we call the legislative branch ‘Congress’, and its split between the ‘Senate’, and the ‘House of Representatives’. This structure holds representatives from each state in both parts, and is meant to be a representative structure of the population of the country. Congress is usually where bills are created and passed into law.

Government structures
Government structures

However, before passing into law, a bill generally goes through one more step, and that involves another part of government, the president. Sometimes there’s a president and a prime minister, though one is more ceremonial in such cases. Other terms for this position vary by country, and include Premiere, and Chancellor, among others. Sometimes the president is thought of as the most powerful part of government, but this isn’t necessarily true, especially since there’s another part of government, that can technically override both congress and the president.

That’s the Supreme Court, known in some countries as a constitutional court, or a high court. This court is a federal court and is the highest-level court in a country. This court is meant to uphold the constitution of a country, and makes judgements based on whether an issue breaks with the constitution or not. Because of this, it can overturn laws passed by congress, as well as presidential decrees. If a supreme court ruling is binding, it means case law is created (law that comes from the courts and not the legislative branch) and lower courts can’t rule against it.

This basic setup is relatively consistent among the countries that employ this power structure. And though it usually works pretty well, sometimes problems come up. Right now, Mexico is a great example of what happens when these different branches of government, go up against each other. With a recent presidential decree, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador went directly against Supreme Court rulings, making for an escalation in the Mexican vape war.

President Obrador, what was your latest move?

On May 31st, which apparently is World Tobacco Day (yup, that exists), President Obrador announced a decree banning the marketing and sale of 1) electronic nicotine administration systems, 2) similar systems that don’t contain nicotine, 3) any other device for the consumption of nicotine, 4) electronic cigarettes, 5) vaporizing devices with similar uses, and 6) all solutions and mixtures used in these devices. He did this after receiving an award from the WHO.

The decree went on to stipulate: “Whoever fails to comply with what is stated in the first article will be subject to the sanctions indicated in the applicable legal provisions.” This creates a full-blown prohibition of these actions. What exactly happens to those in violation, isn’t known, but there is a decent expectation of fines, product seizures, operation closures, and other measures for those who don’t comply.

After the announcement of this decree, the Federal Commission for the Protection Against Sanitary Risks (Cofepris) put out a maximum alert for using ecigs, saying the devices and fluids are harmful to health, especially if they have vitamin E acetate. This isn’t a legal mandate of any kind, but a sort of follow-up to the presidential decree, as if to give it more power and legitimacy.

Mexican vape laws
Mexican vape laws

But that’s not what the Supreme Court said…

Besides the fact there’s literally no basis for any move like this, especially considering the dangers of smoking, and how these products can cut down on smoking related deaths (scroll down for that); it also goes directly in contrast to a Mexican Supreme Court ruling on the vape issue last year. In fact, it goes against two of them. As in, the president of a country, just flagrantly ignored and insulted their own system of government, and pulled a dictator-like move by going against a judgment made by a constitutional court.

You see, this isn’t Obrador’s first move when it comes to the Mexican vape war. On February 20th, 2020, Obrador issued a separate decree which banned the import of electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS products), along with non-nicotine vape products, from entering Mexico. This included all hardware and vape juices involved. This ban, in general, was an extension of article 16 of the Mexican General Law for Tobacco Control, originally instituted in 2005.

However, the Supreme Court of Mexico did not agree. And in two separate rulings, knocked down this ban, and then went even further. On July 16th, 2021, the court struck down the ban on imports for “heat-not-burn” products, as unconstitutional. This took these products out of oversight from article 16. Then it stepped it up a notch on October 19th, 2021, with another ruling. The new judgement stated that article 16 (specifically section VI) of the General Law for the Control of Tobacco (the law which banned the commercialization of vape products in the first place), is unconstitutional, as it damages free trade. And this judgement is binding, meaning lower courts can’t rule against it.

This second judgement came in a 4-2 vote over the violation of constitutional rights to equality, brought to the court by Juan Luis Gónzalez Alcantara Carrancá, the Minister of the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation. Such decrees are also in violation of Mexico’s freedom of trade, and freedom for personality development.

The thing is, a supreme court ruling can set a law, but it doesn’t create the full written text with all stipulations and regulations. That’s for the legislative branch to do. Much like with cannabis, the ruling creates a discrepancy between a supreme court ruling, and written laws. This means Obrador just put out a new decree encouraging law enforcement to go after these actions, while the highest court already ruled that going after such actions, is unconstitutional.

Don’t tons of people die from smoking?

Yes, yes they do. Like, far too many. Like, a gross amount, considering none of it has to happen. In the US, approximately 480,000 people die a year from smoking damage, with a breakdown of approximately 163,700 dead from cancer, 113,100 dead from respiratory illnesses, and 160,000 dead from cardiovascular disease. 41,000 are from secondhand smoke. In England, its 78,000 deaths a year. And in Mexico? According to Tobacco Free Kids, 63,200 people die a year from smoking-related damage, which totals 9.7% of all the country’s yearly deaths.

Vape vs smoke in Mexico
Vape vs smoke in Mexico

How many from vapes? None, technically. All reported vape injury so far is 100% related to additives, like vitamin E acetate, or other factors. Such additives have nothing to do with either tobacco or cannabis compounds, so it’s not either of these plants, or the direct products of the plants, that are hurting people when it comes to vaping. In fact, though the US just banned many Juul products, and essentially forced the company into a payout to end a ridiculous and senseless, ongoing probe, there’s not one story of an actual medical incident concerning the products. The closest is a wrongful death suit, which technically isn’t related to Juul, but a mother angry her son got addicted to nicotine in general, and who subsequently died of other lung issues. Yet their products were removed from shelves, as cigarettes stayed untouched.

Blaming the whole idea of vaping, because of a couple contaminated products, is like banning cows after an outbreak of E.coli in milk or meat products. Not only is it as dumb as that idea, but it means generalizing one bad product, to all products in an industry. If there was an outbreak of E.coli in milk, maybe a specific brand would get banned if it couldn’t get up to regulation, but its not like all milk would be demonized. Yet, that’s 100%, precisely what’s happening in Mexico, and in America, and a lot of other countries.

Why the discrepancy? Why are there constant smear campaigns and bans against products which aren’t associated with health issues, and which are associated with getting people away from health issues? And why do these smear campaigns and bans come out without mentioning one word about the detriments of cigarettes, or the reality that if alternatives are taken away, people will go back to smoking? While vaping could come with issues in the future, they haven’t made themselves apparent yet, so besides the use of additives which can be ruled out with regulation, there isn’t a problem to speak of. And while all this is happening to ban vapes, cigarettes are still sold. Even though their death toll is very much a part of the known world.

Why? It’s not for me to say, because I don’t know for sure, but I can put together enough to make sense of it. The US collected $12.5 billion in revenue just from the Federal Tobacco Excise Tax in 2019, according to Taxpolicycenter.org. These numbers stayed consistent enough through 2021, which saw $12.14 billion in cigarette tax revenue for the federal government, according to Statista. How much is the US expected to bring in, in 2027? $11.28 billion. Which kind of makes it seem like there isn’t much expectation that anyone is stopping. Plus, that’s just federal taxes, let’s not forget all the revenue made by individual states through their cigarette taxes too. Can you think of a country without exorbitant cigarette taxes? Mexico surely isn’t it, as 70% of the price of them, is indeed taxes.

Conclusion

Maybe the biggest hindrance to the general public getting laws that make sense and are in conjunction with good health, is the money that nearly every government makes off of people doing unhealthy things. The Mexican vape war goes along with the US vape war, and they both exemplify the pushing of nonsensical laws, that take away healthier options, and push consumers toward unhealthy ones.

In the case of the Mexican vape issue, the implications go far beyond the fight of smoking vs vaping, and into the heart of government structures. If Obrador’s decree is upheld, it weakens the Supreme Court, and every judgement it has made, and will make in the future.

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