Monthly Archives: September 2018

Xavier Jayakumar to push for reform of laws governing medical marijuana

PETALING JAYA: Water, Land and Natural Resources Minister Dr Xavier Jayakumar is poised to take the issue of medical marijuana law reform to the Cabinet.

On Monday (Sept 17), Permatang Pauh MP Nurul Izzah Anwar said she would write to Attorney General Tommy Thomas and ask for a pardon for Muhamad Lukman who was sentenced to death for possession of medical marijuana.

On Tuesday (Sept 18), Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said that he believes the case verdict should be reviewed.

Dr Xavier told the Star Online he would like the law to be amended so that medical marijuana and cannabis oil are decriminalised under the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952.

“The Government should look at this law considering that many other countries have reviewed it.

“There is plenty of medical research to support the healing properties of medical marijuana and cannabis oil,” said Dr Xavier.

Lukman, a 29-year-old father of one, was arrested in December 2015 for the possession of 3.1 litres of cannabis oil, 279 grams of compressed cannabis, 1.4kg of substance containing tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

He was nabbed by the police along with his five-month pregnant wife, who was freed later, during a raid at his home.

Fast forward to Aug 30 this year, Lukman was handed a death sentence under the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952 by the Shah Alam High Court.

Under Section 39B of the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952, any individuals caught with the possession of more than 200 grams of cannabis will be charged for drug trafficking, which carries the death penalty.

Lukman’s case, highlighted in a column by The Star news editor Martin Vengadesan on Sept 9, has brought about renewed discussions on Malaysia’s harsh laws against cannabis, with several academicians and activists crying foul of his sentence, describing it as a miscarriage of justice.

On Sept 9, his lawyer Farhan Maaruf told The Star that Lukman only wanted to assist patients who are suffering from ailments that can be treated by THC, an active ingredient in cannabis.

Lukman had no intention whatsoever to distribute or “push” cannabis on the streets, his lawyer Farhan said.

A petition calling for the release of Lukman is now making rounds in social media with over 45,000 signatures as of Tuesday.

Lukman’s case is not the only one of its kind as Amiruddin @ Nadarajan Abdullah, who is known as Dr Ganja, is facing 36 charges and the death sentence for similar offences. His advocates claim he has helped treat more than 800 people.

In many developed countries, the recent trend is to decriminalise and even legalise marijuana, particularly for medical purposes.

Apart from the Netherlands, Canada will legalise recreational marijuana in full on Oct 17, 2018.

In Argentina, the government has been providing medical marijuana since March 2017 while it has been legal in Australia for the last two years. In Uruguay, you can buy it from regular pharmacies.

Switzerland and Russia have also decriminalised marijuana in small amounts. Similarly, laws on it have been relaxed in 17 US states, including California, Colorado, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Oregon and Washington.

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BC to have only one store selling cannabis on first day of legalization

VANCOUVER – On the morning of Oct. 17, British Columbians shouldn’t expect to wake up and see marijuana stores opening their doors.

At least that’s the message from the province’s minister of public safety and solicitor general, Mike Farnworth.

In a news release issued Sunday, Farnworth said the government’s first and only BC Cannabis Store will open in Kamloops and more retail locations are “anticipated” in the following months, with over 100 paid applications in various stages of entry.

The government is also hoping to launch an online sales platform to ensure British Columbians can purchase non-medical cannabis regardless of where they live, he said.

He says the province’s new Community Safety Unit will target illegal retail operations, and seize the product and records without a warrant. A fine will also be imposed based on the value of the product seized.

Farnworth says penalties will also be imposed on those who sell cannabis to children or minors.

Bootlegging or selling cannabis to minors, will continue to be a criminal offence punishable by up to 14 years in jail, in addition to provincial penalties of up to $50,000, jail time of up to six months or both, he said.

Police are receiving specialized training and tools to tackle drug-impaired driving, he said.

Graduated Licensing Program drivers won’t be allowed to have any marijuana in their system, and neither drivers nor passengers will be allowed to use cannabis in a vehicle.

Farnworth said that this is just the beginning and the government will take stock of what happens on B.C.’s roads after legalization.

“The legalization of non-medical cannabis is a historic shift in public policy,” he said. “It’s a considerable learning curve and, without a doubt, all levels of government will need to refine their policies and regulations in the years ahead.”

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Coca-Cola eyes marijuana drinks business

Coca-Cola has unveiled plans to venture into the marijuana drinks business, apparently following after beer manufactures which have recorded gains in the trade.

Bloomberg says that the multi-national corporation is in talks with Aurora Cannabis to develop a beverage infused with CBD.

Cannabidiol is a non-psychoactive ingredient in marijuana that treats pain but doesn’t get one high.

“Coca-Cola confirmed it is “closely watching” CBD as an ingredient in wellness beverages,” Bloomberg reported on Monday.

“The space is evolving quickly. No decisions have been made at this time.”

The development is viewed to cushion Coca-Cola from the adverse effects of its declining sales and also a move to further diversify beyond its traditional base of sugary beverages.

“While beer-makers have been betting on the marijuana industry, Coca-Cola’s interest indicates that CBD could soon break into the mainstream,” Bloomberg said.

Coca-Cola’s new venture follows in the wake of a wave of countries, especially in North America and Europe, legalising the use of cannabis products.

Canada is due to legalise recreational cannabis use on October 17. Many other countries, including Germany and Australia, have legalised weed for medical purposes.

Several others are evaluating decriminalisation.

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U.S. Medical Marijuana Market worth over USD 8 billion by 2024: Global Market Insights, Inc.

The U.S. Medical Marijuana Market is poised to surpass USD 8.0 billion by 2024; according to a new research study published by Global Market Insights, Inc. Growing prevalence of chronic pain associated with neurological disorders, cancer, HIV/AIDS, and arthritis will drive the U.S. medical marijuana market. The preference of marijuana over opioid medication is also boosting market revenue in the U.S. as opioids are associated with various side lethal side effects. Therefore, the demand for medical marijuana is continuously on an upsurge in various U.S. states, thereby accelerating market sales.

Medical marijuana programs in the U.S. have continued to develop, and most of the states have started to approach medical marijuana from the perspective of public health rather than from a recreational use prospective. Various states in the U.S. have demonstrated positive public health outcomes through the application of medical marijuana, hence boosting the market outlook.

The U.S. medical marijuana pain management market segment is forecasted to grow rapidly at 13.3% CAGR during the forecast period. Growing cases of chronic pain which is the most common cause of long-term disability in the United States will drive the segment growth. In addition, the U.S. population has been using marijuana for pain management as compared to other traditional opioids which have lethal side-effects.

The U.S. topical medical marijuana market segment valued USD 179.3 million in 2017. Increased number of companies are manufacturing lotions and creams that are absorbed through the skin for localized relief of pain and inflammation. Furthermore, topical route of administration is preferred by most of the patients as it results in maximum therapeutic benefits without the cerebral euphoria associated with other delivery methods.

The U.S. medical marijuana dispensaries market segment will expand at a robust 13.3% CAGR over the forecast period owing to presence of number of legal dispensaries operating in a most of the states. With each state legalizing marijuana for medical purposes, more and more dispensaries are being set up in the country, hence propelling the market growth of the segment.

California medical marijuana market is estimated to grow at 13.7% from 2018-2024. Medical marijuana is legalized in California since 1996. The manufacturing, distribution, transportation, and sales of medical marijuana is completely legal in California, thereby boosting the market growth in the coming years.

New Hampshire medical marijuana market is forecasted to expand at 24.1% CAGR during the forecast period. New Hampshire ranked second in the country for the highest opioid overdose rate. With the legalization of medical marijuana, it will result in improvement of health outcomes for individuals suffering from pain, thereby driving the segment growth in the long run.

Prominent industry players in U.S. medical marijuana market include Canopy Growth, Aurora Cannabis, Inc., Medical Marijuana, Inc., GW Pharmaceuticals, Aphria, Inc., CanniMed Ltd., Tilray, Emerald Health Therapeutics, and United Cannabis. These companies are opting for strategic mergers, acquisitions, and partnerships to expand their geographic reach, and product portfolio, hence resulting in improved position in the overall market.

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This robot makes growing cannabis a lot easier

No need for expensive lighting. This robot moves plants towards the light. Would you buy a tiny six-legged robot that moves your plant in and out of the sun, doing a cute little dance to let you know when it needs more water? If the answer is ‘yes,’ you’re in luck.

This is now a possibility, thanks to the work of Tianqi Sun, whose Vincross company makes Hexa, the robot in question. Hexa is a user-friendly, programmable robot intended to make robotics “accessible to the many, not the few.” Sun recently modded one of his Hexa robots to become a very, very fancy mobile flowerpot, The Verge reported, as part of a project he’s dubbed “Sharing Human Technology with Plants.”

Equipped with onboard sensors and some clever programming, the robot can:

Seek sun when it needs it

I For One Welcome Our New Robot Plant Overlords1 This Robot Makes Growing Weed A Lot Easier

Find shade when it doesn’t

I For One Welcome Our New Robot Plant Overlords3 This Robot Makes Growing Weed A Lot Easier

Interact with humans

I For One Welcome Our New Robot Plant Overlords4 This Robot Makes Growing Weed A Lot Easier

Do a happy dance when it’s happy.

I For One Welcome Our New Robot Plant Overlords5 This Robot Makes Growing Weed A Lot Easier

Or a less happy dance when it’s thirsty

I For One Welcome Our New Robot Plant Overlords6 This Robot Makes Growing Weed A Lot Easier

Technology is wild, right? It’s not clear what sensors Sun is using to help the plant figure out when it needs sun or shade, but the base Hexa model comes equipped with a 720p camera, an infrared beam, and a distance sensor, allowing it to navigate around pretty independently. We’re not sure what it would take to turn a stock Hexa into a plant-bearing bot, but the robot’s “Mind” platform seems pretty open-ended. The company’s website definitely encourages its customers to indulge their creativity, saying, “Make something cool.”

Also, as it turns out, the original plant bot is actually what got Sun his initial investment in Vincross, when it attracted the attention of angel investor Bob Xu. He’d created it as an installation project back in 2014, before the standard Hexa was even a concept drawing. “It’s no exaggeration to say that without ‘Sharing Human Technology with Plants,’ we wouldn’t have been able to create HEXA so quickly,” he wrote in a blog post.

The story of how that original installation came about is every bit as trippy as the dancing robot plant itself, of course. Sun went to see a sunflower show back in 2014, where he was captivated by a single dead flower that had, it seemed, simply been unlucky enough to be planted in a sunless portion of the plot.

“I thought, if it could move a little bit, take a 30-feet walk out of the shadow to where the other sunflowers were, it would have lived healthily,” he wrote. “But it didn’t.” Starts to make a lot more sense why he wanted to put a plant on a crawling robot, doesn’t it? Sun is clearly quite passionate about plants and has some very interesting philosophical ideas about them.

“Plants are passive,” his post continued. “Eternally, inexplicably passive. No matter if they are being cut, bitten, burned or pulled from the earth, or when they lack sunshine, water, or are too hot or cold, they will hold still and take whatever is happening to them. They have the fewest degrees of freedom among all the creatures in nature. This is simply the default setting that nature gives to plants.”

Humans, he argues, have managed to change their default settings via space travel, deep sea submarines, and other technological advancements. Why can’t plants do the same, he figures? When it comes to whether plants even have the agency to want to move around, Sun admits that, “I do not know the answer, but I would love to try to share some of this human tendency and technology with plants.” He doesn’t quite say that plants have feelings but there are certainly others out there who do.

People have already begun speculating about what you could do with this very advanced flowerpot—”Imagine robot planters the size of small bears, lumbering slowly around gardens and parks, looking for a place to sun themselves”—The Verge’s James Vincent wrote—but no one has brought up one very obvious use: light deprivation for cannabis.

The cannabis flowering cycle is light-dependent, with plants only flowering when they’re exposed to about 12 hours of sunlight and 12 hours of darkness. To get two harvests where the natural world would only allow one, growers often cover mature plants for a portion of the long summer days, tricking them into growing big, resiny buds. And while there are already greenhouses with built-in shades that run on a timer, would the world not be a way cooler place with a bunch of pot plants running around on six legs, hiding from the sun and wiggling around when they want water?

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The 5 countries most likely to legalize cannabis next

Find out why these are the top contenders for countries most likely to legalize cannabis.

Thirty states already have some form of legal cannabis law. In Canada, recreational cannabis is about to become legal for adult-use coast to coast. While it’s hard to definitively say which countries will follow suit in legalizing cannabis, these five are a safe bet.


David Ponce, Psychologist at the Colombian Cannabis Community and one of the organizers of the Marijuana March. As Ponce passed through the crowd, onlookers cheered and some even stuffed his pockets full of cannabis to show their appreciation for his advocacy work. Colombia is certainly one of the top 5 countries most likely to legalize cannabis next.

In Colombia, the push to legalize cannabis isn’t only a result of the widespread support and grassroots organizing. In 2016, then-president Juan Manuel Santos enacted a legal medical cannabis law as part of an effort to end the country’s over 50-year civil war.

Rural Colombian farmers have long been extorted into helping guerrilla groups—like the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC)—to grow illicit crops like cannabis, which are sold to fund their movement. President Santos hoped that legalizing medical cannabis farms would throw a wrench in these guerrilla groups’ drug trafficking operations. With homicide rates at an all-time low, the plan seems to be working.

While only certain forms of medical cannabis are currently legal in Colombia (i.e. extracts and oils), citizens are also legally allowed to grow up to 20 plants in their own home for personal use.

However, Colombia recently elected a new, conservative president, Iván Duque Márquez, which could slow down legalization efforts. Still, with legal medical cannabis in place, and plenty of grassroots support—over 100,000 people recently participated in Medellín’s annual Marijuana March protest—Colombia is at least on the trajectory to become one of the five countries most likely to legalize cannabis.


Cannabis growing in St. Elizabeth Parish, Jamaica. 

No other country is more connected to cannabis than Jamaica, making it an obvious choice for one of the countries most likely to legalize cannabis. Anyone who lives or has visited Jamaica will find cannabis access so bountiful that it almost comes as a surprise that it’s still illegal.

And yet, legal cannabis is making progress in Jamaica.

In 2015, Jamaica amended its cannabis laws to decriminalize cannabis possession, permit the cultivation of five or less plants, and allow those who practice Rastafarianism to use cannabis for religious purposes. Jamaica also legalized medical cannabis, and in March of this year, the country’s very first medical cannabis dispensary was opened in St. Ann.

Among other economic possibilities, Jamaica sees cannabis legalization as a potential source of “wellness tourism.”

As more countries begin to relax their cannabis laws, and with the international Caribbean Community (CARICOM) also considering a widespread relaxation of cannabis laws among Caribbean nations, it seems unlikely that cannabis prohibition is destined to remain in Jamaica for much longer.


People celebrating the Global Marijuana March demanding regulation for Marijuana.

While recreational cannabis is illegal in Spain, the country is home to one of the most thriving cannabis communities in Europe. It is currently decriminalized to cultivate and possess cannabis for personal use in Spain. And while selling and importing cannabis is still a punishable offense, buying and consuming it, even in public, is only considered a misdemeanor (similar to a traffic infraction).

This legal grey area has lead to the establishment of many cannabis consumption clubs in the country—roughly 500 in all—the first of which dates back to 1991. Some even refer to Spain as the “new Amsterdam.” With a title like that, it’s no wonder it’s considered one of the next countries most likely to legalize cannabis.



In 2001, Portugal implemented one of the most radical drug policies in the world: the decriminalization of all drugs. Seventeen years later, Portugal’s drug policy remains one of the most liberal in the world. The policy has proven successful, with the country experiencing massive drops in HIV infections, heroin use, and drug-induced deaths.

The country has long been held up as an example of not only the benefits of liberal drug laws but also a counter-narrative to supporters of the “war on drugs,” who believe that the only way to decrease drug activity is to crack down harder.

While decriminalization is a lot different than legalization, the country is currently taking baby steps in that direction. This past June, a bill to legalize medical cannabis products received overwhelming parliamentary approval. The country is known for being an early adopter of radical drug policies and has seen the benefits of these policies first hand. What’s stopping Portugal from going all in and becoming one of the next countries most likely to legalize cannabis?

The United States 

San Francisco, California. April 20, 2018- Man with a blunt behind his ear partakes in festivities at the 420 festival at Hippie Hill, Golden Gate Park.

While cannabis remains federally classified as an illegal, Schedule I drug, according to some reports, 95 percent of the U.S. population already lives in a state that grants some form of legal access to cannabis.

The country is facing unprecedented health and social crises, namely the opioid overdose epidemic and mass incarceration. Legal cannabis has been cited as a partial solution to both problems. This has lead to a surge in support for cannabis reform, which has become a significant campaign issue in major elections, such as New York’s gubernatorial race. Here, in one of the most populous and economically large states in the country, the Democratic Party has even added cannabis legalization to their platform. And in California, the most populous state, which by far produces the country’s highest GDP (and constitutes the fifth largest economy in the world), recreational cannabis is already legal.

So what’s stopping the United States from going all-in for legal cannabis? If the right administration were to take power, not much.

While the Trump administration is full of hardline cannabis prohibitionists, like Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who has slowed federal progress on cannabis reform, that could change rapidly if a new, pro-cannabis administration were to take power in 2020.

Already, some of the most likely contenders for the 2020 presidential election have lined up in support of legal cannabis, which has become a powerful campaign promise in recent years. As a result, some have already made up their minds: the next Democrat to get into office will legalize cannabis.

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BC lawyer says medical marijuana users should have right to buy pot in stores

Successful applicants for Sask.s retail cannabis stores are worried about the continuing operation of illegal outlets once recreational marijuana is legalized.

A three-week hearing is underway at BC Supreme Court, where City of Vancouver lawyers are fighting to shut down dozens of unlicensed medical marijuana pot shops.

The citys existing suite of regulations developed for medical marijuana dispensaries, includes a minimum 300-metre distance from schools, community centres, youth facilities and other cannabis outlets.

“What could happen is that people that run the city could change, and they may change the rule. They may say 150 metres or 200 metres is more reasonable.”

Green Cross Society of BC is also named in the city’s case and manager Rohan Gardiner is hoping for the same.

“We would love to see the liquor control board laws coincide with the new regulatory cannabis laws of being 150 metres.”

A lawyer for several medical marijuana dispensaries has urged a B.C. Supreme Court judge to toss out an application to close the shops, saying the federal government failed to include them in its plan to legalize recreational cannabis.

John Conroy says the dispensaries have been operating illegally in a kind of “grey zone,” and the City of Vancouver has aided and abetted their existence by requiring them to be licensed while it makes a $30,000 profit in each case.

The City of Vancouver is now seeking a court injunction to shut down about 50 medical marijuana dispensaries that remain unlicensed.

Conroy says it’s up to the federal government to make provisions for medical marijuana patients to buy their cannabis in a store, just like recreational users will be permitted to do starting next month.

Patients can currently grow a limited amount of marijuana or have someone grow it for them but Conroy says they have a constitutional right to purchase it from a dispensary if a doctor has approved its use.

The Karuna Health Foundation is the lead plaintiff in the case and currently operates one dispensary that is licensed and another that is not.

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