Oakland Council Votes to Reduce Taxes for Cannabis Businesses

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Oakland Council Votes to Reduce Taxes for Cannabis Businesses 

 

Despite opposition by Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, the Oakland City Council voted unanimously on Tuesday night to give final approval to a tax reduction for the city’s largest cannabis businesses.

The council had voted unanimously in favor of the tax reduction at its first reading last month and approved it again on Tuesday night.

City Councilman Dan Kalb, who proposed the tax reduction along with Councilwoman Sheng Thao, said it is necessary because Oakland’s 10% tax on all non-medical cannabis business gross receipts is among the highest such tax rates in the state that’s being imposed by local jurisdictions.

 

In a statement, Kalb said, “Many Bay Area jurisdictions tax their cannabis businesses at rates substantially lower than our rates in Oakland.

If we want to make sure our cannabis businesses thrive so we can realize the jobs and tax revenue that come with a thriving cannabis industry, then we must be competitive with other jurisdictions.”

Kalb said the cities of Emeryville, Berkeley, San Francisco, Santa Rosa and Richmond all have lower taxes than Oakland. He said, “If Oakland doesn’t act to reduce taxes on cannabis businesses, they simply might not survive, especially our equity-based cannabis businesses, or move to the neighboring jurisdictions.”

In a message to Oakland residents before the meeting Tuesday night, Schaaf said, “Our City Council is poised to give a massive $4 million a year tax-break to Oakland’s largest cannabis businesses. I urge you to call your councilmembers to oppose this reckless give-away.”

 

Schaaf said the City Council already voted last spring to reduce taxes for the smallest 150 of the 195 registered cannabis businesses in Oakland. She said the proposal “will benefit the largest businesses — with most of it going to a handful of businesses that gross more than $1.5 million a year!”

Schaaf said that if the council voted to approve what she called “this irresponsible tax-break,” residents should insist that council members be “transparent and responsible by specifying the services they will cut to pay for it.” She said that’s because by law the council must maintain a balanced budget.

 

Kalb said he and other council members are sensitive to Schaaf’s concern about not impacting the city’s budget, so the measure calls for phasing in the break gradually over three years, not all at once.

In fact, Kalb said that in the first year the break for the largest cannabis businesses will be “very modest” and only drop by 0.5 percent, from 10 percent to 9.5 percent. He said the measure “clearly is not some huge tax break for big businesses.”

 

Kalb said now that marijuana is legal in California the idea is to harmonize the tax rates for both medical and non-medical cannabis.

He said medical cannabis is only taxed at a 5 percent rate in Oakland now and the measure approved Tuesday night calls for reducing the tax on non-medical cannabis to 5 percent over three years so the rates are harmonized.

 

Kalb added that even under the new, lower rate, cannabis businesses “will still pay a substantially higher tax rate than any other type of business in Oakland.”

Kalb also said he wants to be clear that he won’t support “any budget reductions when it comes to vital services, including homeless services, wildfire prevention, public safety, pothole repair and road repaving.”

 

https://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/local/east-bay/oakland-council-votes-to-reduce-taxes-for-cannabis-businesses/2194628/

 

Bongme 

Doncaster teacher quits classroom to sell cannabis products

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Doncaster teacher quits classroom to sell cannabis products

 

A few years ago, he was teaching maths at Balby Carr School. Now he is selling items made from cannabis plants.

 

Octavian Vasilescu qualified as a maths teacher after moving to Yorkshire when he married a woman from the area, working at both Balby and Rawmarsh in Rotherham.

But he left after deciding he wanted a change in career, initially getting a job with a wine company.

Now, after seeing the rising profile of cannabis oil as a medical treatment in conditions including epilepsy, he has packed that in to concentrate on selling items made from industrial hemp.

 

No one will be getting high from his products – they are made of the legal strain of the hemp plant, which contains only trace levels of the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

The 42-year-old has three degrees – one in European studies from Romania, one in marketing from Italy, and a British PGCE teachers qualification.

He said: “I had been working in the wine industry, but I came to realise that cannabis products – legal cannabis products – have a wealth of benefits.

“There are drugs for epilepsy and the relief of some of the symptoms of cancer treatments that are cannabis based and that are medically prescribed. I’m on a mission to educate people on the benefit of hemp oil.”

 

Mr Vasilescu stresses he is not a doctor and that people should seek medical advice for medical problems.

But he believes hemp oil is good for healing as it is similar to natural pain killing chemicals in the body.

Now he has gone into business at the Goose Hill Market at Doncaster Market, next to the fish market. As well as the oils, he is selling anything made from hemp, under the banner of The Hempman.

Hemp figures were traditionally used to make rope.

 

He is now selling items including hemp clothing, and bags made of the fibre. He even sells crisps made of the stuff.

“It is a hard wearing crop, and it needs less water to process than cotton,” he said.

“I decided to open a shop here in Doncaster because people want to know more about it. They want a place where they can ask questions. People come to me now wishing me good luck, because hemp has been talked about behind closed doors in recent years. They are glad they come here instead of going to Cleethorpes or waiting two weeks for an internet order from America.”

From a business point of view, he sees it as a market that is not satutated.

But he says he would like to see more people coming to the market.

 

https://www.doncasterfreepress.co.uk/news/people/doncaster-teacher-quits-classroom-sell-cannabis-products-1339291

 

Photos

 

Bongme

Canngea’s mission to halt the global medicine shortage of cannabis

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Canngea’s mission to halt the global medicine shortage of cannabis

 

Currently, the supply of medical cannabis is not meeting the global demand, but could Canngea change this?

 

One company is aiming to put a halt to the cannabis medicine shortage; Australian startup, Canngea, is vying to address the problem by setting up Australia’s largest pharmaceutical grade indoor facility to grow and manufacture high quality medical cannabis products.

As more countries begin to legalise medical cannabis there is an increasing demand from across the globe. Many countries that allow use of the medicine do not allow cultivation of the plant, meaning they have to import from countries that cultivate cannabis.

 

Canngea: a solution to the medicine shortage

 

Licensed B2B operator, Canngea, will serve companies in the medical cannabis industry that want to develop products to sell to domestic and international consumers.

Canngea Chief Commercial Officer, Martin Bryden, said the new facility would help to solve the problem of low quality and inconsistent cannabis products within the market.

He said: “Canngea is Australia’s only medical cannabis contract manufacturing organisation, using proven indoor grow technology to make consistent high-quality products at a competitive price.

“With the growing legalisation and adoption of medical cannabis around the world, a huge medicine shortage has emerged – suppliers and cultivators can’t meet the demand from consumers.

“What’s more, many licensed producers have set up using low-cost grow methods, such as soil and greenhouses, which impact on the quality and consistency of the cannabis products.

“Our pharmaceutical grade indoor grow and manufacturing environment, will reduce risk, increase crop yields and ensure product quality and consistency.

“With this, we will be able to undercut the wholesale market, offering products at a much lower cost per unit than the average price in the US market.”

The innovative facility will be equipped to provide an end-to-end solution to clients – from growing, harvesting, extracting, packaging, labelling to distributing client’s branded products, with industry leading technology.

The world-class, GMP-certified facility, to be established in the Hunter Valley region in New South Wales, will also house an on-site analytical laboratory, capable of extraction, tissue culture and formulation for cannabis products, as well as automated packaging, compliant labelling, logistics and distribution.

The facility is on track to start construction in 2020.

 

Ecofriendly solutions to high costs

 

Canngea is aiming to significantly reduce production costs and maximise return to shareholders with the use of solar power and battery.

“Environmental sustainability is at the heart of our fully integrated 11,000 square metre facility. The design includes a strong focus on renewable energy and minimises water usage,” Mr Bryden said.

“Canngea’s solar powered battery solution is 10% of the size of the Tesla Big Battery making it the largest privately owned commercial battery in New South Wales. This, coupled with our water recycling technology, will significantly reduce operation costs and allow us re-sell solar power back to the grid for further revenue generation.”

 

Leading global suppliers

 

Australia legalised medical cannabis in 2016 and in January this year Health Minister Greg Hunt said he wanted the country to become the world’s leading supplier of the drug. The Australian medical cannabis market is expected to be worth $5.5bn (~€3.40bn) by 2025, while the global market will total $66.3bn.

In the face of the cannabis medicine shortage, Mr Bryden said Canngea was well placed to grow its market share and capture the global market as well as domestic consumers thanks to Australia’s strict standards.

He said: “Australia is the only jurisdiction that treats medical cannabis as a purely pharmaceutical product, unlike other countries where cannabis may also be treated as a ‘natural’ or herbal product or supplement.

“Australian standards are very stringent, which means products we manufacture will be in compliance with the requirements of major global markets, such as Canada and the European Union, and their manufacturing and packaging guidelines.”

 

https://www.healtheuropa.eu/mission-to-address-the-global-medicine-shortage-of-medical-cannabis/95687/

 

Bongme 

Cannabis factory found near Northamptonshire border

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Cannabis factory found near Northamptonshire border

 

About 200 cannabis plants worth thousands were found on an industrial estate a few miles from the Northamptonshire border.

 

Acting on intelligence, police raided a unit Bicton Industrial Park in Stow Road, Kimbolton, on Tuesday morning (December 10).

They found the plants in various stages of growth with the potential of a turnover of more than £100,000 a year.

PC Neal Bartley said: “This find will cause significant disruption to organised crime and put a serious dent in their pockets.

 

Drugs can ruin lives and bring associated crime to our communities. We are working hard to tackle them. We urge the public to continue to report any suspicious behaviour to us.”

No arrests have been made in connection with the find.

 

https://www.northantstelegraph.co.uk/news/crime/cannabis-factory-found-near-northamptonshire-border-1339162

 

Photos On Link

 

Bongme 

No mandatory prison sentence for personal cannabis cultivation under new rules

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No mandatory prison sentence for personal cannabis cultivation under new rules

 

Justice minister Owen Bonnici presents amendments to drug dependency laws

 

The prison sentence for a woman who was cultivating cannabis for her personal use, has led to the proposal of legal amendments that will give the Maltese courts discretion on how to sentence such cases.

Justice Minister Owen Bonnici presented a package of legal amendments that will give the courts discretion on whether to sentence to jail people who can show that the cultivation of cannabis was for their strict personal use.

 

Cultivation of cannabis will remain illegal under the new rules.

The draconian, six-month prison sentence for Marie Claire Camilleri, whose cannabis sapling had not yet produced any buds, was one of the most egregious cases in which Malta’s supposed drug reform was failing. Camilleri is appealing the six-month prison sentence but has been shocked by the severity of the court’s decision, which she says is “totally out of synch” with the spirit of the drugs reform heralded by the Labour government.

 

Camilleri, in fact, is insisting that her sole sapling was still in its infancy and was clearly intended for personal use. “The total mass of the plant, that is stem and leaves, were just 6.83 grammes. It had not produced any buds – that is, the actual cannabis that can be consumed – and it was not being cultivated with the use of artificial light or hydroponics. This was a sapling inside a 10-litre margarine container… not an industrial cultivation,” Camilleri said. “They were just shoots. And you have to consider that they had yet to produce their first flowers, which is when you start seeing whether they are either male, or female. It’s the female that produced THC, the psychoactive constituent in cannabis. At that point, the female flowers have to be separated from the males or it will produce just seeds, and not the bud that can be consumed.”

 

Under its recent Drug Dependency (Treatment) Act, Malta removed a previous mandatory term of imprisonment of six months for people found cultivating cannabis “in a small quantity not exceeding one plant, in circumstances where the Court is satisfied that such cultivation was for personal use.”

Camilleri insists this is exactly her case. “I know that the courts have given suspended sentences for countless others who have cultivated cannabis plants in more advanced stages than mine. That is why I cannot understand the harshness of the sentence.”

 

Camilleri also says that it was evident that the way the plant was being cultivated was expressly for her personal use. “This was just one plant being cultivated on my roof, still in its juvenile stages. It was months away from flowering, and there were no artificial aids assisting it. You cannot say that it was anything but personal use.”

Camilleri had told the court she used cannabis to personally deal with anxiety, and that she smoked around six joints per day.

But as the magistrate who decided on the sentence said, the law surrounding the cultivation of cannabis “fails to suitably distinguish who truly deserves effective imprisonment.” 

 

 

Malta’s reformed drug laws

    Police can prosecute on small quantities of drugs – 3.5g of cannabis, 2g of other drugs, two pills of ecstasy – but users will be subjected to fines ranging between €65 and €125, or between €50 and €100 in the case of cannabis.
    Police can still detain people caught with small quantities of drugs for up to 48 hours, to extract information related to drug trafficking.
    Second-time offenders, except cannabis, are referred to Drug Offenders Rehabilitation Board. Repeat cannabis offenders are exempt from appearing in front of the board, irrespective of how many times caught in possession of the drug.
    Cultivation of a cannabis plant for personal use is no longer punishable by a mandatory prison sentence or suspended sentence, and doctors can prescribe cannabis in medicinal form if no other viable alternative exists.
 

 

https://www.maltatoday.com.mt/news/national/99213/no_mandatory_prison_sentence_for_personal_cannabis_cultivation_under_new_rules#.XfIdFBvLeUk

 

Bongme

 

Cannabis Is Getting More Popular, Especially Among Depressed People

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Cannabis Is Getting More Popular, Especially Among Depressed People

 

Cannabis has become more popular across the U.S. in recent years, but new research this month shows that one group has especially gravitated to it: people living with depression. And it’s not clear whether that’s a good thing.

 

The study, published in the journal Addiction, looked at more than 10 years of data from a nationally representative, government-run annual survey of Americans’ drug and lifestyle habits, collectively involving more than 700,000 volunteers.

Between 2005 to 2017, the overall percentage of people who admitted to recent cannabis use (meaning in the past 30 days) rose steadily, they found. The climb was far more pronounced among people who reported having clinical depression. While about nine per cent of people without depression reported any amount of weed use in the past 30 days, for instance, the same was true for 19 per cent of people with depression. Seven per cent of those depressed also said they used cannabis daily, compared to three per cent without depression.

Studies like this can’t tell us why exactly depressed people are more likely to use cannabis, though the drug has certainly earned a reputation for mellowing people out. One key reason for the general uptick in cannabis’ popularity, the authors noted, is that people have become more likely to believe that cannabis is relatively harmless – a trend that was also greater among people with depression in their study sample.

 

While it’s true that cannabis isn’t as dangerous as say, alcohol, that doesn’t mean it’s harmless, especially to young people.

 

“As brain development is ongoing until at least age 25, and young persons with depression are especially vulnerable, this is a group who may need attention in terms of prevention and intervention,” said study co-author Renee Goodwin, a researcher at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, in a statement released by the university.

Scientifically, the evidence is very mixed on whether cannabis can help treat depression or other mental health problems. A 2018 study found that medical marijuana users experienced a short-term boost in mood, for instance, but also that the long-term use of cannabis explicitly to treat depression was linked to worsening symptoms over time. A review earlier this year also found a link between teen cannabis use and later depression in adulthood, though these studies can only suggest a connection between two factors, not prove that one causes the other (maybe people more likely to be depressed as adults are also more likely to use cannabis, for other reasons).

 

Obviously, the occasional puff or edible isn’t the end of the world. But there might be reason to worry about an increase in people self-medicating as recreational cannabis use becomes increasingly legalised, the authors said.

 

https://www.gizmodo.co.uk/2019/12/cannabis-is-getting-more-popular-especially-among-depressed-people/

 

Bongme 

Cops raid Renfrew cannabis farm

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Cops raid Renfrew cannabis farm

 

 POLICE have launched an investigation after discovering a cannabis cultivation in Renfrew.

At 9.30pm on Friday, officers forced their way into a flat in Bell Street and found 32 plants, along with a lighting system and other equipment.

Officers are now working to establish the identity of the owner of the cultivation.

Inspector Jim Cast, who is based at Renfrew Police Office, said the fire risk to everyone else in the block was “huge” and has issued a plea to people to contact his officers if they have any suspicions about cannabis being grown.

He added: “The fire risk is huge because the people involved in this sort of operation often overcome the electrical meter and bypass it.

“If you notice an unusual smell or the sound of fans, you should get in touch.” 

 

https://www.the-gazette.co.uk/news/18094880.cops-raid-renfrew-cannabis-farm/

 

Bongme 

Man arrested after package containing £260,000 of cannabis seized

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Man arrested after package containing £260,000 of cannabis seized

 

A 53-year-old man is being questioned following the seizure.

 

 Police have seized a quantity of cannabis believed to be worth a quarter of a million pounds.

The haul was found following the interception of a package destined for an address in Banbridge, Co Down, on Wednesday morning.

A 53-year-old man was arrested following the search of a property in the Banbridge area and is helping police with their enquiries.

 

    Over £260,000 worth of cannabis seized by detectives from the PSNI’s Criminal Investigation Branch: https://t.co/0ARP958XX3 pic.twitter.com/hS6EJnG3FS
    — Police Service NI (@PoliceServiceNI) December 11, 2019

 

Detective Inspector Barry Hamilton, from the PSNI’s Organised Crime Unit, said: “Today’s arrest followed the recent interception of a parcel from the postal system containing approximately £260,000 of suspected cannabis,” he said.

“Tackling the illegal supply and use of drugs is a priority for police and seizures such as this demonstrate our ongoing commitment to tackling the scourge of drugs in our society.

“With this substantial amount of illegal drugs removed from our streets today, we continue to make Northern Ireland a hostile environment for those involved in drug dealing within our communities. We will seek to identify them, arrest them and bring them before the courts.

 

“Those involved in drugs criminality seek to line their own pockets at the expense of causing harm to others. They set out to ruin the communities that they live and operate in and they do not care about the damage that they cause, preying on those who are vulnerable.

“I would encourage anyone who has any information about the use or supply of illegal drugs to contact police on the non-emergency number 101 with any information they have.”

 

PA 

 

https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/northern-ireland/man-arrested-after-package-containing-260000-of-cannabis-seized-38775998.html

 

Bongme 

AgraFlora Organics Completes UK Home Office Controlled Drug Handling License Inspection

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AgraFlora Organics Completes UK Home Office Controlled Drug Handling License Inspection

 

VANCOUVER, British Columbia, Dec. 12, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — AgraFlora Organics International Inc. (“AgraFlora” or the “Company”) (CSE: AGRA) (Frankfurt: PU31) (OTCPK: AGFAF), a growth oriented and diversified international cannabis company, is pleased to announce that the Company’s United Kingdom (the “UK”) subsidiary, Farmako Limited has completed its UK Home Office inspection for the purpose of obtaining a Controlled Drug License.

 

Farmako Limited had already been granted certification for its compliance with Good Distribution Practice (“GDP”) and received an authorization for the wholesale distribution (“WDA”) of medicinal products, including medical cannabis, in summer 2019 after completing a successful inspection by the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (the “MRHA”) earlier this year.

The UK medicinal cannabis market value is forecast to reach almost US$1.3 billion by 2024. Prohibition Partners’ has also estimated that up to 1 per-cent of the UK population could qualify as medical cannabis patients by 2028.1

 

Upon receipt of a Controlled Drug License from the UK Home Office, after last week’s inspection, Farmako Limited will be fully licensed to pursue pharmaceutical/medical cannabis trading within the UK operating theatre. Initially, Farmako Limited will pursue the import of Bedrocan products from the Netherlands to the UK for end patient distribution.

Additionally, Farmako Limited reports it is in advanced contract discussions with an external UK domiciled pharmaceutical logistics firm which will function as the Company’s secured UK warehousing and shipping hub.

 

Recent UK legislation allows for the prescription of cannabis from medical specialists through a regular pharmacy model. Access to this high-profile market, when coupled with broad National Health Service (“NHS”) insurance coverage for medical cannabis to ensure better patient outcomes, is a key strategic element of AgraFlora’s global platform.

 

Within the UK, medical/pharmaceutical cannabis can be prescribed by eligible physicians for five conditions as set out in the Government’s review:

 

    Multiple sclerosis (specifically pain or muscle spasticity);
    Chemotherapy-induced nausea;
    Severe treatment-resistant epilepsy in children;
    Chronic pain in adults; and,
    Appetite and weight loss associated with HIV/AIDS.

 

Prohibition Partners estimates that there are as many as 3.6 million active cannabis users in the UK. AgraFlora and Farmako are committed to the expansion of a sophisticated, pan-European cannabis production and distribution network, which serves the needs of physicians and their patients.2

Brandon Boddy, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of AgraFlora stated: “The successful completion of our Controlled Drug License inspection is the next step in providing the UK patient population unbridled access to our cannabis-derived pharmaceutical formulations. We look forward to translating the success we have experienced in Germany as a springboard into a UK marketplace which is enduring increased demand for quality evidence-based cannabis products.”

About AgraFlora Organics International Inc.

AgraFlora Organics International Inc. is a growth oriented and diversified company focused on the international cannabis industry. It owns an indoor cultivation operation in London, ON and is a joint venture partner in Propagation Services Canada Inc. and its large-scale 2,200,000 sq. ft. greenhouse complex in Delta, BC. The Company is also retrofitting a 51,500-square-foot good manufacturing practice (“GMP”) edibles manufacturing facility in Winnipeg, Manitoba. AgraFlora has a successful record of creating shareholder value and is actively pursuing other opportunities within the cannabis industry. For more information please visit: www.agraflora.com.

ON BEHALF OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Brandon Boddy
Chairman & CEO
T: (604) 398-3147 
For additional information:     
      
AgraFlora Organics International Inc.    For French inquiries:

Tim McNulty    Remy Scalabrini, Maricom Inc.

E: ir@agraflora.com    E: rs@maricom.ca
T: (800) 783-6056    T: (888) 585-MARI

 

The CSE and Information Service Provider have not reviewed and does not accept responsibility for the accuracy or adequacy of this release.

Forward-looking Information Cautionary Statement

 

Except for statements of historic fact, this news release contains certain “forward-looking information” within the meaning of applicable securities law. Forward-looking information is frequently characterized by words such as “plan”, “expect”, “project”, “intend”, “believe”, “anticipate”, “estimate” and other similar words, or statements that certain events or conditions “may” or “will” occur. Forward-looking statements are based on the opinions and estimates at the date the statements are made, and are subject to a variety of risks and uncertainties and other factors that could cause actual events or results to differ materially from those anticipated in the forward-looking statements including, but not limited to delays or uncertainties with regulatory approvals, including that of the CSE. There are uncertainties inherent in forward-looking information, including factors beyond the Company’s control. There are no assurances that the business plans for AgraFlora Organics described in this news release will come into effect on the terms or time frame described herein. The Company undertakes no obligation to update forward-looking information if circumstances or management’s estimates or opinions should change except as required by law. The reader is cautioned not to place undue reliance on forward-looking statements. Additional information identifying risks and uncertainties that could affect financial results is contained in the Company’s filings with Canadian securities regulators, which are available at

 

https://prohibitionpartners.com/report-uploads/The UK Cannabis Report.pdf?utm_source=The+UK+Cannabis+Report&utm_campaign=e20535cbbe-AUTOMATION__UK_Cannabis_Report&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_d7705e0d28-e20535cbbe-78720305

2 https://prohibitionpartners.com/report-uploads/The UK Cannabis Report.pdf?utm_source=The+UK+Cannabis+Report&utm_campaign=e20535cbbe-AUTOMATION__UK_Cannabis_Report&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_d7705e0d28-e20535cbbe-78720305

 

https://www.globenewswire.com/news-release/2019/12/12/1959694/0/en/AgraFlora-Organics-Completes-UK-Home-Office-Controlled-Drug-Handling-License-Inspection.html

 

Bongme 

 

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