Isle of Wight man produces cannabis Cancard in court

Isle of Wight man produces cannabis Cancard in court


A NEWPORT man accused of possessing cannabis is having his case reviewed after he produced a type of card which proves medical dispensation to use the class B drug — the first such case heard on the Isle of Wight.

David Toker, of Hogan Close, Newport, did not enter a plea to the alleged September 9 offence when he appeared at the Isle of Wight Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday, December 21.

Ann Smout, prosecuting, said Mr Toker, 40, produced a Cancard — a validated indication to the police, or any third party, that someone is consuming cannabis for medical reasons.

Mrs Smout, who said she had never seen such a card in any court case before, requested an adjournment so a senior Crown Prosecution Service lawyer could ensure it can be validated.

Mr Toker was bailed to reappear at the same venue on January 11.

Manchester weed factory bust

Police have seized cannabis worth millions of pounds from a large-scale farm in Manchester city centre.

Officers raided a property on Century Street, just off Deansgate, yesterday. They uncovered a cannabis farm believed to be worth millions. The cannabis plants have now been removed and seized, though no arrests have been made.

Police say they are ‘glad to have ruined Christmas’ for the criminals behind the operation.

Officers working as part of Operation Orion, which is a proactive drugs team, followed up on intelligence and attended the commercial property at around 3.30pm on Wednesday December 22.

Chief Inspector Wignall from GMP’s City of Manchester District said: “This is a significant find, and I’m glad that we’re able to ruin Christmas for some criminals by taking this drug off the streets of Manchester.



Has California ‘squandered’ legal weed?

Has California ‘squandered’ legal weed? Cannabis businesses threaten revolt unless Sacramento lowers taxes, expands dispensaries

A group of California cannabis business owners who say their industry is collapsing are threatening to withhold tax payments unless state lawmakers commit to significant reforms.

The leaders of more than two dozen cannabis producers, retailers, testing companies and advocacy groups signed an online petition this week calling for major tax cuts and looser retail restrictions, citing frustrations over rising taxes and competition from a thriving black market.

Addressed to Gov. Gavin Newsom and leaders of the state Legislature, the petition comes after months of speculation about a cannabis tax revolt, as recent state efforts to streamline oversight of the crop have collided with widespread industry concern over a flood of legally grown cannabis leading to falling prices.

Any sizable tax protests or cuts could have major financial impacts in a state that collected $976 million in cannabis taxes in the first three quarters of 2021 alone.

“The California cannabis system is a nation-wide mockery,” the signatories wrote, “a public policy lesson in what not to do.”

By mid-day Saturday, the petition had attracted more than 460 signatures. Several big names in Bay Area cannabis were listed as authors, including Haborside founder and activist Steve DeAngelo, and the heads of companies like Meadow, Kiva Confections and Bloom Farms. They did not respond to requests for comment on Saturday.

A spokesperson for Newsom did not respond to emailed questions about the petition on Saturday. Representatives of Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon and Senate President Pro Tempore Toni Atkins also did not respond to emails.

Among the reforms that cannabis leaders are demanding ahead of the state’s annual budget process: the elimination of California’s cannabis cultivation tax, a three-year “holiday” from state excise taxes, and a new deadline for local governments to either set rules allowing cannabis retailers to operate or default to a state system.

While the petition stops short of concrete threats or details as to how many in the industry might withhold taxes, the signatories say that California “squandered” its opportunity to legalize cannabis, and that they “will not remain on (their) knees” if the state declines to act. As it stands, cannabis tax revenue funds state programs for everything from drug prevention and substance abuse treatment to research on marijuana consumption and job placement training.

“Without meaningful change, many, if not most licensed cannabis companies, will face a desperate choice: pay exorbitant taxes into a system designed for failure or pay employees so they can feed their families,” the petition reads. “None of us want to make this choice.”

Despite these dire warnings, California’s legal cannabis industry was a $4.4 billion business last year, up from $2.8 billion in sales in 2019, according to an analysis by Marijuana Business Daily. The problem, the petition’s authors contend, is that high taxes and widespread retail bans are still allowing the black market to thrive.

At the same time, many in the fast-evolving industry are also worried about producing too much legal cannabis amid the regulatory uncertainty, leading to falling prices. One recent survey of Humboldt County cannabis growers found declining optimism about the industry’s prospects as a result of these concerns.

“Overwhelmingly, respondents identified collapsing market prices and overproduction as their biggest challenges, with overtaxation coming in a strong second,” according to the survey by the Humboldt County Growers Alliance.

Next year, the state’s cannabis cultivation taxes are set to marginally increase, to $10.08 per ounce of dried cannabis flower from the current rate of $9.65 — a requirement under state law to account for inflation, as noted by the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration. The state also imposes a 15% excise tax and 7.25% sales tax, and many local governments charge additional taxes, making California one of the nation’s highest-tax cannabis markets.

The cumulative effect, the petition argues, is that legal cannabis products are “50% more expensive at retail” than buying off the black market. Though precise numbers are hard to gauge in the murky world of illegal sales, California’s black market for cannabis was estimated by the United Cannabis Business Association in 2019 to be at least three times the size of the legal market.

In recent months, Bay Area cities caught a glimpse of the scale of the illegal market through a series of busts. Law enforcement raided 18 facilities in San Leandro, Oakland, Hayward and Castro Valley in late September, netting hundreds of thousands of plants, $10 million in cash and assets and 12,000 pounds of processed product. The Alameda County Sheriff’s Office called it the region’s biggest-ever raid.

The turmoil over taxes and black-market sales comes as the state reorganizes its approach to cannabis oversight.


In October, a new, centralized Department of Cannabis Control marked its first 100 days in operation. Leaders touted achievements like creating a $100 million local grant program to help companies get legal certification; assisting on 118 warrants related to suspected illegal activity; and mounting new efforts to consolidate redundant state regulations.

“We’ve made meaningful early progress as a new department,” Department of Cannabis Control Director Nicole Elliott said in a statement at the time. “But this is only the beginning.”

Tories block Manchester MP’s bid to give patients access to NHS cannabis treatments



Tories block Manchester MP’s bid to give patients access to NHS cannabis treatments


Withington MP Jeff Smith’s proposal would make it easier for cannabis treatments to be prescribed.


A Manchester MP’s bid to open up cannabis treatments on the NHS has been blocked by Tory backbenchers in the House of Commons.

Despite the Government legalising medicinal cannabis in 2018, following a number of high-profile campaigns, thousands of people are still being denied access to the treatment.

Only three prescriptions have been provided on the NHS in the last three years, leaving some families with no choice but to get private prescriptions, which can cost up to £2,000 a month.


It has has left many families forced to rely on crowdfunding to be able to pay for their children’s life-changing treatment.

Withington MP Jeff Smith, speaking in the Commons, said “this has gone on too long”.

He added: “Significant numbers of people who would benefit from being prescribed medical cannabis on the NHS aren’t able to get the prescriptions that they need.”

Putting forward a Private Member’s Bill, the MP said one of his constituents was having to fork out almost £700 a month for their grandson’s medicine.

“Families of patients in the most urgent need often have to resort to support from crowdfunding or from individual donors to keep their medicine going.


“And really patients having to crowdfund for private-prescribed medicine because they can’t get it on the NHS is just not right in this country.”

Mr Smith’s Bill would create a register of GPs who can complete training that would make them eligible to prescribe the medicine, in addition to the specialist doctors who are currently allowed to prescribe.

He added: “What my Bill proposes today is that we set up a commission to propose a framework for the assessment of cannabis-based medicines and their suitability for prescription in England to sit alongside the existing MHRA processes for conventional pharmaceutical drugs.”

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Mr Smith said the commission could give doctors and NHS bodies “more confidence in the evidence for prescribing these particular unlicensed medicines”, as currently one of the barriers for prescription is doctors not being confident in prescribing the drugs.

The Labour MP also said the new framework would look at alternative methods of testing the drugs, as randomised controlled testing, the current “gold-standard” of medical evidence for drug testing, was “not suitable” for “whole plant extract” cannabis-based medicines because of the variety of chemical compounds within them.

But the Bill, which was debated this afternoon, was “talked out” by Tory backbenchers – meaning it will have to be re-tabled for discussion at a later date.

Without government support, the Bill is unlikely to become law.

Malta to legalise cannabis for personal use in European first

Move by EU’s smallest member state likely to be followed by reform across rest of continent in 2022


Malta will this week become the first European country to legalise the cultivation and possession of cannabis for personal use, pipping Luxembourg to the post, as the continent undergoes a wave of change to its drug laws.

Possession of up to seven grams of the drug will be legal for those aged 18 and above, and it will permissible to grow up to four cannabis plants at home, with up to 50g of the dried product storable.


A vote in favour of the legislation in the Maltese parliament on Tuesday will be followed by the law being signed by the president in order for it to be enacted by the weekend, Owen Bonnici, the minister responsible, told the Guardian.

The move by Malta, the EU’s smallest member state, is likely to be followed by reform across Europe in 2022. Germany recently announced a move to establish a legally regulated market, following announcements from the governments of Switzerland, Luxembourg and the Netherlands. A referendum in Italy is planned, while Canada, Mexico and 18 US states have already enacted similar legislation.

Boris Johnson’s UK government has, in contrast, been accused of taking a Richard Nixon-style “war on drugs” approach after maintaining its tough approach to cannabis use and making criminal sanctions for the users of class A narcotics a central plank of its recently published 10-year strategy.

Bonnici said his government did not want to encourage the use of recreational drugs but that there was no evidence for the argument that the use of cannabis was in itself a gateway to harder substances.

He said: “There is a wave of understanding now that the hard-fist approach against cannabis users was disproportionate, unjust and it was rendering a lot of suffering to people who are leading exemplary lives. But the fact that they make use on a personal basis of cannabis is putting them in the jaws of criminality.

He added: “I’m very glad that Malta will be the first country which will put words in statute in a comprehensive manner with a regulatory authority”.

The change in approach by a number of European governments follows a decision by the UN last December to remove cannabis from a listing of drugs designated as potentially addictive and dangerous, and having little or no therapeutic use.

The Maltese approach seeks to avoid criminalising any cannabis use while regulating to ensure harm reduction, Bonnici said.

Possession of up to 28 grams will lead to a fine of €50-€100 but with no criminal record. Those under the age of 18 who are found in possession will go before a commission for justice for the recommendation of a care plan rather than face arrest. Those who consume cannabis in front of a child face fines of between €300 and €500.

Beyond allowing people to grow plants at home, albeit out of sight of the public, it will be legal for non-profit cannabis clubs to cultivate the drug for distribution among their members, similar to organisations tolerated in Spain and the Netherlands.

Club membership will be limited to 500 people and only up to 7 grams a day may be distributed to each person, with a maximum of 50 grams a month. The organisations, which cannot be situated less than 250 metres from a school, a club or a youth centre, may also distribute up to 20 seeds of the plant cannabis to each member every month.

Bonnici said his government had conducted a long debate over whether to put in controls on the strength of cannabis that can be grown and used, measured by the level of the key psychoactive, or mood-altering, ingredient, delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (TCH).

He said: “We had a huge discussion internally on that. And we concluded that if a limit [can be put] on the strength of the cannabis, the THC levels, you will be creating a new market for the black market. What we need to do is to educate people and inform them day after day.”

The Netherlands is possibly the European country most associated with a relaxed attitude toward the use of cannabis. However, possession and trade are technically illegal there. The government instead has a gedoogbeleid, a “tolerance policy”, under which use is largely accepted within bounds. A trial is planned under which the production of the drug will be regulated.

‘World’s largest’ cannabis brownie weighting 62st baked in US – and it’s up for sale

The firm’s website says the treat is inspired by the original cannabis-infused, homemade brownie and is made from scratch in small batches, and infused with precision-dosed, full spectrum cannabis


he world’s largest weed brownie has been baked by a firm in the US weighing almost 62st.

The hefty confection, which measures three feet wide by three feet long is 15 inches tall and weighs a staggering 850 pounds (400 KG).


MariMed, based in Massachusetts, say it contains 20,000mg of THC: the main psychoactive compound in cannabis that produces the high sensation.

The firm unveiled the oversized treat to commemorate the launch of their Bubby’s Baked brand of brownies: a single-serving brownie containing a more manageable 5mg of THC.

Ryan Crandall, chief product officer and SVP sales for the US company said: “For many of us, homemade brownies were our first taste of cannabis-infused edibles.




Bubby’s recreates and elevates that nostalgic experience, infusing full-spectrum, craft-quality cannabis into timeless recipes, for a reliable high reminiscent of simpler times.”

The firm’s website says the cake is inspired by the original cannabis-infused, homemade brownie and is made from scratch in small batches, and infused with precision-dosed, full spectrum cannabis.

It says they are “perfect for sharing high times with friends this holiday season.”


The company has classic confectionery recipes – brownie, chocolate chip, and snickerdoodle.


It claims to use natural ingredients, starting with the basics: flour, butter, eggs, and sugar with no artificial flavours or preservatives.

Each brownie contains 5mg of THC in Massachusetts which complies with state regulations.


Mr Crandall added: “Bubby’s Baked fills a big hole in the edibles market that cannabis consumers crave – high-quality, delicious baked goods that stay moist and chewy.


“For many of us, homemade brownies were our first taste of cannabis-infused edibles. Bubby’s recreates and elevates that nostalgic experience, infusing full-spectrum, craft-quality cannabis into timeless recipes, for a reliable high reminiscent of simpler times.


“Strategically, Bubby’s is part of our effort at MariMed to build a house of brands that meets different consumer needs across a diverse range of occasions.”


Reactions to the cannabis brownie were as expected with one person calling it “the funniest thing out”.

 Met Police’s top drug cop faces gross misconduct hearing after ‘smoking cannabis’

 Met Police’s top drug cop faces gross misconduct hearing after ‘smoking cannabis’

A POLICE chief who devised his force’s drugs strategy is to face a gross misconduct hearing over claims he smoked pot.

Cdr Julian Bennett, of London’s Met, is accused of using controlled drugs off duty between February 2019 and July 2020.

It is also claimed that he refused to provide a sample and offered a “bogus explanation” for being unable to do so.

Cdr Bennett, who has 44 years’ police service, said later that he used cannabis only for medical reasons, it is understood.

The £136,000-a-year officer, in his 60s, has been suspended on full pay since July last year pending the probe by the Met’s Directorate of Professional Standards.

He will answer three counts of discreditable conduct next February.

Grass on your dinner party guests if they smoke cannabis, says Kit Malthouse

Grass on your dinner party guests if they smoke cannabis, says Kit Malthouse

Dinner party guests should call police if they spot fellow revellers smoking cannabis at Christmas gatherings, the policing minister has said.

Kit Malthouse said that anyone who witnessed the law being broken at festive season get-togethers should report it, even if it was just a guest lighting a joint.

His comments came as the Government formally unveiled its 10 year drug strategy that aims to drive addicts into treatment services and stem the demand by cracking down on middle-class drug users.

A senior minister today urged dinner party guests to call the cops on fellow revellers if they spot them smoking cannabis at Christmas gatherings.

Mr Malthouse told LBC he had never been to a dinner party where drugs had been taken, but would have reported it if he had.

Asked what people should do if they saw someone getting out a cannabis joint, he replied: “Well, my advice to anybody who witnesses the law being broken is to report it to the police.”

Boris Johnson had earlier warned middle class drug users he would not sit “idly by” and let them fund crime as he unveiled a £300 million, three year drive to “wipe out” county lines gangs.

The Prime Minister warned recreational users face being stripped of their passports and driving licences under the new curbs, as he joined police on a dawn raid.

Mr Malthouse also said drug dogs should be deployed in wealthy areas to catch middle class cocaine users whose habits fuel violent crime.

Kit Malthouse said he wanted police to broaden the geographical spread of their action against drug users so that “rich stockbrokers” are targeted in the same way as “a kid in Brixton or Hackney” for taking illicit substances.

He added that he also wanted police to start identifying the customers of drug dealers by investigating the numbers on seized phones. This would mean that action, ranging from educational courses to potential prosecution, could be taken against them.

Ministers believe half of all shop thefts, burglaries and robberies in the UK are committed by 300,000 heroin and cocaine addicts, who will receive rehabilitation and medical treatment under the strategy.

THC in blood and saliva are poor measures of cannabis impairment

THC in blood and saliva are poor measures of cannabis impairment

A new study suggests these biomarkers are inconsistent indicators

The findings contrast with the much stronger relationship between blood alcohol concentrations and driving impairment, with implications for the application of drug-driving laws globally.

Researchers at the University of Sydney’s Lambert Initiative have analysed all available studies on the relationship between driving performance and concentrations in blood and saliva of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the intoxicating component of cannabis.

The surprising results indicate that blood and oral fluid THC concentrations are relatively poor or inconsistent indicators of cannabis-induced impairment.

This contrasts with the much stronger relationship between blood alcohol concentrations and driving impairment. The findings have implications for the application of drug-driving laws globally, the researchers say.

The study was published recently in Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews.

Lead author Dr Danielle McCartney, from the Lambert Initiative for Cannabinoid Therapeutics, said: “Higher blood THC concentrations were only weakly associated with increased impairment in occasional cannabis users while no significant relationship was detected in regular cannabis users.

“This suggest that blood and oral fluid THC concentrations are relatively poor indicators of cannabis-THC-induced impairment.”

For the study, researchers pooled data from 28 publications involving consumption of either ingested or inhaled forms of cannabis. They then characterised the relationships between blood and oral fluid THC concentrations and driving performance (or driving-related skills such as reaction time or divided attention).

For infrequent, or occasional cannabis users, some significant correlations between blood and oral fluid THC concentrations and impairment were observed. However, the researchers note that most of these relationships were “weak” in strength. 

No significant relationship between blood THC concentration and driving performance was observed for ‘regular’ (weekly or more often) cannabis users.

“Of course, this does not suggest there is no relationship between THC intoxication and driving impairment,” Dr McCartney said. “It is showing us that using THC concentration in blood and saliva are inconsistent markers for such intoxication.”

The research raises questions about the validity of the methods used to assess cannabis-related impairment. This includes the widespread random mobile drug testing for THC in saliva in Australia and the testing for specific concentrations of blood THC that is used to detect impaired drivers in some US states and in Europe.

Dr McCartney said: “Our results indicate that unimpaired individuals could mistakenly be identified as cannabis-intoxicated when THC limits are imposed by the law. Likewise, drivers who are impaired immediately following cannabis use may not register as such.”

The researchers also found that subjective intoxication – how “stoned” individuals reported that they felt – was also only weakly associated with actual impairment.

This means that drivers should not necessarily rely on perception of their own impairment in deciding whether they are fit to drive.

Co-author Dr Thomas Arkell from the Lambert Initiative said: “Individuals are better to wait a minimum length of time, between three and 10 hours, depending on the dose and route of administration, following cannabis use before performing safety-sensitive tasks. Smartphone apps that may help people assess their impairment before driving are currently under development and may also prove useful.”

Academic Director of the Lambert Initiative, Professor Iain McGregor, said: “THC concentrations in the body clearly have a very complex relationship with intoxication. The strong and direct relationship between blood-alcohol concentrations and impaired driving encourages people to think that such relationships apply to all drugs, but this is certainly not the case with cannabis.

“A cannabis-inexperienced person can ingest a large oral dose of THC and be completely unfit to drive yet register extremely low blood and oral fluid THC concentrations. On the other hand, an experienced cannabis user, might smoke a joint, show very high THC concentrations, but show little if any impairment.  

“We clearly need more reliable ways of identifying cannabis-impairment on the roads and the workplace. This is a particularly pressing problem for the rapidly increasing number of patients in Australia who are using legal medicinal cannabis yet are prohibited from driving.

“The increase in legal recreational use of cannabis across multiple jurisdictions worldwide is also making the need for reform of cannabis-driving laws more urgent.”

Producing Cannabis Biomass Without Growing A Cannabis Plant

Producing Cannabis Biomass Without Growing A Cannabis Plant

A new technology is allowing one company to produce full-spectrum cannabis without growing the plant itself.

Sounds like something out of a science fiction movie, but it’s very real. In what could be a global first, this week, a publicly traded Canadian-Israeli biotech firm company, BioHarvest Sciences, will announce that it has managed to produce at least 10kg of full-spectrum cannabis without the plant itself.

According to information procured exclusively, the biomass in question was created using the company’s proprietary BioFarming technology platform, which allows it to grow natural plant cells in bioreactors. In addition, management assures, the product is not genetically modified, and is “uniquely consistent and clean.” This could provide an interesting solution to two of the cannabis industry’s main pain points: product variability and contamination – the aseptic, controlled environment means the product isn’t affected by fungi, yeast, mold or any other contaminants or pesticides.

“The legal cannabis industry has been waiting for this moment as many of the challenges it has faced are being resolved using BioHarvest’s technology and capabilities,” said BioHarvest CEO Ilan Sobel. “With this milestone, we are ready to engage with the vibrant global Cannabis industry for the right partnerships ahead of the introduction of our new Cannabis products.”

How Real Is This Unreal Weed?

Purists will argue cannabis grown in a bioreactor is not real cannabis. And this may be the case. However, BioHarvest’s biomass is in fact a full-spectrum product, meaning it features most of (if not all) the chemical compounds found in traditional cannabis.

The biomass is made of cannabis cells, including trichome cells containing cannabinoids such as CBD and THC, as well as other compounds that are naturally occurring in the cannabis plant. In addition, Sobel explained, these trichome cells “are amalgamated in a proprietary high density coral-shaped structure that enables a trichome density (number of trichomes per unit surface) of up to 200 times greater than the conventional agriculture case.”

Beyond being cool, this breakthrough could have a very positive impact on sustainability by driving increased land conservation. In fact, BioHarvest already applies this process to the production of red grapes, olives and pomegranates. The facilities occupy about 95% less physical space than traditional farming.

“For its therapeutic qualities, hemp based CBD holds a significant potential for the F&B industry to which we have been supplying ingredients for over 40 years,” said Vince Pinneri, president of Batory Foods, an ingredient distributor for the U.S. food industry that has teamed up with BioHarvest to guarantee the food and beverage industry “the highest quality CBD with fingerprint consistency and ultimate cleanliness that their BioFarming technology can produce.

“The outstanding sustainability credentials of the BioFarming technology will also be well received by the growing population of environmentally conscientious customers. We are looking forward to bringing to the US market the best hemp-based CBD, from BioHarvest, in the near future,” Pinneri concluded.

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