In recent years, several countries in Latin America have legalized cannabis for medical use, including Uruguay, Chile, Colombia, Argentina, Mexico and Peru.
President Jair Bolsonaro has previously expressed support for medical cannabis. But the ultraconservative leader would “not permit loopholes in the law to be used for the planting and consumption of marijuana,” his spokesman Otavio Rego Barros told reporters in August.
Since 2015, Anvisa has allowed people with a medical prescription to import cannabidiol, or CBD, a non-psychoactive marijuana derivative, for the treatment of epilepsy and chronic illnesses.
The new regulation allows for the sale of products with a concentration of tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC — the main psychoactive constituent responsible for marijuana’s intoxicating effects — of more than 0.2 percent to terminally ill patients or those who have exhausted alternative treatment options.
Others will be allowed to buy medical cannabis products with a THC concentration of less than 0.2 percent.
Rapper Drake has partnered with Canopy Growth on a new cannabis venture, the company announced Thursday, expanding the Canadian pot giant’s list of celebrity backers.
He joins Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg, Martha Stewart and Snoop Dogg in partnering with Canopy Growth.
The new company, More Life Growth Company, will be based in Drake’s hometown of Toronto.
Drake will own 60 percent of the company, while Canopy will retain a 40-percent stake and distribution rights, and run its day-to-day operations.
“Drake’s perspective as a culture leader and entrepreneur combined with Canopy Growth’s breadth of cannabis knowledge will allow our new company to bring an unmatched cannabis experience to global markets,” Canopy chief executive Mark Zekulin said in a statement.
For his part, Drake called the business venture “really exciting.” “The idea of being able to build something special in an industry that is ever growing has been inspiring. More Life and More Blessing,” he said.
Comedians Rogen and Goldberg (“Superbad,” “Pineapple Express” and “This is the End”) launched Houseplant in March with Canopy Growth.
Rapper Snoop Dogg partnered with the Smith Falls, Ontario company in 2016 to create the brand “Leafs by Snoop” or LBS, while his friend and lifestyle guru Stewart plays an advisory role in the development of its CBD or cannabidiol products.
America’s first cannabis restaurant has opened in West Hollywood, offering diners an array of weed products and hoping to rival Amsterdam’s famed coffee shops.
Called Lowell Farms: A Cannabis Cafe, the much-hyped 240-seat establishment is open to people 21 and over, who can order from a cannabis menu just like they would a wine bottle.
“Flower Hosts,” or “budtenders,” help patrons navigate the menu, giving advice to connoisseurs or novices on what strain of cannabis to order with their meal and the potency and flavor of each product.
On offer are pre-rolled joints starting at $18 dollars apiece, highly potent concentrates, some edibles, and accessories such as bongs, pipes and dabbing devices.
“It’s amazing to be a part of making history, I never thought I would have been,” said executive chef Andrea Drummer as she surveyed diners at the soft opening of the eatery on Monday.
“It’s important to have a safe space to consume in a very communal setting,” she added. “The only other place that I know that to be the case is Amsterdam.”
She said customers were flying in from different parts of the country, and one couple was even traveling from Britain, to take part in the grand opening on Tuesday.
The cafe’s launch comes as more and more states across America have legalized marijuana in recent years, both for medicinal and recreational purposes. The drug, however, remains illegal at the federal level.
Largest legal marijuana market
In California, which has the world’s largest legal marijuana market, recreational pot became legal in 2018, setting off a mad rush by entrepreneurs to cash in on the multi-billion-dollar industry.
Seven other eateries similar to “Lowell Farms” are expected to open in the near future in West Hollywood, one of the first cities in the country to embrace the concept.
“This is a great idea and I do think that normalizing cannabis is something that we should do,” said Derek Bollella, 22, a business student who drove 45 minutes on Monday to be part of the happy few who managed to secure a reservation at Lowell’s.
“If you go to Amsterdam, they have one of these every 10 feet,” he added as he smoked a joint while munching on nachos topped with avocado. “They tried that over there and it seems to work.”
Antonela Balaguer, 23, another patron sitting nearby with a friend, said it was only fitting to finally have a cannabis cafe where customers could get high while enjoying some “nice stoner food.”
“I could probably come here every day,” she said. “I would consume cannabis every day if I could.”
Drummer said the restaurant’s 40 “Flower Hosts” have been trained to keep an eye on guests to make sure they are able to tolerate the cannabis they order and that nothing gets out of hand.
“Our bud hosts are very proficient in enquiring and asking guest where they are at in their consumption level,” she said. “You go to a bar and you know the cut-off point for the person who has ordered five whiskeys. So you have a conversation if that is the case. ”
For Matt Kirschner, the new eatery is long overdue and marks a major milestone for the country.
“This is the greatest thing that the United States has implemented into its culture in a while,” said the 22-year-old law student as he smoked a joint and nibbled on mac and cheese bites and a chicken sandwich with a friend at Lowell’s.
“We’re pretty stoned right now,” he added, grinning. “We’re enjoying the day, the music’s good, the weather’s good and we’re in California.
Australians living in the home of the country’s parliament will be allowed to grow and possess small amounts of cannabis from next year under a new law passed Wednesday.
While the possession of small amounts has been decriminalised in some parts of the country, the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) — home of Canberra, the nation’s capital — is going a step further and will legalise it for personal use.
People aged over 18 will be allowed to possess up to 50 grams (1.8 ounces) of cannabis and cultivate two plants — or a maximum of four per household.
Chief Minister Andrew Barr said although the territory’s government “does not condone or encourage the recreational use of cannabis or other illicit drugs”, it was time to acknowledge that outright prohibition was no longer an effective policy.
“There is good evidence from drug law reform around the world that a harm minimisation approach delivers better outcomes both for individuals and communities,” he said in a statement.
The change marks the first time it has been fully legalised anywhere in Australia.
The federal government, however, has the power to overturn the law — and has done in the past when faced with controversial legalisation passed by Australia’s territories, such as voluntary euthanasia.
The new legislation also requires rubber-stamping from the territory’s health minister.
Lawyers warned Wednesday that users could still face prosecution as federal laws clash with the ACT’s new legislation.
“It creates uncertainty where we don’t seem to have a formal position from the police themselves,” criminal lawyer Michael Kukulies-Smith told the Canberra Times newspaper.
Buying and selling the drug will remain illegal in the territory.
Australia last year agreed to allow exports of medicinal cannabis, in an effort to boost budding domestic manufacturers and fulfill its aim of becoming a leading global supplier.
The Mexican Supreme Court ordered the government to come up with rules surrounding the use of medical Mexican Supreme CourtWednesday after granting a child permission to use a drug derived from cannabis to treat epilepsy.
The Ministry of Health has 180 business days to establish regulations around the therapeutic use of cannabis and its derivatives, the country’s top court said in a statement.
Mexico’s Congress approved the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes in 2017 after a two-year fight, and President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who took office late last year, has said he would consider legalizing certain drugs.
His government, however, revoked a decision that authorized the sale of 38 cannabis-derived products, such as dietary supplements, drinks, and cosmetics, to be sold in pharmacies.
The court said the agency should have issued the rules within 180 days after the original decree legalizing medical marijuana came into effect in June 2017, and since they hadn’t, the child had been forced to seek permission from authorities to use cannabis oil.
“With the absence of norms to regulate the use of therapeutic use of cannabis, it is impossible for the claimant to access treatment related to this substance,” the court said.
The Ministry of Health responded in a statement, saying it would “fully comply” with the ruling and added it would ensure the child’s treatment.
The Mexican government began a fight against drugs in 2006 that unleashed a wave of violence that has left more than a quarter of a million people killed and 40,000 people missing, according to official data.
The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) in Jigawa State has arrested 186 suspects and seized 61.24kilograms of various narcotics and psychotropic substances in the state.
The State Commander of the Agency, Barrrister Josephine Ruth, disclosed this on Wednesday at a press conference in the state capital to mark the United Nations International Day Against Drug Abuse.
According to her, the suspects were accused of abusing drugs such as codeine, cannabis, and other nonconventional substances and the agency has already prosecuted and convicted 22 persons, while 108 persons are undergoing counselling.
Speaking further, she explained that while the agency has faced several challenges in the discharge of its duties such as a shortage of manpower, it continues to partner with sister-agencies to achieve its goals.
“We usually seek assistance from the police when we want to go out for raids in order to complement our strength because we usually face resistance from the suspect because of our number,” Josephine said.
She, however, thanked the state government for its support particularly for the establishment of a rehabilitation centre in the state.
French police probing rape claims against American R&B star Chris Brown found cocaine and cannabis in his Paris hotel suite, his lawyer said Wednesday while denying that the cocaine belonged to the singer.
Brown’s French lawyer, Raphael Chiche, confirmed that the 29-year-old was found in possession of cannabis during his arrest at the luxury Mandarin Oriental hotel on Monday night over claims that he assaulted a woman a week earlier.
But the Grammy Award-winning singer had a note from his American doctor covering his use of the drug for medicinal purposes, Chiche said.
The cocaine found “was not his” and “belonged to those who had come to party in his suite on the night of January 20-21,” the lawyer added.
Brown, his bodyguard and a friend were arrested after a 25-year-old woman accused them of raping her in the Mandarin Oriental, where he was staying while attending shows during men’s fashion week in the French capital.
After being held for 24 hours the three were released without charge on Tuesday night.
Chiche said his client wanted to bring a defamation lawsuit.
“He says he had no sexual relations of any sort with the complainant,” Chiche said.
The singer, who denies the allegations, posted a picture on his Instagram account after his release that read “This B!tch Lyin'”.
“I WANNA MAKE IT PERFECTLY CLEAR…… THIS IS FALSE AND A WHOLE LOT OF CAP! (sic),” he posted next to the picture.
Still Under Investigation
The prosecutor’s office said the three men were still under investigation on suspicion of aggravated rape and a drugs offence.
The alleged victim told police she met Brown in a nightclub near the Champs-Elysees avenue with a group of other women on the night of January 15.
She then agreed to go back to the singer’s hotel, on the glitzy boutique-lined Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honore.
Chiche said that his client was now free to return to the United States but would continue to cooperate with investigators and “will come back if he has to”.
Brown has been in the news more for his legal troubles than his hit releases in recent years.
In 2009 he was convicted of beating fellow singer Rihanna, his girlfriend at the time, who was forced to miss the Grammy Awards because of her injuries.
Brown was sentenced to five years’ probation and six months of community service for the assault.
In 2014 he pleaded guilty to assaulting a fan in Washington and two years later he was arrested and charged with assault with a deadly weapon following a standoff with Los Angeles police officers.
He is best known for his hits in the mid-2000s such as “Kiss, Kiss” and “Run It”.
Russia on Monday denounced Canada’s cannabis legalization, which took effect last week, calling it “unacceptable” and contrary to international laws, and saying it will lead to increased trafficking abroad.
“We are convinced that this legislation goes against international law on drug control,” the Russian embassy in Ottawa said in a statement.
According to Moscow, Canada is violating major drug control treaties including the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances and the 1988 Convention Against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances.
“By consciously torpedoing the international drug control regime, the Canadian government is creating the world’s largest drug market, which, despite all the claims and measures being contemplated to prevent the export of cannabis across national borders, will certainly result in a considerable increase in its trafficking to other states,” said the Russians.
The embassy said, “Russia and other countries will probably have to take additional measures to prevent possible attempts to smuggle cannabis and its derivatives from Canada.”
On October 17, Canada became the first major economy to legalize cannabis — fulfilling a 2015 campaign promise by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, which he has defended as intended to protect young people and to shut down the black market.
Richard Walker, a spokesman for its foreign ministry, told AFP that Canada remains “a strong supporter of the international drug control framework” and will continue to “combat drug trafficking.”
“The legalization of cannabis does not change our commitment to meeting the overarching goals of the UN drug conventions – protecting the health and safety or our citizens – and Canada will continue to work with its international partners to advance these objectives,” he said.
Canada on Wednesday became the world’s first major economy to fully legalise cannabis, sparking celebrations on the streets as the country embarked on the controversial drug policy experiment.
Throughout the country, huge lines outside pot shops snaked around city blocks.
Scores of customers braved the cold for hours outside Tweed, a pot boutique in St John’s, Newfoundland that opened at midnight, to buy their first grams of legal cannabis.
Ian Power said prior to its grand opening, he was happy to “make history” by being the first to legally buy pot in Canada.
“I’m elated. I’m so excited, I can’t stop smiling. I’m not cold. It’s freezing cold out, but I’m not cold,” he said.
In Cape Breton, platinum record-selling fiddler Ashley MacIsaac was among the first buyers, while in Toronto revellers attended a “Wake and Bake” party with music, a glass pipe blower and campfire treats.
“It’s fun, good for the soul, and now legal so we don’t have to stress about that anymore,” Sebastien Bouzats from Montreal told AFP. “We don’t have to hide it anymore.”
Legalisation has sent stocks in pot companies soaring on the Toronto and New York stock exchanges but has also been sharply questioned by some health professionals and opposition politicians.
– Second after Uruguay –
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has defended legalisation — the fulfillment of a 2015 campaign promise — as intended to protect young people and to shut down drug dealers.
The entry into force of the Cannabis Act makes Canada only the second nation after Uruguay to legalise the drug.
How well it goes could have an impact on Canada’s next election in 2019, and on whether other countries follow in its footsteps.
“When people start to see the consequences (of legalisation) they will blame Trudeau’s failures for it,” opposition Tory leader Andrew Scheer commented.
In the United States, recreational cannabis has been legalised in eight states, while countries such as the Netherlands and Spain have decriminalized pot possession.
In total, Statistics Canada says 5.4 million Canadians will buy cannabis from legal dispensaries in 2018 — about 15 per cent of the population. Around 4.9 million already smoke.
Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale announced a plan to pardon past convictions for simple possession, giving people “greater access to job opportunities, education and housing.”
– A new industry –
Under the new regulations, Canadians at least 18 or 19 years old (soon to be 21 in Quebec) will be allowed to buy up to 30 grams of cannabis, and grow up to four plants at home.
A patchwork of private and public cannabis retail stores and online sales have been set up across the 13 provinces and territories, ramping up to 300 storefronts by year’s end, the government predicted.
Sales of derivatives like edibles will be legalised next year.
To meet demand, hundreds of growers have been licensed, some taking over horticulture and floriculture greenhouses.
The new industry has attracted billions in funding, as well as interest from major alcohol and soft drink makers such as Constellation Brands and Coca-Cola, respectively, in developing cannabis-infused drinks.
Cannabis sales are forecast to boost economic growth by up to Can$1.1 billion and provide a Can$400 million tax windfall for the government, according to official data.
It’s still unclear if legalisation will undercut the black market. Prices for illicit pot have plunged to an average of Can$6.79 per gram, and most legal sellers are charging more.
Bill Blair, a former Toronto police chief who is Trudeau’s point man for pot legalisation, remains optimistic.
He acknowledged that criminal enterprises that have long controlled the market for pot and have reaped billions in profits a year “are not going to go gently into the night.”
“But the fact that some individuals want to cling to a prohibition model that has led to the highest rates of cannabis use of any country in the world is a little shocking to me,” he told AFP.
Goodale noted that Can$2-3 billion was spent annually to police cannabis and consumption still rose.
According to a recent Abacus Data poll published on Monday, 70 per cent of Canadians accept or support legalisation.
Public health officials contend that smoking cannabis is as harmful as tobacco, but welcome what they call an opportunity that legalisation affords for open dialogue.
Some doctors, however, remain wary. Diane Kelsall, editor in chief of the Canadian Medical Association Journal, called legalisation “a national, uncontrolled experiment in which the profits of cannabis producers and tax revenues are squarely pitched against the health of Canadians.”
South Africa’s top court ruled Tuesday that private, personal cannabis use was legal in a landmark case that had pitted law enforcement agencies against marijuana advocates and the judiciary.
Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, delivering the Johannesburg-based Constitutional Court’s unanimous verdict, declared the law banning marijuana use in private by adults “is unconstitutional and therefore invalid”.
“It will not be a criminal offence for an adult person to use or be in possession of cannabis in private for his or her personal consumption,” he said, reading the ruling to cheers from the public gallery.
The court also ordered parliament to draft new laws within 24 months to reflect the order.
Outside pro-cannabis campaigners lit pipes and rolled joints to celebrate the news, filling the air with the distinctive aroma of marijuana.
“I’m happy I won’t be getting any more criminal records for possession,” Ruaan Wilson, 29, told AFP before pausing for a puff.
“Now we can get police to focus on real drugs and thugs,” he added, wearing shorts and dark sunglasses.
A court in Western Cape had ruled in March 2017 that a ban on cannabis use by adults at home was unconstitutional, a move that effectively decriminalised it in the province, which includes Cape Town.
But the ministers of justice, police, health and trade challenged that finding, arguing that there was “objective proof of the harmful effects of cannabis.”
Tuesday’s ruling will not decriminalise the use of the drug in public nor the offences of supplying or dealing — but cultivation for personal, private use will no longer be illegal for adults.
‘We are free now’
Previously, possessing, growing or using marijuana for personal use — even in small quantities — exposed users to fines of up to hundreds of dollars (euros) as well as jail time, although this latter punishment was rare. Penalties for selling the drug were far higher.
Three cannabis users who had faced prosecution for using the drug argued in the Constitutional Court that the prohibition “intrudes unjustifiably into their private spheres”.
Activists clutching banners reading “Weed are free now” and Rastafari flags gathered outside the court in central Johannesburg.
Other boards read “Free the weed”, and “Legalise weed, end economic depression #weedislife”.
Some activists also called for cannabis to be decriminalised for use in public.
“It’s not enough, we also have privacy in person, as we walk in a public space, therefore we should be allowed to carry cannabis in public,” said Jeremy Acton, leader of the Dagga Party in South Africa which advocates for the rights of cannabis users.
Several of the roughly 100 activists sang struggle-era anti-apartheid songs.
Previous court hearings on the emotive issue have drawn protests by those opposed to legalising cannabis, as well as by those in favour of decriminalisation.
Use of cannabis and medicinal marijuana has gained popularity in some parts of the world to ease suffering from cancer, glaucoma, HIV and AIDS, and other serious conditions.
‘Able to develop the plant’
But opponents fear crime connected to drug abuse and users graduating to harder drugs. They also cite medical research which suggests a link between heavy use of marijuana and psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia.
The country’s Medical Research Council has already launched trials to help guarantee quality, consistency and standards, according to local media.
“We have used cannabis to treat anxiety, colic in children and as an antiseptic in secret for many years,” said Phephsile Maseko of the Traditional Healers Organisation. “Now we will be able to develop the plant even further.”
South African opposition lawmaker Mario Oriani-Ambrosini submitted a draft law in 2014 calling for the legalisation of marijuana but he died soon after, and his initiative was shelved.
Globally, the legal status of cannabis varies widely. In Portugal, for example, possession and use is largely decriminalised, while users in Saudi Arabia face the death penalty.
The breakthrough for South African cannabis users came just a day after US soft drinks giant Coca-Cola confirmed it was studying the use of a key ingredient in marijuana to make “wellness beverages”.
Canada will legalise the consumption and cultivation of cannabis from October 17, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced on Wednesday.
Both houses of parliament voted this week to legalize the drug for recreational use, making Canada the first G7 country to do so and the second in the world following Uruguay.
Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor said she was “so proud” of the move.
“This historic legislation will end prohibition and replace it with a sensible, responsible and equitable cannabis policy,” she tweeted.
Just prior to the announcement, the country’s leading cannabis producers reported a surge in stocks — with market leader Canopy Grown jumping 1.7 percent to Can$43.27 — following the Senate vote to legalize the soft drug.
In 2001, Canada authorized the use of marijuana for therapeutic purposes.
Under the new legislation, adults — either 18 or 19, depending on the province or territory — can legally buy, grow and consume cannabis in limited amounts.
Each Canadian household will be allowed to grow up to four plants at home, and one person may carry up to 30 grams (one ounce) of the drug in public.
Trudeau, who in 2013 said he had smoked a joint with friends “five or six times,” justified legalization on the grounds that it would take traffickers out of the equation and protect young people.
In an interview with AFP last month, Trudeau said the world was closely following Canada’s plans and predicted several nations would follow suit.
“There is a lot of interest from our allies in what we’re doing,” he said.
“They recognize that Canada is being daring… and recognize that the current regime (of prohibition) does not work, that it’s not preventing young people from having easy access to cannabis.”
The provinces will organize the legal sale of cannabis in licensed stores, sometimes in government-controlled liquor stores, according to the new law.