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New York makes progress on legal recreational cannabis

The city has approved the first cannabis cultivation licences for recreational sales. 

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New York makes progress on legal recreational cannabis
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After announcing the legalisation of recreational cannabis in 2021, New York is now making headway in preparation for sales later this year, aiming to create an equity-focused industry.

Governor Kathy Hochul has confirmed that 52 licences have been granted for cannabis cultivation farms that are already operating across New York.

The licences have been selected from a pool of more than 150 licences that have been submitted to the Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) following the March 15 opening of the online application portal.

Governor Hochul commented: “New York’s farms have been the backbone of our state’s economy since before the American Revolution, and now, New York’s farms will be at the centre of the most equitable cannabis industry in the nation.

Read more: Legal recreational cannabis sales begin in New Jersey

“I’m proud to announce the first adult-use cannabis cultivation licences in the state, and I’m proud of the work the Office of Cannabis Management and the Cannabis Control Board are doing to get adult-use cannabis sales up and running as fast as possible without compromising our mission to uplift communities and individuals most impacted by the past century of cannabis prohibition.”

The licences were part of the first-of-its-kind Seeding Opportunity Initiative, which will position individuals with prior cannabis-related criminal offences to make the first adult-use cannabis sales with products grown by New York farmers. The OCM will continue reviewing applications on a rolling basis.

Read more: Copenhagen proposes five year pilot of recreational cannabis

To qualify for the initiative, initial equity-entrepreneur, retail owners must meet two prongs of eligibility: they must have a cannabis-related conviction that occurred prior to the passage of the Marijuana Regulation and Tax Act (MRTA) on March 31, 2021, or had a parent, guardian, child, spouse, or dependent with a pre-MRTA cannabis-related conviction in the State of New York, and they must have experience owning and operating a successful business in the State of New York.

Assembly majority leader, Crystal Peoples-Stokes, commented: “New York State continues to lead the nation in an equity-focused cannabis industry. 

“The approval of the first 52 provisional cultivation licences will help create a responsible start to the NYS cannabis industry by granting cultivators the ability to produce enough product and inventory for social equity retail dispensaries to meet the initial demand of the anticipated legal market. 

“We are on our way towards realising our goal of creating a viable and inclusive path for minorities and small farmers to have the opportunity to create generational wealth for their families and communities. 

“I am proud of the work conducted thus far by the NYS Office of Cannabis Management and the Cannabis Control Board, and I look forward to our actions bearing fruit.”

According to Senator Liz Krueger, the approval of the licences will ensure an adequate supply of cannabis when the first round of social and economic equity retail stores open later in 2022, and will prioritise environmentally sustainable agricultural practices.

Office of Cannabis Management Executive Director Chris Alexander said, “We are working hard to provide a legal framework for New Yorkers using medical cannabis to grow their own cannabis plants. 

“We understand that patients are looking to this new option to access medication at a low cost, and we are doing everything possible to speed up this process while working within the rules of New York’s regulatory system.”

To further facilitate improved access to medical cannabis for patients, medical home cultivation regulations have been approved for a second round of public comment for a 45-day public period starting on 4 May. Medical home cultivation of cannabis be allowed after final regulations are approved by the board.

After the first round, The OCM received over 160 comments from addiction prevention and awareness coalitions, small farmers, industry associations, clinical associations and more.

Based on this feedback, revisions to the guidelines include updating definitions to provide clarity for terms like “on the grounds of” and “private residence”, amending storage and security requirements and clarifying the plant limit for designated caregivers growing for multiple patients, among others. 

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Colombian-grown cannabis flower reaches Switzerland

The shipment follows updates to Colombia’s cannabis export policy.

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Colombian-grown cannabis flower reaches Switzerland
Home » News » International » New York makes progress on legal recreational cannabis

Allied Corp has shipped 1728kgs of Colombian-grown commercial cannabis flower to Switzerland. 

The shipment has been made as a part of the previously announced export approval of 7100kgs of Colombia-grown cannabis. This shipment of 1728kgs to Switzerland will be followed by 1500kgs weekly until the 7100kg threshold is met.

After the enactment of Colombia’s new legislation allowing for the legal export of dried cannabis produced in Colombia in April 2022, Allied submitted several applications for export. 

Read more: Colombia votes in pro-cannabis president Gustavo Petro

After receiving approval for export, Allied’s first export was shipped in June 2022 and the second shipment was in July 2022. This latest recurring shipment in August 2022 is now turning into a weekly cycle of 1500kgs.

This makes Allied Corp the first company to ship commercial cannabis flower from Colombia to an international market.

CEO and Chairman of the Allied Corp board, Calum Hughes, commented: “We are the first company ever to ship a Colombian commercial shipment of dried cannabis to an international market – now we are not only duplicating our shipments but are doing so at a commercial scale.

“This is the largest known legal shipment that we know of out of Colombia. This accomplishment speaks to the quality of our team, and most importantly our product.”

Allied has said that it has multiple strains in the production pipeline including over 15,000 THC plants created for multiple batches to fulfil its 2022 quota.

Hughes added: “From decades of production expertise, manufacturing and supply chain quality assurance, regulatory expertise and logistics coordination – the team has performed.

“The three years of genotyping and phenotyping followed by the regulatory knowledge needed to execute the export have proven successful.

“We can now boldly claim that we are not only the first to pull it off, but we have been able to duplicate the orders at commercial scale; the largest that we know of.

“We have now done it for three months in a row and are tightening this cycle to now ship 1500kgs every week.”

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Whitehouse remarks on “wrongful detainment” of Griner for Russian cannabis charges

The basketball star has been sentenced to nine years for allegedly smuggling cannabis medicines into Russia.

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Whitehouse remarks on “wrongful detainment” of Griner for Russian cannabis charges
Home » News » International » New York makes progress on legal recreational cannabis

American basketball player, Brittney Griner, aged 31, has been sentenced to nine years in prison in Russia after she was caught in possession of cannabis.

As well as a nine-year sentence for possession of vape cartridges containing cannabis, the WNBA star and two-time US Olympic champion has also been ordered to pay a fine of ₽1m (~£13,745).

Some reports have suggested that the development could see the US and Russia negotiating over a prisoner exchange.

Read more: Billy Hood CBD appeal reduces sentence to ten years

President Joe Biden’s office released a statement on the sentencing of what it describes as the “wrongfully detained” Griner, who has been detained since February,

Biden stated: “Today, American citizen Brittney Griner received a prison sentence that is one more reminder of what the world already knew: Russia is wrongfully detaining Brittney. 

“It’s unacceptable, and I call on Russia to release her immediately so she can be with her wife, loved ones, friends, and teammates.

“My administration will continue to work tirelessly and pursue every possible avenue to bring Brittney and Paul Whelan home safely as soon as possible.”

Griner’s agent, Lindsay Kagawa Colas, said the star was being used as a “political pawn”.

In a press briefing by White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre and NSC co-ordinator for strategic communications John Kirby, Jean-Pierre stated: “We have repeatedly called for Russia to release her immediately so she can be with her wife, loved ones, friends, and teammates.

“Under President Biden’s direction, the US government continues to work aggressively, pursuing every avenue to bring home Brittney, Paul Whelan, and every American held hostage and wrongfully detained around the world.

“As you all know, we have made a substantial offer to bring her and Paul Whelan home.  We urge Russia to accept that proposal.

“I’m not able to share more publicly at this time, but we are willing to take every step necessary to bring home our people, as we demonstrated with Trevor Reed. And that’s what we’re going to do here. I can assure you this is something the President and our national security team are focused on every single day.”

Griner has 10 days to appeal the verdict.

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International

Flora Growth partners with Colombia’s largest indigenous tribe in joint cannabis venture

“We are honoured to be given the opportunity to work hand-in-hand with the Misak people,” said Luis Merchan, Flora’s Chairman and CEO.

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Flora Growth Colombia

Flora Growth has entered an agreement with one of Colombia’s main indigenous tribes to process and distribute cannabis products.

Flora Growth has entered into a joint venture agreement with Pharma Indigena Misak Manasr Sas, the largest indigenous tribe in Colombia, on the development of cultivation best practices, manufacturing, export and marketing of cannabis and cannabis-containing products.

Under the agreement, the outdoor cultivator, manufacturer and distributor will provide Manasr regulatory advice, technical and business support related to product development and distribution, promotion of products to be marketed under the Flora brand portfolio, and cannabis derivatives to complete product production.

Additionally, Manasr will work closely with Flora in developing cannabis pharmaceuticals and products and help advance the approvals and authorisations required for exports of cannabis from Colombia.

“We are honoured to be given the opportunity to work hand-in-hand with the Misak people,” said Luis Merchan, Flora’s Chairman and CEO.

“Through this partnership, we will collaborate with the tribe on the processing and distribution of their Colombian-grown cannabis while offering Manasr a powerful platform for product distribution. In return, Flora will be able to leverage the tribe’s unique regulatory positioning to expedite exports and increase global market penetration of Colombian cannabis goods.

“We look forward to a long-standing relationship with such a powerful community partner.”

The initial term of the agreement is three years, however, the intention is to create a “lasting and mutually beneficial relationship for the foreseeable future”, the company said.

This announcement comes two weeks after Flora Growth’s CEO Luis Merchan met with Colombian Senator Gustavo Bolivar, the author of a new bill to legalise recreational cannabis.

Bolivar, the key author of the bill, and Merchan discussed the top tenants of the bill, the bill’s implications for companies such as Flora in Colombia and what legalisation means for the country’s burgeoning domestic and international cannabis markets.

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