U.S. News Updates
After countless delays, the state’s first cannabis testing laboratory officially opened for business this week. CannTest will operate in an industrial area in Anchorage, where it will test 4-gram samples of cannabis flower, as well as concentrates and edibles, for potency and purity. The lab received a license on June 9. There are already several licensed retailers for adult-use cannabis that have been waiting for laboratories to open, and some stores could open as early as next week.
State Rep. Dan Douglas (R-Benton) promised to introduce a bill to legalize low-THC, high-CBD cannabis for medicinal use in the event that a ballot push to legalize fails next month. The lawmaker opposes the current bills on the table, along with several Arkansas officials, but proposed the high-CBD compromise in response. “I’m committed to working with the surgeon general, the health care community, with the Health Department, with the Medical Board, whoever we need to, to come up with and draft responsible legislation that gives us the needed oversight to keep this from becoming a substance abuse problem in Arkansas,” he said during a news conference on the topic of medical cannabis. The proposal, however, would be significantly more restrictive in qualifying conditions and would not allow cannabis flower. Critics have questioned whether the offer is a ploy to defeat legalization.
When two eagle-eyed voters in Broward County noticed Amendment 2 was missing from their absentee ballots, the Florida chapter of NORML filed a lawsuit. There have been 240,000 absentee ballots mailed to voters in Broward County, and although there have not been any other reports of the missing amendment, 60,000 of those ballots have already been cast. In 2014, a similar measure was defeated by a slim margin of just two percentage points, and this year’s election could be even closer. If you are a Broward County voter and your ballot is missing Amendment 2, please contact county Elections Supervisor Dr. Brenda Snipes’s office at 954-357-7050.
Laboratories in Oregon made a noteworthy observation about the state’s cannabis supply, namely that cannabis on the adult-use market undergoes more testing and is generally safer than any food product typically purchased by Oregon consumers. Oregon has some of the most restrictive standards in the country for legal cannabis testing, which includes screening for potency, pesticides and mold, as well as residual solvents and terpenes. If a sample fails two tests, it legally cannot be sold and the producer loses money in the process, thus motivating producers and cultivators to move towards organic methods.
International News Updates
A new draft bill on medical cannabis has been introduced by a group of deputies from Prime Minister Matteo Renzi’s Democratic Party. The proposal would regulate production, prescriptions, and distribution at the national level and create a file for pharmaceutical products to compile data on the genetics of medical cannabis, cultivation areas and imported and exported cannabis products. Also facing Italian lawmakers is a measure to legalize cannabis for adult use, which Democratic Party leadership opposes. It became apparent that national legislation was necessary after an anti-cannabis law was ruled unconstitutional. The measures will be discussed after a constitutional referendum on Dec. 4.
A Dutch cannabis coffeeshop owner has been detained in a Thai prison and faces up to a 103-year sentence for crimes that were committed in his home country of the Netherlands. Johan Van Laarhoven wrote a letter to King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands pleading for help securing his release. Thai officials confirm that Van Laarhoven has never committed a crime on Thai soil. Instead, he used money earned from his Netherlands-based cannabis business to retire in Thailand. The Thai consider his earnings “drug money” and by spending it money abroad, they say, he committed money laundering. Van Laarhoven was sentenced to 103 years and his wife, who apparently had no dealings with his cannabis business, was sentenced to 18 years in custody. The Dutch government so far has refused to ask the Thai government to extradite Van Laarhoven, though individual lawmakers have expressed their support for his release.