This year marks an overwhelmingly significant milestone for Mexico, as the country legalizes medical cannabis. Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto made it official by moving forward with a decree that establishes the foundation of therapeutic programs in the region.
Specifically, the vocal leader is taking a slow – but thorough – approach to drafting regulations and policies, which will be facilitated by the Ministry of Health. At a very nascent level, the group will be launching clinical trials to research the plant’s compounds and applications, eventually leading to the creation of local policies that caters to patients seeking alternative, natural forms of medicinal treatment.
President Peña Nieto did not meet much resistance from the Senate and Lower House of Congress. In April, the bill passed, resulting in 371 members in favor and 19 members against the measure. In December, the results were similar, with 98 senators in favor and only seven voting against.
The move to regulate medical cannabis is a positive one. Mexico and its neighbors were previously under pressure for failing to curtail the flow of narcotics entering the United States. Instead of increasing law enforcement funding, nearby countries and regions affected opted to enforce a different plan that focuses on decriminalization.
Surprisingly, the announcement was met with mixed reactions from locals. According to a 2015 poll conducted by El Universal newspaper, more than half of surveyed residents strongly opposed legalizing cannabis. But without an effective solution to the country’s growing illegal trafficking concerns, many individuals have changed their views about legalizing cannabis.
The implications of legalization in the country are huge. First, local residents will have open access to medical cannabis and pharmacological derivatives of the plant, like CBD oil. This is a double win for Mexico, on the street (reducing crime rates) and in the economy.
From a business perspective, other countries with medical cannabis laws will be able to partner with registered Mexican growers, shops and research companies to improve their products. In the long term, such collaborative movements could also push the prices of medical cannabis products down. The Ministry of Health is tasked to provide regulations surrounding the importation of the plant.
“With medical cannabis fully legal in Canada and now in Mexico, we wonder how long it will be before the United States joins the rest of North America in reforming laws at the national/federal level,”
Medical Marijuana, Inc. CEO Dr. Stuart Titus said,
“With 30 U.S. States approving medical cannabis and 17 others with CBD-only laws, we feel the real crime in this matter is the lack of progressive leadership shown by our own federal government. The science 100% supports this, the people fully support this, and the opioid crisis is totally out of control. We, the people, demand answers from our leaders.”
For now, only cannabis derivatives with low THC (one percent or lower) will be permissible in the country. Though this seems to not include cannabis used for scientific testing. So far, it’s still too early to tell how lax the regulations will be; the ministry intends to roll out more guidelines in the near future, which will help paint a clearer picture of the country’s stance on medical cannabis.
Word on the street is fentanyl-laced cannabis, which is currently affecting non-regulated cannabis products in black markets, is contributing to the opioid crisis in the US. Earlier this month, reports of individuals overdosing from cannabis peppered with fentanyl surfaced from Ohio.
The possibility of such events is not far-fetched and have been entertained by local residents in the area. According to Special Agent in Charge Michael Ferguson of the Drug Enforcement Administration, it only takes two milligrams of the drug to kill a person. A tiny sprinkle on a plant is very difficult to detect.
The highly addictive opioid is up to 50 times stronger than heroin and roughly 100 times more potent than morphine.
Reports of the deadly mixture originated from Hamilton County Coroner Dr. Lakshmi Sammarco, during a press conference with Senator Rob Portman. Sammarco provided questionable data to back up her statement, citing that 297 locals died due to suspected opioid overdoses in the first two quarters of the year. In 2016, that figure was at 403.
“Drug traffickers are lacing other drugs with it. I was told by the DART Task Force in Toledo that they’re actually sprinkling fentanyl in marijuana now, and people are showing up in the emergency room and overdosing on marijuana because it’s sprinkled with fentanyl,” said Portman.
However, Sammarco failed to clarify exactly how many of those deaths were related to fentanyl-laced cannabis. Instead, she advised people that the possibility of encountering potentially deadly forms of the plant (with fatal doses of the opioid) is highly likely.
“Essentially, the message we’ve tried to get out there, is if you are using any form of street drugs, count on them having some form of synthetic opioid mixed in,” said Sammarco.
In order to pacify concerned individuals, which now includes thousands of people across the country, Andrea Hatton, an administrator with the Hamilton County Coroner’s office, verified such reports were non-existent.
“We in Cincinnati have not, in fact, seen fentanyl-laced marijuana,” said Hatton. “There are no reported cases of it.”
Hatton explained that blood screening is common practice during autopsies. The presence of multiple substances in individuals who overdosed on fentanyl may have caused some people to arrive at the conclusion that the opioid is being mixed with cannabis. The administrator emphasized that this does not necessarily mean the substances were consumed together.
US Drug Enforcement Administration representative Melvin Patterson also spoke out about the issue during a timely interview with the Cincinnati Enquirer, citing that the organization has not seen cannabis mixed with fentanyl. Patterson said “there could be” such cases. But without legitimate reports, it would be irresponsible to jump to any conclusions that could indirectly affect the reputation of the legal cannabis industry.
From a legalization standpoint, the possibility of fentanyl-laced cannabis is another reason to double down on regulating cannabis, in states that don’t have legal cannabis laws in place. With increased quality control and the implementation of strict cultivation practices, law enforcement would be able to easily track batches of illegally mixed or tampered cannabis.
There’s nothing convenient about dabbing cannabis concentrates – unless you’re using the Ooze Magma.
Most people are stuck dabbing at home, because setting up a traditional rig is a tedious process. Furthermore, working with extremely hot nails can be tricky – even for veteran cannabis consumers.
But thanks to technological advancements and cutting-edge trends currently taking the legal cannabis industry to new heights, you can now dab outside of your home with ease.
Luckily for us, the Ooze Magma is changing the way people consume cannabis concentrates.
Portable, Functional and Discreet
The Ooze Magma offers a seamless dabbing experience for individuals with busy lifestyles. It contains everything you need to consume shatter or wax on the go. The multi-functional main body houses the heating components of the device, which features four temperature settings: 572°F, 662°F, 752°F and 842°F. To get started, click the button three times and watch the LED indicators light up.
Unlike traditional dabbing, you don’t have to wait for the chamber to get hot before loading in the concentrate. This allows you to pre-load the chamber hours before consumption!
The kit comes with a glass water bubbler that connects to the head of the main body, turning it into a complete, compact bong. You have the option to take dry hits or use it with water. A top cap keeps the loader closed to stop residual burning. To ensure stability during consumption, a stand base keeps the unit upright at all times.
The e-nail is powered by a powerful 2,900 mAh battery. Each session lasts 20 seconds, which equates to about three hits. It’s possible to extend the session for another 20 seconds by pressing the master button. An automatic shut-down feature preserves the battery (turning it off after 60 seconds of no activity), ensuring power doesn’t run out when you need it the most.
When the portable rig is on the verge of running out of power, the LED indicator lights will flash 10 times. This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to stop dabbing, as the unit still works while charging! To charge the device, simply plug it into a mainstream wall outlet, using the USB adapter. You could also plug it into your computer or power bank for on-the-go charging.
Use Your Own Device
Want to use the e-rig with your own bubbler or water pipe? No problem! Using the base adapter, the main body can turn into an attachment that fits over a wide range of smoking devices. Simply flip the base adapter over and carefully screw the bottom of the unit on the head of your preferred contraption.
The Ooze Magma is currently available online for $199. This price point is pretty great, considering the kit comes with a packing tool, extra rubber rings, a carrying case and two coils (dual quartz and quartz nail).
When Initiative 300 (I-300) passed in the 2016 November ballots, backers of the measure felt it was a step in the right direction. A four-year pilot program under I-300 was initially designed to expand public consumption of cannabis in the state, specifically in establishments or businesses with valid city-issued permits – also known as designated consumption areas (DCA).
According to the Denver Post, around 53 percent of 308,466 local voters support the measure. The Denver Department of Excise and Licenses was asked to create guidelines surrounding the process of registering, approving and awarding permits for qualified businesses.
But after months of development, many individuals have started to view the draft rules as “unnecessary and overly burdensome” for local establishments. Out of frustration, backers sent a letter to the permitting authority to express their concerns about the guidelines.
In the letter, a total of 13 issues were raised about I-300. The main concern includes the ban on dual licensing of cannabis and alcohol consumption for businesses that want to be able to facilitate both in their establishment. Backers believe it greatly reduces participation in the pilot program. As a solution, supporters of I-300 would like businesses to be able to create a space within the location that caters to both cannabis and alcohol consumption at different times.
Additionally, backers would like to see a streamlined approach to the implementation of the pilot program. Current guidelines require individuals entering a location under the scope of I-300 to sign an acknowledgement waiver. For businesses that cater to numerous consumers, this could be very frustrating. To address this issue, backers would prefer to replace the requirement with a clearly visible, posted note at the entrance of the consumption area.
I-300 supporters also want to ease restrictions surrounding how close one must be from schools, child-care buildings, treatment facilities and city-owned establishments. In particular, backers would like boundaries moved from 1,000 feet to 500 feet. Many individuals view the existing guideline as unfair, when compared to restrictions surrounding liquor licenses and permits.
Some draft regulations in I-300 need to be updated to include all types of public consumption areas. For example, outdoor patios and open-air lobbies can’t be ventilated – a requirement under the measure. Backers want such requirements removed from the guidelines, for outdoor locations.
Interestingly, the letter raised concerns about tight regulations on edibles. Currently, the proposed guidelines limit possession of cannabis edibles to 80-milligram servings in a consumption area. This is an issue because the serving size isn’t normally sold in retail shops and dispensaries. Moreover, recreational users are able to purchase edibles at 100-milligram potencies. Backers are worried about the proposed ruling’s inconsistent applications with existing cannabis products on the market.
“We’re still fighting to overcome stigma that is rooted in a history of prohibition, and now it appears the city is trying to keep consumers hidden and as far away from the mainstream as possible,” said Emmett Reistroffer, campaign director for I-300.
A public hearing will be held on June 13 at the Webb Municipal Office Building about the rules.
With legalization spreading like wildfire in the US, now is a good time to see how cannabis is performing in mainstream markets. According to the 2017 Marijuana Business Factbook, an annual report compiled by researchers at Marijuana Business Daily, the plant has outclassed numerous prescription meds and consumer-related services.
In 2016, the legal cannabis sector racked up a whopping $4 billion – $4.5 billion in sales – beating Viagra and Cialis ($2.7 billion) in the arena of prescription medicine. This level of growth also surpassed annual sales of tequila, Girl Scout cookies and paid music streaming services.
The report highlights that recreational cannabis stores are busier than ever, catering to an average of 119 customers per day. This year, US consumers are forecasted to spend between $5 billion and $6 billion on legal cannabis.
There are several factors that contributed to the emerging sector’s new milestone. Last year, a total of seven states legalized cannabis (medically or recreationally). Furthermore, Pew Research concluded over half of US-based adults (over 18) favor cannabis legalization. A 2016 Gallup poll further reinforces these findings, citing 60 percent of survey respondents support legalization – an impressive 25 percent increase from 2005.
It is important to point out that some states that recently legalized the plant in 2016 are still in the process of drafting local regulations and guidelines. Because of this delay, the full impact of the supporting states won’t be felt (or picked up by reports) until 2017 or 2018. For now, the potential of those states should be taken into consideration, as researchers estimate sales to reach roughly $17 billion by 2021.
In Colorado alone, sales increased by 42 percent last year. To give you an idea of how fast the local cannabis scene is growing in the state, officials collected $135 million in taxes and licensing fees in 2016 – up by 78 percent from the year before at $76 million. Around $35 million of the collected funds will be used to streamline the construction of educational institutions around the location.
“The additional tax revenue far exceeds the cost of regulating the system,”
said Mason Tvert, a spokesman for industry advocacy group the Marijuana Policy Project.
“Regulating and taxing marijuana has been incredibly successful in Colorado, and it represents a model for other states to follow.”
The success of the legal cannabis sector echoes beyond participating businesses and consumers. Lax regulations help increase tourism in states with legal cannabis laws. From an economic perspective, the impact of the industry in 2016 was estimated to have reached $16 billion – $18 billion. By 2021, researchers predict the economic impact of legal cannabis to hit $68 billion.
Should the industry continue to exceed sales and market expectations, it could easily eclipse the snack food sector (valued at $39 billion) in the future. It already has up to four times more employees to make it happen.