By Steve Elliott
Two natural allies -- rock and roll and cannabis -- will be together in August at a musical festival in Grand Forks, British Columbia.
CannaFest 2015 will bring together musicians and people to educate about the healing power of marijuana, according to organizer Chuck Varabioff of the B.C. Pain Society in Vancouver, reports Daybreak South at CBC News.
"I deal with sick people every single day," Varabioff said. "I wanted to give back something to them, where they're able to come forget about their pain, their problems, anything they have negative going on in their life, and come out and experience something positive."
"It's all about the movement; it's all about the people coming together and promoting a product they believe in," Varabioff said.
This is the second year that Varabioff has organized CannaFest. The first one took place in Vancouver last year.
Grand Forks Mayor Frank Conrad said he won't "delve into the marijuana issue because that is a federal issue," but said he believes the event will help stimulate the local economy.
The B.C. Pain Society is a medical marijuana dispensary that houses Canada's first cannabis vending machines.
CannaFest 2015 will take place on Aug. 7 and 8 at James Donaldson Park in Grand Forks, B.C. One-day passes are $50, and two-day passes are $75.
Coalition ratifies declaration this past week in Prague, urging the UN to reclassify cannabis plant for medical use
Medical cannabis patients from 13 countries, including those represented by U.S. advocacy group Americans for Safe Access (ASA), established the International Medical Cannabis Patients Coalition (IMCPC) this past week while at the "Medical Cannabis and Cannabinoids: Policy, Research and Medical Practice" conference in Prague from March 4-7. IMCPC member countries include Bulgaria, Canada, Czech Republic, Estonia, France, Israel, Italy, Latvia, Poland, Slovenia, Spain, United Kingdom, and United States.
The first action of the IMCPC was to ratify a declaration urging the 2016 UN General Assembly Special Session on Drugs to either reclassify cannabis for medical use, convene a UN Special Convention on Cannabis, or simply exclude cannabis from the UN Single Convention on Narcotics. The IMCPC declaration will be delivered to the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs in Vienna this week by Pavel Bem, the Czech representative for the Global Commission on Drug Policy.
Indoor Harvest Corp, through its brand name Indoor Harvest™, a design build contractor, developer, marketer and direct-seller of commercial grade aeroponic and hydroponic fixtures and supporting systems for use in urban Controlled Environment Agriculture and Building Integrated Agriculture, has announced that its common shares have begun trading under the ticker symbol INQD.
On February 26, the company applied to have its common stock traded on the OTCQB. Until its application is accepted, the Company will trade as an OTCPink via the OTCMarkets platform under the ticker symbol INQD.
"It has been a long process, but we are excited to announce that we've now begun trading as a public company," said Indoor Harvest Corp's CEO and founder, Chad Sykes. "We will be releasing the results for fiscal year 2014 in the near future and look forward to starting our pilot project with Tweed Marijuana, Inc. in Canada.
"With our going public effort behind us, it's time to shift focus toward scaling the company, bringing on board expert talent and wrapping up development of our product offerings. 2015 should prove to be a pivotal year for the company moving forward as we introduce new technology for building integrated agriculture," Sykes said.
Forces & Families on Monday announced a new partnership with CannTrust, the only pharmacist-controlled and operated producer of medical cannabis in Canada.
Created in 2007, Forces & Families is a Canadian volunteer organization that provides support to Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members and their families. Under the leadership of founder and chairman John Randolph, Forces & Families has helped raise charitable monies in support of the Military Families Fund and also involve CAF men and women, their families and veterans to connect with Canadians to help build mutual understanding, awareness and respect.
"Today's partnership announcement with CannTrust adds to our growing list of significant corporate supporters from across Canada," Randolph said. "Support comes in many shapes whether it's special events for members of the Canadian Armed Forces, their families and veterans or fundraising for the Military Families Fund.
"This new relationship with CannTrust will assist us not only in these areas but will also offer education, awareness and support to help address some of the critical health and wellness issues faced by the CAF, Veterans and their families," Randolph said.
Throughout 2015, Forces & Families said it will continue to increase the awareness of CAF members and their families and also provide a series of visible support mechanisms aimed at fighting illnesses such as PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) with a goal of helping its members achieve mental wellness.
CannTrust, which describes itself as "Canada's only pharmacist-controlled and operated producer and distributor of medical cannabis," on Friday announced an incentive offer for qualified patients that encourages vapouizing to consume medical cannabis.
In a partnership with Arizer, a Canadian manufacturer of personal vaporizers, patients can now access the latest in vapor technology with an exclusive price for three devices, not offered at these prices by any other Health Canada approved provider of medical cannabis, according to CannTrust.
"Patient safety is our priority and we've built our business on that," says Normal Paul, chairman of CannTrust. "We've created a state-of-the-art growing and testing facility to ensure our patients have access to consistent quality medical cannabis in Canada. It would be irresponsible for us not to make every effort to ensure patients have access to safe consumption and that is what our vaporizer program is all about."
CannTrust patients who place any order of 15 grams or more of medical cannabis can purchase one of three vaporizers for the lowest price in Canada. The patient can choose from three different starter packs depending on which vaporizer model selected.
Combo pack A includes the Solo model for $250, which includes the vaporizer and 15 grams of medical cannabis. (Just a Solo model retails for $224.) More advanced packages include the Extreme model with 15 grams of medical cannabis for $265 or the Air model for only $295.
CannTrust Inc., a licensed producer and distributor of medical cannabis in Canada, today announced CannTrust Access, a comprehensive patient assistance program for medical cannabis compassionate use in Canada.
The CannTrust Access program is a Canadian first in medical cannabis programs and is available immediately to eligible Canadians whose health plans do not reimburse medical cannabis.
To enroll, a patient must have a signed CannTrust medical form from their physician, the required qualifying documents listed at canntrust.ca, a letter from their physician indicating a need for financial assistance to access medical cannabis, and proof of their financial status (Revenue Canada Notice of Assessment).
Qualified patients will be eligible for up to 30 grams of medical marijuana per month. Three levels of financial assistance are available through the CannTrust Access program depending on the patient's income status, which will be reassessed every six months.
CannTrust anticipates that a number of patients' financial status will qualify them to receive their monthly order at no cost. A patient is obliged to notify CannTrust if their status changes in any manner.
BC Human Rights Tribunal to Release Prelim Decision on Cop's Right to Advocate for Drug Legalization
The British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal on Tuesday will release a preliminary decision regarding a complaint of political discrimination against the Victoria Police Department for muzzling an officer who advocates for drug legalization. This particular decision will focus on whether senior police officers at VicPD can be held personally liable for illegal conduct in this matter, setting an important precedent in police accountability.
The decision will be released shortly after 12 pm PT at the following link:
In 2010, the Victoria Police Department banned Constable David Bratzer from speaking off-duty as part of an expert panel on harm reduction. Since then, he has faced progressively more severe restrictions regarding his off-duty advocacy for drug policy reform.
In 2013, after years of harassment, and fearing for his livelihood, Constable Bratzer filed his complaint citing “political belief” as a protected ground of discrimination in Section 13 of the BC Human Rights Code. In advance of the decision today, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition is publicly affirming its support for his struggle to regain his voice:
Cannabix says its hand-held THC marijuana breathalyzer is being developed to give law enforcement and employers the ability to test for recent consumption of the THC component of marijuana -- and interestingly, the company is featuring this product, presumably a tool in the War On Pot, at a generally pro-weed trade show in Las Vegas. Prototype renderings are being showcased at the National Marijuana Business Conference and Expo.
"Cannabix Technologies Inc. is pleased to report the release of its first publicly available device renderings and video presentation of its Cannabix Marijuana Breathalyzer," the company announced in a prepared release. "Cannabix is developing a feature rich, durable, hand-held THC breathalyzer device for law enforcement and the workplace.
Media files and video which show the design and features of the prototype are available for online viewing at cannabixtechnologies.com. The product renderings will also be showcased at the National Marijuana Business Conference and Expo from November 12-14, at the Rio in Las Vegas. Cannabix senior executives will be sharing the video demo and discussing prototype development progress at booth 219.
Canada's Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) has released a new evidence-informed report on cannabis control. The Cannabis Policy Framework released by CAMH recommends marijuana legalization with a strict regulation approach to cannabis control.
Canada has one of the highest rates of cannabis use in the world, with 40 percent of Canadians having used it at least once in their lifetime. CAMH's Cannabis Policy Framework was developed to provide evidence-based principles for reducing cannabis-related harm.
To do this, CAMH scientists and policy experts conducted in-depth analysis of the health, social, and legal implications of cannabis use and examined cannabis policy in other jurisdictions.
"Canada's current system of cannabis control is failing to prevent or reduce the harms associated with cannabis use," said Dr. Jürgen Rehm, director of the Social and Epidemiological Research Department at CAMH. "Based on a thorough review of the evidence, we believe that legalization combined with strict regulation of cannabis is the most effective means of reducing the harms associated with its use."
Two thirds of Canadians currently using medical cannabis do so to ease arthritis pain
By Steve Elliott
In a position paper issued on Tuesday, The Arthritis Society called for more research into the efficacy and safety of medical cannabis as a therapy to alleviate symptoms of pain and fatigue caused by the chronic disease.
“More and more Canadians are accessing medical cannabis as a treatment option for severe arthritis symptoms,” explained Society president and CEO Janet Yale. “We have a duty to the people we serve to ensure that the scientific basis for the use of medical cannabis is clear and appropriate, with patient safety and improved care our foremost priorities.”
Thousands of Canadians have already received authorization from Health Canada to use medical cannabis and as many as two-thirds of those people are using the drug to help manage pain due to arthritis.
"There is much still unknown about the treatment therapy, its safety and its efficacy for coping with arthritis – leading to potential risks for patients," the Arthritis Society release claims, although if they simply asked the arthritis patients involved, they'd be talking less about risks and more about benefits.
The anecdotal evidence in support of medical cannabis for arthritis pain is very robust, and Tuesday's announcement will ensure that more clinical research will be conducted to further validate this treatment modality, according to CanniMed Ltd., the first producer to be licensed under the new Canadian Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations (MMPR).
The Strategic Alliance will enable U.S.-based AltMed and Canada’s Vida to collaborate on clinical research, quality assurance, and the cultivation of pharmaceutical-grade cannabis
AltMed, a Sarasota, Florida company which says it is "bringing pharmaceutical industry precision to the development and production of medical cannabis," has signed a Strategic Alliance Agreement with Canada’s Vida Cannabis.
The two companies plan to collaborate on research, quality assurance, and technical expertise. They’ll also pool business development know-how to capitalize on complimentary strengths in their respective markets.
"We’re deeply impressed with the level of sophistication, and operational know-how designed into the Vida Cannabis team as they work toward building the most advanced medical marijuana facility in Canada," says David Wright, CEO of AltMed. "We have a parallel commitment to excellence in Florida, and we’ve identified vital complementary strengths and best practices that will guarantee that both of our companies excel."
Headed by former pharmaceutical executives, AltMed is focused on the science of medical cannabis. AltMed is forging skill-building alliances to lead in the delivery of effective, safe and well-tolerated alternative medicines. AltMed says its ultimate goal is to help people live better lives.
"With a strong team coupled with complimentary values and a focus on rigorous quality assurance and research, AltMed shares both our scientific DNA and our commitment to patients," says Greg Wilson CEO of Vida Cannabis.
Cannabis Science, Inc., a United States-based company specializing in marijuana formulation-based drug development and related consulting, on Tuesday provided an updated guidance report on its current pre-clinical drug development programs underway, beginning with scientific cannabis cultivation programs in Europe and North America, testing multiple marijuana strains for multiple critical ailments.
"The company's efforts in Spain complement Cannabis Science's plans in Canada and the company's current, pre-clinical collaboration with the Institute for Research, Hospitalization and Health Care on Aging (INRCA) in Italy, where the company is testing toxicity and efficacy of cannabinoid formulations for neurobehavioral diseases including sleep disorders," said Mario S. Lap, director and president of European Operations at Cannabis Science.
The facilities are located in the Alicante region of Spain; the company said it has successfully initiated an agricultural program spanning combined 15 hectares parceled according to seed strains and growth cycles and protocols. The tests focus on production requirements and research framework to conduct scientific testing of the active constituents in the cannabis plant.
The company said it will set those protocols "to multiply optimal results into drug formulation regimens for pre-clinical studies."
By Steve Elliott
The Canadian Medical Association (CMA) on August 20, at its annual meeting in Toronto, voted on and approved a delegate resolution opposing the smoking of medical marijuana and other other plant material. Now Bedrocan Cannabis Corp., a licensed Canadian producer of medicinal cannabis, has come out in support of the CMA motion.
"The CMA is quite right to point out that there are particular hazards associated with smoking any plant material, including medical cannabis," Bedrocan Canada's statement reads. "While some patients, particularly those who use small quantities, choose to smoke medical cannabis, the preferred method of delivery is via the use of a vaporizer -- a device that heats cannabis to release the cannabinoids (the active ingredients), but does not burn it.
"There is good clinical evidence to show that vaporized cannabis contains significantly lower levels of toxins and harmful chemicals," Bedrocan's statement reads.
"In addition, there is one medicinal cannabis vaporizer, the Vapormed Volcano Medic®, approved in Canada as a class 2 medical device," Bedrocan's statement reads. "The use of a vaporizer allows patients to use cannabis to manage the symptoms of health conditions such as chronic pain, multiple sclerosis, anxiety, insomnia and other conditions, while avoiding the degree of risk involved in smoking a plant product.
By Steve Elliott
A Canadian man who was one of New York's biggest marijuana suppliers, and who was known as the "Pot Playboy," was sentenced on Wednesday to 27 years in prison for leading a $1 billion international drug trafficking enterprise, according to prosecutors.
Jimmy Cournoyer pleaded guilty in May 2013 to money laundering charges, along with conspiracy to manufacture and distribute marijuana and cocaine, reports the Associated Press. The 34-year-old native of Laval, Quebec was sentenced in Brooklyn federal court.
Gerald McMahon, Courtnoyer's lawyer, said prosecutors dropped a more serious charge of being a drug kingpin which carries an automatic sentence of life in prison without parole, reports Allan Woods at The Star.
His sentence will also involve him forfeiting $1 billion to the U.S. government along with $11 million in drug proceeds, prosecutors said in a statement which thanked 19 police departments including the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
Cournoyer's organization, based in Montreal, had ties to international drug cartels and organized crime, prosecutors claimed. His lifestyle of hanging out with celebrities like Leonard DiCaprio included a Brazilian supermodel girlfriend and a super-expensive Bugatti Venyon automobile.
By Steve Elliott
Canada's ban on medical marijuana edibles and body creams is unconstitutional, a B.C. Court of Appeal judge ruled on Thursday.
The judge instructed Parliament to recraft the Controlled Drugs and Substance Act to allow medicinal cannabis patients to use products made from cannabis extracts, including creams, salves, oils, brownies, cakes, cookies and chocolate bars, reports CBC News.
The court challenge came from the case of Owen Smith, who was charged with marijuana trafficking for baking cannabis cookies and producing topical cannabis creams for a Victoria medical marijuana club in 2009.
Smith was caught baking more than 200 marijuana cookies for the Victoria Cannabis Buyers Club, and had a supply of cannabis-infused cooking oils and some dried marijuana in his apartment when he was arrested.
He was acquitted in April; 2012 after the B.C. Supreme Court ruled Canada's medical marijuana regulations were unconstitutional, because patients were denied access to edible products and other derivatives.
Supreme Court Justice Robert Johnston ruled that allowing dried cannabis flowers alone was arbitrary, and did little to further any legitimate state interest.
Health Canada currently allows patients suffering from debilitating illnesses to access dried marijuana flowers for medicinal purposes. They can get the cannabis through Health Canada-approved growers, or can get permission to grow it themselves.