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In an about-face from earlier positions, provincial lawmakers in Ontario today announced that it will place a limit on the number of private dispensaries that will be allowed to open in the province. Initially, Ontario planned for a gradual rollout of recreational retail without any limits on the number of private dispensaries. But in an announcement today, lawmakers said they will now cap private dispensaries at 25.

A Change in Policy

Provincial authorities announced the policy change in a statement issued earlier today. In the statement, they said that Ontario will now adopt a “phased approach” in which only a set number of private weed shops will receive licenses.

This is a marked change from earlier plans. In particular, as Canada prepared to legalize weed earlier this year, the Ontario Liberal provincial government said it would not restrict the number of privately-owned dispensaries.

But now, the new approach coming primarily from Ontario’s Progressive Conservative leadership will set a limit on those shops. As reported by Huffington Post, today’s announcement said that Ontario will only give out 25 licenses for privately-owned weed stores.

Additionally, the province plans to select businesses in a lottery. The winners of that lottery will be announced in

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Washington, Colorado, Oregon, Alaska, Massachusetts, Maine, California and Nevada have all legalized marijuana, and Vermont’s Legislature just approved a bill to join this list. Which state will be #10?

Below is a list (in no particular order) of the top five states we believe are the most likely to legalize marijuana next, becoming the 10th state in the U.S. to do so (which would make 20% of the entire country).

New Hampshire

Just days ago, by a vote of 207 to 139, New Hampshire’s full House of Representatives approved House Bill 656 which would legalize marijuana for those 21 and older. This makes the state an easy choice for this list, and gives it a large head start on most other states. However, its fate in the Senate is far from certain, and passage will be much more challenging. It’s also uncertain if Governor Chris Sununu would allow it to become law. Still, it’s hard to not get the feeling that legalization in New Hampshire isn’t very far away.

New Jersey

Newly elected Governor Phillip D. Murphy has vowed to legalize marijuana within his first 100 days in office. This is in stark contrast to New Jersey’s last governor, Chris Christie, who was staunchly opposed

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the biggest challenge associated with the legalization of cannabis has been the supply shortage – but he expects it to disappear within a year.

In an end-of-year interview with The Canadian Press Friday, Trudeau predicted the problem would be resolved “during the coming months and perhaps the coming year.” He noted the scarcity of cannabis was most pronounced in Ontario and Quebec.

Trudeau said he remains unhappy with Quebec legislation introduced this month that would raise the legal age for cannabis consumption to 21 from 18.

– Read the entire article at Global News.

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Dear Mayor Dilkens,

I’m not surprised you suggested opting out of private cannabis retail sales.

Voting to opt out, however, won’t stop illegal sales. Instead, it will provide those who sell illegally with foundational support — primarily less competition — and more business.

Opting out also means illegal cannabis sold will not be sourced from federally licensed producers. Instead, those who sell cannabis illegally will source their product from illegal sources. Legal cannabis is licensed and regulated by Health Canada and is of course subject to inspections and recalls.

– Read the entire article at Windsor.

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According to Health Canada, there are currently 134 companies licensed to produce cannabis in Canada — 90 of those were licensed in the last 16 months

Health Canada says legal cannabis shortages that have been experienced in some provinces, including Nova Scotia, will likely continue into the New Year.

Karen Casey, Nova Scotia’s finance minister and deputy premier said in an interview Wednesday, the province is only receiving 35 to 40 per cent of the cannabis it needs to meet the demands of consumers, leading to store closures in some cases and raising concerns about continued reliance on the black market.

Other provinces have been facing similar issues, Casey said, and have approached Health Canada with their concerns.

– Read the entire article at The Chronicle Herald.

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Months after saying it would not cap the number of licences for retail pot shops after cannabis was legalized, the Ontario government has reversed course, saying it will now only be able to issue 25 licences by April.

In a statement Thursday evening, the province says it plans to take a “phased approach” to authorizing retail cannabis outlets because of “severe supply shortages” across the country.

Only a limited number of licences will be handed out for the launch of private retailers on April 1, with the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario implementing a lottery system to determine who is eligible.

The results will be announced in January, the government says.

– Read the entire article at CBC News.

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The use of medical cannabis for at least a month is associated with reduced opioid use in pain patients, according to a new study.

The study, titled Opioid dose reduction and pain control with medical cannabis, was published by the Journal of Clinical Oncology. It was conducted by researchers at the Kymera Independent Physicians medical group.

For the study, “A retrospective cohort was evaluated to understand the pattern of care and QOL [quality of life] outcomes with MC [medical cannabis] use across rural multidisciplinary practices in New Mexico. ” QOL questionnaire included a graded pain scale, and “morphine equivalent (ME) dose was used to estimate changes in opioid dose.” ODR was defined “as any reduction of baseline opioid dose.” A chi-square was performed to evaluate associations.

“A total of 133 patients were identified between Jan 2017- May 2017. (M/F) 65/68; median age of 53 (range 20 – 84)”, states the study. “Nineteen percent (25/133) had a cancer diagnosis. Pain score improved in 80 % of patients with cancer and in 75% (64/89) of non-cancer patients (x2 0.24 p = 0.62).”

Opioid dose reduction (ODR) was achieved in 41% of all patients using medical cannabis. Of these, “63% (34/54) had a 25% ODR

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Heeding the pleas of parents convinced that their kids’ severe autism could be helped by cannabis consumption, members of the Iowa Board of Medicine voted on Friday to expand the conditions for which medical CBD oil can be prescribed. Ulcerative colitis and severe autism were added to the list of conditions cannabis can be used for. Lindsay Gaunt, mother of an autistic child, said she cried tears of joy upon hearing the news.

“I would do anything for my kids, and I’m hoping to bring this to Iowa not only for Obreigh, but for many families,” said Gaunt of her six year old daughter, a nonverbal autism patient who often resorts to banging her head and forcing herself to vomit when she is given her current medication.

“To have the opportunity to have this medication as an option is something that would be absolutely fantastic for families like mine,” said Mary Roberts, a local mother who has two kids with autism that she will now look into treating with CBD oil.

Families are now facing a wait of 60 to 90 days during which the board will hammer out the regulatory details of making cannabis available to people with autism.

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Mario Ramos of I Bud You, Inc. spent one year and 20 days in jail for growing 226 plants, also known as a non-violent cannabis crime. A multi-decade advocate and activist, he wrote us this impassioned letter while serving time at Morris County Correctional Facility in New Jersey. Details on Mario Ramos’ story is to come. In the meantime, however, here’s a glimpse of who he is and his gripes with the current state of canna-political affairs in the United States. Just remember: If weed was truly legal, people wouldn’t be going to jail for it anymore. For authenticity, we transcribed the letter exactly as it was written.

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Mario Ramos’ handwritten letter

Marijuana vs. Medical Marijuana

Let’s start with a quote from the Architect, himself:

“I have given you every herb that yields seeds which is on the face of all the Earth and every tree whose fruit yields seed to you; it shall be for food and to every beast of the Earth, to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the Earth in which there is life. I have given every green herb for food.”

If the Grand Architect of the Earth

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Zixian Long was an arts student at the University of Edinburgh, in Scotland. As the fall semester came to a close last December, Long’s final term, she remembers finishing up her final projects when her mother approached her about a free travel opportunity. Long’s mother had been contacted by a person she met on the internet, who offered to pay her and her daughter’s round trip travel costs to Barcelona, if only they would bring a suitcase back with them.

Ignoring the warning signs, they accepted. And on their way back into Scotland, unaware that the shrink-wrapped suitcase they were carrying had more than $125,000 worth of weed in it, Border Force agents arrested them. Despite denying any knowledge of the contents of the suitcase, a jury convicted Zixian Long today on drug trafficking and drug dealing charges.

International Student Unwittingly Traffics 10 Kilos of Cannabis into Scotland

21-year-old Zixian Long landed at the Glasgow Airport on New Year’s Eve, 2017. It’s a day the Scots call Hogmanay, a nationwide celebration of the New Year. She and her mother had just flown in from Barcelona, Spain, where they spent the week sightseeing and checking out the art museums.  At the

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