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Tag: Medical Marijuana

Global interest grows in the Aussie cannabis market

Article from Dopamine (June 7th) – Australia’s premier online cannabis lifestyle title and features everything from weed culture to music, gaming, food and more.

We caught up with founder Chris Bolton at the Hemp Health and Innovation Expo to talk about TheraCann and the future of the Australian cannabis industry,

So, what is TheraCann, and why does the team care about Australia?

Essentially, it’s a consultancy service specifically tailored for the cannabis industry:

“TheraCann provides full turn-key solutions to anyone looking to enter the cannabis space in an industrial scale,” explains Chris, “so being able to ensure all quality of production, right through to regulatory compliance.

“We provide the plans, the design, we implement [including building the facility], bring in all the equipment, provide all the training, then we provide all the ongoing support.”

In other words, they handle the nitty gritty side of running a cannabis business (medical or recreational) so that you don’t have to worry about the tedious elements such as licensing and regulatory compliance.

What strikes me most when talking to Chris, however, is his interest in and enthusiasm for the Australian medicinal market: one that – for all appearances – is in total infancy.

“We’re here at this fantastic trade show in Australia because we see this as the next opportunity globally,” he says. “We operate in five countries worldwide that are licensed and Australia is at the tipping point in our personal opinion.”

What makes him say that of a country who only just implemented the barest of medicinal policies?

“Well, we look at the number patients purportedly consuming on a daily, weekly schedule. Australia outpaces Canada at a factor of 1.5 for that. So you have more users right now in Australia than we do in Canada which has a full, thriving, medical community.”

It might come as a bit of a surprise to hear that – it did to me – and it means that the need for our medical industry to grow is even more pressing. 

“If we look at the patient, they just want to get well, but they have to find a doctor knowledgable enough to prescribe what they need – the right cannabis strain, or mix of THC/CBD or other constituent products in the cannabis stream that will make them well.”

Right now we don’t have that. So, although we already have the patient base, there are still a few steps left before we’re in the position we need to be: a few official boxes to be ticked and a few frameworks put in place.

The value of talking to somebody like Chris is that he’s seen it all before with the growth of the Canadian cannabis industry and knows what needs to happen.

The first stage is a functioning and reliable medicinal industry:

“Obviously you need the final approval at a state-wide level … but you also need to have a consistent, cohesive plan how doctors can comfortably prescribe product to patients … There’s always been a gap in most regulatory frameworks that connect the right patient to the right doctor, the doctor to the right producer, and the feedback loop between the patient and the producer … That dialogue has to be a tri-way discussion, and in markets that are successful, that’s the missing part. Once that comes together you’ll find that it blows the door open.”

The second step, according to Chris, is to prepare for the advent of a recreational market.

“You have to now start to think of the day when recreational becomes legal. You’re going to use the same licensed producers, under the same framework, for quality assurance, record keeping, traceability and whatnot to provide a recreational market which is often a hundred times the size of your medical market … not having that in place in the forethought of how you’re going to manage that is the number one hurdle of any jurisdiction.”

What we want to avoid in setting up our cannabis industry is jumping the gun like Uruguay did in going from full prohibition to full legalisation without the proper preparation.

“They went full legal for medical and recreational but they cannot meet demand,” says Chris. “They can’t produce enough, so what’s happening is illicit product is coming in through the back door which is dwarfing the growth of the industry. There’s no quality assurance and their losing the tax opportunity.”

When it comes to the medicinal side of things, mistakes like this are a massive concern as they limit the patients ability to get the proper treatment and a consistent product. For the recreational smoker, this isn’t as severe considering the degree of criminality in the current prohibition market, but for overall social well-being it’s better that it’s done right. Ensuring the proper systems are put in place for patients to access medicinal cannabis is our first priority, and from there its a short walk to the development of a functioning recreational market.

How is Michigan doing with its new Medical Cannabis Laws?

For those looking to get into this “Green Rush” it is critically important that one understands that this business is not designed to accommodate the novice Medical Cannabis entrepreneur and investor.  

The Michigan Medical Cannabis Industry is being regulated by LARA the Department of Licensing and Regulated Affairs. LARA has created a special unit for the regulation of medical marijuana called the Bureau of Medical Marijuana. The Bureau of Medical Marijuana regulates the Michigan’s medical marihuana facilities and licensees, including growers, processors, transporters, provisioning centers and safety compliance facilities.  The bureau also oversees the Michigan’s patient registry program and administers the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act.

For those looking to develop a career and invest into Michigan’s Medical Cannabis Industry it is important that you are aware that the new Michigan Medial Cannabis laws have designate five classes of licenses that will be available for qualified Michigan applicants:

  1. A growers license with three classes of growers
    • Class A – people who can grow up to 500 plants,
    • Class B – people who can grow up to 1,000 plants,
    • Class C – or up to 1,500 plants.
  2. A processor license
  3. A safety compliance facility license (Lab)
  4. A secure transporter license
  5. A provisioning center license (Dispensary)

Back in January 16, 2017 a well written article “New laws in Michigan shake up the marijuana industry” by Christian Sheckler South Bend Tribune sharing with Michigan’s Medical Cannabis Patient, Caregiver, and General Public that BIG changes are coming.  These changes are important as Michigan’s registered Medical Cannabis Patients are above 2oo,ooo and climbing.  This large number of register patients drives the logic behind rolling out this Medical Cannabis Industry in a cogent and regulated way.  

In theory, depending of course on many other factors that can be considered as basic “business 101” knowledge, the current Michigan Cannabis Caregiver should have some advantages in dealing with LARA’s medical marijuana regulations.  Provided  with the proper council and advise, assuming they follow the complex and ever changing laws, this new legislation could transform the former Caregivers learned skill set into a BIG Business. If you are qualified and acquire any of the 3 proposed classes of growers licenses this could be a once in a lifetime opportunity.  It does indeed appear the grass is greener on the other side!

Health Canada Marijuana Testing: Transparency or Hypocrisy?

Testing procedures

A report published by the Globe and Mail this week once again called into question the ethical and practical standards to which Health Canada operates their medical cannabis testing programs. During a random screening by Health Canada, the Toronto based Licensed Producer, Mettrum Ltd. was found to be using the pesticides Myclobutanil and Pyrethrin. Myclobutanil is deemed so dangerous that Washington, Colorado and Oregon all moved very quickly to ban its use in cannabis grow operations due to potentially fatal hydrogen cyanide emissions when heated. Though Mettrum issued a recall on November 1st, the public and consumers were never informed of the findings by the company or Health Canada.

This is not the first time that Health Canada has withheld information from the public on the use of dangerous chemicals in tested cannabis. In September of this year a Globe investigation revealed that nearly 60% of samples tested in unlicensed Vancouver dispensaries in 2015 also contained pesticides, fecal bacteria, yeast and mold, and were not safe for human consumption. Despite the legal vacuum in which these dispensaries operate, it was nevertheless surprising that Health Canada did not act to protect Canadian citizens from harm. Now that they have once again failed to act in the best interests of the people they are sworn to protect, hard questions need to be asked of the decision makers who are putting large swaths of our populous at risk of disease or death.

There are hundreds of ACMPR applicants currently held up in the licensing process with Health Canada. Many of these newer applicants recognize the need for the highest quality ISO 17025 testing standards for cannabis, but are languishing – some for years – in the Health Canada queue. The government appears to be protecting existing LP’s from the legal consequences of using illegal and dangerous substances in their cultivation practices, while simultaneously excluding higher quality competition.  At best this is a double standard, and at worst it brings the entire ACMPR mechanism into disrepute and smells of willful blindness. This is a critical period of rapid expansion for this industry and as companies work towards legitimacy they should not be let down by the very mechanism which governs them.

It is time to reexamine the process from within. Health Canada and the LP’s it regulates must begin to operate in a transparent manner, with the safety of the Canadian public being the highest priority. This requires not only full public disclosure when cannabis containing hazardous substances are released to the public, but testing programs that identify these substances before they are released. The following protocols and principals should be adopted by all LP’s and strictly enforced by Health Canada:

  • ISO17025(2005) laboratory data must be the standard to which all testing laboratories are held.
  • At the present time, LP’s are permitted to submit samples to a variety of unaccredited 3rd party Mom and Pop labs, and cherry pick the results that are most favorable. This practice is dangerous and must stop.
  • Health Canada must act in the best interests of the Canadian public, and not be seen as acting in concert with the largest producers to conceal the presence of toxic substances in the cannabis they sell.
  • Whenever Health Canada finds instances of contaminated cannabis being released to the Canadian public, be it through an LP or otherwise, this information must be disclosed immediately and not years later through a freedom of information act order.

Benchmark Labs Rebrands!

Theracann-Logo-largeOn September 11, 2016 Benchmark Labs officially rebrands to TheraCann International Corporation.  According to Chris Bolton, Chief Operating Officer “Benchmark Labs had a long and established history but as our core business focus has changed and now that we are operating internationally it was time to relaunch under a new brand that also properly identified our new lines of business.”

The 5 lines of business that Mr. Bolton referred to include BenchmarkACT, BenchmarkBUILD, BenchmarkGROW, BenchmarkMARKET, BenchmarkINSIGHT to provide a TOTAL SOLUTION to its clients.

20160907-TheraProducts-SG-v01TheraCann International Corporation is also taking this opportunity to relaunch its secure ERP software as TheraCannSYSTEM.

 

 

20160907-TheraProducts-SG-v01In addition TheraCann is launching its new air cleaning solution as TheraCannAIR.

Federal Court Ruling Not Appealed!

Minister PhilpotToday Health Canada Minister Jane Philpott has decided not to appeal Justice Phelan’s decision that requires amendments to the Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations (MMPR).

According to the Minister ““We will respect the decision of the federal court and as such we are now in a situation where we have responsibility to address the Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations and they will be amended accordingly in order to address the concerns of the court.”

Under Justice Phelan’s decision Health Canada has until mid-August to make those changes to the MMPR.  TheraCann will therefore continue to keep you updated on any proposed specifics of these changes and how they will be implemented.

For a full review of Minister Philpott’s comments please click here.

To learn more about our analysis for Justice Phelan’s decision click here.

Benchmark Labs and Bergman’s Lab Join Forces!

Bergman Lab and Benchmark Labs v1CALGARY ALBERTA –TheraCann International Corporation (“TheraCann”) is pleased to announce it has entered into a strategic partnership with Bergman’s Lab (“Bergman”), based in Holland and a leading supplier of comprehensive training programs to producers and growers of marijuana for medical and recreational use.

TheraCann is pleased to have been asked to bring the Bergman program to North America.  Bergman is globally recognized for its training and support programs.  As a result of the partnership, TheraCann and its clients will benefit from the years of experience Robert Bergman brings to the marijuana industry in Canada and the United States. TheraCann will integrate the Bergman training program into its industry-leading ERP seed to sale software, “SYSTEM”, providing its clients with even greater benefits and the ability to access and reference all training materials at any time. Bergman will gain greater exposure to the North American market and be provided a secure platform for their clients through TheraCann’s secure, web-based SYSTEM.

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CDC new guidelines may open door to Medical Marijuana

CDClogoCDC issues sweeping new guidelines to restrict opioid prescribing

The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, based in Atlanta Georgia USA, issued new guidelines in an attempt to stem the tide of deaths and overdoses resulting from the consumption of opioids to manage pain.  This family of pharmaceutical drugs prescribed by physicians to treat chronic pain, has long been known for its addictive qualities and high risk of overdose.

“Management of chronic pain is an art and a science. The science of opioids for chronic pain is clear” for the vast majority of patients, the known, serious, and too-often fatal risks far outweigh the unproven and transient benefits, wrote CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden and Dr. Debra Houry, the director of the CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control in an essay today in the New England Journal of Medicine.”

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Justice Phelan Allard et. al. v. Her Majesty the Queen

marijuana law_300On Wednesday February 24, 2016, Justice Phelan of the BC Federal Court announced his decision in the matter between Allard, Beemish, Hebert and Davey (the “Plaintiffs”) and the Federal Government (the “Defendant” – Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada).

The matter concerned the plaintiffs claim that their Section 7 Charter Rights were violated by the repeal by Health Canada of the Medical Marihuana Access Regulations (“MMAR”), in favour of the Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations (“MMPR”), introduced in July 2013.

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Medical Marijuana – A CFL Boon?

football_cannabis_300On the day of Super Bowl 50, we look at the role of medical marijuana in professional sports. Former Toronto Argonaut, Ricky Williams believes that MMJ is crucial to saving all of football. He credits marijuana for preserving his health during his football career and other players say that cannabis helps them avoid painkiller addiction.

According to this article, currently CFL players who want to use marijuana for pain management can do so, providing there are no legal issues obtaining it or using it. By contrast, the NFL is still trying to prohibit its use despite an estimated 60% of NFL players smoke marijuana and an estimated 70 – 90% of players who use prescription painkillers during their playing career went on to abuse them.

The CFL’s lack of testing for cannabis means that players are already exploring it as an alternative to prescription painkillers. As pressure increases to ensure player safety in the NFL, the league should take a few notes from Canada’s playbook to allow medical marijuana as an alternative to prescription drugs for pain management.

Legalizing Marijuana: A Look at the Numbers

Medical-Marijuana-Taxation_300According to this Calgary Herald article, a new report from CIBC World Markets says Canada’s federal and provincial governments could reap as much as $5 billion annually in tax revenues from the sale of legal marijuana. CIBC also estimates that the market could blossom to $10 billion annually.

Prime Minister Trudeau maintains that legalized marijuana will not be a cash cow and that all revenues will address mental health and addiction issues. Given the current economic uncertainty Canada is facing, perhaps it is time the government reconsiders its stance on this issue by expanding the revenues to offset costs for broader health care programs and medical or scientific research. Like other “sin” taxes, such as alcohol or gaming, large portion of the proceeds are returned to the community by supporting charitable and community-based programs, thereby freeing up government funding for other programs.

The bottom line is that if marijuana is going to be legalized, there must be a comprehensive strategy in place to ensure the medical, social and economic well-being of Canadians.