Trump Threatens Pot Protections — Ontario Considers Cannabis Lounges

President Trump dealt a fresh blow to the US cannabis industry this week, while Ontario lawmakers began soliciting feedback on the proposed introduction of cannabis consumption lounges.

There was bad news from the White House this week, after President Trump's financial plan for the 2021 fiscal year was released, which proposed eliminating the legal protections that prevent the Federal Government from interfering with state-run cannabis programs.

This was a shocking turn of events, as Trump has previously expressed his support—most prominently on the campaign trail—for allowing US states to determine their own cannabis laws.

However, on a positive note the budget also earmarked $17 million for the development of a national hemp program, which will be tasked with formalizing regulations and offering government assistance to the industry.

The FDA is committed to protecting the public health and improving regulatory pathways for the lawful marketing of cannabis and cannabis-derived products within the agency's jurisdiction. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

Additional funds will also be set aside for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which will be used to bankroll the agency's ongoing regulation of cannabis and cannabis derived products.

"FDA is seeing a significant increase in activity relating to the marketing of unlawful cannabis-derived products, especially those containing cannabidiol (CBD), since the Farm Bill passed," the agency said.  

"In many cases, product developers make unproven claims to treat serious or life-threatening diseases, and patients may be misled to forgo otherwise effective, available therapy and opt instead for a product that has no proven value or may cause them serious harm."

"The initiative will support regulatory activities, including developing policies and continue to perform its existing regulatory responsibilities including review of product applications, inspections, enforcement, and targeted research."

Unfortunately, cannabis legalization supporters in Washington DC were also dealt a disappointing blow, as the new budget will extend the ongoing ban that has prevented the district of Columbia from establishing a taxable adult-use program.

Ontario Lawmakers Consider Cannabis Lounges

The provincial government in Ontario, Canada is weighing up a proposal that would allow for the operation of cannabis consumption lounges.

Lawmakers are currently soliciting feedback from citizens on the proposed changes and are accepting online submissions until 10 March.

As part of the proposed change the Ontario government is also considering introducing a legal amendment that would allow for recreational cannabis to be used at "special events" such as concerts and music festivals.

We are asking Ontarians to share their feedback as we explore certain expanded cannabis-related business opportunities as part of our responsible approach to protecting families and communities. What we hear from the public and expert groups will help to inform possible next steps. Ontario Attorney General, Doug Downey

The government has confirmed that it will also consult with "industry representatives, public health and safety organizations, education stakeholders, and Indigenous representatives", before finalising any policy changes.

However, it is important to note that there is no timeline for the introduction of the proposed changes, as no regulatory framework has been put in place thus far.  

According to the Ontario Attorney General, Doug Downey, the government considers the expansion of legal sales avenues to be the best way combat unlicensed black-market businesses.

"Ontario continues to take a responsible approach to cannabis retail sales across Ontario, allowing private sector businesses to build a safe and convenient retail system to combat the illegal market while keeping our kids and communities safe," Downey said.


This could be one of the best investing opportunities of 2020

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Hugo Gray
Hugo Gray

Hugo Gray is a Melbourne-based journalist with a body of work that covers a diverse range of topics, including immigration law, sex technology, and now the rapidly expanding cannabis industry.

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