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Even With 84% American Support for Legalizing Marijuana, Support Amoung Law Makers is Shockingly Low

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Americans support legalizing marijuana in record numbers. A Hill-HarrisX survey released in April found that a whopping 84% of respondents support the legalization of pot. Half were in favor only for legalizing medical cannabis, with the other half supportive of legalizing the recreational use of marijuana as well.

With this widespread support, you might assume that U.S. marijuana legalization is a shoo-in. Think again.

By my rough calculations, the odds of marijuana being legalized in the U.S. within the next few years is less than 1 in 300. That’s right: The chances that you would flip a coin and have it land on heads eight times in a row are much better than the country legalizing pot anytime soon.

Kentucky reign

There’s one primary obstacle to changing federal laws to allow legal marijuana. And that obstacle’s name is Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).

Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives should have all the votes they need to pass legislation to, at minimum, federally recognize the rights of individual states to enforce their own cannabis laws. Sen. Cory Gardner (R.-Colo.) even thinks the votes exist in the U.S. Senate to pass similar legislation.

But any bill that comes before the Senate must first be allowed to do so by the Senate majority leader. Sen. McConnell currently holds that position. He has very little incentive to change federal marijuana laws.

In fact, it could be a foolish political move for him to allow marijuana legalization legislation to be voted on by the full Senate.

The issue is that hemp farming is now a rapidly growing industry in Sen. McConnell’s home state of Kentucky. He played a key role in getting the 2018 Farm Bill passed last year. The bill legalized hemp in the U.S. and created greater opportunities for Kentucky hemp farmers.

Those opportunities could be jeopardized by the U.S. legalization of marijuana. Because of this, Sen. McConnell has shown zero interest in changing federal marijuana laws.

2020 Vision


That leads to the obvious question: Will the Democrats regain the U.S. Senate in 2020, thereby booting Sen. McConnell from his position as majority leader? They could, but the odds of doing so appear to be daunting at this point.

Democrats need to flip seven seats to take control of the Senate. With the GOP defending 22 seats compared to only 12 for the Democrats, that might seem relatively easy. But it isn’t.

The Cook Political Report, a respected independent nonpartisan newsletter, rates 18 of those Republican seats as either solid or likely to be held by the GOP. Only two Senate Republican seats up for grabs in 2020 are rated as toss-ups. In addition, the Cook Political Report also rates the Alabama seat currently held by the Democrats as a toss-up. One other GOP Senate seat in Maine is listed as leaning Republican.

Political observer Larry Sabato agrees with these three toss-up seats. However, he thinks that there are three other seats that lean Republican instead of being likely to be held by the GOP.

Let’s assume that Sabato’s perspective is right. That still leaves the Democrats needing to win all three toss-up seats (including the one current Democrat-held seat), flip the four states that only lean GOP right now, plus pick up another seat that’s more firmly held by Republicans.

What are the odds of that happening? A 50% probability for the three toss-up seats makes sense. We’ll be generous and give the Democrats a 49% chance of flipping the four Senate seats that lean Republican. And let’s assume there’s a 45% probability of the Democrats dislodging one current GOP senator who is in a seemingly safer race (which, again, is being generous).

If we calculate the probability of Democrats winning in all of these races, we arrive at a 0.32% chance of the GOP losing control of the Senate. In other words, the odds are 308-to-1 against it happening.

But wait a second. If the Democrats win the presidency, they only need 50 Senate seats to be the majority party because the vice president breaks any tie votes. However, the betting odds right now give President Trump a slight edge in winning reelection. This scenario actually lowers the probability that the Democrats could regain control of the Senate.

The Bernie factor


There’s one other potential development for us to consider, though. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) stated recently that he’d use an executive order to legalize marijuana. No other Democrat presidential candidates have hinted they would take this approach.

What are the odds that Sen. Sanders will become president? Based on betting sites, he has at best a 10% chance of becoming the Democrat nominee and going on to beat President Trump. That’s a lot better than the Democrats’ probability of winning the Senate.

However, U.S. presidents can’t legally use an executive order to reverse a law passed by Congress. That’s basically what Sen. Sanders proposes doing. The Controlled Substances Act passed by Congress in 1970 and signed into law by then-President Richard Nixon made marijuana illegal at the federal level in the U.S.

The chances that a federal court would overturn an executive order that attempted to directly go against a law duly passed by Congress would likely be very high.

What it means for investors


The bottom line for investors is don’t buy a stock banking on U.S. marijuana legalization anytime soon.

For example, Canopy Growth’s (NYSE:CGC) deal to acquire Acreage Holdings hinges on changes to federal marijuana laws. There are other reasons you might like Canopy Growth, but the odds appear to be stacked against the Acreage deal closing within the next few years.

This means that Canopy Growth and its peers could be limited to participating only in the U.S. hemp market rather than the huge cannabis market. As such, it could take longer for these companies to grow into their current valuations than some investors anticipate.

Also, the relatively lower valuations of U.S.-based cannabis stocks such as Green Thumb Industries (OTC:GTBIF) and KushCo Holdings (OTC:KSHB) could remain below their Canadian counterparts for a while.

A longer path to federal legalization of marijuana probably won’t dampen growth in the states that have legalized or will legalize medical cannabis or recreational pot, though.

Remember, too, that even daunting odds can evaporate as conditions change. For now, though, the probability of U.S. marijuana legalization remains shockingly low despite the strong support among Americans.

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IMAGE SOURCE: GETTY IMAGES.

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SAHPRA Issues Africa’s First License to Conduct Psilocybin Clinical Trials; Aim is to Treat Depressed Women who are HIV Positive

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Cannsun receives SAHPRA go ahead for psilocybin clinical trials

The South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA) has issued Africa’s first license allowing psilocybin to be used in clinical trials. Mutinational cannabis company Cannsun, which has a major grow-op at Atlantis in the Western Cape, said in a press release on 14 April 2022 that SAHPRA had given it the go-ahead “to commence an in-human women’s specific clinical trial to evaluate a safety and efficacy of psilocybin in 30 HIV positive study participants suffering from Major Depressive Disorder.”

 

Cannsun describes itself as a “bio-pharmaceutical company focused on developing and commercializing new medicines to optimize human potential with operations in South Africa and Thailand.”

 

Donaghue Woodman, Head of Research and Development at Cannsun Group PLC says:
“It is vitally important to have a deeper understanding of how woman respond to medical treatment for major depression versus men in order to develop psychedelic therapies and treatment protocols for women that have clinically significant outcomes that are safe and effective. This research to be conducted in South Africa follows a globally renewed interest in psychedelics aimed at exploring the treatment benefits of these previously misunderstood compounds.” 


Mental health disorders are one of the leading causes of disease burden in the world, according to a 30-year global systematic analysis published in Lancet Psychiatry. As MDD is one of the more prevalent co-morbidities in HIV and in women, where an estimated 7.7 million people are living with HIV in South Africa, the trial will to be conducted in an all-female HIV positive group. Women have previously been underrepresented in clinical trials related to mental health, trials where women were included, the published results were not gender specific.

 

SA Trials to be done by TASK

Cannsun Medicinals has contracted TASK, a South African-based clinical research institute to conduct the clinical trial.

TASK is a multinational clinical research institute which conducts clinical trials to determine the treatment effects of novelties in healthcare and offers services in conducting complex clinical trials in a wide variety of therapeutic areas.

Established in 2005, TASK is a renowned research specialist organization in infectious diseases, most notably in tuberculosis, COVID-19 treatment and vaccines and has been published and mentioned in several leading journals, notably in the New England Journal of Medicine. Similarly, TASK’s founder Professor Andreas Diacon has been celebrated by the Bill and Melinda Gate’s Foundation as a ‘hero in the field’ for his contribution to TB drug development.

“The TASK team are proud to have been selected by the Cannsun group to conduct this ground-breaking trial, first in our unique African population. We look forward to making progress in the treatment of mental health disorders and to the influence this trial may have in generating further investment in psychiatric research with innovative compounds.” Duncan McDonald, Head of Business Development at TASK.

 

Stellenbosch University closely involved in upcoming psilocybin clinical trials

TASK will work in conjunction with Soraya Seedat, a distinguished Professor of Psychiatry and Executive Head of the Department of Psychiatry at Stellenbosch University. She has more than 20 years of clinical, epidemiological and basic neuroscience research experience as a psychiatrist.

She has also been the recipient of several awards including the World Federation of the Society of Biological Psychiatry Fellowship, the Lundbeck Institute Fellowship Award in Psychiatry, an MRC mid-career award, research fellowship from the University of California San Diego, the Anxiety Disorders Association of America Career Development Award, the Humboldt Research Award in memory of Neville Alexander, the Chancellor’s Award for Research from Stellenbosch University and an MRC Gold Merit Award.

“Mental health is a global pursuit, and we are hopeful this research may bring advancement of treatment of depression and anxiety illness. Our research will be conducted in South Africa where women’s heath in a clinical setting is underrepresented, 25% of the adult women population between ages 15-49 are HIV positive. Our R&D team at Cannsun aim to further advance medical treatments in South Africa utilizing emerging medicines.” David Parry, Chief Executive Officer at Cannsun Group PLC.

The post SAHPRA Issues Africa’s First License to Conduct Psilocybin Clinical Trials; Aim is to Treat Depressed Women who are HIV Positive appeared first on Cannabiz Africa.

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Zimbabwe Tobacco Board Tells 145,000 Tobacco Farmers: “A Quarter of Your Income Must Come from Hemp by 2025”

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Meanwell Gudu says tobacco demand declining, farmers must look to hemp

Anticipated demand for cannabis is projected to continue to grow while tobacco output globally may decline 15% by 2030, according to Meanwell Gudu, the CEO of Zimbabwe’s Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board.

“One of the alternative crops we are looking at is industrial hemp,” he told Bloomberg’s Ray Ndlovu by phone on 4 April 2022

The board has 145,000 registered tobacco growers, who started selling 2022’s crop at auctions last week. Farmers will be encouraged to plant cannabis so that a quarter of their income comes from the plant by 2025, Gudu said. 

“It’s a crop that requires attention to detail, just like tobacco, and we are confident that they will have the skills,” he said. “We want to be part of the entire industrial hemp chain.”

The board will look for export markets for industrial hemp including in China, the EU and will also seek to develop a local market, Gudu said.

Zimbabwe first major hemp export deal – 30 tons to Switzerland

The country exported 30 tonnes of industrial hemp to Switzerland in 2022, its first foray into the European market, said Zorodzai Maroveke, the founder of the Zimbabwe Industrial Hemp Trust. The group is partnering with the tobacco board to facilitate the “smooth transition” to cannabis for commercial purposes. 

Tobacco earned the country $819m in revenue in 2021. Farming cannabis for medical use in Zimbabwe was first legalised in 2019.

“Switzerland is the first gateway into Europe,” Maroveke said in an interview in Harare. 

Another 20 tonnes of industrial hemp are set to be exported to the European nation, she said. 

The post Zimbabwe Tobacco Board Tells 145 000 Tobacco Farmers: “A Quarter of Your Income Must Come from Hemp by 2025” appeared first on Cannabiz Africa.

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Amsterdam Trying To Halt Tourists From Coffee Shops

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The world famous Dutch capital city Amsterdam is looking to ban tourists from being able to frequent its famous coffee shops. For decades cannabis enthusiasts have been able to light up in Amsterdam with their chilled culture and relaxed drug policies – however some local politicians are looking to end the fun.

The changes, presented by mayor Femke Halsema, would require that cannabis would only be made available for purchase from the cities 166 licensed coffee shops by residents only. This policy would align with many of the other cities across the Netherlands including Rotterdam and Maastricht. Conservatives feel many of the cities problems are caused by the current cannabis market including illicit drugs and crime. Residents have complained about loud noise, littering and raucous behavior from tourists.

A ban would mean the loss of thousands of jobs and revenue for the city and definitely be a big change for a city that made cannabis a big part of its identity and made it a huge tourist destination. As this is not the first time the policy has been under attack its very much a wait and see type thing to find out what happens. Stay tuned….

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