The Rotation: Vol. 26
Biden Pardons Simple Possession Charges, Farmgate Licensing Announced in BC, and Psychedelics to be Regulated in Alberta
President Biden Pardons Simple Possession Convictions
President Joe Biden announced his administration would be pardoning federal convictions for simple cannabis possession as well as initiating the process to review whether cannabis should be rescheduled, per CNN.
- Upwards of 6,500 federal offenses of simple marijuana possession will potentially be pardoned.
- Biden has encouraged governors to take similar steps to pardon state simple marijuana possession charges, which could have an even bigger impact in terms of numbers of convictions.
- The Department of Health and Human Services will be tasked to review how cannabis is scheduled under federal law, the first step toward potentially easing a federal classification that currently places cannabis in the same category as heroin and LSD.
- The pardons will be issued through an administration process overseen by the Justice Department, and individuals would receive a certificate showing they had been officially forgiven for their crime.
Considered by many to be a ground-breaking move for cannabis, it is the first significant steps taken by a US president toward removing criminal penalties for possessing cannabis. With that said, it’s important to remember that currently, no Americans are serving prison time solely on federal simple marijuana possession charges. Furthermore, pardons are a great first step, but expungement also needs to be a part of this conversation as well. Many are also skeptical, arguing that this is simply political to garner more votes for the upcoming midterm election. Regardless, this is positive news for those that will be eligible for the pardon, and we can only hope that action is taken on the state level, and that the move to reschedule cannabis does happen, something that could have a massive impact on the cannabis industry.
BC Launches New Farmgate Licence
Starting November 30, BC will begin accepting cannabis farmgate applications for the Producer Retail Store licence, per StratCann
- Announced by the Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch (LCRB), the new program represents BC’s farmgate model, which allows micro cultivators, standard cultivators, and nurseries to sell their own products at their own production facilities or sites.
- There’s a limit of one Producer Retail Store licence per federal cultivator licence you hold and has an application fee is $7,500 as well as a first-year licensing fee set at $1,500 and annual renewal fee of $1,500.
- Micro Cultivators, Standard Cultivators, Nursery sub-classes, and Cultivators that also hold a processing licence may apply but Federal licensees that only hold a cannabis processing licence are not eligible to apply.
- A Producer Retail Store must be at the same location or near to, but not overlapping with, the perimeter of the cannabis cultivation site.
BC will now be the third province to allow on-site retail locations, alongside Ontario and New Brunswick. Although the farmgate model is still in its infancy and we have yet to see a full realization of it that would be comparable to a wine tour, BC is a prime candidate to push the envelope and double down on its cannabis industry as a selling point to tourists, given its long history of cannabis cultivation and culture.
Alberta Announces Plans to Regulate Psychedelics and Institute Quality Standards
Along with new regulations for prescribing high-potency narcotics, Alberta will become the first Canadian jurisdiction to regulate the use of psychedelic drugs for people in therapy, which are expected to be implemented in January 2023, per CBC.
- Alberta health officials announced through a technical briefing that they are laying the groundwork for quality standards for psychedelic-assisted therapy, in anticipation that the field will grow over the next several years.
- The new regulations would require medical directors to apply for a license before treating patients with psychedelics for mental health disorders and a psychiatrist would have to oversee the treatment and supervise patients while they are in an altered state and report any serious injuries or deaths.
- Health professionals could not charge money for the drugs, and a qualified professional must only give patients the drug at a medical facility – unless the person is in palliative care.
Although it makes sense that Canada is leading the way on implementing a regulatory framework for psychedelics, it’s a bit surprising that Alberta is the first province to make this bold move. Providing standards and ethical framework for psychedelic therapy is desperately needed and this is a positive development for the psychedelic industry looking for clarity and direction. Another interesting piece is that money cannot be charged for this treatment, begging the question of how this program will be supported and covered by insurance. However, Alberta’s decision to further restrict access to high-potency opioids is being met with mixed reactions, with some arguing that this could severely impact marginalized groups most impacted by the opioid crisis.