Officials Struggle to Keep Cannabis Away from Kids

Kids Medical Cannabis Now

Photo Simeon Berg/Flickr

On Feb. 13, middle school students in San Francisco unknowingly consumed medical marijuana products and had to receive medical attention. Officials said legalization is to blame, but the evidence isn’t quite clear.

Stone-faced, flanked by police officers and facing a brace of television cameras and a crowd of parents, San Francisco public school officials on Tuesday announced that students at a middle school had been sickened with a substance — which turned out to be medical marijuana products.

Police and ambulances had responded to a call for help from James Lick Middle School, where ten middle schoolers were “hospitalized with non-life threatening conditions,” according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

At the time of the press conference, it was only known that the students had all ingested some mysterious “substance.” First responders taking note of the kids’ symptoms probably had an inkling, but it would be another day before the truth about substance’s cannabis composure would emerge.

Officials are treating this as a very big deal. Parents described the experience as “traumatizing” to their children, in comments to the Chronicle, and school officials are promising action. The offending prankster is still unidentified, and it’s not clear where or from whom he or she obtained the edibles in question.

“This terrible incident is a reminder that we need to not only educate our students appropriately — and SFUSD will make this a priority — but also those who make these products accessible to our youth under 21,” Schoolboard President Hydra Mendoza told the newspaper.

In a broader context, Mendoza’s rhetoric is exaggerated. While most scientists and cannabis advocates agree that unmetered, unsupervised doses of THC are not good for a developing brain or a welcome addition to a school environment, medical cannabis is in schools, at the order of judges. While these medical marijuana child patients are consuming cannabis knowingly and with expert supervision — unlike the ten children in San Francisco, there still is space for medical marijuana on the schoolyard.

In fact, around the same time on Tuesday that San Francisco officials were holding their press conference, one California state senator announced that he had introduced a bill to guarantee children with the right to access their medical marijuana at school. State Senator Jerry Hill’s SB 1127 would give school districts the choice to adopt a rule allowing parents to come administer medical marijuana to their child during the school day.

Nevertheless, the James Lick incident highlighted a growing issue, one that will not go away anytime soon in states that have legalized marijuana.

Kids will occasionally get their hands on the stuff — just as they did before legalization. So what can be done?

Legalization’s sales pitch leaned heavily on the promise that regulated and taxed cannabis would stay away from California’s youth. (As has been said before, the promise “While Protecting Children” was literally part of the legalization campaign committee’s official name.) Drug dealers don’t card, the argument went — but dispensary workers do.

Yet in hindsight, legalization’s self-assured promise might have been a bad idea. Nobody can guarantee that kids will never bring cannabis edibles to school and share them with friends and enemies. This was true before California’s legalization era began on Jan. 1.

As per the Chronicle, authorities confiscated at the school a package bearing the words “medical marijuana,” a concept that’s been legal in California for 20 years. Those keeping score at home will note that THC limits in edibles products in California are now lower than ever.

The Chronicle warned that “with the Jan. 1 legalization of recreational marijuana sales to adults upping the accessibility of baked cannabis confections and candy, it could easily happen again.” One parent told the paper, “To my mind, what happened is like a portent of what’s going to happen more and more in schools in California and other states that are making marijuana more accessible.”

But the newspaper did not note that high THC edibles have been available in San Francisco over the counter for most of this millennium, and this is the first time this has happened.

Plus, neither Washington nor Colorado saw increases in youth use after commercial sales of legal recreational cannabis began in those states in 2014.

In an attempt to stop children from accessing cannabis, some officials are considering keeping the price and taxes on cannabis high, so remains difficult to access.

On Feb. 13, across the bay from San Francisco, Berkeley elected officials weighed whether to cut the city’s tax on recreational cannabis. The city currently levies marijuana sales at 10 percent. Added to state-mandated sales, excise and cultivation taxes, eighths of marijuana cost $75 over-the-counter in Berkeley — exorbitant prices that, some experts contend, helps keep the black market in business.

But high taxes are credited with keeping youths away from cigarettes and a tax on beverages with added sugar — the soda tax — is promised to help cut childhood obesity. Keeping taxes on cannabis similarly high “will discourage teen use,” as the authors of an op-ed published in Berkeleyside ahead of the vote argued.

“[W]e know that legalization will only make it easier for those under 21 to access it,” wrote public-health advocate Holly Scheider and condom-manufacturer David Mayer. “The higher tax rate will have the most impact on youth who are price sensitive.”

In presenting their argument, Scheider and Mayer presented no data to support their suppositions that legalization increases youth access, or that expensive over-the-counter cannabis keeps it away from kids. This is probably because — as of yet — there isn’t any.

TELL US, what can officials do to keep kids from consuming cannabis?

Medical Marijuana Sales Begin In Pennsylvania – Weed News

pennsylvania marijuana cannabis

I received the following good news out of Pennsylvania today:

Today marks an historic day in the Keystone State. Less than two years after the governor signed Act 16 into law, six dispensaries have begun selling medical marijuana to patients and caregivers. Pennsylvania is expected to be one of the largest medical marijuana markets in the country, and those involved in implementation should be applauded for reaching this point ahead of schedule.

To date, 10 dispensaries and 10 grower/processors have been approved to operate. Over the next few months, we expect up to 81 dispensary locations to open across the state. More than 17,000 patients have registered to participate in the medical marijuana program, with nearly 4,000 certified by a physician. As of this week, 708 physicians have registered with the department and 376 have competed the training to become certified practitioners.

However, the implementation process is not yet complete. The Medical Marijuana Advisory Board is still working on its recommendations for changes to the program. This week, they met to discuss one of the most important issues — allowing patient access to medical cannabis flower. This is a vital expansion of the program that will improve patient access and lower costs. Only two states have attempted a medical program without flower, which led to disastrous results for patients. Learn more about the importance of patient access to flower.

If you want to learn more about becoming a registered patient, visit the DOH website. You can also visit our Pennsylvania page where we have resources on how to talk to your doctor and guidelines for employers and employees.

Congratulations to the department of health and all of the lawmakers and advocates who made this day possible.

Becky Dansky
Legislative Counsel
Marijuana Policy Project

Federal Judge To Decide On Lawsuit Against Marijuana’s Schedule I Status – Weed News


Yesterday was a truly historic day, with a federal judge presiding over a court battle in which a coalition of plaintiffs sued the United States government over cannabis’ current classification as a Schedule I substance. The plaintiffs included:

  • Army veteran Jose Belen
  • Former NFL player Marvin Washington
  • The Cannabis Cultural Association
  • Twelve-year-old medical cannabis patient Alexis Bortell
  • 7-year-old medical cannabis patient Jagger Cotte

The hearing yesterday was fairly brief by litigation standards, yet the short proceeding was not without its major moments. The attorney for the federal government argued that cannabis has no medical value, which the federal judge (Alvin Hellerstein) took issue with. Per excerpts from an article posted by NY Daily News:

Assistant U.S. Attorney Samuel Dolinger, who argued for Hellerstein to toss the suit, said there was no accepted medical use for marijuana in the United States.

“How can you say that? … ‘There is no currently accepted medical use in the United States,’” Hellerstein asked. “Your argument doesn’t hold.”

At one point, Hellerstein also said to the five plaintiffs’ lawyer, Michael Hiller: “Your clients are living proof of the medical effectiveness of marijuana.”

“How could anyone say your clients’ lives have not been saved by marijuana?” Hellerstein also remarked. “You can’t.”

However, just because the federal judge sympathized with the plaintiffs does not mean that he will rule in their favor. A federal judge recognizing cannabis’ medical benefits is welcomed, but it is not the first time that the federal government has recognized that cannabis does indeed possess medical benefits (which of course is blatant hypocrisy).

The federal government owns a medical cannabis patent and has since 2003. The federal government not only cultivates medical cannabis at the University of Mississippi (and has been for decades), it also distributes some of the cannabis it grows to no less than four medical cannabis patients.

What the case appears to ultimately hinge on is whether or not the federal court system is the appropriate route for rescheduling/descheduling cannabis, which was touched on by the federal judge during the hearing yesterday. Per the Associated Press:

But Hellerstein appeared to take the government’s argument that the plaintiffs should petition the DEA seriously.

“When agencies are set up to do the very thing that you want me to do, the right thing to do is defer to the agency,” he said.

If that ends up being the argument that the federal judge decides to hang his hat on, it would unfortunately doom the descheduling effort by the plaintiffs. The DEA has been petitioned multiple times to reschedule/deschedule cannabis, and every time it has denied the petitions. To add insult to injury, the DEA has historically dragged their feet on their decision to deny, having taken 16 years to issue a final decision to the first marijuana rescheduling petition, five years for the second, and nine years for the third.

The most recent denial by the DEA was in 2016. A recent denial which built on multiple previous denials is not exactly a promising track record. If the judge decides that the plaintiffs need to go the DEA route, it is basically the deathblow to the effort. Regardless of how the federal judge decides the case, which could take awhile, the effort on the part of the plaintiffs is extremely inspiring and their courage is something that should be celebrated. A huge hat tip to all involved!

Aurora Cannabis And Liquor Stores N.A. Complete Strategic Investment – Weed News

aurora cannabis

Aurora Cannabis Inc. (“Aurora“) (TSX:ACB) and Liquor Stores N.A. Ltd. (“Liquor Stores“) (TSX:LIQ) (collectively, the “Corporations“) announced today the closing of the previously announced strategic investment by Aurora in Liquor Stores by way of a non-brokered private placement (the “Private Placement“).

Liquor Stores intends to use the net proceeds from the Private Placement to establish and launch a leading brand of cannabis retail outlets, whereby it will convert some number of Liquor Stores’ existing retail locations into cannabis retail stores and establish new cannabis retail stores. Liquor Stores will also use a portion of the proceeds to continue to strengthen its existing liquor retail brands by renovating current liquor store locations, and also for general corporate purposes.

“We are very pleased to be invested in Liquor Stores, one of Alberta’s most recognizable retail brands,” said Terry Booth, CEO of Aurora. “Liquor Stores’ infrastructure, logistics and capacity to build and operate a large network of retail outlets provides a great opportunity for the cannabis industry to service what is anticipated to be a strong growth market. We look forward to playing our part in this partnership, and help establishing a new customer experience for adult consumers.”

“Aurora has established itself as a global leader in the cannabis sector, based in our shared home province of Alberta,” said James Burns, CEO of Liquor Stores. “Combining Aurora’s expertise, insight and strong execution with Liquor Stores’ operational excellence in the retail of adult use controlled substances is huge win not only for our companies’ shareholders, but also for ensuring that the public policy objectives for legalizing consumer use of cannabis are met responsibly.”

Terms of the Private Placement

In connection with the Private Placement, Liquor Stores has issued an aggregate of 6.9 million common shares (the “Shares“) at a price of $15.00 per Share for gross proceeds of $103.5 million (the “Initial Investment“).  As a result of the Initial Investment, Aurora now owns approximately 19.9% of the Shares (on a non-diluted basis).

In addition, Aurora has subscribed for 2.3 million subscription receipts of Liquor Stores (the “Subscription Receipts“) at a price of $15.00 per Subscription Receipt for aggregate proceeds of $34.5 million. Following approval from Liquor Stores’ shareholders (other than Aurora, its associates and affiliates) at its next annual general meeting and the satisfaction of the other escrow release conditions, the proceeds from the sale of Subscription Receipts will be released to Liquor Stores and Aurora will increase its ownership of Shares to approximately 25% (on a non-diluted basis).

Liquor Stores has also issued to Aurora, for no additional consideration, two classes of Share purchase warrants: (1) 10,130,000 warrants at an exercise price of $15.75 per Share to allow Aurora to increase its pro rata equity interest in Liquor Stores to approximately 40% on a fully diluted basis (the “Sunshine Warrants“); and (2) up to 1,750,000 warrants exercisable by Aurora at an exercise price of $15.00 upon any conversion of any of the outstanding 4.70% convertible unsecured subordinated debentures of Liquor Stores to allow Aurora to maintain its pro rata equity interest in Liquor Stores (the “Pro Rata Warrants“, and together with the Subscription Receipts and the Sunshine Warrants, the “Additional Investment“). The exercise of each of the Sunshine Warrants and the Pro Rata Warrants will be conditional upon the approval of Liquor Stores shareholders (other than Aurora and its associates or affiliates) at the next annual general meeting of Liquor Stores.  Completion of the Additional Investment remains subject to the receipt of required approvals under the Competition Act (Canada).

Early Warning Report

Prior to the completion of the Initial Investment Aurora did not hold any Shares. After giving effect to the Initial Investment, Aurora holds 6,900,000 Shares, representing approximately 19.88% of the issued and outstanding Shares (on a non-diluted basis). As of the closing of the Initial Investment, Liquor Stores has 34,709,259 Shares issued and outstanding. If the conditions are met to convert the 2,300,000 Subscription Receipts into Shares, Aurora will hold a total of 9,200,000 Shares, representing approximately 24.86% of the 37,009,959 issued and outstanding Shares (on a non-diluted basis). On the exercise of the 10,130,000 Sunshine Warrants, Aurora will hold approximately 40% of the issued and outstanding Shares (on a fully diluted basis). The exercise of the Pro Rata Warrants allows Aurora to maintain its pro rata equity interest in Liquor Stores upon the conversion of any of the outstanding 4.70% convertible unsecured subordinated debentures of Liquor Stores and therefore will not increase Aurora’s ownership interest in Liquor Stores.

Aurora acquired the securities for investment purposes. Aurora will evaluate its investment in Liquor Stores from time to time and may, based on such evaluation, market conditions and other circumstances, increase or decrease its shareholdings as circumstances require through the exercise of the Pro Rata Warrants or Sunshine Warrants, market transactions, private agreements, or otherwise. A copy of the Early Warning report will be filed by Aurora in connection with the Private Placement and will be available on LIQ’s SEDAR profile. In order to obtain a copy of the early warning report, please contact Nilda Rivera, Aurora’s Vice President, Finance, at telephone number: 604-362-5207. Aurora’s registered office is located at 1500 – 1199 West Hastings St. Vancouver, British Columbia, V6E 3T5.

About Aurora Cannabis Inc.

Aurora’s wholly-owned subsidiary, Aurora Cannabis Enterprises Inc., is a licensed producer of medical cannabis pursuant to Health Canada’s Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations (“ACMPR“). The Company operates a 55,200 square foot production facility in Mountain View County, Alberta, known as “Aurora Mountain”, a 40,000 square foot production facility known as “Aurora Vie” in Pointe-Claire, Quebec, and an 800,000 square foot production facility, known as “Aurora Sky”, at the Edmonton International Airport. Aurora is also completing a fourth facility of 48,000 square feet in Lachute, Quebec, and will shortly begin construction on a 1,000,000 square foot production facility in Odense, Denmark, to be known as “Aurora Nordic”, via a joint venture with Alfred Pedersen & Søn ApS.

Aurora also owns Berlin-based Pedanios GmbH, the leading wholesale importer, exporter, and distributor of medical cannabis in the European Union. The Company offers further differentiation through its wholly owned subsidiaries BC Northern Lights Ltd. and Urban Cultivator Inc., industry leaders, respectively, in the production and sale of proprietary systems for the safe, efficient and high-yield indoor cultivation of cannabis, and in state-of-the-art indoor gardening appliances for the cultivation of organic microgreens, vegetables and herbs in home and professional kitchens.

In addition, the Company holds approximately 17.23% of the issued shares in leading extraction technology company Radient Technologies Inc., and has a strategic investment in Hempco Food and Fiber Inc., with options to increase ownership stake to over 50%. Aurora is also the cornerstone investor in two other licensed producers, with a 22.9% stake in Cann Group Limited, the first Australian company licensed to conduct research on and cultivate medical cannabis, and a 17.62% stake in Canadian producer The Green Organic Dutchman Ltd., with options to increase to majority ownership.

Aurora’s common shares trade on the TSX under the symbol “ACB”.

About Liquor Stores N.A. Ltd.

Liquor Stores operates 231 retail liquor stores. Liquor Stores’ common shares and convertible subordinated debentures trade on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbols “LIQ” and “LIQ.DB.B”, respectively.

Additional information about Liquor Stores N.A. Ltd. is available at and its website at


Michigan Created a $837-Million Medical Marijuana Industry With Nowhere to Put Its Cash

SALEM, OREGON – The Stormy Ray Cardholders Foundation (SRCF) and the Cannalogix Foundation Medical Cannabis Research Institute wish to express our deepest gratitude, encouragement and recognition for the dedication and fortitude put forth by these champions of patient rights. We would like to publicly acknowledge and thank Michael Hiller, as well as each one of the contributing attorneys representing the plaintiffs in this case. We salute them for their sacrifice, dedication and commitment to be the change we all wish to see. We would also like to recognize the patient plaintiffs alongside the attorneys as warriors for patients’ rights. Each one fights a fight so many are fortunate enough to never had to endure. The quality of life they seek is a fundamental right that each and every healthy person takes for granted every day. The very least any of us could do is publicly support and encourage them for taking a stand for all.

Marvin Washington: Thank you for continuing to be a champion for the people. You sir are a hero for using your celebrity platform to provide the medical cannabis movement with a voice backed by intelligence, experience and integrity. Your work in raising awareness for the benefits of medical cannabis, cannabis industry diversity-and-inclusion, as well as advocating for athletes’ rights to heal naturally will forever be regarded as instrumental in the formation of the Cannabis Industry. Thank you for your service!

Alexis Bortell and Dean Bortell, et al, Alexis, thank you for your courage and inspiration. Dean, thank you your sacrifices. Beyond protecting our freedom, thank you for your continued service to the people through raising awareness to what enables Alexis to live a better life. It’s parents like you that enable others to courageously help their children live a better life incorporating plant-based-medicine. Alexis, thank you for speaking up and changing the world; you have a great deal of courage and one can only imagine the signature you will leave on this earth. We are humbled you share your journey.

Jagger Cotte and Sebastien Cotte, et al: Thank you for your love and compassion. You are some of the most courageous souls to inhabit the planet and you prove every day that love, and compassion can overcome all odds. Your journey has captivated the hearts of us all while leading the charge in facilitating much needed change in Georgia. Proving compassion overcomes, you provide hope, informative insight and a pathway for so many fighting a host of illnesses–you all will forever be heroes. Thank you and your family for your sacrifice and the inspiration you provide all of us fighting rare and/or incurable diseases.

Jose Belen: Thank you for your sacrifice. Each and every American owes you a thank you for the sacrifice and trauma that you had to endure on behalf of our freedom. Your sacrifice is the reason we have the freedom to change laws by initiative of the people, its why we can vote on our leadership, and you are the reason we can sue our government to challenge laws that we feel are unjust. A few words could never express the gratitude or appreciation that we have for you and each one of your combat brothers, thank you from the bottom of our hearts, and we salute you all!

Cannabis Cultural Association: From one trail-blazer to another, thank you for having the courage to take the fight to the top and supporting such an amazing bunch of patients and fundamental rights warriors. We salute you for taking the stand in New York and representing your community, and the entire country as a whole in the process. Thank you for your service to the medical cannabis patients of New York. As a group that serves patients and considers patient-wellness our bottom line, we applaud you for your action, and your support of such an amazing plant.

Michael Hiller, and associates: Thank you all for your service to the patients and people of the United States. Every citizen in the U.S. owes each of you a debt of gratitude. We could not have picked a more honorable legal team to fight the biggest case of the century on behalf of such dignified patients. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you, each of us is blessed to have you represent us–defacto.

J.B. Creel, EVP and an SRCF Board of Directors spokesperson, said, “I couldn’t think of a better group of individuals to Champion patients’ rights on a federal level. Each one of these warriors represent everyday America–they are our children, our Veterans and our professional athletes. They are our heroes just as much as they are our peers-–in the ‘land of the free,’ we all deserve better. Every American owes them a debt of gratitude for taking the stand to ensure we get that fundamental right. Regardless of the outcome, each will be remembered as Champions for patients’ rights.”