Mississippi Digital Magazine

Trump Campaign in Mississippi, LA Social Equity License, and Rwanda Legalizes

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In #California, #LosAngeles faces a #lawsuit over the city’s new cannabis delivery license restrictions. The legal challenge, brought by #CEO of #delivery service #Ganja Goddess Zackary Pitts, along with the Southern #California Coalition and the California #Cannabis Couriers Association, takes issue with a rule limiting retail and delivery permits only to social #equity applicants for the next five years. The suit argues the new policy disenfranchises legacy operators, who expected to be able to apply for 20 non-social equity licenses that were announced in 2017, before #L.A. regulators overhauled that initial plan in #July after the last cannabis retail licensing round was mired in controversy. The suit is seeking to return to the city council’s original rule, which allowed any #business owner to apply for #marijuana delivery permits, as long #socialequity entrepreneurs outnumbered other companies by a 2 to 1 ratio.

In #Mississippi, President #Trump’s reelection campaign issues a cease-and-desist letter to an activist group behind one of the state’s upcoming #MMJ legalization ballot initiatives, accusing them of falsely claiming the president supports the measure. The move comes after the medical cannabis advocacy organization Mississippians for Compassionate Care sent out mailers urging voters to quote “join #President Trump and 3 out of 4 Mississippi #Republicans who support medical marijuana.” While the president’s campaign director labels the materials as deceptive and misleading, MCC is standing by their statements, saying they only advertised the president’s past public remarks in support of general medical marijuana legalization, not Mississippi’s specifically. Though President Trump has expressed modest enthusiasm for medical cannabis reform several times, he has also repeatedly defended a state’s rights approach to the matter. The implicated proposal, Initiative 65, which would allow patients with any of 22 qualifying conditions to get a doctor’s recommendation for marijuana, is being challenged by a competing, more restrictive, ballot measure put up by state legislators. Recent polling indicates the former measure may have slightly better chances of passing #November 3rd.

Also in #Canada, #Ontario #police arrest 195 people and seize more than 143 #million #Canadian dollars worth of cannabis, as part of a months-long crackdown on a large-scale criminal operation spanning the province. Since the start of #July, authorities conducted 52 raids of large-volume, illegal grow sites, leading to the confiscation of over 122,000 marijuana plants, as well as 36 firearms, and nearly 600,000 #dollars in currency and proceeds from sales. The coalition of several provincial law enforcement units responsible for the sweep describe the activity as part of a sophisticated enterprise, which used #Health Canada medical cannabis registrations to divert the drug to the black market. Though adult-use marijuana was legalized in the country two years ago, illicit cannabis continues to make up as much as 75 percent of Ontario sales. Industry analysts claim burdensome government regulations make it difficult for legal operators to compete with the lower prices of the black market. Ontario officials are not only going after illegal sellers, but have also warned consumers the purchase of marijuana from unauthorized sources carries a 100,000 dollar fine and up to one year in prison.

Overseas, #Rwanda legalizes medical cannabis cultivation for export purposes, in an effort to revitalize the East #African country’s economy. The government approved a regulatory framework for the production, processing, and exportation of marijuana, as the Rwanda Development Board begins reviewing license applications from interested investors. Though the country plans to target the North #American and #European MMJ industries, domestic cannabis use will remain prohibited. Marijuana consumption currently carries a criminal penalty of up to two years in jail, while selling it can result in between 20 years and life in prison. Consequently, Rwandan grow operations will be subject to stringent security measures, including cameras, guardsmen, and watchtowers, to prevent cannabis from being diverted to the local black market. Rwanda joins #Uganda and #Zambia, in allowing medical cannabis exportation, leading some to characterize the region as the next global production hub. Only four countries on the continent, Zambia, #Zimbabwe, #Lesotho, and #SouthAfrica, currently permit marijuana for medical use.

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