This Week In Weed – 14 October 2018

GW raises $345m on US stock exchange

UK biopharmaceutical company GW Pharmaceuticals, a global developer of medical cannabis products, has released 2.1 million shares on the US stock exchange, raising US$345m.

The move comes four months after CBD medicine Epidiolex, manufactured by GW Pharmaceuticals’ subsidiary Greenwich Biosciences, became the first cannabis-derived medicine approved for use in the US for the treatment of severe forms of epilepsy.

The release of shares follows the company’s lobbying to receive marketing authorisation from the European Medicines Agency for another CBD product, which is likely to be available across Europe in 2019.

A spokesperson for GW Pharmaceuticals said: “The decision to raise finance was about maintaining our financial strength as we execute the launch of Epidiolex and as we maintain investment in new product development.”

Trudeau warns Quebec against raising legal age

Canada Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has warned the incoming Quebec government’s plan to raise the legal age for smoking cannabis to 21 could play into the hands of organised crime.

He said increasing the legal age could undermine one of the federal law’s key aims: eliminating the black market. He hopes to discuss the matter further with Coalition Avenir Quebec Leader Francois Legault, whose party was elected 1 October.

The federal law sets the minimum age at 18 but leaves it open to provinces and territories to establish their own rules. In all provinces and territories, the legal age will be 18 or 19 when cannabis becomes legal next Wednesday.

MedMen in biggest cannabis industry acquisition to date

MedMen, one of the most recognisable brands in the US cannabis industry, has acquired the medical-marijuana retailer PharmaCann in a $682 million stock transaction – the largest cannabis acquisition in the US to date.

The acquisition gives the combined firm access to 79 retail and cultivation licenses in 12 states.

Based in Los Angeles, MedMen has 14 high-end marijuana dispensaries — which are set up like Apple Stores — in California, Nevada, and New York.

The PharmaCann acquisition nearly doubles MedMen’s footprint in the US. PharmaCann, based in Illinois, operates 10 facilities in the Midwest, including in Michigan, where voters are set to vote on November 6 on legalizing recreational marijuana.

Man using cannabis for pain relief in court

A man from Larne, Northern Ireland caught with cannabis was using it for pain relief following an accident when his leg was impaled on a fence, his lawyer told Ballymena Magistrates Court on Thursday.

Stephen Richard Woodage, 31, was caught with the drug when police while they were attending an unrelated matter. They found a small amount of cannabis resin recovered from his trousers pocket. Woodage told police it was for his own use.

The defence lawyer said Woodage had been off heroin for five months and that the small amount of cannabis was for pain relief “following a quite serious accident when his leg was impaled on a fence”.

District Judge Nigel Broderick placed the defendant on Probation for a year with conditions including attending drug counselling.

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