WHO delays cannabis scheduling recommendation
The World Health Organization (WHO) postponed much-anticipated recommendations about the international scheduling of cannabis which were due to be announced on Friday, saying that more time is needed to review its findings.
WHO was due to present its findings to the United Nations’ Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) 61st reconvened session in Vienna, with member states expected to vote on the scheduling of cannabis in March 2019.
“That the recommendations weren’t made today as expected could mean that when the time comes to decide what to do with the recommendations in March, it will be easier for certain countries to argue that they didn’t have enough time to review the inputs to have a position, possibly delaying the process once again,” he said.
Altria invests £1.4bn in Cronos
‘Big Tabacco’ has made one of its biggest moves into the cannabis market yet with Altria – owner of Marlboro and Philip Morris – making a $1.8bn (£1.4bn) investment in the Canadian Cronos Group. Cronos owns two subsidiaries dedicated to producing and selling marijuana for medical purposes and holds a minority stake in a third.
Altria’s stake in Cronos will start at 45%, with the option to climb to majority control in the future. Under the deal Altria, based in Virginia, US, will be able to nominate four directors, including one independent, to Cronos’s board, which will rise from five to seven members.
Earlier this year Constellation Brands, the owner of Corona beer, invested $4bn to take a 38% stake in Canopy Growth.
Cannabis taxes could fund crumbling New York subway
Most US states use taxes from legally sold cannabis to fund schools and highway construction, but New York, which is moving towards legalisation, is likely to use it to contribute to revamping its crumbling subway system, according to the New York Times.
Legalisation is New York would bring in an estimated $700m in annual tax revenue. Governor Cuomo has promised to get legislation rolling on legal weed at the beginning of the year. It is hoped that more lawmakers will support the measure if using the income for fixing up the subway is part of the appeal.
While overhauling the subway system is going to cost $40 billion, “no new revenue source can match a tax on weed”, says Mitchell Moss, director of the Rudin Center for Transportation Policy and Management.
Mexico expected to endorse home cultivation
Mexican President Obrador’s incoming administration has presented an initiative to regulate cannabis, which would be accessible for recreational, medicinal and industrial uses through a commercial market, non-profit associations, cannabis clubs, and home cultivation.
Meanwhile, Canadian giant Aurora Cannabis is poised to enter the Mexico market after negotiating an exclusive partnership with Mexican pharma group Farmacias, which owns around 80,000 retail points and 500 pharmacies and hospitals across the Latin American country.
Farmacias recently received the first and only import license granted to date, from the Mexican government body responsible for medical cannabis licensing.
Last week, Aurora said it had secured an export permit and completed its first shipment of medical cannabis to the Czech Republic.