The Week in Cannabis: South Korea’s Cannabis Caution, Cultured Cannabinoids, & California’s New Rules

The Week in Cannabis 10-25-18

Canada Runs Low on Cannabis Two Days Into Rec Sales

Two days after Canada’s much-anticipated greenlight on recreational cannabis sales, the Great White North found itself short on great green ganja. With demand outstripping supply, police were called in to assist with unruly would-be customers who were left empty handed or patrons who were taxed by lengthy lines. This does not seem to be a permanent issue with production already ramping up to accommodate the Canadian public’s need for weed.

South Koreans Warned About Having Too Much Fun on That Canadian Vacation

south korean tourists cautioned against using cannabis in canada
Canada doesn’t need to worry about South Korean tourists depleting the cannabis supply. South Koreans vacationing in Canada have been cautioned against relaxing too much on their trip. The New York Times reports that the South Korean government has issued a stern statement to its people, proclaiming, “Even if South Koreans are in a region where marijuana is legal, it will be illegal for them to consume it. Please take care not to commit an illegal act and be punished.” It’s a bit like being told you can’t drink at the office Christmas party. Statements like this are likely no surprise to the people of South Korea who are well aware that partaking in illegal activities, no matter the country, can incur consequences back at home. Smoking cannabis carries steep penalties in South Korea, including up to 5 years jail time or fines exceeding the U.S. equivalent of $40,000.

California’s New Packaging Rules and Regulations

Earlier this week, California revealed major changes to their state cannabis rules and regulations. The changes place the brunt of the responsibility for child resistance on dispensaries, giving manufacturers and producers until 2020 to get their packaging up to state compliance standards. At this point, multi-use products will be required to feature resealable child-resistant packaging unless the doses are individually packaged for child-resistance. If all of the proper warning labels are in place, inhalable, single-serving, and topical items will still be able to rely on one-time use child-resistant marijuana containers. Edibles will need child-resistant packaging designed to run the duration of their expected use. Currently, dispensaries can use exit packaging, such as mylar Pinch ‘n’ Slide bags, as a catch-all, but that is scheduled to change after the 2020 grace period. California has also decided to allow cannabis delivery, even to areas of the state that have upheld a ban on sales. The general public has 15 days to voice their concerns about the new regulations. At that point, the state will review the information and set the regulations in stone.

Cultured Cannabinoids Are On the Way

yeast is being genetically altered to produce THC and CBD for extraction
With demand for THC and CBD extracts higher than ever before, the cannabis industry is turning to creating the compounds from yeast. Digital Journal reported that, in September, Ginkgo Bioworks signed a contract with Cronos Group, Inc. to begin production on cultured cannabinoids. The company compares the process to brewing beer; only, the yeast is genetically modified and combined in a broth with various ingredients to produce THC and CBD. It feels a bit Jurassic Park-y but could help with the overwhelming demand while reducing strain on the greenhouses.

Insurance-Agency Funded Study Shows Increase in Auto Crashes in Legal States

Does recreational cannabis legalization lead to an increase in auto accidents? It’s a question that’s gone back and forth since Colorado legalized years ago and one that still has no clear answer. In fact, the results of these studies seem to parallel the intentions of the companies and organizations funding them. Last week, the results of a new study conducted at the request of auto insurance agencies was released, examining whether recreational cannabis legalization leads to a surge in car accidents. Collecting information from Colorado, Nevada, Washington, and Oregon and then contrasting it against data from neighboring states, the study released by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found accidents were up an average of 6% in states that had legalized cannabis. We’re sure they’d really hate to raise your premium but their response is bound to be as predictable as those research statistics.

Massachusetts Inching Toward Rec Sales with Approval of 2 Testing Labs

Last week, Massachusetts took another step closer to retail sales of recreational cannabis when the state’s Cannabis Control Commission finally approved two independent testing labs. Until now, the state had no testing labs, leaving it impossible to move forward with recreational sales that were legalized back in 2016. With Salem-based CDX Analytics and Framingham-based MCR Labs now authorized by the state, the long-delayed retail cannabis market is inching toward an open door.
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