But congress has asked the court for extensions, twice arguing that technical aspects of the bill required more time and once citing the pandemic. President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s ruling Morena party – which identifies as left-leaning – has held majorities in both houses since September 2018.
“There’s a lack of political will,” said Lisa Sánchez, director general of the non-governmental group México Unido Contra la Delincuencia.
“This is a step forward for the rights of cannabis users,” said Zara Snapp, co-founder of Instituto RIA, a thinktank. “But there’s still work to be done in congress to be able to regulate the market in a socially just way.”
Proponents express hopes regulation could diminish some of the violence caused by Mexico’s illegal drugs trade, although organised crime factions no longer focus on marijuana trade as they once did, having shifted their focus to cocaine, synthetic drugs, kidnapping and extortion.
Some observers expressed skepticism that the ruling will change much in the short-term. Raúl Bejarano, a graduate student studying cannabis regulation, says the cost of permits from the health secretary should cost less than hiring a lawyer to seek an injunction, but the health secretariat could still impose barriers in the application process.
“This is probably what the present government was looking for,” says Bejarano. “It exempts them from their responsibility of creating a regulated market.”
Way Of The Wizard – Billy Caldwell, The boy who changed the law
On the 14th of June, they arrived at their destination and were thrilled to find a group of people there to meet them who represented some of the companies that had supported them along the way. When they reached Leicester Square, they were welcomed by companies who came out to show their support in person including representatives from Grow Pharma and Northern Leaf among many others Medicinal. Charlotte expressed how emotional it was to finally meet people in person who she had got to know via email, phone calls and Zoom meetings.
Unfortunately, once they had reached their ultimate destination they were informed that nobody from the government was available to meet with them. After all their efforts this was obviously a huge disappointment, but they were still happy with their achievements and the fact that more and more people were becoming aware of what they were aiming to do. However, as they were returning to their campsite for the night, before returning home the next day, Charlotte’s phone pinged in her pocket and she saw an email which apologized for them being declined a meeting and indicated that a date had been set for them to meet with the Department of Health to allow them to outline their proposals. Their sense of disappointment evaporated into joy and you can imagine that they slept well that night after the excitement had died down
Both the Under Secretary of State and representatives of the Department of Health were set to be present at the meeting and Billy and Charlotte were both excited to present their solutions to the current situation. They were confident that their ideas offer a way to unlock the deadlock of NHS-funded medical cannabis prescription as their foundation will offer to carry out real-world evidence-based studies in order to gather data on the efficacy and safety of cannabis as medicine. Their proposals are supported by NIHR and the meeting aimed to seek approval by MHRA so that the research they conduct will be used as a means of providing crucial information for doctors so that they can feel confident in prescribing to their patients. On top of this, the foundation will use donations to relieve the financial burden that would otherwise be placed on the families of the many thousands of other patients like Billy in the UK and the Channel Islands.
Charlotte plans for their foundation to set up clinics around the UK to offer support and guidance to those who could benefit from a cannabis prescription and she and her team have of partners have been working tirelessly to put things in motion. They are currently convening with almost 40 doctors and researchers who will carry out the studies and process the relevant data and she was keen to stress that “our solution is one where we will work with the Dept. of Health and the relevant government authorities in a collaborative manner, not a confrontational one.”
She went on to explain that: “This is a historic step forward and I am incredibly grateful to Jo Churchill and her officials for agreeing. This solution can and will save lives while gathering much needed data for our wonderful NHS. I know it has saved Billy’s life, and I am confident that these medicines can save many more. I am happy that the proposed real-world evidence studies can potentially bring relief to patients, including more children with childhood epilepsy, who have to endure the financial burden of private prescriptions if they are lucky enough to receive one. I am extremely grateful to the Under Secretary of State for agreeing to meet and grateful also to the campaign funding partners who are doing so much to support our efforts.”
During our conversation I said to Charlotte that this would be a great opportunity for both sides as it would allow the UK to get up-to-speed with the reality of cannabis and its potential to help people without the government having to ‘do the leg work.’ Charlotte then said that her and Billy have “already done the leg work on our way to Westminster, so it makes sense that we keep up the pace. No point in stopping now!”
We caught back up with Charlotte after the meeting had finally taken place and, incredibly, all of their gallant efforts were not in vain. The I Am Billy foundation managed to secure a historic agreement with the DHSC and the NIHR to conduct real-world studies into the safety and efficacy of cannabis based medicines, starting with a focus on patients suffering from Billy’s condition, Refractory Epilepsy. Following this landmark decision, a Conservative MP, Heather Wheeler, explained that she “wholeheartedly welcome the historical news that DHSC has agreed NIHR will work with I am Billy Foundation, investing in Real World Evidence Studies to unlock the deadlock of our wonderful NHS prescribing Cannabis based Medicine. I commend Billy and Charlotte for their determination to make this happen, in particular for groups of patients like Billy with refractory Epilepsy who are already accessing Cannabis based Medicine in the private sector. This non-profit concrete proposal is deliverable and undoubtedly will not only gather much needed data but relieve the financial burden of these chronically ill patients”.
After everything that Charlotte and Billy have been through, this is incredible news. Charlotte went on to express that Billy and I are humbled and filled with gratitude” after their meeting delivered such amazing results. “Everyone agrees that this is a problem we can solve together and I look forward to collaborating with so many fantastic people as we work towards an urgent solution. I am a mother of a patient, with real-life experience of how incredible the effects can be. This medicine has saved Billy’s life and I am confident that these medicines can save many more”.
Au Revoir, Frenchy Cannoli – Weed World Magazine
Frenchy was an incredible teacher who loved to teach others so that they could gain a deeper understanding of a wide variety of techniques. Belle (@cherryblossom_belle) was his prodigy, apprentice and heir, Frenchy taught her everything he knew about creating hash, as he recognized a passion in her. They were inseparable, it was really sweet to watch her soak up every lesson from him whenever they had the opportunity to further her knowledge. Frenchy loved the one-to-one sessions, but he still felt he could go further. After much consideration, he chose to follow an open source approach and promoted traditional methods through his “Lost Art of the Hashishin” workshops. These hands-on training workshops passed down everything he had learnt to aspiring concentrate makers in a warm, friendly and focused environment. This was a phenomenal success, as his workshops were always packed and fun and his passing will leave a big hole in the hearts of the many people who had the pleasure of working alongside him or learning invaluable first-hand knowledge during one of his many seminars and workshops.
I met Frenchy a few times, but I guess the most memorable was in October 2016. Phil Kilv the founder/owner of Weed World and I spent several days with him and Belle travelling up the North Coast of California from San Francisco, Oakland, Santa Rosa, Ukiah, Mendocino, Laytonville to Garberville. Meeting some fantastic people in the cannabis industry and seeing their grows. During that time, I wanted to see the giant redwoods so he took me to walk through them. I also slipped a disc in my lower back from the roads being so rough – the pain was immense, and the chiropractor made it worse, so Frenchy gave me some hash. He was so scared that he was going to get me too stoned, but it certainly helped with the pain.
His birthday was a day after mine, and I always felt connected to Frenchy. You knew you could ask him to do anything for you and he would just do it. My early days as an editor crossed over with his as a writer, so we grew together and for that I am truly thankful. I will miss him: he had a beautiful soul, he was a wonderful husband to Kimberly and a fantastic dad. He certainly left a mark on everyone he met and I feel blessed to have known him.
Good-bye my friend, you will be missed.
If you wish to read all of his articles they can be found here – frenchycannoli.com/articles
Also you can find them here
Image credit: Jake Remington & Weed World
White House to push for rethink on cannabis use in sport
Star sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson was left off the US Olympic team because she tested positive for marijuana. The White House is seeking the meeting through the US Office of National Drug Control Policy, which has a seat on the foundation board of Wada, the international body responsible for governance of anti-doping in global sport, including the Olympic Games.
The board is next scheduled to meet on November 25, but the ONDCP told the Financial Times that, “if possible, the US will secure an earlier discussion of [cannabis policy] within Wada”. The office said it intended to ask Wada about policies restricting cannabis use, “including the timeframe for testing, and the basis for the consideration of cannabis as a performance-enhancing drug”. Wada did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The request comes a week after it was revealed Richardson had tested positive for marijuana at the US Olympic Trials in Oregon. The substance is legal for recreational use in the state, though it remains prohibited in some elite sports through rules set by Wada. Richardson, a former favourite for a gold medal in the women’s 100-metre dash, was subsequently suspended from competition for one month, meaning she will miss the Tokyo Olympics, where she was expected to be a breakout star. Her suspension prompted a backlash from politicians and the American public over what some see as a policy inconsistent with modern US law.
Nineteen states had fully legalised recreational marijuana use as of last month, according to the Marijuana Policy Project. “The rules are the rules,” said US President Joe Biden last week when asked about Richardson’s suspension. “Whether that should remain that way is a different issue.” A petition by MoveOn.org asking that Richardson be reinstated to the US Olympic team has garnered more than 560,000 signatures as of Friday. Two members of the US House of Representatives, Jamie Raskin and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, recently asked US and global anti-doping officials to rescind Richardson’s suspension.
In a letter last week, they argued that “prohibition of marijuana while your organisations allow recreational use of alcohol and other drugs reflects anti-drug laws and policies that have historically targeted black and brown communities”.
In a letter responding to them on Friday, officials from the US Anti-Doping Agency wrote that the agency “agrees that Ms Richardson’s exclusion from the Tokyo Olympic Games is a heartbreaking situation and that the World Anti-Doping Agency’s rules concerning marijuana use must change”. The US is the largest single contributor to Wada’s annual budget and is expected to provide more than $2.9m in 2021, according to the agency’s website.
The agency reviews its list of banned and restricted substances and methods annually, seeking input from all stakeholders in a review process beginning this month, which is expected to conclude in the autumn. Richardson has said she accepts her suspension. “I know what I did. I know what I’m supposed to do and am allowed not to do, and I still made that decision,” she told the Today Show last week. “I’m not making an excuse. I’m not looking for any empathy in my case.”
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