The great race to become the World’s weed supplier

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Submitted by Marijuana News on Fri, 10/11/2019

Companies vying to be the biggest cannabis producer in America or Canada are wasting their time and suffering from a crippling lack of vision. The real play is to make a bid to become the worldwide leader in global cannabis exports — like firms in Jamaica and Lesotho as well as Canada are attempting to do — and the window of time to get in is closing fast, according to one entrepreneur with clear-cut plans to curb that market.

Though recreational cannabis is now available in two countries, medical marijuana is legal in about 50 and not every country produces adequate supply to fulfill domestic demand. Over the long-term, the thinking goes, cannabis will become like any other agricultural commodity and production will shift to the locale where costs are lowest. But so far, the limited export game has been dominated by a few players, most of whom are either occupying a very limited lane or banking on the future.

An example of the former, Bedrocan in the Netherlands, produces cannabis solely for the government authority, which then exports most of it to Germany. Bophelo Bioscience and Wellness, a startup recently acquired by a Canadian-firm and based in tiny Lesotho, the first country in Africa to legalize cannabis, is an example of the latter. Somewhere else is a company like Fotmer Life Sciences in Uruguay, which is hoping to supplant both.

The world’s most popular illicit drug, cannabis boasts at least 263 million users worldwide, according to a New Frontier Data estimate, who in turn consume $340 billion worth annually, most of which is still on the underground market. At the moment, with so few legal companies producing cannabis and even fewer exporting, it’s a seller’s market. That state of play — flux, uncertainty, opportunity — will last only about another five years, said Jordan Lewis, an American entrepreneur who is Fotmer’s CEO.

Fotmer was in the news much last week as the company prepared its first shipment of export cannabis: 22 pounds, headed for medical cannabis patients in Australia. After that, Fotmer hopes to start competing with Bedrocan and begin shipping cannabis flower and oil to Germany, with up to 220 pounds or so per month headed out of the country to global customers, as he told Reuters.

Most of that will go to Europe, which “right now represents the single largest market in the next five years,” Lewis told Supplychainbrain.com.

The window for producers to charge high prices, before a reliable global supply floods the market, is now through 2024, he added, with high THC oils and plants to preserve their value longer than CBD products.

The modest first shipment is a tiny fraction of the company’s capacity. Fotmer currently has government approval to produce up to 10 tons of flower and 5 tons of oil, said Lewis — who added that he’s asking the Uruguayan government to allow him to grow 15 times that, in order to curb that global market. (He’s also shopping for a “large strategic partner” to provide the estimated $60 million of start-up capital needed to grow all that cannabis.)

If Lewis is right and producers in other companies join in, Fotmer may be well positioned to remain competitive, an outlook shared by other analysts. As New Frontier Data noted in a global market analysis released earlier this year, South America is considered a future hub for cannabis production thanks to an agreeable climate and low labor costs.

If countries decide that domestic suppliers are preferable and throw up tariffs, Lewis’s play could disappear. Or perhaps the best praxis is to play off of the incredible hype around the cannabis industry and get acquired. The point is that in a world obsessed with the next big thing, cannabis is very quickly approaching critical mass, and entrepreneurs are slowly catching on.

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Authored By: Cannabis Now

Article category: Marijuana Business News

Massachusetts Committee Considers Restrictions on Asset Forfeiture Program

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BOSTON (Nov. 5, 2015) – A bill under consideration in the Massachusetts Senate would reform asset forfeiture laws to prohibit the state from taking property without a criminal conviction in most cases.

Introduced in April by Sen. Salvatore DiDomenico (D-Middlesex) along with a bipartisan group of cosponsors, Senate Bill 797 (S797) was given a hearing in the Joint Committee on the Judiciary last month with a decision yet to be made on the legislation.

If passed, S797 would reform the practice of civil asset forfeiture under state law by only allowing forfeitures of property by government officials to be completed after “proving to the court the existence of probable cause to institute the action.”

S797 would also remove certain financial incentives facilitating civil asset forfeitures within the state. Asset forfeitures would be prohibited from being a “source of revenue to meet the operating needs of [any police or sheriff’s] department.” This would stop law enforcement from using the disposition of seized assets as a reliable source of revenue.

FEDERAL LOOPHOLE

As currently drafted, S797 leaves a loophole open that could make the proposed state reforms generally ineffective.

The bill needs to include amendment language to stop state and local law enforcement from turning cases over to the federal government, thereby circumventing any restrictions placed on asset forfeiture at the state level.

This very scenario plays out frequently in states with strong asset forfeiture laws like California. Police simply avoid state-only restrictions on asset forfeiture by turning cases involving seized assets over to the feds. In return, state and local agencies get up to 80 percent of the proceeds from forfeited assets back through the Federal Equitable Sharing Program.

Simple language can close this loophole.

“A law enforcement agency or prosecuting authority may not directly or indirectly transfer seized property to any federal law enforcement authority or other federal agency unless the value of the seized property exceeds $50,000, excluding the potential value of the sale of contraband.”

As the Tenth Amendment Center previously reported, the federal government has inserted itself into the California’s asset forfeiture debate. The feds clearly want the policy to continue.

Why?

We can only guess. But perhaps the feds recognize paying state and local police agencies directly in cash for handling their enforcement would reveal their weakness. After all, the federal government would find it nearly impossible to prosecute its unconstitutional “War on Drugs” without state and local assistance. Asset forfeiture “equitable sharing” provides a pipeline the feds use to incentivize state and local police to serve as de facto arms of the federal government by funneling billions of dollars into their budgets.

NOT MAKING THE GRADE

If amended, S797 would make it more difficult for what the Institute for Justice referred to as ‘Policing for Profit’ and its corrupting influence on public officials to proliferate. The think-tank gave the state of Massachusetts a “D” grade on their comprehensive Asset Forfeiture Report released in 2010.

“The government tends to go after folks who can’t defend themselves adequately,” Dan Alban, an attorney with the Institute for Justice, said in a Watchdog.org report. “Such defense is usually costly and there are few who specialize in it. Furthermore, forfeiture often involves cash that a business needs to operate, which provides an incentive for a fast settlement just to stay in business.”

If amended, S797 would be a much-needed step in the right direction toward reforming civil asset forfeiture in the Bay State.

The bill must be approved by the Joint Committee on the Judiciary before Mar. 2016 to receive a vote in the full Senate.  CONTINUE READING…

Category Archives: Asset Forfeiture

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