Things That Matter

Uruguay May Soon Become The World’s Medical Marijuana Hub

Uruguay made history by becoming the first country to legalize cannabis in 2013, with former President Jose Mujica signing legislation to allow for recreational use of the plant. Now, investors are hoping the country can become an export hub for medical marijuana as the industry continues to expand globally.

There is serious money to be made off medical marijuana and investors want in on it.

Uruguay has been at the forefront of regulating and cultivating medical marijuana but a new investment group wants to capitalize on this. Silverpeak Life Sciences Uruguay Inc, one of the companies in the Uruguay’s growing medical marijuana industry, is working with investors to raise $35 million to increase production and build a larger extraction lab next year.

According to Silverpeak Life Sciences CEO and U.S. cannabis investor Jordan Lewis, the company expansion is expected to increase revenues by the millions.

“Our planned and desired expansion would be about 25 tons next year and that should push us above $100 million in revenue,” Lewis said told Bloomberg.

According to a report released in 2018 by Arcview Market Research in partnership with BDS Analytics, Legal marijuana sales in certain South American market are expected to jump from just $125 million in 2018 to $776 million by 2027.

“While Brazil and Argentina will far outweigh other countries in terms of spending, Uruguay is the clear leader in early liberalization of its cannabis regulations,” the report said. “Any adult citizen/legal resident of Uruguay can now legally purchase cannabis from pharmacies at government-controlled prices intended to undercut illicit market rates and starve out cartel operations there.”

Despite getting a head start in terms of legalization, Uruguay’s weed economy hasn’t fully developed.

CREDIT: Acrview Market Research/BDS Analytics

Uruguay had a head start in terms of the legalization of marijuana compared to countries like the U.S. and Canada. But that hasn’t translated into a profitable economic source for the country.

Instead, various investors have tapped money into the U.S. and Canada in hopes of taking advantage of the relaxed marijuana regulations the countries now have. The inflow of investment in those countries has created a very promising legal marijuana market that comes after the drug was vilified for decades.

Uruguay hopes to see this type of revenue flow as Fotmer Corporation SA, Silverpeak’s subsidiary headquartered in Uruguay, has asked the country’s cannabis regulatory agency Ircca, to increase its allowed annual production to 400 tons of cannabis plants.

There are a handful of companies that have invested in Uruguay by building greenhouses and extraction laboratories. They have done this in order to supply medical marijuana to other countries in Latin America Canada and in Europe.

With enough investment and support, Uruguay could become one of the world’s leading medical marijuana producers.

Since 2015, Ircca has approved cannabis projects that are worth $57 million and is currently looking at other permits for 21 projects worth approximately $40 million. Their goal is to increase the number of licensed marijuana producers that supply recreational weed to pharmacies from two to as many as five by the end of the year.

By the current pace of investments in Uruguay, all this numbers might change as U.S. and Canadian cannabis producers start to look at the country as a pot destination.If there is enough government support, Uruguay could become the first country to reach $1 billion in annual medical marijuana exports in as soon as five years.

Lewis says that based on early projections, Uruguay’s cannabis industry could become a $100-million-plus industry as soon as 2020. Either way, the country of 3.4 million people is sure to reek some of the benefits of what is expected to bring a millions of dollars in revenue.

READ:Uruguay Legalized The Sale Of Marijuana But The Banks Are Not Dealing With Pharmacies That Sell It

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Kamala Harris Pledges That, If Elected, She and Joe Biden Would Decriminalize Marijuana Use

Things That Matter

Kamala Harris Pledges That, If Elected, She and Joe Biden Would Decriminalize Marijuana Use

On Monday, Vice Presidential nominee Kamala Harris vowed that a Biden-Harris administration would “decriminalize” the use of marijuana.

“Under a Biden-Harris administration, we will decriminalize the use of marijuana and automatically expunge all marijuana-use convictions, and end incarceration for drug use alone,” Harris said during a Facebook Live virtual round-table.

“We need to deal with the system, and there needs to be significant change in the design of the system,” she continued.

The decriminalization of marijuana would be a boon for cannabis-rights activists who have long said that marijuana’s potential health risks “pale in comparison” to the harm that criminalization has done to communities of color in America.

We’ve known for a while that the U.S.’s drug policies disproportionately affect people of color. While the stats suggest that Americans across all demographics use marijuana at roughly the same rate, Blacks and Latinos are more likely to be arrested and charged for possession.

For example, in New York City in 2017, the NYPD arrested 17,000 people for marijuana-related offenses. 86% of those were Black or Latino.

via Getty Images

Historically, politicians on both the left and the right haven’t done much to fix this disparity. Although both Republicans and Democrats were responsible for the largely ineffective “War On Drugs” policies of the ’90s that left a large number of people of color incarcerated, the Dems have recently changed their tune.

In the ’90s, there was an erroneous belief that marijuana was a “gateway” drug to harder, more destructive drugs, like crack-cocaine. Cracking down on marijuana possession was seen as a preventative tactic to keep people from trying crack.

The decriminalization of marijuana would be a marked change for Biden in particular who has held quite stringent anti-marijuana positions throughout his career.

“The school of thought was that we had to do everything we could to dissuade the use of crack cocaine,” Biden said in 2008 Senate hearing. “And so I am part of the problem that I have been trying to solve since then.”

This falls in line with what Senator Harris’s policy stances have been of late. She recently spear-headed a bill called the MORE Act that, if passed according to Politico, would “remove cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act and erase some cannabis criminal records”.

It’s worth noting that there is a marked distinction between the decriminalization of marijuana vs its legalization.

via Getty Images

According to the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, decriminalization means “no arrest, prison time, or criminal record for the first-time possession of a small amount of marijuana for personal consumption”. In essence, a marijuana-related offense would be treated similarly to a traffic violation.

Legalization, on the other hand, would mean a federal policy that “supports a legally controlled market for marijuana, where consumers can buy marijuana for personal use from a safe legal source.”

Whether it’s decriminalization or legalization, one thing’s for sure: the data shows that hyper-punitive laws towards cannabis possession has done the American people more harm than good. Especially in communities of color.

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Meet Manuel Mendoza, The Winner Of Netflix’s Cannabis Cooking Competition Show

Culture

Meet Manuel Mendoza, The Winner Of Netflix’s Cannabis Cooking Competition Show

lil_manofrom18th / Instagram

Netflix and Kelis teamed up to create a cooking competition show all about cannabis cooking. “Cooked with Cannabis” is giving cannabis chefs a chance to shine with some friendly competition and the ever-popular cannabis.

Kelis is here with a new kind of cooking competition show officially changing the game.

“Cooked with Cannabis” is elevating the use of cannabis in the kitchen. It is no longer something used by stoners and only stoners. “Cooked with Cannabis” makes cannabis a sophisticated and respectable ingredient in the kitchen. The show offers some insights as to the differences between different strains of pot that many of us just never understood.

The show has six episodes in the first season and there is a new cast of chefs every episode.

The premise of the show is three chefs battling it out for three judges to show what they can do with the cannabis they are given. The recipes look like culinary works of art and seem equally as appetizing. The winner of the episode is given $10,000 as a prize and that’s pretty grand.

One of the winners this season is Manuel Mendoza, a cannabis chef from Chicago.

Mendoza works for Herbal Notes, a Chicago-based cannabis collaborative project. According to the website, Herbal Notes hopes to destigmatize the practice of using cannabis in cooking by highlighting the medicinal properties of the natural ingredient. Herbal Notes is also trying to empower communities long vilified for their use of cannabis.

Mendoza won using the cannabis to create some deliciously relevant foods.

Mendoza won by giving the judges some pot leaf-shaped chilaquiles and marijuana-infused pupusas. The use of Mexican and Salvadoran foods not only highlights our community but also his own upbringing in Chicago as a Salvadoran kid. Mendoza is proud to say that he was raised by Pilsen, the famed Latino community in Chicago.

Congratulations, Mendoza. It is a victory well deserved.

Mendoza’s start in cannabis cooking came when he had a eureka moment with iced chocolate milk. The chef was fresh out of culinary school and was eager to try new things, including cannabis cooking. The cannabis cooking trend was just kicking off and he just wanted to play around. When he created that iced chocolate milk, Mendoza knew that he was on to something and the rest is his culinary career.

READ: Mexico’s Progressive Bill Legalizing Cannabis Stalled Again Because Of Pandemic

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