Investor Ideas Potcasts, Cannabis News and Stocks on the Move: Czech Republic, US Rescheduling and Raphael Mechoulam
Delta, Kelowna, BC – March 15, 2023 (Investorideas.com Newswire) investorideas.com, a global news source covering leading sectors including marijuana and hemp stocks and its potcast site release today’s podcast edition of cannabis news and stocks to watch plus insight from thought leaders and experts.
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Investor Ideas Potcasts, Cannabis News and Stocks on the Move: Czech Republic, US Rescheduling and Raphael Mechoulam
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Today’s podcast overview/transcript:
In today’s podcast we discuss some recent news in Europe regarding the Czech Republic, the progress of cannabis rescheduling in the US, and the death of renowned cannabis researcher Raphael Mechoulam.
In recent news out of Europe, Journalist Robert Veverka, director of the Czech-based cannabis magazine Legalizace, was convicted this week of ‘inciting the abuse of addictive substances’ and ‘spreading drug addiction through his magazine’.
According to the court in Ostrava, the third largest Czech city, the magazine offered instructions on how to illegally obtain cannabis, how to grow, process and use the plant. From time to time there were also seeds inserted in the magazine, since the sale and possession of cannabis seeds is completely legal in the Czech Republic, and there were disclaimers attached. The court also didn’t like advertisements of fertiliser companies and seed banks, although all the goods are normally sold in gardening shops and are all perfectly legal.
Veverka described the “spreading toxicomania” (or the ‘promotion of drug addiction’) section cited in the law as very flexible, sufficiently vague that it can be interpreted in many different ways so that it suits the prosecution, saying:
“It is a Bolshevik relic and a relic of totalitarianism. It allows for a loose interpretation of what constitutes incitement to substance abuse.”
He points out that it applies to all drugs but one – alcohol. The Czech media are full of adverts glamorising alcohol consumption, and promoting it even to kids. “But if you tell somebody they may want to try cannabis ointment on their knee, you can end up in court,” said the publisher.
The decision is definitive, his only remaining option being to appeal to the Supreme and Constitutional Court, which Robert Veverka intends to do- although nobody knows when (and if) these courts would take up the case, because they are overwhelmed.
“I will try to take this further to the highest courts to protect not only myself but any other media outlet that chooses to write about cannabis,” he said.
Throughout the court case, Mr. Veverka has had the support of prominent politicians from the Czech Pirate Party, of which he is a member.
For example, minister of regional development and vice prime minister Ivan Barto? wrote on his Facebook: “The Pirate Party will always protect free access to information. In my opinion, in the case of Robert Veverka, the courts are criminalising the sharing of information that is completely harmless to society.”
In what has been described as an ‘attack on freedom of information and expression‘, the Czech courts appear to be in contradiction with the country’s recent progressive approach to cannabis.
Just a month ago, government officials announced the country’s intention to legalise the adult-use of cannabis.
Veverka had previously appealed a conviction and sentence handed to him during an initial trial in November 2021.
After more than a year of arm wrestling with justice, he was again convicted by the Regional Court of Ostrava on Thursday, 2 March for ‘spreading drug addiction through his magazine’.
The news was announced yesterday by his friend and business partner Lukas Hurt in a post on LinkedIn.
In other recent news, last week more than a dozen bipartisan congressional lawmakers sent a letter to top Biden administration officials, demanding transparency in the ongoing marijuana scheduling review that the president directed last year.
Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) recently circulated a draft of the letter among colleagues, seeking signatories before sending the final version to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland and Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra.
The letter states that Biden’s scheduling directive represents “an opportunity to make an honest assessment of the origins and implications of federal policy,” adding that “marijuana was scheduled based on stigma not science,” and it’s “time to address marijuana’s existing reality as a state-regulated substance.”
“The administrative review of marijuana’s scheduling should place the burden of evidence on maintaining marijuana’s status as a scheduled substance. To correct the failed war on drugs and cannabis prohibition, the assumption must be that, unless evidence undeniably indicates that marijuana is more prone to drug abuse than unscheduled substances already regulated at the state level, marijuana should be fully descheduled from the Controlled Substances Act.”
The lawmakers added that administrative descheduling would “not negate Congress’ obligation to act on comprehensive federal cannabis reform,” and that there are a variety of thoughtful legislative reform proposals that have been introduced in past sessions.
“Each of these proposals works to respect the leadership states have demonstrated for 50 years in rethinking the failed and discriminatory war on drugs approach to marijuana,” the letter says. “Given the scope of the federal government’s failure on marijuana, the Administration must also take meaningful action to deschedule marijuana and partner with Congress and the states in the work ahead.”
“To ensure accountability in your conclusions-which has been absent in so much of the history of federal marijuana regulation-transparency is key. We urge you to make available for public review and comment any evidence cited to demonstrate marijuana is more prone to drug abuse than descheduled substances already regulated at the state level. With the severe federal restrictions on cannabis research due to marijuana’s scheduling, it’s important that your departments review the full scope of research available. It is time to set the federal government on a better path for marijuana policy and engage transparently with the evidence.”
Lastly, Raphael Mechoulam, a renowned Israeli scientist often referred to as the “father of cannabis research,” has passed away at the age of 92.
Mechoulam and his team of researchers at Hebrew University began conducting experiments on cannabinoids in the 1960s and were the first to isolate delta-9 THC, the psychoactive component of cannabis. He also designed and synthesised several new cannabinoids with potential as pharmaceutical drugs.
Mechoulam was nominated for over 25 academic awards, including the Heinrich Wieland Prize in 2004, an honorary doctorate from Complutense University in Madrid in 2006, and the Israel Prize in Exact Sciences, Chemistry, in 2000. He was a founding member of the International Association for Cannabinoid Medicines and the International Cannabinoid Research Society.
Mechoulam was born in Bulgaria in 1930 and immigrated with his family to Israel in 1949, where he studied chemistry. He later received a Ph.D. from the Weizmann Institute in 1958, focusing on the chemistry of steroids. Mechoulam became a full professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in 1972 after working as a member of the scientific staff of the Weizmann Institute from 1960 to 1965, where he focused on the isolation, structure elucidation, and synthesis of the main active principles of cannabis. His contributions to the scientific community have been immeasurable, and his groundbreaking studies have paved the way for future research on cannabis.
“I have spent most of my life decoding the mysteries to be found within this incredible plant,” he said. “I would like to see my colleagues forge ahead with their investigations, advancing even further the acceptance and integration of cannabinoids in traditional medicine.”
“Most of the human and scientific knowledge about cannabis was accumulated thanks to Prof. Mechoulam,” Hebrew University President Asher Cohen said in a statement. “He paved the way for groundbreaking studies and initiated scientific cooperation between researchers around the world. Mechoulam was a sharp-minded and charismatic pioneer.”
In 2022, the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research in New York City mounted its exhibition on Jewish contributions to the history of cannabis and highlighted the work of Mechoulam. “He’s worked on cannabis his entire life, and in the 1990s he and his colleagues discovered the endocannabinoid system, which regulates homeostasis – a significant discovery on how the human body deals with cannabinoids,” Eddy Portnoy, who curated the exhibit, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency at the time. “I read an interview with him where he says that because he was in a small country, he would have to find a niche that other people weren’t working in.”
Prof. Mechoulam leaves behind his wife Dalia, son Roy and daughters Dafna and Hadas. His funeral was held on Sunday, March 12, in Jerusalem.
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