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GOP Congressman Withdraws Amendment To Block D.C. Psychedelics Decriminalization

Wed, 07/15/2020 - 20:15

A GOP congressman filed an amendment to a spending bill on Wednesday, seeking to undermine a local Washington, D.C. ballot initiative to deprioritize enforcement of laws against a broad class of psychedelics.

But while Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD) made the case that his proposed measure represented a reasonable compromise—making it so only psilocybin mushrooms would be low police priorities and only if a doctor recommended them for medical reasons—he ultimately withdrew the amendment rather than force a vote.

“This amendment deals with Initiative 81…which would make the use of hallucinogenic drugs a low priority for enforcement in the District of Columbia,” Harris said in his opening remarks before the House Appropriations Committee.

The congressman added that he’s particularly concerned about the scope of the ballot measure, acknowledging that “there is limited data that psilocybin may be useful in some circumstances” but asserting that the same can’t be said of the other entheogenic substances such as mescaline that would be covered under the activist-driven initiative.

Watch the debate over Harris’s D.C. psychedelics amendment below: 

It should be noted that while activists behind the initiative submitted their signatures last week and believe they have more than enough to qualify for the November ballot in the nation’s capital, the Board of Elections has yet to certify them. Harris acknowledged that but said “I suspect it might be [qualified for the ballot] by the time” the spending bill goes to a bicameral House and Senate conference committee that will finalize the Fiscal Year 2021 Financial Services and General Government bill for delivery to the president’s desk later this year.

It’s not clear if he was signaling that he planned to reintroduce his amendment, which also stipulates that driving under the influence of psychedelics would be prosecutable, on the House floor or if he plans to work to get a senator to tack it onto that chamber’s version of the legislation, which deals with funding for D.C.

“I think the District of Columbia is different from other cities because we have people coming in from all over the country—and we certainly, I would hope, don’t want to be known as the drug capital of the world,” he said.

There was some debate on the measure by the panel. House Appropriations Financial Services and General Government Subcommittee Chairman Mike Quigley (D-IL) and Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN) voiced opposition while the subcommittee ranking member, Rep. Tom Graves (R-GA), and Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-AL) spoke in favor of the proposal.

“If the district residents want to make mushrooms a lower priority and focus limited law enforcement resources on other issues, that is their prerogative,” Quigley said. “Congress has allowed jurisdictions in California and Colorado to exercise their sovereign right to set policy on mushrooms, the District of Columbia too should be allowed to use their local funds to support their local needs and their priorities.”

Graves argued that “we all can agree that policies that increase the availability of psychedelic drugs in our nation’s capital, that’s dangerous.”

“As the nation’s capital, the District of Columbia, it should be a place where Americans come to see their government at work, for history, maybe go to a Braves-Nats game—it shouldn’t be a destination for illegal drugs,” he said.

McCollum said the amendment serves as another example of Congress attempting to impose excess regulations on D.C. and argued in favor of statehood for the district.

“Now we’re not even allowing the District of Columbia to move forward and decide whether or not this is a good idea,” she said. “I oppose the amendment.”

Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) celebrated the amendment’s withdrawal with a taunt on Twitter, saying, “Regular #homerule offender @RepAndyHarrisMD tried to bar DC from using its own funds to enact a proposed ballot initiative on entheogenic plants + fungi or any similar law, but then withdrew it before the committee could defeat it.”

That prompted Harris to reply that the “process of educating Congress about how dangerous this initiative is has begun. DC has enough of a drug abuse problem without becoming the drug capital of the country.”

The process of educating Congress about how dangerous this initiative is has begun. DC has enough of a drug abuse problem without becoming the drug capital of the country. "Warrioronthehill" should be fighting AGAINST drug use, not FOR it.

— Rep. Andy Harris, MD (@RepAndyHarrisMD) July 15, 2020

Harris’s office didn’t respond to Marijuana Moment’s request for comment about whether he withdrew the amendment because he sensed he didn’t have the votes to pass it in committee.

In his closing remarks at the markup, the congressman said that his measure “is more than just mushrooms. That’s my whole point.”

“Mushrooms is psilocybin—that has a medical use. This includes mescaline, peyote, three other substances [that] have no medical use at all,” he said.

Melissa Lavasani, who proposed the D.C. ballot measure and is part of the Decriminalize Nature D.C. group working to pass it, said in a press release that “our campaign is about helping D.C. residents by enacting common sense reforms to police priorities that ensure that those using healing plant and fungi medicines are not law enforcement targets.”

This isn’t Harris’s first go at pushing for legislation that leverages Congress’s control over the D.C. budget to interfere in local drug policy issues.

Harris has been a consistent opponent of cannabis reform, repeatedly backing a long-standing congressional rider that bars D.C. from using its tax dollars to implement a legal marijuana marketplace. Last year, however, it was not included in the annual spending bill as introduced by House Democratic leaders and the congressmen didn’t attempt to introduce an amendment to reinsert it. It was included in the Senate version and was included in the final enacted bill following conference committee negotiations, however.

The Drug Policy Alliance sent a letter to committee leadership in advance of Wednesday’s hearing, urging them to oppose any attempts to interfere in D.C.’s ability to vote on the psychedelics reform initiative.

Colorado Marijuana Regulators Propose ‘Franchise’ Business Model For Equity Applicants

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia/Mushroom Observer.

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Colorado Marijuana Regulators Propose ‘Franchise’ Business Model For Equity Applicants

Wed, 07/15/2020 - 17:24

Colorado marijuana regulators are looking for feedback on a proposal to create a franchise cannabis business model to promote equitable participation in the industry by people from communities harmed by the war on drugs.

When legislators initially approved a bill to create an accelerator program for marijuana businesses, it was only designed to give eligible entrepreneurs an opportunity to share a cannabis facility with an existing company. But following stakeholder meetings, regulators laid out a proposal to let those entrepreneurs functionally serve as franchises of current larger marijuana businesses, operating out of separate facilities but sharing branding, advertising and intellectual property under certain conditions.

“The Division contemplates certain components of this alternative ‘separate premises’ model will be similar to a franchisor-franchisee business relationship,” the state’s Marijuana Enforcement Division said in a notice last month.

In order to participate under the new model, the division said it would require a series of disclosures, including initial investments from both parties, terms of any financial arrangements and obligations for the licensee such as non-compete requirements.

Additional requirements could still be developed. For example, the department is considering whether franchisees should be offered reduced or waived rent to use facilities owned by existing businesses that agree to be “endorsement holders.” Regulators are also contemplating limitations for the amount of money a franchise can charge an accelerator licensee as a fee for use of their facilities, as well as liability rules.

“Available incentives for accelerator-endorsed licensees to support the ‘separate premises’ model may also include fee reductions resulting from increased financial assistance and no-cost rent arrangements, and reduced accelerator-endorsed licensee liability,” the division said.

Beyond potentially collecting fees from licensees, the benefit of becoming an endorsement holder under this separate premises model seems to be that they get to indirectly expand their business and exposure while supporting entrepreneurs who might not have the immediate resources to break into the industry.

That said, some advocates are weary of the proposed based on past experience.

“While accelerator programs sound good on paper, they so often create terrible long term power dynamics for smaller businesses that we can not endorse this approach,” Jason Ortiz, president of the Minority Cannabis Business Association, told Marijuana Moment.

“Any relationship that puts a small business owner at the whim of a larger conglomerate makes us concerned that the power dynamic there does not favor the smaller business, who will now have their operation tied to the success of the larger entity,” he said. “We instead encourage any business to invest in grant based programs that allow for smaller businesses to operate on their own premises and to run their business how they see fit.”

At the same time, Morgan Fox, media relations director for the National Cannabis Industry Association, told Marijuana Moment that the proposal “looks like it could create a lot of opportunities for people to get into the industry without having large amounts of capital and could generally lower the barriers of entry significantly.”

“Judging from the comments in the feedback solicitation, it appears that the possibility of predatory or unfair franchise relationships is at the front of the Marijuana Enforcement Division’s priorities and it intends to make it very difficult for endorsement licensees to exploit accelerator licensees,” he said. “However, we’ve learned from the shortcomings and abuses in other equity programs around the country that it is important to continually monitor and assess these programs to ensure their effectiveness.”

Stakeholders can fill out an online form to submit input on the proposal. A hearing to finalize the rulemaking is tentatively set for July 30.

At the same time, the division is also working on the implementation of a bill that defines who qualifies as a social equity cannabis business applicant for the accelerator program. Gov. Jared Polis (D) signed that legislation, which also gives him authority to streamline pardons for prior marijuana convictions, last month.

The division is scheduled to hold a separate hearing on implementing the new bill on July 28.

Illinois Collects $52 Million In Marijuana Tax Revenue In First Six Months Of Legal Sales

Photo courtesy of Kimberly Lawson.

The post Colorado Marijuana Regulators Propose ‘Franchise’ Business Model For Equity Applicants appeared first on Marijuana Moment.

Psychedelic Therapists Petition Government For Permission To Dose Themselves In Order To Better Treat Patients

Wed, 07/15/2020 - 14:26

As a group of terminally ill patients in Canada awaits word from the minister of health on whether they can legally access psychedelic mushrooms for end-of-life care, their team of clinicians has tacked on an additional request: The therapists want to be able to dose themselves, too.

The group behind the request, Victoria, B.C.–based TheraPsil, a nonprofit that aims to expand access to psilocybin-based psychotherapy in Canada, says the additional step of providing safe access for therapists will ensure they gain firsthand experience into the psilocybin’s effects and its applications to psychotherapy.

“The fundamental reason to expose therapists to their own experiences with psychedelics is that, unless you have visited these realms, you are unlikely to understand their importance.”

“Part of ensuring a very high-quality psychedelic treatment for patients is to ensure high-quality training for therapists,” Spencer Hawkswell, TheraPsil’s executive director, told Marijuana Moment in an interview. “It’s greatly beneficial if therapists have had psychedelic therapy themselves.”

Few people, he offered by analogy, “would advise going to a sex therapist who’s never had sex before.”

TheraPsil, founded by clinical psychologist and psychotherapist Bruce Tobin, has been fighting for expanded access to psilocybin end-of-life care for years. In 2017, the group first filed a petition to exempt patients with certain terminal conditions from Canada’s ban on psilocybin. It was reportedly the first time a therapist had asked the Canadian government for such an exemption.

It wasn’t until this past January that TheraPsil finally heard back, Hawkswell said. “After three years of back-and-forth, they got back to us and said, ‘We’re going to be rejecting this application.’” The agency said there was no obvious medical necessity for the psychedelics.

TheraPsil was undaunted. “They say there’s no necessity,” Hawkswell said. “Maybe it’s because they haven’t met that person yet.”

In April, the group helped four more people with terminal illnesses file petitions with Health Canada and Health Minister Patty Hajdu seeking exemptions that will allow them to access psilocybin. In an interview with Marijuana Moment, Hawkswell said patients had gone months so far without a word from Hajdu, who with a stroke of a pen could allow the patients to access the drug.

“What we are working on right now is ramping up our messaging,” Hawkswell said. “We are going to try everything we can to get to the minister to make sure she sees these patients and responds to them.”

Dear @PattyHajdu, today marks the 75th day that palliative Canadians have been waiting on a reply from YOU re: their section 56 exemptions for compassionate access to #psilocybin. In the words of Dr. Bruce Tobin, TheraPsil's founder: "Please, do not make them wait any longer" pic.twitter.com/JRITGwtcMR

— TheraPsil (@TheraPsil) July 6, 2020

Efforts to allow TheraPsil’s clinicians to use psilocybin themselves are more recent. Dr. Sean O’Sullivan, an emergency room physician and psychotherapist who serves on TheraPsil’s board of directors, said the exemptions are necessary so that therapists can be better trained and more familiar with how psychedelics work in a therapeutic setting.

“The fundamental reason to expose therapists to their own experiences with psychedelics is that, unless you have visited these realms, you are unlikely to understand their importance,” O’Sullivan told Marijuana Moment. “The point is to allow therapists to understand the field they’re plowing in.”

Therapists need to be alert and able to recognize how psychedelic experiences manifest themselves in therapy, O’Sullivan said. Patients might bring up material having to do with their own birth, a traumatic experience or interactions with otherworldly beings. “If you’re not attuned to this possibility, not aware of this possibility, then it’s just going to slide by you,” he said. 

“It’s a bit like describing Beethoven’s Fifth,” O’Sullivan added. “You can describe it all you like, but at some point you have to play the music.”

As psychedelic therapy is more widely sought by patients, O’Sullivan said, demand for qualified therapists is likely to go up. “We are expecting that as we get more permission for patients to access psilocybin at the end of life,” he said, “that there will be an increase in demand for therapists that have had that psychedelic experience.”

Public opinion in Canada generally supports allowing access to psilocybin therapy for the terminally ill, TheraPsil says. A poll released by the group last month found that 59 percent of Canadians support legal access. Including respondents who said they were “ambivalent,” TheraPsil said, acceptance increased to 78 percent.

“What’s unreasonable is the political decision” to deny patients access to psilocybin, Hawkswell argued. “It’s not a scientific one, it’s not a democratic one. It’s political.”

Patients facing their imminent death often experience feelings and fears that psychedelics can help to ease, he said. Among them are demoralization, anxiety and depression. Existing treatment includes pharmaceuticals, talk therapy and occasionally inpatient treatment.

Psychedelics play a role in treatment by inducing what Hawkswell and others refer to as a “mystical experience”—a collection of psychoactive and sometimes spiritual events that accompany a psychedelic journey. The experience can reorient a person’s way of thinking, dissolving barriers between an individual and the world around them. For end-of-life patients, he explained, it can help them embrace that death “is natural—just as natural as being born.”

Practitioners note that psychedelic therapy doesn’t work the same way as many other pharmaceutical drugs, such as antidepressants or even medical marijuana. Patients usually take those substances under their own supervision and allow them to work in the background. With therapeutic use of psilocybin and other psychedelics, patients typically take the drug and undergo guided psychotherapy. Psychedelics’ unusual, sometimes disorienting effects are believed to allow patients to better approach and engage obstacles, then emerge with a fresh perspective.

Another psychedelic therapy group, Field Trip, which uses ketamine in therapy, describes the treatment on their website as a way “to press reset on your mental health.”

The emerging promise of psychedelics in recent years have caught the attention of academics, public policy reformers and even the U.S. government. Last month, the University of North Carolina (UNC) announced a $27 million project funded by the department of defense to research and develop psychedelics-inspired drugs.

That project’s researchers seem to believe they can separate psychedelics from what they describe as “disorienting” side effects, despite what Hawkswell and others say about the importance of a “mystical experience.”

“Although drugs like ketamine and potentially psilocybin have rapid antidepressant actions, their hallucinogenic, addictive, and disorienting side effects make their clinical use limited,” said Bryan L. Roth, a professor of pharmacology at UNC School of Medicine and the research team’s leader. The government partnership, UNC said, “aims to create new medications to effectively and rapidly treat depression, anxiety, and substance abuse without major side effects.”

In September of last year, Johns Hopkins University announced the launch of the nation’s first-ever psychedelic research center, a $17-million project to study the use of psychedelics to treat conditions such as opioid use disorder, Alzheimer’s disease, depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Meanwhile, activists in the United States have advocated for state- and local-level reforms to research, decriminalize and in some cases even legalize psychedelics themselves.

At the municipal level, Denver became the first U.S. city to enact such a reform, with voters in May 2019 approving a measure to effectively decriminalize possession of psilocybin mushrooms. Soon after, officials in Oakland, California, decriminalized possession of all plant- and fungi-based psychedelics. In January of this year, Oakland activists unveiled plans to allow go further and legalize the commercial sale of natural entheogenic substances. That same month in nearby Santa Cruz, the City Council effectively decriminalized psychedelics by voting to make the enforcement of laws against them among the city’s lowest enforcement priorities.

Reformers are now pushing for similar changes in other jurisdictions. In Washington, D.C. this month, Decriminalize Nature D.C. submitted signatures to qualify a measure for November’s ballot that would decriminalize all natural psychedelic drugs, including psilocybin, ayahuasca and ibogaine.

Other reform efforts are ongoing in Oregon, where voters later this year will decide whether to legalize psilocybin therapy—the very therapy TheraPsil’s patients are pushing Canadian Health Minister Hajdu to allow. Oregon voters will also see a separate measure to decriminalize the possession of all drugs and expand access to treatment for problem use on their November ballot.

Lawmakers in Hawaii earlier this year approved a plan to study psilocybin mushrooms’ medical applications with the goal of eventually legalizing access.

In Canada, for now, psilocybin remains illegal. Hawkswell of TheraPsil, however, believes a constellation of other national policies—including medical marijuana, safe injection sites, and physician-assisted dying—support extending psilocybin access to patients in palliative care. And Canada already permits certain religious groups to use ayahuasca as religious sacrament, Hawkswell noted.

“At this point psilocybin is a reasonable medical choice for these individuals,” he told Marijuana Moment. “This is about the minister being compassionate and using her ministerial abilities to help give patients access to something that’s going to help them.”

Patients waiting to hear back from Hajdu’s office, he said, don’t have time to wait for lengthy, bureaucratic processes. “We’re not just going to keep waiting,” he told Marijuana Moment. “We do have a legal team prepared, but that’s all I’ll say.”

Psychedelics Decrim Activists Mark First Anniversary Of Denver’s Historic Psilocybin Mushroom Vote

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia/Workman

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USDA Approves Hemp Plan For Minnesota, Tennessee and Puerto Rico

Wed, 07/15/2020 - 13:01

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) approved hemp regulatory plans from Minnesota, Tennessee and Puerto Rico on Tuesday.

This latest development brings the total number of approved plans across states, territories and Indian tribes to 53.

“We thank USDA for their work on this new federal hemp program, and we are grateful they have approved Minnesota’s plan,” Minnesota Agriculture Commissioner Thom Petersen said. “While this is a major step forward, there are still concerns over some the regulations imposed on states and tribal governments, such as testing requirements. We look forward to continuing our dialog with USDA so we can ensure Minnesota’s hemp growers and processors are successful in this fledging industry.”

The @USDA approved Minnesota's #hemp plan today. Read a statement from Commissioner @ThommyPetersen on the announcement: https://t.co/bgKW1s02Il #MNAg #agtwitter pic.twitter.com/SeZkZtTwPg

— MN Agriculture Dept (@MNagriculture) July 14, 2020

Puerto Rico is the second territory approval since the crop was federally legalized under the 2018 Farm Bill. In May, USDA accepted the U.S. Virgin Islands’s proposed regulations.

.@USDA aprobó el plan de #PuertoRico para la producción del cáñamo o hemp bajo el Programa de Producción de Cáñamo Doméstico de los Estados Unidos.

El plan aprobado se publicará más adelante en la siguiente página: https://t.co/YbQqKbFD8C pic.twitter.com/LYTNBne63J

— Jenniffer González (@RepJenniffer) July 14, 2020

Resident Commissioner Jenniffer González Colón (R), who represents the territory in Congress, discussed her advocacy for other cannabis reform legislation—including preventing the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs from denying home loan benefits to veterans solely due to employment in a state-legal marijuana market—in a press release.

USDA has been signing off on hemp proposals on a rolling basis over the past year.

“USDA continues to receive and review hemp production plans from states and Indian tribes,” the department said in a notice.

While the agency released an interim final rule for a domestic hemp production program last year, industry stakeholders and lawmakers have expressed concerns about certain policies it views as excessively restrictive.

USDA announced in February that it will temporarily lift two provisions that the industry viewed as problematic. Those policies primarily concern testing and disposal requirements. The department declined to revise the THC limit, however, arguing that it’s a statutory matter that can’t be dealt with administratively.

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue has said on several occasions that the Drug Enforcement Administration influenced certain rules, adding that the narcotics agency wasn’t pleased with the overall legalization of hemp.

Meanwhile, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is still in the process of developing regulations for CBD. It sent an update on its progress to Congress in March, explaining that the agency is actively exploring pathways to allow for the marketing of the cannabis compound as a dietary supplement and is developing enforcement discretion guidance.

An FDA public comment period was reopened indefinitely for individuals to submit feedback on CBD regulations.

This month, the White House finalized a review of FDA CBD and cannabis research protocols, but it’s unclear when or if the document will be released to the public.

Also this month, FDA submitted a report to Congress on the state of the CBD marketplace, and the document outlines studies the agency has performed on the contents and quality of cannabis-derived products that it has tested over the past six years.

Amid the coronavirus pandemic, hemp industry associations pushed for farmers to be able to access to certain COVID-19 relief loans—a request that Congress granted in the most recent round of coronavirus legislation.

However, USDA has previously said that hemp farmers are specifically ineligible for its Coronavirus Food Assistance Program. While the department initially said it would not reevaluate the crop’s eligibility based on new evidence, it removed that language shortly after Marijuana Moment reported on the exclusion.

Two members of Congress representing New York also wrote a letter to Perdue last month, asking that the agency extend access to that program to hemp farmers.

Hemp farmers approved to produce the crop do stand to benefit from other federal loan programs, however. The department recently released guidelines for processing loans for the industry.

New Jersey Governor Says Legalizing Marijuana A ‘No-Brainer’ For Coronavirus Economic Recovery

Photo courtesy of Pixabay.

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Congress pushes fed employee cannabis protections (Newsletter: July 15, 2020)

Wed, 07/15/2020 - 10:12

NJ gov: Legal marijuana would help COVID recovery; ID medical cannabis activists threaten lawsuit; IL announces legalization tax haul

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  • Rob from Michigan: “I pledged to help Tom and Marijuana Moment in hopes that the silence about cannabis from Republican legislators will be broken. Republican House and Senate members need to be publicly questioned, recorded and forced to stop ignoring all matters related to removing marijuana from the Schedule I list of the Controlled Substances Act. If this happens, we may just get Trump to finally submit his clear stance on the matter. So we need journalists out there to ask these questions.”

https://www.patreon.com/marijuanamoment

/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

The House Appropriations Committee is directing the Office of Personnel Management to reconsider the current practice of firing federal employees for state-legal marijuana use. Other new directives attached to annual spending bills include expanding cannabis research and funding hemp and CBD regulations.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) said legalizing marijuana should be a “no-brainer” part of the economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

  • “It’s a job creator, it’s a tax revenue raiser, it checks a lot of boxes.”

Idaho medical cannabis activists are threatening to sue the state if officials don’t give them an electronic signature gathering option for their ballot measure by Thursday. A federal judge already granted that relief to a separate education campaign.

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) announced that the state brought in $52 million in marijuana tax revenue in the first six months of legal sales.

  • “Since January, over $239 million has been spent on recreational cannabis in Illinois translating to $52 million in tax revenue, and a portion of every dollar spent will be reinvested in communities that have suffered from decades of disinvestment.”

The Drug Policy Alliance is urging the House Appropriations Committee to reject a possible amendment on Wednesday that would block Washington, D.C. from decriminalizing psychedelics through a measure likely to appear on the November ballot.

/ FEDERAL

The Department of Transportation’s Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee heard a presentation on the impact of hemp legalization on road safety.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration enacted a final rule making changes to regulations on the confidentiality of substance use disorder patient records.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture said that licensed hemp businesses are eligible for the Delta Health Care Services grant program.

Sen. Doug Jones (D-AL) tweeted about the case of a military veteran sentenced to five years in prison for marijuana possession, saying, “Folks, there is a lot to unpack here, but first and foremost we cannot allow our veterans to be treated this way. Second, we have to find a way for medical marijuana to be allowed in all 50 states.”

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) tweeted, “Communities of color are still being targeted as a result of discriminatory cannabis policies. We need to focus on restorative justice, which includes ensuring those most impacted by the failed war on drugs have equal access to this industry. We need to pass the MORE Act.”

Florida Democratic congressional candidate Jen Perelman tweeted, “I support marijuana legalization. My opponent, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, does not.”

/ STATES

The Florida Supreme Court ordered a second round of oral arguments in a case challenging the state’s medical cannabis business vertical integration requirements.

Missouri marijuana activists are looking ahead to working to place a legalization measure on the 2022 ballot.

Maryland regulators proposed hemp rules.

Nebraska regulators certified the state’s first hemp testing lab.

Michigan regulators published an updated coronavirus-related advisory bulletin for marijuana businesses.

Utah regulators are now accepting applications from retailers that want to sell hemp products.

Massachusetts regulators sent a reminder that Wednesday is the deadline to submit public comments about quarantined marijuana vaping products.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 1,500 cannabis bills in state legislatures and Congress this year. Patreon supporters pledging at least $25/month get access to our interactive maps, charts and hearing calendar so they don’t miss any developments.

Learn more about our marijuana bill tracker and become a supporter on Patreon to get access.

/ INTERNATIONAL

The attorney general of the Bahamas said a draft marijuana legalization bill will be presented to the Cabinet “in very short order.”

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study concluded that “medicinal cannabis is an effective and well-tolerated treatment for a number of [spinal cord injury]-related symptoms.”

A study found that “cannabis use decreased among patients with opioid use disorder” and “increased…in patients with chronic regional pain syndrome, trauma, spondylosis, and failed back surgery syndrome.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

A poll of U.S. voters found that 65% support banning no-knock warrants in drug cases.

Prohibitionist organization Smart Approaches to Marijuana circulated a sign-on letter thanking presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden for refusing to support cannabis legalization.

Code for America’s senior program director authored an op-ed on the organization’s efforts to help people clear their past records.

/ BUSINESS

Aphria Inc. and Aurora Cannabis Inc. reportedly held ultimately unsuccessful talks about a potential merger.

4Front Ventures Corp. announced quarterly revenue of $17 million and an adjusted loss of $2.8 million.

Innovative Industrial Properties, Inc. closed on a Blue Harbor, New Jersey property and reached a lease agreement to rent it to a subsidiary of Curaleaf Holdings, Inc.

Trulieve Cannabis Corp. announced that since more than 50% of its issued and outstanding subordinate voting shares are owned by U.S. shareholders, it will receive domestic issuer status.

NC3 Systems, which does business as Caliva is facing a lawsuit over allegations that its website is not Americans With Disabilities Act-compliant.

Metrc LLC is asking a Missouri appellate court to overturn a judge’s decision blocking it from charging fees to medical cannabis businesses for RFID tags.

/ CULTURE

Mike Tyson’s The Ranch Companies is printing CBD-infused cups that can be filled with water to create cannabis beverages.

Jane Fonda appears in an ad campaign for Uncle Bud’s hemp and CBD products.

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Illinois Collects $52 Million In Marijuana Tax Revenue In First Six Months Of Legal Sales

Tue, 07/14/2020 - 21:00

Illinois generated $52 million in tax revenue from marijuana sales in the first six months since implementation, the governor announced on Tuesday.

In total, the past half-year saw more than $239 million in cannabis sales. The state emphasized that 25 percent of the tax revenue will go toward a community reinvestment program designed to support communities most impacted by the drug war.

“Illinois has done more to put justice and equity at the forefront of this industry than any other state in the nation, and we’re ensuring that communities that have been hurt by the war on drugs have the opportunity to participate,” Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D), who pardoned more than 11,000 people with prior marijuana convictions ahead of the program’s implementation, said in a press release.

The Illinois Department of Revenue took in about $35 million in revenue from excise taxes as well as $18 million in sales taxes that are being shared with local jurisdictions. The administration estimates that about $26 million will go to the state’s general fund.

“I’m proud to work with Governor Pritzker in creating equity in the cannabis industry in a way that no other state has done,” Toi Hutchinson, the state’s cannabis czar, said. “By expunging hundreds of thousands of cannabis-related records, reinvesting the money spent on adult-use cannabis in Illinois into communities that are suffering, and making equity a central focus of the cannabis licensure process, the administration is ensuring that no community is left out or left behind.”

Last week, Illinois released its figures for marijuana sales for June, showing a record-breaking $47.6 million in total sales over the month. That includes $12.4 million in purchases by people visiting from out of state.

Pritzker predicted during his State of the State address in January that cannabis tourism would bolster the state’s coffers.

This latest notice also mentions that the state’s reinvestment program is offering $31.5 million in grants for “historically underserved communities across Illinois.

“In addition to providing financial support to organizations offering services in disproportionately impacted communities, the administration offered lower application fees, low-interest loans, and informational workshops on cannabis-related licenses to social equity applicants,” it states. “Governor Pritzker is also working with State’s Attorney Kim Foxx, the Prisoner Review Board, and state’s attorneys across Illinois to expunge the records of non-violent offenders with a cannabis related conviction.”

New Jersey Governor Says Legalizing Marijuana A ‘No-Brainer’ For Coronavirus Economic Recovery

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Congress Should Let D.C. Decriminalize Psychedelics, Advocates Say

Tue, 07/14/2020 - 19:00

Drug policy reform advocates are asking a key congressional committee to reject a Republican lawmaker’s attempt to block Washington, D.C. from enacting an initiative to decriminalize certain psychedelics.

Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD)—who has also championed provisions preventing D.C. from implementing legal marijuana sales after local voters passed a cannabis initiative in 2014—signaled last week that he’s planning to introduce an amendment to a spending bill during a committee meeting on Wednesday that would restrict the District from allowing the psychedelics measure to be implemented even if it is approved by voters in November.

The Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) is in favor of the proposal and, on Tuesday, it sent a letter to leadership in the House Appropriations Committee asking members to oppose Harris’s amendment and any other effort to restrict the democratic process for D.C. residents.

The measure, which hasn’t formally qualified for the ballot yet but received significantly more signatures than required when activists submitted them last week, would make a wide range of entheogenic substances including psilocybin mushrooms and ayahuasca among the jurisdiction’s lowest law enforcement priorities. However, it wouldn’t technically change local statute.

“We urge the Committee to vote against any proposed amendment that would impede the District of Columbia’s effort to decriminalize the use of psychedelics in the District via Ballot Initiative 81,” Queen Adesuyi, policy manager of national affairs for DPA, wrote. “This ballot initiative represents an important step towards ending the racist and failed War on Drugs that disproportionately impacts low-income communities and communities of color.”

“We understand there are intentions to block this effort from happening, and urge the Committee to vote against any amendment that would undo the will of the people of the District of Columbia,” the letter states. “We urge the Appropriations Committee to vote against an effort that would prohibit the 700,000 residents of D.C. to carry out their own democratic process and include Initiative 81, a measure that chips away at the failed drug war, on the ballot in November.”

Language of the potential Harris amendment has not been released. Marijuana Moment reached out to his office, but a representative did not immediately respond.

Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) said in a press release last week that she would defeat the congressman’s measure, asserting that he’s “been a chronic abuser of home rule” and this is “the latest example.”

“We will continue to fight any and all attempts to overturn D.C. laws, regardless of the policy, as D.C. has a right to self-government,” she said.

Harris has been a consistent opponent of cannabis reform, repeatedly backing a long-standing congressional rider that bars D.C. from using its tax dollars to implement a legal marketplace. Last year, however, it was not included in the spending bill as introduced by House Democratic leaders and the congressmen didn’t attempt to introduce an amendment to reinsert it. He acknowledged that his party is “not in charge anymore” in the chamber. That said, the Senate did include the measure in its version of the D.C. spending bill, and it made it into the final legislation signed by the president.

But while Harris seems to have set aside efforts to push cannabis rider in the House for now, he feels more confident that some Democrats will share his views on psychedelics.

“I think there’s probably a lot of Democrats who draw a very distinct line between potent hallucinogens and marijuana,” he told The New York Post. “And whereas the majority may support recreational use of marijuana, I doubt the majority supports the broad use of these potent hallucinogens.”

Read the letter DPA sent to the House Appropriations Committee on the psychedelics initiative below: 

DPA Letter House Approps Vo… by Marijuana Moment on Scribd

New Jersey Governor Says Legalizing Marijuana A ‘No-Brainer’ For Coronavirus Economic Recovery

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New Jersey Governor Says Legalizing Marijuana A ‘No-Brainer’ For Coronavirus Economic Recovery

Tue, 07/14/2020 - 17:17

The governor of New Jersey said on Tuesday that legalizing marijuana could simultaneously help the state recover economically from the coronavirus pandemic while also promoting racial justice.

During an interview on the radio program Jim Kerr Anytime, Gov. Phil Murphy (D) recognized that the state is going to need to be innovative to generate revenue amid the health crisis. A co-host said cannabis could be part of the solution and the governor agreed.

“As you probably know, I’ve been on that from day one. The legislature hasn’t been able to get there yet, but absolutely. That’s, to me, an incredibly smart thing to do,” Murphy said. “We’re not inventing marijuana. It exists.”

“It’s got a huge social justice piece for me. The overwhelming percentage of persons nailed in our criminal justice system are persons of color. It’s a no-brainer in that respect,” he said. “It’s a job creator, it’s a tax revenue raiser, it checks a lot of boxes. I hope we’ll get there sooner than later.”

Listen to the governor discuss cannabis reform, starting around 8:10 into the audio below:

While the legislature has been unable to pass a marijuana legalization bill, they did approve legislation to put a referendum on the issue before voters on the November ballot. In the meantime, the state Assembly passed a cannabis decriminalization bill last month that would make possession of up to two ounces a civil penalty without the threat of jail time.

Separately, the state’s health department recently announced that it will allow medical cannabis dispensaries to deliver products to patients.

In neighboring Pennsylvania, the majority of Democratic senators sent a letter to the governor and legislative leaders last week, similarly arguing that lawmakers should pursue adult-use legalization in order to generate revenue to make up for losses resulting from the coronavirus pandemic.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) was asked in May about whether marijuana legalization could serve as a tool for economic recovery and he expressed support for the proposal, stating that while the legislature hasn’t yet accomplished the policy change, “I believe we will” down the line.

Idaho Medical Marijuana Activists Threaten Lawsuit After State Ignores Signature Gathering Request

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Idaho Medical Marijuana Activists Threaten Lawsuit After State Ignores Signature Gathering Request

Tue, 07/14/2020 - 16:11

A campaign to legalize medical marijuana in Idaho is threatening legal action against the state if officials continue to refuse activists an opportunity to collect signatures electronically after the coronavirus pandemic upended in-person petitioning efforts.

The same relief being requested by the cannabis advocates has already been granted to a separate campaign behind an education funding initiative after a federal judge ruled that the state’s shelter-in-place and social distancing orders inhibited them from gathering signatures. The Idaho Cannabis Coalition says it should also be entitled to the benefit.

A law firm representing the campaign sent a letter to the secretary of state on Monday, expressing disappointment that the office did not respond to an earlier inquiry seeking permission to collect signatures digitally like the other campaign. While the cannabis effort “has no interest in litigation,” the letter makes clear that the campaign will pursue that route if they don’t hear back by Thursday.

“As detailed in my earlier correspondence, the Coalition was well on its way to successfully collecting the statutorily required signatures needed to get the Act on the 2020 ballot when the March 13, 2020 state of emergency was declared,” the firm said. “As a result, the Coalition’s ability to collect signatures was destroyed. Consistent with Judge Winmill’s ruling, this had the effect of impacting the constitutional rights of groups like the Coalition.”

“Unfortunately, there is not much time to remedy this unintentional infringement,” it continues. “If the Secretary of State is unwilling to pursue a cooperative remedy for the Coalition, there simply is not time to wait given the amount of time needed to collect signatures and the impending November election.”

Tamar Todd, legal director for the New Approach PAC, which is lending support to the state cannabis effort, reiterated in an email to Marijuana Moment that the goal of the letter is “to avoid unnecessary litigation by asking the Secretary of State to allow the Coalition to collect signatures in the same manner as Reclaim Idaho.”

“The Coalition is similarly situated to Reclaim and is entitled to the same relief. But for COVID-19 and the disruption caused to signature collection, the medical marijuana petition could have qualified for the ballot,” she said.

After a federal judge ruled that the education-focused campaign could collect signatures electronically for 48 days, the state appealed. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals denied their request for a temporary stay of the order, but the case in ongoing. In the meantime, Reclaim Idaho has launched a site where registered voters can sign their ballot petition online through a DocuSign form.

If the cannabis campaign is ultimately allowed to proceed with signature gathering, they will need 55,057 valid signatures to qualify for the November ballot. Activists said they have about 45,000 unverified signatures on hand at this point, and they’re confident that can fill the gap if they get the deadline extension and electronic petitioning option.

Under the proposed ballot measure, patients with qualifying conditions could receive medical cannabis recommendations from physicians and then possess up to four ounces of marijuana and grow up to six plants.

Advocates say that passing medical cannabis in one of the remaining states without such policies on the books would be a significant victory for patients in its own right—but it could also have outsized federal implications. A House-passed bill to protect banks that service state-legal cannabis businesses from being penalized by federal regulators is currently pending action in a Senate committee chaired by a senator who represents the state.

Creating a medical marijuana program in Idaho, which is one of small handful of states that don’t yet even have limited CBD laws, could put additional pressure on Senate Banking Committee Chairman Mike Crapo (R-ID) to move the financial services legislation in Congress.

Read the letter to Idaho’s secretary of state on electronic signature gathering for the cannabis initiative below:

Cannabis campaign letter to… by Marijuana Moment on Scribd

Reconsider Firing Workers For Marijuana, Congress Tells Federal Agencies

Photo courtesy of Mike Latimer.

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Reconsider Firing Workers For Marijuana, Congress Tells Federal Agencies

Tue, 07/14/2020 - 13:53

A key House committee has released a series reports for spending bills that include a wide range of marijuana-related provisions.

In directing federal agencies to reconsider firing federal workers for state-legal consumption, promote research into cannabis and fund CBD regulations, the reports make clear that marijuana has become a mainstream issue that congressional leadership is becoming more comfortable addressing in high-profile legislative documents.

The House Appropriations Committee directives are attached to spending bills that also contain legislative reform provisions, including previously reported proposals to protect state medical marijuana laws from federal interference and shield banks from being punished for working with cannabis businesses.

Here’s a look at the new report language that’s attached to appropriations legislation:

Marijuana use by federal employees

The Financial Services and General Government spending bill report directs the Office of Personnel Management to “review its policies and guidelines regarding hiring and firing of individuals who use marijuana in States” where cannabis is legal.

“Hiring Guidelines.—The Committee encourages OPM to review its policies and guidelines regarding hiring and firing of individuals who use marijuana in States where that individual’s private use of marijuana is not prohibited under the law of the State. These policies should reflect changes to the law on marijuana usage and clearly state the impact of marijuana usage on Federal employment.”

Marijuana research

The report attached to the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies funding bill features a number of marijuana research provisions, including calling on the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to develop “a multipronged strategy wherein basic and clinical scientists and public health specialists work together to address the opportunities and challenges of cannabis in a comprehensive manner.”

“Cannabis Research.—NIH currently supports a diverse portfolio of research on cannabinoids and the endocannabinoid system, yet this research support typically relies on narrowly tailored program announcements and grants rather than a multipronged strategy wherein basic and clinical scientists and public health specialists work together to address the opportunities and challenges of cannabis in a comprehensive manner. The Committee encourages NIDA to continue supporting a full range of research on the health effects of marijuana and its components, including research to understand how marijuana policies affect public health, to help inform marijuana policymaking in States.”

Members also made a recommendation to provide protections for universities that conduct research into cannabis, noting the significant public interest in such studies.

“Protecting Scientific Research on Marihuana.—Through scientific research, institutions of higher education advance our understanding and knowledge of various aspects of our world. Moreover, when in the public interest, such institutions should be able to conduct such research without fear of reprisal or loss of Federal funding. This includes research on cannabis, a Schedule I controlled substance under the Controlled Substances Act. As more States and localities move to legalize cannabis, many institutions of higher education are expanding the knowledge-base on this controlled substance. As a result, the Committee notes that such research is in the public interest, and the recommendation includes new bill language prohibiting the Department from penalizing institutions of higher education that conduct scientific research on marihuana.”

The committee directed that $1 million should be appropriated for research into natural alternatives to opioids such as kratom and CBD, noting that the “wide availability and increased use of these substances” makes it “imperative to know more about potential risks or benefits, and whether or not they can have a role in finding new and effective non-opioid methods to treat pain.”

“Kratom.—The Committee notes that little research has been done to date on natural products that are used by many to treat pain in place of opioids. These natural plants and substances include kratom and cannabidiol (CBD). Given the wide availability and increased use of these substances, it is imperative to know more about potential risks or benefits, and whether or not they can have a role in finding new and effective non-opioid methods to treat pain. The Committee recommends $1,000,000 for this research, an increase of $500,000 above the fiscal year 2020 enacted level, and encourages AHRQ to make center-based grants to address research which will lead to clinical trials in geographic regions which are among the hardest hit by the opioid crisis.”

In a section concerning opioid overdose prevention, legislators wrote that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) should continue its work while also investigating misuse of other substances, including stimulants and cannabis.

“Opioid Abuse and Overdose Prevention.—The Committee commends CDC for its leadership on combating opioid drug overdoses. The Committee encourages the Director to continue to implement these activities based on population-adjusted burden of disease criteria, including mortality data (age adjusted rate), as significant criteria when distributing funds for overdose prevention activities. The Committee recognizes that the substance misuse epidemic is shifting, with an increase in overdoses resulting from stimulants and other substances. The Committee urges for CDC to monitor, prevent, and reduce harms associated with drug use, misuse, and overdose, including opioids, stimulants, cannabis, and other emerging risks. The Committee appreciates efforts by CDC to ensure that funding for opioid abuse and overdose prevention reaches local communities to advance local understanding of the opioid overdose epidemic and to scale-up prevention and response activities as intended by Congress.”

Military veterans and cannabis issues

Like last year, the panel noted in a report attached to the Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies spending bill that veterans have been denied home loan benefits from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) due to their work in the state-legal marijuana market. However, the department told Congress last month that it does not have a policy on the books stipulating that such employment renders veterans ineligible on its own; rather, it blamed conflicting state and federal laws for creating risk that makes it less likely for those in the industry to be eligible under the rules of private lenders.

The committee said it now wants VA to “improve communication with eligible lending institutions to reduce confusion among lenders and borrowers on this matter.”

“Home Loan Income Verification.—The Committee is aware of the Department’s denial of home loan guarantees to Veterans solely on the basis of the Veteran’s documented income being derived from state-legalized cannabis activities, and has previously expressed concern that confusion on this issue hinders Veterans’ ability to fully understand and consider how employment decisions could affect future eligibility for earned benefits. The Committee understands that as directed by House Report 116–63, VA has clarified that nothing in VA statutes or regulations specifically prohibits a Veteran whose income is derived from state-legalized cannabis activities from obtaining a certificate of eligibility for VA home loan benefits. The Committee directs the VA to improve communication with eligible lending institutions to reduce confusion among lenders and borrowers on this matter.”

The spending bill report also requests an update on a congressionally mandated marijuana research project.

“Cannabis Research.—The Committee requests an update on the status of the study on cannabis research, as described in House Report 116–63.”

Hemp research and regulations

In the report attached to the Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration and Related Agencies spending bill, the committee said it’s aware of difficulties hemp farmers face in ensuring their crops do not contain excess concentrations of THC and recognizes “that these challenges are exacerbated by lack of information, best practices, and tools to control the hemp content of THC.” To that end, it directs the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to issues report to Congress with data on crops having to be destroyed due to excess potency.

“Hemp.—The Committee is aware of the difficulty farmers face in trying to control the legal tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content of their hemp. The Committee recognizes that these challenges are exacerbated by lack of information, best practices, and tools to control the hemp content of THC. The Committee directs USDA to report to Congress on the number of acres of hemp, by state that have been required to be destroyed because the crop exceeds the limit 0.3 percent THC content; the number of producers, by state, who are found to have a negligent violation of the 0.3 percent limit; and the total number, by state, of producers whose hemp has been tested for THC.”

Another provision of the report states that USDA should conduct “genomics and bioinformatics” studies into hemp in order to identify “the genetic control of key production and product quality traits” of the crop. 

“Hemp Whole-Genome Bioinformatics.—The Committee encourages ARS to conduct genomics and bioinformatics research in collaboration with capable institutions to elucidate the genetic control of key production and product quality traits of the hemp plant. In addition, the Committee also encourages ARS to partner with institutions already engaged in such research to conduct hemp genetic improvement research and breeding with new breeding and editing techniques.”

Due to the increasing demand for hemp products, members called for $1.5 million in additional funding “to maintain the hemp germplasm repository.” They’re also seeking to appropriate about $41 million for a variety of initiatives including one concerning cannabis and cannabinoids.

“Industrial Hemp Germplasm.—The Committee recognizes the increasing demand for industrial hemp for a variety of uses and its growing importance as a crop for U.S. farmers. The Committee provides an additional $1,500,000 above the fiscal year 2020 level to maintain the hemp germplasm repository.”

“The Committee recommendation includes a net increase of $40,828,000, including increases for the following programs or initiatives: Strengthening Response Capabilities for Foodborne Outbreaks; Cannabis and Cannabis Derivatives; Artificial Intelligence and Other Emerging Technologies; Transform Medical Device Safety, Cybersecurity, Review, and Innovation; Compounding; and Modernizing Influenza Vaccines.”

Further, the report stipulates that USDA should adhere to the intent of Congress and make sure that hemp businesses are eligible for all competitive grant programs that are available to farmers and producers of other crops.

“Industrial Hemp.—The intent of Congress in Public Law 115–334 was for industrial hemp to be eligible for all USDA programs, including Rural Development. Industrial hemp can significantly benefit struggling rural economies. The Committee encourages Rural Development to ensure that industrial hemp is eligible for all competitive grant programs.”

And finally, the panel said that another $5 million should be made available to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for CBD enforcement and to develop regulations to permit the substance’s lawful marketing in the food supply or as a dietary supplement.

“Cannabidiol Enforcement.—The Committee provides an increase of $5,000,000 for enforcing the law to protect patients and the public while also providing a potential regulatory pathway for cannabis and cannabis derived products. The Committee maintains its concern about the proliferation of foods and dietary supplements marketed in violation of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA), including products containing cannabis and cannabis-derived ingredients. Non-FFDCA-compliant products continue to pose potential health and safety risks to consumers through unsubstantiated and misleading claims such as treating a wide-range of life-threatening diseases and conditions. The Committee expects the FDA to continue to prioritize consumer-safety through application of the law.”

Curbing illegal marijuana grows on public land

Lawmakers again emphasized in the report for the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies bill that they’re aware of illegal marijuana cultivation on public lands in California and said that these “activities harmfully impact the public, water, soil, and wildlife.”

“MARIJUANA ON PUBLIC LANDS – The Committee is aware that trespassers illegally grow marijuana on public lands in California. These unlawful activities harmfully impact the public, water, soil, and wildlife. The Committee supports Forest Service efforts to develop tools to detect and eradicate grow sites. The Committee directs the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management to continue to cooperate with state, local and tribal governments on survey, reclamation, and prevention efforts to the maximum extent possible.”

Addressing marijuana-impaired driving

The Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies report alleges that instances of impaired driving have “spiked” in states that have legalized marijuana and says it wants the Justice Department to “assist states in identifying detection technologies that show promise in identifying drivers impaired by marijuana.”

“Marijuana-Impaired Drivers.—With the proliferation of state laws legalizing recreational and medical marijuana, the incidence rate of impaired driving has spiked. The Committee encourages the Department to assist states in identifying detection technologies that show promise in identifying drivers impaired by marijuana.”

In the Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies bill report, the committee also addresses impaired driving issues, saying it remains “concerned with the growing problem of people driving under the influence of one or multiple substances, including marijuana and opioids” and urges federal coordination to develop technologies that can detect active impairment from cannabis. The panel recognizes that doing so will likely not be achievable in the short-term, and so it mandates continued support for drug recognition expert training in the interim.

“Drug-impaired driving.—The Committee remains concerned with the growing problem of people driving under the influence of one or multiple substances, including marijuana and opioids. The Committee supports the goal of developing a reliable standard for all types of impaired driving and urges NHTSA to coordinate research efforts with states and other partners. At the same time, the Committee recognizes that developing a standard measurement of marijuana impairment, similar to blood alcohol concentration (BAC), remains unlikely in the near term. The Committee directs NHTSA to continue to robustly support Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) and Advanced Roadside Impaired Driving Enforcement (ARIDE) training and to prioritize the study and development of a standardized field sobriety test (SFST) to detect marijuana impairment.

“The Committee directs NHTSA to work with the Department of Justice, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Department of Commerce to ensure that state highway safety offices and state law enforcement have the most up-to-date information from the Federal government on detecting impaired driving including an inventory of available technologies to detect recent drug use such as oral fluid technologies. In order to increase the safety of the transportation network by reducing drug-impaired driving, the Committee directs NHTSA to work with states to determine their toxicology testing and funding needs and to provide states with flexibility in how they use impaired driving countermeasures grants, including, but not limited to, assistance with state toxicology labs.”

White House Completes Review Of CBD Guidance From FDA

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Congress Will Legalize Marijuana in 2021 Despite Biden Opposition, Democratic Senator Says

Mon, 07/13/2020 - 19:33

A Democratic U.S. senator says that if his party reclaims the Senate and White House in November, lawmakers will “move very quickly” to legalize marijuana regardless of where presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden stands on the issue.

Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) was asked about a variety of cannabis-related issues during an interview on Saturday, and he said Democrats are positioned to advance marijuana reform as soon as they have a majority in both chambers of Congress. While Biden remains opposed to adult-use legalization, the senator said supporters will have the votes to pass it in any case.

“From my perspective, this is another issue that’s just right there on the ballot in November,” he told The Young Jurks podcast. “We’ll move very quickly in January to change these laws to make sure that there are national protections which are put in place. But unfortunately, Trump controls the discretionary use of these personnel, and they’re kind of committed to keeping this crazy non scientifically based analysis of marijuana front-and-center.”

Markey said he and home state colleague Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) are “confronted with this obstinate, obdurate opposition from the Trump administration.”

Host Mike Crawford pressed the senator on Biden’s position on legalization, noting that advocates might not like Trump but they’re also turned off by the former vice president due to his insistence that additional research on cannabis is needed before supports broad reform. Biden currently backs medical marijuana legalization, federal rescheduling, expungements and allowing states to set their own policies.

“We’ll have the majority of the votes in the United States Senate,” Markey responded. “And I know [Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY)] has moved in that direction, he’ll be the majority leader in January. I think we’ll have votes to just move it, and the science has moved there.”

Watch Markey discuss marijuana policy, starting around 25:45 into the video below:

“I think what’s going to happen on so many issues is that Congress is a stimulus-response institution, and there’s nothing more stimulating to what’s happening out there—on climate change, on cannabis,” he added. “And after this election… we need to move on these policies and have our own 1933, our own New Deal.”

Some advocates were hopeful that a criminal justice reform task force organized by Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) would recommend that the presumptive nominee adopt a pro-legalization stance, that did not ultimately come to fruition, with the panel recommending a series of modest reforms last week that stop short of ending federal prohibition.

But Markey—who recently debated his primary election challenger, formerly anti-legalization Rep. Joe Kennedy III (D-MA), on cannabis issues—is confident that should Democrats take back the Senate, lawmakers will pass their own version of a “New Deal” that includes comprehensive marijuana reform, addressing climate change and guaranteeing universal healthcare.

“All issues go through three phases: political education, political activation, political implementation. We’re now through the political education on climate and marijuana, we’re into the activation stage, and in November, implementation,” he said. “We win the election and then we begin to just legislate on the floor on Medicare for All on Green New Deal, marijuana—just to move the country, legislatively, to where it already is operationally in their lives and what they want to see happen.”

Also in the interview, the senator discussed the importance of cannabis industry workers being able to unionize and voiced support for a proposal from Shaleen Title of Massachusetts’s Cannabis Control Commission to establish a loan program for economically disadvantaged entrepreneurs using tax revenue from marijuana sales.

Asked about providing expungements for prior cannabis offenses, Markey said he’s in favor of that policy and that “we criminalized these low-level drug issues for too long.”

“[Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ)] is going to be up here and endorsing me this week, and he has something called the Next Step Act, which I’m his cosponsor on it, which goes to this expungement issue,” he said. “We just can’t have people walking around for the rest of their lives with with something that should not have been a crime. So, yes, the answer is absolutely yes, and Cory Booker and I are going to be talking about that this week.”

Kansas City Mayor Talks Marijuana And Broader Drug Policy Reform After Local Decriminalization Vote

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Wyoming Cops Accuse Hemp Advocates Of Illegally Growing Marijuana

Mon, 07/13/2020 - 16:53

A lawyer “argues there is a pile of evidence that the farmers intended to grow hemp, beginning with the fact that they testified in front of legislative committees in favor of legalizing this agricultural practice in Wyoming.”

By Andrew Graham, WyoFile.com

UPDATE: Laramie County prosecutor David Singleton and attorneys for the defendants questioned Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigations Special Agent John Briggs on Thursday during the start of the preliminary hearing. Laramie County Circuit Court Judge Antoinette Williams is presiding over the hearing, which was extended to an as-yet-unannounced date. — Ed.

Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation agents in November raided an Albin hemp farm, operated by two people instrumental in legalizing the crop in Wyoming, court filings show.

DCI and Laramie County prosecutors are accusing the mother-and-son farmers of growing marijuana with the intent to distribute because the 700-plus pounds of dried plant material law enforcement seized tested slightly above the legal THC-concentration limit of 0.3%, according to a DCI affidavit. Marijuana and hemp are derived from the same plant. Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, is the chemical in marijuana that gets users high. Its low presence in hemp keeps the crop from being categorized a drug.

The farmers, Deb Palm-Egle and her son, Josh Egle, could face years, even decades, in prison if convicted.

The Egles intended to grow hemp, and their crop tested below the legal limit before the raid, according to documents filed by their attorney, trial lawyer Tom Jubin of Cheyenne.

In the July 6 court filing, Jubin argues there is a pile of evidence that the farmers intended to grow hemp, beginning with the fact that they testified in front of legislative committees in favor of legalizing this agricultural practice in Wyoming.

The case comes up for a preliminary hearing tomorrow in Laramie County Circuit Court. Jubin declined to comment, but his filing indicates he will ask the judge to dismiss the case because his clients did not intend to grow marijuana, which he argues should invalidate all the charges.

The Legislature legalized industrial hemp farming in 2017, though it became law without then-governor Matt Mead’s signature — a sign of his disapproval.

Jubin’s list of expected witnesses includes high-ranking politicians. Wyoming State Treasurer Curt Meier, a former state senator, along with House Majority Floor Leader Eric Barlow and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Dan Kirkbride — all proponents of hemp farming who interacted with the charged farmers during legislative hearings on the statutes — are listed as potential witnesses. All three submitted testimony that they believe the Egles intended to grow hemp, not marijuana.

Political proponents of hemp have touted it as a way to diversify Wyoming’s fossil-fuel dependent economy and provide a new crop for the state’s agriculturists.

A photograph of the Egles standing next to Gov. Mark Gordon at the March 6, 2019 signing of a follow-up bill legalizing hemp production and processing is also included in the filing.

Jubin is also arguing that while DCI’s tests found the plants contained above the legal limit for THC, their concentration of the psychoactive ingredient was far too low to be effective as an illegal intoxicant.

DCI agents put the plants through a series of 10 tests, according to the charging documents. In nine of those, the concentration tested higher than 0.3%, according to the charging documents. The highest test level came back at 0.6% THC.

But for someone looking to get high, smoking these plants would be a disappointment. A review of recreational marijuana dispensary websites in Fort Collins, Colorado shows most “flowers,” the smokable buds of the plants, contain 15% THC or more.

“A crop of hemp containing in the neighborhood of .3 percent — or even over one percent, would be entirely unmarketable as marijuana,” Jubin argued in his July 6th filing. Selling such a product “on the illegal black market” could even put the seller at risk of retaliation, Jubin argued.

“Selling such a plant representing it to be marijuana could endanger the seller as it has no significant psychoactive properties, and any purchaser would consider himself duped or cheated,” he wrote. Nor could the farmers sell the crop in the legal marijuana market, because it did not come from a licensed grow operation, Jubin argued.

Prosecutors, however, are leveling serious charges against the farmers. These include conspiracy to manufacture, deliver or possess marijuana; possession with intent to deliver marijuana; possession of marijuana; and planting or cultivating marijuana. All but the last are felonies. The conspiracy and possession-with-intent-to-deliver charges carry prison sentences of zero to 10 years. Possession of a felony weight of marijuana — over three ounces — carries a prison sentence of zero to five years.

Two more people, Brock and Shannon Dyke, who were present at the farm the day of the raid, face identical charges. Brock Dyke was a contractor doing work for the Egles, according to Jubin’s filing.

Laramie County District Attorney Leigh Ann Manlove did not respond to a request for comment by publication time.

Tipster led to ‘bust’

The trail to DCI’s raid on the farm in sleepy Albin, east of Cheyenne near the Nebraska border, began on Sept. 4, according to the charging documents. That day, a “reliable source of information” contacted DCI Special Agent J. Briggs and said he was concerned Palm-Egle was growing marijuana. The source said he or she “has known PALM-EGLE for some time,” Briggs wrote in his affidavit. The reliable source said they had seen a new addition on Palm-Egle’s farm and “believed that the new addition was what was described as a ‘greenhouse,’” Briggs wrote. The source “also claimed that he/she, noticed ‘blue lights coming from the greenhouse.’”

The source also said that Palm-Egle, who is in her 60s, talked in conversation about marijuana easing the symptoms of her multiple sclerosis.

More than a month after the tip, on Oct. 28, DCI’s Briggs “attempted to conduct physical surveillance on the residence,” he wrote. He saw car tracks but no people.

On Nov. 1, Briggs returned to the farm with another agent and went looking for someone to talk to. They did not find anyone, even after knocking on doors and entering “open barns” to look “around corners in areas that someone could possibly be, with the inability to hear Agents announcing themselves,” Briggs wrote.

He did not find anyone to talk to, but spotted “what appeared to be raw plant form marihuana” hanging in a barn with no door to hide it. Briggs then did some research, according to his affidavit. An official at the Wyoming Department of Agriculture told him that no hemp licenses had been granted yet. Briggs also found that Palm-Egle was once the registered agent for a Denver-based marijuana company, but the company no longer had a grow license.

The morning of Nov. 4, agents executed a search warrant and raided the farm, where they found the Dykes, along with their two children. Jubin describes Brock Dyke as a building contractor who worked for the Egles.

“My clients are honest small business owners,” Michael Bennett, a Laramie-based attorney representing the Dykes, said. Bennett declined to comment further on the case.

When the agents entered the barn, they found the plants had been taken down and the buds had been placed in “large brown paper bags.”

According to Briggs, Brock Dykes in an interview told the agent the plants were “clones” of marijuana plants Josh Egle had brought from a marijuana grow in Colorado.

According to Jubin’s filing, Dykes told DCI Agent Jason Moon during the raid that the crop was hemp. He provided the agent text messages from the farmers with the results of two previous tests the farmers had a commercial lab conduct on the crop. Both those tests, as well as a third one that is included as evidence in Jubin’s filing, came back below 0.3% THC. Moon shared those results with other investigating law enforcement officers, Jubin said.

Jubin will argue that the fact that the farmers were testing their crop at all suggests they were growing hemp, not pot, he wrote in his filing. This idea is consistent with what “one of the DCI agents on scene at the time of the search has said,” Jubin wrote.

“It is very surprising that this matter has come this far and gotten to this point,” Jubin wrote.

The agents took the plants in the barn, “as well as a small amount of high grade marihuana from inside the residence,” that the Dykes denied ownership of. The agents seized 327,600 grams of plants, according to the affidavit. That’s roughly 722 pounds.

WyoFile is an independent nonprofit news organization focused on Wyoming people, places and policy.

Veterans Working In Marijuana Industry Aren’t Automatically Blocked From Home Loans, VA Says

Photo courtesy of Pixabay.

The post Wyoming Cops Accuse Hemp Advocates Of Illegally Growing Marijuana appeared first on Marijuana Moment.

Dr. Oz Claims DEA And FDA Blame Each Other For Keeping Marijuana Illegal

Mon, 07/13/2020 - 14:20

According to celebrity doctor Mehmet Oz—or Dr. Oz—representatives from the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have each told him they’re on board with legalizing marijuana. And the agencies blame each other for blocking efforts to end prohibition.

In a recent interview, Oz was asked about his professional opinion on cannabis. The host of the popular daytime program of his namesake called marijuana “one of the most underused tools in America” and went on to say that he’s had conversations with individuals from both DEA and FDA who generally share his views about the plant.

“We ought to completely change our policy on marijuana. It absolutely works,” he told interviewer Fatman Scoop, adding that another daytime TV host Montel Williams, who has multiple sclerosis, convinced him of the medical utility of cannabis. “Now I’ve seen this helping people with sleep issues, with pain issues for sure, and a lot of people who have serious medical problems getting relief—and here’s the thing, you can’t die from it. I’m unaware of any case when anyone has overdosed.”

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“It’s a lot safer than alcohol. It’s safer than narcotics. It ought to be used more widely and we can’t even study it that easily because of the way it’s regulated,” he said. “You know what, I called the DEA—they said, ‘we don’t want this to be illegal. Your government ought to change that. But we got to enforce the law.’ I call the FDA that regulates the drugs, they say, ‘we think it ought to be used, but until the DEA says it’s allowed, we can’t let people prescribe it everywhere.”

While Oz didn’t disclose specifics about his conversations, such as who he spoke to or when the phone calls happened, it is the case that federal marijuana reform outside of Congress falls largely within the jurisdictions of both agencies. And DEA has denied multiple rescheduling requests, justifying the inaction by stating that FDA has determined that cannabis doesn’t have proven medical value and carries a risk of abuse.

Oz, who previously asserted that marijuana could represent a tool to combat the opioid epidemic and has made other public comments about the plant’s therapeutic potential, said “I’m hoping the federal government at some point—someone’s going to say, ‘come on, this is a farce, open it up for the entire country.’ That way, the right people can begin to prescribe it.”

Although Oz advocate for marijuana reform, he also clarified earlier this year that, despite rumors, he is not involved in a CBD company that falsely attributed an endorsement to him.

Could not agree more with @tomhanks. This is a fake and misleading advertisement intended to take advantage of consumers using false claims and our likenesses illegally. I am not involved with any cannabis companies. https://t.co/EBNvnh0jdM

— Dr. Mehmet Oz (@DrOz) January 21, 2020

“I have never smoked pot in my life, never gotten high, and I only bring that up because I’m not someone who’s saying this because I personally would use it,” he said in this latest interview. “I just as a doctor think it make sense.”

White House Completes Review Of CBD Guidance From FDA

The post Dr. Oz Claims DEA And FDA Blame Each Other For Keeping Marijuana Illegal appeared first on Marijuana Moment.

Kansas City Mayor Talks Marijuana And Broader Drug Policy Reform After Local Decriminalization Vote

Mon, 07/13/2020 - 13:12

The mayor of Kansas City scored a drug policy reform victory on Thursday after the City Council approved a resolution he introduced to remove all local criminal penalties for marijuana possession. And he’s not stopping there.

When Mayor Quinton Lucas (D) filed the proposal last month, he emphasized the need to stop taking a punitive approach to cannabis in order to mitigate unnecessary police interactions that primarily impact black Americans. But, unlike many pro-reform officials across the country who have drawn a line at marijuana, Lucas sees opportunities to take further steps to more comprehensively put an end to the war on drugs.

Missouri voters legalized medical cannabis in 2018, and there was a push from activists this year to put an adult-use legalization initiative on the November ballot—but that effort stalled out amid the coronavirus pandemic. Lucas said in an interview with Marijuana Moment that he would support such a measure, and revealed that he’s also been in touch with other mayors in the state about passing similar decriminalization ordinances in the meantime.

The mayor spoke in a phone interview on Friday about the City Council action, his broader drug policy reform plans and why he’s made the cannabis issue a main focus for his administration. The following interview has been lightly edited for length and clarity.

Marijuana Moment: Can I start by getting your reaction to the City Council vote in favor of your ordinance?

Quinton Lucas: I am elated. This is something that has been a goal of mine since I was first elected to office on the City Council back in 2015 and it was one of my platforms running for mayor. It was interesting because when I was running for mayor, a lot of people said, ‘boy, that seems really controversial.’ I had this recognition that when you look at marijuana law and policy—not just across the coasts of America, or more progressive places, but even in middle America—you were seeing significant change, including Missouri voting with a 66 percent ‘yes’ vote for medical marijuana.

So I was optimistic as it went through the process. I think most of my colleagues got it. To the extent they didn’t, it was almost exclusively old line arguments of the dangers of marijuana, that sort of thing and the sort of things we’ve been hearing since the 1980s to help prosecute a drug war that has locked up tens of thousands of black men in particular.

I’m excited about that. As this issue came up during this Black Lives Matter movement around our country, and I also think it is exceedingly relevant to the moment we’re in now. You cannot talk about reform of the criminal justice system without reforming laws that are incredibly unfair, that have disproportionate impact upon black and brown communities. And if you look at marijuana—particularly in usage rates versus incarceration and arrest rates—it has been a travesty how we have seen a black community largely criminalized in the hunt for marijuana, being overly police for it.

So I’m thrilled that we’re making that important change in Kansas City, particularly at this moment.

MM: Have you talked to mayors of other cities about pursuing this policy change? Do you think more local action might build pressure for statewide reform?

QL: That is much what our plan is. Now, usually at this point of the year, I’d be able to hit a conference or two to talk to some other mayors. There’s a group of black mayors I visit with somewhat regularly and I know a few have asked for our particular ordinance, and so that I think it’s a positive step and an exciting step for us. But in St. Louis, Missouri, of course, St. Louis would be the ones that are very similar to us. Their difference, of course, is that they elect their own prosecutor for the city of St. Louis. And I believe she has been fairly progressive on marijuana policies so they may not view themselves as having the same need.

That said, yeah, there are a lot of other cities in Missouri. Columbia is a college town. Springfield, I look to working with them to make sure we can really get sensible policy around the state—not unlike Colorado, and then other states making positive steps in marijuana policy. I think that’s the way we can get it done in a place like Missouri, but it’s still pretty conservative.

MM: Activists in Missouri were circulating a petition to put adult-use legalization on the state ballot earlier this year before they shut down. Did you happen to sign it? And if not, would you sign a similar measure for 2022?

QL: Oh I’d absolutely sign it. I haven’t yet. Part of it is just because I’ve been mayor for 11 months and the world’s been coming to an end for half that time. I’m just behind, in fairness. But no, I’d absolutely sign something like that because I think, you know, this is the way things should go and it’s going to be essential for us.

MM: You’ve recently talked about removing criminal penalties not just for marijuana but other currently illicit drugs. Can you talk to me about plans you have to advance broader decriminalization?

QL: I’m a a person who—this comes at me from living in my community. The drug war has been an abject failure. I live in a majority black community, was raised in a majority black community and proud to be from it. When I look at the problems on my streets—when I’m looking at what’s going on right now and people addicted to heroin, people addicted to any number of things—our drug laws aren’t helping. Our drug laws aren’t helping people find better treatment.

In fact, in some ways, they’re exacerbating problems by using an incarceration approach to what should instead be, frankly, a health-based approach—one that is not punitive, but one that’s trying to actually get people help and support. So I think it is probably time for our country to recognize that the way we’re prosecuting our drug war, the thought of throwing people away when really at some point there are substance abuse issues—or, frankly, when you look to recreational users with a number of narcotics, and users are being treated in a discriminatory manner, then I think it is time for us to say, ‘what are we doing?’

I'll be clear. We should remove any marijuana or minor drug offenses from our code. We should end failure-to-pay arrest warrants. We should stop wondering why there are disproportionately higher negative police-community interactions in neighborhoods where we are "over-law'ed"

— Mayor Q (@QuintonLucasKC) June 13, 2020

I’ll use just one example. Let’s take a look at cocaine. Everybody’s written a lot on crack versus powder cocaine disparities and sentencing, which is still amazing travesty, but I actually just came from a perspective of, when I went to school, I went to college at Washington University at St. Louis Law School at Cornell, and none of the casual-cocaine-using-now-lawyers-of-big-firms-in-New York City that I actually went to school with, faced any stiff penalties in any of the badges of impropriety that you see so many others do.

I think when you look at a system that is so terribly out of whack, and perhaps what we should say is, ‘well, what is it actually that we’re trying to solve?’ And what I believe—at least if you go back 30 years—what we’re trying to solve is actually a public health crisis, which we have failed to do. We really need to, I think, reform our laws more to actually more abolition, frankly, and looking at how can we find public health resources for anyone who is suffering from any dependency or something of that sort.

MM: What else can be done locally and legislatively to ramp down the drug war?

QL: I think that it’s primarily in the mental health space and substance misuse treatment. But I think, you know, even more than that, it is providing more social workers. That’s something we actually do out of our police budget, which is a little bit different. I think that’s been a big step for us. And, frankly, kind of changing the narrative of our crime problem—and we have a significant one, but moving it away from drugs really being the problem.

Actually, firearms being a problem. I mean, in Kansas City, we have a huge murder problem. We don’t, I think, have a drug problem beyond anyone else’s. But the problem is that the ready access to firearms has been our greatest concern. For me, it’s been kind of a shifting in both narrative and focus, and I think that we’ll continue to pay dividends for it over the years.

MM: There’s been some debate about whether decriminalization should be coupled with mandatory substance misuse treatment, as presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has recommended. Reform advocates tend to disagree and say it should be voluntary. Where do you stand?

QL: I think it should be voluntary. I think mandatory systems of treatment are just another form of punishment and we’ve already called most prisons “departments of corrections.” So I think it’s still fair to say that’s not working. You need to try to find positive resources that meet people where they are. Most people that I’ve known who’ve suffered from drug and alcohol dependency, usually actually get to a point where they themselves find an opportunity to cure their problems and their addictions. Rare is it that there’s just a sentence that tells them, ‘alright, you need to do it.’

The other part of it is, by making it mandatory, compulsory, you are still frankly emboldening our prison industrial complex. If we’re actually being real about it, then you would probably see that a number of people who find themselves in incarceration now have either been through such programs that were wholly ineffective and underfunded. I think if we’re really making a difference, then yes, the solution is let’s go all towards a voluntary system where people are actually finding treatment and being able to build better lives long-term.

Top Canadian Police Association Says It’s Time To Decriminalize All Drugs

Photo courtesy of Brian Shamblen.

The post Kansas City Mayor Talks Marijuana And Broader Drug Policy Reform After Local Decriminalization Vote appeared first on Marijuana Moment.

White House finalizes CBD policy review (Newsletter: July 13, 2020)

Mon, 07/13/2020 - 10:12

VA says marijuana industry-employed vets not blocked from home loans; Canadian cops back drug decrim; ID medical cannabis campaign seeks e-sigs

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  • A supporter who asked to remain anonymous said: “We supported Marijuana Moment because it provides focused, unbiased coverage of the burgeoning marijuana industry. I’m also excited to check out their legislative tracking tool! We want to be sure they are able to cover all the stories through the election, so we hope you’ll support, too!” 

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

The Department of Veterans Affairs clarified in a report to Congress obtained by Marijuana Moment that it has no policy automatically blocking veterans who work in the cannabis industry from getting home loans, despite denials by some lenders. Now, the House Appropriations Committee is pushing VA to make this more broadly known.

The White House Office of Management and Budget has completed its review of CBD guidance submitted by FDA. An agency spokesman told Marijuana Moment that it’s not clear when—or even if—the document will be released to the public.

The Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police issued a report saying it’s time to decriminalize drug possession and provide a legal “safe supply” to some consumers.

  • “Merely arresting individuals for simple possession of illicit drugs has proven to be ineffective.”

Idaho medical cannabis activists are asking the secretary of state to let them collect electronic signatures for a proposed ballot measure in the same way that a separate education funding campaign is able to do under a federal court ruling.

/ FEDERAL

President Trump met with military officials for a briefing on drug interdiction efforts.

The Federal Trade Commission reached an administrative settlement with Thrive that bars the company from making claims that its CBD products prevent and cure cancer.

Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT) celebrated the release of updated federal hemp banking guidance.

Reps. Doug LaMalfa (R-CA) and Jared Huffman (D-CA), along with several cosponsors, filed a bill focused on eradicating illegal marijuana grows on public lands and establishing a fund to restore land that has been damaged by such activity.

Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA) tweeted, “There are kids in prison right now because they got caught with some marijuana in their backpack. Roger Stone lied to Congress, obstructed justice and tampered with witnesses and will not spend one night in prison. Where is the justice?”

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) tweeted, “In California, Black & Brown people are arrested at higher rates for marijuana-related charges than white people despite legalization. My Marijuana Justice Act would center social equity as a key part of the marijuana industry & invest in our communities.”

California Democratic congressional candidate Shahid Buttar tweeted, “In my first Term in Congress, we’ll organize Democrats & Republicans alike to finally remove cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act. Neither Biden nor Trump is going to stop us. Federal prohibition is senseless, and untenable. Many states have already welcomed the future.”

/ STATES

Virginia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jennifer Carroll Foy tweeted, “We should legalize marijuana in Virginia.”

Hawaii lawmakers sent a bill to legalize medical cannabis edibles to the desk of Gov. David Ige (D).

Illinois’s lieutenant governor tweeted, “You spoke & we listened! The Restore, Reinvest, & Renew (#R3) program supports communities harmed by the fail war on drugs. Funding addresses disparities with: Community-based response Targeted resources Local design”

The Louisiana Supreme Court ruled that lower courts must consider a case claiming that a sentence of life without parole for the sale of $30 of marijuana was excessive.

Missouri’s top medical cannabis regulator said dispensaries could begin making sales by the fall.

Massachusetts regulators defeated a motion to ask state lawmakers to let them use marijuana business fine money to fund social equity programs.

Colorado regulators announced that Kinfolk Farms LLC is recalling marijuana products due to the use of banned pesticides.

Nevada officials said they’ve only received a handful of applications under a new effort to pardon past marijuana convictions.

Washington State regulators proposed rules on marijuana vaping products and certificates of compliance and withdrew rules on cannabis retail title certificates.

Mississippi regulators said that because lawmakers failed to allocate funds for a state hemp program, farmers must apply for licenses directly from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Pennsylvania regulators posted information on hemp sampling agent certification training.

The Oregon Cannabis Commission will meet on July 20.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 1,500 cannabis bills in state legislatures and Congress this year. Patreon supporters pledging at least $25/month get access to our interactive maps, charts and hearing calendar so they don’t miss any developments.

Learn more about our marijuana bill tracker and become a supporter on Patreon to get access.

/ LOCAL

The La Crosse, Wisconsin Common Council approved an ordinance to lower the fine for marijuana possession to $1.

The Columbus, Ohio city attorney tweeted, “The War on Drugs has been a failure. Senate Bill 3 takes needed steps to correct some of its wrongs. This drug sentencing reform bill will ensure people struggling with addiction get the help they need, rather than felony convictions & prison sentences.”

/ INTERNATIONAL

A Nepali lawmakers filed a marijuana legalization bill.

Israel overtook Germany as the world’s biggest importer of medical cannabis flower.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A review concluded that medical cannabis users say it is “helpful in reducing [chronic musculoskeletal pain] and other chronic non-cancer pain with only minor adverse effects; in addition, they reported improved psychological well-being.”

A study examined “the use of hyperspectral near-infrared imaging to identify the Cannabis sativa plant components such as flowers, stems and leaves on the crop,” which could provide “a real-time monitoring system that would support decision-making on the optimal daily growing conditions to improve crop yield and profitability.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

MassCann board members say they have been locked out of the organization’s bank accounts and storage locker by the group’s president.

The Press of Atlantic City editorial board is urging New Jersey lawmakers to pass marijuana decriminalization legislation.

/ BUSINESS

Five Point Holdings is partnering with Cheech Marin and Tommy Chong to open Cheech & Chong-branded dispensaries.

Mercedes-Benz tweeted about how “hemp fibres are included in the lining of the load compartment” of one of its cars.

A judge lifted a temporary restraining order that had blocked Bloom Farms from closing on a new round of financing while a case on allegations it cooked its books to fool an investor is ongoing.

/ CULTURE

Wrestler Rob Van Dam said that WWE Chair Brand Officer Stephanie McMahon told him to be discreet about his marijuana use.

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The post White House finalizes CBD policy review (Newsletter: July 13, 2020) appeared first on Marijuana Moment.

White House Completes Review Of CBD Guidance From FDA

Fri, 07/10/2020 - 19:11

The White House recently completed its review of pending Food and Drug Administration (FDA) guidance on marijuana and CBD research—though it remains to be seen whether the draft document will ultimately be released to the public.

FDA submitted its proposed plan—titled “Cannabis and Cannabis-Derived Compounds: Quality Considerations for Clinical Research”—to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) in May. Few details are known about its contents, but an FDA spokesperson previously told Marijuana Moment that it could inform the agency’s approach to developing regulations for the marketing of CBD.

OMB finished its review last week, as first reported by InsideHealthPolicy. This comes days after a spending bill for FDA was released that includes a provision providing “funding to develop a framework for regulating CBD products.”

Despite the review being finalized, however, an FDA representative told Marijuana Moment on Friday that the agency “cannot provide an update of when (or even if) this guidance will issue.”

“It will be announced via the Federal Register should it move to publication,” they said.

It’s not entirely clear why the guidance wouldn’t be published in the end, but it may take some time for FDA to implement any edits suggested by the White House over the past month, and it’s possible there are additional layers of review beyond OMB that could determine when and whether it will be finalized.

It also remains to be seen whether FDA plans to wait for this specific guidance to be finalized and for the resulting research to be completed before it gets around to issuing final rules for CBD products in general. Stakeholders have been eagerly awaiting those regulations so they can fully take advantage of the legalization of hemp and its derivatives.

Former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said in May that White House policies requiring OMB to review scientific documents in the first place represent an onerous step that’s delayed the issuance of guidance.

Beyond sending the draft research plan to the White House for review, FDA is also soliciting public input about the safety and efficacy of CBD in comment period it has decided to keep open indefinitely. The agency said in an update to Congress in March that it has several specific questions it wants answered before deciding whether the cannabidiol can be lawfully marketed. That includes questions about the impact of different methods of consumption and drug interactions.

This week, FDA submitted a report to Congress on the state of the CBD marketplace, and the document outlines studies the agency has performed on the contents and quality of cannabis-derived products that it has tested over the past six years.

In the meantime, FDA is maintaining enforcement discretion when it comes to action against companies that sell CBD products regardless of the lack of regulations and has said it is currently targeting sellers that make especially outlandish or unsanctioned claims about the therapeutic value of their products.

It sent a warning letter to a CBD company owned by a former NFL player after advertisements it displayed suggested its products could treat and prevent a coronavirus infection, for example.

FDA sent a letter warning to a company about its marketing of injectable CBD products that led to a voluntary recall in May.

The agency also publicized a voluntary recall of another CBD product from a different company, notifying consumers about potentially high levels of lead in a batch of tinctures.

FDA has previously issued warnings to other CBD companies that have made unsubstantiated claims about the therapeutic potential of their products.

Veterans Working In Marijuana Industry Aren’t Automatically Blocked From Home Loans, VA Says

Photo by Kimzy Nanney.

The post White House Completes Review Of CBD Guidance From FDA appeared first on Marijuana Moment.

Veterans Working In Marijuana Industry Aren’t Automatically Blocked From Home Loans, VA Says

Fri, 07/10/2020 - 18:07

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) recently clarified to Congress that it does not have a policy automatically barring veterans from receiving home loans solely because they work in the marijuana industry—and now a key House committee is asking the department to better communicate that to lenders and would-be borrowers.

For the past year, Rep. Katherine Clark (D-MA) and other lawmakers have been pressing VA on difficulties some veterans have faced in securing the benefit, with at least one constituent telling Clark that they were denied a home loan because of their work in the state-legal cannabis market. That prompted the congresswoman to circulate a sign-on letter and introduce an amendment to resolve the problem.

However, in a report submitted to Congress last month that was obtained by Marijuana Moment, VA said there is no policy on the books that calls for home loan denials due to employment at a cannabis business. Instead, the department clarified that conflicting state and federal laws makes it “difficult to prove the stability and reliability of cannabis-derived income,” which are key factors in determining loan eligibility.

“VA is committed to working diligently to serve our Nation’s Veterans by providing eligible Veterans with home loan guaranty benefits,” VA said. “There is nothing in VA statutes or regulations that specifically prohibits a Veteran whose income is derived from state-legalized cannabis activities from obtaining a certificate of eligibility for VA home loan benefits. However, given the disparity between Federal and State laws on cannabis, determining whether such a Veteran is able to obtain a loan has become a complex issue.”

A person’s “reliance on [marijuana-derived] income may hinder a Veteran’s ability to obtain a VA-guaranteed home loan, a result that is consistent with other federal housing programs,” the report states. “VA also notes that many lenders have established their own income thresholds and policies on overlays, which are often more stringent than VA’s requirements, to ensure that the VA-guaranteed loan will be purchased by an investor in the secondary mortgage market.”

In other words, individual lending companies may be denying home loans to veterans because the cannabis industry-derived income they would use to pay back loans isn’t necessarily stable and reliable due to the fact that federal officials could shut down their employers at any time.

If that’s the case, then it doesn’t appear it would be necessary to pass legislation targeting the narrow issue in the way lawmakers did last year. Clark’s amendment to address the problem was approved by the House as part of a defense spending bill—though leaders in the chamber agreed to scrap it after the Senate didn’t include it in its version of the legislation.

The House Appropriations Committee also approved report language last year attached to the bill that funds VA expressing concern that the department “has never publicly stated its position on this matter, hindering Veterans’ ability to fully understand and consider how employment decisions could affect future eligibility for earned benefits.”

The newly released explanation from VA is a result of that provision.

Now, for the next fiscal year, a new report attached to the latest Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies spending bill acknowledges VA’s recent policy clarification—but lawmakers are asking the department to do more.

“The Committee understands that as directed by House Report 116–63, VA has clarified that nothing in VA statutes or regulations specifically prohibits a Veteran whose income is derived from state-legalized cannabis activities from obtaining a certificate of eligibility for VA home loan benefits,” the report states. “The Committee directs the VA to improve communication with eligible lending institutions to reduce confusion among lenders and borrowers on this matter.”

Clark told Marijuana Moment that “no veteran should be denied benefits simply because they work within the legal cannabis industry.”

“This must be crystal clear in our laws and communicated directly to both borrowers and lenders,” the congresswoman said. “By including this language, we’re eliminating any doubt about the rights of our service members and protecting their ability to access what they’ve rightfully earned.”

In other veterans and cannabis news this year, the Congressional Budget Office released an analysis on a marijuana research bill for veterans and determined that it would have no fiscal impact. And a federal commission issued recommendations to promote research into the therapeutic potential of both cannabis and psychedelics such as psilocybin mushrooms and MDMA.

Read VA’s report on its home loan policy for veterans working in the marijuana industry below:

VA Response On Home Loans F… by Marijuana Moment on Scribd

FDA Updates Congress On CBD Product Labelling Accuracy

Photo courtesy of Mike Latimer.

The post Veterans Working In Marijuana Industry Aren’t Automatically Blocked From Home Loans, VA Says appeared first on Marijuana Moment.

Idaho Medical Marijuana Activists Ask State For Electronic Signature Gathering Option Following Court Ruling

Fri, 07/10/2020 - 15:49

Idaho activists have formally requested that the state allow them to collect signatures electronically for a medical cannabis legalization initiative following a series of federal court rulings on the issue in a case filed by a separate campaign.

While the signature submission deadline passed in May, advocates for an education funding campaign filed a suit against the secretary of state, arguing that social distancing restrictions that were put in place due to the coronavirus pandemic meant the state should give them more time to digitally petition. The judge agreed and ordered the state to allow them to do so for 48 days starting Thursday.

The marijuana reform campaign feels that the same relief should be extended to them as well, and an attorney representing the group sent a letter to the secretary of state this week, asking that the Elections Division also provide cannabis activists with the digital petitioning and deadline extension concessions that the federal judge granted to the education funding group.

In one of the latest developments, the state’s request to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit to temporarily force the suspension of electronic signature gathering was denied on Thursday, though the appeal on the broader case is ongoing. That’s given the cannabis activists more hope as they pursue legal routes to have the lower court’s ruling apply to them.

BREAKING: State of Idaho's request to block our e-signature drive for K-12 funding DENIED by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. It's time to give Idaho voters a chance to do what those in power refuse to do: Save our schools from deep budget cuts & invest in our children. #idpol

— Luke Mayville (@lukemayville) July 9, 2020

Russ Belville, campaign spokesperson for the Idaho Cannabis Coalition, told Marijuana Moment that the group was “thrilled” to see the appeals court refuse to stay the electronic signature gathering decision.

“Our attorneys are working to convince the state to provide our Idaho Medical Marijuana Act petition the same electronic signature gathering relief, as we have suffered the same infringement of our petitioning rights,” he said. “It’s a shame it takes a pandemic to even consider allowing electronic signatures on petitions. Idaho should make every effort to make exercising our rights as easy as possible, especially for sick, disabled, elderly, infirm and rural folks without easy access to an in-person petitioner.”

In the new letter to Idaho Secretary of State Lawerence Denney, attorney Bradley Dixon said his client “has standing to pursue a remedy given the impact that the COVID-19 restrictions have had upon it.” The campaign “can show (1) they have suffered an injury in fact, which is both concrete and particularized, and actual or imminent; (2) their injury is fairly traceable; and (3) their injury will likely be redressed by a favorable outcome.”

“Moreover, just like Reclaim Idaho, as illustrated above, our client can show that it was diligent in collecting signatures and had adopted a thorough plan to achieve ballot success in advance of the unforeseeable coronavirus outbreak. Considering the merits of a possible case, our client’s First and Fourteenth Amendments rights have been harmed because the State of Idaho and its agents did not provide an alternative means to signature collection during the stay at home order, or during any of the phased reopening stages.”

The state’s stay-at-home order “made it impossible to retrieve all statutorily-required signatures because of both the reduction in time to collect such signatures, and the deadline date to obtain signatures falling on the same day as the end of the stay at home order,” the attorney said.

If the campaign is ultimately allowed to proceed with signature gathering, they will need 55,057 valid signatures to qualify for the November ballot. Activists said they have about 45,000 unverified signatures on hand at this point, and they’re confident that can fill the gap if they get the deadline extension and electronic petitioning option.

The group has indicated it is prepared to seek relief directly from the courts if the secretary of state does not comply with their request to his office.

Under the proposed ballot measure, patients with qualifying conditions could receive medical cannabis recommendations from physicians and then possess up to four ounces of marijuana and grow up to six plants.

Advocates say that passing medical cannabis in one of the remaining states without such policies on the books would be a significant victory for patients in its own right—but it could also have outsized federal implications. A House-passed bill to protect banks that service state-legal cannabis businesses from being penalized by federal regulators is currently pending action in a Senate committee chaired by a senator who represents the state.

Creating a medical marijuana program in Idaho, which is one of small handful of states that don’t yet even have limited CBD laws, could put additional pressure on Senate Banking Committee Chairman Mike Crapo (R-ID) to move the financial services legislation in Congress.

Read the letter to the secretary state on allowing electronic signature gathering for medical marijuana below:

Idaho Secretary of State Re… by Marijuana Moment on Scribd

Oregon Voters Will Decide On Legalizing Psilocybin Therapy In November, State Announces

The post Idaho Medical Marijuana Activists Ask State For Electronic Signature Gathering Option Following Court Ruling appeared first on Marijuana Moment.

Top Canadian Police Association Says It’s Time To Decriminalize All Drugs

Fri, 07/10/2020 - 13:13

The top police chiefs association in Canada made a bold call for drug policy reform on Thursday, arguing that low-level possession should be decriminalized and substance misuse should be treated as a public health matter.

The Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police (CACP) said that its recommendation is motivated by an interest in reducing overdose deaths and promoting treatment. This announcement comes two years after the organization created a commission tasked with studying decriminalization, the results of which were released in a new report.

“Canada continues to grapple with the fentanyl crisis and a poisoned drug supply that has devastated our communities and taken thousands of lives,” CACP President Adam Palmer said in a press release. “We recommend that enforcement for possession give way to an integrated health-focussed approach that requires partnerships between police, healthcare and all levels of government.“

Today, we released our report endorsing the decriminalization for simple possession of illicit drugs. / Aujourd'hui, nous avons publié notre rapport qui appui la décriminalisation pour simple possession de drogues illicites. https://t.co/joGw3A4exr pic.twitter.com/xD4sfg31lZ

— CACP / ACCP (@CACP_ACCP) July 9, 2020

In addition to decriminalizing simple possession of currently illicit drugs, CACP said additional resources should be invested into treatment and social services in order to divert people away from the criminal justice system. That said, the group stressed it would continue to go after those who engage in drug trafficking, manufacturing and importation.

“While law enforcement continues to be required to stop those putting poisoned and illegal substances on our streets, the traditional role of frontline policing has fundamentally shifted to harm reduction when interacting with people experiencing addiction or mental health issues,” Palmer said. “Frequently, our officers are the point of first contact and the ones who will assist individuals in accessing appropriate services and pathways of care.”

CACP said a national task force should be established to research drug policy reform proposals that would help accomplish their goal of harm reduction. They cited a specific federal statute on possession that they feel should be revised to provide alternatives to criminal penalties for possession.

“Evidence suggests, and numerous Canadian health leaders support, decriminalization for simple possession as an effective way to reduce the public health and public safety harms associated with substance use.”

“Some evidence has shown that [decriminalization], coupled with other interventions (e.g. harm reduction, prevention, enforcement, and treatment strategies) has led to an increase in treatment uptake, a reduction in drug-related deaths, and importantly, no increase in drug use rates,” the commission report states. However, policymakers must also determine what amount constitutes simple possession, what penalties would be appropriate and how to encourage people to enter treatment, the police group pointed out.

“We must adopt new and innovative approaches if we are going to disrupt the current trend of drug overdoses impacting communities across Canada,” the report says. “Merely arresting individuals for simple possession of illicit drugs has proven to be ineffective. Research from other countries who have boldly chosen to take a health rather than an enforcement-based approach to problematic drug use have demonstrated positive results.”

“Implementing a response model centered on diversion that provides individuals impacted by problematic substance use access to health resources may be more effective than our current model of enforcement or de facto decriminalization. Responding to problematic substance use in our communities is a complex issue requiring a full spectrum of options and partnerships to impact real change. Finding pathways of care and support for individuals with problematic substance use is critical to reducing overdose deaths. Health is best positioned to address problematic substance use and not the police.”

The CACP report also weighed the pros and cons of going beyond decriminalization and regulating currently illicit drugs. It recognized that decriminalization alone would not eradicate the illegal market and noted that higher-risk drugs could potentially be tightly regulated through prescriptions, for instance.

“Developing a regulation framework should also apply lessons learned from what has and has not been effective in the regulation of other drugs, such as alcohol, prescription drugs, and cannabis,” the association said, adding that legalization “may lead to increased drug use, and potentially increase addiction rates, with greater access and reduced prices, unless heavy taxation is in place.”

The group said that while its leaders currently “do not support the legalization of drugs such as cocaine, methamphetamine or opioids,” they do back “evidence based medical treatment that includes a safe supply.”

Noting that some people resort to theft or robbery in order to obtain money needed to buy drugs, CACP said that “diverting individuals to a safe supply may reduce crime that is committed to support a drug addiction and enhance public safety.”

“Merely arresting individuals for simple possession of illicit drugs has proven to be ineffective.”

Maj. Neill Franklin (Ret.), executive director of the Law Enforcement Action Partnership (LEAP), told Marijuana Moment that, “Once again, Canada has the right idea.”

“In the U.S., we tend to get hung up on minor points of disagreement, but what communities and most police can agree on is that right now we’re asking our police to do too much, to the detriment of everyone involved,” he said. “We should follow the lead of the CACP and seek a more effective system where police focus on real crime and allow public health, social services, and drug abuse counselors to keep as many people as possible out of the criminal justice system and in programs that actually better their lives.”

Liberal delegates in Canada voted in favor of a resolution that sought to remove criminal penalties for drug offenses at a convention in 2018, hoping to put the policy on the party’s campaign platform. However, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau disappointed advocates by dismissing the proposal despite his advocacy for marijuana legalization.

“We are going to focus on getting the control and regulation of [the] marijuana regime right, and that’s quite a handful right now,” he said. “We’re not looking at any other steps.”

But despite opposition from the prime minister, some Liberal lawmakers have continued to push for decriminalization. MP Nathaniel Erskine-Smith introduced a bill last year that would repeal sections of federal drug law that concern possession, effectively decriminalizing controlled substances.

And the House of Commons Standing Committee on Health, which is controlled by the majority Liberals, issued a report recommending the government “work with provinces, territories, municipalities and Indigenous communities and law enforcement agencies to decriminalize the simple possession of small quantities of illicit substances.”

And on Thursday, two ministers of Trudeau’s government issued a statement expressing appreciation for the new CACP report.

“Today, the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police released a report that recognizes substance use as a public health issue and examines a range of alternatives to criminal sanctions in response to the offence of simple possession,” Justice Minister David Lametti and Health Minister Patty Hajdu said. “We welcome their endorsement of a holistic approach including harm reduction and diversion, and thank them for their recommendations.”

Over in the U.S., reform advocates are increasingly exploring decriminalizing drugs beside cannabis. An Oregon initiative to decriminalize drug possession and expand substance use treatment formally qualified for the ballot last week, for example. In Washington State, advocates behind a similar proposal said they will be shifting their focus away from the ballot and onto the legislature to enact the reform during the next session.

While Congress has so far declined to pursue decriminalization outside of marijuana, a number of top prosecutors visited Portugal to learn about the country’s decriminalization policy last year.

Task Force Doesn’t Recommend Legalizing Marijuana To Biden, Despite Support From Panel Members

The post Top Canadian Police Association Says It’s Time To Decriminalize All Drugs appeared first on Marijuana Moment.

Biden panel rejects legal cannabis recommendation (Newsletter: July 10, 2020)

Fri, 07/10/2020 - 10:26

State treasurers push Congress on marijuana banking; FDA sends CBD purity update; PA Senate Dems call for legalization

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  • Joy Beckerman of Hemp Ace International: “I manage a podcast and multiple non-profit leadership roles in addition to my own consulting firm and executive positions within the hemp industries, and the sheer volume of information required for me to digest and organize on a daily basis as the crop and its infrastructure emerge is unsparing. Keeping a sharp finger on the legal and regulatory pulse of the medical and adult-use cannabis movements is also a priority for me. Tom Angell’s Marijuana Moment newsletters are a critically essential tool to execute my work and mission, and I take the time to read every word of each one.” 

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

A report from a criminal justice reform task force created by the campaigns of presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) does not recommend the former vice president endorse legalizing cannabis despite support for the proposal from a majority of panel members. The document mostly reiterates Biden’s existing cannabis position and adds new specifics such as letting Washington, D.C. legalize recreational sales, ending deportations for marijuana use and investing legalization revenue in communities harmed by incarceration. It also urges Biden to “reduce criminal penalties for drug possession.”

  • “We didn’t reach consensus on legalization. That conversation will have to continue,” a task force member told Marijuana Moment.

A bipartisan coalition of 16 state treasurers is pushing Congress to include marijuana banking protections in the next coronavirus relief legislation.

  • “Lack of access to financial services forces businesses to operate exclusively using cash making these businesses, their employees, and  customers targets for violent crime. In many cases, cannabis stores and dispensaries are  limiting sales to curbside pickup or delivery, forcing these all-cash transactions to take place outside, without the option of no-contact exchanges.”

The Food and Drug Administration sent a Congress a report on its efforts to test CBD products and evaluate the accuracy of their labels.

  • “Of the 102 products that indicated a specific amount of CBD, 18 products (18 percent) contained less than 80 percent of the amount of CBD indicated, 46 products (45 percent) contained CBD within 20 percent of the amount indicated, and 38 products (37 percent) contained more than 120 percent of the amount of CBD indicated.”

The Kansas City, Missouri City Council approved an ordinance ending all penalties for marijuana possession under the municipality’s local laws.

A majority of Pennsylvania Senate Democrats are calling on the state to legalize marijuana as a way to boost the economy amid coronavirus and to address racism in the criminal justice system.

  • “We need to ensure our spending on healthcare, education, housing, and small businesses continues unabated throughout this crisis. Legalizing adult-use cannabis will raise revenue and help mitigate the possible need for cuts, and additionally can serve as a revenue saving tool in agencies such as the Department of Corrections.”

/ FEDERAL

The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board ruled that Stanley Brothers Social Enterprises, LLC could not register a trademark for Charlotte’s Web hemp oil extracts because they violate federal law.

A U.S. Sentencing Commission analysis found that there “was no statistically significant difference in the recidivism rates of offenders released early pursuant to retroactive application of the Drugs Minus Two Amendment and a comparable group of offenders who served their full sentences.”

The U.S. Department of Agriculture updated the list of crops eligible for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program, but hemp isn’t one of them.

/ STATES

Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak’s (D) budget proposes keeping 10 Marijuana Regulation Division positions unfilled.

North Dakota’s Pardon Advisory Board recommended another round of marijuana pardons to Gov. Doug Burgum (R).

Indiana’s attorney general cheered a U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit ruling vacating a lower court’s decision that blocked a state law banning smokable hemp.

Massachusetts regulators fined Acreage Holdings subsidiary The Botanist $250,000 for failing to disclose its controlling relationships with other licensees. They also fined Garden Remedies and $200,000 after it admitted to falsifying documents to hide its use of banned pesticides and fined 4Front Ventures’s Health Farms $350,000 for illegal pesticide use and improper record keeping.

Washington State regulators are being sued by an Idaho businessman who is challenging the state’s residency requirement for marijuana investors.

California regulators released a fact sheet about branded marijuana company merchandise.

Pennsylvania regulators published a notice about the need for hemp to be sampled and tested for THC content.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 1,500 cannabis bills in state legislatures and Congress this year. Patreon supporters pledging at least $25/month get access to our interactive maps, charts and hearing calendar so they don’t miss any developments.

Learn more about our marijuana bill tracker and become a supporter on Patreon to get access.

/ LOCAL

A lawsuit challenging Los Angeles, California’s marijuana licensing process is being dropped after the city agreed to process more applications.

The Milwaukee County, Wisconsin Board of Supervisors is considering a resolution that calls on Congress to pass legislation supporting the legalization of marijuana and safe consumption sites for illegal drugs and expunging prior drug convictions.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Ireland’s government is delivering medical cannabis to approved patients who cannot travel to the Netherlands to get it due to the coronavirus pandemic.

South Africa’s government tweeted, “We are also leading a research and innovation pillar of the Cannabis Industrialisation Master Plan. To this extent, our focus is to develop medicinal products for Covid-19, cancers, diabetes, TB, and HIV/AIDS and neurodegenerative diseases, amongst others.”

A Nigerian lawmaker filed a medical cannabis bill.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A review found that “preclinical studies have observed robust anti-inflammatory, neuroprotective and analgesic effects of CBD in animal models,” that preliminary preclinical evidence also suggests that CBD may protect against gastrointestinal damage associated with inflammation and promote healing of traumatic skeletal injuries” and that “early stage clinical studies suggest that CBD may be anxiolytic in ‘stress-inducing’ situations and in individuals with anxiety disorders.”

A research letter concluded that at a safe consumption site for illegal drugs in an undisclosed U.S. city, “there were 10,514 injections and 33 opioid-involved overdoses over 5 years, all of which were reversed by naloxone administered by trained staff” and that “no person who overdosed was transferred to an outside medical institution, and there were no deaths.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The Movement for Black Lives is calling on Congress to decriminalize and retroactively expunge drug offenses.

The Marijuana Policy Project is hosting a summit on race, policing and cannabis on July 15, featuring speakers including actor Seth Rogen and the president of the NAACP.

/ BUSINESS

HighTimes Holding Corp.’s has reportedly been temporarily blocked by the Securities and Exchange Commission from selling shares because it failed to meet an extended deadline to file an audited annual report.

A judge ruled that Bloom Farms can’t close on a new round of financing while a case on allegations it cooked its books to fool an investor is ongoing.

Vireo Health International Inc. signed an exclusive licensing agreement with eBottles420 to manufacture and distribute the company’s terpene-preserving packaging system, which it says keeps cannabis potent and flavorful for longer.

Generation Hemp, Inc. and GenCanna Acquisition Corp. signed a toll processing agreement, under which the former company will dry, process and store hemp biomass for the latter firm.

A federal judge blocked S.G. Farms from being a party to a lawsuit filed by an Indian tribe whose  hemp plants were seized by San Joaquin County, California police.

Captor Capital is being sued for alleged fraud and breach of contract.

/ CULTURE

The NFL Players Association reminded players that they are subject to random drug testing when they show up to training camps beginning this month.

The Wire creator David Simon said, “The drug war is effectively a war on the poor. It’s a means of using social control on people of color and people in poverty by the ruling class. That’s all it has ever been.”

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The post Biden panel rejects legal cannabis recommendation (Newsletter: July 10, 2020) appeared first on Marijuana Moment.