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Presidential Candidate Gillibrand Unveils Wide-Ranging Marijuana Legalization Plan

Marijuana Moment - 6 hours 35 min ago

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) unveiled a comprehensive marijuana reform plan on Wednesday that involves legalizing the drug nationwide, expunging non-violent convictions and requiring that private and federal health insurers to cover medical cannabis.

The 2020 Democratic presidential candidate also said she would immediately deschedule marijuana, allow cannabis businesses to access financial services and impose an excise tax on legal sales that would fund programs designed to help communities that have been disproportionately impacted by prohibition.

In a Medium post, the senator walked through the details of her proposal, emphasizing the importance of social equity and creating a regulatory system that protects patients, boosts the economy and normalizes the industry. She said ending federal marijuana prohibition “will be a top priority of my presidency.”

Marijuana legalization is a criminal justice issue, a health care issue, and an economic issue. It's past time to make this happen at the federal level.

Here's my plan to do it: https://t.co/iVfVHvQeWZ

— Kirsten Gillibrand (@SenGillibrand) June 5, 2019

“As president, I will immediately deschedule marijuana as a controlled substance, and start working to not only heal the damage done by racist drug laws, but tap into the medical and economic opportunity that legal marijuana offers,” Gillibrand wrote.

One of the more novel elements of her proposal concerns health coverage for medical cannabis. Gillibrand has repeatedly stated that marijuana can serve as an alternative to addictive opioid painkillers, and she said mandating coverage for all private insurers as well as the federal programs Medicare and Medicaid will help suffering patients.

Another prominent feature of the plan centers on social equity for communities ravaged by the war on drugs. Besides providing for the expungement of non-violent marijuana convictions, Gillibrand is also proposing using tax revenue from cannabis sales to fund programs such as job training and education for disadvantaged communities.

Under my plan, we'll decriminalize marijuana and expunge all non-violent marijuana charges, expand access to medical marijuana, nationally legalize and tax recreational marijuana, and create economic equity and justice through marijuana-driven programs.

It's 2019. It's time. pic.twitter.com/eUUyte1Xg7

— Kirsten Gillibrand (@SenGillibrand) June 5, 2019

She also wants to give small businesses—particularly those owned by women and minorities—access to capital and “technical assistance” so that they can more easily participate in the legal industry.

Gillibrand’s plan earned early praise from Wanda James, the first black woman to own a dispensary in Colorado who penned an editorial in Blavity on Wednesday.

James said that the senator’s plan “goes far and beyond any proposal I’ve seen from a presidential candidate” and that her “agenda was built with economic equity in mind.”

“[L]et’s get really real: Kirsten Gillibrand is a white woman who hasn’t experienced the same type of discrimination as my brother or me,” James wrote. “But she’s doing everything she can to understand and to try to make up for the generations of injustice — and she’s a fighter who’s brave enough to lead on the issues where others won’t.”

Gillibrand made a similar point in her Medium post.

“Nothing proposed today can ever undo the devastating harm done to generations of communities and families of color by the War on Drugs,” she wrote. “But it’s long past time to start making this right. With this plan, we can begin to dismantle the institutional racism in our criminal justice system, open up important new medical and economic horizons, and lift up communities who need and deserve a fair shot at opportunity.”

Gillibrand said that the country should end prohibition for some of the same reasons that it ended alcohol prohibition:

“Fundamentally, whether adults use marijuana is a matter of privacy, and we should treat marijuana as a major economic opportunity and revenue source.”

Via Team Gillibrand.

She further argued that while state-level legalization efforts have had “positive benefits,” establishing a federal regulatory framework is necessary because “a state-by-state patchwork is not enough to tackle the deeply rooted racial, social, and economic injustices within our marijuana laws, or to fully unleash the economic equity and opportunity of marijuana legalization.”

It’s not clear whether Gillibrand plans to introduce legislation containing any of these proposals during the current Congress or if she’s just outlining her cannabis agenda if elected president. The plan’s reveal comes weeks after the senator met with advocates and discussed how marijuana reform fits within her campaign.

What is clear is that the wide-ranging proposal is yet another sign that Democratic presidential candidates are taking the issue of marijuana reform seriously. For many voters, it’s no longer enough for politicians to simply voice support for reform; candidates are now essentially competing to produce the most forward-thinking cannabis plans to stand out in an overwhelmingly pro-legalization crowd.

“It’s 2019. It’s time to legalize marijuana nationwide,” Gillibrand wrote. “As president, I’ll get it done.”

Presidential Candidate Touts Marijuana Legalization Measure He Opposed To Raise Money On Instagram

Photo element courtesy of Gillibrand 2010

The post Presidential Candidate Gillibrand Unveils Wide-Ranging Marijuana Legalization Plan appeared first on Marijuana Moment.

Canadian study finds saliva tests don’t work

The Leaf Online - 7 hours 2 min ago

The populatiry of using roadside driving tests has nothing to do with impaired driving and everything to do with making money for corporations and police.

The post Canadian study finds saliva tests don’t work appeared first on The Leaf Online.

West Virginia Voters Reject Marijuana Decriminalization Measure

Marijuana Moment - 7 hours 5 min ago

Residents of Salem, West Virginia, voted to reject a local marijuana decriminalization measure during a city election on Tuesday.

The defeat, in a vote of 114 to 45, follows a brief legal battle that ensued after city officials removed the measure from the ballot in March, citing concerns that it would conflict with state laws prohibiting cannabis. In response, organizers filed a lawsuit stating that they collected sufficient signatures before the deadline and that the ordinance’s removal constituted a violation of free speech.

A federal judge sided with activists from Sensible Salem WV and ordered the city to put the measure back on the ballot, but he also required the proposal’s backers to pay a $500 cash bond to cover the reprinting costs.

If approved, the measure would have made it so that possession of any amount of cannabis would not carry any fines or jail time as long as the person’s was within city limits. It would still have been considered a misdemeanor, but the ordinance sought to suspend the punishment and also any court fees associated with the charge.

The defeat is not what advocates were hoping for, but they say that it won’t slow their plans to pursue cannabis reform elsewhere.

“We are very disappointed with the results, obviously, however the war is not won or lost in a single battle,” Chad Thompson, executive director of the Sensible Movement Coalition, which is coordinating similar measures across the country, told Marijuana Moment. “The positive here is that we were able to even have this conversation with West Virginians. Clearly that conversation needed to be started. Just like with the rest of America, it will only take time until ignorance is replaced with knowledge and this is where that starts.”

“We are excited to be doing positive education here which will lead to many future victories,” he said. “We currently are working with local activists in four states that are working to organically build grassroots movements and enact policy that stops harm to regular marijuana users.”

If the Salem measure had been approved it likely would have been challenged further in courts, as some argue that individual jurisdictions cannot supersede state law.

The West Virginia Secretary of State signaled that that was the case in a March memorandum, which advocates suspect was the source of the measure’s removal from the ballot. The office determined that “it is likely that an ordinance which otherwise removes penalties for such possession would violate the [West Virginia] Constitution.”

Attorneys representing the campaign said during their court case that the conflict “presents a difficult question under West Virginia law.”

“Plaintiffs do not pretend to know the answer,” they wrote. “Even West Virginia’s secretary of state is uncertain. He is only willing to tentatively say it ‘likely’ does not have that power.”

“What is certain, however, [is] that local elections officials cannot constitutionally and conclusively solve this ‘riddle that even the state’s top lawyers struggle to solve’ before the matter is put to a vote. That is an unconstitutional prior restraint. And it is just as unconstitutional in a non-public form as in a public forum.”

But that memorandum was not legally binding and instead represented an informed prediction about what would happen if a city sought to change local laws that run counter to state law.

Efforts to change marijuana policy locally have been successful elsewhere in the country. The Sensible Movement Coalition has made gains in Ohio, for example, and it’s also targeting South Carolina and Missouri for future measures.

Five Ohio cities voted to decriminalize possession during the November 2018 election, despite the state’s law treating possession a misdemeanor offense.

“The Sensible Movement Coalition originally wrote the no fine, no time language for Toledo,” Thompson said. “It passed over 70 percent. There had not been a ticket written in Toledo for up to seven ounce possession in three-and-a half years.”

“That is why we are spreading across the country, because we are enacting language that is effective,” he said. “We are only enacting ordinances that must be followed by the local law enforcement.”

Read the full text of the defeated Salem, West Virginia marijuana measure below:

Salem WV Ordinance Initiative by on Scribd

Rhode Island Seeks Blockchain Tech To Help Government Track Medical Marijuana

Photo courtesy of Brian Shamblen.

The post West Virginia Voters Reject Marijuana Decriminalization Measure appeared first on Marijuana Moment.

Oregon: Lawmakers Advance Marijuana Expungement Measure

NORML Blog - 7 hours 6 min ago

Lawmakers in the House and Senate have voted in favor of legislation, Senate Bill 420, to facilitate the expungement of past marijuana convictions. Following a concurrence vote by the Senate, the measure will advance to Democratic Gov. Kate Brown – who is anticipated to sign the bill into law.

The measure establishes procedures for persons previously found guilty of low-level (up to one ounce) marijuana possession offenses to file a motion with the court to have their convictions set aside. Petitioners may not be charged a fee for submitting such a request, and any objections to the request must be filed within 30 days. The proposal expands upon prior legislation, enacted in 2015, which sought to make it easier for those with past marijuana convictions to have their records expunged.

Once signed, the new law takes effect on January 1, 2019.

The policy is similar to marijuana-related expungement laws recently enacted in a number of states, including Colorado, Delaware, Massachusetts, Nevada, Rhode Island, and Washington. California law automatically expunges past marijuana convictions.

For more information on pending marijuana legislation, visit NORML’s ‘Take Action Center.’

Americans For Safe Access Releases Patient’s Guide To CBD

Weed News - 7 hours 39 min ago
Americans for Safe Access (ASA) has released the Patient’s Guide to CBD in response to the May 31 public hearing at the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) regarding products containing cannabis and cannabis-derived compounds. During the hearing, ASA was one of nearly 140 speakers chosen to formally present scientific information with slides and [read more]

NORML KC to Kick Off Series of Educational Seminars

NORML Blog - 7 hours 40 min ago

With the arrival of summer time in Kansas City, we want to welcome everyone to take part in our Summer Seminar Series. All of these FREE events will focus on rules and regulations of Amendment 2, now Article XIV, for patients and caregivers. These events will have a special topic each month and everyone will have time for Q&A. One of our main objectives for these seminars is to ensure patients have free resources and education around the new medical marijuana program.

Donate today to support our efforts!

We will kick off our Summer Seminars with a discussion on how to navigate the finalized rules of Amendment 2/Article XIV from a patient and caregiver perspective, and how to be compliant under the new law. Attendees will also learn how to work with their physicians and clinics to acquire legal MMJ recommendations for qualifying patients, what steps are involved in the process, and what to expect after receiving a recommendation. We will be breaking all of this information down into easy-to-understand steps. Join us at Unity Temple on June 8 from 2pm-5pm! This location is accessible and the general public is welcome to attend.

Special Guest Speakers:
Emily Branch, Director of The Green Clinics
A physician from The Green Clinics
Jana Lappin, Pharmacist and Co-owner of Missouri Cannabis Clinic
Pat Talks Law

Save the Date for our next Summer Seminars on July 20 and August 17!

 We would like to thank everyone that attended the Missouri NORML Spring Conference in April. Our keynote speaker for the event was NORML Executive Director Erik Altieri. The day was filled with several additional speakers including Missouri State Representative Brandon Ellington, Director of Missouri’s Medical Marijuana Program Lyndall Fraker, and Paul E. Callicoat, M.D. Thank you to Chris Smith for documenting our event and sharing the pictures in this newsletter!

Please support our efforts by making a one-time donation! We’re also looking for volunteers to help move our chapter forward. If you want to help by donating time, your expertise or sponsor an event, please email us at newnormlkc@gmail.com. 

Marijuana policy should be evidence based. Help dispel the myths with NORML’s Fact Sheets! For more information follow NORML KC on Facebook, and visit our website!

Majority Of Voters Support Sealing Records For Federal Marijuana Offenders

Weed News - 8 hours 6 min ago
Over 70 percent of registered voters support sealing the records of those convicted of violating federal marijuana laws, according to nationwide polling data compiled by the survey research firm GBA Strategies and commissioned by the Center for American Progress. Seventy-one percent of respondents – including 80 percent of Democrats, 69 percent of [read more]

Presence Of THC In Blood is Not Associated With Crash Culpability, Finds Study

The Joint Blog - 10 hours 14 min ago
According to a new study, drivers who test positive for THC do not possess a significantly increased risk of being responsible for a non-fatal motor vehicle accident.

For the study, researchers at the University of British Columbia compared the likelihood of crash responsibility in drivers testing positive for THC and/or other substances as compared to drug-free drivers over a six-year period (2010 to 2016).

As reported on by NORML, the state found that, “In this multi-site observational study of non-fatally injured drivers, we found no increase in crash risk, after adjustment for age, sex, and use of other impairing substances, in drivers with THC<5ng/ml. For drivers with THC>5ngml there may be an increased risk of crash responsibility, but this result was statistically non-significant and further study is required. … Our findings … suggest that the impact of cannabis on road safety is relatively small at present time.”

By contrast, authors reported, “There was a significantly increased risk for drivers who used alcohol, sedating medications, or recreational drugs others than cannabis.” Drivers who tested positive for the concurrent use of cannabis and alcohol possessed a higher risk of accident as compared to drivers who tested positive for alcohol alone – a finding that is consistent with other studies.

The full text of the study, titled “Cannabis use as a risk factor for causing motor vehicle crashes: A prospective study,” has been published in the journal Addiction.

The full abstract of the study can be found below:

AIM:

We conducted a responsibility analysis to determine whether drivers injured in motor vehicle collisions who test positive for Δ-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) or other drugs are more likely to have contributed to the crash than those who test negative.

DESIGN:

Prospective case-control study.

SETTING:

Trauma centres in British Columbia, Canada.

PARTICIPANTS:

Injured drivers who required blood tests for clinical purposes following a motor vehicle collision.

MEASUREMENTS:

Excess whole blood remaining after clinical use was obtained and broad spectrum toxicology testing performed. The analysis quantified alcohol and THCand gave semi-quantitative levels of other impairing drugs and medications. Police crash reports were analyzed to determine which drivers contributed to the crash (responsible) and which were “innocently involved” (non-responsible). We used unconditional logistic regression to determine the likelihood (Odds Ratio) of crash responsibility in drivers with 0<THC<2ng/mL, 2ng/mL≤THC<5ng/mL, and THC≥5 ng/mL (all versus THC=0 ng/mL). Risk estimates were adjusted for age, sex, and presence of other impairing substances.

FINDINGS:

We obtained toxicology results on 3005 injured drivers and police reports on 2318. Alcohol was detected in 14.4% of drivers, THC in 8.3%, other drugs in 8.9% and sedating medications in 19.8%. There was no increased risk of crash responsibility in drivers with THC<2ng/mL or 2≤THC<5ng/mL. In drivers with THC≥5ng/mL, the adjusted OR was 1.74 (95%CI=0.59-6.36;p=0.35). There was significantly increased risk of crash responsibility in drivers with BAC≥0.08% (OR=6.00;95%CI=3.87-9.75;p<0.01), other recreational drugs detected (OR=1.82;95%CI=1.21-2.80;p<0.01), or sedating medications detected (OR=1.45;95%CI=1.11-1.91;p<0.01).

CONCLUSIONS:

In this sample of non-fatally injured motor vehicle drivers in British Columbia, Canada, there was no evidence of increased crash risk in drivers with THC<5ng/mL and a statistically non-significant increased risk of crash responsibility (OR=1.74) in drivers with THC≥5ng/mL.

The post Presence Of THC In Blood is Not Associated With Crash Culpability, Finds Study appeared first on TheJointBlog.

12 governors call on Congress to pass cannabis legislation (Newsletter: June 5, 2019)

Marijuana Moment - 11 hours 38 min ago

Oakland approves psychedelics decrim; Congressional researchers question marijuana-impaired driving; Senate Dem: medical cannabis a “laughing matter”

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

The governors of 12 states—including Republicans from Utah and Vermont, and Democrats from California and Colorado—teamed up to send a letter urging congressional leaders to pass legislation to respect state marijuana laws.

The Oakland, California City Council gave unanimous final approval to a measure decriminalizing psychedelic drugs like psilocybin, mescaline, ayahuasca and ibogaine. Officials told Marijuana Moment that the path is now open to consider legalizing sales next.

The Congressional Research Service issued a report calling into question claims that legal cannabis means more dangerous roads.

  • “Research studies have been unable to consistently correlate levels of marijuana consumption, or THC in a person’s body, and levels of impairment.”
  • “Relatively few epidemiological studies of marijuana usage and crash risk have been conducted, and the few that have been conducted have generally found low or no increased risk of crashes from marijuana use.”
  • “Considering the length of time that marijuana is detectable in the body after usage, and the uncertainty about the impairing effect of marijuana on driving performance, Congress and other federal policymakers may elect to reexamine the rationale for testing all safety-sensitive transportation workers for marijuana usage.”

Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) the body’s second-top-ranking Democrat called claims about marijuana’s medical value “a laughing matter” during a hearing, but he also criticized the roadblocks to research created by cannabis’s Schedule I status.

/ FEDERAL

The House of Representatives passed the DREAM Act, which contains provisions shielding immigrants brought to the U.S. as children from losing protections as a result of low-level marijuana offenses or engaging in state-legal activities such as working in the cannabis industry.

The House Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation held a hearing on drug interdiction efforts.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) tweeted, “Relief for marijuana businesses is important—but we need decriminalization at the federal level, #CJreform, opportunity for minority & women-owned small businesses. That’s what my bill with @RepJeffries does. Congress should not enact banking reforms alone & think the job is done.”

Rep. Jared Huffman (D-CA) tweeted, “cannabis farmers and businesses are legal under CA law, but fed law says they can’t use banks. I support the #SAFEBankingAct to allow access to the banking system & to protect public safety.”

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) tweeted about discussing marijuana policy with constituents at town hall meetings.

Former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD) spoke about his involvement in the marijuana industry.

The Senate marijuana banking bill got one new cosponsor, for a total of 30.

The House bill to require the federal government to study state marijuana laws got one new cosponsor, for a total of 28.

The House bill to force the Department of Justice to license more cultivators of marijuana for research got one new cosponsor, for a total of 10.

The House comprehensive medical cannabis bill got one new cosponsor, for a total of 10.

/ STATES

Oregon lawmakers sent Gov. Kate Brown (D) a bill to make it easier for people to expunge past marijuana convictions.

A Washington State appeals court said that prosecutors’ references to the “war on drugs” during a criminal trial were”problematic” and “imprudent, but ultimately fell short of misconduct” as claimed by the defendant in the case. Separately, regulators announced a delay in updating marijuana tracking software.

The Washington, D.C. Council discussed a proposal to provide employment protections for medical cannabis patients who work for government agencies, but did not take a vote on the issue.

The Connecticut Medical Marijuana Program’s Board of Physicians recommended adding new medical cannabis qualifying conditions.

Nebraska activists said they collected nearly 1,400 signatures last weekend in support of a proposed medical cannabis ballot measure.

A Michigan medical cannabis patient is suing the state over the lack of availability of the drug.

Missouri regulators released application forms for medical cannabis patients and caregivers.

Alaska regulators released proposed hemp rules.

Tennessee regulators are loosening restrictions on hemp growing. Meanwhile, lawmakers said they’ll try again to legalize medical cannabis next year.

A major at the Utah Peace Officer Standards and Training Council gave a presentation about requirements for police who want to use medical cannabis.

Advocates are concerned about Pennsylvania medical cannabis business ownership consolidation.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 1,000 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

Las Vegas, Nevada’s mayor said she supports allowing marijuana consumption lounges.

The Rolla, Missouri City Council is considering decriminalizing marijuana.

/ ADVOCACY

Americans for Safe Access released a publication titled the “Patient’s Guide to CBD.”

Missouri cannabis lobbyist and activist Eapen Thampy has been charged by federal prosecutors with allegedly participating in a conspiracy to distribute marijuana. According to the indictment, one co-defendant used proceeds to donate $1,000 to the cannabis-focused political action committee Better Way Missouri.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that “individuals with [personality disorders] who used cannabis were at increased odds for developing substance use disorders (including opioid use disorder), but not other comorbid psychiatric disorders” and that “no significant interaction effects were generally found between cannabis use and [personality disorder],” suggesting that “aside from specific substance use disorders, individuals with [personality disorders] are not at an increased risk for developing other psychiatric disorders following cannabis use.

A study found that “KandyPens markets its products as aromatherapy devices; however, Instagram posts related to these products rarely mentioned their purported purpose” and that “about 32.43 % of posts referenced cannabis-related solutions, 2.98 % of the posts mentioned nicotine-related solutions and 0.11 % of the posts mentioned aromatherapy.”

A study of hemp plants looked at “key genes, for which natural genetic variation may lead to desired flowering behavior, including examples of pleiotropic effects on yield quality and on carbon partitioning.”

/ BUSINESS

Simplifya hired a former official with the Departments of Justice and Treasury as its chief compliance officer and general counsel.

RE/MAX tweeted, “Do marijuana dispensaries drive up home values? At least one study says yes.”

/ CULTURE

Former basketball players Al Harrington and JR Smith are lobbying New York lawmakers to legalize marijuana.

Model Paris Jackson, responding to a critical tweet about her marijuana consumption, said, “because an organic medicinal plant from mother earth with dozens of healing properties that is legal where i live and used to help suffering people around the world = meth. instead of taking poisonous addictive pharmaceuticals, this incredible medicine from the earth has been prescribed to me to help with my depression, anxiety, ptsd, and insomnia.”

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The post 12 governors call on Congress to pass cannabis legislation (Newsletter: June 5, 2019) appeared first on Marijuana Moment.

Oakland Officials Decriminalize Psychedelics And Say They’ll Work To Legalize Sales Next

Marijuana Moment - 12 hours 1 min ago

Oakland, California may become the first city in the United States to legalize the distribution and sale of psychedelic drugs, including psilocybin mushrooms and ayahuasca, in a way similar to how the city was the first to normalize commercial medical marijuana sales.

Much has to happen before that broader drug policy reform becomes a reality, but the Oakland City Council took a decisive first step on Tuesday when it voted 6 to 0 to approve a measure decriminalizing the possession of “entheogenic” plant- and fungi-based substances, also including mescaline and ibogaine.

Such plants have therapeutic potential in treating mental health conditions like addiction, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder, according to a slowly but steadily growing chorus of researchers and experts, but access to patients remains risky illegal behavior under current federal and state laws prohibiting them.

Under the terms of the unanimously approved Oakland resolution, “entheogenic plant practices,” including ayahuasca ceremonies and the consumption of mushrooms, are now “amongst the lowest priority” for law enforcement, and “any city funds or resources to assist in the enforcement of laws imposing criminal penalties” for adult use and possession is restricted.

In the immediate term, Decriminalize Nature Oakland, which led the charge to build support for the measure, will run similar campaigns in other California cities. The first will be next door in Berkeley, said Larry Norris, a cofounder of Decriminalize Nature.

“People see this, they can see we brought a community out, we made a resolution happen,” he told Marijuana Moment.

Lawmakers heard more than an hour of very personal, often emotional testimony from dozens of advocates who claimed the plants in questions solved addiction and other life-threatening conditions.

“I was homeless. I was hopeless. I hated myself,” said Christopher Laurance, who said “one experience” with ibogaine helped him overcome an addiction to heroin.

Similar “lowest priority ordinances” singularly focused on marijuana have preceded the establishment of licensed cannabis cultivation and sales in Oakland and other cities.

And last month, voters in Denver narrowly approved a ballot initiative that also decriminalized psilocybin mushrooms, but not the other naturally derived substances included in the Oakland plan.

Now that local lawmakers have made the initial move of decriminalizing psychedelics, the way is clear for advocates to begin building toward the next step: legal and reliable access.

Councilmember Noel Gallo, the sponsor of the decriminalization measure approved on Tuesday, told Marijuana Moment in an interview that lawmakers can now “establish a process” similar to what occurred with cannabis.

That would possibly require action via the statewide ballot.

Last year, proponents of a California legalization initiative that sought to legalize hallucinogenic mushrooms for adults 21 and over failed to collect enough signatures to qualify the measure for a vote.

But other advocates are already working to place a psilocybin decriminalization initiative on the California statewide ballot in 2020, and now they’ll be working with the momentum picked up from Oakland’s successful vote.

Gallo voiced support for such an effort on Tuesday. But for now, at the municipal level, what was likely to have been the chief obstacle—resistance from law enforcement—seems mostly sorted, Gallo said.

“The police have agreed” in principle to the far-reaching moves, Gallo said before Tuesday’s City Council meeting, with some caveats.

It didn’t hurt that law enforcement reported only a handful of arrests for possessing hallucinogenic plants over the past decade, according to testimony given before a successful first decriminalization vote at a Public Safety Committee hearing last week—and it’s also helpful that there does not appear to be a violence-inducing, for-profit illicit trade in the substances.

The lone voice of caution at last week’s hearing, Councilmember Loren Taylor, introduced a series of amendments intended to “mitigate” any negative impacts. Among them: A disclaimer that entheogenic plants “are not for everyone”—particularly people with personal or family histories of schizophrenia or bipolar disorder—and exceptions to the lowest-priority ordinance for anyone driving while under the influence of the plants, possessing them in schools or “causing a public disturbance.”

Still, not all is completely copacetic. “There are some plants that the police say are way out there” and not appropriate for decriminalization, Gallo said, without specifying which species they have in mind.

“Now,” he added, “we have to agree on what’s being regulated and identify a pathway for distribution and sales. Like with marijuana, we have to establish a process.”

The details will require more legislating but, if cannabis is any precedent, it would look something like this: With possession decriminalized, psychedelic plants will become generally easier to obtain. The permissive atmosphere might allow for private “clubs,” like the storefronts that sold recreational cannabis under Measure Z, a lowest-priority law for marijuana that Oakland voters approved in 2004.

Once those sorts of operations are up and running, the path towards some kind of regulated commercial retail sales of psychedelic plants is at least visible, if not open.

“Oakland was the first city in the nation to legalize, tax, and regulate cannabis sales,” City Council President Rebecca Kaplan, who was also that measure’s author, told Marijuana Moment. Thus, doing something similar with entheogenic plants at least has precedent.

In addition to the local and statewide efforts in California, Oregon activists are currently collecting signatures to place a 2020 measure to legalize the medical use of psilocybin and otherwise lower penalties for the substance before voters. And in Iowa, a Republican state lawmaker has introduced a mushroom-related bill in the state legislature.

Congressional Lawmakers Have Little To Say About Decriminalizing Psychedelics Following Denver Victory

This story has been updated to reflect that the vote tally was 6 to 0 and not 8 to 0 as initially reported. Two Council members were not present for the vote.

Photo elements courtesy of carlosemmaskype and Apollo.

The post Oakland Officials Decriminalize Psychedelics And Say They’ll Work To Legalize Sales Next appeared first on Marijuana Moment.

Can CBD Oil For Dogs Ease Pain?

Weed News - 15 hours 29 min ago
Dogs and other animals can experience pain for a number of reasons. Pain can occur as they age, cancer can cause pain and many dogs are prone to developing arthritis as they approach the ten year mark. Watching your pet suffer can be extremely upsetting. You’re so used to them [read more]

Congressional Report Raises Questions About Whether Marijuana Impairs Driving

Marijuana Moment - Tue, 06/04/2019 - 19:02

Concerns expressed by lawmakers that marijuana legalization will make the roads more dangerous might not be totally founded, a congressional research body said in a recent report. In fact, the experts tasked by the House and Senate with looking into the issue found that evidence about cannabis’s ability to impair driving is currently inconclusive.

While law enforcement has well-established tools to identify impaired driving from alcohol, developing technology to do the same for cannabis has proved difficult. Not only is the technology lacking, but questions remain as to how THC affects driving skills in the first place and what levels of THC should be considered safe.

“Although laboratory studies have shown that marijuana consumption can affect a person’s response times and motor performance, studies of the impact of marijuana consumption on a driver’s risk of being involved in a crash have produced conflicting results, with some studies finding little or no increased risk of a crash from marijuana usage,” the Congressional Research Service (CRS) wrote.

What’s more, “studies have been unable to consistently correlate levels of marijuana consumption, or THC in a person’s body, and levels of impairment.”

Both advocates and opponents of marijuana reform strongly support finding a resolution to the impaired driving detection issue. But experts aren’t so confident that researchers will be able to develop something akin to an alcohol breathalyzer, as the most promising attempts have only been able to determine whether a person has smoked within recent hours.

What’s striking about the report from Congress’s official research arm is that it repeatedly states it’s not clear that cannabis consumption is associated with an increased risk of traffic accidents. In general, the issue has been treated as something of a given in congressional hearings, with some lawmakers arguing that loosening federal cannabis laws would lead to a spike in traffic deaths.

That argument was echoed in a separate House Appropriations Committee report that was released on Monday. A section of the document described ongoing concerns about drugged driving “due to the increase in States legalizing marijuana use” and designated funds to help law enforcement identify impaired driving from cannabis.

The CRS report, which was published last month, signals that the problem isn’t quite as cut and dry as lawmakers might think.

Researchers have found on several occasions that traffic fatalities do not increase after a state legalizes marijuana.

Of course, that doesn’t change the fact that both opponents and supporters of legalization generally caution against driving under the influence.

“Cannabis inhalation in a dose-response manner may influence certain aspects of psychomotor performance, particularly in those who are more naive to its effect,” Paul Armentano, deputy director of NORML, told Marijuana Moment. “But this influence is typically short-lived and is far less acute than the psychomotor effects associate with alcohol.”

“By contrast, THC’s unique absorption profile and prolonged detection window in blood makes it so that—unlike as is the case with alcohol—the detection of THC in blood is not necessarily indicative of either recency of use or behavioral impairment,” he said.

The congressional report discusses the limitations of technology in detecting active impairment from cannabis and details previous studies on traffic trends in states that have reformed their cannabis laws. It also lays out legislative options for Congress to “aid policymaking around the issue of marijuana and impairment.”

As it stands, states have generally enforced impaired driving laws through one of two processes. Some states “require that the state prove that a driver’s impairment was caused by the substance or behavior at issue” while others have per se laws asserting that “a driver is automatically guilty of driving while impaired if specified levels of a potentially impairing substance are found in his or her body.”

But it’s significantly easier to prove impairment for alcohol however you cut it, the report explains.

“Detecting impairment due to use of marijuana is more difficult. The body metabolizes marijuana differently from alcohol,” the authors wrote. “The level of THC (the psychoactive ingredient of marijuana) in the body drops quickly within an hour after usage, yet traces of THC (nonpsychoactive metabolites) can still be found in the body weeks after usage of marijuana.”

Further there is “as yet no scientifically demonstrated correlation between levels of THC and degrees of impairment of driver performance, and epidemiological studies disagree as to whether marijuana use by a driver results in increased crash risk.”

Detecting impairment from cannabis is additionally complicated by another extraneous circumstance: variation in THC potency. The THC concentration conundrum is exacerbated by the fact that the only source of federal, research-grade cannabis “is considered by some researchers to be low quality,” the report stated, referring to studies showing that the government’s marijuana supply does not chemically reflect what’s available in state-legal commercial markets.

CRS also looked at the “inconsistent” results of studies examining the effects of cannabis use on traffic incidents. While some have indicated that consumption poses an increased risk on the road, the report argues that some may be conflating correlation and causation.

“Relatively few epidemiological studies of marijuana usage and crash risk have been conducted, and the few that have been conducted have generally found low or no increased risk of crashes from marijuana use,” CRS wrote.

After going through several other related issues, CRS laid out a couple of choices for Congress when it comes to dealing with the impaired driving issue. Those options include “continued research into whether a quantitative standard can be established that correlates the level of THC in a person’s body and the level of impairment” and compiling “better data on the prevalence of marijuana use by drivers, especially among drivers involved in crashes and drivers arrested for impaired driving.”

One of the last elements the report specifically focused on was federally mandated drug testing for individuals in “safety sensitive” jobs in the transportation sector. Interestingly, CRS seemed to suggest that, given the issues they outlined with respect to difficulties identifying active impairment from THC, the government should reevaluate whether suspensions for testing positive should be permanent.

“CRS could not identify any data on how many safety-sensitive transportation employees have lost their jobs as a result of positive tests for marijuana use,” the report states. “Considering the length of time that marijuana is detectable in the body after usage, and the uncertainty about the impairing effect of marijuana on driving performance, Congress and other federal policymakers may elect to reexamine the rationale for testing all safety-sensitive transportation workers for marijuana usage.”

“Alternatively, Congress and federal policymakers may opt to maintain the status quo until more research results become available,” the report advised.

Armentano, of NORML, said that legislators should be way of enacting policies focused on levels of THC or metabolites in drivers.

“As more states consider amending their cannabis consumption laws, lawmakers would best served to avoid amending traffic safety laws in a manner that relies solely on the presence of THC or its metabolites as determinants of driving impairment,” he said. “Otherwise, the imposition of traffic safety laws may inadvertently become a criminal mechanism for law enforcement and prosecutors to punish those who have engage in legally protected behavior and who have not posed any actionable traffic safety threat.”

Marijuana Legalization Not Linked To Increased Traffic Deaths, Study Finds

 

The post Congressional Report Raises Questions About Whether Marijuana Impairs Driving appeared first on Marijuana Moment.

Federal Appropriations Bills Include Limited Cannabis Protections

NORML Blog - Tue, 06/04/2019 - 17:49

In a change of trajectory, the powerful Appropriations Committee in the House of Representatives has for the first time included limited protections for cannabis businesses engaged in the legal marketplaces in 33 states.

Included in the appropriations package are two sections that address the growing tension between the federal prohibition and criminalization of marijuana and the emerging state legal marketplaces, as well as one deleterious section of language that is currently in effect which is omitted in the new version of the bill.

State Legal Medical Programs

Since 2014, there has been a spending restriction that prevents the Department of Justice from spending one penny or paperclip to take action against state-legal medical cannabis programs. This language was first introduced to the House in 2001 and for the first time in history, it is now included in what is referred to as “the base text,” meaning that its inclusion did not require a vote.

SAFE Banking

As many who live in legal states know, cannabis businesses have a real banking problem – primarily that they do not have bank accounts. This leads to the industry operating on an all-cash basis, proving a difficult and undue burden on both businesses and consumers. This language has been approved by multiple votes yet stripped out during the bicameral conference committees in 2014, 2015, and 2016. This year marks the first time that this language was included in the base text.

DC Legalization Implementation

In 2014, residents of the District of Columbia voted overwhelmingly to end prohibition and criminalization in order to pave the way for the city council to implement a regulated marketplace for adult-use cannabis. Yet the Republican House at the time, led by Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD), decided to interfere and prevent DC from self-determination on this issue. The only reason why Congress was able to take this action against the city and not similarily against other states that have legalized was due to the disenfranchisement of DC residents stemming from their legal status as a territory and not an independent state. The FY2020 Appropriations Bill marks the first time that this language has not been included in a House appropriations package.

 

We’ll keep you posted as things continue to unfold. In the meantime, please visit our Action Center and contact your federal lawmakers in support of pending reform efforts at NORML.org/ACT.

Top Democratic Senator Calls Medical Marijuana A ‘Laughing Matter’

Marijuana Moment - Tue, 06/04/2019 - 17:12

A top-ranking Democratic senator called into question the therapeutic value of marijuana on Tuesday while also making a broader point about how the federal drug classification system inhibits medical research.

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) made the comments during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the opioid epidemic and federal moves to restrict powerful fentanyl analogues.

Before getting into his views on the potential consequences of permanently placing those opioids in Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), Durbin, the Senate Democratic whip, took a hit at medical cannabis.

“My state just decided in the last few days to make marijuana legal in my state for recreational purposes, starting January 1,” he said, referencing the passage of a cannabis legalization bill through the Illinois legislature last week. “We’ve had medical marijuana. I’ve been to one of those clinics. It was almost a laughing matter.”

“The medical claims they make about marijuana go way beyond anything that’s been proven,” he said. “There are no clinical trials going on.”

Watch Durbin’s medical cannabis comments around 1:00:00 into the video below:

 

Durbin’s views on medical cannabis and marijuana reform in general are at odds with those expressed by many of his Democratic colleagues—not to mention a majority of voters. He said earlier this year that he opposed criminalizing cannabis use, but he cautioned against the other “extreme” of legalizing the plant.

Legalization advocates took issue with Durbin’s characterization of medical cannabis.

“Senator Durbin’s comments surrounding the efficacy and therapeutic benefits of cannabis are ignorant at best and cruel at worst,” Justin Strekal, political director of NORML, told Marijuana Moment. “There are over 30,000 peer-reviewed studies hosted on pubmed.gov on the effects of cannabis, including many showing declines in cases of opioid abuse and overdose fatalities.”

“If Mr. Durbin is serious about addressing the opioid crisis, then he ought not to disparage the role or lives saved that legal marijuana can play,” Stekal said.

Michael Liszewski, principal of The Enact Group, a lobbying and consulting firm that focuses on cannabis, told Marijuana Moment he agrees that the “Schedule I status has prevented more robust medical cannabis research,” but that “it’s disappointing that Senator Durbin is characterizing it as a ‘laughing matter.'”

“To imply that patients need to look sick enough in order to obtain relief from medical cannabis ignores at least two points: First, many ailments that are treated by medical cannabis are not readily visible to observers, such as Crohn’s, lupus, and PTSD (all of which are qualifying conditions in Illinois). And second, it ignores the very real possibility that these individuals look healthy because their medical cannabis therapy is providing them with benefit.”

David Mangone, director of government affairs and counsel at Americans for Safe Access, also criticized the lawmaker’s remarks.

“Senator Durbin’s comments about the medical cannabis program in Illinois are an insult to the thousands of people in his state’s program who use cannabis as a life-saving medicine,” he told Marijuana moment.

“Ignoring the fact that there are nearly 400 [National Institutes of Health] supervised clinical trials on cannabis either underway or recruiting participants, and comparing cannabis to fentanyl analogues, is disingenuous, ill-informed, and dangerous for public policy,” Mangone said.

While the senator was dismissive of medical cannabis at the hearing, arguing that we “are not establishing whether marijuana is in fact medically appropriate in so many circumstances where they claim they are,” he also said that the Schedule I status of cannabis is the reason, in his view, that evidence about its therapeutic benefits of cannabis is insufficient.

“Why don’t they [research cannabis]? Because we’ve moved marijuana to Schedule I—the same place we’re about to move all fentanyl analogues,” he said.

“Under a blanket Schedule I framework, which is being asked for today, we could imperil research into more powerful naloxone—a stronger and better treatment to save lives of those who have used fentanyl analogues,” he added. “Is that what we want to do? I don’t think so.”

Liszewski said there “simply was no need for the senator to slander medical cannabis therapy while making his valid point about how Schedule I status harms medical research.”

Durbin later questioned the Drug Enforcement Administration’s opioid production quota, stating that there’s no need to manufacture such a high volume of prescription painkillers. In one of his closing remarks, he made a play on a Reagan-era anti-drug message.

It’s time to say no,” he said. “Just say no—to pharma when they want that kind of production.”

Though the senator made his thoughts on the scheduling system clear, he’s so far declined to sign on to legislation that would amend the issue, by rescheduling or descheduling cannabis. In fact, Durbin has only cosponsored two marijuana-focused bills over the course of his 36 years in Congress to date.

One would have required the DEA to conduct clinical trials on cannabidiol (CBD) and later determine whether the compound should be a controlled substance. The other would have allowed defendants in federal court cases to introduce evidence showing that any marijuana activity was in compliance with a state medical cannabis law.

Notably, during his time in the House, Durbin cosponsored the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986, which included provisions that expanded the criminalization of drugs as well as a section tied to the problem he complained about at Tuesday’s hearing. That provision amended the CSA “to provide that controlled substance analogues shall be treated as a schedule I substance.”

“I appreciate Senator Durbin’s comments about limiting federal research,” Don Murphy, director of federal policies for the Marijuana Policy Project, told Marijuana Moment. “I’d feel even better about it if he channeled that energy and interest by putting his name on legislation to fix the problem”

Congressional Funding Bill Protects Cannabis Banking And Lets DC Legalize Marijuana Sales

Photo courtesy of Senate Judiciary Committee.

The post Top Democratic Senator Calls Medical Marijuana A ‘Laughing Matter’ appeared first on Marijuana Moment.

Bipartisan Governors Team Up To Demand Federal Marijuana Reform

Marijuana Moment - Tue, 06/04/2019 - 15:11

The governors of twelve states sent a letter to congressional leaders on Monday, urging them to pass bipartisan legislation that would let states legalize and regulate marijuana without fear of federal intervention.

In the letter, the Republican and Democratic governors said that a majority of states have already moved to allow cannabis for medical or recreational purposes and mentioned that “state legislators across the country have filed hundreds of bills to legalize and regulate this emerging industry, provide protections for consumers, promote public safety and eliminate illegal sales.”

While states have received some assurances that their legal marijuana programs would be protected—through congressional riders blocking the use of Justice Department funds to crack down on state-legal activity as well as statements from the attorney general—the policy needs to be codified, they wrote.

Specifically, the governors called on Congress to approve the Strengthening the Tenth Amendment Through Entrusting States (STATES) Act.

“The STATES Act is a logical step for Congress because it honors state action by codifying protection at the federal level for those businesses and consumers operating in accordance with state law,” they wrote. “The STATES Act is not about whether marijuana should be legal or illegal; it is about respecting the authority of states to act, lead and respond to the evolving needs and attitudes of their citizens.”

“Whether a state maintains its prohibition of cannabis or chooses a different path, the STATES Act ensures that the federal government is a partner rather than an impediment—an objective the federal government should always strive to achieve,” they added.

One promising development the governors cited was congressional action on a bipartisan banking bill that would protect financial institutions that service marijuana businesses from being penalized by federal regulators.

The letter was signed by the governors of California, Colorado, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New York, North Dakota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Utah, Washington State and Vermont.

Governors sent a similar letter in support of the STATES Act last year. That version didn’t include the governors of Utah or Vermont as signees, but it did include Alaska and New Jersey, which do not appear on the latest version.

Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and David Joyce (R-OH) and Sens. Cory Gardner (R-CO) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA filed companion versions of the STATES Act in April.

“Our states have acted with deliberation and care to implement programs through thoughtful legislation and regulations,” the governors wrote. “Our citizens have spoken, we have responded. We ask that Congress recognize and respect our states’ efforts by supporting and passing the STATES Act.”

You can read the letter below:

STATES 2019 Governors to Hill by on Scribd

U.S. Attorney General Says He Prefers Marijuana Reform Bill To Current Federal Law

The post Bipartisan Governors Team Up To Demand Federal Marijuana Reform appeared first on Marijuana Moment.

MCIR Magazine Presents Calendar of Events

Weed News - Tue, 06/04/2019 - 15:00
See the Calendar on its home page and check for updates by clicking HERE Learn how to submit your events for inclusion in this calendar by clicking HERE MICHIGAN EVENTS 2019 JUNE 1  Motor City NORML June Meeting! – Detroit link 1   F-41 Norml Clean UP – Oscoda link 5  Hemp History Week in Ann Arbor [read more]

Presence Of THC In Blood Not Associated With Crash Culpability Per Study

Weed News - Tue, 06/04/2019 - 14:30
Drivers testing positive for the presence of THC in blood do not possess a significantly increased risk of being responsible for a non-fatal motor vehicle accident, according to data published in the journal Addiction. Investigators from the University of British Columbia compared the likelihood of crash responsibility in drivers testing positive for THC [read more]

Tuesday in White Plains: Marijuana Regulation Discussion In New York State

Weed News - Tue, 06/04/2019 - 13:52
On June 4, local groups will host a public conversation at Pace Law School about marijuana regulation, featuring a police chief, school board parent, and addiction treatment expert. Advocates are pushing for the passage of the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (S1527 / A1617) before the end of the state [read more]

Cannabis banking backers float GOP-friendly amendments (Newsletter: June 4, 2019)

Marijuana Moment - Tue, 06/04/2019 - 10:39

House reports address impaired driving, CBD & hemp; RI floats blockchain to track marijuana; Lawmakers push VA on home loan denial to cannabis workers

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Your support makes Marijuana Moment possible…

There are now 1,119 cannabis-related bills moving through state legislatures and Congress for 2019 sessions.

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  • Charlie Howe: “The insanity that is federal and state cannabis prohibition has and is destroying our country. The cost to taxpayers, the lives of people and families destroyed, because of a personal choice. It must end now!”

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

In addition to backing a new appropriations rider on marijuana business banking access, supporters are looking at amending a bipartisan standalone bill to add hemp- and gun-related provisions aimed at garnering stronger Republican support.

Two new reports issued by the House Appropriations Committee address marijuana-impaired driving, CBD regulations and the legalization of hemp.

A group of 21 members of Congress sent a letter criticizing a Department of Veterans Affairs policy that denies home loans to military veterans who work in the marijuana industry.

The Rhode Island Department of Business Regulation wants blockchain companies to submit proposals on how their technology can help the state track medical cannabis, among other things.

/ FEDERAL

President Trump tweeted, “As a sign of good faith, Mexico should immediately stop the flow of people and drugs through their country and to our Southern Border. They can do it if they want!”

The House of Representatives approved a Senate-passed disaster aid funding bill that includes provisions to ensure that hemp farmers are eligible for crop insurance.

The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government gave initial approval to a spending bill containing protections for marijuana banking and removing a longstanding rider blocking Washington, D.C. from using its own money to legalize cannabis sales.

Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA), a presidential candidate, spoke about his past marijuana use in the context of racial disparities in the criminal justice system. He also said that people currently incarcerated for cannabis should be released and that their records should be expunged.

Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA), a presidential candidate, voiced support for decriminalizing marijuana and expunging cannabis convictions.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D), a presidential candidate, met with state legislative leaders to press for the passage of marijuana legalization this session but said that he wants “to see it done in a way that doesn’t create a new monster corporate class.” He also tweeted a video of himself talking about the issue.

Former Sen. Mike Gravel (D), a presidential candidate, tweeted, “Our punitive, militaristic approach to drugs has destabilized Latin America, criminalized our own neighborhoods, and enabled the police to grossly abuse their power. It has done nothing but harm to our communities. The War on Drugs must end immediately.”

Sen. Jim Risch (R-ID) spoke about states’ rights as it relates to hemp and marijuana.

Rep. Blaine Luetkeyemer (R-MO) expressed concerns about allowing marijuana businesses to access banks prior to cannabis being descheduled.

Rep. Mike Quigley (D-IL) tweeted, “Now that IL has legalized recreational #marijuana, it’s time for Congress to pass the #SAFEBankingAct to ensure that cannabis businesses have the same access to banking as any other legitimate business.”

Former Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) tweeted a video of a recent talk he gave at a cannabis conference.

/ STATES

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) said he doesn’t think the state Senate has the votes to pass a marijuana legalization bill and suggested that he is not planning to push hard on the issue.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) announced that regulators are moving to license up to 108 new medical cannabis businesses. The Senate president and Assembly speaker criticized the move.

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) said that her personal struggles with alcohol factored into her decision to veto a bill to expand the state’s limited CBD medical cannabis program.

Wisconsin’s lieutenant governor spoke in support of legalizing marijuana and joked that it would make Thanksgiving dinners more enjoyable.

Oregon lawmakers sent Gov. Kate Brown (D) a bill to bar landlords from denying housing to prospective tenants for medical cannabis use or past low-level marijuana convictions.

Louisiana lawmakers sent Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) a bill to legalize hemp and provide a regulatory framework for CBD products. Separately, the Senate approved a bill to let patients inhale medical cannabis that it had initially rejected over the weekend.

Nevada lawmakers sent Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) a bill to create a Cannabis Compliance Board.

The Florida House of Representatives is seeking to intervene in a lawsuit challenging the state’s medical cannabis regulations.

The California Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on Tuesday in a case examining whether local zoning ordinances allowing medical cannabis dispensaries to operate could cause reasonably foreseeable indirect environmental changes.

The Pennsylvania House Health and Judiciary Committees held a joint hearing on marijuana use and gun rights.

A Washington, D.C. councilmember said he will move emergency legislation on Tuesday to protect employment rights for medical cannabis patients who work for city agencies.

Missouri regulators will make medical cannabis patient applications available on Tuesday.

Washington State regulators proposed marijuana packaging and labeling rules. They also sent a bulletin on required warnings on text message advertising. Meanwhile, the Washington State Institute for Public Policy published an analysis on how to more effectively measure youth cannabis use.

Massachusetts regulators held a training session for marijuana social equity program participants.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 1,100 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

Chicago, Illinois’s mayor cheered the passage of a bill to legalize marijuana in the state.

A Sullivan County, New York undersheriff said that follow-up testing undercuts his department’s previous claims of seizing fentanyl-laced marijuana.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Paraguay’s government is moving to phase in marijuana legalization.

Ireland’s Cabinet is set to consider potentially far-reaching drug policy reform measures.

/ ADVOCACY

The incoming chairman of the New York Republican Party said he doesn’t “have the same hostility toward the legalization of marijuana as maybe my predecessors did.”

A Tax Foundation executive vice president said he thinks federal marijuana legalization is not far off.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study laid “groundwork for developing a better understanding of the complex chemistry and biochemistry underlying resin accumulation across commercial cannabis strains.”

A survey found that people who are intimidated by the life insurance application process are three times more likely to use cannabis on a daily basis than those who aren’t.

/ OPINION & ANALYSIS

A poll of Connecticut residents found that 59% support legalizing marijuana, 69% back expunging low-level cannabis records and 57% favor directing the majority of legalization revenue to areas that have been disproportionately affected by the war on drugs.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch editorial board cheered Illinois’s approach to legalizing marijuana.

/ BUSINESS

KushCo Holdings Inc.’s directors and officers are being accused in a lawsuit of misleading investors about accounting errors.

The CEO of Brinks said that the marijuana market is a “beautiful opportunity.”

/ CULTURE

Kenan Thompson and Kel Mitchell said that the first time they ever smelled marijuana was when Coolio smoked it backstage at at “All That.”

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The post Cannabis banking backers float GOP-friendly amendments (Newsletter: June 4, 2019) appeared first on Marijuana Moment.

Rhode Island Seeks Blockchain Tech To Help Government Track Medical Marijuana

Marijuana Moment - Mon, 06/03/2019 - 23:33

Rhode Island is hoping that blockchain technology can enhance the state’s efforts to track the medical marijuana industry and identify bad actors, according to a notice published on Monday.

In a request for proposals, the state asked blockchain companies to submit concepts that would help Rhode Island leverage blockchain—a system that records cryptocurrency transactions—for various ventures, including its medical cannabis program.

“Rhode Island aims to be a leader in government efficiency and innovation and we believe exploring the possibilities of blockchain technology is a step toward modernization in government,” Liz Tanner, director of the Department of Business Regulation, said in a press release. “This will encourage blockchain businesses to demonstrate their value to government entities, and I encourage blockchain-based businesses to consider Rhode Island to test blockchain technology within government.”

The notice stipulated that the state is interested in developing technology that could help it increase “visibility into the Medical Marijuana industry from seed to sale, reducing potential fraud and abuse.”

Additionally, blockchain could assist various governmental agencies in “crafting an authoritative record of chain-of-custody for criminal investigative evidence” when it comes to cannabis enforcement, the notice states.

“This is really the first step to see what’s out there and if blockchain technology can help improve government processes in the future,” state CIO Bijay Kumar said. “I am excited to see the possibilities and to learn more about how this new technology is helping other public and private entities reach new levels of innovation in business, security and other areas.”

Developing technologies to track state-legal marijuana markets has become especially important considering that financial institutions have been reluctant to service such businesses out of fear of being penalized by federal regulators.

While there are congressional efforts underway to ameliorate the issue, uncertainty abounds. A House subcommittee included language to safeguard marijuana businesses from federal punishment in an appropriations bill on Sunday.

“It’s good to see the state exploring ways to make the medical marijuana program more efficient,” Jared Moffat, Rhode Island political director for the Marijuana Policy Project, told Marijuana Moment. “Legal marijuana is a rapidly evolving terrain, and we need government regulators looking at new technologies and innovative solutions.”

The request for proposals doesn’t specifically address the banking issue, but it does seem to be related. Blockchain could offer the government an alternative pathway to monitor transactions in the cannabis market through an encryption-based program.

In a related recent development, the payment processor service Square said that it has launched a pilot program designed to give CBD businesses access to credit card processing services—something that has created headaches for companies marketing products that were federally legalized under the 2018 Farm Bill.

Lawmakers Work New Angles To Pass Marijuana Banking Legislation

Photo courtesy of Philip Steffan.

The post Rhode Island Seeks Blockchain Tech To Help Government Track Medical Marijuana appeared first on Marijuana Moment.

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