The TSA and MMJ. The TSA briefly removed a “special instructions” icon in its guide instructing travelers about what they can bring on airplanes. In an older app, marijuana is marked with a yellow “special instructions” icon. Earlier today, the TSA’s website marked medical marijuana with a “Yes.” The change “[suggested] that the newer green ‘Yes’ on the ‘What Can I Bring Page?’ represents a change in TSA policy.” MassRoots However, the TSA took down the medical marijuana reference on its site, later putting it back up with the word “No” next to it. A spokesperson for the TSA confirmed to Word on the Tree that there have been no recent policy changes regarding medical marijuana and said the mix-up was due to “an error in our database.”
Fighting the feds on hemp. The North Carolina Industrial Hemp Commission, charged with overseeing the state’s industrial hemp industry, praised a potential lawsuit against the DEA. Hemp producers Founder’s Hemp says it intends to sue the agency for classifying CBD products as illegal. The state commission says it is considering joining the lawsuit. The company’s president explained “that the DEA’s position is an example of bureaucracy that clearly thwarts the will of Congress and disadvantages American farmers.” The News & Observer A similar lawsuit is playing out between the Hemp Industries Association and the DEA. Lawyers representing the trade group filed an opening brief in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. “[The DEA’s] final rule is essentially a scheduling action disguised as an administrative rule,” said one of the attorneys. The Cannabist
Tax deductions for medical marijuana. While medical cannabis patients certainly cannot deduct marijuana from their federal taxes, they may be able to take a MMJ deduction from their state taxes. A California lawyer described it as a gray area: “I could find nothing on the state side that would bar a deduction,” he said. However, those who try to do so face risking an audit that could result in financial penalties. US News
Trump surrogate: ‘End the War on Weed.’ Loyal Trump supporter Roger Stone is imploring the president and attorney general to leave cannabis up to the states. “Tens of millions of Liberty minded Americans believed [Trump]… These voters were relieved that is, until the position of attorney general Jeff Sessions reached the public domain.” While Sessions’ views on cannabis have long been in the public domain, Stone criticized his position: “Perhaps attorney general Sessions has forgotten his Genesis from the Old Testament… ‘I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food.'” Business Insider
Patients push for cannabis coverage in Canada. Advocates are calling on the federal government to allow health insurers to cover medical marijuana. The problem: cannabis doesn’t have a drug identification number, something that’s assigned to a new drug when it goes through the regulatory approval process. Activists say they are lobbying Health Canada “to recognize it’s not feasible for them to go through the same trials as other drugs.” The high cost of legal medical cannabis in the country pushes some patients to the black market. CBC News Related: The leader of Canada’s libertarian party criticized how the prime minister has handled marijuana enforcement: “All the Trudeau government had to do was notice what was going on and end the rules that made it difficult for public safety to emerge. Instead, over the past month we have seen a hard crackdown on storefront cannabis dispensaries.” The Huffington Post
Cannabis in the Coachella Valley. The cannabis industry is booming in California’s Coachella Valley, but it could worsen the region’s water problems. While local governments have embraced the economic benefits that come with legalization, little has been said about the industry’s water demands. Environmental groups say they’re in “wait-and-see” mode. Water Deeply Related: The valley’s eponymous music festival sent a cease-and-desist to a cannabis company promoting a “Coachella Blend” of pre-rolls. In response, the company changed the product’s name to “NotChilla.” The Los Angeles Times
The war on the war on drugs. A Vancouver-based harm reduction group traveled to Costa Rica to provide services at a music festival. Harm reduction is “an approach less common in the dominantly Catholic society of Costa Rica, where drug use from cannabis to cocaine is heavily stigmatized.” The group faced some challenges, but soon ravers warmed up to their presence. Vice
A couple career changes. The CEO of Women Grow, Leah Heise, is stepping down to run her own medical cannabis dispensary in Maryland. COO Kristina Neoushoff will serve as interim CEO while the company searches for a replacement. Marijuana Business Daily Investor and philanthropist Barry Lambert (who has invested millions in medical marijuana research) is considering a run for the Australian Senate to advocate for medical cannabis reforms. Financial Review
Shedding light on psychedelics. New research suggests why LSD could be a useful treatment for depression and anxiety: scientists found that people who took the drug had a decreased ability to process fearful stimuli and lowered activity in the amygdala. Those disorders “are associated with increased activity in that area of the brain and a bias toward negative stimuli.” Motherboard / Vice
Word on the States
- In West Virginia, the House passed a medical marijuana legalization bill.
- In Oregon, a new bill would shift some marijuana tax revenue from schools to mental health services. The state sold 11,000 pounds of pot in the first three months of 2016.
- In Maryland, the House approved an MMJ bill aimed at boosting minority-owned businesses.
- In Missouri, Kansas City voters approved a measure to decriminalize pot possession.
- In North Dakota, the House approved a medical marijuana law.
- In Colorado, the governor signed a bill to ban illegal marijuana advertisements.
- In Maine, legislators are split on how to regulate recreational marijuana. Republicans are pushing legislation to increase drug testing of welfare recipients.
- In Arkansas, a marijuana business ownership bill failed in the Senate.
- In Nevada, an attorney argued that the state’s medical marijuana program violates several constitutional rights before the state Supreme Court. The Senate considers a variety of marijuana measures.
- In Alaska, regulators will resume discussions about on-site consumption.
- In Florida, a group of doctors are trying to clear up confusion surrounding medical cannabis in the state.
- In California, the governor released proposals to unite conflicting cannabis laws.
- In Minnesota, the state’s hemp crop sees major growth.
Word for Word
“Marijuana reform appears to be gaining steam in Congress this year, although the passage of any pro-cannabis legislation remains an open question and most bills appear to face long odds… While committees may again prove the death knell for marijuana bills this Congress, some cannabis policy wonks are hopeful specific reforms may have a better chance than in years past, in part because seven states legalized medical or adult-use marijuana in last November’s election.” – John Schroyer for Marijuana Business Daily