Funding bill passed with MMJ protections. The House passed a $1.2 trillion spending bill that will fund the federal government until September 30. It now heads to the Senate, where it’s expected to be passed before midnight on Friday. Reuters While its passage brings relief to the medical marijuana industry, the protections don’t extend to the recreational cannabis industry (despite the efforts of a couple Congressmen). Marijuana Business Daily
Marino withdraws due to family illness. Yesterday, we suggested that Marino might be out of the running for drug czar due to some unsavory details dredged up from his past. The White House confirmed that House rep. Tom Marino (R-Pa.) is no longer being considered to head up the Office of National Drug Control Policy, while Marino’s camp issued a statement citing a family illness. “I thank the President for the enormous honor of considering me for this lead role.” Roll Call In an interview, Marino said he had been looking forward to being the drug czar, but that his mother’s health recently worsened. “Mother comes first,” he said about withdrawing his name. “I can’t live in D.C. Monday through Friday.” Penn Live
A compromise in Vermont? The state House gave final approval to a non-commercial legalization bill, “but is unlikely to go any further this year.” VT Digger Both the state House and Senate have passed recreational legalization bills. The House’s plan would legalize possession and home-grow (but would lack a commercial market). The Senate’s plan would tax and regulate sales of the drug. While the end of the session is near, “a possible compromise is emerging,” which would use the House’s approach and create a special commission to study regulating a commercial market. If passed and signed by the governor, the state would be the first in the nation to legalize adult-use in the legislature. But gov. Phil Scott has previously expressed opposition to legalization. VPR
Cannabis oil producer will ask for mercy from the court. Ahead of her first court appearance, an Australian woman is asking the government to drop its charges against her. Jenny Hallam, who had been producing medical cannabis oil for hundreds of sick people, faces seven years in prison for possessing and manufacturing an illegal drug. She argued that people like her should be given amnesty until a legal supply of medical cannabis oil is available. “I’ll be respectful and I will plead guilty,” she said. “I’ve done it, I’ve never denied it.” This week, Australia received its first imports of medical cannabis products. The Advertiser
The NFL and marijuana. Stephen Jones, EVP and director of player personnel for the Dallas Cowboys, said that “the franchise believes the time has come for careful scrutiny and possible overhaul of the league’s decades-old position on marijuana.” NBC Sports DeMaurice Smith, the executive director of the NFL Players Association, said the union will present “a proposal to the league that has probably more of a therapeutic approach to those who test positive for marijuana.” The NFLPA is trying to figure out a way to address the issue without making any major concessions in its bargaining agreement. “Yes, this is a half-measure that fails to address recreational marijuana usage, but it’s still a step forward for the union, which has to tread carefully here because the league’s owners have it boxed into a corner.” Deadspin
Edibles: from public enemy to public health. When Colorado first rolled out its recreational market, there were few regulations for the edibles sector. After national headlines of children accidentally ingesting them (plus Maureen Dowd-like accounts), officials had to “quickly consider all of that as we put those rules into place,” said the chief medical officer of Colorado’s health department. Officials and business owners alike think that Canada can learn from the state’s experience with developing regulations for the industry. As regulations have been rolled out, the numbers of marijuana-related child poisoning calls have fallen. The Canadian Press
Cannabiz in Canada. New pesticide testing rules by the federal government have turned up more pesticide-tainted pot, this time from Hydropothecary Corp. “The first results of this random testing were received yesterday and have identified low levels of myclobutanil, a pesticide that is not authorized for use on cannabis,” said Health Canada in a statement. Hydropothecary has halted all sales as it investigates the problem. The Globe and Mail Canopy Growth Corp., an Ontario-based medical marijuana company, has acquired the Saskatchewan-based rTrees Products. rTrees is a late-stage applicant to the federal medical marijuana program, and has not yet received a license. CBC News
New York’s MMJ panel had little expertise. Applications for the state’s medical cannabis program were “vetted and reviewed by a panel of experts.” Turns out most of the panel of 17 state employees had little or no professional experience with medical marijuana. A spokeswoman for the health department said it intends to issue five additional licenses this year to expand the program. The New York Times Four of the state’s registered organizations are suing the health department in an attempt to block additional licensees. The move will “undoubtedly lead to the collapse of the industry,” said the Industry Association. “Cannabis executives have said in the past that they are not yet breaking even due to insufficient demand.” Crain’s New York
Rivals challenge de Blasio marijuana claim. After New York City mayor Bill de Blasio said he had “[ended] arrest for low-level possession of marijuana,” his Democratic challenger Robert Gangi called out his remarks “citing New York state statistics showing that during the first three months of 2017, the NYPD made more than 5,000 arrests ‘for the possession or sale of small amounts of marijuana.'” A spokesperson for the mayor’s office said that arrests are down 30 percent, and that “low-level possession arrests that don’t involve public smoking have effectively been eliminated.” Politico
Word on the States
- In Colorado, lawmakers debate whether you can smoke pot on your porch. The House approves a bill to allow recreational cannabis businesses to reclassify their products as medical marijuana.
- In Nevada, the state drafts a proposal for early recreational sales by July 1.
- In Texas, the state awarded three preliminary licenses to dispense CBD oil.
- In California, an Indian tribe turned a failed gaming hall into a cannabis operation.
- In Alaska, the Marijuana Industry Association held its first convention.
- In North Carolina, 80 percent of voters want medical marijuana to be legalized.
Word for Word
“I’m a nurse. I saw people use this marijuana. They are lazy. They don’t think. They only depend on welfare.” – Rose Huang, protestor against a dispensary, KRON
“This is crazy, but I haven’t smoked weed in three weeks!… I like to surround myself with people that make me want to get better, more evolved, open. And I was noticing, it’s not the people that are stoned. I want to be super clear and sharp, because I know exactly where I want to be” – Miley Cyrus, Billboard
“[Doug] Dracup, 31, owns Hitman Glass, which makes high-end glass pipes. Last month, he opened Hitman Coffee here in a cavernous space that used to be a rug store… I asked Dracup why he chose such a violent-sounding name for his company. He shook his head. ‘It’s not what you think. For us, it means, ‘Take a hit, man.’'” – Robin Abcarian for The Los Angeles Times
“[Raphael] Mechoulam recounted how he approached the Israeli Police, simply letting them know he’d need some of their seized hashish to conduct research on. They saw nothing wrong with that and forked over five kilos. He then went to the governmental agency that oversees drug research, Israel’s version of America’s National Institutes of Health (NIH), to ask their permission to conduct research on the seized hashish. They told him, ‘sure, go ahead.’ At that, the crowd broke into applause. Needless to say, other researchers in the room wished that were how it worked in the U.S.” – Nick Morales for Colorado Springs Independent