Live with pain or lose your job. A medical marijuana patient in New Jersey suffering from dystonia sued Ocean City after he was suspended from his job as a firefighter. He only used cannabis during his off hours. “In his 20 years on the job, which included taking part in recovery efforts after 9/11, [Brad] Wiltshire never had disciplinary problems and he received sterling performance reviews.” Given his track record, he thought his job security would be fine if he told the truth. Cases like his are increasingly popping up around the U.S. as more states legalize medical cannabis. BuzzFeed News The issue is gaining prominence in Canada as well. One apprentice ironworker was told that he needed addiction treatment for his medical marijuana use. “Why should I get off my prescription that’s beneficial to me? I’m not putting anyone in danger… I have worked with guys who are high on cocaine, high on meth, drunk… For them to care so much over medical marijuana, I was kind of astonished.” Edmonton Journal
More people seeking help for marijuana use. Data on people receiving treatment for marijuana addiction suggests that fewer cannabis consumers are finding themselves in court-mandated treatment programs. But the number of people seeking voluntary treatment for marijuana use is on the rise. The Netherlands, where cannabis use is decriminalized, has the highest rate of people seeking treatment for marijuana use in Europe. The Washington Post
The economic potential of hemp. Industrial hemp is a versatile crop that could be used in a wide variety of sectors including automobiles, pharmaceuticals, food, and cosmetics. But the rise of hemp products is complicated by regulatory uncertainty, and federal laws against commercial hemp production in the U.S. The Cannabist In one example, a Missouri-based hemp oil producer saw his products seized in Kansas because it contained trace amounts of THC (less than 0.3 percent). The owner of the company said he’ll make a product line specifically for Kansas with no traces of THC. The owner of the store that was selling the product faces three years in prison on marijuana charges. The Kansas City Star
Cannabis in California. The state’s attorney general Xavier Becerra said he doesn’t think the feds will make a “comprehensive effort” to crack down on state-legal weed. “My sense is that they know that if they try to do something on a large scale then they’re going to run into a real juggernaut [California] against them.” The Associated Press Juggernaut indeed. A state-sponsored study found that the legal cannabis market will be worth $5 billion, but nearly 30 percent of consumers will opt to buy black-market pot in the beginning. The Los Angeles Times Calaveras county considers banning marijuana cultivation. The problem? It has approved 89 cultivation licenses and collected $3.7 million in fees. The Sacramento Bee What will happen to the state’s drug-sniffing dogs? Their use could create legal problems as marijuana is no longer a legal basis for a search. Green State
The story of a couple who just wanted a garden store. Gary Capone and Nicole Stetzer thought a small garden shop would make a nice retirement business. But then they learned the one they had their eyes on was a hydroponic shop for cannabis growing. “Coming from the military, I strongly opposed [marijuana],” explained Capone, an army vet. “But then he started seeing the medicinal benefits and how marijuana was helping veterans cope with pain or post-traumatic stress. ‘I didn’t even know this world existed,’ he said. ‘This opened my eyes.'” Mass Live
Marijuana’s economic impact. One projection estimates that the state-legal cannabis industry will inject nearly $70 billion a year into the U.S. economy. Every dollar consumers spend on cannabis products will generate $3 in economic benefit as the industry creates jobs, pays taxes, and generates construction activity on the local level. Marijuana Business Daily
Registering to buy cannabis in Uruguay. A journalist for the AFP was one of the first to sign up for the country’s cannabis registry “purely for professional reasons.” Consumers who want to buy weed from the pharmacy must submit fingerprints first. “Signing onto the cannabis register took minutes. It was easy as buying a stamp,” she reported. Use of the drug has become increasingly ordinary: “Invited to a Uruguayan friend’s birthday party, along with teenagers, parents and grandparents, I found, next to the stock of beer, a box of marijuana for guests to share. All the generations were smoking it.” AFP
Fighting drugs, ignoring ISIS. Philippines’ president Rodrigo Duterte has been focused on waging his war on drugs, drawing international condemnation for thousands of extrajudicial killings. But now he’s unprepared for the Islamist militants in the South, who asked for a cease-fire last year but were rejected by the president. “They said that they will go down upon Marawi to burn the place. And I said, ‘Go ahead, do it,'” said Duterte. They did, and now the government is struggling to address the threat. The New York Times
On opioids. Alkermes, the company that makes opioid addiction treatment Vivitrol, has spent millions lobbying lawmakers and law enforcement officials and even got a plug from HHS secretary Tom Price. But “its marketing tactics, and Mr. Price’s comments, ignore widely accepted science.” The New York Times A look at how prescription heroin could help the opioid crisis, a treatment that is supported by research and real-world examples. Vox Meanwhile, people with access to medical marijuana are less likely to use opioids. The Times-Herald
Word on the States
- In Colorado, the governor signed a civil asset forfeiture reform bill. April marijuana sales top $125 million (a 27 percent year-over-year increase).
- In Vermont, the governor signed a bill to expand the state’s MMJ program. A look at the recreational marijuana compromise.
- In Florida, the governor says he will sign the medical marijuana bill passed Friday. A cannabis expo drew entrepreneurs.
- In Maryland, the MMJ commission can continue issuing licenses after a court ruling.
- In Massachusetts, the state mulls limits on pot advertising. A look at the green rush.
- In North Dakota, questions surround the state’s industrial hemp industry.
- In Nevada, the medical marijuana industry will set the framework for recreational sales.
- In South Carolina, officials finalize the application process for the hemp pilot program.
- In Hawaii, medical marijuana dispensaries open with no source of income.
- In Washington, Franwell is out and MJ Freeway is in for the state’s seed-to-sale tracking contract.
- In New York, a renewed push for recreational legalization in the state.
Word for Word
“In the view of CBP, Stashlogix’s containers are ‘drug paraphernalia,’ even though everyone involved acknowledges the product is aimed at preventing drug use by children. The case highlights the ever-growing disconnect between permissive state laws and restrictive federal policies on marijuana use. And it underscores how the strict application of decades-old federal drug rules can, at times, increase the risks of marijuana use in places where it’s already legal.” – Christopher Ingraham for The Washington Post
“If you have a compound that seems to be beneficial, works in a novel way, and does something different than currently available treatments, then you could really question the ethics of withholding funding.” – Psychedelics researcher Robin Carhart-Harris, Quartz