Reintroducing the CARERS Act. A bipartisan group of senators are reintroducing the CARERS Act — legislation that aims to protect state-legal medical marijuana. The bill would offer a more permanent solution for protecting state medical cannabis laws that currently rely on the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment (which must be renewed every year). Reason This time around, there seems to be more support for the effort. Republican senator Mike Lee is behind the bill and is also a member of the Senate Judiciary committee. Another Republican senator, Lisa Murkowski, sits on the Senate Appropriations committee. Leafly
Being a black entrepreneur in the cannabis industry. Jesce Horton, a cannabis entrepreneur in Oregon, tells what it’s like to be black in an industry that’s overwhelmingly white. Both he and his father have spent time behind bars on cannabis charges. His parents were not thrilled about his choice of career, but he sees a chance to help advocate for economic justice on behalf of people of color who’ve been unfairly targeted by drug enforcement. Indeed, lawmakers in places like Oakland, Calif. are looking to develop cannabis regulations that seek racial equity for the industry. The Guardian
Why cannabis research laws don’t work. Unlike other states that have legalized medical marijuana, lawmakers in Utah balked at the proposal and opted instead to allow research first — in hopes of collecting data on the medicine. No other state has taken this approach before, because they realize such a strategy is futile, say advocates. The bureaucratic hurdles involved in studying a Schedule I substance are so great that it will likely take years before scientists will have any results to show. The Associated Press
Strange bedfellows. Even prohibitionists don’t want cannabis in Schedule I. A group called the Friends of the National Institute on Drug Abuse criticized the restrictions on research and asked NIDA to issue a report on the barriers that result from marijuana’s Schedule I classification. The group’s board includes Kevin Sabet of SAM and other notable legalization opponents. MassRoots
Science vs. Sessions. Attorney general Jeff Sessions cited the drug epidemic in a letter asking Congress to withdraw medical marijuana protections. But science suggests otherwise. Reviews of studies have found that cannabis helps chronic pain sufferers use fewer opioids. Medical marijuana is far less addictive than prescription pain pills and is virtually impossible to overdose on. Scientific American
More on the lawsuit against Kentucky. A lawsuit is challenging the ban on medical marijuana in Kentucky, and one of the plaintiffs is the son of a Republican state senator. “I live in pain daily. Cannabis helps me deal with it,” he said. The Associated Press Another plaintiff moved to Washington state, where she had a doctor’s recommendation for marijuana. When she moved back to Kentucky, she turned to the black market. While similar lawsuits have been filed in other states, none have been successful so far. WFPL
Pot advocates have first-amendment rights too. Iowa State University has lost its second appeal over the university’s decision to ban a marijuana advocacy group’s T-shirt. The shirt showed a cannabis leaf along with the school’s logo. The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that school administrators violated the free speech rights of two students at the university’s chapter of NORML. The school could still appeal to the Supreme Court. The Associated Press
‘[Sessions] is crazy.’ Former Mexican president Vicente Fox has some harsh words for the Trump administration. “He doesn’t know about history. That he doesn’t know what we have built with such a big effort and such sacrifice,” he said about the attorney general’s recent request to undo medical marijuana protections. “I don’t know what has happened with this administration… They are totally blind.” The Cannifornian
Word on the States
- In Vermont, the governor is seeking additional amendments to the marijuana legalization compromise bill.
- In Massachusetts, House leaders pulled a controversial pot bill hours before a vote.
- In California, lawmakers firm up marijuana rules.
- In Oregon, a state employee was arrested for stealing tax payments from a medical marijuana dispensary.
- In Arkansas, medical marijuana regulations face a final vote on Friday.
- In New Mexico, the health secretary rejected new uses for medical marijuana.
- In Rhode Island, the governor proposes tripling medical marijuana dispensaries.
Word for Word
“A lot of the information isn’t available. You can’t just go online and find great research on the regulatory ins and outs of (a state). It’s very hard for the family office or rich individual to understand all those dynamics and make good investment decisions. The average investor in the cannabis world has a daunting task ahead of them, given the patchwork nature of the industry and the complexities around it.” – Hadley Ford, Marijuana Business Daily