Canada releases its proposed marijuana regulations, a look at the pitfalls of developing an equity program, and the DEA gives a synthetic THC product Schedule II status. Sexual harassment allegations against MPP’s executive director have resurfaced in the wake of a leadership shuffle. 🌳
Canada proposes cannabis regulations. They include: mandatory health warnings, child-proof packaging, and standards for quality and potency. The proposals are open to public comment for 60 days. Reuters The regulations open the door for craft producers and allow non-violent drug offenders to participate in the industry. CBC News Meanwhile, legalization legislation faced pushback from Conservative members of Parliament, who described the effort as “wacky,” “misguided,” and “nonsensical.” One conservative MP proposed banning home-grow. The Cannabist The government’s statistical agency said it will begin including marijuana into its official economic growth figures. Bloomberg
How to develop an equity program. As local governments figure out marijuana regulations, they’re also trying to implement cannabis programs that are fair to communities that have been disproportionately harmed by prohibition. “The idea was that cannabis legalization was going to help with racial equity,” said the founder and director of the Cannabis and Social Policy Center. “That’s how it was sold to the public, but now it’s being implemented by jurisdictions and policymakers that may or may not have an interest in that.” After well-heeled donors like Sean Parker and George Soros donated millions to help legalize cannabis in California, social justice has become an afterthought. SF Weekly
It’s official. The DEA has given Syndros — a synthetic THC drug — Schedule II status. The drug is manufactured by Insys, a pharmaceutical company that has been targeted by several lawsuits over Subsys, its fentanyl spray. Some commenters took issue with Syndros gaining Schedule II status while marijuana remained in Schedule I. “FDA-approved products of oral solutions containing dronabinol have an approved medical use, whereas marijuana does not have an approved medical use and therefore remains in Schedule I,” wrote the agency. The Cannabist
Leadership change at the MPP. Rob Kampia, the founder and executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project, is transitioning to a new role as director of strategic development. Kampia has been dogged by allegations of sexual harassment in the past. For a forthcoming article at freedomleaf.com, a spokesperson for the organization told me: “To my knowledge there have been never been any allegations against Rob Kampia since that incident in 2010.” Has Kampia really cleaned up his act? It’s possible. But the optics of his Facebook post announcing the news “are terrible… Call it what you want — the #MeToo movement, the Weinstein effect, America’s sexual harassment reckoning. It started in Hollywood and politics, but it’s coming to the cannabis industry too.” Leafly
The end of a prosecution. Jonathan Hunt, one of two cannabis consultants who was prosecuted for his role in helping the Flandreau Santee Sioux start a marijuana resort, saw his case dismissed yesterday. “I feel free,” said Hunt. “I think the whole thing never should have happened.” He pleaded guilty to a felony possession charge, and must pay a $500 fine and court costs to get his record sealed. The other consultant fought the charges at trial, where a jury declined to convict him. The Associated Press
Surprised scientists. A team of researchers analyzed data from 6 million patients in an effort to explore the link between marijuana use and atrial fibrillation, a complication in heart failure patients. Scientists hypothesized that marijuana use would be linked with increased complications for heart failure patients. “I was very surprised that it was actually a reduced association I found,” said the study’s lead author. Researchers say the results are promising, but do not recommend heart failure patients to use the drug until more research is done. Live Science
“For tobacco only.” Despite numerous signs inside a smoke shop that emphasized that the smoking accessories on sale were intended for tobacco use only, the owner of Piper’s Smoke Shop outside of Philadelphia was convicted of selling drug paraphernalia. He faces up to two years in jail and a $10,000 fine. “I was beyond stunned,” he said after the conviction. Even the retired county chief of detectives testified on his behalf, saying that the accessories could reasonably be used for tobacco. “Why prosecute a small head shop for selling stoner accessories? Because drug paraphernalia remains prohibited in Pennsylvania.” philly.com
‘A tumultuous month for Privateer Holdings.’ The cannabis holding company whose brands include Leafly, Tilray, and Marley Natural, confirmed that it laid off staff last week. It would not disclose the number of layoffs, but said they were “particularly in the IT, HR and Legal departments.” Earlier this month, Leafly laid off 13 percent of its staff. Meanwhile, the rapper Master P is suing the company for breaching an agreement. A Privateer spokesperson described the lawsuit as “nonsense.” Geekwire
In international news… Lawyers are arguing before the Supreme Court that Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs is unconstitutional. Southeast Asia Globe Some Saudis on social media are unhappy with the rapper Nelly’s upcoming performance in Saudi Arabia, pointing to his 2015 guilty plea for possessing marijuana. The Associated Press
Headline of the day. “Pot dispensary staff who camped out 27 days for 4/20 permit lost it to a guy named ‘Smokey.'” KUSA
Trance Abstractions. This week, our playlist visits the oft-misunderstood dance genre, which has seen a reawakening lately thanks to a new wave of artists looking to break its sonic architecture apart and assemble something new out of its skeleton. Word on the Tree
Word on the States
- In Massachusetts, cannabis regulators aim to file draft regulations by the end of the year.
- In Colorado, a look a new rules coming to the marijuana industry. A gubernatorial candidate proposes putting more marijuana tax money towards education.
- In California, San Francisco banned cannabis ads on buses. Los Angeles passed some cannabis regulations.
- In Michigan, Detroit’s Planning Commission wants to challenge two marijuana ballot initiatives.
- In Virginia, support is growing for medical marijuana. Officials are keeping non-violent offenders in prison for longer than murderers.
- In Indiana, the attorney general clarifies that CBD oil is illegal.
- In Kentucky, a task force discusses medical marijuana legalization.
- In Michigan, final MMJ rules will be released next week.
Word for Word
“A medical cannabis program that’s ‘nearly open’ doesn’t help Barry Lauder right now. He’s been without his cannabis medicine for close to seven months, and he’s frustrated about having to go back to relying on pharmaceutical drugs in the wake of his move. ‘I’ve been on pharmaceuticals for seven to eight years and not once have I felt any better,’ he says. ‘Maybe it’s helping my pain, I don’t know—but I never felt better from taking them. I’ve missed doses and never felt any different. But with cannabis, I feel better.'” – Hannah Meadows for Leafly
“When you put DEA agents and justice department officials to work on people who are selling marijuana; you are taking them away from people who are selling meth, crack, cocaine and heroin — opioids… People who use heroin or meth and crack and cocaine, too… sometimes they resort to crimes to get their drugs because they’re addicted and they commit burglaries or robberies or murders. I don’t know about y’all, but I’ve never seen anybody go out and kill to get some money to buy a joint.” – U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.), The Daily Helmsman
“As Democrats try to win control of the U.S. Congress in next year’s midterm elections, their hopes of picking up a Senate seat in Republican-dominated Texas rest with a telegenic ex-punk rocker who wants to impeach President Donald Trump and legalize marijuana. Beto O’Rourke’s long-shot bid to unseat incumbent Republican Senator Ted Cruz illustrates the tightrope Democrats must walk as they gear up for the November 2018 elections.” – Andy Sullivan for Reuters