Despite receiving state licenses, equity applicants in Massachusetts are struggling to get local approval. California adds a new type of cannabis license aimed at helping small businesses. A new study found that a marijuana-derived CBD drug was helpful in reducing epileptic seizures. Also: the beer industry in Canada is scared of cannabis and is lobbying the government for higher marijuana taxes. 🌳
Equity applicants struggle with local approval. Massachusetts has been hailed for its equity program, which grants priority status to applicants that help communities disproportionately impacted by drug enforcement. But the applicants who received those approvals from the state are running into troubles at the local level: “State approval means nothing if businesses cannot get local approval from cities and towns. So far, that has proven difficult.” One license recipient recounted how a town manager rebuffed her because the municipality was in discussions with large-scale operators. Meanwhile, other hurdles remain: a short-staffed regulatory agency, a lack of access to capital, and municipal caps on licenses. Mass Live
Equity co-working licenses. A new type of cannabis license could help small producers in California: A Type S license allows small businesses to operate out of co-working spaces rather than having their own premises. The Health Department says it’s supposed to “provide an opportunity for craft manufacturers who may not otherwise have the investment capital to get up and running.” The license was a “response to demand from cities and counties wishing to implement equity programs.” Advocates in Los Angeles lobbied for the new license class, arguing that the city’s social equity program would not be able to function without it. Leafly
Good news for GW Pharma. New research bodes well for Epidiolex, the marijuana-derived CBD drug that is seeking FDA approval in the U.S. A study published Wednesday found that patients who suffered from Lennox-Gastaut, a type of epilepsy, saw significant seizure reductions on the drug. “There’s a boatload of evidence to show for this drug at this point… I’d personally be very surprised if this drug was not approved,” said the study’s lead author. Business Insider Patients received low and high doses of the drug (along with a group that received a placebo). Those in the low-dose group saw a 37 percent reduction in seizures. Those in the high-dose group saw a nearly 42 percent reduction. Leafly
Republicans reject hemp amendments from other Republicans. The House Rules Committee refused to allow hemp-related amendments for a vote. A Farm Bill amendment that would federally legalize hemp was submitted by U.S. reps. James Comer (R-Ky.) and Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.). The proposal rejected in an 8 to 3 vote along party lines, despite testimony from Comer recounting how industrial hemp has benefitted rural Kentucky. Two other hemp-related amendments didn’t get a committee vote. Committee chairman Pete Sessions (R-Texas) did hint that hemp reform could come in the form of an agreement with senator Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who has introduced standalone legislation to legalize hemp. Marijuana Moment Related: A pro-marijuana Super PAC is targeting Sessions’ House seat. Sessions has blocked votes on a variety of bipartisan marijuana reform measures. Dallas Observer
Cannabis advertising and youth use. A new study found that exposure to medical marijuana advertising is correlated with higher youth use of marijuana. “Overall, results suggest that exposure to [medical marijuana] advertising may not only play a significant role in shaping attitudes about marijuana, but may also contribute to increased marijuana use,” read the study. Adolescents who reported higher exposure to cannabis advertising also reported “stronger intentions to use marijuana in the future, stronger positive expectancies about marijuana use, and more negative consequences from use.” Leafly Related: The findings aren’t surprising — similar findings have been published with regards to alcohol advertising. CNN
🚨 Shameless Promotion 🚨
CannaGrow Expo. A two-day educational expo on the art and science of growing marijuana will kick off in Palm Springs, Calif. this Saturday. Newcomers and experts alike can learn from cannabis cultivation experts in more than 35 educational sessions led by some of the top growers from around the world. Word on the Tree readers get $20 off tickets purchased online with the discount code: WOTT. CannaGrow Expo
Medical marijuana in Florida. A circuit court heard testimony from two medical marijuana patients who are fighting against the Legislature-passed ban on smoking medical marijuana. One patient, who was diagnosed with ALS in 1986, credits smoking marijuana for living far longer than the three- to five-year prognosis doctors gave her at the time. “The edibles cause terrible stomach pain and vaping makes me gag… Smoking makes my life a lot more bearable,” she said. The Associated Press Meanwhile, another patient is fighting for the right to grow his own medical marijuana at the state Supreme Court. The man’s attorneys used a “relatively unusual legal procedure” to lift a stay imposed by a lower court that would allow him to grow cannabis. Orlando Weekly
Cannabis for seniors. Seniors continue to embrace marijuana at growing rates. Last year, a senior living center in Colorado began hosting Cannabis 101 courses to educate its residents about how they could benefit from marijuana. Now, the retirement community is partnering up with a dementia-focused program to look at how cannabis can be used to treat Alzheimer’s, dementia, and other neurological conditions. Westword
Beware of exploding vape pens. An autopsy report out of Florida found that an exploding vape pen was responsible for a man’s death. It seems to be the first fatality from a vape pen, which has caused injuries and fires in the past. The vape was manufactured by a Philippines-based company, which blamed a faulty atomizer or battery for the accident. The Associated Press
Beer industry scared of cannabis. A Canadian trade group that represents 50 beer manufacturers advocated for higher cannabis taxes due to the “potential for legal marijuana to cannibalize beer.” “Domestic brewers are concerned that legal recreational marijuana is going to have a negative impact on beer sales, which on a per-capita basis have already declined by 10 percent in the last 10 years,” said the president of Beer Canada. Alcohol companies are already making forays into the cannabis space, most notably with Constellation Brands’ investment into licensed producer Canopy Growth. Marijuana Business Daily
Elsewhere around the world… Danish MP Henrik Sass Larsen advocated for the legalization of cannabis and the decriminalization of other drugs in a new book. “[Prohibition] has served no other purpose than to send a whole lot of people to prison, and the volume of resources society has spent on it has exploded,” he said. The Local In Thailand, an interim cabinet approved a bill that would decriminalize the medical use of cannabis, kratom, and opium. “Under military rule, Thailand has made surprising strides toward drug decriminalization.” Khao Sod People are quite tickled by a “cheeky youth” who sprinted through a live news report about cannabis while carrying a potted plant. The reporter said the young man “had simply been startled to see the camera and sprinted in embarrassment.” The Daily Mail
Word on the States
- In Oregon, deep-pocketed investors are storming the marijuana market.
- In Colorado, a new wave of cannabis investors could enter the state market thanks to a new bill.
- In Rhode Island, a new bill would legalize recreational marijuana.
- In Massachusetts, Amherst welcomes its first medical marijuana dispensary.
- In Ohio, a delay in the medical marijuana program worries patients and advocates. Regulators awarded an additional provisional license due to an inadvertent scoring error.
- In Pennsylvania, the ACLU is defending a city council’s right to decriminalize marijuana. A look at employer policies for medical marijuana use. After Pittsburgh decriminalized cannabis, arrests are somehow rising.
- In Georgia, 55 percent of voters support recreational legalization.
- In North Dakota, the Health Department announced two finalists for medical marijuana manufacturing licenses.
- In Kansas, the governor signed a bill legalizing CBD in the state.
- In Louisiana, the legislature approved legislation expanding the list of MMJ-qualifying conditions, sending the proposals to the governor.
- In Iowa, the state could get a second medical marijuana producer.
- In West Virginia, House Democrats are pushing for a marijuana banking fix.
Word for Word
“Terminating a mother’s rights to her newborn is an especially brutal drug war tactic that research and experience show will inflict far more harm than good on the children and families it allegedly aims to protect. Such policies are rooted in stigma and gross indifference to what the best available science tells us about how to compassionately and effectively serve pregnant women struggling with drug use disorders and their families.” – Lisa Sangoi for Injustice Today
“I was ‘relaxed’ to the point of catatonia, able to get up from my bed only for the pint of Ben & Jerry’s Chubby Hubby in my freezer. I ate it standing up, droopy eyed, talking nonsense to my bewildered roommate. Twenty minutes later, I fell into a dreamless sleep. A few nights later, I tried eating only a half of a [CBD] gummy, and a few nights after that, I ate a quarter. The effects were definitely less pronounced with each reduction, but I also definitely felt high every time. Not fun high. Dead high. As it turns out, I … might have been. Because CBD remains unregulated, it’s easy for sellers to mismarket and mislabel their products — and to leave a lot of information out.” – Katie Heaney for New York / The Cut
“Martinez, who was born and spent most of his life in California, said that for three decades he had worked as a gun for hire, collecting debts and killing people across the United States. Police say that work was often for Mexican drug cartels, though in a few cases he also killed a few people just because they pissed him off. Martinez refused to say anything about the drug business, including whom he worked for or with. But he was more than happy to talk about bodies. And about his own prowess in killing. They called him El Mano Negra, he said — the Black Hand… That he killed so many for so long suggests a dark truth about law enforcement in America: Kill the right people — in his case, farmworkers and drug dealers, few of whom had anyone to speak on their behalf — and you just might find there’s no one to stop you.” – Jessica Garrison for BuzzFeed News