A 12-year-old epilepsy patient in the U.K. had his first seizure in 300 days thanks to the government’s efforts to prevent him from getting cannabis oil. Canada’s House of Commons will reject 13 cannabis legalization amendments from the Senate. The Cannabist’s hedge fund owners laid off its entire staff but won’t sell the publication. Also: Uruguay is struggling to meet demand for legal pot, forcing consumers to turn to the black market. 🌳
First seizure in more than 300 days. 12-year-old Billy Caldwell was the first patient in the U.K. to receive a prescription for medical cannabis. But the Home Office warned his doctor against prescribing it. His mother Charlotte traveled to Canada to stock up on his cannabis oil, which the boy uses to treat his epilepsy. But the cannabis oil was confiscated by U.K. customs when she tried to enter the country. Now, after more than 300 days seizure-free, Caldwell has experienced his first seizure since running out of cannabis oil. BBC “Without that anti-epileptic medication my little boy will die. That is the situation we are in. [Minister of state] Nick Hurd, who planned the confiscation of my son’s life-saving medication, has signed Billy’s death warrant,” said Charlotte. Some lawmakers are pushing for urgent reforms. The Guardian
McConnell says he’s ‘won the argument’ for hemp. After Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) inserted hemp legalization legislation into the Farm Bill, the Senate Agriculture Committee advanced the bill in a 20 to 1 vote. The legislation would federally legalize industrial hemp cultivation. Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) filed an amendment that would outlaw hemp-derived CBD, but didn’t call for a committee vote on it. McConnell criticized the proposal, saying it would “undercut essential premise of the bill, namely that help and its derivatives should be a legal agricultural commodity.” Marijuana Moment “We’ve won the argument that this is not about marijuana… Now we just need to pass the law. And I’m in a uniquely well-situated position to make that happen,” said McConnell. The Associated Press Meanwhile, the vote sets up a fight with House Republicans on food stamp benefits. The Associated Press Related: How hemp could save the earth. Rolling Stone
Cracking down on the marijuana black market. The U.S. Attorney for Oregon has charged nine people involved with a marijuana trafficking operation. The feds began investigating the defendants for credit card fraud in 2016. The money funded a state-licensed marijuana business and also a black-market, multi-state trafficking operation. The Associated Press The Corvallis Cannabis Club was allegedly involved in the scheme. Three defendants have been arrested. The complaint states that one of the defendants used the fraudulent credit cards to pay the cannabis club’s rent. Corvallis Gazette-Times
Mapping the marijuana genome. As cannabis legalization continues to spread, more people are looking into the genetics of marijuana. Phylos Bioscience, which has already released a reference genome for the plant, is gearing up to release an even more comprehensive genome. The effort will help researchers learn more about the plant’s medical benefits. Meanwhile, those working in the field are concerned about far-reaching cannabis patents. “A recent example is a patent claiming unique combinations of cannabinoid and terpene profiles. How can you say something is unique when there is nothing to compare it against? What if you get those same profiles with a different strain (and a different combination of genes)?” said the CEO of a cannabis genomics company. But the Open Cannabis Project is trying to prevent this by making cannabis genetic data public: “We can’t stop the way patenting works in the world… All we can do is make data public and make it hard for people to patent stuff they shouldn’t patent.” Rolling Stone
Federal medical marijuana protections included in funding legislation. A Senate subcommittee approved a Justice Department spending bill that includes protections for state-legal medical marijuana activities. The appropriations committee is expected to vote on the bill tomorrow. While such protections have been passed by Congress since 2014, this is the first time the measure has been included in an initial spending bill and not voted on later as an amendment. Forbes
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Hedge fund wants to hold onto The Cannabist. Founding Cannabist editor Ricardo Baca wanted to buy The Denver Post‘s cannabis vertical after the paper’s hedge fund owners laid off its entire staff. But Alden Global Capital “wasn’t receptive to his offer.” Now, Baca is planning to launch a journalism fellowship with some of the money in his failed Cannabist bid: “His agency, Grasslands, will award a journalist US$2,500 every quarter to report on untold drug policy stories.” Financial Post
Canada’s House will reject 13 marijuana amendments. After the Senate approved marijuana legalization legislation with its own amendments, the Federal Health Minister said the country’s House of Commons will reject 13 of them, including one that allows provinces to ban marijuana home-grow. “Canadians can grow their own tobacco and make their own beer and wine at home…. People can already grow cannabis for medical purposes. We think it is logical for the proposed legislation to be consistent when it comes to recreational cannabis,” she said. Two provinces have already decided to ban home-grow. Meanwhile, it’s unclear how the Senate will react when the House rejects so many of its proposals. The Globe and Mail Related: A look at Quebec’s legalization law. CBC News
Uruguay struggling to meet marijuana demand. Some U.S. states that have legalized adult-use marijuana are struggling with an oversupply of product and plummeting prices. But the legal marijuana program is only producing less than one-third of the country’s demand, forcing cannabis consumers to the black market. “I work, I can’t come here every day,” said one frustrated cannabis consumer. “Today, I’ll have to buy from an illegal dealer. I have no choice. This system is crap. It’s useless!” The country, which has a government monopoly on cannabis production, only allows pharmacies to sell the drug. But only 14 of about 1,200 pharmacies in the country sell marijuana, making it difficult for consumers to find a retailer. The Associated Press
India’s marijuana entrepreneurs. Even though recreational marijuana is banned in India, enterprising businesspeople are figuring out ways to start their own cannabis-related companies. Delhi and Mumbai are among the top marijuana-consuming cities in the world. Entrepreneurs are turning to paraphernalia to skirt drug laws. Much like the U.S., the products can be used “for tobacco.” Their businesses are flourishing, even surprising the entrepreneurs themselves: “We recovered the money we had invested in first two months after starting the website… The demand is coming from everywhere,” said the co-founder of one site that sells smoking accessories. Quartz
Promising research into psychedelics. A new study out of the University of California, Davis found that giving psychedelic drugs to flies and rats resulted in neurons forming more synapse connections in their brains. The research shows promise for drugs like LSD to treat depression, anxiety, and PTSD. The research was modeled on similar studies of ketamine, which found great promise for its potential to treat severe depression. But ketamine has a higher addiction potential compared to psychedelics. The study looked at DMT, psilocin, MDMA, and LSD, and found that they all promoted neurite growth. But LSD was particularly effective. Meanwhile, the researchers also included ibogaine, which much to their surprise, had no effect on brain structures. Vice / Motherboard “Compounds capable of rapidly promoting dendritic growth, like psychedelics, have broad therapeutic potential,” writes the study’s lead author. “However, we should temper our enthusiasm because we do not yet know all of the risks associated with using these drugs.” The Conversation
Word on the States
- In Oregon, regulators will monitor outdoor cannabis grows in response to federal enforcement pressure.
- In Massachusetts, how the state can learn from legalization in Colorado. Boston’s mayor shunned a coalition of pro-marijuana mayors.
- In California, marijuana shops may face a shortage of lab-testing cannabis.
- In Colorado, a look at marijuana bus tours.
- In Alaska, the cannabis industry decries high taxes.
- In Vermont, how to test home-grown marijuana’s potency.
- In Florida, more residents are turning to medical marijuana. A medical marijuana patient seeking to grow his own cannabis wants the state Supreme Court to take up the case.
- In Missouri, a former Army medic is advocating for medical marijuana legalization.
- In Delaware, the Senate unanimously approved a marijuana expungement bill. Lawmakers make a final push to pass recreational legalization.
- In Arkansas, a medical marijuana licensee made the same mistake that got a rival disqualified.
Word for Word
“The War on Drugs didn’t just fail to stem the damage of addiction, its very declaration failed to meet the values of equality and justice our nation was founded on… Congress has rightly decided to tackle the opioid epidemic with evidence-based policies that seek to solve the issue of addiction. But for years, we criminalized addiction in ways that caused irreparable harm not just to users, but their families, neighborhoods, and communities.” – U.S. rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-N.J.), Marijuana Moment
“It’s positively pellucid compared to the language in that marijuana ‘legalization’ bill that was introduced last week in the state Senate. I put ‘legalization’ in quotes because one of the goals of the legislation is to create a Division of Marijuana Enforcement. Call me a free-market fanatic, but if the goal is to revoke the laws against marijuana, then why do you need a new bureaucracy to enforce those laws you’ve just revoked?… [The bill is] filled with bureaucratic jargon like a command that the new Division must ‘Adopt a tiered system under which the permitted size of a marijuana growers’ mature marijuana plant grow canopy increases at the time of licensure renewal.’ I don’t know what that could possibly mean. But I do know what ‘legalization’ means. If I may state it as a syllogism of my own: ‘Legalized marijuana means marijuana that is not illegal.'” – Paul Mulshine for nj.com