New York’s governor convened a working group to draft legislation to legalize marijuana. The VA in San Diego is working its way through federal hurdles to study CBD for PTSD. As New Jersey moves towards legalization, cannabis consumers in the state face the highest arrest rates in the nation. Also, a Florida city employee who once received the “employee of the year” distinction was fired for off-duty medical marijuana use. 🌳
New York moving towards legalization. New York governor Andrew Cuomo created a 20-person panel to draft legislation to legalize marijuana. The group is staffed with “Cuomo administration officials, college professors and law enforcement officers.” The move is a welcome step forward for cannabis advocates in the state, but it’s unclear why Cuomo isn’t supporting existing legalization legislation that has been introduced in the legislature. His campaign has accepted nearly $100,000 in donations from big cannabis industry players. The Democrat & Chronicle It seems that Cuomo, who has historically opposed cannabis policy reform, is taking a new direction after facing pressure from primary challenger Cynthia Nixon and the state Health Department’s report recommending legalization. Vox
The VA is studying CBD for PTSD. The VA San Diego Healthcare System is working to conduct a study on CBD for treating PTSD. “Federal law requires approvals from a number of federal agencies in order to conduct such a study. VA is working to obtain those approvals, but the process is not yet complete,” the agency said in a statement. “Until you’re in our shoes and you have our pain, and you have the type of nightmares and lack of sleep and all that that comes with being a disabled war veteran, then you really can’t say anything to us,” said one Marine veteran about medical marijuana naysayers. NBC San Diego
Oregon has a pot oversupply problem. It’s all about how you regulate the industry. While wholesale marijuana prices have fallen in both Colorado and Oregon — the first states to legalize adult-use cannabis, a report out of Oregon found that 70 percent of legal recreational marijuana goes unsold. Meanwhile, a state study out of Colorado “found most growers there are planting less than half of their legal allotment — and still meeting demand.” The reports offer lessons for other states on how best to regulate a marijuana industry. “From the beginning, Colorado had stricter regulations for its growers than Oregon did… Oregon didn’t give existing medical marijuana growers priority over new applicants as Colorado did, and it also didn’t cap licenses. That created a perfect storm of endless licenses…” The Associated Press Related: The top federal prosecutor in Oregon said that the cannabis industry in the state “it is out of control.” KDRV
New Jersey cops are the toughest on marijuana. As the state moves towards marijuana legalization, marijuana consumers in the state “are arrested at the highest rate in the nation by local police departments… There were 32,279 marijuana possession arrests in 2016 — more than murder, rape, assault or any type of theft.” Across the state, marijuana possession arrests accounted for 10.6 percent of all arrests — the highest percentage in the U.S. (The runner up was South Carolina at 9.9 percent.) A spike in arrests came after a 2015 Supreme Court decision that made it easier for police to search a car if they smelled marijuana. Asbury Park Press Arrest rates can vary widely from town to town. Here’s a look at where cannabis consumers are most likely to be arrested. northjersey.com
Why doctors are so reluctant to recommend medical cannabis. Faced with a lack of clinical data on medical marijuana, many in the medical establishment are wary of participating in state medical marijuana programs. But there is a trove of clinical research that is hidden from public view: While federal restrictions hamper universities from conducting cannabis research, many private companies are taking it upon themselves to fund and conduct such trials on their own products. “Because these companies aren’t gaining approval through the same institutional review boards that are required for academic institutions, they’re often precluded from publishing in the peer-reviewed journals that are publicly available. Another downside is that they don’t receive the same scrutiny for the validity of their results.” Leafly
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How to break in to the cannabis industry. Cannabis education platform Green Flower is hosting a virtual summit featuring 13 professionals from all corners of the industry talking about how they landed their dream jobs. The lineup includes everyone from lawyers to doctors to marketers to cultivators who have found their own niche in the industry. To watch the virtual event from August 6 – August 19, sign up here: Green Flower
Rates of cannabis dependency are dropping. As marijuana use increases in states that have legalized the drug, rates of marijuana dependency are falling. The finding surprised researchers, who had expected rates of dependency to increase alongside rates of marijuana use. “What may be driving these trends is not entirely clear,” wrote the study’s author. “The truth lies between two alternative extreme interpretations.” Marijuana Moment Related: Inside Marijuana Anonymous, a group for those struggling with marijuana addiction. Vice News
There’s no need to panic. Yes, the number of cannabis-related phone calls to poison control centers have spiked in states that have legalized marijuana. But here’s some much needed context for those numbers: There are relatively few cannabis-related calls compared to other, more harmful substances like aspirin and household chemicals. Marijuana “is not all that harmful, but it’s not harmless,” said the executive director of the California Poison Control System. “Compared to the number of calls about other stuff, there are not a lot of calls about cannabis.” Leafly
Cannabis in Canada. Ontario premier Doug Ford is reportedly mulling private retailers for marijuana when Canada rolls out its legal marijuana program in October. “Now, everything is up in the air. The Liberals promised that an arm of the LCBO would act as a retailer, with 40 Ontario Cannabis Store locations opening by the end of 2018, and no private dispensaries allowed. But now, it’s unclear what a privatized system under the new PC government would look like, if the province decides to go that route.” CBC News Adults in British Columbia will be able to grow up to four cannabis plants at home, but will have to adhere to some strict rules. Vancouver Sun
How to beat a drug test. Drugs like opiates and cocaine will leave your system in a couple days, but marijuana stays around long after it’s consumed. Here, a writer who passed many a drug test while still smoking cannabis talks to two experts to find out the best way to beat a urine test. Vice
Dawn. Brian Eno once said his ambient music would “accommodate many levels of listening attention without enforcing one in particular; it must be as ignorable as it is interesting.” This week’s playlist goes beyond the genre, but carries Eno’s ideas down strange and enchanting paths. Word on the Tree
Word on the States
- In Florida, a city’s “employee of the year” for 2016 was fired for consuming medical marijuana.
- In Utah, a look at the thorny issues surrounding medical marijuana and faith for Mormons.
- In Massachusetts, companies from law firms to garden equipment suppliers are looking forward to marijuana industry opportunities.
- In Nevada, regulators and industry insiders say the first year of marijuana sales “exceeded even their highest expectations.”
- In California, the state insurance commissioner approved three new carriers for the cannabis industry. A look at San Diego’s crackdown on unlicensed delivery services.
- In Texas, why the GOP should legalize marijuana.
- In Oklahoma, more than 280 people applied for the top marijuana regulator job, most of whom do not live in the state.
- In Missouri, three medical marijuana ballot initiatives qualified for the November ballot.
- In Maryland, patients are demand action after repeated computer crashes at dispensaries.
- In Michigan, a look inside a medical marijuana facility.
- In Pennsylvania, flower sales drew crowds to medical marijuana dispensaries.
Word for Word
“Craft brewers have already been incorporating the taste of hemp and cannabis in their brews. Coalition Brewing says on its website that cannabis and hops ‘share many characteristics, including flavors, aromas, and medicinal qualities.’ Other breweries, like Humboldt Brewing Co. and O’Fallon Brewery, use hemp seeds to impart flavor.” – Kari Sonde for Mother Jones
“I started in October . High Times was not yet computerized. Articles were tapped out on typewriters and sent to a typesetter. I was given a desk in managing editor Judy McGuire’s office… My job was to fill up the eight-page ‘HighWitness News’ section with interesting articles. I wasn’t familiar with federal or state pot laws and didn’t know anyone in the legalization movement. What struck me most was the amount of cannabis arrests happening around the country. I learned about this by reading the countless letters containing news clips sent in by readers. It was my job to go through the mail. I had a lot of catching up to do.” – Steve Bloom for CelebStoner