The growing cannabis industry is pushing lawmakers on the issue. Denver saw a 20 percent increase in marijuana tax revenue over one year. Global warming is making things hard for Lebanese farmers, but they see hope in cannabis crops. Also: Behind an effort to create a marijuana theme park in Las Vegas. 🌳
Growing cannabis industry is pushing lawmakers. A new report predicts that the cannabis industry in the U.S. will reach more than $30 billion by 2025. “The trend is bound to increase pressure on lawmakers to stake positions on one of the country’s most rapidly evolving social issues.” Thanks to gains in the legalization movement at the state level, a growing number of lawmakers represent states with some sort of legal marijuana. In this legislative session, “68 bills have been proposed that mention marijuana or cannabis, and 84 were proposed in the previous Congress.” Roll Call
Cannabis access for veterans. Veterans commit suicide at twice the rate of civilians. Despite vocal advocacy from veterans to reform federal marijuana laws so they can access medical marijuana, nothing has happened. “So they make illegal medicinal choices that relieve anxiety and hypertension, choices that help them sleep, choices that turn them into criminals, ruin their military careers, stain their permanent records, and bar them from benefits they’ve earned for getting their bells clanged by roadside bombs half a world away. Denied options afforded civilians, active-duty veterans residing in states offering legal medical marijuana have been sentenced to second-class citizenship and pointless suffering by a discriminatory and punitive federal law.” Herald-Tribune Related: The first federally approved clinical trial on cannabis needs only seven more volunteers and is expected to finish on time. The researchers are studying medical marijuana for PTSD in vets. Marijuana Moment
Sacramento to launch equity program. The Sacramento City Council unanimously approved the Cannabis Opportunity Reinvestment and Equity, which will help those disproportionately impacted by drug enforcement enter the cannabis industry. Those eligible for the program include people with past pot arrests and those with family members who have been arrested for marijuana. One dispensary operator said that while waived fees are nice, more should be done to help with the high start-up costs of launching a cannabis business. “They need some kind of fund to help them get started with the cost of business… I think it is imperative that if you do part of it, you do it right the whole way.” The Sacramento Bee
Fighting the California wildfires. Eighteen wildfires in Northern California have now burned a combined 600,000 acres. While the prime cannabis-growing region of the Emerald Triangle has so far been unaffected, cultivation sites in Lake and Shasta counties faced mandatory evacuation orders this week. “The region’s sheer rugged wilderness, which first attracted pot growers in the ’70s, is the exact thing fanning the infernos, the biggest of which are the Mendocino Complex Fire and the Carr Fire.” Leafly Inmates are putting their lives on the line to fight fires while getting paid less than $2 a day. More than 2,000 inmate firefighters are battling the Mendocino Complex Fire — the largest in state history. But the worst part is that they will be barred from becoming firefighters when they are released from prison. Reason
Lack of reform from a reformer. Harris County’s district attorney Kim Ogg made headlines when she won her seat after campaigning on criminal justice reform. Ogg has instituted a marijuana decriminalization policy and also advocated against the state’s cash bail system, describing it as “a tool to oppress the poor.” But an internal email reveals that Ogg’s office is still pushing for high bond amounts for minor crimes like marijuana possession and criminal trespass. Her office requested $15,000 bond for a man who was charged with possessing less than two ounces of marijuana. (The judge disagreed and set his bond to $1,000.) A staff attorney for the ACLU “said it’s never appropriate for a DA to ask for $15,000 bond for charges like marijuana possession, and pointed to research showing that releasing people based on their promise to pay if they don’t turn up in court is just as effective as requiring money bail up front.” The Appeal
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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
Legal weed in Denver. Denver dispensaries sold more than $587 million last year, and the city saw a 20 percent increase in marijuana tax revenues from the previous year. “This new report demonstrates Denver’s coordinated approach between multiple agencies to manage marijuana is working… we are having success.” said the mayor. Marijuana-related crimes represent less than 1 percent of all crimes committed in the city. Meanwhile, Denver’s share of marijuana sales is falling as sales grow in other parts of Colorado. The Denver Post The FBI and DEA coordinated with state and local law enforcement agencies for a “massive, coordinated raid of more than a dozen suspected illegal marijuana growing operations” in the Denver area on Thursday. The Denver Post
Today in cannabis business news… Planet 13 Superstore in Las Vegas hopes to become a marijuana theme park. “Planet 13 is trying to build a place that’s full of stuff that’s really fun to do when you’re high, and if they pull it off, marijuana tourism will never be the same.” Vice Facebook gave an (unsatisfying) response about why cannabis-related pages aren’t showing up in search results. (“Mistakes are made.”) Marijuana Business Daily A cannabis dispensary in Berkeley is teaming up with a local restaurant to pair marijuana with fried chicken. Leafly California’s insurance commissioner was appointed to chair the cannabis working group for the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. Insurance Journal
Cannabis in Canada. A cannabis business received Health Canada approval for clinical trials of CBD for treating anxiety in animals. While CBD has become an increasingly popular treatment for pets, very little research has been done on cannabis in veterinary medicine. The Toronto Star One in seven consumers say they recently drove after consuming cannabis, according to a Statistics Canada survey. The Globe and Mail
Elsewhere around the world… Lebanese farmers in the Bekaa Valley can’t wait to be able to legally farm cannabis. The region has been disproportionately impacted by global warming, making produce difficult to farm. But cannabis crops can still flourish in the region. CNN A police chief in the U.K. is calling for cannabis users to be able to grow and sell it without fearing arrest. The Guardian The state of Sikkim in India is moving forward with a plan to decriminalize drug use while at the same time increasing penalties against those who sell drugs. Marijuana Moment
Psychedelics for mental health. Research presented at the American Psychological Association’s annual convention shows promise for therapeutic uses of psychedelics. “Some psychedelic drugs like MDMA, psilocybin and ayahuasca may improve symptoms of anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder,” said one researcher. One study showed promise for MDMA in treating social anxiety in adults on the autism spectrum. Another study found that use of hallucinogens “was related to greater levels of spirituality, which led to improved emotional stability and fewer symptoms of anxiety, depression and disordered eating.” Science Daily
Word on the States
- In Massachusetts, regulators approved provisional licenses for three marijuana retailers. The new marijuana education campaign strikes a friendly tone. Boston is being pressed for details on how it selects marijuana dispensaries.
- In Washington, regulators consider re-writing marijuana testing and packaging rules.
- In New Jersey, the Senate president says lawmakers could vote on marijuana legalization as early as next month. Hundreds turned out to learn about getting a medical marijuana license.
- In Pennsylvania, the governor doesn’t think the state is ready for legalization.
- In Oklahoma, two universities warn students against using or possessing medical marijuana on campus.
- In Ohio, 38 new doctors joined the medical marijuana program. One cultivator says its medical marijuana will be ready for testing by the end of the year. The city of Fremont will vote on a marijuana ordinance in November.
- In Michigan, the state approved medical marijuana testing labs.
- In Florida, an advocate started a pro-marijuana PAC.
- In Arkansas, a judge gets sued for jailing defendants who can’t pay fines for minor offenses.
- In Indiana, the state library is hosting “the largest medical cannabis town hall meeting in our state’s history” this weekend.
Word for Word
“I’ve always taken the younger ones under my wing. To be a kid who is in for selling drugs or theft, among all these adults who’ve murdered, is just not easy. It’s not right, either. I would tell them to stay out of trouble, and remind them that the time was not necessarily lost, and that they could finish school inside. Do your year or two and start a new life on the outside, I would tell them.” – Correctional officer Kimberly Davoren for The Marshall Project
“Thank you for inviting me to serve as a keynote speaker at your [cannabis] convention. I’m curious if you are aware that I helped lead a boycott of this same event last year… Only after a widespread backlash that saw numerous sponsors withdraw in horror, threatening your financial success, did you uninvite [Roger] Stone. Even then, you dismissed the entire conversation as a ‘distraction’ to the ‘growth and legalization of the cannabis industry.’ You took no responsibility, demonstrated no understanding or reflection, made no commitment to improve, and failed entirely to recognize that activists fought for decades and risked their freedom to fight the unjust laws whose repeal now makes possible your event and your profits.” – Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission commissioner Shaleen Title in a letter to Christine Ianuzzi of the Cannabis World Congress & Business Exposition, DigBoston