A federal court ruled that employers have a right to drug test medical marijuana patients. A Pennsylvania dispensary finds a way around state regulations against medical marijuana discounts. The parent company of Corona is pouring another $4 billion into the cannabis industry. Also: VeggieTales will not be welcoming a new character called “Cannabis Carl.” 🌳
Drug testing medical marijuana patients. A federal court in New Jersey ruled that an employer can drug test medical marijuana patients. Daniel Cotto Jr. sued his former employer for discrimination after he was fired for refusing to submit to a drug test. Cotto uses medical marijuana to treat pain from a former injury. A judge at the U.S. District Court in Camden wrote that the state’s anti-discrimination law “does not require an employer to accommodate an employee’s use of medical marijuana with a drug test waiver… [The employer] is within its rights to refuse to waive a drug test for federally-prohibited narcotics.” nj.com
How America led the global war on drugs. A look at the history of drug prohibition details how the U.S. had a leading role in the drug war around the world. From anti-Chinese hatred that led to the prohibition of opium, to pressuring other countries to outlaw certain drugs, the U.S. sought “to internationalize its form of prohibition across the world.” Vice That narrative is not so tidy, though. Other countries sought to prohibit certain drugs — Mexico actually outlawed marijuana before the U.S. Twitter
Without access to medical marijuana, patients turn to CBD. While residents of Georgia don’t have access to a medical marijuana market, CBD products are widely available. Even though the state has a limited medical marijuana program, there’s still no way for registered patients to legally buy the drug. This state of things has been a boon to the hemp-derived CBD market. “People are turning to cannabidiol as an alternative when they can’t get low THC oil,” said one store owner who sells the stuff. “We get people coming in here who say, ‘Oh my gosh, this is marijuana, I can’t believe you sell this.’ There’s complete confusion.” Politically Georgia Related: A look at the increase in pet owners treating their furry loved ones with CBD. “Much of the debate over CBD hinges on its murky legal status.” The Chicago Sun-Times
Good point, LA Times. The editorial board penned a piece arguing against city bans on marijuana delivery services. While state regulators want to allow marijuana deliveries everywhere in the state, many cities oppose the proposal on the grounds that they have a right to ban commercial cannabis activity. “That’s true, up to a point. Cities can — and should — be able to decide whether they want to take on the responsibility of permitting pot shops… But why should a city be able to prohibit an individual from buying a legal product from a licensed business that is located outside their boundaries?” The Los Angeles Times Related: At a hearing on proposed rules, regulators listened to a litany of complaints from business owners, activists, and consumers. Many involved “big business threatening mom-and-pop shops, a shortage of licenses and various suggestions for revamping testing rules that are intended to ensure the quality of products that reach store shelves.” The Associated Press
Pennsylvania dispensary sells $1 grams. The Pennsylvania Department of Health rebuked a medical marijuana dispensary for selling $1 grams of marijuana. Regulators said that state law forbids sales and promotions on medical marijuana, but does allow for “special rates” for veterans and seniors. But the CEO of the dispensary says the deal was “completely compliant… It didn’t even fit the definition of a discount because it had never been priced before. We just priced it that low.” Justice Grown ended up selling 268 grams of the flower. The Philadelphia Inquirer
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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
Fact check of the day. No, the children’s show VeggieTales did not introduce a cannabis character. A satirical website reported that the show was introducing a new character named “Cannabis Carl” — “America wasn’t ready for Cannabis Carl then, but they’ve finally come around.” Despite going viral, the news is false and the show will not be welcoming Carl to the cast. Snopes
Better job, NYT. Many of you may be aware of this editor’s gripes with The New York Times lackluster cannabis coverage. Its latest dispatch, from cannabis lifestyle shop Higher Standards, shows some improvement. “[Cannabis] can be a medical necessity, a culinary experiment, a sleep routine or an unrelenting habit. For many it has been a jailable offense, and I cannot go on to describe a yellow glass ‘banana gun’ with a bucking glass monkey riding it that sells for $33,333 at Higher Standards without noting that thousands remain imprisoned for marijuana possession.” But it still has some ways to go: “[Dabbing] is freebasing. New Yorkers: Do not dabble in dabs.” The New York Times
Alcohol company pours $4 billion into cannabis industry. Constellation Brands, the parent company of Corona, will invest another $4 billion into Canadian cannabis company Canopy Growth. It follows a $200 million investment Constellation made into the company last year. “Over the past year, we’ve come to better understand the cannabis market, the tremendous growth opportunity it presents, and Canopy’s market-leading capabilities in this space,” said its CEO. Other alcohol companies are also investing in the space. Reuters
Cannabis in Canada. Canadian cannabis stocks fell after Ontario announced it would delay the start of marijuana retail outlets. Meanwhile, a provision that allows municipalities to opt-out of retail sales created some uncertainty. The Toronto Star The Canadian Medical Association wants the country to get rid of country’s medical marijuana program after the recreational cannabis program launches in October. Here, a doctor makes a case against that idea. Ottawa Citizen For those seeking to cash in on cannabis tourism, uncertainty looms large. CTV News Hundreds of job-seekers turned out for a cannabis job fair in Calgary. Calgary Herald
Elsewhere around the world… Farewell, Jose Mujica. The former president of Uruguay retired from the Senate, saying that he was stepping down for personal reasons. “I’d say it’s exhaustion after the long journey,” said the 83-year-old, who led the country to become the first in the world to federally legalize marijuana. The Associated Press A survey in Australia reveals why Aussies use illicit cannabis to treat health problems. Most participants cited pain, sleep, and anxiety. AJP
Word on the States
- In Colorado, the marijuana industry bounced back after two months of falling sales. The feds seized more than 71,000 marijuana plants from public lands last year.
- In California, regulators heard complaints at a hearing on marijuana rules. Officers are investigating a possible unlicensed marijuana farm on land owned by former lieutenant governor Abel Maldonado.
- In Oregon, state officials consider ending Medicaid coverage of opioids for chronic pain patients.
- In Oklahoma, the health department warned a judge not to block new MMJ rules. A food safety board is compiling recommendations for medical marijuana.
- In Michigan, a pro-marijuana write-in candidate for supervisor lost a tiebreaker.
- In Texas, a new medical marijuana ad targets rural Texans.
- In Nevada, marijuana is emerging as a key issue in the Senate race.
- In North Dakota, the governor opposes legalizing adult-use marijuana.
- In Wyoming, a look at where gubernatorial candidates stand on marijuana policy.
- In Louisiana, medical marijuana is being delayed by an onerous regulatory process.
- In Indiana, Gary’s councilwoman-at-large is advocating for a marijuana decriminalization ordinance.
- In Guam, lawmakers consider medical marijuana home grow.
Word for Word
“The term ‘felony’ and its use in the Hemp Amendment is divisive: It’s employed as a scare tactic to conjure up scenarios of dangerous criminals engaged in nefarious activities, thereby requiring their elimination from the hemp industry and validating the ban itself. But the ban only applies to felonies related to controlled substances — people convicted of violent felonies (rape, murder, pedophilia) and felonies of moral turpitude (embezzlement, fraud, theft) may enter the hemp industry with abandon (provided there are no controlled substances involved). And what constitutes a felony related to a controlled substance runs the gamut: minor infractions — like personal possession of small amounts of marijuana — constitute felonies in certain states. In Arizona, for example, an individual caught with any amount of marijuana can be slapped with a felony charge. In Idaho, it only takes an amount over 3 ounces of marijuana.” – Cristina Buccola for Hemp
“Who’s going to be the last black man to be behind bars in Texas for something that’s legal in the rest of the United States? We need to end the war on drugs that’s become a war on people.” – Beto O’Rourke, The Dallas Morning News
“Washington Square Park has served as town square for the city’s bohemian community for more than a century. It’s also where I got swindled once trying to buy a dime bag and ended up walking away with glorified grass clippings. I didn’t blaze up in the park due to the crowds, though. Instead, to end my tour, I went looking for the exact spot where my friend and I got arrested, nearly twenty years ago, which we both remember as having gone down on a specific side street, a few blocks from the park, that’s lined on both sides with classic old brownstones. I returned to the scene of the crime to celebrate just how much things have really changed.” – David Bienenstock for Leafly