WHO recommends removing CBD from international drug schedules. Since 1980, drug arrests have increased 170 percent, and racial disparities have worsened. A drug raid that resulted in two dead suspects and five injured cops yielded a “small amount” of marijuana and cocaine. Also: MedMen gets sued by its former CFO. 🌳
WHO recommends changes to cannabis scheduling. The World Health Organization’s Expert Committee on Drug Dependence finally issued its recommendations on cannabis scheduling, which had been expected in December. The committee recommends several changes to the international scheduling of cannabis and its constituents, including removing cannabis from the most restrictive schedule and simplifying the classification of cannabinoids. Isolated CBD would be removed from drug control conventions, and pharmaceutical THC products would be added to Schedule III. Marijuana Business Daily The changes would leave cannabis and its extracts in Schedule I. Countries that moved towards legalizing adult-use marijuana would still be violating international drug conventions under the proposed scheduling changes. “If the recommendation on CBD is adopted, however, it could potentially have far-reaching implications in the U.S.” Forbes
On federal cannabis reform efforts… U.S. rep. Dave Joyce (R-Ohio), one of the new co-chairs of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus, is optimistic about federal marijuana reform efforts. He is working on getting the 218 votes needed to pass the STATES Act, which would keep the federal government out of state marijuana laws. His counterpart in the Senate is working on getting the 60 votes it needs to pass there. “Joyce, who spent more than 20 years as Geauga County prosecutor, doesn’t buy the theory that marijuana is a gateway to more harmful drugs.” cleveland.com Related: The Trump administration revealed its drug control strategy, which includes little new policy. The report came out hours after Jim Carroll was sworn in as drug czar. Stat
Attorney found guilty of securities fraud. A federal jury convicted a Colorado attorney of securities fraud, mail fraud, wire fraud, money laundering, and conspiracy in a marijuana-related business. Guy M. Jean-Pierr was convicted for selling stock in violation of securities laws in connection with a business to sell repurposed shipping containers to hydroponic growers. “He also concealed the roles of a co-conspirator who had a prior felony securities conviction.” The Denver Post
More than 10 million arrests a year. Police in the U.S. make more than 10.5 million arrests per year, according to a new tool that that combines eight different federal databases. The Vera Institute of Justice launched the site “that allows users to analyze arrest trends at the national, state, and county levels against a series of variables, including offense types, demographic factors, and solved crimes… Since 1980, arrests for drug violations have increased by 170 percent, and racial disparities in enforcement have grown even more stark.” The Intercept A pretrial supervised release program is increasingly being used in New York instead of bail. “The mayor’s office estimates that [the program] is responsible for 38 percent of the decline in the jailed population on Rikers Island since .” The New York Times
Prohibition, legalization, and the black market. Despite adult-use legalization in several states, the illicit marijuana market still persists — in part thanks to the higher prices of weed on the regulated market. A Las Vegas dispensary is now trying to get black market customers to change their habits with its cannabis brand BMK — Black Market Killer. Its sun-grown cannabis helps it cut the price of production significantly to compete with black market prices. New York Post A study that looked at the end of alcohol prohibition in the U.S. found states that legalized alcohol sales earlier saw “significant short- and long-term advantages over states that ended up legalizing later.” The findings are likely to hold true for marijuana legalization, too. Marijuana Moment
Mom’s call led to fatal Houston drug raid. The drug raid that resulted in two suspects killed and five narcotics officers injured was prompted by a call from a mom who said her daughter had been doing drugs there. The police chief said the raid yielded “small amounts of marijuana and cocaine.” Four officers were shot and three remain hospitalized. The Associated Press
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Newspaper sues over marijuana records. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch filed a lawsuit against Missouri’s health department after the state agency repeatedly refused to release records about medical marijuana license applications. In the lawsuit, the paper’s attorney argues that the agency has an “overly-restrictive interpretation” of a confidentiality provision for medical marijuana applicants. The campaign manager for the legalization initiative agreed: “The language was included in Amendment 2 to keep the medical information of patients confidential, as well as sensitive information from applicants, such as security plans and financials, private… we don’t see any reason the name of the applicants wouldn’t be public.” The St. Louis Post-Dispatch
New York lawmaker casts doubts on legalization process. New York Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie is “not optimistic” about lawmakers coming to an agreement with governor Andrew Cuomo on how to legalize recreational marijuana. While he’s not ruling out the possibility of legislative leaders agreeing to a legalization framework in the budget, he explained that “the governor’s proposal and the Legislature’s have differences… We have to reconcile them while at the same time trying to agree on a $177 (billion) budget with all the challenges that presents as well.” Times Union The lead sponsor of a legalization bill in the legislature also talked about how lawmakers and the governor are not close to a deal on legalization. “There are a ton of changes that are needed [to the governor’s proposal],” said Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes, who is advocating for marijuana revenues to go towards communities most harmed by drug enforcement. Buffalo News
What the scientists say… Dr. Ziva Cooper, one of the authors of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s cannabis research report, talks about Tell Your Children author Alex Berenson’s misinterpretations of marijuana research and why she felt compelled to respond on Twitter. She also shares some details about the cannabis research she’s currently working on. Cannabis Wire Another study found that access to medical marijuana influences some patients to use cannabis as an alternative to opioids, benzodiazepines, and SSRIs. Marijuana Moment
MedMen gets sued, again. MedMen’s former chief financial officer filed a lawsuit against the cannabis company, alleging numerous misdeeds by its CEO and president. James Parker resigned as CFO in November and alleges that the top two execs forced him to “choose between complying with his fiduciary duty to the company and its shareholders or turning a blind eye and a deaf ear to improper and unlawful behavior.” The suit claims that the two execs forced him to make political donations, violated Canadian securities regulations, ordered him to wire hundreds of thousands of dollars to a “consultant” to “buy up our stock when it is under attack,” and ordered him to spend millions in company money on personal drivers, private jets, and luxury hotels (among other allegations). A spokesperson for MedMen says the allegations “have no basis in fact.” Marijuana Business Daily
Elsewhere in cannabis business news… A tiny Vancouver cannabis company’s shares surged 65 percent after it revealed that it had won the lottery for the POT ticket symbol. Bloomberg NHL team the Toronto Maple Leafs is opposing an attempt by Snoop Dogg to trademark the logo for his cannabis brand Leafs by Snoop. The Independent A Denver marijuana greenhouse company that has raised more than $15 million filed for bankruptcy. BusinessDen The North Bay Credit Union revealed that it had been serving the cannabis industry for the past year. North Bay Business Journal
Elsewhere around the world… A group representing pharmacies in Switzerland said it supports marijuana legalization and that pharmacies want to sell both medical and recreational cannabis. Green Market Report The acting health minister of Ukraine said she supports legalizing medical cannabis. 112 Ukraine The governor of Kiambu denied claims that he used to smoke pot in the bathrooms of Kenya‘s Parliament with the now-governor of Nairobi. All Africa
Word on the States
- In Maryland, Baltimore’s prosecutor filed a rarely used legal petition to vacate thousands of past pot convictions.
- In Vermont, the attorney general supports taxing and regulating marijuana.
- In Colorado, how marijuana tax revenue helped the state budget.
- In Oregon, Senate Bill 420 would erase past pot convictions. Regulators are looking for a way to restructure the medical marijuana market.
- In California, Pomona gets closer to regulating cannabis businesses.
- In Massachusetts, a judge rejected a cannabis company’s attempt to stop Salem from allowing a competitor from advancing. Brockton votes to extend a ban on recreational marijuana dispensaries.
- In Washington, a lack of cannabis tracking data causes confusion and missed opportunities. A cannabis advocacy group plans to sue Richland to allow cannabis dispensaries in the city.
- In New York, Brooklyn’s second medical marijuana dispensary is coming to Brooklyn Heights.
- In Connecticut, Democrats promise a highly regulated marijuana legalization plan.
- In Hawaii, lawmakers debated a marijuana legalization bill.
- In Florida, a U.S. congressman urged the new governor to use his executive authority to reform the medical marijuana program. The agriculture commissioner is creating two new cannabis advisory panels.
- In Iowa, a proposed bill would raise the medical marijuana program’s cap on THC from 3 to 13 percent.
- In Tennessee, a look at marijuana reform bills in the legislature. Why passing some sort of reform actually has a chance.
- In Missouri, a legislative committee discussed three criminal justice reform bills. An industry group announces a business seminar for cannabis entrepreneurs.
- In Ohio, the Cleveland City Council will consider decriminalizing marijuana this year.
- In West Virginia, a legislative committee advanced a proposed cannabis banking solution.
Word for Word
“A Holland man whose name was included in a 2017 High Times magazine piece about medical marijuana growers pleaded guilty Wednesday to federal drug charges… The federal Drug Enforcement Agency raided Mr. Molle’s 160 Stafford Road home Feb. 28, 2017 – 15 days after his name appeared in a High Times magazine article about ‘Patriot Pot Growers’ in New England.” – Brad Petrishen for The Telegram & Gazette
“Started with a white grapefruit Paloma before a short rib or mushroom and asparagus bo ssaam dinner served with Asahi beer. Finished it off with two gingerbread green tea ice-cream sandwiches and two tiny slices of buttercream-frosted vanilla cake. I took psychedelic mushrooms before dinner and it more or less worked out — felt like it was an effective but restrained escalation in my portrait of a man coming undone.” – High Maintenance co-creator Ben Sinclair, New York / Grub Street