The cannabis black market has a stubborn hold on Massachusetts and California. State and local authorities are cracking down on hemp-derived CBD. Most medical marijuana patients are using the drug “for reasons where the science is the strongest,” according to a new study. Also, job openings in the cannabis industry rose 76 percent last year (and its workers get paid more). 🌳
The stubborn black market in states that have legalized. Two years after marijuana legalization in Massachusetts, the black market is alive and well. Cannabis consumers say they’ve continued to buy unregulated cannabis because licensed dispensaries are few and far between and attracting long lines. Meanwhile, regulated pot costs twice as much from a licensed dispensary compared to black market sellers. “Advocates say many people would love to get into the business, but they can’t afford the lawyers, architects, and consultants needed to win a license.” The Boston Globe California is also home to a stubborn black market, which continues to compete with licensed businesses. Lawmakers there are trying to address the problem, considering lower taxes and financial services for the industry. The Sacramento Bee
House leaders will consider cannabis banking legislation. Democratic House leaders are planning to hold a hearing on the marijuana banking problem. An unnamed source says lawmakers are preparing for a “full committee markup in the coming months” on legislation aimed at solving the lack of financial services for the marijuana industry. It all sounds like it’s part of U.S. rep. Earl Blumenauer’s (D-Ore.) plan to start with incremental issues in the first quarter of the year (like banking and veterans’ access) before looking at federal marijuana reform bills by April. Marijuana Moment
The crackdown on industrial hemp and CBD. State and local officials in Ohio have been cracking down on retailers in the state who sell hemp-derived CBD products. Various governmental agencies are collaborating on an “embargo” process that “involves identifying, itemizing and even removing CBD products from store shelves.” The Cincinnati Enquirer New York’s health department is cracking down on CBD products, asking restaurants to stop selling food and drinks that contain the cannabinoid. “Until cannabidiol (CBD) is deemed safe as a food additive, the Department is ordering restaurants not to offer products containing CBD,” said a spokesperson for the Department of Health. Eater
WHO recommendations fall short for some. While they recognize the “very positive” cannabis recommendations of the World Health Organization, some drug policy advocates say that they don’t go far enough. “(It’s) quite disappointing that the WHO recommends to keep cannabis in Schedule I,” said Martin Jelsma, a program director at an international think tank. He also criticized a proposed exemption for THC-containing pharmaceutical drugs. A distinction between drugs like Sativex and other cannabis extracts “favor specific products of the pharmaceutical industry over more natural oils/extracts without a clear rationale.” Marijuana Business Daily
A look at the rise of legalization support. In 1988, only 24 percent of Americans supported marijuana legalization. Two decades later, that number swelled to 66 percent. Researchers found that this dramatic shift had little to do with increasing marijuana use or demographic changes. “The pace of change has been similar across political parties, religions, educational levels, racial and ethnic groups and gender. As politically polarized as the country may seem, when it comes to marijuana, Americans have been changing their attitudes together, as a nation.” The biggest contributor to how Americans changed their views on pot is how the media covered it. The Conversation
🚨 Shameless Promotions 🚨
Word on the Tree is supported by GeekTek, the information technology and security service partner for companies in growth mode throughout US and Canada. Scale with GeekTek
Can cops be shot in self-defense? The Houston drug raid that killed two suspects and left five police officers injured from a shoot-out is raising questions about police accountability and transparency. Police were acting on a complaint, but “contrary to the anonymous complainant’s description of [the suspects] as scary, bloodthirsty drug dealers, neither had any criminal record to speak of, and both were described by neighbors as ‘wonderful people’ who ‘never bothered anybody.'” The Houston police chief doesn’t seem to have an explanation for why the raid yielded no heroin, but just a “small amount” of marijuana and cocaine. He “was also hazy on the crucial point of whether [Dennis] Tuttle knew that the armed men breaking into his house, whose first action after entering was to kill his dog with a shotgun, were police officers.” Reason
How Weedcraft aims to go beyond the stoner genre. A tycoon game hopes to introduce people to the more serious aspects of the cannabis business. In the game, players might become a licensed marijuana seller — navigating the ins and outs of a complicated regulatory process that differs from city to city. Or they might become black-market dealers. “But, at some point in the game, you’re able to change these laws. You become so powerful that you can shape the situation to your needs,” said the game director. But the incongruity can feel “outright jarring at times, such as when you go from questioning the effect of weed laws on cancer patients to jokes about influencers or fisting.” PC Games
The studies say… Chronic pain is the most common reason that patients use medical marijuana, according to a new study in Health Affairs. That’s followed by multiple sclerosis patients and those with cancer looking to treat chemotherapy-related nausea. “The majority of patients for whom we have data are using cannabis for reasons where the science is the strongest,” said the study’s lead author. The Associated Press Unlike alcohol, it’s difficult to test of marijuana-impaired driving. A new study out of Colorado hopes to look into how different types of consumers are affected by marijuana in different ways. CPR
Today in cannabis business news… Job openings in the U.S. cannabis industry rose 76 percent in 2018. Workers in the industry earn about 11 percent more than the national median salary. CNBC Finance giants in the U.S. like Goldman Sachs and Bank of America have been interested in covering the cannabis industry for more than a year. But analysts tasked with looking into the industry face hurdles thanks to federal prohibition (including being blocked by their employer from viewing businesses’ websites). CNBC
The next frontier of treating depression. The man behind the Denver campaign to decriminalize psilocybin mushrooms says the substance has helped him with depression. Though his “claims haven’t been independently verified, they aren’t implausible. There’s a growing body of research on using psychedelic drugs to treat mental health conditions.” Quartz The club drug ketamine is expected to be approved as a treatment for depression in March. Researchers think the drug could help treat suicidal thinking. Bloomberg
Word on the States
- In Massachusetts, a proposed ordinance in Boston’s City Councilor would impose a two-year ban on larger cannabis companies backed by outside money (and give preference to those disproportionately affected by drug enforcement).
- In Maine, Portland considers allowing marijuana retailers to sell (non-infused) food and drinks.
- In Florida, a circuit judge rejected a cap on marijuana dispensaries.
- In Tennessee, a state senator introduced a medical marijuana bill.
- In New York, a pro-pot senator weighs in on the governor’s legalization bill.
- In Pennsylvania, a state rep. filed a marijuana legalization bill. Harrisburg and Newport are the first stops on the lieutenant governor’s marijuana listening tour.
- In Mississippi, after a battle with cancer, a state rep. is fighting to legalize marijuana. Lawmakers rejected an attempt to legalize industrial hemp.
- In New Hampshire, a look at the legalization debate in the state.
- In Connecticut, the public health committee is considering a proposal to allow medical marijuana for opioid use withdrawal.
- In Florida, the governor’s attempt to repeal the ban on smokable medical marijuana was met with strong resistance in the legislature.
- In Michigan, a medical marijuana caregiver is suing Pontiac for failing to accept medical marijuana business applications.
- In Illinois, a top Senate Democrat is raising concerns about legalization. The Roman Catholic bishops came out against marijuana legalization.
- In Iowa, a lawmaker proposes marijuana legalization, but acknowledged it would have slim chances in the legislature.
- In Ohio, students gave out marijuana gummy bears to at least 14 others at school.
- In Hawaii, the medical marijuana program rose 17 percent in 2018.
Word for Word
“Noncompliance is a poor justification for terminating care. If this oncologist has medical reasons for objecting to your friend’s use of cannabis — if he has specific concerns about drug interactions, say — he should explain them. (I’m assuming your friend isn’t enrolled in an experimental protocol.) If it’s just that he disapproves of legal marijuana use, that’s an abuse of the doctor-patient relationship. Patients aren’t obliged to help their doctors enforce a tyrannical demand, so there would be no moral reason your friend should inform him of his cannabis use. Indeed, your friend might want to consider filing a complaint against the oncologist for making this threat.” – Kwame Anthony Appiah for The New York Times Magazine
“The Trotters have harnessed the magic of this environment—uncontaminated ‘snow-to-grow’ mountain water, intense ultraviolet light, and biodynamic farming practices—to create some of the most CBG-rich cannabis plants in the business. Snow melts off nearby 12,000 ft. mountains, trickles down collecting mineral nutrients and feeds Trotter’s 3,800 plants, which are never treated with chemicals or pesticides. Instead, they use a horde of 100,000 lady bugs to protect against aphid infestation, and a heard of Scottish highlander cows fertilize the soil. What’s more, for the last 30 years Rob has lived with Retinitis Pigmentosa, a degenerative eye condition that causes his retina to deteriorate and has left him 85 percent blind.” – Daniel Brenner for Leafly