John Boehner announces the launch of a new industry-funded cannabis lobbying group. Prosecutors in Oklahoma insist that a hemp shipment was actually marijuana. An Arizona prosecutor compared cannabis extracts to illegal explosives. Also: Rates of marijuana use in Canada appear unchanged since legalization. 🌳
John Boehner to chair national cannabis lobbying group. Former GOP House Speaker John Boehner announced the launch of The National Cannabis Roundtable, a new cannabis industry-funded lobbying group. The prohibitionist-turned cannabis investor will head up the group, which will represent marijuana businesses in 23 states and D.C. Boehner said he will serve as an advisor and not a registered lobbyist. The group will “promote changes to federal law that make it easier to research cannabis and for regulated cannabis businesses to operate.” But he also said that removing marijuana from Schedule I of the CSA is not their top priority. Cincinnati Enquirer
Prosecutors continue to insist hemp is marijuana. Prosecutors in Osage County, Okla. are doubling down on their claims that a shipment industrial hemp is actually marijuana. Federal lab tests showed that some of the samples tested over the 0.3 percent limit on THC, but only by one or two tenths of a percent. Defense attorneys and prosecutors disagree on how many samples tested above 0.3 percent THC, with defense attorneys emphasizing the tests’ margin of error. While they argue that some of the shipment might be non-compliant hemp, the district attorney is pursuing charges against two security officers and two truck drivers who are facing 15 years to life for trafficking the alleged “marihuana.” Tulsa World
An Arizona prosecutor doubles down, too. The prosecutor for Yavapai County, Ariz. continues to insist that medical cannabis extracts are illegal for medical marijuana patients. “In recent filings, Polk compares cannabis extracts to illegally manufactured bombs.” A case on the issue of extracts is currently in the state Supreme Court. Meanwhile, Polk’s office has continued to pursue charges against medical marijuana patients who buy cannabis extracts from state-licensed dispensaries. KJZZ
Massachusetts’ equity program delayed for several months. The first state-wide cannabis social equity program won’t start until late May or early June, disapointing advocates who say the delay will only further disadvantage the program’s applicants. “Officials said they need to change how they select people who train hopeful entrepreneurs,” but that the change would make the program better in the long run. The Boston Globe Related: Regulators approved “the first retail license for an independent marijuana store not affiliated with a larger medical marijuana company.” Mass Live
Cannabis reform efforts in Congress. Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) filed legislation to deschedule marijuana and establish a federal system to tax and regulate the drug. Forbes The executive director of the Law Enforcement Action Partnership (LEAP), the owner of a Maryland medical marijuana business, and California’s state treasurer are among the witnesses who will testify at a House hearing on marijuana banking next week. Marijuana Moment
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Marijuana legalization bill introduced in Illinois. Democratic state rep. Carol Ammons has introduced a marijuana legalization bill “that likely goes further than other legislators prefer, but it has officially started the debate over complex legislation that will need to serve many interests.” The bill has few chances of succeeding, as lawmakers are more likely to support more restrictive legislation. Ammons’ bill would allow home cultivation, set up onsite marijuana consumption spaces, and would support provisions for minority cannabis entrepreneurs. The Chicago Tribune
A test for Utah’s medical marijuana law. An epilepsy patient struck a plea deal in the first medical marijuana court case since voters approved a legalization ballot initiative in November. Vincent Sean Moss said he had a seizure while driving, which led to him crashing into a fence. He was charged with drug possession because he had CBD oil in his car at the time of the crash. Moss pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of drug possession and will pay a $340 fine and serve six months’ probation. The Salt Lake Tribune “I hope people understand I was not out there trying to drive intoxicated. I had a medical incident and happened to have medicine in the trunk of my car,” said Moss. KSTU
In cannabis business news… Canadian cannabis giant Canopy Growth Corp. will invest up to $500 million in the U.S. hemp industry. Yahoo Finance Stanford researchers behind a new bio-tech company are “developing oral therapies for gastrointestinal inflammatory diseases like Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis.” Cannabis Wire There are hundreds of cannabis bills in Congress and state Capitols around the country. It can be hard for companies to keep up with ever-changing regulations. Forbes A Colombian cannabis company will become the first producer in the country to export cannabis into Canada. Forbes
Cannabis in Canada. Statistics Canada found that 15 percent of Canadians reported using cannabis in the past three months. The numbers seem to show that legalizing marijuana did not change how many people consume it. BNN Bloomberg Health Canada has recalled a brand of cannabis oil sold at Cannabis NB in January. The oil may have been incorrectly labelled as CBD oil, when it actually contained THC. CBC News Despite Aphria’s rejection of Green Growth Brands’ hostile takeover bid, the CEO of Green Growth said that there’s still time so “anything can happen.” BNN Bloomberg
The effort to legalize psilocybin. Local grassroots movements are hoping to legalize or decriminalize psilocybin in Oregon and Denver. Meanwhile, a company backed by $31.5 million in Series A investment is conducting clinical trials on psilocybin as part of the FDA approval process. The company, Compass Pathways, has come under criticism for its for-profit status, patent seeking, and ties to tech mogul Peter Thiel. While the movement is still in its infancy (especially compared to the gains of the marijuana legalization movement in recent years), patients who suffer from mental health problems are already benefiting from consuming psilocybin mushrooms. One Colorado man who suffered from depression, PTSD, and anxiety says he “hasn’t had a single PTSD episode since he began taking it. His depression evaporated.” Wired
Temple of Time. In the digital age, video games and weed have always been great companions. This week’s playlist features some of the most mesmerizing video game soundtracks to from the SNES all the way to the PS4. Word on the Tree
Word on the States
- In Colorado, the House unanimously approved a bill to add autism to the medical marijuana program.
- In Oregon, a bill to allow marijuana exports received its first public hearing, while the state AG warned against it.
- In Massachusetts, regulators approved the first independent marijuana store to open in Uxbridge.
- In California, regulators try to clarify rules surrounding cannabis edibles.
- In Florida, a state senator proposes giving veterans free medical marijuana cards. The state CFO wrote a letter to president Trump, asking for a marijuana banking fix.
- In Hawaii, a Senate committee approved a recreational legalization bill.
- In Oklahoma, a look at marijuana legislative proposals this session.
- In New York, Town of Hempstead leaders propose bills to restrict and ban the use and sale of cannabis.
- In Mississippi, a petition to legalize medical marijuana has gained more than 3,000 signatures so far.
- In Missouri, the state raked in more than $3 million in medical marijuana application fees.
- In Nebraska, a medical marijuana initiative needs 130,000 signatures to make the ballot.
- In Texas, advocates celebrated the 27 marijuana-related bills introduced so far.
- In Iowa, a state rep. filed a bill to legalize medical use of psilocybin, MDMA, and ibogaine.
Word for Word
“Hemp in animal feed? I’m not aware of any uses of hemp in animal feed. I know there are other uses. But we’re trying to determine really what those individual uses are… You know, there’s a good bit of hysteria about hemp, and our marketing regulatory program, Under Secretary (Greg) Ibach, fields more questions about hemp than probably anything in the farm bill… Feed, it possibly could be involved in there. That has not been one of the primary uses we’ve heard of. We hear a lot of industrial uses for it, but I think it remains to be seen if part of the product could be used in animal agriculture. Happy cows.” – Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, AgWeb
“Dogs have better options [for medical marijuana] than cancer patients right now.” – Michigan dispensary owner, Leafly