The FDA won’t say whether it’s behind a recent crackdown on CBD. The drivers of a hemp shipment are out of jail, but still facing drug charges in Oklahoma. Luxury retailer Barney’s is opening up a fancy head shop. Also: A new study suggests MDMA users have higher levels of empathy. 🌳
FDA talks CBD crackdown. State and local authorities across the country are cracking down on CBD products, the citing the Federal Food, Drug, & Cosmetic Act. While the FDA won’t say whether it’s behind a coordinated effort to crack down on CBD, a spokesperson for the agency said that there is “ongoing communication with state and local officials to answer questions” about federal regulations on the cannabinoid. Some businessowners say that the crackdown is an effort to prevent small businesses from profiting off of the health-and-wellness trend. Others, however, welcome increased regulation: “I’m not as critical about what’s happening because I think it’s necessary… We’re signing off on things that are being put into people’s bodies, and that means regulation is necessary,” said the founder of New York City CBD store Come Back Daily. Inverse
Helping those with past pot convictions. Only 13 people out of thousands eligible have benefitted from Washington governor Jay Inslee’s pot pardon plan. “It’s been a little slower than I thought,” said Inslee. Now, lawmakers are considering a sweeping proposal that could clear cannabis convictions for hundreds of thousands individuals. For the few that have been helped by Inslee’s pardon offer, the chance comes as a welcome relief. They describe employment troubles and difficulties with international travel as a result of marijuana crimes on their records. The Seattle Times Denver’s program to expunge past pot convictions kicked off on Saturday. About 13,000 are eligible for the program, and can apply online or attend clinic to get help navigating the process. Lyft is partnering with the government to offer free or discounted rides to the clinics. The Denver Post
Drivers in hemp case out of jail. Two truck drivers who were transporting a shipment of hemp were released on their own recognizance after interviews with Osage County, Okla. prosecutors on Friday. They are still facing marijuana trafficking charges for marijuana, while defense attorneys argue that the cargo was industrial hemp. If convicted, they face 15 years to life in prison. The truck drivers say they had no idea why they were arrested and jailed. “The funny thing was that we don’t know anything about what we were carrying,” said one. “To be in jail like you were not expecting, it’s like dying a death that you never expected.” The two truck drivers were told by their boss that the cargo was “legal and for health purposes.” The boss told them to listen to instructions from the two security guards, who are also facing charges. Tulsa World
Acting AG blames international treaties for delay in cannabis research. Acting attorney general Matthew Whitaker said he tried to move forward with the expansion of research marijuana cultivation facilities, an effort that was stymied by his predecessor Jeff Sessions. But Whitaker says that international treaties are to blame for the delay: “We have some international treaty obligations that may not allow the way that marijuana has been handled from the grow facilities to the researchers… It is something that I’m very aware of. It’s something that I’m trying to push,” said the acting AG during a hearing before a House committee. However, the U.S. State Department has said that there is nothing in the international treaties that “suggests that there is a limitation on the number of licenses that can be issued.” Marijuana Moment
Cannabis ads under fire. Many in the cannabis industry are criticizing cannabis ads featuring scantily clad women. “It’s not only putting a damper on the cannabis industry, but it’s putting a damper on the women’s movement and women’s rights,” said the founder of a cannabis marketing firm. Another industry exec described such advertisements as indicative of the “misogyny and harassment” in the industry, which is dominated by white men. “Women have long been marginalized in marijuana, subject to sexual harassment and assault, viewed as anomalies at industry events and often hired as promo girls whose primary job is to look pretty and sell product.” Vice
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In cannabis business news… The luxury retailer Barney’s is getting into the cannabis business. The department store is launching its own fancy head shop called the High End. Its first location will open in Beverly Hills in March, with other California locations to follow. They’ll even offer cannabis products themselves. The New York Times Medical marijuana licensees in Illinois are lobbying for a clause in the recreational legalization bill that would deny cannabis cultivation licenses to everyone but themselves. Crain’s Chicago Business A coffee roaster in Portland, Maine is considering legal strategies to protect their brand, Coffee By Design. Their products are getting confused with cannabidiol-infused coffee. Portland Press Herald Comedian Chelsea Handler is developing a cannabis line with NorCal Cannabis Company. The Hollywood Reporter
Case study shows importance of cannabis education. A new case study in the Canadian Journal of Cardiology details how a marijuana lollipop may have triggered a man’s heart attack. The 70-year-old man smoked some weed in his youth, but otherwise didn’t use cannabis products. He decided to try cannabis for his osteoarthritis and consumed a 90-milligram cannabis edible — a dose nine times that of a single edible dose on Colorado’s regulated marijuana market. He experienced “fearful hallucinations” and anxiety, which increased his heart rate and blood pressure. Doctors surmise that the high dose of THC contributed to his heart attack. “Understanding appropriate dosing would likely have prevented the toxicity suffered by the patient,” read an accompanying editorial. Live Science
Cannabis in Canada. A movement in British Columbia hopes to bring small cannabis farmers into the legal system through cannabis cooperatives. Small growers are struggling to enter the legal market due to the high costs of compliance and licensing. Various co-ops are popping up in the hopes of making a space for small growers in the legal market. CBC News Ontario disqualified one of the winners of the cannabis license lottery for “breaking a rule that prohibits someone from changing the name of the person on an application or the corporate structure of the company operating the store.” BNN Bloomberg Senior centers across British Columbia are educating older adults about the newly legalized drug. Vancouver Sun
Elsewhere around the world… The Senate of Mexico released a report, outlining considerations in legalizing marijuana. The report looks into everything from labeling to restorative justice, though doesn’t make any specific recommendations. “The new report offers a timely preview of the kinds of debates that Mexico’s government will have in the months ahead… There are currently three legalization bills before the Senate.” Marijuana Moment The director of the National Anti-Drug Agency in Malaysia says that medical marijuana can be cultivated in the country with permission from the Minister of Health: “I feel it’s a wasted opportunity if we don’t look into the feasibility of [producing cannabis oil] in Malaysia.” SoyaCincau
On MDMA. A new study found that MDMA users have higher levels of empathy compared to users of other drugs and alcohol. “Our study suggests that mild MDMA use is not associated with any problems in how we function socially,” said the study’s senior author. The finding contradicts previous research that found a link between MDMA use and social distress. Inverse The health ministry of Israel has approved a compassionate use trial of MDMA for treating PTSD. “Through its upcoming clinical trial, Israel could find itself ahead of the pack, similar to its allowance of marijuana for medicinal use, which continues to find approval throughout the world.” i24 News
Word on the States
- In New Jersey, a deal on marijuana legalization could come “any day now”.
- In Texas, Houston authorities are investigating a deadly drug raid that left two suspects dead.
- In Oregon, a look at the state’s marijuana oversupply problem.
- In Massachusetts, regulators shut down an Acton medical cannabis dispensary. Boston has “a kind of hidden step” in the marijuana license application process. Dozens of bills aim to change the legal pot program.
- In California, Adelanto struck a deal on cannabis taxes. Regulators cracked down on unlicensed cannabis businesses.
- In New Mexico, a House committee advanced a recreational marijuana bill. DEA seizures of marijuana have dropped significantly in the state.
- In Ohio, chronic pain patients are driving the medical marijuana program. A medical marijuana patient faces drug-related charges for giving marijuana to others. Alzheimer’s homes are grappling with medical marijuana recommendations. Marijuana decriminalization took effect in Dayton.
- In Connecticut, people rallied against a marijuana billboard.
- In New York, a Queens restaurateur says sales are down 40 percent due to the CBD crackdown.
- In Utah, the former House speaker is trying to get the state’s largest healthcare provider to recommend medical marijuana.
- In Minnesota, a proposed bill would make sweeping changes to the medical marijuana program.
- In Hawaii, a Senate committee rejected legislation to allow medical marijuana edibles.
- In North Dakota, state lawmakers consider improving medical marijuana access.
- In Kansas, the agriculture department starts accepting applications for its industrial hemp research program.
- In Maryland, activists pledge to smoke weed in front of Baltimore cops to protest arrest policy.
- In Guam, the governor still supports marijuana legalization, despite conflicts with federal law.
Word for Word
“There really are two Americas when it comes to cannabis… One is living in fear of being arrested for simple possession. The other is living in fear of their local marijuana store running out of their favorite strain.” – Marijuana Policy Project director of communications Mason Tvert, Cannabis Now
“Barry Friedman, a constitutional scholar and author of Unwarranted: Policing Without Permission, told me that ‘if the dog sniff outside Jardines’ house violated the Fourth Amendment,’ then not ruling the same in the Edstrom case ‘discriminates against urban dwellers, and likely on a socio-economic basis.’ He’s right. You shouldn’t lose your basic expectation of privacy because you’re a renter instead of a homeowner, or because you live in an urban area instead of a rural one. If it is unconstitutional to go sniffing at the door of a house without a warrant, the same should hold true at the door of an apartment.” – Dan King for The American Conservative