Canada moves to pardon past pot convictions, but some say it’s not enough. A bill to legalize marijuana in Florida faces an uphill battle. Pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly used to have a 156-acre marijuana farm in Indiana. Also: Switzerland will let thousands smoke marijuana legally as part of a pilot project to explore cannabis regulatory models. 🌳
Canada moves to pardon past pot convictions. Ottawa is expected to introduce a bill that would extend pardons for pot possession to hundreds of thousands of Canadians. The country’s public safety minister tweeted that a bill “to provide no-cost, expedited pardons for simple possession” is coming soon. But the plan “is unlikely to satisfy critics, who argue that anything short of full expungement is an uneven, unfair remedy for those burdened by prohibition’s legal hangover.” The Toronto Star
In the U.S., community reinvestment gaining traction. Despite being behind Canada on adult-use legalization — talk of the issue stateside has moved towards proposals like community reinvestment. “Voters in numerous Chicago city wards supported a ballot measure” that would require marijuana tax revenues to fund community reinvestment in low-income areas that have been disproportionately targeted for drug enforcement. WMAQ On the federal level, U.S. senator Cory Booker (D-N.J.) has re-filed his legislation known as the Marijuana Justice Act. The bill is notable for seeking criminal justice reforms and a community reinvestment fund alongside marijuana legalization. Marijuana Moment
Legalization bill introduced in Florida. A state rep. filed two marijuana legalization bills on Tuesday. One bill would legalize adult use of the drug, allowing for possession of up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis. The proposal does away with the state’s medical marijuana vertical integration model and sets aside 5 percent of tax revenue to fund research on marijuana’s benefits. The second bill creates a $50-an-ounce excise tax for cultivators and caps license application fees at $5,000. “Considering the amount of pushback medical marijuana bills have already faced this session, these bills will likely face an uphill battle.” But the bill’s sponsor says that the legislation will move the conversation forward. Tampa Bay Times
Using or investing in cannabis is complicated for government workers. Most D.C. employees are supposedly allowed to take part in the city’s medical marijuana program. But some Department of Public Works employees say that the have been told that they would lose their jobs over a positive drug test — even if they were medical marijuana patients. DCist It’s not just using medical marijuana. Simply owning marijuana stocks can get employees in trouble at the Defense Department. It could also lead to employees losing their security clearances. “Even in cases where the subject him/herself isn’t directly choosing the stocks, he or she has the responsibility to stay informed and avoid violating the federal law,” read an email from the Air Combat Command. Federal News Network
Federal prosecutor talks marijuana enforcement. U.S. Attorney for Massachusetts Andrew Lelling said that marijuana legalization in the state did not change his approach to drug enforcement. While his office will continue to focus on opioids, he said that state-licensed dispensaries are still “technically illegal” and he can’t “immunize the state from marijuana enforcement.” “Lelling said evidence that a marijuana dispensary is regularly selling substances to minors would be a top priority for his office to pursue.” The Boston Globe
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Today in cannabis science… Researchers have turned to yeast to produce cannabinoids by adding genes from the cannabis plant to the microbes. “The process goes like this. Two different yeasts produce either THC or CBD, depending on what kind of enzyme they carry. Importantly, both carry the cannabis genes that produce CBGA.” The coauthor of a new paper says that CBGA is “the mother of all the other cannabinoids.” Wired The American Psychological Association has written a letter to attorney general William Barr requesting that the Justice Department hurries up with licensing additional cultivators of research marijuana. The organization is calling for “immediate action on the existing pool of cannabis grower applications.” Marijuana Moment
Today in cannabis business news… Pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly used to operate a 156-acre marijuana farm and was once “a worldwide leader in the distribution of cannabis-based pharmaceuticals.” Here’s the story of how a former employee and shareholder sought to bring that part of the company’s history to light. He also tried (and failed) to get a “shareholder proposal seeking support for the rescheduling of cannabis.” Indianapolis Monthly Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart is joining Canadian cannabis company Canopy Growth as an adviser for a CBD product line. Reuters A New York investment bank doesn’t think cannabis will become just another agricultural commodity. “For premium flower especially, you can’t assume fungibility like any other commodity.” Marijuana Business Daily
Cannabis in Canada. It’s not just stateside — workers for the Toronto Transit Commission are also finding it difficult to navigate using medical marijuana with their employer. “Even employees who do disclose their cannabis use can find themselves reassigned or taken off the job indefinitely, ‘which can result in significant pay cuts or total loss of pay,'” said the president of a union chapter representing the workers. Now Despite objections, Quebec moves to “open fewer stores than planned, raise the age for cannabis users, and ban cannabis smoking and vaping in public places.” Leafly Walmart Canada removed the Storz & Bickel Volcano vaporizer from its website. It had been selling the product since at least last October. Storz & Bickel was acquired by cannabis produce Canopy last December. Marijuana Business Daily
Elsewhere around the world… The first legal cannabis farm in Thailand was unveiled Wednesday. The government spent over $310,000 to build the small, aeroponics greenhouse. The country’s public health minister said that the state pharmaceuticals manufacturer tried to extract oil from marijuana that police had seized “but it didn’t work due to a high toxic contamination.” Bangkok Post Up to 5,000 people may be allowed to smoke marijuana legally as part of Switzerland‘s pilot studies on legalizing the drug. The government said the pilot projects could lead to cannabis policy changes: “We need to be able to test new regulation models under the current situation.” The government also wants to ease access to medical cannabis. Reuters
MDMA for couples. Many couples are experimenting with MDMA to help them “enhance communication and heighten intimacy. And it’s not just couples who believe this: a handful of researchers who have used the drug for decades in a therapeutic context do, too.” While there’s research demonstrating the drug’s effectiveness in therapeutic settings, there’s little research on MDMA’s use in couples. “Many relationship therapists reached by Fatherly refused to comment on the record about its potential therapeutic effects (or lack thereof).” Fatherly
Word on the States
- In Oregon, a Senate committee considers cannabis cafes.
- In New Jersey, a look at equity provisions expected in the legalization bill.
- In Maryland, Baltimore prosecutors have started releasing anyone brought in by police for marijuana possession.
- In Maine, a cannabis consulting firm that lost a bid to help launch the state’s recreational marijuana program is weighing an appeal. A look at the practice of mailing marijuana.
- In California, a Senate panel advanced a bill to extend temporary cannabis licenses. Sacramento won’t increase the number of cannabis retailers this year.
- In Hawaii, a House committee advanced a marijuana decriminalization bill, sending it to the House.
- In New York, mayors across the state hosted a summit on cannabis legalization. NYC’s city council held a hearing on marijuana legalization.
- In North Dakota, the opening of the first medical marijuana dispensary has been delayed by a day.
- In South Carolina, lawmakers plan to hold a medical marijuana bill in committee for more testimony.
- In Georgia, the House approved a bill to legalize industrial hemp.
- In Indiana, the governor admits he smoked marijuana in college, but still opposes legalization.
- In Kentucky, Louisville’s Metro Council discussed lowering marijuana penalties.
- In West Virginia, the state House approved a bill to reform the medical marijuana program, sending it to the Senate.
- In Pennsylvania, Landisburg moves to ban recreational marijuana sales.
- In Louisiana, patients and doctors are frustrated with the delays in the medical marijuana program.
- In Massachusetts, the Cannabis Advisory Board recommended that regulators allow takeout at cannabis cafes.
- In Virginia, the state Senate passed a bill to allow school nurses to administer medical cannabis. The Senate also approved a bill to allow medical cannabis products with more THC.
Word for Word
“We already know that the LRPD has been serving nearly all of its drug warrants with illegal no-knock raids, serving some of them with incredibly dangerous explosives, and, at least in some cases, blowing down doors based on false statements from informants and police officers. If the 2014 memo is accurate, and if the mandate is still in place, we also now know that the LRPD has been sending SWAT every time they serve a search warrant, regardless of the seriousness of the alleged crime.” – Radley Balko Radley Balko for The Washington Post