Barney Frank is joining a group of underground cannabis growers who are trying to go legit. Idaho police want a test that can tell hemp from marijuana. Employers are increasingly doing away with marijuana testing. Also: Canadians spend nearly $6 billion a year on cannabis — most of it in the black market. 🌳
Barney Frank joins the cannabis industry. Longtime U.S. rep. for Massachusetts Barney Frank is the latest former politician to join the cannabis industry. But instead of joining a large corporation, Frank is signing on with “Beantown Greentown, a local group of underground growers, marketers, and event organizers… trying to go legit.” Frank will advocate for legalization and make appearances on the group’s behalf in exchange for a 1.5 percent stake. “I have no objection in principle to corporations, but I think the people who have been working away on this forever shouldn’t get squeezed out,” said Frank. “I like the fact that, for them, it’s both a business and an ideological commitment.” The Boston Globe
Idaho police seek cannabis tests. The Idaho State Police are trying to get funding to purchase testing devices to help them tell the difference between marijuana and hemp. Currently, the ISP is the target of a lawsuit over a shipment of hemp that police said was marijuana. “They need these tools, and they need them this year. If they have an arrest, they can’t wait to send those results out to Kentucky,” said a state senator. But given the margins of error on THC testing even in federal drug labs, it’s unclear whether such devices could actually work. The Associated Press Related: An Olympic skier has been hit with a three-month suspension for failing a THC test. Devin Logan’s failed drug test seems to be the result of mislabeled CBD products. The Associated Press
Cannabis and hiring. The number of Colorado employers testing for marijuana is on the decline and many are reducing the penalties of testing positive, according to a Denver-based human resources organization. “With a 3.5 percent unemployment rate, employers are finding it difficult to hire staff with testing in place, especially in the hospitality industry.” The Gazette In Atlanta, previous pot smoking used to disqualify people from becoming police officers. Now, the Atlanta Police will stop asking potential recruits whether they have used marijuana in the past. WXIA
Questioning cannabis research. Humboldt State University is located in the heart of a famed cannabis cultivation region and is home to the Humboldt Institute for Interdisciplinary Marijuana Research. But, seeking to protect its federal funding, the university has denied students’ cannabis company internships and ability to conduct marijuana research. One professor recounts how “his research is primarily restricted to paper-based methods.” He is frustrated that the school is willing to risk funding for certain issues like immigration, but not for marijuana. Mercury News The Institute for Cannabis Research at the Colorado State University-Pueblo is moving forward with a research project on tracking marijuana plants, despite that the bill mandating the tracking system was rejected by lawmakers twice last year. Lawmakers, researchers, and those in the industry “said they don’t understand why the institute is trying to develop a technology that no one wantss.” The Daily Sentinel
Cannabis on the curriculum. Despite difficulties navigating the federal-state conflict in cannabis laws, colleges around the U.S. are increasingly adding it to the curriculum. Northern Michigan University is home to the first four-year degree focused on cannabis. “The closest thing to a marijuana major at an accredited U.S. university… has drawn nearly 300 students from 48 states… A similar program is being launched at Minot State University in North Dakota this spring.” Still, its students must use other plants during their studies. The increasing number of jobs in the cannabis industry has led colleges across the country to introduce a range of classes from cannabis horticulture programs to classes on cannabis policy and law. The Associated Press
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NHL Alumni teams up with Canadian cannabis company. The NHL Alumni Association is partnering with Canadian cannabis producer Canopy Growth for a research initiative. “Researchers will be investigating the effects of some cannabis compounds as a treatment method for diseases connected to concussions in former NHL players.” About 100 former hockey players will take part in a double-blind study to see if certain marijuana compounds can help improve cognition in individuals who are suffering from past concussions. Global News
The science says… Bleaching hair with hydrogen peroxide causes “strong chemical degradation on cannabinoids” in the hair, according to a new study. Perming and permanent hair coloring also reduced cannabinoid concentrations in hair. Cannabis Now Those who binge drink are more likely to use cannabis heavily, according to data from more than 1,400 individuals. “The relationship between marijuana use and academic functioning is similar to the relationship between alcohol and marijuana,” wrote the researchers. Cannabis Now Hound Labs says it has developed “the world’s first marijuana and alcohol breathalyzer.” But it’s still unclear whether such a device is scientifically possible. Leafly
In cannabis business news… Cannabis stocks were mixed after the head of the FDA said it could take more than two years for the agency to develop CBD regulations. MarketWatch Big businesses willing to take to take on the risk of the cannabis industry could reap huge rewards if market predictions are to be believed. The Guardian “If cannabis is ever passed in Texas, chances are good that grocery stores will be selling that too,” said the CEO of Whole Foods. Marijuana Moment How the black market could hurt the cannabis industry if New York legalizes it. The Journal News
Cannabis in Canada. Household spending on cannabis reached $5.9 billion a year during the fourth quarter of 2018. Most of that — $4.7 billion — went to the black market. BNN Bloomberg Mold and product mislabeling is causing cannabis recalls in the legal market. “The fact that we have seen recalls is a sign that the oversight is working, ensuring a consistent quality product and protecting the health and safety of Canadians,” said the executive director of the Cannabis Canada Council. Marijuana Business Daily A look at the challenges facing cannabis license lottery winners in Ontario. Leafly
Maori support for marijuana legalization. A new poll out of New Zealand found that 75 percent of Maori support marijuana legalization. “That’s 15 percent more than a general poll of New Zealanders conducted late last year.” Those under 55-years-old were more likely to support cannabis legalization, and 12 percent of respondents said they use cannabis every day. Newshub
Word on the States
- In California, the state is accepting grant applications for social equity programs. Coachella bans marijuana, again.
- In New York, the governor warned that legalization could be in “trouble” if not included in the budget. A black church in Brooklyn hosted a cannabis summit.
- In Oregon, a look at efforts to allow marijuana social use.
- In Michigan, the governor signed an executive order abolishing the medical marijuana licensing board.
- In Illinois, legal marijuana could generate $440 million to $676 million in tax revenue for the state.
- In Vermont, the Senate passed a bill to tax and regulate marijuana, sending it to the House.
- In Nevada, why banks refuse to serve the cannabis industry.
- In Montana, the House passed a bill to let those on probation use medical marijuana, sending it to the Senate.
- In Pennsylvania, a look at the hurdles for recreational legalization. The health department barred medical cannabis companies from participating in a cannabis event.
- In Texas, how sheriffs are fighting marijuana reform efforts.
- In Georgia, a House committee advanced a bill to legalize the production and sale of medical marijuana.
- In Virginia, a bill would allow school nurses to administer medical cannabis.
- In New Mexico, the state increased plant limits for medical cannabis producers by five times.
- In Nebraska, a petition to put medical marijuana legalization on the 20202 ballot was cleared to start gathering signatures.
- In Texas, a House committee will hold a hearing for a marijuana decriminalization bill.
- In West Virginia, a Senate committee advanced a medical marijuana banking bill.
- In North Dakota, the first medical marijuana dispensary in the state opened for business.
- In South Dakota, the governor is gravely concerned about an industrial hemp bill, but didn’t threaten to veto it.
- In Louisiana, parolees got their right to vote back.
Word for Word
“[Psychedelics] are incredibly disruptive. They disarm your usual defenses, and defenses can be very helpful as well as hurtful. I think that there are people who should not take these drugs, and it’s people at some psychological risk. That said, you’ve got to compare it with other drugs, and they all have risks. The risks, in this case, at the biological level, are minor compared to drugs we take routinely—even over-the-counter drugs that are more toxic than psychedelics, as far as we know.” – How to Change Your Mind author Michael Pollan, Outside
“When [my son] turned 18, he took himself off prescription meds. Cannabis remained his treatment of choice, and he used it daily. It was the only substance that eased his anxiety, leveled his mood and helped him sleep, he said. To me, that sounded like addict-speak, a rationalization for a consuming dependency. I encouraged him to consult a psychiatrist and reconsider prescription drugs, which were both better-researched and covered by insurance. At the same time, I clearly hadn’t done a great job in making decisions for him, so perhaps I needed to trust him to make his own. By then I’d read more about marijuana and mental health, absorbing complex and sometimes contradictory studies… Given such mixed evidence, if my 18-year-old son believed that smoking weed helped his anxiety and mood, who was I to judge?” – Susan H. Greenberg for The Washington Post