FDA commissioner resigns as the agency struggles with CBD. A federal appeals court ruled against a New Mexico cannabis business in a tax audit case. Health Canada is investigating whether two cannabis companies broke the law by sponsoring a children’s charity event. Microdosing DMT eased depression and anxiety in rats in the first study of its kind. 🌳
The uncertainty of CBD. The head of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration Scott Gottlieb resigned on Tuesday, prompting questions from the cannabis industry about the agency’s approach to CBD regulations. Gottlieb “said he’d like to work with Congress to find a legislative solution that would allow CBD to be sold in conventional food and dietary supplement stores.” Leafly Lawmakers are frustrated by how slow the FDA is moving on the issue of CBD. Rampant mislabeling of CBD products highlights the need for regulation in the space. Rolling Stone Meanwhile, the DEA is seeking a testing device that can tell the difference between industrial hemp and marijuana. Marijuana Moment Related: The FDA approved esketamine, a nasal spray related to ketamine for treating depression. Stat
Pentagon pushes back on cannabis stock story. The Pentagon is pushing back on reports that Defense Department employees could lose their security clearances for owning stock in marijuana companies. The report was based on an email sent by Air Combat Command, saying that employees could be denied security clearances for owning marijuana stocks. A spokesperson for the Air Combat Command said there have been no changes in Defense Department policy on financial involvement in legal cannabis businesses. “The command is still trying to determine who sent the email and how widely it was distributed.” Task & Purpose
Appeals court rules against marijuana business. A federal appeals court ruled against a New Mexico medical marijuana business seeking to quash an IRS audit. High Desert Relief argued “that the tax agency is acting as a surrogate for criminal prosecutors.” The court also said that 280E does not require that the taxpayer be found guilty of a crime before being prevented from taking business deductions. “Tuesday’s ruling was the latest blow for marijuana-related businesses seeking to take the full range of tax deductions available to other companies. The Tenth Circuit has already affirmed the IRS’s broad authority to audit state-licensed dispensaries.” The National Law Journal
N.J. governor puts legal weed in his budget. New Jersey governor Phil Murphy released his proposed budget, which includes $80 million in marijuana revenue. But the $80 million figure “relies on two very optimistic assumptions.” One, that recreational sales would start by January of 2020 — unlikely given that the legalization bill hasn’t even been released. The figure is also calculated using the tax structure from a bill that was introduced more than a year ago. While legislative leaders and the governor agree on legalization, taxes and other details have become a major sticking point. nj.com
City v. state on marijuana decriminalization. The chief prosecutor of Norfolk, Va. sought to undertake criminal justice reforms and decriminalize marijuana. Greg Underwood previously announced that his office would stop prosecuting minor marijuana offenses, but at least four judges have refused to allow prosecutors to dismiss such charges. “Both Underwood and the judges believe the other side is violating the state constitution’s division of powers.” Now, Underwood is taking the fight to the state Supreme Court, asking it to force the judges to dismiss misdemeanor marijuana cases. The Virginian-Pilot
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The cannabis industry’s influence on local politics. Marijuana companies are staffing up their lobbying presence and political donations on the federal level. Meanwhile, they’re also having an impact on local politics, especially in states with legal cannabis laws. Jasiel Correia, the mayor of Fall River, Mass., has received $52,000 in donations from the cannabis industry. Fall River has signed 10 community host agreements with cannabis businesses — seven of them have donated to Correia. One company donated $20,000 to Correia’s legal defense fund four days after signing a host community agreement with the city. The Herald News
Elsewhere in cannabis business news… MedMen issued a long statement about a publicity campaign gone wrong, explaining that it had stopped investor marketing activities out of an “abundance of caution.” Barron’s MedMen is trying to build a dispensary at the site of a rejected parking garage in Tallahassee, Fla. Tallahassee Democrat Joel Lunenfeld has joined NorCal Cannabis as its chief marketing officer. He has previously served as vice president, global brand strategy for Twitter and co-founder of the Guardian Project, a martial arts non-profit. Benzinga
Cannabis in Canada. Health Canada is looking into whether two cannabis companies violated the law when they sponsored a children’s charity event. The country has strict regulations on cannabis industry advertising. CBC News A former employee of an unlicensed marijuana dispensary in Saskatoon describes how the business operated. Employees were kept in the dark about management, and the store responded to police raids by keeping less inventory. CBC News Cannabis producer Aurora’s stock soared thanks to one cannabis analyst. Barron’s
New Zealand’s cannabis referendum to cost $2.2 million. A referendum on legalizing cannabis will cost more than $2.2 million. The health and justice ministries will receive most of the funding and the Electoral Commission would receive a small amount to carry out the binding referendum in 2020. “Justice Minister Andrew Little said the referendum should not detract from the general election, which it is being held in conjunction with, and no preliminary vote count will be done.” RNZ
New study looks at microdosing rats. A new study provides the first biological evidence that microdosing psychedelics could provide some therapeutic benefits. Researchers gave microdoses of DMT to rats every three days. They found that the microdosing rats “improved significantly” on measures of depression and anxiety. However, researchers also noted potential negative effects in female rats, who experienced a decrease of dendritic spines in the brain. “For most substances, a study like this could quickly prompt more research that would eventually open the door to clinical trials. But for psychedelics… the progression of research can be slower.” The Atlantic
Word on the States
- In California, state lawmakers are considering nearly 60 marijuana-related bills. San Diego approved an ordinance to prevent people from providing minors an environment to use marijuana. San Rafael approved lifting a ban on recreational cannabis businesses.
- In New York, advocates push for ‘day-one equity’ in legalization legislation.
- In Illinois, suburban lawmakers are pushing back on the governor’s marijuana legalization plan.
- In Hawaii, the state is now allowing out-of-state medical marijuana patients to access its program.
- In Maryland, a Senate committee killed a bill that would ban medical marijuana in local jails.
- In Florida, the Senate will quickly take up a bill to allow smokable medical marijuana.
- In Georgia, the House passed a bill to allow medical cannabis production in the state, sending it to the Senate.
- In New Mexico, the state Senate passed a bill to decriminalize marijuana.
- In Oklahoma, a Senate committee advanced a marijuana regulatory bill.
- In Minnesota, a look at the legalization debate. A bill would streamline medical marijuana for vets.
- In Missouri, a state rep. introduced a bill seeking a vote to repeal the voter-approved medical marijuana law. Springfield considers how to regulate medical marijuana.
- In West Virginia, the state Senate passed a marijuana banking bill, sending it to the governor’s desk.
- In Kentucky, a look at one family fighting to legalize medical marijuana.
- In South Dakota, state senators plan to reconsider a hemp legalization measure after a vote fell short of the two-thirds margin required to pass it.
- In Texas, a look at the effort to legalize industrial hemp.
- In North Dakota, a look at marijuana decriminalization efforts in the state.
Word for Word
“More than two years after an emergency landing in Kansas led local authorities to discover cannabis-infused chocolate bars on his single-engine airplane, Utah resident Jeff Siegel’s challenge to the revocation of his pilot’s license sputtered Tuesday in a federal appeals court. A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit upheld a federal agency’s decision to revoke Siegel’s private pilot certificate.” – C. Ryan Barber for The National Law Journal
“While THC makes you feel high, CBD targets receptors in your body that make you feel self-satisfied and smug. You’ll recognize the sensation as soon as someone asks what you’re putting in your coffee. Side effects of CBD include talking about CBD, posting about CBD on social media, and saying, ‘Oh, my God—WHAT?!’ when other people say they haven’t tried CBD. CBD oil can cost between one and one million dollars, depending on how much exposed brick exists at your local purveyor. Three drops in a twenty-ounce latte will double the cost of your latte, obviously. If we were to put it in your sandwich, I’m going to guess that sandwich would cost, like, twenty bucks?” – Jason Hayes for The New Yorker