Marijuana reform efforts are gaining traction in Congress. New Hampshire’s highest court ruled that a board was wrong to deny medical marijuana reimbursement in a workers’ comp case. The NFL is reportedly ready to change its marijuana policy. Also: Levi’s is introducing a line of “cottonized hemp” clothes. 🌳
Marijuana reform gains traction in Congress. The issue of marijuana has brought together lawmakers from both parties, but federal reform still faces challenges in this Congress. A combination of state-level reforms and a shift in public opinion has made it more palatable for politicians to support the issue. But will legislative leaders even bring up marijuana bills for a vote? “There’s a broader calculus here for Sen. McConnell… If he is able to bring forward a piece of legislation that would help Cory Gardner or Susan Collins get re-elected, surely there’s an interest in doing that. The flip side of that is Sen. McConnell doesn’t want to put his other members in a difficult position,” said a Brookings Institution senior fellow. Roll Call Related: A new poll found that 60 percent of Americans support marijuana legalization, and 63 percent favor expunging minor marijuana convictions. Marijuana Moment
U.S. reps. team up on marijuana bills. U.S. reps. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) and Don Young (R-Alaska) are co-sponsoring two marijuana bills: One that would deschedule marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act, and another to require the federal government to study state-level legalization policies. Gabbard says that she is putting marijuana policy at the “forefront of [her] campaign” for the Democratic presidential nomination. Forbes Gabbard says she supports policies like expunging cannabis convictions and community reinvestment, but thinks it is unrealistic to pursue those goals in federal legalization. Here, she makes the case for ending prohibition first, before addressing other issues like criminal justice reform. Cannabis Wire
Board was wrong to deny workers’ comp for medical marijuana, rules court. A New Hampshire medical marijuana patient sought reimbursement for the costs of cannabis through workers’ compensation, as he was using it to treat pain from a work injury. His insurance carrier and a state appeals board refused to reimburse him. But now, the state Supreme Court has ruled that the board was wrong and failed to articulate why it was illegal to do so. His case will now be sent back to the board. The Associated Press
NFL prepared to change its pot policy. An unnamed source says that the NFL is prepared to “make major concessions regarding the substance-abuse policy, especially as it relates to marijuana.” But the details of how the concessions will go are unknown. “Maybe the best approach would be to simply dump marijuana from the list of banned recreational drugs.” But if the league only allows marijuana consumption in legal states, it could lead free agents to flock to teams in states that have legalized it. NBC Sports Related: Dallas Cowboys defensive end David Irving, who was suspended indefinitely last week for his second positive marijuana test, called out the league’s substance abuse policy, implying that he would not return until the policy was changed. Bleacher Report
Advocates say medical marijuana would have saved their daughter’s life. Indiana couple Heidi and Dave Curtis’ 6-year-old daughter Charly suffered from autism and epilepsy. While they were waiting for Epidiolex, they decided to give her a bit of a THC edible brought to Indiana from Colorado. Charly’s seizures stopped. They soon found someone else who had brought THC oil from Colorado — “we knew we were already giving her something that was illegal in the State of Indiana,” said Heidi. But for them, it was worth the risk of potential criminal prosecution or a CPS case. When they ran out of the THC oil, Dave drove to Colorado to try to get more of it. His daughter passed away that night. The Curtis’ are sharing their story in hopes of spurring medical marijuana legalization in Indiana, which the governor has repeatedly opposed. They believe their daughter would still be alive if she had access to the medicine. WRTV
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Prosecutors drop charges against Utah medical marijuana patient. Jason Harris uses medical marijuana to treat symptoms related to a brain tumor. Although he had a qualifying condition under Utah’s new medical marijuana law and also a doctor’s recommendation to use the substance, he was caught “carrying raw cannabis flower outside of the legally-required blister pack.” Police charged him with marijuana possession, leading him to be fired as the coach of his son’s basketball team. Medical marijuana advocates and his attorneys eventually got prosecutors to drop the charges. Meanwhile, they also hope to make the law friendlier to patients as the “bill’s size and complexity make perfect compliance challenging for [them].” The Salt Lake Tribune
Boulder company to study CBD and brain injury. Real-Time Diagnostics Ventures Inc., a Boulder, Colo.-based company, is conducting a first-of-its kind study on hemp-derived CBD for brain injuries. The observational study will look at 20 adults taking plant-derived supplements — half of them while recovering from a brain injury. The hope is that the findings will prompt more research in the future. While there is preclinical data on phytocannabinoids as a neuroprotectant, “there are no studies for plant-derived cannabinoids for brain injuries,” said the lead researcher in the study. Daily Camera Related: How seven brothers created the leading CBD company in the U.S. The New York Times
‘The Conference That Connects.’ The National Cannabis Diversity Awareness Convention in Portland will feature speakers from the mayor’s office to Black Lives Matter activists. The convention hopes to connect “entrepreneurs of diverse backgrounds in different fields [within] the cannabis industry,” said its organizer. “The convention is about… access to networking for business growth, and access to funding, capital and education, to help displaced community members or business owners grow into the cannabis industry.” Willamette Week
Elsewhere in cannabis business news… Cannabis analytics firm Headset is teaming up with Nielsen. The two companies will work together on reports about the marijuana market and “also develop capabilities for the Canadian market.” Reuters Levi’s announced that it is introducing a line of clothing using a blend of cotton and hemp. “We know hemp is good for the environment, but it has always felt coarse… This is the first time we’ve been able to offer consumers a cottonized hemp product that feels just as good, if not better, than cotton,” said its VP of product innovation. Sourcing Journal A recent Headset report found that California cannabis consumers spend the most per item in the U.S. The more established markets tend to have the lowest prices. Cannabis Now
Cannabis in Canada. Canadian MP and minister of border security and organized crime reduction said the federal government is pleased with the “orderly” transition to legal marijuana in the country. “You would recall the prediction of apocalyptic results. We had worked very hard to ensure we had strong regulatory controls in place before the implementation,” said Bill Blair. The Toronto Star Marijuana tax revenue in British Columbia will fall short of initial estimates in part thanks to supply shortages in the market. The province expects to receive $68 million over three years, substantially less than the $200 million estimate in the budget. Vancouver Sun
Word on the States
- In Alaska, the state moves one step closer to becoming the first in the nation to allow onsite marijuana use.
- In California, critics push back on cannabis business licensing without fully funding the equity program. The Los Angeles City Council advanced a proposal to shut off water and power at unlicensed marijuana shops. Regulations are choking out the legal weed industry.
- In Massachusetts, regulators are expected to approve two more recreational marijuana dispensaries.
- In Connecticut, the state Elections Enforcement Commission ruled that marijuana growers are barred from making political contributions, but not dispensaries.
- In Michigan, unlicensed medical marijuana businesses face another deadline to get licensed. The medical marijuana industry sold $42 million worth of product since November 1.
- In Pennsylvania, support for legalization transcends party politics among voters, but not lawmakers. A look behind why the health department is barring medical marijuana dispensaries from participating in a cannabis event.
- In New Mexico, the Senate passed a bill to reduce marijuana penalties.
- In Florida, the ban on smokable medical marijuana is close to being repealed in the state.
- In Vermont, a Brattleboro medical cannabis dispensary opened a drive-thru for patients.
- In Maryland, a House committee heard testimony on two marijuana legalization bills.
- In New York, schools are vocally opposed to legalization.
- In Texas, a look at marijuana decriminalization efforts. Harris County’s progressive D.A. faces a challenge from the left. 54 percent of voters support marijuana legalization, according to a new poll.
- In Kentucky, a House committee advanced a bill to legalize medical marijuana.
- In Iowa, a House committee advanced a bill to expand the medical marijuana program.
- In South Carolina, regulators will start cracking down on CBD products.
- In South Dakota, the Senate approved an amended hemp legalization bill, sending it to the House.
- In Missouri, lawmakers consider lifting restrictions on hemp.
Word for Word
“I have to tell you, going through what I went through last year, I am so angry that there is such a stigma attached to cannabis, to marijuana, to anything having to do with the medical benefits of cannabis oil and marijuana any way. Even for me, for glioblastoma, the CBD plus [THC] showed 81 percent 1-year survival… 662 days compared with 369 days in the group — I’m sorry I’m getting emotional — it’s a big difference. It’s a year difference. My dad only survived 14 months… It angered me — my dad was sick — that there’s still such stigma attached.” – Co-host of The View Meghan McCain, The View / YouTube
“JPMorgan Chase & Co has decided to stop financing private operators of prisons and detention centers… JPMorgan is one of several banks that have underwritten bonds or syndicated loans for CoreCivic Inc and GEO Group Inc, the two major private prison operators in the United States… JPMorgan’s move away from the industry comes after activists have challenged Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon at the bank’s last two annual meetings over its financing of prison companies.” – David Henry and Imani Moise for Reuters