The FDA’s outgoing chief says CBD regulations could take years. Clark County is directing marijuana revenue to address homelessness. Los Angeles explores using technology for automatic expungements. Also: CVS is the latest major retailer to start stocking CBD products. 🌳
CBD regulations could take several years. It could take the U.S. Food and Drug Administration at least three years to finalize regulations on hemp-derived CBD. Although the 2018 Farm Bill legalized hemp, CBD still has to go through the agency’s rule-making process, which typically takes three years. The outgoing FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb said that the process could take even longer due to CBD’s complexities. There’s “the question of how you differentiate between CBD derived from hemp versus CBD derived from marijuana,” said Gottlieb. The DEA has yet to formally deschedule CBD. Cannabis Wire
Marijuana revenue for homeless programs. Clark County, Nev. has earmarked $12 million in marijuana revenue to address homelessness in the Las Vegas area. The program’s goal is to help prevent “those on the brink of homelessness from ending up on the streets by creating a diversion program that combines short-term services and financial assistance.” The money could go towards rent, repairs, or utilities. County commissioners are also considering other uses for the money, including scaling up affordable housing and establishing a program to help youths transition out of the juvenile justice system. Las Vegas Review-Journal
L.A. struggles with expungements. An estimated 60,000 – 100,000 people are eligible to have their past pot convictions expunged in Los Angeles County. But fewer than 1,000 people have filed a petition to do so thanks to the burdensome process. Now, county officials are considering using Code For America’s Clear My Record initiative that has been used by San Francisco to automatically identify thousands of cases that are eligible for expungement. “When the law is broken, a person is automatically arrested. It’s imperative that the same energy of automation is used to expunge the records of more than 100,000 individuals,” said a civic engagement coordinator who has petitioned for felony reclassification under California’s new marijuana law. KNBC
Legalization drama in New Jersey. A vote on New Jersey’s marijuana legalization bill could happen on Monday. But Democratic leaders still don’t have enough votes to pass it. Nine Senate Democrats are still opposed to the measure, which needs “yes” votes from four of them to pass. If legislative leaders can’t summon the support it needs, legalization would likely be stalled for months. Meanwhile, anti-legalization lawmakers have also proposed a measure that would allow voters to decide. northjersey.com One senator, who is opposed to commercial cannabis legalization, wants to see record expungement untied from legalization efforts. “Expungement is important and can be addressed on its own… Why don’t we work on social justice before authorizing people to try to make money [off of marijuana]?” he said. Insider NJ
Georgia medical marijuana patients still waiting for access. The state may have legalized medical marijuana and doled out “Low THC Oil Registry Card” for patients in its program. But there is no way to legally obtain the medicine in the state, forcing patients to buy from the underground market. Others — like 71-year-old Robert Bowles — have a patient card that is “essentially useless. So he’s still waiting to use medical marijuana for the first time.” A bill to legalize cultivation is moving forward in the legislature. “We can do that paperwork but it’s pointless,” said one doctor who has written recommendations for medical cannabis despite that his patients have no way to obtain it. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
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The Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists presents The Color of Cannabis — Philly’s first cannabis media event. Join Word on the Tree’s editor on April 6 to learn about what legalization in Pennsylvania could look like and how communities of color could be impacted. Tickets here: Eventbrite / PABJ
CBD is everywhere. Despite the lack of federal CBD regulations, the cannabinoid is finding its way a growing number of consumer products. CBD tinctures currently make up about 43 percent of the market. They’re often sold “online and in specialty shops across the U.S., though cannabis companies must navigate various state and federal limitations.” The Associated Press CVS is the latest major retailer to get into the CBD space. The pharmacy chain is selling CBD topicals in eight states. CNBC Curaleaf said that its products will be available in CVS, sending its stock up as much as 17 percent. Bloomberg Related: Despite the risks involved, a growing number of businesses are using e-commerce to sell CBD products around the country. Marijuana Business Daily
Elsewhere in cannabis business news… The “Costco of Cannabis” makes waves during Y Combinator’s demo day. Cannabis Now Why Gary Vaynerchuck is bullish on the cannabis industry. Green Entrepreneur Missouri’s medical marijuana law requires businesses to have a member with experience in the cannabis industry. Here’s a look at one Las Vegas cannabis exec who is looking to bring his expertise to the state. Kansas City Business Journal Why the U.S.’s sole cannabis REIT is “the only cannabis company that’s regularly paying a good dividend.” Barron’s A look inside Barney’s fancy weed store in Beverly Hills. Bloomberg
Cannabis in Canada. Edibles, extracts, and topicals will likely be taxed by THC content when new rules go into effect on May 1. Currently, flower is taxed at $1 per gram or 10 percent of the sales price. Leafly Saskatchewan cannabis retailers are making an effort to recycle marijuana packaging at their stores. The growth of legal cannabis in the country has contributed to a proliferation of single-use plastic containers. Global News Cannabis companies in New Brunswick are getting ready for the edibles market. CBC News
Elsewhere around the world… Health insurers in Germany covered $83.7 million of medical cannabis products in 2018. Pharmacies in the country processed 185,370 prescriptions for medical cannabis. Marijuana Business Daily An analysis of wastewater also found that Germany is the drug capital of Europe. The Local Parents in the U.K. are fighting for their 20-month-old son to get medical cannabis oil for infantile spasms. BBC The finance minister of Romania says the government is discussing the possibility of legalizing medical cannabis. romania-insider.com
Hallucinogen therapy is coming. Psychedelic research has seen a renaissance of late. While the studies are small, they offer striking results for the promise of psychedelics to treat afflictions like addiction, anxiety, and depression. One 10-person study on alcoholics found participants halved their alcohol intake after six months. Another study on cigarette smokers saw 60 percent of subjects stop smoking for more than two years. Interestingly, those who have mystical experiences on psilocybin tend to have the best outcomes. “The question of how, precisely, hallucinogens trigger these transformations has sent neuroscientists down an intriguing rabbit hole.” Nautilus
Word on the States
- In Nevada, nearly a dozen cannabis businesses are suing the state after failing to receive dispensary licenses. Dispensary owners call for more training for the seed-to-sale software after an audit found discrepancies.
- In New York, the governor hopes to pass marijuana legalization by June. One senator explains why she thinks marijuana legalization won’t have the votes it needs to pass separately from the budget.
- In Colorado, the Senate passed a bill to add autism to the medical marijuana program.
- In Pennsylvania, a look inside Philadelphia’s cannabis temple where medical marijuana patients can light up.
- In Michigan, the new marijuana regulatory agency will make decisions behind closed doors. Regulators expect draft rules for the recreational marijuana market to be ready by June.
- In Illinois, a Senate committee advanced a bill to ease restrictions on banks working with the cannabis industry.
- In Rhode Island, law enforcement leaders disagree on marijuana legalization.
- In California, San Diego considers cannabis cafes. Pomona officials agreed on a regulatory framework for cannabis businesses.
- In South Carolina, a key Senate committee advanced a bill to legalize medical marijuana.
- In Tennessee, it’s unclear whether the governor would sign a medical marijuana bill.
- In North Carolina, government officials unveiled new hemp regulations.
- In Vermont, state officials plan to raise registration fees for hemp growers.
Word for Word
“Lately I pine for bad weed. The shwag. The shake. The plastic baggie full of crumbly and parched green-brown leaves, which, when smoked — on the top of an apple or inside a cheap pipe — already tasted like ashes, and made your lungs want to cry. Since high school, my estimation of bad weed has only risen, at least as an alternative for adults who only kind of want to get high. In an age where Whole Foods bud is fast becoming a reality, it is becoming the vinyl of recreational marijuana, a haphazard way to recapture the shoddy purity of a bygone era.” – Sam Eichner for The Outline
“In recent years, [travel guru Rick] Steves has become a happy warrior for an unlikely cause: the legalization of marijuana. He first tried the drug in Afghanistan, in the 1970s, in the name of cultural immersion, and he was fascinated by its effect on his mind. Today, he is a board member of Norml, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, and a regular speaker at Hempfest. In his headquarters you will find a poster of the Mona Lisa holding a gargantuan spliff. In 2012, Steves campaigned hard for Washington State’s successful legalization initiative, and since then he has barnstormed other states (Oregon, Maine, Vermont and more) to make sure the civil liberties are properly passed around. On a shelf in his living room, right there among all the European knickknacks, Steves displays a sizable bong.” – Sam Anderson for The New York Times Magazine