Legal permanent residents of the U.S. are being denied citizenship under the Trump administration for working in the cannabis industry. Guam legalizes adult-use marijuana. How an Alabama couple lost everything over $50 worth of weed and a misplaced sleeping pill. Also: MDMA made older mice more social in a new study. 🌳
Trump administration denies citizenship to those working in cannabis. Denver mayor Michael Hancock has asked the Justice Department to provide guidance to its employees on law-abiding U.S. immigrants who work at state-legal marijuana businesses. Hancock was shocked to learn that legal permanent residents of the U.S. are being denied citizenship and freedom to travel for working in Colorado’s regulated marijuana market. The executive director of the Marijuana Industry Group said that the scrutiny of permanent residents only recently emerged under the Trump administration. Meanwhile, the Department of Homeland Security says it is obligated to follow federal law. ABC News An attorney for two immigrants who had been denied citizenship said that neither individual has a criminal background, but they have been flagged by the feds for committing a “crime of moral turpitude.” Cannabis Wire
Guam legalizes marijuana. The governor of Guam signed a marijuana legalization bill Thursday, making the drug legal for adult use. Those over 21-years-old are now allowed to possess up to one ounce of cannabis and can grow up to six plants for personal use. Regulators have one year to finalize rules for a regulated marijuana market. Opponents to legalization expressed disappointment about the new law and one political science professor believes it will be challenged in court. The U.S. territory legalized medical marijuana in 2014, but the program has stalled due to a lack of marijuana testing labs. Pacific Daily News
California tries to crack down on illicit cannabis. California is struggling with unlicensed cannabis dispensaries and a strong underground market for marijuana. Governor Gavin Newsom has requested the Pentagon’s help in covering the costs of National Guard troops to crack down on illicit cannabis operations. But the Pentagon has not yet responded to the request. CNBC Licensed cannabis businesses are backing legislation aimed at stopping websites like Weedmaps from listing unlicensed dispensaries. Weedmaps has resisted calls from the industry and state regulators to take down such listings. And it’s unclear that the legislation would even work as a federal law “says that websites aren’t liable for third party content or ads.” LAist
How a couple lost everything over $50 worth of weed. Teresa and Greg Almond’s relatives watched as police carted away tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of the couple’s belongings. Thousands in cash that they kept in safes, a gun collection, wedding rings, antique guitars (and other possessions) were all seized by police through civil asset forfeiture. The offense? $50 worth of marijuana (a misdemeanor) and felony possession of a controlled substance because one of Greg’s prescribed Lunesta pills was outside of its original packaging. Their adult son told police that the marijuana was his and that his parents didn’t know about it, but the prosecutor declined to drop the charges. Now, the Almonds have filed a civil rights lawsuit, alleging that the sheriff didn’t follow asset forfeiture procedures. Alabama Appleseed Related: Manhattan D.A. Cy Vance spent nearly $250,000 on work trips and meals using asset forfeiture funds — at least 13 times more than the DA’s of other boroughs. The City
Republican lawmakers for marijuana reform. U.S. rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.) urged the chairman of the House Judiciary committee Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) to pass the STATES Act, a bill that would protect state cannabis programs from federal enforcement. “Support from a top Republican like Collins adds to pressure on Democrats to prioritize moving marijuana reforms” and show how Republicans are evolving on the issue. Collins has previously voted against similar measures, and his support for the bill “marks perhaps one of the biggest and most important conversions on Capitol Hill yet for legalization supporters.” But the STATES Act doesn’t deschedule marijuana, and a staffer for Collins said he would be “unlikely to support” an effort to deschedule marijuana in a criminal justice reform bill known as the Next Step Act. Forbes
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University sees cannabis windfall despite recent stumbles. Thomas Jefferson University’s cannabis bet has been plagued with troubles including “the implosion of a venture to create the world’s largest medical marijuana patient database, and a stalled academic research program.” But the university’s stake in an Australian hemp company that just went public has generated $1.1 million — possibly “the first cannabis investment to generate a substantial return for a major U.S. academic research institution.” Meanwhile, the director of the university’s center for cannabis research abruptly resigned this week, and a partnership to develop a national database of medical marijuana patients was canceled with no explanation. The Philadelphia Inquirer
Today in cannabis business news… The latest chapter of the mainstreaming of cannabis comes as retail giants start stocking CBD products. Bloomberg Quint A fancy dispensary replaces a menswear boutique in the posh shopping district of Palm Desert. The store looks like a jeweler, though “some locals have raised questions about whether The Leaf will fit into the city’s prized retail corridor and attract fashionable country club-goers.” Desert Sun A Canadian cannabis investment firm increased its stake in the Seattle-based Jones Soda beverage company. Food and Dive Seniors are not just increasingly consuming cannabis. There’s also more of them entering the cannabis industry. MarketWatch
Cannabis in Canada. A Nova Scotia woman plans to challenge how the law tests cannabis consumers for impairment. Michelle Gray uses cannabis to treat multiple sclerosis, and hadn’t consumed for six hours when she tested positive for THC at a roadside checkpoint. After her arrest, she passed a sobriety test at police headquarters. Because she passed the test, she wasn’t charged with impaired driving. But she still had her license suspended for a week and her car was impounded. CTV News Why a lack of boardroom diversity will cost Canadian cannabis companies. Marijuana Business Daily The Bank of Montreal is warning investors that recreational cannabis sales could be lower than expected. Marijuana Business Daily
Elsewhere around the world… Researchers in Spain found that much of the hashish sold in Madrid is contaminated with dangerous levels of fecal matter. More than 88 percent of the samples tested were not suitable for human consumption. BBC The gray CBD market in Brussels, Belgium is flourishing thanks to a lack of regulation. Non-profit cannabis social clubs are exploiting a legal gray zone as laws don’t address hemp-derived CBD in the country. Politico Six years after Uruguay legalized marijuana, here’s a look at how the industry is doing. BBC Cannabis research in development in Israel is paying off as a global industry grows. Cannabis Wire The prime minister of New Zealand said that the cannabis ballot question would be decided by the Cabinet, but wouldn’t give details on a timeline. TVNZ Human rights group Amnesty International is urging Sri Lanka not to resume executions for drug offenders days after the president announced dates for the country’s first executions in 43 years. The Associated Press
About other drugs… Scientists found that older mice given MDMA started socializing like adolescents. Researchers think that the drug could make older brains more malleable, which could be why it’s shown promise in treating PTSD. It’s still unclear how these findings would translate to humans, though. Gizmodo An effort to legalize psilocybin in Oregon has split into two warring campaigns. Willamette Week After news broke that a 13-year-old boy in Springfield, Oregon died from a suspected LSD overdose, many in the community are expressing reservations. A medic for a crisis intervention team “said LSD overdoses are extremely rare, and he’s never heard of LSD causing a fatality.” Police have declined to comment. The Register-Guard
Word on the States
- In Oregon, the state warns growers to report their inventories or face fines.
- In New Mexico, the governor signed a marijuana decriminalization bill.
- In Florida, an appeals court ruled against a medical marijuana patient seeking to grow his own cannabis.
- In Minnesota, the Department of Corrections will allow those on parole to use medical marijuana.
- In New Jersey, the governor expressed optimism about marijuana legalization. The Senate president hopes to hold a vote on legalization next month. Police halted training dogs to sniff pot.
- In New York, pro-legalization lawmakers plan push for marijuana legalization.
- In Colorado, a House committee advanced a marijuana home delivery bill.
- In Alabama, House Democrats will discuss medical marijuana legalization efforts.
- In California, Concord’s city council supports delivery but not dispensaries.
- In Maryland, Carroll County prepares for medical marijuana dispensaries.
- In Idaho, a House committee introduced a bill to allow the interstate transport of hemp.
- In Arkansas, medical marijuana regulators approved dispensary moves and a change in ownership.
- In Illinois, a Senate committee advanced a marijuana legalization placeholder bill.
Word for Word
“Today people of color are arrested at much greater levels for cannabis possession, even though use levels are equal among races. Finding out it was always about race was just like, ‘Oh, yeah. Of course.’ The most interesting aspect of the whole story, to me, is what we did to India. India has a culture with cannabis that goes back as long as we know. It’s in their holy books. The United States forced every country in the United Nations to make cannabis illegal. Now India has to bend to the will of the U.S.” – Cartoonist Box Brown, NPR
“I would legalize marijuana and I would pardon everyone who’s in jail for a non-violent, drug-related offense. I would pardon them all on April 20, 2021 and I would high five them on their way out of jail.” – Presidential candidate Andrew Yang, National Action Network convention via Marijuana Moment