The harms of federal prohibition remain, even as states legalize weed. Lawmakers are pressing government officials over marijuana research, CBD, and veterans’ benefits. Marijuana legalization in New Jersey’s legislature looks increasingly unlikely. Also: How Denver’s psilocybin campaign could help a similar effort in Oregon. 🌳
The problem with state-level legalization.
Despite that most states have legalized some form of marijuana, vulnerable populations are still being disproportionately harmed by marijuana policies. If you live in a state that has legalized recreational use, you could be evicted, fired or lose any sort of federal benefit, just for partaking in the state-legal marijuana market. Working in the state-legal industry “can hurt your chance at a mortgage, affect your immigration status, and put your assets at risk… Federal prohibition exacerbates the persistent and cruelly ironic racial inequities in who controls the $40 billion marijuana market.” Rolling Stone
Lawmakers press drug czar, VA over marijuana.
During a House committee hearing, lawmakers pressed director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy Jim Carroll about marijuana research and hemp-derived CBD. Carroll raised concerns about the potency of marijuana products today and also the lack of research. Marijuana Moment Members of Congress are pressing the VA on veterans being denied home loans due to working in the marijuana industry. “Because the VA believes that this income can be forfeited or seized under federal law, they won’t deem it suitable for a VA loan,” read a letter being circulated by two U.S. reps. Marijuana Moment
The ubiquity of CBD products at various retailers across the country may make it seem like the cannabinoid is legal. But travelers are getting arrested and in some cases getting charged with drug felonies for having the seemingly innocuous substance at the airport. The Atlantic A planned CBD-infused dinner at the James Beard House titled “An Introduction to CBD Cuisine” has been changed to “An Exploration of Terpenes” due to regulatory confusion. Aspen Times
‘No hope’ for marijuana legalization in the N.J. legislature.
Sources say that efforts to legalize adult-use marijuana in New Jersey’s legislature are likely dead. But other government officials said there is still hope that the bill could pass. nj.com Chances are growing that the issue will be put to voters this November or next. Still, some lawmakers prefer the legislative route “because it gives them more flexibility to shape and fix the program, while leaving it to voters is less predictable.” nj.com The Senate president reportedly skipped a meeting with the governor at the last minute, where they were supposed to discuss marijuana legalization. The two are reportedly feuding about a tax-break program. NJBiz Related: If the legalization bill were passed, the smell of weed would no longer be probable cause for a search. Asbury Park Press
More trouble for Arizona MMJ patients.
A medical marijuana patient is suing Albertsons after the company fired him for testing positive for cannabis. Thomas Lee’s story is similar to many other patients across the country: he lost his job despite telling his employer about his status as a medical marijuana patient. “Lee claims he was not impaired at work and that his termination amounts to discrimination.” His case will test what is considered a “safety sensitive position” under Arizona law as Lee was operating a forklift as part of his job. Phoenix New-Times An Arizona court ruled that consuming cannabis in a parked car is considered public consumption. The state Court of Appeals affirmed the misdemeanor convictions of two medical marijuana patients who were caught smoking marijuana in a parked car. The Associated Press
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California cannabis sales lower than expected.
California governor Gavin Newsom is scaling back its expected marijuana revenue through June 2020 by $223 million. “The diminished optimism for retail pot sales comes as shops continue to be undercut by a thriving illicit market, where consumers can avoid taxes that can approach 50 percent in some communities.” The governor blamed the many communities that have banned cannabis businesses. Still, the market is growing, just not as fast as anticipated. The Associated Press
Today in cannabis business news….
The pharmaceutical industry has invested money into developing CBD drugs. One cannabis researcher said he expects the industry to try to prevent similar products from being sold over the counter. Cannabis Wire In California’s Carpinteria Valley, tensions are mounting between avocado and cannabis growers over pesticide use. Noozhawk Marijuana companies in Chicago are growing and expanding their real estate footprint. But it can still be hard for cannabis companies to find landlords willing to rent office space to them. The Chicago Tribune Canopy Growth has made improvements to its cannabis cultivation process, but it “might not be enough to stave off industrywide supply concerns.” Barron’s
Cannabis in Canada.
An outdoor cannabis grow in Canada faces many challenges: a short growing season, pesticide drift, and pests. That’s why — despite the low costs of outdoor grows — licensed producers have constructed large indoor grow facilities. But now, one cannabis company is hoping to change that with a 100-acre outdoor grow. Financial Post Researchers at Dalhousie University are surprised by the results of their survey, which found that support for legal marijuana has dropped since legalization (though a majority of Canadians still support the policy). Houston Today More Canadians are consuming cannabis after legalization, according to a national survey. Buffalo News
Elsewhere around the world…
President of Mexico Andrés Manuel López Obrador says no to U.S. funds aimed at fighting drug crime. The U.S. has been providing funds for more than a decade. “It hasn’t worked… We don’t want cooperation in the use of force, we want cooperation for development,” said Obrador. The Washington Post About 40 patients across Brazil have been approved to cultivate marijuana for medical purposes. Despite the upfront costs, patients say it is cheaper to cultivate their own than to buy imported medical cannabis oil from abroad. The Rio Times
Denver’s psilocybin vote could help Oregon.
The campaign to decriminalize psilocybin in Denver could help a similar effort in Oregon. A proposed ballot initiative in the state would go further than the Denver initiative — Oregon’s proposal would develop a regulatory framework for psilocybin-assisted therapy. One of the authors of the initiative Tom Eckert “said the results of Denver’s measure could affect the way people in Oregon think about the attempt.” Currently, the campaign is working on gathering signatures. It needs more than 100,000 of them to make the 2020 ballot. OPB
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Word on the States
- In Alabama, the Senate passed a medical marijuana legalization bill, sending it to the House.
- In New York, advocates discuss what’s next for marijuana reform in the state. Anti-marijuana advocates are focusing their efforts on county officials.
- In Wisconsin, Republicans in the legislature voted against the governor’s plan to legalize medical marijuana.
- In Florida, a Jacksonville City Council member filed a bill to decriminalize marijuana.
- In Connecticut, the governor signed a hemp-farming bill.
- In Alaska, Anchorage considers on-site marijuana use regulations.
- In Michigan, a Detroit dispensary launches a delivery service. Mt. Pleasant considers temporarily opting out of recreational marijuana businesses.
- In Illinois, only two out of five voters support allowing commercial cannabis sales, according to a new poll (funded by anti-marijuana advocates).
Word for Word
“Even as Canadian marijuana mega-firms raise billions in institutional capital with sunny projections about expanding the market of people who use cannabis, the core stoner demographic — young men who consume a lot of pot — remains a powerful force, both culturally and commercially. Just as casinos offer free hotel rooms to compulsive gamblers and liquor companies survive on the money of alcoholics, the weed industry relies on heavy users. And if Instagram followers are any metric, the potheads of the world want three things from their marijuana moguls: butts, boobs and bikinis.” – Amanda Chicago Lewis for Rolling Stone