Congressmen hope to increase medical marijuana access for veterans (and other drug policy reforms). Mitch McConnell is pushing for crop insurance for hemp farmers. Colorado cannabis sales hit a new high. Also: A research review found how dispensaries can benefit local communities. 🌳
U.S. reps. reintroduce medical marijuana bill.
U.S. reps. Seth Moulton (D-Mass.) and Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) have re-filed legislation aimed at increasing access to medical marijuana for veterans. The package of bills would protect veterans from losing their benefits over medical marijuana use, direct the VA to collect medical marijuana-related data, and require VA doctors to receive medical marijuana training. Moulton also expressed support for other drug policy reforms, including marijuana expungements, decriminalizing other illicit substances, and legalizing safe consumption sites. The Boston Globe The Department of Veterans Affairs is opposing the legislation. Washington Examiner
McConnell seeks protections for hemp farmers.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), is trying to add federal crop insurance for hemp farmers in the $17 billion disaster aid bill currently stalled on Capitol Hill. Congressional Democrats are at odds with president Trump over funding aid for Puerto Rico. “It was not immediately clear what impact McConnell’s hemp language might have on larger negotiations over the bill,” and a spokesperson for the White House had no comment on the language. The Washington Post Related: How the cannabis industry in Humboldt County hopes to navigate the CBD boom. Times-Standard
Legalization stalls in the Northeast.
In both New York and New Jersey, marijuana legalization once seemed inevitable. Now, efforts to pass adult-use legalization have stalled — with New Jersey’s failure easing pressure on New York’s governor. “The inertia in each state has continued to fuel more of the same in the other, with even staunch proponents of legalization seemingly resigned to waiting until next year.” Still, advocates are hopeful that a deal could still happen in New York before the end of the session in six weeks. But any future efforts are likely to face the same challenges: Legalization opponents, anti-marijuana municipalities, and divides within the pro-legalization camp. The New York Times Related: As hope for legalization fades in New Jersey, the health department looks to expand its medical marijuana program. nj.com
Marijuana proponents consider cutting home grow.
The sponsors of Illinois’ marijuana legalization legislation are “strongly considering” removing the bill’s provision to allow home cultivation. Medical marijuana patients would still be able to grow up to five plants. The lawmakers say that the move would address law enforcement concerns about black market diversion. The first hearing of the bill is scheduled for tomorrow. The Chicago Tribune A group representing county prosecutors in Illinois said that the part of the legalization legislation that expunges past cannabis offenses “may violate the state constitution” by creating legislative pardons. Peoria Journal Star
Colorado marijuana sales hit new high.
Dispensaries in the state sold more than $142.4 million in cannabis products in March of this year — more than any other month since recreational sales started in 2014. “Both recreational and overall sales set records for a single month” and the bulk of the products sold were on the recreational market. Dispensaries saw a 16 percent jump in revenues compared to the month before. Westword The state is on track to set another record this year, despite data showing a drop in marijuana tourism. “We’re seeing a whole variety of customers. One of our fastest growing demographics is older people,” said a spokesperson for a dispensary chain in the state. KDVR
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The studies say…
A review of 42 studies found that licensed dispensaries may actually improve things like public safety, health, and property values. Crime rates surrounding licensed dispensaries generally decreased or stayed flat. “In Colorado and Washington, where data is now available from five years of adult-use cannabis sales, many local officials have switched from hesitance to confidence in the positive benefits of well-regulated stores.” Leafly Cannabis businesses and investors in the U.S. are turning to Israel for scientific knowledge on cannabis due to the restrictions on studying the plant in the U.S. The Jerusalem Post A look at the ongoing research behind MDMA as a treatment for PTSD. The Advocate
Today in cannabis business news…
Missouri’s medical marijuana market has yet to launch, but one local bank is already stepping up to serve the industry. Triad Bank, based in a St. Louis suburb, said it would provide deposit services to cannabis businesses. Marijuana Business Daily Acreage Holdings is selling its real estate assets to an REIT, which will then lease the properties back to Acreage. MedMen has pursued a similar strategy. Green Market Report Musician Jenny Lewis is launching her own weed brand called The Rabbit Hole. Stereogum
Medical cannabis for Canadian inmates.
Despite federal marijuana legalization, medical marijuana is not allowed for incarcerated patients. If an inmate has a medical cannabis prescription, the Correctional Service of Canada will find an “alternative treatment option,” including synthetic cannabinoid products. “Medicinal marijuana is not provided to inmates or permitted within CSC facilities.” Extract
Elsewhere around the world…
Voters in the Philippines showed their support for president Rodrigo Duterte and his drug war as his allies were poised to gain most of the open seats during the midterm elections. The Guardian Hundreds of medical cannabis patients in the U.K. who grow their own marijuana have ratted themselves out to police in an “effort to shame police and public health officials into changing UK cannabis policy and easing access for patients who have one or more qualifying conditions and say they cannot afford a private prescription.” Leafly A court in St. Kitts And Nevis ruled that adults are legally allowed to use marijuana in private. Marijuana Moment
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Weed + Grub
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Word on the States
- In Vermont, a bill to legalize recreational marijuana appears to be dead for the year.
- In Washington, the governor signed a bill to erase old misdemeanor marijuana convictions.
- In California, a Senate committee advanced four cannabis-related bills. The governor granted pardons for three drug offenders. San Diego cannabis growers grapple with a changing marijuana market.
- In Illinois, a Senate committee will hear testimony on the marijuana legalization bill tomorrow.
- In Maine, a hearing on marijuana regulations is expected to draw a large crowd.
- In Michigan, home delivery is now available for medical marijuana patients. A look at the state’s new marijuana regulator.
- In New York, an NYC ban on marijuana pre-employment testing became law without the mayor’s signature. Legal marijuana could create more than 30,000 jobs in the state.
- In Florida, the medical marijuana industry is growing, but the list of participating doctors is not.
- In Maryland, the governor signed a bill to legalize edible marijuana products.
- In Alabama, the chair of the House Rules Committee says the House is unlikely to support the Senate-passed medical marijuana bill.
- In Texas, what lawmakers are saying about reducing marijuana penalties.
- In Wisconsin, a look at the state’s developing hemp industry.
- In Ohio, Cincinnati considers marijuana decriminalization.
- In Iowa, the governor signed an industrial hemp production bill.
Word for Word
“It had all the trappings of just another industry networking golf tournament, the kind that is held dozens and dozens of times in the desert each year… What made this industry networking golf tournament at Woodhaven Country Club in Palm Desert on Saturday different was that the aroma around the course wasn’t freshly mowed rye grass. It was marijuana smoke, and the product being talked about was cannabis, in all of its forms.” – Larry Bohannan, Palm Springs Desert Sun