Biden says he supports marijuana decriminalization. Regulators in Massachusetts approved cannabis cafes. Lawmakers in Delaware introduced a recreational marijuana legalization bill. Also: New research sheds light on the origins of the cannabis plant. 🌳
Biden signals support for marijuana decriminalization.
Former vice president Joe Biden said he supports decriminalizing marijuana, but believes the issue of legalization should be left up to the states. “Biden does not believe anyone should be in jail simply for smoking or possessing marijuana,” said a spokesperson for his campaign. He said that if Biden were elected president, he would reclassify marijuana as a Schedule II drug. The Hill Biden’s support for decriminalization is a shift for him: He previously opposed legalization efforts and supported drug war policies like establishing mandatory minimums for marijuana offenses. CNN
Marijuana bills in Congress.
Four Democratic senators introduced legislation to streamline student aid applications. The bill would remove a question about former drug convictions from the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). “The drug conviction question has penalized tens of thousands of students since the requirement was added in a 1998.” Marijuana Moment Supporters of a bill to allow banks to work with the cannabis industry are optimistic about the legislation’s chances of passing in the House. There’s an 82 percent chance that the bill would pass in the House, according to a legislative analysis. But there’s only a 33 percent chance that the bill would eventually be enacted into law. Politico Pro
Regulators approve cannabis cafes in Massachusetts.
The state Cannabis Control Commission voted 3-2 to approve a pilot program for marijuana consumption spaces. “There is a strong desire to have this… I believe it’s the will of the people,” said the state’s top marijuana regulator. The regulators who opposed the proposal cited concerns about impaired driving. The approved proposal would address these concerns by limiting “the quantity of marijuana each patron could consume and mandate that servers at social consumption businesses and events be trained on detecting impairment.” The Boston Globe Even so, a timeline for the launch of social-use businesses is still unclear. Advocates “acknowledged it could be ‘a matter of years’ before such businesses open.” boston.com
Nevada’s cannabis industry gets more transparent.
Nevada recently released thousands of pages of documents thanks to a new law aimed at improving transparency of its marijuana industry. A look at the industry reveals that Chicago-based Green Thumb Industries is behind seven LLCs that hold 30 licenses. Canadian company Cannabis Strategies Acquisition Corp. is behind five LLCs that have 25 licenses. Other Canadian and American multi-state operators are behind LLCs that control multiple licenses in the market, including Verano, MedMen, C12 Investments, and Surterra. Cannabis Wire
Delaware gets a new marijuana legalization bill.
Democratic lawmakers in the state introduced a new marijuana legalization bill. Governor John Carney opposes legalization and a similar effort failed last year. The revised bill would set up a state-regulated cannabis industry with an initial 50 cannabis cultivators and 15 retailers. The Associated Press The bill would prohibit home cultivation and establish a 15 percent tax. While it’s unclear how much marijuana tax revenue the state would make, the money would go towards covering administrative costs and also be subject to appropriation by the General Assembly. Delaware State News
🌟 A Word From Our Sponsors 🌟
Word on the Tree is supported by Indigo and Haze, the highly curated marketplace for CBD and products. Its co-founder is the editor-in-chief of the magazine Women and Weed. Indigo and Haze
Word on the Tree sponsors are those who donate to help support the newsletter at higher levels. Learn more at wordonthetree.com
The scientists say…
A review of studies on cannabis pollen found its earliest occurrence in Northern China and Southern Russia. Researchers “concluded that cannabis probably emerged on the Tibetan Plateau in the vicinity of Qinghai Lake” and evolved there about 28 million years ago. The Tibetan Plateau, which is 3,200 meters above sea level, may have helped drive the evolution of the plant. New Scientist Researchers at UC San Francisco found that overall hospital stays remained steady after Colorado legalized marijuana. The scientists analyzed 28 million hospital records from before and after legalization went into effect. UCSF
Cannabis in Canada.
The Quebec government wanted to ban public cannabis consumption. But now the province is walking that back after determining that a ban wouldn’t be enforceable. It is, however, standing by its pledge to raise the age for cannabis consumption from 18 to 21. CBC News Health Canada has granted one license for outdoor cannabis cultivation. As the weather gets warmer, many licensed producers are waiting to hear from regulators on whether they can start outdoor cultivation operations. BNN Bloomberg A 65-year-old man in Niagara, Ontario was sentenced to 90 days in jail for growing 1,200 cannabis plants. Armand Delorme insisted that the plants were “a five-year supply entirely for personal use by him and his sister, both of whom suffer from chronic pain issues.” Leafly
Elsewhere around the world…
International cannabis company Equinox International is planning to open a chain of “cannabis lifestyle” stores across the U.K. called Mr Nice. Mr Nice is the alias of Howard Marks, a famed cannabis smuggler, author, and cannabis legalization advocate. The first Mr Nice store opened in London on Thursday. The Guardian The Health Ministry of Israel said it would remove cannabis from its dangerous drugs list. The move will allow pharmacies to sell cannabis and doctors would be able to prescribe it without a special license. Times of Israel The Senate of Brazil passed legislation to toughen its drug policies, including raising mandatory minimums for drug offenses and forced rehab for drug users. The move comes “ahead of a Supreme Court decision on the decriminalization of marijuana consumption and possession.” The Associated Press
Denver’s recent successful psilocybin decriminalization initiative doesn’t have many public health implications. But it is helping to spur a national conversation about the merits of psychedelics for treating a wide range of mental health conditions. The conversation dovetails with “mounting anti-corporate sentiment and diminishing access to affordable health care, alternative ideas about medicine are creeping into the mainstream.” The Atlantic Oakland, Calif. has scheduled a hearing on a non-binding resolution that seeks to decriminalize possessing psychedelics. Forbes
🗣 Shout Outs 🗣
Weed + Grub
Weed + Grub is a podcast about cooking, cannabis, comedy, and pop culture — hosted by Mary Jane Gibson and Mike Glazer. Word on the Tree is happy to support the podcast’s news section, The Grublet Gazette! Check it out wherever you get your podcasts or listen right here on the web: Weed +
Attention NYC readers! Rosebud is throwing another speakeasy event tonight to celebrate cannabis culture in the Big Apple. Get $15 off with the discount code RBFAMILY: Brown Paper Tickets
Word on the States
- In California, an Assembly committee rejected a proposal to give cannabis businesses a temporary tax cut. Hemp faces a regulatory battle in the state. A look at the state’s rural-urban divide in cannabis businesses.
- In Ohio, what employers should know about medical marijuana.
- In Texas, Bexar County’s district attorney announced that prosecutors won’t pursue low-level drug possession cases. A family speaks out about how medical marijuana helped their son.
- In New York, the Assembly Majority Leader thinks recreational legalization is still possible this session.
- In Louisiana, a recreational marijuana legalization bill was referred to a House committee. The House refused to advance a hemp tax bill.
Word for Word
“When [the Oxford English Dictionary] adds words, it’s worth taking notice. The new words can be a window into our minds and our culture. Take, for example, one of the OED’s 2019 additions: ‘cannabusiness.’ We should have seen this one coming. Cannabis is gaining legal acceptance in a number of places in the country. Businesses are swooping in to profit off the new opportunities. In hindsight, this word seems to have been inevitable. Its definition: ‘The branch of commercial activity concerned with the production and sale of cannabis or cannabis-related products. Also as a count noun: a company engaged in such activity.'” – June Casagrande for The Los Angeles Times