A cannabis trade group pushes for social equity at the Capitol. How a marijuana conviction could be classified as “violent.” Maine finally has a plan for commercial cannabis sales. Also: A wheelchair-bound medical marijuana patient in Canada was forced into homelessness when his apartment evicted him over cannabis. 🌳
Industry pushes for social equity at the Capitol.
Thanks to questions from lawmakers on social equity in the cannabis industry, the National Cannabis Industry Association developed a plan for how businesses can address the problem. Its goals include: criminal justice reform, equitable licensing structures, and community reinvestment. Cannabis Wire Some members of Congress voiced their support for the equity goals. “My wealthy areas were users of marijuana and cannabis but never saw the repercussions… whereas my poor areas—mostly black and Latino—were the ones spending time in jail,” said U.S. rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.) Leafly Related: The Senate approved a disaster relief bill that would guarantee federal crop insurance for hemp farmers. Marijuana Moment Utah’s governor said Congress should be “ashamed” for not reforming federal marijuana laws. KSTU
Why “violent” offenders should benefit from reforms, too.
Michael Thompson has been incarcerated for 25 years in Michigan, serving a 40- to 60-year sentence for selling marijuana. During his 25 years behind bars, Michigan legalized medical marijuana and eventually boasted one of the largest MMJ markets in the nation. Last year, voters legalized recreational marijuana at the ballot box. His story not only illustrates the absurdity of cannabis legalization laws around the country, but also why reform measures ought to include those convicted of “violent” crimes, too. Thompson received a long sentence because police found two guns in his home. This was enough to qualify his crime as “violent,” even though Thompson didn’t have a gun on him when he sold the marijuana. The Intercept Related: Michigan’s marijuana market will rival that of Colorado and Nevada’s by 2023, according to a recent report. The Detroit News
Maine plans commercial cannabis sales.
Nearly three years after voters legalized weed at the ballot box, Maine has finally developed a plan to allow for adult-use marijuana sales. State officials are currently listening to public comments on the proposal and will still have a chance to modify the rules accordingly. The state hopes to launch the recreational market next spring. Maine Public At a public hearing on Thursday, marijuana advocates implored “the state to protect the small businesses and growers they think should make up the backbone of its budding cannabis industry.” The Associated Press And while the proposed rules mandate that business owners and investors have lived in Maine for at least four years, some expressed concerns over not being able to access out-of-state capital. Portland Press Herald
Willamette Week‘s annual guide to cannabis in Portland, Oregon is here. Willamette Week The price of cannabis hit a new low in early 2019, thanks to the state’s persistent oversupply problem. It’s not uncommon to see a gram of weed go for $4 or $5 at a dispensary. “That’s good news for consumers, but it puts growers in a tough position. After sinking massive amounts of capital into the infrastructure demanded by state regulators, cultivators have struggled to recoup their investments.” Willamette Week A look at eight Portlanders shaping the cannabis industry: “The Oregon cannabis industry has made it possible for a black man and a white woman with nothing to start a business and become something,” said one. Willamette Week
Small businesses in the CBD space are struggling to find payment processors that will work with them (and not charge exorbitant fees). But major retailers that are quickly entering the space don’t seem to face the same restrictions. Here’s a look at why it’s so hard to be a small business in the CBD industry. The Outline The latest major retailer to get into the CBD game is Sheetz, a Pennsylvania convenience store chain that will stock the stuff in more than 140 locations. WTAE Popular drug field-testing kits used by police can’t tell the difference between marijuana and hemp. WRC-TV A new magazine based in Plano, Texas hopes to be a resource for consumers on CBD. The Dallas Morning News
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The studies say…
“We found robust support for… positive effects within two hours of when couples use marijuana together or in the presence of their partner,” said a social psychologist on a recent study she led. New York Post A review of current scientific evidence found that CBD holds promise for alcohol-related harms. Marijuana Moment 89 percent of epileptic dogs saw their seizures reduced after taking CBD, according to a new study. “We saw a correlation between how high the levels of CBD were in these dogs with how great the seizure reduction was,” said the lead researcher in the study. Yahoo News
Today in cannabis business news…
The CEO of Canopy Bruce Linton talked about how the company decided on Acreage when considering three candidates for a U.S. deal. He described meeting the CEO of Acreage for the first time in Switzerland during the World Economic Forum. “It was like the marijuana ghetto,” he said. MarketWatch Cannabis company MedMen closed on an $80 million tranche of funding, as part of its $250 million deal with Gotham Green Partners. Marijuana Business Daily Canadian cannabis company Flowr received approval to list on Nasdaq. MarketWatch
Cannabis in Canada.
A medical marijuana patient in Nova Scotia was forced into homelessness after being evicted from his apartment building. Philip Bennett uses medical cannabis to treat a degenerative genetic disorder. He used medical cannabis in his apartment for three years before his landlord passed an anti-cannabis policy. He thought the policy didn’t apply to those who needed to use the drug for medical reasons. After losing an appeal, he was evicted last Friday and “spent the first night in his wheelchair in the woods with a garbage bag over his head to keep the rain off.” Leafly A court in Newfoundland ruled that designated drivers can’t be held accountable for passengers who are carrying cannabis. The case stems from police charges against a woman who was acting as a designated driver for her stoned friends, who were carrying cannabis without her knowledge. Leafly
Elsewhere around the world…
Lawmakers in Colombia are working on legislation that would legalize recreational marijuana in the country. About a dozen lawmakers across multiple parties are working on the bill, which they plan to present in July. Colombia Reports The U.K. House of Commons has backed a motion to increase access to medical cannabis. Pharmaceutical Journal Government officials in Luxembourg have outlined their proposals to legalize recreational marijuana after returning from a trip to Canada to study the issue. Talking Drugs A lawmaker in North Macedonia is resigning due to an illegally taped conversation “in which he appeared to be ordering cannabis oil from a private dealer.” The Associated Press About 70 percent of young people in Singapore believe consuming cannabis is harmful, compared to 84 percent of older demographics. The Straits Times
On funding psychedelics research.
Author and podcaster Tim Ferris talks about why he funds research into psychedelic drugs. Friends and family struggled with opioids and alcohol addiction. He himself found that using magic mushrooms helped relieve his depression and anxiety in college. Many donors to psychedelic research efforts have personally experienced the benefits of such drugs. “These compounds are by no means a panacea… But they show tremendous promise for serious conditions that currently have few or no effective treatments,” said Ferris. He has pledged $2 million of his own money to the cause. The Chronicle of Philanthropy
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Word on the States
- In California, the Senate approved a bill to allow veterinarians to recommend medical marijuana for pets, sending it to the Assembly. Patients are stocking up ahead of a ban on marijuana sales in Kern County.
- In Colorado, the governor signed a bill to allow medical marijuana for any condition that opioids can be prescribed to treat.
- In Massachusetts, regulators approved the state’s first acquisition of a marijuana company.
- In Nevada, a court will begin hearing a case brought by cannabis applicants alleging the state was biased in how it awarded licenses.
- In New Jersey, the state Assembly passed a bill to expand the medical cannabis program. Why marijuana legalization failed in the state.
- In Pennsylvania, a look at medical marijuana limits in the state.
- In Florida, the number of patients interested in smokable marijuana flower is growing.
- In Arkansas, a pharmacy is suing a medical marijuana dispensary for trademark infringement. The state Supreme Court dismissed a case over a marijuana ballot initiative.
- In Utah, landing a medical cannabis license will cost at least $100,000.
- In Ohio, a vote on decriminalizing cannabis possession in Cincinnati has been canceled due to lack of support. The first dispensary in Montgomery County was approved to open.
- In Washington, farmers are slated to grow more than 6,000 acres of hemp this year.
- In Hawaii, a trial about excessive police force will start next week.
Word for Word
“Unfortunately, as the cannabis legalization movement grows, participation in and ownership of the cannabis industry are stratified; those most impacted by the criminalization of cannabis are shockingly least likely to benefit from reform. A recent study found that 81% of cannabis business owners and founders nationally are white. And many legal cannabis programs create barriers to participation for those who have been convicted in the past, continuing the effects the disparate racial impact of the War on Drugs… For our clients, creating a diverse industry is not only a cause of social justice; it is a business imperative.” – Cannabis attorneys Carlton L. Johnson and Thomas W. Nardi for The Legal Intelligencer
“The reality of [Joe] Biden’s long career as a drug warrior, however, suggests something different: That he didn’t get ‘stuck with’ writing drug legislation; he chose to make it a priority of his 36-year tenure in the Senate. In the War on Drugs, Biden was the ‘tough on crime’ face of the Democratic Party, used his legislative skills to forge a bipartisan consensus for severe anti-drug legislation and specifically wrote or sponsored several laws that public health experts believe have, over the course of the opioid crisis, made it far deadlier than it has to be.” – Zachary Siegel for Politico