Arizona’s Supreme Court rules that medical marijuana patients can use extracts. The FDA will consider public input on federal CBD regulations. The TSA changes its policy to allow FDA-approved and Farm Bill-compliant CBD products. Also: A look at state-level efforts to vacate or expunge past cannabis convictions. 🌳
Arizona Supreme Court rules on cannabis extracts.
The state’s highest court has ruled that cannabis extracts are legal in the state’s medical marijuana program. The case stems from the 2016 conviction of medical marijuana patient Rodney Jones, who was sentenced to jail time for possessing cannabis concentrates that he had purchased from a licensed dispensary. The decision vacates his conviction and sentence, and also makes clear that medical marijuana patients in the state are allowed to use cannabis extracts. The Arizona Republic
FDA to consider CBD.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration will hold its first public hearing on CBD regulations this Friday. Many businesses across the U.S. have been capitalizing on the CBD trend, despite a lack of federal regulations. The agency is under pressure to act quickly in terms of regulating the industry. It may set a limit on how much CBD is allowed in food and beverages, while allowing higher dosages of the cannabinoid in pharmaceutical drugs. Bloomberg Cannabis stocks were mostly up ahead of the hearing. MarketWatch
TSA changes CBD policy.
The Transportation Security Administration updated its guidelines to explicitly allow certain cannabis products on flights. Now, hemp-derived CBD products that are compliant under the 2018 Farm Bill and FDA-approved, cannabis-derived drugs will be allowed on flights. “It’s not clear how the agency plans to enforce the new policy, unless it intends to train agents to test CBD preparations for the presence of THC and maintain a database of products that are approved by the Food and Drug Administration.” Marijuana Moment One TSA official explained that agents are being briefed on the new rule, but since “this is a new consideration, there may be some that do not recognize the FDA-approved version” of CBD. CNN
Feds bust 247 grow-ops in Colorado.
State and federal investigators raided 247 homes in the Denver area after a nearly three-year investigation into the illicit cannabis market in the state. A district attorney emphasized that the enforcement actions were the result of “a joint state-federal operation, not the U.S. Department of Justice imposing its will on Colorado.” A spokesperson for a marijuana advocacy group questioned prosecutors’ claims that the illegal activity was due to the state’s marijuana legalization law. “Did they conduct a survey of illegal marijuana cultivators to determine why they decided to operate where they did?… Are they able to know whether those operations existed prior to legalization or not?” The Associated Press
On vacating past pot offenses.
Earlier this month, Washington state’s governor signed a bill that will allow nearly 60,000 with past pot convictions to petition the courts to vacate their convictions. But Yakima County prosecuting attorney Joe Brusic says that his office might oppose all applications to vacate such convictions. “We are not going to agree to it just because it is legal now. When they were convicted, they were breaking the law,” he said. The Associated Press Legislation that would loosen the requirements for expunging criminal records is moving through North Carolina’s state legislature. The bill would help people like Poet Williams, who has three non-violent drug misdemeanors on his record. He has had trouble finding housing and employment as a result of his criminal record, and would be eligible for expungement under the bill. The Associated Press
A look at the struggles of cannabis equity programs.
Oakland, Calif.’s groundbreaking social equity program is still struggling, as critics say it is not living up to its promise. “The city does not track what happens after applicants receive permits, and can’t say how many of the permitted non-dispensary businesses, either equity or not, are operating.” Some want marijuana tax revenue to fund the equity program. Others want to see the revenue go towards community reinvestment. Oakland’s city council recently voted to lower marijuana taxes, in part to help equity businesses. Equity programs in other cities like San Francisco have faced similar struggles. The San Francisco Chronicle
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What the studies say…
High-quality research on CBD is starting to show that the compound may have therapeutic benefits beyond treating pediatric epilepsy. A recent double-blind, placebo-controlled trial found that CBD reduced “cue-induced craving in individuals that had been former heroin users… reports of anxiety, and blood levels of cortisol.” Word on the Tree / The Conversation Another recent study found that CBD may help certain cancer drugs kill cancer cells. While this does not mean that cannabis kills cancer, it does mean that CBD holds promise as a tool for fighting certain types of cancer in conjunction with other conventional therapies. Cannabis Now
In cannabis business news…
A cannabis company is drawing scrutiny for its employment contract, which states that the company isn’t liable for any penalties its employees might face for violating federal law during their work for the company. One expert said that cannabis companies should provide legal representation to employees if the federal government went after them for doing their jobs. Daily Hampshire Gazette How a “hemp industrial park” built by a Canadian cannabis giant in Broome County, New York has local officials hoping for an economic revival. Cannabis Wire As wholesale cannabis prices fall, growers are pushing organic cannabis at higher prices. USA Today How female entrepreneurs are overcoming obstacles in California’s cannabis industry. North Bay Business Journal How cannabis cultivation has advanced agriculture technologies. Leafly
Cannabis in Canada.
Industrial companies in the country are grappling with cannabis in the workplace, as drug-testing technology have not kept pace with policy changes. Without a reliable test for marijuana impairment, some companies are instituting “complete abstinence” policies. CBC News Health Canada said that provinces can decide for themselves whether to allow cannabis nurseries to sell seeds for the home-grow market. Leafly Canada may be ahead of the U.S. when it comes to federal pot policy, but America’s cannabis startup scene is raking in more investments compared to those in Canada. BNN Bloomberg The industry may still be struggling with supply issues, but one bank is already warning about future oversupply problems. Marijuana Business Daily
Elsewhere around the world…
In The Netherlands, the government said it would issue a second license for medical cannabis production. The tendering process will start in early June. Dutch News The Government Pension Fund of Norway said it would pull out of cannabis-linked companies after a business publication reported its equity positions in at least five cannabis-related companies. SWFI The Department of Health of South Africa re-scheduled CBD to a less restrictive category. Business Tech Nigeria has the highest cannabis usage rate in the world, with at least 12 percent of those over 15 consuming at least once a month. Business Day The government of New Zealand is seeking a Cannabis Referendum Policy Manager. New Zealand
Researchers found that psychedelics could hold promise in treating severe alcohol use disorder. “Only 10 percent of the study participants reported that they had taken psychedelics with the hope of treating their alcoholism, but after taking these drugs, a full 83 percent of the participants no longer met the criteria for AUD a year later.” Big Think How Army veteran Kevin Matthews, who experienced the therapeutic effects of psilocybin for his depression, managed the successful campaign to decriminalize the drug in Denver. Reason The conservative case for legalizing psychedelics. National Review
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Word on the States
- In Iowa, the governor vetoed legislation to expand the state’s medical marijuana program.
- In North Dakota, an illegitimate medical marijuana clinic is forced to repay nearly $22,000 to patients.
- In California, the Senate approved a bill to allow medical marijuana for pets, sending it to the Assembly. Why the state can expect lower revenues from cannabis. The cannabis industry weighs in on a bill to increase the number of dispensary licenses.
- In Nevada, a bill to create a new cannabis regulatory agency advanced with an amendment to strip counties of the power to grant marijuana consumption licenses. Companies that didn’t win marijuana licenses are urging a judge to review the licensing process.
- In Massachusetts, the Cannabis Control Commission will move to Worcester by the end of the year.
- In New York, the medical marijuana program is poised for expansion as legalization debate continues. Lawmakers amended a marijuana legalization bill to include aspects of the governor’s proposal. Some businesses voiced concerns about recreational legalization.
- In Missouri, regulators posted final rules for the medical marijuana industry.
- In Texas, a bill to expand the medical marijuana program is heading to the governor’s desk.
- In Alabama, a Senate-passed medical marijuana bill faces opposition in the House.
- In Wisconsin, a look at efforts to reform marijuana policies in the state.
- In Kentucky, police say a marijuana ordinance won’t change how they do their jobs.
- In Colorado, the governor signed a bill to remove drug-testing kits from the definition of drug paraphernalia.
- In Nebraska, the Senate approved an industrial hemp bill, sending it to the governor.
Word for Word
“[Two] Republican senators say there is a chance that Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), who chairs the Senate Banking Committee, will schedule legislation aimed at increasing marijuana businesses’ access to financial services for a hearing in his panel if it passes the House of Representatives. Sens. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.) both told Marijuana Moment they discussed the cannabis banking legislation with Crapo and are hopeful he will bring the bill forward.” – Natalie Fertig for Marijuana Moment
“[Jerome] Wright, 58, is a deacon at his church, an activist for criminal-justice reform and the primary caregiver for his wife, who is bedridden with a debilitating neuropathic condition, and for one of his sons, who has Down syndrome. He has mentored formerly incarcerated people as they reenter society. He speaks to high schools and has mentored at a charter school for kids who have been deemed at-risk for committing crimes. He’s a volunteer at Buffalo Peacemakers, an intervention group aimed at staving off gang and youth violence. All of that community leadership has earned Wright several awards, and as well as supporters in high places throughout the state of New York. And yet for almost six months now, he has been incarcerated at a county jail in Buffalo. Reform advocates say his case illustrates how New York’s parole system grants far too much power to individual parole officers who are often overworked and unsupervised, and who operate in a system with perverse incentives.” – Radley Balko for The Washington Post