A look at legalization efforts in New York and how they’re influenced by cannabis corporations. Utah has moved a lawsuit against the state over its medical marijuana law to federal court. Iowa’s governor defends her medical marijuana expansion veto as lawmakers seek to override it. Also: Harvard Medical School is partnering with a Canadian company on medical cannabis research. 🌳
Traction building for legalization in New York.
After failing to get marijuana legalization through budget negotiations, a new marijuana bill in the legislature is raising hopes of legalization proponents. The amended bill contains concessions for the state governor and also from advocates pushing for a more justice-oriented approach. Gothamist Governor Andrew Cuomo included marijuana legalization among his legislative priorities for the rest of this session. Times Union While the new bill may satisfy the governor and advocates, it also caters to the state’s medical cannabis industry. Here’s a look at how MedMen and its affiliates are influencing the state’s legalization law, including a more than $10,000 donation to senator Diane Savino, who is sponsoring the legalization bill. (Savino denied being influenced by campaign contributors, but her bill includes provisions that would help the company.) The Journal News Related: As lawmakers grapple with the politics of pot, New Yorkers are flocking to Massachusetts to buy legal weed. Crain’s New York
Utah moves MMJ lawsuit to federal court.
The Utah Attorney General’s office has moved a lawsuit against the state over its medical marijuana law to federal court. Medical cannabis advocates sued the state after it replaced a voter-approved medical marijuana legalization law with its own bill, arguing that the state overrode the will of the voters. The legislature-passed law creates a state monopoly on medical marijuana cultivation and distribution. The advocates argue that “the state-run system runs afoul of federal law by essentially making the state (and state employees) drug dealers.” Meanwhile, the state argued that “the lawsuit’s latest complaint raises federal issues, it should be heard by the federal courts.” KSTU
Iowa governor vs. legislature.
Iowa governor Kim Reynolds is defending her decision to veto a legislature-approved bill aimed at expanding the state’s medical marijuana program. The proposal would have removed the programs 3 percent cap on THC content. “I do not support recreational marijuana and I just felt that was too much of a jump,” said Reynolds, who “said she vetoed the proposal because the cap would still allow an individual to consume more THC a day than an illegal user.” The Gazette A group of state lawmakers are calling for a special session in hopes of overturning the governor’s veto. We Are Iowa
Holding police accountable.
Leonard Gipson was framed by a Chicago cop in 2003, when sergeant Ronald Watts planted drugs on him. Gipson eventually won a civil rights lawsuit and received $97,075 for his time spent in a correctional boot camp. This year alone, 19 people have filed civil rights lawsuits against Watts. The city also previously paid $2 million to police officers who were “demoted for assisting in a federal investigation of Watts.” But it’s the taxpayers, not the police, who are on the hook for all these payouts due to police misconduct. Last year, Chicago paid out $113 million in settlements over police misconduct. Here’s the case for why the police department should be on the hook for the bills. The Appeal
Prosecutors won’t back down on hemp-carrying truckers.
Three truck drivers are facing drug charges in Idaho for transporting industrial hemp. Despite efforts of some lawmakers to petition prosecutors in the case, the prosecutors aren’t budging on the decision to charge them with drug trafficking. Two state reps from both sides of the aisle tried to deliver a petition to the prosecutors, but were refused a meeting. “These truck drivers are not a danger to our state,” said Idaho rep. Ilana Rubel. Landline Related: Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reiterated that hemp has been descheduled and can be transported across state lines, regardless of whether state law has legalized the crop itself. Marijuana Moment
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The trouble with cannabis enforcement.
Los Angeles police have been cracking down on the city’s many unlicensed cannabis businesses. When half a dozen police recently raided one unlicensed dispensary, a “detective guessed the business would be up and running again in a week.” Because there is so much money to be made, enforcement actions haven’t made a dent on unlicensed operators. A Los Angeles Times analysis of city records and Weedmaps listings found that 60 percent of L.A. dispensaries listed on the platform were operating without licenses. The Los Angeles Times
Retired NFL player criticizes media’s marijuana coverage.
Retired defensive end Chris Long is criticizing how the media portrayed his use of marijuana. After talking about his own marijuana use, many publications framed his statements as an “admission” and focused on the fact that he was a cannabis consumer. He criticized the use of “the word admission because I don’t think you’re admitting to using something that harmless, personally… The lead was not that I smoked marijuana. The lead was that I talked about trying to destigmatize it. And hopefully the NFL will hear some of their players talk — former or current, if you have the balls — to say ‘Something needs to change.'” ESPN
Today in cannabis science news…
Harvard is spearheading what some are calling the “one of the largest international efforts for research on medical cannabis” to date. Harvard Medical School unveiled its new International Phytomedicines and Medical Cannabis Institute (IPI) on Sunday, funded by other medical institutions and cannabis companies. The university has chosen a cannabis company based in Alberta, Canada to supply the marijuana for research. Marijuana Business Daily Researchers at UC Davis researchers found that a synthetic version of CBD known as H2CBD was just at effective at treating epilepsy in mice as plant-derived CBD. “It’s a much safer drug than CBD, with no abuse potential and doesn’t require the cultivation of hemp,” said one of the researchers working on the project. New Atlas
Elsewhere around the world…
The government of Israel has been one of the few federal governments to enthusiastically support medical marijuana research. Now, the country is poised to capitalize on the global medical marijuana market. “Medical cannabis is one of the fastest growing sectors on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange; 26 listed companies have a combined value equivalent to $952 million, although many have yet to show profits.” The Los Angeles Times The government of Thailand has amended its drug laws to allow for the production, distribution, and possession of medical marijuana. Chiang Rai Times
The city council committee if Oakland, Calif. voted Tuesday night to decriminalize psilocybin mushrooms. The proposal will now head to a full city council vote. If approved, Oakland would become the second city in the nation (after Denver) to reform its laws surrounding psilocybin. KNTV The modest efforts to reform psilocybin laws at the city level reflect the beginnings of a national movement not unlike the one to legalize marijuana. “Psychedelic activists have been upfront about their nationwide aims.” Vice
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Word on the States
- In New Jersey, how putting marijuana legalization on the ballot will attract massive spending by special interests.
- In Florida, an appeals court rejected arguments of a medical marijuana patient seeking to cultivate his own cannabis.
- In New York, counties consider commercial cannabis as state debates recreational legalization.
- In Alabama, families are hopeful for medical marijuana legalization, although the legislature might pull back.
- In Missouri, Springfield police have seized a record amount of marijuana without changing its priorities.
- In Michigan, the city of Alma held a lottery for medical cannabis licenses.
- In California, the hemp industry pushes forward.
- In North Dakota, a legislative committee approved a broad study of legalizing marijuana. An interim legislative committee rejected adding new qualifying conditions to the medical marijuana program.
- In Wisconsin, 46 percent of residents support marijuana legalization, according to a small survey.
- In Arkansas, medical marijuana sales topped $353,000 with just two dispensaries.
Word for Word
“A $10,300 campaign donation to [New York senator Diane] Savino’s re-election bid last year appears connected to MedMen. The money flowed through a limited liability company with a California address linked to MedMen, state records show. The donation to Savino’s campaign was disclosed as MedMan Enterprises USA LLC, a different spelling that makes database searches difficult. But the donation address matched other New York political donations linked to MedMen at the time… The New York State Department of Health, which regulates medical marijuana, is currently reviewing MedMen’s formal merger request with PharmaCann, which they submitted in January, said Jill Montag, an agency spokeswoman. Yet the new Savino legislation would allow MedMen’s plan to proceed in New York, but it comes amid mounting criticism of out-of-state cannabis businesses taking over marijuana.” – David Robinson for The Journal News