More on the FDA’s first hearing on CBD. Illinois is set to become the 11th state to legalize weed. How artists and musicians are getting into the cannabis industry. Also: the French Senate approved a 2-year medical marijuana program. 🌳
FDA considers CBD.
During the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s first public hearing on CBD regulations, the agency’s acting head raised a host of unanswered questions about the cannabinoid: “How will it interact with other drugs? What if a consumer is pregnant? What is CBD’s effect on children? What happens if someone takes it over the course of years?” The Washington Post There was a wide range of speakers, including ardent prohibitionists and those in the cannabis industry. They “didn’t seem to agree on much, except for one point: The status quo wasn’t working, and the FDA had to act fast.” Still, representatives from the industry seemed unable to answer questions like: “What exactly is a ‘full spectrum’ hemp oil? How young is too young for exposing consumers to CBD? And is CBD psychoactive?” Stat Related: The Louisiana Senate approved a measure to legalize hemp and CBD sales. The Associated Press New York City is gearing up to fight the state’s health department on its CBD ban. New York Post
Legal weed is coming to Illinois.
The state House approved legislation to legalize recreational marijuana, putting the state on track to become the 11th state in the nation to do so. The governor plans to sign the bill. Illinois is the first U.S. state to set up commercial cannabis sales through the legislature. At the outset, only the state’s 20 medical marijuana growers will be able to serve the recreational market. Chicago Tribune The 38-17 vote in the Senate was mostly split by party lines, except for three Republicans that voted in favor of the measure and two Democrats that voted against it. WVIK Pro-marijuana lawmakers in neighboring Wisconsin are arguing that their state’s economy will be impacted if they continue to outlaw cannabis. WKOW Various lawmakers and government officials have praised the legislation for focusing on equity and criminal justice reforms. Legal sales in the state are expected in January. Cannabis Wire Related: The House voted on Saturday to make the state’s medical marijuana pilot program permanent. The Southern Illinoisan
Legalization in New York seems iffy.
New York governor Andrew Cuomo said that he doesn’t think marijuana legalization will get passed this year due to lack of support in the Senate. Pro-legalization lawmakers, however, said that they are not giving up and are continuing to work on the compromise legislation. The Associated Press Low-level marijuana arrests are still a problem in the state. After a Westchester prosecutor reformed how his office handles minor marijuana cases in January, police still arrested 163 mostly black and Hispanic people for minor marijuana offenses. The Journal News Related: New York is just one example of how state-level legalization efforts hit legislative roadblocks in the past year. “Legislators in New Jersey, Connecticut and New Mexico hit the brakes on legalization bills this year, even though Democratic governors in all three states made clear their support.” The Hill
Cannabis in Congress…
A proposed federal appropriations bill contains protections for banks working with the cannabis industry. It also would allow Washington D.C. to tax and regulate marijuana, which voters legalized at the ballot box in 2014. But “it is far from certain that the marijuana policy implications in the initial House draft will be enacted into law as currently drafted.” Forbes Attaching an amendment to protect financial services companies that work with the cannabis industry is a new strategy. “That’s not to say that momentum behind the more focused Secure And Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act is waning… Despite its sizable bipartisan appeal in the House, however, its fate in the Republican-controlled Senate has been uncertain.” Marijuana Moment
The problem with drug testing and testing drugs.
They’re quite unreliable. Lawmakers and law enforcement officers spoke about the need for cannabis impairment testing. Many factors affect how an individual metabolizes THC, including gender, tolerance, consumption method, and how much the person exercises. The Orange County-Register Virginia’s Department of Forensic Science warned other agencies that state labs cannot distinguish between marijuana and industrial hemp. Meanwhile, field drug-testing kits that police often use can’t tell the difference either. WRIC A watchdog group in New Orleans, La. found that a flawed drug testing program may have resulted in false positives. Cannabis Now Two samples of marijuana seized by police tested positive for fentanyl using field drug testing kits. But “confirmatory testing at the New York State Police crime lab… revealed that there was, in fact, no fentanyl lacing the marijuana.” Times Herald-Record
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Marijuana in Massachusetts.
A group of doctors and scientists in the state have authored a report raising concerns about legal marijuana. The report claimed that marijuana use can lead to opioid use disorder, increases the risk of “serious psychotic disorders,” and accused the state’s social equity program of creating “health disparities in the community.” A spokesperson for the state’s Cannabis Control Commission said that the group was misinforming the public about the program. Boston Herald The cannabis advocate who led the state’s 2016 legalization campaign described the report as “utterly ridiculous” and “insulting” to minorities. Boston Herald
New Mexico cannabis advocate arrested.
Mom and medical marijuana activist Tisha Brick was arrested after a seven-hour protest outside the New Mexico Governor’s office. Brick has been behind two bills that aimed to help children like her son take medical marijuana on school grounds. Although the bills were passed, her son is still not allowed to bring his medicine to school. She previously raised the issue with the governor, who wrote a letter to the school district stating that it was violating laws. But that didn’t help either, she said. KRQE
Today in cannabis business news…
Napa banned cannabis cultivation when California legalized marijuana. Now, a group is trying to legalize cannabis cultivation in the county that is famous for growing wine grapes. “Opponents fear that cannabis would contaminate vineyards, strain an already-tight farm labor force and detract from wine sales.” San Francisco Chronicle A lot of artists are getting into the cannabis industry. “No one buys albums any more – most people just stream them for free – but lots of people buy weed!” said country singer Margo Price whose cannabis strain is selling well. The Guardian Artist Richard Prince showed off his marijuana brand during an exhibition at the Gagosian Gallery in San Francisco. The line of pre-rolls and vapes is called Katz + Dogg. The New York Times
Cannabis in Canada.
The House of Commons passed the Liberal government’s bill to offer record suspension of minor cannabis convictions. Among the amendments are a promise that all possession convictions would receive suspensions and “a guarantee that those who have not paid off fines related to cannabis convictions can nonetheless receive record suspensions.” Leafly A licensed producer is building a $14-million cannabis genetic research and development center in Goderich, Ontario. “We really think we have an opportunity to put Goderich on the map globally as a hub for cannabis agriculture,” said the founder of Supreme Cannabis. The London Free Press The country’s upcoming infused-products market could be worth $2 billion, according to Deloitte. Marijuana Business Daily
Elsewhere around the world…
A prosecutor from Berkshire, Mass. who recently traveled to Portugal with other district attorneys said that the country’s drug decriminalization policy could have local benefits in the U.S. “It’s been almost 20 years, so it’s really not an experiment any longer, it’s a definite success story.” Berkshire Eagle In France, the Senate approved a 2-year medical marijuana pilot program. The proposal still needs approval from the country’s health ministry. France 24 The case for legalizing cannabis in India, which has been suffering from an agrarian crisis for the past three years. “Cannabis production could provide a large new revenue stream, including export earnings.” Quartz The government of Zimbabwe has approved plans for the country’s first medical cannabis farm. The Independent
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Word on the States
- In Maine, officials took final public comments on the state’s proposed marijuana rules. A look inside a tradeshow for medical marijuana caregivers.
- In Nevada, a judge is scheduling three more days of testimony in pot licensing lawsuits.
- In Louisiana, the Senate rejected a bill to allow medical marijuana patients to use a cannabis inhaler.
- In Utah, agriculture officials are seeking prospective medical cannabis growers.
- In Arkansas, a second marijuana grower will soon start supplying the state’s medical cannabis market.
- In Oklahoma, the health department will begin inspecting medical marijuana businesses.
- In New Jersey, the health department revealed plans to expand the state’s medical marijuana program. The state is seeking applicants for as many as 108 new medical marijuana businesses.
- In New Jersey, a company scrapped plans for an indoor marijuana grow and proposed a lettuce cultivation site in Brick.
- In Alabama, the legislature approved a bill to create a medical marijuana commission, sending it to the governor.
- In Iowa, the governor said she was willing to work with lawmakers on marijuana reforms after vetoing a bill to expand the program.
- In California, the Hayward City Council rejected a marijuana company’s application to open a dispensary in a long-vacant former bank building.
Word for Word
“The $10.4 billion legal cannabis industry has enticed the same kind of Wall Street financier who 30 years ago might have been played by a coke-snorting Michael Douglas. Though CWCBE hosted a very tiny handful of social justice organizations like WomenGrow and Minorities for Medical Marijuana, the Javits Center embodied more of a backslapping boys’ club. Venture capitalists roamed a site that did not smell of pot smoke, but reeked of Versace Pour Homme. When this writer asked one yuppie for an interview, he responded, ‘Only if I get your number first.’ (A pickup line one presumably must be very high to appreciate.)” – Alaina Demopoulos for The Daily Beast
“After 25 years of being a federal judge, if there is a so-called drug war, we are losing. It’s time for us to think about doing something different.” – Chief district judge of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois Ruben Castillo, Vice News