How veterans in the cannabis industry are denied VA benefits. A House subcommittee advanced a spending bill with cannabis provisions. Longtime cannabis farmers in California wish weed was never legalized. Also: How John Boehner went from staunch prohibitionist to an industry insider who stands to make $20 million from marijuana. 🌳
Vets in cannabis industry denied benefits.
A group of lawmakers are pressing the Department of Veterans Affairs to clarify its policy on GI benefits for veterans who work in the state-legal marijuana industry. U.S. rep. Katherine Clark (D-Mass.) said a veteran brought the issue to her attention when his application for a home loan was rejected because the VA deemed his employment in the cannabis industry as unreliable. “The cannabis economy that employs over 200,000 Americans… Our veterans shouldn’t be penalized or denied the benefits they have earned because they are working in a budding industry,” said Clark in a statement. “The VA denied her constituent’s loan application because approving it would risk prosecution by U.S. Department of Justice under anti-money laundering statutes.” Roll Call
Cannabis in Congress.
A House subcommittee advanced a spending bill that contains cannabis banking protections and removes a rider that has prevented Washington D.C. from setting its own marijuana regulations. A hearing on the bill lasted less than 30 minutes. “As a sign of how bipartisan cannabis reform has become, there was barely any mention of cannabis on either side of the aisle.” Cannabis Wire A House committee expressed concern about the proliferation of unregulated CBD products and also a lack of standardized field-testing devices for stoned driving. “The Committee recognizes that developing a standard measurement of marijuana impairment, similar to blood alcohol concentration, remains unlikely in the near term,” read a report. Marijuana Moment
‘I wish I could go back in time. Maybe not pass Prop 64.’
Longtime cannabis farmers in California’s famed Emerald Triangle can no longer compete in the era of legal weed. As a large part of the region’s economy, their economic woes are spreading to other businesses, too. As farmers in Humboldt spend their money on hefty licensing fees, non-cannabis local businesses have been forced to close. One longtime cannabis farmer earned $100,000 in income before Proposition 64, California’s ballot initiative that legalized adult-use marijuana. Now, he’s losing money and had to dip into his retirement fund and his children’s college fund to keep his farm afloat. Politico
Funding black-owned cannabis businesses in Portland.
California cities pioneered the idea of a cannabis equity program to help disadvantaged communities into the industry. Here’s a look at how Portland, Ore. is doing things differently: The city charges a 3 percent tax on marijuana sales that goes towards community reinvestment, drug treatment, and public safety programs. The city also funds grant programs, like the nonprofit NuLeaf Project, which provides grants for entrepreneurs, “education, mentorship and networking services targeted towards increasing industry participation for people of color.” Filter Related: The Oregon legislature approved a bill that would bar landlord from rejecting tenants for minor marijuana convictions or medical marijuana use. The Oregonian
Legalization fight spills over to medical marijuana debate.
Disagreements between New Jersey governor Phil Murphy and state Senate president Stephen Sweeney helped derail efforts to legalize recreational marijuana in the state, despite both agreeing on principle that marijuana should be legal. Now, the dispute is spilling into the medical marijuana debate, with Sweeney trying to expand the program through the legislature and Murphy trying to expand the program through the state Department of Health. Sweeney said Murphy’s plan could be “destructive” to the growing market. Murphy’s press secretary said that there is no reason to continue delaying medical marijuana expansion. nj.com
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With medical marijuana comes cannabis clinics.
Any doctor is allowed to recommend medical marijuana in Missouri’s program. But like other states, most doctors are hesitant. Thanks to resistance from the medical community, specialized cannabis clinics are popping up across the state as regulators prepare to start accepting patient applications. The founder of a Kansas City cannabis clinic describes her mother’s struggles to get a medical marijuana card in Michigan as the inspiration for opening up her own clinic. The Kansas City Star
What we know about weed.
Our understanding of cannabis hasn’t changed much in the past century. The Brits once sought to understand the effects of cannabis with its “Indian Hemp Drugs Commission” report published 127 years ago. Its conclusion? “Small to moderate amounts of cannabis had no ill effects on the user, who often reported medical benefits. Heavy use caused some problems, particularly among the young with developing brains and those with hereditary or pre-existing mental health issues.” Cannabis Now A Stanford psychiatrist wrote about how his own patients educated him about medical marijuana, not his medical school training. Meanwhile, only 9 percent of medical schools in the U.S. offer any sort of educational content on cannabis. Leafly
John Boehner’s journey to cannabis pitchman.
Former Republican House speaker John Boehner was once a staunch opponent to marijuana reform. Now, he appears in an infomercial pitch for investment in the cannabis industry. “Mr. Boehner’s pro-weed epiphany coincides with the prospect of a payday as high as $20 million from the industry he once so vigorously opposed.” Boehner’s weed fortune will depend on whether he can successfully lobby the federal government to legalize marijuana. Meanwhile, advocates are critical of Boehner for changing his mind on the issue after he left office. “He was in a much more influential position to bring about these legislative changes when he was a leading member of Congress than now, when he is largely a corporate shill,” said the deputy director of an advocacy group. The New York Times
Today in cannabis business news…
A 100-year-old family oil business in Oklahoma is re-branding itself as a medical marijuana business. From APCO Oil Corp to APCO MED, the latter is home to a medical cannabis dispensary, CBD retailer, and meditation studio. “Along the way, we are going to divest away from oil and toward plant energy.” The Oklahoman Shareholders are suing KushCo Holdings, alleging that the company misled investors about accounting errors. Bloomberg Tax American security company Brinks has been providing cash and logistics services to a Canadian cannabis company. “I think cannabis is going to be a booming industry. It’s probably $160 billion on a global basis,” said Brinks’ CEO. CNBC Seed-to-sale tracking software Distru has raised $3 million in seed funding led by Felicis Ventures. TechCrunch
Elsewhere around the world…
The UN’s International Narcotics Control Board recently issued an alert calling for decriminalizing drug possession and asking member states to consider “the abolition of the death penalty for drug-related offences.” Cannabis Wire Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s failure to form a government and the U.S. FDA’s hearing on CBD has caused a downturn for publicly traded medical marijuana companies in Israel. Some medical marijuana stocks are down more than 70 percent since February. Haaretz Government ministers in Ireland are preparing to recommend drug policy reforms to the Cabinet in the coming weeks. The Journal
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Word on the States
- In Nevada, the legislature passed a bill creating a marijuana regulatory board.
- In Florida, the state House is appealing a court ruling that stopped it from defending a controversial medical marijuana law.
- In Pennsylvania, the House held an historic hearing on recreational marijuana legalization.
- In Connecticut, most residents support recreational legalization and expunging past pot offenses, according to a new poll.
- In Iowa, the governor cited her own struggles with alcohol for her decision to veto a medical marijuana bill.
- In Rhode Island, the state is seeking blockchain proposals to track the medical marijuana industry.
- In New York, NYC’s mayor says he’s adamant that marijuana legalization doesn’t create a “new corporate reality”. The incoming state GOP leader is open to legalizing marijuana.
- In Louisiana, days after rejecting the idea, the state Senate revived a proposal to allow medical marijuana inhalers.
- In Missouri, medical marijuana forms for patients and businesses are available today. The Columbia City Council passed medical marijuana regulations.
Word for Word
“Dr. Ketchum argued that recreational drugs favored by the counterculture could be used humanely to befuddle small units of enemy troops, and that a psychedelic “cloud of confusion” could stupefy whole battlefield regiments more ethically than the lethal explosions and flying steel of conventional weapons. For nearly a decade he spearheaded these studies at Edgewood Arsenal, a secluded Army chemical weapons center on Chesapeake Bay near Baltimore, where thousands of soldiers were drugged.” – Robert D. McFadden for The New York Times
“The intriguing new theory suggests that the arrival of mobile phones made holding territory less important, which reduced intergang conflict and lowered profits from drug sales… In the ’80s, turf-based drug sales generated violence as gangs attacked and defended territory, and also allowed those who controlled the block to keep profits high. The cellphone broke the link, the paper claims, between turf and selling drugs. ‘It’s not that people don’t sell or do drugs anymore,’ [economist Lena] Edlund explained to me, ‘but the relationship between that and violence is different.'” – Alexis C. Madrigal for The Atlantic