A Native American tribe is suing the federal government in an attempt to grow hemp. A cancer patient filed a federal lawsuit in hopes of accessing medical cannabis in Michigan. Experts are skeptical about a reported marijuana overdose. Also: A longtime champion of legalization in New York passed away in a subway accident. 🌳
Troubles with hemp.
The Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe is suing the U.S. Department of Agriculture over its plans to grow hemp. The tribe is asking a federal court to allow it to move forward with hemp production plans, as the agency has not responded to the plans within a 60-day timeframe. KSFY Lawmakers in New York are considering legislation to regulate the hemp and CBD industry. “We’re understanding that it’s going to take the FDA quite a long time. It has to be data-driven and it could take a while to gather the data. It could be a couple of years before they provide us with guidance. Because we’re so far down the road with the number of growers and processors, we have to do something,” said a state assemblywoman. Cannabis Wire A Federal Reserve official told a U.S. senator that the Fed would “try to clarify” to financial institutions that “hemp is not an illegal crop.” Marijuana Moment
What legalization in Illinois means.
Illinois is the first state in the nation to legalize a commercial cannabis market through the legislature. Cannabis advocates and those in the industry say it could help similar efforts in other states. While Vermont legalized personal marijuana use and possession through the legislature in 2017, it stopped short of setting up a taxed and regulated market. The state’s legalization bill can serve as a blueprint “for how to ensure that minorities and economically disadvantaged individuals are able to participate in the fast-growing cannabis industry.” Marijuana Business Daily Related: Indiana now borders two states that have legalized adult-use marijuana. Here’s what that could mean for Hoosiers. The Indianapolis Star
The case for public consumption.
Like most states that have reformed their marijuana laws, Vermont does not allow public consumption of cannabis for any reason. A medical marijuana patient who uses the drug to treat PTSD recounts how he was hamstrung when he recently consumed cannabis to stave off a panic attack: “It was either freaking out and having a panic attack, getting a DUI, or getting a ticket for smoking in public… The lesser of all those evils was getting a ticket for smoking in public.” The patient was one of 42 Vermonters who have been fined for public cannabis consumption since July of last year. “Cannabis advocates have differing views on public consumption restrictions. Some consider them a political necessity as marijuana laws evolve. Others believe [such] cases… highlight the absurdity of bans.” Seven Days
Cancer patient sues Michigan.
A cancer patient filed a federal lawsuit against Michigan marijuana regulators, seeking a temporary restraining order that would allow her to access medical cannabis. Sherry Hoover was diagnosed with mastocytosis leukemia in 2011, and discovered that medical marijuana helped her appetite, sleep, and reduced her pain. Her lawsuit asks the Licensing And Regulatory Agency to return to emergency rules that expired in at the end of last year. “Perhaps the last thing I ever dreamed of was suing the state of Michigan because they denied me the ability to purchase medicine which makes my life more livable,” she said. “I need my cannabis medicine, and the only two licensed dispensaries that carry the medicine I need are out… So, my only option is to purchase it on the black market.” The lack of product is due to new testing regulations, which has created shortages across the state. The Detroit News
Seattle Hempfest is suing the state.
The organizers of Seattle Hempfest and two of the state’s largest cannabis retailers are suing the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board over a ban on advertising at the event. “City parks are the quintessential public forums that have been recognized as free speech areas under the Washington and federal constitutions, for time immemorial,” wrote an attorney involved in the case. The lawsuit alleges that the state regulator issued a “vague and confusing” bulletin dissuading cannabis businesses from participating in the event, despite agreeing in 2016 that involvement would not violate the state’s cannabis laws. The Seattle Times
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Anti-marijuana advocates in Mass.
Anti-marijuana advocates are urging Massachusetts to add labels on marijuana products that would warn potential consumers that cannabis could increase the risk of severe mental illness. The advocates also want to see more restrictions on cannabis advertising. The remarks came during an event held by the Massachusetts Prevention Alliance, which released a statement last week criticizing legal cannabis and the state’s social equity program. A doctor at Massachusetts General Hospital said that the group’s stance is “not representative of what doctors think… This is in the realm of drug war ideology — not the realm of science-based discussion.” The Boston Globe
Doctor weighs in on marijuana edibles.
A doctor makes the case that marijuana edibles should look more like medicine. “If cannabis is, or can be used as, a medicine, one should make it look and taste like a medicine. If we wouldn’t put ibuprofen into a candy, why would we put a psychoactive substance like THC into a chocolate bar?” he writes. Much of the debate on cannabis and public health revolves around edibles. Consumers risk overconsumption due to how it is processed by the body. “There are a few sensible regulations that would reduce the problems caused by cannabis edibles.” Harvard Health Blog
Marijuana overdose? Not so fast…
A coroner in Louisiana attributed a woman’s death to a marijuana overdose. But there is not a single case of a person dying directly from consuming too much THC. A Colorado doctor who reviewed the coroner’s report expressed skepticism that marijuana is to blame for the woman’s death. But the coroner is standing by her conclusion that marijuana is to blame, falsely stating that “marijuana can cause respiratory depression, which means a decrease in breathing, and if it’s a high enough level it can make you stop breathing.” WWL-TV
Today in cannabis business news…
Could cannabis microbusiness licenses help diversify Colorado’s cannabis industry? Here’s a look at how they could help disadvantaged communities get a foot in the door of an industry with high barriers to entry. Not all advocates are sold though: “It does nothing to achieve equity in the cannabis industry, or even move us closer towards it,” said one. Westword Cannabis delivery giant Eaze is the target of a new lawsuit over credit card purchases. Herban Industries claims that Eaze is violating the law by accepting credit card payments for cannabis, giving it an unfair advantage over competitors. “Eaze conspires to disguise the cannabis transactions as transactions for dog toys, dive gear, carbonated drinks, drone components, and face creams, among other things.” Eaze denies the allegations. Leafly Cannabis revenues are soaring, but pot stocks are shrinking. Barron’s
RIP Doug Greene.
I am very sad to learn that longtime New York cannabis activist Doug Greene passed away on Tuesday from a subway accident. The details of the accident are unknown; friends and fellow activists are trying to find out more details and hope to hold a memorial service for him. “The 52-year-old advocate had a 30-year history as a tireless champion for cannabis legalization… With a bill currently in the state legislature, he worked incessantly to convince the opposition to change sides.” Doug was realistic about the challenges facing legalization in New York and was nevertheless optimistic that the marijuana movement would prevail. He was also one of the earliest readers and champions of this newsletter, and for that I am grateful. CelebStoner
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Word on the States
- In New York, marijuana legalization is just a few votes short in the state Senate.
- In Pennsylvania, the lieutenant governor talked about what he learned from his marijuana listening tour. Cannabis advocates rallied for legalization at the state Capitol. Two state courts ruled that the state must release information about medical marijuana applicants.
- In Nevada, the state’s U.S. attorney said marijuana is not a priority for his office, but did not rule out the possibility of pursuing such cases.
- In Maine, the legislature will review proposed marijuana regulations.
- In Delaware, a House committee advanced a bill to legalize recreational marijuana.
- In Arizona, a bill to require lab testing marijuana is on the governor’s desk.
- In Missouri, 155 businesses pre-filed their medical marijuana license applications.
- In Louisiana, the legislature passed a bill allowing medical marijuana inhalers.
- In Utah, prospective medical marijuana growers raised concerns over proposed MMJ regulations.
- In California, police raided unlicensed cannabis farms in the Anza Valley.
- In Florida, students will be allowed to use medical marijuana on Palm Beach County school campuses.
- In Minnesota, the state’s two medical marijuana companies lost a combined $2.4 million last year. Its largest doctors’ group will discuss recreational marijuana legalization.
- In West Virginia, Salem voters rejected a proposal to decriminalize marijuana.
- In North Carolina, lawmakers delayed a vote on a proposed smokable hemp ban until December 2020.
- In Ohio, advocates and farmers warned lawmakers against passing restrictive regulations on hemp.
Word for Word
“When you point out the racial disparities in, say, police traffic stops, or arrests, or convictions, the law-and-order crowd typically responds that these figures make perfect sense, because black people commit more crimes (at least per capita)… But there’s also evidence that undermines the entire premise of ‘cops are harder on black people because black people commit more crimes.’ Study after study after study has found that police are more likely to search black motorists after a traffic stop, even though those same studies found that white motorists are far more likely to be in possession of illicit drugs or weapons. This is true all over the country — in North Carolina, in St. Louis, in Vermont, in Nashville, in Milwaukee, in San Diego and in Boston. It’s hard to come up with an explanation for that sort of disparity that doesn’t include racial bias.” – Radley Balko for The Washington Post
“The consolidation and homogenization of Oregon’s cannabis industry is upon us, making it all the more important we remain vigilant in changing these numbers. While the inevitable ‘rich white guys get richer’ model will no doubt continue to flourish, we have a moral obligation to offset it with adequate funding for programs to help level a vastly uneven playing field. Whether it’s through the expunging of cannabis arrest records, through small business incubators, or the implementation of no-interest loans and grants, social equity in cannabis needs to be undertaken now, ensuring everyone has the opportunity to participate.” – Joshua Jardine for Portland Mercury