Tuesday | June 25, 2019. Illinois officially legalizes weed! How a guy in Massachusetts ended up in jail for a 6-year-old marijuana charge. A look at the evidence for cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome reveals that it’s probably not due to pesticides. Also: Denver police haven’t made a single psilocybin-related arrest since voters decriminalized the substance. 🌳
Illinois governor signs legalization bill.
Illinois has officially become the 11th state in the nation to legalize adult-use marijuana. Governor J.B. Pritzker signed the legislation on Tuesday, which will allow residents to possess up to 1 ounce of marijuana. The Associated Press The law will go into effect January 1, 2020. While other states including New York and New Jersey had attempted to legalize through their legislatures this year, efforts faltered despite support from their governors. Pritzker campaigned on marijuana legalization and the comprehensive legislation includes expungements of past convictions. Vox
On federal marijuana protections.
While it’s still unclear whether a House-approved amendment to protect state marijuana programs will make it into the final Congressional spending bill, 41 Republicans joined 226 Democrats to approve the measure. “This is without a doubt the biggest victory for federal cannabis policy reform to date,” said one cannabis lobbyist. Reason A closer look at the breakdown of votes found that state-level marijuana reforms had an impact on how federal lawmakers voted on the issue. Meanwhile, the number of Republicans who voted for the amendment actually decreased from 2015, in part thanks to the loss of pro-marijuana Republicans in Congress. Marijuana Moment Related: Elsewhere in the federal government, the USDA plans to release hemp regulations in August. Marijuana Moment
Jailed on a 6-year-old marijuana charge.
Robert Hitchcock Simpson had been arrested six years ago for marijuana in New Hampshire. He paid the fine and moved to Massachusetts, thinking the issue had been resolved. But in June, Simpson spent two weeks in jail in Massachusetts — a state that has legalized adult-use marijuana — on a six-year-old marijuana charge from New Hampshire alleging that he had sold a small amount of weed to an undercover cop. “I was sitting in jail for this in a state where it’s legal,” he said upon his release. “There’s way more drugs up here that you should be worried about than me and my weed.” New Hampshire Union-Leader
Reformer DAs face challenges.
Despite efforts from Philadelphia’s reformer D.A. Larry Krasner to reform bail, plenty of low-income people are getting hit with large bail requests for minor drug offenses. The Philadelphia Bail Fund found that “the district attorney’s office is still frequently requesting high bail amounts, even in relatively low-level cases and ones in which a magistrate disagreed.” The Appeal The race of Queens D.A. is a test for left-wing vs. moderate Democrats. The Associated Press
Banks are more willing to work with weed.
Federal data show that the number of financial institutions serving cannabis businesses continue to climb, reaching 633 by March 2019. Banks and credit unions seem to be getting more comfortable with the risk of serving a still federally illegal industry. Marijuana Moment But the federal data may be misleading. One industry expert explained that “the FinCEN numbers don’t reflect the true number of depository institutions openly banking cannabis businesses because they are based on Suspicious Activity Report filings,” and believes that the true number of financial institutions that are willing to work with the industry number around 40. Marijuana Business Daily
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Medicine and marijuana.
With increased reports of cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome (CHS) — a rare cyclical vomiting disorder found in heavy marijuana users — some are questioning the validity of the diagnosis. Patients have hypothesized that the disorder is caused by pesticides used in marijuana growing like neem oil, and not by marijuana itself. But the evidence suggests otherwise. Leafly The University of Maryland School of Pharmacy is launching the nation’s first master’s program on medical marijuana. WJZ-TV Unpacking the data finds that medical marijuana may not be as helpful to the opioid crisis as previously believed. The Economist
In cannabis business news…
The parent company of High Times fell far short of its $50 million fundraising goal in its bid to list on Nasdaq (raising just over $15 million). The company will pursue a listing on the OTC markets instead. Marijuana Business Daily Getting into the cannabis industry is not for the faint of heart. “Everything is harder — from opening a bank account to finding office space to hiring qualified employees.” The Associated Press Aurora Cannabis is on track to become one of the first big cannabis companies to turn a profit. Barron’s
Cannabis in Canada.
British Columbia’s cannabis minister said the province would be fine with abandoning its plans to open a retail cannabis store in a First Nation community. The Cowichan Tribes has pushed back against the provincial government for delaying its cannabis license application as the province pursues its own retail location in the community. Vancouver Sun Retail pharmacy chain Shoppers Drug Mart announced a pilot program for using blockchain technology for cannabis testing, verification, and quality assurance. Leafly Nova Scotia plans to sell edibles, extracts, and topicals by the end of the year. CTV News
Elsewhere around the world…
Aurora Cannabis is calling on the U.K. government to allow GPs to prescribe medical cannabis. Currently, only specialist physicians can prescribe the medicine, hampering patient access. The Guardian The government of Italy plans to import 400 kilograms of medical cannabis over two years. It’s now accepting bids from companies hoping to supply Europe’s second largest medical marijuana market. Marijuana Business Daily Here’s a look at the shift away from marijuana prohibition in Italy. Filter
On psychedelic reform.
Since voters in Denver approved a psilocybin ballot initiative, police have made zero psilocybin-related arrests. From 2016 to 2018, Denver police arrested about 50 people a year for psilocybin-related offenses. Westword As psychedelic decriminalization measures see small victories, advocates are proceeding with caution. “The way things play out in Denver and Oakland will be heavily scrutinized by other jurisdictions—and by opponents of decriminalization. There’s pressure not to over-step, and to get the messaging right.” Filter
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Weed + Grub
Weed + Grub is a podcast about cooking, cannabis, comedy, and pop culture — hosted by Mary Jane Gibson and Mike Glazer. Word on the Tree is happy to support the podcast’s news section, The Grublet Gazette! Check it out wherever you get your podcasts or listen right here on the web: Weed +
Word on the States
- In Hawaii, the governor will allow the marijuana decriminalization bill to take effect.
- In Florida, the governor remains opposed to recreational legalization despite 65 percent approval among the public. The agriculture commissioner promises CBD enforcement.
- In New York, a look at how expungements would work under the decriminalization bill. Pro-weed lawmakers are still optimistic about eventual legalization.
- In Illinois, about 1,500 patients are participating in the pilot program to recommend medical marijuana over opioids.
- In Michigan, the governor signed a spending bill that included funding to implement marijuana legalization.
- In Utah, the state Senate unanimously confirmed medical marijuana board members.
- In California, Imperial County voted to change marijuana and hemp regulations.
- In Iowa, marijuana legalization prompts debate about school drug policies.
- In Ohio, nearly half of all registered medical marijuana patients aren’t buying cannabis due to high costs.
- In New Hampshire, the governor signed a bill to allow physicians assistants to recommend medical marijuana.
Word for Word
“With no designated area to legally consume, people end up smoking marijuana in prohibited places such as public sidewalks and parks, casinos, and bars— imposing externalities on those around them, who then complain to local officials… the main benefit of the lounges would be that smokers have a place to legally consume rather than light up in places they shouldn’t. The likelihood that individuals would risk a criminal charge by lighting up in a public park or on a sidewalk would be greatly reduced if they knew there was somewhere nearby they could legally perform the same activity while enjoying the company of those with similar interests.” – Policy analyst Spence Purnell for Reason
“While CBD has changed my life, I don’t think I would be able to live without my prescription medicine. On days when I go without my seizure medication, my brain and body know. And although cannabis has been able to help many people with Dravet syndrome, a life-threatening form of epilepsy, I still turn to prescription meds. The cannabis industry has chosen a judgmental, all-or-nothing narrative when it comes to prescription medication… Rather than provide a balanced view of the benefits of both prescription medication and cannabis, much of the cannabis industry has gone with the ‘all-or-nothing’ approach. Brands within the industry have begun using various marketing techniques with both subtle and not-so-subtle taglines like, ‘hello marijuana, goodbye anxiety’ and ‘plants over pills…’ Spreading false narratives about prescription drugs places judgement on those who continue to use them.” – Amanda Scriver for Healthline