Researchers are suing the DEA over their stalled application to grow marijuana. After failing to legalize it, New Jersey’s governor says he’s open to decriminalization. How medical marijuana reform in Texas leaves out veterans. 🌳
Scientists sue DEA.
A group of researchers is suing the Drug Enforcement Administration after the agency stalled on its application to grow research marijuana. The Scottsdale Research Institute submitted its application three years ago. The scientists say that the sole source of federal research marijuana at the University of Mississippi is inadequate for its clinical trial on cannabis. Members of Congress have also urged the DEA to move forward on the applications, to no avail. Marijuana Moment Related: A House judiciary subcommittee will hold a hearing on marijuana reform and is “expected to discuss various legislative proposals to allow states to set their own cannabis policies without fear of federal intervention.” Marijuana Moment
South Bend, Ind. mayor and Democratic presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg released a plan to tackle “systemic racism” during a meeting of Rainbow PUSH, a civil rights non-profit founded by the Rev. Jesse Jackson. Buttigieg proposed: legalizing marijuana, decriminalizing drug possession, and restoring the voting rights of those with felony convictions in an effort to cut incarceration by half. The Associated Press His comments come as the candidate faces controversy in South Bend after a white police officer shot and killed a black man. The lack of representation of black people in the city’s police force has gotten worse during his tenure as mayor. NPR
N.J. governor open to decriminalization.
New Jersey governor Phil Murphy said he was open to decriminalizing cannabis after an effort to legalize adult-use failed in the state. The issue of marijuana legalization will likely go to voters during the 2020 elections, when it is expected to be passed. While Murphy says he is not a fan of decriminalization (because it keeps the market underground) “we can’t allow a system where 600 people are gonna get arrested this week — 450 or more of color,” he said. nj.com The co-founder of a small cannabis cultivation company writes about how her business is operating in a “frustrating state of legal limbo,” urging a solution from Trenton. nj.com
DA not waiting to decriminalize in N.Y.
A bill to further decriminalize cannabis in New York may be heading to governor Andrew Cuomo’s desk, but the Erie County district attorney isn’t waiting for the governor’s signature. John Flynn announced that his office would stop prosecuting pending marijuana cases and would not pursue new ones. “I don’t think it’s fair to have this hanging over people’s heads until the bill becomes law,” said Flynn. “One of the main reasons I’m doing this is this bill may affect individuals who want to apply for financial aid for the fall.” WGRZ Flynn also said that his office can’t expunge past pot convictions, but the next best option is to seal those records. “Sealing is better than nothing,” he said. The Buffalo News
MMJ in Texas leaves out veterans.
The Texas legislature passed a bill this year to (slightly) expand the state’s limited medical cannabis program by adding to the list of qualifying conditions. But the expansion leaves out PTSD, hurting veterans who want to be able to access the drug, too. Members of the Texas Veterans for Medical Marijuana are angry about some of the rhetoric in the state legislature, where one veteran and state senator described cannabis as a “road to perdition” that could lead to the “destruction of lives.” Another lawmaker cited a false statistic during the debate, claiming that a study showed that “70 percent of veterans who committed suicide had THC in their systems.” Advocates are already planning on next steps for their activism. Texas Observer
🌟 A Word From Our Sponsors 🌟
Word on the Tree sponsors are those who donate to help support the newsletter at higher levels. Learn more at wordonthetree.com
Using homicide laws to convict those who sell drugs.
Maryland’s highest court affirmed the conviction of a man who was convicted of manslaughter after selling heroin to a man who later overdosed. Twenty U.S. states and the federal government have laws on the books to prosecute drug dealers for overdoses, and 16 states use manslaughter laws to do the same. But research shows that such prosecutions don’t have any impact on reducing drug use, overdose deaths, or drug arrests. “There’s not a shred of evidence that these laws work. It certainly doesn’t deter drug selling,” said an attorney at the Drug Policy Alliance. But the Maryland Court of Appeals ruling set a new legal precedent on the issue in the state. The Washington Post
Adult cannabis use goes beyond recreational.
A new study found that most adult cannabis consumers don’t just use the drug for fun, but for relieving symptoms of pain and insomnia. Researchers surveyed customers at Colorado cannabis dispensaries — 65 percent said that used cannabis for pain relief and 74 percent said they used it to get to sleep. Many also reported being able to reduce their use of both over-the-counter and prescription medications. Leafly But previous research has offered conflicting evidence that cannabis could help with sleep. One of the study’s co-authors “says it’s possible that different studies on marijuana and sleep are resulting in different findings because of the physiological differences in users, products, and modes of delivery. It’s also possible that some types of cannabis may help sleep, while others could interrupt it.” Inverse
Things are fine after legal weed.
Police in Calgary, Canada said that marijuana legalization hasn’t led to an increase in crime in the city. “I don’t think we can dispute the numbers… it’s status quo,” said a staff sergeant. The police chief said there hasn’t been an increase in impaired driving or community complaints. “I don’t think it’s had the impact that we thought it would,” he said. Meanwhile, marijuana legalization has freed up some police resources for more serious crimes. Calgary Herald
Today in cannabis business news…
Scotts Miracle-Gro is suing MiracleGro Marketing for trademark infringement in federal court. WIPR The board of Canopy Growth, a large Canadian cannabis producer, terminated CEO Bruce Linton in “a surprise move that analysts say could be tied to the company’s disappointing earnings.” Marijuana Business Daily Cannabis sales spiked over Mother’s and Father’s Day weekends. Marijuana Business Daily Business is booming for marijuana tourism in states that have legalized the drug. The New York Times Retail marijuana sales could reach $22 billion by 2022, according to a Canaccord Genuity analyst. Barron’s
Elsewhere around the world…
A report by a U.K. Parliament committee said that access to medical marijuana remained slim in the country due to a lack of research demonstrating its benefits. The report found that the government “failed to communicate” this when new medical cannabis rules were rolled out, leading to backlash against doctors. BBC A report out of China blamed Canada and the U.S. for a 25 percent rise in cannabis “abuse” within its borders. “There has been an obvious spike in marijuana smuggling from North America,” said the National Narcotics Control Commission. New York Post
🗣 Shout Outs 🗣
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 Colorado, the state’s new director of agriculture has big plans for hemp.
- In Nevada, a government official testified that the cannabis licensing process was fair, during a trial alleging that the process was not.
- In Pennsylvania, the health department ordered an MMJ grower to halt operations after finding numerous violations.
- In Missouri, with dispensary sales still months away, groups are educating patients on home cultivation.
- In Hawaii, paperwork problems are hampering Californians trying to get temporary MMJ cards in Hawaii. The case against the governor’s intention to veto a hemp bill.
- In Georgia, a new medical marijuana law takes effect.
- In Texas, the Harris County DA’s office says it won’t prosecute some marijuana cases due to the state’s new hemp law.
- In Tennessee, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation opposes all manner of marijuana reform in the state.
- In Maryland, the Montgomery county executive wants the state to legalize and regulate adult-use marijuana.
Word for Word
“[The U.S. Sentencing Commission] in recent years has taken some important steps in the right direction. Particularly significant was its 2014 decision to reduce all drug guidelines by two levels and to make the policy retroactive, thereby reducing sentences for some 32,000 prisoners. Congress’s recently enacted First Step Act was another move in the right direction, addressing the disparity in punishment for offenses involving crack and powder cocaine. But more needs to be done to reset a system that has done untold harm over the past three decades.” – U.S. district judge for the Eastern District of Wisconsin Lynn S. Adelman for The Washington Post
“Alex Berenson’s allegation that public support for marijuana law reform is waning is nothing short of a pipe dream. Nearly one in four Americans reside in a jurisdiction where the adult use of cannabis is legal, and 33 states regulate medical marijuana access by statute. No state has ever repealed a marijuana legalization law, and two-thirds of adults—including majorities of self-identified Democrats, Republicans and independents—endorse making the plant legal, according to the latest Gallup poll. As more states amend their cannabis laws, public support for legalization continues to rise.” – Deputy director of NORML Paul Armentano for The Wall Street Journal 🔒