A study found that marijuana legalization doesn’t lead to increased youth use. Nobody knows how to handle marijuana-impaired driving. Underground weed dealers are cool with New York’s delay in legalization. Also: Iowa’s AG says CBD is definitely still illegal in the state. 🌳
Odds of teen marijuana use decline with legalization.
A new study found that the odds of teenagers consuming cannabis declined about 10 percent after recreational marijuana laws were enacted. The researchers analyzed data from national youth health surveys from 1993 to 2017. The lead author of the study said that the findings “should help to quell some concerns that use among teens will actually go up. This is an important piece when weighing the costs and benefits of legalization.” The Associated Press Researchers speculated that a regulated market can help reduce youth use, as licensed dispensaries must check proof of age of customers. A developmental psychology expert suggested that marijuana legalization may lead more parents to have frank conversations with teens about marijuana use. Reuters
Congress considers marijuana amendment.
A House committee is set to consider an amendment today that would end a Veterans Affairs policy of denying home loan applications to veterans who work in the state-legal cannabis industry. “Based on VA’s recent track record, the department will likely push back against the latest measure on home loans. A VA official testified that the department opposed four separate bills concerning veterans and cannabis during a congressional hearing last month.” Marijuana Moment
Struggling to test for marijuana impairment.
Efforts by local prosecutors in Colorado to convict drivers suspected of cannabis impairment have largely failed in court, despite that state law establishes a 5-nanogram THC limit in blood for driving under the influence. The problem is that there are no reliable standards of impairment when it comes to cannabis use, and regular cannabis consumers may test above that limit even when they are not impaired. For consumers who use cannabis regularly, the idea that they could get a DUI even if they haven’t consumed that day is concerning. Colorado lawmakers proposed a bill that would have thrown out the 5-nanogram limit, but it faced such backlash that the proposal was postponed until next year. Glenwood Springs Post Independent
Weed dealers cool with legalization delay in NY.
Underground marijuana dealers in New York support legalizing and regulating the cannabis market. But they’re generally glad that the state legislature failed to legalize it last session. Some are readying themselves to participate in a regulated market and are considering partnerships with cannabis companies in other states. Others are ready to leave the business: “I am 100 percent for legalization even if that means the side-hustle is going to dissipate,” said one dealer in Queens. Meanwhile, their businesses have already been hurt thanks to legalization in other states that have led to plummeting prices. Gothamist
Indiana doubles down on asset forfeiture.
The U.S. Supreme Court reversed a decision by the Indiana Supreme Court in a case involving the state seizing a $42,000 Land Rover after its owner was convicted of a drug felony. While the SCOTUS ruling was welcome news for critics of civil asset forfeiture, Indiana is now making a different argument: “that the test that should apply to determine whether the seizure was excessive is not the proportionality, but rather whether the government can prove a nexus between [the] car and the illegal activity—a standard that would put virtually no check on the amount of property police could seize as long there was some connection to a crime.” Reason
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Elsewhere in criminal justice reform.
Lawmakers in Pennsylvania have quietly passed legislation to push back against Philadelphia D.A. Larry Krasner’s progressive agenda. Krasner’s office is the only one in the state that will be impacted by the legislation, which will expire when Krasner’s first term ends. His office has criticized the move as an attempt to undermine the will of the voters who elected him. The Intercept Suffolk County, Mass. D.A. Rachael Rollins also came into office on a reformist platform, making good on her promise not to prosecute more than a dozen low-level, nonviolent offenses. She is increasingly getting pushback from law enforcement and other prosecutors who say her decisions are putting the public at risk. The Boston Globe
Figuring out hemp and CBD.
Iowa’s attorney general released guidance on the state’s hemp laws, clarifying that CBD is still classified as a Schedule I substance in the state. “At this time, the only exceptions to this classification are FDA-approved medications and Iowa’s medical CBD program, which is administered by the Iowa Department of Public Health.” KCCI Mississippi lawmakers declined to legalize industrial hemp this year, instead setting up a task force to study the policy. State government and university officials on the task force met for the first time to learn about the regulatory issues and other challenges facing industrial hemp in the state. Clarion Ledger Related: 150 lawmakers from the U.S. and Canada are set to tour a hemp processing facility as part of the annual Legislative Agriculture Chairs Summit. Marijuana Moment
In cannabis business news…
A California bill to regulate marijuana use in vehicles is inching forward in the legislature as lawmakers aim to close a loophole that allows passengers to consume cannabis in buses and limos. Cannabis Wire Illinois is trying out a new way to tax marijuana products based on their THC potency. Here are some of the implications of the regulatory framework. Cannabis Now Americans purchased $400 million worth of cannabis products during the week of July Fourth, “up 60 percent over the weekly national average.” Leafly Live Nation is financing a reality TV show of Jim Belushi’s new life as a cannabis entrepreneur. He is navigating the challenges of building a national brand for a product that is still federally illegal. Ad Age
On cannabis stocks…
Canadian marijuana producer CannTrust, which trades on the NYSE, saw its stock slump 22 percent after regulators impounded 13 metric tons of marijuana. Health Canada found that the cannabis was produced in unlicensed facilities, and will hold onto the weed until the company is deemed to be compliant. Barron’s One cannabis lawyer said the findings were a “wake-up call” for the industry. BNN Bloomberg Cannabis-focused exchange traded fund Innovation Shares LLC will begin trading on the NYSE today under the ticker symbol THCX. MarketWatch But pot ETFs are facing a “reckoning” of sorts as investor enthusiasm for the sector begins to fade. BNN Bloomberg
Elsewhere around the world…
The government of Ontario is blaming Canada for its slow rollout of the legal cannabis market and a lack of supply. But the federal government is dismissing the criticisms: “With the notable exception of Ontario, the rest of the country has made steady progress in displacing the illicit market with licensed and regulated retail stores,” said a federal minister. Financial Post A proposal in Colombia would substantially alter the medical cannabis program and would make the country’s cannabis producers much more competitive on the international stage. Here’s a look at some of the notable potential changes, but the timeline of issuing the final rules is still uncertain. Marijuana Business Daily The Max Stern Yezreel Valley College will become the first college in Israel to offer an undergraduate degree with a specialization in medical cannabis. Jerusalem Post
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Word for Word
“Mr. Smith’s journey from inmate to college graduate has been cheered on by a bipartisan and ideologically diverse coalition that has pressed the case for criminal justice. The path he took was quietly extended in the last year to thousands of other prisoners across the country… An often-cited 2013 RAND Corporation study, commissioned by the Justice Department, found that prisoners who had access to education were 43 percent less likely to return to prison within three years than those who did not. In fact, they might show an appreciation of the world of work that few others would find.” – Erica L. Green for The New York Times