Most CBD businesses are operating in a legal gray area. A coalition of advocacy groups call for social justice in federal cannabis reform. Hawaii becomes the 26th U.S. state to decriminalize marijuana (though the law is very narrow). Also: Jay-Z joins a California cannabis company as chief brand strategist. 🌳
Most CBD businesses aren’t exactly legal.
More than 90 percent of hemp and CBD businesses in the U.S. are operating in a legal gray area, according to a study by analytics firm CB Insights. Only 4 percent of investments in hemp and CBD businesses went towards companies that comply with FDA regulations. The federal agency has been trying to figure out how to regulate the fast-growing industry that is currently estimated to be worth $32 billion. Many businesses have taken advantage of the CBD health-and-wellness trend while regulations are still being ironed out by the federal government. Observer
Cannabis in Congress.
Ahead of a House committee hearing on marijuana reform, pro-legalization lawmakers and activists disagree on how to reform federal marijuana laws. With so many legalization proposals in Congress, advocates are being forced to balance strategy with a commitment to certain ideals. Marijuana Moment A coalition of reform groups have banded together, calling for any legalization package to include criminal justice reforms. Their demands? Deschedule marijuana, include expungement and resentencing provisions, eliminate cannabis penalties in child welfare and immigration cases, among others. Leafly
The story of Danielle Metz.
Danielle Metz had a very minor role in her husband’s cocaine-dealing ring. She rode in the car during a few package deliveries, and had never gotten in trouble with the law before. But she was given three life sentences plus 20 years for her role in the operation. When President Obama granted her clemency, she had served 23 years in prison. Since getting out, Metz has overcome many hurdles to get into college. Her story illustrates how “ban the box” reforms and giving Pell grants to formerly incarcerated people can help those getting out of prison re-enter society. USA Today
Hawaii decriminalizes marijuana.
Hawaii has become the 26th state in the nation to decriminalize or legalize marijuana. Under the new law, those who are caught with less than three grams of pot cannot get jail time (but can get hit with a $130 fine). One advocacy group criticized the limited law — “unfortunately, three grams would be the smallest amount of any state that has decriminalized (or legalized) simple possession of marijuana,” said MPP in a statement. “Still, removing criminal penalties and possible jail time for possession of a small amount of cannabis is an improvement.” Vox Related: Hawaii governor David Ige appears ready to veto a measure that would allow medical marijuana patients carry their medicine when they travel between islands. Hawaii News Now
Florida court rules pot regs unconstitutional.
Florida’s 1st District Court of Appeal upheld a decision by a county circuit judge that found that the state’s marijuana regulations go against the constitutional amendment that legalized medical marijuana in the state. The appellate court found that “the vertically integrated system conflicts with the constitutional amendment thus renders the statutory cap on the number of facilities in (a section of state law) unreasonable,” wrote a panel of three judges. State health officials will have to come up with new regulations. WFOR
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The studies say…
Researchers compared data from cannabis consumption surveys to Washington’s seed-to-sale tracking system for its legal marijuana market. Three years after the state introduced its adult-use market, “there remained considerable consumption of cannabis supplied outside of the licensed system.” Cannabis Wire / Newsletter An anonymous online survey found that cannabis use increases “sexual functioning and satisfaction” for both men and women. Marijuana Moment
Jay-Z gets into the cannabis industry.
The billionaire rapper is the latest celebrity to join the cannabis industry. Jay-Z announced he had taken a new role at California cannabis company Caliva as chief brand strategist. He will “also further his social justice efforts by increasing job training for former prisoners as well as fostering quality and fairness in the development of the legal marijuana industry, the company said in a statement.” Reuters Caliva CEO Dennis O’Malley said that he got a call from Jay-Z’s team while they were searching for cannabis companies to partner with. “The first question was, ‘How did you get a hold of us?'” said O’Malley. “When we started to understand the reason behind Jay-Z getting into the cannabis industry, what he believed in and his success in business, we really felt well aligned.” KPIX
Elsewhere in cannabis business news…
Surterra Wellness, the cannabis company helmed by a Wrigley chewing gum heir, has named its new chief financial officer: Fareed Khan, who previously served in the same role for Kellogg Co. The Wall Street Journal Cannabis producers can increase profitability by diversifying their product categories — but only up until a certain point. “Increases in the proportion of profitable businesses occurred as the number of products grew from one to 15, but the percentage of profitable businesses producing more than 15 products fell.” Marijuana Business Daily Anonymous Analytics, an activist research group, initiated a buy rating on tobacco company Turning Point Brands for its CBD play. Reuters
Elsewhere around the world…
Prince Edward Island, Canada lost nearly $500,000 during the first six months of legal cannabis sales in the province. CBC News Stenocare, the Danish partner of Canadian cannabis company CannTrust, has quarantined a batch of products for potential destruction as Health Canada investigates the producer’s alleged illegal production facilities. BNN Bloomberg A proposal for medical marijuana in New Zealand would allow licensed cannabis cultivators to use illegal cannabis seeds to grow regulated medical cannabis. New Zealand Herald The proposal would also allow those with experience in the underground cannabis market, including gang members, to work in the legal medical cannabis industry. New Zealand Herald
Women try microdosing for anxiety and depression.
A growing number of women in North America are trying psilocybin after exhausting other treatments for anxiety and depression. Some are opting to microdose, while others are finding relief from a “heroic dose.” While preliminary research on psychedelics look promising for such substances as a treatment for anxiety and depression, some psychedelic researchers are skeptical about microdosing. But for those who have benefited from the substance — “there is no doctor, lawmaker, or politician who can tell me what’s best for me.” Marie Claire
🗣 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 Alaska, the governor signed a bill to repeal criminal justice reform legislation.
- In Nevada, a look at who is funding the state’s cannabis industry.
- In Arkansas, a pro-marijuana group plans to file two ballot petitions to legalize marijuana.
- In California, a state Assembly committee approved a bill to establish limited charter banks to serve the cannabis industry.
- In Ohio, organizers in about 20 municipalities are pushing for marijuana decriminalization.
- In Iowa, lawmakers are calling for a study committee after the governor vetoed a medical cannabis bill.
- In Connecticut, a U.S. House rep. visited a medical marijuana dispensary.
- In New York, a look at the struggles of the formerly incarcerating in finding employment.
- In Georgia, how Macon-Bibb County decriminalized cannabis possession.
- In Oklahoma, regulators announced new rules for the medical marijuana program.
- In Guam, regulators approved guidelines for recreational marijuana use.
Word for Word
“We are changing the industry by identifying underrepresented individuals and giving them the skills and training they need to have long-term success in the industry. By building the knowledge base and expanding beyond previously established horizons, we are guaranteeing that the workforce will continue to become more diverse as it grows. It is a time of unprecedented growth for groups that have been historically underrepresented. The importance of having diverse skill sets and viewpoints in the cannabis industry cannot be overlooked any longer.” – CEO of Community Wellness Jasmine Sessoms for The Baltimore Sun
“The war on drugs and its endless crackdowns and intrusions spurred far more distrust of police but politicians learned nothing from its debacles… Criminalizing private vices is the surest way to make law enforcement a public nuisance… The best way to encourage citizens to have ‘a feeling not of fear but of safety’ is to repeal legions of laws empowering police to unjustifiably accost and wrongfully subjugate peaceful citizens. But that is unlikely to happen as long as most politicians are more interested in power than in domestic tranquility.” – James Bovard for The American Conservative