Michigan announces its cannabis social equity program. A Canadian cannabis giant hires a U.S. lobbyist. Texas leaders say legal hemp is no excuse for not prosecuting marijuana offenses. Also: Why the science on marijuana and psychosis is murky. 🌳
Social equity in the cannabis industry.
Michigan marijuana regulators announced the state’s cannabis social equity program, which will give those in communities disproportionately impacted by drug enforcement a leg up in the newly legal industry. Residents of 19 cities, chosen for high rates of poverty and marijuana convictions, will receive discounts on licensing fees, educational resources, and one-on-one help with the licensing process. Bridge Some of the chosen communities have already banned cannabis businesses, though officials want to keep them on the list. M Live Related: A coalition of more than 100 marijuana businesses and groups urged Congress to ensure that any federal cannabis reform measure contains provisions to promote social equity. Marijuana Moment
Lobbying for the cannabis business.
Canadian cannabis giant Canopy Growth is lobbying the U.S. government on cannabis policy issues, including the SAFE Banking Act and the STATES Act. Last month, shareholders approved a $3.4 billion deal for Canopy to acquire U.S.-based cannabis business Acreage Holdings, though the transaction is dependent on federal marijuana reform. Canopy hired lobbying firm Platinum Advisors, which counts AT&T and Estée Lauder among its clients. Cannabis Wire / Newsletter On the state level, Massachusetts medical marijuana company Compassionate Organics has hired former state House speaker Salvatore F. DiMasi to lobby City Hall on its behalf. DiMasi was previously convicted of several federal corruption charges and has appealed the Secretary of State’s decision to deny his lobbying application based on his conviction. The Boston Globe
Federal judge denies MMJ patient’s request.
A federal judge denied a request for a preliminary injunction by a cancer patient who is suing Michigan for its medical marijuana restrictions. Sherry Hoover sued state regulators over new regulations surrounding medical marijuana, which she argued prevented her from accessing the medical cannabis products that she needed. The federal court questioned whether it was the proper venue for the legal challenge, asking Hoover’s attorney whether relief had been sought through the Oakland County Circuit Court. Her attorney argued that federal court was a proper venue because her client’s constitutional rights were violated by the state. Detroit News
Hemp vs. marijuana confusion.
After Texas legalized industrial hemp, prosecutors across the state started dropping marijuana cases because they lacked the tools to be able to tell the difference between hemp and marijuana. Now, the governor, House speaker, and state attorney general are all saying that legalizing hemp does not decriminalize marijuana. “Failing to enforce marijuana laws cannot be blamed on legislation that did not decriminalize marijuana in Texas,” wrote the state’s leaders. “Still, there is little action state leaders can take when they disagree with locally elected prosecutors.” The Rivard Report Related: Forensic chemists in Switzerland have developed a new test that supposedly can tell the difference between hemp and marijuana. Virginia is currently evaluating the test to see if it can replace current field testing kits. WRC-TV
Fired for state-legal marijuana.
As states across the nation continue to reform their marijuana laws, employers are struggling with their own drug policies. Many a medical marijuana patient has lost a job or had an offer rescinded due to being a state-registered medical marijuana user. Now, states are responding: Nevada’s legislature passed a bill prohibiting employers from denying someone a job for a positive THC test. Various state laws prohibit employers from discriminating against medical marijuana patients — laws that are being tested in court. Meanwhile, companies are changing their policies as they started losing out on otherwise qualified candidates due to their marijuana use. The New York Times
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Today in cannabis science news…
Despite all the fear-mongering, scientists simply don’t know much about the relationship between cannabis and psychosis. A recent study found that the data on the subject is “‘a terrible mess’ due to procedural inconsistency and a lack of demographic diversity.” Leafly A new study found that those who recently used marijuana may be more likely to experience episodic memory deficits and mental processing speed. The differences were small, thought still statistically significant. Other brain functions tested by researchers showed no difference between cannabis users and non-users. Reuters
Today in cannabis business news…
The fight over whether to allow marijuana businesses is getting ugly in Commerce City, Calif. as city council meetings turn heated. The Los Angeles Times Musician Post Malone unveiled a playlist for his new line of hemp pre-rolls in collaboration with Sherbinskis. The Hollywood Reporter California cannabis delivery platform Eaze projected it would sell $1 billion worth of weed on its delivery platform in 2020. Now, it has more than halved that projection in its latest fundraising efforts to $412 million. MarketWatch The Arcview Group acquisition highlights an increase in institutional investment in the cannabis industry. Marijuana Business Daily Pet owners are embracing CBD. “Forecasters estimate that almost 10 percent of CBD could soon end up in products for your furry friends.” Bloomberg Businessweek
Cannabis in Canada.
Police in Toronto have been cracking down on unlicensed pot shops. But one chain — CAFE — has been raided at least a dozen times and re-opened within hours. Here’s a look at who’s behind the persistent cannabis cafes that just won’t quit. CBC News At least two Canadian cannabis producers have been approached by bankers to see if they are interested in acquiring CannTrust, which risks losing its licenses over compliance issues. BNN Bloomberg California-based vape brand PAX is moving quickly to expand its footprint in Canada. Cannabis Wire
Elsewhere around the world…
The tale of two sisters with epilepsy reveals a diverging path as one is able to access medical cannabis and the other isn’t. From London, one of them lives in New York and has access to medical marijuana. The other one is still unable to access medical cannabis in the U.K. due to NHS bureaucracy. Evening Standard A cannabis advocacy group in India is petitioning the Delhi High Court, challenging the prohibition of cannabis in the country. The Hindu How Thailand, despite its history of harsh drug laws, is poised to become a leader in the global cannabis industry. Bloomberg
A small clinical study on MDMA as a treatment for alcoholism found that the drug holds promise for treating substance use disorders. Four participants who suffered from alcoholism all stopped their “harmful daily drinking” completely after completing the MDMA psychotherapy sessions. The study’s lead author said that pharmaceutical companies are undermining MDMA’s therapeutic potential. MixMag Everything you need to know about microdosing psilocybin. Mic
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Word on the States
- In California, authorities found nearly 15 tons of marijuana in a Perris area bust.
- In Colorado, state health officials are preparing for expanded medical marijuana access.
- In Washington, state regulators announced a “workaround” as software problems in its seed-to-sale tracking system persist.
- In Massachusetts, state regulators renewed a medical marijuana license despite previous violations and customer complaints.
- In Illinois, the state’s attorney general joined a coalition of state AGs in advocating for FDA cannabis regulations. The agriculture department will display hemp at the state fair in August.
- In Virginia, the attorney general is calling for marijuana reform after new data show a rise in marijuana arrests.
- In Missouri, the secretary of state’s office is investigating whether someone illegally sought to raise money to fund a medical marijuana venture.
- In Nevada, a hearing on cannabis licenses will likely extend into August. Plaintiffs in the case described the consequences of the case on their businesses. Three Democratic candidates for Maricopa County Attorney said they would stop charging for marijuana possession.
- In Michigan, a medical marijuana company is building a hybrid greenhouse in Marshall.
- In Louisiana, medical marijuana could finally be available to patients in “the next few weeks.”
- In Oklahoma, medical marijuana businesses are preparing for new rules that will increase their compliance costs.
- In Pennsylvania, South Philly is getting a new medical marijuana dispensary next week.
- In Ohio, Columbus residents expressed support for a proposal to reduce marijuana penalties.
Word for Word
“There are many ways to consume cannabis: smoking, vaping, eating, sublingually, topically, and even via rectal and vaginal suppositories. All have their particular benefits, and that list would seemingly encompass every manner of getting THC and CBD into your body—except for cannabis nasal sprays and ear drops, because I’m not sure those exist. Yet. But have you ever tried putting cannabis in your belly button? And not in the ‘stick a bud in your navel’ method of smuggling very small amounts of weed across international borders? (That isn’t the way to do that, really? But if that’s how you roll, you do you.) No, I’m referring to the ‘Pechoti intake method.'” – Josh Jardine for Portland Mercury
“In January 1999, Robert Clarence Potts III was sentenced to life in prison. He was 28, and had been convicted of drug and weapons charges. The federal judge sentencing him seemed to express some regret at the gravity of the penalty. But under the law at the time, Mr. Potts faced a mandatory sentence of life imprisonment without release because of the type of offenses and his two previous convictions for drug and other offenses… On Friday, Mr. Potts, now 49, is scheduled to be released from prison after more than 20 years — a turn of events made possible by the First Step Act, passed by Congress and signed by President Trump last year… The decision whether to reduce his sentence fell to me when I was randomly assigned his case. The twist was that I had been Judge Paine’s law clerk in 1989, 10 years before Mr. Potts was sent away.” – U.S. District Court Judge Robin Rosenberg for The New York Times