Parents are being separated from their children over past cannabis convictions. A federal court ordered the DEA to respond to a lawsuit over its marijuana licensing delay. A group of Oklahoma dispensary owners is suing Facebook for discriminating against their businesses. Also: The former FDA chief urges the agency to hurry up on regulating CBD in an op-ed. 🌳
Parents and children separated over marijuana.
The ACLU criticized the Trump administration for continuing family separations despite a court order to stop the practice. The administration is separating families “over dubious allegations and minor transgressions including traffic offenses,” according to the organization. Six parents were separated from their children over marijuana possession convictions. The ACLU is asking a judge to review whether 911 family separations during the past year were justified. The Associated Press An ICE raid in Los Angeles has sparked local outrage after agents detained a mother of two for deportation. Her family believes that her citizenship application was denied due to a past cannabis possession charge. Cannabis Now
Federal court orders DEA to explain itself.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ordered the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration to respond to a lawsuit over the delay on research marijuana cultivator applications. The agency has 30 days to file a response to the complaint from researchers who say that the current supply of research cannabis is of poor quality. Marijuana Business Daily The DEA announced that it would accept applications for additional growers in 2016, but hasn’t acted on any of the applications. The agency “has never offered any coherent explanation for this delay” said the Scottsdale Research Institute, which is conducting clinical trials on cannabis to treat PTSD. Marijuana Moment
Utah officials are considering an MMJ rework.
State legislative leaders are considering a special session to rework its medical marijuana distribution scheme amid concerns that its plans implicate local governments in violating federal drug laws. “I think we’re pretty close to having a solution that would minimize if not eliminate risk for the local health departments,” said Senate Majority Leader Evan Vickers. Two county district attorneys voiced their concerns this week, saying that they could not endorse their counties participating in the state-run medical marijuana program. The Salt Lake Tribune A state Health Department official hinted that lawmakers may reduce or remove the state government’s involvement in medical cannabis distribution. The law “allows for seven private pharmacies to distribute medical cannabis, but that number would likely increase if the state backs out from its plan to have a state-run distribution point.” KUTV
Okla. dispensaries sue Facebook.
The owners of seven medical marijuana dispensaries in Oklahoma allege that Facebook is discriminating against their businesses and Oklahoma’s medical marijuana industry. “Facebook has an arbitrary, subjective, discriminatory and archaic policy and their policy does not apply to all,” reads the lawsuit. The companies are seeking a court order “preventing Facebook from censoring their business pages and seek damages in excess of $75,000 for ‘economic harm.'” The plaintiffs say that the social giant doesn’t seem to censor cannabis posts in other states that have legalized cannabis for adult use. Tulsa World Related: Cannabis industry veterans are heading to Oklahoma from other marijuana-legal states to have an impact on its nascent medical marijuana industry. KFOR
Candace Gingrich causes controversy for pro-pot state rep.
Candace Gingrich, who is married to Illinois state rep. Kelly Cassidy, is causing controversy for their spouse after taking a new job in the cannabis industry. Gingrich will serve as vice president and head of business development for Revolution Florida, which is affiliated with Illinois cannabis company Revolution Enterprises. Gingrich will also serve as the company’s ambassador to the LGBTQ community. Cassidy denies that her spouse’s position creates a conflict of interest as Gingrich was hired after Cassidy’s marijuana bill passed in May. Revolution said that Gingrich’s work won’t focus on the Illinois market and that they “will not have a financial or voting interest in any Illinois-based business license that might be issued to Revolution under the new law for two years.” Chicago Sun-Times
Former FDA chief urges the agency to act on CBD.
Former FDA chief Scott Gottlieb penned an op-ed outlining his thoughts on how the agency should handle CBD. The booming market for hemp-derived CBD products operates in a legal gray area, while some types of products outwardly flout federal laws. The current process for regulating food and dietary supplements would take years. Gottlieb recommends that the agency “approve the sale of some CBD products immediately, while effecting a framework for their safe and proper regulation and a pathway for an enforceable market for these goods.” The Washington Post
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Texas’ patchwork of marijuana enforcement policies.
Some counties in Texas are no longer prosecuting certain marijuana offenses, thanks to a new hemp legalization law. Crime labs say they’re unable to distinguish between illegal marijuana and legal hemp flowers, prompting some prosecutors to adopt new policies of dismissing marijuana offenses. Ninety-three out of the state’s 254 counties responded to inquiries about their marijuana enforcement policies. Twenty-six counties are no longer prosecuting marijuana misdemeanors, which account for more than half of the state’s population. Sixty-seven counties said they were continuing prosecutions as usual. Texas Monthly Related: Harris County approved an historic settlement to fix the bail system, “ushering in a new era for criminal justice.” Houston Chronicle
What the studies say.
Researchers found that the essential nutrient choline can prevent fetal brain development issues associated with marijuana use during pregnancy. “We found that maternal marijuana use begins to negatively impact the fetal brain at an earlier stage in pregnancy than we expected. However, we also found that eating choline-rich foods or taking choline as a supplement may protect the child from potential harm,” said one of the researchers. Medical Xpress A study found that teen cannabis use was not associated with changes in brain structure in adulthood. NORML A study found that legal marijuana laws in Colorado were associated with a decrease in opioid use. Marijuana Moment
Elsewhere in cannabis business news…
Jeanine Pirro, host of the Fox’s Justice with Judge Jeanine, is joining the board of CBD company HeavenlyRx. “My interest in CBD stems from a curiosity after hearing people say how much they benefited from CBD,” she said. Marijuana Moment Industrial hemp farmers are being targeted by thieves. While the crop has a myriad of uses, “many police forces believe their local thieves have been stealing the hemp because they think it’ll get them high.” The thefts have prompted local police departments to issue announcements about the non-intoxicating effects of smoking hemp. Modern Farmer
Cannabis in Canada.
Hexo Corp. and investors are shrugging off a short seller report alleging that the company ran promotions on Snapchat, potential violating federal regulations on marijuana advertising. BNN Bloomberg Both Snapchat and Twitter have run ads for licensed Canadian cannabis producers, testing the limits on strict restrictions on cannabis promotions. “Whether Snap and Hexo took sufficient steps to ensure that ads could only be seen by users age 19 and older may be a crucial issue for regulators determining whether either company ran afoul of the law.” MarketWatch Grand Forks, B.C. will include a cannabis category at its fall fair competition. The town’s own mayor will be one of the competition judges. Leafly
Elsewhere around the world…
The justice minister of Thailand warned farmers against cultivating medical cannabis until the government has awarded licenses to do so. Chiang Rai Times The law minister for Singapore defended using the death penalty for drug offenses, explaining that drug trafficking had seen a recent uptick. The country has some of the harshest drug laws in the world. Reuters The prime minister of Saint Kitts and Nevis introduced a series of amendments that would legalize medical and recreational cannabis. Cannabis Wire A majority of pharmacists in Germany approve of medical cannabis, “as long as they’re the ones responsible for dispensing it,” according to a recent survey. Marijuana Business Daily The government of Lesotho has proposed an overhaul of the country’s medical cannabis regulations. Marijuana Business Daily
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Word on the States
- In Washington, how to get a marijuana conviction vacated under the state’s new law.
- In Ohio, the governor signed a bill legalizing hemp and CBD. A municipal court judge expressed support for a Cleveland ordinance to decriminalize marijuana.
- In Massachusetts, cannabis regulators consider whether to require marijuana delivery drivers to wear body cameras.
- In Florida, advocates have gathered enough verified signatures for a proposed cannabis legalization initiative.
- In Louisiana, a look at what conditions qualify for medical marijuana in the state.
- In Illinois, Northbrook gave initial approval to a recreational cannabis business proposal.
- In New York, the DA of Onondaga County seeks to clear nearly 9,000 marijuana convictions.
- In Missouri, about 4,500 patients have received medical marijuana cards during the program’s first month.
Word for Word
“Business was looking good for private prison companies soon after President Donald Trump took office in 2017. Within weeks of his inauguration, then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions signed an order reversing an Obama-era directive to phase out private prison use. That caused shares of the two largest private prison companies — CoreCivic and GEO Group — to soar, with each reaching a post-election peak in April 2017. Since then, however, both companies have lost roughly half their stock market value amid mounting public and investor concerns, while at least eight banks have moved to distance themselves from the private prison business.” – Rachel Layne for CBS News
“Though [Tiffany] Cabán plans to contest the count [in the Queens DA race], criminal defense lawyers and advocates say she was clearly victorious in pushing [Melinda] Katz and most of the crowded field of candidates to the left on issues like marijuana and sex work. Both Cabán and Katz pledged to address a culture of mass incarceration by declining to prosecute low-level offenses that were previously seen as bread-and-butter tasks of a prosecutor. Queens sent more pretrial defendants to city jails on misdemeanor charges in the last six months of 2018 than either Manhattan or Brooklyn, a statistic that advocates say they expect will change, whether Katz or Cabán comes out ahead in the court battle.” – Aaron Morrison for The Appeal