Cannabis consumption trends are changing in the U.S. A Florida hospital diagnosed a medical marijuana patient with drug abuse and urged him to seek substance abuse treatment. An Oklahoma cannabis clinic is suing to keep patient data from law enforcement. Also: How Joe Biden’s cannabis plan could decimate the industry. 🌳
Cannabis use in the U.S.
An analysis of federal data found that Americans are smoking more weed (or at least more likely to admit to it.) The number of U.S. adults who reported past-month cannabis use has grown 33 percent since 2002, and the increase is even more substantial in states that have legalized recreational marijuana. New York Post A new study found that 78 percent of teenagers in Colorado reported smoking marijuana in 2017, down from 87 percent in 2015. The number of teens who reported consuming edible pot or dabbing increased over the same time period. “We haven’t seen an increase in use among youth but we are seeing a difference in how young people are consuming,” said the lead researcher in the study. The Associated Press
Medical marijuana patient diagnosed with drug abuse.
A medical marijuana patient in Florida, who was using cannabis to treat his epilepsy, was diagnosed with cannabis abuse disorder when he went to the hospital after experiencing a grand mal seizure. Michael Morell found seizure relief with the medical cannabis recommended by his neurologist. When a grand mal seizure landed him in Homestead Hospital, the doctors there seemed more concerned with his cannabis “abuse” than his epilepsy. They recommended that he go to a drug treatment facility and also warned him that marijuana causes schizophrenia, a claim that that is not supported by the existing science. Miami New-Times
Oklahoma cannabis clinic sues to keep patient data private.
Tulsa Higher Care Clinic Inc. has filed a lawsuit seeking to block medical marijuana patient data from ending up in a law enforcement database. The clinic wants to clear up a part of the state’s cannabis law that requires all marijuana license information to be entered into the Oklahoma Law Enforcement Telecommunications System. The attorney representing the clinic said that the language does not make a distinction between business and patient licenses. “What this bill does, by allowing patient information to be released, is it essentially brands every medical marijuana patient license holder with a scarlet letter in the state of Oklahoma.” Tulsa World
Out-of-state residents can have MMJ cards in New Mexico.
A Santa Fe district court judge ordered that the Department of Health issue medical marijuana patient cards to out-of-state residents. The state’s new medical marijuana law lacked the residency requirement of the old law, though government officials and lawmakers argue that licensing out-of-state residents was not their intention. But “the qualified patient need not be a New Mexico resident,” wrote the judge, who “went on to say in his ruling that DOH and the Medical Cannabis Program cannot override statute, regardless of individual interpretations of its wording.” NM Political Report
Ohio lawmaker under fire for Facebook rant.
Republican state rep. Candice Keller is under fire for a since-deleted Facebook post that blamed two mass shootings on recreational marijuana, same-sex marriage, and violent video games (among other things). “Aside from Keller’s homophobic and transphobic comments, there is no scientific evidence to support her assertions that video games or marijuana use cause mass shootings.” Business Insider The chairwoman of the Ohio Republican Party is calling for Keller’s resignation. “[Her] Facebook post was shocking and utterly unjustifiable,” said Jane Timken. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are denouncing Keller’s comments. The New York Times
🌟 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
How Biden’s cannabis plan could hurt the cannabis industry.
Former vice president and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden’s proposed marijuana policy could wreak havoc on state-legal marijuana programs. Biden has proposed moving marijuana from Schedule I to Schedule II in the Controlled Substances Act. But if the federal government rescheduled marijuana and enforced the CSA, “almost all current state-legal activities would be banned and could be shut down,” explained one drug policy researcher. If existing cannabis companies wanted to stay in business, they’d need an exemption from the CSA like the ones alcohol and tobacco have. Vice
Elsewhere in science news…
CBDV is structurally similar to CBD, and is being studied for its anti-seizure potential. GW Pharmaceuticals is developing a CBDV drug, and their “research has shown that CBDV affects the neurochemical pathway of the capsaicin receptors involved in both the onset as well as the progression of several types of epilepsy.” The cannabinoid has also shown promise in treating other illnesses, including Rett syndrome, Duchenne muscular dystrophy, and autism spectrum disorders. Leafly Researchers in London found that “psychedelic administration caused statistically significant reductions in depression and anxiety symptoms.” Though the science is slim, existing evidence shows potential for the drugs’ therapeutic value. Marijuana Moment
Social equity in the cannabis industry.
Activists, entrepreneurs, and lawmakers are calling for social justice measures in the state-legal cannabis industry. People of color face a myriad of hurdles when it comes to joining the marijuana business, including a lack of access to capital to past marijuana convictions. MarketWatch A growing number of states are including cannabis social equity programs into their marijuana policies. Six states have taken measures to increase diversity in their medical and recreational marijuana programs since 2016. Marijuana Business Daily
Today in cannabis business news…
Colorado’s recreational marijuana market continues to gain on the medical marijuana market. Sixty-six percent of marijuana flowers and 86 percent of edibles sold in 2018 went towards recreational consumers. The number of recreational licenses grew 3 percent, while the number of medical marijuana licenses fell by 8 percent. The Denver Post The chairman of the National Credit Union Administration, a federal agency that provides depository insurance, said that regulators won’t go after credit unions that are serving state-legal marijuana businesses. Marijuana Moment Ilera Healthcare, a Philadelphia-based medical marijuana startup, is getting acquired by Canadian cannabis producer TerrAscend for $125 million. The Philadelphia Inquirer
Elsewhere around the world…
The prime minister of Australia announced that his administration would begin prioritizing licensing large medical cannabis operations. Cannabis Wire Underground marijuana growers in Spain no longer fit a certain profile. “Parents, unemployed people and upper-class youngsters have been caught growing the drug in their homes as a means to earn extra cash.” EL PAÍS An effort to tamp down drug tourism in The Netherlands has resulted in a patchwork of policies across the country. In some jurisdictions, tourists are welcomed at coffeeshops. In others, people must prove they live in the country to be allowed to enter. Vice Rep. Antonio Albano has refiled a bill to legalize medical marijuana in the Philippines. Manila Times
🗣 Shout Outs 🗣
Weed + Grub
Weed + Grub is a podcast about cooking, cannabis, comedy, and pop culture — hosted by Mary Jane Gibson and Mike Glazer. Their SXSW panel — Art, Entertainment & Social Justice Awareness — will feature Open Mike Eagle, Ron Funches and Laganja Estranja for a discussion about the role of art in cannabis advocacy. Vote for their panel here: SXSW Panel Picker
Word on the States
- In Florida, a state rep. introduced a bill to decriminalize cannabis. Two state senators were appointed to the Industrial Hemp Advisory Council.
- In Michigan, the state attorney general is exploring tweaks to the recreational marijuana law. Three communities are voting on whether to allow commercial cannabis today.
- In Louisiana, the first batches of medical marijuana were delivered to pharmacies.
- In Delaware, the governor signed a bill to reduce marijuana penalties for juveniles.
- In Illinois, how Chicago lowered incarceration and crime rates. Grayslake is considering a years-long ban on recreational marijuana sales.
- In New York, the health department warns that the criminal justice system poses a public health risk. Inmates and attorneys are frustrated with the pace of the governor’s clemency program.
- In West Virginia, applications for the industrial hemp program will open Sept. 1.
- In Tennessee, federal prosecutors say 18 people used a music label to sell marijuana and defraud banks.
Word for Word
“To find out which colleges are out-smoking the rest, the Princeton Review surveyed 140,000 students in 385 schools, asking them, ‘How widely is marijuana used at your school?’ Not surprisingly, many of the colleges with students reporting highest marijuana use are in states where recreational use of the drug is legal… And as a sign of the times, weed isn’t just being smoked on campus anymore — it’s being taught. Some schools, like Cornell University in New York and Colorado’s University of Denver, are offering cannabis courses.” – Ivan De Luce for Business Insider