Massachusetts regulators fined multi-state operator Curaleaf a whopping $250,000. Medical marijuana reciprocity comes to New Mexico and Washington D.C. Prosecutors in Oklahoma dropped drug charges against two hemp transporters. Also: The U.S. Navy and NASA warn employees against using hemp and CBD products. 🌳
Court rules in favor of Ohio in marijuana ballot case.
The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Ohio “did not violate the rights of two residents who proposed ballot issues that would decriminalize marijuana possession in their towns.” The election board declined to certify the initiatives, despite that they had enough signatures. The two residents argued that the election board’s actions violated their First and Fourteenth Amendment rights. While lower courts allowed the initiatives to proceed — the state appealed and the Sixth Circuit reversed a lower court’s decision. Courthouse News The case, however, isn’t over. “Attorneys for the plaintiffs said that they planned to seek ‘en banc consideration or Supreme Court review.'” Marijuana Moment
Mass. fines marijuana operators.
Cannabis regulators in Massachusetts fined marijuana producer Curaleaf $250,000 for failing to seek approval for a merger. All five cannabis commissioners voted in favor of the record fine, which will allow Curaleaf to keep its licenses. “They’ve admitted they were mistaken in… not applying for [permission] when they should have,” said top marijuana regulator Steve Hoffman. The Boston Globe M3, a Plymouth-based cannabis company, was fined $50,000 for lying about its pesticide use. Two of the company’s dispensaries were shut down in December over its use of prohibited pesticides and will operate on probation for the rest of this year. Mass Live
Medical marijuana reciprocity.
A judge in New Mexico ruled that the state must allow non-residents to register for its medical marijuana program. But Texas marijuana advocates are concerned that the ruling would encourage Texans to cross state lines with medical marijuana purchased in New Mexico — a federal felony. KERA News Washington D.C. will now accept medical marijuana patient cards from any other U.S. state. Previously, D.C.’s medical marijuana program recognized patient registrations from 19 other states. The new rule expands that to at least 27 other states. WUSA
Drug charges against hemp transporters dismissed.
Two security guards who were accompanying a shipment of industrial hemp were charged with marijuana trafficking in Osage County, Okla. Their entire case was dismissed earlier this week. “District Attorney Mike Fisher released a statement a week ago saying he believes that the security guards were ‘duped’ into participating in the illegal shipment of 4,300 pounds of marijuana in an approximately 18,000-pound load of mostly hemp.” The ordeal highlights how states are unprepared to handle marijuana enforcement in the age of legal industrial hemp. Tulsa World
No CBD for Navy, NASA.
The Navy said that sailors are not allowed to consume hemp-derived CBD products, despite that the 2018 Farm Bill legalized industrial hemp. “Commercially-available hemp products, including CBD, have not been inspected by the FDA and therefore have not been proven to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any illness,” read the memo, which also warned that consuming CBD products could result in failing a drug test that could lead to disciplinary proceedings. US News NASA also sent a similar memo to its employees, warning them that “the use of any compounds or substances not approved by the FDA cannot be used as a legitimate medical explanation for a positive drug test result.” Forbes
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Hemp legalization and marijuana prosecutions.
Texas is not the only state where prosecutors are rethinking marijuana enforcement in the wake of hemp legalization. The city attorney for Columbus, Ohio said that the decision to stop prosecuting misdemeanor marijuana possession cases was due to a new state law that legalized hemp. Like in Texas, most crime labs in Ohio cannot detect the quantity of THC in plant material, leaving them unable to distinguish between illegal marijuana and legal hemp. 10 TV Prosecutors in Gwinnett County, Ga. say that the state’s new hemp law “has compromised their ability to prosecute marijuana cases, raising questions about the unintended — and statewide — implications of a law meant to help farmers jump into a burgeoning industry.” The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Today in cannabis science news…
A recent review of marijuana’s therapeutic potential for cancer patients found that the substance holds potential for treating cancer, neurodegenerative diseases, and alcohol addiction. Studies suggest promise for cannabinoids in treating glioma (a type of brain cancer), leukemia, and certain types of prostate cancer. “Less research has been conducted on the effects of cannabis on lung, breast, oral and liver cancers.” Marijuana Moment Canadian cannabis producer Tilray has begun shipping CBD to New York University, where researchers will conduct clinical trials on its ability to treat alcohol use disorder and PTSD. “Scientists are hopeful about CBD’s potential to treat” these conditions. CNBC
The trouble of legalizing marijuana on an island.
Nantucket is getting its first marijuana dispensary, The Green Lady, this Sunday. Unlike other cannabis businesses in Massachusetts, opening up shop on an island comes with its unique challenges. Transporting state-legal marijuana onto federal waters is prohibited, so marijuana businesses on an island must grow and produce all products themselves. Then, the products have to be lab tested — but businesses cannot transport the product to a testing lab on the mainland. Regulators allow dispensaries on islands to do their own testing “under close monitoring by state officials.” The dispensary’s products will come with a warning label stating that the product underwent limited lab testing for contaminants. Hawaii, which has legal medical marijuana, faces similar issues. boston.com
Elsewhere in cannabis business news…
Chicago-based multi-state operator Cresco Labs has received approval from New York regulators to acquire one of the state’s 10 medical marijuana licenses. Marijuana Business Daily The number of cannabis industry job postings on Indeed.com has increased fourfold since 2016. Searches for cannabis-related jobs increased 650 percent. Hiring Lab / Indeed Some cannabis testing labs are seemingly inflating potency results to attract clients while punishing smaller operators. “Higher lab results can be accurate, or they can be inaccurate due to error, or sometimes, fraud. The science is so new, every lab can legally come up with their own method for arriving at a THC score.” Leafly
Cannabis in Canada.
Some Canadian patients who used to suffer from cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome say their symptoms stopped when they started consuming regulated marijuana. One doctor in Toronto said two of his CHS patients’ nausea went away after switching to regulated cannabis. But “I also have seen [CHS] cases where it came from regulated products. I’m just really scratching my head a lot,” said the doctor. Global News An 8,000 square foot cannabis consumption lounge is slated to open in Toronto later this year. Leafly
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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, state health officials agreed to allow a second medical marijuana company to exceed the cap on storefronts.
- In California, the attorney general released a document indicating the state is getting more serious about cracking down on unlicensed grows. The Coastal Commission affirmed local cannabis policies.
- In Michigan, regulators are implementing a new fee structure for marijuana businesses.
- In Nebraska, an aspiring hemp grower is suing the state for not awarding him a license.
- In Nevada, the Clark County school board is considering easing its prohibition on employee marijuana use.
- In Illinois, Wheaton will consider a ban on marijuana businesses.
- In Massachusetts, Holyoke is considering a proposed cannabis cultivation site.
- In New Mexico, how an alfalfa farmer is transitioning to grow medical cannabis.
Word for Word
“An effort to legalize the active ingredient of psychedelic mushrooms, psilocybin, is one step closer to getting on Oregon’s ballot for the 2020 election. The measure received a draft ballot title this week after petitioners collected just over 1,000 signatures… The couple has stressed in previous interviews that the push to allow psilocybin has few parallels with cannabis legalization: There will be no marketed mushroom products and no new crop of mushroom dispensaries. Rather, the measure would create a system where adults, after getting medical clearance from a doctor, would be assigned to a facilitator, who would guide them through their trip at a licensed facility.” – Rebecca Ellis for OPB