The USDA is struggling with testing procedures to differentiate marijuana from hemp. A federal agency that oversees credit unions issued initial guidelines for banking hemp businesses. Oregon’s marijuana oversupply is rotting away in garbage bags. Also: Uruguay is raising the price of adult-use marijuana. 🌳
Hemp proving challenging for the USDA.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture is grappling with testing procedures to tell the difference between marijuana and hemp. Coming up with a THC-level test is “as complicated as you think it is,” said a USDA official. The struggle to develop a nationwide testing standard is complicating the agency’s efforts in regulating the hemp industry. The Farm Bill requires THC testing “using post-decarboxylation” or a similar method. But one hemp grower said that using post-decarboxylized tests would make most U.S.-grown hemp cultivars not meet the definition of hemp and could result in black-market diversion. Hemp Industry Daily Related: Broward County, Fla. prosecutors are the latest to change their marijuana enforcement policies in the wake of hemp legalization. WFOR
Federal agency gives initial OK to hemp business banking.
The National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) has released initial guidelines for credit unions that want to work with industrial hemp businesses. The interim guidelines will be subject to change as other federal agencies iron out hemp regulations. Until then, credit unions must do their due diligence on hemp businesses and file Suspicious Activity Reports accordingly. Marijuana Moment U.S. senator Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) has previously written to five federal agencies about hemp businesses’ lack of financial services. While the chairman of the NCUA acknowledged the issues, other agencies including the Federal Reserve and the Comptroller of the Currency said they have no plans to issue guidance on the matter. Colorado Springs Gazette
What’s happening to Oregon’s oversupply.
Oregon is known for having cheap weed thanks to a serious oversupply problem in the market. “Conversations with a bevy of industry players and local officials painted a picture less of black market infiltration and more of hundreds of pounds of weed rotting in trash bags.” Wholesale prices are going up again. And thanks to the strict regulations on destroying cannabis, farms are sitting on hundreds of pounds of wasted weed that are still technically in the state’s tracking system. Meanwhile, extractors are able to take advantage of the situation and stock up on source material to make concentrates. Vice
Dem candidates and cannabis.
Senator and Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.) released a criminal justice reform plan that includes drug reform proposals. If elected, Sanders hopes to legalize marijuana at the federal level and broaden expungement opportunities. He also supports legalizing safe injection sites to help the opioid crisis. Marijuana Moment Fellow senator and presidential hopeful Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) is emphasizing her support for Native American tribes to set their own marijuana policies. Marijuana Moment
L.A. to clamp down on unlicensed businesses.
The Los Angeles City Council introduced a motion to allow authorities to padlock, barricade, or fence off properties where unlicensed cannabis business activities are occurring. Councilmember Marqueece Harris-Dawson, one of the members who presented the measure, said his district is home to two licensed dispensaries and about 70 illegal retail outlets. “As this industry becomes increasingly more lucrative, we must ensure legal dispensaries are given the opportunity to thrive. This is an issue of equity,” he said. Cannabis Wire
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Louisiana’s medical marijuana program.
Two weeks after the historic launch of Louisiana’s medical marijuana program, 5,000 patients have received the drug. About 100 doctors have received a license to recommend it, and nine pharmacies have been licensed to dispense cannabis. While patient advocates were worried whether there would be enough supply to meet demand, state officials say the supply has been enough so far. The president of one of the state-sanctioned medical marijuana growers predicts that the state’s program will eventually reach at least 100,000 patients. The Advocate
Elsewhere in cannabis business news…
Provincial marijuana retailer Ontario Cannabis Store has returned nearly $3 million worth of weed to CannTrust over compliance issues. The OCS says the products don’t meet the terms of its supply agreement. CannTrust has been embroiled in a regulatory scandal after Health Canada discovered the existence of unlicensed grow rooms in its facilities. Global News Sundial shares continue to fall after a corporate buyer returned cannabis that contained mold and other contaminants. MarketWatch MedMen announced that it was starting its own delivery service in California, with the goal of expanding it across the country. Benzinga
Cannabis in Canada.
Seniors in Canada were the only group to report an increase in marijuana use after the country legalized it. The most recent survey from Statistics Canada found 5 percent of those over the age of 65 reporting marijuana use, compared to 3 percent last year. The Globe and Mail Advocates say that the new cannabis record suspension bill is unlikely to help Northern Canadians. With a high population of Indigenous people, who have been disproportionately targeted for drug enforcement, those seeking relief will still have to pay out of pocket to apply. Also: the bill only applies to possession offenses, excluding many others from seeking a suspension. Leafly
Elsewhere around the world…
Adult-use cannabis consumers in Uruguay are going to see a price hike thanks to the “incorporation of technology [to guarantee] the safety of the product,” according to a drug policy official. Cannabis Wire Sara Netanyahu, the wife of Israel‘s prime minister, praised medical cannabis in a Facebook video. “There are really people who need [cannabis]… and medical cannabis is something they are blessed with, and I just hope that as many people as possible can get it,” she said. The Jerusalem Post
On other drugs.
MDMA could be a safe treatment for alcohol use disorder, according to a new study out of Imperial College London. Usually, 80 percent of people who stop drinking alcohol relapse within three years. Out of the 11 subjects, only one has relapsed so far. The next phase of research will compare MDMA-assisted therapy to a placebo. The Guardian How activists in Oregon are laying the groundwork for a psilocybin legalization initiative in 2020. Its proposal seeks to limit the role of corporations by banning companies from owning more than five service centers. Quartz
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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 California, the governor’s finance department opposes a cannabis banking bill. The legal marijuana market could surpass the illicit market in five years.
- In Michigan, state officials will hold info sessions on marijuana license applications in September. Why marijuana tax revenues aren’t a long-term solution to budget woes.
- In Colorado, a Lafayette dispensary recalled marijuana over possible contamination. Loveland considers ballot measures on legalizing marijuana.
- In Maryland, lawmakers consider marijuana legalization.
- In Connecticut, lawmakers are undecided about making another attempt at legalizing marijuana.
- In Missouri, more than 2,100 businesses submitted applications for medical marijuana licenses before the deadline Monday.
- In New Jersey, Freehold voted to allow a medical marijuana dispensary.
- In Illinois, Bloomington City Council considers how to address cannabis when it becomes legal.
- In Virginia, Manassas is getting its first medical marijuana facility next year.
- In Alabama, a medical cannabis study commission started its work and will make recommendations to the state legislature by December 1.
- In South Dakota, lawmakers are frustrated with the lack of research on industrial hemp.
- In Pennsylvania, the feds are seeking to block a supervised drug center.
- In Oregon, Deschutes County imposed a marijuana moratorium.
Word for Word
“I follow doctors’ orders and state laws… Cannabis is the only medication in the entire U.S. that makes you choose between medicine or second amendment rights, and that’s just not fair.” – Air Force veteran Kim Petters, WFLA
“By age 14, [Malik] was already on probation, persistently truant from school, grieving the loss of two close friends to gun violence, smoking weed and ‘packing steel’ for protection — inevitably leading to his arrest for a gun offense. Under normal circumstances, Malik’s story would have ended with incarceration in a juvenile facility and a possible transfer to the adult system. However, D.C.’s Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services (DYRS) tried something different. A culturally relevant, healing-centered approach — not bars and chains — formed the foundation of his rehabilitation.” – Director of the D.C. Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services Clinton Lacey for Governing