Two Ohio House Republicans on Tuesday proposed legalizing marijuana for recreational use in Ohio.
In legislation that has not yet been formally introduced, Reps. Jamie Callender and Ron Ferguson pitched a program that would allow Ohioans 21 and older to purchase marijuana from licensed distributors or grow up to six plants in their home.
“Adults should be able to make decisions for themselves,” Ferguson said. “That’s what this bill is about.”
The sponsors acknowledged the bill’s trajectory would be somewhat dicey: They said the House Speaker is hesitant on the issue; the governor and Senate President have expressed more explicit opposition.
“[The Speaker] is generally unfavorable to recreational use,” Callender said. “However, he does read the tea leaves, and he is giving us a chance to prove that this is a reasonable option.”
Mississippians prepare to protest in front of the governor’s mansion in Jackson, demanding Governor Tate Reeves to call a special session for the Mississippi Medical Cannabis Act.
Reeves told lawmakers that if both sides, Republican and Democrat, were able to come to a consensus and draft a bill for a medical cannabis program, he would call a special session.
It’s been three weeks since a consensus was reached and a bill submitted, and Reeves has yet to call a special session, prompting this upcoming protest.
“I hope he’s ready for karaoke because we’ve got loudspeakers; we’ve got tents. We’re going to be there until we get our session,” said Zack Wilson, Vice President of We are the 74.
Wilson’s group We are the 74, representing the 74% of Mississippians who voted for a medical cannabis initiative in the November 2020 elections that was later overturned in State Supreme Court, is heading for Jackson on Monday afternoon.
Sen. Mitch McConnell didn’t know what he was doing when he passed the 2018 Farm Bill. The bill included his provision that legalized industrial hemp, a form of cannabis that can be made into a wide variety of products including cannabidiol, a non-intoxicating cannabis compound commonly called CBD. That part was intentional — the law quickly launched a multi-billion dollar industry that put the once-obscure CBD compound into lattes, seltzers and hundreds of CVS stores across the country.
But after three years it appears one of the law’s biggest impacts was entirely unintentional: It accidentally created a booming market for synthetic THC, marijuana’s primary intoxicant.
But chemists warn that these drugs can contain hazardous solvents, acids and unknown compounds. When FiveThirtyEight legally purchased hemp-derived THC products for testing, we found illegal levels of THC and a variety of mystery compounds that could not be identified. There are no federal safety testing requirements for these products, and while hemp companies occasionally publish test results, some brands have been caught using fake test documents.
The 2018 Farm Bill opened the market for online retailers to sell hemp derivatives that can get you high.
Sales data for the unregulated hemp market is difficult to track but Delta-8-THC, the most popular of these hemp-derived intoxicants, is considered by some industry insiders to be the fastest growing product in the hemp industry. Google search data indicates that interest in these hemp-derived drugs is heavily concentrated in the American South, where conventional pot remains illegal, although hemp-derived THC is also showing up in state-regulated marijuana markets. In Washington state, regulators clarified in April that it was illegal to convert CBD into Delta-9-THC after a company admitted it was converting CBD into Delta-9-THC and selling it in the recreational marijuana market. Sales at licensed dispensaries of products containing Delta-8-THC in their titles increased over 240 percent between the second quarters of 2020 and 2021, according to the data firm Headset.
There’s still deep disagreement over whether any of these hemp-derived THC products are actually legal, but McConnell’s loophole has allowed these drugs to proliferate widely across the country. The hemp industry has quickly moved past selling just Delta-8-THC and is now offering an increasingly long list of synthetic cannabinoids that they can ship directly to your door. Meanwhile, cannabis insiders are warning that the country could be on the verge of a bigger public health emergency than 2019’s vape crisis, which ultimately hospitalized thousands and killed at least 68 people.
Some Stamford representatives want to prevent people from smoking marijuana in certain parts of the city, including on school property, but it’s unclear if they have to do anything to make such activity illegal.
On page 134 of the 300-page bill, a section explicitly states that smoking cannabis, tobacco or hemp is prohibited in a school building or on school grounds. The bill went into effect Oct. 1.Furthermore, another section states that any person with more than the allowable 1.5 ounces who is within 1,500 feet of a school shall be imprisoned for a year.
“All you have to do is go downtown and you can smell it all over the place,” he said, about marijuana. “Right now, we don’t have regulations that would prevent somebody from walking onto school property and smoking a joint, but we do have regulations that would stop somebody from smoking tobacco.”
Nonetheless, the state law would supersede any local ordinance, and the marijuana bill signed by Lamont does seemingly set restrictions on marijuana consumption in and around schools.
The discussion on the proposed marijuana ordinance at the steering committee meeting was less about the content of the proposal, and more about the timing.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) will mail its first Hemp Acreage and Production Survey to 20,500 farmers across the nation beginning Oct. 18.
The hemp survey will collect information on the total planted and harvested area, yield, production and value of hemp in the United States.
Survey recipients are asked to respond securely online at agcounts.usda.gov, using the 12-digit survey code mailed with the survey, or to mail completed questionnaires back in the prepaid envelope provided, by Oct. 25.
As defined in the 2018 Farm Bill, the term “hemp” means the plant species Cannabis sativa L. and any part of that plant such as the seeds, all derivatives and extracts, whether growing or not, with a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of not more than 0.3% on a dry weight basis. The Domestic Hemp Production Program established in the 2018 Farm Bill allows for the cultivation of hemp under certain conditions.
All information reported by individuals will be kept confidential, as required by federal law. NASS will publish the survey results Feb. 17, 2022, on the NASS website and in the NASS Quick Stats searchable database.
Vitaly Fargesen and Igor Palatnik, both of New Jersey, are accused of soliciting funds based upon false and misleading representations of their company, CanaFarma. The two also are charged with failing to invest solicited funds as promised and manipulating the public stock price of the company, according to a now-unsealed indictment handed down by a grand jury in the Southern District of New York.
CanaFarma initially sold a hemp-infused chewing gum under the brand name Yooforic, and later added hemp-based tinctures and skin creams. While the company marketed itself as a “fully integrated cannabis company addressing the entire cannabis spectrum from seed to delivery of consumer product,” in reality, all of the products came from third-party vendors, the indictment alleges.
Through a New York hemp grower, the company harvested 128,000 pounds of hemp in 2019, but didn’t process or sell any of it, or use it in any product, prosecutors alleged. The company never built a hemp processing plant, despite claims to investors that the business plan included having a “Fully Certified Clean Processing Facility.”
An attorney for Fargesen, Jeffrey Lichtman, wrote in an email: “We were greatly disappointed to see charges brought here despite cooperating with the government’s many information requests over the past year or so.”
He continued, “As will be revealed at trial, the government’s indictment relies almost exclusively on two rogue employees who managed to loot the company before running into the arms of the government and admitting their own fraud.”
The Government has started a consultation process to explore the possibilities for the development of an industrial fibre sector using hemp.
Advocates for the sector including Hemp Cooperative Ireland, whose members include farmers, engineers and scientists, argue that Irish-grown hemp has significant potential as a renewable agricultural cash crop suitable for industrial applications including building insulation, cloth making and even low-carbon cement production.
While hemp can be produced here and was once widely grown for rope making, its closeness to cannabis means even industrial use is effectively banned under drugs legislation.
However, the Programme for Government, published last year, committed to exploring the potential for growing fibre crops such as hemp and to consider whether the crops have a viable market.
Hemp growing by farmers is subject to the granting of a licence by the Health Products Regulatory Authority, which operates under the auspices of the Department of Health.
State Sen. Mike Regan (R-York) hails from the same county as outgoing Gov. Tom Wolf. The York County legislator is now the second Republican state senator to express support for marijuana legalization in Pennsylvania, according to the York Daily Record.
Regan, a member of the Republican-controlled state legislature, is chairman of the Senate Law and Justice Committee. He now joins State Sen. Dan Laughlin (R-Erie) as the only two Republican members of the state senate now in support of what 58% of Pa. residents already support.
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 36 states presently have medical marijuana programs.
Regan asserts that Pa. is losing a major opportunity to use that potential tax revenue to provide greater funding for law enforcement and to fight crime, as well as pay for much-needed educational programs, according to York Daily Record reports.
Florida’s medical marijuana industry is barely five years old but already replete with unfairness. A Black farmer has yet to receive a state cannabis license, contrary to clearly defined requirements. Issuing a license quickly so a Black farmer can enter this lucrative market is the first step toward evening the playing field.
In 2016, 71% of Floridians voted for a constitutional amendment legalizing pot for medicinal use. In spite of that resounding margin, state lawmakers and regulators stymied the process at every turn, imposing burdensome barriers for both operators and patients. The law that passed following the vote made it legal to access the drug in pill, oil, edible and vape form, but illegal to smoke it — reflecting an outdated stigma. Lawmakers arbitrarily capped the number of licenses the state would issue to growers and required them to also process and distribute the drug, making it that much harder for small operators to break into the market.
What remains unresolved: regulations for issuing a license to a Black farmer, as required by the state’s own rules. As Times staff writer Kirby Wilson recently reported, Florida has neglected the matter due to legal complications. There are now 22 treatment centers licensed to dispense marijuana across the state but not one is Black-owned. Only one is minority-owned. The unfairness is appalling. The optics are awful.
Of course, the issue cuts deeper than business licenses and lawsuits. For decades, marijuana laws in Florida and throughout the country disproportionately harmed African-Americans. Simple possession was used as the basis for countless arrests, creating criminal records that prevented people from obtaining jobs and housing. Marijuana laws also enabled prosecutors to push for longer and harsher prison sentences in the criminal justice system, leaving far too many Black people imprisoned for using and selling a drug that is now recommended by primary care doctors and dispensed like gummy bears. Hindsight painfully shows how unjust those laws were.
The Minnesota Supreme Court says workers’ compensation for injured employees doesn’t cover medical marijuana because the drug remains illegal under federal law.
The high court issued a pair of rulings Wednesday that overturned lower court orders for employers to pay for medical marijuana to treat work-related injuries.
Federal law prohibits the prescribing and possession of marijuana regardless of state laws authorizing it. The court says that blocks employers from being required to pay for medical cannabis. Justice Margaret Chutich wrote in dissent that the effect is to prevent injured workers who suffer intractable pain from receiving the relief medical cannabis can bring.
A county in southern Oregon says it's so overwhelmed by an increase in the number and size of illegal marijuana farms that it declared a state of emergency Wednesday, appealing to the governor and the Legislature's leaders for help.
Illegal marijuana grows have been a persistent problem throughout the West, even in states like California that have legalized pot. A megadrought across the West has created urgency, though, as illegal growers steal water, depriving legal users including farmers and homeowners of the increasingly precious resource.
Only four Oregon Water Resources Department full-time employees handle complaints and perform all of their other duties in Jackson County and neighboring Josephine County, the commissioners said.
Josephine County has also been hurt by illegal grows that have drained creeks and siphoned off groundwater. Josephine County Sheriff Dave Daniel believes there are hundreds of illegal operations in his county alone. One with 72,000 marijuana plants that was drawing water from the Illinois River was raided after a dying person who worked there was dropped off in a nearby village.
Oregon voters made producing, processing, selling and using recreational marijuana legal in a ballot measure in 2014. Pot businesses must be registered with the state, which enforces compliance with rules. But some growers and processers remain outside the law, joined by a recent influx of outsiders in Jackson and Josephine counties who seek large profits by selling on the black market outside of Oregon while avoiding state taxes and regulations.
In anticipation of medical marijuana dispensaries coming to town, Doraville issued a temporary ban on the newly legal industry to give city leaders time to decide how they’d like to regulate it.
The City Council unanimously voted Monday to issue a 90-day moratorium on businesses that sell medical cannabis, including THC oil and products. While there’s no current businesses focused on selling these products in Doraville, City Attorney Cecil McLendon said he’s heard there is interest in the metro Atlanta market.
The city’s current zoning code doesn’t include medical cannabis as a use, so McLendon said the industry would default to being regulated like pharmacies, which are allowed in any commercial areas. He’s not sure if the city will decide to add further regulations, but the 90-day period gives city staff time to figure it out.
Marijuana and cannabis products generated more than a billion dollars in taxable sales in Nevada from July 1, 2020, to June 30 of this year, according to state agencies. The state collects 10% of taxable retail sales of cannabis products and 15% of wholesale cannabis sales.
That produced a combined $159 million for the Distributive School Account (DSA), according to a report from the Nevada Department of Taxation and the Nevada Cannabis Compliance Board.
Taxable sales grew by 46% over the previous fiscal year.
Clark County produced $791 million in taxable sales, contributing to a total state figure of $1,003,467,665.
That brought $92 million in tax revenue for schools just from retail sales.
How do you know it's time to legalize marijuana?
When a former U.S. marshal who votes with the Republicans on virtually every other issue comes around on the issue.
State Sen. Mike Regan is about as conservative as it gets — and even he's planning to introduce a bill that would allow for the recreational use of pot for those 21 and older.
A lot has changed in recent years.
Gov. Tom Wolf once vehemently opposed it but gradually evolved into an enthusiastic proponent. Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, now running for the Senate, went on a highly publicized listening tour. Meanwhile, a recent Muhlenberg College poll found a record number — 58% — of respondents supporting legalization.
A man who imported one kilogram of cannabis (about 2.2 pounds) from Malaysia into Singapore in 2018 is set to hang after his appeal against the conviction and sentence was dismissed by the Apex Court on Tuesday, October 12.
Channel News Asia reports that Singaporean Omar Yacob Bamadhaj, 41, was sentenced to death in February after being convicted of one count of importing cannabis into Singapore. Bamadhaj was caught smuggling three bundles containing at least one kilogram of cannabis.
The country’s zero-tolerance policy for drugs has led to the hangings of hundreds of people, including dozens of foreigners.
The Alleged Crime
Bamadhaj agreed to smuggle the cannabis—a Class A drug in Singapore—two days earlier on July 10, 2018 and collected three bundles wrapped in newspapers a day later near a mosque. Bamadhaj allegedly obtained the packages from two friends, Din and Latif. Bamadhaj first said that he agreed to deliver the packages and then said he did not know what they contained.
When asked why there were differences in his accounts, Bamadhaj reportedly replied, “I said that because I was not at the right state of mind. I was feeling high from the stick I had smoked with Din. High to me is like being semi-conscious.”
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors has allocated nearly $5 million to combat illicit cannabis, earmarking the money to address the proliferation of unlicensed dispensaries across the county and illegal marijuana cultivation sites in the region’s Antelope Valley. Supervisor Kathryn Barger announced the approval of the funding last week, characterizing the illegal cannabis growing operations and retailers as dual “crises.”
“Illegal cannabis operations continue to threaten the well-being of our residents, water supply and environment,” Barger said in a press release. “By empowering and equipping our law enforcement partners with the resources they need, we can better protect our communities.”
The funds allocated by the Board of Supervisors includes $2.4 million dollars Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department to reinforce its efforts to eradicate unlicensed cannabis cultivation sites in the Antelope Valley and stop water theft in the area. The board cited environmental damage and quality of life nuisances as reason for the move.
The sheriff’s department also received $2.5 million for its Cannabis Consumer Health and Safety Task Force to combat illegal cannabis dispensaries in unincorporated areas across Los Angeles County, as well as unlicensed marijuana growers in the Antelope Valley. Barger’s office noted that since last year, the number of illegal cannabis cultivation sites in the Antelope Valley area has increased from approximately 150 to more than 500.
Massive Bust of L.A. County Illicit Pot Farms
During a 10-day operation this summer, the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department and law enforcement officers from other federal, state and local agencies seized about 16 tons of harvested marijuana and nearly 375,000 unlicensed cannabis plants in the Antelope Valley. Officials stated the plants and pot seized in the bust were worth $1.19 billion, although critics claim that estimates of the value of illicit marijuana operations are often exaggerated by law enforcement agencies.
Back in October 2019, Deputy Kayra Harding introduced a bill (Proyecto de Ley No. 323) to promote the development of the hemp industry in Panama. The bill would establish a licensing regime for hemp cultivation and processing. Hemp is defined as cannabis whose THC content does not exceed 1.5% on a dry weight basis. However, legislative consideration of the bill has been slow.
Last October, government and legislative representatives agreed to establish a subcommission to “enrich” the bill. According to commentator Rafael Carles, it is ignorance when it comes to hemp and how it differs from marijuana that is behind the delays. At the same time, there are concerns within the Panamanian citizenry that the development of the hemp industry will only advance powerful business interests. These two explanations are not mutually exclusive, as demonstrated by this reader comment on a recent Carles column:
“Beware Panama! Now entrepreneurs want to make a profit from your vices, it is not just alcohol and beer. Now it is with drugs, but with a different name, calling the marijuana plant hemp.”
It does not help that Panama’s medical cannabis legalization has been tainted by accusations of corruption. According to one report, Canadian company Canna Med Panama, SA “was not only attentive to the debates in the National Assembly to approve Bill 153, which seeks to regulate the use of medicinal cannabis, but also sponsored a trip to Louisiana by five officials, some key in making decisions about the future business of the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes.”
For now, there’s a key takeaway for cannabis advocates throughout Latin America and other emerging markets. In regions with deep inequalities, licensing programs may be seen as giveaway for powerful interests, if not properly framed and explained. As with all other areas of governance, transparency is key. Moreover, cannabis legalization efforts may garner broader support if they are seen as economic opportunity vehicles for regular citizens. Provisions that ensure a part of the reaped profits go to those most in need can help.
An Ohio legislator is again trying to legalize recreational cannabis use for adults.
State Rep. Jamie Callendar, from Concord, plans to introduce a bill that would make buying and using cannabis legal for Ohioans 21 and older, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer. Ohio's existing cannabis producers, who sell their product medically, would be allowed to transition into selling recreational cannabis too.
The legislation also creates a pathway for Ohioans to expunge previous cannabis convictions from their record.
Ohio currently allows cannabis to be used only for treating approved medical conditions. Previous attempts to legalize recreational cannabis use have failed in the Buckeye State, though neighboring Michigan has approved the adult use of the drug.
There is also a ballot initiative that would make cannabis use legal for all adult Ohioans, treating cannabis like alcohol, WKYC reports.
The legalization of recreational marijuana through Proposition 207 in 2020 opened a lot of doors for people with past low-level marijuana convictions.
Nowadays, thousands of people have already applied for expungement under the voter-passed initiative, but not everyone can get their charges tossed out, including a Phoenix entrepreneur who says the same cannabis industry that is bringing in big money today almost cost him everything a decade ago.
"On my record right now, I have 15 total felony convictions from 1996 to now. It's all pot-related," said Martin.
The problem was: Martin was not partnered with a licensed dispensary and the police came knocking.
"It was all police," Martin recounted. "Four jurisdictions, and guns held in my kids' faces for a plant that's supposed to save my life."
Widely available marijuana once drew thousands of hippies to Nepal, where its use was not only accepted but embedded in both the culture and religion.
But the country followed other nations in outlawing marijuana in the late 1970s and chased away the hippies who came on buses from Europe and United States.
Half a century later, campaigners are seeking to again legalize the farming, use and export of marijuana as more countries allow its medicinal and recreational use.
Supporters have introduced a bill in Parliament that would legalize marijuana, although debate has been delayed by continuing squabbles between political parties for power.
“We are demanding the legalization of marijuana in Nepal firstly for medicinal purposes for patients who are dying,” Rajiv Kafle, a campaign leader, said at his “Hippie Hill” retreat in the mountains surrounding the capital, Kathmandu.