August 6, 2021 By: Ben Adlin  An appeals panel in Texas issued a mixed judgment Thursday in a lawsuit challenging the state's ban on smokable hemp. Regulators may enforce a ban on the processing and manufacture of products intended for smoking or vaping, the court ruled, but they cannot pr...
Published August 6, 2021 By: Tom Angell   TOP THINGS TO KNOW The Senate Appropriations Committee approved a report criticizing "arbitrary" THC limits on hemp and calling on the Food and Drug Administration to continue developing regulations to allow CBD products while enacting a polic...
August 5, 2021 By: Ben Adlin   An influential U.S. Senate committee on Wednesday voted to advance funding legislation and attached report language that encourages the federal government to reconsider "arbitrary" THC restrictions on hemp and continue efforts to develop a regulatory pat...

The 2021 Tokyo games is the first Olympics in which athletes are permitted to use CBD, a non-psychoactive compound found in cannabis plants.

This year, some of the greatest athletes in the world, including Megan Rapinoe (women’s soccer) and Devon Allen (men’s track and field) have trained using CBD products to boost their athletic performance, thanks to a change in the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) policies that removed CBD from the prohibited substances list.

The use of marijuana (AKA all products containing the psychoactive compound THC) is still prohibited.

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) pulled CBD from its prohibited substances list in 2017. That change did not go into effect until January 1, 2018, though, and there was no time for athletes to incorporate CBD use into training before the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.

Very little research has been conducted on CBD, but users generally report feeling more relaxed after using this cannabis compound, without experiencing the psychoactive effects or “high” that THC induces.

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Despite making permanent such pandemic-era innovations as “beer to go,” Florida lawmakers haven't acted to codify a recently expired policy allowing medical marijuana patients to renew their certifications virtually.

With the state's nearly 600,000 patients now required to visit a doctor in-person for recertification, pressure is mounting for the legislature to act during its 2022 regular session.

The policy allowing telemedicine to be used for medical marijuana patient recertification was promulgated by an executive order signed by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis at the start of the pandemic. The order expired June 26, nearly two months after the end of this year's regular legislative session.

Measures to expand telemedicine were considered, but making the medical marijuana telemedicine policy permanent wasn't in the offing.

"We've grown accustomed to this virtual world that we live in, and a lot of these things make things easier," said Taylor Biehl of the Medical Marijuana Business Association of Florida, a lobby group pushing for easier access to the drug.

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CNBC reports that governmental behavior is being noticed in the judicial branch. The focus is upon comments of Justice Clarence Thomas of the United States Supreme Court. Over the years, he has been derided by the press, largely for not asking questions during oral arguments. But, appointed in 1991, Justice Thomas is the senior member of this court, and he brings an interesting perspective to things. His writing was most recently here in Near Unanimity, Untethered (June 2021), an advocacy for standards and principles to guide the law. His special concurrence described in Toto, We're Not in Kansas Anymore (March 2020) regarding federal preemption is also worthy of note.

The recent CNBC article focuses upon Thomas' comments regarding Gonzales v. Raich, 545 US 1 (2005). There, the Court concluded that federal law regarding marijuana could be enforced despite contrary state laws. One might expect the case to be heavy with Supremacy Clause discussion, but it is all about interstate commerce. The Court's decision in Wickard v. Fillburn plays predominantly in the analysis. Wickard is the foundation of the Court's conclusions regarding modern interpretation of the Interstate Commerce Clause, and has its share of critics. It is foundational to the Court's conclusion that your government can compel you to purchase products or services you do not desire. See NFIB v. Sebelius, 567 U.S. 519 (2012).

CNBC's analysis of the comments regarding Raich are presented in parallel with a recent decision by the Court not to hear a case regarding tax deductions claimed by marijuana businesses in Colorado. The discussion regards whether Justice Thomas' perspectives might signal coming change in the court's perspective on marijuana. Justice Thomas was seen as critical of the inconsistent state laws regarding the production, possession, and sale of pot. He suggested that

“A prohibition on interstate use or cultivation of marijuana may no longer be necessary or proper to support the federal government's piecemeal approach,”

Note that this suggests interstate commerce as did Wickard and Raich. Justice Thomas was critical of the federal law regarding marijuana. Included is the clear and definitive "marihuana is illegal" that comes from its listing in Schedule I by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). Inclusion on that list, by definition, means that a substance (pot) is a "drug() with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse. " Thus, the very term "Medical Marijuana" may be an oxymoron. (2015).

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A recent lawsuit filed against the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority (OMMA) claims that the organization did not make its meeting agenda available to the public, which violated a state law known as the Oklahoma Open Meeting Act.

The lawsuit is led by Tulsa-based attorney Ron Durbin of Durbin Law – Viridian, who spoke at a rally at the Oklahoma State Capitol in Oklahoma City on July 30. “One of the main reasons I’m here today is, we filed a new lawsuit against the OMMA, against Director Williams, against her secretary, against a lot of the new members of the board of health and the food safety standard board,” Durbin said.

Approximately 100 people attended the rally, according to Fox 25. “We don’t want to do this; this is ridiculous that we have to continue to do this stuff, but if they keep forcing our hand, we’re going to keep doing it.”

Oklahoma Being Sued for “Sneaky” Rule-making

The lawsuit claims that new, emergency rules for the industry, which went into effect on July 1, were agreed upon without making the community properly aware.

The lawsuit states that the OMMA violated the Oklahoma Open Meeting Act, which requires that all state meetings (such as local boards, commissions and all other groups) must be open to the public, and must post an agenda regarding topics of discussion. According to Durbin, the OMMA violated this law. 

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As much as I loathe playing pundit, I am often asked by journalists, legislators and business leaders: Will cannabis be legalized this year? Until recently, I was telling people the chances were slim to none. But something has changed recently—and the building momentum feels like Colorado in 2014. 

At that point, I was the newly minted cannabis czar, appointed by then-Governor John Hickenlooper to oversee the establishment of the nation's first legal cannabis market. Since then, I have advised and consulted with 19 different governments on implementing legal cannabis frameworks—there is something about this moment that feels like legalization is just around the corner. As of 2021, 18 states and Washington, D.C., have legalized adult-use cannabis, and an astounding 36 states and D.C. have legalized cannabis for medical use. In the last 12 months, 10 states have approved cannabis measures—ranging from full legalization in New York to decriminalization in Alabama.

Momentum is building for legalization, both in the raw numbers of states but also in broad, bipartisan public support. Multiple polls released this year show a majority of Americans support adult-use cannabis and an even larger majority support cannabis for medical use. Even in deep-red states like South Dakota, 54 percent of voters approved legalizing cannabis at the ballot box. But like in South Dakota, where resistance from the governor has slowed implementation of a legal cannabis market, support for legalization in the nation's capital has lagged that of the public. The tide is shifting, however, and Democrats and Republicans in Congress are no doubt taking note.

Justice Clearance Thomas, the preeminent voice of conservatism on the Supreme Court, described the nation's current cannabis laws as "contradictory and unstable." Multiple bills have been introduced in the House, including the wordy Common Sense Cannabis Reform for Veterans, Small Businesses and Medical Professionals Act, championed by congressmen Dave Joyce (R-Ohio) and Don Young (R-Alaska). Libertarian stalwart Charles Koch is dedicating $25 million to end federal cannabis prohibition and the high incarceration rates (and restriction of personal liberties) criminalizing the plant has caused.
 

Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), joined by Senators Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), speak at a press conference on introducing legislation to end federal cannabis prohibition on July 14, 2021.KEVIN DIETSCH/GETTY IMAGES

Recently, the greatly anticipated draft "trio bill"—aptly nicknamed for the three-way cannabis reform effort by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Senate Finance Chairman Ron Wyden (D-Ore,) and Senator Cory Booker (D-N.J.)—was revealed, intended to spur discussion before a formal bill is introduced. With broad public support and both parties introducing bills to establish legal cannabis at the federal level, cannabis legalization is surely on the horizon.

introducing legislation to end federal cannabis prohibition

NORTHWEST ARKANSAS, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — An Arkansas organization, True Grass, is gathering signatures to get a recreational marijuana amendment on the 2022 ballot.

The proposed amendment would legalize the production, possession and sale of marijuana for people older than 21. It would also expunge cannabis convictions in the state.

A volunteer with True Grass, Jesse Raphael, said bringing recreational marjuana to the state would be a boost for the economy.

“It’s going bring in tax money, obviously that’s going to be the first thing that everyone sees from it, but two its going to release those poor people from prisons back into the economy,” Raphael said.

Raphael said the petition to needs to have 89,101 signatures to get on the ballot.

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“I can tell you that marijuana, undoubtedly, is connected to violent crimes that we’re seeing in our community,” said Robert Contee.

Disclaimer: this article was originallly viewed on The Fresh Toast and the views expressed in this article solely belong to the author.

During a press conference July 23, Washington D. C. Police Chief Robert Contee said that: “I can tell you that marijuana, undoubtedly, is connected to violent crimes that we’re seeing in our community… When you have something where people get high reward—they can make a lot of money by selling illegal marijuana—and the risk is low, the risk for accountability is very low, that creates a very, very, very, very, very bad situation because those individuals get robbed, those individuals that shot at, those individuals get involved in disputes all across our city.”

Of course, most major American cities are dealing with increasing violence, probably pandemic related. However, the Drug War is continuing and “more people were arrested for cannabis last year than for all violent crimes put together,” according to FBI data

Could that number explain the real relationship between marijuana and violence?

Chief Contee is African American, but he still seems to ignore the fact that, as Forbes reports, “In addition to those dwelling in the northeast, those in the black community may also be at particular risk of being arrested for cannabis crimes. A recent report from the ACLU looked at data from 2018, and found that black people were 3.6 times more likely to be arrested for cannabis possession than white people. This is despite the fact that both groups use cannabis at similar rates.

Photo by Matthew Karila via Unsplash

Even in western states with recreational cannabis laws, black people were 1.5-1.8% more likely to be arrested for having cannabis. In states with the worst racial disparity in arrests, like Montana and Kentucky, black people were 9.4-9.6% more likely to be arrested. In some counties, disparities were so high, black people were 50 times more likely to be arrested.

Contee, who is 48, is a D.C. native, and, as noted, is African American (as is roughly half of the D.C. population) and has been on the D.C. police force all of his adult life. Consequently, he would seem to be an excellent choice for his job, despite his muddled statement.

Marijuana Legalization Makes Black Market Weed Cheaper, Heroin More Expensive

An organization hoping to regulate marijuana in Ohio has changed routes on legalization. 

The Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol announced Tuesday it will now try passing a state law instead of through a constitutional amendment, which was the original plan, as outlined in March 2020.

“We are proposing to regulate marijuana for adult use, just like we do for alcohol," said Tom Haren, a spokesman for the group, in a statement. "Our proposal fixes a broken system while ensuring local control, keeping marijuana out of the hands of children, and benefiting everyone.”

The coalition submitted its proposal, along with more than 1,000 signatures, to the Ohio attorney general's office on Tuesday. The AG has 10 days to review the summary proposal.

The group would need to collect 132,887 signatures of registered Ohio voters to put the measure before the Legislature.

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Canada is opening their border to vaccinated U.S. travelers on August 9, but while cannabis is now legal in New York state and Canada, it’s still illegal to take it between the two locations.

Since Canada legalized cannabis in 2018, Mike Niezgoda with U.S. Customs and Border Protection said there have been a number of smuggling cases.

“We had an incursion that came via helicopter that landed in Grand Island, just north of Buffalo,” he said. That was in 2019 when Border Patrol agents recovered four duffel bags carrying a total of more than 100 pounds of weed with an estimated street value of more than $100,000.

However, Niezgoda said that smaller infractions, and unintended smuggling, are another matter for travelers to keep in mind.

“Say they went to Toronto to go up to see the Maple Leafs play the Sabres, they bought some marijuana, and then they forgot about it and then came back and they realized it right when they saw the booth.”

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State lawmakers have announced plans to introduce a bill that would regulate the sale of marijuana for recreational use.

Among supporters of the possible bill is Mayor John Cranley, who Tweeted his support earlier in July.

Economic experts say such a bill could help boost tax revenue in Ohio, impacting the Greater Cincinnati region, as well, as has been seen in other states that legalized and taxed recreational marijuana.

"I would say it would be somewhere upwards of $100 million that we would get through tax revenue," said Debashis Pal, an economics professor at the University of Cincinnati. "Given what we make out of alcohol and tobacco and what Colorado is making, I am confident we would male $100 million-plus."

Others are concerned that it would be a mistake to legalize recreational marijuana before the invention of monitoring devices that could accurately gauge the amount of the substance in a person's system.

"The officers don't have a tool to detect marijuana impairment in the field other than their observations," said Joe Suhre, owner of Suhre and Associates LLC, a DUI law firm. "We have the chemical testing issue...for marijuana, the most common way to test is a urine test and the legal limit is 35 milligrams of metabolite."

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In mid-June, the village of Fayetteville asked residents, “Do you think we should allow stores that sell pot?”

“There’s still no control board or agency," village Mayor Mark Olson said in a recent interview. "The state left without making any rules. I’m not a marijuana user, and none of the other board members are, so it’s really a tough decision to make and know what’s right.”

He says his answer is "no," and that the members of the village’s Board of Trustees agree. That said, the village is going to leave the decision up to the public.

“We have village elections in early March, so we’ll have one public hearing, another public hearing and then we’ll vote about whether to opt in or opt out,” said Olsen.

While the village has some time before the final decision is made, other Central New York municipalities have already made the decision to not allow the sale of pot.

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New York is one of the latest states to legalize marijuana, pending issuance of adult-use cannabis licenses. This comes with a lot of exciting plans for the future, and some benefits that can be enjoyed right now. The way in which marijuana is handled in airports is one of them, with TSA agents no longer seizing under three ounces of marijuana.

Marijuana and airports have always been controversial topics. We’ve coveredthem extensively. And while you’re not fully out of the woods when having large amounts of marijuana on you in an airport, if what you have on you is less than three ounces, jail is no longer a part of the equation.

A spokesperson from Port Authority explained how the updated laws work. “New Yorkers 21 years old and older can possess, obtain and transport up to three ounces of cannabis,” he said, via Gothamist. “Therefore, PAPD does not issue tickets, seize or arrest for this amount at NY airports.” Higher amounts of marijuana are subject to arrests, so it’s very important to know how much you have on you.

The legalization of marijuana in New York allows for several things, like possession of up to three ounces, and the ability to grow up to five pounds of cannabis at home. A deeper look at the law shows how much the industry could impact the economy in New York, with 40% of sales taxes revenue going to education, another 40% towards families impacted by marijuana criminalization, and 20% towards drug treatment and public education programs.

Marijuana legalization facilitates acquiring these goods in everyday places, which is awesome. Most importantly, these laws help protect people, preventing unwarranted arrests and generating large amounts of income for communities and people that have been hurt by the war on drugs.

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4th Of July Weekend To Beat 420 Cannabis Sales

Former police officer Daniel Capeheart has been convicted on drug charges, much to the surprise of New Mexico state.

Former New Mexico State Police Officer Daniel Capehart has recently been convicted on drug charges. 

Specifically, former Officer Capehart was convicted of distributing cannabis and methamphetamine by the state of New Mexcio. The cannabis was allegedly originally intended for a 16-year-old girl he pulled over, according to the recent court case. Further, it is believed this also was part of a separate drug-for-sex scheme with the girl.

According to records from the U.S. District Court, Bloomfield-based Capehart, 36, was convicted this past Thursday on the charge of distributing drugs within a close radius to local schools. His convictions include two counts of distributing marijuana and one count of distributing methamphetamine. These crimes could carry between five and 40 years in prison. 

Former Officer has a History of Abuse 

Prosecutors on the case alleged that the former officer pulled over the teen along with a friend on June 15, 2018, in Farmington. He then got the girl’s number and birthday and started to send her text messages. Over text, he told her she was “the most beautiful woman” he had ever met.  

Following this exchange, the girl went to her father, and the two reported the texts to the San Juan County sheriff’s detective. Working with authorities, he then used the girl’s phone to text the officer back. The officer allegedly left cannabis twice at drop locations for the girl he was texting, one near a high school. 

Additionally, the FBI contacted another young girl who said she had been texting with former Officer Capehart for nine months or so. Capehart allegedly texted her and proposed a plan to arrest someone for transporting cannabis and then give the cannabis to the girl in exchange for sex. The day after that, he pulled over and arrested an undercover FBI agent, took the cannabis and left it at a location near Central Primary Elementary School in Bloomfield for the girl. 

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Chuck Schumer Is Still Working To Pass His Federal Reform Bill

Image credit: Marijuanastocks.com - MarijuanaStocks

 

3 Political Figures Want Cannabis Federally Legalized ASAP

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer at the end of the week spoke on his approach for gaining enough votes to pass his federal reform bill. He went on to explain the means of asking for feedback on the legislation from colleagues. From this, he hopes to work on including any requested “modifications” in order to get the measure passed in 2021. Just a short time ago Schumer released his draft for his new cannabis reform legislation. This reveal was done with Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden and Sen. 

As the political figures made clear that public input is important. With this, they’ve created an email where people can send comments in regards to the bill until September 30th. The new comments offer a raw look into the legislative process to build backing for the bill within the Senate.

“We’re now going around to our colleagues saying, ‘Would you sign onto the bill? And if you don’t like what’s in the bill and want some modifications, tell us,’” he told ABC’s The View. “I want to get this done. And I think we will get it done because it’s so, so overwhelmingly supported by the American people.”

marijuana-gavel

Obviously, we are not going to have any impact on countries like Iran or China, but the people in Latin America and the European democracies really are looking to America for leadership.

Disclaimer:The views expressed in this article solely belong to the author.

National Public Radio has a new 15 minute report online that it introduces with: “In June 1971, then-President Richard Nixon said the U.S. had a new public enemy number one: addiction. It was the beginning of America’s long war on drugs. Fifty years later, during months of interviews, NPR found a growing consensus across the political spectrum — including among some in law enforcement — that the drug war simply didn’t work.”

Bravo, but as I have previously pointed out, the Drug War is actually more than 100 years old. In fact, it began over a century ago with The International Opium Convention.

Photo by BrianAJackson / Getty Images

It was signed on January 23, 1912 during the First International Opium Conference. “It was the first international drug control treaty. The United States was unsuccessful in its attempts to have cannabis included in the 1912 Convention.”

However, in 1937, the notorious Harry Anslinger got Congress to pass the Marijuana Tax Act.It was signed into law by Franklin Roosevelt, and almost every President since has contributed to an escalation in the violence. Not just Nixon.

Retired New York Prosecutor Doesn’t Mention Drug War In NY Post Op-Ed On Black Lives

To date, 19 states have voted to legalize marijuana for recreational purposes. Where is the legality of recreation, marijuana production and distribution is booming, Billions of dollars Provides industry, tax revenue and work.

Meanwhile, 36 State and 4 territories Pots may be legal for some uses, but not all, as they have legalized medical pots and their numbers overlap to some extent with recreational aggregates. Two states And under federal law, cannabis is still completely illegal. In other words, you need to know from state to state whether you will be imprisoned for possessing marijuana. When you cross state boundaries, it’s a misleading patchwork of law and a legitimate minefield, and numbers continue to change.

As a nation, how will we tackle this issue at the federal level and create a fair competition for all?

Jason Flores-Williams is a Colorado-based lawyer. Jonathan wallA 25-year-old man awaiting trial on marijuana-related charges at Supermax Prison in Baltimore. Wall faces up to 15 years to distribute cannabis, which is perfectly legal in other states. Williams is trying to raise awareness of these disparities in the United States and is calling on the federal government to intervene and end the marijuana ban.

Jonathan Wall is awaiting trial in 2022 on marijuana-related charges.

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On July 12, 2021, California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law Assembly Bill 141 (AB-141), which creates the Department of Cannabis Control (DCC). The DCC will consolidate the three state cannabis programs – the Bureau of Cannabis Control (BCC), the California Department of Food and Agriculture’s (CDFA) CalCannabis Cultivation Licensing Division, and the California Department of Public Health’s (CDPH) Manufactured Cannabis Safety Branch – under a single department in an effort to centralize and simplify regulatory and licensing oversight in California. Governor Newsom has appointed Nicole Elliott as the initial Director of the DCC.

The complexities associated with dealing with California’s three-headed cannabis regulatory monster – for example, determining which regulatory body to answer to, understanding how the various regulatory bodies play into vertical integration, and keeping track of each program’s frequent updates – sometimes impeded the success of entrepreneurs and businesses in the cannabis industry.

The creation of the DCC aims to eliminate these issues. AB-141 transfers the “powers, duties, purposes, functions, responsibilities, and jurisdiction” of the BCC, CDFA, and CDPH to the DCC.

“The state’s consolidation effort delivers on the commitment made by the Newsom Administration to listen to and work with California’s legal cannabis industry to streamline participation in the legal market by offering a central point of contact for licensed operators,” Lourdes Castro Ramirez, secretary of the Business, Consumer Services and Housing (BCSH) Agency, said in a statement.

In addition to consolidating California’s cannabis regulatory bodies, the DCC will also increase licensing transparency within the cannabis industry. AB-141 will require the DCC to provide information on its internet website related to the status of every license issued by the DCC, including the county of a licensee’s address of record. Beginning January 1, 2022, AB-141 will require this information to include information on suspensions and revocations of licenses and final decisions adopted by the DCC. However, AB-141 will prohibit the sharing of personal identifying information, including home addresses, home telephone numbers, dates of birth, or social security numbers.

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