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Hot off the press cannabis, marijuana, cbd and hemp news from around the world on the WeedLife News Network.

London Mayor announces plan to study cannabis legalization

London Mayor Sadiq Khan announced plans to study cannabis legalization during a visit to a dispensary and cultivation facility in Los Angeles.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan announced a plan to study the legalization of cannabis on Wednesday after visiting a dispensary and cultivation facility as part of an official visit to Los Angeles. Khan said that he was forming a commission to study cannabis legalization and named a prominent Labour Party official to head the panel.

Khan walked among growing cannabis plants and was introduced to the wide variety of products available at licensed cannabis dispensaries. The London mayor said that the commission he was appointing would examine the effectiveness of the city’s drug laws and explore how legalizing pot could help reduce “drug-related harm.”

“The illegal drugs trade causes huge damage to our society and we need to do more to tackle this epidemic and further the debate around our drugs laws,” Khan said.

“That’s why I am in LA to see first-hand the approach they have taken to cannabis.”

The commission will gather evidence on cannabis legalization from around the world and will study the public health benefits of cannabis, the best methods to prevent misuse, and effective law enforcement strategies. The panel will make recommendations to City Hall and government officials, law enforcement, and public health officials. More appointments to the commission will be announced this summer. The London Drugs Commission is not expected to make its first report until next year.

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Pennsylvania court rules medical cannabis still a controlled substance

 

Judge Deborah A. Kunselman rejected an appeal from a Pennsylvania medical cannabis patient who was convicted of DUI.

A court in Pennsylvania this month ruled against a medical cannabis patient who had appealed a 2021 driving under the influence conviction. 

The York Daily Record has the background on the case involving Franklin Dabney, a 29-year-old from Hanover, Pennsylvania who was arrested in 2020 after a Pennsylvania state trooper in an unmarked vehicle clocked him going 93 miles per hour in a 65 zone.

The trooper “noticed a ‘strong odor of raw marijuana’ coming from inside the vehicle,” the York Daily Record reported, prompting Dabney to “[take] out a medical marijuana card and [state] that the smell was probably originating from his clothes.”

“Law enforcement conducted a warrantless search of the vehicle, finding flakes of suspected marijuana near the center console and front-passenger seat as well as a shopping bag containing three baggies of weed,” the Daily Record reported.

“Dabney, police said, had dilated and red eyes. He also showed signs of impairment during standard field sobriety tests. Police arrested Dabney and took him to Gettysburg Hospital, where a blood test revealed that he had active marijuana compounds and metabolites in his system. Prosecutors later agreed to exclude the weed found in his car from evidence and withdrew three of the charges against him.”

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Missouri lawmakers OK plan to open up medical cannabis records

The proposal to open up medical cannabis records overwhelmingly passed the Missouri state House on Tuesday.

Members of the Missouri House of Representatives on Tuesday overwhelmingly approved a measure to “pry open a trove of secret state records that detail the ownership structures of [the state’s] medical marijuana companies,” according to a report in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

The proposal was included in a larger bill as an amendment, and it “on a bipartisan 128-6 vote,” the newspaper reported. It now heads to the state Senate.

The measure was motivated by lawmakers’ frustration with a lack of transparency surrounding the state’s licensed medical cannabis businesses. 

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that the “amendment’s sponsor, Representative Peter Merideth, D-St. Louis, said the Department of Health and Senior Services rebuffed efforts by the House Special Committee on Government Oversight to obtain the ownership records,” which effectively means that “lawmakers have no way of knowing whether business entities received more licenses than allowed under the 2018 constitutional amendment legalizing medical marijuana.”

“We need statutory language to make it very explicit that they have to provide us that information,” Merideth told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. 

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Vermont lawmakers at odds over THC limit on cannabis concentrates

Some members of the Vermont state Senate are upset over a 60% cap proposed by their colleagues in the House.

Vermont lawmakers are at loggerheads over a measure that would establish a cap on the level of THC in solid cannabis concentrates sold at the state’s regulated cannabis retailers. 

Local publication VTDigger has the background, reporting that members of the Vermont state Senate “bristled Friday at a last-minute change to a key cannabis bill during a House vote Thursday—and speculated as to why the Vermont Department of Health abruptly reversed its recommendation to lawmakers on the measure last week.”

Members of the House “on Thursday imposed a 60% cap on the level of tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, in solid cannabis concentrates to be sold at retail establishments when they open in October,” according to VTDigger.

“They held the damn thing for over a week and a half and then come up with this,” said Democratic state Senator Dick Sears, as quoted by VTDigger.

“There isn’t much time to call for a conference committee.” 

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Germany speeds up the process to legalize recreational cannabis

When Germany's new coalition included the legalization of recreational cannabis in its political agenda in late 2021, there were few details on how to regulate the industry.

However, Health Minister Karl Lauterbach announced last week that it would start the legal process for cannabis legalization soon.

He told German newspaper Handelsblatt he changed his mind on legalization over the past two years, and he now believes the dangers of non-legalization outweigh the risks of recreational cannabis legalization.

"I've always been opposed to cannabis legalization, but I revised my position about a year ago," he said.

In addition, Finance Minister Christian Lindner confirmed that the process of legalizing recreational cannabis has started.

"A question that people keep asking me: 'When will Bubatz [German street slang for cannabis] be legal? I would say: soon," he wrote in a tweet on April 6.

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Wisconsin Governor pardons several with cannabis convictions

Tony Evers, the first-term Democrat, has been a vocal supporter of bringing cannabis legalization to Wisconsin.

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers on Friday announced dozens of new pardons, including nine for individuals previously convicted for cannabis-related offenses.

“There is power in redemption and forgiveness, especially for folks who’ve been working to move beyond their past mistakes to be productive, positive members of their communities,” Evers said in a statement.

“I’m grateful for being able to give a second chance to these individuals who’ve worked hard to do just that.”

Evers, the first-term Democrat, has now “granted more pardons during his first three years in office than any other governor in contemporary history,” according to a release from his office, which said that he has granted a total of 498 pardons since taking office in 2019.

The nine individuals previously busted for pot-related offenses who received a pardon on Friday include Danielle Arrigo, who “was 22 when she twice sold marijuana to a confidential informant,” and “now resides in Burlington with her daughter and has earned her associate degree.”

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Ballot measure to allow Missouri voters to decide future of recreational cannabis

There are more than 181,000 Missourians carrying medical marijuana cards.

Missouri marijuana laws could soon go up in smoke after "Legal Missouri 2022" delivered enough signatures to put recreational marijuana on the ballot this November.

There are more than 181,000 Missourians carrying medical marijuana cards currently.

“There’s certainly a lot more people than that that use marijuana in Missouri on a regular basis and those people shouldn’t be treated as criminals,” said Legal Missouri 2022 campaign manager John Payne.

 “We want to create a legal framework for them to use, purchase, and cultivate marijuana for their own personal use.”

Legal Missouri 2022 Campaign manager John Payne spoke with 5 On Your Side just minutes after delivering more than 390,000 signatures in support of a ballot measure legalizing recreational marijuana to Jefferson City.

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South Carolina’s medical marijuana bill ruled unconstitutional, but sponsor vows to keep fighting

On May 4, 2022, South Carolina’s medical marijuana bill — SB 150, also known as the South Carolina Compassionate Care Act — was ruled unconstitutional by the state’s House of Representatives.

The constitutional challenge was mounted by Rep. John McCravy, who argued that because the bill involves the creation of a new tax, specifically on medical cannabis, that the bill should have originated in the House, per the South Carolina constitution. House Speaker Pro Tem Thomas Pope agreed with Rep. McCravy’s argument and ruled the bill unconstitutional.

The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Tom Davis, appealed the ruling, but the House voted 59-55 to table the appeal, stopping the bill in its tracks. In response to this tabling of his appeal, Rep. Davis stated he would be “working on” getting the bill a “merits up or down [vote] in the House,” before the Legislature closes in mid-May.

While the ruling dealt a blow to the bill’s momentum, it is notable that the bill has not yet seen a vote on the merits — this setback was strictly a procedural one. The bill, which would allow patients with qualifying medical conditions to buy, possess, and use cannabis from state-licensed dispensaries, was passed by the Senate in February 2022. The bill has 14 listed cosponsors and was passed unanimously by the House Medical, Public, and Municipal Affairs Committee before stalling out on the House floor.

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Schumer pushes back release for Senate legalization bill

Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is backtracking after saying the legislation would be unveiled this month.

The wait for the Senate’s version of a cannabis legalization bill will continue for months, with Democratic leaders in the chamber indicating Thursday that it will come sometime in the summer.

According to The Hill, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said that he’s proud of the progress senators have made in “bringing this vital bill closer to its official introduction” before the recess in early August.”

The timeline marks a shift from what Schumer had said previously and it may dismay legalization advocates who had hoped that the Senate’s legislation would arrive sooner—especially after the U.S. House of Representatives passed its own bill to end prohibition on the federal level earlier this month.

The New York Democrat said after the House’s passage that he hoped the Senate would unveil its legalization measure by the end of this month.

On April 1, the Democratic-led House passed the Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment, and Expungement (MORE) Act, which would remove marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act, effectively ending the federal prohibition on pot.

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State-by-state guide to cannabis age requirements

While you may want to buy legal cannabis at the age of 18, that will be quite impossible since provisions and policies put in place by weed legalized states do not permit it.

Election Day 2012 saw voters in Colorado approve a ballot initiative to legalize the recreational sale and use of cannabis. This bold step by the citizens of Colorado saw the state become the first to do so in all of the United States.

Since then, 17 other states, Guam, and Washington, D.C., have followed suit, and public support for cannabis legalization has significantly grown. However, the recreational use of cannabis is still very much illegal at the federal level.

While many states have legalized the recreational and medical use of cannabis, the approach and policies of each state differ. To this end, a young person needs to know what applies in each state to avoid the wrath of the law.

Here are the states where the recreational sale and use of cannabis is legal:

ColoradoAlaskaWashingtonOregonCaliforniaWashington, D.C.MaineNevadaMassachusettsMichiganConnecticutGuamVermontIllinoisMontanaArizonaNew JerseyVirginiaNew YorkNew Mexico

As mentioned earlier, each of these states has specific provisions for the buying, sale, and amount of cannabis an adult can legally possess. These states also have different rules as regards adult growing cannabis plants for personal recreational use. However, one similarity these states share is that individuals above the age of 21 years can legally buy and use cannabis for recreational purposes. Here are the provisions and legalization measures in each state.

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Since when!? Troops can Use CBD Products Thanks To This Congressional Move

Since July of 2020, military service members have been allowed to use CBD products, after the House of Representatives approved a measure permitting the use of hemp products as well as its derivatives.

The measure passed by a vote of 336 to 71. The initiative was led by Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, who is also a military veteran.

Military Troops And CBD

The Congressional measure specifies that Secretary of Defense may not prohibit ”the possession, use, or consumption” of hemp or hemp-derived product to a “member of the Armed Forces” as long as the crop meets federal standards.

In addition, the possession, use, and consumption of such products must be “in compliance with applicable Federal, State, and local law.”

The measure is a part of a package of a dozen other non-cannabis amendments to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

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Medical cannabis bill likely dead in South Carolina legislature

An effort to save a bill that would legalize medical cannabis in South Carolina failed on Wednesday in the state legislature, dimming its prospects this year.

The State newspaper of Columbia, South Carolina reports that “House lawmakers on Wednesday voted 59-55 against an appeal proposed by House Minority Leader Todd Rutherford, D-Richland, to keep the bill alive,” which followed a request from a Republican member of the state House that “the proposal be ruled unconstitutional since it creates a new tax, arguing that revenue-raising bills can only originate in the lower chamber.”

As the newspaper noted, the move “likely [ends] any hope of passage this year.”

It marks a disappointing development after the bill won approval in the state Senate in February. Members of that chamber deemed medical cannabis a major priority at the start of the legislative session earlier this year.

The bill’s sponsor, GOP state Sen. Tom Davis, has been pushing a medical cannabis bill since 2015.

“If you pound at the door long enough. If you make your case. If the public is asking for something, the state Senate owes a debate,” Davis told The Post and Courier in January.

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What’s next for cannabis, THC and Delta-8 in Tennessee?

Hemp and CBD are legal in Tennessee but marijuana (medical and recreationional) is not. So where does this leave Delta-8?

A Tennessee lawmaker proposed a bill this legislatative session that would have regulated and taxed Delta-8 products, but the bill didn’t make it out of committee. Meanwhile, stores selling Delta-8, CBD and hemp products are cropping up across the state, and there’s even a CBD restaurant and bar that’s coming to Nashville.

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Momentum builds in Senate for major cannabis bill

Senators on both sides of the aisle are throwing support behind a proposal to tuck key marijuana banking legislation into a larger package aimed at boosting U.S. competitiveness, increasing the odds that a significant cannabis bill gets through the upper chamber this year.

Sen. Patty Murray (Wash.), the No. 3 Senate Democrat, is leading a push to pass the SAFE Banking Act, which would enable cannabis firms to use banking services, as part of a sweeping package lawmakers are hashing out in both chambers that is intended to bolster the country’s supply chains and manufacturing.   

While the cannabis measure was not included in the bipartisan U.S. Innovation and Competition Act that passed the Senate, the legislation was featured in the House’s version of the bill, known as the Competes Act, that passed in February.

Murray says she is “fighting every which way” to get the cannabis legislation included in the final bill. She noted that federal law currently forces weed dispensaries to use cash, making them prime targets for robberies.

“This is a cash-only business right now. It’s dangerous for the employees,” Murray, a member of the Senate conference committee heading negotiations for the final version of the bill, told The Hill.

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Will blocking the MORE Act hurt Republicans?

 

The MORE Act becoming law in 2022 is more of a fantasy than reality, and Republicans seem to be succeeding in blocking this bill without receiving much flack.

Last month, and much to the excitement of cannabis enthusiasts, The MORE Act passed in the House of Representatives. While this was not the first time the house passed such a bill, there was a renewed sense optimism, especially since the majority of Americans support some form of marijuana legalization.

In order for the MORE Act to continue on its way towards law, however, it has what appear to be insurmountable hurdles. The Act “will need to gain 60 votes in the evenly divided Senate before moving to President Joe Biden’s desk for his signature, an outcome widely seen as unlikely given the lack of Republican support for the measure,” according to Reuters.

If Republicans do not support the MORE Act, which it looks likely they will not, what will this mean for those Republicans who are up for re-election in states where marijuana is an important issue? Furthermore, how are Republican senators and congresspersons still able to keep their seats when their voting seems to contradict the general consensus of the American people?

One belief is that although many Republican lawmakers are voting “nay” to the MORE Act and other marijuana legislation, they are not doing so simply to adhere to the old and tired Republican “War on Drugs” platform.

“Every two years, you get a new crop of members from both parties, but certainly from the Republican Party, who don’t have to defend the drug war … and they don’t have to prop it up,” cannabis advocate and former Maryland GOP state delegate Don Murphy told Politico. He says that instead, they are able to vote with their conscience. This also means, however, that these congress members and senators are able to use a long list of new reasons as to why they vote against marijuana legalization.

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The fight over CBD oil continues in Germany

If anyone thought that the road to cannabis reform was going to be easy, a decision last week in Cologne, Germany has just confirmed the fact that this is going to be a prolonged battle, fought all the way with regressive skirmishes and undoubtedly, setbacks.

Here is the latest example. Shockingly, the Administrative Court in Cologne has just ruled that the legal classification of CBD drops (i.e. good old CBD extract) are medical products. As such, they must be approved by the Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices (BfArM)—Germany’s version of the American Food and Drug Administration (or FDA).

The court’s logic on this ruling is that the nutritional value of CBD is still an unknown. Further as outlined in the legal decision, the plaintiff company could not prove that there were comparable products on the market or that CBD might be used as a part of a diet rather than medical regime. The plaintiff’s suggestion that hemp tea might serve as one example was dismissed as the court maintained that cannabis tea is subject to narcotics law—thanks to the indecisive ruling on this in 2021.

The timing of this case, not to mention the finding of the court is also telling. It could potentially throw the entire German CBD business back to the dark ages—even though this is just a state-level, not a federal ruling. Walk into every health food store, not to mention the growing number of CBD specialty shops in Germany, and it is possible to find CBD oil, of various concentrations, on the shelves.

According to Kai-Friedrich Niermann, a leading cannabis attorney in Germany, “The ruling of the Cologne Administrative Court poses a significant risk to the CBD market in Germany if further authorities and courts refer to BfArM and the ruling.”

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A 'recalcitrant boomer': GOP Congressman criticizes Biden for 'betrayal on marijuana'

 

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R) from Florida, called President Joe Biden a “recalcitrant boomer” criticizing him over the lack of marijuana reform, a policy change that he campaigned on, reported Marijuana Moment. (Benzinga)

The Congressman made the ageist comments during an episode of his podcast “Firebrand.” He contrasted his stance toward legalization against that of President Biden. 

Gaetz boasted that he was one of just three Republican members of the House who voted in favor of a Democratic-led bill to end federal cannabis prohibition, while Biden opposes adult-use marijuana legalization.

“[The] real issue here is Joe Biden’s betrayal on marijuana,” he said, in reference to Biden’s campaign promise to expunge records and decriminalize cannabis.

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New Hampshire Senate votes down plan to allow small amounts of legal marijuana

Supporters say legalization would bring NH in line with other New England states

Any hope for some form of marijuana legalization this year in Concord went up in smoke Thursday in the state Senate.

A bipartisan majority of state senators shot down a proposal that would have made legal the possession of up to three-fourths of an ounce of marijuana and cannabis-infused products with no more than 300 milligrams of THC.

"The problem with this amendment, for those of you who want to legalize marijuana, you haven't done it right," said Republican Senate Majority Leader Jeb Bradley.

"You don't have any structure for selling it. You don't have any upper limits for THC. The laws for alcohol and marijuana proposed in this amendment for under age 21 are problematic."

Supporters of the proposal said the narrow legalization would bring New Hampshire more in line with its New England neighbors.

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Pennsylvania is feeling the pressure of neighboring states’ passage of adult-use marijuana

What a move to greener pastures might look like.

Will bipartisan talks in Harrisburg finally spark recreational marijuana legalization, or is the latest effort to go green destined to go up in smoke?

With neighboring states including Maryland, New York and New Jersey establishing their own private adult-use cannabis markets, Pennsylvania may be feeling peer pressure to act. The General Assembly has taken steps this year to learn more about recreational cannabis legalization through a series of public hearings in Senate committees, and a pair of bipartisan proposals suggest the commonwealth may be closer to legalization than ever before. 

“I think that there is a growing sentiment in the Pennsylvania General Assembly that it’s not whether we legalize cannabis, but when,” state Sen. Sharif Street, a Democrat from Philadelphia, told City & State. Street, alongside state Sen. Dan Laughlin, an Erie County Republican, introduced Senate Bill 473, an adult-use marijuana legalization proposal, last year. 

The proposed legislation calls for a “rational framework” for legalization. It would allow adults 21 and older to purchase and possess up to 30 grams of cannabis, allow medical patients to grow up to five plants at home for personal use, ban marketing toward children, provide workplace and intoxication rules and emphasize social equity by creating equity licenses and expunging criminal records for anyone with a non-violent cannabis conviction. 

Street and Laughlin aren’t the only ones with a proposal, however. State Sen. Mike Regan, chair of the Senate Law and Justice Committee, has been spearheading the hearings process as he prepares to introduce his own bipartisan legalization bill. Regan has said his interest in legalization stems from his experience as a U.S. marshal, where he said he witnessed organized crime and drug cartels benefit from the illicit market. 


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How marijuana laws have progressed across the South so far this year

As a region, the South has been comparably slow to embrace marijuana reform until recently. In the last year, Mississippi and Alabama lawmakers legalized the use of marijuana for qualified medical conditions. Louisiana has taken several steps to expand its medical marijuana program, including authorizing the use of cannabis in its raw flower form. North Carolina may consider a medical marijuana bill in the upcoming weeks, and South Carolina is in the process of debating its own version of the law.

The slow momentum hasn't always reflected the demands of the population. A vast majority of U.S. adults (91%) favored marijuana legalization for medical use. Around 60% said it should be available only for recreational use, according to a 2021 Pew Research Center survey. Even in traditionally conservative states like Mississippi, an overwhelming percentage of voters favored marijuana legalization for medical use. Around 74% of voters approved the program initially in November 2020.

As these efforts progress, we take a look at how marijuana reform has progressed in the past year across the South.

Alabama

In May 2021, Alabama became the 36th state to legalize medical marijuana. The program has been slow to get off the ground and includes some provisions advocates worry may be burdensome on patients and participating doctors.

For example, the program requires chronic pain patients to try opioids first. It also requires doctors to complete a four-hour course and pay a fee of $300 to participate. 

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