Many New Yorkers think it is high-time for marijuana sales to start up, but some towns and villages are still grappling with this decision.
Council members in Colonie, a town in the Capital Region, have voted to ban marijuana consumption sites within their district. Marijuana consumption sites are smoking lounges, cannabis cafes and other businesses that allow for cannabis to be consumed on premises.
Melissa Jeffers, a Colonie town councilwoman, says this vote mainly boiled down to concern that people might smoke at one of these consumption sites and then drive home.
“Without having appropriate mechanisms to test an individual's level, like with drinking while driving we have breathalyzers, we just don't have that technology,” Jeffers explained. “And it's a lot of pressure to put on our law enforcement.”
Local government officials have until Dec. 31 to decide if they want consumption sites or recreational marijuana retail stores within their town limits.
Now that recreational use of cannabis is legal in New York, what happens to the records of individuals convicted of marijuana related charges?
With the passing of the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act in March, marijuana-related convictions that are no longer criminalize in New York will be automatically expunged.
However, the caveat is that legislation allows the New York State Office of Court Administration up two years to expunge the records.
This is New York State Senator Jeremy Cooney, who represents New York’s 56th Senate District is hosting an expungement clinic on Saturday in Rochester to give folks an opportunity to speak with legal experts for free about their case and how they can expedite the process.
“They can give applicants the best advice on how to position themselves, how to be honest with employers, and a realistic time table in removing the offense off their record,” said Cooney.
Sonoma County cannabis growers and their allies gathered by the dozens Friday outside the Board of Supervisors’ office in Santa Rosa to denounce the county’s handling of commercial cannabis regulation and taxation, calling it overly burdensome and costly.
Taxes levied by the county are excessive, growers say, and a slow, convoluted local permitting process has hampered the expansion of their industry since California voters legalized adult-use recreational marijuana in 2016.
Without major changes, growers will be chased off or forced back into the black market, they say.
“They’re overburdening us with unachievable regulations,” said David Drips, a co-owner of cannabis farm Petaluma Hill Farms and co-organizer of Friday’s protest, which drew about 80 people.
Tensions have mounted between farmers and neighbors over safety, water use and other impacts on neighborhoods. The county has agreed to study those impacts in an lengthy environmental report advanced by supervisors in May and likely to take at least a year to complete.
Industrial hemp could soon contain a higher level of active substances, and getting a license to grow medical cannabis will become much easier if an amendment approved by Czech Parliament is signed into law.The Chamber of Deputies, the lower house of Czech Parliament, again approved an amendment aimed at improving the availability of medical marijuana and enabling electronic prescriptions. The lower house rejected a Senate proposal to maintain the current level of THC in the definition of industrial hemp and rejected the Senate’s tougher version of certification requirements.
The daft of the amendment sent to the president also states that hemp extracts and tinctures containing up to 1 percent THC will not be regarded as an addictive substance.
“This means that, for example, an ointment made from a non-narcotic variety of cannabis will no longer be an addictive substance, although it contains THC and although the original cannabis plant may have exceeded 1 percent THC. Due to the dilution of the active substances during the production of the ointment, an extract is created, which will not be an addictive substance in the sense of the law,” he added.
Medicinal cannabis is used, for example, for chronic pain for that other medicines cannot help. It is prescribed by specialized doctors for people with multiple sclerosis, cancer, and AIDS.
The Health Ministry previously said it hopes this change will increase competition and reduce the price of medicinal products containing cannabis, which are 90 percent covered by public health insurance. Currently, the State Institute for Drug Control (SÚKL) buys the needed volume of cannabis from a selected supplier on the basis of a tender.
“Due to financially and administratively more accessible licenses, even normal entrepreneurs will be given the opportunity to participate in the production of cannabis for medical use,” Vymazal said.
Efforts to help Black and brown people succeed as cannabis entrepreneurs are not working — despite efforts in weed-legal states to encourage diversity in ownership and management.
Why it matters: People of color have been disproportionately targeted by the "war on drugs," so, as the pot industry expands, cities and states have tried to make social justice a priority in granting licenses.But people in underrepresented groups often lack access to the capital they need to go up against "big marijuana."They also lack the family-and-friends connections that give others a boost.
Driving the news: In July, three Democratic senators (Cory Booker, Chuck Schumer and Ron Wyden) released a discussion draft of legislation to remove cannabis from the federal list of controlled substances — a move meant "to end the decades of harm inflicted on communities of color."
Comments have poured in on the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act, which would:
New Jersey courts have either dismissed or vacated an estimated 362,000 marijuana cases since July 1, according to data provided by the state Judiciary and reported by NJ.com
The actions come just months after the New Jersey Supreme Court issued an order providing for the automatic dismissal and expungement of certain marijuana offenses from people’s records. Democratic Governor Phil Murphy signed legislation into law in 2019 facilitating a process for the review and vacation of the criminal records of those previously convicted of low-level marijuana offenses. Governor Murphy signed separate into law this year legislation legalizing adult-use marijuana possession and sales.
As many as an additional 150,000 New Jersey residents could also be eligible to have their marijuana-related records automatically expunged by the courts, said MaryAnn Spoto, a spokeswoman for the Judiciary. People with marijuana cases that are not automatically expunged can file a motion for review with the court.
New Jersey is one of several states in recent months to automatically review and vacate marijuana-specific criminal records. In Illinois, officials have moved to expunge an estimated 500,000 marijuana-related records, and in California officials have cleared nearly 200,000 records.
New Jersey’s cannabis regulators on Tuesday moved to streamline the licensing of new weed businesses and approved another marijuana grow site — but it did not announce the recipients of some two dozen businesses that have sat in limbo for nearly two years.
Throughout the centuries, humans have depicted facets of everyday life into our artistic expressions. Snapshots of popular opinion at the time of creation can be gleaned from the penny plays and murals of old.A good barometer on public opinion can be gauged in the various forms of media available to us in today’s world. Just as the evolution of technology has dramatically improved the viewing experience, content has shifted over time to align with current public opinion on topics. While there is not unanimous support for cannabis legalization, representation in mainstream media has gained traction with the overall purpose of educating the public on the positive effects of cannabis use. Even in an area where reporting on cannabis legalization is occurring, biases occur that affect the overall impact of the article.
The timeline for overall public opinion on cannabis legalization can find its early days in Richard Nixon’s successful “War on Drugs.” This campaign regulated cannabis as a Schedule I drug and was so effective in its terror tactics that by 1989, 64% of Americans viewed drug abuse as the nation’s number one problem after climbing from a measly 2-6%.
Over the last three decades, there was a significant change in attitude towards cannabis due to various interlocking factors. After juxtaposition to modern calamities, the risk of cannabis was reassessed. Large-scale public skepticism of pain killers after opioid epidemics ravaged communities across the nation, potential financial opportunities afforded through the cannabis business, and the potential for many other unknown medical benefits of medicinal cannabis have all contributed to the legalization of cannabis.
As with many other topics of heated discussion, misinformation abounds on all sides of the argument; within the cannabis industry, in particular, heavy emphasis has been placed on education to counter opposition to legalization.
While there seems to be general support for legalizing cannabis in public opinion, this is not the case everywhere. In traditional media sources, such as news stations and newspapers, cannabis representation in media that is not nationwide can determine a territory’s overall attitude towards legalization.
Marijuana has been legal for more than five months, yet there’s still no cannabis industry set up in New York.
The governor and the legislative leaders still have to appoint the remaining members of the cannabis control board, which is a part of the newly formed Office of Cannabis Management.
The executive director of OCM, and the chairperson of the control board, have both been appointed and confirmed. But it’s unclear whether the remaining positions have been filled.
Here’s a breakdown of how the board works.
In comments submitted to Sens. Chuck Schumer, Cory Booker, and Ron Wyden on “The Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act,” the Cannabis Freedom Alliance applauded the proposed bill because it would accomplish “the overarching goal of legalizing the cultivation, manufacture, distribution and possession of marijuana products at the federal level.”
“The bill takes several important steps toward ending the criminalization of marijuana and the failed war on drugs,” said Adrian Moore, vice president of Reason Foundation, a member of the Cannabis Freedom Alliance’s steering committee. “We’re thankful the Cannabis Freedom Alliance and other groups have been given the opportunity to offer suggestions to improve this important bill.”
The Cannabis Freedom Alliance (CFA) praised elements of the bill’s criminal justice reforms but urged lawmakers to ensure there is more clarity on how agencies and courts should deal with expungements and individuals who are “currently detained for cannabis charges or convicted of such charges awaiting sentencing” because “forcing them to continue in the normal legal process and then later submit a motion for resentencing would be unjust.”
On hemp and farming, the CFA advised the senators to include “explicit statutory language designating raw cannabis as a full federal crop so that it is subject to similar rules and protections as other crops.”
The Cannabis Freedom Alliance also called on lawmakers to ensure any “marijuana product cultivated or manufactured in strict compliance with state regulatory frameworks be deemed acceptable by the FDA and other federal regulators to enter into interstate commerce…We recommend that the CAOA [The Cannabis Administration and Opportunity] expressly authorize the interstate trade of cannabis and cannabis products that already exist in the marketplace, including products in cultivation (to the extent not already covered by the CAOA’s transition provisions) and production, at the time of enactment of the CAOA, subject to existing state laws. The fundamental issue to be addressed is ensuring that state-lawful products that are already in the market can continue to be bought and sold, rather than deemed illegal immediately.”
Industry insiders are urging medical marijuana patients to raise objections after Missouri regulators told dispensaries this summer they couldn’t advertise cannabis sales.
In practice, the rule means companies aren’t allowed to spread the word on product discounts, including holiday specials, even though dispensaries are free to lower prices as they see fit.
The advertising restriction is an unconstitutional barrier to information for medical marijuana patients, business owners said in a full-page ad printed in September’s “The Evolution Magazine,” a cannabis-focused publication based and distributed in Missouri.
The ad asks readers to mail a prewritten postcard to Lyndall Fraker, director of the medical marijuana program, requesting that he rescind the rule because it “runs afoul of the department’s core mission.
“With more than 135 dispensaries now operating in Missouri, patients absolutely should be able to receive information about discounts, products, and events and should not be denied critical information,” the postcard said.
The storyline of the summer has been that House and Senate negotiators are close, closer — even very, very close — to having a deal on a medical marijuana program, for which Gov. Tate Reeves could call the Legislature into special session to pass.
But as summer slips toward fall, those mostly closed-door negotiations continue with scant details on the particulars or hang-ups, and… still no deal nor special session.
As the clock ticks, prospects for a special session before the January regular legislative session become less likely. And passage of a medical marijuana program during a busy regular session is far more politically arduous, perhaps even doubtful. Even current negotiations become endangered as time drags on — more chefs get in the kitchen, deals on particulars fall apart, the center cannot hold.
It would appear it’s time for lawmakers and Gov. Tate Reeves to fish or cut bait, as the saying goes, on a medical marijuana program to replace the one passed by voters but shot down by the state Supreme Court.
Getting busted for weed is no walk in the park. There’s the arrest, a slew of court dates, typically a conviction, and depending on the severity of the offense, a sentence that can come with prison time and hefty fines. Perpetuating the punishment is the difficulties one often experiences after getting out of the clink and back into productive society.
Companies can be cautious about hiring ex-cons and other people, who, on paper, appear to be questionable choices for an employee. However, one organization has taken a novel new approach to assist cannabis offenders in securing gainful employment: Help them find work on the legal side of weed.
A non-profit outfit out of Ohio called URC Grows recently banded together with Riviera Creek Holdings, which runs a bunch of medical marijuana dispensaries across the state to help those with cannabis convictions find jobs in the legal smoke sector. According to the program’s website, “URC Grows seeks to be different by providing an Ohio Department of Education Approved Certification, in three focused areas. We will also provide entrepreneurial development services and land for each entrepreneur to grow on, or employment in a URC operated grow facility.”
As many as 60% of ex-prisoners are unemployed one year after their release from prison, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. So, for some pot offenders, this program is both a hot ticket back to gainful employment and a chance to become a marijuana mogul. “This program will give them an opportunity to get back into the workforce,” Brian Kessler, chairman of Riviera Creek Holdings LLC, told The Business Journal.
“There were so many people that were jailed by this, and now that everyone is making money off something that they are already sitting in jail for, we want to give them an opportunity, everyone needs a second chance, and these are the things that they can do that were just natural to them that they will thrive in so why not give them this opportunity,” Dionne Dowdy, Executive Director of URC, told WFMJ.
Four appointments have been made to New York’s newly formed Cannabis Control Board and Office of Cannabis Management under New York Gov. Kathy Hochul.
SAVINO SAYS APPOINTEES SHOULD LEARN FROM OTHER STATES
Arrests on marijuana-related charges have fallen dramatically this summer in and around Virginia’s capital since a new law legalized possession of small amounts of pot and residents keeping a few cannabis plants, according to a newspaper report.
Twenty-five marijuana-related arrests occurred in Richmond and in Chesterfield, Hanover and Henrico counties in the first seven weeks after the law took effect July 1, compared to 257 arrrests during the same period last year, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported, citing local law enforcement data.
The law legalized possession by adults age 21 and over of up to 1 ounce of marijuana and the cultivation of four pot plants per household, among other decriminalization provisions. Selling marijuana remains illegal until the state lauches a regulated market in 2024 and issues licenses. A regulatory board will help carry out the details.
Marijuana enforcement hasn’t been a high priority for Richmond’s police department, during a time of high numbers of shootings and slayings, the newspaper reported.
ARAU (Bernama) - Universiti Malaysia Perlis (Unimap) has become the first public university in the country to conduct research on hemp (a member of the cannabis sativa plant) as an agricultural product with the potential of being economically developed in the future.
Its vice-chancellor, Professor Dr Zaliman Sauli said for that purpose, Unimap has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with a Kuala Lumpur-based company MyUS Hemphouse Sdn Bhd.
"Through the MoU, research and development can be carried out at UniMAP and focus will be given through Institut Agroteknologi Lestari (Insat) in Sungai Chuchuh, Padang Besar on an area of 0.8 hectares,” he said here, on Friday (Sept 10).
Zaliman signed the MoU on behalf of the university while while MyUS was represented by its chief executive officer Datuk Nellsen Young.
Unimap and MYUS will conduct research on hemp cultivation procedures and applications as well as focus on functional materials for agriculture especially organic farming to improve the country’s agricultural products.
The effort of using drones to spot illegal grows is supported by legal operators who can’t compete with illicit operations.
A dystopian reality of government-controlled drones hovering overhead is a reality for growers in Nevada County, California, but the effort to locate illegal operations is supported by local cannabis organizations such Nevada County Cannabis Alliance.
In many areas in California, growers have the challenge of competing with illicit operations amid an epic oversupply problem—driving some operators into the black market.
However, Nevada County officials aren’t playing anymore. According to officials, about one-third or 32 percent of cannabis-related complaints in the county couldn’t be locked gates, fences and other visual obstructions. County building director Craig Griesbach claims that two of those sites were linked to wildfires.
“One of the fire events happened during the Jones Fire of 2020, pulling air attack resources off the Jones Fire to address this concurrent threat to life and property,” Griesbach told The Union. “Cannabis-related violations, including generators that were not permitted on both sites, could have been verified with the use of (drone) technology and therefore mitigated before these fires started.”
A pilot program involving the use of drones to spot illegal cannabis grow operations is planned to kick off this spring in Nevada County, with the risk of wildfires as one of the justifications.
In response to a Georgia law allowing medical marijuana production and sales, Alpharetta plans to limit where dispensaries and facilities can operate in their city.
So far, no companies have applied to open dispensaries or production facilities in Alpharetta, but the city’s staff received an inquiry about potential marijuana business locations outside light industrial areas, Community Development Director Kathi Cook told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
“We want to follow approvals from the state,” Cook said. “When there’s new uses that come into the community, we have to make sure our code … keeps up with state regulations.”
The City Council is scheduled to consider the measure during its regular meeting on Sept. 27.
Cannabis breathalyzer company Hound Labs, Inc. has raised $20 million from a variety of cannabis investment groups. Investors in the company include Entourage Effect Capital (EEC), Intrinsic Capital, Benchmark, Icon Ventures, and Tuatara Capital. The company raised the funds in order to scale production of the HOUND MARIJUANA BREATHALYZER. Hound Labs says it has developed a patented and one-of-a-kind ultra-sensitive technology that is at the core of the company’s first commercial product.
“The groundbreaking breath testing technology created by Hound Labs provides a substantial competitive advantage to the Company,” said Dov Szapiro, Managing Partner at EEC. “The Hound Labs team has accomplished an impressive scientific achievement – precisely and consistently targeting one specific type of molecule out of the more than 3,500 different compounds found in breath. Not only are we excited about the immediate capabilities of the Hound breath technology to measure recent cannabis use, we are also excited about future applications that can detect pathogens such as SARS-CoV-2 or biomarkers for disease by changing the targeted compound.”
Cannabis use testing has been notoriously difficult. Unlike alcohol use, which is relatively easy to measure with traditional breathalyzers, cannabis consumers often show positive results long after actually consuming the product making traditional methods unreliable. Hound Labs says its product has been designed to isolate recent cannabis use by specifically measuring THC1 (the primary psychoactive ingredient in cannabis). The company noted that the ability to determine when an employee used cannabis is critical now that most adults in the U.S. can legally use recreational cannabis outside of work hours. While Amazon made news recently by saying it wouldn’t test employees for cannabis use, it specifically carved out drivers from that statement.
Hound Labs claims to be the only ultra-sensitive cannabis testing solution that identifies recent use that correlates with the window of impairment, allowing employers to keep employees who might otherwise test positive via conventional cannabis tests of oral fluid, urine, and hair.
“In order to manage our supply chain and meet demand for inventory, we have been reaching out to employers on our Wait List to understand the volumes required for our commercial units in 2022,” stated Dr. Mike Lynn, CEO of Hound Labs. “The response has been incredible. We are negotiating multi-million-dollar contracts with companies from a variety of industries who want to secure HOUND MARIJUANA BREATHALYZERS ahead of our 1Q22 commercial launch.”
Rudolph Petersen faces up to 10 years in federal prison for allegedly taking the bribes.
One corrupt police officer in California who pleaded guilty to accepting bribes spun a web of lies and deception worthy of a Breaking Bad episode.
On September 7, Rudolph Petersen, 34, pleaded guilty to a federal bribery charge for accepting at least $14,000 in cash from a drug trafficker in exchange for escorting massive shipments of pot and other drugs, and searching a police database to supply the trafficker information on suspected snitches, according to a press release from the U.S. Department of Justice.
Petersen, who served as a Montebello Police Department for about four years, solicited and received several large-sum cash bribes from an alleged gang member and drug trafficker, according to his plea agreement. Prosecutors say Petersen admitted to taking a total of $14,000 in cash bribes since 2018—mostly for transporting a U-Haul filled with weed and sniffing out people suspected of cooperating with other police.
Peterson was the guy on the inside, who had access to sensitive information about plea deals and the individuals involved.
Federal prosecutors say a drug trafficker, identified only as “co-schemer 2,” told Petersen he’d be placed “on his payroll” during a dinner in 2018, and gave him $500 through a middle man.