WeedLife News Network

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

Missouri cop trying to help duck and ducklings cross busy highway busts driver for pot

Man in a skunky-smelling car pulled up right behind cruiser parked on side of roadway

A Missouri driver is likely questioning his decision to pull up behind a parked cruiser after a cop sniffed out a suspiciously skunky smell coming from his vehicle and busted him for illegal cannabis.

While on patrol earlier this month, an officer with the Smithville Police Department (SPD) spied a mama duck and her ducklings trying to cross Highway 169, according to a police statement.

Presumably wanting to serve and protect, the officer activated the patrol car lights to slow any traffic and allow time for the family to complete its treacherous trek.

However, the duck apparently changed her mind. While parked on the side of the highway to make sure the duck family made it back into the adjacent tree line, a vehicle pulled over behind the officer, SPD reports.

A short video clip posted by police shows the officer approaching the duck family in his vehicle as they safely make their way to the trees and out of harm’s way.

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SAFE Banking Act dropped from China competition bill

A bill to allow financial services to businesses in the legal cannabis industry was dropped from a China competition bill after passing in the House of Representatives but failing to gain the approval of Senate negotiators.

Federal legislation that would permit financial institutions to provide banking services to legal cannabis businesses has been dropped from a bill designed to foster competition with China, marking the sixth time the cannabis banking provisions have failed to gain the approval of the U.S. Senate after being passed by the House of Representatives.

Known as the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act, the legislation would have permitted banks and other financial institutions to serve companies in the legal cannabis industry. Under current regulations, providing traditional banking services such as loans and payroll, checking and deposit accounts is tightly regulated by the federal government, resulting in few financial institutions agreeing to work with marijuana businesses. Critics note that the current policy forces cannabis companies to operate primarily in cash, leaving the businesses vulnerable to crime.

The SAFE Banking Act was first introduced in Congress by Democratic Rep. Ed Perlmutter of Colorado in 2013. Since then, the House of Representatives has passed the bill six times as either a standalone bill or attached to other legislation. But the measure has failed to gain the approval of the Senate.

Most recently, the House approved provisions of the SAFE Banking Act in February as part of the America Creating Opportunities for Manufacturing, Pre-Eminence in Technology, and Economic Strength Act of 2022 (America COMPETES Act), a bill to support U.S. manufacturing and improve competitiveness with China. But on Thursday, Punchbowl News reported that the cannabis banking provisions have been dropped from the latest version of the COMPETES Act, which is currently in conference committee with House and Senate lawmakers. The report noted that the SAFE Act language had been dropped at the insistence of Republican negotiators.

“In the wake of the Senate’s inaction, people continue to be killed, businesses continue to be robbed, and employees and business owners in the cannabis industry continue to be excluded from the financial system,” Perlmutter, the lead sponsor of the SAFE Banking Act, said in a statement quoted by The Hill.

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Democrats are looking for a weed deal

As this Congress enters its final months, lawmakers warm to the idea of cannabis banking “plus.”

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer doesn’t have the votes to pass a sweeping marijuana decriminalization bill — despite repeatedly touting his support for ending federal prohibition.

That realization is leading Senate Democrats to look for a compromise on weed.

In interviews with more than a dozen lawmakers, staffers, advocates and lobbyists, all agreed that in recent weeks the tone has changed on Capitol Hill. Senators previously opposed to anything but a major marijuana decriminalization bill are slowly warming to another option: adding provisions to a broadly supported bill that would allow financial institutions to offer banking services to the cannabis industry, called the SAFE Banking Act.

The change in approach is driven in part by the fact that the clock is ticking on Democratic control of Congress — experts say the House will likely flip in November, and the Senate could join it. Despite the often-bipartisan nature of cannabis legislation, it does not enjoy strong support from GOP leadership in either chamber. So lawmakers involved in weed policy are looking more seriously at what they can accomplish in the last six months of this Congress.

“There’s a greater sense of urgency,” said Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), who has been trying to shepherd cannabis legislation through Congress for decades.

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U.S. Supreme Court rejects cases seeking workers’ comp for medical cannabis

The Supreme Court declined to hear two cases challenging Minnesota’s denial of workers’ compensation for medical pot used to treat work-related injuries.

The United States Supreme Court on Tuesday denied petitions to hear two cases challenging Minnesota’s refusal to allow coverage for medical cannabis through the state’s workers’ compensation program. In both cases, workers sought a review of the Minnesota Supreme Court’s decision finding that the federal Controlled Substances Act (CSA) supersedes state law, resulting in a denial of coverage for medicinal cannabis for the employees’ work-related injuries.

The Supreme Court invited the U.S. Department of Justice to file a brief in the case before making a decision. In its response, the Justice Department agreed with the Minnesota court that the CSA does preempt state law. But attorneys with the Justice Department also argued that the states have not adequately addressed the issue of federal preeminence and urged the Supreme Court to reserve judgment on evolving law.

The case was not the first time a state court had ruled on workers’ compensation coverage for medical pot. In 2014, the New Mexico Court of Appeals approved the reimbursement of claims for medicinal cannabis for work-related injuries. But rulings on similar cases in Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York and Minnesota have not been consistent. Courts in New Hampshire, New York, and New Jersey found that state law was not in conflict with the CSA and authorized workers’ compensation claims for medical cannabis. But in Maine, Massachusetts, and Minnesota, judges have ruled that federal law takes precedence.

Is the SCOTUS decision bad news?

Attorney Anne Davis, the co-founder of Bennabis Health, a company specializing in affordable medical cannabis access for patients, says that the Supreme Court’s decision to decline to hear the cases is not necessarily a negative outcome for patients.

“While I would’ve loved a decision by the federal government mandating that cannabis is in fact a covered benefit, [the court] deferring to the states could be good in the grand scheme of the industry,” Davis writes in an email to High Times. “The more that the Supreme Court defers to states’ rights, I think the more it helps our growing industry. If the federal government takes the hands-off approach and leaves it to states’ rights, that allows the cannabis industry to grow and expand.”

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Federal cannabis arrests jump 25% under Biden

After a dip during the peak of the pandemic in 2020, federal law enforcement agents and their partners arrested 25% more people for cannabis-related crimes in 2021, during the first year of the Biden Administration. 

But while a post-pandemic bump in arrests would have been fair to expect, the biggest jump in cannabis arrests in a decade was not. The nation’s oldest cannabis reform organization NORML noted the 6,606 marijuana-related arrests in 2021 represented the most since the 8,500 arrested in 2011. 

This followed Joe Biden’s February 2021 promise he would pursue decriminalization and mass expungements for people with prior cannabis convictions. A month after that promise, word got out that some staff may have been a little too honest with Joe about their past marijuana use, dozens of young White House staffers were asked to resign. So the hopes of cannabis policy reformers were squashed quickly, but the new soaring arrest numbers are certainly salt in the wound. 

2021 saw a similar bump in the amount of plants destroyed by the feds and partners, via the domestic eradication program. The 5.53 million cannabis plants destroyed represented 20% more plants than the previous year. 

California saw the most enforcement as usual. A total of 86% of plant seizures and 60% of arrests conducted by federal authorities happened in the Golden State. 

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The CLIMB Act seeks to boost cannabis industry financing and capital access

Today, Rep. Troy A. Carter, Sr., a Democrat from Louisiana, and Rep. Guy Reschenthaler, a Republican from Pennsylvania, introduced a new bill called The Capital Lending and Investment for Marijuana Businesses (CLIMB) Act. If passed and signed into law, The CLIMB Act could give a significant boost to a cannabis industry that is currently struggling with growing pains, a lack of access to capital, difficulty in obtaining banking and other standard business services, high taxes, and a consumer base feeling the sting of inflation and the potential for a looming recession. While The CLIMB Act will not resolve all the issues facing the cannabis industry, if passed, along with other pending legislation like the currently pending SAFE Banking Act (which addresses banking services to the cannabis industry), it could prove a welcome gust of wind into the sails of legal cannabis businesses. The CLIMB Act was expressly introduced “to permit access to community development, small business, minority development and any other public or private financial capital sources for investment in and financing of cannabis-related legitimate businesses.” The bill begins by providing a safe harbor to encourage this activity.

Saphira Galoob, Executive Director of the National Cannabis Roundtable, shares, “The CLIMB Act is critical because it provides state legal American businesses with traditional funding and support mechanisms for this emerging industry, which other domestic industries currently enjoy. The more financing sources available to cannabis businesses the better, particularly for entrepreneurs, small and minority-owned businesses that may otherwise face challenges in obtaining access to capital.”

In addition, the CLIMB Act provides a safe harbor for national securities exchanges, like the New York Stock Exchange, Nasdaq, and other securities market participants to list state legal cannabis operators that currently cannot list in the United States. Sander Zagzebski, a corporate and securities lawyer at Clark Hill and co-chair of its international cannabis practice group comments, “Cannabis companies have always struggled with access to capital, and the NYSE and Nasdaq will not list cannabis companies with U.S. operations because those operations continue to be illegal at the federal level. Because cannabis companies cannot list on U.S. exchanges, they generally list on the Canadian Securities Exchange and trade only on the OTC markets in the U.S. if at all, which significantly limits institutional support and contributes to increased volatility.”

The Climb Act comes at a time when publicly traded cannabis companies are seeing red. Zagzebski notes, “Publicly traded cannabis companies are trading at or near all-time lows. Thus, the CLIMB Act, if passed, could be a welcome shot in the arm for the entire industry, because it would provide access to U.S. exchanges for qualifying companies, would significantly increase liquidity from institutional investors, and would likely provide buoyancy to the entire industry, even smaller operators.”

As I, along with other cannabis industry insiders, are eagerly awaiting progress at the federal level, particularly through the pending SAFE Banking Act, we will all be paying close attention to how this newly introduced CLIMB Act is received on Capitol Hill.

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The economics of legal weed don't work

 

Ten years ago Colorado became the first state in the U.S. to fully legalize the recreational use of cannabis. Many other states followed, and several others already had sufficiently lax medical marijuana legislation, that now an estimated 40% of American adults can legally buy cannabis. Musicians, actors and sports stars have quickly jumped into the market with their own brands of weed, hoping to lure people who want to get high with a high-end product. Some of these—Willie Nelson, Snoop Dogg, Seth Rogen—are unsurprising. Others are less likely weedpreneurs, including Bella Thorne, Jaleel White—the actor who played Steve Urkel in Family Matters—and former NBA star Al Harrington. The newly legal industry was predicted to be a multibillion dollar business and a big tax revenue win for the states.

But it hasn’t been that simple, according to the authors of the new book Can Legal Weed Win?: The Blunt Realities of Cannabis Economics. The two economists from the University of California, Davis’s Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics found that the future of the legal cannabis business, hampered by regulation, competition and standard agricultural issues, is a bit hazy. TIME spoke to the authors, Daniel Sumner—who is also a former assistant secretary of economics at the U.S. Department of Agriculture—and Robin Goldstein, who is also the author of a controversial bestselling guide to wine, The Wine Trials.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

Not quite half of American adults can now buy weed legally. How’s business going?

Daniel Sumner: It’s been tough. There’s still a whole lot of illegal weed out there available to that same group of consumers, and most of them choose the illegal product because it’s half the price. Also, they have been consuming the product for the last 20 to 40 years; they’ve been dealing with this guy who knows a guy and they’re reasonably happy with the product.

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Switzerland to lift ban on medical cannabis

 

Government officials in Switzerland are moving forward with plans to loosen restrictions for medical weed patients.

The Switzerland government announced on June 22 that it will lift the ban on medical cannabis, as according to an amendment to the Swiss Narcotics Act that parliament approved in March 2021. According to Agence France Presse, the government “intends to facilitate access to cannabis for medical use for patients.”

“The decision to use a cannabis-based medicine for therapeutic purposes will rest with the doctor, in consultation with the patient,” the government said of the amendment. As of August 1, patients will no longer be required to obtain permission from the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH). However, adult-use cannabis sale and consumption will still remain illegal.

In Switzerland, medical cannabis is only allowed for patients with a doctor’s approval, or previously required approval from the FOPH. However, medical cannabis is still only allowed if the medicine contains less than 1% THC, and is licensed. Currently, only Sativex is approved for prescription to patients.

The country’s federal public law institution, Swissmedic, which is responsible for both “authorization and supervision of therapeutic products” including cocaine, methadone, and morphine could eventually be directed to manage the cannabis industry going forward.

Back in 2019, FOPH issued approximately 3,000 authorizations for cannabis patients suffering from a wide variety of medical conditions. However, the FOPH described this process as “tedious administrative procedures.” “Sick people must be able to access these medicines without excessive bureaucracy,” it stated.

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New Yorkers attempt to clear names for plant that is now legal

Programs are in place to clear certain types of cannabis records in New York, but lawyers worry the state isn’t going far enough.

As adult-use cannabis thrives in New York, some residents say their lives are still ruined due to past cannabis convictions that haunt their records. While programs are in place to clear certain types of records, lawyers worry the state isn’t doing enough.

The Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA) passed last year, and under the MRTA, certain people can ask the court to vacate their convictions if they are experiencing “severe or ongoing consequences related to either their conviction or the sentence,” according to the law.

To date, the state expunged or suppressed search results for nearly 400,000 cannabis-related convictions. Plus last March, the New York State Cannabis Control Board voted unanimously to propose regulations to allow the first couple hundred retail licenses to be given to people convicted of cannabis-related crimes.

Still, certain cases are being denied by county district attorney offices in the state. On June 22, Syracuse.com and NY Cannabis Insider profiled some New York cases involving people who are still trying to clear their name but not finding any luck. In some cases, small details such as the amount of cannabis can make all the difference in the expungement process.

Lawyers say everyone with a cannabis-related conviction faces “severe or ongoing consequences.”

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Are marijuana laws causing supply chain issues? Yes, say truck drivers in legal states

Strict drug testing policies add to a shortage of drivers.

There is a serious truck driver shortage in the US in 2022 fueled by inflation and the pandemic. And for truck drivers who enjoy the benefits of marijuana, there is another speed bump: draconian Federal marijuana laws.

Commercial truck drivers are required to take randomized drug tests. But many who are marijuana users fail those tests because cannabis shows up in drug tests days or weeks after use.

This has kept truck drivers off the road and off cannabis, including those who live in legal states and use marijuana for recreational or medical purposes during their off-hours.

As one Alabama trucking company wrote to the Department of Transportation, according to Politico:

"Drivers who are off duty or even on vacation for a week can't enjoy marijuana in a legal state."

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Texas Republican Party policies include opposition to cannabis legalization

 

A recent gathering of the Texas State Republican Party issued a number of platform stances on multiple topics, including cannabis.

The 2022 Texas State Republican Convention was held last week between June 16-18 for the first time in-person since 2018. There, the party voted to establish 275 platform planks, or principal policies of the Republican party, to address a multitude of agenda topics.

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Beto O’Rourke posted on Twitter some of the “extreme agenda” among these planks as: “abolish abortion, defund public schools, take away health care, repeal gun laws, deny voting rights, reject marijuana legalization.”

The Report of the Permanent 2022 Platform & Resolutions Committee policy list briefly addresses cannabis, marijuana, hemp and synthetic drugs.

It only mentions cannabis once, which is described as “Cannabis Classification: Congress should remove cannabis from the list of Schedule 1 and move to Schedule 2.”

However, it also uses the term marijuana as well. “Marijuana Remains Illegal: Oppose the legalization of recreational marijuana and offer opportunities for drug treatment before penalties for its illegal possession, use, or distribution.”

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Department of justice no longer interested in marijuana crimes in America?

Attorney General Merrick Garland said that Department of Justice resources are not put to the best use prosecuting marijuana-related offenses whether or not states have cannabis legalization laws on the books.

Could the DOJ make some waves with a cannabis reform announcement soon? According to Seeking Alpha and Marijuana Moment, Attorney General Merrick Garland clarified the department’s stance on prosecuting cannabis crimes in legal and non-legal states. He says the department’s resources are better spent on violent crimes and actions that harm society more than cannabis.

Seeking Alpha summarized Garland’s released interview:

Attorney General Merrick Garland said that Department of Justice resources are not put to the best use prosecuting marijuana-related offenses whether or not states have cannabis legalization laws on the books.Garland, who appeared before a Senate subcommittee in April where marijuana issues were brought up, made the comments as part of written responses to Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii). Marijuana Moment first reported Garland’s responses.Garland noted that the department’s resources are better spent on “violent crimes and other crimes that cause societal harm and endanger our communities.”The attorney general also indicated that DOJ may be tackling marijuana issues more generally soon. 

 “The Department is examining a range of issues that relate to marijuana and its production, sale, and use, and we intend to address these issues in the days ahead.”

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Cannabis has pretty much found its way into every corner off the globe……

2022 has been a banner year for the global cannabis industry and this is a trend that we are bullish on. So far this year, several countries have passed some form of legislation to allow for the sale of medical and/or recreational cannabis.

Interest in burgeoning international cannabis markets is steadily increasing and this trend has shown no signs of slowing down. From Thailand to Mexico, the capital markets are highly focused on the advancement of the cannabis industry in certain countries and have highlighted 5 emerging international markets that our readers should be aware of. (Technical 420)

Ukraine wants medical cannabis to support mental health

Although legal cannabis is one of the least significant topics of discussion in Ukraine as a war with Russia continues to escalate, the country’s Health Minister Viktor Liashko said the government supports a bill that would legalize medical cannabis. 

Ukraine’s Health Minister said the government understands the negative effects that war has on mental health and that citizens will need medical treatment to combat the increased stress. The legislation intends to improve the quality of medical services and encourage medical research on cannabis. Health Minister Liashko said those who do not support the bill want to discredit the idea of the use of medical cannabis.

Is Germany about to legalize recreational cannabis?

Following a regime change in Germany, we are more confident on the likelihood for the legalization of recreational cannabis in the European Union’s (EU) largest market (as measured by GDP). With a population of 82 million, we are bullish on the potential size of the country’s cannabis market and have noticed an increase in the number of companies that are executing on a strategy to capture market share in the EU’s largest market.

During the last year, several licensed Canadian and Latin American cannabis companies have reported a significant uptick in the amount of medical cannabis that is being exported to Germany. Going forward, we expect demand for cannabis to steadily increase and believe the legalization of recreational cannabis would be a massive catalyst for the entire sector. 

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Connecticut’s marijuana workplace rules will soon go into effect: Is your workplace ready

Recreational marijuana use was made legal in Connecticut nearly a year ago. Now, starting on July 1st, the work-related provisions of the state’s marijuana law will go into effect. According to these workplace-related provisions, employers are required to have an updated drug-free workplace policy. This policy must include rules that govern pre-employment drug testing as well as accommodations for employees that have medical marijuana cards. Additionally, the law does allow employees to sue employers who allegedly violate this law. These new provisions limit an employer’s ability to penalize a job applicant or employee for a positive marijuana test. Although the law does contain a lot of protections for employers. Employers just need to remember that marijuana is now a legal drug that has the ability to impair, such as alcohol. 

Recreational marijuana use was made legal in Connecticut nearly a year ago. Now, starting on July 1st, the work-related provisions of the state’s marijuana law will go into effect. According to these workplace-related provisions, employers are required to have an updated drug-free workplace policy. This policy must include rules that govern pre-employment drug testing as well as accommodations for employees that have medical marijuana cards. Additionally, the law does allow employees to sue employers who allegedly violate this law.

There are a number of industries that are exempt from this law, such as manufacturing and construction. Additionally, the law does not apply to firefighters, police, jobs that have been funded by federal grants, jobs for which federal funding is required, jobs in which the driver is required by law to be tested for drugs, or jobs that the employer determines could adversely affect the health and safety of the public or employees.

One Connecticut state representative has been an opponent of the law and believes that this law will bring safety issues to the workplace, such as in fast-food restaurants where deep fryers are used. She stated that there are many jobs that can’t be done while stoned and that several groups, such as the chiefs of police, pediatrics, and AAA, also believe this law is a bad idea. She is also concerned about the difficulty employers will have learning the new rules that are a part of the law, which is 300 pages long.

The Responsible and Equitable Regulation of Adult-Use Cannabis Act allows adults who are 21 and older to purchase and possess up to 1.5 ounces of marijuana or as much as 5 ounces locked in their home or the glove compartment of their car. There are many applicants trying to obtain licenses to grow, sell, and transport marijuana now that it is legal.

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Arizona lawmakers will vote on bill to protect medical marijuana consumers, here's what's in it

A bill advancing through the Arizona legislature will ensure that cannabis customers are getting what they paid for, reported Phoenix New Times.

House Bill 2050 would require the Department of Health Services to collaborate with an outside laboratory to check whether medical and recreational dispensaries are selling what they claim. The measure, sponsored by Phoenix Republican Rep. Justin Wilmeth, passed earlier this week on a 25-2 margin, requires the DHS to grant nonprofit medical dispensary licenses in counties where dispensaries are more than 25 miles apart. While the legislation is mostly focused on ensuring more rigorous marijuana testing, it also addresses the number of cannabis dispensaries in the state. Sen. David Gowan, R-Sierra Vista said voters wanted to see dispensaries in each of Arizona’s 15 counties when MMJ was first approved in back in 2010. A 2019 law sought to ensure that by directing the health department to issue new licenses in any county that didn't have one.  (Benzinga)

 

Arizona & cannabis legalization Efforts

In the meantime, results of a recent poll demonstrate a promising shift in opinion on federal cannabis reform in the Grand Canyon state.

The survey, conducted by Change Research, found that nearly 70% of registered voters in Arizona, as well as  Utah and West Virginia support federal cannabis legalization and want their senators to vote in favor of federal reform this year.

A majority of Arizona voters voted "yes" for recreational cannabis and approved Proposition 207 in 2020 as part of the five-state green wave that occurred in last November's elections. Since then, the state has stood out from the pack by quickly implementing and launching its adult-use market in February 2021.

 

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Let’s talk about sexism, baby!

There are jokes in here, I promise.

Before I landed in my current vocation of writing about weed, I worked so many different jobs that it’s a joke amongst my friends. I was a deckhand on a salmon tender for four glorious summers in Alaska. I was a tequila shot slinger on the dancefloor of a nightclub in London. I got really good at putting a condom on a banana when I toured high schools to talk to teens about safe sex. I acted in plays—a favorite of mine involved me dancing with my dead husband’s ashes in an urn. I’ve been a production assistant, data entry clerk, server, nanny, dog walker… Basically, since I left home at 16, I’ve done whatever it takes to pay the bills. I landed a job writing about weed at this publication over a decade ago, and since then, I’ve been fortunate to make a living by covering cannabis culture, trends, and news.

I’ve gotta say, of all the industries I’ve worked in, the weed industry has been the most frustrating when it comes to something that is going to make some of you grit your teeth—in my experience, it’s a deeply unpopular topic. I’m gonna go for it anyway.

Ok, so, guys, sexism and misogyny! Ugh, it’s exhausting. Let’s call it S&M to be more fun! Listen though, this is real: no matter how much S&M makes you roll your eyes, it’s something we need to talk about, because it’s getting worse.

We’re living in a tense time in every regard, at every level of society. It can feel relentless. I can trace my perpetual anxiety about things being fucked back to November 8, 2016—the night that California voters legalized cannabis for adult use. I was new to L.A., and I was proud to cover the election results for High Times. And we all know the other major news from that night: ye olde pussy-grabber Donald Trump won the presidency. And a ton of people in the cannabis community celebrated his win! I was gobsmacked, along with millions of women around the country.

For the next four years, we got stories like “Why President Trump Is Positioned To Be Marijuana’s Great Savior.” Well, let the record show that Trump’s attorney general Jeff Sessions unleashed federal prosecutors by rescinding the Cole Memo, his treasury secretary Steve Mnuchin refused to protect banks doing business with the cannabis industry, and zero federal reform took place on DJT’s watch.

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What the Court’s treatment of Roe and a workers’ compensation case reveal about President Biden’s approach to cannabis

The leaked opinion overturning Roe, combined with a largely unknown workers’ compensation case pending before the Supreme Court, reveal the Biden administration’s position on cannabis: The Biden administration doesn’t care about cannabis issues. Or is it that the Biden administration cares so much about cannabis issues to leave them in the hands of the current judiciary? Or something in the middle?

The Immediate Future of Roe

Regardless of your opinion on the correctness or wisdom of Roe v. Wade, the possibility that it may be overturned as reflected in the recently leaked opinion represents a potential sea change in the Court’s jurisprudence. It further represents the current Court’s willingness to take strong and decisive opinions on matters of broad political and cultural significance.

Cannabis is certainly one of those issues that sits at the intersection of law and order, popular opinion, and individual liberty. 

So, what does Roe have to do with the Biden administration’s approach to cannabis? Stay with us: In the words of Andy Dufresne, if you’ve come this far, maybe you’re willing to come a little further.

Why are you reading about a workers’ compensation case?

This Spring the Court has received briefing in a case presenting the question of whether the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) preempts an order under a Minnesota workers’ compensation law requiring an employer to reimburse an injured employee for the cost of medical marijuana used to treat a work-related injury. Specifically, the petitioner, Daniel Bierbach, sustained a work-related injury that required surgery and physical therapy. Bierbach was certified as suffering from intractable pain, which is a qualifying medical condition under Minnesota’s Cannabis Act. Bierbach subsequently purchased marijuana in accordance with the act and sought reimbursement from his employer. After the company refused the reimbursement on both state law and federal-preemption grounds, a state workers’ compensation judge held an evidentiary hearing and sided with Bierbach. The Minnesota Supreme Court reversed, holding that the federal CSA preempted state law. Bierbach petitioned the Supreme Court for review of the decision.

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Michigan bill would allow people under 21 to work in weed industry

Committee members raised questions about the risk that younger workers could begin consuming cannabis.

The Michigan House Committee on Regulatory Reform held a hearing of testimonies on Tuesday about allowing people younger than 21, but at least 18 to work in the cannabis industry in Michigan, reported Fox47News. Currently, employees at adult-use dispensaries and cultivation facilities must be 21 or older. State Rep. Kevin Coleman (Democratic Party) is trying to change this.  “People have to be 21 to work in cannabis and that doesn’t matter if it’s on the science aspect, cultivation, marketing, sales, so House Bill 6061 is simple, what it does is it would lower the age from 21 to 18,” Rep. Coleman said during his testimony. One of his arguments for pushing this change is a shortage of cannabis workers. “We have folks, young people, who are in these college programs or who are trying to start their careers off, who are unable to get involved in the industry because they might be 18, 19, or 20. We want to give young people the opportunity to learn on the job,” Coleman said. (Benzinga)

Committee members raised questions about the risk that younger workers could begin consuming cannabis. Micah M. Siegal, who testified on behalf of a Lansing-based marijuana retailer, Pure Options, argued that the risk for that is low.

“Our products are extraordinarily regulated, and the transactions we engage in are always on camera. Because of this regulatory oversight, the risk of diversion of the product to minors is minimal,” Siegal said.

The bill remained in committee.

 

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Dems eye marijuana bill as vehicle for justice measures

Senate Democrats are eyeing a cannabis banking bill that has bipartisan support as a potential vehicle for long-sought restorative justice measures.  

Prominent Democrats have been pushing to pass the SAFE Banking Act, which would enable legally operating cannabis firms to use banking services, as part of a larger China competition package being conferenced in both the House and Senate. The bill was included in House Democrats’ competition bill passed earlier this year, but not in the bipartisan Senate-passed version. 

Supporters of the banking bill say it’s urgently needed to stop a surge of violent robberies targeting cash-only pot dispensaries. But the measure, which has passed the House six times in recent years, has had trouble securing passage in the Senate due to resistance from both sides of the aisle, though for different reasons.  

Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) told The Hill that Democrats are working to add social equity measures to the bill, which is backed by members of both parties. 

“We’re trying to add some of the social justice provisions and see if we can come up with a compromise,” Schumer said.  

A separate bill to legalize marijuana is also backed by Democrats, but it appears unlikely to notch enough support from Senate Republicans to clear a 60-vote procedural hurdle. 

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Brazil Supreme Court authorizes citizens to grow medicinal cannabis

The Sixth Panel of the Superior Court of Justice of Brazil authorized three people to grow marijuana for medicinal purposes, reported O Antagonista.

“The Superior Court of Justice decided Tuesday, June 14 to grant two safe conducts that advance the regulation of artisanal marijuana cultivation in Brazil.” (Benzinga)

The case should serve as a precedent for lower courts and the advance of cannabis legalization in the potentially huge market of 200 million people. The decision contemplates the use of cannabidiol (CBD) for personal use and allows marijuana cultivation only for medicinal purposes, with a prescription. In addition, this gives home growers a legal precedent that can evolve into more comprehensive legislation as in the case of Argentina, where hemp and medicinal cannabis production are already legally produced in the country.

The use of medical marijuana was legalized in Brazil in 2015, but until now patients could only obtain imported medicinal cannabis products with strict authorization from ANVISA (National Sanitary Surveillance Agency). In 2019, Brazil became the third Latin American country to regulate the sale of medical marijuana products after Uruguay and Colombia.

Manufacturers have to import the semi-finished product and can only operate after receiving a special certificate from ANVISA. The importation of whole plants is still prohibited.

CBD products and those containing less than 0.2% THC can be prescribed normally. Products with 0.2% THC or more can only be prescribed for terminal patients or in cases where the patient is not responding to traditional treatments.

Brazil Moves Toward Cannabis Legalization
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