Biden-Sanders task force comes short of calling to legalize marijuana

The camps of presumed 2020 Democratic Party nominee Joe Biden and former rival Sen. Bernie Sanders have come together to hammer out joint policy recommendations to unite the moderate and progressive wings of the party — but marijuana was one issue they could not agree on.

Sanders vowed to legalize marijuana via executive order on his first day in office. Biden, however, has been reluctant to call for legalizing pot.

As a compromise, the “Unity Task Force” instead calls for rescheduling the drug and decriminalizing its use, legalizing it at the federal level only for medical use.

The difference is this: Decriminalization would only relax penalties for marijuana use and possession. Full legalization would open the doors for marijuana to be regulated and taxed on the federal level.

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Pennsylvania Lt. Governor Urges Cannabis Legalization To Address Budget Deficit

Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman is urging state lawmakers to legalize the adult use of cannabis as a way to reduce the impact of a looming budget deficit. The state faces a budget shortfall of $3.2 billion, largely as a result of the continuing COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on the economy.

Fetterman took to Twitter last week, calling for the legalization of marijuana as a path to new tax revenue for the state and reform of the state’s penal system as a way to realize budget cost savings.

“I don’t know who needs to hear this jk I know who—but earnestly reforming our state prison system + legalization of marijuana could generate half of this COVID-19 deficit,” Fetterman tweeted on July 2. “It would, however, could have other unintended consequences like justice and personal freedom.”

Read more at High Times

New York looked poised to legalize marijuana in 2020. Then COVID struck. Here’s what is next

Count legal marijuana in New York among the victims of COVID-19, along with the hundreds of millions in tax dollars and thousands of jobs legalization might have generated.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said on the last day of March that the state’s spring legislative session was “effectively over” after several state lawmakers tested positive for the coronavirus.

They came back in June to address COVID-related issues, but didn’t address other outstanding issues.

Among the unfinished items Cuomo said would have to wait until next year was the legalization of marijuana for adult recreational use. Of the eight other states that were poised to legalize pot this year, only three appeared on track for legal weed in 2020.

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Psychedelic mushroom legalization moves closer to appearing on Oregon ballot

A push to legalize the use of psychedelic mushrooms in therapeutic settings is one step closer to appearing on the Oregon ballot in November, The Oregonian reported.

The Oregon Psilocybin Therapy Initiative announced this week that it has received the necessary amount of signatures for the measure to appear on the ballot.

Election officials will now work to verify whether the 164,782 signatures collected are valid.

Psilocybin is currently listed as a Schedule 1 drug at the federal level, meaning the U.S. government has determined it has “a high potential for abuse” and “no currently accepted medical treatment use in the U.S.”

The Oregon campaign, known as Initiative Petition (IP) #34, would legalize the use of psychedelic mushrooms in controlled doses when administered by professionals in the state.

Read more at MSN.

Why We Might See a Wave of Cannabis Legalization in 2021

The coronavirus pandemic has slowed a number of states’ efforts to legalize recreational cannabis, at least in the near term. However, it could have the opposite effect in 2021.

In an article on Barrons.com, Barron’s report Connor Smith says as many as 16 states had initially planned to include cannabis legalization issues on their ballots for the fall 2020 election. COVID-19 may have slowed that down this year, but with many states facing budget shortfalls thanks to major shutdowns in the spring, the potential tax revenues from legal cannabis could make it a major focus in 2021.

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Workers collect cannabis legalization, tax hike initiative signatures outside Trump rally

Several workers employed by a company hired to collect signatures for ballot initiatives that seek to increase taxes, legalize recreational cannabis and permit the early release of prisoners convicted of non-violent offenses donned MAGA hats and worked the crowds at President Donald Trump’s campaign rally Tuesday in Phoenix.

The workers, employed by Phoenix-based Petition Partners, were spread about the crowd outside of the Dream City Church, where Trump spoke to about 3,000 young conservatives.

Petition Partners and the Arizona Education Association, supporters of the tax hike initiative, were not immediately available to comment about the petition gatherers working the rally.

One signature gatherer, Sabrina Johnson, showed her petitions for the Second Chances, Rehabilitation and Public Safety Act; the Smart and Safe Arizona Act; and the Invest in Education Act.

When asked about the education initiative, she said it was simply “to help teachers in Arizona.”

Keep reading at the Washington Examiner.

State legislators seek kratom meeting with FDA commissioner

In a letter to FDA’s commissioner, Dr. Stephen Hahn, lawmakers from four states suggested it would be a “fool’s game” for the agency to try to keep kratom from consumers.

Four lawmakers from Arizona, Georgia, Utah and Nevada who sponsored kratom legislation in their states have requested a meeting with the top official of FDA—an agency that has long raised concerns about the safety of the botanical from Southeast Asia.

Positions held by FDA related to kratom and another botanical ingredient—CBD—were adopted long before Dr. Stephen Hahn was appointed commissioner, the lawmakers wrote to Hahn in a June 8 letter.

Read more at Natural Products Insider.

CDC flooded with comments on marijuana and kratom as alternative painkillers ahead of deadline

Federal regulators looking into pain management options at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have received hundreds of comments related to medical marijuana and more than 1,000 about kratom.

The federal agency’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control is looking for input on “individual stakeholder’s values and preferences related to pain and pain management options,” it said in an e-mail last week.

“Through this opportunity, CDC is seeking stakeholders’ perspectives on and experiences with pain and pain management, including, but not limited to, the benefits and harms of opioid use,” it said. “CDC invites input specifically on topics focused on using or prescribing opioid pain medications, non-opioid medications, or non-pharmacological treatments (e.g., exercise therapy or cognitive behavioral therapy).”

Read more at MSN.

Is CBD Legal In Missouri?

What is CBD Oil?
CBD is shorthand for Cannabidiol, an extract from hemp (and sometimes marijuana) plants that boasts a variety of healing properties and has been rapidly popularized across the United States in recent years. It is a powerful anti-inflammatory and can be used for a variety of conditions and ailments, including epilepsy, anxiety, and chronic pain.

While CBD oil will usually have a minor trace of THC present, it will not produce the same psychoactive effects produced by marijuana extracts. Currently, only CBD extracted from hemp plants is permitted for cultivation and purchase by the federal government.

Is CBD Legal In Missouri? Find out at The Weed Blog…

“We’re criminalizing a generation,” says one of South Dakota’s marijuana-legalization leaders

Leaders of ballot measures to legalize marijuana for medical and recreational uses in South Dakota rolled out for reporters a list of 50 people endorsing their efforts Wednesday.

Brendan Johnson, a past U.S. attorney for South Dakota, is sponsor of Constitutional Amendment A. It would allow people who were at least age 21 to use South Dakota-grown marijuana, or to grow, transport or distribute it in South Dakota to people who are at least 21.

A 15 percent excise tax on sales would be levied to pay for regulation by the state Department of Revenue, with any excess revenue to be split between state aid to public schools and state government’s general fund. The Legislature could adjust the rate after November 3, 2024.

Marijuana remains illegal under federal law.

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Monroe County supervisors rescind ban on kratom

A countywide ban of the herbal product kratom put in place last spring was lifted Monday morning following a 3-2 vote by the Monroe County Board of Supervisors to rescind it.

A delegation of citizens, business owners and advocates of kratom made impassioned pleas for the supervisors to overturn the countywide ban on the controversial supplement for treating chronic pain.

Supervisors met for half an hour in executive session before going back into open session to take the vote. Supervisors Joseph Richardson, B.R. Richey and Rubel West voted in favor of rescinding the ban, while Fulton Ware and Hosea Bogan voted to keep it in force.

Representatives from the Crime and Addiction Task Force of the Lowndes County Foundation requested for the previous administration of supervisors to pass the ban last March, making it the seventh county in the region to approve a kratom ban.

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Meet the Vermont marijuana legalization advocate running for the office of ‘high bailiff’

The irony is not lost on Dave Silberman. The Vermont-based drug policy advocate and lawyer who has been working for years to reform the state’s marijuana laws is running for the office of … high bailiff.

No, really. In Vermont, each county elects a high bailiff whose singular responsibility is to arrest the sheriff if they engage in unlawful conduct. Silberman wants to occupy that position in Addison County — and he plans to use it as a platform to advance bold reforms, including legalizing all drugs.

The candidate recently spoke to Marijuana Moment about the need to have a person challenging the status quo — rather than someone in law enforcement, as is typically the case for high bailiffs — assume the role.

Read more at the Boston Globe

Get Ready for Pharmaceutical-Grade Magic Mushroom Pills

In 1955, a bank executive and a New York society photographer found themselves in a thatch-roofed adobe home in a remote village in the Mazateca mountains. Gordon Wasson, then a vice president at J.P. Morgan, had been learning about the use of mushrooms in different cultures, and tracked down a Mazatec healer, or curandera, named María Sabina. Sabina, about 60 at the time, had been taking hallucinogenic mushrooms since she was a young child . She led Wasson and the photographer, Allan Richardson, through a mushroom ceremony called the velada.

“We chewed and swallowed these acrid mushrooms, saw visions, and emerged from the experience awestruck,” Wasson wrote in a Life magazine article, “Seeking the Magic Mushroom.” “We had come from afar to attend a mushroom rite but had expected nothing so staggering as the virtuosity of the performing curanderas and the astonishing effects of the mushrooms.”

Read more at VICE

Cannabis Legalization Is Key To Economic Recovery, Much Like Ending Alcohol Prohibition Helped Us Out Of The Great Depression

Our nation is in the midst of the greatest crisis in generations, with the Covid-19 pandemic impacting Americans’ physical and emotional well-being, while plummeting the nation’s economy into the worst economic downturn in our lifetimes. As the country begins what is likely to be a slow climb out of economic morass, federal, state, and local governments will be looking for new sources of revenue to replenish dwindling budgets and provide jobs to millions of Americans who find themselves out of work.

The situation is reminiscent of what the country faced during the Great Depression nearly 100 years ago. At that time, one of the government’s solutions was to end its 13-year experiment with alcohol prohibition. Today, the very same factors that caused the government to pull the plug on alcohol prohibition should result in the final nail in the coffin of the country’s much longer standing but equally unjust policy of marijuana prohibition.

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Cannabis and COVID-19: Pandemic’s Impact on Legalization and Legislation

By early 2020, marijuana had made tremendous strides toward legalization—for either medicinal or recreational purposes—in most states and even implicit federal recognition in the form of safe-harbor legislation for insurers and banks conducting business with the cannabis sector. But then COVID-19 struck, and progress predictably slowed. Nonetheless, unintended effects of the global pandemic may ultimately usher in a new wave of legalization and protection for marijuana businesses and the insurers and banks who work with them.

Jan. 1 marked the first day of adult-use marijuana sales in Illinois, the latest state to legalize marijuana for adults and the first to provide a comprehensive legal blueprint in the form of legislation that addresses everything from taxation to social justice. In all, at the beginning of 2020, medical marijuana was legal in 33 states, and another 11 had legalized recreational adult use, with several other states—most notably, New York and New Jersey—making a big push to do the same, despite marijuana’s continued illegal status at the federal level.

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Can CBD Companies Secure Federal Trademark Protection?

With the growing popularity of hemp-derived cannabidiol (hemp CBD) products in e-commerce, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has seen a significant influx of trademark applications used in association with CBD goods. However, many of these applications have been denied by the USPTO. This article briefly addresses the reasons for these denials and discusses the trademark protections currently available to the industry.

To secure federal trademark registration, a mark’s use in commerce must be lawful under federal law.

Although the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018 (the 2018 Farm Bill) legalized the production of hemp and hemp derivatives, including hemp CBD, by removing hemp from the Controlled Substances Act’s definition of marijuana, the new law did not legalize the production of hemp CBD products. Instead, the 2018 Farm Bill expressly preserved the FDA’s authority to regulate these products under the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (FDCA).

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D.C. ‘magic mushrooms’ petition to be signed online, by mail

Advocates for decriminalizing “magic mushrooms” and other psychoactive plants are asking D.C. voters to sign a petition online or by mail to put Initiative 81 on November’s ballot.

Decriminalize Nature D.C., the nonprofit behind the decriminalization effort, first will send 10,000 petitions to D.C. voters to sign and return by mail or email. Depending on the response to the first 10,000 mailers, the campaign intends to send out 250,000 additional petitions to voters.

The group needs to get 30,000 valid signatures by July 6 to put the “Entheogenic Plants and Fungi Act of 2020” on the ballot.

The D.C. Council last week approved its omnibus coronavirus-related bill, which changed how petitions can be collected for ballot initiatives to make the process safe during the pandemic.

Read more at Washington Times…

Most People In Recreational Marijuana States Believe Legalization Is A Success, Poll Finds

People who live in states that have legalized marijuana for adult use broadly feel that the policy has been a success, according to a new poll.

A majority of people from eight states that were surveyed said the programs are working well. And in Maine, which legalized cannabis in 2016 but still doesn’t have any adult-use retail shops open, people still said the law is more of a success than a failure by a greater than two-to-one plurality.

YouGov asked more than 32,000 people the following question: “In the states that have decided to allow recreational marijuana use, do you think the legislation has been a success or a failure?”

They were given five options: “Success only, more of a success than a failure, more of a failure than a success, failure only or don’t know.”

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Cascade County Officials Express Concern About Kratom

Kratom Powder

Kratom, or Mitragyna speciosa, is a plant which grows naturally in Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Papua New Guinea. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is concerned that the drug, which affects the same opioid brain receptors as morphine, may have properties that could expose users to the risks of addiction, abuse, and dependence.

In Cascade County, officials including Dr. Deborah Rose with Benefis Health System, Great Falls Police Chief Dave Bowen, and District Judge Gregory Pinski are also concerned about the drug’s existence in the community. According to Pinski, almost all criminal activity in Great Falls is connected to substance abuse, and the addictive nature of Kratom and other drugs like it are exacerbating that problem.

Read more at KRTV

Oregon CBD company’s lawsuit claims botched extraction led to legal woes, losses

The Oregon CBD company that beat back felony marijuana charges last year in Linn County is in court again, alleging that a botched extraction job got it into that legal mess and cost it a ton of money.

Key Compounds LLC is suing Phasex Corp. and its president, claiming the Massachusetts company was negligent and in breach of contract when it allegedly shipped Key Compounds a batch of hemp oil that far exceeded the legal limit for the intoxicating compound THC.

The shipment — its odor, specifically — caught the attention of a UPS employee in Albany. That set off a chain of events that included a law enforcement raid on Key Compounds’ own local extraction facility and felony marijuana charges against CEO Alex Reyter and another employee.

Read the full story at Portland Business Journal.