Last year Go Green Botanicals co-owner Maurice Salazar and his business partners were forced to close two of their three local CBD shops due to the economic downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
The stores sold myriad cannabidiol products such as gummies, infused coffee beans, lollipops, caramels, and oils at locations in New Braunfels and in San Antonio at Alamo Ranch and North Star Mall.
While selling hemp-based products containing CBD – a compound found in cannabis that does not cause a high but has other relaxing properties – became legal the United States in 2015, Texas’ marijuana laws, including for medical use, are among the most restrictive in the nation. To a growing number of Texans, it was starting to look like a lost business opportunity.
Keep reading at San Antonio Report.
A second California Senate committee has approved a bill to legalize possession of a wide range of psychedelics and create a working group to study broader reform.
The legislation, sponsored by Sen. Scott Wiener (D), advanced through the Health Committee on a 6-2 vote on Wednesday. This comes one week after the Public Safety Committee approved the proposal.
If enacted into law, the bill would remove criminal penalties for possessing or sharing numerous psychedelics—including psilocybin mushrooms, DMT, ibogaine, LSD and MDMA—for adults 21 and older.
“The war on drugs has been an abject failure because it is based on the false belief, the false notion, that criminalizing people, arresting them, incarcerating them for possessing, for using drugs, will somehow deter use and improve public safety,” Wiener told colleagues before the vote. “It has done neither.”
Read more at Marijuana Moment
New York adults over the age of 21 can now possess and use marijuana — even in public — under a legalization billsigned Wednesday by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, though legal sales of recreational-use cannabis won’t start for an estimated 18 months until regulations are set.
Passed after several years of stalled efforts, the measure makes New York the 16th state to legalize adult use of the drug, though South Dakota’s measure is in legal limbo.
New York becomes the second-most populous state, after California, to legalize recreational marijuana. Legalization backers hope the Empire State will add momentum and set an example with its efforts to redress the inequities of a system that has locked up people of color for marijuana offenses at disproportionate rates.
“By placing community reinvestment, social equity, and justice front and center, this law is the new gold standard for reform efforts nationwide,” said Melissa Moore, New York state director of the Drug Policy Alliance.
More at WI Proud.
A federal health agency is conducting a review of studies to learn if marijuana and kratom could potentially treat chronic pain with fewer side effects than opioids.
The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) is asking the public to help identify research that specifically looks at the risks and benefits of cannabinoids and kratom, a type of plant known for its analgesic effects. The agency said the rise in opioid prescriptions and overdoses necessitates exploring plant-based alternatives.
The public is invited to submit studies on how these substances impact chronic pain until the January 4 deadline.
“Some data suggest that cannabinoids may have analgesic properties, though research in this area is mixed,” AHRQ, which is part of the Department of Health and Human Services, said in a notice, adding that THC “has demonstrated analgesic properties, though its psychoactive effects and abuse potential increase its risk and suitability as an analgesic.”
Keep reading at marijuanamoment.net
A majority of voters in five states, both red and blue, passed ballot measures that legalized marijuana on Election Day.
This show of support at the polls will put more pressure on other states and the federal government to update its drug policies, according to advocates and experts.
“This indicates that people are frustrated with the outdated drug policies from the 1970s,” Mason Marks, a law professor at Gonzaga University and a fellow in residence at Harvard Law School’s Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, told ABC News.
In some cases, like New York, elected officials are publicly sounding the call for major policy changes.
In ballot measures passed in New Jersey, South Dakota, Montana and Arizona, residents over 21 will be able to purchase and consume marijuana for recreational purposes.
Continue reading at ABC News
Voters in six states and the District of Columbia approved measures that will broaden the availability of previously illicit drugs for recreational or medical use on Tuesday in an across-the-board win for legalization advocates.
In Arizona, almost 60 percent of voters approved Proposition 207 to legalize the use of recreational marijuana, and to allow adults over the age of 21 to possess up to six marijuana plants in their homes.
In Montana, a legalization measure passed with more than 56 percent of the vote. More than two-thirds of New Jersey voters approved Question 1, which will amend the state constitution to allow recreational marijuana use. South Dakota voters approved measures seeking both medical and recreational use of marijuana; the medical measure passed by a wide margin, while legalization passed by a slimmer 53 percent to 47 percent margin.
The House is preparing to vote on the legalization of marijuana next month — a bipartisan bill whose lead sponsor in the Senate is Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris.
Under the MORE act, cannabis would be removed from the 1970 federal Controlled Substances Act.
House members were alerted to the possibility of an upcoming vote via an email from from Majority Whip Jim Clyburn, writes Politico.
Cannabis is currently a Schedule 1 substance, just like heroin, ecstasy and LSD.
Removing marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act would decriminalize it at the federal level.
The act, which stands for Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act, would also encourage the expunging of most cannabis convictions on the state level.
More at New York Post
In 2018, San Rafael voters endorsed Measure G, a city-sponsored plan to set new and higher taxes for the fledgling legal marijuana market.
It was a step in the city’s “toe in the water” approach toward opening the door to the 2016 approval of California’s recreational pot initiative. In San Rafael, 69% of its voters endorsed Proposition 64.
The city had estimated local marijuana production and sales — delivery only — could generate about $1 million per year for the city’s general fund.
That estimate fell far short of reality, as the special tax raised only $243,554 in its first calendar year.
That was almost two years ago.
This past year was a lot different. Local pot delivery sales have been on a record-setting pace.
What a difference a pandemic can make.
A petition that will go before the House of Commons and calls for the legalization of natural psychoactive drugs has gained over 13,000 signatures.
After it was posted on Apr.18, Trevor Millar, Chair of Board for the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, says the petition gained a whopping 500 signatures in a mere 12 hours.
So far, Ontario has the lion’s share of signatures, with 4,746. B.C. follows in second with 3,698 and Alberta comes third with 1,918.
MP Paul Manly of the Nanaimo—Ladysmith Green Party Caucus is sponsoring the petition, which will close for signatures on Aug. 14. As such, Millar tells Vancouver Is Awesome in a phone call that he hopes people will take time to understand what the petition is about.
“It is only about legalizing natural substances right now,” says Millar. “Things that grow from the ground.”
Read more at Tricity News
The legalization of marijuana in Illinois brought in $52 million during the first six months of 2020, the governor’s office said Tuesday.
Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker said the $52 million makes up the industry’s tax revenue for the first half of the year, and he promised to reinvest that money in local communities.
“Illinois has done more to put justice and equity at the forefront of this industry than any other state in the nation, and we’re ensuring that communities that have been hurt by the war on drugs have the opportunity to participate,” Pritzker said.
The sale and usage of marijuana in Illinois was legalized effective Jan. 1, though both remain heavily regulated.
Read more at Stl Today.
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.
Continue reading here…
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.
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.
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
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.
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.”
Continue reading here
The State of Virginia has passed a law defining hemp extracts as an approved food. The law also allows a more liberal amount of THC in these products during the growth phase than does the federal description of industrial hemp.
The new definition is part of a law passed by the state to set up a fund to promote industrial hemp production within Virginia.
There are a number of states in which medical marijuana products have been approved, and a smaller number in which full recreational cannabis use is allowed. The market for hemp/CBD extracts is thriving in these locations, and CBD products marketed as dietary supplements, while technically illegal on the federal level, seem to be available throughout the country, either online or in brick and mortar outlets.
Read more here…
One of the things I have said often in speeches and written about is that the best two-word explanation for marijuana prohibition is bad journalism. You’ll hear that again, and again.
There are so many examples of that. Don’t get me started.
I remember, for example, when I was at NORML, there was a really terrible article in The Washington Times which tends to specialize in articles about marijuana in particular. So I called up the reporter and said, “Could I send you some material that contradicts the party line?” She said, “Oh, I’d love to see it, but that, you know, there’s really no point in it. I was just given this assignment. I probably will be writing about it again.” But what I had to do was to call the drug czars office and get them to say something. And that was journalism dealing with marijuana. You know, it doesn’t matter whether it’s true or not. And this went on for decades.
Read more here…
New York lawmakers will prioritize response to the novel coronavirus pandemic and likely delay marijuana legalization.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo intended to legalize adult-use marijuana through the state budget this session, but the novel coronavirus outbreak may force the issue on the back burner. The state budget is due in two weeks and key lawmakers now believe issues around legalization, including how the state will spend tax revenue created by marijuana sales, will not be negotiated in time.
State Sen. Liz Krueger sponsored a recently revised legalization bill, but the state’s reaction to the ongoing pandemic takes precedence.
“I don’t believe marijuana is going to be negotiated in this budget in the next few days,” Krueger told WMHT. “I just don’t see it as realistic.”
Read more at The Fresh Toast