octubre 21, 2020

What happens if New Jersey legalizes marijuana: Everything you need to know

New Jersey voters are deciding whether to add an amendment to the state constitution that will legalize “a controlled form of marijuana called cannabis” for adults 21 and over. The measure appears as a question on this year’s election ballot. The measure has overwhelming support by a ratio of 2 to 1, several polls show. But if the measure passes, then what? The ballot question provides no details about how legalization would be put into practice. A legal industry will take time to build, and will be determined by laws and regulations that have yet to be written. We spoke with advocates, attorneys, lobbyists, and state politicians about what to expect. There are several organizations that don’t think it’s a good idea. The New Jersey Association of Chiefs of Police is concerned that more people will be driving intoxicated. The New Jersey Psychiatric Association believes cannabis lowers cognitive performance in teenagers and disrupts processes for motivation. In a statement, the NJPA said marijuana impairs verbal learning, memory, and attention, and increases risk for psychosis. The New Jersey Council of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (NJCCAP) warns that habitual users have “a greater risk of decreased academic performance, increased school dropout rates, decreased overall educational attainment and decreased workplace productivity.” The Medical Society of New Jersey agrees with NJPA and NJCCAP, but also worries that marijuana poses a risk to fetal development, and could aggravate respiratory diseases and other health conditions. If approved, what happens next? The state legislature must draft and pass a law — and then create regulations — that would govern the new recreational marijuana industry. New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, the Senate, and the Assembly must appoint a total of five members to a Cannabis Regulatory Commission that would oversee both the current medical program and the new industry. Legalization would officially occur on Jan. 1 2021, but that doesn’t mean arrests will end or that weed will be available for purchase by all adults.
Learn more

octubre 21, 2020

Marijuana delivery plan for Massachusetts goes too far, lawmakers say

A handful of lawmakers from both sides of the aisle have asked that Massachusetts marijuana regulators scrap the proposed delivery license that would let operators buy marijuana wholesale from cultivators and manufacturers, store it in a warehouse and deliver it to consumers at home. The Cannabis Control Commission is expected Tuesday morning to consider feedback and hold a final discussion about its draft delivery policy, which would create two distinct delivery license types: a “limited delivery license” that would allow an operator to charge a fee to make deliveries from CCC licensed retailers and dispensaries, and a “wholesale delivery license.” But in a letter last week, 19 state lawmakers told the CCC that they “believe that the wholesale delivery license category proposed in the draft regulations was not contemplated, nor supported, by the enabling legislation” and asked the commission to reconsider its plan to take a final vote on the regulations next week. The lawmakers -- including former Marijuana Policy Committee co-chair Rep. Mark Cusack -- said the successful 2016 legalization question and the ballot law as amended by the Legislature in 2017 “deliberatively and intentionally created a license that made clear delivery of marijuana to consumers is directly and only linked to marijuana retail establishments” and that “a wholesale delivery license direct to consumers is clearly not contemplated in the law.” “Instead, the draft regulations create a shadow direct to the consumer marketplace not governed by the licensing requirements and regulations of marijuana retailers. These draft regulations also significantly change the landscape for cities and towns after many had already engaged in intensive community-wide conversations about the number and types of marijuana establishments their communities wished to host,” the lawmakers wrote. “Further, the proposed draft regulations have not had the opportunity to be sufficiently reviewed and may result in unintended consequences to our municipalities.” The concerns about local control mirror those raised in a letter from the Massachusetts Municipal Association, which told the CCC that it “is extremely concerned with the definition of marijuana wholesale delivery license within the draft regulations ... specifically that a marijuana wholesale delivery license is not considered to be a Marijuana Retailer.”
Learn more

octubre 21, 2020

Foxx quietly starts expunging 1,200 pot convictions after COVID-19 delays

After months of delays prompted by the COVID-19 outbreak, Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx quietly started expunging 1,200 additional cannabis convictions. Starting Oct. 6, Foxx’s office began expunging roughly 300 minor pot convictions each week, according to spokeswoman Sarah Sinovic. Foxx’s push to wipe clean pot-related records comes as she’s locked in a contentious re-election fight with Republican Pat O’Brien, a former Cook County judge who’s outraising the incumbent. “Felony convictions can follow people long after their time has been served and their debt has been paid,” Foxx said in a statement. “As we work to reform the criminal justice system and develop remedies to systemic barriers, I am proud that justice continues to be served in Cook County, for one, by vacating these low-level cannabis convictions to help move individuals and communities forward.” Gov. J.B. Prtizker and fellow Democrats pushed recreational cannabis legalization as a conduit for change and a means to create diversity in the state’s cannabis industry, which is overwhelmingly controlled by white-owned firms. But the implementation of the watershed legislation, including the provisions to expunge convictions for possessing 30 grams or less, has largely been put on hold amid the coronavirus shutdowns. Foxx previously motioned last year to vacate just over 1,000 similar convictions. Now, her office is clearing additional cannabis convictions that stretch from Jan. 1, 2013, to Dec. 31, 2019, the day before recreational weed was legalized. Individuals with eligible convictions don’t have to take any action to set the process in motion and will simply receive a notice from the Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County saying their record has been cleared. Peter Contos, who hosts expungement events as the advocacy coordinator of the Cannabis Equity Illinois Coalition, lauded Foxx’s latest effort as he raised other concerns about how the process is playing out in Cook County. Contos noted that individuals currently petitioning for expungment are facing lengthy wait times because there aren’t enough judges to review cases. Contos added that the clerk’s office has also failed to provide resources for the public to track those cases, which he said “has a considerable impact on someone’s belief in the process.” “Frankly, for the second-largest county in the country, it’s unacceptable that we don’t have transparency and we don’t have a more expedient process,” he said.
Learn more

octubre 21, 2020

Marijuana Legalization In Texas Would Generate Billions In Tax Revenue, New Economic Analysis Shows

Texas stands to generate billions of dollars in marijuana tax revenue and create tens of thousands of jobs if the plant is legalized, according to a new economic analysis. While the legislature has been resistant to pursue the policy change, the report from Vicente Sederberg LLP makes a compelling case for legalizing and regulating cannabis sales in the state, at least from an economic perspective. It finds that, given the estimated adult-use marijuana market, there would be $2.7 billion in cannabis sales annually in Texas. And if the state followed Colorado’s tax model, it could bring in more than $1.1 billion in marijuana tax dollars per biennium. Further, the comparative analysis projects that 20,000-40,000 jobs would be directly created in the legal industry, in addition to ancillary positions for “contractors and construction firms, electrical and water service providers, HVAC manufacturers and installers, processing equipment producers and retailers, and other professionals.” “We also expect it would bolster the hospitality industry, which would benefit communities that rely on tourism; especially those that have recently been severely impacted by the novel coronavirus, such as San Antonio, Houston, and Corpus Christi,” the report states. Beyond tax revenue from cannabis sales, Texas could also see an extra $10 million annually if business licensing fees are set at $5,000. “In addition to generating revenue and creating jobs, regulating cannabis for adult use would also realize significant criminal justice savings,” the report says, adding that Texas would save an estimated $311 million per year in criminal justice resources if marijuana was legalized. “States across the country are seeing the benefits of legalizing and regulating cannabis,” Shawn Hauser, a partner at Vicente Sederberg, said in a press release. “It is inspiring lawmakers in prohibition states to reexamine the efficacy and costs of their current policies and take a closer look at the alternatives.”
Learn more

octubre 19, 2020

New Zealand to vote on legalizing marijuana and euthanasia

New Zealanders are poised to decide on two landmark social issues during an election Saturday: whether to legalize recreational marijuana and whether to legalize euthanasia. A “yes” vote on both referendums would arguably make the nation of 5 million one of the more liberal countries in the world. Polls indicate the euthanasia referendum is likely to pass while the result of the marijuana measure remains uncertain. The two referendums are being held at the same time as people cast votes for lawmakers and political parties. As a result, the referendums have been somewhat overshadowed both by the political campaigns and this year's coronavirus outbreak. In the political race, popular Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern appears set to win a second term in office, with her liberal Labour Party polling far ahead of the conservative National Party led by Judith Collins. The euthanasia measure, which would also allow assisted suicide, would apply to people who have terminal illnesses, are likely to die within six months, and are enduring “unbearable” suffering. Countries that allow some form of euthanasia include The Netherlands, Luxembourg, Canada, Belgium and Colombia. The marijuana measure would allow people to buy up to 14 grams (0.5 ounce) a day and grow two plants. Other countries that have legalized recreational marijuana include Canada, South Africa, Uruguay, Georgia plus a number of U.S. states. Lara Greaves, a lecturer in New Zealand politics at the University of Auckland, said she thinks the marijuana referendum is destined to fail. “I think the problem is that we would be going from criminalization, and a bit of medicinal use, to full-on recreational use,” she said. “Probably what needed to happen to get the public on board was to have a phase of decriminalization.” She said a large turnout of younger voters would be necessary for the measure to have any hope of passing but that was far from certain. Another factor is that Ardern has declined to say how she intends to vote, saying she wants to leave it for people to decide. Greaves said that made a big difference, as people tend to follow their leaders. The prime minister did admit during the campaign to smoking marijuana when she was younger. One vocal proponent of the marijuana referendum has been former Prime Minister Helen Clark. A position paper from her foundation argues that indigenous Maori have faced disproportionate and excessive punishment from the legal system when caught with the drug.
Learn more

octubre 19, 2020

How marijuana legalization advocates across the U.S. are fighting to end the war on cannabis

Almost 50 years ago, the so-called war on drugs nearly destroyed marginalized communities in the United States. When President Nixon declared the “war” in 1971, it not only further stigmatized certain illegal substances, it also created a deeper tension between Black communities and law enforcement through the increased presence of federal drug control agencies and measures such as mandatory sentencing and no-knock warrants. Since the inception of these systemically racist policies, Black and brown people in America have faced disproportionately higher incarceration rates for nonviolent drug offenses. Fast forward to 2020 and we find that there has been some progress in decriminalizing certainsubstances — however, racism and unequal treatment under the law are problems that remain unsolved. Yahoo Life spoke with some power players in the cannabis industry who are working to dismantle oppressive systems meant to incarcerate people of color and prohibit them from finding success in what is now a multibillion-dollar industry. Alex Todd, Saucey Farms & Extracts co-founder; Jim Jones, hip-hop artist and Saucey Farms & Extracts co-founder; Jessica Jackson, chief advocacy officer of the Reform Alliance; and Cedric Haynes, director of public policy and partnerships for Weedmaps sat down with Yahoo Life to discuss how to reform the cannabis industry. Watch the full video above to learn about their efforts.
Learn more

octubre 19, 2020

South Dakota farmers can grow hemp in 2021

South Dakota farmers will be able to plant hemp in the 2021 growing season, thanks to approval by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The South Dakota Department of Agriculture (SDDA) submitted its industrial hemp plan to the USDA back in early August. As soon as emergency administrative rules to establish the program are in place, hemp processor and grower license applications will open. “I am excited the SDDA has an approved plan and am looking forward to working with industrial hemp producers and processors in South Dakota,” Derek Schiefelbein, SDDA Industrial Hemp Program Manager said. “The SDDA has been working diligently to create a reliable, responsible, safe and efficient program that will be in place prior to the 2021 growing season.” The industrial hemp bill passed during the 2020 legislative session after a battle between Gov. Kristi Noem and the state legislature. Noem opposed legalizing industrial hemp, stating that it could open the door for legalized marijuana, whereas legislators supported it as another option for farmers. The industrial hemp bill was one of the final bills to pass during the 2020 session.
Learn more

octubre 19, 2020

Governor Lamont Signs New Hemp Production Bill Into Law

According to hempindustrydaily.com, Connecticut's hemp farmers have new rules to abide by in 2021. Instead of being part of a pilot program, hemp growers will now have to fall in line with USDA regulations under the new program. In 2014, hemp was finally removed from the schedule one narcotics list, which opened up the door for smaller Connecticut growers. According to the Hartford Courant, the new bill that Governor Lamont signed into law aligns the state's pilot program with federal requirements. It also opens up the state to additional processing and manufacturing of hemp. What is hemp? Hemp is defined as any part of the Cannabis sativa L, including seeds, extracts, and derivatives, with a lowTHC concentration, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. Because hemp plants contain only 0.3 percent of THC, it is not considered a controlled substance. Marijuana is also a cannabis plant, but it's grown for its psychoactive properties, as you may already know. Unlike the hemp plant, the seeds and stalks of the marijuana plant aren't used commercially like hemp. Marijuana is grown for its flower, which contains an abundance of cannabinoids and THC. Interested in starting up your own hemp farm? CBD oil made from hemp does contain high CBD concentrations but a meager amount of THC, which cannot exceed the legal 0.3 percent limit. Clearly stated, you won't get high from the CBD oil derived from hemp. CBD oil from marijuana can act as a strong pain killer, relaxant, and anti-depressant. For an excellent read on the differences between hemp and marijuana and the CBD oil made from each, visit royalcdb.com.
Learn more

octubre 19, 2020

NY extends hemp pilot program, giving cannabis industry legal ‘breathing room’

New York’s hemp and cannabis industry, facing a potential shutdown at the end of the month, has been given life for another year. The state’s two-year-old hemp pilot program will be extended through the end of September 2021.
Learn more

octubre 14, 2020

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf Urges Legislators To Legalize Adult-Use Of Marijuana

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf is urging legislators to legalize the adult-use of marijuana. Pennsylvania officials say the legalization of adult-use cannabis will provide a new revenue stream to direct toward economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, enabling additional funding for grants for small businesses. Wolf was at The Mountain Center in Tobyhanna Tuesday, discussing the legalization of marijuana’s potential benefits. He is urging the General Assembly to take up legislation regarding marijuana’s legalization which they have not done despite multiple requests from Wolf and Lt. Gov. John Fetterman this fall. “This year, I again went to the General Assembly and asked them to make legalizing adult-use cannabis a priority for the fall as we work to find ways to overcome the economic hardships of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Wolf said. “To date, there has been no movement to advance legislation. So, I’m here today to ask again, and to focus on two particular benefits of legalization – potential economic growth and much-needed restorative justice.” Wolf, joined by state Rep. Maureen Madden and hemp farmer Eric Titus White, discussed how “legalizing cannabis offers the same potential for economic growth that the historic farm bill of 2018 did for hemp farmer following decades of government prohibition of the industry.” Hemp, a once widespread crop in Pennsylvania, was cultivated in the state for more than 250 years. It was grown for seeds, fibers and extracts. Hemp and marijuana are two different varieties of the same plant species, but hemp does not contain high levels of THC, which makes marijuana a controlled substance. “Much of our knowledge about how to grow, process and use hemp was lost after industrial hemp was regulated and banned along with marijuana in the 1930s,” Wolf said. “And Pennsylvania lost the benefits of an industry with a long history of providing jobs and resources here in the commonwealth. When hemp and marijuana were banned, we didn’t just lose jobs, we lost decades of research opportunities, innovation and economic growth.”
Learn more