House Approves Blumenauer’s Medical Marijuana Research Act

Legislation removes barriers to much-needed research on health benefits of marijuana.

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA:Today (12/9/2020), the U.S. House of Representatives approved the Medical Marijuana Research Act, bipartisan legislation introduced by U.S. Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Andy Harris (R-MD) to address burdensome impediments to legitimate medical research.

Although 99 percent of Americans now live in a state with some form of legalized marijuana, current federal law greatly limits researchers’ ability to study the health benefits of cannabis. Current barriers include the overly burdensome registration process, redundant protocol reviews, lack of adequate research material, and unnecessarily onerous security requirements.

“The cannabis laws in this country are broken, especially those that deal with research. It’s illegal everywhere in America to drive under the influence of alcohol, cannabis, or any other substance. But we do not have a good test for impairment because we can’t study it … This is insane and we need to change it,” Blumenauer said today on the House floor. “At a time when there are four million registered medical cannabis patients, and many more likely self-medicate, when there are 91 percent of Americans supporting medical cannabis, it’s time to change the system. Our bill will do precisely that.”

While the United States leads the world in biomedical research, research on cannabis lags far behind. A 2017 National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine report found that “research on the health effects of cannabis and cannabinoids has been limited in the United States, leaving patients, health care professionals, and policy makers without the evidence they need to make sound decisions regarding the use of cannabis and cannabinoids.”

The Medical Marijuana Research Act will address these limitations by:

  • Providing a pathway for researchers to study the cannabis products consumers are using from state-legal programs.
  • Streamlining the burdensome and often duplicative license process for researchers seeking to conduct marijuana research, while still maintaining all necessary safeguards against misuse and abuse.
  • Addressing the woefully inadequate, both in quantity and quality, supply of medical-grade marijuana available for use in such research.
  • Requiring a report by the secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on the status and results of new research on marijuana benefits.

This was the second vote held by the U.S. House of Representatives in the past week on Blumenauer’s federal cannabis reform priorities, following the passage of the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act on Friday, December 4.

The full text of the Medical Marijuana Research Act can be found here.

Willie’s Reserve Available Now In California

CALIFORNIA: Award-winning music legend and marijuana activist Willie Nelson announces the launch of his Willie’s Reserve cannabis brand in California. Flow Kana, the premier sustainable sun-grown cannabis provider that embraces the small farmer ecosystem, was selected as the Willie’s Reserve partner in California. Available in select California dispensaries now, cannabis enthusiasts can enjoy Willie’s Reserve Legendary Stash of packaged flower and signature Ready Roll pre-rolled joints from Flow Kana’s network of independent heritage farms in Humboldt and Mendocino Counties.

Throughout his career, Nelson has served as the face of responsible marijuana use and has never wavered from his mission to build fair and profitable business with a positive impact on cannabis culture.

“California has a progressive way of thinking and they’ve decided that cannabis is a positive plant to have in the land which is what I’ve always believed,” Willie Nelson said. “And know we’ve come pretty damn far. From the point where they’d put you in prison for life for a seed to where we are now, which is a lot of progress.”

The boutique strains are hand selected, Willie-tested, and will be the first craft cannabis strains offered by Willie’s Reserve to be available in the Golden State in early spring 2018. Each strain is cultivated on independent farms in small batches, using only organic inputs, and under full sun in California’s premier cannabis growing regions of Northern California.

“California has a unique gift of thousands of small cannabis farms that have been cultivating for generations and Flow Kana is focused on bringing their sustainable, sungrown cannabis to market,” said Michael Steinmetz, Flow Kana CEO and co-founder. “It is an honor to partner and power the Willie’s Reserve and other brands that share the value of building a better and more sustainable cannabis industry.”

The carefully selected Willie’s Reserve strains are processed, packaged, and distributed throughout California from Flow Kana’s Flow Cannabis Institute, the world’s first cannabis campus and processing center dedicated to the small-batch craft cannabis farmer. Flow Kana offers partners a range of distribution and white label co-packing services to companies who strive to provide consumers with premier clean, compliant, and sustainable products.

Beginning this month, Willie’s Reserve is available at these select retailers in California: Medithrive in San Francisco, 7 Stars Holistic Healing Center in Richmond, Ojai Greens in Ojai, Desert Organic Solutions Collective in Palm Springs, Torrey Holistics in San Diego, Green Goddess Collective in Venice Beach, Little Trees in Arnold, Airfield Supply Co. in San Jose, and Big Sur Canna+Botancials in Carmel-By-The-Sea.

 

Giambra Says Marijuana Tax Revenues Could Deliver $500 Million A Year

New Revenue Stream Could Help Rebuild State, Says Gubernatorial Candidate

NEW YORK:  “Conservative projections of an estimated $500 million a year in initial marijuana tax revenues for New York State could leverage enormous economic impact across the board and help rebuild our state,” says former Erie County Executive Joel Giambra, an independent candidate for governor who believes the time has come to legalize the sale of marijuana.

“Nine other states have taken this step and medical marijuana is legal in 29 states,” says Giambra, who is seeking the Reform Party line for governor.  “Other states are poised to take action and according to Arcview Market Research, one of the top market research firms for the cannabis industry, legal marijuana sales were expected to hit $9.7 billion in North America in 2017 (final numbers not available yet).  We need to take marijuana off the black market and cultivate an entrepreneurial economy in New York State instead of crushing our citizens with more onerous taxes to feed the Albany political pipeline.”

Giambra said that based on research he has commissioned that he is releasing today, an excise tax of 13 percent in addition to the existing state and local sales taxes on legal adult marijuana would generate $500 million a year and could finance state bonding of $12.2 billion over five years.

“The money generated from legalizing marijuana would go a long way toward dealing with our state’s crumbling roads and bridges and help with the equally daunting challenge of fixing the broken New York City metropolitan transit system,” said Giambra.  “Legalizing the adult use of marijuana is a cornerstone of my campaign for governor.  I pledge that if I win election, it will be one of my major priorities because of the immediate economic benefits it can produce.”

Giambra said according to his analysis, every $1 billion spent on infrastructure will create 13,000 jobs directly in construction and among suppliers and thousands more indirectly, leading to more than 244,000 new jobs over seven years.

“This is a plan to rebuild New York without continuing to raise taxes,” said Giambra.  “There’s another billion dollars in taxes and fees already projected in the Albany pipeline this year to deal with a deficit estimated of at least $4.4 billion.  I think the citizens have had enough.  Let’s take marijuana off the black market, like other states have, and begin to phase in that new revenue stream and put that money to work for the people of New York.”

Legalization of marijuana also has strong public support as a 2017 Gallup Poll showed that 64 percent of Americans favor legalization, with a majority of Republicans backing it for the first time.

Upon the enactment of the cannabis regulation, Governor Giambra will ensure – if need be, by the power of the pardon – that all non-violent marijuana convictions are expunged and all individuals currently incarcerated for non-violent marijuana crimes are released as immediately as is practicable. Minorities in New York continue to face marijuana arrests nearly 10 times the rate of whites.

 

 

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Future Farm Signs Dispensary Lease for High Traffic Puerto Rico Location

CANADA: Future Farm Technologies Inc., which has built a portfolio of projects across the United States and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, announced that its Puerto Rico subsidiary has signed the first of five planned leases for its Clinica Verde branded Puerto Ricodispensaries. The Company expects to sign two more leases in the next thirty days with the additional two leases to follow soon after.

The Future Farm Clinica Verde branded dispensary is located in the Condado neighborhood of San Juan, one of the island’s most highly trafficked areas.

“Now that we have identified a prime dispensary location and signed a lease we are excited to work on the build out,” comments William Gildea, Chairman and CEO of Future Farm. “We look forward to providing clean cannabis to the island’s patients and generating sales.”

Future Farm continues to execute on its strategy of building a portfolio of valuable, revenue-generating assets in the fastest growing cannabis and hemp markets in North America. Mr. Gildea continues, “I look forward to building out and adding to our existing portfolio, which has grown quickly over the past year with assets in Rhode IslandMaineCalifornia and Florida.”

Global CBD Oil Market 2017-2021: Growth At CAGR Of 39.19%

IRELAND: Global CBD Oil Market 2017-2021, has been prepared based on an in-depth market analysis with inputs from industry experts. Covering the market landscape and its growth prospects over the coming years, the report also includes a discussion of the key vendors operating in this market.

Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the hundreds of cannabinoids found in the Cannabis sativa plant. CBD oil can be derived from two different species of cannabinoids: marijuana and hemp. The Americas dominated the global CBD oil market in 2016, followed by EMEA and APAC. Hemp-based CBD oil products have a lower delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) concentration, whereas marijuana-derived CBD oil products have a relatively high concentration of THC.

The latest trend gaining momentum in the market is Growing influence of online retailing. The increasing popularity of e-commerce businesses worldwide has provided vendors with an opportunity to enhance their profit margins and revenues. E-commerce accounted for nearly 12% of the global retail trade in 2016. Online and e-commerce channels support both business-to-consumer (B2C) and business-to-business (B2B) operations.

According to the report, one of the major drivers for this market is Health benefits of CBD oil. CBD is one of the numerous compounds found in the cannabis plant. CBD is mostly derived from marijuana and hemp, which come from the same plant species called Cannabis sativa. Marijuana-based CBD products have a relatively high content of THC compared with hemp-derived CBD products. Hence, marijuana-based CBD products can be used only when they are prescribed by doctors. CBD oil products have several benefits. They are known to cure various ailments in the human body. Over the years, the demand for CBD oil has increased in different parts of the world because of the growing awareness about the health benefits of CBD oil.

Further, the report states that one of the major factors hindering the growth of this market is Unwillingness to invest in cannabis industry. Many investment organizations, such as banks, have expressed their unwillingness to invest in the cannabis industry at regular intervals. Most of the investment organizations in the US and Canada have often declined to provide loans to vendors in the cannabis industry. They have also declined to take a share of the revenue generated from the cannabis market, which includes hemp, marijuana, and other drug-related businesses.

Washington AG Ferguson Statement On Sessions Letter

WASHINGTON:  In response to a letter from U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions regarding Washington’s marijuana regulations, Attorney General Bob Ferguson offered the following statement:

“I was disappointed by Attorney General Sessions’ letter, which relies on incomplete, inaccurate and out-of-date information on the status of Washington’s marijuana regulations. I’m also disappointed that he has yet to accept my repeated invitations to meet in person to discuss this critical issue face to face. If he does accept, I look forward to providing him with a more complete picture of the robust regulatory program that exists in our state.

“Any action from the Department of Justice short of allowing our well-regulated, voter-approved system to continue is unacceptable. I will continue to defend the will of Washington voters.”

Medical Marijuana Legalization Associated With Fewer Opioid-Related Hospitalizations

CALIFORNIA: The enactment of statewide legislation permitting medical cannabis access by qualified patients is associated with a reduction in opioid-related hospitalization, according to data published online ahead of print in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence.

A researcher from the University of California at San Diego assessed the association between medical cannabis laws and hospitalizations related to opioid pain relievers. The author reported both immediate and longer-term reductions in opioid-related hospitalization following changes in law.

“This study demonstrated significant reductions on OPR- (opioid pain reliever) related hospitalizations associated with the implementation of medical marijuana policies. … We found reductions in OPR-related hospitalizations immediately after the year of policy implementation as well as delayed reductions in the third post-policy year.”

The author also dismissed contentions that liberalized marijuana laws were associated with any subsequent increase in marijuana-related hospital admissions, concluding: “While the interpretation of the results should remain cautious, this study suggested that medical marijuana policies were not associated with marijuana-related hospitalizations. Instead, the policies were unintendedly associated with substantial reductions in OPR related hospitalizations.”

The findings are consistent with those of other studies reporting that medical cannabis legalization is associated with lower rates of opioid abusemortality, and prescription drug spending.

Oregrown Flagship Grand Reopening March 3

OREGON: Oregrown Industries will celebrate the grand reopening of its flagship store with music, food and beverages this Friday, March 3 from 4-6 p.m. at 1199 NW Wall Street in downtown Bend. The event marks the completion of construction of an expansion that has nearly tripled the size of the company’s retail store.

“Oregrown was launched four years ago by a group of friends with a dream to grow and sell the best cannabis in the world right here in Bend, Oregon,” Hadar said. “Today, we are extremely proud to have completed this expansion, which allows us to add nearly two dozen employees to our retail staff, reduce wait times for our loyal customers, and increase our selection of top shelf cannabis flower, extracts, edibles and other products.”

Bend State Representative Knute Buehler offered his congratulations on the expansion, which cements Oregrown’s presence as an anchor merchant in downtown Bend.

Bend has developed a national reputation for its talented entrepreneurs and for pioneering new industries,” Buehler said. “I am excited to see Oregrown continue to contribute to this culture of innovation by expanding locally and creating even more jobs in our community.”

Rod Porsche is the executive director of the Downtown Bend Business Association, which has partnered with Oregrown on community improvement projects like the beautification of a pocket park at the northern gateway to downtown, and the Bend Oktoberfest, which supports the Association’s flower basket program.

“Downtown is a better place with Oregrown here,” Porsche said. “The Downtown Bend Business Association appreciates Oregrown’s commitment to making our community an even better place to live, work and visit.”

Oregrown has steadily increased its commitment to the Bend business community. Co-owner Hunter Neubauer has recently joined the board of directors at the Bend Chamber, where the company is a platinum sponsor and underwriter of the Chamber’s Young Professionals program.

“It’s been a great pleasure working with local business owners to bring prosperity and opportunity to Bend,” Neubauer said.

Hadar said Oregrown welcomes all community members 21 and over to Friday’s grand reopening event, which will feature food, beverages, music, and appearances by Oregrown Team Rider skiers and snowboarders.

“This Friday, we just want to say ‘thank you’ to our amazing customers, our wonderful downtown neighbors and community leaders,” Hadar said. “We are humbled and inspired by your love and support.”

Legal Cannabis Market Projected to Grow as Consumers Spend More

NEW YORK: Legal cannabis sales in the North American market are expected to grow rapidly as consumers spend more every year on legal cannabis. According to a new report from Arcview Market Research, people in America and Canada spent $56.4 billion on cannabis in 2016, while about $6.9 billion came from the legal recreational and medical cannabis market, a 34 percent up from 2015. The accelerating pace of cannabis legalization in the United States continues to drive the growth in the market.

Colorado, the first state in the United States to legalize cannabis for recreational use, witnessed impressive growth in the cannabis market. According to the Colorado Department of Revenue tax data released last week, Colorado’s dispensaries sold $1.3 billion of legal cannabis in 2016, while $875 million came from recreational sales and $438 million from medial cannabis. Colorado’s first licensed recreational dispensaries opened in January 2014. Those shops generated $699.2 million revenue by selling recreational and medical cannabis during their first year operation, and the number reached $996 million in 2015.

Hoban Law Group Files Ninth Circuit Petition To Challenge Recent DEA Classification of “Marihuana Extracts”

COLORADO: In an overreach of authority and without consulting Congress, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) issued its Final Rule, the “Establishment of New Drug Code for Marihuana Extract,” on Dec 14, 2016. In response to the change, which serves to potentially devastate developing businesses and consumer, textile and manufacturing industries related to industrial hemp and other lawfully derived cannabinoids, Hoban Law Group has filed a petition in San Francisco’s United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit to challenge what appears to be the DEA’s attempt to control an otherwise lawful substance.

The petition, filed on January 13, 2017 in California’s United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, is on behalf of three Petitioners: the Hemp Industries Association (an industrial hemp trade organization representing an array of industrial hemp industry actors); RMH Holdings, LLC (which sources its products from industrial hemp lawfully cultivated pursuant to the Agricultural Act of 2014 (also known as the Farm Bill)); and Centuria Natural Foods, Inc. (which lawfully imports certain exempted parts of the Cannabis plant, and oils and derivatives there from, such as stalks and fibers). The recent Final Rule substantially impacts businesses long operating in compliance with existing laws that now could be facing significant change in existing policy. These adverse impacts are caused by the Final Rule’s attempt to create a drug code encompassing all cannabinoids as Schedule 1 substances without reflecting the parts of the Cannabis plant which are Congressionally exempted from the definition of “marihuana” under the Controlled Substances Act and/or are exempted from treatment as a controlled substance.

“This is an action beyond the DEA’s authority. This Final Rule serves to threaten hundreds, if not thousands, of growing businesses, with massive economic and industry expansion opportunities, all of which conduct lawful business compliant with existing policy as it is understood and in reliance upon the Federal Government.” -Hoban Law Group Managing Partner Bob Hoban.

Unfortunately, the DEA’s Final Rule exceeds the authority granted it by Congress and is inconsistent with the language of the Controlled Substance Act and other laws applying to industrial hemp. The genus Cannabis sativa L. contains over 80 cannabinoids, such as those commonly known as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). The DEA’s Final Rule takes the position that the mere presence of any cannabinoid extracted from the Cannabis plant automatically renders that substance a “marihuana extract,” despite no cannabinoid except for (synthetic) THC being expressly scheduled under the Controlled Substances Act. This reclassification contradicts the DEA’s acknowledgement in the past that certain cannabinoids exhibit different effects: THC is known for psychoactive properties, whereas CBD, CBG and other cannabinoids are not commonly associated with psychoactive properties. In addition, the DEA’s Final Rule fails to recognize that cannabinoids can be derived from sources other than the Cannabis plant, such as a certain South African daisy, some chocolates, human breast milk and black pepper, highlighting the point that where or from what plant the cannabinoids originated is very difficult to prove.

Though the DEA has referred to their recent Final Rule as a “mere recordkeeping measure,” Hoban Law Group is acting swiftly on behalf of the Petitioners to ensure that continued lawful pathways remain available for industrial hemp companies seeking to remain compliant with federal law. The Final Rule raises concern that this type of overreach could become more commonplace, continuing to widely affect many industrial hemp companies and a wide variety of products currently marketed for sale. Whether the DEA’s motives are negligent or intentional, a primary concern is that this “mere recordkeeping” is a misuse of the drug code that could lead to abuse and misunderstanding of the law by other local, state and federal agencies and an unwarranted chilling effect upon the industrial hemp industry.

Notably, the DEA has sought to unilaterally reclassify cannabinoids before, and lost. See Hemp Indus. Ass’n. v. DEA357 F.3d 1012, 1014 (9th Cir. 2004); Hemp Indus. Ass’n v. DEA333 F.3d 1082, 1089 (9th Cir. 2003).