Happy Friday everyone! I hope all of you had a great weekend and if you like football, well the Super Bowl this Sunday should be a very good game. If you are offering up some nice medicated appetizers for the game, we would love to hear about them! Share comments with us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @NationalMJNews. In the meantime, here are the top five marijuana news stories of the week. We have a very interesting marijuana science story to report, international marijuana news and some state news as well. It is February 1st, 2019 and this is your managing editor at TNMNews.com, Richard Lowe.
World Health Organization to Recommend to the United Nations that Marijuana be Rescheduled
For all of you interested in marijuana reform, news from the World Health Organization (WHO) about rescheduling marijuana internationally is very big news. First, let me explain that the United Nations has a different drug scheduling format than the United States. Here in the U.S., the strictest scheduling for a drug as a part of the Controlled Substance Act is Schedule I, which means the drug has been classified as having no medical value and highly addictive. Marijuana is currently a Schedule I drug in the U.S. On the international side, there are two treaties that determine drug scheduling, the main one is the Single Convention on Drug Narcotics of 1961. The strictest scheduling on this treaty is Schedule IV, which the whole marijuana plant is currently listed under. As reported by Forbes, the WHO’s director general privately sent a letter on January 24th to the United Nations secretary general stating their intention to recommend to the UN’s Commission on Narcotic Drugs in March that marijuana be placed under Schedule I, which would open the door for countries to consider legalizing medical marijuana and exporting it around the world without violating international drug treaties. It is still very limiting for recreational marijuana, but cannabis extracts, tinctures and pharmaceuticals containing THC would be listed under Schedule III, which is the most relaxed schedule listing. The most a marijuana legalization advocate could hope for would be to have marijuana, and anything made from marijuana, removed entirely from the scheduling list like alcohol is, but this is still a step in the right direction for marijuana reform. It is also a major statement to lawmakers around the world, including here in the U.S., that everyone had marijuana all wrong. It is likely to put more pressure on countries to consider ending marijuana prohibition.
Scientists Producing Electricity By Treating Marijuana Contaminated Wastewater
Let’s talk science. It turns out that THC in urine is more difficult to treat in wastewater than most substances. Scientists have figured out all sorts of crazy ways to treat wastewater and continue to work at trying to prevent clean water sources from getting contaminated, and to pull clean water from wastewater for things like irrigation. In particular, in Europe, wastewater treatment is a major focus because they have some major plumbing issues and a whole lot of people, over 700 million. Researchers in Turkey have seen a significant jump in the amount of THC floating around in wastewaster in recent years and their current methods of cleaning it have been ineffective. But, a recent study on THC in urine used a remarkable tool called a microbial fuel cell (MFC) that connects bacteria with chemical compounds and makes electricity. Not only can that electricity be collected and harnessed, but the reaction also cleans a lot of the THC from the wastewater. It seems as though the marijuana contaminated wastewater produces even more electricity than normal metabolites. It means that wastewater researchers may now have a solution on how to treat waste contaminated with cannabis and simultaneously furthered efforts to better understand how MFC’s can more efficiently harness electricity.
Lead Being Found in California Marijuana Vape Cartridges
Sticking with another scientific topic. Lab testing marijuana is very important, especially if marijuana is to ever be legalized on the federal level, so that consumers can see on packaging labels exactly what they are consuming and so that any toxic cannabis products can be eliminated. We reported last year that a Johns Hopkins study showed that many toxic metals, including lead, were showing up in the e-liquids of electronic cigarettes after the consumer started using the vaporizer. The conclusion of the study showed that the acidic concentrate interacting with the heating node pulled toxic metals from the heating filament. It is only logical to conclude that the same thing may be happening in cannabis concentrate vaporizers because the same technology is used for both e-cigarettes and cannabis vape pens. News out of California this week showed that lead was showing up in disposable cannabis vape pens. The report suggests that any marijuana vape pen in California made before the 1st of January of this year could be contaminated since lab testing companies were not testing for heavy metals before.
Problems With Oregon’s Gray Marijuana Market Become Apparent with New Audit
Moving to some more state news. Oregon was one of the first states to legalize adult-use marijuana, but regulations there are pretty loose. Oregon’s recreational marijuana market looks a little like California’s cannabis market under Proposition 215, what many people referred to as a gray market. The secretary of state for Oregon released an audit on Wednesday of the state’s cannabis regulations and how effectively they are being implemented. It is the first detailed report of its kind in Oregon since marijuana became legal in 2014. Basically, the state flunked at lab testing marijuana to ensure that consumers are not exposed to contaminants. Also, it is doing a poor job eliminating the illicit market in Oregon, in fact the report suggested that most black market marijuana is coming from legal medical growers that are looking to circumvent state taxes. Oregon has pesticide issues anyways, but the report shows that only 3% of legal marijuana growers are being tested at all for contaminants. Of all things, the medical marijuana program in Oregon is a particular source of illegal marijuana and it does not require medical cannabis be tested. We will have to see how the state reacts with the evidence provided by the audit.
New York’s Marijuana Legalization Momentum Slows Down
We discussed recently that New York has a lot of momentum towards legalizing adult-use marijuana this year. Governor Cuomo introduced the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act and was pushing to have it passed by the legislature by April. However, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie is slowing the process down now. He tweeted this week, “Being honest and saying six weeks may not be enough time to come up with regulations, deal with economic impact on communities and the criminal justice aspects, somehow gets reactions of outrage instead of understanding and acknowledgment of the commitment to get this done.” He is very focused on getting legalization done correctly in New York rather than rushing it. Some groups are arguing that there is plenty of information from the eight states that have legalized recreational marijuana and created rules for the sale of cannabis that New York implementing rules should not be that challenging.
That’s it for this week everyone. Remember to follow our Youtube channel, The National Marijuana News and I hope everyone enjoys their weekend.