Good afternoon everyone, this is Todd Denkin coming to you from none other than The National Marijuana News. We are in lovely Los Angeles this weekend for the Big Industry Show so stay tuned for lots of live coverage of the expo floor and some impromptu interviews. Here you can find a lot of paraphernalia and other types of wholesalers for all of you business people that have ventured into the cannabis industry. Last weekend we were in Miami covering the USCC expo and to find out a whole lot about the growing medical marijuana industry in Florida. That being said, right now we are going to talk about the biggest marijuana news stories around the country, including a very interesting outcome to Florida’s race for governor. Today, our news coverage is going to be about a whole lot of politics. First up, we are going to talk about this Marijuana Policy Coordination Committee.
Buzzfeed Receives Summary of a White House Plan to Put Negative Spin on Marijuana
So this particular story, well to be honest it’s pretty dumb. According to Buzzfeeed, they received a summary from an unknown individual that the White House is planning a smear campaign against the marijuana industry. Supposedly the summary is from a committee of the Office of National Drug Control Policy called the Marijuana Policy Coordination Committee. In short, the leaked summary suggests that this committee is coordinating a negative propaganda campaign against the cannabis industry because the current message is just too positive towards marijuana. One particular quote from the summary stated, “Staff believe that if the administration is to turn the tide on increasing marijuana use there is an urgent need to massage the facts about the negative impacts of marijuana use, production, and trafficking on national health, safety, and security.” Now let’s be clear here, for over 80 years the U.S. federal government has been focused on smearing the reputation of the poor marijuana plant. Now it feels like it needs up its game? And this summary was dated July 27th, which means it leaked to Buzzfeed the day after it was written, which means someone from the inner circle of this committee thinks it’s as dumb as we do. Let’s be clear, while there is a tremendous amount of evidence that there are true medicinal benefits to cannabis, the rigorous scientific research that would prove one way or another if marijuana is bad or good for us has not happened due to the Schedule 1 status of marijuana. For our federal government to take such drastic measures without fact-based evidence, well that is not what you want to hear from the leadership of our country. You have to wonder if they have some other incentive.
New Jersey may Vote to Legalize Marijuana in September
Let’s now turn to some more intelligent news from the states. Stephen Sweeney, the New Jersey state senate president, is working to complete two bills that would not only legalize recreational marijuana in New Jersey but also expand its medical marijuana program. In 2016 New Jersey voters elected Phil Murphy as their governor, a man who strongly supports the legalization of marijuana due to the social injustice of marijuana prohibition. He mandated that bills be crafted by June 30th that would legalized adult-use marijuana, however he met with a great many objections which stalled the completion of the bills. Stephen Sweeney believes now that the bills will be ready for a vote by the end of September. One of the major features of the bills would be the expungement of records for those convicted of non-violent marijuana crimes. In fact, New Jersey’s Attorney General (Gur -beer Gray-wall) Gurbir Grewal has even started advising state prosecutors to drop low-level cannabis cases. A recent poll in New Jersey showed that 62% of voters support full on legalization of marijuana and a whopping 90% of people in New Jersey between the age of 18 and 34 support legalization. If New Jersey’s state legislature votes to legalize marijuana, it will make New Jersey the second state behind Vermont to legalize adult-use marijuana without voters forcing the issue in the ballot box.
Governor Rauner Expands Medical Marijuana to Fight Opioid Epidemic
Moving over to the Midwest, we have big news from Illinois. Governor Rauner, a man that at one point in time was a strong opponent to marijuana legalization, seems to have changed his opinion. He just signed a bill that expanded the Illinois medical marijuana program significantly. First, anyone that is prescribed pain killers by their doctor such as Oxycontin or Vicodin will be able to take those prescriptions to medical marijuana dispensaries and pickup medical marijuana instead. This move is in direct response to the opioid epidemic that is plaguing Illinois and the nation. Second, Illinois will no longer conduct background checks on people applying for medical marijuana cards or take their fingerprints. Also, patients will be given provisional approval to buy medical marijuana while their applications are processing. Now Rauner has repeatedly said he is not in favor of recreational legalization of marijuana, however he is up for re-election this year and his opponent J.B. Pritzker who is campaigning for full blown legalization of marijuana could force Rauner to change his mind on that as well. Rauner also signed a bill called Ashley’s Law recently which will allow authorized adults to administer medical marijuana to children on public school grounds.
Connecticut Expands its Medical Marijuana lLaws
If we move back over to the east coast, Connecticut has also just expanded its medical marijuana law. Now Connecticut residents that suffer from migraines, intractable headaches, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, facial pain or postherpetic neuralgia will be able to become medical marijuana patients. Children will also be able to access medical marijuana if they suffer from muscular dystrophy or brittle bone disease under guardian supervision. There are a total of 30 conditions now that qualify for medical marijuana in Connecticut and so far they have about 27,000 patients, but lawmakers now expect that number to climb.
Florida’s Gubernatorial Race
And our final bit of state marijuana news concerns the state of Florida. Per usual, the state of Florida surprised the country with the outcome of its gubernatorial primary. Democrats really caught everyone off guard by electing Andrew Gillum as their nominee for governor. Nobody believed he had a shot of getting the nomination, but if elected, not only would Gillum be Florida’s first black governor, but he is a strong supporter for full blown marijuana legalization in the Sunshine State. Many people in Florida are saying he is going to have a tough time winning against his republican opponent, Ron DeSantis, who is regularly referred to as a Donald Trump republican. But, in an interview shortly after the results of the primary came in, DeSantis stated that the people of Florida do not want someone that will, “monkey this up.” The racial comment has created massive amounts of controversy. So, let’s see if the winds are ready to change in Florida as well.
THC in Breast Milk
And finally, a recent study is saying that THC can linger in breast milk for 6 days after consumption. According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, the amount of pregnant and nursing mothers consuming cannabis in the U.S. is going up. Little is known about the effects of cannabis on unborn and infant children yet the study is causing an uproar all the same. THC only creates a high for at most a couple of hours before it deactivates and lingers in the body. So, anyone concerned that THC in breast milk might create the psychoactive effects of cannabis in breast feeding children probably do not need to worry. Any other impacts of deactivated THC in children is still unknown.
Well that is it for this week everyone. Stay tuned for more Facebook live posts from the Big Industry Show in Los Angeles. Also, we are heading to Jamaica for the CanEx convention being held in Montego Bay September 27th through the 29th. We will bring you live coverage of that event and talk about how Jamaica now wants to put its stamp on the legal marijuana industry. I hope everyone has a great weekend and check out TNMNews.com for more great stories about the world of marijuana. This is Todd Denkin with The National Marijuana News.