Good morning everyone, Todd Denkin here from TNMNews.com bringing a dose of weekly marijuana news reality to you again. And, let’s get right to it because this week was full of some very big news.
Senators Gardener and Warren Sponsor and Introduce the STATES Act
As cannabis news goes, I do not know I have come across a piece of news as big as the introduction of the STATES Act. Last Thursday, which was also the day that the Canadian Senate voted and approved C-45 which ended marijuana prohibition in Canada, the STATES Act was introduced here in the U.S.. President Trump spoke with reporters just before flying to Canada for the G7 summit and when asked about the STATES Act said he would likely support it. The new legislation has already garnered a lot of support from both republicans and democrats.
Understanding the STATES Act
The States Act is being sponsored by the republican senator out of Colorado, Cory Gardner, and the democratic senator out of Massachusetts, Elizabeth Warren. The bipartisan support is very important because many lawmakers will not even read a bill that is not sponsored by both a democrat and a republican since they generally believe it has no chance of ever gaining enough bipartisan support in Congress to have a chance at passing. There are many bills floating around Congress now that would remove cannabis from the Controlled Substance Act and therefore deschedule it, but they are either only supported by democrats …. or republicans and so are not taken very seriously on Capitol Hill. Another very interesting point about the STATES Act is that its inspiration likely came from Jeff Sessions rolling back the Cole Memo earlier this year which absolutely infuriated many member of Congress, but none of them were as furious about it as Senator Gardner. He took the move by the attorney general as an attack against his state of Colorado that legalized adult-use in 2014. In turn, as a member of the committee that appoints justice department nominees, he was able to block all nominees to the justice department for five months which created such a problem for the attorney general and President that eventually Trump contacted him asking what it would take to remove the blockade. While all details of the discussion between Gardner and Trump have not been disclosed, it is generally believed that Gardner negotiated the President’s support for the STATES Act in that discussion in exchange for lifting the blockade. It also likely helps that Trump is openly angry at Sessions and many people believe he is looking to replace him anyways. If the STATES Act passed in Congress and President Trump signed the bill, it would remove cannabis from the Controlled Substance Act and therefore remove any scheduling, it would grant states the right to create whatever legislation they saw fit around cannabis with the exception that it would only be sold to people over 21 unless prescribed by a doctor, it would allow banks to work with cannabis companies like any other business and remove the tax code 280E that currently does not allow cannabis companies to write off normal business expenses. It would also disassociate industrial hemp from marijuana which would legalize hemp nationally. In other words, it would provide nearly everything that cannabis advocates around the country have been hoping for with the exception of the social injustice problems our country is facing concerning marijuana possession convictions. Cannabis advocates here in the U.S. have had their hopes dashed away many times and maybe it will happen again, but on the surface The STATES Act looks like the most promising piece of legislation concerning cannabis the country has ever seen. Read more about it at TNMNews.com.
States Attorney in Vermont Proactively Working to Expunge Marijuana Misdemeanor Convictions
Staying with the cannabis social injustice issue facing the country. A number of states including Colorado, Washington and California have been prioritizing eliminating marijuana possession convictions from convicted people’s records and granting clemency to people serving time in prison for non-violent misdemeanors involving cannabis. The noble trend has continued in Vermont where the state’s attorney for Windsor County, David Cahill, held a Marijuana Expungement Day last weekend. He informed law students and anyone else that cared to listen about the process they would need to go through to expunge cannabis misdemeanors from their record. These convictions have kept many people from getting jobs, admittance into schools and many other opportunities. Vermont will officially legalize adult-use cannabis on July 1st.
Paris starts selling low-THC Hemp Based Cannabis Flower
Here is some international cannabis news. France has loosened up its own laws concerning cannabis. Paris is now allowing stores to offer a very low-THC cannabis flower for sale that comes from hemp grown in Switzerland. While it is far from the full-spectrum marijuana flower being sold here in the U.S. and Canada, it still does contain THC and is very popular with the French people. France does force stores to warn everyone that buys the flower not to smoke it though. France only wants people vaping and cooking with cannabis apparently. Amsterdam is only a short train ride away for anyone interested in full marijuana flower anyways.
TNMNews Interview with the Director of Marketing for Canopy
Finally, our Managing Editor, Richard Lowe, had the opportunity to interview Amy Wasserman, the marketing director from the largest cannabis company in the world, Canopy Growth Corporation up in Canada. They talked about the new legislation that passed in Canada which legalized cannabis nationally and how Canopy has been planning for a long time on how to approach an adult-use market rather than only a medical marijuana market. She talked about how challenging marketing cannabis is in such a restrictive market space and her perspectives as a woman in the industry. It was a very informative and candid interview you should check out at TNMNews.com. You can look forward to many more interviews with the largest cannabis companies in the world coming soon to TNMNews.com.
That’s all for this week folks. Keep checking TNMNews.com for more great stories about marijuana legalization, cannabis innovations, cannabis culture and cannabis in sports. Until next week, this is Todd Denkin.