Hey everyone, Todd Denkin here from TNMNews. It’s an exciting week coming up with the 4th of July and certainly there has been a lot of cannabis news lately, so let’s get started.
The Marijuana Freedom and Opportunity Act
Starting off with some politics. On Wednesday yet another bill to legalize cannabis nationally was introduced to Congress, this time by the Democratic Senator from New York, Chuck Schumer. It is called the Marijuana Freedom and Opportunity Act and is co-sponsored by democratic Senators Bernie Sander, Tim Kaine and Tammy Duckworth. You may remember the big news that came out on 4/20 that Senator Schumer would be introducing a new bill for cannabis law reform, well here you have it. While the bill has a great deal of merit, as we all know bipartisan support is essential to have a bill pass especially while the republican party controls Congress. Without sponsorship from both sides of the aisle the bill will struggle, especially with getting a signature from the President.
Oklahoma Legalizes Medical Marijuana
Possibly even more important than Senator Schumer’s new bill is that Oklahoma, a traditionally conservative state, legalized a very relaxed medical marijuana program on Tuesday. The voter approved law makes Oklahoma the 30th state to legalized medical marijuana and allows doctors to permit any of their patients access to medical marijuana. It also allows patients to grow 6 mature plants and possess 3 ounces of marijuana while in public and 7 ounces at home. They will even have access to concentrates for dabbing. It is the most permissive medical marijuana program in the country to date. There are two other major points to consider as to the significance of this new law. First, it is estimated that 500 hundred thousand dollars was spent in negative tv ad campaigns trying to dissuade voters while almost nothing was paid advocating for approval. The second is the influence that such a conservative state may have on other conservative states. Will Oklahoma be the tipping point for national legalization here in the U.S. We want to hear your thoughts. Please read all about Oklahoma’s new medical marijuana program at TNMnews.com and send us your opinions.
Rethinking Marijuana in the Big Apple
Continuing with the change in sentiment towards cannabis, there is a real shift in perspectives on cannabis in New York. The city’s Mayor Bill de Blasio has been a major opponent of marijuana legalization siding with Attorney General Jeff Sessions on most cannabis related issues. However, last week he told police departments around the city to stop arresting people in New York for public consumption. Starting on September 1st police will only issue citations for public consumption or possession of marijuana. New York City has some of the worst statistics concerning racial disparities in marijuana possession arrests. Also, the New York Health Commissioner Howard Zucker said that after weighing the pros and cons, the health department is recommending the legalization of cannabis for the state of New York. It is a big turn around in perspective from the big apple, but one cannabis advocates are sure to appreciate.
Ryder Attached to 2019 Budget May Force VA to Allow Veterans Access to Medical Marijuana
A provision has been added to the 2019 budget which would protect veterans that have received a state medical marijuana license from losing their VA Healthcare benefits just for consuming marijuana. Since marijuana is a Schedule 1 substance, the Office of Veterans Affairs has refused to acknowledge cannabis as a viable form of medicine and in some instances denied veterans their benefits for violating federal law. The provision could still be removed from the bill but this is the furthest any legislation has gone that would allow veterans access to medical marijuana without fear of losing their healthcare benefits. PTSD and chronic pain are qualifying conditions for medical marijuana in many states.
Cannabis Stocks Selling Off Despite Strong Fundamental Support
And now a little discouraging financial news. Cannabis stocks are down nearly 13% this week. It is noteworthy considering all of the strong fundamental news that has come out lately in support of the cannabis industry. The biggest piece of news being that Canada has now legalized cannabis nationally, but shortly after the news about Canada came out, the market started to drop off. At first it may have simply been profit taking from the investors that anticipated the Canadian vote but the drop off is more than your traditional profit taking scenario. Looking at the market as a whole, it has been in a consolidating pattern all year and lately investor sentiment has been slipping across the board in equities. Could it be that just when cannabis companies have started to gain some traction is when the overall economy slides into a recession or worse? We will be keeping a close eye on the equity markets. Remember, risk management is everything.
We had the Chance to Interview Whoopi and Maya’s own Maya Elisabeth
Finally, TNMNews had the opportunity to interview the lovely Maya Elisabeth of Whoopi and Maya. She told our managing editor all about her typical business day which includes getting a dab in around 8 AM each morning after answering some emails and how Whoopi Goldberg’s people reached out to her about 3 years ago with the idea of creating an entirely female product line. Maya may be most famous for being the most dominant Cannabis Cup winner in the event’s history. Read our interview titled, ‘TNMNews Interviews: Maya Elisabeth of Whoopi and Maya.’ Check out their amazing array of topicals and edibles for women at WhoopiAndMaya.com and Maya’s own product line at OmEdibles.org.
That is all for this week folks. I hope you have a fantastic and safe 4th of July. This is Todd Denkin with TNMNews.