To start off we would like to thank the Cannabis World Congress Business Expo for having us at their conference last week in New York City at the Javits Center. It gave TNMNews the opportunity to speak with and interview some of the most influential businesses and people in the cannabis industry within the United States. We spoke with the CEO of Acreage Holdings, Kevin Murphy, and the founder of Incredibles, Bob Eschino. We also interviewed professional athletes like retired running back for the Kansas Chiefs, Christian Okoyoe, 2-time Superbowl champion with the New York Giants, Leonard Marshall and MMA fighter, Liz Carmouche. All three told us about the chronic pain they struggle with on a daily basis, how cannabis helps them and how they would like to see drug policies change within their respective sports. We also spoke with the former governor of Massachusetts, Bill Weld, who has joined the advisory board of Acreage Holdings, and cannabis advocate, comedian and ex Law and Order actor, Richard Belzer. Please check out TNMNews.com and our Facebook page @NationalMJnews for our continued coverage.
Canada’s Senate Ends the Prohibition of Cannabis
Moving to the news. Canada’s senate approved C-45 on Thursday ending Canada’s 95-year prohibition on cannabis. The senate did make many changes to the legislation though adding almost 48 amendments to the bill further restricting the marketing of cannabis brands and allowing provinces the right to ban home cultivation. The bill will now head back to Canada’s House of Commons where further changes could be made sending the bill back to the senate. One way or another it will be months before retail sales of cannabis become available to the public.
Florida Judge Throws Out Appeal to Ban the Smoking of Cannabis
Moving back here to the states, 2 weeks ago Florida Circuit Court Judge Karen Gievers ruled in favor of a lawsuit against the state for banning the smoking of medical marijuana. The Florida Department of Health immediately appealed her decision but this week Judge Gievers threw out the appeal citing that delaying her decision any further would cause irreparable damage to Florida medical marijuana patients. Florida lawmakers banned the smoking of medical cannabis for what they cited as health reasons, however the voter approved amendment clearly was meant to allow the smoking of medical cannabis and the judge found the ban to be unconstitutional. It will likely still be months before cannabis flower will be made available for purchase by patients as the state has to take time changing its medical marijuana rules.
Pennsylvania’s Cannabis Research Plans Facing Major Lawsuits
Pennsylvania is looking to be a pioneer on cannabis research here in the states, implementing an initiative to have its institutions of higher education research cannabis with state funding. The federal Schedule 1 status of cannabis has made the rigorous research we are accustomed to with traditional medicine, challenging. However, a judge was forced to halt the entire state program not because of federal prohibition but instead due to lawsuits from cannabis cultivators that want their cannabis purchased for the extensive research program. Lawsuits suggest the research initiative creates a back door for cannabis cultivators to gain state approved licenses they otherwise would not be able to attain. These licenses would allow the cultivators to sell cannabis to medical marijuana patients as well.
Jeff Sessions is even Closer to being Ousted as Attorney General, but Will that Help the Cannabis Legalization Cause?
Speaking of the federal prohibition of cannabis, Attorney General Jeff Sessions seems closer than ever to leaving his appointment. President Trump is furious with him for recusing himself from the Russia investigation and regularly tweets negative comments about Sessions often referring to him as Mr. Magoo. As you all know, Jeff Sessions hates anything having to do with cannabis except having people arrested and imprisoned for possessing it. However, it is highly questionable whether him losing his position as Attorney General would actually help the cannabis legalization movement. Those that would likely take his place, such as the current head of the EPA, Scott Pruitt, also strongly oppose legalization.
Study Shows there is a Growing Number of Cannabis Consumers in Colorado
Finally, according to a BDS Analytics poll, more than a third of Colorado’s population over the age of 21 have consumed cannabis this year. That is over a 10% increase from the same poll conducted in 2017. It has long been speculated that the legalization of cannabis could lead to more people consuming cannabis. However, advocates believe that cannabis is a much healthier recreational activity than popping pills and consuming alcohol. Reports have shown that less opioid-based drug prescriptions are being filled in Colorado. It would be interesting to see whether alcohol consumption has decreased as well.
That is all for this week everyone. Please checkout TNMNews.com for more great stories and interviews about the pioneers of the cannabis industry and new happenings in the cannabis legalization movement.