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  2. Four cancer patients in end-of-life care will be become the first people in decades to legally possess and consume psilocybin mushrooms in Canada after a landmark decision Tuesday by the country’s Ministry of Health. The patients petitioned Health Minister Patty Hajdu back in April for exemptions from the country’s laws against psilocybin in order to use psychedelic mushrooms as part of psychotherapy treatment. On Tuesday afternoon, Hajdu officially granted the patients’ request, the nonprofit TheraPsil, which assisted with the application, announced. The approvals mark the first publicly-known individuals to receive a legal exemption from the Canadian Drugs and Substances Act to access psychedelic therapy, Therapsil said, and the first medical patients to legally use psilocybin since the compound became illegal in Canada in 1974. “This is the positive result that is possible when good people show genuine compassion. I’m so grateful that I can move forward with the next step of healing,” one of the patients, Thomas Hartle, said in a statement Tuesday. NEWS: 4 Palliative Canadians experiencing end-of-life distress have been APPROVED to access psychedelic therapy through section 56 exemptions. This historic decision marks the first known individuals to legally use #psilocybin since it’s illegality in 1974.https://t.co/AUlzjvKGcm — TheraPsil (@TheraPsil) August 4, 2020 The applicants, as well as various advocates for psychedelic therapy, had personally appealed to Hajdu via a concerted social media campaign during the months their applications were pending. “Health Canada is committed to carefully and thoroughly reviewing each request for an exemption under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, on a case-by-case basis, taking into account all relevant considerations, including evidence of potential benefits and risks or harms to the health and safety of Canadians,” a government spokesperson told Marijuana Moment in an email. “These exemptions do not change the fact that the sale and possession of magic mushrooms remain illegal in Canada. The use of magic mushrooms also comes with risks, including increased heart rate and blood pressure, flashbacks and bad trips that may lead to risk-taking behaviour, traumatic injuries and even death.” In statements issued Tuesday, other patients thanked Hajdu and said they were optimistic that more patients will one day have safe, legal access to psilocybin for therapeutic use. Minister @pattyhajdu please hear this message from Thomas Hartle: “I am one of the applicants that currently have a section 56 exemption that is in your hands…I just wanted to remind you that it has now been 100 days since some of the applications started coming to you.” pic.twitter.com/5h0d8hfuUl — TheraPsil (@TheraPsil) July 31, 2020 “I want to thank the Health Minister and Health Canada for approving my request for psilocybin use. The acknowledgement of the pain and anxiety that I have been suffering with means a lot to me, and I am feeling quite emotional today as a result,” said Laurie Brooks, an applicant from British Columbia. “I hope this is just the beginning and that soon all Canadians will be able to access psilocybin, for therapeutic use, to help with the pain they are experiencing, without having to petition the government for months to gain permission.” TheraPsil said on Tuesday that it expects more patients to petition the government for exemptions following the first four patients’ approval. A separate request by the nonprofit to allow therapists to use psychedelics, was not addressed in Tuesday’s announcement, the group said. All of the four patients have been diagnosed with untreatable cancer. Therapists who use psychedelics in their practices say that psilocybin-aided therapy sessions can help patients deal with issues such as depression and anxiety, allowing them to better accept death as a natural part of existence. “At this point psilocybin is a reasonable medical choice for these individuals,” the group’s executive director, Spencer Hawkswell, told Marijuana Moment in an interview last month. “This is about the minister being compassionate and using her ministerial abilities to help give patients access to something that’s going to help them.” The therapeutic potential of psychedelics has attracted attention in recent years from a growing number of academics, policy makers and even the U.S. government. In September of last year, Johns Hopkins University announced the launch of the nation’s first-ever psychedelic research center, a $17-million project to study whether psychedelics can treat conditions such as opioid use disorder, Alzheimer’s disease, depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder. In June, the University of North Carolina (UNC) announced a $27 million project funded by the U.S. Department of Defense to research and develop an entirely new class of psychedelics-inspired drugs. The program, UNC said, “aims to create new medications to effectively and rapidly treat depression, anxiety, and substance abuse without major side effects.” Meanwhile, activists in the United States have advocated for state- and local-level reforms to research, decriminalize and in some cases even legalize psychedelics. In May 2019, Denver became the first U.S. city to enact such a reform, with voters approving a measure that effectively decriminalized psilocybin possession. Soon after, officials in Oakland, California, decriminalized possession of all plant- and fungi-based psychedelics. In January of this year, the City Council in Santa Cruz, California, voted to make the enforcement of laws against psychedelics among the city’s lowest enforcement priorities. Reformers are pushing for similar changes in other jurisdictions. A proposal in Washington, D.C. would allow voters to decide this fall whether to decriminalize plant- and fungi-based psychedelic drugs, including psilocybin, ayahuasca and ibogaine. A decision on whether that initiative will make the ballot is expected later this week. In Oregon, voters in November will consider a measure that would decriminalize all drugs and expand access to treatment. A separate Oregon proposal would legalize psilocybin therapy—the same therapy sought by the Canadian cancer patients. Lawmakers in Hawaii earlier this year approved a plan to study psilocybin mushrooms’ medical applications with the goal of eventually legalizing access. This story was updated with comment from Health Canada. Psychedelic Therapists Petition Government For Permission To Dose Themselves In Order To Better Treat Patients Photo courtesy of Wikimedia/Mushroom Observer. The post Canada Will Let Terminally Ill Patients Use Psychedelic Mushrooms For End-Of-Life Care appeared first on Marijuana Moment. View the live link on MarijuanaMoment.net
  3. Ahead of what’s shaping up to be a contentious campaign season around marijuana in Arizona, Gov. Doug Ducey (R) and other opponents are claiming that legalization would unleash a host of public health hazards on the state. In an official voter guide argument published on Monday against a proposed initiative that’s likely to be on the November ballot, the governor called legalizing cannabis “a bad idea based on false promises.” “We know from states that have fully legalized marijuana that it has real consequences: more deaths on highways caused by high drivers, dramatic increases in teen drug use, and more newborns exposed to marijuana,” Ducey claimed in his comments. It’s not yet certain whether the legalization proposal, from Smart and Safe Arizona, will make it to the ballot. County officials have until August 7 to validate hundreds of thousands of signatures submitted by activists last month. But on Monday afternoon, the Arizona secretary of state’s office published arguments submitted both for and against the measure, including a handful from elected officials. The arguments, which will be printed and mailed to registered voters, give a taste of what’s to come during the mounting fight over legalization in the weeks leading up to Election Day. As with politics in general in 2020, expect considerable disagreement over basic facts. For instance, Ducey’s argument that cannabis legalization has led to “dramatic increases in teen drug use” seems at odds with available evidence. Even according to legalization opponents, such as the federal government’s High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) program, teen use rates have actually gone down since the end of prohibition for adults. In a presentation last month to North Dakota lawmakers, who themselves are considering whether to legalize marijuana, the Colorado-based deputy coordinator of the federal National Marijuana Initiative acknowledged that data from government drug use surveys show that Colorado saw a general decline in the number of teens using marijuana after the state enacted legalization. Another of Ducey’s claims, that Colorado has a particularly high rate of teen cannabis use compared to other states, is true. But his submission fails to mention that was also true during the years before legalization. Ducey wasn’t the only official to argue that legalization would increase teen consumption in the new official ballot arguments pamphlet. State Sen. Sine Kerr (R) wrote that she was “deeply saddened by the prospect of how this initiative would harm children.” “Kids would become easy prey for an industry hungry to create a new generation of users,” Kerr argued, noting that legal products would include vape pens and edible products such as gummies, cookies and candy, which she implied would appeal to children. (Gummy bears would be banned due to a provision forbidding animal-shaped products.) “The industry will succeed in hooking too many of our kids and stealing their potential early,” she wrote. Other common arguments against the proposal centered on the increased risk of impaired driving, fears of unbridled advertising by the commercial cannabis industry and economic impacts resulting from unmotivated employees or worker impairment. “In Arizona, positive marijuana workplace tests have nearly tripled over the past eight years since legalization of medical marijuana,” wrote Yavapai County Attorney Sheila Polk, an outspoken cannabis opponent. “Workplaces with higher rates of drug use have employees that are less productive, suffer higher absenteeism, and have more accidents.” Polk, whose office prosecutes cannabis cases, also downplayed the impact that legalization would have on the criminal justice system. “As for their argument that legalizing recreational pot will empty our prisons? Not a single state has seen a reduction in prison population because of legalization,” she argued. “This is because, contrary to the myth, our prisons are not filled with people serving time for marijuana possession.” Legalization supporters, however, point to Polk’s own office as a reason to reform marijuana laws. In recent years, Polk famously filed felony charges against a black medical cannabis patient for possessing a small amount of marijuana concentrate purchased legally from a dispensary. Critics accused Polk’s office of exhibiting racial bias in the case. Advocates for the proposed legalization measure, meanwhile, said in ballot arguments that the initiative takes a relatively measured, sensible approach by taxing and regulating marijuana rather than handling it as a criminal matter. “The war on drugs failed,” wrote Chad Campbell, chair of Smart and Safe Arizona, the organization behind the proposed ballot measure. “Marijuana is safest when it’s sold in a taxed, tested and regulated environment—not on a street corner.” The campaign says legalization will also bring in at least $300 million in tax revenue that can be used to support things like education, public health, infrastructure and safety. Penalties for driving under the influence of marijuana would go up under the proposal, and millions of dollars in funding would be funneled toward drug treatment and mental health programs. As for youth use, organizers argue, “we know a well-regulated, licensed, legal environment is the best way to keep marijuana out of the hands of children—period. We set the legal age at 21, limited potency, required childproofed packaging, required products to be unattractive to kids and forbade advertising to youth.” The state’s voters narrowly defeated a legalization measure in 2016, but a poll released last month indicates the current initiative is on the path to being approved. The survey found that more than 6 in 10 Arizona voters saying they support legalizing marijuana. Another supporter, former Gov. Fife Symington (R), who served from 1991 to 1997, wrote in his argument that voters “must constantly re-evaluate our policies in the face of new evidence.” “Today the evidence is overwhelmingly clear: criminalizing law-abiding citizens who choose to responsibly consume marijuana is an outdated policy that wastes precious government resources and unnecessarily restricts individual liberty,” he said. “A far more logical approach would be to respect the rights of adults to choose to consume marijuana while taxing and regulating its production and sale.” The proposal imposes significant penalties for selling marijuana products to minors, Symington wrote, allows law enforcement to target drivers who demonstrate impairment and allows employers to maintain a drug-free workplace. “Finally, and perhaps more importantly,” he wrote, “it frees up law enforcement to deal with more serious issues that actually jeopardize public safety.” Perhaps the most balanced ballot argument submitted over the measure came from Will Humble, executive director of the Arizona Public Health Association, who said the proposition “poses public health risks and benefits.” Humble‘s statement, which identifies what he said are both risks and benefits of legalization, is printed twice—once alongside ballot arguments against legalization, and again next to arguments in support of it. One one hand, Humble argued, ending felony charges for cannabis possession would reduce mental, physical and economic impacts for individuals and families. “Incarceration and felony convictions for marijuana offenses have multigenerational social, economic, and health impacts that have been disproportionately thrust on communities of color,” Humble wrote, “because they are more likely to be arrested for and convicted of marijuana offenses.” Humble noted the measure also includes provisions to regulate and test cannabis products, support evidence-based public health programs and prevent sales to minors—although he acknowledged those efforts won’t eliminate all risks, which he said include “impaired neurological development from use in adolescence, increased visits to emergency rooms from marijuana intoxication or accidental ingestion by children, adverse birth outcomes from maternal use, and injuries caused by impaired driving or workplace use.” Humble argued that if voters choose to pass the measure, regulators should be prepared to take the new legal sector seriously. “If the Act passes,” he wrote, “we urge the state to use its full regulatory authority to enforce purchasing age-limits, packaging and potency standards, regulate advertising and place of use restrictions, enact workplace use policy requirements, and solidify motor vehicle operation restrictions and penalties. Arizona officials should also partner with state universities to analyze and publish data on its public health impacts.” Read the arguments for and against the Arizona legal marijuana measure below: Arizona Marijuana Legalizat… by Marijuana Moment on Scribd Louisiana Law Allowing Medical Marijuana For Any Debilitating Condition To Take Effect The post Arizona Governor Slams Marijuana Legalization Ballot Measure In Voter Pamphlet Argument appeared first on Marijuana Moment. View the live link on MarijuanaMoment.net
  4. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) took a shot at House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) on Tuesday, criticizing recent comments she made defending marijuana provisions that were included in her chamber’s latest coronavirus relief legislation. The majority leader, who has consistently railed against the inclusion of cannabis banking protections in the House COVID-19 bill, said on the Senate floor that Pelosi is “still agitating for strange, new special interest carve-outs for the marijuana industry and even claiming they are COVID-related.” “She said that, with respect to this virus, marijuana is ‘a therapy that has proven successful.’ You can’t make this up,” he said. “I hope she shares her breakthrough with Dr. Fauci,” McConnell wryly added, referring to National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Anthony Fauci, who has been helping to lead the White House Coronavirus Task Force. McConnell is referring to remarks Pelosi made last week after she was asked about components of the House Democrats’ bill that Republicans have criticized as not germane, including specifically the marijuana language. The speaker said she took issue with the suggestion that cannabis banking reform was not relevant amid the pandemic and said marijuana “is a therapy that has proven successful.” Prohibitionists have seized on that comment, interpreting it to mean that Pelosi believes cannabis can treat COVID-19. Speaker Pelosi is still holding up this entire package over bizarre unrelated things like carveouts for the marijuana industry. She even claimed to the press that pot is a proven COVID-19 therapy! I hope she’s shared this breakthrough with Dr. Fauci. Can we get serious yet? https://t.co/CksSWrMKDN — Leader McConnell (@senatemajldr) August 4, 2020 That said, it wasn’t clear from the brief comment whether that was the case or if Pelosi was broadly referring to the therapeutic benefits of marijuana. The Food and Drug Administration has made clear that there’s currently no solid evidence that cannabinoids can treat COVID-19 and it’s warned companies that make that claim. Marijuana Moment previously exclusively reported that Pelosi—who said in 2018 that doctors should prescribe medical cannabis and yoga more often instead of prescription opioids—supported attaching the banking language to the House’s coronavirus package prior to the legislation’s introduction. Senate leadership unveiled their latest round of coronavirus relief legislation last week, and it does not include the cannabis provisions. And given McConnell’s particular focus on those components, it seems likely that any attempt to get the language inserted in a bicameral conference will be met with resistance on the Senate side. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) also recently slammed Pelosi’s latest cannabis comments on Twitter, saying “let’s focus on the pandemic. Not pot.” Meanwhile, the standalone Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act has continued to sit in the Senate Banking Committee without action in the months since the House initially approved it. Last month, a bipartisan coalition of state treasurers sent a letter to congressional leaders, asking that they include marijuana banking protections in the next piece of coronavirus relief legislation. In May, a bipartisan coalition of 34 state attorneys general similarly wrote to Congress to urge the passage of COVD-19 legislation containing cannabis banking provisions. McConnell’s latest comments also come a week after the House approved an amendment to protect state, territory and tribal marijuana laws from federal interference. Top House Democrat Talks Marijuana Reform With Major Cannabis Company Photo courtesy of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. The post McConnell Slams Pelosi Over Claim Marijuana Is A ‘Proven’ Therapy Amid Coronavirus Debate appeared first on Marijuana Moment. View the live link on MarijuanaMoment.net
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  6. A top House Democrat said during a recent interview with a major marijuana company that small farmers could benefit from growing cannabis to offset losses in the tobacco industry, and he argued that Democrats view decriminalization as a priority in policing reform discussions. Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-SC) joined Canopy Growth’s David Culver for a new series the company launched called “Under The Canopy” last week, and the pair discussed a wide range of marijuana issues. Notably, the former chair and current member of the Congressional Black Caucus said the group considers decriminalizing cannabis “a big, big issue” in the context of policing reform. “Most of this is generational like anything else, but it carries the day. Decriminalization carries the day in the caucus,” he said. ” I think that when you look at demilitarization…I think these issues are majority issues with the Congressional Black Caucus, and I think it’s also the same with our House Democratic Caucus.” Advocates had hoped that House leaders would have heeded the calls of various lawmakers calling for marijuana reform as part of their last policing bill, but that did not ultimately materialize. Clyburn, the third-highest-ranking House Democrat, added that he’s been nudged on marijuana reform repeatedly by Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), whose amendment to protect all state, territory and tribal cannabis programs from federal intervention passed on the House floor last week. The whip was among the 267 members who voted in favor of that measure. “You cannot have a bigger advocate than Earl Blumenauer. Blumenauer beats up on me almost every day with that,” Clyburn, who is a cosponsor of a bill to federally legalize cannabis, said. “I keep telling him, ‘Blumenauer, I’m with it. Go beat up on somebody else.'” Later in the interview, Culver talked about the economic opportunities that cannabis reform could mean for farmers in South Carolina and other states. Clyburn replied that he’s “very interested in what you’re doing and what we can do to make you more effective and what you can do for us to make life a little bit easier for some of my constituents.” Representative @WhipClyburn knows that the cannabis industry is here to stay, offering numerous economic and health benefits to the U.S. We’re thankful for his support – check out Rep. Clyburn’s full interview here: https://t.co/Br4FUvBMfA #CannabisNews pic.twitter.com/lfJRrHaLVD — Canopy Growth (@CanopyGrowth) August 3, 2020 “I want to see small businesses coming out of this pandemic that was only dreamed about before,” he said. “A lot of people used to grow tobacco, grow cotton, they’re now out of businesses,” the congressman continued. “There was a time you could make a real good living with 25-30 acres of tobacco. You can’t do that today.” Just as solar farms have helped replace those crops, Clyburn said it’s the “same thing with growing [cannabis] products that you need in order to stay in business. Some of these small farmers, small landowners, need to be involved in some of your efforts.” At the beginning of the interview, Canopy’s Culver and the congressman discussed their shared appreciation for Jack Daniel’s whiskey and Diet Coke. But by the end, the marijuana executive floated the idea of meeting in-person down the line and having “some cannabis and coke.” “I don’t know about joining you in that, but thank you so much,” Clyburn said, laughing. The top Democrat in the House, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), also recently weighed in on marijuana policy, defending the chamber’s inclusion of cannabis banking protections in a coronavirus relief package and asserting that the plant’s therapeutic benefits are “proven.” Sources told Marijuana Moment recently that House leaders plan to hold a floor vote next month on legislation to federally legalize cannabis. Nancy Pelosi Says Marijuana Is A ‘Therapy That Has Proven Successful’ Amid Coronavirus Bill Debate Photo courtesy of Mike Latimer. The post Top House Democrat Talks Marijuana Reform With Major Cannabis Company appeared first on Marijuana Moment. View the live link on MarijuanaMoment.net
  7. Analyzing Congress’s recent marijuana vote; IL sees record cannabis sales in July; Senator engages with blunt-smoking constituent Subscribe to receive Marijuana Moment’s newsletter in your inbox every weekday morning. It’s the best way to make sure you know which cannabis stories are shaping the day. Email address: Leave this field empty if you're human: Your support makes Marijuana Moment possible… Subscribers who value this daily dispatch enough to show their support with a few dollars help us keep doing this. Please chip in and help ensure Marijuana Moment’s continued operations. https://www.patreon.com/marijuanamoment / TOP THINGS TO KNOW A new Congressional Research Service report says a “decline in U.S. demand for Mexican marijuana” is partly “due to legalized cannabis or medical cannabis in several U.S. states and Canada, reducing its value as part of Mexican trafficking organizations’ portfolio.” Marijuana Moment analyzed last week’s House of Representatives vote to protect state cannabis laws from federal interference, including an examination of lawmakers who flipped from “No” last year to “Yes” this time and vice versa, as well as the 17 Republicans from legalized states who voted to let the Department of Justice arrest their constituents. The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation reported that marijuana retailers shattered monthly sales records in July with nearly 1.3 million cannabis products sold, worth about $61 million. Out-of-state visitors alone accounted for $16.2 million of that. Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) reacted cheerfully to a blunt-smoking constituent who expressed support for his reelection bid. “I support marijuana, by the way.” A new ProPublica investigation reviews documents showing that “investors, many with marijuana industry ties, have seized upon the nation’s public health disaster” by flipping N95 masks amid the coronavirus pandemic. “It’s quick money. And the broker game in the marijuana and industrial hemp industry — it’s exactly the same.” / FEDERAL The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Risk Management Agency tweeted about hemp crop insurance. Sens. Dick Durbin (D-IL) and John Kennedy (R-LA) are pushing the Drug Enforcement Administration to lower production quotas for opioids. Sen. Tina Smith (D-MN) tweeted about her new bill to federally legalize and regulate marijuana. Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) said, “Suspending driver’s licenses for unpaid fees is a misguided relic from the ‘War on Drugs’ era that punishes people who can’t pay their bills on time by making it even harder for them to make an income to pay their bills. How stupid is that?” Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) criticized House Democrats because their coronavirus relief bill “mentions marijuana more times than jobs.” Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) said he’s “working with Team Biden in conversations” about further evolving on marijuana reform. Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD) tweeted, “According to the NIH, the WHO, and the American Lung Assoc., marijuana is MORE dangerous with COVID – it is NOT a treatment. Yet Speaker Pelosi insists on marijuana provisions in a COVID bill for the American people?” Rep. Dina Titus (D-NV) cheered marijuana provisions in an appropriations bill passed by the House. Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) tweeted, “My colleagues on the Congressional #CannabisCaucus and I were also able to include an amendment that protects individuals who engage in the state-sanctioned use, production, and dispensing of cannabis to those over age 21 from prosecution by the Department of Justice.” Tennessee Democratic Senate candidate Marquita Bradshaw tweeted about her support for legalizing marijuana. Tennessee Democratic Senate candidate James Mackler tweeted, “Legalizing #MedicalMarijuana is overdue. We must find alternatives to incarceration for nonviolent offenders, reduce recidivism, end for-profit prisons & update flawed sentencing guidelines. If states want to legalize marijuana, the Federal govt shouldn’t stand in the way.” / STATES Pennsylvania’s lieutenant governor tweeted, “It has been 313 days since @GovernorTomWolf and I called on the legislature to immediately decriminalize marijuana and work on legislation to legalize. We need action now.” Mississippi’s agriculture commissioner announced that farmers in the state can apply for hemp licenses from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Nebraska lawmakers sent Gov. Pete Ricketts (R) a hemp bill. California regulators sent a notice about changes to cannabis business tax return procedures. Louisiana regulators issued an emergency rule to implement medical cannabis program changes included in recently enacted legislation. Massachusetts regulators issued an order allowing marijuana companies to retest and potentially sell quarantined marijuana vaping products. Ohio regulators are considering resolutions on medical cannabis business employee policies. Oregon regulators approved marijuana business violation stipulated settlement agreements. Washington State regulators will consider marijuana rules and a compact with an Indian tribe on Wednesday. — Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 1,500 cannabis bills in state legislatures and Congress this year. Patreon supporters pledging at least $25/month get access to our interactive maps, charts and hearing calendar so they don’t miss any developments. Learn more about our marijuana bill tracker and become a supporter on Patreon to get access. — / LOCAL San Francisco, California regulators are accepting feedback about a marijuana equity applicant grant program. / INTERNATIONAL New UK Ministry of Justice data shows racial disparities in marijuana enforcement. Mexican poppy cultivation and heroin production decreased last year, according to the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy. / SCIENCE & HEALTH A study suggested “potential anti-inflammatory effects of recent cannabis use.” A study identified the “plausible appearance of tolerance to cannabidiol-enriched oil,” which “may limit treatment efficacy in the long-term clinical management of refractory epilepsy in both pediatric and adult population.” / ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS NORML and HeadCount launched a voter registration drive. The Marijuana Policy Project published a voter guide for New Hampshire’s primary election next month. / CULTURE Mixed martial arts fighters Tim Elliott and Jamahal Hill are reportedly facing suspensions and fines for positive marijuana tests. Make sure to subscribe to get Marijuana Moment’s daily dispatch in your inbox. Email address: Leave this field empty if you're human: The post Congressional researchers say legal cannabis hurts cartels (Newsletter: August 4, 2020) appeared first on Marijuana Moment. View the live link on MarijuanaMoment.net
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  11. Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) didn’t flinch when a person apparently smoking a marijuana blunt voiced support for his reelection campaign as he walked the streets of Revere, Massachusetts on Saturday. In fact, after the constituent passed by, the senator affirmed “I support marijuana by the way.” Someone smoking a blunt drove by cheering for @edmarkey while we were in Revere #Markeychusetts pic.twitter.com/5HPZ8yxyI7 — Sydney Rachael Levin-Epstein (@SYDNEYRACHAEL_) August 1, 2020 A staffer on Markey’s campaign exclaimed “that was so cool!” after the cannabis enthusiast stated their support. She also later clarified that while the person was in a car, they was in the passenger seat. (It’s still illegal to smoke marijuana as a passenger in a vehicle in Massachusetts, however.) (guy smoking in the passenger seat ) — Sydney Rachael Levin-Epstein (@SYDNEYRACHAEL_) August 1, 2020 Markey, who is facing a primary challenge from Rep. Joe Kennedy III (D-MA), has claimed that he came out in favor of legalization prior to his competitor, who until November 2018 was a staunch opponent to the policy change. “I have supported legalization since it passed in Massachusetts,” Markey said during a primary debate in June, adding that he “voted to support legalization when it was on the ballot” in 2016—though the senator didn’t make it public at the time, and didn’t endorse the measure during the campaign. “I believe that it is something that also I might add should be done in a way in which racial minorities for the first time should be able to fully participate in the business opportunities that marijuana is going to present in our state, and that we have to create a banking system that ensures that it’s not a cash business, but something that goes through a traditional banking system.” While presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden remains opposed to adult-use legalization, the senator said in an interview last month that, if Democrats reclaim the Senate and White House, Congress will “move very quickly” to enact that change regardless of Biden’s position on the issue. For further seeming proof that the senator is attempting to woo the cannabis vote, look no further than this recently released ad featuring psychedelic music and contextless trippy cuts from his first campaign for Congress. pic.twitter.com/VmZnpIBq59 — Ed Markey (@EdMarkey) July 28, 2020 Analyzing Congress’s Latest Vote To Protect Legal Marijuana States From Federal Enforcement Photo courtesy of Martin Alonso. The post Massachusetts Senator Gives Wicked Chill Marijuana Response To Blunt-Smoking Constituent appeared first on Marijuana Moment. View the live link on MarijuanaMoment.net
  12. Last week, for the second year in a row, the House of Representatives approved a spending bill amendment to protect all state, territory and tribal marijuana programs from federal interference. The measure, which blocks the Department of Justice from using its funds to impede the implementation of cannabis local programs, cleared the chamber in a 254-163 vote. While there were fewer votes in favor of the amendment compared to last year’s tally of 267-165, that’s accounted for by an overall dip in votes, the death or absence of pro-reform members and the lack of ability to vote on the floor by delegates representing non-state U.S. territories this time around. “No” votes also decreased, though by a smaller margin. “Overall, we are pleased with the successful vote,” Justin Strekal, political director of NORML, told Marijuana Moment. “It indicates an eager willingness for the House to address the underlying issue of federal prohibition and hope that House leadership views it the same way.” There were notable flips in both directions—most significantly longtime opponent Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), who for the first time voted in favor of the measure—and other dynamics at play. This analysis focuses on comparing only the 2019 and 2020 votes, whereas a previous Marijuana Moment’s piece compared last year’s result to a 2015 vote on the initial version of the measure that narrowly failed by a tally of 206-222. All told, 222 Democrats voted in favor of the amendment while 157 Republicans opposed it. However, despite that partisan divide, there were several interesting exceptions. Who Changed Their Vote From Last Year? 2019 “no” votes flipped to 2020 “yes” votes: Rep. Mark Amodei (R-NV) Rep. Sharice Davids (D-KS) Rep. Drew Ferguson IV (R-GA) Rep. Mark Green (R-TN) Rep. Roger Marshall (R-KS) Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) As noted, Wasserman Schultz’s “yes” vote is especially interesting, as the former Democratic National Committee chair has historically opposed cannabis reform and voted twice against versions of this measure. Just before voting yes this time, she could be seen engaging in an animated chat on the House floor with amendment sponsor Rep. Early Blumenauer (D-OR). Amodei’s shift to a favorable vote is also notable given that his state legalized adult-use marijuana, though the policy had already been in place when he cast a “no” vote last year—something he likely got negative feedback about from constituents. Davids, along with Wasserman Schultz, was one of only eight Democrats to vote against the measure in 2019, and she’s now joined the vast majority of her party colleagues in supporting the amendment. 2019 “yes” votes to flipped to 2020 “no” votes: Rep. Matthew Cartwright (D-PA) Rep. James Comer (R-KY) Rep. Russ Fulcher (R-ID) Rep. Greg Gianforte (R-MT) Rep. Bob Gibbs (R-OH) Rep. Tom Rice (R-SC) Rep. David Schweikert (R-AZ) Rep. Mike Simpson (R-ID) Of this group, Comer’s switch to the opposition stands out the most. He’s been a vocal advocate for the hemp industry and even brought a CBD product that he said he uses to a congressional hearing last year. Schweikert, Cartwright and Gianforte are also of interest, as each of their states are positioned to advance adult-use legalization. Activists in Montana and Arizona are confident that their legalization initiatives will qualify for the November ballot. In Pennsylvania, top lawmakers and state officials are actively pushing for bold cannabis policy reform. This year’s action also provided an opportunity to see where lawmakers who did not participate in the vote last year—either because they were absent or not yet serving in Congress—stand on the issue. 2019 absences to 2020 “yes” votes: Rep. Tom Emmer (R-MN) Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-FL) Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D-AZ) Rep. Kweisi Mfume (D-MD) Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH) Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) 2019 absences to 2020 “no” votes: Rep. Dan Bishop (R-NC) Rep. Mike Garcia (R-CA) Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA) Rep. Chris Jacobs (R-NY) Rep. Gregory Murphy (R-NC) Rep. Thomas Tiffany (R-WI) In contrast, several members who did vote on the measure in 2019 did not get the chance to do so again this year. Some lawmakers have since died or resigned, while others were not present for other reasons and didn’t give their proxy votes to other members. 2019 “yes” votes to 2020 absences: Rep. Aumua Amata (R-AS) Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY) (resigned) Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) (deceased) Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-OH) Res. Comm. Jenniffer González-Colón (R-PR) Rep. Tom Graves (R-GA) Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) (resigned) Rep. John Larson (D-CT) Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) (deceased) Rep. Paul Mitchell (R-MI) Rep. Eleanor Norton (D-DC) Rep. Stacey Plaskett (D-VI) Rep. Guy Reschenthaler (R-PA) Rep. Gregorio Sablan (D-MP) Rep. Linda Sánchez (D-CA) Rep. Michael San Nicolas (D-GU) This category does the most to help explain why this year’s amendment saw fewer “yes” votes compared to 2019. The loss of Cummings and Lewis, the resignation of two Republican reform allies and the fact that representatives of the District of Columbia and territories such as Puerto Rico and Guam weren’t allowed to vote for procedural reasons related to the House’s coronavirus-related social distancing protocols. 2019 “no” votes to 2020 absences: Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI) (retired in 2019) Rep. Louie Gohmert Jr. (R-TX) Rep. Kay Granger (R-TX) Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) (appointed White House chief of staff) Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-OK) Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-LA) (appointed director of national intelligence) Rep. William Timmons (R-SC) Who Voted To Let The Feds Arrest Their Constituents? All told, there were 17 members, all Republicans, who represent legal adult-use cannabis states who cast “no” votes for the amendment to protect their constituents’ interests. This analysis doesn’t include members from states that have only legalized medical cannabis, as those programs are already protected under an existing spending rider that’s been approved each year since 2014. California Rep. Ken Calvert (R-CA) Rep. Paul Cook (R-CA) Rep. Mike Garcia (R-CA) Rep. Doug LaMalfa (R-CA) House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) Colorado Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO) Rep. Scott Tipton (R-CO) Illinois Rep. Michael Bost (R-IL) Rep. Darin LaHood (R-IL) Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL) Michigan Rep. Jack Bergman (R-MI) Rep. Bill Huizenga (R-MI) Rep. John Moolenaar (R-MI) Rep. Tim Walberg (R-MI) Washington State Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA) Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) Who Went Against Their Party On The Amendment? While cannabis legalization is an increasingly bipartisan issue, with majorities of the public from both parties expressing support for the policy change, the partisan divide remains largely intact in Congress. That said, the vote revealed some ideological dissents. Democrats who voted “no”: Rep. Matthew Cartwright (D-PA) Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-TX) Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ) Rep. Conor Lamb (D-PA) Rep. Collin Peterson (D-MN) Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-NY) These votes are even more interesting given that most of these members represent states where plans are in the works to implement recreational marijuana legalization. For example, in Gottheimer’s New Jersey, voters will see a marijuana legalization referendum on the November ballot. Top lawmakers in states represented by many of the other Democratic “no” votes are pushing legislation to end cannabis prohibition. Republicans who voted “yes”: Rep. Mark Amodei (R-NV) Rep. Kelly Armstrong (R-ND) Rep. Don Bacon (R-NE) Rep. Troy Balderson (R-OH) Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO) Rep. Rodney Davis (R-IL) Rep. Tom Emmer (R-MN) Rep. Drew Ferguson (R-GA) Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) Rep. Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH) Rep. Mark Green (R-TN) Rep. Morgan Griffith (R-VA) Rep. Kevin Hern (R-OK) Rep. Trey Hollingsworth (R-IN) Rep. David Joyce (R-OH) Rep. Roger Marshall (R-KS) Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) Rep. Brian Mast (R-FL) Rep. Tom McClintock (R-CA) Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-WA) Rep. Tom Reed (R-NY) Rep. Denver Riggleman (R-VA) Rep. Mike Rogers (R-AL) Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) Rep. Greg Steube (R-FL) Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI) Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR) Rep. Michael Waltz (R-FL) Rep. Steve Watkins (R-KS) Rep. Ted Yoho (R-FL) Rep. Don Young (R-AK) Notably, only seven of those 31 “yes” votes came from Republican members representing states with legal recreational marijuana laws on the books. What remains to be seen, however, is how the GOP-controlled Senate will approach this measure. There were not similar amendments introduced to that chamber’s version in 2015 or 2019, and it’s not clear whether any senators will attempt to insert a version this round. The Senate has not yet started its Fiscal Year 2021 appropriations process. Congressional Researchers Admit Legalizing Marijuana Hurts Mexican Drug Cartel Profits Photo courtesy of Brian Shamblen. The post Analyzing Congress’s Latest Vote To Protect Legal Marijuana States From Federal Enforcement appeared first on Marijuana Moment. View the live link on MarijuanaMoment.net
  13. Contracts, emails and spreadsheets that Juanita and Dawn Ramos shared with ProPublica detail how domestic and foreign investors, many with marijuana industry ties, seized upon the nation’s public health disaster. By J. David McSwane, ProPublica In late April, as an escalating pandemic shut down most of the country and the federal government shelled out billions of dollars to untested contractors for protective masks, Juanita Ramos got a call from a friend in the marijuana business. Her friend and some other ganjapreneurs were buzzing over a potentially huge payday. They had in their possession a $34.5 million purchase order from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. A contractor hired by the VA to provide 6 million N95 respirators to the nation’s largest hospital system had searched for weeks but found none of the potentially life-saving masks. So he had reached out far and wide for help, offering to cut in anyone who could help him finance, purchase and deliver masks by his deadline. His PO, as it’s commonly called, had made its way to players in the cannabis industry, where deals are made quickly and often in cash. The friend asked Ramos: Did she want in on the action? Ramos had modest connections in the medical supply chain through her work in legal marijuana and thought perhaps she could help terrified health care workers get urgently needed protective gear while also pocketing a little extra cash. Ramos, 66, enlisted her daughter, Dawn, 50, and both hit the phones, calling moneyed folks they knew in the marijuana business. Marijuana retailers, operating in the no man’s land between state legalization and conflicting federal law, often get financing outside of traditional banks from private-equity firms and wealthy individuals. A famous example from The Before Time: Last fall, two indicted Soviet-born businessmen working for President Donald Trump’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, tried to finance a pot business with cash from a Russian investor. In the marijuana space, Ramos thought, there are people with deep pockets who can move money around fast, avoiding the hang-ups that might slow such an urgent purchase. “It’s quick money,” Ramos told ProPublica. “And the broker game in the marijuana and industrial hemp industry — it’s exactly the same.” For working the phones, Ramos and her daughter said they only made about $200, but their experience and the records they kept tell a cautionary tale for hospitals, agencies and schools that are still scrounging for masks ahead of a potential second wave of coronavirus. Contracts, emails and spreadsheets that Juanita and Dawn Ramos shared with ProPublica detail how domestic and foreign investors, many with marijuana industry ties, have seized upon the nation’s public health disaster. They show that some brokers attempted to use forged documents to gain access to masks coming off production lines of 3M, the manufacturer that makes the gold-standard masks capable of filtering 95% of particles that could transmit the novel coronavirus. In one exchange, the owner of a Swiss nutritional supplement company detailed his plan to buy millions of 3M masks at $3.71 apiece and resell them to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, whose purchase order priced masks at $7 each. The emails include bogus U.S. Food and Drug Administration certifications; videos and photos of real or imaginary mask stockpiles; bank statements claiming to reflect billions of dollars that could be wired instantly; and, of course, nondisclosure agreements to keep participants quiet. These coronavirus-era artifacts were collected by a self-described medicine woman who lives with her daughter in Austin, Texas. It took only a few months for her to grow disgusted with what she saw in the rogue personal protective equipment market and decide to tell her story. The Mystery Woman I had first heard of Juanita Ramos back in April as I reported the other side of the VA deal. I had accompanied VA contractor Robert Stewart Jr. on a private plane to Chicago, where he promised I could watch him deliver medical-grade masks to a VA warehouse. But the reporting trip yielded something different: a close-up look at the frenzy the federal government created when it agreed to pay obscene prices for masks to just about anyone claiming they could deliver. The only procurement I witnessed that day was of McDonald’s fast food. Several times as his deal fell apart, Stewart cryptically referred to Ramos, whom he’d met on a phone call with various mask brokers. He believed Ramos had a connection to Vice President Mike Pence, the head of the federal coronavirus task force, and was greasing the wheels to help Stewart get a contract extension. He didn’t have a number for this mythical Ramos, and I had turned up nothing about her on deadline. Ramos remained a mystery after the story ran, but a non-journalist friend of mine texted what I thought was a random joke about a nonexistent person: “Juanita Ramos is either a stripper in Atlanta or a Native American medicine woman.” Ramos had a common name, and I was pre-filtering based on what little I knew, scouring LinkedIn and other databases for someone with Washington connections. But my friend, Crizno (don’t ask), had gone down a random late-night Google hole and found a photo of Ramos holding a dead eagle, bestowed upon her by a Cherokee Nation chief when she completed spiritual medicine training. Weeks later, I finally contacted the correct Ramos and shared my story of Stewart’s unsuccessful VA deal. I told her he believed she was a conduit to the vice president. “I’m reading this and I’m like holy hell — what?” she said as she saw the article for the first time. “First off, I don’t even like Mike Pence.” Ramos insisted she has no White House connections. “I help write legislation for medical marijuana,” she explained, referring to her work with the Utah Association for Responsible Cannabis Legislation and Sacred Roots Healing, an educational group that helped skeptics accept that non-THC cannabis products don’t make children with autism, like, super high. She’d also worked for a major CBD company in Colorado, the first state to legalize recreational pot. “I mean, I’m down for the farmer. And believe me, Mike Pence ain’t gonna do shit for the marijuana industry or the farmer.” “I don’t know how I became the mystery woman,” she quipped, “But this was a great ha-ha.” It was true, as Stewart said, that she had joined a call with him and Troy King, a former attorney general of Alabama who had apparently become a mask broker. In the final hours before the VA axed Stewart’s contract, King had been helping him track down potential mask sellers and financiers. “I said, lookit, I will do what I can to contact people that may have access to masks, but I don’t know if it can happen,” she explained, but that was the extent of her role. In retrospect, she’s not sure why she was even on the call. She said she had no connections, no masks, no funding. She complained that after that phone call, she was inundated with offers from mask brokers, which sometimes included client needs lists and “proof of life” videos of secret stockpiles of masks. “I’m getting emails from these guys saying, lookit, I have 10 million masks or I have, you know, gloves, or we have what was the other thing? Gowns. Let us know if you need any. And I’m like, I don’t want anything to do with these guys.” I asked her to send me examples of the emails she had collected. She forwarded an April 25 purchase order that suggests King had planned to flip the masks, buying them from a foreign seller and reselling them to Stewart, who would then sell them to the VA. In mask trade parlance it was a “broker chain,” wherein inventory switches ownership multiple times until the end buyer, in this case the VA, pays a price high enough for everyone to get a cut. Once the buyer pays up, money drips down. That purchase order, included in an email thread with brokers I’ve independently found to be involved in the deal, suggested King, through his limited liability company, intended to buy the VA’s would-be masks from JV Tock Trading Corp., a Canadian distributor. Chris Kruger, a managing partner at JV Tock, said the company got a call from King and other brokers just hours before the VA deal was about to implode. The company execs were asked “if we could try and help them save their purchase order that they’re about to lose.” Kruger said JV Tock got a call the next day saying that “the attorney general’s gonna pull some strings to help them out.” The company decided not to work with King and was unaware of the purchase order, Kruger said. His company is on the up and up, he said, and hasn’t made much money in its efforts to get more masks to Canadian and U.S. buyers, which have led to countless dead ends. “The entire industry is one of the most frustrating headaches I have ever dealt with,” he said. “Greed and dishonesty run rampant.” Through a spokeswoman, King denied any involvement with JV Tock. “The document you attached to your email is not one of my company’s purchase orders,” his statement said. Three days later, a different purchase order showed another broker in Arizona offering to buy millions of the same type of 3M masks for $3 apiece from — wait for it — another broker. At the time, 3M’s list price was about $1.27. The VA, however, had agreed to pay about $5.75 apiece, a 350% percent markup, which left plenty of profit for a successful broker chain. I wanted to see more. So I flew down to Texas at a critical moment in the state’s struggle with COVID-19. Hospitals were near capacity because of an explosion of new infections following Gov. Greg Abbott’s mixed signaling on the importance and enforcement of wearing masks. “Blood Money” Ramos lives in Circle C Ranch, a master-planned maze of cedar trees and stone facades southwest of downtown Austin, where residents enjoy a golf course and an Olympic-size pool that is, inexplicably, heated. She’s definitely not the shrewd, White House-connected capitalist I had been led to expect. She refers to her higher being as “creator” and places colorful stones at the bottom of all sinks so that when you wash your hands, bad energy washes off and returns to the earth. From her brown leather sectional, Ramos outlined her dream of helping people while making a modest profit, and how it was scuttled by bogus documents, misinformation and greed. “I told my daughter, ‘Hey, if we were to look at doing this, we would do like maybe a penny or 2 cents,’” she said, referring to the potential profit margin on each mask. The plan fell apart when friends in the marijuana industry connected her to Drew O’Malley of Boston Capital Consultants, Ramos said. Emails and records show O’Malley, whose background is in Connecticut real estate, was trying to broker multiple high-dollar deals involving foreign investors and private-equity groups, including the VA deal with King and others. Ramos said her alarming conversations with Boston Capital Consultants eventually led her to sever ties. “This Drew guy was telling me that they put, like, $1.25 on top of a mask,” Ramos alleged. “And I’m like: ‘What are you talking about? People are dying, and you guys are ripping people off for a buck twenty five?’ It’s like broker-broker-broker-broker for, like, 15 people in the middle, right? And then that dollar mask turns into eight bucks, or seven bucks or whatever.” “I don’t want to get caught up in the ripping people off,” she added. “That’s blood money to me.” Emails Ramos shared show O’Malley passed along a few letters of intent, commonly referred to as LOIs, in which prospective buyers outline how much they’ll pay for masks that are either sitting in a warehouse or on a manufacturer’s production line. On April 29, Ramos received an LOI showing that a Zurich investor named Stephan Schmid, who runs a dietary supplement company, hoped to buy 100 million N95 respirators a week from 3M at $3.71 each. The end buyers for the deal included FEMA and hospitals. This happened at the same time King and Stewart were trying to sell the same type of masks to FEMA at $7 apiece. Like the VA deal, the FEMA arrangement was ultimately nixed. Schmid didn’t respond to questions. O’Malley, who didn’t return calls and emails, is no longer employed by Boston Capital Consultants, according to his former boss, Aaron Marcy Sells. Sells founded Boston Capital Consultants in 2018 after a career that involved marketing work for New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, real estate investing through firms branded with his initials, launching bars and liquor brands and, more recently, trading through AMSCAN Inc., a holding company for cannabis ventures. “They’re all big marijuana guys,” Ramos said. Sells claims to have played no part in his company’s well-documented negotiations in the PPE trade. “If you asked me under oath what happened, I couldn’t tell you,” Sells told ProPublica. “I don’t think Drew did anything wrong,” he added. “I think he got pulled in with some bad people. … The minute I smelled it, I pulled everyone away from it, and Drew left the company.” Sells insisted that he shouldn’t be named in this story. “I am not involved in this Ramos and Troy King nightmare,” he said. And while I asked him multiple times if Boston Capital Consultants was as involved in the PPE game as emails sent out by his employees suggested, he provided only opaque dismissals. “We do a lot of different business,” he said. Ramos’ emails show the company was soliciting masks and gowns consistently through June, including in email blasts labeled “Deal of the Day.” For instance on June 5, Boston Capital Consultants sent out an email that’s an alphabet soup of PPE trade terms. “DEAL OF THE DAY: 5.87 million KN95 Masks (FDA) – .95 cents per mask on the ground in L.A. PO/POF gets POL …” KN95s are the Chinese version of the N95. The PO is a purchase order from a hospital or government agency. A POF is a proof of funds, such as a bank statement or letter of assurance from a bank. POL is proof of life — video showing the stock. “THESE WILL MOVE FAST SO PLEASE DO SO AS WELL,” the email ends. On July 14, Massachusetts business filings show Sells founded his latest venture: Safe and Clean Protection LLC. Its stated business purpose is to “manufacture and sell personal protective equipment (PPE).” Three Paths to Masks Resellers pursue three avenues to attain masks, according to interviews with brokers across the country and the dozens of emails Ramos shared. The first is the all-cash spot buy, done fast to keep the feds from confiscating inventory. A seller broadcasts that they have a mask lot on the ground, stashed in a warehouse or at a customs inspection hub. A potential buyer bids for the product and provides either a purchase order or bank records to show there’s money backing the deal. In return, the seller provides a proof of life. The money usually goes into an escrow account, similar to a real estate deal — released to the seller upon mask inspection. Dawn Ramos said she saw brokers reselling inventory over and over in these spot buys just to keep it moving — technically not hoarding — so the federal government wouldn’t snatch it up. One broker “would get it and if he can’t sell it, and if it’s not gone by a certain time, they have to move it somewhere else, because otherwise it would be seized,” she said. Under the Defense Production Act, FEMA has stepped in to compel owners of mask lots to sell to the federal government at market prices if the broker is hoarding or price-gouging. In late April, as its hospitals were inundated with COVID-19 cases, the VA’s top doctor expressed frustration that FEMA had swooped in and taken shipments the VA had ordered from vendors. FEMA has denied seizing supplies from other government branches. The second type of deal is a direct buy from a manufacturer such as 3M. To pull this off, a purchase order must come directly from a hospital or government agency. This approach is less attractive to brokers because it requires more paperwork, oversight and the masks sell for near the list price. The third type of deal is to purchase a production line, as the Swiss investor proposed. As one broker recently told me, “It’s basically futures trading.” This is where the rampant fabrication comes into play. Getting a connection to a distributor or manufacturer is all but impossible right now, brokers say, and to even be heard you have to prove you have backing. Several companies, including JV Tock, have reported their brands being used in phony letters to help sell an illegitimate deal. One exchange that dropped into the Ramoses’ emails illustrates the magical thinking pervading the mask trade. In early May, a potentially existent English investor, using an obscure international charity, was working with a London-based consulting firm to establish that he should be a 3M distributor. His proposal included a letter purportedly from HSBC Bank reflecting more than $2 billion in available funds. The package also came with a letter of support from a California-based energy company that, he claimed, vouched for his bona fides. Emails show this proposal floating between Boston Capital Consultants, including its owner, and Joseph Ingarra, who identifies himself as the “head rainmaker” at Apex Growth Solutions LLC, based in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. Ingarra’s company appears to do some sort of marketing and claims to leverage the “world’s leading science of how people make choices.” “I’m aware of a huge fckn lot 1-2B range in the UK,” Ingarra wrote to O’Malley and Sells in early May, referring to a large mask transaction. “Get this shipped in one big shot and get paid quickly,” he said in bold letters. But the proposed deal and documents raise questions. First, it’s coming from Florida. Second, the investor’s Delaware business address connects to a residential home valued at less than $200,000. Third, even in late April and early May, brokers say it was very unlikely such a large stock of masks, which weren’t being made in great abundance beyond pre-pandemic demand, ever existed. Then there’s the letter vouching for the buyer on letterhead from UDECM, the California firm that designs and builds solar energy rigs primarily overseas. I sent the letter to the firm’s owner, Albert Rau, who called immediately to tell me he believes it was forged like dozens of others that he’s batted away in recent months. “The letter is 100% fake,” he said. “We don’t know the people listed.” Why pick his firm? Rau said he didn’t know, but early on in the pandemic, his firm was leveraging its international supply chain connections to help some nonprofits find masks. After UDECM dipped its toes into the sea of brokers, “it went viral,” he said. “Everybody’s got documents out there being forged now,” he said. Ingarra said he had no idea the document he shared wasn’t real. “I have zero idea of who drafted that letter,” he said in an email. “I hope they catch the scumbag.” “It’s Coming” So what exactly did we learn here? Ramos ponders the question as she scratches the ears of Sherlock and Inspector Clouseau, two old fluffy-white toy dogs whose longevity she credits to daily doses of CBD oil. History is about to repeat itself, she said, and she hopes hospitals, schools and governments don’t waste time with middlemen and profiteers. If they must, she said they should run background checks and do more vetting. “I want to see your business license,” Ramos said. “I want to know who your attorney is. I want to see that you have the right to represent a hospital, and show me where it’s going.” While life has slowed for Ramos and her daughter, brokers and importers say the global mask shortage remains. Many brokers told me they’ve moved on from masks — “too much trouble” — to focus on other PPE like gloves, which are becoming harder to source and thus more expensive. But masks remain the best safeguard for workers and hospitals praying to block a respiratory killer, and the U.S. is still largely reliant on middlemen importers and brokers who are jacking up prices. Two hours away, in Houston, the country’s fourth-largest city, several hospitals have reached the capacity of their intensive care units to treat the sickest patients. Statewide, the number of daily infections has jumped to about 10 times the April figure. Nationwide, the COVID-19 death toll has surpassed 150,000 people. With the pandemic nowhere near under control, schools are reopening without plans to equip teachers and staff with life-saving masks. It’s the perfect storm all over again — low supply, intense demand, money to be made. “It’s coming,” Ramos said. “It’s going to be repeated.” ProPublica is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative newsroom. Sign up for The Big Story newsletter to receive stories like this one in your inbox. The post Cannabis Investors Involved In Shady Coronavirus Mask Deals, Industry Insider Claims appeared first on Marijuana Moment. View the live link on MarijuanaMoment.net
  14. Illinois saw another record-breaking month of recreational marijuana sales in July, the state’s Department of Financial and Professional Regulation announced on Monday. Despite the coronavirus pandemic, Illinois is reporting nearly $61 million in adult-use cannabis sales—smashing the previous record set in June of nearly $47 million. For the first time, more than one million marijuana items—1,270,063 to be precise—were purchased in a monthly reporting period. Illinois residents accounted for $44,749,787 in cannabis sales, while out-of-state visitors purchased $16,207,193 worth of marijuana. Via Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation. The new adult-use sales figures don’t include data about purchases made through the state’s medical cannabis program. State officials have emphasized that while the strong sales trend is positive economic news, they’re primarily interested in using tax revenue to reinvest in communities most impacted by the drug war. Illinois brought in $52 million in cannabis tax revenue in the first six months since retail sales started in January, the state announced last month, 25 percent of which will go toward a social equity program. In May, the state also announced that it was making available $31.5 million in restorative justice grants funded by marijuana tax revenue. The out-of-state sales data seems to support Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s (D) prediction during his State of the State address in January that cannabis tourism would bolster the state’s coffers. Prior to implementation, the pardoned more than 11,000 people with prior marijuana convictions. Over in Oregon, officials have been witnessing a similar sales trend amid the global health crisis. Data released in May showed sales of adult-use cannabis products were up 60 percent. Louisiana Law Allowing Medical Marijuana For Any Debilitating Condition To Take Effect The post Illinois Shatters Marijuana Sales Record With Nearly 1.3 Million Products Sold In July appeared first on Marijuana Moment. View the live link on MarijuanaMoment.net
  15. Demand for marijuana illegally trafficked from Mexico will continue to decline as the legalization movement spreads, a new report from Congress’s research arm states. With a growing number of U.S. states—as well as Canada—allowing people to legally purchase cannabis in a regulated market, they’re less inclined to seek out the product through illicit channels, the Congressional Research Service (CRS) said. “Authorities are projecting a continued decline in U.S. demand for Mexican marijuana because drugs ‘other than marijuana’ will likely predominate,” CRS wrote in the report, which was published last week. “This is also the case due to legalized cannabis or medical cannabis in several U.S. states and Canada, reducing its value as part of Mexican trafficking organizations’ portfolio.” It also notes that Mexico itself “is also considering cannabis legalization and regulation” after a Supreme Court ruling deemed the prohibition on personal possession and consumption unconstitutional in 2018. The document, “Mexico: Organized Crime and Drug Trafficking Organizations,” looks at various drug trends and cartel activity and notes that Mexican law enforcement seized 91 metric tons of marijuana and destroyed more than 2,250 hectares of the plant in 2019, according to State Department data. It also notes that cartel diversification into other criminal activities could be due to U.S. and Mexican drug enforcement efforts or that it “constitutes a response to shifting U.S. drug consumption patterns, such as legalization of marijuana in some U.S. states (and Canada) and a large increase in demand for plant-based and synthetic opioids.” Lawmakers Mexico who have been working on legalization legislation have also argued that regulating the plant will mitigate the influence of drug trafficking organizations. It’s a point that reform advocates have consistently made, asserting that people will general gravitate toward legal and regulated sources of cannabis if it’s available. The report’s finding is also consistent with previous studies, including one from the Cato Institute in 2018 that determined that state-level cannabis legalization “has significantly undercut marijuana smuggling.” “Based on Border Patrol seizures, smuggling has fallen 78 percent over just a five-year period,” the think tank found. “Because marijuana was the primary drug smuggled between ports of entry, where Border Patrol surveils, the value of the agency’s seizures overall—on a per-agent basis—has declined 70 percent.” An end-of-the-year report from Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts in 2019 seems to substantiate the idea that legalization is having an impact on marijuana trafficking, noting that while federal prosecutions of drug-related crimes increased in 2019, cases involving cannabis dropped by more than a quarter. A separate U.S. Sentencing Commission repot showed that, for the 2017 fiscal year, federal drug cases overall were on the decline, driven by a sharp drop in marijuana prosecutions. The House voted last week to approve an amendment that would block the Justice Department from interfering with state marijuana legalization laws, though it remains to be seen if the Senate will follow suit. Meanwhile, sources tell Marijuana Moment that there are plans in the work to hold a floor vote on a more sweeping standalone marijuana legalization bill next month. Senator Files New Bill To Federally Legalize Marijuana And Regulate It Like Tobacco Photo courtesy of Philip Steffan. The post Congressional Researchers Admit Legalizing Marijuana Hurts Mexican Drug Cartel Profits appeared first on Marijuana Moment. View the live link on MarijuanaMoment.net
  16. Pelosi: Marijuana therapy “proven successful”; Study: Marijuana improves sex & orgasms for women; LA medical marijuana expansion takes effect Subscribe to receive Marijuana Moment’s newsletter in your inbox every weekday morning. It’s the best way to make sure you know which cannabis stories are shaping the day. Email address: Leave this field empty if you're human: Your support makes Marijuana Moment possible… By starting a $10 per month pledge on Patreon—or about 45 cents per issue of this newsletter—you can help us rely less on ads to cover our expenses, hire more journalists and bring you even more marijuana news. Lindsay Aronson of Silver Stem Fine Cannabis: “We pledged to support Marijuana Moment because they do a great job keeping us updated on important marijuana news in the states we operate in. With two cultivation facilities and seven marijuana stores in Colorado and another store in Portland, Oregon, there are a lot of constant changes to keep up with, and Marijuana Moment helps with that. We also appreciate the affordable access to the legislative tracking tool to be able to easily keep track of marijuana law changes elsewhere.” https://www.patreon.com/marijuanamoment / TOP THINGS TO KNOW House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said marijuana is a “therapy that has proven successful” in response to a question about whether cannabis banking provisions are germane to coronavirus relief legislation. Sen. Tina Smith (D-MN) filed a bill to federally legalize marijuana and regulate it like tobacco. U.S. Customs and Border Protection would be tasked with developing rules for cannabis imports and exports, and there would be a federal purchasing age limit of 21. A new Louisiana law allowing doctors to recommend medical cannabis for any debilitating condition they see fit took effect. Other new laws that came into force protect banks from being punished by state regulators for working with marijuana businesses, set hemp and CBD rules and provide legal immunity for physicians and hospitals caring for medical cannabis patients. A new study found that marijuana use is associated with “improved sexual desire, arousal, orgasm, and overall satisfaction” for women. “For each additional step of cannabis use intensity (ie, times per week), the odds of reporting female sexual dysfunction declined by 21%.” / FEDERAL The House of Representatives passed a funding bill that includes provisions to protect state marijuana laws from Justice Department interference, shield banks from being punished by the Treasury Department for serving cannabis businesses, prevent universities from losing funds for studying marijuana and allow Washington, D.C. to legalize recreational sales. Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) wrote a constituent letter explaining his opposition to legalizing marijuana. Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) said he thinks decisions about marijuana should be made at the state level. Rep. Charlie Crist (D-FL) sent a press release touting his work to secure language in sending legislation urging federal agencies to reconsider policies on firing workers for marijuana use. Rep. Scott Peters (D-CA) celebrated provisions he helped insert into a funding bill report that encourage marijuana research. Rep. Justin Amash (L-MI) tweeted, “Congress goes another week without policing and justice reforms the people were promised and expected. End qualified immunity. End civil asset forfeiture. End the drug war. End no-knock warrants. End militarization of police. Let’s take items one by one—debate, amend, and vote!” The House bill to deschedule marijuana and fund programs to repair the harms of the war on drugs got one new cosponsor for a total of 79. The House bill to legalize medical cannabis for military veterans got one new cosponsor for a total of eight. The House bill to protect military veterans from losing their benefits for marijuana use got one new cosponsor for a total of 19. Florida Democratic congressional candidate Richard Thripp tweeted, “The DNC’s refusal to support universal healthcare and cannabis legalization is dividing the party. These policies both have widespread, bipartisan support, for good reason. We don’t want to hand Trump another 4 years of destroying our country.” Florida Democratic congressional candidate Tom Wells tweeted, “This shouldn’t even be a debate. We cannot ignore the fact that the current marijuana criminalization policy has in too many cases been used to target people of color.” / STATES Rhode Island Gina Raimondo (D) said she is going to continue pushing marijuana legalization. U.S. Virgin Islands Gov. Albert Bryan Jr. (D) vetoed a bill to change the composition of the territory’s medical cannabis regulatory body because he wants lawmakers to pass broader legislation to legalize marijuana. The chances of qualifying an Idaho medical cannabis ballot measure seem diminished after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against a campaign pushing a separate education funding measure that had previously been granted the right to electronically collect signatures by a federal judge. Ohio activists plan to try to qualify a marijuana legalization measure for the 2021 ballot. A California court ruled that marijuana is not decriminalized in prisons. The Virginia Marijuana Legalization Work Group held its first meeting on Friday, and the state’s Medical Cannabis Work Group will hold its first meeting on Monday. Nevada tax officials approved a settlement in a case challenging the state’s marijuana business licensing process, contingent on approval from cannabis regulators. Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands regulators will begin accepting marijuana business license applications on Tuesday. Guam regulators are considering adding fines to marijuana rules. Michigan regulators issued a bulletin about updated coronavirus-related policies for marijuana businesses. Colorado regulators are holding a rulemaking work group on marijuana sustainability and science issues. — Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 1,500 cannabis bills in state legislatures and Congress this year. Patreon supporters pledging at least $25/month get access to our interactive maps, charts and hearing calendar so they don’t miss any developments. Learn more about our marijuana bill tracker and become a supporter on Patreon to get access. — / LOCAL A Des Moines, Iowa task force studying marijuana decriminalization held its first meeting. The West Hollywood, California City Council is considering an anti-smoking proposal that would ban tobacco and cannabis smoking and vaping in enclosed common areas and new units in multi-family dwellings. / INTERNATIONAL A South African judge ruled that a law criminalizing children for possessing or using marijuana is unconstitutional. / SCIENCE & HEALTH A review concluded that there was “a 64–75% reduction in opioid dosage when used in combination with” medical cannabis, and that “opioid substitution was reported by 32–59.3% of patients with non-cancer chronic pain.” Several midwestern universities are partnering to create a public hemp variety performance database. / ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints updated its handbook to clarify that medical cannabis use is permissible but it “does not approve of the use of marijuana in smoking or vaping forms.” / BUSINESS GW Pharmaceuticals’s CBD medication Epidiolex was approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat seizures associated with tuberous sclerosis complex. Ben & Jerry’s co-founder Ben Cohen is starting a cannabis brand. / CULTURE Former basketball player Magic Johnson spoke about his new partnership with Uncle Bud’s Hemp. Make sure to subscribe to get Marijuana Moment’s daily dispatch in your inbox. Email address: Leave this field empty if you're human: Photo courtesy of Chris Wallis // Side Pocket Images. The post Senate bill would regulate cannabis like tobacco (Newsletter: August 3, 2020) appeared first on Marijuana Moment. View the live link on MarijuanaMoment.net
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  19. A Democratic senator filed a new bill to federally legalize marijuana on Thursday, creating yet another potential avenue through which Congress could enact the policy change. This piece of legislation, sponsored by Sen. Tina Smith (D-MN), would remove cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act and direct several federal agencies to develop regulations for the plant. Titled the “Substance Regulation and Safety Act,” the bill would deschedule cannabis, require the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to develop rules that treat marijuana the same as tobacco, create a national research institute to evaluate the risks and benefits of cannabis, require the U.S. Department of Agriculture to impose quality control standards and mandate that the Department of Transportation study methods for detecting THC-impaired driving. The descheduling provisions “are retroactive and shall apply to any offense committed, case pending, or conviction entered, and, in the case of a juvenile, any offense committed, case pending, or adjudication of juvenile delinquency entered, before, on, or after the date of the enactment of this Act,” the text of the bill states. HHS would have to come up with a “national strategy to prevent youth use and abuse of cannabis, with specific attention to youth vaping of cannabis products.” Further, text of the legislation states that the department would be required to “regulate cannabis products in the same manner, and to the same extent,” as it does with tobacco. That includes “applying all labeling and advertising requirements that apply to tobacco products under such Act to cannabis products.” U.S. Customs and Border Protection would be tasked with working with other agencies to develop policies on allowing marijuana imports and exports. The legislation further contains racial justice provisions. For example, HHS would have to consult with “consult with civil rights stakeholders” to determine “whether cannabis abuse prevention strategies and policies are likely to have racially disparate impacts” within 100 days of the bill’s enactment. The Department of Transportation would similarly have to determine whether its impaired driving prevention policy “is likely to contribute to racially disparate impacts in the enforcement of traffic safety laws.” Agencies charged with establishing these regulations would have one year following the bill’s enactment to finalize those rules. A federal age requirement for marijuana sales would be set at 21 under the measure. The short title of the bill as published on Congress’s website states that it would “decriminalize and reschedule cannabis.” However, the text of the legislation as introduced that was shared with Marijuana Moment says it would go beyond rescheduling by removing marijuana from the CSA entirely, a process known as descheduling. Representatives from Smith’s office did not immediately respond to a request for clarification. This is the latest legalization bill to be introduced this Congress. In some ways, it appears to be a more modest reform compared to other pieces of legislation that reform advocates are backing such as the Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment, and Expungement (MORE) Act, which includes provisions beyond rescheduling to reinvest in communities most impacted by the war on drugs. Sources recently told Marijuana Moment there are plans in motion to get a House floor vote on that bill in September, though it’s prospects in the Republican-controlled Senate are more dubious. It’s possible that this bill from Smith would be more palatable to GOP members given its more narrow focus. “It’s terrific to see Senator Smith engage so substantively in the cannabis policy reform debate,” Justin Strekal, political director of NORML, told Marijuana Moment. “We at NORML look forward to propelling many aspects of the new legislation into the broader conversation on the future of federal regulations in regards to a post-prohibition America.” The introduction of this legislation comes one day after the House approved a spending bill amendment that would protect all state, territory and tribal cannabis programs from federal intervention. While Smith has only been in Congress since 2018, after she replaced Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) following his resignation, she has signed onto various pieces of cannabis reform legislation as a cosponsor, and she’s made several comments in favor of reform. For example, the senator attached her name to bills to protect banks that service state-legal marijuana businesses from being penalized from federal regulators and to legalize industrial hemp. She also cosponsored a resolution condemning “state-sanctioned extrajudicial killings” over drug crimes in the Philippines. Smith also recently remarked racial disparities in drug enforcement in a Senate floor speech. This bill is being introduced as Minnesota lawmakers push for state-level legalization, with a top legislator unveiling a comprehensive plan for legalizing cannabis for all adults 21 and older in May. It also comes shortly after the Democratic National Committee rejected an amendment to adopt legalization as a 2020 party plank, with members opting instead to embrace more modest reforms. Advocates suspend that there may have been pressure for the panel not to formally embrace a policy change that is opposed to by presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden. Read the new Senate marijuana legalization below: Substance Regulation and Sa… by Marijuana Moment on Scribd Photo courtesy of WeedPornDaily. The post Senator Files New Bill To Federally Legalize Marijuana And Regulate It Like Tobacco appeared first on Marijuana Moment. View the live link on MarijuanaMoment.net
  20. A new Louisiana law significantly expanding the state’s medical marijuana program officially takes effect on Saturday. This comes two months after the legislature approved the bill and Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) signed it. The legislation will allow physicians to recommend medical cannabis to patients for any debilitating condition that they deem fit instead of from the limited list of maladies that’s used under current law. Other new laws coming into force this weekend include ones to set hemp and CBD regulations, shield financial institutions that service marijuana businesses from being penalized by state regulators and provide legal protections for doctors who recommend medical cannabis and medical facilities that have marijuana patients in their care. The medical marijuana expansion bill as introduced by its sponsor, Rep. Larry Bagley (R), initially only would have added traumatic brain injuries and concussions but was amended in committee to include several other conditions as well as language stipulating that cannabis can be recommended for any malady that a physician “considers debilitating to an individual patient.” “I’m excited. I’m expecting it to be a pretty big day,” Bagley told Marijuana Moment in a phone interview on Thursday. “All the people out here tell me all the wonderful stories about how they were in terrible pain and then they took it and then they’ve gotten away from the pain.” The lawmaker is particularly hopeful that providing this expanded access will help curb the opioid epidemic by providing patients with a safer alternative to prescription painkillers. “The medical marijuana is not [like opioids] because not not addictive. No one’s ever died from it,” he said. “I’m hopeful I think this is gonna be a big day. I’m really expecting this to be a game changer for Louisiana, for the state, for the pharmacies that are doing this,” he said. “I think it’s going to be a big moneymaker for state. At least I hope it is. And I think that everybody’s going to be really happy about it, but time will tell.” Bagley had also introduced a House-passed bill to allow delivery services, but he voluntarily withdrew it from Senate committee consideration, telling Marijuana Moment at the time that he felt the debilitating condition bill would already allow cannabis products to be delivered to patients like other traditional pharmaceuticals. The delivery bill would have required a government regulatory body to develop “procedures and regulations relative to delivery of dispensed marijuana to patients by designated employees or agents of the pharmacy.” It remains to be seen if regulators will agree with Bagley’s interpretation, as doctors are still prohibited from “prescribing” cannabis, and marijuana products are not dispensed through traditional pharmacies. But regulators did move to temporarily authorize delivery services during the coronavirus pandemic, so it’s possible they will be amenable to extending the allowance on a permanent basis. State lawmakers also passed a resolution in June to create “a task force to study and make recommendations relative to the cannabis industry projected workforce demands.” Text of the legislation, which does not require gubernatorial action, states that “there is a need to study the workforce demands and the skills necessary to supply the cannabis industry with a capable and compete workforce, including physicians, nurse practitioners, nurses, and other healthcare practitioners.” Nancy Pelosi Says Marijuana Is A ‘Therapy That Has Proven Successful’ Amid Coronavirus Bill Debate Photo courtesy of WeedPornDaily. The post Louisiana Law Allowing Medical Marijuana For Any Debilitating Condition To Take Effect appeared first on Marijuana Moment. View the live link on MarijuanaMoment.net
  21. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) on Friday defended the decision to include marijuana banking protections in Democrats’ latest coronavirus relief bill. The speaker was asked about various provisions of the legislation that Republicans had criticized as not germane to the health crisis, with a reporter citing the cannabis component in particular. Pelosi took issue with the suggestion and said there is a role for marijuana reform amid the pandemic. “I don’t agree with you that cannabis is not related to this,” the top House Democrat said. “This is a therapy that has proven successful.” It’s not clear whether the speaker was suggesting that marijuana has medical value for a coronavirus infection specifically or was more broadly referencing the plant’s therapeutic potential. The Food and Drug Administration has made clear that there’s currently no solid evidence that cannabinoids can treat COVID-19 and it’s warned companies that make that claim. Several lawmakers have argued that the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act is relevant to the health crisis for a different reason, as protecting financial institutions that service cannabis businesses would mean fewer cash exchanges at dispensaries, thus minimizing the spread of the virus. Marijuana Moment previously exclusively reported that Pelosi—who said in 2018 that doctors should prescribe medical cannabis and yoga more often instead of prescription opioids—supported attaching the banking language to the House’s coronavirus package prior to the legislation’s introduction. That said, Senate leadership unveiled their latest round of coronavirus relief legislation on Monday, and it does not include the SAFE Banking Act provisions. It remains to be seen whether bicameral negotiators will be able to get it in the final bill sent to the president’s desk. Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO) said in May that he felt there was a 50-50 chance the Senate would adopt it as part of their COVID-19 bill. On Friday, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) took to Twitter to slam Pelosi’s latest cannabis comments. “Hey Nancy, let’s focus on the pandemic. Not pot,” he said. Incredibly irresponsible—Pelosi just doubled down on her $3 trillion dollar cannabis legislation, falsely claiming that it's a proven therapy for coronavirus. Hey Nancy, let's focus on the pandemic. Not pot. pic.twitter.com/Eo8pfwwZez — Kevin McCarthy (@GOPLeader) July 31, 2020 The Senate Republican Communications Center also chimed in. “House Democrats are continuing to try and push unrelated COVID-19 wish-list items. All of them should be taken out,” the group tweeted. PELOSI on cannabis provisions in House coronavirus bill: "I don't agree that cannabis is not related to this.” House Democrats are continuing to try and push unrelated COVID-19 wish-list items. All of them should be taken out. pic.twitter.com/3yYf8QSv0r — Senate Republican Communications Center (@SRCC) July 31, 2020 Meanwhile, the standalone SAFE Banking Act has continued to sit in the Senate Banking Committee without action in the months since the House initially approved it. Earlier this month, a bipartisan coalition of state treasurers sent a letter to congressional leaders, asking that they include marijuana banking protections in the next piece of coronavirus relief legislation. In May, a bipartisan coalition of 34 state attorneys general similarly wrote to Congress to urge the passage of COVD-19 legislation containing cannabis banking provisions. Pelosi’s latest comments come one day after the House approved an amendment to protect state, territory and tribal marijuana laws from federal interference. House Votes To Protect State Marijuana Laws From Federal Interference The post Nancy Pelosi Says Marijuana Is A ‘Therapy That Has Proven Successful’ Amid Coronavirus Bill Debate appeared first on Marijuana Moment. View the live link on MarijuanaMoment.net
  22. \*Able to pass a drug screen (INCLUDING cannabis). Transportation company seeking two motivated individuals for *Pressure Washing*. $15 - $16 an hour From Indeed - Fri, 31 Jul 2020 15:04:32 GMT - View all Portland, OR jobs View the live link
  23. Among women who enjoy marijuana, there’s no shortage of anecdotal evidence that adding a bit of cannabis can bring a thrill to the bedroom, and in states where the drug is legal, marketers have capitalized on that claim. THC-infused lubricants promise increased arousal and better orgasms, and some sexual health advocates have built entire careers on cannabis-enhanced intimacy. But is there anything behind the hype? While researchers are still trying to tease out the precise relationship between cannabis and sex, a growing body of evidence indicates the connection itself is very real. The latest study, which asked women who use marijuana about their sexual experiences, found that more frequent cannabis use was associated with heightened arousal, stronger orgasms and greater sexual satisfaction in general. “Our results demonstrate that increasing frequency of cannabis use is associated with improved sexual function and is associated with increased satisfaction, orgasm, and sexual desire,” says the new study, published last week in the journal Sexual Medicine. “Increased cannabis use was associated with improved sexual desire, arousal, orgasm, and overall satisfaction.” To reach their conclusions, the team analyzed online survey results from 452 women who responded to an invitation distributed at a chain of cannabis retail stores. Researchers asked respondents about their cannabis use and had each fill out a Female Sexual Function Index (FSFI) survey, a questionnaire designed to assess sexual function over the past four weeks. The survey scores six specific domains, including desire, arousal, lubrication, orgasm, satisfaction and pain. “To our knowledge,” the authors wrote, “this study is the first to use a validated questionnaire to assess the association between female sexual function and aspects of cannabis use including frequency, chemovar, and indication.” Generally speaking, a higher FSFI score is understood to indicate better sexual function, while a lower score indicates sexual dysfunction. Comparing frequency of cannabis use to each participant’s FSFI score, the researchers determined that more frequent consumption was associated with lower rates of sexual dysfunction. “For each additional step of cannabis use intensity (ie, times per week),” the report says, “the odds of reporting female sexual dysfunction declined by 21%.” “We found a dose response relationship between increased frequency of cannabis use and reduced odds of female sexual dysfunction.” Women who used cannabis more frequently had higher FSFI scores in general, indicating better sexual experiences overall. More frequent consumers also had higher specific FSFI subdomain scores—indicating things like greater arousal and better orgasms—although not all of those differences reached the threshold of statistical significance. Another weak relationship showed that women who used cannabis frequently reported lower levels of pain related to sex. “When stratified by frequency of use (≥3 times per week vs <3 times per week), those who used more frequently had overall higher FSFI scores and had higher FSFI subdomain scores except for pain,” the study says. The research doesn’t shed much light on what marijuana products might work best for sexual stimulation, however. “Our study did not find an association between cannabis chemovar (eg, THC vs CBD dominant), reason for cannabis use, and female sexual function,” the researchers, who included members of the Stanford Medical Center’s urology department and the medical director of the Victory Rejuvenation Center, wrote. “Neither, the method of consumption nor the type of cannabis consumed impacted sexual function.” Researchers said a number of mechanisms could explain the overall results, noting that prior studies have postulated that the body’s endocannabinoid system is directly involved in female sexual function. It’s also possible, authors wrote, that cannabis could be improving sex by reducing anxiety. “As many patients use cannabis to reduce anxiety,” the report says, “it is possible that a reduction in anxiety associated with a sexual encounter could improve experiences and lead to improved satisfaction, orgasm, and desire. Similarly, THC can alter the perception of time which may prolong the feelings of sexual pleasure. Finally, CB1, a cannabinoid receptor, has been found in serotonergic neurons that secretes the neurotransmitter serotonin, which plays a role in female sexual function thus activation of CB1 may lead to increased sexual function.” As the study notes, cannabis’s potentially positive effect on women’s sexual function was first noted in research from the 1970s and ’80s, when women in research interviews who used cannabis reported better sexual experiences, including more intimacy and better orgasms. But subsequent research has yielded mixed results. Some studies have found that women’s orgasms were actually inhibited by cannabis use. Authors of the new report said that past studies used interviews rather than a validated questionnaire to conduct research. “The mechanism underlying these findings requires clarification,” the authors said of their report, “as does whether acute or chronic use of cannabis has an impact on sexual function. Whether the endocannabinoid system represents a viable target of therapy through cannabis for female sexual dysfunction requires future prospective studies though any therapy has to be balanced with the potential negative consequences of cannabis use.” Regardless of the mechanics at work between marijuana and sex, emerging evidence is overwhelming that there’s some sort of relationship at play. A nationwide survey conducted by an East Carolina University graduate student last year found that “participants perceived that cannabis use increased their sexual functioning and satisfaction.” Marijuana consumers reported “increased desire, orgasm intensity, and masturbation pleasure.” Numerous online surveys have also reported positive associations between marijuana and sex, and one study even found a connection between the passage of marijuana laws and increased sexual activity. Yet another study, however, cautions that more marijuana doesn’t necessarily mean better sex. A literature review published last year found that cannabis’s impact on libido may depend on dosage, with lower amounts of THC correlating with the highest levels of arousal and satisfaction. Most studies showed that marijuana has a positive effect on women’s sexual function, the study found, but too much THC can actually backfire. “Several studies have evaluated the effects of marijuana on libido, and it seems that changes in desire may be dose dependent,” the review’s authors wrote. “Studies support that lower doses improve desire but higher doses either lower desire or do not affect desire at all.” CBD Is A ‘Promising’ Therapy In Treating Cocaine Misuse, Meta-Study Finds The post Women Who Use Marijuana More Often Have Better Sex, Study Says appeared first on Marijuana Moment. View the live link on MarijuanaMoment.net
  24. White House faith advisor bashes Biden’s marijuana record; CA AG: court should block DEA cannabiz subpoena; Legalization an issue in House primary Subscribe to receive Marijuana Moment’s newsletter in your inbox every weekday morning. It’s the best way to make sure you know which cannabis stories are shaping the day. Email address: Leave this field empty if you're human: Your support makes Marijuana Moment possible… There are now 1,531 cannabis-related bills moving through state legislatures and Congress for 2020 sessions. Never let a marijuana bill catch you by surprise with exclusive access to Marijuana Moment’s custom-built cannabis legislation tracker for just $25/month. https://www.patreon.com/marijuanamoment / TOP THINGS TO KNOW The House of Representatives passed an amendment to block the Department of Justice from interfering with all state, territory and tribal marijuana laws. White House Faith and Opportunity Initiative Advisor Paula White-Cain blasted presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s record of supporting harsh criminal justice legislation that sent people to prison for cannabis and other drugs. “Everyone forgets Clinton’s bill that Joe Biden went along with and signed people to prison for 30 years for three ounces of marijuana.” California Attorney General Xavier Becerra (D) filed a brief asking a federal court to block a Drug Enforcement Administration subpoena seeking to force state regulators to hand over information about marijuana businesses. Marijuana is becoming a key issue in one of the most-watched congressional primaries of 2020. The challenger, Holyoke, Massachusetts Mayor Alex Morse (D), is calling out longtime incumbent Rep. Richard Neal (D-MA) for not acting on a cannabis legalization bill that’s before his committee and for remarks where he referred to marijuana as a “gateway drug.” / FEDERAL The U.S. Sentencing Commission reported that drug offenses were the most common primary offense type for federal probation and supervised release violations. The Drug Enforcement Administration sent out an alert about “telephone calls by scammers posing as DEA employees attempting to defraud and extort victims.” The Food and Drug Administration announced a voluntary recall of Summitt Labs CBD products due to high lead content. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) criticized House Democrats for including “all kinds of things related to marijuana” in their coronavirus relief bill. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) called it “embarrassing” that Democratic officials rejected a marijuana legalization amendment for the party platform and said she is “not confident” that presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden would evolve on the issue. Rep. Joe Kennedy (D-MA) said it is “odd” that Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) is criticizing the congressman for being slow to evolve on marijuana legalization when he appears to have publicly endorsed the reform before the senator did. Rep. Ken Calvert (R-CA) tweeted, “Let’s remember just how unserious House Democrats were when they passed a so-called COVID-19 relief bill that included…benefits for lobbyists and the cannabis industry.” California Democratic congressional candidate Shahid Buttar tweeted, “Legalize marijuana nationwide and expunge records for cannabis-related offenses. Pass it on.” / STATES New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu (R) cited his previously signing a bill to decriminalize marijuana possession in a message about vetoing legislation that would have allowed people to petition to have some drug crime records annulled. Pennsylvania regulators removed the requirement for medical cannabis patients to renew their registrations in order to maintain participation in the program. The state’s lieutenant governor tweeted, “I fully, fully support, lobbied + endorse home grow for medical marijuana patients. Especially during the pandemic.” Nevada regulators and businesses challenging their marijuana licensing process have reached a proposed settlement in the case. Oregon regulators will hold a hearing on proposed marijuana business inspections and on-site delivery rules on August 17. / INTERNATIONAL Several countries expressed concerns about a World Health Organization recommendation to clarify that CBD is not under international control at a United National Commission on Narcotic Drugs meeting. Netherlands regulators received 149 applications to grow legal recreational marijuana to supply coffee shops. / SCIENCE & HEALTH A study identified a “‘reverse gateway effect‘ among some street entrenched young people, whereby cannabis use was associated with the intermittent reduction, elimination or prevention of more harmful forms of drug use such as meth and opioid use.” A study found that “high concentrations of airborne fungi were identified” at indoor marijuana grow operations. / ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS Colorado hemp industry participants are protesting state regulators’ selection of the Marijuana Policy Group to establish the state Hemp Center of Excellence. / BUSINESS High Times Productions, Inc. is being accused of reneging on its obligations in an Americans with Disabilities Act lawsuit related to accessibility issues at its Cannabis Cup events. FSD Pharma Inc. is forfeiting its Canadian licenses and is exiting the marijuana business. Make sure to subscribe to get Marijuana Moment’s daily dispatch in your inbox. Email address: Leave this field empty if you're human: Photo courtesy of Chris Wallis // Side Pocket Images. The post House approves state cannabis protections (Newsletter: July 31, 2020) appeared first on Marijuana Moment. View the live link on MarijuanaMoment.net
  25. Previous experience in the cannabis industry. Working knowledge of OLCC cannabis laws and regulations. Chalice Farms has openings for a Product Specialist … $13.50 an hour From Indeed - Fri, 31 Jul 2020 00:14:34 GMT - View all Portland, OR jobs View the live link
  26. Are you loud and proud about your love for weed? Or, maybe just a few close friends know? Or, maybe you’re still hiding in the closet taking secret puffs whenever you get a second alone? There’s no right way to come out about your cannabis use. Everybody’s experience is different and everyone’s got their own battles (self-imposed or otherwise) to fight. But as we move to de-stigmatize the plant and—on a larger level, fight for our collective right to access experiences that expand our minds, heal our bodies, and deepen our connection with nature, ourselves, and each other, it’s important to talk freely about why we’re cannabis fans. Not just because it empowers others to do the same or to ask questions without shame, but because we also owe it to the people who are unjustly behind bars for a plant many of us consume with impunity. Normalizing weed is the first step to righting those wrongs—and legalizing it for everyone. But as with so many things, being out about weed is easier said than done—whether you live in a legal state or not. So, we asked you—our Miss Grass community—who you tell about your cannabis use and why. Here’s to hoping sharing and hearing each other’s stories will remind us that we’re all in this together. “I share my love for the plant with everyone in my life—except my boyfriend’s family. My boyfriend and I have been dating for about three years and he knows I am a daily consumer. However, whenever we go to his family’s house, I completely hide that side of me, going as far as sneaking around the side of the house to get a toke or secretly hitting a pen in the bathroom. I’ll even hide my IG story from his family when I know I’m gonna post about cannabis consumption. I wish I was able to be transparent with them like I am with my entire family, but they’re just much more conservative than my family is.” “I’m working on finding better ways to talk about smoking with my friends. I’m actively thinking through how to position it. I use cannabis recreationally and it helps boost my creativity, so I’d really like to highlight its benefits across its full spectrum. I also make a conscious effort to call it what it is—cannabis—to try and reclaim the word’s power. I try and celebrate my use and am trying to make it more public that I’m a “weed” smoker. I really want to change the narrative with people close to me—and for myself.” “I make an effort to share my love for the plant to those skeptical of her. Those who already love her are the ones I encourage to share their feelings to those who don’t. There’s a particular pleasure in seeing someone discovering that first laugh, because you know in that moment that it won’t be the last.” “Loud and proud. Lifetime smoker who now smokes for medical reasons as well. No shame here. I don’t hide my stash and I speak about it as part of my lifestyle and part of who I am. It’s legal where I live and it’s just part of life.” “I used to be so self-conscious about smoking cannabis. I was raised with parents who believed that weed makes turns you into a mindless stoner. It took me so long to be open and unashamed about consuming a plant that helps me so much and allows me to fully live my life. I love weed: it gives me energy, calm-ness, and makes me wayyy more productive. I’m now a proud stoner who will tell anyone about how much better my life has been since I started smoking and stopped caring so much about stereotypes.” “My parents still don’t know I smoke. I’m 24, engaged, and living in Oregon. It’s medicine for me. I smoke everyday—it’s aided in my anxiety, depression, and eating disorder. This stuff is the tits. And I tell everyone about it. Well almost; not my family. I don’t know. I guess it’s still associated with bad shit for people who refuse to educate themselves. Like many other things.” “It’s how my husband and I met almost 7 years ago in college. It has been our bond ever since then to learn about the plant—to enjoy tons of love together finding the benefits of THC and CBD through different consumption and topical methods. (CBD massages for the win!) We attend local cannabis meetups and research support organizations. My hubby just started learning to grow, while I am learning to implement the lovely herb into my yoga classes, accessible for all. The journey continues to where this leads our love next.” “I share my cannabis love with my boyfriend. It’s not an everyday thing for us—we know our limits and when to take breaks, and we respect that. Weed just helps me detangle and relax, especially after work: my boyfriend gets a joint ready, we’ll make a meal, get naked and watch Real Housewives of Atlanta.” “I share my love for the plant with good friends from all the way back to high school as well as with friends who are new to the experience. I’m 36. I love imparting my knowledge—I got geeky into cannabis—and figuring out how the plant might help them, too. I’m also pretty public now about my cannabis usage as I’m striving to be an advocate for removing the stigma associated with it and fight to get folks out of prison who are there unjustly for marijuana related charges.” “Everyone. I don’t hide it all. I’m open about it in business meetings, with my previously against-it-mom, friends, and whoever cares to listen. I smoke weed and I’m proud. It’s the bedrock of my businesses as well; cannabis informs my whole life and has improved mine and my family’s lives in every way. Our THC oil even helped shrink my cousin’s breast cancer tumors and that’s why she’s alive today.” “I share my love for the plant with everyone. Family included. Everyone can benefit from the plant so why not share my experience to help educate others?!” “About a year ago I was introduced to weed for the first time by a trusted friend in a comfortable and safe space. I was always too anxious to try it, and now I am glad I said no to drugs during my formative years. It would have been a bad experience. Weed has been a healthy gateway for me to learn how to get out of my brain (where I usually live) and into my body (something I had become completely numb to). And for that I’m very grateful.” “I’m quite open about it. Weed is a big big part of my mental health and stability. My lover and close friends are also smokers. But I keep the grey area with family. Even though my parents are quite open, this is still something they have a hard time understanding. I guess it’s generational stigma—and France is definitely very late to the game.” “Despite all the prohibitions and stigma, I like to talk openly about cannabis and my personal use to anyone. It is so important to change the way we look at cannabis. I don’t want future generation to grow up believing it’s a crime and that it’s harmful, because that’s a lie! I’m proud to somehow educate others—in-laws, friends, relatives—with what I can. Sharing experiences is a great way of showing others that cannabis, when done right, isn’t the villain most still think it is.” “I do not lie to anyone, but not everyone needs to know my choice in medicine.” “I’m selective about how much I share my love for weed. My social circle and immediate family always knew, but professionally I kept it under wraps. Now that I’m a stay at home mom, I’ve traded professional discretion for parental discretion. It’s one of those conversations that’s hard to even start without knowing where other parents stand. I don’t want stigma about marijuana to affect the opportunities we have to engage with the local parent community, or distance my daughter from friendships she might otherwise enjoy. I definitely experience stress around this issue and wish there was a faster way to abate the stigmas and clear marijuana’s name in the eyes of the public.” “I’ve been out formally to friends, family, and professionally for 7 years, but out socially for 17 years. The turning point was with my mother: I outed myself to her and it concluded with me getting her high for her first time. She was in her 60’s. Now she loves THC and CBD and has been opioid-free for nearly 3 years!” “The ambiguity of being a Christian white woman in the Bible Belt who loves her weed for its medical effects and sees the stigma of it prevents me from being 100% honest with all those in my life. I know how I affect others—marijuana aids in my grounding and hyperawareness—and I know the effect it would cause if they knew. But hey, it’s okay… at least I’m high and aware of it!” “I am open when the topic comes up but I don’t gallop into family reunions proclaiming, I love weed! My children know it’s ma’s medicine and I share about it on insta. I’ve never really had anyone shove their own opinion down my throat so it’s not a huge controversial topic for me, thankfully. I’m prepared to back it up, though. When I’m pregnant, I always share with my providers if I am consuming cannabis. It is important they know every detail so we know everyone is safe. I’ve raised 3 children aged 2, 5, and 11—all while consuming cannabis and they are all so amazingly smart and such good kids.” “I love cannabis: it helps me in so many ways. I recently got my medical card to help my anxiety. I’ve been smoking for almost 10 years and I prefer it over drinking and taking medicine. I’ve only had positive experiences and I wish it wasn’t labeled a thing. I honestly do get scared of losing my job or judgement from coworkers because I smoke; it feels like I can’t be open and honest with them.” The post How “Out” Are You About Weed? appeared first on Miss Grass. View the live link on MissGrass.com
  27. BARBARI is a lifestyle brand focused on mindful cannabis consumption. We create quality botanical smoking blends and CBD prerolls with a focus on clean, quality ingredients, and equitable relationships. We are a safe space, looking for motivated candidates that are committed to maintaining a safe and equitable environment and who are comfortable balancing attention to detail with efficiency. This role is in our Portland headquarters where we honor safe social-distancing best practices. We are a women-founded startup in the cannabis industry looking for a highly motivated and professional individual to join our team as a Production Assistant. We are interested in someone who is passionate about the Cannabis industry and BARBARI’s inclusive, mindful, and ambitious culture. We expect every team member to feel the same sense of ownership, innovation, and hustle as we work to grow the company together. We are looking for individuals who will be working with a variety of production tasks. These include: prepping a variety of herbs and botanicals we use in our blends and creating our CBD Herbal Spliffs. These individuals must be able to multitask, work quickly and efficiently, and be adaptable to changing priorities and tasks as needed. Must be motivated, trustworthy, and a team player. What You’ll Do: Prepare/process herbs Assist with the spliff production line Follow Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) Prep and clean work stations each day Operate small electronic appliances Load and unload items from shelves, carts Measure and pour ingredients Ensure conformance to specifications Fill and package products for delivery Record data Maintain equipment cleaning, washing, sterilizing, and organizing Take instructions from supervisors Assist production manager in Inventory management Maintain documentation, check and verify numbers, count and fill correctly What You’ll Need: Must be over 21 years of age OLCC Marijuana Workers Permit is preferred but not required Cannabis production/joint filling experience is preferred but not required Strong attention to detail Able to execute repetitive production processes/tasks efficiently Excellent interpersonal communication skills Must be able to lift 20+ pounds Must be organized and maintain a clean workspace Ability to follow standard operating procedures Ability to stand for long periods of time Details: $14.00/hr 8-16 hrs per week to start. Opportunity for growth. We are an equal opportunity employer. Please submit resume + application to jobs@barbarishop.com
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