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Sen. John Fetterman (D-PA), one of the most vociferous cannabis supporters among U.S. senators Says Cannabis Legalization Is Inevitable Despite Some Republican Opposition

Sen. John Fetterman (D-PA), one of the most vociferous cannabis supporters among U.S. senators, recently said he was honored to vote for the SAFER Banking Act.

Commenting on recent Ohio’s cannabis legalization, Fetterman told City & State in an exclusive interview that “it’s absolutely absurd – how many states around Pennsylvania are we failing behind?”

“It just makes it more silly. It’s just so simple and so easy – just give people what they want,” he said. “And again, make it safe, make it pure and make jobs. All the benefits are going to the cartels, but now, it should be going to the state.”

Fetterman said though he doesn’t consume cannabis he believes sales should be allowed and taxed, just like alcohol. “I don’t remember the last time I even drank hard alcohol, but you should be able to buy it because we all realize what bathtub gin does to people. There are things that are so much more lethal and dangerous and addictive – you don’t have any of those issues with cannabis.”

The senator undertook expungement of minor drug charges, saying no one’s life should be ruined “because they had some stupid, silly weed charge.” As lieutenant governor and head of the pardoning process, “we got that process started. It’s always astonishing when you have people in front of you who can’t be a volunteer at their child’s school, can’t get a better job, can’t get a loan because 12 years ago they got caught with a joint.”

Fetterman said that because cannabis is illegal its value is distorted and is often the cause of violence and robberies.

No-Brainer 

“There’s no medically documented THC overdose, and marijuana is not lethal at all. It’s a no-brainer,” he said.

He called President Joe Biden a man of his word because, on the first anniversary, he recommended marijuana de-scheduling. Furthermore, he added that it’s “always Republicans going against something that should be common sense and that a majority of people really want, whether it’s abortion or weed,” and that legalization is inevitable.

#IntheWeedswithSteve

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Ohio GOP Lawmakers Running Out the Clock Before Dec. 7 Cannabis Deadline

Despite the incessant nitpicking on the part of Ohio’s Republican leadership, which is seeking changes to the Nov. 7 voter-approved initiative that legalized adult-use cannabis, one Cleveland representative has stepped up to question what many are calling anti-democratic procedures.

 

Republican Governor Mike DeWine and Ohio Senate president Matt Huffman are seeking, among other changes, to redirect the usage of the hundreds of millions likely to be raised by excise taxes. One example that is raising the most dissent is the Republicans ‘ insistence on utilizing cannabis revenue for law enforcement rather than the agreed-upon social equity program and community reinvestment that earmarked tax dollars to support individuals who have been “disproportionately affected by past marijuana-related law enforcement.”

Enter Juanita Brent

Ohio Rep. Juanita Brent (D-Cleve) underscored the importance of having people who were directly impacted by cannabis prohibition participate in the legal marketplace and have seats at the table, as the Republican leadership moves ahead with its changes.

“If you’ve been criminalized by cannabis, the best thing you can do is come back into the field,” Brent told The Statehouse News Bureau.

Brent also pointed out that it is equally important that those involved in amending the initiative, known as Issue 2, are not outright anti-cannabis crusaders, which alas seems to be the case in Ohio.

Why Are Prohibitionists Making These Decisions?

“Ohioans have to remember that the people who are trying to be the loudest at the [statehouse] are people who were anti-cannabis,” Brent said. “We cannot have anti-cannabis people leading on what’s going to happen with cannabis. We need people who are involved. We need people who have been doing the work. We need people who have been advocating.”

Social equity provisions, by the way, are built into every legal marijuana program across the U.S. as a way to deal with well-documented racial disparities in marijuana arrests.

 

“We need to build more cultivators because there is going to be a lot of demand. We can have dispensaries that we want in the state, but if we don’t have cultivators there will be an increase in price,” she said.

GOP Lawmakers Running Out the Clock Before Dec. 7 Deadline 

Republican lawmakers have said they are planning to publicize their policy changes to Issue 2, Huffman said last week, although he did not give details on the exact proposals or a timeline.

Huffman famously implied last week that Ohioans had not understood that the social equity elements in the new legalization law were prioritizing people affected by past cannabis-related enforcement.

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#IntheWeedswithSteve

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Recent Sunspots are Increasing Activity, Intensity and will have Interference in Earth’s Geomagnetic Storms.

The sun has suddenly become much more active, bursting with sunspots and sending plumes of hot plasma out into space.

In the last week alone, sunspot numbers have increased by 10 times, dotting the sun’s surface with black pockmarks spewing out several coronal mass ejections every day.

 

One of these coronal mass ejections (CMEs) may be due to hit the Earth in the coming days, a NASA model has shown, with one possibly due to collide with our magnetic field and atmosphere late on November 25. This will be confirmed after scientists fully analyze the trajectories of the storms.

Coronal mass ejections are huge clouds of solar plasma that are spat out of the sun in regions of high magnetic activity, which can include sunspots. The sun may also send out solar flares, which are bright bursts of electromagnetic energy.

“Solar flares and CME are both caused by the sun through its magnetic field being twisted and stressed through motions in the sun,” Daniel Brown, an associate professor in astronomy and science communication at Nottingham Trent University in the U.K., told Newsweek. “However, a solar flare is the immense release of light triggered by the snapping and rearranging of the magnetic fields on the sun. That will go hand in hand typically with the release of a CME. But it will take a day or more for the particles to arrive while the light and radiation reaches us in just over 8 minutes. So, a good comparison is that a flare is the flash of a muzzle while the CME is actually the cannonball traveling and possibly hitting us.”

 

When the particles of a CME hit the Earth’s magnetic field and atmosphere, it can trigger a geomagnetic storm.

“A geomagnetic storm occurs when the Earth’s magnetic field is seriously disrupted by eruptions from the sun,” Huw Morgan, head of the Solar Physics group at Aberystwyth University in the U.K., told Newsweek. “When a large plasma storm erupts from the sun, and that storm carries a magnetic field which is oriented in an opposite direction to Earth’s magnetic field, we have a ‘perfect storm,’ and a larger geomagnetic storm.”

Geomagnetic storms vary in strength depending on the power of the CME that caused it, being measured on a scale between G1 (minor) to G5 (extreme), according to NOAA. The most powerful of the storms are the least common: while there may be 1700 G1 storms per 11-year solar cycle, we may only see 100 G4 storms and 4 G5 storms during that same period.

 

These geomagnetic storms can cause spectacular displays of aurora much further towards the equator than normal, with more powerful storms causing the northern lights to creep further and further south.

This occurs because charged particles in the Earth’s atmosphere are influenced and disturbed by the solar plasma hitting us, subsequently reacting with gases like nitrogen and oxygen in the air and causing them to glow.

“Under quiet conditions, charged particles (both from the solar wind and the ionosphere) can become trapped in the magnetosphere, happily bouncing from hemisphere-to-hemisphere, pole-to-pole. Under these circumstances, some of these charged particles will collide with upper atmospheric particles, causing auroras in the polar regions,” Brett Carter, an associate professor in space science at RMIT University in Australia, told Newsweek.

However, when a CME hits and causes a geomagnetic storm, these particles are forced deeper into the atmosphere, causing them to react with more gases and cause the aurora to be brighter and visible further.

 

SOHO images of the sun releasing CMEs on November 22 (left) and November 23 (right). One of the sun’s recent CMEs may hit the Earth late on November 25. NASA / Solar and Heliospheric Observatory SOHO© NASA / Solar and Heliospheric Observatory SOHO
 

Other than pretty lights in the sky, geomagnetic storms can also lead to some impacts on infrastructure, including fluctuations and outages in the power grid and radio blackouts.

“The affected infrastructure that is of most importance is large-scale power grids, without which modern society would not be able to function. Other than that, pipelines, High Frequency (HF) radio/radar and satellites in orbit are significantly affected,” Carter said. “Pipelines are known to also carry geomagnetically induced currents, which accelerates their corrosion. Satellites can experience increased surface charging due to the plasma environment in orbit, and this can affect the onboard electronics and operation of the satellite.

 

“Further, due to the huge amount of energy being dumped in the Earth’s atmosphere during these big storms, the atmosphere actually swells, and this causes more satellite drag in low-Earth orbit (up to about 1,000 km altitude, where the majority of our satellites are). Increased satellite drag further complicates efforts to keep track of everything in orbit, and making sure that collisions don’t take place. The really minor geomagnetic storm in February 2022 that resulted in the loss of the majority of a Starlink deployment is a perfect example of how varying satellite drag can complicate space operations.”

Beaver Moon, on the Horizon. 11/27/2023 Enjoy.

The “Beaver Moon” is coming tonight, here’s what you should know.

The Beaver Moon, a term steeped in history and folklore, has captivated the imagination of various cultures for centuries. The next full moon, rising on November 27, 2023, carries with it a rich tapestry of stories, scientific phenomena, and cultural significance.

Significance of the Beaver Moon

The term “Beaver Moon” is primarily attributed to the Native American groups of North America, specifically those in the northeastern United States. These groups, deeply attuned to the natural world, named the full moons throughout the year to keep track of the seasons and significant natural events.

 

November was the time when beavers, preparing for winter, would become particularly active. They would fortify their lodges and store food, crucial for survival during the harsh winter months.

For the Native Americans and early colonial settlers, this was also the time for trapping beavers. The beavers’ fur, thick and waterproof, was highly valued for making warm clothing and hats, essential for surviving the cold winter.

Astronomical aspects of the Beaver Moon

The next full moon, like all full moons, occurs when the Earth is positioned directly between the sun and the moon. This alignment allows the sun’s rays to fully illuminate the moon’s surface that faces Earth.

The exact date and time of the full Beaver Moon can vary annually due to the lunar cycle’s slight misalignment with the Gregorian calendar. In 2023, it will occur on November 27. The Beaver Moon is visible worldwide, with its exact appearance and timing differing slightly depending on geographical location.

 

Cultural and spiritual perspectives

In addition to Native American traditions, many other cultures have their own interpretations and names for the November full moon. For instance, in Europe, the next full moon was often called the Frost Moon, signaling the onset of frost and colder temperatures.

In various spiritual and astrological beliefs, the Beaver Moon holds significant meaning. It is often seen as a time of preparation and transition, reflecting the beavers’ behavior in the natural world. Some believe it is a period to focus on securing resources and setting intentions for the coming winter months.

Scientific perspective

From a scientific viewpoint, the Beaver Moon presents an opportunity for lunar observation and research. Scientists study the moon’s surface, its impact on Earth’s tides, and other lunar phenomena during full moon phases.

Despite its allure, the Beaver Moon is sometimes subject to myths, such as its influence on human behavior. Scientifically, no conclusive evidence supports these claims, but they remain a part of popular culture.

Observing the Beaver Moon

For enthusiasts looking to observe or photograph the Beaver Moon, clear skies and a high vantage point are ideal. Telescopes or binoculars can enhance the viewing experience, revealing the moon’s craters and seas in greater detail.

Many communities and astronomical societies organize events around the full moon, including the Beaver Moon. These gatherings often include moon viewings, cultural education, and sometimes spiritual or meditative practices.

In summary, the Beaver Moon is a bridge connecting us to the natural world and our ancestors who first named it. This next full moon of 2023 is a reminder of the rhythms of nature and the passage of time. It brings with it an opportunity to observe, reflect, and perhaps partake in the age-old traditions that celebrate the mysteries of the moon and the night sky.

 

 

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What if marijuana is reclassified as a Schedule III substance?

 

Federal authorities are weighing whether to stop classifying marijuana among the riskiest drugs, a move that cannabis advocates have long hoped would result in more research on its health effects, businesses having an easier time selling it and fewer people going to jail.

 

But experts warn the August recommendation by the Department of Health and Human Services to strip marijuana’s designation as a Schedule I drug may not fulfill those hopes.

The proposal before the Drug Enforcement Administration to reclassify marijuana as a Schedule III substance — in the same category as prescription drugs such as anabolic steroids, ketamine and testosterone — would free marijuana from some of the restrictions that apply to Schedule 1 drugs such as heroin and LSD. A decision is expected in coming months.

While marijuana advocates have cast the proposal as a step forward, some contend it doesn’t go far enough and would like to see the drug removed from the schedule system entirely, treated like tobacco and alcohol, and eventually legalized at the federal level.

Rescheduling marijuana would amount to a symbolic win in the quest to normalize the drug.

 

“A recognition from the federal government after all these years that marijuana is safe and effective as a therapeutic agent for patients is significant because obviously that would be a reversal of a very long-standing and very public position,” said Paul Armentano, deputy director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), an advocacy group. “When it comes to the practical elements, I don’t think anyone knows because we have never gone down this road before.”

Marijuana legalization faces tough odds in holdout red states despite Ohio win.

The implications are mired in legal complications, especially because cannabis is caught in a convoluted system for regulating the drug across different levels of government as both medicinal and intoxicating. Here’s a rundown of what we know about rescheduling and the concerns swirling around different aspects of marijuana reform.

What does drug scheduling mean?

The Controlled Substances Act regulates drugs and categorizes them into one of five “schedules” depending on their medical benefits and potential for abuse.

The schedules aren’t a ranking of how bad the drugs are for you or society, but instead are a guide for how limited access to the drug should be for doctors, pharmacists and patients. (For example, LSD, which rarely kills users, is scheduled higher than opioid painkillers, which causes tens of thousands of fatal overdoses, because painkillers are routinely used in treating patients.)

 

Marijuana’s designation as a Schedule I substance means the federal government thinks there is no accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse. Federal law prohibits the cultivation and possession of Schedule I drugs, except for approved research studies.

Possible easing of marijuana restrictions could have major implications.

A Schedule III designation under consideration for marijuana means the drug has moderate to low potential for physical and psychological dependence. Federal health officials have declined to answer questions about how they have assessed marijuana’s potential for abuse and dependence.

Here’s where things get really tricky: Federal officials have previously said they are obligated to classify marijuana as a Schedule I or II substance under an international treaty to fight drug trafficking by tightly controlling narcotics. That’s one of the issues the DEA would have to sort out before deciding whether to reschedule the drug.

 

Effects on health research

All controlled substances come with restrictions on research, but marijuana and other Schedule I substances have the toughest requirements. Experts say it’s imperative to conduct more research on marijuana to understand its benefits and risks as legal markets flourish and consumer use soars.

 

To gain access to pot, researchers need to register with the DEA under rules that would not apply if they studied Schedule II substances like cocaine and fentanyl. They must submit research protocols to the DEA that need to be reviewed by the Food and Drug Administration. And they must meet stringent requirements for drug storage in electronic safes or vaults that some researchers say are too expensive and burdensome to follow.

“It’s incredibly excessive and totally unnecessary,” said Ryan Vandrey, a cannabis researcher at Johns Hopkins Medicine. “I can run an entire study with an amount of cannabis that’s less than $100 in street value and bought by an adult in the state of Maryland at any of the different dispensaries.”

Researchers have to obtain marijuana from growers that follow federal restrictions. But they say such restrictions on growing marijuana for studies make it harder to examine the effects of high potency products and other forms of cannabis now popular among consumers.

 

Marijuana addiction is real. Those struggling often face skepticism.

Some researchers have found ways to get around these rules, but their studies have limitations.

For example, Washington State University researchers studying the cognitive effects of cannabis had to use Zoom to observe participants who just used marijuana they bought at dispensaries. The ideal study would involve researchers providing high-potency cannabis from dispensaries, including a placebo to a control group, and participants coming to a lab to provide blood samples and record physiological data points such as heart rate variability and cortisol levels that cannot be measured over Zoom.

The university risks losing federal funding if researchers administer cannabis themselves even though marijuana is legal in Washington, said Carrie Cuttler, an associate professor of psychology who directs The Health & Cognition (THC) Lab at Washington State.

“It’s absurd, absolutely absurd,” she said, “to treat cannabis as pretty much the most dangerous narcotic available in the world.”

Despite these restrictions, there is still plenty of research done on marijuana without ever handling the physical drug.

And experts caution there would still be hurdles in conducting the kind of research that’s now off-limits even if marijuana is reclassified as a Schedule III substance. That’s because the drug would still be treated as a therapeutic rather than an increasingly popular recreational product. It would still be difficult to study all the new marijuana products flooding the market, particularly edibles, vape cartridges and highly concentrated forms such as waxes and shatter.

Kevin Sabet, president of Smart Approaches to Marijuana, which opposes marijuana legalization, said his organization has proposed creating a new schedule category that would relax research restrictions on marijuana while maintaining other restrictions from its Schedule I status.

 

Unclear future for the cannabis industry

One of the toughest questions to answer about rescheduling is what it would do to the thousands of marijuana companies operating in a legal gray zone.

It is expected they would be able to deduct business expenses from their tax obligations for the first time, boosting their bottom lines. Beyond that, it gets complicated.

Industry advocates hope rescheduling might encourage more banks to work with marijuana companies, but a bill in Congress to shield fnancial institutions from punishment is the more direct path for achieving that goal.

There is no precedent for reclassifying a drug that is legal in states, and the booming marijuana industry, and its broad network of direct-to-consumer sales, is nothing like the markets for other Schedule III drugs such as ketamine and testosterone, which require a prescription.

In some ways, the status quo of treating marijuana as one of the riskiest drugs may actually be better for business.

Because marijuana is a Schedule I substance, the FDA has punted to the DEA to regulate it, and the DEA is not in the business of overseeing industries and markets.

A group of marijuana organizations raised concerns that treating marijuana as a Schedule III substance meant for medicinal purposes could upend the industry. They fear the FDA would prohibit recreational marijuana and hold therapeutic products to the high bar needed to sell medicine — requirements only large pharmaceutical companies may realistically be able to overcome — but leading experts dismiss that concern as unfounded.

Some experts argue that it is unlikely the FDA will suddenly crack down on marijuana after taking a largely hands-off approach for years, given the disruption it would cause and the resources it would take. Advocates counter that there’s no guarantee the winds won’t shift — for example, if Florida’s Republican governor, Ron DeSantis, wins the presidency after railing against marijuana.

“There is no way anyone could know or predict in our current political climate what the risk of FDA enforcement is,” said Shaleen Title, a former Massachusetts marijuana regulator who runs a cannabis think tank. “What I worry about is by trying to relax marijuana laws, we would inadvertently end up in a situation where we would be criminalizing existing state operators in a new way.”

 

Limited impact on federal pot prosecutions

Marijuana is illegal at the federal level regardless of how it’s classified, and rescheduling alone would not change penalties for major federal marijuana cases.

Possession of Schedule I substances is a federal crime, but few people go to federal prison just for having marijuana. Federal marijuana trafficking charges have plunged 90 percent in a decade as authorities make fentanyl their top priority. Under federal law, rescheduling would not affect penalties for trafficking convictions, said Shane Pennington, a D.C. attorney who specializes in cannabis law.

“It’s going to be a lot less of a boon for criminal justice reform than people think,” Pennington said.

Marijuana prosecutions tend to happen in state courts, and there were at least 209,000 arrests for possession last year, according to FBI statistics.

Along the Interstate 40 corridor that cuts across the Texas Panhandle between New Mexico and Oklahoma, local police officers routinely arrest motorists transporting marijuana loads from illegal grow operations in California, said Texas defense attorney Adam Tisdale, who specializes in marijuana cases. The loads are typically headed to Florida, and the drivers are charged in state court with possession of marijuana, which becomes a felony depending on the weight of the marijuana. Tisdale predicts local officers won’t stop making those arrests, which usually result in hefty fines, not jail time.

President Biden grants mass pardons for those convicted of simple marijuana possession.

“It won’t make any difference in my neck of the woods,” Tisdale said of rescheduling.

Proponents of rescheduling, such as the U.S. Cannabis Council, say it would send a powerful signal to law enforcement agencies that marijuana cases should be a low priority.

Critics, including the former DEA and White House officials who signed a letter organized by the anti-marijuana organization Smart Approaches to Marijuana, argue that rescheduling removes a “key tool” that federal agents have in prosecuting cartels.

Experts are split on what impact rescheduling would have on the nation’s criminal justice systems, which for decades have punitively targeted people — particularly Black and Latino people — for possessing or trafficking in a drug that is now legal for recreational use in 23 states. The Minority Cannabis Business Association and other advocates for racial equity in marijuana policy contend rescheduling alone continues the war on drugs.

“I don’t know if it’s worth the trade-off to be stuck in this murky middle,” said Kaliko Castille, board president of the Minority Cannabis Business Association. “You are still going to have business owners making millions of dollars and others in prison for a plant.”

Loosening restrictions on marijuana may not be boon for reform© Melina Mara/The Washington Post

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The U.S. House voted Tuesday to extend the current (old) 2018 farm bill for one year while negotiations continue on a new farm bill.

Congress extends 2018 Farm Bill another year.

Congress took steps this week to avert a year-end cliff for key farm and food assistance programs as lawmakers have struggled to reauthorize a new farm bill this year.

Here’s what that means for Iowa farmers. And a look ahead to O HI O.

The U.S. House voted Tuesday to extend the current farm bill for one year while negotiations continue on a new farm bill.

House lawmakers passed a short-term funding bill to keep the federal government operating and avert a shutdown, sending the bill to the Senate days before a Friday deadline. The Senate as expected quickly approved the bill, which would allow President Biden to sign it into law before the deadline.

 

The legislation extends funding for the U.S. Department of Agriculture at current spending levels until Jan. 19 and extends all programs at levels provided in the 2018 Farm Bill through Sept. 30, 2024.

It provides funding for a handful of small-ticket programs that were orphaned at the end of fiscal year 2023, including feral swine eradication, urban agriculture and a reserve fund for overseas food aid. The outlays would be offset by rescinding $177 million in unobligated funds in the Biorefinery Assistance Program and savings in USDA internal operations.

Without an extension, farmers would see commodity policies revert to permanent law with controls on production and costly price supports adopted in the 1930s and 1940s.

Under the House-passed stopgap spending bill, dairy subsidies would be extended through Dec. 31, 2024, to avert the looming “dairy cliff” on Jan. 1, when the government-guaranteed price of fresh milk would more than double, potentially driving up grocery-store prices.

Iowans in Congress want new Farm Bill passed.

While good news for farmers, Iowa Republican U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley and U.S. Rep. Ashley Hinson, of Marion, said the extension is not a substitute for a reauthorization.

“There was no way I would have let the Farm Bill expire, and I’ve already urged Speaker Johnson to put passing a strong Farm Bill at the top of our priority list,” Hinson said in a statement to The Gazette.

On Iowa Politics

She said she’ll continue working with her colleagues to strengthen voluntary conservation programs, lower input costs, provide regulatory certainty, and ensure an affordable food and fuel supply for Iowans.

“I’ll continue working to ensure the final legislation strengthens risk management tools like crop insurance, preserves and expands market access for ag products, promotes precision ag and other farmer-led conservation, and modernizes USDA conservation programs to improve resiliency against flooding and drought,” she said.

Iowa Republican U.S. Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks, of Ottumwa, said in a statement to The Gazette that it is “essential that the House move forward and swiftly pass a Farm Bill that is written by and for our farmers.”

“As Iowa leads the United States in corn and ethanol production, it is vital that we advocate for provisions to grow the industry,” Miller-Meeks said. “We must also work to safeguard commodity and conservation programs, rural broadband funding, and crop insurance initiatives.”

Grassley, speaking to reporters by phone Wednesday, said the House bill has a good chance to passing the Senate.

“The extension will provide certainty, but just for one year, and that’s obviously not as good as if we got a five-year program through,” he said.

Grassley added program pricing that provides financial protections to farmers from substantial drops in crop prices included in the 2018 Farm Bill do not reflect increased input costs for fertilizer, chemicals, seed and fuel.

The sprawling legislative package that’s reauthorized every five years supports several key farm and safety net programs, like crop insurance, as well as agriculture research, rural development, conservation, SNAP benefits — once called food stamps — and more.

Uncertainty lingers.

Chad Hart, an economist and crop markets specialist for Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, said passage of the House bill provides farmers with some certainty about whether key farm commodity support will continue.

Hart noted some mandatory expenditures and others marked as discretionary that fund food assistance programs could go forward, but that funding for food assistance for women and children who rely on the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children — commonly called WIC — would run out and cease operations if a shutdown runs long enough.

“There’s not been a lot of forward-thinking discussion of what changes might be made in either existing programs or new programs created in the next Farm Bill, “Hart said.

” This buys them another year to basically have that discussion. … Income support programs will be in effect for the 2024 crop year. Before the extension, those programs stopped with 2023. But will the government be able to run the programs and cut the checks? “

Nearly all eligible workers at the Columbus-based Strawberry Fields dispensary have voted to join Teamsters Local 413, becoming the first in Ohio to affiliate with the union.

The move comes several weeks after Ohioans approved an initiative to legalize adult-use cannabis Nov. 7.

 
 

“This is the first of many proprietors we will be organizing now in Ohio, especially now that recreational cannabis is legal,” said Tony Jones, Teamsters International VP at large and president of Local 413.

“These workers are an amazing group of people who stood strong in spite of the company running a nasty anti-union campaign. I have no doubt that the tenacity, bravery, and solidarity they demonstrated during the lead-up to the election will serve them well when we start negotiations.”

Union organizing is going on while Ohio’s now legal cannabis program is under attack by the Republican-dominated state House and Senate. Gov. Mike DeWine (R) and Senate leader Matt Huffman (R) are chipping away at the initiative in an effort to revise it before cannabis possession and cultivation become legal Dec. 7, when the initiative led by the Coalition To Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol goes into effect.

“The success of our latest organizing effort is a clear message to the Ohio cannabis industry: workers demand and deserve respect,” said Peter Finn, Teamsters Western Region International VP and Food Processing Division Director.

“This is just the beginning. We’re on a mission to transform this industry one contract at a time, with sustainable, middle-class careers.”

Strawberry Fields Budtenders Weigh In: “This is a huge moment for the Teamsters, Ohio, the labor movement, the cannabis community, and especially us,” said budtender Estlin Hiller. “By unanimous decision, after months of hard work by everyone involved, we won. We are ecstatic about this outcome, immensely proud of one another, and looking forward to bargaining our first contract. Strawberry Fields united, solidarity forever.”

Nearly all eligible workers at the Columbus-based Strawberry Fields dispensary have voted to join Teamsters Local 413, becoming the first in Ohio to affiliate with the union.

The move comes several weeks after Ohioans approved an initiative to legalize adult-use cannabis November 7th, 2023.

 

“This is the first of many proprietors we will be organizing now in Ohio, especially now that recreational cannabis is legal,” said Tony Jones, Teamsters International VP at large and president of Local 413.

“These workers are an amazing group of people who stood strong in spite of the company running a nasty anti-union campaign. I have no doubt that the tenacity, bravery, and solidarity they demonstrated during the lead-up to the election will serve them well when we start negotiations.”

Union organizing is going on while Ohio’s now legal cannabis program is under attack by the Republican-dominated state House and Senate. Gov. Mike DeWine (R) and Senate leader Matt Huffman (R) are chipping away at the initiative in an effort to revise it before cannabis possession and cultivation become legal Dec. 7, when the initiative led by the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol goes into effect.

 

“The success of our latest organizing effort is a clear message to the Ohio cannabis industry: workers demand and deserve respect,” said Peter Finn, Teamsters Western Region International VP and Food Processing Division Director.

“This is just the beginning. We’re on a mission to transform this industry one contract at a time, with sustainable, middle-class careers.” O HIGH O Budtenders Weigh In: “This is a huge moment for the Teamsters, Ohio, the labor movement, the cannabis community, and especially us,” said budtender Estlin Hiller. “By unanimous decision, after months of hard work by everyone involved, we won. We are ecstatic about this outcome, immensely proud of one another, and looking forward to bargaining our first contract. Strawberry Fields united, solidarity forever.”

 

Story by Gazette 

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Be patient Florida, this too, shall pass! Steven M Smith InspirationalTech.org CEO since 2013.

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Continue reading The U.S. House voted Tuesday to extend the current (old) 2018 farm bill for one year while negotiations continue on a new farm bill.
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The Future of The CBD Industry In 2024 And beyond.

What is in store for Hemp Derived Products in 2024. History may repeat itself.

CBD companies are tasked with seizing this opportunity while navigating the significant hurdles. As a founder and owner, here is my take on the crucial developing issues in my industry, along with predictions about what will happen.

CBD sales in the U.S. hit $4.6 billion in 2020, a massive number just two years after hemp-derived cannabinoids were federally legalized. This growth is only expected to accelerate, with two notable forecasts projecting a U.S. market of $15 billion to more than $20 billion by 2025 and 2024, respectively.

CBD companies currently offer a pretty wide range of products. Nevertheless, this diversity will increase as more companies introduce products that hyper-concentrate on each of the over 100 minor cannabinoids found in the hemp plant. Formulations focusing on cannabinol (CBN), cannabigerol (CBG) and other compounds and mixes will be developed for specific use cases.

2. Regulatory challenges remain, and it will take Congress to clarify things.

Despite being federally legal, we’ve observed that CBD companies still have problems obtaining capital and standard services from banks and other financial services institutions. And the ability to market CBD as a safe and effective substance is limited by how the FDA classifies it.

Ultimately, the U.S. Congress has the authority to address these issues, and there is current legislation aiming to do just that, such as the Safe Banking Act of 2021, the Hemp and Hemp-Derived CBD Consumer Protection and Market Stabilization Act of 2021 and the Hemp Access and Consumer Safety Act. Crucially, those last two pieces of legislation would pave the way for the FDA to authorize marketing CBD as a dietary supplement. This development will open up many forbidden or restricted marketing and distribution channels, leading to greater sales and brand exposure.

3. Big-box retail access will spur sales while stabilizing and improving supply chains.

Once companies can market CBD as a dietary supplement, it’s my opinion that it will hit the mainstream of brick-and-mortar retail. In particular, big-box chains will offer a range of topicals and ingestibles in various product categories and applications.

This new distribution could vastly grow the market while benefiting various supply chain components, including hemp farmers and labs that conduct the extraction, distillation, crystallization and isolation of CBD from plants. A particular benefit will be incentivizing more quality labs to get in the CBD game, as many facilities now hesitate to stray from their core competencies. The price of raw materials will also drastically increase as retail demand grows.

4. More big names will get into the game through acquisitions.

Huge companies have been hesitant to embrace CBD as its initially “Wild West” market goes through growing pains. But once the regulatory landscape clears and stabilizes, I believe many corporate giants will look to diversify their product lines with CBD and add brand-new products that open avenues of growth. Companies like Procter & Gamble, Johnson & Johnson, Coca-Cola, Unilever and more may get into the game, and they’ll do it through acquisitions of existing CBD market leaders.

Affecting industries as diverse as cosmetics, food and beverage and pharmaceuticals, the exploding CBD (cannabidiol) market has generated considerable headlines, providing fodder to umpteenth analysis and forecasts. The latest one, by leading cannabis researchers BDS Analytics and Arcview Market Research, projects that the collective market for CBD sales in the U.S. will surpass $20 billion by 2024.

5. Education, quality assurance and safety will skyrocket. 

An all-time high in public education about cannabinoids will accompany the mainstreaming of CBD. Through this, consumers will be able to feel more confident and safer while purchasing products that are smartly regulated.

Many CBD companies, which now mainly self-regulate, will be forced to improve their quality assurance and compliance efforts to survive. And the providers who already sell high-caliber products will finally reap the rewards of their investments in R&D and production that have necessarily reduced ROI.

The future of CBD is bright, but it still hinges on crucial developments.

In some ways, the CBD industry is an unstoppable juggernaut. It’s already a multi-billion-dollar sector that will only get bigger, as millions of consumers have made their preferences clear. But CBD companies still have to navigate many unique hurdles, from obtaining capital to using standard payment processing to being able to market on regular channels.

The crucial developments that will remove these barriers are the FDA classifying CBD as a dietary supplement, the industry’s unrestricted access to financial services and an intelligent regulatory framework that increases product quality and safety across the board.

As the owner of a CBD company, I am in wait-and-see mode like many of my colleagues. We simply steer through these challenges to grow our companies. But I believe that lawmakers will solidify the status of CBD soon, removing barriers to innovation, safety and, ultimately, the normalization of the industry. When that happens, even more growth — exponential growth — is on the horizon.

 

According to a Forbes article, the CBD industry is in a unique position as a substance that was federally illegal before the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, hemp-derived cannabinoids with no more than 0.3% THC still face a regulatory grey area. This ambiguity creates a host of novel challenges in financing, marketing and producing products. But simultaneously, the industry and market are growing incredibly fast. CBD sales in the U.S. hit $4.6 billion in 2020, a massive number just two years after hemp-derived cannabinoids were federally legalized. This growth is only expected to accelerate, with two notable forecasts projecting a U.S. market of $15 billion to more than $20 billion by 2025 and 2024, respectively. CBD companies currently offer a pretty wide range of products. Nevertheless, this diversity will increase as more companies introduce products that hyper-concentrate on each of the over 100 minor cannabinoids found in the hemp plant. Formulations focusing on cannabinol (CBN), cannabigerol (CBG) and other compounds and mixes will be developed for specific use cases1.

 

We are often faced with our own personal conflicts which directly influence our interactions with our peers and family. 

When Inspirational Technologies is an endorsement of the “Cannabis” approach to the medical condition, we say, let’s let the look at the data and the people who say that they benefit for cannabis alternatives.

Beginning in Late November 2023 Inspirational Technologies will promote the long-awaited series, “In the Weeds with Steve “. An Inspirational Technologies production under their own “Background Noise Productions Studios.

 

Steven M Smith InspirationalTech.org

CEO since 2013.

#IntheWeedswithSteve

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