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Sometimes, I Wonder. Failing to remove the D.C. rider prevents the nation’s capital from using local tax dollars to implement its legal cannabis program
President Joe Biden has once again moved to exclude Washington, D.C. from legalizing marijuana sales as part of the budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2023, which he sent to Congress Monday.
Despite DC voters having overwhelmingly approved cannabis legalization in 2014, the district government has consistently been prevented by a legislative rider from implementing regulated cannabis sales each time the budget comes up. Failing to remove the D.C. rider prevents the nation’s capital from using local tax dollars to implement its legal cannabis program.
Congressional Democrats Elevate Marijuana Equity Issues At Retreat Panel Focused On Legalization
Democratic congressional lawmakers convened for a policy retreat in Philadelphia on Thursday that featured a panel on advancing marijuana reform with a focus on promoting equity.
Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) moderated the cannabis panel, which largely centered on the need to ensure that those most impacted by prohibition can benefit from federal legalization. The Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act, sponsored by House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), was specifically discussed as advocates push for a floor vote on the proposal this month.
A Democratic congressional staffer familiar with the panel told that “the congresswoman’s feeling is still that racial justice and restorative justice needs to be at the centerpiece of any cannabis legislation that we put forward,” referring to Lee.
Notably, the event took place the day after the Democratic-controlled House approved a large-scale spending bill that continues a long-standing appropriations rider blocking Washington, D.C. from allowing cannabis commerce despite local voters’ approval of legalization at the ballot in 2014.
Despite that legislative setback for reform, sources emphasized that the panel discussion at the retreat focused on ensuring that equity is a focal point of any broader legalization legislation that advances on Capitol Hill.
Supernova Women Executive Director Amber Senter, who is a constituent of Lee’s and participated on the panel, told Marijuana Moment that there was extensive discussion about equity programs and clearing up misconceptions about who would qualify for equity benefits under proposed legalization legislation.
“I’m an operator and owner of a cannabis business in Oakland. And I wanted the lawmakers to understand the difference between social equity and black business,” she said, “because a lot of the lawmakers believe that they’re all the same—that if you’re a black person, you qualify for social equity, and that’s simply not true.”
“They were shocked. They were very intrigued, very engaged and want to follow up to learn how to protect black business,” Senter said.
Attendees seemed “very willing and open to learning more information about what’s happening from the operators’ perspective,” she said. “That was very encouraging. Lots of times in these types of settings, it’s policymakers that are speaking to the legislators, and they rarely get to hear from the operators on the ground who are affected by all these policies.”
Minority Cannabis Business Association (MCBA) Executive Director Amber Littlejohn, who also participated in the session, told Marijuana Moment that “it is encouraging to see House Democrats continue to consider this issue—important enough to dedicate this type of time and thought to it” at the retreat.
“It’s particularly encouraging that the panelists that there were folks that are really centered on equity and ensuring that, as we legalize, it will be rooted in equity,” she said.
That point was echoed by Maritza Perez, another were panelist who serves as director of the office of national affairs at the Drug Policy Alliance. She told Marijuana Moment that the MORE Act “continues to be the most far-reaching bill that addresses social equity in marijuana in Congress.”
Also speaking on the panel was the Brookings Institution’s John Hudak.
This isn’t the first time that congressional Democrats have put marijuana reform on the agenda for similar closed-door retreats. In 2019, Lee and Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR)—who are both co-chairs of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus—also moderated a panel raising the issue to colleagues.
The agenda for that event touched on everything from the consequences of cannabis criminalization to frameworks that states have established as they’ve moved to enact legalization.
While it remains to be seen whether House leadership will put the MORE Act back on the floor this month, as advocates are pushing for, the bill did clear the Judiciary Committee in September. It passed the full chamber last session in a historic vote in 2020.
Ahead of Thursday’s Democratic caucus retreat, a GOP congressman, Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN), made a dismissive comment about the opposite party’s legislative priorities.
As questions were being raised about the timeline for the Democratic retreat amid negotiations over omnibus legislation, he made a sarcastic comment on Twitter: “Oh no! Will this delay the drag show or the discussion on racial equity in the cannabis industry?”
TALLAHASSEE, Fla., Jan. 21, 2022 Trulieve Cannabis Corp In Recent News announced it has completed the acquisition of an operational 64,000 sq. ft. cultivation facility in Phoenix, Arizona.
Trulieve will pay $13.75 million cash at closing, with potential milestone payments subject to earn-out and escrow requirements.
“We are excited to close this acquisition which is in line with our strategic priorities. The facility strengthens Trulieve’s presence in the cornerstone market of our Southwest hub, as well as expands our cultivation capacity. We look forward to serving more patients and customers throughout Arizona with our high-quality, proprietary brands.” said Kim Rivers, CEO of Trulieve.
The new cultivation facility immediately improves supply chain capacity and becomes Trulieve’s fifth cultivation facility in Arizona, supporting Trulieve’s 17 dispensaries in the state of Arizona with flower for medical patients and adult-use customers. Trulieve locations in Arizona include Avondale, Casa Grande, Chandler, Cottonwood, Glendale, Guadalupe, Lake Havasu, Mesa, Peoria, Phoenix, Scottsdale, Tempe and Tucson.
Canadians Love Their Beer! and Cannabis Outshines both Beer and Wine
The cannabis sector contributed $17 billion to Canada’s gross domestic product (GDP) for the year ending July 2021. Unlike beer ($9.3 billion sales) or wine ($8 billion sales), all adult-use cannabis sold in Canada is produced in Canada, magnifying the impact of cannabis on the country’s GDP.
“When you talk to them and you let them know that the GDP contribution right now is comparable to auto manufacturing, or to life sciences or even to dairy, when you show them those statistics they’re quite taken aback,” Khan told BNN Bloomberg in an interview.
“I’m hopeful out of this latest round of meetings that we will be able to get some sort of movement, the proof will be in the pudding, but I’m cautiously optimistic at this point.”
Rishi Malkani, a partner at Deloitte who heads the consultancy’s Canadian cannabis practice, added that cannabis has added to the government’s coffers as well as to the construction sector.
“Our hope with this report is that people would realize that the industry’s done a lot more than simply provide [licensed producers] with $4 billion of retail access,” Malkani said. “It’s loaded government coffers and it’s been a boon to the construction industry.”
Racial Diversity and Environmental Impact – Lower Scores
The report also shed light on the lack of diversity in Canada’s cannabis industry as it re-examined a study by the University of Toronto that found that 72% of executives and directors in the sector identify as Caucasian males, while only 16% identify as racialized individuals.
It also highlighted the environmental impact that the cannabis industry bears, with 5,184 kilograms of carbon emissions being expelled into the atmosphere for every kilogram of dried flower produced. As well, between 5.8 million to 6.4 million kilograms of cannabis packaging were sent to landfills from 2018 to 2019 alone.
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The use of recreational cannabis in Thailand is illegal but cultivating it and using it for medical purposes is permitted, thanks to recent governmental policy updates. Here’s a look at how Thailand’s marijuana laws have evolved.
Marijuana in Thailand: a brief legal history
In the 1930s, as many countries around the world began regulating marijuana usage, Thailand got on board as well. In 1935 Thailand’s government passed the Cannabis Act, criminalizing the possession, sale, and use of the substance. In 1979, Thailand cracked down even further passing the Narcotics Act of B.E.2522 which ranked cannabis as a Category 5 drug. With the Thailand government’s strict drug penalization policies, this meant getting caught with large doses of marijuana could result in the death sentence!
Thailand’s weed laws remained unchanged until 2019 when the World Health Organization (WHO) changed weed’s classification from a Schedule IV to Schedule 1 ranking due to “evidence that some cannabis-based preparations have a medical use.”
Inquirer.net reported on how Thailand became the first Southeast Asian country to loosen its weed laws in turn with the passage of Narcotics Act (No. 7) B.E. 2562, which officially legalized the use of marijuana for medical purposes.
In January 2021, Thailand continued to loosen medical marijuana restrictions, legalizing the sale of food and cosmetics products containing cannabis leaves, stems, stalks, and roots.
Thai sentiment toward marijuana
Cannabis, or Ganga as it is locally called, was once a major part of Thai people’s lives. Women used it to ease labor pains and men used it to ease back pains after a long day of physical labor. The hemp plant was also commonly used to season cooking and for the creation of locally worn fabrics.
Today, with the new legalization of hemp products, cafes and restaurants such as S AM ARE, GTG Cafe and Kiew Kai Ka Cafe use CBD in their cuisine. Weed-loving visitors will be happy to find a wide range of cannabis-infused foods including omelets, salads, ice milk tea, cookies, and croissants, to name a few.
As for local sentiment towards its recreational use, a recent survey of 700 residents in Greater Bangkok, aged 20 to 59, revealed that over 64% are willing to try products containing low levels of THC Nikkei Research reported.
Recreational use: is marijuana legal in Thailand?
No, recreational marijuana is still illegal. Thanks to its heavy tourism industry, however, smoking weed in Thailand is a common sight on the beaches of Koh Phangan and Pai as well as in rasta bars. In city centers like Bangkok and Phuket however, you are far more likely to get caught and face criminal charges.
What are the penalties for cannabis possession in Thailand?
Like many countries in Asia, Thailand has strict drug laws. Possession of 10 kg or more of marijuana with an intent to sell it can result in a 15 years prison sentence and a fine of 1.5 million baht (~USD$45,000). Getting caught with a small amount of marijuana for recreational usage can result in confiscation and fines, as well as dealing with the hassle of the local police, as many Reddit users warned.
What are Thailand’s policies on medical cannabis and CBD-based products?
Thailand is at the forefront of the South-Eastern Asia medical marijuana front. On May 11, 2021 the country opened two full-time clinics dispensing cannabis oil for medical treatment.
Additionally, Thailand has several government agencies and state-registered agricultural community programs for the cultivation and possession of cannabis. Hemp-based products with under .2% THC are legal.
To help locally source hemp production, as well as generate increased local revenue, Thailand’s new prime minister passed legislation allowing households to grow up to 6 cannabis plants each, as reported by Bloomberg News. Similar to EU policies, Thai-grown cannabis plants must contain less than .2% THC, and be sold to the country’s medical facilities.
Thailand residents with approved health conditions can get a prescription from their doctor for marijuana use. Visitors wishing to bring in their medical marijuana may do so as well upon presenting their doctor’s prescription.
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The 6th Installment in the Award-winning Series by Dr. Sanjay Gupta Nearly ten years ago, CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta set out on a journey and traveled the globe to investigate the medical benefits of medical marijuana. WEED, the original award-winning documentary in the series that premiered in 2015, highlighted the remarkable benefits of CBD in treating seizure disorders in kids.
The documentary led to dozens of state legislatures changing laws granting parents and doctors the ability to use CBD in treating children.
Kara Zartler suffers from severe autism. She constantly hits herself. But with the help of cannabis, her impulsive urges slow down considerably. Several times her mother Christie says, “It’s nothing short of a miracle.” This is the most dramatic case. Several other children – Ezra, Carlos and Jason – also benefit from the natural drug. Unlike in previous episodes, Gupta doesn’t seek a counter point of view since there isn’t one.
Cannabis clearly works for these children and families (and not just CBD, but THC too).
“CNN’s ‘Weed 6: Marijuana and Autism’ is an unabashed salute to the medicinal powers of cannabis.”
Republican State Rep. Stephanie Klick pushed to change the law in Texas and alow higher THC dosing than .05%. Her legislative efforts got that lifted to 1% rather than her proposed 5%. It’s still an uphill battle for families like the Zartlers, who have to go to the illicit market for THC-laden cannabis in a state where it remains illegal. Christie says Kara was lost and now “instead she was found with the help of a plant.”
Autism is a developmental disability that results in impaired social skills, communication and abstract reasoning.
This condition causes profound changes in the way that patients view the world around them and relate to others but can also range greatly in terms of severity and the impact that it has on an individual’s life.
The term autism can more broadly refer to ASD or ‘Autism Spectrum Disorder’, indicating that there is a spectrum of different conditions that could fall under the autistic umbrella with those at either end of the spectrum being greatly removed. ‘Autistic disorder’ itself is a condition that is found on this spectrum at the more extreme end. Asperger’s syndrome meanwhile is considered a ‘less mild’ form of autism, with patients tending to be better able to integrate into society and live normal lives. Less extreme still are Rett’s disorder and childhood integrative disorder.
Understanding these conditions and gaining help and support is critical for parents and for the healthy development and education of their children.
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