Here are your top 5 stories from the previous week
Good morning MRR readers! We hope you had a fantastic weekend, let’s get you caught up on the top stories from the past week so that you are in the know. As always you can click on the image after the story to get the original article.
Trump AG Pick Puts Marijuana Enforcement Pledge In Writing
William Barr, President Trump’s nominee to serve as the next U.S. attorney general, made headlines earlier this month when he pledged during his Senate confirmation hearing not to “go after” marijuana companies that comply with state laws.
Now, in response to written questions from senators, Barr is putting that pledge on paper, in black and white. He’s also calling for the approval of more legal growers of marijuana for research, and is acknowledging that a recent bill legalizing hemp has broad implications for sale of cannabis products.
“As discussed at my hearing, I do not intend to go after parties who have complied with state law in reliance on the Cole Memorandum,” he wrote, referring to Obama-era cannabis enforcement guidance that then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded last year.
WHO Announces Scientific Consensus On Medical Cannabis
This would represent a major step forward in the medical use of cannabis worldwide since no government, including the U.S., can now refer to international treaty obligations as a reason for prohibition of the medical use of cannabis. Moreover, in line with the provisions of the Single Convention, governments would now be obliged to ensure the adequate availability of cannabis for the relief of pain and suffering of patients in their countries.
Schedule IV of the Single Convention contains narcotic drugs that are considered particularly dangerous and without any therapeutic importance. Cannabis and cannabis resin were included in this Schedule at the time of the adoption of the Single Convention in 1961. Governments are encouraged by the Single Convention to prohibit production, distribution, and use of drugs in this Schedule.
The original decision to include cannabis and cannabis resin in Schedule IV of the Single Convention was due to a politically motivated biased approach to cannabis in some Western countries, in particular the United States, and not on scientific grounds as required in this convention. In the following decades, patients around the world found cannabis useful in treating their ailments, but they were prevented from legal access to this medicine due to prohibitive laws in their countries based on the provisions of the Single Convention for drugs in Schedule IV.
California Lawmakers Seek Tax Cuts For Sluggish Cannabis Industry
A group of Democratic state lawmakers and one Republican colleague on Monday proposed slashing taxes to jump-start California’s sluggish legal marijuana marketplace.
Democratic Assemblyman Rob Bonta of Oakland, Democratic state Treasurer Fiona Ma and three other Assembly members said at a news conference that the state’s year-old legal marijuana marketplace is struggling to keep up with California’s entrenched black market not encumbered by state and local taxes and time-consuming and costly regulations.
Bonta said the state’s legal marijuana industry is “not occurring as we hoped, expected and wanted.”
The proposed bill would for the next three years eliminate the state’s $148 per pound cultivation tax on farmers and reduce the state’s 15 percent excise tax on retail sales to 11 percent. A similar bill failed to clear the Democratic-controlled Assembly last year.
Oregon Cannabis Regulators Fail To Meet Basic Standards
A new audit says Oregon’s marijuana program has failed to keep up with mandatory inspections, its weak testing system threatens to expose consumers to contaminants and regulators have done little to address black market diversion.
The audit, released by the secretary of state Wednesday, examined Oregon’s regulation of the legal cannabis market since voters said yes to legalization in 2014. The legal market has so far generated $207 million in tax revenue.
The Oregonian/OregonLive reports that auditors concluded regulators have failed to meet basic standards, like inspections. It found that just 3 percent of retailers had been inspected and only about a third of growers.
The audit also found an inadequate testing system.
Proposed California Legislation May Allow Hemp CBD in Foods
On January 17, 2019, California Assembly Member Cecilia M. Aguiar-Curry kept her promise and introduced a piece of hemp legislation, AB 228. This bill is aimed at paving the way for adding industrial hemp derived cannabidiol (“Hemp CBD”) to foods, beverages, and cosmetics. The text of AB 228 is relatively short and would add the following two provisions to the California Health and Safety Code which contain provisions of the Sherman Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Laws (the “Sherman Laws”):
110611. A food or beverage is not adulterated by the inclusion of industrial hemp products, including cannabidiol derived from industrial hemp. The sale of food or beverages that include industrial hemp products or cannabidiol derived from industrial hemp shall not be restricted or prohibited based solely on the inclusion of industrial hemp products or cannabidiol derived from industrial hemp.
111691. A cosmetic is not adulterated because of the fact that it includes industrial hemp products, including cannabidiol derived from industrial hemp. The sale of cosmetics that include industrial hemp products or cannabidiol derived from industrial hemp shall not be restricted or prohibited based solely on the inclusion of industrial hemp products or cannabidiol derived from industrial hemp.
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