FBI: Marijuana arrests rose in 2018; Penn. legalization bill filed; Psilocybin-producing E. coli; Students with drug convictions could get aid back

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  • Jonathan Page: “The fast pace of legal, regulatory and industry developments in the U.S. are difficult to follow—especially when situated in Canada. Marijuana Moment is my go-to source for U.S. cannabis news, and Tom’s insights help me cut through the noise.”

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

New Federal Bureau of Investigation data shows that there were 663,367 marijuana arrests in the U.S. in 2018—or one every 48 seconds—representing an annual rise in cannabis busts even as more states enact legalization laws.

A key Mexican legislator from the country’s ruling party filed a bill to legalize marijuana and have sales handled by a state-owned corporation called Cannsalud.

  • Home cultivation of cannabis would also be allowed.

Pennsylvania lawmakers introduced a bill to legalize marijuana and conduct sales through state-run stores, just days after Gov. Tom Wolf (D) announced he backs ending prohibition.

  • The new legislation also contemplates imports and exports with other states and countries.

Reps. Karen Bass (D-CA) and Danny Davis (D-IL), along with 34 cosponsors, filed a bill to repeal the law that punishes college students with drug convictions by taking away their financial aid.

Researchers engineered E. coli bacteria into producing psilocybin, calling the development “a significant step towards demonstrating the feasibility of industrial production” of the psychedelic.

/ FEDERAL

The Department of Justice’s Inspector General issued a report finding that the Drug Enforcement Administration “was slow to respond to the significant increase in the use and diversion of opioids since 2000” and “did not use its available resources, including its data systems and strongest administrative enforcement tools, to detect and regulate diversion effectively.”

Former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb again tweeted about the regulatory lapse caused by the gap in federal and state marijuana laws without making a clear suggestion for how he would fix it.

The Senate Appropriations Committee said in a report that it wants the Bureau of Land Management to “prioritize marijuana eradication programs.”

Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO), a presidential candidate, will speak at a marijuana investor event hosted by The Arcview Group on Thursday.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) spoke about the need for clarity on hemp businesses’ access to financial services during an event at a soon-to-be harvested hemp field.

Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN) tweeted, “No one should be jailed or lose rights for smoking #marijuana.”

Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA) tweeted, “2018 tax revenue from the legal marijuana industry: 💰 WA: $319M 💰 CA: $300M 💰 CO: $267M 💰 OR: $94M 💰 NV: $70M 💰 AL: $11M 💰 MA: $5M Imagine how much money we could raise and re-invest in disadvantaged communities if we ended the prohibition of marijuana nationwide.”

Rep. Joe Courtney (D-CT) tweeted, “The #SAFEBanking Act harmonizes state & federal law by eliminating unfair penalties against banking institutions who work with legal cannabis & hemp businesses across the country. Proud to join my colleagues in voting on its passage last week.”

Rep. Dina Titus (D-NV) tweeted, “The House passage of the SAFE Banking Act puts us one step closer to allowing state-licensed cannabis businesses to access banks and credit unions. Nevada is proof that the era of prohibitions is over. It’s time for the Senate to start acting like it.”

Rep. Denver Riggleman (R-VA) tweeted, “I am excited at the progress we have made by adding Virginia to the AgriLogic hemp crop insurance program. This program is a huge win for #VA05.”

/ STATES

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R) said the state’s medical cannabis program might be changed to move away from vaping products.

Maryland Gov, Larry Hogan (R) appointed new medical cannabis regulators.

Illinois regulators released the application for recreational marijuana dispensary licenses. They also published maps designating parts of the state that qualify as “disproportionately impacted areas” for cannabis social equity applicants.

Missouri regulators said they won’t deny access to Temporary Assistance to Needy Families benefits over medical cannabis use.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation released a statement clarifying its move to stop testing certain marijuana seizures.

A Nevada regulator who was involved with a controversial marijuana licensing round that was subject to legal challenges is no longer employed by the Department of Taxation.

Alaska regulators proposed changes to marijuana testing oversight rules.

Pennsylvania regulators are making online tax services available to taxpayers with medical cannabis tax filing and payment obligations.


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/ LOCAL

New York City officials said they will begin issuing violation, subject to fines, for businesses selling CBD-infused foods and beverages as of this week.

/ INTERNATIONAL

The United Nations Human Rights Council adopted a resolution opposing the use of the death penalty for drug offenses. It also requested “a study on arbitrary detention related to drug policies to ensure that upholding of the prohibition thereon is included as part of an effective criminal justice response to drug-related crimes, and that such a response also encompasses legal guarantees and due process safeguards.”

The UK Army scrapped its zero-tolerance drug policy.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study looking at the impact of marijuana legalization on alcohol consumption found “limited support for a substitution effect and no evidence of a complementary effect among adolescents.”

Oregon State University’s Global Hemp Innovation Center received a $1 million gift to study hemp genomics.

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

A poll of California voters found that 68% say that the state’s marijuana legalization law has been a “good thing” and that 63% support allowing retail marijuana stores in their communities.

The Albuquerque Journal editorial board is concerned that the New Mexico House speaker’s work in the marijuana industry could pose conflicts of interest.

The National Cannabis Industry Association published guidance on how marijuana can be regulated at the federal level following the end of prohibition.

The Alliance for Safety and Justice published a report outlining model policies states can enact to remove post-conviction barriers.

The Pennsylvania Democratic Party tweeted about how people can apply to have past marijuana convictions pardoned.

The Canadian Health Food Association wants the government to loosen restrictions on CBD products.

/ BUSINESS

Leafly launched what it is calling a “new visual language” to help people understand cannabis strains.

/ CULTURE

Musician Fiona Apple said using marijuana helps her sleep.

Comedian Jim Breuer spoke about his support for marijuana legalization.

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Photo courtesy of Chris Wallis // Side Pocket Images.

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