Federal Bill Would Provide New Protections for Legal Cannabis

Federal Bill Would Provide New Protections for Legal Cannabis

[Canniseur: With 33 states having medical cannabis laws on their books in one form or another, we’re not quite at the 3/4 of the states needed to approve a constitutional amendment. As of now however, there are NO states, not one, that can set up banking regulations, taxation and other things a legitimate business can do. Why? All because of federal regulations and the plain simple fact that cannabis is still on Schedule 1! While this bill won’t change taht, it will allow businesses to operate as…businesses. That’s a welcome change even if it’s not enough.]

Something we see a lot of in the cannabis industry are problems that arise due to conflicting federal and state laws when it comes to the legality of the plant. While the federal government continues to view it as a dangerous drug, 33 states have legalized medical marijuana, and 11 states and D.C. have legalized recreational cannabis. This means that over half of the U.S. has millions of workers, businesses and entrepreneurs who have no access to traditional banking and run the risk of federal interference with their state-legal operations.

It seems that now the federal government might finally be realizing that changes need to be made – even if they aren’t ready to legalize the plant just yet. The Appropriations Committee in the House of Representatives has included some new protections – and removed some problematic language – from a package of legislation which will improve current issues, like access to banking and fear of federal interference.

“Cannabis companies shouldn’t be punished for employing millions of American workers and contributing billions of dollars to the economy,” said Terry Holt, NCR spokesman. “This is an important step toward ensuring access to banking services for the thousands of businesses who are inevitably intertwined with lawful and regulated cannabis businesses.”

For years these bills have included language that prevents the Department of Justice from spending any money to take action against state-legal medical cannabis. But this is the first time it was included as what is called “base text”, which doesn’t require a vote to be included.

When it comes to banking, we know that many businesses have stepped in to take away the burden of not being able to access traditional banking for credit card payments and checking accounts. However, language that had previously been approved and stripped from the bill to provide protections to banks who work with state-legal cannabis businesses was also included in the base text of the bill this year.

These pieces of legislation had previously included language that prevented D.C. – who legalized the use of cannabis by voter initiative back in 2014 – from creating a commercial cannabis industry. For the first time, the fiscal year 2020 Appropriations Bill will not include this language, giving D.C. the opportunity to move forward and implement a retail industry.

While this is not fully legalizing cannabis and we have far from won the fight to end federal prohibition, this marks a huge step forward – with the federal government acknowledging that they are, in some ways, standing between states and a safe and regulated marijuana industry.

Original Post: Marijuana Times: Federal Bill Would Provide New Protections for Legal Cannabis

New Study Finds Marijuana Could Increase Motivation and Time Spent Exercising

New Study Finds Marijuana Could Increase Motivation and Time Spent Exercising

[Canniseur: Light is being shed on who really uses cannabis. Yes, running, hiking, skating, skiing, or most anything, stoned is exhilarating. The myth of the lazy stoner is finally getting obliterated.]

There are countless benefits of cannabis use – both for those suffering from chronic illnesses and those who choose to use it for enjoyment. It’s been found that marijuana users are less likely to get diabetes and often have lower BMIs than non-users, and a new study has found that cannabis users exercise longer than those who don’t toke up.

“To our knowledge, this is the first study to survey attitudes and behavior regarding the use of cannabis before and after exercise, and to examine differences between cannabis users who engage in co-use, compared to those who do not,” said the study authors.

The study was conducted by researchers at the University of Colorado and surveyed more than 600 marijuana consumers in states where the herb is legal. Almost 500 of those participants said that they endorse using marijuana either up to an hour before or up to four hours after exercising. Based on the survey data, those who consume cannabis in that timeframe had longer workouts than those who didn’t – by an average of 43 minutes longer for aerobic exercise and 30 minutes longer for anaerobic exercises.  

“Given both the spreading legalization of cannabis and the low rates of physical activity in the US, it behooves public health officials to understand the potential effects — both beneficial and harmful — of cannabis use on exercise behaviors.”

There are multiple reasons that people may use cannabis to aid in their workouts. Seventy-eight percent said that they agree that it “enhances recovery from exercise”, while 70 percent said they believe that “cannabis increases enjoyment of exercise”, and 50 percent said that it “increases motivation.”

This corresponds with three of the reasons that researchers identified that cause people to skip routine exercise – difficulty recovering after a workout, lack of enjoyment exercising and lack of motivation to follow through.

“I’ve always loved getting out on my bike and doing exercise while stoned,” Boyd said. “There is a negative perception about people who use cannabis compared to those who use alcohol, but alcohol is more harmful. There’s an imbalance there.”

This study doesn’t necessarily mean that all you need to do is take a few puffs off a joint to motivate yourself to hit the gym – but it certainly breaks yet another classic stoner stereotype, and it may give you a reason to consider incorporating cannabis into your exercise routine (if you haven’t already!).

Original Post: Marijuana Times: New Study Finds Marijuana Could Increase Motivation and Time Spent Exercising

Florida Lawmakers Are Attempting to Limit THC for Medical Marijuana

Florida Lawmakers Are Attempting to Limit THC for Medical Marijuana

[Canniseur: A perfect example of lawmaker hubris. Lawmakers think they know more than voters. They don’t. Lawmakers try to impose their ‘values’ on the populace. Not their job. This seems to be a time honored tradition of lawmakers. They better get their act together or they won’t be in office much longer. Limiting THC indeed. What are they thinking? People won’t get as stoned?]

Since voters passed Amendment 2 in 2016, legislators have done nothing but try and change the law that the people designed, asked for, worked for, and approved. Less than a month after the state’s new Governor, Ron DeSantis, forced lawmakers to back off their appeal to a court decision that reverses the ban on smokable cannabis, they have gone in a new direction to change the law – attempting to put a 10 percent cap on THC levels in smokable marijuana.

The bill was pushed forward by the House Appropriations Committee during a meeting – now giving it a chance at a vote on the House floor. If it passes that vote, it would be sent over to the Senate for consideration.

“A bill that was supposed to be about helping a community that is plagued with drug addiction and drug overdose … a bill that was supposed to be about helping a veteran community that is plagued [with] suicide is now being used as leverage by lawmakers to try and impose their will on the people,” said Jimmy Johnston, a veteran and president of the North Florida chapter of the Weed for Warriors Project.

Perhaps a ploy to try and gain votes, the House legislation would also give veterans free state-issued medical marijuana ID cards – but that is not enough to distract from the 10 percent THC cap they are trying to impose. That would be significantly lower than the amount of THC in the cannabis that is currently produced in the state – and it certainly wouldn’t solve any problems. In fact, it would only create new ones.

“If there’s less THC in the medical cannabis product, then folks are going to need to smoke more of it,” Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith, D-Orlando, said. “The reality is that to overcome that, they’re either going to buy more product that isn’t flower … or they’re going to forego all of this, and because it doesn’t have the THC content that they need, they’re going to go to the black market.”

Since it’s already happened once before when the state passed their ban on smokable cannabis, if this bill is passed – directly violating the will of the voters – it would not be a surprise to see the state wind up right back in court. This bill is not being passed with the patients who need this medicine in mind; it is being passed by lawmakers who don’t fully understand medical marijuana, how it works, and why something like a THC cap could be devastating to some patients.

We can hope that they get it together and realize this is a mistake before it passes. Perhaps the floor vote will put an end to it, or maybe the Senate will let the bill sit and wait until it’s too late. On the other hand, it seems all too likely that Florida’s fight for smokable medical marijuana – the way Amendment 2 intended it to be – isn’t over yet.

Original Post: Marijuana Times: Florida Lawmakers Are Attempting to Limit THC for Medical Marijuana

Florida Lawmakers Finally Introduce Legislation to End Ban on Smokable Medical Marijuana

Florida Lawmakers Finally Introduce Legislation to End Ban on Smokable Medical Marijuana

[Editor’s Note: Florida medical patients will finally be able to have their medicine in the form that suits them best. It’s been a long battle, but the finish line is almost here.]

Since voters in Florida legalized medical marijuana in 2016, it has continued to be a fight for some patients to get the medicine they need. Amendment 2 was intended to allow all forms of medical marijuana, but the state legislature took it upon themselves to ban smokable forms of the plant – and for some patients, this is the most effective way to medicate. Patients took this issue to court, where a judge found that the state had gone against the constitutional amendment. Of course, the state appealed this ruling almost immediately.

As it turns out, the election of Governor Ron DeSantis was a very good thing for the medical marijuana battle in Florida. DeSantis gave legislature the choice of either amending the law to remove the smoking ban or he would drop their appeal in court. He gave them a deadline of March 15 – which is only 10 days after the annual legislative session starts – to address the issue.

“What the Florida Legislature has done to implement the people’s will has not been done in accordance with what the amendment envisioned,” Gov. DeSantis said at a press conference on Jan. 17. “Whether they (patients) have to smoke it or not, who am I to judge that? I want people to be able to have their suffering relieved. I don’t think this law is up to snuff.”

Originally, the House had introduced a plan that would have required doctors to get approval from a “case review panel” before they would be able to recommend smokable forms of medical cannabis. However, this was also nixed – only requiring patients under 18 years old to get secondary approval to access medical marijuana. The latest amendment (which was approved with a 14-2 vote by the House Health and Human Services Committee) would only allow pre-rolled and filtered joints, in an effort to address lawmakers’ concerns about health complications from smoking.

“If that [court] decision were to stand, what we would be facing essentially would be the wild, wild west when it comes to using medical marijuana. We believe there should be guardrails around that. That’s why we’ve reconvened and put this bill together moving forward,” House Health and Human Services Chairman Ray Rodrigues told reporters after his committee signed off on a proposal to allow patients to smoke medical marijuana.

After all this, the state wants to put on the appearance that addressing these issues were their own idea – but it is something that patients have been pushing for since lawmakers first wrote legislation to accompany the medical marijuana amendment that voters passed. After courtroom battles and a great deal of patient testimony, it appears that lawmakers are finally ready to be on-board with allowing smokable marijuana for patients who need it.

Original Post: Marijuana Times: Florida Lawmakers Finally Introduce Legislation to End Ban on Smokable Medical Marijuana

The Super Bowl Isn’t Ready for Cannabis Commercials Just Yet

The Super Bowl Isn’t Ready for Cannabis Commercials Just Yet

[Editor’s Note: Maybe the Superbowl isn’t ready for cannabis ads, but someday there will be just like current ads for Bud Light. Imagine this…]

Acreage Holdings, a multi-state cannabis firm based in the U.S., attempted to get a medical marijuana advocacy commercial in the lineup of Super Bowl commercials this year. Unfortunately – and somewhat unsurprisingly – the ad was rejected by CBS. According to Acreage President George Allen, he had hopes that the advertisement could “create an advocacy campaign for constituents who are being lost in the dialogue.” To Allen it seemed obvious that the most-watched televised event of the year would be a great way to get that message in front of as many people as possible.

“We certainly thought there was a chance,” Allen said. “You strike when the chance of your strike has the probability of success this isn’t a doomed mission.”

This year seemed like the perfect opportunity for the first cannabis ad, seeing as how both teams playing in the Super Bowl come from states where cannabis is legal for both medicinal and recreational use. With the national opinion on medical marijuana – and marijuana in general – swiftly changing in the last decade to strongly supporting legalization, the timing seemed right.

There are two versions of how the rejection came to happen. According to Bloomberg, Acreage Holdings says the ad was cut after a rough outline was provided; CBS, on the other hand, claims that CBS News asked to see the ad and the company never provided it. However, no matter how it went down, the truth is CBS wasn’t planning on airing the ad.

In a statement, CBS said, “Under out broadcast standards, we do not currently accept cannabis-related advertising.”

On top of being rejected by CBS, the NFL also has the option to reject Super Bowl ads and considering their current ban on players using medical marijuana, it seems unlikely they would allow an ad advocating the plant to be aired during their biggest game of the year. While the NFL itself is not a fan of medical marijuana, many players – both current and former – support legal medical marijuana access, and many former athletes advocate for (and have stakes in) the medical cannabis industry.

“We’re disappointed by the news but somewhat unsurprised,” Allen told CNN Business. “Still, we developed the ad in the spirit of a public service announcement. We feel it’s our responsibility to advocate on behalf of our patients.”

Now the internet is calling out CBS for their hypocrisy, pointing out the several ads we are likely to see for alcohol and pharmaceutical drugs while refusing to let a company advocate for a medicinal plant. Perhaps Acreage Holdings (or another cannabis company) will have better luck getting their message out through the most coveted television advertisement space in the next couple of years.

Original Post: Marijuana Times: The Super Bowl Isn’t Ready for Cannabis Commercials Just Yet

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