[Canniseur: THC testing needs to improve to show the actual amount of THC in a product or a human. It’s absolutely not good enough to say there is THC in the product. We need to know if there .02% or 18%. .02% will never, ever get anyone high, but still trigger a positive test result. We need more nuanced testing equipment!]
CBD hemp oil is legal if it contains less than 0.03 percent THC. But that’s apparently still enough to trigger most police drug tests.
Police in Alabama say a bottle of CBD-enhanced water on sale at gas stations tested positive for THC. The company that makes that water, CBD Cure, says that’s next to impossible. But a Facebook post the Summerdale Police Department put up May 15 shows THC field tests turning red due to the presence of the psychoactive cannabinoid. So either the test is faulty, or CBD Cure needs to find a new lab to better test their products. Then again, federal law states CBD products can contain up to 0.03 percent THC without violating the Controlled Substances Act. And if CBD Cure uses whole-hemp extract to source the cannabidiol for its water, that could be exactly what happened.
How Does THC-Free CBD Water Tests Positive for THC?
“Just an FYI,” Summerdale Police wrote on a May 15 Facebook post, “we tested random CBD water from a local gas station that claims there is no THC in it, only CBD oil, and it failed 2 field tests.”
But police admitted the tests don’t tell them how much THC is in the CBD water. It only alerts them to the presence of THC. But in a photograph, police compared a test of “real marijuana” to the test of the CBD water, and they look identical.
The label on CBD Cure’s bottled water advertises 10 mg of CBD and “No THC.” “You’re more likely to win the lottery than find THC in our water,” said CBD Cure spokesperson Sid Robinson. Robinson also said that every batch of its CBD Cure water undergoes rigorous testing at an FDA-approved lab before the company distributes it.
If that’s true, the Summerdale Police department has won the lottery twice, showing two tests that came up positive. And while the laboratory CBD Cure contracts with to tests its products may have an FDA license, CBD products are still largely unregulated.
That’s starting to change, now that the federal government has legalized hemp and hemp products containing less than 0.03 percent THC. But for now, companies can more-or-less put whatever claims they want to on CBD packaging.
So either CBD Cure’s third-party lab is not providing accurate results. Or, the marijuana field test kits police use are sensitive enough to give a positive reading from less than a .03% THC content.
Law Enforcement Struggles to Differentiate Hemp and Weed
When law enforcement tests for THC, they use testing kits that are extremely sensitive to its presence. On average, most tests trigger positive when a sample contains more than 50 nanograms per milliliter. But tests can be even more sensitive than that.
And on CBD Cure’s website, the company says it uses “full spectrum hemp extract.” Full-spectrum extracts are going to contain hemp cannabinoids and phytonutrients that pure CBD isolates don’t. And that includes THC. Sure enough, CBD Cure’s website states that the company uses hemp-derived CBD which contains less than 0.03 percent THC.
That percentage, nowhere near enough to get any human being high, is still plenty to trigger a positive on a 50 ng/ml THC test.
And that connects to a much wider problem facing law enforcement in the rapidly shifting legal terrain of cannabis. Police really don’t have the training, knowhow, tests or equipment needed to differentiate hemp and marijuana. For that matter, neither do most employers. And in that regard, Summerdale Police did the folks of Alabama a solid. Employees could think they’re drinking completely THC-free CBD water, but end up failing a workplace drug screening.
Police Test CBD Water Purchased at Gas Station and Find THC was posted on High Times.
[Canniseur: More cannabis trailblazing from Oregon. It needs to go to the House yet, and wait for the Feds to catch up. But, with the glut of pot in Oregon, this is a great move from Oregon legislator’s.]
The Oregon Senate passed a landmark bill on Wednesday that would let the governor make agreements with other states to provide for the exportation and importation of marijuana products across state lines—but it will only go into effect if the federal government changes its own policies to allow such activity.
Oregon senators approved the legislation in a 19 to 9 vote, and it now heads to the House.
Producers, wholesalers and researchers would be able to take cannabis across state lines if the government forges an agreement with the receiving state. There would also be requirements related to the health, safety and labeling standards, and the products would have to be tracked.
Any marijuana coming into Oregon would have to be tested and meet the state’s quality control standards.
“Oregon is a trailblazer, and this is another way that we can lead the nation regarding this relatively new legal industry,” Sen. Floyd Prozanski (D), the bill’s chief sponsor, said in a press release. “Several states have legalized cannabis and so this puts Oregon in a great position to enter into agreements with other states, if and when the day comes that interstate cannabis trade is allowed by federal law.”
“With the passage of Senate Bill 582, Oregon will be ahead of the game in this burgeoning industry,” he said.
Currently, federal law strictly prohibits marijuana from being introduced into interstate commerce. Stopping cannabis products from crossing state lines was one of several federal enforcement priorities included in an Obama-era Justice Department memo aimed at reducing federal intervention in local marijuana laws.
In the event that the federal government does change cannabis laws to allow interstate commerce, or issues a new memo stating that it wouldn’t prosecute such activity, the legislation could be particularly helpful to Oregon’s marijuana market, which is struggling with an oversupply of cannabis. Being able to export some of that extra product could alleviate the problem.
Industry representatives in the state celebrated the bill’s passage out of the Senate.
“There’s still a lot of work to do, but today’s Senate vote is a major step forward for the future of Oregon’s cannabis industry—and in securing our position as the country’s leading cannabis exporter” Casey Houlihan, executive director of the Oregon Retailers of Cannabis Association (ORCA), said in a press release.
Gov. Kate Brown (D) has indicated that she is supportive of the legislative effort, saying in February that lawmakers are “trying to make sure that Oregon is well-placed in terms of the industry if and when—I would say when—the federal government moves forward.”
That said, Brown said her immediate focus was on ensuring that cannabis businesses have access to financial institutions first—something that may see some congressional action following a favorable House committee vote on a bipartisan marijuana banking bill.
Photo courtesy of Philip Steffan.
Oregon Senate Votes To Legalize Interstate Marijuana Imports And Exports was posted on Marijuana Moment.
[Canniseur: While home delivery of cannabis for medical patients might sound like a good idea, there are a few big caveats. First, the regulations are a bit draconian. Second, have the regulators thought this all the way through? The rules around home delivery seem to be designed to keep the cannabis out of the illegal market and make sure it only gets delivered to medical patients in real need. GPS? Can a cell phone with location tracking work? The rules don’t specify what constitutes GPS tracking. The second caveat appears to be concern about movement of legal cannabis into the black market. Guess what? The cannabis that’s in the black market in Michigan is better and (probably) cheaper than what is getting delivered in the legal market. Perhaps robbery might be the problem in the regulators were thinking about. However, I don’t think robbery would be an issue. It’s cannabis and there’s lots to go around…and it’s pretty cheap.]
Medical marijuana patients in Michigan are about to see improved access. Thanks to new rules approved and put into place by the state’s Marijuana Regulatory Agency, medical marijuana providers can now legally deliver to patients. The change is the latest development in several key changes to Michigan’s medical marijuana program.
Home Delivery in Michigan
Last week, the Michigan Marijuana Regulatory Agency issued the state’s first three home delivery licenses.
One license went to a dispensary called Lake Effect, which serves patients in Kalamazoo County. And the other two home delivery licenses went to BotaniQ and Utopia Gardens. Both are located in Detroit.
Under the new rules, these and any other dispensaries to receive licenses in the future will now be able to deliver orders directly to patients’ homes.
Not surprisingly, the new home delivery program will be heavily regulated by the state. Here’s home delivery will work:
- To complete home deliveries legally, dispensaries with a license must hire their own delivery drivers.
- Dispensaries licensed for home delivery must document and track all delivery inventory.
- All delivery vehicles must be tracked with a GPS system.
- Dispensaries will have to get a copy of the patient’s identification card and medical marijuana card before doing deliveries.
- The delivery address must match the patient’s address as listed on both their identification card and their medical marijuana card.
- Patients can order up to the daily maximum, which is 2.5 ounces of flower.
Above and beyond those rules, many dispensaries plan to implement their own additional guidelines. For example, local news source MLive reported that some shops plan to install dashcams in delivery vehicles.
Similarly, some dispensaries will take additional security measures. This could include giving delivery people body cameras.
“It’s the first time it’s ever been done in the state of Michigan legally,” Jevin Weyenberg, general manager of Lake Effect, told MLive. “We want to make sure everything is secure. We want to make sure we’re a hard target for any criminal that might try anything.”
The new rule is being hailed as an effective way to improve patient access. In one key provision, home deliveries will be available even in places that have not yet allowed any dispensaries to open.
As a result, patients who live in a city or town that has banned dispensaries, or that has not yet joined the state’s medical marijuana program, can get deliveries from elsewhere.
Of course, each dispensary will have different rules for how far they will deliver. At this point, Lake Effect plans to take phone orders. Additionally, the dispensary will deliver to patients throughout Kalamazoo County.
Meanwhile, Utopia Gardens will deliver to patients within a 20-mile radius of the shop. For now, this shop will take online or phone orders.
At this point, many in the state hope that home delivery will make it easier for a broader range of patients to access the medicine they need.
“We know a lot of the patients we’re going to be delivering to,” Weyenberg told MLive. “A lot of them are in wheelchairs. Convenient access to medicine—you can never put a price on that. It’s life-saving for some people.”
Michigan Issues First Medical Marijuana Home Delivery Licenses was posted on High Times.
[Canniseur: The lack of Federal banking has created an unsafe situation. Legislators from across the aisles recognize this fact and are finally standing up for the right thing. Let’s hope they do the right thing this year.]
The attorneys general of 38 states and territories sent a letter to congressional leaders on Wednesday, urging them: Please, let us bank the money generated by the country’s booming cannabis business.
Most states and several U.S. territories have legalized medical marijuana, and 10 states and the District of Columbia have legalized adult recreational use. But federal law still considers marijuana illegal, which exposes banks to legal risk if they handle weed-related money or transactions.
“This is simple: Not incorporating an $8.3 billion industry into our banking system is hurting our public safety and economy,” California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, one of the signatories, said in a statement. “The SAFE Banking Act would reward taxpayers and small and local licensed businesses who play by the rules. We urge Congress to pass legislation to meet the demands of our growing economy.”
The attorneys general say they want to move the marijuana business out of a financial gray area and into the regulated banking sector. Many marijuana businesses end up dealing in cash, and lots of it — making revenue tracking and taxation more difficult for states and creating targets for crime.
As NPR’s Yuki Noguchi reported last month, finance in the weed business means armed guards and armored vehicles. And a cannabis business may pay thousands in monthly fees just to have a bank account.
The letter calls on Congress to advance the SAFE Banking Act or similar legislation, expanding financial services to legitimate cannabis-related businesses and service providers and reduce the amount of cash they hold.
“Our banking system must be flexible enough to address the needs of businesses in the various states and territories, with state and territorial input, while protecting the interests of the federal government,” the attorneys general wrote. “This includes a banking system for marijuana-related businesses that is both responsive and effective in meeting the demands of our economy.”
In late March, the House Financial Services Committee advanced the bill, and it has attracted 175 co-sponsors from both parties so far.
One of the bill’s sponsors, Rep. Ed Perlmutter, D-Colo., wrote that support from state officials “underscores the need to respect states’ rights on this issue and make our communities safer by allowing the marijuana industry and related businesses access to the banking system.”
The AGs’ letter earned praise from the banking industry. “The commonsense bill provides much needed clarity for banks in states where cannabis is legal,” wrote the American Bankers Association.
American Banker magazine notes that the key obstacle to the legislation is not gathering enough votes but getting Senate leadership to prioritize the matter. The Senate Banking Committee Chairman Mike Crapo, a Republican from Idaho, is from one of the only states that hasn’t legalized or decriminalized marijuana at all. That may account for the public safety framing of the issue.
Don Childears, president and chief executive officer of the Colorado Bankers Association, told the magazine that the goal is to get cash off the streets: “We’ve had people killed in robberies of marijuana shops here in Colorado. I can’t say that wouldn’t happen if you had banking services, but at least you wouldn’t have the temptation of large amounts of cash.”
Original Article: Attorneys General Ask Congress To Advance Marijuana Banking Bill : NPR
Photo Credit: A bipartisan group of attorneys general is urging Congress to pass legislation that would make it easier for banks to handle money involved in the legal cannabis industry.
[Canniseur: MI AG Dana Nessel is backing her campaign promises with real action. The working group she’s put together offers a wide perspective as Michigan’s legal cannabis industry moves forward. She’s on the people’s side!]
Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel is taking measures to move the marijuana industry in the state forward by trying to troubleshoot legal issues and supporting federal legislation that would make it easier for weed businesses to bank their money.
This week she announced she’s started a legal work group on medical and recreational marijuana issues to regularly review and analyze laws and regulations that affect the Michigan market.
“We are working hard now to avoid the years of uncertainty, lawsuits, appeals and uncertainty that followed the enactment of Michigan’s Medical Marijuana Act in 2008,” Nessel said in a statement. “With new laws and regulations on the books, particularly concerning recreational marijuana, I am confident this diverse group collectively has the knowledge, experience, and thus credibility to make recommendations that will be accepted and implemented by all involved.”
The state of Michigan has also faced numerous lawsuits over its implementation of the 2016 law — the Medical Marihuana Facilities Licensing Act — in the past year. Most recently in April, Court of Claims Judge Stephen Borrello chastised officials in the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs for being “ill-equipped” to handle the licensing process in a timely manner — which has led to a market of unlicensed businesses.
Nessel’s work group will ultimately make recommendations to lawmakers, police, judges, prosecutors, lawyers and to the main regulatory body for the industry, the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs.
The work group includes the director of the Bureau of Marijuana Regulation, Andrew Brisbo, as well as the following people: lawyer Robert Baldori, Livonia City Attorney Paul Bernier, Michigan Cannabis Industry Association Political Director Margeaux Bruner, Assistant Attorney General Robyn B. Frankel, former 30th Judicial Circuit Court Judge James R. Giddings, State Bar of Michigan Marijuana Law Section member Daniel W. Grow, Michigan State Police Lt. Chris Hawkins, State Bar of Michigan Marijuana Law Section chairman Robert A. Hendricks, Prosecuting Attorneys Association of Michigan President DJ Hilson, attorney Barton Morris, Assistant Attorney General John S. Pallas, State Appellate Defender Office Director Jonathan Sacks, Bureau of Marijuana Regulation Legal Division Director Adam Sandoval and Prosecuting Attorneys Association of Michigan Traffic Safety Resource Prosecutor Kenneth Stecker.
“All legal and legitimate businesses should have a safe place to put their revenue and not have to rely on under-the-floorboard safes to store their legally earned money,” Nessel said in a statement. “Michigan expanding its market to include legal recreational sales of marijuana this year compels us to join this effort to ensure we protect Michigan businesses from becoming unnecessary targets of bad actors, keeping everyone safe in the process.”
The bill received the approval of the federal House Financial Services Committee in March, and now awaits the vote of the full House.
Nessel has brought a new approach to marijuana to the attorney general’s office since starting her tenure in January. By February she announced she had dismissed charges against four people in two pending marijuana cases.
Original Article: Michigan attorney general pushes for progress on marijuana banking – mlive.com
Photo Credit: Attorney General Dana Nessel speaks during a press conference on Thursday, Feb. 21, 2019 at the Frank Kelley Law Library in the Williams Building in Lansing. (Jake May | MLive.com file photo)
[Canniseur: North Dakota’s passage of this decriminalization bill marks the approximate half-way point for the U.S. Half the states still prosecute and jail cannabis users, half the states are behaving civilized.]
A bill to decriminalize low-level marijuana possession in North Dakota quietly received the governor’s signature last week, making the state the 25th in the U.S. to remove the threat of jail time for possessing small amounts of cannabis.
While Gov. Doug Burgum (R) signed the bill on May 2, his office apparently did not make an effort to publicize the reform step and it appears to have gone unnoticed by local media, with NORML first reporting the development on Wednesday.
“North Dakota has previously been ranked among the highest in the country in per capita marijuana possession arrests, so this move is a huge step forward,” Carly Wolf, NORML’s state policies coordinator, told Marijuana Moment. “North Dakotans no longer need to fear the threat of jail time or the collateral consequences that result from an arrest record for low-level possession of a plant.”
The legislation means that first-time offenders caught possessing half an ounce or less of cannabis will be subject to a fine of up to $1,000, with no jail time. Individuals could be charged with a misdemeanor if they get additional possession infractions over the course of a year.
Additionally, the bill will reduce penalties for possession of greater amounts of marijuana. Possession of more than half an ounce but less than 500 grams will be considered a class B misdemeanor instead of a felony, and possession of anything greater than 500 grams will be a class A misdemeanor, again lowered from a felony.
Possession of paraphernalia to use marijuana will be treated as an infraction. The new penalties will go into effect on August 1.
“This legislation is far from ideal, but it is a substantial step in the right direction,” Matthew Schweich, deputy director of the Marijuana Policy Project, said in a press release. “It is very encouraging to see a conservative state like North Dakota acknowledge and rectify the injustice of jailing people for possession of small amounts of marijuana.”
“Lawmakers can no longer ignore public support for marijuana policy reform, which is growing quickly in every part of the country,” he said.
The bill also calls on legislative management to “consider studying the implications of the potential adoption of an initiated measure allowing the use of recreational marijuana” and specifies that the study “must consider the potential benefits and detriments of legalizing recreational marijuana.”
North Dakota voters rejected a far-reaching marijuana legalization ballot measure last year, although activists have already said they plan to try again with a more narrowly-tailored initiative in 2020.
Cannabis decriminalization seemed to be dead in North Dakota this session after the House rejected a similar proposal in a narrow vote in February. But following the vote, the bill’s sponsor told Marijuana Moment that lawmakers were “working on a work around.”
After much legislative maneuvering, the new proposal was sent to the governor on April 26.
Burgum announced that he signed a package of bills last week, but made no mention of the cannabis legislation. A press release generally referred to a “renewed spirit of collaboration with legislators to fund our priorities, make strategic investments and balance the budget without raising taxes.”
2019 appears to be shaping up to be a big year for decriminalization, with states long considered hostile to marijuana reform advancing various bills to reduce penalties for simple possession.
New Mexico’s governor already signed decriminalization into law this year, for example, and similar legislation is currently on the desk of Hawaii’s governor. Over in Texas, the House of Representatives approved a cannabis decriminalization bill. And in Alabama, a Senate committee unanimously approved a similar bill, although another version was rejected by a House committee on Wednesday.
Photo courtesy of Philip Steffan.
North Dakota Governor Signs Marijuana Decriminalization Bill was posted on Marijuana Moment.
[Canniseur: This is kind of surreal. CBD is legal in Florida. It appears as if an overzealous deputy, the kind you see as a caricature in comedy films, took the law into his own hands. Too bad the ‘comedy’ deputy will probably not be reprimanded. It does raise the question; How did he discover that great-grandma was carrying CBD? People get arrested all the time for doing something legal. I get a consistent feeling that law enforcement oversteps its bounds frequently. And they get away with it. We are going to have to figure out as a society; Is CBD a cannabis product regulated the same as intoxicating cannabis is regulated?]
A woman was recently arrested at Disney World after a sheriff’s deputy found CBD oil on her.
Hester Jordan Burkhalter, 69, is a great-grandmother from North Carolina. After spending two years saving up for a trip to Orlando’s Disney World, she got busted just outside of the Magic Kingdom when a cop discovered CBD oil in her purse.
Burkhalter had a doctor’s note for the oil. The product’s label also stated that it contained no THC, so getting buzzed on it was highly unlikely.
“I have really bad arthritis in my legs, in my arms and in my shoulder,” she told Fox 35. “I use [CBD oil] for the pain because it helps.”
The sheriff’s deputy who made the arrest reportedly said that he was simply following the law. Technically, CBD products are illegal in Florida, even though the state approved a medical marijuana program in 2016. Nationwide, CBD hovers in a tricky legal grey-area, as the US FDA continues to mull over regulating cannabidiol, despite its plant source — hemp — being federally legalized late last year.
Burkhalter spent a night in jail and was released on a $2,000 bond. The Orange County Sheriff’s Office later dropped the charges against her.
“I’m very disappointed that the Orange County Sheriff’s Office handled the situation the way they did,” said Burkhalter’s attorney, Jennifer Synnamon, in a statement to Fox News. “Why Sheriff Mina would support his deputies using their resources for a CBD oil arrest of a 69-year-old woman, but then won’t do anything about the gas stations, health food stores, drug stores, etc. that are selling it to the open public is absolutely beyond my comprehension.”
“The State of Florida finds nothing wrong with collecting the sales tax on illegal products,” Synnamon continued, “but they allow prosecution for possession of the same.”
Regardless of the law, Disney World (and Disneyland) officially banned all marijuana products in 2017.
Follow Randy Robinson on Twitter
CBD Oil Got This Great-Grandma Arrested at Disney World was posted on Merry Jane.
[Canniseur: Why can’t these people who call themselves legislators just get it together and vote on something. The committee on this, and the committee on that, keep punching our veterans in the gut. The legislators won’t let anything through and keep putting off votes, killing legislation in committee, and just not doing anything. Another example of our do-nothing legislatures. And this one was perpetrated by the Democrats. ☹]
House committee votes on two bills concerning medical marijuana and military veterans that were scheduled for Wednesday have been cancelled, with the chair of the panel planning to hold a later hearing on the legislation instead. The reasoning behind the cancellation isn’t entirely clear, nor is it known at this point when the hearing will be held.
One of the bills would have allowed U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) doctors to recommend medical cannabis to patients in states where it is legal and also codified into law a current administrative policy that protects veterans from losing their VA benefits over marijuana use The other proposal would require VA to conduct clinical trials on the benefits of cannabis in the treatment of conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder and chronic pain.
The House Veterans’ Affairs Committee included both pieces legislation in a list of bills that were scheduled for a markup on Wednesday.
The cannabis bills were already debated during a House veterans health subcommittee hearing last week, with VA officials coming out against the proposals.
Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) sponsored a third piece of legislation that was also discussed at the hearing but did not end up on the agenda for the full committee hearing. His bill would have specifically allowed for VA physicians to issue medical cannabis recommendations—a policy that is also included the VA benefits legislation that was expected to get a vote.
“This isn’t rocket science. We passed this bill as an amendment in 2016 with a Republican majority,” Blumenauer told Marijuana Moment. “With the most pro-cannabis Congress in history, we are poised to make significant progress on our blueprint to end cannabis prohibition.”
Blumenauer’s “blueprint” to ending the federal prohibition on cannabis is a memo he sent House Democratic leaders last year urging a committee-focused approach toward advancing incremental reform proposals in the build up to comprehensive changes to the country’s marijuana laws.
“This bill is the logical next step,” he said, of his Veterans Equal Access Act. “I will continue to make the case that was made to me a little over five years ago by courageous veterans in Portland, who expressed to me their desire to access cannabis to treat chronic pain. They deserve better.”
The broader bill with the VA physician recommendation language and benefits protection provisions was going to be marked up on Wednesday as an amendment in the nature of a substitute, with some minor additions, that was introduced by the committee chairman, Rep. Mark Takano (D-CA).
There are few details about the future committee hearing, though a committee spokesperson told Marijuana Moment that it will focus solely on cannabis and veterans.
The spokesperson said that Takano had received bipartisan input from committee members, prompting him to pull the bills from the markup with the intention of holding a separate hearing to allow more members to weigh in on the proposals before votes are held.
“In light of bipartisan feedback and renewed interest from committee members, the chairman has withdrawn the bills from tomorrow’s markup and plans to dedicate time exclusively to this topic in the future to allow more voices to be heard,” the spokesperson said.
Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), a vocal critic of the House Democratic majority’s focus on investigating the Trump administration, criticized the move to cancel the legislative votes in a Twitter post.
The bills, if approved by the committee, would have been the second and third pieces of marijuana-related legislation to advance in the 116th Congress. In March, a cannabis banking bill cleared a separate House panel.
Military Veterans Organizations Press Congress On Medical Marijuana Research
This story has been updated to add comments from Blumenauer and Gaetz
Congressional Committee Cancels Votes On Marijuana Bills For Veterans was posted on Marijuana Moment.