[Canniseur: Gov. Cuomo pledges to make cannabis legal this year, and hopefully in June 2019. However, I think he is mistaken if he thinks there won’t be any communities to pass on legal sales.]
It’s official: New York has cut its adult-use cannabis legalization measure from the state’s budget bill for the upcoming fiscal year, which begins April 1.
During an interview earlier this week with WNYC’s Brian Lehrer, Gov. Andrew Cuomo was of two minds: He sought both to remain positive, claiming that legalization will pass by June, while also conceding that the bill may become more difficult to pass outside of the budget.
“When it’s not done in the budget, then it is, in my opinion, harder to do as a standalone bill because it’s now just marijuana with a capital ‘M,’” Cuomo said, echoing state Sen. Diane Savino’s remarks earlier this week that legislators who represent conservative parts of the state may not be able to afford to support an adult-use bill that’s not tucked inside a budget.
Opting Out: Not a Concern
When Lehrer asked Cuomo about the New York counties that have already announced preemptive plans to ban cannabis sales, the governor argued they won’t follow through (although California’s track record, for one, tells a different story).
“I don’t think it’s determinative,” Cuomo said. “It does make a difference on the statewide revenues, and it will cost those municipalities, localities that opt out because then they would not get the local share of the revenues.”
“For us, [recreational] marijuana is a relatively new issue,” the governor pointed out, apparently in reference to the bumpy road the legislation has taken. “It really started with my proposal this year, but [legislators] have signaled that they need more time to talk about it,” he added, likely nodding to pushback that the bill doesn’t sufficiently address questions of diversity and equity.
Cuomo: ‘We’ll Get It Done This Year’
Despite these roadblocks, Cuomo insisted that he thinks the bill will pass by June, during the current legislative session. “I believe we’ll get it done this year,” he said.
“I said from Day One that the marijuana issue was going to be controversial,” Cuomo acknowledged. Although the path forward for legal cannabis in New York remains unclear, on this point the governor was indisputably correct.
Photo Credit: New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo shakes hands with a moderator as opponent Democratic New York gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon prepares before a gubernatorial debate in August, 2018. (Craig Ruttle/AP)
Original Post: Leafly: Cannabis Out! New York Drops Legalization From Budget Bill
[Canniseur: This seems like a no-brainer. If you’re taking medicine, you should not get in trouble from your employer for taking your meds. We hope this passes easily.]
New legislation introduced in the House of Representatives is being hailed by advocates as a critical step for workers’ rights in the age of cannabis normalization.
A bipartisan bill introduced on Capitol Hill this week aims to protect federal workers who use cannabis in conformity with the laws of their state. The Fairness in Federal Drug Testing Under State Laws Act would prohibit cannabis drug-testing “from being used as the sole factor to deny or terminate federal employment for civilian positions at executive branch agencies if the individual is in compliance with the marijuana laws in their state of residence.”
A sponsor of the bill, Rep. Charlie Crist (D-FL), was quick to frame the legislation in terms of rights for workers — especially the ailing and veterans.
“For our veterans, cannabis has been shown to address chronic pain and PTSD, often replacing addictive and harmful opioids,” Crist said in a press release. “At the same time, the federal government is the largest employer of our veterans’ community. This conflict, between medical care and maintaining employment, needs to be resolved. For federal employees complying with state cannabis law, they shouldn’t have to choose between a proven treatment and their job.”
Co-sponsor Rep. Don Young (R-AK) said that he was optimistic that the bill would pass.
“I truly believe that in this Congress we will see real reform of our nation’s cannabis laws — reform based on a states’ right approach,” Young said in the same release. “This bill would protect federal workers, including veterans, from discrimination should they be participating in activities compliant with state-level cannabis laws on their personal time.”
He added: “The last thing we need is to drive talented workers away from these employment opportunities. As a co-chair of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus, I remain committed to promoting this bill, as well as other legislation to protect individuals and reform our federal cannabis laws.”
The bill is a rewrite of similar legislation that failed to pass last year.
Critical Question for Federal Workers — and Vets
HR 1687, as the bill is designated, would bar federal agencies from discriminating against workers solely on the basis of their status as a cannabis user or due to testing positive for cannabis use on a workplace drug test. This is a concern for all federal workers who consume cannabis.
In 1986, the Federal Drug-Free Workplace Program required that all civilian workers at executive branch agencies be prohibited from using substances that are illegal under federal law as a condition of employment. Medical marijuana (not necessarily including actual herbaceous cannabis) is currently legal in 31 states, as well as the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Guam. When CBD-only states are included, the number reaches 46. Yet cannabis, of course, remains illegal under federal law. So federal workers can be denied employment or terminated due to testing positive for cannabis metabolites — even if their use is in compliance with state law.
A September 2017 study by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management found that military veterans make up approximately one-third of the federal workforce. And a January 2018 study published by the National Institutes of Health found that veterans use medical marijuana at double the rate of the general public. A November 2017 poll by the American Legion found that one in five veterans use cannabis to alleviate a medical condition.
NORML released a statement expressing how heartened the organization is by the legislation. “The discriminatory practice of pre-employment drug testing for cannabis disproportionately hurts the ability for veterans and medical patients to achieve economic security and a feeling of self-worth,” said NORML political director Justin Strekal. “The bipartisan nature of this effort and the bill’s sponsors underscore the absurdity of the status quo and we appreciate the leadership of congressmen Charlie Crist and Don Young.”
Liberalization of cannabis’s legal status at the state level has not negatively impacted workplace safety, NORML asserts. The organization cites a 2016 study published by the National Bureau of Economic Research finding that legalization of medical marijuana is associated with greater workforce participation and fewer workplace absences.
In January 2017, the National Academies of Sciences issued a report on “The Health Effects of Cannabis and Cannabinoids,” which found “insufficient evidence” to support an association between cannabis use and occupational accidents or injuries.
As evidence mounts for the efficacy of cannabis in treating PTSD, medical marijuana is fast being normalized in the veterans’ community. And in a sign of progress, the courts are increasingly siding with employees fired for use of cannabis under state medical marijuana programs.
Weed-Fueled Workers of the World, Unite! New Pot Employment Rights Bill Introduced to Congress was posted on Cannabis Now.
[Canniseur: The next time you hear someone decry legalization of cannabis because kids will consume more and more of it, show them this and now at least 10 other studies. It just doesn’t happen. Availability is a deterrent in a funny way. The antis just don’t get it. The numbers are against them.]
If this were a segment of The Daily Show, this article might begin with a montage of Republican lawmakers decrying the “reckless, irresponsible” message marijuana legalization sends to youth. In legislative chambers across the U.S., opponents of marijuana reform, when all else fails, fall back on the argument that legal weed will surely cause more young people to consume cannabis. Their case rests on a simple—and simplistic—assumption: make something legal, safer, better-regulated, and more people will do it. But a new survey of teen marijuana use in Colorado is beginning to put the lie to that assumption.
New Survey: 81 Percent of Colorado Teens Don’t Consume Cannabis
On Tuesday, public health researchers in Colorado released a report detailing the results of a youth marijuana education and prevention campaign called High Costs. Researchers measured the efficacy of that campaign with a survey. The survey reached more than 55,000 teen respondents, including 500 in the City of Denver. And according to that survey, teen marijuana consumption isn’t just dropping in Colorado. It’s also falling below the national average for the first time.
The report’s “respondent snapshot” reveals that 59 percent of Colorado teens have never consumed cannabis. An additional 22 percent of teens have only consumed cannabis once or twice ever. Another 8 percent consume cannabis once a month or less. In other words, just 10 percent of Colorado teens use cannabis more than once a month. So 81 percent of Colorado teens don’t consume cannabis with any regularity, have only tried it or have never tried it at all. The national average for teen’s who don’t use cannabis hovers around four out of every five. Colorado teens just barely surpassed that mark.
High Costs Cannabis Awareness Program Is Helping Reduce Underage Use
Colorado’s cannabis laws earmark a portion of marijuana tax revenue for drug awareness and outreach programs for young people. The City of Denver, for example, has spent millions on its High Costs campaign. And based on its new report, High Costs says it’s money well spent. In addition to surveying teens on their cannabis consumption habits, High Costs also polled respondents about their familiarity with High Costs’ campaign materials. 78 percent of Denver teens reported that they were familiar with the campaign. And of those, 75 percent said High Costs’ messaging discouraged them from using cannabis.
High Costs is also the organization behind the online game show, Weeded Out. Weeded Out is the country’s first marijuana education game show, and it was the focal point of High Costs’ 2018 campaign. Of the teens who watched the game show, 87 percent reported discussing it with friends and family. In short, High Costs is getting its message out there. And the vast majority of teens who are aware of it find its content clear, educational, trustworthy and likable.
And for the rest of the nation, the effectiveness of Denver’s youth awareness and prevention campaign sends an important message. It shows that it is entirely possible for legal-weed states to safeguard young people and teens from the health and legal risks of underage cannabis consumption. And further, it shows that smart, well-funded programs can do way more to reduce teen cannabis consumption than prohibition and harsh criminalization.
Survey Indicates Teen Marijuana Use in Colorado is Lower Than National Average was posted on High Times.
[Canniseur: Finally! Florida medical cannabis patients can smoke. The will of the voters is finally being upheld.]
After a landslide vote of 101-11 this week in the Florida House SB 182 gets signed into law today by Governor Ron DeSantis at 2:40 PM
Gary Stein of Clarity PAC and other sources in Tallahassee, confirmed that Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed SB 182 into law today at 2:40PM. This can be confirmed according to a Florida 1st District Court of Appeals filing, Govoner Ron DeSantis has signed SB 182 into law. The repeal of the smoking ban on medical marijuana is now official.
Earlier this year DeSantis put a deadline on this process himself by pressuring the legislature into establishing legal verbiage by March 15, the start of the legislative session. SB 182 will be the first bill of this session to be reviewed at the Governor’s desk.
This bill not only repeals the smoking ban that had been deadlocked by a state appeal, but it also allows doctors to order a 210-day supply of medical cannabis (opposed to the current 70-day limit). Other stipulations include submitting oneself for a data study on the effects of smoking marijuana, but also requires minors (under the age of 18) to be diagnosed with a terminal condition and get a second opinion from their primary pediatrician (or a secondary pediatrician) before receiving the prescription.
DeSantis commended the Legislature for their efforts via Twitter saying, “I thank the Florida Legislature for taking action on medical marijuana and upholding the will of the voters”, but until this signing had not released a formal statement. Having only 3 months in office, his administration is moving at a record pace.
House Speaker Jose Oliva commented after the vote earlier this week, “This is a difficult issue, and you’re going to have people on both sides; some that are happy that now this is available to them and others that feel that we didn’t go far enough,” adding “We did the best that we could do and still remain responsible.”
Read the rest of the article here: Florida Governor Ron DeSantis Officially Ends The Ban on Smokable Medical Marijuana – Canna Chronicle
[Canniseur: The New Mexico legislature couldn’t pass the bills to legalize. But cannabis is decriminalized now. The least they could do and that’s what the legislature did. Now the legislative session is over for the year, so we’ll have to wait and see what happens next year.]
New Mexico is likely to become the next state to decriminalize marijuana, with legislation to do so on its way to the desk of Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D).
With just hours left in the legislative session, lawmakers gave final approval to bill to remove criminal penalties for cannabis possession early on Saturday morning.
The win for marijuana reformers comes amidst disappointment that a broader bill to legalize and regulate cannabis sales that was passed by the House earlier this month ended up getting stalled in a Senate committee.
The successful decriminalization bill was first approved earlier this month by the Senate. The House took it up on Friday, approving minor amendments made by the Judiciary Committee, and the proposal then went back to the originating chamber for a final vote to be sent to Grisham for her signature.
The more far-reaching legalization legislation was passed by the House on March 8. It then advanced through the Senate Public Affairs Committee last week but got stuck in that chamber’s Finance Committee, where the panel’s chairman refused to bring it to a vote.
That bill was unique compared to marijuana legalization laws that have been enacted in other states in that it would have mostly put legal cannabis sales in state-run stores (while making some allowances for the licensing of private retailers).
Meanwhile, the decriminalization proposal, sponsored by Joseph Cervantes (D), would decrease penalties for possession of up to half an ounce of cannabis to a $50 fine, treated as a penalty assessment misdemeanor without the threat of jail time.
A fiscal impact report on the bill highlights the cost savings it could help the state realize.
“SB 323 could have a positive fiscal impact on the courts, prosecutors, and public defenders; workloads could be lessened by reducing the charges of possession of marijuana up to one-half ounce and use or possession of drug paraphernalia to penalty assessments,” it says. “These penalty assessments would not require court hearings, unless the charges are contested.”
“Currently, these charges carry criminal penalties that require court hearings to be set automatically. Criminal charges, which carry the potential of jail time, require the defendant to be arraigned by a judge, and often require additional hearings to resolve the charges,” the Legislative Finance Committee document explained. “Processing of penalty assessments involves less court resources than criminal cases.”
Grisham said during her election campaign last year that she supports legalizing marijuana with appropriate safeguards, but she has not commented specifically on the more modest decriminalization bill that is now on its way to her desk.
Marijuana Legislation Tracking
Photo courtesy of Philip Steffan.
The post New Mexico Lawmakers Send Marijuana Decriminalization Bill To Governor appeared first on Marijuana Moment.
New Mexico Lawmakers Send Marijuana Decriminalization Bill To Governor was posted on Marijuana Moment.
[Canniseur: In a smart move, lawmakers in Connecticut are not wanting to be an island in the sea of New England. Massachusetts is adult use legal and both Rhode Island and New York are looking to legalize adult use. Legalizing is smart. Connecticut isn’t a large state and residents who want cannabis can take a short drive to where cannabis is legal.]
On Thursday afternoon, top lawmakers in the Connecticut House of Representatives announced their plan to legalize cannabis for adult use. Speaking at a press conference, General law chair Rep. Michael D’Agostino, Judiciary Committee chair Rep. Steve Stafstrom and Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee member Rep. Jason Rojas—all Democrats—discussed the details of the legislative process and what Connecticut residents should expect next. Here are the major takeaways.
Connecticut Lawmakers Unveil Legal Weed Legislation
10 U.S. states have legalized cannabis for adult use, but only one state, Vermont, did so through the lawmaking process, rather than a statewide vote. If Connecticut legalizes cannabis this year, it will have done so in the same way. General Law Committee chair Michael D’Agostino commenced Thursday’s process conference with a word on exactly what that process will look like.
D’Agostino said that Connecticut was approaching legalization in three areas: regulation, decriminalization, and monetization. Each of those three areas falls under the purvey of a specific House committee. And each committee will be proposing its own set of bills focused entirely on its area of cognizance. Thus, D’Agostino stressed that lawmakers were at the very beginning of the process. He called the multiple proposals a “a first bid,” with “nothing set in stone.” Once the bills have undergone multiple hearings and revisions to satisfy committee members, they will all be packaged into a single, comprehensive bill for the legislature to consider.
The Judiciary Committee’s Three Bills to Legalize Cannabis in Connecticut
After D’Agostino’s introduction on process, Rep. Steve Stafstrom of the Judiciary Committee spoke on the three bills currently pending in the committee. One bill would legalize possession of up to 1.5 ounces of cannabis to persons at least 21-years-old. It also proves for criminal record erasure and lays out a process for filing for expungement.
A second bill would create new, separate impaired driving rules that apply just to cannabis. Rules would prohibit any consumption of cannabis while driving, whether or not a driver is under the influence of cannabis. They would also prevent passengers from smoking inside a vehicle. Finally, the second bill would set aside funds to train police as “drug recognition experts” to screen suspect drivers.
The Judiciary Committee’s third bill will likely rankle supporters of cannabis legalization. According to Stafstrom, the bill would not require employers in Connecticut to make special accommodations for employees’ use of cannabis.
Finance Committee is Eyeing Tax Structure Based on Massachusetts
While legalization has generated lots of interest on the revenue side, Rep. Jason Rojas explained that the taxation piece of the puzzle would necessarily come later, after the other committees had finalized their legislation.
But Rojas wants to make sure Connecticut isn’t competing with Massachusetts. Lawmakers want residents buying weed in-state, not across the border. So for now, committee lawmakers are eyeing an overall tax rate of about 20 percent. They expect that tax scheme to carry the retail program for two years, at which point they will reconsider the structure. Rojas did say that Connecticut would levy excise and sales taxes, and that local authorities could level additional taxes on businesses. The tax structure will become clearer in April, Rojas said.
Connecticut Will Take “An Aggressive Approach to Equity” in the Cannabis Industry
A major point of Thursday’s press conference was the importance of ensuring equitability and access to the economic benefits of a legal cannabis industry. And in this respect, legalization advocates have made their strongest mark on the draft legislations.
Fielding questions about equity from reporters, D’Agostino said that people designated as “equity applicants” would have a head start on the application process. So cannabis business license applicants who come from communities with historically high arrest and conviction rates for marijuana offenses would be able to submit applications three months ahead of other applicants. During the press conference, committee lawmakers stressed the importance of redressing the past harms of prohibition and criminalization in Connecticut.
Lawmakers Plan to Leverage Existing Medical Cannabis Infrastructure
During the press conference, Rep. D’Agostino spoke very highly of Connecticut’s medical cannabis program. And to get retail cannabis sales up and running as soon as possible, D’Agostino said the state will leverage its already well-regulated medical cannabis infrastructure.
The bills that committee lawmakers are proposing would establish temporary rules to allow medical dispensaries to sell to retail customers. Lawmakers say that dispensaries could start selling cannabis products by the end of the year. But registered medical cannabis patients will have access to more potent products. Once medical dispensaries start selling to retail customers, the state will collect data to help shape how it licenses strictly retail sellers.
But lawmakers couldn’t provide any definitive answers about exactly when Connecticut’s retail industry would be in full swing. Rather, they continued to emphasize that the process was in its initial stages. Expect the legislative process to take time– probably a year at least.
In Connecticut, Still High Hopes for Legalization in 2019
Connecticut decriminalized possession for personal use in 2011. Get caught with less than a half-ounce of cannabis, hash or concentrate, and you’ll simply face a civil penalty of $150 for a first offense. The “weed ticket” doesn’t show up on a criminal record or background check, just like a moving violation.
The next year, in 2012, Connecticut legalized cannabis for medical use. Since then, the state’s medical cannabis program has grown steadily, registering new patients, caregivers and expanding the list of qualifying conditions. Currently, there are more than 30 debilitating conditions that qualify patients for medical cannabis in Connecticut.
Last year, Connecticut came close to legalizing adult-use cannabis. In April 2018, the House Appropriations Committee voted 27-24 to support a legalization measure. While the bill wouldn’t have directly legalized cannabis, it would have directed state agencies to come up with a plan for legalizing and regulating a retail industry. But as activists rallied at the state Capitol in Hartford, lawmakers essentially ran out the clock. Joe Aresimowicz, a former House Speaker, opted not to bring the measure to a full floor vote.
But 2019 feels different, according to legalization advocates. With Democrats controlling both chambers of the state legislature and a governor who has vowed to make cannabis legalization a priority, it’s easy to see why supporters of drug reform are optimistic that this is their year. In Connecticut, the political landscape favors progressive marijuana legislation. But so does the region. Retail weed sales have already begun across the state border in Massachusetts. And both New Jersey and New York are moving inexorably toward a vote on legalization.
Breaking: Connecticut Lawmakers Unveil Plan to Legalize Marijuana was posted on High Times.
[Canniseur: Texas is probably the worst state in the U.S. when it comes to cannabis. Yet, millions of Texans consume cannabis. The state misses out in so many ways by refusing to legalize or at least have a real medical cannabis program. What they have now is a joke. Total misread of the populace by the head-in-the-sand legislators.]
Nearly all forms of cannabis are illegal in Texas. And by illegal, I mean very illegal. Possession of a small amount of cannabis concentrate—what we in the legal states know as a $30 vape cartridge—is a felony in the Lone Star State.
Medical marijuana here has almost no THC. It’s actually lower in THC than hemp-derived CBD.
But there is one form of cannabis that is allowed. It’s a highly specialized cannabidiol oil that contains, by law, no more than 0.5% THC and no less than 10% CBD. It’s available only to patients with intractable epilepsy, and three companies are licensed to produce and distribute it.
I recently had the chance to tour one of those companies. The home offices and grow facility of Compassionate Cultivation are tucked away in Manchaca, a little farm town on the outskirts of Austin. It’s not encased in barbed wire, but it’s not exactly advertised, either. A small vinyl sign bearing a vague sprouting-seed logo—not the typical marijuana fan leaf—stands in a lonely field of live oaks.
Outstanding in its field: The dispensaries in Texas keep a low profile. (Photo: Ben Adlin)
John Volkmann, the company’s chief marketing officer, greeted Leafly News Editor Ben Adlin and me in the front office of a light industrial warehouse facility. “Welcome to our dispensary,” he said. Ben and I looked around, confused. We saw a waiting room and a receptionist. And… that’s it, Volkmann explained. There are no products in retail display cabinets, no budtenders, no jars or chopsticks. Most patients order their medicine online and receive it via delivery, Volkmann told us. Those who visit in person receive one-on-one consults there in the waiting room in Manchaca.
Delivery Via a Prius Fleet
Texas is an enormous state. You could fit all of France and Switzerland inside its borders. How does Compassionate Cultivation deliver? “We run a fleet of Priuses,” said Volkmann. “We need to be able to deliver medicine to Laredo, El Paso, Houston,” wherever their patients reside.
And those hybrids are customized for the job. “Our vehicles are built out with GPS tracking and safes that are mounted to the frames of the vehicles,” explained Taylor Kirk, the company’s vice president of operations. “It’s a very controlled process.”
Inside the Compassionate Cultivation grow room: This month’s plant, next month’s CBD oil. (Photo: Ben Adlin)
A Very Strict Program
The state’s Compassionate Use Act, implemented in early 2016, is a very controlled program. In fact, it’s not overseen by the state health department, as most medical marijuana programs are. It’s run by the Texas Department of Public Safety—the police agency that also manages the Texas Rangers and the Texas Highway Patrol.
The strict law allows patients with intractable epilepsy—the only qualifying condition—to consult with a state-registered specialist who may recommend low-THC cannabis oil. There aren’t a lot of these physicians. In all of Travis County, which includes Austin, the state registry lists only four. (Patients can search for those registered physicians here.) The physician then enters the patient’s name into the Compassionate Use Registry of Texas (CURT), an online portal that the state’s three dispensaries can use to verify that a patient qualifies.
Smokeable flower is not allowed. All flower and leaf must be converted to cannabis oil products.
“We have a pretty constrained cannabis opportunity here,” John Volkmann acknowledged.
Breeding the house specialty: Waterloo is a low-THC, high-CBD strain unique to Compassionate Cultivation. (Photo: Ben Adlin)
More Hemp Oil Than MMJ, For Now
It’s so constrained that Leafly doesn’t technically consider Texas a legal medical marijuana state under our definition of the term.
Here’s the problem: The medicine produced by Compassionate Cultivation and its two competitors, Knox Medical and Surterra Wellness isn’t much different in potency than the mail-order CBD products proliferating across the United States. When Congress passed the farm bill late last year, it included language that offered more legal wiggle room for hemp-based CBD producers. By law, hemp is cannabis that contains less than 0.3% THC. Licensed medical cannabis in Texas contains less than 0.5% THC.
Those unlicensed CBD oils, which typically contain double-digit percentages of CBD and minute traces of THC, are commonly ordered online and shipped through the US Postal Service. Unlicensed CBD remains illegal in Texas, farm bill notwithstanding. That doesn’t mean people here don’t purchase it online, but most law enforcement agencies see proactive enforcement as a waste of tax dollars.
Why Spent the Money?
So why invest millions of dollars in a CBD oil startup that’s so restricted by state law? Compassionate Cultivation and its two competitors seem to be playing the long game: stay strictly compliant with state law now and be ready when legislators open the system to more patients and qualifying conditions.
Indeed, even as we ended our tour, legislators in Austin were considering a number of bills that would do exactly that.
And Volkmann pointed out something else his company was delivering to patients: safety and reliability. Unlicensed hemp-based CBD oil is completely unregulated. Past studies have found that some products deliver far less CBD than they promise. Other products may contain contaminants such as mold or heavy metals, because no product testing is required.
At Compassionate Cultivation, the company grows its own low-THC strains of cannabis onsite. It’s also in the process of breeding new strains, such as the high-CBD cultivar called Waterloo. Experienced technicians extract cannabinoids and terpenes. A state-of-the-art lab tests the products to make sure they’re delivering what patients expect. It’s a multimillion-dollar operation just waiting for its patient base to expand.
“We can’t go beyond what the current law allows,” Volkmann said. “But when the law changes and allows more qualifying conditions, we’ll be ready.”
Original Post: Leafly: Here’s What Medical Cannabis Looks Like in Texas
[Editor’s Note: Technology has gotten advanced, making it extremely difficult to get illegal cannabis (or any other illegal shipment) into the country. They measured the density of the shipment!]
The 614-pound shipment was one of the largest marijuana busts in the Philadelphia port.
Agents with U.S. Customs and Border Patrol seized more than 600 pounds of marijuana at the Area Port of Philadelphia last week, according to media reports. The pot was discovered on March 7 in a shipping container that had been transported to the City of Brotherly Love from Puerto Rico. Agents found approximately 614 pounds of weed, with an estimated street value of $2.5 million, in the container.
“This is one of the largest seizures of marijuana that Customs and Border Protection have encountered in the Area Port of Philadelphia,” said Casey Durst, the director of field operations for Customs and Border Protection in Baltimore. “This is an outstanding example of how CBP keeps our communities safe from illegal drugs.”
Customs agents found 252 bricks of cannabis in the container, which was bound for New Jersey. Steve Sapp, a spokesman for Customs and Border Protection, confirmed that the seizure was unusual for the port.
“Philadelphia is not a common drug trans-shipment port, but we do get an occasional ‘ripload’,” said Sapp. “A baggage handler may have a friend in the Dominican Republic or Jamaica or Puerto Rico put a load on a plane. When it arrives here, they’ll have someone divert it from the international baggage belt to the national belt, then send somebody out from the street to run in and pick it up. Something like this is not common.”
High Tech Bust
The shipment of pot was discovered after sensitive Customs and Border Patrol x-ray scanners determined that the density of the cargo in the container was not consistent with what would be expected for the reported contents.
“All containers get some level of scrutiny,” Sapp said.
A drug-sniffing dog was then brought to investigate the shipping container further and alerted to officers. When agents then searched the shipment they found the bricks of cannabis hidden under the floor in the container. Officers then extracted a “green leafy substance” from one of the packages. The sample was analyzed and tested positive for marijuana.
Sapp noted that despite the continued reform of marijuana laws, interstate cannabis commerce is still not legal.
“Marijuana may be legal for medicinal use in Pennsylvania and New Jersey,” Sapp said. “But it’s not legal federally and it’s certainly not legal to smuggle in 614 pounds.”
The investigation into the illegal marijuana shipment has been turned over to the Department of Homeland Security Investigations and the confiscated marijuana will be destroyed. Customs and Border Protection seizes an average of 4,657 pounds of narcotics every day in the United States. The agency announced on Tuesday that it had confiscated 3,200 pounds of cocaine worth $77 million in a shipping container at the Port of New York and New Jersey in Newark on February 28. The bust was the largest seizure of drugs at the port in more than 25 years.
$2.5 Million Worth of Marijuana Seized at Philadelphia Port was posted on High Times.