Original Post: Marijuana Moment: Company Gets Trademark For The Word ‘Psilocybin,’ Frustrating Decriminalization Advocates
[Canniseur: Here’s a perfect example of how far behind the USPTO is when it comes to names that are in the public domain. Psilocybin is a common name for a variety of mushroom that induces a psychedelic reaction. It’s like trying to trademark the word ‘air’, which obviously isn’t trademarkable. So why even bother? Because someone sees a potential to make some money?]
As psychedelics reform efforts pick up across the U.S., there’s an increasing weariness among advocates about the potential corporatization that may follow.
That’s why many found it alarming when a California-based company announced on Thursday that it had successfully trademarked the word “psilocybin,” the main psychoactive constituent of so-called magic mushrooms.
Psilocybin is a brand of chocolates that do not contain the psychedelic itself but are meant to “begin educating, enlightening and supporting the community in upgrading their inner vibrations in order to get everything they want of their time here on earth,” according to a mission statement.
Soon after founder Scarlet Ravin shared news of the trademark on LinkedIn, advocates raised questions and concerns: What does that mean on a practical level for other psilocybin organizations? Why should one brand get exclusive rights (to a certain legal extent) to the scientific name of a natural substance?
The reality of this particular trademark is more nuanced than it might appear at first glance. While it’s true that the company was granted the distinction by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, it’s specifically for educational materials and it’s listed on the supplemental register, rather than the principal register, which means it would be incumbent upon the brand to prove that it has earned distinctiveness of the mark if the issue went to court.
“It’s certainly good for her business to have that mark, but I think at the end of the day, it’s going to be somewhat weak,” Larry Sandell, an intellectual property attorney at Mei & Mark LLP, told Marijuana Moment. He added that this example is “indicative that people are trying to stake early claims to IP.”
“Even if they might be somewhat overreaching, people see a potential new market here and they want to stake out their ground,” he said. “It’s a big next space that people are anticipating a legal market. Maybe it’s where cannabis was five to 10 years ago.”
Despite those legal limitations, reform advocates view the trademark as emblematic of a bigger issue—that someone would presume to take ownership of a substance that’s at the center of a national debate on whether or not to criminalize individuals for using it.
Kevin Matthews, who led the successful campaign to decriminalize psilocybin mushrooms in Denver last year and is the founder of the national psychedelics advocacy group SPORE, told Marijuana Moment that he didn’t doubt Ravin had the right intentions—to promote education into the substance—but he said the decision to trademark is nonetheless questionable.
“This being an open-source movement, trademarking the word psilocybin, in some ways it feels like—although I don’t think this is her intention—it’s lacking perspective,” he said. “Does that mean we can’t use psilocybin as SPORE because we’re an educational non-profit and she’s a for-profit branded company? It doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. She needs to let go of the trademark.”
Ravin said that her goal in trademarking psilocybin was to prevent the substance from being becoming the next cannabis, which she said has been corrupted from its “true spiritual, medicinal benefit” and turned into a corporate commodity.
“Knowing that psilocybin is going to be next [to be legalized] I feel strongly guided by the deepest part of my heart to really offer a sense of education of what could be when you take such a strong, beautiful medicine and to give people an education platform here and now to let them know what’s coming, how to receive it, how to get the most benefit from,” she told Marijuana Moment in a phone interview.
“We paved the way for this being a medicinal offering and not a consumer, recreational shitshow. That was our intention,” Ravin said. “The only way that we are going to have access to mainstream consumers is by having some sort of trademark on the word so that we can use it for something that’s not what it actually is.”
“With this being something that we can now put into market with a box of chocolates that has no psilocybin in it, but as you can already see, it creates a platform for discussion of what the beauty of this plant can do,” she said. “Me and my movement and my team, we don’t own the word. We’re not going to ever sue anyone who also uses the word—we’re opening a doorway for ourselves and anyone that wants to see this educated upon so that we can hit people who are unfamiliar with it now with downloads to actually have this be a safe, successful psychedelic transition.”
Asked to react to criticism about the trademark from advocates, Ravin said “we’re all here to follow spirit guidance to show love and light, and the visions I had of doing what we’re doing now was based upon breaking boundaries and breaking perceptions and allowing people to have an opportunity to sink into being one unit.”
“Yeah, it might be coming out, we might be using the platform of psilocybin. We can use any platform to do this,” she said. “We can use any platform to come together as a whole, and the longer that people sit in duality and say, ‘oh now she’s going to have a stronger voice than me is just looking at something not through their heart,’ it’s looking at it through ego and judgement.”
“The more that we describe what we’re doing, the more people I think will start to feel our unity and we’ll be able to move together as a stronger force than pointing fingers and trying to separate one another,” she said. “Those days are done.”
Ravin said that once the Psilocybin chocolates are ready for market, she plans to contribute 10 percent of profits to the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), which is involved in researching therapeutic benefits of psychedelic substances.
Congressman Backs Ballot Measure To Legalize Psychedelic Mushrooms For Therapeutic Use
Photo courtesy of Wikimedia/Workman.
The post Company Gets Trademark For The Word ‘Psilocybin,’ Frustrating Decriminalization Advocates appeared first on Marijuana Moment.
Company Gets Trademark For The Word ‘Psilocybin,’ Frustrating Decriminalization Advocates was posted on Marijuana Moment.
Original Post: Merry Jane: Oregon Weed Sales Are 420% Higher at the Idaho Border
[Canniseur: Why is this surprising? Of course, people in Idaho are smoking cannabis. And of course, they’d drive to the nearest place to get their favorite substance. And of course, Idaho is not benefiting from the additional taxes legalization would bring. Nothing is surprising here. States like Idaho that won’t bend with the prevailing forces will lose out…at least for now.]
Idaho isn’t known for its sandy beaches, but when it comes to legal cannabis, the state is its own kind of island surrounded by unlimited greenery in neighboring Oregon, Washington, and Nevada. And recently, it has become abundantly clear that Idaho residents are making the trek to Oregon’s eastern border in order to get their hands on some legal weed.
According to a new report from the Oregon Office of Economic Analysis, Beaver State pot sales spike by a whopping — and comically appropriate — 420% at dispensaries near the Idaho border. Similarly, legal weed sales in Washington State were higher at dispensaries closer to the Idaho border.
“The sales in counties along the Idaho border were much stronger than I anticipated,” Oregon state analyst Josh Lehner told the Associated Press. “Obviously recreational marijuana is not legal in Idaho, but even after throwing the data into a rough border tax model that accounts for income, number of retailers, tax rates and the like, there remains a huge border effect.”
Despite its proximity to some of the country’s earliest legalization adopters, Idaho has not yet budged on either medical or adult-use prohibition. But in the years since its West Coast neighbors legalized, research has already come out touting Idaho’s own benefits from legalization, such as a drop in DUI arrests.
And with many of Idaho’s most populous counties sitting just miles from the Oregon border, it is clear why many cannabis consumers are no longer paying attention to their home state’s strict weed laws. According to the Oregon economic report, three quarters of cannabis sales near the Idaho border were due to cross state commerce.
“Roughly speaking, about 75% of Oregon sales and more like 35% of Washington sales in counties along the Idaho border appear due to the border effect itself and not local socio-economic conditions,” the report detailed.
But if Idaho residents have it their way, the abnormal sales spikes in Oregon and Washington will quickly turn temporary. The Idaho Statesman reported that activists are currently collecting signatures to finally add a medical marijuana legalization question to the state’s 2020 ballot. At least we know the demand is already there.
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Original Post: Merry Jane: Oregon Weed Sales Are 420% Higher at the Idaho Border
Original Post: High Times: Why Aren’t More Patients Utilizing Medical Cannabis Reciprocity Programs?
[Canniseur: Reciprocity is good for travelers. If you’re a medical cannabis patient, you should be able to pick up your supplies in other states with programs. Oklahoma’s approach to reciprocity illustrates why this isn’t used very much. It’s hard to get a temporary license and become a ‘why bother’ situation. Some states, like Michigan and a few others, have been allowing medical patients to come in and show their cards to get access. Why other states aren’t doing the same is beyond me, but they should.]
Medical cannabis reciprocity laws make traveling more accessible for patients.
Reciprocity, the legal process allowing a state-issued license to be accepted in other states, is relatively common among medical cannabis states.
But it seems that not that many people actually use reciprocity, particularly in high bar states like Oklahoma.
About half a dozen medical cannabis states recognize medical cards from other states, according to the Marijuana Policy Project, including Arkansas, Hawaii, Missouri, Rhode Island, Arizona and Oklahoma. New Mexico is the latest state to add reciprocity, having recently passed it into law, and Washington DC also accepts medical licenses from legal states.
But it’s hard to find a patient who’s actually taken advantage of the program, which seems to be underused, possibly because of unwieldy regulations in some states.
“I know of some people using it, but it’s hard to see how widespread it is,” said Karen O’Keefe, director of state policy use for the Marijuana Policy Project. She said that some states like Hawaii accept out-of-state licenses without additional paperwork. But in a state like Oklahoma, the reciprocity process requires additional bureaucracy.
Obstacles in Oklahoma
Oklahoma is one of the newest entries to the roster of medical cannabis states, and certainly one of the most enthusiastic. By the time Oklahoma completed its first year of legalization in September, the state had approved more than 7,300 medical cannabis business licenses, including 1,848 dispensaries, 1,173 processors, and 4,287 growers. The state had approved more than 178,000 patients by September.
“The growth in Oklahoma is due in part to high consumer demand coupled by low barriers to market entry and comparatively fewer regulatory hurdles compared to other states,” said NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano.
The Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority allows out-of-state holders of medical cannabis cards to obtain temporary medical cards allowing them to buy, use, possess, and grow cannabis. But the Authority could not be reached to provide a number of how many patients have actually done this.
According to Norma Sapp, Oklahoma state director for NORML, the number of medical cannabis patients is now closer to 222,000, in a state with a population of less than 4 million. She said that reciprocity has been part of the state’s program since it was incepted last year. She said the reciprocity makes sense in a system where federal restrictions do not allow the transport of medical cannabis between states where it’s legal. But she’s only aware of one out-of-state patient who actually tried to get a temporary Oklahoma license.
“I know of one person who tried it but she was gone before the weekend was out so she didn’t get to use it,” said Sapp. She said that temporary licenses have to be applied for a month in advance and cost $100, so it doesn’t do much good for a weekend visitor.
Waleed Nasir, co-owner of the Herbal Cure dispensary in Okmulgee, Oklahoma, said he was not aware of anyone trying to use an out-of-state license in his year-and-a-half of doing business.
“It’s a lengthy procedure,” said Waleed, whose company is expanding, with the recent addition of a second dispensary. “It hasn’t been used much.”
He said that out-of-staters might be taking advantage of “a big off-market,” in the latest example of illicit market competition versus the struggling, higher-cost legal cannabis industry.
In some ways, the system for cannabis reciprocity resembles the system that gun advocates have been trying, and failing, to get through Congress, where concealed carry permits from some states would be accepted in others. But this runs into hurdles because some states set a higher bar. Just as New York and Massachusetts have more rigid restrictions for concealed carry permits than Florida or Texas, some states do not allow the same qualifying conditions for medical cannabis as other states. A resident of California or New Jersey with a medical cannabis card for anxiety won’t get that accepted in a dispensary in Oklahoma or Hawaii, which does not accept anxiety as a qualifying condition.
Dr. William Levine, CEO of CannRx, a tech company focused on the consistency of therapeutic effects from delivery systems like vaping, said that reciprocity is a challenging but necessary system for achieving state-to-state standards of medical cannabis.
“It’s not an easy thing, the reciprocity, but it’s a positive,” he said. “It will harmonize the states with other states, allowing for better regulations. I think the industry is morphing into that space, but the regulators are all trying catch up with what the public voted on.”
Why Aren’t More Patients Utilizing Medical Cannabis Reciprocity Programs? was posted on High Times.
Original Post: High Times: Governor Of Illinois Grants Over 11,000 Pardons For Low-Level Cannabis Convictions
[Canniseur: I love Illinois taking the lead on social justice and cannabis legalization and wish other States will follow their lead. It’s vital that our ‘elite’ reach out and give prioritization to cannabis entrepreneurs who come from areas with higher-than-average marijuana arrests.]
Officials believe that at least 116,000 convictions are eligible for pardons under the new law.
On the eve of cannabis legalization in Illinois, Governor J.B. Pritzker spoke at Trinity United Church of Christ on Chicago’s Far South Side. On New Year’s Eve, he took the opportunity to announce a kick-start to the lengthy drug war expungement process which awaits the state. Over 11,000 pardons for non-violent cannabis convictions, Pritzker said, were being sent to the attorney general’s office for expungement.
“We are ending the 50-year-long war on cannabis,” said Pritzker. “We are restoring rights to tens of thousands of Illinoisans. We are bringing regulation and safety to a previously unsafe and illegal market. And we are creating a new industry that puts equity at its very core.”
But it’s only the beginning of what needs to be done in Illinois to expunge convictions for cannabis-related crimes that are no longer crimes. State officials have estimated that some 116,000 cannabis-related convictions that involved less than 30 grams of marijuana are eligible for automatic pardons. An additional 34,000 estimated cases involving more than 30 grams may be eligible for clearing by filing a court petition.
The state has also committed to expunging all arrests of underage people related to marijuana charges that did not result in a conviction and did not involve an act of violence. A full 572,000 Illinois arrests are estimated to meet that description.
State Sees Continuing Expungement Efforts
Pritzker’s announcement was not the first movement that has been taken on the expungement front in Illinois. In December, Cook County state attorney Kim Foxx filed a motion to expunge over 1,000 cases.
Illinois means to take the lead when it comes to social justice and cannabis legalization. The bill that made the state the 11th to legalize recreational marijuana included an emphasis on building equity practices within the new industry. These include the prioritization of cannabis entrepreneurs who come from areas that saw higher-than-average marijuana arrests, or those who have been subject to cannabis-related policing themselves. Such programs have seen varying amounts of success where implemented in other parts of the country.
Illinois, led by Pritzker, also looks to apply its emphasis on retroactive justice to the expungement of past cannabis-related convictions, which can make it hard for individuals to apply for employment and housing.
Many states have opted for systems that involve action by individuals with such marks on their record, often a time-intensive, costly process for the people involved. Instead, Illinois has implemented a system in which the state police search records for eligible arrests and convictions, then send them to Illinois’ prisoner review board. The board refers approved cases to the governor, and the attorney general files a petition to update the record.
Cook County officials have been working with the tech nonprofit Code For America to expedite the process by using the group’s program. CFA’s technology assist has previously been utilized in California cities.
For all its emphasis on retroactive drug war justice, however, the state has run into other challenges. The Chicago Housing Authority made it clear that legalization on the state level does not change the fact that it is illegal for residents in the 20,000 households in its system to consume marijuana while living in federally subsidized public housing.
Governor Of Illinois Grants Over 11,000 Pardons For Low-Level Cannabis Convictions was posted on High Times.
Original Post: Cannabis Now: Corruption & Crime Seems to Follow Restrictive Dispensary Permitting
[Canniseur: This is a record that’s been played again and again and it’s getting a bit scratchy. Each and every time in the history of the world when governments try to limit trade, there are people who will pay-to-play. That’s exactly what happened in Grover Beach, CA. It’s hard to turn down money, even when you know it’s not legal. Guess what? The black market continues to thrive in Grover Beach. It’s also happened in Massachusetts. And it will continue to happen until administrators in cities and counties wake up and allow regulated markets. Markets with a chokehold are prone to all sorts of corruption. Exactly what happened in Grover Beach, CA.]
In the grand panoply of grand exits, Debbie Peterson’s is memorable.
Until last February, Peterson, the former mayor of Grover Beach, a small city on the Central California coast in San Luis Obispo County, was serving on the city council, a post she had held for more than 10 years.
Like many California cities not in the Bay Area or in Los Angeles, Grover Beach was in need of viable commercial businesses — and stood poised to capture needed tax revenue and a commercial base after voters legalized cannabis — but also imposed strict limits on legal weed operations. The city would issue no more than three retail licenses, with the winners to be chosen by a council vote after their merits will duly weighed.
The problem is that limited business opportunities creates an atmosphere in which competition for those opportunities exceeds the bounds of propriety. That is, they encourage corruption, bribery and other excesses, a fact recognized by the FBI and alleged by lawmakers and members of the public as well as law enforcement in other states and cities, among them Illinois, Ohio and Florida. Licenses mysteriously awarded to political donors rather than the best-suited applicants, or other examples of patronage and nepotism abounded.
Read the whole story here: Corruption & Crime Seems to Follow Restrictive Dispensary Permitting appeared first on Cannabis Now.
Corruption & Crime Seems to Follow Restrictive Dispensary Permitting was posted on Cannabis Now.
Original Post: Merry Jane: Illinois City Will Use Weed Taxes to Pay Reparations for Black Residents
[Canniseur: This is a huge and important first step for a city to make. Paying reparations out of cannabis taxes is more than a bit ironic, but important nonetheless. Reparations should happen at the state and/or federal level. In this current political situation, it’s not going to happen at the federal level though. If the U.S. federal government won’t step up, it’s up to the states and local communities to do the right thing.]
A landmark social equity program was approved in Evanston, Illinois late last week, establishing the nation’s first reparations program for black residents funded directly by legal weed taxes.
The new tax directive will funnel all of Evanston’s legal cannabis tax money to programs that will directly support the city’s black residents and repair centuries of racism dating back to the slave trade and continuing through institutional racism and policies like the War on Drugs. According to the Chicago Tribune, Evanston Aldermen approved the citywide ordinance 8-1.
“We can implement funding to directly invest in black Evanston,” Alderwoman Robin Rue Simmons, who proposed the reparations bill, told the Tribune, noting that the Chicago suburb’s expected $500,000 to $750,000 in annual cannabis tax revenue will “be invested in the community it unfairly policed and damaged.”
While a number of Illinois’s small towns and suburbs have “opted out” of legalization by blocking dispensaries from popping up after next month’s recreational cannabis sales start, Evanston has taken the opposite approach and welcomed pot shops with open arms. And when tax cash starts rolling in from those dispensaries next month, Rue Simmons said that the reparations programs will be especially appropriate considering the history of racist marijuana policing in Evanston and beyond.
“This is a really special moment in the city of Evanston and also in the country,” Alderman Peter Braithwaite said.
Since the year 2000, Evanston has seen a significant decrease in black residents, from 22.5 percent of census respondents at the turn of the millenium to only 16.9 percent in 2017. It has not yet been decided how the money from the city’s new reparations program will be spent, but Rue Simmons and others suggested the funds could be used to reign in soaring housing costs, or to support local education, or economic programs.
“We are on the right track,” Alderwoman Ann Rainey told the Tribune.
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Original Post: Merry Jane: Illinois City Will Use Weed Taxes to Pay Reparations for Black Residents
Original Post: High Times: New Mexico Could Expand Medical Marijuana Program To Include Dogs
[Canniseur: A dog walks into a dispensary… … There are lots of jokes that could come out of this, but I think there might be a real reason for it. And as I think about it, why should dogs not be able to get their own cannabis products. Cannabis infused bull pizzle might be interesting for your pet pooch.]
Pot for pooches? It could happen in New Mexico, where activists are lobbying to expand the state’s medical marijuana program to cover ailing dogs.
The Associated Press is reporting that the New Mexico Medical Cannabis Advisory Board will take up a pair of petitions at its meeting next month to expand the qualifying medical conditions for medical cannabis. One petition is conventional: it calls for the program to extend to people with attention deficit disorder.
But the other one is where things get a bit more exotic. Citing veterinary studies in support of cannabis use for animals suffering from seizures, the petition calls for the state’s medical marijuana program to apply to dogs with epilepsy.
The New Mexico Department of Health withheld the names of petition sponsors, according to the Associated Press.
Potential Problems With The Petition
It is unclear which studies the petitioner cited advocating for cannabis for canines. The American Veterinary Medical Association has said that “although cannabinoids such as CBD appear to hold therapeutic promise in areas such as the treatment of epilepsy and the management of pain and inflammation associated with osteoarthritis, the available scientific evidence pertaining to their use in animals is currently limited.”
“While findings from a few well-controlled studies have been published, much of what we know is related to anecdotal or case reports or has been gleaned from studies related to use in humans, including the study of animal models for that purpose,” the AVMA says in a primer available on its website. “The AVMA continues to encourage well-controlled clinical research and pursuit of FDA approval by manufacturers of cannabis-derived products so that high-quality products of known safety and efficacy can be made available for veterinarians and their patients.”
In a letter sent to the Food and Drug Administration in July, Janet D. Donlin, the CEO of AVMA, called for more regulatory clarity regarding the labeling, safety, and use of cannabis-derived and cannabis-related products.
“Veterinarians have a strong interest in and enthusiastically support exploring the therapeutic potential of cannabis-derived and cannabis-related products, but we want to be sure we can have continued confidence in the efficacy, quality, and safety of products used to treat our patients,” Donlin wrote. “We are aware of several research institutions with both completed and ongoing investigations into the therapeutic benefits of cannabinoids for companion animals, with results that appear promising in some areas (e.g., osteoarthritis, epilepsy, pain management, oncology).”
Donlin said that the AVMA has received many reports from its members “that animal owners are actively purchasing these products and administering them to their pets and horses to treat medical conditions, often in the absence of veterinary consultation, and without the assurance that comes with FDA review and approval of therapeutic claims being made by their manufacturers and distributors.”
New Mexico Could Expand Medical Marijuana Program To Include Dogs was posted on High Times.
Original Post: Merry Jane: Congress Plans to Vote on Federal Cannabis Legalization This Week
[Canniseur: What a beautiful headline. Too bad its chances of passage in both houses is about 0. Mitch McConnell, who is one of the most obstructionist Senate Majority leaders in history, will stop it dead in its tracks. In an ironic situation, McConnell, ever the hypocrite is heavily invested in hemp production.]
This week, the House Judiciary Committee plans to vote on a comprehensive cannabis reform bill that would decriminalize cannabis and help address social damages caused by the failed War on Drugs.
The Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act, sponsored by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), would completely remove cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act. The bill would also create a Cannabis Justice Office, a new division of the Department of Justice that would be tasked with providing restorative justice to communities disproportionately impacted by cannabis prohibition.
The Cannabis Justice Office would work to expunge the records of anyone with minor weed offenses and allow those who are currently behind bars for weed crimes to apply for resentencing. Federal agencies would be prevented from denying public benefits or security clearances to cannabis users, and immigration authorities would be prevented from deporting individuals over small-scale cannabis use.
The bill would impose a five percent federal tax on all state-legal cannabis sales. Revenue generated by this tax would be used to fund programs providing job training, small business loans, and legal aid for socially and economically disadvantaged Americans. Additionally, the bill would work to remove barriers hindering marginalized individuals from getting involved in the legal weed industry.
“Low-income communities and communities of color have disproportionately borne the brunt of the devastation brought on by marijuana prohibition,” said Queen Adesuyi, policy manager of national affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance, Marijuana Moment reports. “The MORE Act is the most robust bipartisan legislation [effort] so far not only to end federal marijuana prohibition, but also to ensure that the communities that have been hardest hit by prohibition are not left behind.”
The proposal, which has been co-sponsored by 54 Democratic Representatives and one open-minded Republican, is scheduled to be “marked up” in the Judiciary Committee this Wednesday. During this process, members of the committee will be able to file amendments to the bill and then vote on whether to advance it to the full House for a floor vote.
“A supermajority of Americans, including majorities of Democrats, Republicans, and independents, support regulating the use of marijuana by responsible adults,” said NORML Political Director Justin Strekal in a statement. “Thanks to the leadership of the House Judiciary chairman, never in history have we been closer to ending the failed policy of marijuana criminalization and providing pathways to opportunity for our brothers and sisters who have suffered under its oppressive reign.”
“Those who oppose this legislation moving forward are defenders of a failed status-quo that ruins the lives of otherwise law-abiding adults on a daily basis, [overwhelmingly] enforced against the poor and communities of color,” Strekal added.
Insiders predict that the MORE Act will be approved by the Judiciary Committee, but it is unclear whether the House will also pass this landmark bill. Even if the bill does pass, it is more likely to face stiff opposition in the Republican-dominated Senate. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) has introduced a companion bill in Congress’ higher chamber, but GOP leaders have yet to schedule any action on the bill.
Original Post: Merry Jane: Congress Plans to Vote on Federal Cannabis Legalization This Week