• Walmart Announces Plans To Stop Selling E-Cigarettes
    The fallout over the spate of vaping-linked deaths continued on Friday, as Walmart announced that it will stop selling e-cigarettes.  In a memo to local managers, the world’s largest retailer cited “regulatory complexity” and industry “uncertainty” as its reasoning behind the decision. “Given the growing federal, state and local regulatory complexity and uncertainty regarding e-cigarettes, we plan to discontinue the sale of electronic nicotine delivery products at all Walmart and Sam’s Club U.S. locations,” the memo said. “We will complete our exit after selling through current inventory.” The move is just the latest bit of blowback for an e-cigarette industry that finds itself under increasing scrutiny for products that have been linked to hundreds of hospitalizations and a disquieting rise in deaths.  E-cigarettes have long been billed as a safer alternative to conventional cigarettes, but the sudden uptick in vaping-related illnesses has cast considerable doubt on those claims.  Walmart’s announcement on Friday represents a significant setback for the vaping industry, which has in recent weeks drawn the attention of the federal government.  Earlier this month, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a rebuke to the popular e-cigarette company Juul Labs for making unauthorized claims that its product is “much safer than cigarettes” and that its approval from the FDA is imminent.  ““Referring to your [electronic nicotine delivery system, or “ENDS,”] products as ‘99% safer’ than cigarettes, ‘much safer’ than cigarettes, ‘totally safe,’ and ‘a safer alternative than smoking cigarettes’ is particularly concerning because these statements were made directly to children in school,” the FDA said in its letter to Juul Labs. “Our concern is amplified by the epidemic rate of increase in youth use of ENDS products, including JUUL’s products, and evidence that ENDS products contribute to youth use of, and addiction to, nicotine, to which youth are especially vulnerable.” The company apparently made those claims in presentations to students — underscoring concerns that e-cigarettes have been inappropriately marketed to young people. Those same concerns prompted New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo this week to call for a demand on flavored e-cigarette products, which are viewed as particularly appealing to young people.  The Trump administration has likewise announced its intention to crack down on flavored e-cigarettes, saying earlier this month that such products would be subject to much more intense regulatory scrutiny. “We can’t have our kids be so affected,” President Trump said in a press conference earlier this month. Experts have said that some of the risks posed by e-cigarettes remain unknown, and the cases of those apparently affected ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-09-20
  • SAFE Banking Act Heads To House Of Representatives Next Week
    We’re hovering on the brink of the first pro-marijuana federal legislation in an age. On Friday morning, the House confirmed that the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act will be put to a vote next week. The proposed legislation is only the third piece of potential cannabis law to make it out of committee, and the really crazy part? With a fair level of bipartisan support, the thing has a good chance of passing. The bill would be a serious assist to cannabis businesses that are currently hamstrung by being locked out of many national financial institutions. The SAFE Act would ensure stability to the US’ growing marijuana industry. Historic as it may be, many marijuana advocates don’t think the bill is an appropriate first step towards federal cannabis legalization in a nation that has suffered an unjust and racist war on drugs. The ACLU, Center for American Progress, Drug Policy Alliance, Human Rights Watch, and other organizations sent a letter to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi this week raising concerns about the SAFE Act. In the communiqué, the groups questioned the wisdom of focusing cannabis reform on marijuana business leaders. “[The SAFE Banking Act] narrowly addresses the issues of banking and improved access to financial services, measures that would benefit the marijuana industry, not communities who have felt the brunt of prohibition,” states the letter. “We ask that you delay any vote on the banking bill until agreement has been reached around broader marijuana reform,” it continues. Many of those leaders have thrown their support behind another bill entirely; the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act. That proposal would not only allow states to regulate marijuana, but also set up processes for the expungement of past cannabis convictions, and institute a variety of other measures meant to rectify the most hypocritical and punitive aspects of marijuana prohibition. Among these would be protections for people in public housing who use cannabis — people who are currently at risk of losing their homes even if they are taking medicinal marijuana that is legal under their state’s laws. The SAFE Act is not entirely without its social equity components. An amendment added during the committee process by the bill’s sponsor, Colorado Democrat Representative Ed Perlmutter, that would ensure that the federal government has a responsibility to aid access to financial services for cannabis businesses that are owned by women and POCs. But the SAFE Act enjoys bipartisan support that many say will ensure smooth sailing to ratification. Republican leadership ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-09-20
  • Wisconsin Legislators Introduce Bill Legalizing Medical Marijuana
    A bipartisan group of state legislators has introduced a bill to legalize medical marijuana in Wisconsin, according to media reports. The bill, from Republican Sen. Patrick Testin and Democrats Sen. Jon Erpenbach and Rep. Chris Taylor, was being circulated among lawmakers for cosponsors on Friday. Testin said in a statement that for him, legalizing the medicinal use of cannabis in Wisconsin is a personal issue. “Growing up, my grandfather was one of my heroes. I watched as cancer robbed him of his strength and vitality,” he said. “I saw him make the decision to go outside the law to seek treatment with medical marijuana. It restored his appetite, and I believe it added months to his life. Doctors and patients, not government, should decide if cannabis is the right treatment.” Under the measure, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services would be required to establish a medical cannabis registry and issue identification cards to patients with a qualifying condition such as cancer, HIV/AIDS, Alzheimer’s disease, post-traumatic stress disorder, or other serious medical conditions. Patients’ regular physicians will be required to request identifications cards from the state registry on their patients’ behalf. The proposed legislation would also require that medical marijuana producers, manufacturers, testing laboratories, and dispensaries be licensed by the state Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, which would be directed to prioritize locally-owned small businesses. Applicants would be required to pay an initial fee of $250 and those granted licenses will have to pay an annual fee of $5,000 to operate. State Rep. Says Bill ‘Long Overdue’ Taylor said in a statement that “nobody should be treated as a criminal for accessing the medicine they or their loved ones need.” “This is a long overdue compassionate law that will finally allow sick patients to access the medicine they need,” she added. Although the bill has bipartisan support, its chances in the state’s Republican-controlled legislature are uncertain. A spokeswoman for Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, who has previously indicated support for the legalization of medical marijuana, said that Vos was reviewing the bill but otherwise had no comment. Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald has said that he does not support legalizing the medicinal use of cannabis, but his office had no comment on the new bill. Earlier this year, Democratic Gov. Tony Evers included the legalization of medical marijuana and the decriminalization of possession of small amounts of cannabis in a state budget bill, but those provisions were not included by the legislature in the final version of the measure. The ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-09-20
  • Missouri Health Officials Announce State’s First Vaping-Related Death
    ST. LOUIS (AP) — A man in his mid-40s who died at a St. Louis hospital succumbed to a vaping-related illness, Missouri health officials announced Thursday. The Missouri man is the state’s first death related to an outbreak of lung disease linked to e-cigarettes or other vaping-related devices, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services said. Eight vaping-related deaths have been recorded in the U.S. The man, whose name was not released, had normal lung function before he started using e-cigarettes in May. He developed respiratory problems and was hospitalized Aug. 22 before being transferred on Sept. 4 to Mercy St. Louis, where he died this week, the health department said in a news release. Lung samples taken from the patient determined the death was related to vaping. “We are sad to report that this illness associated with vaping has now resulted in a death in Missouri and extend our condolences to his family,” Dr. Randall Williams, health department director, said in the release. “As previously stated, we encourage Missourians to follow the CDC guidance to refrain from using e-cigarette products if you are concerned about these specific health risks, especially while the investigation is ongoing.” The health department said since it began requiring physicians to report possible vaping-associated pulmonary illnesses in late August, it has received 22 reports. Seven of the cases, including the first death, have been confirmed and nine are still being investigated. Six other cases did not meet definitions provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC said Thursday 530 confirmed and probable cases of vaping-related illnesses have been reported in 38 states and one U.S. territory, up from 380 a week ago. The Missouri man began vaping because of chronic pain issues, said Dr. Michael Plisco, a critical care pulmonologist and medical director of Mercy St. Louis’ extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) program. He developed shortness of breath that deteriorated and developed into acute respiratory distress syndrome. He was placed on a machine called venoarterial ECMO to support his heart and rest his lungs. He told his family members that he was vaping, but they didn’t know the details of what he was using, Plisco said. “Unfortunately, at the time he started, he didn’t know the dangers of vaping, so he continued to use the instrument that was potentially causing his shortness of breath and other problems,” Plisco said. Plisco said doctors hoped putting the man on the machine on Sept. 5 would allow his lungs to heal, but he continued to ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-09-20
  • Beto O’Rourke Would Use Marijuana Taxes To Help Expunge Possession Convictions
    On Thursday, Beto O’Rourke updated his campaign platform’s position on cannabis with specific, targeted proposals addressing legalization, taxation and social justice. As a candidate for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, O’Rourke has continued his long-standing fight to end the prohibition of cannabis. On the campaign trail, O’Rourke has called for federal cannabis legalization as part of a wide-ranging package of criminal justice reforms. Now, we have a clearer picture of exactly what he has in mind. Beto O’Rourke Proposes “Drug War Justice Grants” for Formerly Incarcerated People Much of Beto O’Rourke’s cannabis platform resembles other candidates’ proposals to federally legalize cannabis. O’Rourke’s plan would apply a federal tax on the marijuana industry, open up access to banks and financial services, work to elevate minority-owned cannabis businesses and invest in rebuilding lives and communities shattered by the drug war. But it’s Beto’s plan for “Drug War Justice Grants” that distinguishes his proposal from the pack. Under O’Rourke’s plan, a federal marijuana tax would fund grants to help expunge possession convictions, support re-entry programs and directly provide money to those formerly incarcerated for marijuana offenses in state and federal prisons. Federal marijuana tax revenue would also assist those who have been locked out of opportunity due to marijuana crimes with obtaining housing and finding jobs. “We need to not only end the prohibition on marijuana, but also repair the damage done to the communities of color disproportionately locked up in our criminal justice system or locked out of opportunity because of the War on Drugs,” O’Rourke said in a statement announcing his cannabis legalization plan. Drug War Justice Grants would be available for different lengths of time, depending on how long a person was in prison. The grants would take the form of a monthly stipend, given to repay people who served time for nonviolent marijuana convictions. Grants would also assist formerly incarcerated people who want to work or start a business in the legal cannabis industry. O’Rourke’s Plan Would Release Those Currently Serving Time and Block Deportations Beyond using a federal marijuana tax to support efforts to redress the ongoing harms of the war on drugs, O’Rourke’s cannabis legalization proposal would also take steps to protect undocumented people and those currently behind bars. Speaking with Fox News, O’Rourke’s campaign said it had already identified more than 11,000 people locked up in federal prison for nonviolent marijuana offenses who would be eligible for clemency under the plan. Furthermore, O’Rourke’s plan would block the use of any marijuana-related ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-09-19
  • Canadian Health Officials Now Investigating Vaping-Related Hospitalization
    One of the bizarre parts about the recent string of vaping related illnesses and deaths is that it has been restricted to the United States. So far there have been 380 likely cases of vaping-correlated lung disease in 36 states and one US territory, but not a peep from the rest of the world. That changed this week, when officials in Ontario, Canada told the public that they were investigating the severe respiratory problems that had been experienced by a high school student after vaping. They would not release many details about the case, however—we’re still in the dark even as to whether the young person was using cannabis and/or tobacco products. The reason, the county health department’s medical officer stated, was that authorities did not want to exculpate vaping itself in the situation. “In order to clarify the health messaging, we’re not going to be releasing the brand related information. Because that would imply that this is something coming from one brand when clearly looking at the international evidence that’s not the case,” said chief medical officer Dr. Christopher Mackie. He did share that the youth had no other health condition, was showing symptoms that constituted a severe illness, and had been given treatment in an intensive care unit. The case had been reported to Canada’s Consumer Product Safety Act reporting system early this summer by a medical resident who surmised that the youth’s illness may have been due to his use of vaping products. The ministry of health, apparently, only heard about the case last week. “This information, not previously available to the ministry of health, will be critical as we continue to engage with leading experts to identify evidence-based solutions that protect our youth from the potential dangers of vaping,” said Ontario health minister Christine Elliott in a statement. In the absence of sureties on the matter, policymakers have been left rather rudderless when it comes to how to protect vapers. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced at the beginning of the week that he was recommending an emergency ban on flavored e-cigarettes. That’s an echo of the words of President Donald Trump, who announced last week that the feds would be drastically tightening up when it came to restrictions on the flavored tobacco vaping products last week. All this, despite the fact that the vaping crisis has not been centered among users of flavored tobacco products—even though teen use of vapes is a whole other, troublesome issue. In the US, practical response to the string of ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-09-19
  • Federal Government Funds Nine Research Grants To Study CBD
    The U.S. government will spend $3 million to find out if marijuana can relieve pain, but none of the money will be used to study the part of the plant that gets people high. Nine research grants announced Thursday are for work on CBD, the trendy ingredient showing up in cosmetics and foods, and hundreds of less familiar chemicals. THC research was excluded. The federal government still considers marijuana an illegal drug, but more than 30 states allow it use for a range of medical problems, some without good evidence. The science is strongest for chronic pain, the most common reason people give when they enroll in state-approved medical marijuana programs. But little is known about which parts of marijuana are helpful and whether the intoxicating effects of THC can be avoided. “The science is lagging behind the public use and interest. We’re doing our best to catch up here,” said Dr. David Shurtleff, deputy director of the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, which is funding the projects. THC has been investigated extensively, Shurtleff said, and its potential for addiction and abuse make it unsuitable for treating pain. Other federal agencies have supported marijuana research, but much of the focus has been on potential harms. Shurtleff said the grants answer the call in a 2017 National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine report, which concluded a lack of marijuana research poses a public health risk. Another driver is the nation’s opioid addiction crisis, with its roots in overuse of prescription painkillers. The crisis has sparked new scientific interest in marijuana’s pain-easing properties. Dr. Judith Hellman, a grant recipient from University of California San Francisco, said scientists need to better understand pain and to find more ways to treat it. “It’s very exciting to have the opportunity to do that,” she said. Hellman’s research involves the body’s ability to produce signaling molecules similar to marijuana’s ingredients. Her and Dr. Mark Schumacher’s work involves human immune cells in the lab, then tests on mice. Human test subjects will be involved in only one of the grant projects. University of Utah researcher Deborah Yurgelun-Todd will scan the brains of human volunteers with lower back pain to see how CBD extract — mixed with chocolate pudding — affects pain-signaling pathways. Half the volunteers will get pudding without CBD as a control group. Two more human studies may be funded in a second round of grant awards, NCCIH said. In July, the National Institute on Drug Abuse said it would grow 2,000 kilograms ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-09-19
  • Federal Judge Says Indiana’s Ban On Smokable Hemp Is Unconstitutional
    A federal judge in Indiana ruled last week that the state’s law banning smokable forms of hemp is unconstitutional and has issued a preliminary injunction prohibiting enforcement of the statute. In a ruling issued on September 13, Judge Sarah Evans Barker of the Southern District of Indiana said that Indiana’s law prohibiting the manufacturing, financing, delivery, and possession of smokable hemp is preempted by federal law. Barker wrote in her ruling that enforcing the law would cause “irreparable harm in the form of a credible threat of criminal sanctions” without a preliminary injunction. The federal government legalized hemp and removed the crop and all hemp products from the nation’s list of controlled substances with the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill in December. But when Indiana passed Senate Bill 516 earlier this year to regulate hemp agriculture in the state, it included the ban on smokable forms of hemp flower. Smokable Hemp Confusing Cops The legalization of hemp has led to a proliferation of smokable products that are generally rich in CBD, including dried hemp flower and pre-rolled joints. But the immense popularity of the products has led some states to ban smokable forms of hemp, arguing that law enforcement cannot readily determine if a substance is hemp or marijuana. Barker ruled that the confusion was not a legal justification for treating some forms of hemp as a controlled substance, writing that “the fact that local law enforcement may need to adjust tactics and training in response to changes in federal law is not a sufficient basis for enacting unconstitutional legislation” The judge also issued an immediate injunction to block enforcement of the smokable hemp provisions in Senate Bill 516, saying that the plaintiffs, all but one of whom are Indiana businesses that sell hemp products, should not have to wait to determine how much business was lost to the smokable hemp ban and file a lawsuit later. “The likely unconstitutional portions of the statute cannot be easily measured or reliably calculated, given the novelty of the hemp industry in Indiana and the dearth of historical sales data to use as a baseline for calculating lost revenues,” Barker wrote. Jim Decamp, the owner of Owlslee CBD in downtown Indianapolis, told local media that while he understands the concerns of law enforcement, he supports Judge Barker’s ruling. “I don’t know the answer to that problem, but I feel like the benefits that clients get from THC-free hemp flower is something that they really want and need,” Decamp said. Two other states, Louisiana and ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-09-19
  • Legislators Have Approved Changes To Utah’s Medical Cannabis Law
    SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Utah legislators approved changes to the state’s medical marijuana law, an issue that has faced fierce criticism from people on both sides of the debate. The Utah Senate and House of Representatives voted unanimously Monday evening during a special session to send the proposal to Republican Gov. Gary Herbert’s desk. The measure would replace plans for an unusual state-run dispensary system with 14 privately run pharmacies and adopt protections for patients who are concerned they could be prosecuted for drug crimes, among other changes. Utah backtracked from the state-run dispensary after county attorneys expressed concern that such a system would put public employees at risk of being prosecuted under federal drug laws. Republican Senate Majority Leader Evan Vickers, who drafted the law, said his team is “doing everything we can” to improve patient access and have product ready by next March. Some lawmakers said they still have heartburn over certain aspects of the bill, sharing reservations about product distribution and a looming fear of federal prosecution. Democratic Sen. Derek Kitchen said he’s concerned patients in rural parts of the state may have to pay more to access marijuana. Before the House vote, Republican Rep. Keven Stratton suggested Utah seek a federal waiver to protect the state program from prosecution under federal drug laws. Marijuana is banned at the federal level, though a congressional amendment blocks the Justice Department from interfering with states’ medical marijuana programs. The measure dictated that the courts may not treat a medical marijuana patient differently than someone who uses any other prescribed, controlled substance. Another change prohibited the state from issuing cultivation and pharmacy licenses to legislators. “A lot of money flows through this industry, some back to legislators,” Vickers said. “We don’t want legislators to have undue influence in an industry they want to have ownership in.” Debates in the chamber reflected ongoing tensions over amendments regarding distribution and prosecution of drug crimes. During a tense public hearing last week, members of the conservative group Utah Eagle Forum lamented the loss of the state-run dispensary system, while some medical marijuana advocates raised concern that there wouldn’t be enough private dispensaries to meet growing patient demand. An earlier version of the law imagined 12 privately run dispensaries instead of the state-run system. In the same meeting, a proposal outlining patient protections caused an emotional back-and-forth between conservative attorneys who argued parents couldn’t take care of children while using marijuana and patients who said the drug makes them better caretakers and helps ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-09-19
  • Pennsylvania Medical Cannabis Program Interrupted Due to Software Glitch
    Patients in Pennsylvania were denied access to medical marijuana on Tuesday, the result of a crash in the system used to track sales.  All such transactions in the state are processed through a tracking software system called MJ Freeway, which is required by the Pennsylvania Department of Health under the medical cannabis law there.  But the system suffered intermittent glitches for about 90 minutes on Tuesday, according to a spokesperson for MJ Freeway, which stymied both producers and consumers. As a result, dispensaries throughout the state were unable to complete transactions to patients, and growers could not complete shipments to dispensaries because there was no way to log them in the system. “It may have felt longer because it was intermittent,” MJ Freeway spokesperson Jeannette Horton told the Philadelphia Inquirer. “We’re very apologetic for the issues they experienced. Today, we’re hearing it’s all been resolved.” The state of Pennsylvania has an exclusive $11 million contract with MJ Freeway, which is based in Colorado, to track medical marijuana, but the Inquirer described the company’s software as being “prone to chronic glitches.” Christina Visco, president of TerraVida Holistic Centers, a company that operates three dispensaries in the Philadelphia suburbs, told the Inquirer that Tuesday’s glitches were frustrating for many patients. “We turned away literally hundreds of patients yesterday,” Visco said. “The system was down all morning, came back up for a couple of hours, then crashed again.” “I had product I couldn’t sell to anyone yesterday,” she added. “It never left my vault.” It’s not the first setback for MJ Freeway’s tracking software in Pennsylvania. Last year, a number of cannabis retailers in the state were forced to suspend sales due to glitches and slowdowns with the company’s system. MJ Freeway has also dealt with glitches in Washington, where it also has a contract to track medical marijuana.  The company’s software platform was also the subject of an apparent hack in 2017, which triggered outages at 1,000 marijuana retailers across more than 20 states.  In an interview last year, MJ Freeway co-founder Amy Poinsett defended the company’s products, and said that improvements were being made following the 2017 hack. “Could the hack have been prevented? Yes and no,” Poinsett told Marijuana Business Daily. “Now we know the specific points of vulnerability, they’ve been fortified, and we’ve added many additional layers of security. However, as systems age and hackers get more sophisticated, the vulnerabilities are ever-changing. So, in theory, every hack is preventable, and yet hacks are never 100% preventable. No company can claim ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-09-19
  • New Hampshire House Overrides Governor’s Veto on Home-Grown Medical Cannabis
    The New Hampshire House of Representatives voted on Wednesday to overturn Republican Gov. Chris Sununu’s veto of a bill that would allow for the home cultivation of cannabis by medical marijuana patients. The measure, HB 364, will now head to the Senate after the House voted 259 to 120 to override the veto. Earlier this year, the Senate approved HB 364 by a margin of 14 to 10. Two additional votes will be needed in the Senate to override the veto by the required two-thirds majority. The Senate is expected to vote on the veto on Thursday. All home cannabis cultivation is currently a felony under New Hampshire law. Under HB 364, registered medical marijuana patients and caregivers would be allowed to possess up to three mature cannabis plants, three immature plants, and 12 seedlings. The bipartisan and bicameral measure was sponsored by Democratic Rep. Renny Cushing and Republican Sen. John Reagan. In the governor’s veto message, Sununu said that allowing home cultivation of cannabis would put a burden on law enforcement agencies in the state and compromise regulations to prevent the diversion of medical marijuana to the illegal market. Activists Call on Senate to Follow Suit Matt Simon, the New England political director for cannabis reform advocacy group the Marijuana Policy Project said in a press release that overriding the governor’s veto of HB 364 will help ensure that medical marijuana patients can access their medicine affordably. “It’s encouraging to see the House vote so strongly in favor of HB 364. This bill is critical for patients who are successfully using cannabis to stay off opioids, but are unable to afford the high-priced products that are available from dispensaries,” Simon said. “Sadly, 10 senators voted against HB 364 earlier this year, putting the preferences of a few police chiefs ahead of the needs of patients and their families.” The Marijuana Policy Project noted in its release that two polls have shown that 68 percent of New Hampshire’s residents support legal medical marijuana and that all three states that border New Hampshire have already legalized home cultivation for patients, caregivers, and adults 21 and older. “Residents of the ‘Live Free or Die’ State overwhelmingly support cannabis policy reforms, so it’s clear that any senator who opposes this simple step forward is incredibly out of touch with their constituents,” he said. “Patients, caregivers, and their advocates will be watching the Senate vote closely and hoping that common sense and compassion will finally prevail.” New Hampshire legalized the medicinal use of ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-09-18
  • India Bans All E-Cigarettes Following Vape-Related Deaths in USA
    India has banned the sale of all e-cigarettes in the country in response to the string of vaping-related deaths in the United States, according to a report from CNN. “Unfortunately, e-cigarettes got promoted initially as a way in which people can get out of the habit of smoking cigarettes. It was to be a weaning process from using cigarettes,” said India’s Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. “The Cabinet rightly thought it is time and we immediately took a decision so that the health of our citizens, of our young, is not thrown to a risk,” she added. US Lung Illnesses Prompt Action Sitharaman said that the rash of lung illnesses that have been linked to vaping in the U.S. and domestic concerns about e-cigarettes led the Cabinet to act. She added that the government will soon issue an emergency ordinance banning all electronic nicotine delivery system (ENDS) devices. The ordinance will then be taken up by the nation’s Parliament during its next session to be enacted into law. India’s ban on vaping products will prohibit the sale, manufacturing, importing, exporting, distribution, storage, and advertising of e-cigarettes. The ban applies to all ENDS, heat-not-burn, and e-hookah devices, according to a press release. “These novel products come with attractive appearances and multiple flavors and their use has increased exponentially and has acquired epidemic proportions in developed countries, especially among youth and children,” the government said in the release. Violations of Ban Carry Stiff Penalties First-time violators of the ban on e-cigarettes in India could face up to a year in prison, a fine of 100,000 rupees (about $1,400), or both. Further violations of the ordinance could be subject to penalties of up to five years in prison and a 500,000 ($7,000) fine. Storing e-cigarette devices would subject offenders to six months in prison and a fine of 50,000 rupees ($700). Businesses with vaping devices on hand will be required to declare their inventory and turn over all e-cigarettes and cartridges to their local police station. US Also Taking Action on Vaping In the United States, last week the Trump administration announced that it would ban the sale of flavored nicotine vape products. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported late last week that there have been 380 confirmed and probable cases in 36 states of lung illnesses experienced by people who vape. The previous week the agency had announced that more than 450 cases of pulmonary disease could be associated with vaping, but that number also included reports of possible cases. ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-09-18
  • Inaugural Clio Cannabis Awards Jury Officially Announced
    A month after the initial announcement of the Clio Cannabis Awards, High Times and Clio are excited to reveal the choices for the inaugural jury. The Clio Cannabis jury is comprised of experts and executives in the cannabis space who have been determined to be the most qualified to decide who will be awarded those coveted Clios. The jurors are: Evan Goldberg, Co-Founder, HouseplantLisa Buffo, Founder & CEO, Cannabis Marketing AssociationRebecca Brown, Founder & CEO, Crowns AgencyJason DeLand, Founding Partner, dosist / AnamolyTommy Means, Founder & CCO, MekanismElizabeth Hogan, VP of Brands, GCH, Inc.Olivia Mannix, Founder & CEO, CannabrandAnne-Marie Dacyshyn, CMO, GSW Creative CorpJason White, CMO, Cura PartnersGreg Dacyshyn, Co-Founder, Camp High Thanks to the tireless work of advocates and activists, cannabis legalization is spreading across the nation. And so, marketing and advertising has become even more important for brands and organizations as a way to stand out in the new green sea. “As the cannabis industry evolves, brands will lead its development. How those brands create and market in this space is vital for the industry to explore and understand, especially given the regulatory constraints,” said juror Jason DeLand in a press release. He’s the Founding Partner of dosist / Anamoly.  “In my view, there is no better category to showcase fresh strategic and creative choices and I hope this new awards program will encourage the creative community to rise to the challenge.” The jury is expected to come together on November 18 to deliberate on the entrants’ submissions; the winners of the Clio Cannabis Awards will be announced November 20. Submissions are now open. To enter, or to get more information, including guidelines and deadlines, please visit: www.cliocannabisawards.com The post Inaugural Clio Cannabis Awards Jury Officially Announced appeared first on High Times. ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-09-18
  • Mayor Of Chicago Introducing Ordinance Regulating Sale Of Recreational Marijuana
    With a new law on the books, Illinois is set to officially legalize recreational marijuana next year. But first, Chicago’s mayor wants to establish where it can and cannot be sold within the state’s major urban center. Lori Lightfoot, who was elected and assumed office as Chicago’s mayor earlier this year, will reportedly introduce an ordinance on Wednesday that will divide the city into seven separate zones that will determine where the sale of marijuana will be permitted. According to local news channel ABC7, all of downtown Chicago will be excluded, while special consideration will be given to districts where illegal cannabis sales are prevalent. Local lawmakers say they don’t want those neighborhoods excluded from the potential economic windfall from dispensaries. But some officials who represent the downtown districts feel snubbed by the proposal, arguing that their areas could use that additional revenue, too. “It doesn’t make sense from a revenue perspective,” said 2nd Ward Alderman Brian Hopkins, as quoted by ABC7. “There’s no question that we would generate the most revenue if we have dispensaries in the downtown area, also capturing money from tourists is the key to anything we are doing.” In addition, the ordinance would limit the number of dispensaries per district to seven. And the city is also considering requirements that would prohibit marijuana shops within 500 feet of schools or other areas zoned as residential. Illinois became the 11th state in the U.S. to legalize recreational marijuana in June after Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed legislation allowing adults aged 21 and over to buy and possess up to one ounce of cannabis at licensed dispensaries. The law will also enable individuals who have been busted for possessing or purchasing upwards of 30 ounces of marijuana or less to potentially have those records expunged—a provision that could affect almost 800,000 people in Illinois. Authorized dispensaries will be able to begin selling January 1, 2020. In signing the bill, Pritzker, who was elected governor last year, made good on a campaign pledge. “In the past 50 years, the war on cannabis has destroyed families, filled prisons with nonviolent offenders, and disproportionately disrupted black and brown communities,” Pritzker said at the time of signing the bill. “Each year, law enforcement across the nation has spent billions of dollars to enforce the criminalization of cannabis. […] Yet its consumption remains widespread.” Pritzker offered up bullish revenue projections during last year’s campaign, claiming that a legal cannabis marketplace could generate as much as $800 million to $1 billion in taxes ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-09-18
  • Illinois Teen Sues E-Cigarette Maker After Vape-Related Illness
    CHICAGO (AP) — An Illinois teenager who fell ill with a lung disease after vaping for over a year sued a leading e-cigarette maker on Friday, accusing it of deliberately marketing to young people and sending the message that vaping is cool. Attorneys filed a lawsuit in Lake County Circuit Court on behalf of 18-year-old Adam Hergenreder, who was hospitalized at the end of August for about a week after complaining of nausea and labored breathing. The 85-page suit argued Juul Labs conveyed in advertisements and through social media campaigns that kids could boost their social status by vaping. It also said Juul never fully disclose their products contain dangerous chemicals. “To put it mildly, Adam didn’t stand a chance to avoid getting hooked on these toxic timebombs,” said Hergenreder’s lawyer, Antonio Romanucci. The filing comes as health officials investigate hundreds of breathing illnesses nationwide reported in people who used vaping devices. An Illinois man died in August after contracting a lung disease linked to vaping. Hergenreder recently told the Chicago Tribune that last year he started buying homemade devices filled with THC, the high-inducing ingredient in marijuana, off the street. Vaping companies say blame should be put on those black-market devices, called dab sticks, for a spate of hospitalizations. Friday’s lawsuit did not directly raise that issue, including whether it is possible that the makeshift devices containing THC could have caused or contributed to Hergenreder’s illness. Hergenreder, from the Chicago suburb of Gurnee, was released from the hospital on Sept. 6 with “significant lung damage,” according to the lawsuit. He appeared with his mother and his attorney at a Friday news conference announcing the litigation. San Francisco-based Juul said in a Friday statement that it’s “never marketed to youth” and has ongoing campaigns to combat underage use. It added that its products are meant to help adult smokers wean themselves off traditional paper-and-tobacco cigarettes, which Juul called “the deadliest legal consumer product known to man.” Among the precautions Juul said it’s taken to ensure young people aren’t drawn to its e-cigarettes was to close Juul’s Facebook and Instagram accounts. The company said it has also deployed technology that restricts a sale until someone’s age is verified. The new lawsuit accused Juul of sometimes relying on indirect advertising to children, including by employing social media users with huge followings to promote Juul products in tweets or Instagram posts. The lawsuit also names a gas station in Waukegan as a defendant, accusing it of regularly selling Hergenreder nicotine-based Juul products when ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-09-18
 
  • Walmart Announces Plans To Stop Selling E-Cigarettes
    The fallout over the spate of vaping-linked deaths continued on Friday, as Walmart announced that it will stop selling e-cigarettes.  In a memo to local managers, the world’s largest retailer cited “regulatory complexity” and industry “uncertainty” as its reasoning behind the decision. “Given the growing federal, state and local regulatory complexity and uncertainty regarding e-cigarettes, we plan to discontinue the sale of electronic nicotine delivery products at all Walmart and Sam’s Club U.S. locations,” the memo said. “We will complete our exit after selling through current inventory.” The move is just the latest bit of blowback for an e-cigarette industry that finds itself under increasing scrutiny for products that have been linked to hundreds of hospitalizations and a disquieting rise in deaths.  E-cigarettes have long been billed as a safer alternative to conventional cigarettes, but the sudden uptick in vaping-related illnesses has cast considerable doubt on those claims.  Walmart’s announcement on Friday represents a significant setback for the vaping industry, which has in recent weeks drawn the attention of the federal government.  Earlier this month, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a rebuke to the popular e-cigarette company Juul Labs for making unauthorized claims that its product is “much safer than cigarettes” and that its approval from the FDA is imminent.  ““Referring to your [electronic nicotine delivery system, or “ENDS,”] products as ‘99% safer’ than cigarettes, ‘much safer’ than cigarettes, ‘totally safe,’ and ‘a safer alternative than smoking cigarettes’ is particularly concerning because these statements were made directly to children in school,” the FDA said in its letter to Juul Labs. “Our concern is amplified by the epidemic rate of increase in youth use of ENDS products, including JUUL’s products, and evidence that ENDS products contribute to youth use of, and addiction to, nicotine, to which youth are especially vulnerable.” The company apparently made those claims in presentations to students — underscoring concerns that e-cigarettes have been inappropriately marketed to young people. Those same concerns prompted New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo this week to call for a demand on flavored e-cigarette products, which are viewed as particularly appealing to young people.  The Trump administration has likewise announced its intention to crack down on flavored e-cigarettes, saying earlier this month that such products would be subject to much more intense regulatory scrutiny. “We can’t have our kids be so affected,” President Trump said in a press conference earlier this month. Experts have said that some of the risks posed by e-cigarettes remain unknown, and the cases of those apparently affected ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-09-20
  • SAFE Banking Act Heads To House Of Representatives Next Week
    We’re hovering on the brink of the first pro-marijuana federal legislation in an age. On Friday morning, the House confirmed that the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act will be put to a vote next week. The proposed legislation is only the third piece of potential cannabis law to make it out of committee, and the really crazy part? With a fair level of bipartisan support, the thing has a good chance of passing. The bill would be a serious assist to cannabis businesses that are currently hamstrung by being locked out of many national financial institutions. The SAFE Act would ensure stability to the US’ growing marijuana industry. Historic as it may be, many marijuana advocates don’t think the bill is an appropriate first step towards federal cannabis legalization in a nation that has suffered an unjust and racist war on drugs. The ACLU, Center for American Progress, Drug Policy Alliance, Human Rights Watch, and other organizations sent a letter to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi this week raising concerns about the SAFE Act. In the communiqué, the groups questioned the wisdom of focusing cannabis reform on marijuana business leaders. “[The SAFE Banking Act] narrowly addresses the issues of banking and improved access to financial services, measures that would benefit the marijuana industry, not communities who have felt the brunt of prohibition,” states the letter. “We ask that you delay any vote on the banking bill until agreement has been reached around broader marijuana reform,” it continues. Many of those leaders have thrown their support behind another bill entirely; the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act. That proposal would not only allow states to regulate marijuana, but also set up processes for the expungement of past cannabis convictions, and institute a variety of other measures meant to rectify the most hypocritical and punitive aspects of marijuana prohibition. Among these would be protections for people in public housing who use cannabis — people who are currently at risk of losing their homes even if they are taking medicinal marijuana that is legal under their state’s laws. The SAFE Act is not entirely without its social equity components. An amendment added during the committee process by the bill’s sponsor, Colorado Democrat Representative Ed Perlmutter, that would ensure that the federal government has a responsibility to aid access to financial services for cannabis businesses that are owned by women and POCs. But the SAFE Act enjoys bipartisan support that many say will ensure smooth sailing to ratification. Republican leadership ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-09-20
  • Wisconsin Legislators Introduce Bill Legalizing Medical Marijuana
    A bipartisan group of state legislators has introduced a bill to legalize medical marijuana in Wisconsin, according to media reports. The bill, from Republican Sen. Patrick Testin and Democrats Sen. Jon Erpenbach and Rep. Chris Taylor, was being circulated among lawmakers for cosponsors on Friday. Testin said in a statement that for him, legalizing the medicinal use of cannabis in Wisconsin is a personal issue. “Growing up, my grandfather was one of my heroes. I watched as cancer robbed him of his strength and vitality,” he said. “I saw him make the decision to go outside the law to seek treatment with medical marijuana. It restored his appetite, and I believe it added months to his life. Doctors and patients, not government, should decide if cannabis is the right treatment.” Under the measure, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services would be required to establish a medical cannabis registry and issue identification cards to patients with a qualifying condition such as cancer, HIV/AIDS, Alzheimer’s disease, post-traumatic stress disorder, or other serious medical conditions. Patients’ regular physicians will be required to request identifications cards from the state registry on their patients’ behalf. The proposed legislation would also require that medical marijuana producers, manufacturers, testing laboratories, and dispensaries be licensed by the state Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, which would be directed to prioritize locally-owned small businesses. Applicants would be required to pay an initial fee of $250 and those granted licenses will have to pay an annual fee of $5,000 to operate. State Rep. Says Bill ‘Long Overdue’ Taylor said in a statement that “nobody should be treated as a criminal for accessing the medicine they or their loved ones need.” “This is a long overdue compassionate law that will finally allow sick patients to access the medicine they need,” she added. Although the bill has bipartisan support, its chances in the state’s Republican-controlled legislature are uncertain. A spokeswoman for Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, who has previously indicated support for the legalization of medical marijuana, said that Vos was reviewing the bill but otherwise had no comment. Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald has said that he does not support legalizing the medicinal use of cannabis, but his office had no comment on the new bill. Earlier this year, Democratic Gov. Tony Evers included the legalization of medical marijuana and the decriminalization of possession of small amounts of cannabis in a state budget bill, but those provisions were not included by the legislature in the final version of the measure. The ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-09-20
  • Missouri Health Officials Announce State’s First Vaping-Related Death
    ST. LOUIS (AP) — A man in his mid-40s who died at a St. Louis hospital succumbed to a vaping-related illness, Missouri health officials announced Thursday. The Missouri man is the state’s first death related to an outbreak of lung disease linked to e-cigarettes or other vaping-related devices, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services said. Eight vaping-related deaths have been recorded in the U.S. The man, whose name was not released, had normal lung function before he started using e-cigarettes in May. He developed respiratory problems and was hospitalized Aug. 22 before being transferred on Sept. 4 to Mercy St. Louis, where he died this week, the health department said in a news release. Lung samples taken from the patient determined the death was related to vaping. “We are sad to report that this illness associated with vaping has now resulted in a death in Missouri and extend our condolences to his family,” Dr. Randall Williams, health department director, said in the release. “As previously stated, we encourage Missourians to follow the CDC guidance to refrain from using e-cigarette products if you are concerned about these specific health risks, especially while the investigation is ongoing.” The health department said since it began requiring physicians to report possible vaping-associated pulmonary illnesses in late August, it has received 22 reports. Seven of the cases, including the first death, have been confirmed and nine are still being investigated. Six other cases did not meet definitions provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC said Thursday 530 confirmed and probable cases of vaping-related illnesses have been reported in 38 states and one U.S. territory, up from 380 a week ago. The Missouri man began vaping because of chronic pain issues, said Dr. Michael Plisco, a critical care pulmonologist and medical director of Mercy St. Louis’ extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) program. He developed shortness of breath that deteriorated and developed into acute respiratory distress syndrome. He was placed on a machine called venoarterial ECMO to support his heart and rest his lungs. He told his family members that he was vaping, but they didn’t know the details of what he was using, Plisco said. “Unfortunately, at the time he started, he didn’t know the dangers of vaping, so he continued to use the instrument that was potentially causing his shortness of breath and other problems,” Plisco said. Plisco said doctors hoped putting the man on the machine on Sept. 5 would allow his lungs to heal, but he continued to ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-09-20
  • Beto O’Rourke Would Use Marijuana Taxes To Help Expunge Possession Convictions
    On Thursday, Beto O’Rourke updated his campaign platform’s position on cannabis with specific, targeted proposals addressing legalization, taxation and social justice. As a candidate for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, O’Rourke has continued his long-standing fight to end the prohibition of cannabis. On the campaign trail, O’Rourke has called for federal cannabis legalization as part of a wide-ranging package of criminal justice reforms. Now, we have a clearer picture of exactly what he has in mind. Beto O’Rourke Proposes “Drug War Justice Grants” for Formerly Incarcerated People Much of Beto O’Rourke’s cannabis platform resembles other candidates’ proposals to federally legalize cannabis. O’Rourke’s plan would apply a federal tax on the marijuana industry, open up access to banks and financial services, work to elevate minority-owned cannabis businesses and invest in rebuilding lives and communities shattered by the drug war. But it’s Beto’s plan for “Drug War Justice Grants” that distinguishes his proposal from the pack. Under O’Rourke’s plan, a federal marijuana tax would fund grants to help expunge possession convictions, support re-entry programs and directly provide money to those formerly incarcerated for marijuana offenses in state and federal prisons. Federal marijuana tax revenue would also assist those who have been locked out of opportunity due to marijuana crimes with obtaining housing and finding jobs. “We need to not only end the prohibition on marijuana, but also repair the damage done to the communities of color disproportionately locked up in our criminal justice system or locked out of opportunity because of the War on Drugs,” O’Rourke said in a statement announcing his cannabis legalization plan. Drug War Justice Grants would be available for different lengths of time, depending on how long a person was in prison. The grants would take the form of a monthly stipend, given to repay people who served time for nonviolent marijuana convictions. Grants would also assist formerly incarcerated people who want to work or start a business in the legal cannabis industry. O’Rourke’s Plan Would Release Those Currently Serving Time and Block Deportations Beyond using a federal marijuana tax to support efforts to redress the ongoing harms of the war on drugs, O’Rourke’s cannabis legalization proposal would also take steps to protect undocumented people and those currently behind bars. Speaking with Fox News, O’Rourke’s campaign said it had already identified more than 11,000 people locked up in federal prison for nonviolent marijuana offenses who would be eligible for clemency under the plan. Furthermore, O’Rourke’s plan would block the use of any marijuana-related ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-09-19
  • Canadian Health Officials Now Investigating Vaping-Related Hospitalization
    One of the bizarre parts about the recent string of vaping related illnesses and deaths is that it has been restricted to the United States. So far there have been 380 likely cases of vaping-correlated lung disease in 36 states and one US territory, but not a peep from the rest of the world. That changed this week, when officials in Ontario, Canada told the public that they were investigating the severe respiratory problems that had been experienced by a high school student after vaping. They would not release many details about the case, however—we’re still in the dark even as to whether the young person was using cannabis and/or tobacco products. The reason, the county health department’s medical officer stated, was that authorities did not want to exculpate vaping itself in the situation. “In order to clarify the health messaging, we’re not going to be releasing the brand related information. Because that would imply that this is something coming from one brand when clearly looking at the international evidence that’s not the case,” said chief medical officer Dr. Christopher Mackie. He did share that the youth had no other health condition, was showing symptoms that constituted a severe illness, and had been given treatment in an intensive care unit. The case had been reported to Canada’s Consumer Product Safety Act reporting system early this summer by a medical resident who surmised that the youth’s illness may have been due to his use of vaping products. The ministry of health, apparently, only heard about the case last week. “This information, not previously available to the ministry of health, will be critical as we continue to engage with leading experts to identify evidence-based solutions that protect our youth from the potential dangers of vaping,” said Ontario health minister Christine Elliott in a statement. In the absence of sureties on the matter, policymakers have been left rather rudderless when it comes to how to protect vapers. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced at the beginning of the week that he was recommending an emergency ban on flavored e-cigarettes. That’s an echo of the words of President Donald Trump, who announced last week that the feds would be drastically tightening up when it came to restrictions on the flavored tobacco vaping products last week. All this, despite the fact that the vaping crisis has not been centered among users of flavored tobacco products—even though teen use of vapes is a whole other, troublesome issue. In the US, practical response to the string of ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-09-19
  • Federal Government Funds Nine Research Grants To Study CBD
    The U.S. government will spend $3 million to find out if marijuana can relieve pain, but none of the money will be used to study the part of the plant that gets people high. Nine research grants announced Thursday are for work on CBD, the trendy ingredient showing up in cosmetics and foods, and hundreds of less familiar chemicals. THC research was excluded. The federal government still considers marijuana an illegal drug, but more than 30 states allow it use for a range of medical problems, some without good evidence. The science is strongest for chronic pain, the most common reason people give when they enroll in state-approved medical marijuana programs. But little is known about which parts of marijuana are helpful and whether the intoxicating effects of THC can be avoided. “The science is lagging behind the public use and interest. We’re doing our best to catch up here,” said Dr. David Shurtleff, deputy director of the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, which is funding the projects. THC has been investigated extensively, Shurtleff said, and its potential for addiction and abuse make it unsuitable for treating pain. Other federal agencies have supported marijuana research, but much of the focus has been on potential harms. Shurtleff said the grants answer the call in a 2017 National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine report, which concluded a lack of marijuana research poses a public health risk. Another driver is the nation’s opioid addiction crisis, with its roots in overuse of prescription painkillers. The crisis has sparked new scientific interest in marijuana’s pain-easing properties. Dr. Judith Hellman, a grant recipient from University of California San Francisco, said scientists need to better understand pain and to find more ways to treat it. “It’s very exciting to have the opportunity to do that,” she said. Hellman’s research involves the body’s ability to produce signaling molecules similar to marijuana’s ingredients. Her and Dr. Mark Schumacher’s work involves human immune cells in the lab, then tests on mice. Human test subjects will be involved in only one of the grant projects. University of Utah researcher Deborah Yurgelun-Todd will scan the brains of human volunteers with lower back pain to see how CBD extract — mixed with chocolate pudding — affects pain-signaling pathways. Half the volunteers will get pudding without CBD as a control group. Two more human studies may be funded in a second round of grant awards, NCCIH said. In July, the National Institute on Drug Abuse said it would grow 2,000 kilograms ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-09-19
  • Federal Judge Says Indiana’s Ban On Smokable Hemp Is Unconstitutional
    A federal judge in Indiana ruled last week that the state’s law banning smokable forms of hemp is unconstitutional and has issued a preliminary injunction prohibiting enforcement of the statute. In a ruling issued on September 13, Judge Sarah Evans Barker of the Southern District of Indiana said that Indiana’s law prohibiting the manufacturing, financing, delivery, and possession of smokable hemp is preempted by federal law. Barker wrote in her ruling that enforcing the law would cause “irreparable harm in the form of a credible threat of criminal sanctions” without a preliminary injunction. The federal government legalized hemp and removed the crop and all hemp products from the nation’s list of controlled substances with the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill in December. But when Indiana passed Senate Bill 516 earlier this year to regulate hemp agriculture in the state, it included the ban on smokable forms of hemp flower. Smokable Hemp Confusing Cops The legalization of hemp has led to a proliferation of smokable products that are generally rich in CBD, including dried hemp flower and pre-rolled joints. But the immense popularity of the products has led some states to ban smokable forms of hemp, arguing that law enforcement cannot readily determine if a substance is hemp or marijuana. Barker ruled that the confusion was not a legal justification for treating some forms of hemp as a controlled substance, writing that “the fact that local law enforcement may need to adjust tactics and training in response to changes in federal law is not a sufficient basis for enacting unconstitutional legislation” The judge also issued an immediate injunction to block enforcement of the smokable hemp provisions in Senate Bill 516, saying that the plaintiffs, all but one of whom are Indiana businesses that sell hemp products, should not have to wait to determine how much business was lost to the smokable hemp ban and file a lawsuit later. “The likely unconstitutional portions of the statute cannot be easily measured or reliably calculated, given the novelty of the hemp industry in Indiana and the dearth of historical sales data to use as a baseline for calculating lost revenues,” Barker wrote. Jim Decamp, the owner of Owlslee CBD in downtown Indianapolis, told local media that while he understands the concerns of law enforcement, he supports Judge Barker’s ruling. “I don’t know the answer to that problem, but I feel like the benefits that clients get from THC-free hemp flower is something that they really want and need,” Decamp said. Two other states, Louisiana and ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-09-19
  • Legislators Have Approved Changes To Utah’s Medical Cannabis Law
    SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Utah legislators approved changes to the state’s medical marijuana law, an issue that has faced fierce criticism from people on both sides of the debate. The Utah Senate and House of Representatives voted unanimously Monday evening during a special session to send the proposal to Republican Gov. Gary Herbert’s desk. The measure would replace plans for an unusual state-run dispensary system with 14 privately run pharmacies and adopt protections for patients who are concerned they could be prosecuted for drug crimes, among other changes. Utah backtracked from the state-run dispensary after county attorneys expressed concern that such a system would put public employees at risk of being prosecuted under federal drug laws. Republican Senate Majority Leader Evan Vickers, who drafted the law, said his team is “doing everything we can” to improve patient access and have product ready by next March. Some lawmakers said they still have heartburn over certain aspects of the bill, sharing reservations about product distribution and a looming fear of federal prosecution. Democratic Sen. Derek Kitchen said he’s concerned patients in rural parts of the state may have to pay more to access marijuana. Before the House vote, Republican Rep. Keven Stratton suggested Utah seek a federal waiver to protect the state program from prosecution under federal drug laws. Marijuana is banned at the federal level, though a congressional amendment blocks the Justice Department from interfering with states’ medical marijuana programs. The measure dictated that the courts may not treat a medical marijuana patient differently than someone who uses any other prescribed, controlled substance. Another change prohibited the state from issuing cultivation and pharmacy licenses to legislators. “A lot of money flows through this industry, some back to legislators,” Vickers said. “We don’t want legislators to have undue influence in an industry they want to have ownership in.” Debates in the chamber reflected ongoing tensions over amendments regarding distribution and prosecution of drug crimes. During a tense public hearing last week, members of the conservative group Utah Eagle Forum lamented the loss of the state-run dispensary system, while some medical marijuana advocates raised concern that there wouldn’t be enough private dispensaries to meet growing patient demand. An earlier version of the law imagined 12 privately run dispensaries instead of the state-run system. In the same meeting, a proposal outlining patient protections caused an emotional back-and-forth between conservative attorneys who argued parents couldn’t take care of children while using marijuana and patients who said the drug makes them better caretakers and helps ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-09-19
  • Pennsylvania Medical Cannabis Program Interrupted Due to Software Glitch
    Patients in Pennsylvania were denied access to medical marijuana on Tuesday, the result of a crash in the system used to track sales.  All such transactions in the state are processed through a tracking software system called MJ Freeway, which is required by the Pennsylvania Department of Health under the medical cannabis law there.  But the system suffered intermittent glitches for about 90 minutes on Tuesday, according to a spokesperson for MJ Freeway, which stymied both producers and consumers. As a result, dispensaries throughout the state were unable to complete transactions to patients, and growers could not complete shipments to dispensaries because there was no way to log them in the system. “It may have felt longer because it was intermittent,” MJ Freeway spokesperson Jeannette Horton told the Philadelphia Inquirer. “We’re very apologetic for the issues they experienced. Today, we’re hearing it’s all been resolved.” The state of Pennsylvania has an exclusive $11 million contract with MJ Freeway, which is based in Colorado, to track medical marijuana, but the Inquirer described the company’s software as being “prone to chronic glitches.” Christina Visco, president of TerraVida Holistic Centers, a company that operates three dispensaries in the Philadelphia suburbs, told the Inquirer that Tuesday’s glitches were frustrating for many patients. “We turned away literally hundreds of patients yesterday,” Visco said. “The system was down all morning, came back up for a couple of hours, then crashed again.” “I had product I couldn’t sell to anyone yesterday,” she added. “It never left my vault.” It’s not the first setback for MJ Freeway’s tracking software in Pennsylvania. Last year, a number of cannabis retailers in the state were forced to suspend sales due to glitches and slowdowns with the company’s system. MJ Freeway has also dealt with glitches in Washington, where it also has a contract to track medical marijuana.  The company’s software platform was also the subject of an apparent hack in 2017, which triggered outages at 1,000 marijuana retailers across more than 20 states.  In an interview last year, MJ Freeway co-founder Amy Poinsett defended the company’s products, and said that improvements were being made following the 2017 hack. “Could the hack have been prevented? Yes and no,” Poinsett told Marijuana Business Daily. “Now we know the specific points of vulnerability, they’ve been fortified, and we’ve added many additional layers of security. However, as systems age and hackers get more sophisticated, the vulnerabilities are ever-changing. So, in theory, every hack is preventable, and yet hacks are never 100% preventable. No company can claim ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-09-19
  • New Hampshire House Overrides Governor’s Veto on Home-Grown Medical Cannabis
    The New Hampshire House of Representatives voted on Wednesday to overturn Republican Gov. Chris Sununu’s veto of a bill that would allow for the home cultivation of cannabis by medical marijuana patients. The measure, HB 364, will now head to the Senate after the House voted 259 to 120 to override the veto. Earlier this year, the Senate approved HB 364 by a margin of 14 to 10. Two additional votes will be needed in the Senate to override the veto by the required two-thirds majority. The Senate is expected to vote on the veto on Thursday. All home cannabis cultivation is currently a felony under New Hampshire law. Under HB 364, registered medical marijuana patients and caregivers would be allowed to possess up to three mature cannabis plants, three immature plants, and 12 seedlings. The bipartisan and bicameral measure was sponsored by Democratic Rep. Renny Cushing and Republican Sen. John Reagan. In the governor’s veto message, Sununu said that allowing home cultivation of cannabis would put a burden on law enforcement agencies in the state and compromise regulations to prevent the diversion of medical marijuana to the illegal market. Activists Call on Senate to Follow Suit Matt Simon, the New England political director for cannabis reform advocacy group the Marijuana Policy Project said in a press release that overriding the governor’s veto of HB 364 will help ensure that medical marijuana patients can access their medicine affordably. “It’s encouraging to see the House vote so strongly in favor of HB 364. This bill is critical for patients who are successfully using cannabis to stay off opioids, but are unable to afford the high-priced products that are available from dispensaries,” Simon said. “Sadly, 10 senators voted against HB 364 earlier this year, putting the preferences of a few police chiefs ahead of the needs of patients and their families.” The Marijuana Policy Project noted in its release that two polls have shown that 68 percent of New Hampshire’s residents support legal medical marijuana and that all three states that border New Hampshire have already legalized home cultivation for patients, caregivers, and adults 21 and older. “Residents of the ‘Live Free or Die’ State overwhelmingly support cannabis policy reforms, so it’s clear that any senator who opposes this simple step forward is incredibly out of touch with their constituents,” he said. “Patients, caregivers, and their advocates will be watching the Senate vote closely and hoping that common sense and compassion will finally prevail.” New Hampshire legalized the medicinal use of ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-09-18
  • India Bans All E-Cigarettes Following Vape-Related Deaths in USA
    India has banned the sale of all e-cigarettes in the country in response to the string of vaping-related deaths in the United States, according to a report from CNN. “Unfortunately, e-cigarettes got promoted initially as a way in which people can get out of the habit of smoking cigarettes. It was to be a weaning process from using cigarettes,” said India’s Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. “The Cabinet rightly thought it is time and we immediately took a decision so that the health of our citizens, of our young, is not thrown to a risk,” she added. US Lung Illnesses Prompt Action Sitharaman said that the rash of lung illnesses that have been linked to vaping in the U.S. and domestic concerns about e-cigarettes led the Cabinet to act. She added that the government will soon issue an emergency ordinance banning all electronic nicotine delivery system (ENDS) devices. The ordinance will then be taken up by the nation’s Parliament during its next session to be enacted into law. India’s ban on vaping products will prohibit the sale, manufacturing, importing, exporting, distribution, storage, and advertising of e-cigarettes. The ban applies to all ENDS, heat-not-burn, and e-hookah devices, according to a press release. “These novel products come with attractive appearances and multiple flavors and their use has increased exponentially and has acquired epidemic proportions in developed countries, especially among youth and children,” the government said in the release. Violations of Ban Carry Stiff Penalties First-time violators of the ban on e-cigarettes in India could face up to a year in prison, a fine of 100,000 rupees (about $1,400), or both. Further violations of the ordinance could be subject to penalties of up to five years in prison and a 500,000 ($7,000) fine. Storing e-cigarette devices would subject offenders to six months in prison and a fine of 50,000 rupees ($700). Businesses with vaping devices on hand will be required to declare their inventory and turn over all e-cigarettes and cartridges to their local police station. US Also Taking Action on Vaping In the United States, last week the Trump administration announced that it would ban the sale of flavored nicotine vape products. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported late last week that there have been 380 confirmed and probable cases in 36 states of lung illnesses experienced by people who vape. The previous week the agency had announced that more than 450 cases of pulmonary disease could be associated with vaping, but that number also included reports of possible cases. ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-09-18
  • Inaugural Clio Cannabis Awards Jury Officially Announced
    A month after the initial announcement of the Clio Cannabis Awards, High Times and Clio are excited to reveal the choices for the inaugural jury. The Clio Cannabis jury is comprised of experts and executives in the cannabis space who have been determined to be the most qualified to decide who will be awarded those coveted Clios. The jurors are: Evan Goldberg, Co-Founder, HouseplantLisa Buffo, Founder & CEO, Cannabis Marketing AssociationRebecca Brown, Founder & CEO, Crowns AgencyJason DeLand, Founding Partner, dosist / AnamolyTommy Means, Founder & CCO, MekanismElizabeth Hogan, VP of Brands, GCH, Inc.Olivia Mannix, Founder & CEO, CannabrandAnne-Marie Dacyshyn, CMO, GSW Creative CorpJason White, CMO, Cura PartnersGreg Dacyshyn, Co-Founder, Camp High Thanks to the tireless work of advocates and activists, cannabis legalization is spreading across the nation. And so, marketing and advertising has become even more important for brands and organizations as a way to stand out in the new green sea. “As the cannabis industry evolves, brands will lead its development. How those brands create and market in this space is vital for the industry to explore and understand, especially given the regulatory constraints,” said juror Jason DeLand in a press release. He’s the Founding Partner of dosist / Anamoly.  “In my view, there is no better category to showcase fresh strategic and creative choices and I hope this new awards program will encourage the creative community to rise to the challenge.” The jury is expected to come together on November 18 to deliberate on the entrants’ submissions; the winners of the Clio Cannabis Awards will be announced November 20. Submissions are now open. To enter, or to get more information, including guidelines and deadlines, please visit: www.cliocannabisawards.com The post Inaugural Clio Cannabis Awards Jury Officially Announced appeared first on High Times. ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-09-18
  • Mayor Of Chicago Introducing Ordinance Regulating Sale Of Recreational Marijuana
    With a new law on the books, Illinois is set to officially legalize recreational marijuana next year. But first, Chicago’s mayor wants to establish where it can and cannot be sold within the state’s major urban center. Lori Lightfoot, who was elected and assumed office as Chicago’s mayor earlier this year, will reportedly introduce an ordinance on Wednesday that will divide the city into seven separate zones that will determine where the sale of marijuana will be permitted. According to local news channel ABC7, all of downtown Chicago will be excluded, while special consideration will be given to districts where illegal cannabis sales are prevalent. Local lawmakers say they don’t want those neighborhoods excluded from the potential economic windfall from dispensaries. But some officials who represent the downtown districts feel snubbed by the proposal, arguing that their areas could use that additional revenue, too. “It doesn’t make sense from a revenue perspective,” said 2nd Ward Alderman Brian Hopkins, as quoted by ABC7. “There’s no question that we would generate the most revenue if we have dispensaries in the downtown area, also capturing money from tourists is the key to anything we are doing.” In addition, the ordinance would limit the number of dispensaries per district to seven. And the city is also considering requirements that would prohibit marijuana shops within 500 feet of schools or other areas zoned as residential. Illinois became the 11th state in the U.S. to legalize recreational marijuana in June after Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed legislation allowing adults aged 21 and over to buy and possess up to one ounce of cannabis at licensed dispensaries. The law will also enable individuals who have been busted for possessing or purchasing upwards of 30 ounces of marijuana or less to potentially have those records expunged—a provision that could affect almost 800,000 people in Illinois. Authorized dispensaries will be able to begin selling January 1, 2020. In signing the bill, Pritzker, who was elected governor last year, made good on a campaign pledge. “In the past 50 years, the war on cannabis has destroyed families, filled prisons with nonviolent offenders, and disproportionately disrupted black and brown communities,” Pritzker said at the time of signing the bill. “Each year, law enforcement across the nation has spent billions of dollars to enforce the criminalization of cannabis. […] Yet its consumption remains widespread.” Pritzker offered up bullish revenue projections during last year’s campaign, claiming that a legal cannabis marketplace could generate as much as $800 million to $1 billion in taxes ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-09-18
  • Illinois Teen Sues E-Cigarette Maker After Vape-Related Illness
    CHICAGO (AP) — An Illinois teenager who fell ill with a lung disease after vaping for over a year sued a leading e-cigarette maker on Friday, accusing it of deliberately marketing to young people and sending the message that vaping is cool. Attorneys filed a lawsuit in Lake County Circuit Court on behalf of 18-year-old Adam Hergenreder, who was hospitalized at the end of August for about a week after complaining of nausea and labored breathing. The 85-page suit argued Juul Labs conveyed in advertisements and through social media campaigns that kids could boost their social status by vaping. It also said Juul never fully disclose their products contain dangerous chemicals. “To put it mildly, Adam didn’t stand a chance to avoid getting hooked on these toxic timebombs,” said Hergenreder’s lawyer, Antonio Romanucci. The filing comes as health officials investigate hundreds of breathing illnesses nationwide reported in people who used vaping devices. An Illinois man died in August after contracting a lung disease linked to vaping. Hergenreder recently told the Chicago Tribune that last year he started buying homemade devices filled with THC, the high-inducing ingredient in marijuana, off the street. Vaping companies say blame should be put on those black-market devices, called dab sticks, for a spate of hospitalizations. Friday’s lawsuit did not directly raise that issue, including whether it is possible that the makeshift devices containing THC could have caused or contributed to Hergenreder’s illness. Hergenreder, from the Chicago suburb of Gurnee, was released from the hospital on Sept. 6 with “significant lung damage,” according to the lawsuit. He appeared with his mother and his attorney at a Friday news conference announcing the litigation. San Francisco-based Juul said in a Friday statement that it’s “never marketed to youth” and has ongoing campaigns to combat underage use. It added that its products are meant to help adult smokers wean themselves off traditional paper-and-tobacco cigarettes, which Juul called “the deadliest legal consumer product known to man.” Among the precautions Juul said it’s taken to ensure young people aren’t drawn to its e-cigarettes was to close Juul’s Facebook and Instagram accounts. The company said it has also deployed technology that restricts a sale until someone’s age is verified. The new lawsuit accused Juul of sometimes relying on indirect advertising to children, including by employing social media users with huge followings to promote Juul products in tweets or Instagram posts. The lawsuit also names a gas station in Waukegan as a defendant, accusing it of regularly selling Hergenreder nicotine-based Juul products when ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-09-18