In this week’s news and updates, we have updates about how Ohio’s medical marijuana market is doing, political lobyists in the cannabis industry, and the Senate’s push for legalization. Also, Elon Musk expressed his opinion of CBD and you might find it surprising!
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer Spearheads Effort to Legalize Cannabis
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is committed to making federal marijuana reform a priority. He wants to pass a bill in the U.S. Senate by the end of the year that will legalize marijuana but will require 60 senators to vote in favor of it. This may be difficult in a polarized partisan atmosphere. Republican senators will have to agree with his bill, which may be difficult when there is such strong fighting between Democrats and Republicans on the Senate floor. Hopefully, they can put their differences aside and agree to help Americans by allowing them to use cannabis without criminal prosecution.
Cannabis stocks jumped last week after Chuck Schumer met with Senators Cory Booker and Ron Wyden and all three senators announced in a joint statement their commitment to developing a comprehensive marijuana reform bill. It is boding well for cannabis reform that the Senate Majority Leader is spearheading the effort to legalize marijuana.
Cannabidiol and Marihuana Research Expansion Act
A bill has been reintroduced into the Senate that would make it easier for researchers to study marijuana. The Cannabidiol and Marihuana Research Expansion Act would set a 60 day deadline by the U.S. attorney general to federally approve research institutions for studying cannabis.
The bill will also allow medical schools, practitioners, research institutions, and manufacturers with a Schedule I registration the ability to cultivate their own cannabis for research purposes. The DEA would be mandated to approve applications for manufacturers to produce marijuana-derived, FDA-approved drugs.
The bill would also require Health and Human Services (HHS) to consider the health benefits and risks of cannabis and look into policies that are preventing research on marijuana grown in legal states.
Last year, Ohio had an exponential increase in cannabis sales. About $277 million in sales were generated, about 80% higher than what occurred last year. The program has 160,000 registered patients and about 700 doctors certified to recommend marijuana.
Despite this growth, there is concern that the marijuana program in Ohio is not growing as rapidly as it could. Many patients are having trouble reaching dispensaries from remote areas of the state and there are fewer qualified conditions for allowing patients to use marijuana. For example, anxiety is not on the list of conditions like it is in neighboring Pennsylvania. Prices are high in dispensaries and patients are having trouble affording the medicine, which is a common problem across the United States.
A state policymaker has submitted a new bill in Minnesota that would allow patients who use medical cannabis to carry a gun and legally use a firearm to hunt. Since cannabis is still considered a Schedule I substance by Minnesota, despite it being legalized for medical purposes, his bill would change marijuana to a Schedule II substance so patients can renew their concealed weapons permits and hunt. It is imperitive that cannabis patients are allowed to have access to firearms for self-defence and their second amendment rights.
Kathleen Sebelius Joins Cannabis Lobyist Group
Former Obama administration Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is the new co-chair of the National Cannabis Roundtable. This organization is effectively a lobbying group that is striving to change marijuana laws federally. It also has former House Speaker John Boehner on the board of directors. This shows how strong the political pull is of cannabis lobbying groups. Imagine Kathleen Sebelius now speaking to President Biden about the need to deschedule cannabis. She’s not some unknown suit trying to influence policymakers. She’s an experienced politician from the Obama administration and she, along with other such politicians, will be able to persuade Washington to change federal prohibition of cannabis.
Elon Musk says CBD is Fake
On The Joe Rogan Experience, Elon Musk said he didn’t believe in CBD.
“CBD doesn’t do anything… I think that’s fake.” -Elon Musk 2/11/21
This is the first time a prominent figure has outright claimed that CBD doesn’t do anything. There may be truth to this. Dr. Matthew Roman, MD a specialist in cannabis medicine has been skeptical of CBD since 2018. The cannabis industry has a financial incentive to market CBD and it seems that there are hundreds of CBD companies owned by small time entrepreneurs. In reality, it does not bind the cannabis receptors in the body like THC does and its mechanism of action remains unclear.
That’s it for this week. Make sure to check back next week and, if you can, share this blog with others so they can stay informed about the latest news about cannabis just like you!