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There’s constant cannabis industry news flowing in lately and it can be hard to keep track of. For this reason, Respect My Region is now doing a weekly roundup of news to give you the necessary cliff notes.

This week, we cover Oregon government party poopers, the Chicago PD’s chill take on carry-on cannabis, and further developments from around the U.S., where cannabis legislation is on the rise.

Cleared For Takeoff: Chicago Will Not Punish Airport Travelers For Cannabis Possession

The TSA’s approach to cannabis is surprisingly lax, given its existence as a federal agency. Their approach to the substance is simple: they have no interest in confiscating the stuff. If they do catch it in your luggage, they will simply defer the matter to local police. According to them, they’d rather task themselves with sniffing out pipe bombs than snatching your pot brownies. However, this doesn’t guarantee that local police officers will take kindly to you bringing THC gummies onto Southwest. In fact, even states with legal recreational cannabis have the latitude to prosecute you where the federal government won’t. The result is a murky legal gray area concerning cannabis in airports.

However, Chicago has come forward to make its stance clear. Not wishing to harsh anyone’s mellow, Chicago PD will be neglecting to charge anybody for possession of cannabis products in legal amounts while in Chicago’s local airports. This doesn’t guarantee your safety when departing Chicago for a different airport, but Chicago Police have made it clear that they won’t be intervening. According to no-nonsense Commander William Mullane with the CPD, “If they’re legal, they’re legal.” Couldn’t have said it better myself. 

Studies Show That Cannabis Legalization Reduces Opioid Prescription Rates

Marijuana Moment published an article citing different studies that show reduced opioid prescriptions in states with legalized cannabis. The studies have taken place as more states join the fold of relegalized recreational cannabis use. According to these studies, the impact of such legislation is quite significant. Overall, states that introduce legislation that legalizes recreational cannabis see an average 27% decrease in opioid prescriptions. In states with medical legalization, this reduction goes down to the 7% range. 

The opioid crisis has been a hot button issue as of late as overdose deaths wreak havoc across the country. Over 60,000 overdose deaths were reported in 2017, 70% of which were associated with opioids. Of these opioid overdoses, 90% are accidental and nearly half involve prescribed opioid-based medications. With more states considering legalization-based legislation, there may be hope to see a reduction in opioid deaths as a result. It may also mean we’re getting closer to full federal legalization.

New Jersey, Oklahoma, And South Dakota Set Eyes On Recreational Cannabis

This week, three states have made their intentions to legalize recreational cannabis known. New Jersey, Oklahoma, and South Dakota all saw developments that could lead to legalization in the year 2020. As of yet, eleven states have legalized the recreational use of cannabis in the U.S., as well as the District of Columbia. How many years until full federal legalization?

In New Jersey, state lawmakers voted to include the question of recreational legalization on their 2020 ballot. This follows a failed attempt to legalize recreational cannabis in 2019. In South Dakota, activists gathered more than 30,000 signatures in order to qualify a recreational legalization bill for the 2020 vote. Oklahoma is on shakier terms having not yet secured a bill’s placement on the 2020 ballot. However, activists filed a petition that will begin the process of signature gathering in the coming weeks. The bill will require 178,000 signatures gathered in a time period of 90 days in order to place the bill on the 2020 ballot.

Americans Continue To Show Strong Support For Federal Legalization

Two separate polls done by Fox News and the Marist Institute for Public Opinion show that Americans show overwhelming support for recreational cannabis legalization. The poll done by Fox showed that 63% of participants in a 1,000-person poll showed support for “the recreational use of marijuana on a national level.” The Marist poll involved over 1,700 respondents and showed support of legalization at a rate of 62%. Marist also specified that 74% of independent and Democratic voters supported legalization, compared with 44% of Republicans.

These findings come at the heels of polls done by Gallup and the Pew Research Center. Such polls could potentially put pressure on congressional lawmakers, who recently saw a federal legalization bill pass the House of Representatives in November of 2019. Such strong public support also likely plays a role in the prominence of cannabis as a debate issue for 2020 presidential candidates.

Oregon Liquor Control Commission Forbids The Combination Of Cannabis And Alcohol

Oregon has built a reputation as a forward-thinking state. It was among the first to legalize medical cannabis use, recreational cannabis use, and is even considering a bill to decriminalize drugs altogether. Oregon is also known nationwide as a cultural center point for craft-brew excellence. Given this, a recent move by the Oregon Liquor Control Commission may leave some scratching their heads.

As of Jan 1, THC and CBD will be prohibited in any alcoholic beverages. A spokesman for the agency cited the FDA’s concerns relating to a potential connection between CBD use and liver damage. “We’ve wanted to address the issue of CBD getting into alcohol and because there are a lot of unknown unknowns about the effect of taking CBDs,” the spokesman said. As a result of the OLCC’s somewhat confounding take on combining booze and “CBDs,” Oregon’s own Coalition Brewing will likely have to retire its Two Flowers IPA, a CBD-infused beer that can be spotted in multiple Portland tap houses.

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