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This week, we cover an FDA study on discrepancies within CBD products, a bipartisan effort to convince Congress to act on cannabis banking reform, the solidifying of Joe Biden’s refusal to endorse federal legalization, and a $50,000 U.S. Forest Service contract to address health issues tied to illicit cannabis farms.

Also, we will provide updates on the Black Lives Matter protests, as well as the spread of the Coronavirus in the United States.

FDA Releases Report Regarding Accuracy Of CBD Product Labels

On Wednesday, the FDA submitted a study to congress detailing label accuracy on a variety of CBD products. The study was part of a report the FDA completed with a focus on the CBD marketplace.

The study showed significant discrepancies between the stated amounts of CBD and actual CBD contents within numerous CBD products. However, the study also demonstrated little evidence of harmful materials appearing in these products. 

Of the 102 products in the study, the inconsistency in CBD concentration was cause for concern. 18% of the products contained less than 80% of the CBD specified on the label. An ever greater 37% contained more than 120% of the advertised amount. 

The study—as well as the report containing it—are part of an ongoing effort on part of the FDA. The agency intends to collect data regarding the CBD marketplace in order to create rules regarding quality control.

Going forward, the agency intends to establish a long-term testing system, garnering more comprehensive data on product quality and consistency. According to the report, “FDA believes that understanding the characteristics of marketed CBD products is critical to making informed decisions about how best to protect public health in the current marketplace.”

Further testing will examine cosmetic concentrates, food and beverages, ingestible concentrates, and vape cartridges. 

Bipartisan Group Of State Treasurers Call For Cannabis Banking Reform In Upcoming Coronavirus Bill

19 state treasurers submitted a letter to Congress urging the inclusion of cannabis banking reform in an upcoming Coronavirus bill. 

In the letter, the group emphasizes that the ongoing pandemic demonstrated a dire need to pass the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act. The SAFE act would protect banks that take on the business of state-legal cannabis companies. This would prevent federal regulators from punishing these banks according to federal guidelines pertaining to cannabis businesses. 

The SAFE act made its way through a House vote as part of the second Coronavirus relief bill. However, the bill, which is currently before the Senate, may not pass with the SAFE act fully intact. 

Senate leadership has indicated that, were the bill to include the SAFE act, they would prevent its passing. Also, President Trump indicated he would veto the bill if it were to reach his desk in its current form. 

Specifically, several Republican senators voiced concerns over the banking language within the SAFE act. 

The letter identifies cash transactions as a dangerous side effect of the ongoing lack of banking access for cannabis businesses. Lacking access to larger banking systems forces cannabis businesses to rely on cash transactions. 

As a result, the letter states, they are left “without the option of no-contact exchanges.” Amid the Coronavirus pandemic, this leaves a community of over 28,000 cannabis businesses and 243,000 employees at risk.

Designated Task Force Declines To Recommend Cannabis Legalization To Presidential Nominee Joe Biden

A collection of task forces is submitting their platform recommendations to Joe Biden, and cannabis legalization is not among them

Recently, Joe Biden partnered with Bernie Sanders to designate members of several task forces focusing on various policy issues. These task forces would submit policy recommendations to the presidential nominee, likely having a significant impact on his platform. 

One of these groups, a criminal justice task force, was recently considering the prospect of cannabis legalization. 

A majority of the task forces members have individually supported full legalization. This led advocates to hold out hope that Biden’s consistent “decriminalization only” approach to cannabis would shift.

Despite the views of the individual members, however, the group’s 110-page report neglected to outline plans for federal legalization. Instead, they called for decriminalization, federal medical legalization, and the expunction of convictions for cannabis use and possession. 

According to Chiraag Bains, a member of the task force, these policies will “help build racial justice, reduce harm and repair generational damage caused by the racist War on Drugs.” 

The report also called for the federal government to allow individual states to mandate their own cannabis laws. As a result, federal agencies would be incapable of pursuing cases against individuals and companies within states with cannabis legalization. 

Feds Enlist Services Of Hazmat Firm For Cannabis Removal Training

The U.S. Forest Service will designate $50,000 to train its members in proper cannabis eradication procedures. The $50K will go to NES, a prominent consultant specializing in the treatment of hazardous materials. 

The agency claims the training results from a string of hospitalizations among Forest Service employees involved in cannabis eradication. These employees came into contact with hazardous chemicals while clearing illegal grow operations in public lands. 

Because of the illnesses, the agency came under fire from OSHA, who cited their lack of effective training and PPE. 

According to the Forest Service, NES was their only option that met their needs and adhered to OSHA guidelines. As a result, the $50,000 contract is one that will never undergo outside bidding. 

Going forward, U.S. Forest Service employees must pass hazmat classes administered by NES before participating in cannabis eradication projects. 

Also, the document claims that several illicit cannabis farms utilize dangerous chemicals that are illegal in the United States. 

Beyond causing illnesses, these chemicals make their way into the surrounding environments, causing dangerous levels of pollution. Operators of these illicit farms also clear large swaths of national forest land. 

Unfortunately, the Forest Service contract doesn’t include any measures to train employees to successfully restore lands damaged by illegal farming. 

Coronavirus Updates In The United States

As COVID-19 continues its spread throughout the US, we will provide you with updates to keep you up to speed. We will continue to include these updates at the end of This Week In Weed until further notice.

Confirmed COVID-19 CASES In United States (As of July 12): 3,413,995

Confirmed COVID-19 DEATHS In United States (As of July 12): 137,782

  • A US Judge halted the first federal execution in 17 years due to the health concerns of the victim’s family. 
  • A Japanese governor is demanding a meeting with the U.S. Military following an outbreak at Okinawa bases.
  • Dozens of Mississippi lawmakers contracted Coronavirus after refusing to wear masks.
  • President Trump wore a mask in public for the first time during a visit to Walter Reed.
  • The CDC Director claims there is no data supporting a theory that children drive the spread of Coronavirus.
  • Despite surging cases, President Trump continues to push for the reopening of schools in the fall.
  • As cases continue to rise, the White House Administration is excluding health experts from crucial decision-making processes. 
  • The United States gave notice that it is officially withdrawing from the World Health Organization.
  • On July 12th, Florida shattered the single-day record for new cases with over 15,000 reported cases. 

BLM Protest Updates

The United States is currently experiencing a surge of activism and protesting erupting from the murder of George Floyd by Minnesota police officers. 

Protesters are taking to the streets across the country to demand systemic reform against police violence. 

What follows is a collection of updates related to the ongoing BLM protests.

  • President Trump spoke out on Portland protests, claiming that local law enforcement “couldn’t handle it.” 
  • In Chicago, a record number of complaints are being filed against police during George Floyd protests. 
  • Since the beginning of protests, there have been dozens of incidents with drivers plowing into crowds. 
  • The Governor of Utah declared a state of emergency after protests sparked by a police shooting. 
  • The FBI actively monitored Seattle’s George Floyd protest to identify violent agitators.
  • 59 cases against Portland protesters have now been dismissed, including numerous felony charges. 
  • House Democrats are urging GOP senators to review the police reform bill currently before the Senate.
  • Salt Lake City’s mayor declared that violence at protests “will not be tolerated.”
  • Sen. Tim Scott said in an interview that ending qualified immunity is a “nonstarter” for the GOP.
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