The constant flow of cannabis news can be daunting and keeping current can be a hassle. For this reason, Respect My Region keeps an eye out on your behalf, providing a weekly roundup of significant events in the world of cannabis.
This week, we will continue our coverage of state-level legalization efforts as well as an array of statements on legalization by Democratic presidential candidates, a new cannabis degree program in Colorado, and a controversial federal document focused on the rescheduling of cannabis.
The Prospect Of International Cannabis Rescheduling Has The U.S. Government Sweating
This week, Marijuana Moment shared a U.S. government document that discusses rescheduling efforts by the United Nations. The document contains ruminations on proposals by the UN and the World Health Organization to reschedule cannabis. Last year, both organizations proposed the removal of cannabis from a list of banned substances and rescheduling several cannabinoids. The UN’s Commission on Narcotic Drugs could vote on such proposals as early as next month.
In the document shared by Marijuana Moment, it appears that US government entities are concerned about the effect that such proposals could have on the public. Of particular concern seems to be the possibility that such a move by the UN and WHO could give United States citizens the impression that the U.S. government will legalize cannabis as a result. The federal government already faces pressure from the legalization of cannabis in several states. It appears that they aren’t keen on facing similar pressures on an international stage.
Colorado State University Will Soon Offer A Cannabis-Focused Degree Program
In the wake of recent legalization developments across the country, cannabis education has flourished. Whether it be on the part of growers, distributors, or simple consumers, our knowledge surrounding cannabis has only grown. However, much of this education has been in informal settings. In Colorado, it seems that there is a desire to take the matter of cannabis education to the next level.
On Friday, the Pueblo campus of Colorado State University gained state approval to introduce a cannabis degree program. The program, “Cannabis, Chemistry, and Biology” will focus on the scientific knowledge relevant to entering the field of cannabis. The two primary components of the degree will be natural products and analytical chemistry. While the students will not be able to actively work with products containing THC, CBD will be permissible.
Presidential Candidates Say Their Piece On Cannabis
With the Democratic presidential primaries in full-swing, candidates are doing their best to play to the public voice. Legalization efforts are constantly finding their way into headlines, and it would seem that candidates have taken note. This week, several candidates made comments regarding their take on cannabis.
Bernie Isn’t Beating Around The Bush
Among the current lineup of democratic candidates, Bernie is often considered to be the most radical. He has made revolutionary promises relating to government health insurance, corporate tax rates, and student loan forgiveness.
Apparently, his desire for radical change extends to cannabis as well. In the midst of the chaotic Iowa caucus, Sanders made clear that, should he win the presidency in 2020, cannabis legalization would be a priority.
In fact, he promised to enact widespread legalization via executive order on day one of his presidency. While leading law experts are unsure that this type of action is feasible, the statement speaks to Sanders’ resolve.
Andrew Yang Promises Forgiveness For Non-Violent Drug Charges
In the United States, prisons are occupied by individuals with nothing more on their record than simple drug charges. Andrew Yang, a tech industry darling and democratic candidate, seems to find this unacceptable.
In a speech given during the Iowa caucus, Yang spoke on the issue and made a bold assurance. Yang said that he would “make marijuana legal throughout our country and […] pardon everyone who’s in jail for a non-violent drug-related offense.”
Michael Bloomberg Changes His Tune On Cannabis
One of the newer additions to the democratic primary race is Michael Bloomberg, ex-mayor of New York and multibillionaire. His candidacy has been largely derided by politicians and political commentators, largely due to his immense wealth.
As a result, Bloomberg has taken measures to align himself with the main talking points of his competitors. One such effort came about this week when Bloomberg referred to jailing people for drug charges as “dumb.”
However, these comments are receiving a certain amount of skepticism, as Bloomberg once referred to cannabis legalization as “perhaps the stupidest thing anybody has ever done.”
Tom Steyer Is Dying For You To Know He Supports Cannabis
Try not to be too hard on yourself if you’re thinking “who the hell is Tom Steyer?” Among the long list of Democratic candidates, Steyer has had a difficult name for himself. He rarely appears on the debate stage and is about as likely to become president as your high school PE teacher.
However, Steyer is still fighting that good fight, and he really wants you to know that he supports cannabis. During a town hall event, an individual attending the event told Steyer that most people believed Bernie Sanders to be the only candidate in support of cannabis. Steyer laughed at the comment, responding “I’m from California. Are you kidding me?”
Pete Buttigieg Wants To Give Cannabis Reform A Personal Touch
Throughout the Democratic primary race, candidates have offered a variety of plans to take on cannabis legislation reform. On Thursday, Pete Buttigieg outlined a plan that may seem, well, unconventional. Buttigieg said that, should lawmakers not answer the demand for widespread legalization, he may have to take some extreme measures.
Specifically, he stated that he intends to board Air Force 1 and fly to the districts of lawmakers who oppose legalization. Essentially, if lawmakers fight legalization, Buttigieg wants to go over their heads and appeal to the people who elected them.
While such threats may not be taken seriously by anti-cannabis politicians, it would likely be ill-advised for such stalwarts to ignore them altogether. While Buttigieg’s plans for legalization may seem a tad harsher than those of his opponents, there are few democratic candidates who would reach the White House without plans of pushing for legalization.
Continued Coverage Of State-Level Cannabis Decriminalization and Legalization Developments
In past months, the spread of cannabis decriminalization legislation progress throughout the United States has been at a fever pitch. New developments seem to surface on a daily basis, and several states are likely to implement recreational legalization in 2020. We’ve compiled a list of this week’s cannabis legislation news, allowing you to stay up to date.
A House committee of Vermont voted unanimously for a bill that would legalize commercial cannabis sales in the state. Prior to the bill’s passing, Vermont was among the states that only allowed for the possession and cultivation of cannabis. Before the bill can become law, it will have to pass through two more house committees and then receive a vote on the House floor.
Minnesota has enjoyed medical cannabis legalization since lawmakers signed it into law in 2014. Now, a top Minnesota lawmaker has announced that he intends to take it a step further. Minnesota’s House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler said that he has spent time touring the state, gathering public opinions. As a result, he believes that the time has come for Minnesota to legalize cannabis for adult use and sale. As such, he will soon introduce a legalization bill he stated will be the best “in the country to date.”
In the heat of legalization efforts unfolding across the country, it can be easy to forget the issues faced by states where cannabis is already legal. Chief among these issues is the inability on part of dispensaries to utilize the services of banks.
Banks are wary of taking money from companies that profit from selling cannabis products. If they do, they run the risk of violating federal anti-money laundering laws. Colorado Gov. Jared Polis has announced that he wishes to address this issue, and soon. He has outlined legislation that will increase the number of banks accessible by cannabis companies by 20% as soon as June 30.
On Thursday, lawmakers in Connecticut acted on the urging of their governor to introduce legislation to legalize adult use of cannabis. The “Governor’s Bill” is the result of constant pressure from Gov. Ned Lamont to act quickly on cannabis legalization. Gov. Lamont has made his intentions known for weeks, and it now seems his efforts will soon pay dividends.
Apart from legalizing cannabis, the bill would also seek to enact socially minded policies surrounding the state’s cannabis industry. Among these policies are expungement of non-violent drug charges and explicit permission for past offenders to work within the industry. Lawmakers hope to pass the bill during the 2020 legislative session and issue business licenses beginning January of 2021.