This week, we cover shifting federal policies surrounding CBD, a new study on EVALI, the suspension of two High Times publications, and further discrimination against cannabis companies by the Small Business Administration.
As always, we will also provide updates on legalization developments at the state level.
Also, to keep you informed on the ongoing pandemic, we will provide recent news regarding the spread of COVID-19.
FBI Considers Allowing CBD Use By Agents
According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the policies surrounding CBD-use by agents are under review. The somewhat casual announcement came during a Twitter feed where the FBI answered questions about becoming an agent.
While cannabis use is still forbidden for agents, the recent federal legalization of CBD may influence policy changes.
Outside the FBI, several government agencies struggle to balance cannabis’ Schedule I classification and CBD’s legality.
A specific aspect of the bureau’s current policy was the source of the question. The query regarded a policy stating that potential candidates must abstain from cannabis use three years prior to applying.
In response, the FBI stated that the bureau’s policy surrounding “CBD oil” is “under review.”
Study Finds States With Recreational Legalization Experienced Fewer EVALI Cases
New research reveals that states with recreational cannabis legalization fared well against EVALI, a vaping-related respiratory disorder.
EVALI dominated headlines for much of 2019, with nearly 3,000 cases occurring as of February 2020.
According to an Indiana University study, these cases occurred with far less frequency in states with recreationally available cannabis.
In such states, total cases reached 1.7 for every million residents. In states with no legal cannabis, or only medical cannabis, the result was over 8 for every million.
This information tracks with early theories surrounding EVALI, particularly those that attributed its prominence to black-market vaping devices.
Two High Times Publications Suspend Activity Amid Coronavirus Pandemic
Until further notice, DOPE and Culture magazines will no longer be in publication.
Like many businesses in the US, Hightimes Holding Corp. is feeling the financial pressure of Coronavirus.
According to an announcement made by the company, employees of the two publications are furloughed for the time being.
With social distancing efforts in full swing, many dispensaries have been forced to switch to curbside pick-up, delivery, or are simply shutting their doors.
These dispensaries are primary distribution points for both DOPE and Culture magazine. As a result, the continuation of both publications would be a financial burden until social distancing restrictions are lifted.
CBD Seizure Medication No Longer A Federally Controlled Substance
According to the DEA, Epidiolex, a CBD-based epilepsy medication, will no longer carry a federal Schedule V classification. The classification will go out of effect immediately, and Epidiolex’s creator, GW Pharmaceuticals, is currently working to establish distribution chains throughout the country.
Dropping the Schedule V classification will make Epidiolex far more accessible to prospective patients. Prior to this, many struggled to get Epidiolex subscriptions due to state reporting policies set forth by drug monitoring programs.
For years, Epidiolex’s Schedule V classification stubbornly persisted due to international treaty obligations.
However, last year, the World Health Organization announced that CBD with less than .2 percent THC was not under international purview.
SBA Could Deny Federal Relief Loan Applications From Businesses Associated With Cannabis Businesses
As Coronavirus tears through the US economy, the cannabis industry has been hit particularly hard. The federal government is extending special loans to American businesses in need of help, with some pointed exceptions.
The Small Business Administration, which oversees these relief loans, has expressed that state-legal cannabis companies are ineligible for aid.
The decision has caused an outcry among advocates, business owners, and politicians alike.
However, the SBA is now expanding its discrimination against the cannabis industry. Cannabis companies like dispensaries, cultivators, and distributors are not the only ones in peril of missing out on federal aid.
The SBA referenced an internal document stating that federal loans cannot go to any companies “engaged in illegal activity.”
According to the SBA, any company that profits directly from the sale of cannabis will be eligible for aid. This can include law offices, fixture installation providers, and even marketing agencies.
As the federal government considers new Coronavirus relief bills, it is not yet known whether this discrepancy will be addressed.
State-Level Cannabis Decriminalization and Legalization Developments
In past months, the spread of cannabis decriminalization and legalization progress throughout the United States has been at a fever pitch. This week, several states saw developments in cannabis legalization.
- New Jersey Senator Cory Booker is pushing for the prioritization of medical cannabis access amid Coronavirus concerns.
- A Michigan state report found that Michigan’s cannabis industry is primed for impressive growth, although it may face significant barriers. The primary barriers are jurisdictions opting out of the adult-use program and excessive wait times for lab testing.
- Delaware will allow delivery for medical cannabis patients amid the Coronavirus outbreak. It joins several states that are enacting emergency measures allowing for cannabis delivery.
- Amid New York’s battle with Coronavirus, the push to legalize recreational cannabis is “effectively over,” according to Governor Cuomo.
- Cannabis advocates in Arizona are requesting the capability to gather digital signatures to put a cannabis measure on the 2020 ballot.
- North Dakota is the latest state to have a campaign for cannabis legalization fail due to Coronavirus quarantine measures.
- Washington Governor Jay Inslee halted state research on the connection between cannabis and psychosis, citing saving money as the prime factor.
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 March, 22): 561,103
Confirmed COVID-19 DEATHS In United States (As Of March, 22): 22,106
- The United States now leads the world in confirmed cases of Coronavirus, surpassing Italy with over 550,000 cases.
- Over 18% of the NYPD are out sick, with 2,344 confirmed cases among uniformed members.
- Jails and prisons are becoming hotspots for the Coronavirus outbreak, with several institutions reporting hundreds of cases.
- The Internal Revenue Service deposited the first wave of Coronavirus stimulus checks on Saturday, April 11.
- Coronavirus infection models show that, while many states have passed their peak infection rates, several states are weeks away.
- Minority populations appear to be at a far higher risk of Coronavirus infection, according to studies.
- The director of the CDC claims that the US has “under-invested” in public health, causing issues in fighting Coronavirus.