Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand Calls on Biden To Deschedule Cannabis. Drug Test False Positive. Wasted Weed

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand Calls on Biden To Deschedule Cannabis. Drug Test False Positive. Wasted Weed

00:00 – 01:10
1. Nevada’s Cannabis Laws Updated: Weed Possession Limit Doubled
Effective January 1, Nevada underwent significant changes to its cannabis laws with the enactment of a new legislation, Senate Bill 277. This measure, which received ap-proval from Nevada lawmakers earlier in the year and was subsequently signed into law by Republican Governor Joe Lombardo on June 14, brings notable alterations to the state’s cannabis regulations.

Nevada has been progressive in its approach to cannabis legalization, initially legaliz-ing medical marijuana in 2001. Subsequently, with the passage of Question 2 in 2016, the state expanded its stance to include recreational marijuana for adults aged 21 and older.

One of the key amendments introduced by Senate Bill 277 is the doubling of posses-sion and purchase limits for recreational marijuana in Nevada. Previously set at one ounce of cannabis, the possession limit has now been raised to 2.5 ounces, offering consumers greater flexibility. Additionally, the legislation increases the limits for can-nabis concentrates from one-eighth of an ounce to a quarter ounce, reflecting the evolving landscape of cannabis consumption preferences.

01:10 – 02:16
2. UN Report: Cannabis Dominates Global Drug Use, Opioids Remain Most Harmful
The latest findings from the United Nations’ 2023 “World Drug Report” reveal that cannabis remains the most widely used substance worldwide, with a notable increase in consumption. However, opioids continue to pose the greatest threat in terms of harm.

The report highlights a concerning trend of high drug usage on a global scale. In 2021, approximately 1 in 17 individuals aged 15 to 64 had used drugs within the past year. This represents an estimated 296 million users, marking a significant 23% increase from 2011, attributed in part to population growth.

Cannabis retains its position as the most commonly used drug, with an estimated 219 million users constituting 4.3% of the global adult population in 2021. This figure demonstrates a rising trajectory, potentially influenced by legalization efforts in countries like the United States and elsewhere. However, the report also sheds light on a gender disparity in cannabis consumption patterns.

In contrast, opioids continue to pose the most substantial harm, as emphasized by the report. Despite cannabis’s prevalence, the detrimental effects associated with opioid use underscore the critical need for comprehensive drug control measures.

02:16 – 03:09
3. UFC Implements New Anti-Doping Policy: Cannabis No Longer Banned Substance
As of December 31, 2023, the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) has implemented a revamped Anti-Doping Policy for all its athletes, marking a significant shift in its approach towards cannabis. This move aligns with the broader trend of reassessing cannabis regulations in the realm of sports.

In a groundbreaking decision, the UFC has officially removed cannabis from its list of prohibited substances, reflecting a growing acceptance of cannabis use within the sports community.

This decision builds upon the UFC’s 2021 ruling, which already reduced penalties for THC-positive tests. Under the new policy, positive tests for carboxy-THC, a metabolite of THC, will no longer be considered a violation “unless additional evidence suggests intentional use for performance-enhancing purposes.”

03:09 – 04:13
4. Ohio Governor Urges Ban on Hemp Products with Psychotropic Compounds
Governor Mike DeWine of Ohio has recently urged state legislators to pass a law prohibiting hemp products containing psychoactive cannabinoids like delta-8 THC, citing concerns over their potential harm to children. As the legislature reconvenes this month, discussions around regulating recreational marijuana, legalized by Ohio voters in November, are already underway.

The Ohio House of Representatives is set to reconvene at the Statehouse earlier than scheduled, with the Senate also returning later in the month. Cannabis regulation ranks high on the agenda for state lawmakers, given the recent legalization of recreational marijuana through the passage of Question 2 in the 2023 off-year election. This initiative not only permits adult use of cannabis but also lays the groundwork for regulated sales.

Governor DeWine underscores the urgency for swift action in regulating hemp cannabinoids to safeguard Ohio’s children, highlighting it as a top priority for state legislators.

04:13 – 04:59
5. Canada Discards 3.7 Million Pounds of Cannabis Since 2018: Excess Production Leads to Massive Waste
Canada’s cannabis industry faced a staggering issue of excess production resulting in the disposal of approximately 611.7 million grams (equivalent to 1.3 million pounds) of dried cannabis buds between 2022 and the first half of 2023. This substantial quantity, discarded by licensed producers, highlights a significant disparity between production and consumption.

The amount discarded represents a concerning increase of nearly 44% compared to the 425.3 million grams disposed of in the previous year. Health Canada’s reported figures solely account for the weight of unpackaged cannabis destroyed, suggesting that the overall volume of cannabis waste, including packaged products, could exceed 2 billion grams. This excess of cannabis waste underscores the challenges faced by the Canadian cannabis industry in managing production levels effectively.

04:59 – 05:49
6. Maine’s Adult-Use Cannabis Sales Surpass $200 Million in 2023
The regulated adult-use cannabis market in Maine soared past the $200 million mark in sales for 2023, marking a notable 36% increase from the previous year, as reported by the state Office of Cannabis Policy. Despite this significant growth, concerns loom among cannabis business owners who perceive the market as becoming oversaturated, hinting at forthcoming challenges for licensed operators.

In 2022, Maine’s licensed recreational marijuana retailers facilitated approximately 3.7 million transactions, resulting in sales totaling around $217 million, according to data released by state regulators. This substantial yearly figure represents a robust 36% surge compared to the $159 million in sales reported for 2022.

05:49 – 06:58
7. Thailand Seeks Feedback on Proposed Bill to Prohibit Recreational Cannabis Use Post-Decriminalization
Following Thailand’s decision to decriminalize cannabis, authorities have observed an unexpected proliferation of cannabis shops and recreational usage, prompting a reevaluation of the law with several revisions.

On January 9, a draft bill aiming to ban the recreational use of potent cannabis products was made available online for public input. According to the proposal, individuals caught smoking cannabis for recreational purposes could face fines of up to 60,000 baht (approximately $1,709.53). Moreover, those involved in selling cannabis or its derivatives for recreational use may be subject to imprisonment for up to one year or fines of up to 100,000 baht (approximately $2,849.21), or both.

The proposed legislation also prohibits advertising or promotional activities related to cannabis flower, extracts, and smoking paraphernalia. Additionally, driving under the influence of cannabis could result in fines of up to 20,000 baht ($569.83) or imprisonment for one year.

Furthermore, the government aims to tighten regulations concerning licensing for cannabis cultivation, sales, as well as imports and exports.

06:58 – 07:53
8. NASA Clears SpaceX Following Allegations of Elon Musk’s Drug Use
In response to concerns raised by a prominent media outlet regarding Elon Musk’s purported psychedelic drug use, officials from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) conducted an investigation and swiftly absolved Musk’s company, SpaceX, of any wrongdoing. This incident marks the latest in a series of safety reviews conducted by NASA on SpaceX, prompted by Musk’s previous controversial actions related to marijuana and psychedelics.

Following a sensational report published on January 6 by The Wall Street Journal, which detailed allegations of Elon Musk’s alleged use of psychedelic substances such as ketamine, LSD, cocaine, MDMA, and mushrooms, NASA initiated an inquiry. The Wall Street Journal article also raised concerns about Musk’s “mental-health issues” and their potential connection to drug use within the workplace.

Musk vehemently criticized The Wall Street Journal via social media platform X, tweeting, “After that one puff with Rogan, I agreed, at NASA’s request, to do 3 years of random drug testing. Not even trace quantities were found of any drugs or alcohol.” This statement refers to Musk’s appearance on a podcast hosted by Joe Rogan, during which he smoked marijuana.

NASA’s thorough investigation concluded that there were no grounds to support the allegations of drug use within SpaceX, thereby clearing the company of any suspicions.

07:53 – 09:16
9. University Study Reveals Field Drug Test Errors Leading to Wrongful Arrests
A recent study by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania sheds light on the alarming prevalence of wrongful arrests stemming from false positive results obtained through field drug tests. According to the study, tens of thousands of individuals are erroneously apprehended for crimes each year due to inaccuracies in these tests.

Conducted by the Quattrone Center for the Fair Administration of Justice at Penn Carey Law School, the research delved into data sourced from public agencies nationwide. Its findings underscore the significant role of presumptive field tests in contributing to wrongful arrests and subsequent convictions in the United States.

The study, aimed at fostering structural improvements within the criminal legal system, analyzed survey data and national estimates of drug-related arrests. It revealed that a staggering 773,000 out of over 1.5 million field drug tests conducted annually rely on color-based presumptive tests, despite known reliability issues. These tests often yield false positive results, inaccurately indicating the presence of controlled substances.

Although the exact error rate of these tests remains undetermined, the data suggests that approximately 30,000 individuals annually are falsely implicated by these tests, despite not possessing any illicit drugs. This study highlights the pressing need for reforms to address the systemic flaws contributing to wrongful arrests in the criminal justice system.

09:16 – 09:58
10. FDA Proposes Reclassification of Cannabis to Schedule III: Implications and Changes
In a groundbreaking development, officials from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have proposed the reclassification of cannabis as a Schedule III substance. This significant shift would legalize medical cannabis and associated research at the federal level, subjecting it to stringent regulations akin to hormone replacement therapy or ketamine.

The comprehensive 252-page document, addressed to U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Administrator Anne Milgram, advocates for the reclassification of cannabis from its current Schedule I status to Schedule III under the Controlled Substances Act. The document highlights that “marijuana meets the findings for control in Schedule III,” signaling a pivotal moment in federal drug policy.

09:58 – 10:47
11. German Study Reveals Higher Patient Satisfaction with Medical Marijuana Compared to Traditional Treatments
Medical marijuana (MMJ) continues to gain recognition as a promising alternative to conventional treatments for pain management and related symptoms. Building on existing research, a recent survey of German patients published in Frontiers in Medicine highlights their overwhelmingly positive experiences with cannabis products.

The study, involving over 200 anonymous participants, delves into patient perspectives on cannabis therapy. Results show significant reductions in daily pain levels following the adoption of cannabis treatment, consistent with findings from previous studies. However, what sets this study apart is the notable trend of patients expressing “greater satisfaction” with cannabis therapy compared to their previous treatments, describing it as “more effective.” This suggests a growing preference for medical marijuana among patients seeking relief from various medical conditions.

10:47 – 11:28
12. New York Regulators to Decide on Proposed Home Cannabis Cultivation Rules
New York State’s cannabis regulators are poised to make a significant decision regarding the regulation of home marijuana cultivation. The proposed rules, if approved, would grant New Yorkers the ability to cultivate up to 12 cannabis plants at home, albeit with certain conditions and restrictions in place.

Initially scheduled for a vote at a meeting on Wednesday, January 25, the New York Cannabis Control Board recently announced the postponement of the decision. The board has rescheduled the vote for a meeting in the coming month, where they will deliberate on the adoption of the proposed home cannabis cultivation rules. Following approval by the board, the draft regulations will undergo a 60-day public comment period before they are finalized.

11:28 – 12:22
13. Long Beach, California to Reduce Cannabis Taxes for Compliant Retailers
Long Beach, California is taking steps to introduce an ordinance aimed at providing tax relief to cannabis retailers. Under the proposed ordinance, cannabis businesses in good standing with their tax payments will receive a significant tax reduction, with their local tax rate slashed by half.

During a meeting on January 23, members of the Long Beach City Council voted to initiate the drafting of an ordinance that would lower tax rates for cannabis businesses meeting specific criteria related to hiring practices and compensation, in addition to being up-to-date with their tax obligations.

City officials acknowledge the considerable tax burden faced by cannabis businesses statewide in California. This move is part of broader efforts to address the financial challenges confronting the cannabis industry, which have been exacerbated by regulatory changes and economic pressures. The shift of excise tax responsibility from distributors to retailers under recent state law reforms has further strained the finances of cannabis retailers across California. In response to these challenges, several cities and counties in the state have opted to reduce taxes to alleviate the burden on cannabis retailers.

12:22 – 13:07
14. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand Urges Biden Administration to Deschedule Cannabis
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is advocating for a significant shift in cannabis policy, urging the Biden administration to take decisive action to end the prohibition of cannabis by fully descheduling it. Instead of merely rescheduling cannabis to a slightly less restrictive category, Gillibrand emphasizes the importance of complete descheduling to bring about substantive change.

In a press conference held in Harlem, New York, on Sunday, Senator Gillibrand called upon Attorney General Merrick Garland and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration to take immediate steps to deschedule cannabis. Currently classified as a Schedule I controlled substance, cannabis faces the most stringent regulations, equating it with heroin and stating that it has “no currently accepted medical use.” Gillibrand asserts that the time is ripe for genuine reform in cannabis policy.


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