Top 5 Cannabis Headlines - Weekly Recap 11/12After the midterms, multiple US States are making strides in cannabis reform. This week's recap discusses the sweeping changes coming to North America.
Texas Representative Introduces Bill to Decriminalize Marijuana
On Monday, a Texas State Senator has introduced a bill to decriminalize medical cannabis in Texas. Jose Menendez (D-San Antonio) filed the bill ahead of January’s legislative season, in the hopes that Texas becomes the 33rd state to allow cannabis for medicinal purposes. Menendez was also the co-author of the bill that permitted the prescription of marijuana for epilepsy patients.
If the bill goes through, possession of small amounts of marijuana would no longer be considered grounds for jail time. Also, the bill lists specific qualifying medical conditions such as glaucoma, cancer, and IBS.
"Doctors, not politicians, should determine what is best for Texas patients," he said in an interview with Newsweek. "Studies have proven that cannabis is a legitimate medicine that can help a variety of Texans including individuals suffering from opioid addiction, veterans coping with PTSD, cancer patients, and people on the Autism spectrum. Texas should provide real relief for our suffering patients."
Federal Government Seeking Cultivators to Expand Research Programmes
The US government is seeking experienced cannabis cultivators, according to a listing posted by the National Insitute on Drug Abuse (via the Federal Business Opportunities website). Interested parties should be able to produce a variety of cannabis strains and products, as well as have facilities for the storage of five tons of biomass.
With cannabis still banned at a federal level, this information might seem counter-intuitive. However, this is a first-class opportunity for cultivators to actively help the government make available more cannabis for medical trials. Since 1968, the only institution authorized to grow cannabis for research purposes is the University of Mississippi.
News outlets report that the resignation of ex-Attorney General Jeff Sessions had a lot to do with this decision. Sessions was a known legalization opponent and was actively trying to shut down businesses. It seems like with him out of the picture, the federal government’s support of cannabis clinical trials is speeding up. Check out the listing here.
Massachusetts to Launch Regulated Supply Chain By End of November
After much back and forth, Massachusetts is ready to launch its regulated cannabis supply chain, according to reports by MassLive. The original launch date was January 1, 2018. However, it has been pushed back twice, spreading disappointment across prospective investors.
The state has already distributed dispensary licenses and has already sent out “commence operations” notice to two testing labs (CDX Analytics and MCR Labs). This is an important indicator, as the testing of cannabis is mandatory before the products hit the shelves. The operation of the labs is the first step towards the commencement of the State’s adult cannabis use program by the end of the month. The rest of the approved businesses should receive their notices soon.
Nevada Collects a Record $8M in Marijuana Tax Revenues
According to reports by Marijuana.com, new Nevada tax data show revenues from the legal cannabis industry have hit record levels. In Nov.14 2018, the Nevada Department of Taxation reported that marijuana tax revenues generated more than $8 million in August. In comparison, in the same month in 2017, the income was only $4 million. Licensed businesses in the state reported around $50 million in sales in August alone. These figures include medical and recreational cannabis, as well as cannabis-infused products.
Mexico Looks To Be Next To Legalize Marijuana
The newly-elected Mexican government is considering legalizing marijuana as an attempt to curb rampant organized crime activity in the country. If the introduced legislation passes, Mexico will join the exclusive group of countries and US states that have legalized marijuana.
Senator Olga Sánchez Cordero, of the left-wing National Regeneration Movement (MORENA) party, pointed out that since 2006, Mexico's war on drugs has killed about 235,000 people and left 40,000 more disappeared. Cordero, who is tipped to be the next interior minister of Mexico once President-elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador assumes office on Dec. 1 said: "We don't want any more deaths ... no more mourning families, no more bloodshed," adding that penalization and militarized police make matters worse.
Although her speech was generally well reserved, the Mexican public and the house are still a long way of being convinced. In its current form, the bill would allow retail companies to cultivate and sell cannabis for medicinal and adult use. Individuals could register for growing permits for private use, and decriminalizing smoking in public.