Kristina Etter   |   May 10, 2019

Weekly News in Cannabis and Hemp

Tis the season! Spring legislation paves a bright outlook for hemp, Colorado cannabis sees several new opportunities blossom, and USPTO makes changes to support industrial hemp.
Before becoming a freelance cannabis journalist, Kristina Etter spent 20 years in corporate IT with a niche in mobile technology. Today, she combines her love of technology with a passion for the cannabis industry as the Editorial Content…

2019 Spring Legislative Sessions Blossom with Hemp Activity

Several states are getting the jump on hemp regulation this year, passing new legislation ahead of federal laws which could take several years to develop. As the sessions come to a close, hemp is making strides:

  • Florida hemp is expected to expand beyond just university research as well.
  • Georgia’s hemp bill, if signed, will allow unlimited hemp cultivation for its farmers.
  • Hawaii’s pilot hemp program is about to expand into commercial use.
  • Iowa will now allow farmers to plant up to 40 acres of hemp.
  • Montana passed three bills recently – one to exempt hemp processing equipment from property taxes, one eliminates the need for a background check for hemp cultivators, and the third creates a special certification for Montana hemp.
  • New Hampshire is about to allow hemp production for the first time.
  • New laws in Washington specifically allow hemp cultivation for flower and cannabinoids
  • Wyoming is moving forward with unlimited hemp production.

Colorado Cannabis Laws Evolve

Legislation in Colorado promises to open more opportunity for consumer and industry. The Westword, a publication based in Denver reported this week, 13 of the 15 hemp and cannabis bills introduced have moved to Governor Jared Polis’ desk.

Among those waiting for the governor’s signature, are:

  • HB1230 – Marijuana Hospitality Businesses – Social consumption businesses rejoice, this bill allows a range of cannabis-centered tourism options.
  • HB1234 – Allowing Cannabis Delivery. Delivery for medical marijuana patients will start in 2020, while recreational consumers must wait until 2021.
  • HB1090 – Publically Traded Cannabis Companies - This bill repeals a provision prohibiting publicly traded corporations from holding a marijuana license, thus allowing more investment opportunities.

Additionally, autism and opiate addiction will be added to the qualifying conditions for medical use.

Changes to Trademark Rules for Hemp & CBD

The US Patent and Trademark Office is making changes to support the emerging hemp industry, but with several limitations. The announcement re-emphasized the FDA’s authority over food products containing CBD. With FDA-approved Epidiolex, a pure CBD isolate, such products would violate the law due to their pharmaceutical product. Although the agency is looking for alternate pathways for regulating hemp-derived CBD for these products.

The USPTO also emphasized it would only entertain IP for products with .3% THC or less, noting that cannabis products are still a controlled substance and cannot apply for federal protections.

Illinois Governor Plans for Adult-Use Cannabis Despite Opposition

JB Pritzker, Illinois governor-elect announced a plan to move forward with full legalization of cannabis in the Prairie State. Deeply rooted in social justice, the plan aims to “start righting some historic wrongs,” and promises help those communities impacted by the failed war on drugs, according to Lt. Gov. Juliana Stratton, in an article on Time.

However, the measure may have difficulties on the horizon as the opposition is rising within critic groups such as law enforcement and anti-tobacco groups. Even the Illinois chapter of the NAACP believes legalization could lead to more significant social and mental problems in the long run.

The governor plans to allocate 35% of legal cannabis revenues to the general operating fund, and another 25% to fund grants for communities which have suffered due to “discriminatory drug policies.” Some money is slated for mental health and substance abuse treatment as well.

TSA Gives Lighthearted Warning to Travelers via Instagram

TSA posted a humorous reminder on Instagram this week, giving travelers a wink and a nod. Using colloquial cannabis-culture language and a colorful play on words, the agency playfully suggested that they aren’t deliberately looking for your stash, but if they do find it, they are required to report it.

Stating, “Are we cool? We like to think we’re cool,” the post emphasizes the security procedures are primarily focused on security and potential threats. They go on to say that if a substance “appears” to marijuana or a cannabis-infused product, whether or medicinal or not, they must report it.

Israeli Company Using 3-D Cell Culturing Platform to Produce Cannabinoids

While hemp production appears to be booming in the United States, an Israeli pharmaceutical company, Pluristem Therapeutics wants to produce cannabinoids another way. Filing for a US provisional patent application, “Methods and Compositions for Producing Cannabinoids,” Pluristem uses proprietary 3-D cell culturing to manufacture cannabinoid-producing cells.

The article in the Jerusalem Post suggests the technology could disrupt the cannabis industry from natural cultivation to pharmaceutical Good Manufacturing Practice. By automating and controlling cannabinoid production, the company claims to produce cannabinoids with batch-to-batch consistency and in much higher quantities than plant-based production.

 

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