#NORML #News Source: @norml @WeedConnection Posted By: firstname.lastname@example.org media :: news - Tue, 12 Mar 2019 04:20:21 PST
Report: State-Licensed Marijuana Businesses Employ Over 200,000 Full-Time Workers
Seattle, WA: The state-licensed cannabis industry gained over 64,000 new employees in 2018, and now employs over 200,000 full-time workers, according to data compiled by Whitney Economics and the online content provider Leafly.com.
The report, entitled Cannabis Jobs Count, identifies some 211,000 full-time jobs in the legal cannabis sector. This total increases to 296,000 jobs when ancillary employers are also included.
By comparison, 112,000 Americans are estimated to currently work in the textile industry, while only about 52,000 people are employed by the coal mining industry.
"[T]he legal cannabis industry remains a substantial and unrecognized engine of grassroots job creation," authors concluded. "In fact, cannabis job growth is proceeding at double digit rates in many states despite being overtaxed locally and heavily penalized at the federal level."
California (67,000 jobs) led the country in cannabis-related employment, followed by Washington (47,000 jobs), and Colorado (44,000 jobs).
Commenting on the findings, NORML Executive Director Erik Altieri said: "The federal government needs to deschedule marijuana to allow states to better and more fully benefit from the economic growth engine that is the legal marijuana industry. Further, state regulators need to ensure as this sector expands its economic benefits are shared by all, including and most especially by those who suffered most under the failed policy of criminal prohibition."
Full text of the report is online. Additional economic data is available via the NORML fact-sheet, "Marijuana Regulation: Impact on Health, Safety, Economy."
Justice Department Urged To Take "Immediate Action" On Pending Federal Marijuana Grow Applications
Washington, DC: The American Psychological Association (APA) is urging US Attorney General William Barr to review more than two-dozen pending applications for federal marijuana grow licenses. In a letter dated Wednesday, February 27, the association urged the Justice Department to "act immediately" on 26 applications pending before federal officials -- applications which were initially submitted to the agency over two years ago.
Currently, the sole federally licensed producer of cannabis for clinical research is the University of Mississippi. The University has held the exclusive license for more than four decades.
In August 2016, the US Drug Enforcement Administration announced in the US Federal Register that the agency was "adopting a new policy that is designed to increase the number of entities registered under the Controlled Substances Act to grow (manufacture) marijuana to supply legitimate researchers in the United States." The agency said that the policy change was necessary because the existing system provides "no clear legal pathway for commercial enterprises to produce marijuana for product development."
Last year, however, former DEA director Robert Patterson testified to Congress that the agency believed that approving additional applicants would likely violate international anti-drug treaties. Patterson said that DEA could not move forward granting any new applications until the Justice Department clarified the issue.
In its letter to the newly appointed Attorney General, APA CEO Arthur C. Evans urged the Department "to take immediate action on the existing pool of cannabis grower applications so that the United States scientific community can continue to expand the study of both the harmful and potential therapeutic effects of cannabis and its derivatives. ... Without access to an expanded range of cannabis products engineered under FDA-approved Good Manufacturing Practices, scientific research cannot hope to keep pace with the ever expanding recreational and medicinal cannabis marketplace." The APA represents nearly 120,000 researchers and clinicians.
The longstanding federal prohibition on privately licensed cannabis producers exists despite a 2007 ruling by the DEA's own administrative law judge striking down the ban because it was not "in the public interest." Although that ruling ordered DEA to lift the ban, the agency failed to do so.
Federal Agencies Weigh In On Legal Status Of Hemp, CBD
Washington, DC: Representatives from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) testified last week with regard to federal efforts to regulate domestic hemp production and the sale of certain hemp-derived CBD products.
In December, Congress enacted legislation removing industrial hemp (defined as cannabis containing less than 0.3 percent THC) and products containing cannabinoids derived from hemp from the federal Controlled Substances Act.
In Congressional testimony last week, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said that the Department is working to create federal hemp regulations by 2020. Under the provisions of the 2018 Farm Bill, US states that wish to license commercial hemp cultivation must submit their plan to the USDA. However, the agency is not reviewing any state-specific plans until it has finalized its own federal regulations.
In separate testimony, outgoing FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb told Congress that the agency is considering various pathways to regulate hemp-derived CBD products, but cautioned that the process could take "two, three, [or] four years." The Commissioner has previously stated, "[I]t's unlawful under the FD&C Act (US Food Drugs and Cosmetics Act) to introduce food containing added CBD or THC into interstate commerce, or to market CBD or THC products as, or in, dietary supplements, regardless of whether the substances are hemp-derived." That announcement led to regulatory agencies in several states pulling certain CBD-infused products from the retail market.
The FDA director told Congress that the agency will soon announce the formation of a "high-level working group" to begin addressing the issue, with public meetings beginning in April.
Montpelier, VT: Members of the state Senate overwhelmingly approved legislation last week establishing a system of retail marijuana sales to adults.
Members passed Senate Bill 54 by a vote of 23 to 5. The measure expands existing law to permit the state-licensed production and sale of cannabis to those age 21 or older. Under the plan, the state would begin issuing growers' licenses by December 2020. In February, NORML's Deputy Director testified in favor of the legislation before members of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Lawmakers last year enacted legislation permitting adults to legally possess and grow personal use quantities of cannabis. That legislation does not permit commercial production or sales.
The measure now awaits action from members of the House, which historically has been more hostile to proposals seeking to regulate the marijuana market. Republican Gov. Phil Scott has also expressed his intent to veto the legislation if it fails to adequately fund efforts directed toward youth prevention and traffic safety.
New Hampshire: House Passes Adult Use Marijuana Legalization Bill
Concord, NH: Members of the New Hampshire House of Representatives voted late last week in favor of legislation to legalize and regulate the adult use cannabis market.
Representatives voted by a margin of 209 to 147 in favor of the measure, House Bill 481. The proposal would legalize the possession and cultivate of personal use quantities of cannabis by adults, and establish a licensed system of commercial production and retail sales.
According to statewide polling, 74 percent of New Hampshire adults support regulating marijuana sales in a manner similar to alcohol.
In prior years, similar legislation has also received majority support from House members, but has stalled in the Senate. Republican Gov. Chris Sununu has also expressed strong disapproval for the effort, stating that he will "absolutely" veto any legalization bill, "regardless of what the language looks like."
Study: No Correlation Between THC Levels In Blood And Psychomotor Impairment
Düsseldorf, Germany: The presence of low levels of THC in blood is poorly correlated with driving performance, according to driving simulator data published in the International Journal of Legal Medicine.
German investigators assessed simulated driving performance in 15 subjects following the consumption of up to three cannabis cigarettes. Subjects manifested changes in driving performance, such as higher incidences of weaving and an inability to compensate for unforeseen events, for a period of three hours following cannabis administration. After three hours, subjects' "driving performance and style no longer differed significantly" from baseline performance, authors reported.
Researchers failed to identify any "reliable correlations" in the total quantity of cannabis consumed by participants and their THC blood concentrations immediately afterward, indicating "a considerable variation" in THC's bioavailability.
Authors also failed to report any reliable relationship between drivers' THC levels and performance. They concluded: "Consistent with previous studies, a direct correlation between the individual fitness to drive (amount of penalty points) and the THC concentrations ... was not found. Therefore, determining a threshold limit for legal purposes based on these values alone seems to be arbitrary."
Their conclusions are similar to those of numerous other studies finding that THC blood levels are inadvisable and inappropriate predictors of driving impairment.
Full text of the study, "On the impact of cannabis consumption on traffic safety: A driving simulator study with habitual cannabis consumers," appears in the International Journal of Legal Medicine. Additional information is available from the NORML fact-sheet, "Marijuana and Psychomotor Performance."