Wednesday News Roundup 5/16-5/23

Cannabis Gavel

Despite waves of news stories concerning the DEA’s comments, the cannabis industry has had slow week. The hearing proved that the DEA has no real understanding in cannabis and has made few efforts to educate themselves.

“You’re the acting administrator of the DEA. You cannot cite a single study that indicates that medical marijuana creates a greater challenge with opioids, and you’re unaware of the studies, including studies from the National Academies of Sciences, that demonstrate that medical marijuana can be an acceptable alternative to opioids.” –Florida Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz to Robert Patterson, Acting Administrator

Those are scary words to come from someone whose responsibility is to understand the drugs they enforce. As the federal government makes changes to protect states lawful choices, it seems as though our government isn’t on the same page with cannabis.
In the midst of that, here’s what else happened over the last week.

NYC Wishes To End Arrest For Cannabis Consumption
In a surprising statement, NYC mayor urged the cities police department to issue summons in place of arresting those found smoking in public. Smoking publicly can lead to arrest at the moment while possessing certain amounts of cannabis can lead to summons.
Though no changes to police department policies will be made until the end of the summer, the NYPD has begin to re-evaluate it’s procedures and will submit a recommendation to the mayor in the next 30 days, by his request.

This comes after Manhattan District Attorney stated that he would end cannabis prosecution by August 1st.

Utah Cannabis Opposers Fight to Keep Off Ballot
It appears that the Utah Patients Coalition nearly has cannabis legalization on the ballot but an emergency motion to block the MMJ legalization initiative might stand in the way. Conservative groups such as Drug Safe Utah, have hired canvasser and volunteers to question those who supported the bill, which has already claimed enough signatures to go onto the ballot.

At the moment, voter support is more than 75% in the strongly conservative state. Those opposing the bill arguing that it would break federal law and worry about the illegal market growing.
This is only the most recent move to MMJ in Utah. The state has until June 1st to approve the initiative for the fall ballot.

Georgia Majority Wants Legal Cannabis
Another deeply conservative state has new feelings about cannabis, luckily those feelings are positive. According to SurveyUSA, who polled 2,875 Georgia residents, 55% believe that cannabis should be legal for adult-use, 35% were opposed, while 10% were unsure. Those approval rates are up from polls two years ago, citing 48% for legalization.

Georgia has been on the countries radar for states to legalize weed in some capacity. It would join only two other southern states, Florida and Louisiana, with working cannabis programs.

Hawaii Retail Market Growing
The Hawaiian island of Kaua’i just got its first MMJ dispensary. Have a Heart is actually the sixth dispensary in Hawaii and second shop from company, Aloha Green who also operates on Honolulu.

“Having a medical cannabis dispensary open on Kauai expands options for registered patients and their caregivers, providing greater access to meet medical needs,” said Keith Ridley, who oversees DOH’s medical cannabis dispensary program and serves as chief of the Office of Health Care Assurance. “As dispensaries continue to open across the state, we remain committed to working collaboratively with the licensees to protect the safety of patients while ensuring an efficient and thorough inspection and certification process.”
Hawaii Department of Health Press Release

There are two more hopeful dispensaries primed to open later this year, pending final agency inspections.

$8 Million Worth of Cannabis Confiscated At Border
On Friday, a truck attempting to cross the U.S. Mexico Border into Laredo TX was stopped with 423 bundles of flower weighting out to 10,000 pounds. The street value of the haul came to be around $8 million, about $800 a pound. The stop occurred after a tip the mexican government about a truck carrying illicit products.
Oddly enough the bust has been a reoccurring issue for the Laredo Sector Border Patrol. With it becoming a monthly concern, some argue that legalizing cannabis has exasperated the demand for illegal products in US.
There is no current proof of there being a correlation as Texas is not legal for medical or recreational use.