Hello everyone, this is Todd Denkin from The National Marijuana News here to bring you the latest news on marijuana around the nation. It is September 14th, 2018 and we want to send out our best wishes for the people of North Carolina that are taking a direct hit from Hurricane Florence. We hope everyone there stays safe. We have a lot to cover today so let’s go ahead and get started.
Canadian Cannabis Workers Ban on Entering the United States
We have some crazy breaking news to start. Todd Owen, an executive assistant commissioner for the Office of Field Operations spoke on behalf of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency last night suggesting that people working in the legal Canadian marijuana business, and those investing in it, may face lifetime travel bans to the United States due to our Schedule 1 status of cannabis. The commercial sale of marijuana is set to start in Canada on October 17th and border officials are apparently sending an over the top message to anyone that wants to try to cross into the United States with marijuana. Todd Owen said and I quote, “If you work for the industry, that is grounds for inadmissibility. We don’t recognize that as a legal business.” End quote. Also, any persons caught at the border with the smell of marijuana or admitting to past use of marijuana will face lifetime bans as well. I must say, that as objective as we try to remain here at The National Marijuana News, this is absolute insanity! The news is rocking the markets as well. Canadian based cannabis companies that trade on US exchanges, like Tilray, Cronos and Canopy experienced sharp selloffs last night ranging from 2 to 3.2%. The CBP has blocked Israeli cannabis investors in the past, but this is just taking it to another level that makes little sense.
The Odd Group in Congress Working to Expunge Records
Moving on to some more positive national news. There is a group in Congress referring to themselves as “Strange Bedfellows,” (it is an odd name with a good cause) that have introduced the first federal bill that would expunge the records of anyone that has been convicted of a non-violent marijuana crime if they have had no additional legal infractions for one year after they have completed prison sentences. The group is made up of 20 members of the Black Caucus, led by Delaware Representative Lisa Blunt Rochester and also the republican Representative Rod Blum out of Iowa, a member of the Freedom Caucus. As we have mentioned before, the bipartisan aspect of this bill is something that helps its odds of passing similar to The STATES Act which would reschedule marijuana. This new bill is called The Clean Slate Act and is also being backed by the Koch Brothers’ Freedom Works group and the Center for American Progress, two groups that seldom ever see eye-to-eye. The group argues that the bill will, among other things, present a potential solution to the millions of unfilled jobs in the country and provide people with a second chance to get jobs and acceptance into college.
Expunging Marijuana Misdemeanor Records in Manhattan
Staying with the expungement topic. On Wednesday the DA in Manhattan expunged the records of 3,042 people convicted of nonviolent marijuana possession crimes. Cyrus Vance Jr., the district attorney for Manhattan, stated that the existing warrants for people facing marijuana possession charges impedes law enforcement not just because it costs the city time and money to track people down, but because it keeps these individuals from cooperating with the city in any way due to the fear of arrest. New York state as a whole has been thinking long and hard about its position on marijuana. We have reported that Governor Cuomo is having a bill put together that would legalize adult-use cannabis in New York and city police departments around the massive metropolis have been asked to hold off on any further marijuana possession arrests until the state decides what to do.
Medical Marijuana Dispensaries Being Shut Down in Michigan
Moving over to some more state news, Michigan is set to vote on adult-use marijuana in November. It is also adopting new rules for its medical marijuana program starting on December 15th, but in the meantime existing medical marijuana dispensaries have been put through a gauntlet to have the opportunity to stay open. This week the state said that 98 of the existing medical marijuana dispensaries must shut down by next week or jeopardize never being able to attain a license. Another 108 medical dispensaries will be able to stay open until December 15th because they managed to comply with the state’s second licensing application deadline on June 15th. Any dispensary that wants to remain open after December 15th must pay a $48,000 regulatory assessment fee, which only 37 have been able to do so far. This rigorous vetting process in Michigan is an attempt to only keep the dispensaries that are the most serious about running a state medical dispensary by the book. If you wanted regulation, this is what it looks like, at least some of the time.
More Seniors are Consuming Marijuana
According to a new study published by the journal of Drug and Alcohol Dependence, more seniors than ever are consuming marijuana. Many medical cannabis advocates have argued that medicinal marijuana would possibly benefit the older generations the most since its potential as an anti-inflammatory agent could alleviate much of the chronic pain we face as we get older. According to the analysis in the study from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 9% of people between the age of 50 and 64 consumed marijuana from 2015 through 2016, and 3% of people over the age of 64. The same survey conducted in 2013 only found that 7% of people between ages 50 and 64 consumed marijuana and 1.7% of people over 64. These sorts of statistics are very interesting to look at as a barometer for how the marijuana legalization movement is working. The most recent national polls also show that the majority of American are for nationwide legalization of marijuana for both medicinal and recreational consumption.
Mormon Leaders Say Medical Marijuana is Okay but Recreational Marijuana is Not
And finally, according to a leader of the Mormon Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Mormon doctors that recommend medical marijuana and Mormon medical marijuana patients will be allowed to stay members of the church but not those that consume recreational marijuana. According to this one particular leader of the church, the use of recreational marijuana violates the faith’s Word of Wisdom because it categorizes recreational marijuana as an addictive hallucinogen. Three leaders of the church also recently spoke on a local radio show in Utah to oppose Proposition 2 which is a referendum question on Utah’s ballot that if approved would legalize medical marijuana. In other words, if Prop. 2 is approved, the church will still allow members that consume medical cannabis but strongly advise against it. Now you have some balance for both sides of the argument, against and for legalization, if that is indeed helpful.
That is it for this week folks. Remember to follow us on Instagram, here on Facebook, and Twitter @NationalMJNews. Also follow our culture Instagram account, @Xtine.tnmnew and check out many more interesting stories about cannabis at TNMNews.com. This is Todd Denkin with The National Marijuana News, have a great weekend everyone.