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Massachusetts and Colorado to hold ban hearings today, and other updates from across North America.
Across the US, numbers of pulmonary illnesses and deaths linked to vaping continue to rise. As of October 8, 1,299 people living in 49 states and one U.S. territory have fallen ill, and 26 deaths have been reported in 21 states, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Most of these illnesses and deaths are tied to illicit market vapes, they note, “therefore, CDC recommends that you should not use e-cigarette, or vaping, products that contain THC.” Investigations remain ongoing, as no sole source of the outbreak of illnesses has been pinpointed.
Still, several jurisdictions have turned to bans, two of which are up for debate today.
In Boston today, the stage is set for a legal challenge on Gov. Charlie Baker’s 4-month ban on all vaping products, including those for cannabis. Judge Indira Talwani will hear the plaintiffs’ request for a preliminary injunction, which would lift the ban while the case unfolds.
Today in Colorado, regulators will hold a public hearing on a proposed ban on some added ingredients to vape products, including: Polyethylene glycol (PEG); Vitamin E Acetate; and Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCT Oil).
And, in other vape ban news across North America:
On Friday, the Oregon Liquor Control Commission, voted unanimously on a 6-month ban, starting Oct. 15, on all flavored tobacco and cannabis vapes (terpenes that are 100% cannabis-based are allowed). This follows Gov. Kate Brown’s call for the ban earlier this month. Included in the ban: all “tobacco and cannabis (marijuana and hemp) vaping products that contain natural or artificial flavors,” according to the OLCC.
“This Commission is working very hard to ensure the cannabis industry can grow, thrive and compete in the Oregon marketplace,” Paul Rosenbaum, chair of the OLCC, said in a statement. “However, it is our overwhelming responsibility to protect public health and our consumers from undue risk.”
Last Wednesday, the Oregon Health Authority filed temporary, clarifying rules that require health care workers to report any associated hospital visits and deaths.
On Friday, Canada’s Council of Chief Medical Officers of Health issued a statement saying, “In Canada, we have seen the first cases of pulmonary illness related to vaping and a number of other incidents are under investigation. Together with colleagues in the United States, we are all doing our part to find out what is causing these illnesses. Until more is known, we repeat our call for Canadians to consider refraining from vaping.”
One of America’s oldest cannabis research centers awards $3 million to study CBD.
The Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research (CMCR) at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine allocated $3 million in funding to five teams studying new ways that CBD can be used to treat a number of conditions.
Specifically, the grant funding will only be used to study CBD and whether it can effectively treat insomnia, schizophrenia, rheumatoid arthritis, alcohol dependence, and anxiety associated with anorexia.
“Within the medical community, there is a lot of interest in the role of medical cannabis and CBD,” CMCR director Igor Grant said in a statement. “There is a hope that it could be yet another useful agent in some of these conditions, which are difficult to treat or disabling.”
A second round of grants is expected next year.
Nevada’s new cannabis corruption task force.
Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak tweeted on Friday, “Today, I formed a multi-state agency special task force to root out potential corruption or criminal influences in Nevada’s legal marijuana market, effective immediately. These ongoing issues are putting public safety and health at risk. The lack of oversight & action ends now.”
There’s a Trump angle: two associates of Rudy Giuliani were arrested, and one of their schemes was apparently to funnel money to various states, namely Nevada, in order to obtain cannabis business licenses.
In conjunction with the tweet, Sisolak’s office put out an announcement that read, in part, “Yesterday’s indictments and their connections to Nevada, in combination with ongoing issues in Nevada’s legalized marijuana industry – such as illegal sales to minors, serious allegations of manipulated lab results, and a licensing process mired in litigation – have led the Governor to expedite regulatory and enforcement measures
“… The Governor is disappointed in the lack of oversight and the inaction from the state over many years that led us to this critical juncture – including the apparent absence of a single criminal referral by the Marijuana Enforcement Division since the inception of licensed marijuana sales, medical or recreational, in Nevada.”
Poll: More Australians want legal cannabis, but support is still below half.
A new poll from Roy Morgan shows that while only 42% of Australians support adult use legalization, support is up among all ages, and overall up 9% from four years ago. (This is a significant survey, and involved in-person conversations with more than 50,000 people.)
“The changing attitudes towards marijuana use in Australia follow well-publicised legislative changes in the US in which the use of cannabis is now fully legal in 11 States and the use of medicinal cannabis is allowed in 33 States. The trend towards legalisation of the use of cannabis in the US is continuing and the ACT’s legislation marks a step in that direction in Australia,” Roy Morgan CEO Michele Levine said in a statement, referencing the move by Australian Capital Territory lawmakers to legalize cannabis possession and cultivation for personal use in the territory where the nation’s capital is located.
Read the full poll here.
• CannTrust’s plan to appease Canadian regulators.
The company yesterday released some details about its so-called “remediation plan” that will be submitted to Health Canada by next week in an effort to regain full use of its licenses, which were partially suspended after a number of violations that included hidden and unlicensed cultivation.
Much of the plan can be summed up as a vow to follow the rules. But, in addition, CannTrust says it will “destroy approximately $12 million of biological assets and approximately $65 million worth of inventory that was not authorized by CannTrust’s licence,” including “product that was returned by patients, distributors, and retailers.”
• A roundup of reshuffling announcements from Friday:
MedMen board member Stacey Hallerman has resigned to join, as general counsel, Lowell Herb Co., which has received investment from MedMen.
FSD Pharma has named to its board former US congressman Stephen Buyer (1993-2011), who was not particularly supportive of cannabis while in office. In the announcement, Buyer said, “Unfortunately, auto immune diseases have clustered in my wife’s family. I am attracted by FSD’s medical research to tame and define the unknown by challenging the edges of medical science to provide relief to people suffering from fibromyalgia and other serious illnesses.”
Trulieve COO Kevin Darmody resigned. The company promoted its director of retail Tim Morey to chief sales officer and its director of cultivation Kyle Landrum to chief production officer; they will split Darmody’s previous duties.