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A push to extend the USDA’s hemp pilot program.
As Cannabis Wire has reported, both hemp operators and state hemp regulators have called for flexibility from the USDA as they catch up with the requirements of the 2018 Farm Bill, which legalized hemp.
Now, with the end of hemp pilot programs looming, on October 31, the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture and the National Industrial Hemp Council have sent a letter calling for an extension to members of Congress’ Agriculture Appropriations Committee. It reads:
“We are writing to express support for the inclusion of a provision to extend the hemp pilot program through fiscal year 2021 in the next supplemental appropriations bill. … We were pleased to see the provision extending the pilot program included in the recent House Agriculture Appropriations bill. However, the annual appropriations bills may not be completed before the extension is vitally needed.
For the past year, state departments of agriculture have worked tirelessly to bring their individual state’s hemp programs in compliance with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Interim Final Rule (IFR) published on October 31, 2019. Many states were able to transition from their hemp pilot programs to a USDA state approved plan. Notwithstanding this progress, many states will be unable to meet the forthcoming deadline of October 31, 2020. These states have cited that due to the unprecedented national COVID-19 pandemic, state regulators have been unable to work with their state legislatures to acquire necessary statutory amendments.”
A separate letter was sent to USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue, which you can read here.
A lawsuit is filed against Texas’ ban on smokable hemp.
When Texas lawmakers passed HB 1325 to regulate hemp and hemp products, one major hemp product was left out: smokable hemp. On Sunday, the Texas Department of State Health Services published their final rules for that new law, confirming smokable hemp is banned.
Now, a lawsuit filed against Texas’ DSHS argues that the ban is unconstitutional. The companies involve in the suit are: Crown Distributing LLC; America Juice Co. LLC; Custom Botanical Dispensary LLC; and 1937 Apothecary LLP. Read it here.
+ In the meantime: catch up on Cannabis Wire’s story on smokable hemp laws across the US.
American Heart Association statement finds cannabis risks, but no cardiovascular benefits.
The American Heart Association published a position statement and extensive review of research this week that found that cannabis doesn’t appear to treat or prevent cardiovascular diseases. In fact, early studies have shown that cannabis consumption can have negative effects on the heart and blood vessels, like an increased risk of atrial fibrillation.
“Cannabis may have therapeutic benefits, but few are cardiovascular in nature. Conversely, many of the concerning health implications of cannabis include cardiovascular diseases, although they may be mediated by mechanisms of delivery,” the position statement noted.
The statement included calls for state and federal laws to be “harmonized” in order to “limit confusion and better reflect the existing science behind cannabis,” and for cannabis to removed from Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act “followed by a proactive approach to labeling that standardizes concentrations of THC and CBD content.” The statement also emphasizes the need for medical professionals to be educated about the health implications of various cannabis products available to consumers.
“Meanwhile, the negative health implications of cannabis should be formally and consistently emphasized in policy, including a doubling down on the American Heart Association’s commitment to limiting the smoking and vaping of any products and banning cannabis use for youth,” the statement read.
“Attitudes towards recreational and medicinal use of cannabis have changed rapidly, and many states have legalized it for medical and/or recreational use. Health care professionals need a greater understanding of the health implications of cannabis, which has the potential to interfere with prescribed medications and/or trigger cardiovascular conditions or events, such as heart attacks and strokes,” said Robert L. Page II, chair of the writing group for the statement.
This Scientific Statement from the American Heart Association was published in its flagship journal Circulation.
Maine regulators: “expect the first tax revenues from adult use establishments in 2020.”
In other words, expect the long-delayed adult use industry to launch this year, according to what Office of Marijuana Policy director Erik Gundersen recently told the state’s Revenue Forecasting Committee. In an update to stakeholders sent this week, the Office elaborated:
“At present, we continue to engage in discussions related to testing capacity, safety precautions necessitated by the current health pandemic, the anticipated supply chain, and necessary lead times for businesses to commence operations. We expect that the few outstanding details related to these discussions will lead to a formal announcement later this month of our plans for the active licensure of adult use establishments and introduction retail sales to consumers.”
Some updates, by the numbers:
Awarded conditional adult use businesses licenses: 178 (29 with local approval)
Applications pending: 173
ID cards for those who want to participate in the industry: 884
Applications pending: 405
Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands kicks off cannabis applications.
Following its adoption of regulations for the Islands’ cannabis industry in late June, and their coming into force in late July, the Cannabis Commission this week launched applications for business licenses, as well as for the Homegrown Marijuana Registry. This marks, according to the Governor’s office, “the official opening of the Cannabis Industry within the Commonwealth.”
A bill to legalize cannabis for adult use was signed into law in 2018.
Licenses will be available to those who want to “commercially cultivate, manufacture, store, distribute, allowing for onsite consumption, or sell marijuana” to consumers age 21 or older.
Getting more specific, the license types are: “Marijuana Producer License (Class 1, 2, or 3), Marijuana Micro Producer License, Marijuana Wholesale License, Marijuana Retailer License, and Marijuana Lounge License (Class 1 or 2).”
Nearby Guam has also legalized cannabis for adult use, as a bill was signed into law last year, but no regulations for sales have yet been finalized. They were expected, as Cannabis Wire reported, in April, but delayed by the coronavirus pandemic.