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US Surgeon General talks about federal cannabis reform.
On Sunday, CNN’s Dana Bash, co-anchor of the show State of the Union, asked US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy about the federal reform bill that Sens. Chuck Schumer, Cory Booker, and Ron Wyden introduced last week. (Read Cannabis Wire’s latest coverage of the bill.)
“When it comes to marijuana, I think we have to let science guide us. And we know that the science tells us that there are some benefits to marijuana from a medical perspective but there are also some harms that we have to consider. And we have to put those together as we think about the right policy. Now when it comes to decriminalization, I don’t think that there is value to individuals or to society to lock people up for marijuana use. I don’t think that serves anybody well,” he said.
“In terms of our approach to marijuana, I worry when we don’t let science guide our process and policy making,” he continued. “And as Surgeon General, that’s my role, is to work with policymakers who work with members in the community and the general public to help people understand what science tells us. And, where you have gaps, to help fill those gaps with research and with honest inquiry.”
California kicks off its cannabis banking push.
As Cannabis Wire reported last September, California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law a bill that is a sort of state-level SAFE Banking Act. In signing AB 1525, Newsom wrote that the state banking access bill “affirmatively protects certain entities providing financial services to the legal cannabis industry … This bill has the potential to increase the provision of financial services to the legal cannabis industry, and for that reason, I support it.”
The prior month, bill sponsor Asm. Reggie Jones-Sawyer, of Los Angeles, told Cannabis Wire, “My district is home to a number of financial institutions that would love to provide financial services to cannabis businesses, but feel there is too much risk without assistance from the state.”
Now, the newly-formed Department of Cannabis Control has released emergency regulations to implement the bill, and will be accepting public comments.
“The emergency regulations facilitate greater access to financial services for licensed cannabis businesses who face challenges obtaining banking, insurance, and other financial services commonly available to other businesses,” the Department announced on Friday.
“The emergency regulations create a pathway for licensees to authorize sharing of non-public information with selected financial institutions and provide a mechanism for financial institutions to more readily conduct the federally-required reviews of the cannabis business. By reducing the burden of providing financial services to cannabis businesses, more financial institutions may be willing to provide services, thereby reducing the need to keep cash on-hand and improving public safety.”
You can read the emergency regulations here, and the notice here.
There’s some early but significant cannabis legalization movement out of both Maryland and Ohio.
• Maryland House Speaker Adrienne Jones announced on Friday that “the House will pass legislation early next year to put this question before the voters but we need to start looking at changes needed to State law now.” Jones has also appointed a 10-member cannabis legalization workgroup.
Jones is weighing “personal concerns” over how legalization might encourage use among youth and young adults, but “the disparate criminal justice impact leads me to believe that the voters should have a say in the future of legalization.”
As Cannabis Wire reported, Maryland’s legalization push fizzled this year.
• And in Ohio, two Democrats have announced their plans for a legalization conversation and push.
“Excited to work with my friend and colleague,” Rep. Casey Weinstein tweeted, referring to Rep. Terrance Upchurch, “as we lead Ohio forward on this next big step for criminal justice reform, for our veterans, for economic opportunity and for our individual liberties.”
The Columbus Dispatch reported that Upchurch and Weinstein have drafted a legalization bill and are now seeking co-sponsors.