People perceive cannabis smoke to be “safer” than tobacco smoke.
A team of researchers led by the University of California San Francisco and San Francisco Veterans Affairs Health Care System conducted a study that aimed to examine the “public perceptions of safety of cannabis vs tobacco smoke and evaluate how perceptions may be changing over time.”
It was a longitudinal study including just over 5,000 participants, conducted through a web-based survey in 2017, 2020, and 2021.
Results showed that “one-third of participants felt that daily smoking of cannabis was safer than tobacco, and their views increasingly favored safety of cannabis vs tobacco over time.”
Results were similar for secondhand smoke, too.
“his study found that US adults increasingly perceived daily smoking and secondhand exposure to cannabis smoke as safer than tobacco smoke from 2017 to 2021,” researchers concluded. “Given that these views do not reflect the existing science on cannabis and tobacco smoke, the findings may have important implications for public health and policy as the legalization and use of cannabis increase.”
This research was published in JAMA Network Open.
New York: CAURD licensing pause continues.
Of the handful of lawsuits against New York’s cannabis regulators, there’s one in the spotlight: Carmine Fiore et al v. New York State Cannabis Control Board et al.
As we reported in this newsletter last week, this suit was brought forth on August 2 by a group of veterans who argue that the Conditional Adult Use Retail Dispensary (CAURD) license requirements are “unconstitutional” and that, as a result, these veterans and “other individuals that the MRTA was designed to benefit have been prevented from applying for an adult-use license, and have been (and continue to be) irreparably harmed.”
In response, last Monday, Albany County Supreme Court judge Kevin Bryant halted CAURD licensing, and scheduled a hearing for Friday.
On Friday, Bryant extended the temporary pause by asking both parties to file additional briefs this week and setting the next hearing for August 25.
Regulators’ argument against the pause: “if the Court halts the CAURD licensing program at this stage, significant harm will accrue not only to these licensees and potential licensees, but to farmers, cultivators and processors, who are relying on CAURD licensees as purchasers for their products. Further, harm may result to the public, as a halt to licenses may cause product to flow to the illicit market. The State of New York will also suffer harm from loss of funds through DASNY leases authorized under the 2022-23 budget bill.”
Further, the Cannabis Control Board planned to approve the adult use cannabis regulations at its upcoming September meeting, with the goal of opening the broader adult use licensing application window in October.
“A shutdown or delay of the CAURD program at this time would require changes to the general adult-use regulations, necessitating further delay in the adoption of regulations to that program. Granting the relief Plaintiffs seek thus would be counterproductive insofar as it might further delay entry to the market for entities seeking general adult-use licenses,” regulators argue.
Other entities are chiming in on this fight, too.
Opposing the pause on licensing is a group called the CAURD Interveners, which includes: Coss Marte, CEO, CONBUD, LLC; Omar Price, Owner, 82-J, LLC; Jeremy Rivera, CEO, Kush Culture Industry, LLC; and Michael Montas, CEO, Summit Canna, LLC.
The Coalition for Access to Regulated & Safe Cannabis, which, as Cannabis Wire previously reported, has its own suit against regulators that makes a similar argument to the veterans’ case, is also getting involved. The Coalition’s members include some of the state’s licensed medical cannabis companies, who want to join the adult use market now. They argued to the judge last week that the two cases, considering their similarities, should be tried together. (It’s worth noting that Bryant is the judge for both suits.)
Is a Public Health Emergency coming over unlicensed shops?
Council member Gale Brewer, among the loudest about the need to close unregulated cannabis shops, is now urging the NYC Department of Health and Mental Health to “join the effort.”
The New York City Health Code gives DOHMH “unique executive authority” to “assure the maintenance of public health, the prevention of disease, or the safety of the City and its residents,'” Brewer wrote in a letter to the Department on Friday.
“Multiple provisions of the code allow DOHMH to shutter unlicensed cannabis stores with relative ease,” Brewer wrote, giving the example that any unlicensed shops that sell edibles meet the city’s definition of a “Food Service Establishment,” and therefore can be padlocked.
“You, as Commissioner, are further authorized under Article 3 Section §3.01 to declare a public health
emergency ‘where urgent public health action is necessary to protect the public health against an
imminent or existing threat.’ Declaration of a public health emergency would grant DOHMH broad
authority to shutter unlicensed cannabis shops ‘to prevent, mitigate, control or abate an emergency.'”
Brewer also specifically asked if the Commissioner has communicated with the Mayor’s Administration about unlicensed cannabis shops, and if so, the “outcome of those communications.”