The latest on The Lawsuit in New York.
Friday was the latest hearing in a lawsuit that has partially paused the rollout of a program aimed at giving early retail licenses, called CAURD licenses, to justice-involved individuals.
Here are the takeaways:
Cannabis regulators said they will appeal the August 18 ruling that granted a limited injunction and effectively paused the CAURD program with the exception of entities identified by regulators as having met all requirements to open as of August 7. (You can catch up on Cannabis Wire’s coverage of the August 18 ruling here, and of the list of 30 entities identified by regulators here.)
Then, the plaintiffs in the suit challenged some of the entities on regulators’ list, calling one out for being too close to a school, and another for having an address within a municipality that has opted out of sales.
Then, regulators responded to the plaintiffs’ objections. They provided additional information on how the 30 were selected, and said that the plaintiffs are incorrect about the locations of the entities that were specifically called out.
Plaintiffs then further challenged regulators’ list, arguing that there is a “discrepancy” in statements that regulators made regarding how they compiled the list.
It remains to be seen what these developments mean for, basically, every CAURD that isn’t already in operation.
The next hearing is set for September 15.
Cannabis regulators have scheduled a meeting for September 12, during which they may approve the kickoff of broader adult use licensing.
The takeaway? It’s still a mess, and very much a situation in flux.
Justice Department arm funds THC breathalyzer research.
Researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University are working on a better breathalyzer for THC detection.
There’s still no widely-used THC breathalyzer, and the ones that do exist require a lab to test results, adding hours. For comparison, alcohol breathalyzers take minutes, and VCU researchers are working on a device that can differentiate between CBD and THC, and produce roadside results in minutes.
“With this approach, we could reduce the number of accidents caused by impaired drivers, making roads safer for all of us,” said lead researcher Emanuele Alves. “When a device like this is public, drivers know that they can be caught using marijuana, and this could act as a deterrent for people considering using marijuana before getting behind the wheel. This is a similar effect to alcohol breathalyzers, which have been shown to deter drunk driving.”
This research is funded by the National Institute of Justice, the research, development and evaluation agency of the U.S. Department of Justice.
Will the Bahamas reform its cannabis laws this time? The government gets serious.
Late last week, Attorney General Ryan Pinder announced the government’s new push, which kicked off with the introduction of legislation and a dedicated website.
Hearings will begin next month on bills that would legalize cannabis for medical and religious purposes, and decriminalize personal possession and use.
“As legal markets for cannabis abroad continue to expand, which is already a multi-billion dollar industry, it could open up significant new agricultural business opportunities for Bahamians,” Pinder said during a press briefing.
More responses to Congress’ RFI on CBD.
A few more responses to the RFI on CBD have been released. As a refresher, in July, members of Congress issued a bicameral Request for Information, asking for a spectrum of data and experiences from “subject matter experts and stakeholders regarding Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulation of cannabidiol.”
• Wine and Spirits Wholesalers of America (WSWA) emphasized alcohol’s “success story” as it moved away from prohibition, and focused on the need to distinguish between intoxicating cannabinoids.
WSWA pushed for a future federal regulatory scheme that allows only a federally permitted producer, importer or distributor to be able to “contract with a federally licensed motor carrier for interstate transport between producers, importers and distributors. In addition, all transport of products to retailers should be conducted by a federally permitted distributor.”
WSWA CEO and President Francis Creighton wrote to Congress that “any legalization effort in Congress related to intoxicating hemp-derived products containing THC should be comprehensive in approach and accompanied by the creation of a federal regulatory structure overseen by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) that licenses producers, testing facilities and distributors, ensures product integrity, establishes appropriate taxes and trade practice requirements and protects public safety. States should also have leeway to tailor additional requirements to suit local needs.” [read the full response]
• National Consumers League, a national consumer advocacy org formed in 1899, wrote that the 2018 Farm Bill has created an unregulated marketplace that has “allowed companies to exploit loopholes” and “flood the market with intoxicating hemp products (i.e., Delta-8 THC) that pose significant risks to consumers. Existing threats facing consumers in this market call for a comprehensive approach to regulation. Not one that addresses only certain segments of the existing hemp market.”
NCL continued, “Regulating CBD as a food and/or supplement is not a realistic approach to protecting consumer safety. CBD poses real risks to consumer wellbeing. Protecting consumer safety should remain the top priority. Strong labeling standards, rigorous quality control, responsible CBD content limits, addressing unsubstantiated therapeutic claims, and robust enforcement are each critical components of regulating the hemp market if we are to adequately protect consumers.”
[read the full response]
• Council for Federal Cannabis Regulation (CFCR) also emphasized just how much the 2018 Farm Bill changed the cannabinoid landscape in the U.S.
“Based on the experiences of CFCR members, the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill significantly changed the marketplace for CBD products and has not only allowed bad actors to participate in a market that is infrequently regulated but created confusion for consumers. Moreover, because of this intense competition, good faith manufacturers have been challenged to engage with consumers in a standardized way and are competing with inefficacious products and false labeling that creates mistrust. As a result, consumers have no ability to differentiate between a safe and unsafe product,” CFCR wrote. [read the full response]