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Legislatures prepare for another cannabis push.
Every January, the cycle begins: a slew of bills are introduced (or re-introduced), and, after months of hand-wringing over incremental advancements, from one committee to another, only a handful of those bills actually make it over the finish line.
Nonetheless, there’s plenty to watch this year at the state level. Florida could see adult use on the ballot, for example. Virginia could finally regulate adult use sales. Who knows, maybe even Pennsylvania — where top-down support for adult use (which neither of these other states have) has failed to move the legislature — will legalize, too.
In the meantime, here is a roundup of some noteworthy recent state-level activity:
• Indiana: the legislative session begins today in the state, and already a handful of bills have been introduced to legalize cannabis for medical or adult use, such as SB 126 and SB 99, respectively.
• Ohio: on Friday, Gov. Mike DeWine pushed lawmakers to resume their efforts to tighten the adult use law that went into effect in December. His press conference was unrelated to cannabis, but he took the opportunity to say that “since the House is coming back next week, this might be a good time to take up and deal again with something that they did not do, which is to deal with the marijuana issue.” He also asked that they act on “intoxicating hemp” products, and thanked Sen. Steve Huffman for working on “a separate bill” to do so.
• West Virginia: the West Virginia Press Association hosted lawmakers on Friday to discuss the forthcoming session, which begins on Wednesday, and House Minority Leader Sean Hornbuckle spoke in favor of legalizing cannabis for adults.
• Wisconsin: Gov. Tony Evers told the Associated Press last week that he will support a Republican-led bill to legalize medical cannabis, which is expected in the coming days and is likely to be a strict approach. Evers has long been in support of both medical and adult use cannabis, as Cannabis Wire has reported, but has faced an oppositional legislature (similar to the situation in Pennsylvania).
“I would think that getting it all done in one fell swoop would be more thoughtful as far as meeting the needs of Wisconsinites that have asked for it,” he told the AP. “But if that’s what we can accomplish right now, I’ll be supportive of that.”
Hawaii AG sends formal report about legalization “concerns” to legislature.
Cannabis legalization has reached a tipping point, which means that even with the Hawaii legislature’s hesitation to legalize, it’s likely to arrive at some point soon.
Attorney General Anne Lopez sent a formal report to state lawmakers, “emphasizing the department’s legal concerns and the significant risks to public safety and public health” that could come to Hawaiians if the legislature moves forward with legalization, according to an announcement from the AG’s office.
Lopez prepared both this report, and a draft bill, which she noted is “not ‘the Department of the Attorney General’s cannabis bill,'” as it has been characterized in some news coverage since Lopez first announced the effort in November, but instead was prepared to give the legislature a “legislative option to consider—a draft with public safety and public health protections embedded into its structure.”
“The Department of the Attorney General does not support the legalization of adult-use cannabis,” Lopez said in a statement. “We acknowledge that with changing public perception in recent years, the odds that the Legislature may pass legislation legalizing adult-use cannabis have increased substantially. Given that the Legislature could theoretically pass a bill as early as this year, it is my department’s duty to warn the Legislature of the risks, while simultaneously providing a framework that includes robust public-safety and public-health safeguards.”
Researchers create Cannabis Compound Database.
Researchers from the University of Alberta conducted a study that aimed to fill in some of the many gaps in existing literature on cannabis chemistry. Specifically, researchers used “modern metabolomics techniques and modern bioinformatics techniques” to create a comprehensive database of more than 6,000 chemical compounds in commercially available cannabis.
The database, called the Cannabis Compound Database, is a “centralized, open-access resource” that “should prove to be quite useful for the cannabis community,” researchers wrote.
Despite extensive research, there’s no single comprehensive resource cataloging all known cannabis compounds, of which the study identified 550, including cannabinoids, terpenes, and other phytochemicals.
The project has support from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Canada Foundation for Innovation, and the Metabolomics Innovation Centre.
This research was published in the American Chemical Society’s Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.