Marijuana Weekly Review: Trump Supporters Vow To "Make Weed Great Again"
By Rick Schettino
May 25, 2018
Last month, Florida Representative Matt Gaetz, an avid Trump supporter, introduced the bipartisan Medical Cannabis Research Act of 2018. This week, he hosted an event on Capitol Hill to push for government research of medical cannabis. According to a report in the Tampa Bay Times, Gaetz has said, "A lot of people think we can't pass cannabis reform in a GOP controlled congress. It reminds me of when Governor Scott sent his Surgeon General to testify against my Florida legislation – and then took credit for it when debating Charlie Crist. This issue is moving fast. It turns out people like freedom."
The Medical Cannabis Research Act would require the Attorney General "to annually assess whether there is an adequate and uninterrupted supply of research-grade cannabis and be sure that there are at least three federally approved manufacturers at any given time." Additionally, it provides "safe harbor" for researchers and institutions to study the drug and for patients to use in clinical trials.
"The federal government has lied to the American people for a generation about the medical properties of cannabis,” Gaetz told the Times. “We have a moral obligation to democratize access to research so that innovators can unlock cures to improve quality of life for millions."
Massachusetts Moves 205 License Applicants Into Next Phase
The Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission on Tuesday approved 205 applicants for recreational marijuana businesses. Of those, 82 are registered medical dispensaries, while 123 are economic empowerment applicants. Registered medical dispensaries (RMDs) with operational and provisional certificates, as well as so-called economic empowerment applicants, were given priority status.
To be awarded a license, the applicants now need to submit various “packets” of information such as a management and operations profile for further consideration. Additionally, candidates must pass background checks and provide a "letter of agreement" from the community where its proposed cannabis business will be located. Thirty-five applicants have already submitted the required packets and are awaiting results of background checks.
California released its latest marijuana industry regulations on Friday. Noteworthy updates included news that current temporary policies are likely to become permanent. Also, the value of product allowed to be transported by delivery drivers was increased from $3,000 to $10,000, and a ban was placed on the “ice cream truck model,” a system in which marijuana delivery trucks drive around filling online orders as they are placed. Drivers must receive orders and stock their vehicles before hitting the road to deliver them.
A handful of changes favored by the Growers Association were added as well. These included expanded water source protection and transportation of immature plants, but an unsettled policy dispute over cultivation acreage caps was not resolved.
Pennsylvania’s plans to implement the research provision of their medical marijuana law were put on hold Tuesday when a judge sided with dispensaries and growers who challenged the Health Department's approach. The preliminary injunction halts the agency's regulations pertaining to licensing additional growers and dispensaries that partner for research with medical schools. Dispensaries have already begun selling medical marijuana, but the implementation of the research component has been slow.
In his decision, the Judge stressed that the law's provisions protecting intellectual property rights of researchers support the argument that clinical registrants were meant to do research, not to sell the drug.
Plaintiffs claimed that their value dropped when the Health Department announced the Chapter 20 regulations in March, "because it signaled to investors that the department would treat the act's statutory limit on permits as a suggestion rather than a mandate."
Cannabis Consumers Want Hollywood To Abandon Marijuana Stereotypes
A new survey by New York strategic research agency Miner and Company claims that marijuana users are no longer okay with being represented by Hollywood as lazy burnouts and they want the want the television and motion picture industry to stop feeding into stoner stereotypes.
Cannabis users in both the recreational and medical marijuana sectors, the majority of whom are gainfully employed, functional adults, want to see change.
Seventy-seven percent of cannabis consumers polled said they earn a salary of more than $75,000 per year and would prefer a more accurate representation of modern cannabis culture.
“TV and media, in general, have played a role in reinforcing these perceptions,” said Robert Miner, President of Miner & Co. Studio. “When a character on a show drinks a beer or a glass of wine, they aren’t presented as an out of control drunk or an alcoholic – but consumption of cannabis in any amount far too consistently turns that character into a zoned out bumbling stoner.”
He added that "the creative community has an opportunity to recognize the impact of these representations and present cannabis consumption in a more positive light to help overcome the stoner stereotype that casts a stigma on key members of their audience."