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U.S. Department of Agriculture Mails Out First Ever Hemp Survey

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has begun mailing out surveys today to all of the nation’s hemp producers, with the hope that their comments will help the agency collect data about operations and production.

The USDA’s first hemp survey, entitled the “Hemp Acreage and Production Survey,” was mailed out on October 18. It’s the first time that the agency has tried to collect data about hemp harvests. “The Hemp Acreage and Production Survey collects information on the acreage, yield, production, price, and value of hemp in the United States,” said the USDA’s National Agriculture Statistics Service (NASS).

“The Domestic Hemp Production Program established in the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (2018 Farm Bill) allows for the cultivation of hemp under certain conditions. The Hemp Acreage and Production Survey will provide needed data about the hemp industry to assist producers, regulatory agencies, state governments, processors, and other key industry entities.”

The USDA sent out mailers to the country’s 20,500 producers, but those producers also have the choice to answer the survey online instead, using a 12-digit code included in their mailer. Answering the survey is required by all producers, as according to the USDA Agricultural Research Service’s Domestic Hemp Program, and it must be completed by October 25. NASS plans to review all of the submitted data and publish the results in February 2022.

“This inaugural hemp survey will establish a necessary benchmark and provide critically-needed data for the hemp industry,” said Kevin Barnes, NASS Acting Administrator. “The information collected can help inform producers’ decisions about growing, harvesting, and selling hemp as well as the type of hemp they decide to produce. The resulting data will also foster greater understanding of the hemp production landscape across regulatory agencies, producers, state and Tribal governments, processors, and other key industry entities.”

Hemp Survey Follows This Year’s New USDA Final Rule

Earlier this year on January 19, 2021, the USDA released information regarding its final rule on hemp production, after two years of discussion. The rule took effect on March 22, 2021, and amended key text in the original 2018 Farm Bill. These new rules include:

  1. The 0.3 percent THC limitation where product that is less than one percent is no longer considered “negligent.”
  2. The immediate destruction of hemp that does not meet the 0.3 percent THC requirement to include composting, burial or burning.
  3. Hemp testing to be conducted by DEA-registered facilities after December 31, 2022, (when more facilities become available to serve the national demand).
  4. Hemp samples will be gathered 30 days after harvest (previously it was 15 days).
  5. The allowance of a performance-based sampling approach.
  6. Tribes may invoke their jurisdiction on their territory.

Two years was a lengthy amount of time to finalize these rules, but many industry members agreed it was necessary in order to establish properly researched hemp farming regulations. “It’s a process, like anything else, to legalize a new market while making sure all foreseeable hiccups are addressed at the onset of a harvest,” said Michelle Donovan, senior counsel at law firm Clark Hill. AJ Payack, the president of Vermont Organic Science, agreed that the rules will pave the way for the hemp industry.

“It’s about time that the USDA released rules for the hemp space,” said Payack. “There will be extreme testing that needs to be done on CBD products for GMP compliance.  While I don’t necessarily think that’s a bad thing companies are going to need a lot of capital for GMP compliance.”

Meanwhile, hemp continues to be a focus for research, growth and progress. Oregon State University recently received a $10 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture last week. California Governor Gavin Newsom signed Assembly Bill 45 on October 6, establishing a framework for the manufacturing and sale of hemp products such as smokable hemp, and infused foods and drinks, which went into effect immediately. In August, a Texas judge ruled the ban on smokable hemp as unconstitutional.

The post U.S. Department of Agriculture Mails Out First Ever Hemp Survey appeared first on High Times.

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New Licenses Awarded to Expand Cannabis Industry in New Jersey

Regulators in New Jersey last week voted to significantly increase the number of medical marijuana dispensaries in the state. 

In a four to one vote on Friday, the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission agreed “to issue 10 new licenses for medical marijuana cultivators and four new licenses for vertically integrated businesses, which grow, manufacture and sell medical marijuana at dispensaries,” the Asbury Park Press reported.

With the approval from the commission, the “number of legal cannabis growers in the state will more than double,” according to the newspaper.

The publication noted that by “the state’s own estimates, there should be 26 medical marijuana cultivators and 61 dispensaries to handle that number of patients,” but instead “the state has just 23 active dispensaries selling cannabis grown by only 10 operators.”

New Jersey legalized medical cannabis in 2010, when then-governor Jon Corzine signed the Compassionate Use of Medical Marijuana Act, which cleared the way for qualifying patients to receive the treatment. Today, those qualifying conditions include: Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Anxiety, Cancer, Chronic Pain, Dysmenorrhea, Glaucoma Inflammatory bowel disease including Crohn’s disease, Intractable skeletal spasticity, Migraine, Multiple sclerosis, Muscular dystrophy and Opioid Use Disorder.

The list of qualifying conditions broadened in 2018, when New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy announced a slate of reforms designed to “expand access to marijuana for medical purposes and to reduce barriers that patients face when they are seeking access to medicinal marijuana.” Some of the recommendations in Murphy’s reform push included establishing “new categories of qualifying debilitating medical conditions,” among them: anxiety, migraines, Tourette’s syndrome, chronic pain related to musculoskeletal disorders and chronic visceral pain. 

Last year, New Jersey was one of four states where voters passed ballot proposals legalizing recreational marijuana (Arizona, Montana and South Dakota were the others), and lawmakers in the Garden State have been busy implementing a regulated system.

New Jersey Medical Cannabis Industry is a Work in Progress

In February, Murphy signed the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory, Enforcement Assistance, and Marketplace Modernization Act, which officially legalized pot use for adults aged 21 and older.

Murphy, a Democrat, said the legislation will “establish an industry that brings equity and economic opportunity to our communities, while establishing minimum standards for safe products and allowing law enforcement to focus their resources on real public safety matters.”

“Our current marijuana prohibition laws have failed every test of social justice, which is why for years I’ve strongly supported the legalization of adult-use cannabis. Maintaining a status quo that allows tens of thousands, disproportionately people of color, to be arrested in New Jersey each year for low-level drug offenses is unjust and indefensible,” Murphy said in a statement. “This November, New Jerseyans voted overwhelmingly in support of creating a well-regulated adult-use cannabis market. Although this process has taken longer than anticipated, I believe it is ending in the right place and will ultimately serve as a national model.”

In addition to that bill, Murphy also signed also signed S3454, which clarified “marijuana and cannabis use and possession penalties for individuals younger than 21 years old.”

“Today, we’re taking a monumental step forward to reduce racial disparities in our criminal justice system, while building a promising new industry and standing on the right side of history. I’d like to thank the Legislature, advocates, faith leaders, and community leaders for their dedicated work and partnership on this critical issue,” Murphy said at the time.

In the vote on Friday, the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission also hammered out new terms for license holders, including one provision requiring them to “wait at least one year before applying for a permit to transition into recreational sales and cannot change ownership for two years,” the Asbury Park Press reported.

The post New Licenses Awarded to Expand Cannabis Industry in New Jersey appeared first on High Times.

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Minnesota Denies Coverage of Medical Marijuana for Injured Workers

Minnesota’s high court ruled this week that medical marijuana cannot be covered under workers’ compensation.

In a pair of decisions handed down last Wednesday, the state’s Supreme Court said that the federal prohibition on cannabis precludes employers from being required to cover medical marijuana treatment for employees who have been injured.

“If federal law preempts state law in this specific instance, then an employer cannot be ordered to reimburse an injured employee for the cost of medical cannabis used to treat the effects of a work-related injury,” Justice G. Barry Anderson wrote for the majority.

With the rulings on Wednesday, the Minnesota Supreme Court “overturned earlier decisions by the state Workers Compensation Court of Appeals’ that ordered employers to pay for medical marijuana to treat work-related injuries,” according to the Associated Press.

The cases “involved a Mendota Heights dental hygienist who suffered an on-the-job neck injury and an employee at a Prior Lake outdoor equipment dealer who suffered an ankle injury when an ATV rolled over it,” according to the Associated Press, both of whom “were certified by their doctors to use medical marijuana after other treatments to control their pain, including opioids, proved inadequate.”


Minnesota Denies Cannabis Coverage

The decision captures what has been a defining tension in this era of legalization in the United States: even as dozens of states have moved to end the prohibition on pot, weed remains banned under the federal Controlled Substances Act. 

“We recognize that the federal government’s position on criminal prosecution of cannabis offenses has been in a state of flux for over a decade. At one point, the United States Department of Justice announced that it would not prosecute cannabis offenses under the CSA when a cannabis user complies with state law, but the Department later rescinded those directions,” Anderson wrote. “Further, Congress has prohibited the Department of Justice from using allocated funds to prevent states from implementing medical cannabis laws.”

Anderson wrote that the court concluded “that mandating Mendota Heights to pay for Musta’s medical cannabis, by way of a court order, makes Mendota Heights criminally liable for aiding and abetting the possession of cannabis under federal law.”

“We agree that if the result here is not beneficial to the employee, the remedy is for Congress to pass, and the President to sign, legislation that addresses the preemption issues created by the conflict between federal and state law,” the justice wrote. 

There are growing signs that Congress is ready to do just that. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said earlier this year that Democrats on Capitol Hill were eager to pursue legislation ending the prohibition—with or without President Joe Biden.

“We will move forward,” Schumer said at the time. “[Biden] said he’s studying the issue, so [I] obviously want to give him a little time to study it. I want to make my arguments to him, as many other advocates will. But at some point we’re going to move forward, period.”

Schumer, whose home state of New York legalized marijuana earlier this year, noted the changing attitudes and policies toward pot as a motivating factor in pursuing the legislation.

“In 2018, I was the first member of the Democratic leadership to come out in support of ending the federal prohibition. I’m sure you ask, “Well what changed?” Well, my thinking evolved. When a few of the early states—Oregon and Colorado—wanted to legalize, all the opponents talked about the parade of horribles: Crime would go up.

“Drug use would go up. Everything bad would happen,” Schumer said in an interview with Politico. “The legalization of states worked out remarkably well. They were a great success. The parade of horribles never came about, and people got more freedom. And people in those states seem very happy.”

The post Minnesota Denies Coverage of Medical Marijuana for Injured Workers appeared first on High Times.

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Does Cannabis Help with Bone Health?

he endocannabinoid system is linked to the possibility of cannabis being beneficial to bone health. This system which is made up of receptors, enzymes and signaling molecules, plays a regulatory role in the body. Part of the body functions which this system regulates, is bone remodeling. The receptors in the endocannabinoid system that are linked to bone health are, cannabinoid receptor 1 (CB1), cannabinoid receptor 2 (CB2), as well as transient receptor potential vanilloid 1 (TRPV1). While TRPV1 and CB1 aid the breaking down of old tissue, CB2 assists in osteoclast activity of laying down new bones. As a result of the effectiveness of these cannabinoid receptors in the body, THC and CBD are being explored as tools for promoting good bone health. At this point THC and CBD are being put experimented in cases like rheumatoid arthritis, osteoporosis and fractures.

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Cannaconspiracy – The FDA’s Reluctance to Approve Medical Cannabis vs. Approving Messenger RNA Vaccines

The FDA can “emergency approve” vaccines but have taken more than 50-years to admit that cannabis has medical properties – Cannabis Users and Mandates If there’s one thing you can say about the avid cannabis smoker is that they do love their conspiracies. Now – let me get something straight about conspiracies…they do happen. There’s this idea that if you’re a “conspiracy theorist”, you’re some kind of whack job, but I think it was Eric Weinstein who said it best on Lex Fridman’s podcast,

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The Top 10 Reasons People Smoke Weed According to a Few New Studies

Psychology Today recently published a blog that dealt with this very issue. They took data from four different studies attempting to solve this riddle and published some of the findings.  In this article, we’ll be taking a closer look at the studies as well as the conclusions made by the researchers. This will allow us to reflect on the data and compare our own motivations for consuming cannabis. While you may not agree with what will be discussed – bare in mind that these papers are typically based on secondary research. In other words, they rely on surveys and data collected from other sources which they use to build a “picture” of the average consumer.

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Where’s My Manly Discount? Man Sues Dispensary over Ladies’ Night Promotion and Discounts

Mr. Frye is an ex-member of the National Coalition for Men. He identifies as an Orange County Men’s activist and he has taken it upon himself to be the voice against the wrongs he feels are perpetrated against men. From the report published by San Luis Obispo Tribune, Frye took action against the cannabis store because he felt it was wrong for only women to be offered a 16% discount on purchases made every Monday night. He visited the store on a promo night, he saw women being offered discounts and felt wronged when the same wasn’t offered to him.

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