Record cannabis tax revenue doesn’t translate to big profits in the small business sector, THC blood level measurement a stumbling block for legalization, and, of course, this week’s big question: Does smoking weed prevent COVID-19?
There can be a lot to keep track of when it comes to the fast-paced world of cannabis information and news. Our roundup has everything you might have missed from the last week and more.
Cannabinoids Found Useful In COVID-19 Prevention
Researchers from Oregon-based universities published a study on Jan. 10th showing that certain cannabinoids (namely CBDA and CBGA) can, when ingested in the right quantities, bind to proteins within the virus and prevent them from entering human cells.
Despite what may be circulating on social media at the moment, this does not mean that “smoking weed will cure/prevent the coronavirus” – Again, the caveats of CBDA and CBGA being the specific cannabinoids in question and the method of administration being ingestion (also the test subjects being animals) all being very important details.
Our Chief Medical Officer Dr. Melanie Bone recently sat down with the High There staff to discuss this latest breakthrough; keep your eyes peeled for our interview and related article, coming soon to High There.
Cannabis Use Decreases Opioid Use In Patients Seeking Chronic Pain Management
In other medical news, a joint study released this week offers evidence that cannabis decreases opioid dependency in patients with chronic pain.
Researchers showed a decrease in opioid consumption from those undertaking the study, saying “results suggest long-term benefit of cannabis treatment in this group of patients,” but also warn that the “study’s non-controlled nature should be considered when extrapolating the results.”
Tax Revenue From Marijuana Sales Soars In Legalized States
State tax revenue from cannabis sales has been booming in the United States. A recent report from the Marijuana Policy Project showed over $10b in taxes had been collected from various states since adult-use legalization began in 2014. Notably, over $3b of this revenue was collected in 2021 alone, showing a trending market with little signs of slowing down.
California Cannabis Businesses Repeat Warning Of Industry Collapse
Despite the financial boom in the cannabis market, this hasn’t always translated to huge profits for small businesses. As reported on by NBC News local businesses and cannabis executives are calling on the California state government to readjust both tax rates and location restrictions on retail outlets.
Business owners say that they are unable to compete with the illegal market under current legislation, and warn against an impending “industry collapse” without decisive legal action. California Governor Gavin Newsom has indicated support for the initiative.
Arrest Expungement Continues To Lag Behind in CA
The above news comes as the Los Angeles Times continues their series of reports on the flagging state of criminal cannabis conviction expungement. As per the Times over 117,000 Californian citizens with cannabis arrest records have received legal aid, with a minimum of 34,000 still awaiting processing.
Kentucky Lawmakers Try Again To Pass Cannabis Legislation
In legalization news this week, Kentucky lawmakers are looking to reintroduce a medical marijuana initiative for the 2022 season. This would be the third attempt by Rep. Jason Nemes (R) to pass the legislation, this time reintroducing the bill with a “less aggressive”, more “conservative-minded” focus.
Texas: Austin Citizens To Vote On Decriminalization
Residents of Austin, Texas will vote on cannabis decriminalization this coming May. The ballot measure would prevent ticketing or arrests for small amounts of cannabis possession; the city would also cease paying to test seized substances suspected of being marijuana.
Ohio Gov. Promises To Block Recreational Use Legislation
Ohio citizens, however, may not see the same opportunity as their Texan comrades. In a recent meeting Gov. Mike DeWine reaffirmed his opposition to cannabis legalization. Ohio allows for medical marijuana under a “relatively strict” program; the governor has indicated a willingness to loosen the restrictions for medical marijuana possession, but has said he would not sign a bill for legal, recreational use.
“‘Nothing has changed’: Frustration builds as cannabis reform stalls” (Editorial)
Any frustration Ohio residents might feel seems to be shared on the national scale. In an editorial piece from NBC News, reporter Alicia Victoria Lozano takes a look at the challenges – and disappointments – of national legalization in 2021.
Researchers Discuss Difficulties In Measuring Impaired Driving For Cannabis Users
One area offering difficulties in legalization is the concept of impairment. Common practice is to institute a “standard cutoff” level for THC in the bloodstream, similar to how blood alcohol level is measured. But measuring cannabinoid levels in this way poses unique challenges that could require a complete rethinking of how THC is tested in impaired driving scenarios, and scientists warn “it shouldn’t take our focus off the biggest issue with impaired driving, which is alcohol.”
“The Cold War Killed Cannabis As We Knew It. Can It Rise Again?” (Editorial)
And lastly, Defector has an editorial long read piece regarding the Cold War and its devastating effects on cannabis cultivation. If a tale about murder plots, Nixon, bauxite and Jamaica sounds intriguing and you have ~30 minutes to spare, we recommend taking a look.