Amazon backs Republican-lead cannabis legalization bill, Mississippi manages to pass medical marijuana law after year-plus delay, and does weed slow down brain aging?
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.
Amazon Backs Republican-Lead Cannabis Legalization Efforts
The top story this week: Amazon throws its full weight behind Republican-backed plan to legalize cannabis on a federal level. The proposal, as lead by Congressional Rep. Nancy Mace (R-SC), has a more fiscally-focused approach than similar plans proposed by Democratic lawmakers.
Mace, who was once a campaign worker for former president Donald Trump, has seen rebuke for her proposal from other politicians (including South Carolina’s own Republican Party chairman), but is bolstered by the retail giant’s support, saying “Having Amazon lean in at this level this early gives this kind of reform great momentum going forward.”
Representatives from Amazon claim their focus on the bill is to “remove hiring impediments”; Sen. Warren Elizabeth (D-MA) has voiced skepticism toward Amazon’s involvement, questioning their support as “anything more than a self-interested move to monopolize yet another market”.
Mississippi Passes Replacement Medical Marijuana Bill
After nearly a year and a half of debacle Mississippi lawmakers have finally settled on a replacement bill for the medical marijuana initiative passed by state voters in 2020. The original bill was struck down due to a technicality in the ballot collection (also eradicating the state’s entire ballot initiative process in the same swoop), and then heavily modified and restricted based on the wishes of state lawmakers.
The new bill, which drastically cuts the amount of cannabis patients can purchase, along with adding additional restrictions on cultivation, farming, and who qualifies for treatment, will go before state Governor Tate Reeves, who has offered staunch opposition to a more “lenient” medical cannabis legislation approach. Reeves still has power to veto the bill before it becomes law.
Virginia: State Republicans Seek Changes To Cannabis Law
In a somewhat similar situation, VA lawmakers are battling back and forth over provisions included in a 2021 law for legal adult possession and retail sales. The bill, passed under a Democrat-controlled senate, now finds itself under a Republican-majority leadership, who initially opposed the bill in the 2021 session.
Opinions seem mostly split on where generated tax revenue will be spent and how it will be collected; state Republicans want further control over regulatory structures as to “not encourage the black market”, while the opposition has voiced concerns about changes potentially removing “social equity” provisions in the law as passed. Retail sales are slated to begin in Virginia in 2024.
Ohio: Adult Possession Ballot Initiative Heads To State Legislature
Ohio citizens seem ready to pass cannabis legalization, but is that true for state lawmakers? The “Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol” submitted over 130,000 signatures as part of the state’s ballot initiative process, sending a measure for legal possession and growth to the Ohio state Senate and House.
Staunch opposition is expected, though, as Republican leadership has indicated no interest in full legalization, with state Governor Mike DeWine remarking on the legalization effort with the quote “No, I think that’s a mistake.”
Pennsylvania: “Smaller companies sidelined in PA legal pot market” [Editorial]
An in-depth report from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette shows disparity between large cannabis conglomerates and small business operators, with high fees for permits and a lack of available licenses giving an unequal edge to larger companies such as Trulieve Cannabis Corp and Curaleaf Holdings Inc. State law makers are assessing the situation, which limits available dispensaries in the state to a total of 150 locations.
Does Weed Prevent Brain Aging?
Well, kinda (like usual with these sorts of things). Research published in the online journal “Free Radical Biology & Medicine” showed suggestions that CBN (or “cannabinol”) may help protect neurons from cellular death and oxidative stress, “two of the major contributors to Alzheimer’s”, according to senior author and professor Pamela Maher.
Previous research from the same team showed neuroprotective properties from CBN, but was only recently able to show the direct mechanism through which CBN acts to protect brain cells from damage.
“Berner Talks Wiz Khalifa Partnership, Cookies Expansion And Healing With Cannabis” [Editorial]
Super-brand “Cookies”, with its wealth of dispensaries, stores, and many other retail ventures, is showing no signs of slowing down, now partnering with weed-and-hip-hop icon Wiz Khalifa as the exclusive vendor of the rap artist and mogul’s new “Khalifa Kush” strain of cannabis. Writer Lindsey Bartlett from Forbes sat down with the founder of Cookies, Berner, for an in-depth interview.
Florida: Sheriffs Use Dating Apps To Catch Drug Dealers
And lastly: Do you know who you’re chatting with? As part of a six-month sting operation, officers from the Polk County Sheriff’s Dept. used social media and dating apps to locate and arrest potential drug dealers.
Officers reportedly received a tip in the summer of 2021 alerting them to illegal drug sales on the popular app Grindr, ultimately leading to over 50 arrests in their so-called “Swipe Left For Meth” campaign.
A good a time as any to remind everyone:
And that’s everything for today – We’ll be back this Saturday as we move our news round-ups over to the weekend for the month of February. Have a great week everyone!