Arkansas Judge Halts Delta-8 THC Ban

Summary: A judge in Arkansas has temporarily blocked the state’s ban on Delta-8 THC and other hemp-derived products, providing a reprieve for businesses in the hemp industry.

Temporary Relief for Hemp Industry as Arkansas Judge Stops Delta-8 THC Ban

In a significant move for the hemp industry in Arkansas, a judge has issued a temporary injunction against the state’s ban on Delta-8 THC and other hemp products products. This decision comes as a relief to many businesses that have been grappling with the implications of the ban.

The prohibition on Delta-8 THC and other hemp derivatives had been a contentious issue in Arkansas, with many industry stakeholders arguing that it was detrimental to businesses and consumers alike. The ban was seen by many as a setback for the burgeoning hemp industry in the state, which has been growing steadily over the past few years.

The judge’s decision to block the ban, even if temporarily, is a significant development. It provides businesses with a window of opportunity to continue operations without the looming threat of legal repercussions. Moreover, it underscores the ongoing debate surrounding the safety and regulation of Delta-8 THC and other hemp products.

While the temporary injunction offers a reprieve, the future of Delta-8 THC in Arkansas remains uncertain. The state will likely revisit the issue, and the hemp industry will be keenly watching for any developments. For now, businesses can breathe a sigh of relief, but the broader battle over the status of hemp-derived products in Arkansas is far from over.

Source: MJBizDaily

And we would like to know how does the debate in Arkansas reflect the national conversation surrounding the regulation of hemp-derived products?

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Hemp Companies Sue Arkansas Over Hemp-Derived THC Ban

Summary: A group of hemp companies have filed a lawsuit against the state of Arkansas, aiming to overturn a recently enacted hemp-derived THC ban. The lawsuit alleges that the ban violates the U.S. Constitution’s commerce and supremacy clauses, as well as the 2018 Farm Bill.

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Hemp Companies File Lawsuit to Overturn Arkansas Hemp-Derived THC Ban

A group of hemp companies have filed a lawsuit against the state of Arkansas in an attempt to overturn a recently enacted ban on hemp-derived THC products, such as delta-8 THC, delta-9 THC, and delta-10 THC. The lawsuit is directed at Act 629, which prohibits the sale of products derived from hemp that are potentially intoxicating. Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders signed Act 629 into law earlier this year.

And Tennessee decided to legalize Delta-8 THC…

The ban was prompted by widespread concern over minors’ easy access to hemp-derived products, which have been readily available since the 2018 Farm Bill became law. On the day before Act 629 went into effect, four hemp companies from three markets sued Sanders and other state officials, alleging that the ban violates the U.S. Constitution’s commerce and supremacy clauses, as well as the 2018 Farm Bill.

The plaintiffs include Bio Gen of Fayetteville, Arkansas; Drippers Vape & Hemp Relief of Greenbrier, Arkansas; Hometown Hero CBD (aka Sky Marketing Corp.) of Austin, Texas; and Smoker Friendly (aka The Cigarette Store) of Boulder, Colorado. Cynthia Cabrera, Hometown Hero’s chief strategy officer, stated that the companies filed the suit because they believe these products should be sold in every state as they are federally legal products.

[Source: MJBizDaily]

Is THCA legal or not? It depends…

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AI Disclaimer: This news update was created using AI tools. PsychePen is an AI author who is constantly improving. We appreciate your kindness and understanding as PsychePen continues to learn and develop. Please note that the provided information is derived from various sources and should not be considered as legal, financial, or medical advice.

While we are still guessing, this might be the outline of this years’ farm-bill

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San Francisco Board of Supervisors Approve Ban on New Cannabis Businesses Through 2028

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted on June 6 to implement a citywide halt on issuing new cannabis business licenses for the next four-and-a-half years. The 10 members of the board present at the time voted unanimously, although one person was absent.

Supervisor Ahsha Safai was the driving force behind the moratorium, who emphasized that this move will be temporary. “It’s a pause, not a ban and ultimately, we can revisit where this is in a few years,” he said, according to The San Francisco Standard

The San Francisco Standard also states that the move addresses concerns from local Asian American communities that oppose cannabis, which could be a move by Safai to appeal to the group while he campaigns to run for mayor of San Francisco in 2024.

Safai cites that his reasoning behind the ban is mainly due to oversaturation of cannabis product and black market sales, as well as threats to public safety in regards to recent robberies. In May, Safai spoke to the board about these concerns. “Let’s be clear—we have no shortage of cannabis retail storefronts, and many are suffering because of brazen break-ins, public safety concerns and an unregulated market that is not facing proper enforcement,” he said.

The San Francisco Standard states that there are 32 licensed medical cannabis dispensaries in and 31 recreational dispensaries within city limits, with an estimated 100 applications currently being processed. According to SFGATE, there are an estimated nine cannabis dispensaries for every 100,000 people in San Francisco, compared to only 2.6 dispensaries for the same amount of people in San Diego, and 1.8 in Los Angeles, although cities such as Portland, Oregon have 34 dispensaries per 100,000 residents.

Supervisor Dean Preston also added his support in the vote on June 6 because of the addition of the 2027 sunset clause. “What was initially proposed was more of a longer term ban,” said Preston, according to SFGATE. “These amendments go a long way in creating more of a short term moratorium that was the original intention.”

The moratorium will last through the end of 2027, when the board of supervisors will decide whether to end or extend the ban. The moratorium doesn’t affect currently existing cannabis businesses or applicants. The ban will go into effect 30 days after approval, which will be in early July.

Already existing cannabis business owners such as Johnny Delaplane, co-owner of Berner’s on Haight, told SFGATE that more dispensaries will only cause more competition and ultimately reduces success for everyone else. “There is a finite amount of legal cannabis market in San Francisco,” Delaplane said. “If it’s being divided up into 70 retailers and soon it will be 140 retailers, many of those retailers are going to fail.”

UCLA lecturer of public policy and adjunct professor at Pepperdine University, Brad Rowe, explained that while this would help dispensaries profit, it will also likely raise product prices for consumers. “There is a way to build value by restricting access,” said Rowe. “The problem is who is going to pay for it? Consumers are the ones who are going to pay with higher prices.”

Other business owners addressed how this ban benefits the wealthy people who have already opened up stores in the city. “It’s unfair,” said Posh Green owner Reese Benton. “It’s hard for a person like me to even get their first store open.”

According to Gift of Doja owner Nina Parks, an equity applicant who is currently in the middle of the application process, the ban will harm other social equity applicants. “It legislates limited access to opportunity, when what the equity program is supposed to do is open up access for marginal folks,” said Parks.

In some areas like Pasco, Washington, officials lifted a 10-year ban on cannabis, however recently in Amsterdam, a ban was implemented to prevent cannabis smoking in public. Like in San Francisco, other recreational cannabis states are also facing problems with oversupply. A recent report from Associated Press covered how cultivators have too much product, with not enough legal dispensaries open to sell and distribute flower, edibles, and distillate.

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Pot Smoking Ban Takes Effect In Amsterdam’s Red Light District

A new era kicked off in Amsterdam’s Red Light District on Thursday, with a ban on smoking cannabis on the streets officially taking effect.

The ban is part of a city-wide effort, pushed by Mayor Femke Halsema, to make the famous area more hospitable to its residents and workers.

According to Reuters, signs “were posted in the canal-lined neighbourhood known for its brothels, sex clubs and marijuana cafes, which attract millions of tourists a year, but are a nuisance to residents.”

Those found in violation of the new law will face a €100 (or about $110) fine.

The law was proposed earlier this year by the Amsterdam city council.

“Residents of the old town suffer a lot from mass tourism and alcohol and drug abuse in the streets. Tourists also attract street dealers who in turn cause crime and insecurity. The atmosphere can get grim especially at night. People who are under the influence hang around for a long time. Residents cannot sleep well and the neighborhood becomes unsafe and unlivable,” the city council said in a statement at the time.

“A smoking ban on the street should reduce nuisance. We are also looking at a pick-up ban at certain times for soft drugs. If the nuisance does not decrease enough, we will investigate whether we can ban smoking on terraces at coffee shops,” the council added.

The city council gave final approval to the proposal earlier this month, setting the stage for Thursday.

According to Reuters, people “will still be allowed to smoke inside and on the terraces of coffee shops selling marijuana and hash in the district and other parts of the city.” 

The pot smoking ban is part of an effort led by Halsema, Amsterdam’s first female mayor, to improve conditions in the Red Light District. 

CNN reported in 2019 that Halsema had “presented four options aimed at protecting sex workers from degrading conditions, tackling crime, and reducing the impact of tourism in Amsterdam’s De Wallen red-light district.” 

“Four scenarios have been proposed for discussion including closing the curtains on the windows so sex workers can’t be seen from the street, fewer window-style rooms, moving the brothels to new locations elsewhere in Amsterdam and the possibility of a sex worker “hotel” being created,” according to CNN. The plans aim to protect sex workers from gawking tourists and their camera phones, and also to combat a rise in abuses such as human trafficking. The four proposals will be discussed with sex workers, residents and businesses in July, before being taken to the city council in September. The plans will ultimately be developed into a new policy on sex work, the mayor’s office confirmed.”

The Red Light District, known locally in Amsterdam as the De Wallen neighborhood, has long been a popular destination for tourists visiting the city. 

CNN reported earlier this year that it is “estimated that about 10% to 15% of Amsterdam’s tourist industry is based in the red light district.”

“City officials want the De Wallen neighborhood, as the district is known in Dutch, to draw visitors who can appreciate its unique heritage, architecture and culture rather than sex and drugs,” CNN reported at the time. Over the past few years, there have been multiple initiatives to reduce the impact of mass tourism and nuisance visitors, and to revamp the area’s image.

In 2020, guided tours were prohibited from passing sex workers’ windows, and there was talk of moving the window brothels to a neighborhood outside of the city center—conversations that continue to this day.”

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Finland Bans Sale of HHC Products, Sweden to Follow

Scandinavian countries in Europe are taking steps to halt the sale of psychoactive compounds derived from hemp—most recently hexahydrocannabinol (HHC).

According to Senior Inspector at the Finnish Medicines Agency (Fimea), Katja Pihlainen, HHC products have flooded Europe and made their way into Finland. She said that Finland recently classified HHC as a psychoactive substance that’s banned for sale on the consumer market, and Sweden is following suit with its own plans to ban the compound.

Finnish paper Yle reports that Pihlainen noted that the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA), and member state agencies are concerned about the rise of HHC products on the European market. This is prompting individual governments to take action. Part of the uproar is regarding the unknowns of vaporized “new” compounds, which in some cases caused different effects than eating a compound.

Finland already made changes. “Burning or vaporising it can make it more harmful. We don’t know how it affects the body,” Pihlainen said. Pihlainen added that HHC first became popular in the United States, after the 2018 Farm Bill legalized industrial hemp containing up to 0.3 percent THC, because the law didn’t explicitly address hemp-derived psychoactive cannabinoids such as delta-8 or HHC. 

Finland is taking the initiative on the issue. “If you want to ban HHC as a drug, all countries have to do it separately. Or start doing it some other way, if you want to regulate it,” Pihlainen told Yle.

The EMCDDA explained why they are targeting hemp-derived compounds like HHC. “HHC is sold openly as a ‘legal’ replacement to THC and cannabis in a range of highly attractive branded and unbranded products—some of which are sold as ‘legal highs’. These include hemp sprayed or mixed with HHC—which look and smell like ‘genuine’ cannabis—as well as vapes and edibles. Marketing and advertising often make direct comparisons to the effects of THC and cannabis,” an EMCDDA document explained.

The sale and possession of drugs is strictly forbidden in Finland, including cannabis and hashish. “Anyone in possession of drugs, including hash, runs the risk of being arrested and expelled from the country or imprisoned,” the government states. “Drug dealing carries very heavy penalties. Please note that the Finnish customs regularly checks mail deliveries from abroad, and a person receiving a postal delivery including any kind of drugs (including medicines) runs the risk of a penalty.”

Other Scandinavian countries will likely follow Finland. According to Pihlainen, Sweden has also started a process to ban HHC. 

What is HHC?

While delta-8 THC and other hemp-derived cannabinoids are “new” in terms of popularity, HHC was first synthesized in the 1940s by Roger Adams. Adams used delta-9 THC found in Cannabis sativa and altered it to make HHC.

Adams and his team of students made discoveries that led to significant scientific advances. In 1940, Adams identified and synthesized CBD. Other discoveries include showing CBD’s relationship to cannabinol (CBN) and THC. He also synthesized CBN and THC analogs, including HHC.

Not all hemp-derived cannabinoids are the same. HHC carts are reportedly more potent than traditional THC products, such as delta-8 and delta-9 THC, which may provide users with a stronger and more euphoric high.

But a growing call to crack down on cannabinoids that are not fully understood could pose a problem for the long-term viability of the psychoactive hemp market. HHC is rarely specifically addressed, but states that have cracked down on delta-8 THC and similar products will likely go after HHC eventually as well.

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Texas Federal Court Rules Firearm Ban on MJ Users Unconstitutional

The U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas has ruled that banning cannabis users from possessing firearms is unconstitutional. The court also said the legal principle applies to the sale and transfer of guns. The win was delivered through Paola Connelly, an El Paso resident convicted of separate charges for possessing and transferring a firearm in 2021 while admitting to consuming cannabis.

This recent case in Texas is one of at least four active federal cases surrounding the government’s policy on cannabis and gun ownership.

Under current federal law, cannabis consumers are prohibited from owning or purchasing firearms because they are “an unlawful user or addicted to” a controlled substance. It’s a ban that applies to all cannabis users, including those in states with legal medical and/or recreational cannabis laws.

Another Federal Ruling Against the Ban

Judge Kathleen Cardone granted a motion to reconsider the case, and charges were ultimately dismissed last week. The court had previously issued a conviction, though it said a more recent ruling in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit merited another look. That case, New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen, found that any firearm restrictions must be consistent with the Second Amendment’s original 1791 ratification.

“Quite simply, there is no historical tradition of denying individuals their Second Amendment rights based solely (or even partially) on the use of marijuana,” the case filing states.

Judge Cardone often disputed the Justice Department’s attempts to fall back on its typical arguments around cannabis consumption and gun ownership, like comparing the ban to laws against operating a firearm under the influence of alcohol or gun possession by “unvirtuous” people. She also cited President Biden’s 2022 decision to mass pardon people with federal cannabis possession charges.

“…Even if Connelly were convicted of simple marijuana possession, that conviction would be expunged by the blanket presidential pardon of all such marijuana possessions that, like Connelly’s, took place before October 6, 2022,” the ruling states, even though Biden’s clemency action didn’t actually expunge records.

Dismantling the DOJ’s Argument in Texas

The court added that, since cannabis possession would only rise to a misdemeanor under federal law, “any historical tradition of disarming ‘unlawful’ individuals does not support disarming Connelly for her alleged marijuana use.” The court challenged the Justice Department’s argument in favor of the ban given that the defendant wasn’t ever convicted of a cannabis offense. Rather, she just admitted to using cannabis.

“In short, the historical tradition of disarming ‘unlawful’ individuals appears to mainly involve disarming those convicted of serious crimes after they have been afforded criminal process,” the ruling reads. “Section 922(g)(3), in contrast, disarms those who engage in criminal conduct that would give rise to misdemeanor charges, without affording them the procedural protections enshrined in our criminal justice system. The law thus deviates from our Nation’s history of firearm regulation.”

The court also challenged the assertion that cannabis users are inherently dangerous, citing the fact that more than 20 states now have legal adult-use cannabis and it’s now a regularly used substance by millions of Americans.

“It strains credulity to believe that taking part in such a widespread practice can render an individual so dangerous or untrustworthy that they must be stripped of their Second Amendment rights,” Cardone said.

Similar Ruling From a Neighboring State

The case follows another recent Oklahoma City ruling in February, where a federal judge similarly ruled that the firearm ban on cannabis users is unconstitutional and must not be enforced by prosecutors.

That case involved Jared Michael Harrison, who was arrested by police in Lawton, Oklahoma after officers found cannabis and a loaded revolver in his car during a traffic stop. Harrison told police he was heading to work at a legal medical cannabis business but did not have a state-issued ID card showing he was authorized to use medicinal cannabis.

Harrison’s attorneys challenged the charge, similarly arguing that the firearm ban is not consistent with the country’s tradition of regulating firearms, also citing New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen.

U.S. District Judge Patrick Wyrick similarly rejected the argument that Harrison’s status as a cannabis user “justifies stripping him of his fundamental right to possess a firearm” and ruled that the federal ban on gun ownership “is not a constitutionally permissible means of disarming Harrison.” Wyrick added that cannabis use “not in and of itself a violent, forceful or threatening act.”

The federal court’s full ruling in the Texas case is available here.

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Municipal Bylaws Make It Hard for Cannabis Shops to Reach Customers

Although cannabis is now legal in Canada, municipal bylaws are making it hard for cannabis businesses to reach customers. Depending on where you live, there might be no cannabis shops around your local area. You might think that it’s because your neighborhood just isn’t a popular place for new cannabis businesses. But there is actually […]

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USPS Bans Nicotine and Cannabis Devices from Being Shipped Through Mail

The United States Postal Service (USPS) released the details of its final rule on the shipment of nicotine devices, which also includes cannabis vape devices, immediately prohibiting them from being shipped through USPS mail services.

The USPS announced on October 20 that starting today, it will no longer allow the shipment of nicotine vape pens, which also applies to vape pens that contain hemp, CBD or cannabis. This final ruling is a verdict that has been a work in progress since earlier this year. The USPS announced in April 2021 that it was seeking to alter its rules to prevent the shipment of vape pens, in conjunction with a congressional bill provision passed in December 2020. The goal of the bill, referred to as the Preventing Online Sales of E-Cigarettes to Children Act (POSECCA), is to prevent vaping devices from getting into the possession of minors and to decrease lung damage caused by vapes. However, due to the language of the bill, cannabis is included in this as well.

In a Federal Register article entitled “Treatment of E-Cigarettes in the Mail” published on October 21, the agency points out that the word “substances” applies to more than nicotine. “As discussed further in section III.D.1.i, notwithstanding Congress’s use of ‘nicotine’ in the term ‘electronic nicotine delivery systems,’ the plain language of the POSECCA definition makes clear that nonmailable ENDS products include those containing or used with not only nicotine, but also ‘flavor[ ] or any other substance,’” the article states. “It goes without saying that marijuana, hemp, and their derivatives are substances. Hence, to the extent that they may be delivered to an inhaling user through an aerosolized solution, they and the related delivery systems, parts, components, liquids, and accessories clearly fall within the POSECCA’s scope.”

The USPS invited the public to comment on this topic, in which the article states that 15,700 comments were submitted. There were many arguments presented that the final rule should not restrict cannabis products, however the agency directly addresses these concerns regarding why its inclusion of cannabis as an electronic nicotine delivery systems, or “ENDS product,” is necessary. “Thus, ENDS products containing or used with THC (e.g., THC-containing liquids, cannabis waxes, dry cannabis herbal matter) are already nonmailable under the CSA. Congress’s decision to keep such items out of the Federal postal network does not bear on whether their use or exchange violates State or local law. Nor does it alter whether the Department of Justice—a Federal entity independent of the Postal Service—may use its appropriated funds to interfere with the operation of State or local laws.”

The USPS does note that shipping hemp that contains less than 0.3 percent THC is still federally legal, so long as it is not included in a vaping product. The agency also notes that there are other exclusions to this new rule:

  • Intra-Alaska and Intra-Hawaii Mailings: Intrastate shipments within Alaska or Hawaii;
  • Business/Regulatory Purposes: Shipments between verified and authorized tobacco-industry businesses for business purposes, or between such businesses and federal or state agencies for regulatory purposes;
  • Certain Individuals: Lightweight, noncommercial shipments by adult individuals, limited to 10 shipments per 30-day period;
  • Consumer Testing: Limited shipments of cigarettes sent by verified and authorized manufacturers to adult smokers for consumer testing purposes; and
  • Public Health: Limited shipments of cigarettes by federal agencies for public health purposes under similar rules applied to manufacturers conducting consumer testing.

One commenter questioned the enforceability of this new rule, suggesting that vendors might send products below the weight threshold to avoid detection. USPS replied that the commenter’s assumptions on this matter were false. “First, there is no weight threshold for Postal Service enforcement of mailability; the Postal Service can and does enforce mailability laws regardless of weight, shape, or other mailpiece characteristics,” the article states. “Second, a vendor that does not advertise its sales is unlikely to remain a vendor for long. Third, the presence of identifying markings is not a prerequisite for detection of nonmailable matter; indeed, few shippers of the substantial quantities of nonmailable contraband detected by the Postal Inspection Service and its Federal law-enforcement partners transparently indicate the illicit contents that they are shipping.”

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Fed Up With Pot Smoking, Burger Spot Bans All Unsupervised Patrons Under 18

The crew behind Garden Valley, California-based burger spot, Red Rooster Burgers & Brew, had enough with teens smoking pot in the bathroom, among other things, leading to a ban of all unsupervised customers under the age of 18.

“It is with GREAT sadness that we have made the decision to not permit underage kiddos in the restaurant without a parent or legal guardian for the following reasons…” Red Rooster Burgers & Brew posted on September 24. Red Rooster Burgers & Brew sells burgers, fries, shakes and ice cream sundaes, as well as alcoholic drinks such as beer or wine.

The post continued, adding a list of dozens of complaints—the first one on the list being “marijuana being smoked in the bathroom.” The list included littered condoms, skateboarding, the use and sale of e-cigarettes, as well as coins, fries and candy being thrown at employees.

With a brief review of California law, there is no possible way for people under the age of 18 to legally consume cannabis, unless it is for medical use and approved by a physician, under the supervision of a legal guardian.

“For the last two years we have spoken to kiddos and voiced our concerns numerous times!” the post continued. “Then, we implemented rules so they could still feel like they had a place to go, feel safe, and hang with their friends. It’s very clear to us that the bad behavior is not going to end. If you have a kiddo that needs a safe place to be after school please reach out to us. It is not our intent to exile the youth in our community but to protect our property. Some of their actions are unlawful and we won’t allow it.”

In California, only adults ages 21 and older can legally purchase pot for recreational purposes. There is no age limit on medical cannabis use, however minors under age 18 need permission from their legal guardians to use medical cannabis. So that means that young adults ages 18-20 are allowed to visit state-licensed medical dispensaries, but not adult-use dispensaries.

Unfortunately, pot smoking wasn’t the only problem at the burger restaurant, Red Rooster Burgers & Brew. “We also have issues with youth roaming the streets at night vandalizing the neighborhood,” the post continues. “Recently a neighbor’s Kalloween display was vandalized. We found pieces of it in our parking lot. It’s unfortunate but we will have to install security cameras to catch these vandals. We live in such a quaint beautiful town. I wish it didn’t have to be this way.”

Beyond the Burger: Teens and Pot

Sandwich chain Cheba Hut, makers of “Toasted” subs, took the exact opposite approach, marketing to young adults through sandwiches like “Thai Sticks” or “Kali Mist.” 

But most business owners don’t want a mess to clean up when teens take over. In August, Oregon-based Burgerville took an even more extreme measure and closed a franchise in Portland permanently, due to underage criminal activity.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) strongly recommends against allowing teens to smoke pot, given the developmental changes in the brain. “Unlike adults, the teen brain is actively developing and often will not be fully developed until the mid 20s,” the CDC warns. “Marijuana use during this period may harm the developing teen brain.”

Those considerations from the CDC are apparently falling on deaf ears, however. A comprehensive study published two years ago in the American Journal of Public Health. looked at 1991-2017 American federal health data on more than 200,000 high school students, and found that the number of students who said they’d smoked pot at least once over the past month rose 10-fold, rising from 0.6 percent in 1991 to 6.3 percent by 2017.

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Anti-Pot Author Alex Berenson Gets Permanent Twitter Ban

Alex Berenson—author of Tell Your Children: The Truth About Marijuana, Mental Illness, and Violence—received a permanent suspension from microblogging platform Twitter for spreading misinformation. While Berenson is known for his vocal opposition to cannabis legalization, this time, he was punished for spreading false information about COVID-19.

On his Substack page, Berenson posted a brief message, titled, “Goodbye Twitter” with a screenshot of his original tweet that led to his suspension. Berenson’s tweet that triggered the ban claimed that COVID-19 vaccines do not work. “It doesn’t stop infection. Or transmission,” Berenson tweeted. “Don’t think of it as a vaccine.”

Twitter officials believe that Berenson can’t be trusted to tell the truth, and that the accumulation of misleading tweets justifies a suspension.

“The account you referenced has been permanently suspended for repeated violations of our COVID-19 misinformation rules,” a Twitter spokesperson told Fox News in response to an inquiry on August 28.

“The first four states to legalize—Alaska, Colorado, Oregon and Washington—have seen sharp increases in murders and aggravated assaults since 2014, according to reports from the Federal Bureau of Investigation,” Berenson wrote in a New York Times op-ed. “Police reports and news articles show a clear link to cannabis in many cases.” Berenson was a former employee of the New York Times several years prior.

Berenson’s op-ed was published at the time of the release of Tell Your Children, his book that attempts to link violence with cannabis use. One night, Berenson’s wife Jacqueline, remembered a case in which a man “cut up his grandmother or set fire to his apartment.” Later Jacqueline wrote, “Of course he was high, been smoking pot his whole life.”

Berenson’s New York Times op-ed and book were so misleading, that two leading psychologists felt compelled to debunk the article in The Guardian.

Carl L Hart is the chairman and Ziff professor of psychology and psychiatry at Columbia University and author of High Price: A Neuroscientist’s Journey of Self-Discovery that Challenges Everything You Know About Drugs and Society. Charles Ksir is professor emeritus of psychology and Neuroscience at the University of Wyoming and author of Drugs, Society and Human Behavior.

“Back in the 1930s, when there were virtually no scientific data on marijuana, ignorant and racist officials publicized exaggerated anecdotal accounts of its harms and were believed,” the authors wrote. “Almost 90 years and hundreds of studies later, there is no excuse for these exaggerations or the inappropriate conclusions drawn by Berenson.”

Alex Berenson on Censorship

This is by no means the first time a publisher or platform has banned Berenson for the spread of misinformation. Amazon denied taking part in a few of his booklets. Berenson’s former employer The New York Times declined to review his latest novel. In a December op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, Berenson warned that the COVID-19 pandemic had ushered in “a new age of censorship and suppression.”

In an op-ed in Reason, the writer explained that while Berenson tried to scare people from pot, and vastly underestimated the death toll of COVID-19, it was a mistake to ban Berenson permanently from Twitter. Banning him from Twitter may only make things worse. The implications of banning one person could be extended to another.

The writer explained that if anything, Berenson will just profit more from his “martydrom” from Twitter. “COVID-19 has allowed Berenson to fully embrace his role as a purveyor of delusions,” the article reads, but a ban will only fuel the fire of opposition to those opinions. 

Berenson’s ban got political very quickly. “I don’t know Berenson,” Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) tweeted. “But all the Leftie Brown Shirts cheering his being banned—you are the problem. You’re supporting authoritarian billionaires’ arbitrary censorship. & you are contributing to so many people’s distrust of Covid info—by silencing dissent, many are skeptical.”

It’s important to note that there are vastly different opinions of Berenson. Senator Ron Johnson (R–Wisconsin) called him a “courageous voice of reason” and “a valuable counter-perspective.”

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