Cannabis and Equity: Why Did the “Emerald New Deal” Fail?

After spending 31 years in prison, Charles Reed came home to Oakland, CA in 2017, and didn’t like what he saw. For Reed and others recently incarcerated—a population for whom he prefers the term “returning family member”—there were no government-funded job-training, or counseling tailored to people who had adjusted to the numbing, controlling rigor of institutional life suddenly confronted with the dizzying choices of freedom. There was no one there to even teach him to turn on a smartphone. On top of that, the city looked horrible. “Oakland was full of helpless, homeless people,” he said. There was trash everywhere. Poverty was out of control What went wrong?

The “New Cotton”

During Reed’s time away, Oakland became possibly one of America’s most cannabis-friendly cities, a metamorphosis that has been nearly continuous—and that’s supposed to have had immense benefits for the city. The freewheeling early-aughts heyday of “Oaksterdam,” when the city became the first in the US to regulate medical marijuana, is more than a decade in the rearview. In the adult-use legalization era, Oakland is considered a model of “social equity”: the concept that cannabis legalization should uplift people who have suffered most from the drug war’s over-policing and over-incarceration.

Yet despite issuing hundreds of equity licenses, and despite collecting $7 million a year in annual local cannabis-tax revenue, and despite setting aside startup capital and reserving business licenses for people deemed drug-war harmed, Oakland hadn’t managed to use legalization to solve all of its problems. Worse, the cannabis industry hasn’t been the economic windfall to the Black and brown community it was advertised.

“The only benefit of legalization that I’ve seen is that you can smoke it without worrying about police bothering us—that’s it,” Reed said.

Meanwhile, he adds, most Black participation in cannabis is at the ground level: security guards, delivery drivers. “That’s why I call cannabis ‘the new cotton,’” he said. “It’s not helping us at all, not one damn bit.”

And another thing: Why should participation in an industry that doesn’t appear to want their services in the first place be the Black and brown community’s sole benefit from legalization? In other words, why should a license to go and sell drugs be drug-war victims’ make-good?

Equity’s Unfulfilled Promises

This was the status quo Reed wanted to break with what he and his co-campaigners called “The Emerald New Deal,” which would’ve redirected that $7 million in local cannabis taxes to a separate, restricted fund, overseen by an appointed commission, spent on “returning family members” such as Reed as well as equity business owners. “Our argument was that there is an atonement factor, and that atonement is putting back into the people that were hurt and wronged,” he said.

Few doubt Reed’s analysis—that cannabis legalization hasn’t been the boon it was promised to be. “I feel in a way we were lied to,” agreed Chaney Turner, a former dispensary operator who chairs the city’s Cannabis Regulatory Commission. “Nothing in the way of what Prop. 64 (California’s 2016 legalization ballot measure) promised with regard to equity has been fulfilled.”

But where opinions differ is how to fix it. On July 11, the Oakland City Council voted against placing the Emerald New Deal proposal before voters on the November ballot. One complaint was the very source of the $7 million itself: local taxes levied on equity operators as well as well-capitalized dispensaries. Those taxes needed to be cut in order to help ensure Black participation in cannabis—and more money needed to be spent on the services Reed advocated. Another was diverting that revenue away from existing programs to the separate structure the END’s commission would decide on. Yet another was contention among some council members that END organizers had overstated their support.

“Fixing” Cannabis Legalization With Cannabis and Equity

At the same time, the Emerald New Deal’s original critique stands.

“We definitely need to do more,” said Turner, who related a personal story: Turner’s mother, a recovering crack addict, ran her own business until she developed dementia—and she did it all on her own, without government support.

Something should have been available, in the same way that cannabis-tax revenues should fund coding school classes, barbershop-licensing or other benefits other than a slightly-easier path towards a competitive, highly taxed industry—and in the same way that Charles Reed should have had more greeting him on the other side of the prison wall than a failing community.

In some ways, the saga of equity and its unmet promises suggests a flaw with that original legalization pledge. Why should cannabis by itself been asked to fix problems created by centuries of structural racism? But at the same time, as long as it was sold that way, it should be held to account. Was the Emerald New Deal the best route to take?

“Legalization hasn’t leaned heavily enough on righting the wrongs of prohibition,” said Amber Littlejohn, executive director of the Minority Cannabis Business Association.

“Even if you remove the moral imperative to do so, you still have the practical public benefits of restoring citizens’ rights and correcting economic injustices that range from decreased recidivism to better health outcomes.”

The MCBA advocates for equity programs—and Littlejohn was also skeptical of the Emerald New Deal, in part for its “lack of clarity.” As elusive as the solution remains, at least everyone is clear on the problem—or at least everyone who agrees cannabis and equity should be part of legalization.

The post Cannabis and Equity: Why Did the “Emerald New Deal” Fail? appeared first on Cannabis Now.

Washington, DC Mayor Signs Bill Allowing Medical Marijuana Self-Certifications

Washington, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser signed legislation this month to allow all adults in the nation’s capital to certify themselves to use medical marijuana. Under the bill, all adults aged 21 and older will no longer be required to submit a doctor’s recommendation to use medicinal cannabis when they apply for a medical cannabis identification card. Bowser signed the legislation into law on July 7, the week after the emergency ordinance was unanimously passed by Washington DC’s city council. After signing the Medical Marijuana Self-Certification Emergency Amendment Act of 2022, Bowser said that the bill would make it easier for patients to obtain medical marijuana from regulated sources.

“We’ve made it a priority over the years to build a more patient-centric medical marijuana program and this legislation builds on those efforts,” she said in a statement from the mayor’s office. “We know that by bringing more medical marijuana patients into the legal marketplace in a timely manner and doing more to level the playing field for licensed medical cannabis providers, we can protect residents, support local businesses and provide clarity to the community. I applaud the Council for moving forward this innovative solution to a complex issue, and I look forward to working with the Council and ABRA on permanent, more comprehensive medical marijuana legislation in the future.”

The bill was introduced by council members Mary M. Cheh and Kenyan R. McDuffie on June 27 and passed by a unanimous vote of the council the following day. Supporters of the measure maintain that the ordinance will simplify the process for patients to gain access to medical marijuana, particularly for those who have challenges visiting a doctor. Out of thousands of physicians practicing in Washington, DC, only 620 are registered to issue medical cannabis recommendations. Early this year, the city council passed a similar measure that allowed adults 65 and older to self-certify for medical marijuana card eligibility, but that ordinance expired on May 1.

Medical Marijuana Legalized in 2010

The Washington, DC city council legalized the use of medical cannabis in 2010 and decriminalized possession of marijuana in 2014. Later that year, voters passed a ballot measure that legalized the possession and cultivation of small amounts of recreational marijuana. City leaders would like to legalize and regulate commercial cannabis for use by adults, but action by Congress has prevented the implementation of a regulated recreational marijuana economy. Council members say that the new medical marijuana self-certification bill will also help address the city’s unregulated marijuana market, which has been emboldened by the 2014 ballot measure that legalized possession of cannabis by adults.

“Due to the lower barriers to access in the gray market, a significant number of medical marijuana patients have shifted from purchasing their medical cannabis from legal medical dispensaries to the illicit gray market, creating a significant risk to the long-term viability of the District’s legal medical marijuana industry,” McDuffie and Cheh said in a statement accompanying the emergency bill. “If this trend continues, it’s possible that gray market sales could wipe out the District’s legal cannabis dispensaries.

More than 40 unregulated cannabis dealers are taking advantage of a provision of Washington, DC’s recreational cannabis legalization initiative that permits adults to gift up to one ounce of cannabis to another adult. Following a popular scheme, these gifting businesses supply ostensibly free cannabis with the purchase of inexpensive merchandise at inflated prices. Representatives of the city’s seven licensed medical marijuana dispensaries say the unregulated competition poses a threat to their business.

“Savvy business owners have pushed the legal limits on the gifting industry,” McDuffie said before the city council voted on the ordinance. “I’ve had medical dispensaries that have reached out to me and my staff and say that if we don’t pass this measure, it could put their businesses into jeopardy.”

City leaders believe that eliminating the requirement for patients to receive a doctor’s recommendation to use medical marijuana will help prop up the city’s seven regulated medicinal cannabis dispensaries.

“Permitting patients to self-certify will provide a critical stopgap measure to help legal marijuana dispensaries retain and even win back medical marijuana patients from the illicit gray market,” reads the bill.

Brian Vicente, founding partner of the cannabis law firm Vicente Sederberg LLP, praised city leaders in the nation’s capital for the move to make legal marijuana accessible to all adults.

“The DC self-certification bill is one of the more interesting and bold cannabis policy proposals I’ve seen in my nearly 20 years of working in this space,” Vicente says. “This emergency legislation is the product of Congress’ continued obstruction of the District’s efforts to regulate cannabis for adult-use. It serves as functional legalization for all DC residents 21 or older who are willing to register with the local regulatory oversight agency for medical marijuana. It’ll immediately and vastly increase legal access to regulated medical cannabis for adults and bolster the District’s currently licensed cannabis businesses.”

The post Washington, DC Mayor Signs Bill Allowing Medical Marijuana Self-Certifications appeared first on Cannabis Now.

UN Reports Cannabis Use Up Amid Legalization and Covid-19 Lockdowns

The legalization of cannabis and lockdowns imposed to control the coronavirus pandemic have led to an increase in marijuana use around the globe, according to a United Nations report on drug use worldwide. Around the world, 209 million people used cannabis in 2020, the most recent data available, according to an annual global report was recently released by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. In the UNODC report, the Vienna, Austria-based organization notes that cannabis has long been the most widely used illicit drug in the world. The authors of the drug report estimate that 284 million people, or approximately 5.3% of the world’s population, used drugs including cannabis, heroin, cocaine, amphetamines or ecstasy.

Cannabis Legalization Leads to More Use

The UNODC report cites the legalization of cannabis in countries such as Uruguay, Canada and parts of the US as one of the causes of the increase of use the drug in those nations in 2020. Since then, other countries including Germany, Thailand, Malta, Spain and Mexico have taken steps to liberalize their cannabis policy laws or have plans to do so, portending the prospect of even higher levels of marijuana use in the years to come.

“Cannabis legalization appears to have accelerated the upwards trends in reported daily use of the drug,” the report said. The jump appears to be fueled by an increase in marijuana use by adults, with the authors of the report writing that the use of cannabis among teenagers “has not changed much.”

The UNODC report warned about the increase in potency of marijuana products as legalization spreads and new technologies and production methods are developed by the regulated industry. The authors cautioned that the younger generation of cannabis users appears to have an affinity for products with higher and higher levels of THC, noting that there has been “a pronounced increase in reported frequent use of high-potency products among young adults.” Although a definitive link between cannabis and the cause of mental health problems hasn’t been established, the drug report warned that the higher levels of THC found in marijuana products today could be associated with serious mental illness. The authors maintain that the increased potency of marijuana and hashish coupled with regular consumption had led to an increase in psychological illness in Western Europe.

“The proportion of people with psychiatric disorders and suicides associated with regular cannabis use has increased,” the authors of the UNODC report wrote.

Covid-19 Pandemic Drives Uptick in Cannabis Use

The UNODC report also cites the global COVID-19 pandemic for the increase in cannabis use. In many of the states in the US that have legalized cannabis commerce, licensed industry retailers, particularly medical marijuana dispensaries, were designated as essential businesses and allowed to remain in operation despite mandatory lockdowns put in place to help stem the spread of the coronavirus.

Last year, the National Institute on Drug Abuse’s annual Monitoring the Future study on substance use trends found that cannabis use rose to record levels among adults aged 19 to 30. The jump in cannabis use was particularly high among college students, with 44% reporting that they had used marijuana in 2020, a spike of six percentage points from 2015 and an increase of 14 points from the low of 30% recorded in 2006. With the jump, the incidence of cannabis use among college students rose to its highest level since 1983.

Global Cocaine Production at Record Levels

The UNODC report also notes that worldwide cocaine production reached record levels in 2020. The authors state that drug trafficking by sea is on an apparent upswing, with seizure data from 2021 suggesting that drug smugglers are expanding outside the two primary illicit markets of North America and Europe into highly populated Africa and Asia. Opioids remained the world’s most deadly class of drugs, with drug overdose deaths from the powerful painkillers surging to a record 107,622 in the US in 2021, with much of the jump attributed to the increasing presence of fentanyl in the nation’s illicit drug supply.

“Numbers for the manufacturing and seizures of many illicit drugs are hitting record highs, even as global emergencies are deepening vulnerabilities. At the same time, misperceptions regarding the magnitude of the problem and the associated harms are depriving people of care and treatment and driving young people towards harmful behaviors,” said UNODC executive director Ghada Waly. “We need to devote the necessary resources and attention to addressing every aspect of the world drug problem, including the provision of evidence-based care to all who need it, and we need to improve the knowledge base on how illicit drugs relate to other urgent challenges, such as conflicts and environmental degradation.”

The UNODC report warned that Russia’s war with Ukraine could allow illicit drug production in the area to prosper. The drug report cites evidence that conflict zones in the Middle East and Southeast Asia have served as a “magnet” for the illicit production of synthetic drugs, which can be manufactured almost anywhere.

According to the UNODC report, the number of dismantled amphetamine laboratories in Ukraine rose from 17 in 2019 to 79 in 2020, the highest number of seized laboratories reported in any country that year.

“You don’t have police going around and stopping laboratories” in war zones, said UNODC expert Angela Me.

The post UN Reports Cannabis Use Up Amid Legalization and Covid-19 Lockdowns appeared first on Cannabis Now.

Why More Cannabis Arrests Are Good for Legalization

In June, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) released its annual marijuana-war report card which revealed a troubling irony: During President Biden’s first two years in office, as more and more states legalized adult-use marijuana, law-enforcement officers across the country reported more and more cannabis arrests and more and more seizure of plants.

In 2021, the Domestic Cannabis Eradication/Suppression Program reported destroying or seizing 5.53 million cultivated cannabis plants, 743,920 pounds of “bulk processed marijuana” and arresting 6,606 people. Compare that to 2020, the last year of President Trump’s term, when police reported destroying 4.5 million plants, seizing 265,196 pounds of cannabis and arresting 4,992 people. 

As NORML pointed out, that’s 20% more plants seized, 25% more cannabis arrests—and almost three times as much cannabis taken away, the biggest increases in nearly a decade, back when Biden was President Obama’s vice president. With numbers like these, you could argue that the drug war’s getting worse, as some have.

If you did, you’d be wrong, drug-policy experts told Cannabis Now. An increase in marijuana-related arrests is marijuana legalization working as intended, in this analysis. There’s no legal cannabis without illegal cannabis being illegal. In other words, big busts are exactly what you voted for.

“It can be interpreted as good news for the legalization endeavor,” said Jonathan Caulkins, a drug-policy expert and professor at Carnegie Mellon’s Heniz College and author of Marijuana Legalization: What Everyone Needs to Know.  

“The legal industry should welcome law enforcement making life difficult for illegal producers,” he said. “The illegal market won’t just disappear on its own after legalization.”

Behind the Numbers

First, it’s good to be familiar with the data, which experts such as Caulkins admit isn’t comprehensive or exact but is probably the best data there is to indicate the state of the country’s weed war. 

The tallies include cannabis arrests made by local, state and federal law enforcement—but don’t exactly indicate who’s busting whom. Further muddying the waters are numbers released by the states themselves.

In California, for example, the notorious Campaign Against Marijuana Planting (CAMP) reported seizing 1.2 million marijuana plants and more than 180,000 pounds of illicit pot in 2021, state Attorney General Rob Bonta announced in October of last year. But then, in February, the state Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) released its own numbers: 2.6 million plants eradicated and 478,270 pounds of pot seized.

To what extent were these included or in addition to the DEA’s numbers, which indicated 3.9 million plants and 647,035 pounds busted—or pretty close to what CAMP and CDFW reported? Did that also include the 370,000 plants and 33,480 pounds that Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva reported busting last July?

That’s not entirely clear: In an-email, a spokesperson for the state Justice Department said that CAMP, a “unique participant” in the DEA’s weed war, “isn’t required to report data directly” to the DEA, but that local law enforcement “agencies report eradication numbers directly” to the feds. A spokeswoman for CDFW said that the agency was “working on” a response at press time. 

Ambiguity aside, the state-level focus, in the state with by far the most reported busts and seizures, is a good reminder that the DEA’s numbers aren’t necessarily a reflection of any sea change at the DEA or new direction from the White House. What this is, actually, is state law enforcement doing its thing in states that have legalized cannabis for adults 21 and over.

But if you’re all about the plant and all about weed freedom, should you be celebrating more cannabis arrests—or at least accepting that this is part of the legalization contract? Regardless of your personal feelings on the matter, you should be aware that police in helicopters chasing down illicit cannabis producers is exactly what the legal cannabis industry needs and wants.

This Is What “Saving Legal Cannabis” Looks Like

Last December, with the illicit market up to three times as large as the legal market, and legal operators drowning in a sea of unpaid taxes and high regulatory burdens, a group of California cannabis businesses begged Gov. Gavin Newsom for immediate tax relief. Instead, Newsom promised more enforcement, claiming—accurately—that a tax cut was the Legislature’s job.

But whether they admitted it, legal companies benefited in some way from the cannabis arrests. 

“Legal cannabis businesses in California have been begging for greater enforcement against illegal producers and sellers who are encroaching and unfairly competing in their market,” said Rosalie Pacula, a professor of health policy at the University of Southern California and an expert in cannabis policy.

Legalization has encouraged more cannabis production and consumption across the board—illicit and legal. To encourage the latter and discourage the former, some enforcement mechanism is required. Anarchists and libertarians will bristle, but a legal and regulated market just won’t work without some muscle in some form.

“This sort of enforcement is necessary to discourage illegal producers,” said Pacula, who added that in some circumstances, cannabis arrests should be expected to continue if not increase: in states that legalized marijuana markets but didn’t fully decriminalize youth possession; in states that are trying to crack down on unlicensed cannabis dispensaries or seshes, or in states that are enforcing probation and parole requirements that forbid the person on parole or probation from smoking weed.

“The rise in enforcement numbers alone can’t tell us whether this enforcement is good or bad for the legal market, but it’s not surprising either way,” Pacula said. “None of us expected the illicit market to just disappear because of legal cannabis.”

And it’s also important to remember not all enforcement numbers increased. In 2020, under Trump, the DEA reported seizing more than 1 million ounces of “THC wax/oil” and 971,104 ounces of THC edibles. In 2021, under Biden, seizures of edibles and concentrates plummeted—to 413,377 ounces of wax and oil and 343,390 ounces of edibles.

It remains a factual matter that underground cannabis is cheaper than legal cannabis and is thus attractive to the consumer for that reason. That’s what dodging taxes and regulation does. But if the marijuana legalization experiment is expected to work, cannabis arrests and seizures for those choosing to ignore legalization’s rules will remain a fact of life.

The post Why More Cannabis Arrests Are Good for Legalization appeared first on Cannabis Now.

Brittney Griner Trial Begins in Russia; Looks Like Political Show

The odds for justice in Vladimir Putin’s authoritarian Russia are already slim—and especially, we may assume, for a dreadlocked African American icon of the international LGBTQ community. But the war in Ukraine and the geopolitical rivalry between Moscow and Washington are now explicitly at play in the case of basketball superstar Brittney Griner.

It’s more than four months since Griner was arrested at the Moscow airport, allegedly in possession of an undetermined number of cannabis-oil vape pens. Orders for her pre-trial detention have been repeatedly extended—most recently for six months on June 27. Finally, on July 1, her trial opened at a court in the Moscow suburb of Khimki. 

Griner showed up wearing a Jimi Hendrix t-shirt, and was told that she would have to wait to file a plea. It was also revealed that she is charged with possession of just two vape cartridges, which contained 0.252 grams and 0.45 grams of hash oil. That would seem to exclude charges of “large-scale” trafficking (the worst-case scenario), but she could still face prison time under the notorious Article 228 of the Russian penal code, which outlaws “the making, acquisition, storage, transportation, sending, or sale” of illegal drugs in any quantity, and has often been used for purposes of political persecution.

The Phoenix Mercury WNBA star, who had been playing a season for Russia’s UMMC Ekaterinburg, could face 10 years in prison if convicted on dubious charges of “large-scale” transportation of drugs. Fewer than 1% of defendants in Russian criminal cases are acquitted. And unlike in the United States, acquittals can be appealed by the prosecution and reversed. Russia has the highest number of people per capita imprisoned for drug offenses in all of Europe, with some 100,000 behind bars on Article 228 violations.

So that would be bad enough, even if Griner’s arrest hadn’t come less than a week before Russia invaded Ukraine, plunging the world into crisis and bringing US-Russia tensions to a fever pitch not seen even during the peak of the Cold War.  

‘Wrongful Detainment’

In May, the US State Department officially designated Griner as “wrongfully detained.” This means Washington isn’t just going to wait for her case to play out in the Russian courts but commits to actively negotiate for her release. Griner’s case has been assigned to the US Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs (SPEHA), Roger Carstens.

The SPEHA played a key role in securing the release of US citizen and Marine veteran Trevor Reed from Russia in April. Detained for over two years on charges of confronting a police officer (which he denied), Reed had gone on hunger strike at the penal colony where he was being held. Reed was swapped for Konstantin Yaroshenko, a Russian pilot sentenced in 2011 for drug smuggling.

But there has seemingly been no progress for Griner since the designation. 

On June 20, racial justice activist group Until Freedom led a “Free Brittney Griner” march and rally in New York’s Harlem. Demonstrators chanted Griner’s name as they marched from the iconic Adam Clayton Powell Jr. State Office Building to the Harriet Tubman Memorial

As the Chicago Tribune reported, Khristina Williams, founder of GirlsTalkSportsTV, told the crowd: “We want to make sure we keep her name out there. When it comes to Black women, but especially Black queer women in America, there isn’t a lot of support. We want to continue to keep that story out there and bring it more attention.”

Cherelle Griner ‘Very Pissed’

Brittney’s wife, Cherelle Griner, had her faith in the State Department sorely tested on June 18. That was the couple’s fourth anniversary, and a phone call had been arranged—their first since Brittney’s arrest. The call between the Russian jail and their Phoenix home was to be patched through the US embassy in Moscow. But the date happened to fall on a Saturday, when the embassy is closed. Apparently, this hadn’t been thought of in advance, and nobody was there to patch through the call as Cherelle attempted some dozen times over several hours.  

That Monday, the State Department issued a statement saying that “we deeply regret that Brittney Griner was unable to speak with her wife because of a logistical error.”

But Cherelle Griner told the Associated Press she was “very pissed” about the foul-up. She added: “I have zero trust in our government right now. If I can’t trust you to catch a Saturday call outside of business hours, how can I trust you to actually be negotiating on my wife’s behalf to come home? Because that’s a much bigger ask than to catch a Saturday call.”

Paired with Other Cases

There is speculation that Brittney Griner may be paired with other Americans held in Russia if some kind of swap is worked out. On June 18, the same Khimki court that’s hearing Griner’s case sentenced a former member of the US diplomatic staff to 14 years in prison for “large-scale” cannabis smuggling. (Russian law defines a “large amount” as 100 grams, about 3.5 ounces, or more.) 

Marc Fogel had previously worked at the US embassy in Moscow but was employed as an English teacher at the city’s Anglo-American School at the time of his arrest. He was similarly detained at the airport, allegedly with an unspecified quantity of cannabis, last August. Fogel, whose lawyer said had only carried 17 grams (0.6 ounces), was a registered medical user in the US following back surgery. He said he was unaware that Russia doesn’t recognize any right to medical marijuana.

Others speculate that Griner could be traded in tandem with Paul Whelan, a former US Marine and private security firm director who was sentenced in 2020 to 16 years for espionage—a charge Washington rejects as a frame-up.

Any putative negotiations by definition must take place behind closed doors. But the lack of any outward sign of progress is frustrating for Griner’s loved ones and supporters. Griner’s agent, Lindsay Kagawa Colas, appealed to President Biden and Vice President Harris for speedy action to bring Brittney home in a June 29 tweet: “The negotiation for her immediate release regardless of the legal proceedings should remain a top priority and we expect @POTUS and @VP to do everything in their power, right now, to get a deal done to bring her home.” 

And Cherelle Griner told Good Morning America on June 1 that she wanted to speak directly with Biden. “I keep hearing he has the power, she’s a political pawn,” she said. “If they’re holding her because they want you to do something, then I want you to do it.”  

Traded for the Merchant of Death?

But that something could turn out to be pretty odious. Russian news media have repeatedly speculated that Griner could be traded for a Russian arms dealer imprisoned in the US. Viktor Bout, dubbed the “Merchant of Death,” is serving a 25-year term for aiding a terrorist organization and conspiracy to kill US citizens. 

Bout, accused by both the UN and human rights groups of violating multiple arms embargos, was arrested at a five-star hotel in Bangkok in March 2008. Thai authorities acted at the behest of the US Drug Enforcement Administration. A former KGB officer, Bout allegedly sold arms to the Taliban, al-Qaeda, Colombia’s FARC guerillas and warring sides in several African conflicts. His activities were chronicled in a book, Merchant of Death, by Douglas Farah and Stephen Braun, and he was also the reported inspiration for a 2005 film, Lord of War, in which he was played by Nicholas Cage. The book claimed that planes from the Bout’s fleet made several airdrops of weapons to the FARC in 1998 and 1999. He was extradited to the US in 2010, and convicted the next year—over the bitter objections of Moscow. 

Secretary of State Antony Blinken, asked on CNN June 26 whether a joint swap of Griner and Whelan for Bout was under consideration, neatly dodged the question. 

“As a general proposition…I’ve got no higher priority than making sure that Americans who are being illegally detained in one way or another around the world come home,” Blinken said. But he added: “I can’t comment in any detail on what we’re doing, except to say this is an absolute priority.”

‘Nothing About This is Justice’

Trading a death merchant such as Bout for someone convicted of possessing cannabis vape pens is an obvious moral absurdity. Driving home the bitter irony, video footage shows that at the time of her arrest at the airport in February, Griner was wearing a jacket with the words “BLACK LIVES FOR PEACE.” 

And the contradiction is heightened by the inevitable notion that Griner was set up in a cynical stratagem by the Russian intelligence services. On the June 28 broadcast of ABC’s The View, co-host Joy Behar suggested that the vape pens were planted in Griner’s luggage. 

“How do we know this white man Putin didn’t have his operatives plant that stuff on her?” Behar said. Whoopi Goldberg seemed to agree, adding: “How dumb would she have to be to not know? This isn’t a stupid woman. This is an amazing woman… So, she knows the rules. So, this is all BS.” 

The next day, Cherelle Griner appeared on Rev. Al Sharpton’s SiriusXM radio program, Keepin’ It Real, where she issued her most poignant plea yet. 

“Brittney matters. We’re never going to shut up about this until she’s back,” she said. “We’re never going to allow them to take their precious time, because every second that goes by, BG is struggling. She’s a human. She’s struggling. She’s there, terrified. She’s there alone. I mean, even in America, if she was going through a legal proceeding, she wouldn’t be doing it alone.” 

Cherelle continued. “Everything about this is just your biggest nightmare. On top of the fact that BG is in a situation where this isn’t even a trial. Russia has a 99% conviction rate. Nothing about this is justice.”

The post Brittney Griner Trial Begins in Russia; Looks Like Political Show appeared first on Cannabis Now.

Relieve Day-To-Day Stress With Five CBD

Shop relief and shop sleep is a promise made by Five CBD. The company, which produces a wide range of delicious products, delivers on that promise and ships their 5mg gummies to all 50 states. It’s a hemp-derived product that has a 5:1 CBD:THC ratio and similar effects to products any shopper would find in a local dispensary.

Daily Buzz 25mg CBD + 5mg THC Gummies is one of Five CBD’s most recent popular products. They’re high in a full spectrum blend of other cannabinoids and terpenes. Five CBD is able to ship these beautiful little gummies all across the United States because they are derived from federally legal industrial hemp.

CBD+THC gummies are produced in cGMP compliant facilities. The company prides itself on quality manufacturing. These gummies feature the highest quality CBD+THC extract and up to 6x the minor cannabinoids compared to the competition.

CBD

These gummies are perfect for vegans as well since they are pectin-based and contain natural ingredients. The company uses natural ingredients, such as organic MCT oil, and has no heavy metals and pesticides.

Five CBD calls the effects of their products pleasant but noticeable but not over-plowing, plus recommends starting with one dose per night and/or morning. Don’t dig into a box or container all at once, although it’s tough not to devour these gummies for their delicious flavors. Start nice and easy and go from there until the right dosage is discovered.

The company recommends their gummies for hikes, road trips, yoga, or starting or ending one’s day. Even for a business meeting, these gummies provide a sense of clarity and ease to get work done. The products are soothing and provide a low-key euphoria with a tasty kick. There are a wide range of flavors to choose from, as well, with the Daily Buzz 25mg CBD + 5mg THC Gummies. The original is represented by Blue Razz, Berry, Lemon, and Orange. For Buzz, there’s Blue Razz, Redberry, Lemon, and Orange. In need of a touch of sour, go with Sour Blue Razz, Sour Lemon, Sour Orange, or Sour Redberry. Lastly, for anyone seeking sound sleep, go with Berry.

These gummies are immensely helpful when it comes to restfulness. Five CBD is a company that wants to help its consumers rest peacefully, not only party peacefully. The Daily Buzz CBD + MG THC gummies are worth consuming for that reason, but there’s also the Full Spectrum CBD+THC Sleep Gummies with 3 milligrams of melatonin to help.

CBD

Another highly recommended edible from Five CBD is full spectrum CBD+THC chocolates. “Say hello to your new favorite feeling,” that’s how the company describes these delicious treats. They are fully-powered, full-spectrum premium CBD chocolates that pack a lot of taste and feeling. There are two flavors, milk chocolate and sea salt dark chocolate. The milk chocolate is a pleasant feeling that’ll satisfy the taste buds, especially for anyone with a late-night sweet tooth. All Five products are available by subscription and come with a hefty discount of up to 50%.

The chocolates provide an enjoyable feeling. They are 50 milligrams in CBD and 2 milligrams in THC. A couple of these chocolate wonders will have one in a relaxing state for hours, depending on their dosage and tolerance. They’re recommended for a good time and certainly creative activities from home. Savor one of these chocolates, wait shortly for them to kick in, and enjoy a low-key feel-good time.

Five CBD also sells CBD oil, CBD gummies, and CBD capsules. The company provides a wide range of benefits and options, depending on what a consumer is seeking from their products. On their website, the company asks right off the bat if someone is looking for relaxation, a sleep aid, relief, enhancing one’s wellness routine, or simply put, a nice buzz. Their products check all these boxes and more.

For years, the company has been attempting to ​​redefine full-spectrum CBD. Through proper distillation and chromatography, Five CBD produces nothing but high-quality products that are U.S. Hemp Authority-Certified and third-party lab tested. For anyone mindful of the edibles they ingest, Five CBD’s products pass all the major tests when it comes to safety and quality with flying colors.

CBD

Based in Irvine, California, all products are made and sold in the United States. Because the company offers the consumer their CBD directly from the source via online, the prices are more affordable than the competition as well. There are always deals and subscriptions without typical markups on the products.

Over the last few years, the company has been offering discounts to active military, health care workers, firefighters, paramedics, police officers, and veterans. It is a 35% discount on already reasonably priced products. Five CBD is on a mission to help relieve day-to-day stress for all, notably for those in high-pressure and physically taxing jobs, in every state.

Five CBD only continues to grow. Last summer, the company announced a new line of products, including the Daily Buzz 25mg CBD + 5mg THC Gummies and the Five CBD is full spectrum CBD+THC chocolates. “Five CBD has seen tremendous growth and success by putting innovation at the forefront – we’re continuously evolving the brand at an accelerated pace to meet our customers’ needs and interests,” J.P. Larsen, the Chief Operations Officer, announced at the time. “From new product introductions to packaging redesigns, providing our customers with an understanding of the quality of CBD products they are purchasing is a large goal of this brand. We want to create the best CBD experience possible while providing it at an affordable price point and delivering directly to their door.”

Not only do they deliver directly to the consumer’s door, but they ship fast. The products are cheap, but far from cheap in quality. The gummies are potent, the taste is top shelf, and they are right for a wide range of activities, thanks to the variety of products. Five CBD values simplicity and transparency, as well as deliciousness.

The post Relieve Day-To-Day Stress With Five CBD appeared first on High Times.

California Bill Would Require Warning Labels on Cannabis

California licensed cannabis companies would be required to put additional warnings on regulated marijuana products under a bill currently making its way through the state legislature. SB 1097, the Cannabis Right to Know Act, was passed by the California state Senate by a vote of 23-3 on May 25. On June 22, the measure was approved unanimously by the Assembly Business and Professions Committee before being referred to the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

SB 1097 would require large warning messages similar to those found on cigarettes and other tobacco products to be included on packaging for all licensed cannabis products. The labels would include messages about the potential risks cannabis poses including impaired driving, effects on adolescent brain development, impacts on pregnancy and associations with mental health issues including schizophrenia. The bill also requires retailers to provide a brochure outlining the health risks of cannabis to new customers and to display the brochures for other customers at the point of service.

Some of the warning messages for marijuana products mandated by the Cannabis Right to Know Act include:

  • “WARNING: Do not buy illegally sold cannabis as it is more likely to contain unsafe additives or harmful contaminants such as mold or pesticides.”
  • “WARNING: Do not use if pregnant or breastfeeding. Exposure to cannabis during pregnancy may harm your baby’s health, including causing low birth weight.”
  • “WARNING: Cannabis use may contribute to mental health problems, including psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia. Risk is greatest for frequent users and when using products with high THC levels.”
  • “WARNING: Cannabis use may contribute to mental health problems, including increased thoughts of suicide and suicide attempts. Risk is greatest for frequent users.”

The rotating set of ten warning labels would be required to be printed in a black 12-point font against a bright yellow background and cover one-third of the package front. The labels are modeled after comprehensive regulations adopted in Canada, where cannabis was legalized in 2018.

Bill’s Supporters Warn of Health Risks

Supporters of SB 1097 including Dr. Deepak Cyril D’Souza, a psychiatry professor at Yale University School of Medicine and a member of the physicians advisory board for Connecticut’s medical marijuana program, say that cannabis can cause serious health problems for some people. He believes that warning labels could help reduce the harmful effects of cannabis like similar messages included on packaging for cigarettes. D’Souza attributes warning labels, education campaigns and marketing restrictions for a steep reduction in smoking by children and teenagers observed over the past decade.

The health risks posed by cannabis can be exacerbated by products with high levels of THC, according to proponents of the Cannabis Right to Know Act. The THC content of cannabis flower from some varietals can exceed 35%, while marijuana concentrates can boast THC levels of more than 99%.

“Today’s turbocharged products are turbocharging the harms associated with cannabis,” said Dr. Lynn Silver with the Public Health Institute, a nonprofit organization supporting SB 1097.

Industry Group Opposes Cannabis Right to Know Act

In a call to action posted online last month, the trade group California Cannabis Industry Association expressed opposition to SB 1097. Seeking the support of members and their customers, the CCIA wrote that the “bill would add duplicative labeling requirements to cannabis products that will do very little to protect public health or undercut the illicit market, but will instead unfairly penalize legal operators who already comply with stringent labeling and childproof packaging requirements.”

Noting that the bill would result in higher prices for regulated cannabis products, the industry group called on California-licensed cannabis companies and consumers to contact their state lawmakers and ask that they oppose the Cannabis Right to Know Act.

“This bill is really duplicative and puts unnecessary burdens on the legal cannabis industry, as we already have incredibly restrictive packaging and advertising requirements,” Lindsay Robinson, executive director of the CCIA, told NPR.

Robinson added that the state should focus its resources on combating the illicit cannabis industry instead of licensed companies, which are already struggling to comply with strict regulations. Noting that licensed cannabis dispensaries in California generated $1.3 billion in state tax revenue last year, she said that adding additional requirements increases their costs and makes it more difficult for them to compete with the illicit marijuana market.

“The only real option if they fail out of the legal system is to shutter their businesses altogether or to operate underground. And I don’t think the state of California, with the tax revenue, wants either of those to happen,” Robinson said. “The heart of the issue is that there’s a massive, unregulated market in the state.”

Snowden Steiber, a regulatory analyst at regulatory compliance software platform Simplifya, told Cannabis Now that SB 1097 would saddle California’s industry with redundant rules.

“The current regulations already require licensees to include clear and legible warnings on the following issues for each product: cannabis’s status as a Schedule I controlled substance, keep out of reach of children and animals, no one under 21 may consume, no pregnant people should consume cannabis, effects may be delayed for two hours and warnings on cannabis’s ability to impair driving and cause DUIs,” Steiber wrote in an email. “This is a fairly comprehensive list that covers many of the warnings that are pushed forward in the new rules.”

The Cannabis Right to Know Act is also opposed by activists including the California chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. If passed by the legislature and signed into law by Gov. Gavin Newsome, SB 1097 would go into effect on January 1, 2025.

The post California Bill Would Require Warning Labels on Cannabis appeared first on Cannabis Now.

Will the Supreme Court Legalize Cannabis?

A great dark cloud hangs over the bright and sunny success of marijuana legalization in the US: federal law, which still declares cannabis an outlaw plant. This status quo causes great distress to American cannabis businesses and those still in federal prisons for marijuana offenses. Despite all the progress at the state level, this front of the drug war seems locked in a stalemate. Here’s a question: Can the Supreme Court legalize cannabis?

Of course; the US has three branches of government, and if Congress won’t legalize cannabis federally, and if President Joe Biden can’t, what about the Supreme Court? As long as the conservative majority on the John Roberts court is overturning long established precedent such as Roe v. Wade, could it overturn precedent related to cannabis prohibition? Or even the Controlled Substances Act itself? 

That’s the strategy Abner Kurtin, the CEO of Ascend Wellness, one of the smaller publicly traded cannabis companies operating in multiple states, recently announced he’ll try. Already successful in generating headlines—and, possibly, satisfying investors upset with recent losses and impatient with the stalemate in Congress—the strategy could work as legal experts consulted for this article told Cannabis Now, perhaps as a mechanism to pressure Congress into action, even if the Supreme Court never touches the Controlled Substances Act.

“I want to emphasize this is politically shrewd,” said Douglas Berman, a law professor at Ohio State University and executive director of the school’s Drug Enforcement and Policy Center. “It’s useful to have a two-front war, you might say. Maybe the legislature is more likely to respond when the courts are breathing down their necks.”

But this gambit isn’t without risks. The courts could reject the challenge, resulting in more lost money at a time when legal cannabis businesses are burning cash. Or the court could impose a vision of legalization that isn’t in anyone’s best interest.

Key details, including when the lawsuit will be filed or exactly what claims it’ll make, remain to be seen. Through a spokesperson, Kurtin declined to comment. 

But as he and Michael Bronstein, the president of lobbying group American Trade Association of Cannabis and Hemp explained to Marijuana Moment last month, at least six major cannabis companies will join in the suit. They will argue that the CSA is unconstitutionally applied to state-legal cannabis businesses. 

And doing the arguing for them will be attorneys from prominent white-shoe law firm Boies Schiller Flexner LLP, chaired by the $1,950-an-hour SCOTUS veteran David Boies, who has famously argued several prominent cases before the nation’s top bench.

Bring on the Lobbyists

Shelling out a few million dollars on lawyers—on top of spending a fraction of that on lobbyists to change Congress’s minds—is a tactic familiar to old-school legalization advocates. This has all been done before, with varying levels of success that, in binary terms, all failed.

Various parties including federal prisoners, cannabis researchers, an ex-NFL player-turned-businessman and legalization advocacy groups have all tried to sue the federal government before—to reschedule cannabis, to deschedule cannabis. All have failed, and all but one failed to even reach the august bench of the Supreme Court. 

That one, Gonzalez vs. Raich, held that Congress’s powers under the Commerce Clause—the federal government’s Constitutional ability to regulate trade between the states—“includes the power to prohibit the local cultivation and use of marijuana in compliance with” state law. 

That was the “best set of facts to overturn the Controlled Substances Act you could hope for,” observed Sam Kamin, a professor of law at the Denver University Sturm College of Law and a cannabis law expert. “And they didn’t do it.”

It stands to reason that the federal government isn’t really wielding this power at the moment, at least not insofar as it did with litigant Angel Raich, a severely ill cannabis patient in California whose backyard garden was raided by DEA agents. But what Kurtin and other cannabis executives want is relief from the pressures that do exist—on the banks and the taxman. 

If cannabis were descheduled, banking and taxation reform would be handled without need for Congress to legalize tax deductions and banking services. (Both the SAFE Banking Act as well as more ambitious federal legalization appear hopelessly stalled in the Senate, where 60 votes are required to even get a vote on the topic.) And companies could start shuttling cannabis in between states (although some companies don’t want that, at least not right away).

For MSOs such as Ascend Wellness, the “best possible outcome” will be a ruling that removes the federal government from cannabis entirely and leaves everything up to the states, Kamin said. The problem is that a ruling like that would also remove the federal government from any national standards around minority participation or other questions of equity—which means the legalization-minded social-justice advocates would hate it.

But again, overturning the CSA at the courts may not be the lone goal. “I think it’s part of a consistent and decades-long approach to critiquing and criticizing the CSA as not based in science, not based in the Constitution, and inconsistent with the will of the vast majority of the states and voters,” Kamin said. 

So, would the courts simply leave everything up to the states, or would the courts deschedule cannabis and hand the industry over to pharmaceutical companies with the resources to get Schedule II substances through the onerous Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval process? All are possible. “Everything is on the table right now,” Kamin said.

That includes striking down other federal powers to enforce other laws. In this, there’s a strange and dangerous irony.

Obamacare Beware

In another life, a decade ago, the bugaboo of self-avowed libertarians, Ascend Wellness’s Kurtin, was the Affordable Care Act. While the Obama Administration’s Justice Department used the logic in the Raich decision to defend Obamacare from conservative challenges, Raich herself signed onto amicus briefs seeking to overturn the federal healthcare mandate. Arguments limiting the federal government’s power are more likely to be welcomed by conservative judges. 

And so, if the Raich precedent is put into the dustbin of history, so could other federal powers.

“They’ve got to figure out a way to bring down federal marijuana prohibition and regulation without bringing down the whole universe of federal health and safety laws,” said OSU’s Berman. No pressure.

So, will the Supreme Court legalize cannabis? As always, time will tell.

The post Will the Supreme Court Legalize Cannabis? appeared first on Cannabis Now.

Will the Supreme Court Legalize Cannabis?

A great dark cloud hangs over the bright and sunny success of marijuana legalization in the US: federal law, which still declares cannabis an outlaw plant. This status quo causes great distress to American cannabis businesses and those still in federal prisons for marijuana offenses. Despite all the progress at the state level, this front of the drug war seems locked in a stalemate. Here’s a question: Can the Supreme Court legalize cannabis?

Of course; the US has three branches of government, and if Congress won’t legalize cannabis federally, and if President Joe Biden can’t, what about the Supreme Court? As long as the conservative majority on the John Roberts court is overturning long established precedent such as Roe v. Wade, could it overturn precedent related to cannabis prohibition? Or even the Controlled Substances Act itself? 

That’s the strategy Abner Kurtin, the CEO of Ascend Wellness, one of the smaller publicly traded cannabis companies operating in multiple states, recently announced he’ll try. Already successful in generating headlines—and, possibly, satisfying investors upset with recent losses and impatient with the stalemate in Congress—the strategy could work as legal experts consulted for this article told Cannabis Now, perhaps as a mechanism to pressure Congress into action, even if the Supreme Court never touches the Controlled Substances Act.

“I want to emphasize this is politically shrewd,” said Douglas Berman, a law professor at Ohio State University and executive director of the school’s Drug Enforcement and Policy Center. “It’s useful to have a two-front war, you might say. Maybe the legislature is more likely to respond when the courts are breathing down their necks.”

But this gambit isn’t without risks. The courts could reject the challenge, resulting in more lost money at a time when legal cannabis businesses are burning cash. Or the court could impose a vision of legalization that isn’t in anyone’s best interest.

Key details, including when the lawsuit will be filed or exactly what claims it’ll make, remain to be seen. Through a spokesperson, Kurtin declined to comment. 

But as he and Michael Bronstein, the president of lobbying group American Trade Association of Cannabis and Hemp explained to Marijuana Moment last month, at least six major cannabis companies will join in the suit. They will argue that the CSA is unconstitutionally applied to state-legal cannabis businesses. 

And doing the arguing for them will be attorneys from prominent white-shoe law firm Boies Schiller Flexner LLP, chaired by the $1,950-an-hour SCOTUS veteran David Boies, who has famously argued several prominent cases before the nation’s top bench.

Bring on the Lobbyists

Shelling out a few million dollars on lawyers—on top of spending a fraction of that on lobbyists to change Congress’s minds—is a tactic familiar to old-school legalization advocates. This has all been done before, with varying levels of success that, in binary terms, all failed.

Various parties including federal prisoners, cannabis researchers, an ex-NFL player-turned-businessman and legalization advocacy groups have all tried to sue the federal government before—to reschedule cannabis, to deschedule cannabis. All have failed, and all but one failed to even reach the august bench of the Supreme Court. 

That one, Gonzalez vs. Raich, held that Congress’s powers under the Commerce Clause—the federal government’s Constitutional ability to regulate trade between the states—“includes the power to prohibit the local cultivation and use of marijuana in compliance with” state law. 

That was the “best set of facts to overturn the Controlled Substances Act you could hope for,” observed Sam Kamin, a professor of law at the Denver University Sturm College of Law and a cannabis law expert. “And they didn’t do it.”

It stands to reason that the federal government isn’t really wielding this power at the moment, at least not insofar as it did with litigant Angel Raich, a severely ill cannabis patient in California whose backyard garden was raided by DEA agents. But what Kurtin and other cannabis executives want is relief from the pressures that do exist—on the banks and the taxman. 

If cannabis were descheduled, banking and taxation reform would be handled without need for Congress to legalize tax deductions and banking services. (Both the SAFE Banking Act as well as more ambitious federal legalization appear hopelessly stalled in the Senate, where 60 votes are required to even get a vote on the topic.) And companies could start shuttling cannabis in between states (although some companies don’t want that, at least not right away).

For MSOs such as Ascend Wellness, the “best possible outcome” will be a ruling that removes the federal government from cannabis entirely and leaves everything up to the states, Kamin said. The problem is that a ruling like that would also remove the federal government from any national standards around minority participation or other questions of equity—which means the legalization-minded social-justice advocates would hate it.

But again, overturning the CSA at the courts may not be the lone goal. “I think it’s part of a consistent and decades-long approach to critiquing and criticizing the CSA as not based in science, not based in the Constitution, and inconsistent with the will of the vast majority of the states and voters,” Kamin said. 

So, would the courts simply leave everything up to the states, or would the courts deschedule cannabis and hand the industry over to pharmaceutical companies with the resources to get Schedule II substances through the onerous Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval process? All are possible. “Everything is on the table right now,” Kamin said.

That includes striking down other federal powers to enforce other laws. In this, there’s a strange and dangerous irony.

Obamacare Beware

In another life, a decade ago, the bugaboo of self-avowed libertarians, Ascend Wellness’s Kurtin, was the Affordable Care Act. While the Obama Administration’s Justice Department used the logic in the Raich decision to defend Obamacare from conservative challenges, Raich herself signed onto amicus briefs seeking to overturn the federal healthcare mandate. Arguments limiting the federal government’s power are more likely to be welcomed by conservative judges. 

And so, if the Raich precedent is put into the dustbin of history, so could other federal powers.

“They’ve got to figure out a way to bring down federal marijuana prohibition and regulation without bringing down the whole universe of federal health and safety laws,” said OSU’s Berman. No pressure.

So, will the Supreme Court legalize cannabis? As always, time will tell.

The post Will the Supreme Court Legalize Cannabis? appeared first on Cannabis Now.

Science Confirms: You Can’t Get High on CBD

Can CBD get you high?

It’s not quite right to say that CBD—or cannabidiol, which, after THC, is the best-known and most abundant cannabinoid (“active ingredient”) found in the cannabis plant—isn’t “psychoactive.” Of course, CBD has some effect on the mind; if it didn’t, why would CBD, which adherents say helps alleviate brain-powered problems including insomnia and anxiety, be so popular?

What is right is to say is that unlike THC, CBD is “non-intoxicating.” In fact, CBD is non-intoxicating to a such a degree that you can consume great gobs of the stuff and still be relied upon to safely operate a motor vehicle, according to a recent study.

So, can CBD get you high? No. However, this isn’t to say that CBD isn’t without some risks, biological as well as legal. Depending on what CBD formulation a patient is using, and depending on what state they’re in, they may indeed be able to operate a motor vehicle without any issue while on an epic amount of CBD — while still running the risk of a “cannabis DUI” charge. And depending on what other pharmaceuticals and other drugs a patient may be taking; CBD does carry some risks.

Safe at any Speed

In this most recent study, researchers in Australia—where doctors have written more than 55,000 prescriptions for medicinal CBD since medical cannabis was legalized in 2016—gave doses of either a placebo or synthetically derived CBD ranging from 15 milligrams to 1,500 milligrams to 17 study participants. Each participant was then asked to perform basic tasks in a driving simulator between 45 to 75 minutes after taking their dose, and then again between 3.5 to 4 hours later.

And, according to findings published last month in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, even a massive, prescription-only dose of CBD “has no impact on people’s driving or cognitive abilities,” as the University of Sydney, where the lead researchers are employed, reported in a news release.

The question of can CBD get you high? has been answered: Not only did the study participants report no feeling of intoxication, but they also exhibited no signs of intoxication whatsoever.

These findings are consistent with past research, and they “suggest that unlike some other drugs, CBD can be used without the risk of being unable to operate a motor vehicle,” said Danielle McCartney, the lead researcher and a professor at the University of Sydney’s School of Psychology. “This could certainly make CBD more appealing than other therapies to some patients (e.g., those with jobs requiring them to operate heavy machinery).

Previous research found that low doses of vaporized CBD also had no impact on driving ability. But the CBD used in the study isn’t the CBD most people are using.

What’s in Your CBD?

In Australia, it’s already legal for consumers to drive a car while using CBD. The same is true in the US, where neither state nor the federal government imposes any limits on how much CBD can be in the human body while operating a vehicle.

But the same isn’t true for THC. In theory, it’s possible to consume enough CBD oil to trigger a positive result for THC in a drug test, as well as exceed the “per se” limit for cannabis intoxication in states that still have a per se limit.

That’s because in the US, “hemp” is classified as cannabis with 0.3 percent or less THC. While formulations and ratios will vary—and while product quality and consistency are issues that continue to bedevil the CBD industry—what this means is that a CBD product will likely have some THC, and the larger a dose of CBD, the larger the potential dose of THC.

While that still probably won’t be enough THC to create any kind of intoxicating effect, or at least an effect that the user would recognize as THC-driven intoxication—in part because CBD is a THC agonist, and tends to ameliorate or even eliminate THC’s psychoactive properties—patients in a situation where a drug test could trigger loss of employment or housing should be aware of the risk of a positive drug test, said Dr. Sherry Yafai, a Santa-Monica, CA-based physician and board member of the Society of Cannabis Clinicians.

“It’s really important to highlight that,” Yafai told Cannabis Now. “I bring this up because I do have patients who test positive for THC after using a CBD product, and then get booted out of their pain-management doctor’s office.”

Yafai, who wasn’t involved with the Australian study, was also surprised that study participants reported “no lethargy or sleepiness” even at high doses. “That’s a little bit strange,” she said. “Practically speaking, a 1500 milligram dose will make most people tired for a couple of days.”

That said, this latest study is the latest demonstration of what should now be accepted as gospel: CBD is non-intoxicating.

“That’s been shown over and over again,” she said. “CBD shouldn’t be considered a drug of intoxication.”

The post Science Confirms: You Can’t Get High on CBD appeared first on Cannabis Now.