In this week’s cannabis news round-up, the DEA considers issuing new rules for Delta-8 THC and CBD; country music star Paul Cauthen debuts new “Wild Man” single after drug arrest; bipartisan lawmakers in Ohio reintroduce cannabis legalization bill and Lil’ Kim announced plans to launch her cannabis brand Aphrodisiak in Las Vegas.
DEA Could Issue New Rules for Delta-8 THC, Impose Regulations on CBD
The US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is suggesting revisions to federal drug-control laws that could effectively prohibit almost all currently available Delta-8 THC products. This proposal could potentially significantly disrupt the country’s $5 billion CBD industry.
Under the 2018 Farm Bill, products that contain Delta-8 THC and other cannabinoids derived from hemp were federally legalized. These products gained immense popularity in states without regulated adult-use cannabis markets. CBD products, which can be converted into the intoxicating Delta-8 THC through a chemical process, have also gained substantial traction.
However, Delta-8 THC and other newly identified cannabinoids, many of which have either unknown or poorly understood safety profiles, have attracted increasing attention from lawmakers and law enforcement agencies. Although 14 states have outright banned Delta-8 THC, it continues to be sold online, in smoke shops and other retail establishments.
Hemp is defined as cannabis plants containing 0.3% THC or less by dry weight. Critics argue that the thriving trade in hemp-derived cannabinoids deviates from Congress’ original intent when legalizing hemp. They claim that the industry takes advantage of a loophole that the DEA now intends to close with its proposed changes.
The proposed changes to federal drug laws would encompass any cannabinoid “synthetically manufactured instead of extracted from the plant.” As most Delta-8 THC and other intoxicating cannabinoids derived from hemp are typically produced through a chemical process using CBD as the source material (referred to as “chemical synthesis” in the presentation), they’d be classified as controlled substances.
The specific schedule under the Controlled Substances Act that the DEA intends to propose for Delta-8 and other synthetic cannabinoids remains uncertain. Additionally, it’s unclear how committed the DEA would be to enforcing these regulations.
If implemented, the DEA’s new rules on Delta-8 THC would effectively ban almost all products containing the cannabinoid currently available. Furthermore, the proposal would significantly impact the CBD product market, leading to a drastic transformation.
Paul Cauthen Shares “Wild Man” Single Four Days After Drug Arrest
Only days after being arrested for possessing a controlled substance with intent to distribute, country singer-songwriter Paul Cauthen surprised fans by releasing a new single titled “Wild Man.” The arrest occurred on the morning of Thursday, May 18, in Isle of Palms, SC, approximately 80 miles away from Cauthen’s scheduled performance that evening at Suck Bang Blow in Murrells Inlet, SC. Charges included possession of a Schedule I controlled substance and manufacturing and possession of controlled substances with intent to distribute in Schedules I, II and III. Cauthen posted bail amounting to $27,275 and was released from custody later that day.
In a social media post on Monday, Cauthen corroborated that he was arrested for cannabis possession, stating: “I was arrested last week on tour in South Carolina for cannabis possession and want to clear up some of what’s being said. I’m not a drug dealer and I don’t “manufacture” drugs. The legal process will play out and my side of the story will be told, hell or high water. Amidst all the hell last week, a good friend reached out with his support (as did so many that I respect and love) and told me to keep my head up and ended it by calling me “a wild man.” So, I had to go ahead and put this song out today. This is for everyone that reached out and who has supported me. Love you all.”
As a result of the arrest, Cauthen had to cancel upcoming concerts in Knoxville and Hurricane Mills, TN, which were scheduled for Friday and Saturday, respectively. The cancellations were attributed to “extenuating circumstances.” The show at Suck Bang Blow on Thursday was also called off, although the venue cited weather conditions as the reason.
The incident unfolded on Thursday morning when an officer from the Isle of Palms Police Department noticed that Cauthen’s tour bus was illegally parked and detected the distinctive smell of cannabis as he passed by the vehicle. The officer approached two individuals outside the bus, including Cauthen himself. During their interaction, the musician admitted to having approximately an ounce of cannabis on the bus. However, according to the police report, the officers discovered and confiscated nearly four ounces, along with other items, including a white powdery substance in a small tube, three-and-a-half pink oval pills, two pink circular pills and a clear plastic bag containing another white powdery substance.
While at the scene, Cauthen confessed to the officers that the pills were Xanax and Diazepam and that he didn’t possess a prescription for them. He claimed ownership of all the cannabis found on the bus, which amounted to slightly less than four ounces, as well as the pills. However, no one on the bus took responsibility for the powdery substances. Due to the weight of the cannabis discovered, Cauthen was charged with manufacturing and possession of controlled substances with the intent to distribute. He also received an additional possession charge for the pills.
Bipartisan Lawmakers in Ohio Reintroduce Cannabis Legalization Bill as Ballot Drive Moves Forward
A bipartisan group of Ohio state lawmakers reintroduced a bill to legalize adult use cannabis. Previous attempts by Ohio lawmakers to legalize cultivation and possession for adults aged 21 and older through the legislative process have been unsuccessful.
Known as the Ohio Adult Use Act, House Bill 168 is sponsored by Republican state Rep. Jamie Callender and Democratic state Rep. Casey Weinstein. Retail sales of cannabis would be subject to a 10% tax, aligning with the proposed rate in the ballot initiative. Furthermore, the bill offers the potential for expungement of criminal convictions related to marijuana cultivation and possession.
If passed, the newly renamed Division of Marijuana Control would regulate commercial cultivation, processing and sales of medical and adult-use cannabis in the Buckeye State. This regulatory body would oversee the implementation and enforcement of regulations in the industry.
“It’s time for Ohio to act on this before we fall too much further behind our neighbors,” Weinstein said in a news release. “Adult use [cannabis] is good for our economy, good for our justice system and the right thing to do.”
Simultaneously, a campaign is underway to gather signatures for an adult-use legalization ballot initiative that may be presented to voters in November. Ohio residents are actively engaged in a signature-gathering campaign to place an adult-use cannabis initiative on the ballot in November. The Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol has submitted a proposal for legalization using an initiated statute, a lawful method that allows citizens to propose modifications to state law. To meet the July 5 deadline, the coalition aims to collect approximately 124,000 signatures from at least 44 of Ohio’s 88 counties. Many are optimistic that this goal can be readily accomplished, considering the level of support and enthusiasm surrounding the initiative.
Lil’ Kim Launches Aphrodisiak in Las Vegas
Iconic rapper, Lil’ Kim and her Aphrodisiak partner Priscilla Vilchis, the self-proclaimed “Hollyweedqueen,” have launched their cannabis brand Aphrodisiak in Las Vegas, NV.
“As female entrepreneurs, we know how important it is to support other women and marginalized groups,” Lil’ Kim says. “We’re proud to be part of a brand that not only provides amazing products but also makes a difference in the world.”
Aphrodisiak’s premium product line features a diverse selection of strains and cannabis-infused products carefully crafted to enhance intimacy and pleasure. The brand debuted its offerings at the renowned Planet 13 dispensary in Las Vegas with a meet and greet for fans.
“We want to create a brand that empowers and uplifts women and promotes healthy, enjoyable relationships,” Vilchis says. “We’re proud to partner with Lil Kim, who shares our vision for creating a brand that is inclusive, empowering and forward-thinking.”
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