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Florida Bill Would Regulate Delta-8 and Overhaul Medical Cannabis

Florida Bill Would Regulate Delta-8 and Overhaul Medical Cannabis

Florida bill would regulated Delta 8 THC and overhaul medical cannabis industry
A Florida bill seeks to place strict limits on delta-8 THC and overhaul the state’s medical cannabis program, which would include a new cannabis oversight agency and new rules preventing the sale of dispensary licenses for monetary gain.

bill in Florida would place strict limits on THC potency of synthetic and hemp extracts, such as delta-8 THC, and include other reforms to the state’s medical cannabis law, Florida Politics reports. The bill’s sponsors, Democratic Rep. Andrew Learned and Republican Rep.

Spencer Roach describe the proposal as the “first major update” to the state’s medical cannabis statute since voters approved the reforms five years ago.

Under the proposal, sales of hemp products designed for consumption, including delta-8 products, would only be permitted to individuals 21-and-older.

Additionally, the measure would increase the terms of medical cannabis patient licenses and the time between required doctor appointments, which the bill sponsors say combined would cut an estimated 60% of the cost of participation in the medical cannabis program.

It would also remove physician appointments for medical cannabis patient recertification under specific guidelines, allow recertification via telehealth, end the practice of selling medical cannabis dispensary licenses for monetary gain, create new industry testing requirements, and increase the transparency of state regulations.

Under the proposal, the course required by Florida for physicians that recommend medical cannabis would triple from two to six hours.

The bill was introduced on Monday November 29, but has not yet been moved to any committee.

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Delta 8 THC Banned in New York

Delta 8 THC Banned in New York

Delta 8 THC banned in New York by cannabis control board

Rules to allow for delta-8 THC could come in the “future,” but in the meantime, those for CBD in food and beverages have been finalized.

Delta-8 THC was front and center during the latest meeting of New York’s cannabis regulators, as officials work to stand up what will be one of the world’s biggest cannabis markets.

The state’s Cannabis Control Board (CCB) met on Wednesday, for the third time, to approve Cannabinoid Hemp regulations presented by the Office of Cannabis Management. The package of rules will now regulate hemp products, including CBD products, by creating “clear” guidelines for what kinds of products and activities are allowed, and which ones aren’t, “to help foster the development of a robust cannabinoid hemp industry.”

The rules also seek to enhance consumer protection and quality control through testing and labeling, and to “enforce against” products that don’t meet the bar and those that are explicitly banned.

“Delta-8, similar to delta-9 THC, is psychoactive, has psychoactive properties, particularly when synthesized through the processing process. Because of that, we’ve decided to hold off on including the regulations for those products in this package and that will be addressed in the future adult use packages,” Chris Alexander, executive director of the Office of Cannabis Management (OCM), within which the Board sits, said during a question and answer portion of the meeting, when asked specifically where delta-8 rules stood.

The regulations do, however, allow for cannabinoids, like CBD, to be added to foods and beverages, if they meet the state’s standards, which will require that each product be made using Good Manufacturing Practices. Last month, California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed AB 45, which will now allow hemp-derived CBD (or other cannabinoids) in supplements, foods, drinks, cosmetics, and pet food.

“I’m pleased that we will be advancing the cannabinoid hemp program today, just as we have done with the expansion of the medical marijuana program at prior meetings,” Tremaine Wright, chair of the Board, said at the start of the meeting. (As Cannabis Wire recently reported, the Board has already moved to allow for medical cannabis shops to sell flower products, which several have started to do, and released rules for patients to home grow.)

Board member Jen Metzger gave an overview of the hemp program in New York. In 2015, the Department of Agriculture and Markets launched the state’s Industrial Hemp Agricultural Research Pilot Program. Metzger said this program “exploded” after it launched, with 800 farmers registered to grow, most for cannabidiol (CBD).

When the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act passed in March, legalizing cannabis for adult use, the Cannabinoid Hemp Program was transitioned under the umbrella of the new Office of Cannabis Management.

Cannabis Is America’s New Cash Crop, More Profitable Than Cotton Or Rice

Cannabis Is America’s New Cash Crop, More Profitable Than Cotton Or Rice

cannabis is now the 5th most profitable cash crop in America

Cannabis marketplace Leafly Holdings, Inc. released its inaugural Cannabis Harvest Report on Wednesday revealing that cannabis is America’s 5th most valuable crop. The report takes the first look at cannabis data, insights and projections across the 11 states where Americans can currently purchase both adult-use and medical cannabis.

To conduct the analysis, Leafly’s investigative team teamed up with Whitney Economics and ended up discovering that cannabis has become a major agricultural commodity that supports thousands of American farmers and farm communities.

Based on the report, cannabis crops in adult-use states now support 13,042 licensed farms in the aggregate. On an annual basis, those growers harvest 2,278 metric tons (5,022,990 pounds) of cannabis. To give you a better idea: that’s enough weed to roll more than two billion joints or fill 57 Olympic-size swimming pools

Cannabis Is More Valuable Than Cotton, Rice And Peanuts

That amount makes cannabis the fifth most valuable crop in the United States. With a wholesale harvest value of $6.2 billion, America’s cannabis harvest ranks above cotton and below wheat, based on US Department of Agriculture data for 2020. Only corn, soybeans, hay and wheat bring in more money to American farmers.

Based on wholesale harvest value, this is how U.S. crops rate:

  • Corn $61 billion
  • Soybeans $46 billion
  • Hay $17.3 billion
  • Wheat $9.3 billion
  • Cannabis $6.2 billion
  • Cotton $4.7 billion
  • Rice $3.1 billion
  • Peanuts $1.3 billion

“America’s adult-use wholesale cannabis crop returned a mind-boggling $6.175 billion to farmers last year, ranking it as the 5th most valuable crop in the United States,” David Downs, the report’s lead author and Leafly’s California bureau chief stated. “ Yet, due to federal prohibition, America does not treat cannabis farmers like farmers. They are subject to more state and federal taxes, regulations, and stigma than any other type of farmer. These barriers hurt small legacy farmers the most. This plant is helping generate wealth, employment, and community investment around the country, and our legislators need to recognize the opportunity cannabis presents for Americans—today.”

The report also revealed that legal cannabis is the single most valuable agricultural crop in Alaska, Colorado, Massachusetts, Nevada and Oregon, but remains completely uncounted and ignored by state agriculture officials. In Alaska alone, the state’s cannabis crop is worth more than twice as much as all other agricultural products combined.

USPS Bans Mailing Hemp, CBD and Vape Cartridges

USPS Bans Mailing Hemp, CBD and Vape Cartridges

USPS bans mailing hemp, CBD and vape cartridges

The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) on Wednesday released its final rule on the mailability of vapes, asserting that even devices designed for federally legal hemp derivatives like CBD generally cannot be shipped through the U.S. mail.

The agency has been developing the regulations to comply with a bill passed by Congress last year that is mostly aimed at stopping nicotine vaping devices from being mailed—though it has broader implications. Despite significant public comment on an earlier proposed version of the rules that urged USPS not to interpret the law in a way that restricts hemp businesses, the agency ultimately said that cannabis vapes fit the definition of what lawmakers moved to ban.

There are some exceptions, but stakeholders are disappointed by the final rule.

During public comment, some argued that the bill was specifically meant to restrict mailing of nicotine-based vapes. But while the legislation refers to limitations on “electronic nicotine delivery systems,” or ENDS, it defines that term as “any electronic device that, through an aerosolized solution, delivers nicotine, flavor, or any other substance to the user inhaling from the device.”

USPS explained in the rule, which is set to be published in the Federal Register on Thursday, that by the letter of the law, that includes hemp and marijuana vapes.

“It goes without saying that marijuana, hemp, and their derivatives are substances,” the agency said. “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 [Preventing Online Sales of E-Cigarettes to Children Act’s] scope.”

Other commenters argued that USPS shouldn’t impose the restriction on cannabis products because the ban could conflict with state or local marijuana laws—or because Congress has approved spending legislation that prohibits the use of Justice Department funds for interfering in state-legal medical cannabis programs.

USPS said those arguments are not valid because, 1) it’s part of the federal government and is, therefore, unaffected by state or local marijuana policies and 2) it’s not part of the Justice Department, which is the only branch of the government restricted by the state protection rider in appropriations legislation.

The agency further clarified that hemp containing up to 0.3 percent THC is federally legal and is generally mailable, but only “to the extent that they are not incorporated into an ENDS product or function as a component of one.” As such, while business can generally mail out legal hemp-derived products, that’s only the case if they are not vaping products covered under the new law.

“The POSECCA and the Agriculture Improvement Act overlap, but they do not conflict. The Agriculture Improvement Act merely excludes certain products from the CSA. It does not affirmatively declare hemp and hemp derivatives to be mailable in any and all circumstances, superseding all other relevant laws (such as the POSECCA). For its part, the POSECCA restricts the mailability of only certain hemp-based and related products; hemp-based non-ENDS products are unaffected, as are ENDS products falling within one of the PACT Act’s exceptions. That Congress has rendered some subset of a class of goods to be nonmailable while leaving the remainder mailable is not some sort of legal conflict, but, rather, how mailability regulation typically works.”

Oregon Declares State of Emergency Over Illicit Hemp Farms

Oregon Declares State of Emergency Over Illicit Hemp Farms

Ilicit hemp farms make up 50% of operations in an Oregon county

There were several concerns among states following the federal legalization of hemp in 2018. One of the primary being the regulation of both cannabis and hemp together in states where cannabis has been legalized.

One such state is Oregon, which legalized cannabis in 2014 and quickly saw a massive boom in the new industry. The state was producing so much cannabis that the price per pound tanked, almost causing the entire industry to crash in just a couple of years.

So when the government legalized industrial hemp on the federal level in 2018, many states including Oregon saw it as an opportunity to broaden the accessibility to the cannabis industry for farmers. Many in Oregon were looking for an alternative to THC-rich cannabis due to the oversaturated market, which led them to switch to hemp instead.

Others joined when hemp was legalized as they recognized the potential of the growing CBD market, and more nefarious actors joined to take advantage of one of the biggest overlying issues in the hemp/cannabis industry; figuring out the difference.

Illicit Hemp Farms

Hemp and cannabis are technically one and the same. While the genetics have branched apart from each other over time, the plant remains very similar at their core. Both contain THC and CBD, but while cannabis was bred to have more THC, hemp traditionally has lower THC levels already, making it easier to breed out.

The Farm Bill requires that hemp contain no more than .3% THC, an infinitesimal amount that can’t produce a psychoactive high. This requirement is what helped drive the CBD as market, as all other cannabinoids aside from Delta-9 Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are technically legal.

Since the plants look so similar to each other, a large portion of the farms claiming to be growing legal hemp, have actually been growing illicit cannabis without proper licensing.

With cannabis legal in Oregon now, these illegal farms operate with near impunity next to Oregon’s highly regulated cannabis market. With many western states being hit with drought this year, these illegal farmers are also illegally stealing water from the surrounding creeks and wells. One illegal cannabis farm recently raided by authorities was illegally drawing water from the Illinois River to feed over 72,000 marijuana plants.

The Jackson County Board of Commissioners recently declared a state of emergency warning of “an imminent threat to the public health and safety of our citizens from the illegal production of cannabis in our county.”

The illegal cannabis farms are often posing as legal hemp farms, the commissioners noted. The Oregon Health Authority and the Oregon Liquor and Cannabis Commission recently reported that nearly 50% of registered hemp farms inspected in the state are illegally growing cannabis, with a THC content greater than legal limits.

British Soccer Coach Jailed for 25 Years in Dubai for Cannabis Oil

British Soccer Coach Jailed for 25 Years in Dubai for Cannabis Oil

British soccer coach arrested in Dubai for cannabis oil

A British football coach has been jailed for 25 years in Dubai after four small bottles of vape liquid containing cannabis oil were found in his car.

Billy Hood from from Notting Hill, West London, was given the harsh sentence despite being able to prove the vape liquid belonged to a visiting friend who had mistakenly left them in his car.

The 24-year-old fitness fanatic, who is anti-drugs and doesn’t smoke, was convicted by a court of drug trafficking with intent to supply.

Police in Dubai are thought to have singled out Hood after monitoring WhatsApp messages and looking for key words related to drugs. A week before his arrest the friend who owned the vape liquid sent a message telling Hood he had mistakenly left it behind in his car.

The ruler of Dubai Sheikh Mohammed was last week revealed to have used spyware to hack into the phone of his ex-wife and her lawyer Baroness Shackleton while a custody hearing was taking place at the High Court.

The United Arab Emirates are known to be users of the Israeli made spyware known as Pegasus.

Hood, who played semi-professional football for Kensington and Ealing Borough FC, was stunned when police unexpectedly turned up at his flat in January and demanded to search his home and company car.

Four small vials of vape liquid containing cannabis oil (CBD) and a vape pen were later found in the passenger door compartment.

After his arrest Hood volunteered to take a urine test for drugs which came back negative.

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