A bipartisan group of congressional lawmakers filed a bill this week to clarify that federal “Right to Try” (RTT) laws give seriously ill patients access to Schedule I drugs, including marijuana and psychedelics like psilocybin and MDMA. While the bipartisan measure would make a technical amendment to the text of existing law, the primary purpose is to clarify—in the face of Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) objections—that RTT policy as signed into law by then-President Donald Trump already means that patients with terminal… Read more.
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D.C. Lawmakers Demand That Congress End Marijuana Legalization ‘Interference’ At House Committee Hearing
Top local officials from Washington, D.C. participated in a congressional hearing on Wednesday, sharply criticizing federal lawmakers over a policy that bars the District from legalizing and regulating marijuana sales. D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson (D) told the House Oversight and Accountability Committee that “congressional interference” in local laws on issues like cannabis threatens the city’s ability to “address crime and public safety.” Residents of the nation’s capital voted “overwhelmingly” to legalize marijuana for adult use in 2014, but “Congress… Read more.
Congressional Panel Approves Bill To Streamline Marijuana And Psychedelics Research While Ramping Up Fentanyl Criminalization
A congressional committee has approved a bill that aims to ramp up criminalization for fentanyl-related substances, while also streamlining research into Schedule I drugs like marijuana and certain psychedelics. The legislation, sponsored by Rep. Morgan Griffith (R-VA), passed the House Energy & Commerce Committee with amendments on Thursday. An amendment in the nature of a substitute was adopted by the panel, striking original provisions of the bill and replacing them with updated language that lays out penalties for fentanyl-related offenses… Read more.
Will Medicare Ever Cover Medical Marijuana? – 20% of Medicare Members Currently Use Medical Cannabis
Will Medicare Ever Cover Medical Marijuana? Medical marijuana is becoming increasingly popular among older adults as a treatment for various conditions. However, despite its growing acceptance, uncertain safety standards, conflicting laws, and complex regulations could delay Medicare coverage for years. In April 2022, the Medicare Plans Patient Resource Center conducted a survey showing that 20% of Medicare beneficiaries presently use medical marijuana, and nearly a quarter has used it before. The study revealed that 66% of the respondents believe Medicare should cover… Read more.
An Oregon marijuana business challenging the state’s ban on interstate cannabis commerce asked a federal judge last week to allow the case to be heard in court, arguing that the company has a “right to operate its business—federally legal or not—free of unconstitutional state laws such as the export ban.” The cannabis wholesaler, Medford-based Jefferson Packing House, sued Oregon officials in November in an effort to overturn the state export ban. Its attorneys claim the law violates the U.S. Constitution’s Dormant Commerce… Read more.
Medical cannabis is expected to be much more easily and widely available in Washington DC after a set of reforms that include lifting a cap on dispensaries and allowing patients to “self-certify” became law this week. Congress had until March 22 to interfere with the Medical Cannabis Amendment Act signed into by Washington DC Mayor Muriel Bowser in January, but the federal lawmakers took no action, according to NORML. In addition to allowing residents to “self-certify” as medical-cannabis patients, which some observers say amounts to a… Read more.
A bipartisan pair of U.S. senators have filed a bill to reduce regulations on farmers that grow industrial hemp for non-extraction purposes. Sens. Jon Tester (D-MT) and Mike Braun (R-IN) introduced the Industrial Hemp Act on Thursday—the latest piece of congressional legislation focused on the crop, which was federally legalized under the 2018 Farm Bill. As it stands, hemp and its derivatives like CBD that contain no more than 0.3 percent THC by dry weight are not controlled substances, and… Read more.
Top Federal Health Official Says Marijuana Scheduling Review Still Needs To Go Through ‘A Few Hoops’
The secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) says he’s aware that there’s significant public interest in the timeline for the administrative review of marijuana scheduling—but there are “a few hoops we need to jump through” before completing that assessment. HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra took to Twitter on Wednesday to share a media clip of his interview about cannabis with KDKA-TV that aired earlier in the week, assuring followers, “I see the comments and I know a lot… Read more.
Major Alcohol Industry Association Calls For Federal Marijuana Legalization, Recommending Regulatory Framework
A major alcohol industry association is officially backing federal marijuana legalization, sending a letter to congressional leadership on Wednesday that implores lawmakers to “regulate adult-use cannabis at the federal level.” The Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America (WSWA) said that “the current conflict between state and federal law is not only causing adverse consequences for consumers and non-consumers of cannabis but will also have long-term public health and safety costs that are too great to ignore.” The association made two… Read more.
Justice Department Says Ending Gun Ban For Medical Marijuana Patients Would Have ‘Wide-Ranging Consequences’ In New Federal Court Brief
The U.S. Department of Justice has filed a brief in a federal appeals court as part of an ongoing lawsuit over the government’s ban preventing medical marijuana patients from possessing firearms. Many of DOJ’s arguments in the brief filed on Wednesday mirror points that the agency made in earlier filings in the case, including in a federal district court that dismissed the lawsuit that’s now being appealed by its plaintiffs. But the latest document places new emphasis on the “wide-ranging consequences” that… Read more.
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on Thursday charged cannabis cultivation and distribution company American Patriot Brands (APB), its chief executive officer Robert Y. Lee, and five other entities and individuals with fraud. The agency also charged current and former executives Brian L. Pallas and J. Bernard Rice and APB subsidiaries DJ&S Property #1 LLC, TSL Distribution LLC, and Urban Pharms LLC. The SEC alleges in the complaint that the defendants raised more than $30 million from more than 100 investors… Read more.
New Bipartisan Congressional Bills Would Allow Hemp Derivatives Like CBD As Dietary Supplements And Food Additives
Bipartisan congressional lawmakers have refiled a pair of bills meant to provide a pathway for the regulation of hemp derivatives like CBD as dietary supplements and food and beverage additives. The two measures that were filed on Friday—the Hemp and Hemp-Derived CBD Consumer Protection and Market Stabilization Act and the CBD Product Safety and Standardization Act—are being sponsored by Reps. Morgan Griffith (R-VA) and Angie Craig (D-MN). Earlier versions of the bills were filed last Congress and ultimately did not advance,… Read more.
A bipartisan bill introduced in the House last week would allow individuals with drug convictions to obtain a hemp license. The 2018 Farm Bill, which expanded the federal government’s hemp legalization policies, prohibits people with a felony drug conviction within the past 10 years from cultivating hemp. The measure, dubbed the Free to Grow Act, is backed by Republican Reps. Nancy Mace (S.C.) and David Joyce (OH), along with Democratic Reps. David Trone (MD) and Senior House Agriculture Committee Member Chellie Pingree… Read more.
Congressional Bill Punishing Illegal Marijuana Grows Aims To Protect Consumers From Pesticides, Sponsors Say
Bipartisan congressional lawmakers have refiled a bill to combat illicit marijuana grows on federal lands, framing it as a way that the federal government can help protect cannabis consumers’ health from banned pesticides that are often used in unregulated cultivation. While the idea of yet another stepped up federal effort to crack down on illegal cannabis production might seem like an extension of prohibitionist enforcement at a surface level, Rep. Scott Peters (D-CA) said on Thursday that the primary intent of… Read more.
Tens of thousands of commercial truckers are leaving their jobs, resulting in higher prices and barren shelves. What’s motivating this mass exodus? Look no further than the federal government’s outdated policies toward marijuana. Despite the reality that state governments have legalized cannabis use under certain circumstances for the majority of Americans, the federal government still classifies it in the same legal category (Schedule I) as heroin. As a result, commercially licensed truckers are strictly forbidden from consuming cannabis products during their off hours… Read more.
Top Intelligence Official Says Past Marijuana Use Is Not Disqualifying For Security Clearance In Interest Of Recruiting ‘Talent’
A top U.S. intelligence official reaffirmed on Wednesday that it is not the federal government’s current policy to deny people security clearances based on past marijuana use alone, stating that it is counterproductive to recruitment efforts, especially amid the growing legalization movement. At a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) took the opportunity to ask Director of National Intelligence (DNI) Avril Haines to explain the rationale behind the discretionary policy on prior cannabis use. “We recognize, frankly, that many… Read more.
WASHINGTON—Leaders of the country’s largest intertribal religious organization met this week with federal officials and urged them to uphold Native rights to use peyote in religious ceremonies. On Tuesday, leaders of the Native American Church of North America (NACNA) convened at the Department of the Interior to ask the federal government to uphold its legal responsibilities in enforcing the American Indian Religious Freedom Act (AIRFA) of 1978. Signed into law by President Jimmy Carter, AIRFA protects the rights of Native… Read more.
U.S. Health & Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra is already working with the FDA to review cannabis’ federal scheduling status as directed by President Biden during his pardoning announcement last week. The U.S. Health & Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra said on Friday that his agency intends to move “as quickly as we can” to deliver on President Biden’s request for the review of federal cannabis laws, the Florida Phoenix reports. Biden formally requested for Becerra and U.S. Attorney General Merrick… Read more.