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Kentucky (Kind of) Decriminalizes Medical Cannabis



On November 15, 2022, Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear issued an executive order intended to decriminalizes medical cannabis. This is one of the most interesting  executive orders we’ve seen in a bit – and that’s saying something after the last six years in this country. Let’s take a look at exactly what it does.

It’s worth noting that Kentucky has been an extremely pro-hemp state since the 2014 Farm Bill. But, the state hasn’t had success with medical or recreational cannabis. Like almost anywhere else though, opinions are changing quickly. According to the state’s own internal comment data, more than 98% of people who commented supported medical cannabis.

That brings us to executive order 2022-978: the “Executive Action Relating to Medical Cannabis.” It starts off with the obvious yet powerful statement that “Kentuckians throughout the Commonwealth suffer from a multitude of medical conditions from which they deserve relief.”

Much of the executive order is a lengthy recital of state and federal laws, data regarding local support, and the medical benefits of cannabis. This is standard practice in an executive order or law: the government essentially sets the background for why the order or law is necessary by expounding on a problem it is intended to solve.

The “meat” of the executive order comes in at the end of page 2 beginning with “NOW, THEREFORE.” Governor Beshear issued a prospective pardon if certain conditions are met. This means that as of January 1, 2023, anyone who is charged with or convicted or possession of certain qualifying amounts of cannabis will be pardoned if they meet certain conditions. Those conditions include:

  • Purchasing medical cannabis in a state in which it is lawful to do so (note, this means that people will have to transport cannabis across state lines, which is illegal federally and almost certainly illegal in Kentucky’s neighboring states);
  • Having proof of purchase;
  • Possessing less than 8 ounces of cannabis (or a smaller amount as may be allowed in the state of purchase); and
  • Possessing a “certification” (not a prescription!) from a KY physician with specific information and that shows that the person has a qualifying medical condition. There is a long list of conditions that includes serious mental and physical diseases/disorders, including chronic pain.

This looks a lot like what you’d expect to see in a medical cannabis statute, but instead was done via executive order. I am not aware of any other state implementing cannabis laws via an executive order. It likely has a lot to do with politics: Kentucky is a very conservative state and Governor Beshear is a Democrat (although more on the moderate side). He likely knew that despite the widespread support from Kentuckians, getting a decriminalization or legalization bill through the state legislature would be a huge problem and possibly impossible.

The problem with doing this via an executive order is that (1) the next governor could come along and completely undo it and (2) it could be more ripe for challenge than a bill that went through the standard legislative channels. The order is only a day old so it remains to be seen as to what will happen. It bears repeating that the Governor’s sanction of people transporting cannabis interstate is astonishing. And it won’t pardon federal offenses or offenses in other states.

As one final note, you’ll notice I used the term “decriminalize” as opposed to “legalize.” That’s because the bill does not create any kind of regulatory regime, change criminal laws, or allow sales in Kentucky. The legal landscape is the same but persons who meet the criteria outlined in the executive order would just be pardoned for their state-level offenses – unless the executive order is undone later.

Hopefully, the state can get with the times and move on to actual medical or adult use cannabis legalization next. In the meantime, it will be interesting to watch this strange gambit play out.

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CLE Event: To Be Blunt, Can I Be A Cannabis Lawyer In Utah?




Harris Bricken attorney Jonathan Bench will participate in the Utah Cannabis Law Section’s upcoming CLE over the lunch hour on December 5th. The CLE will be an in-person event held at the Utah Bar Association Offices. The title of the CLE is “To Be Blunt, Can I Be A Cannabis Lawyer In Utah? – the Legal Ethics of Cannabis Law.” Jonathan will be joined by Hannah Follender (Stoel Rives LLP), Cory Talbot (Holland & Hart LLP), and J.D. Lauritzen (WholesomeCo), on the panel.

The panel will answer questions vital to Utah’s cannabis landscape including:

  • What is cannabis law?
  • Can I practice cannabis law in Utah?
  • What is the legal/illegal status of cannabis in Utah? In the US?
  • What is the current ethics rule relevant to practice involving cannabis and what does this mean for Utah attorneys?
  • How are Utah attorneys currently navigating this rule?
  • What is the new rule change proposal and what will this do?

The panelists will take questions at the end of the event.

Event Details: 

  • Date: Monday, December 5th, 2022
  • Time: 12:00 to 1:00 p.m. MST
  • Location: Utah Law & Justice Center or Online
  • Credit: 1 Ethics Live or E-Verified Credit (pending approval)
  • Cost: $10 for Section Members or $20 for Non-Section Members (includes lunch for all participants)

Please register online no later than December 4, 2022. Feel free to contact [email protected] with any questions. We hope to see you there!

Registration for Section Members

Registration for Non-Members

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Could Cannabis Legalization Stall Worldwide?




According to a recent update, around 100 Items have been banned by food safety inspectors in the United Kingdom. According to Hemp Today, the restricted list contains three CBD oil extractions made by the Colorado-based Charlotte’s Web label, while hundreds more have been permitted for ingestion.


The products were removed from a public list of over 12,000 accepted for review early this year in the incipient phases of the regulator’s regimen for licensing new or “novel” foods. According to a summary of the removals released by the UK-based website BusinessCann, the Food Standards Agency (FSA) began removing products as early as March, with the most recent removal occurring in late September.


The FSA’s innovative foods division addresses the CBD grey market, which has grown and put consumers at risk. The review provides a one-time chance for CBD manufacturers already selling goods on the grey market in the United Kingdom to become entirely lawful. According to FSA regulations, the goods may no longer be available to customers.


Even though the United Kingdom lags behind the United States and much of Western Europe in enabling residents to lawfully access marijuana in some form, the country is in the midst of a CBD boom. That means the British CBD market, which might be worth $1 billion, appeals to hemp manufacturers and producers who have noticed their chances decrease in Canada, the United States, and elsewhere.


However, most of the island’s hemp-derived goods containing the non-intoxicating cannabinoid are unregulated. Manufacturers who want to sell their products legally in the hereafter must acquire government authorization.


According to BusinessCann, over 12,000 CBD product manufacturers filed requests to the British Food Standards Agency (FSA).


There are No Explanations Provided.

Approximately 100 goods were disqualified by the agency for “a variety of reasons,” that weren’t disclosed.


“We don’t disclose information on why particular items are removed from the list,” a spokesman told BusinessCann, “but removal can be due to a variety of reasons, such as the applicant’s request, the removal of duplicates, or the failure to comply with other areas of food law.”


The FSA does not provide reasons for individual product disqualifications. Still, specific stakeholders have objected that many of the products were off the market by February 13, 2020, a preliminary prerequisite in the evaluation process. Products that remained on the public database must have been on the market as of that date, allowing them to stay on the market until other choices based on toxicity and different technical standards are made, which is the 2nd phase of the certification process.


According to the FSA, products may be removed from the public list owing to duplication, at the applicant’s direction, or for other factors that render them non-compliant with UK food law. However, observers further hypothesized that the reasons could include CBD dosages above the United Kingdom’s recommended daily allowance of 75 milligrams. However, products must have been marketed before February 2020 to be certified through this process.


Manufacturers of CBD Face Difficulties

The UK and the global CBD producers are eager to enter the United Kingdom market, which some experts believe is currently the second largest globally; the market is expected to reach $1 billion in the coming years. However, the FSA approval procedure has been prolonged, and it is expected to take two years or more at the present level of assessment.


After stakeholders objected to the approval process, the FSA was bombarded with CBD applications early this year. The FDA eventually reopened the registration window for an entire year, resulting in a rush of items to the list, nearly tripling the original number under evaluation from 3,536 to 12,118.


Only a few items on the public database have passed the first round of the FSA examination. Companies that want to enter the UK CBD market but still need to meet the original criteria may file normal new food approval applications directly to the agency.



Removals from Public Lists

Savage Cabbage, a UK company, has had one of its products withdrawn. It sells a ‘CBDa Full Spectrum Hemp Extract 30ml Natural Flavour.’ “The FSA have taken an intriguing judgment as they have indicated that any product that references CBDa as its principal description must have its own Novel Food Application,” said Jade Proudman, CEO of Savage Cabbage.


“Because our Savage Cabbage CBDa oil is an exclusive compound blended with CBD and is not one of our broad-spectrum products, it will be taken from the stores under this guideline.” While we respect their current viewpoint, we find it aggravating and do not believe it is based on science.”


Regarding the ACI application, it also stated that it is actively compiling the data needed to support its members’ EFSA new food submissions. The ACI declined to provide further information on its applications, stating that it will “wait until it receives a response from the FSA on the progress of its data package.”


So far, only a few products on the Public database have been authenticated. Once validated, they will be subjected to a risk analysis before being approved for sale.


On Friday, November 4, the European Industrial Hemp Association (EIHA), which represents over 170 companies with thousands of products, submitted applications to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and FSA to validate its CBD isolate and synthetic CBD.


Reduced Daily Intake

The EIHA proposal also provided information on its toxicity research, and as a result of the findings, it recommends an acceptable daily intake (ADI) of 17.5mg of CBD per day. This is significantly lower than the current UK FSA recommendation of 70mg per day.


“For the isolated CBD, we noticed effects in four organs, as well as the liver and the kidney,” said the Managing Director of EIHA, Lorenza Romanese.”As a result, the estimated NOAEL (non-observable adverse effect level) is less than we predicted and lower than what is suggested in the existing literature.”


This allowed us to deduce an Acceptable Daily Intake (ADI) of 17.5 mg of CBD per day, which was suggested to FSA and EFSA.


Increased Concentration For Full Spectrum

She went on to claim that the findings from the toxicological tests with its full-spectrum CBD, which are expected to be submitted early next year, will propose a higher ADI because of its ‘less concentrated formulation’ and ‘good preliminary results.’


In a letter to members, EIHA states that formulations must have a maximum CBD level of 10% and that different labelling standards will be required, such as not advocating usage for minors, pregnant or nursing women, or when combined with any other hemp food product.





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Why Do We Get Deep Thoughts While High on Cannabis?




Numerous sensations can result from the use of cannabis. However, one of the most apparent effects of cannabis is how it alters our thoughts. It’s no surprise that when we consume marijuana, our cognitive patterns change, which can result in all kinds of strange thoughts. Most stoners are aware of this, but why does it occur?


We examine why this phenomenon happens, what thoughts it can trigger, and how long it lasts.


What are “High Thoughts”?

High thoughts – how we think and feel when we are all high on cannabis, can catch us off guard with their abrupt shifts. High thoughts might be hilarious or ludicrous, innovative or seemingly creative, or simply gloomy and dangerous. While these various cognitive patterns might manifest in unpredictable ways for individuals. However, they are primarily due to how THC and other cannabis components affect the brain.


Why Do We Think Differently When We are High?

When we use cannabis, cannabinoids like THC and CBD activate our endocannabinoid receptors. This accounts for the majority of cannabis’ many effects on one’s body and psyche. THC, the major psychoactive component of cannabis, significantly impacts cerebral blood flow to some brain regions.


In a particular study, researchers discovered that after consuming THC, blood flow increased in numerous brain parts. They hypothesized that the mental and behavioral alterations caused by cannabis intoxication were caused by heightened cerebral blood flow and functional activity in specific brain areas.


Previous research by the same authors indicated that cerebral blood flow correlates more significantly with cannabis impairment than the level of cannabinoids in one’s bloodstream.


The frontal region of the brain, responsible for some essential brain activities, demonstrated the greatest elevations in cerebral blood flow after THC use. Usually, the frontal lobes are thought to be in charge of our level of wakefulness and vital cognitive functions such as synthetic reasoning, abstract thought, organization of independent behaviour in space and time toward future objectives, cognition, sensory data processing, volition, and motor activity initiation.


Considering the frontal lobes are in charge of all these critical thinking processes, it’s not surprising that increasing blood flow and functional activity to that portion of the brain would result in dramatically diverse thoughts. However, the frontal lobe is not the only portion of the brain that contributes to excessive thinking. The insula, involved in sensory impressions such as taste and flavour and moderating stress-induced cardiovascular responses, experienced significant increases in blood flow.


Researchers also discovered that the right hemisphere involved with emotion mediation was significantly more engaged than the left. The cingulate cortex, which again exhibited strong connections between increases in cerebral blood flow and self-reported THC impairment, is thought to mediate the interplay between sensory information, pain, and emotions.


One thing to remember is that while acute THC ingestion appears to be associated with increased cerebral blood supply and hence with changes in how we think, these alterations in brain function are only transient. On the other hand, preclinical research reveals that following prolonged THC ingestion, there may be lower blood flow and neuronal activity in some parts of the brain (particularly the ventral and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex), and these alterations may be detrimental rather than beneficial.


What are Some Usual ‘High Thoughts?’

When we get high, our thinking might change in various ways. The following were the most often reported alterations in the survey concerning how it feels to be high:


  • Being more calm and cheerful

  • Laughing more

  • Having different sensory experiences

  • Changes in perception of time,

  • Improved focus and memory,

  • Increased creativity, and deeper thinking


Additionally, people who ingested cannabis alone reported varying impacts. Solo users reported more soothing effects, whereas group users reported more exhilaration, laughter, and wakefulness.


However, some subjects did suffer undesirable side effects and experiences, such as:

  • Anxiety

  • Reduced focus and memory

  • Hallucinations


How Long after Using Marijuana Do You Usually Experience ‘High Thoughts?’

In research on how cannabis affects mental functioning, most brain regions exhibited substantial alterations 60 minutes after consuming low doses of cannabis. However, for higher cannabis doses, there were alterations after 30 and 60 minutes, with the apex changes occurring at 30 minutes.


The level of influence varies from person to person, and some claim that it takes longer or shorter for them to feel the high.

The method of consumption can also influence timing, with vaporized or smoked cannabis and new rapid-acting edibles affecting people faster than traditional edibles.


High thoughts can also differ among individuals, but the mode of consumption is the most crucial determinant of how long they last.

Traditional edibles, for instance, have a far longer shelf life than other methods, such as vaping or smoking. As a result, food things create a wider window for high ideas to arise. In most circumstances, high thoughts should fade after the maximum THC levels in the brain have passed. However, the residual impacts of edibles have been reported to persist for up to 12 hours or more.


According to anecdotal internet anecdotes, symptoms lasting 24 hours are rare. Still, they can occur, and it’s commonly referred to as a “weed hangover.” And while it is uncommon, it can happen, especially in persons with unique THC metabolism or following a high dose. However, once you’re no longer inebriated, the high thoughts should disappear.


Cannabis has also been linked in rare cases to periods of psychosis that are more prolonged than the time of intoxication but tend to diminish if cannabis consumption is discontinued. Sadly, these episodes are linked to an increased risk of developing schizophrenia later in life. While scientists do not truly comprehend this connection, there is cause to be cautious if you have had similar experiences.


Depersonalization is a rare and poorly understood phenomenon that might occur in certain persons after taking THC. Any lasting change in the emotional state following consumption should be considered carefully, and the advice of a mental health expert is recommended.



It may take a few tries to find the right dosage where there is no tension or anxiety, but once you do, when the brain is really savoring the high, a lot of interesting things start happening. High thoughts might be hilarious or ludicrous, innovative or seemingly creative, or simply gloomy and dangerous. But the feeling is most pleasing when the dose is right.





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