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Marijuana Legislation

Nevada District Judge Rules Cannabis Can No Longer Be Classified As A Schedule 1 Drug

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This article has been reposted with permission from Benzinga.

A Nevada judge has ruled on a closely-followed lawsuit that could have precedent setting influence on a federal level. He determined that the Nevada Board of Pharmacy can no longer list cannabis as a schedule one drug. It was a clear victory for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Nevada, which filed the lawsuit back in April 2022.

On Wednesday, District Judge Joe Hardy Jr. sided with the ACLU’s argument that marijuana has an accepted medical use, because voters amended the state constitution in 2000 to legalize medical marijuana. He ordered the Board of Pharmacy to remove cannabis from the list of Schedule 1 drugs, although the timeline for such action is unclear.

The original basis for the lawsuit alleged that despite the passage of the Nevada Medical Marijuana Act and the Initiative to Regulate and Tax Marijuana, the state — specifically Nevada State Board of Pharmacy — failed to comport with the will of Nevada voters, the state Constitution and revised statutes. Instead of removing cannabis and cannabis derivatives from its list of controlled substances (NAC 453.510), the Board has continued to regulate them as Schedule 1 substances — similar to that of hardcore drugs with no medicinal benefit.

By definition, a Schedule 1 drug is classified as drugs with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse. With medical cannabis programs deeply entrenched in the state of Nevada, cannabis’ designation appears to fly in the face of well-established known medicinal uses of the drug. This is the exact contradiction that the ACLU sought to force a ruling on:

“The ruling today that cannabis cannot be scheduled as a Schedule 1 substance by Nevada’s Board of Pharmacy without violating the Nevada Constitution reaffirms what the people of this state have known for decades, that marijuana has medicinal value and can be safely distributed to the public.” – Legal Director for ACLU of Nevada Chris Peterson.

While The Board of Pharmacy has had every opportunity to remove marijuana from its Schedule 1 list on its own, it has persistently resisted to reschedule cannabis in Nevada. Despite the will of the people, it appears to be taking its cues from federal (DEA) guidelines, which continue to list cannabis as a schedule 1 drug. In this hearing, the lawyer representing the Board of Pharmacy argued that federal agencies had not determined that marijuana has an accepted medical use.

While judge Hardy sided with the ACLU on cannabis reclassification, he stopped short of ruling on any issues related to overturning convictions for marijuana-related crimes, because the ACLU’s lawsuit did not address the topic.

This article has been reposted with permission from Benzinga.





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Amazon

Amazon Loudly Backs Cannabis Legalization, But Silently Bans Weed Grinders

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By Nina Zdinjak

Amazon made headlines last year when it came out in support of ending marijuana prohibition. Now, it seems the company has gotten cold feet. It is reportedly clearing spice grinders, used by some to grind weed flower, from its site ostensibly in keeping with company policy not to sell drug paraphernalia.

What Happened

In a Seattle Times story from earlier this week, Lauren Rosenblatt shared an example of one company, Golden Gate Grinders, which has been selling spice grinders on Amazon for nine years. Then, all of a sudden, the platform banned them.

“There was no indication in all those years that this is a prohibited product,” Arnold Marcus, founder of Golden Gate Grinders told the Times. “One day, they were supporting me and then one day it ended.”

Leafly pointed out that there are about a thousand other items that can be used to help consumers enjoy their weed, such as lighters. Even an apple can be used to create a makeshift pipe. Where, then, do we draw the line?

RELATED: Buying Weed On Amazon? Don’t Hold Your Breath

To confound the situation, Amazon has removed some spice grinders and left others. One grinder still on the site describes one of its benefits as a place to “just keep your weed […] until you need it,” writes the Seattle Times. A search for “spice grinders” on Amazon shows more than 8,000 results for grinders and at least 660 for “spice grinders for cannabis.”

Amazon
Photo by Christian Wiediger via Unsplash

So what gives? Lesley Hensell, co-founder of Riverbend Consulting, which helps third-party sellers on Amazon attempts to explain.

“They’ve always said there’s no drug paraphernalia but there were lots of products that were ambiguous products that were able to sell on the platform for years and years,” Hensell said.

Endless Complexity Of The Cannabis Industry 

With federal and state laws not being in sync, the marijuana industry is a difficult place to operate. Chris Shreeve, co-founder and VP of business development at Seattle-based ad agency PrograMetrix calls it “inherently risky.” Shreeve, who co-owns a weed dispensary said “We have to play the hand that we’re dealt in the cannabis space. It’s a difficult hand, but we’ve got to do it.”

Large platforms like Google, Meta, and Amazon are “tiptoeing around acceptance,” Shreeve said, noting that companies tend to search out the gray areas for their products and services.

RELATED: Apple Joins Amazon In Supporting Legal Weed — What Does This Mean For Marijuana Industry?

“I don’t fault cannabis and CBD brands for trying to navigate the ambiguous rules and regulations on some of these larger platforms. But it needs to be done under the assumption that there is risk.”

Photo by Tatiana Syrikova from Pexels

Where Is Amazon Heading And Why? This Is What Happened Last Year

For starters, Amazon openly backed the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act of 2021 (MORE Act), last June. At the time, Dave Clark, CEO of Worldwide Consume, which deals with Amazon’s retail websites, wrote this on the company’s blog: “We know that this issue is bigger than Amazon, our public policy team will be actively supporting the MORE Act, federal legislation that would legalize marijuana at the federal level, expunge criminal records, and invest in impacted communities. We hope that other employers will join us, and that policymakers will act swiftly to pass this law.¨

At the same time, the company announced it would stop testing its employees for marijuana use and would lobby Congress to end the federal prohibition of marijuana.

This article originally appeared on Benzinga and has been reposted with permission.



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Chuck Grassley

Libertarian Candidate Blasts Iowa’s Governor For Staunch & Racist Weed Policies

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By Nicolás Jose Rodriguez

Libertarian candidate for governor Rick Stewart opens one of his recent TV ads by questioning Iowa’s Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) about her resistance to legalizing marijuana and easing up on arrests for simple possession, reported local media.

“What the hell, Kim?” he says. “Here I am in Illinois — why, only a few miles from the Iowa border — and they’ve got legal cannabis.” Stewart said in the spot titled “Dear Kim, ‘WEED!’”

“Our laws today in Iowa put people into rape cages because they smoked marijuana,” Stewart said. “You’re going to lose your college scholarship, you’re going to lose your job, you’re going to lose your kids — you’re going to lose everything because here in Iowa we think cannabis is a gateway drug. Well, a gateway to what?”

Stewart is the co-founder of Frontier Natural Products Co-op, a cooperatively owned wholesaler of organic products, based in Norway, Iowa. This is not the first time Stewart has released an ad calling for the end of the War on Drugs. ‘When I win, I will chase drug war criminals with a vengeance. Most of them are here in DC, stalking the halls of Congress. They’ve wasted 1 trillion dollars and decimated three generations of black Americans,” Stewart said in 2016 when he was running for Linn County sheriff.



While Governor Reynolds opposes legalizing marijuana, Democrat candidate Deidre DeJear supports legalizing and regulating cannabis like alcohol for adults 21 and older. According to a 2021 poll, 54% of adults say they favor legalizing weed for recreational use in Iowa, while 39% oppose it and 6% are unsure.

Cannabis in Iowa

Although neighboring Illinois has legal cannabis, and Nebraska, Minnesota and Missouri have decriminalized simple possession, Iowa continues to arrest individuals for possessing small amounts of weed. According to the Marijuana Policy Project, first-offense possession is punishable by up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine, which is “one of the most severe first-offense penalties in the country.” Data compiled by the ACLU, shows Black Iowans are nearly eight times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than whites.

RELATED: WATCH: US Senate Candidate Smokes Blunt In Campaign Ad

During the 2022 legislative session, Senators Joe Bolkcom (D), Janet Petersen (D), and Sarah Trone Garriott (D) proposed an amendment to the Iowa Constitution that would legalize cannabis for adults.

Michael Franken (D), one of Iowa’s Senate candidates, has spoken out on the federal cannabis legalization, its removal as a controlled substance and addressing incarceration for marijuana-related crimes, which disproportionately affect Black Iowans.

RELATED: Booker, Fetterman Continue To Push For Marijuana Legalization With Focus On Justice

“I view the medicinal use of marijuana and the recreational use, controlled much as we do with alcohol, to be absolutely fine and well overdue,” Franken told reporters in June. “We should have the federal statutes put in place where money, revenue generated by taxing THC is used for interstate commerce just like it would for anything else.”

Meanwhile, Iowa’s Republican Senator Chuck Grassley does not support adult-use cannabis legalization.

This article originally appeared on Benzinga and has been reposted with permission.



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Marijuana Legislation

Survey: DC Voters Overwhelmingly Support Marijuana Legalization — And Oppose This

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A new survey shows that Washington D.C. voters are embracing cannabis. Not only do voters want the drug to be legalized and available to everyone who wants it — they also oppose the state’s restrictive measures.

Marijuana Moment reports that the survey was commissioned by I-71 Committee, an organization of citizens and people involved with the cannabis industry that support marijuana legalization.

New York Regulators Want Marijuana Patients To Be Able To Grow Their Own Weed
Photo by 2H Media via Unsplash

RELATED: Washington DC Bill Will Allow Medical Marijuana Patients To Self-Certify, Bypassing Doctors & Ban On Cannabis Sales

The survey of more than 600 likely voters revealed that 72% of them support marijuana legalization, while 66% of them supported a cannabis reform law that makes low-level possession, personal cultivation, and marijuana gifting legal. Gifting has become a problem for the state, with some businesses using this loophole to create a marijuana market that the law has yet to enable.

While the state is concerned with this loophole and is looking for valid ways of addressing it, according to the survey, gifting isn’t an issue for voters. Seventy-six percent of them said they’d prefer if the government reformed laws to create a functioning market instead of closing it down altogether.

RELATED: What Is Marijuana Gifting And Why Is Everyone Talking About It?

Marijuana gifting has been a hot-button issue over the past year, particularly in states that have decriminalized the drug but have yet to establish a functioning legal market. The term refers to the practice of gifting people marijuana as they purchase a different item, say a t-shirt or a hat, and it’s allowed for a variety of businesses to thrive and make a business.

States like New York and Connecticut have been finding new ways to cope with marijuana gifting, sending cease and desist letters to businesses, and more.

D.C. decriminalized marijuana in 2015, allowing residents to carry up to two ounces of marijuana.



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