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New York’s Adult-Use Marijuana Regulations are Unconstitutional Rules Supreme Court Judge, Now What?

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new york cannabis industry rules not valid says judge

In a surprising development that echoed throughout New York’s regulated cannabis industry, a Supreme Court judge delivered a substantial setback to the state’s adult-use marijuana regulations on Wednesday. This followed a legal action initiated by Leafly Holdings last year against the Office of Cannabis Management (OCM), challenging the state’s ban on third-party advertising for cannabis retailers under free speech principles.

 

In a decisively worded ruling dated April 3, Judge Kevin Bryant of the Albany Supreme Court seemed to nullify a significant portion of the laws regulating adult-use marijuana in New York, deeming them “unconstitutionally vague.” Bryant criticized the OCM for providing insufficient justification for its regulatory framework, including the ban on third-party advertising.

 

Bryant stated that given the absence of any evidence regarding the process by which these regulations were formulated and endorsed, the Court is compelled to conclude that the determinations were arbitrary and inconsistent. Therefore, it lacks a solid and substantial basis in the record to support (OCM’s) actions.

Uncertainty and Chaos

Presently, the precise course of action remains uncertain. However, cannabis business attorneys emphasized that the ruling does not automatically render the state’s developing cannabis industry illegal.

 

Trying to get a comment from the Office of Cannabis Management (OCM), they did not provide an immediate response for an interview with top media outlets. Cannabis operators in the state, already on edge due to a troubled launch of adult-use sales that Governor Kathy Hochul described as a “disaster,” reacted to the ruling with a mixture of confusion and heightened anxiety.

 

Damien Cornwell, board president of the Cannabis Association of New York, emailed to comment that the judge seems to have invalidated ALL ADULT USE REGULATIONS in response to Leafly’s free-speech complaint. The judge may narrow his order to only address regulations concerning third-party platforms, marketplaces, or aggregators. Alternatively, he expects the OCM to appeal the decision and seek an emergency stay to enforce the judge’s ruling.

 

Callie Driehorst, a spokesperson for Leafly, welcomed the ruling, stating that they are pleased that the court has sided with their arguments upon reviewing the evidence. They hope this ruling prompts the New York Office of Cannabis Management to adopt a more sensible approach to promoting licensed and regulated cannabis in the state.

Little Expected To Change Soon.

In the short term, regulated cannabis businesses in New York that are already in operation or undergoing the permitting process are unlikely to experience significant changes, as attorneys informed the public.

 

Despite being distressing and disheartening and contributing to the existing uncertainty and chaos, Judge Bryant’s ruling does not imply that regulated marijuana enterprises are suddenly unlawful. Andrew Schriever, a partner at the Boston-based law firm Prince Lobel, specializing in cannabis law, has made this fact certain.

 

Schriever likened the situation to children raiding the liquor cabinet while their parents deal with a flood in the kitchen. One would hope a stay would be issued and regulations would continue until OCM and CCB (Cannabis Control Board) devise replacement regulations or another procedure.

 

However, the potential political consequences could be significant. Governor Hochul recently initiated a comprehensive audit of the OCM’s structure and operations, and speculations abound regarding the job security of top regulators. Meanwhile, frustrated lawmakers are expected to delve deeper into the matter.

 

State Senator Jeremy Cooney, chair of the Senate’s Subcommittee on Cannabis, remarked that the State Supreme Court decision was another setback in a series of blows New York’s adult-use cannabis market has faced since legalization three years ago.

 

While some adjustments to marketing regulations are warranted, the Court’s decision to invalidate all agency regulations will inevitably hinder progress at a critical time when we must vigorously combat illicit operations to foster a stronger, more equitable legal market.”

Latest Setback For the New York Market.

Almost three years have passed since New York state legislators enacted the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA), yet the state’s regulated cannabis market remains entrenched in challenges. The process was hindered by the slow appointment of crucial positions within the Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) and its Cannabis Control Board (CCB) under former Governor Andrew Cuomo’s administration.

 

The rollout of legalized marijuana in New York encountered further hurdles due to a series of legal disputes, including controversies surrounding the Conditional Adult-Use Recreational Dispensary (CAURD) program, which initially prioritized licenses for social equity applicants. Despite these initiatives, as of the latest data from the OCM, only 99 businesses have been granted licenses to sell marijuana in the state.

 

In 2023, recreational cannabis sales in New York barely exceeded $150 million, a stark contrast to Missouri, which legalized adult-use sales approximately 18 months after New York and surpassed $1 billion in sales. Furthermore, New York hosts one of the nation’s most extensive illicit cannabis markets, with an estimated 2,000 unlicensed sellers operating solely in New York City.

 

This latest development will likely erode confidence in an already unstable situation. “If this decision stands, it will disrupt the entire adult-use market in New York, which has already faced delays and obstacles since the passage of the MRTA in 2021,” remarked Fatima Afia, a cannabis lawyer at Rudick Law Group in New York City.

 

Afia anticipates that the OCM will file an appeal, which could maintain the basic regulations while new ones are formulated. However, she noted that regardless of the outcome, the decision introduces uncertainty bound to heighten anxiety among applicants and licensees who have invested significant resources and time into the licensing process and are seeking clarity and stability.

Conclusion

In brief, a recent court ruling has disrupted New York’s legal marijuana scene. While it doesn’t instantly make the industry illegal, it compounds issues such as slow rule-making and widespread illegal sales. Prompt action is needed from politicians and regulators to address these challenges.

 

The future of legal cannabis in New York hangs in the balance, impacting not just businesses and regulators but also individuals who rely on it. As uncertainty looms, stakeholders eagerly await clarity and stability in the state’s cannabis market.

 

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Memorial Day — Honoring Those Who Served

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Please join us in taking the day off to honor all who have served, so we can do things like have a Canna Law Blog and say whatever we want.

We will be back tomorrow with our regular programs.

The post Memorial Day — Honoring Those Who Served appeared first on Harris Sliwoski LLP.



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Cannabis Nation – How Daily Cannabis Use Now Outpacing Alcohol Consumption Will Change America (Op-Ed)

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A Nation of Stoners

How Cannabis Outpacing Daily Alcohol Consumption Will Change America

 

Alright folks, listen up. There’s been a shakeup in the world of substance abuse, and it’s not the kind you’d expect. Looks like good ol’ booze has been kicked off its throne as the king of daily consumption. That’s right, Americans are now more likely to spark up a joint after a long day than they are to crack open a cold one. Or six.

Now, some of you might be thinking, “Hey, what’s the big deal? People are just trading one vice for another.” But hold on a minute. This isn’t just about personal preference. When a whole nation decides to swap out their poison of choice, it’s not just a matter of taste. It’s a fundamental shift in the way we think, act, and interact with the world around us.

Picture this: a country full of stoners. Oh, sure, we might be a little slower to respond and a bit more prone to fits of giggling. But we’d also be a hell of a lot more chill. No more bar fights or drunken brawls. Just a bunch of happy-go-lucky folks content to sit back, munch on some snacks, and ponder the mysteries of the universe.

But hey, maybe that’s just the optimist in me talking. After all, who knows what kind of crazy shenanigans a nation of potheads might get up to? Will we all start wearing patchouli and playing hacky sack? Will we finally achieve world peace, only to forget what we were fighting about in the first place? Or will we just become a bunch of couch potatoes, too entranced by the latest nature documentary to bother with trivial things like work or responsibility?

I guess there’s only one way to find out. So buckle up, my friends. We’re about to embark on a wild ride through the hazy, smoke-filled landscape of a cannabis-loving America.

And who knows?

 Maybe we’ll all come out the other side a little bit wiser, a little bit kinder, and a whole lot more mellow. Or maybe we’ll just have the munchies. Either way, it’s gonna be one hell of a trip.

Let’s begin by talking about how one little bean changed the course of human history. That’s right, we’re talking about coffee.

Now, let’s take a step back in time. Imagine a world before Starbucks, before Dunkin’ Donuts, before your fancy French press. In those dark ages, people didn’t have the luxury of a refreshing cup of joe in the morning. No, their go-to beverages were more along the lines of beer, mead, or some other fermented concoction. Why, you ask? Well, let’s just say that the water situation back then was less than ideal. You were more likely to catch a deadly disease from your drinking water than you were to quench your thirst.

So, people resorted to drinking alcohol to stay hydrated. Sounds like a party, right? Well, not so much when you consider the fact that everyone was essentially drunk all the time. I mean, can you imagine trying to be productive when you’re constantly buzzed? It’s a miracle they managed to get anything done at all.

But then, like a beacon of hope in a sea of drunken stupor, along came coffee. Suddenly, people realized that by boiling water, they could kill off all those pesky diseases AND enjoy a beverage that wouldn’t leave them stumbling around like a bunch of buffoons. Plus, as an added bonus, coffee actually made them more alert and focused. It was like a magic elixir for productivity.

And wouldn’t you know it, shortly after this game-changing shift in beverage choices, the industrial revolution kicked off. Coincidence? I think not. With the power of coffee coursing through their veins, people were able to work harder, faster, and smarter than ever before. The world was forever changed, all thanks to a humble little bean.

But here’s the thing: if coffee could have such a profound impact on the course of human history, just imagine what could happen if cannabis becomes the new norm. We’re talking about a substance that not only alters your state of mind but also has the potential to change the way you see the world. Could it lead to a new era of creativity, innovation, and enlightenment? Or will it just turn us all into a bunch of spaced-out, snack-obsessed philosopers?

Ah, the eternal question: “What is a stoner?” It’s a label that’s been thrown around for decades, often accompanied by images of lazy, unmotivated individuals wasting away in their parents’ basements. But the reality is far from this outdated stereotype. Today’s average cannabis consumer is just as likely to be a high-powered lawyer, a soccer mom juggling a hectic schedule, or even your trusted medical professional.

Now, as a self-proclaimed member of the stoner class, I can attest to some common threads that seem to run through the cannabis community. While not every single consumer fits this mold, there are some undeniable trends that emerge when you start to pay attention.

First and foremost, let’s talk politics. You might assume that stoners lean heavily to the left, but the truth is, most of them couldn’t care less about partisan bickering. Their primary concern is seeing cannabis legalized, and they don’t particularly care who gets the job done. This apolitical stance often extends to external conflicts as well. Unless absolutely necessary, most stoners prefer to take a hands-off approach, opting for mediation and diplomacy over aggression.

But it’s not just about avoiding conflict. Stoners also tend to have a heightened sense of empathy for their fellow humans and the environment. They understand the intricate web of connections that binds us all together, and they strive to treat the earth and its inhabitants with respect. This often translates to a love of nature and a desire to protect it.

When it comes to leisure activities, stoners tend to gravitate towards the simple pleasures in life. A nice walk in the park, some soothing tunes, or a creative outlet like art or music – these are the things that bring them joy. They’re not afraid to kick back, relax, and enjoy the moment.

And let’s not forget about food. Stoners appreciate a good meal, and they don’t take themselves too seriously in the process. They understand that life is meant to be savored, one delicious bite at a time.

But don’t let their laid-back demeanor fool you. Stoners can be some of the most responsible, hardworking individuals you’ll ever meet. They tend to take good care of themselves, both physically and mentally, which often leads to fewer sick days and longer, healthier lives. And when it comes to the powers that be, stoners are wise to the fact that corporate interests and government corruption often go hand in hand. They’ve lost faith in the official narrative and instead choose to trust their own instincts and experiences.

Of course, these are all generalizations, and I’ll admit that my own biases may be coloring my perception. But if you take the time to talk to a few stoners yourself, I’m willing to bet their answers will fall somewhere in the same ballpark. The stoner archetype may have evolved over the years, but the core values of empathy, respect, and a love for the simple things in life remain as strong as ever.

Alright, let’s shift our focus to the elephant in the room: alcohol. It’s time to put this seemingly innocuous substance under the microscope and see what kind of ugly truths we can uncover.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. Most people who enjoy a drink or two are perfectly respectable members of society. They’re not out there causing trouble or making a scene. And you’re right. The majority of alcohol consumers are moderate and well-behaved. But here’s the thing: when you look at the cold, hard facts, alcohol starts to look like a pretty horrendous drug.

Let’s start with the big one: violence. According to the FBI’s own database, alcohol is responsible for up to 40% of all violent crimes. That’s a staggering number when you really stop to think about it. And that’s not even taking into account the countless cases of domestic violence and sexual assault that can be traced back to alcohol consumption.

But the toll of alcohol doesn’t stop there. Every year, countless lives are lost to drunk driving accidents. And let’s not forget about the myriad of alcohol-related diseases that claim even more victims. From liver cirrhosis to various types of cancer, alcohol is a silent killer that takes an immense toll on public health.

And then there’s the impact on the mind and body. As a depressant, alcohol can wreak havoc on your mental wellbeing, exacerbating existing conditions and creating new ones. But it’s not just your brain that suffers. Alcohol is an intoxicant that puts stress on virtually every organ in your body, leaving you feeling like a shell of your former self.

Speaking of productivity, good luck getting anything done when you’re under the influence of alcohol. A drunk person is about as useful as a screen door on a submarine. They’re not exactly known for their sharp wit, keen insights, or ability to get things done.

But perhaps the most troubling aspect of alcohol consumption is the way it warps your perception of the world around you. When you’re drunk, you’re wrapped up in your own little bubble of intoxication. Empathy goes out the window, and the needs and feelings of others become secondary to your own desires. It’s a recipe for disaster, both on a personal and societal level.

And let’s not forget the most glaring difference between alcohol and cannabis: the lethal dose. Drink too much alcohol in one sitting, and you could very well end up in a body bag. But no matter how much cannabis you consume, you’ll never face that same risk. Sure, you might end up taking an unplanned nap or raiding the fridge, but death by overdose simply isn’t a concern.

So there you have it. When you strip away the social acceptability and take a hard look at the facts, alcohol starts to look like a pretty dangerous and destructive substance. And yet, it remains legal and widely available, while cannabis continues to face stigma and persecution. Makes you wonder about our priorities as a society, doesn’t it?

Alright, it’s time to wrap this up and get to the sticky bottom line. So, cannabis has officially dethroned alcohol as the substance of choice for daily consumption. And you know what? I think that’s a good thing.

Now, I’m not saying that cannabis is some miracle drug with no downsides. Of course, there will be some unforeseen consequences as this trend continues to unfold. But when you stack it up against alcohol, the benefits seem to outweigh the risks.

Think about it this way: if you were a hiring manager and you had two candidates in front of you – a perpetual drunk who’s always under the influence, and a perpetual stoner who’s always high – who would you choose? I know where I’d place my bet.

The drunk is going to be unreliable, unproductive, and potentially even dangerous. They’ll show up late (if they show up at all), struggle to focus on tasks, and maybe even cause some drama in the workplace. Not exactly a recipe for success.

But the stoner? Sure, they might space out occasionally or take a few extra snack breaks. But overall, they’re going to be far more functional and capable of getting the job done. They’ll be more creative, more empathetic, and less likely to fly off the handle at the slightest provocation.

And that’s just the workplace. Imagine the ripple effects throughout society as a whole. Less violence, fewer accidents, and a greater sense of community and connection. It’s not hard to see how this shift could lead to some pretty positive changes.

Of course, there will be challenges along the way. We’ll need to navigate the legal and social implications of widespread cannabis use. We’ll need to educate people on responsible consumption and make sure that the industry is regulated and controlled.

But at the end of the day, I believe that this move away from alcohol and towards cannabis is a step in the right direction. It’s a chance to rethink our relationship with substances and make choices that prioritize our health, our happiness, and our collective wellbeing.

So let’s embrace this new era of cannabis consumption. Let’s approach it with open minds and a willingness to learn and adapt. And most importantly, let’s remember to pass the joint to the left-hand side. Because in this brave new world, sharing is most definitely caring.

 

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Is the Solution to High-THC Products and Potent Marijuana Strains Good Old-Fashioned Black Pepper?

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As the cultural and legal landscape around cannabis continues to evolve, many users and researchers are interested in finding natural ways to manage and mitigate the side effects of its use. One such remedy that has garnered attention is black pepper. This seemingly simple kitchen spice is reputed to help alleviate some of the less desirable effects of cannabis, such as paranoia and anxiety. This article explores the scientific basis behind this claim, outlines how black pepper might interact with cannabis, and provides detailed insights into practical applications.

Understanding the Chemistry of Cannabis and Black Pepper

Cannabis contains various compounds, including THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), which is primarily responsible for its psychoactive effects. However, the experience can sometimes be overwhelming, leading to adverse effects such as:

 

Black pepper contains terpenes like beta-caryophyllene (BCP), which may interact positively with cannabis cannabinoids. BCP, a non-psychoactive dietary cannabinoid, binds to CB2 receptors in the endocannabinoid system. This interaction could explain how black pepper reduces THC’s psychoactive effects, providing a theoretical basis for this mitigating effect.

 The Role of Terpenes in Cannabis and Black Pepper

Terpenes play a significant role in both cannabis and black pepper, contributing to their aromas, flavors, and therapeutic effects. Understanding these compounds is essential to grasping how black pepper might manage the effects of cannabis.

  1. Terpenes in Cannabis

Cannabis plants produce a wide variety of terpenes, which are aromatic compounds that contribute to the plant’s distinctive smell and flavor. These terpenes also have therapeutic properties and can influence the overall effects of cannabis. Key terpenes found in cannabis include:

  • Myrcene: Known for its musky, earthy scent, myrcene has sedative effects and is believed to enhance the psychoactive effects of THC.

  • Limonene: With a citrusy aroma, limonene is thought to elevate mood and provide stress relief.

  • Pinene: Smelling like pine, pinene is associated with alertness and memory retention.

  • Linalool: Found in lavender, linalool has a floral scent and is known for its calming and anti-anxiety properties.

  • Beta-caryophyllene: This spicy, peppery terpene also interacts with the endocannabinoid system and is unique because it can bind directly to CB2 receptors, influencing inflammation and pain.

  1. Terpenes in Black Pepper

Black pepper is also rich in a diverse array of terpenes, with beta-caryophyllene (BCP) being the most prominent and noteworthy among them. What sets beta-caryophyllene apart is its unique ability to function as a dietary cannabinoid, meaning it has the capacity to interact with the endocannabinoid system in a way that is both significant and beneficial. Specifically, beta-caryophyllene has been shown to bind selectively to CB2 receptors, which are an integral part of the endocannabinoid system and are closely tied to anti-inflammatory effects, without producing any psychoactive responses or “high” associated with CB1 receptors. This makes beta-caryophyllene a particularly interesting and valuable compound, with potential therapeutic applications in the realm of inflammation and beyond. The major terpenes in black pepper include:

  • Beta-caryophyllene (BCP): This terpene can bind to CB2 receptors and may help mitigate the psychoactive effects of THC, providing a balancing effect on the endocannabinoid system.

  • Piperine: Responsible for black pepper’s pungency, piperine enhances the bioavailability of other compounds, potentially making them more effective.

  • Pinene: Also found in cannabis, pinene in black pepper can aid in respiratory function and has anti-inflammatory properties.

  • Limonene: Sharing its presence with cannabis, limonene in black pepper contributes to its citrusy note and has mood-enhancing effects.

 

How Black Pepper Interacts with Cannabis

The interaction between the terpenes in cannabis and those in black pepper, particularly beta-caryophyllene, can influence the effects of cannabis consumption. The potential benefits include:

  • Reduction of Anxiety and Paranoia: Beta-caryophyllene’s binding to CB2 receptors might help counteract the anxiety and paranoia that can accompany high THC consumption.

  • Modulation of Psychoactivity: By interacting with the endocannabinoid system, beta-caryophyllene may help reduce the intensity of THC’s psychoactive effects, providing a more balanced experience.

  • Enhanced Therapeutic Benefits: The combination of terpenes from both plants can enhance the overall therapeutic benefits due to their synergistic effects.

Practical Ways to Use Black Pepper to Manage Cannabis Effects

For cannabis users interested in exploring the potential benefits of black pepper to manage effects, there are several practical methods:

  • Inhalation: Sniffing or inhaling the aroma of crushed black peppercorns could provide immediate relief from cannabis-induced anxiety or paranoia.

  • Oral Consumption: Adding black pepper to food or consuming peppercorns directly can help integrate beta-caryophyllene into the body, potentially mitigating adverse effects.

  • Aromatherapy: Using black pepper oil in a diffuser may help by providing a steady amount of beta-caryophyllene in the environment.

 

Research and Evidence

The relationship between black pepper and cannabis effects is still under-researched, with most of the evidence being anecdotal or derived from preliminary studies. Important points include:

  • Anecdotal Reports: Many users have reported relief from cannabis-induced side effects through the use of black pepper.

  • Scientific Studies: Research on beta-caryophyllene, particularly its potential to reduce inflammation and anxiety through CB2 activation, supports the idea that it could help manage THC effects.

Considerations and Cautions

While black pepper may offer a natural way to manage some effects of cannabis, users should consider several factors:

  • Personal Differences: Individual reactions can vary based on body chemistry, the strain of cannabis used, and personal health conditions.

  • Underlying Health Issues: Those with health issues should consult with a healthcare provider before using black pepper as a remedy for cannabis effects.

Conclusion

The interaction between black pepper and cannabis offers a fascinating example of how natural substances can potentially interact with human biology in complex and beneficial ways. This relationship underscores the importance of understanding the intricate biochemistry involved in the human body’s response to various compounds found in both cannabis and common spices like black pepper. The key compound in black pepper, beta-caryophyllene (BCP), has shown promise in modulating the effects of THC, the primary psychoactive component in cannabis. BCP’s ability to selectively bind to CB2 receptors in the endocannabinoid system—without producing psychoactive effects—presents a compelling theoretical basis for its use in managing the often overwhelming psychoactive effects of THC. This interaction suggests that black pepper could help reduce THC-induced anxiety, paranoia, and cognitive impairment, providing a more balanced and manageable cannabis experience.

 

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