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Senate Leadership Pushes End of Federal Prohibition Of Cannabis



In a big week for the marijuana industry and a surprise to most of the industry, Senators Schumer (D-NY), (Murray D-WA), Wyden (D-OR), Cory Booker (D-NJ) and 14 others have deduced to follow the public and make a change.  As of today, Senate leadership pushes end of federal prohibition of cannabis.

Senator Patty Murray, a senior member and former Chair of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) has long been a champion of veterans.  This falls in line with PTSD treatments and with the American Medical Association’s backing of rescheduling and more medical research to see how the cannabis plant can help more patients.

RELATED: California or New York, Which Has The Biggest Marijuana Mess

They have reintroduced the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act (CAOA), legislation that would end the harmful federal prohibition of cannabis by removing cannabis from the list of federally controlled substances and empowering states to create their own laws. This legislation would be a historic step toward rectifying the failed policies of the War on Drugs and would help federal law better reflect the will of the vast majority of Americans, 91% of whom believe that cannabis should be legalized for either adult or medical use.

“It is far past time that the federal government catch up to Washington state when it comes to cannabis laws. This legislation is about bringing cannabis regulations into the 21st century with common-sense reforms to promote public safety and public health, and undo deeply unjust laws that have for decades disproportionally harmed people of color,” said Senator Murray.  “The Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act will help set us on a safe and responsible pathway to legalization—I’ll keep working to secure the necessary support to get it done.” 

Sen. Patty Murray
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The Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act establishes a federal regulatory framework to protect public health and safety, prioritizes restorative and economic justice to help undo harm caused by the War on Drugs, ends discrimination in the provision of federal benefits on the basis of cannabis use, provides major investments for cannabis research, and strengthens worker protections. By decriminalizing cannabis at the federal level, the CAOA also ensures that state-legal cannabis businesses or those in adjacent industries will no longer be denied access to bank accounts or financial services simply because of their ties to cannabis.

The Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act:

  • Protects public health by:
    • Establishing a Center for Cannabis Products to regulate production, labeling, distribution, sales and other manufacturing and retail elements of the cannabis industry.
    • Instructing the FDA to establish standards for labeling of cannabis products, including potency, doses, servings, place of manufacture, and directions for use.
    • Establishing programs and funding to prevent youth cannabis use.
    • Increasing funding for comprehensive opioid, stimulant, and substance use disorder treatment.
  • Protects public safety by:
    • Removing cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act and eliminating federal prohibitions in states that have chosen to legalize medical cannabis, or adult-use cannabis.
    • Retaining federal prohibitions on trafficking of cannabis in violation of state law; establishing a grant program to help departments combat black market cannabis.
    • Requiring the Department of Transportation (DOT) to create standards for cannabis-impaired driving.
    • Directing the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to collect data on cannabis-impaired driving, create educational materials on “best practices,” and carry out media campaigns.
    • Incentivizing states to adopt cannabis open container prohibitions.
  • Regulates and taxes cannabis by:
    • Transferring federal jurisdiction over cannabis to the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB).
    • Eliminating the tax code’s restriction on cannabis businesses claiming deductions for business expenses, and implementing an excise tax on cannabis products.
    • Establishing market competition rules meant to protect independent producers, wholesalers, and retailers and prevent anti-competitive behavior.
  • Encourages cannabis research by:
    • Requiring the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to study and report on metrics that may be impacted by cannabis legalization.
    • Requiring the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and National Institutes of Health (NIH) to conduct or support research on the impacts of cannabis.
    • Requiring the VA to carry out a series of clinical trials studying the effects of medical cannabis on the health outcomes of veterans diagnosed with chronic pain and post-traumatic stress disorder.
    • Requiring the Bureau of Labor Statistics to regularly compile and publicize data on the demographics of business owners and employees in the cannabis industry.
    • Establishing grants to build up cannabis research capacity at institutions of higher education, with a particular focus on minority-serving institutions and Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
  • Prioritizes restorative and economic justice by:
    • Using federal tax revenue to fund an Opportunity Trust Fund to reinvest in communities and individuals most harmed by the failed War on Drugs.
    • Establishing a Cannabis Justice Office at the Department of Justice’s Office of Justice Programs
    • Establishing a grant program to provide funding to help minimize barriers to cannabis licensing and employment for individuals adversely impacted by the War on Drugs.
    • Establishing expedited FDA review of drugs containing cannabis manufactured by small businesses owned by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals.
    • Directing the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development to establish a grant program to provide communities whose residents have been disproportionately affected by the War on Drugs with additional funding to address the housing, economic, and community development needs of such residents.
    • Initiating automatic expungement of federal non-violent cannabis offenses and allows an individual currently serving time in federal prison for nonviolent cannabis offense to petition a court for resentencing.
    • Disallowing the denial of any benefits or protections under immigration law to any noncitizen based on their use or possession of cannabis.
    • Prevents discrimination in the provision of federal benefits against people who use cannabis.
  • Strengthens workers’ rights by:
    • Removing unnecessary federal employee pre-employment and random drug testing for cannabis
    • Ensuring worker protections for those employed in the cannabis industry.
    • Establishing grants for community-based education, outreach, and enforcement of workers’ rights in the cannabis industry.

RELATED: Cannabis Industry Employs The Same As These Companies

The Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act is co-sponsored by U.S. Senators Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Ed Markey (D-MA), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Gary Peters (D-MI), Tina Smith (D-MN), John Hickenlooper (D-CO), Ben Ray Luján (D-NM), Alex Padilla (D-CA), Peter Welch (D-VT), Rev. Raphael Warnock (D-GA), John Fetterman (D-PA), and Laphonza Butler (D-CA).

Senator Murray has been a leader on common-sense cannabis reforms. She helped introduce the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act last Congress, and in 2017, she first introduced the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act which would allow state-legal cannabis businesses to access banking services. She has reintroduced the bill multiple times and is pushing hard for its passage. An updated version of the legislation—the Safe and Fair Enforcement Regulation (SAFER) Banking Act of 2023, which Murray also cosponsored—passed through committee after a bipartisan markup last fall.

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How To Tell If Your Weed Is Bad




A myth about cannabis is it is grown in healthy, organic atmospheres – which is frankly not true. Here is how spot bad weed.

Like corn, avocados and watermelons, cannabis is sometimes hard to tell if you got the right one.  Peaches, apples, and tomatoes are easy with a squeeze, but other plants are more of challenge. Impurities are pretty common and not all growing habitats are healthy – including indoor. While 50+% of the country has access to legal weed, illicit weed still is a big part of the market, especially in states which don’t allow weed and New York which has over 1,500 unlicensed stories selling who knows what.

RELATED: Why You Should Smell Your Weed Before Buying

Figuring out if your weed is good involves seeing, touching, and smelling your buds to check for contaminants. The more you use, the more you will be able to understand quickly. Here is how to tell if you weed is bad.

Photo by Kindel Media via Pexels

Visual Inspection

This can be done using the naked eye or a microscope. If the cannabis flowers are covered with too much shiny, crystalline substance, something could be afoot. During the harvest process, shake out buds and view the drop-off substances. Some impurities  might see include grains, crystals, or powders. If you cannot identify some of these substances, it might be good to take a pass.

RELATED: Why You Should Smell Your Weed Before Buying

Inspect by Feeling

Visual is one one or even the first step.  Pick up a bud to determine whether or not it crumbles or quickly dries out.

Smell and Taste Inspection

Before lighting up, take a whiff to get a better read. Although this only works if you’re familiar with what it should smells and tastes like. If you catch a hint or taste of chemicals or other unnatural substances, then you may have contaminated buds.

marijuana odor terpenes
Photo by LightFieldStudios/Getty Images

Inspect the Combusted Weed

When lighting rolled-up buds, check if it gives up sparks when inhaled. Also, check what the flame looks like immediately and after the weed is lit. If you hear a crackling sound when you drag on the buds, it is very possible the buds are contaminated.

Also, check the flavor and smell given of the weed; if an abnormal order is detected, stop inhaling.

Inspect The Leftovers

This is the last process. If the previous inspections did not give off any weird results, there’s still a need to observe the ash left behind. A non contaminated bud will leave dark gray ash, which is obviously dry and soft to touch. If you see jet black, hard or greasy ash, then your buds contain one or more contaminants.

Cannabis is often exposed, directly or indirectly, to contaminants. Common culprits include sugar, sand, fertilizer, hairspray, and industrial pesticides or fertilizers.

Sand is one of the natural residues that can slip past the inspection of even the most experienced cannabis connoisseurs. Sand is an unavoidable material in agricultural operations, so there’s a high chance it contaminates the products by accident. Some unscrupulous growers tend to add sand on purpose to their products because it gives the buds a shinier and heavier look. It is always advisable to shake out your buds and sift through the ground ones before packaging.

Usually in large grown operations, fertilizer can put consumers at risk of developing life-threatening ailments if inhaled. Many chemicals are used for credible reasons, such as protecting crops and maximizing growth. However,  the consumption of these hazardous chemicals over time can result in diseases such as neurotoxicity and asthma.

Other cannabis Contaminants to watch out for including fungus, mold and talc.

marijuana flower
Photo by Ben Harding/Getty Images

If you ever find yourself with contaminated cannabis buds or products, the severity of contamination determines whether or not you’ll have to dispose of them. Some contaminated buds can be cleansed with the proper materials. However, if you have no time to do this yourself, it’s best to throw them out.

It is always best to purchase from a licensed, legal store as products are more closely inspected and have more oversight to ensure consumer safety.

RELATED: Is Sticky Weed A Good Or Bad Sign?

The main objective of recognizing cannabis bud impurities is to ensure purer and smoother-hitting buds without taking in something harmful. Carefully check through your homegrown and purchased cannabis bids at all times, if not for anything, but stay safe.

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Key Things To Know About Synthetic Marijuana




As 50%+ of the US has legal weed available, synthetic marijuana is still around.  Here is what you need to know about it

Marijuana has become increasing legal in the US, but it has not stopped the use of K-2, or spice. Created to provide similar reactions as weed, it has some significant drawbacks to natural cannabis. Often to be made to look like weed, it is not and the dangers are much higher. Here are the key things to know about synthetic marijuana.

RELATED: Why Big Pharma Loves The Power Of Synthetic Cannabinoids

Synthetic Marijuana Claims Third Victim In Illinois
Photo by Jorge Alberto Mendoza Mariscal/Getty Images

What is it?

Synthetic marijuana/fake weed/Spice/K-2 is a blended product. Containing shredded plant material and chemicals made in a lab, manufacturers spray chemicals onto the shredded plant material to make it look like marijuana.  In reality, it is a group of manmade chemicals producing a “high” mimicking some of the effects of THC. Natural THC organically binds to the body’s cannabinoids, producing strong effects which can be euphoric and relaxing. Synthetic marijuana tries to do the same, but sometimes binds to the body’s endocannabinoid system in unpredictable ways. particularly since no one really knows what’s in these products.

Why is it dangerous?

Aside from its unpredictability, synthetic marijuana tends to bind more tightly to the body’s endocannabinoid system, creating a stronger relationship that’s harder to shake off. Side effects associated with synthetic weed are dramatic and dire, unlike the ones associated with regular marijuana use. According to the Cleveland Clinic, they include heart attacks, organ failure, seizures, psychosis, stroke, violent behavior, hypertension, and more. Researchers believe synthetic marijuana can make it more likely for people to suffer from psychiatric conditions, among them bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, anxiety, and depression. About a quarter (28%) of synthetic cannabinoid users experienced central nervous system depression or coma—when brain and spinal cord functions slow down and impair breathing, heart rate, and cognitive processes.

Men Who Vape Are More Likely To Have This Condition Than Non-Vapers
Photo by Itay Kabalo via Unsplash

RELATED: ‘Synthetic Marijuana’ Is A Dangerous Misnomer That People Need To Stop Using

Who’s at risk?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), people between the ages of 20-30 are more likely to be exposed to synthetic cannabis, with men being more likely than women to try it out. Users tend to have already tried out cannabis or are regular cannabis consumers.

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Can Marijuana Give A Break From All The Drama




It is a summer of political news, students protests, family gathering and just every day drama – can marijuana help with a temporary break?

This summer will be filled with ongoing political news as the presidential election is in the fall. Add oversees wars and campus protests and conversations with some people could be fraught with drama. And summer is the time of family gatherings, birthdays, weddings or a 4th of July picnic, it can be stressful. Can marijuana give a break from all the drama. The answer is heck yes! And you will feel better than overindulging in booze.

RELATED: Beer Sales Flatten Thanks To Marijuana

While taking a break, breathing, or going for a walk can help, sometimes you get overwhelmed. Avoiding putting yourself in these situations by reducing your news and social media input, putting boundaries around certain people and other healthy habits are import, a quick, easy solution is needed in some situations. Cannabis can provide a temporary relief as it is a proven help against anxiety. To use this tool, there are a few things to know and also not to be over reliant on it as a solution.

Photo by Anton Petrus/Getty Images

Part of the way marijuana chills you out with the active cannabinoid THC. It acts through cannabinoid receptors which activates the brain’s reward system. These includes regions that govern the response to healthy pleasurable behaviors.  It also adjusts perception of time, which is what makes movies and music sound better as it allows you to stop and really absorb the moment.

The younger generation has taken advantage of consumption methods to have marijuana on-the-go.  Vaping is the second, and trends show soon to be first, most popular method of use.  Like gummies (the third most popular way to consume), it is easy, discreet and portable for those with an active lifestyle. You can also manage dosing so you are not too high or suddenly have couch lock.

Done right, a high, even a moderate one, can last 2-10 hours.  Smoking a joint provides the quickest and most powerful, while a gummy takes 30-45 minutes to kick it, but it is much easier to manage the dosage. Vaping is a way to maintain a steady chill.

RELATED: 8 Ways to Enjoy Marijuana Without Smoking It

One good thing about taking a “time out” and breathing from the drama, it is a better on our mental and physical health.

One recent survey discovered

  • 1 in 5 had lost sleep over politics
  • 20 percent reported feeling fatigued because of political news
  • 29 percent reported losing their temper over politics
  • One quarter said they felt hateful toward those with opposing political views
  • More than 20 percent have had political disagreements damage their friendships

However you do it, be mindful of where you are and make sure you don’t let outside forces squash you happiness and enjoyment of each day.

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