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Why is the DEA, an Enforcement Agency, Making the Decision on Whether Marijuana is Legal or Not?

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The DEA shouldn’t be in charge of scheduling Marijuana says Jesse Ventura

And he’s not alone!

 

In a recent development that has caught the attention of cannabis advocates and lawmakers alike, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has indicated that it is following the necessary procedures in its marijuana rescheduling review.

 

This revelation came in response to a letter sent by a group of 21 lawmakers from both the House and Senate, urging the agency to promptly deschedule marijuana. The DEA’s Acting Chief of Congressional Affairs, Michael Miller, stated in a letter to Senator Elizabeth Warren and others that the agency will “follow the procedures that Congress set forth in the Controlled Substances Act, including an opportunity for a public comment period and a hearing.”

 

While these comments may seem routine, they provide valuable insight into the DEA’s potential plans for the coming weeks and months. The mention of a public comment period and hearing is particularly significant, as these steps would only be necessary if the DEA decides to reschedule marijuana from its current Schedule I status. This could mean that the agency is considering either rescheduling marijuana to Schedule III, as recommended by the Department of Health and Human Services, or descheduling it entirely.

 

If the DEA does choose to reschedule or deschedule marijuana, the public will have a 30-day window to provide comments on the recommendation before it can officially take effect. This opportunity for public input is crucial, as it allows stakeholders, experts, and concerned citizens to voice their opinions and contribute to the decision-making process.

 

The DEA’s acknowledgment that it is carefully following the procedures outlined in the Controlled Substances Act while conducting its administrative review of marijuana’s schedule is a positive sign for those who have long advocated for a change in the drug’s legal status.

 

However, the agency’s motives and the eventual outcome of this review remain uncertain.

 

But should the DEA even have the authority to schedule cannabis? This question lies at the heart of the ongoing debate surrounding marijuana policy in the United States. In this article, we’re going to explore this idea in detail, examining the arguments for and against the DEA’s role in determining the legal status of cannabis.

 

 

 

 

Since the beginning of the Biden Administration’s efforts to reschedule marijuana, there have been doubts about the endgame. When they revealed their push for Schedule III, it became apparent that this was a move to grant the pharmaceutical industry control over the cannabis market.

 

Here’s a timeline of the events that have unfolded:

 

  • Late 2022: President Biden issues an executive order directing HHS to review marijuana’s status as a Schedule I drug and provide a recommendation on rescheduling.

  • August 2023: After a year-long review, HHS sends a letter to the DEA requesting that marijuana be moved to Schedule III.

  • September 2023: An anonymous Biden Administration official expresses belief that marijuana will be moved to Schedule III before the 2024 election.

  • October 2023: A bipartisan group of 31 congressmembers sends a letter to the DEA, urging them to consider fully descheduling marijuana.

  • December 2023: HHS releases a 250-page document explaining their rationale for wanting the DEA to reschedule marijuana to Schedule III.

  • January 2024: Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser leads a group of 12 state attorneys general in sending a letter to the DEA, advocating for rescheduling.

  • February 2024: Speculation about an impending announcement from the DEA begins to circulate.

  • March 2024: President Biden becomes the first president to promote marijuana law reform during a State of the Union address.

  • April 2024: The DEA indicates they are in the process of writing a recommendation, with Administrator Anne Milgram set to make a decision on marijuana’s scheduling status.

 

The most recent development, with the DEA actively working on a recommendation, is significant because it suggests that the agency is closer than ever to potentially rescheduling marijuana.

 

Historically, the DEA has not been this close to making such a monumental change in cannabis policy.

It’s worth noting that the popularity of cannabis legalization has reached an all-time high, and with the November elections looming, Democrats may be doubling down on cannabis reform to secure the significant “cannabis vote” that could sway the outcome of the elections.

 

However, if cannabis isn’t rescheduled or legalized prior to November, there is no guarantee that the Biden Administration won’t backpedal or pull a “bait and switch” tactic. The cannabis community must remain vigilant and continue to push for meaningful reform, regardless of the political landscape.

 

 

 

 

Former Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura has been a long-time advocate for cannabis legalization, and his recent interview with Marijuana Moment highlights his unwavering commitment to the cause.

 

Ventura’s personal experience with the benefits of medical marijuana has fueled his passion for reform, as he credits cannabis with saving his wife’s life when she developed late-in-life epileptic seizures.

Ventura’s support for cannabis legalization dates back to his gubernatorial campaign, when he openly embraced the issue despite warnings from his party that it could cost him the election. “It didn’t hurt me a bit,” Ventura said.

 

“It actually, I think in the end, strengthened me because it showed the public I have balls enough to bring up topics that were real in life and not be the typical politician and sweep them under the rug and run from them.”

 

His success in the election serves as a testament to the fact that people are willing to elect officials who are open about their cannabis use and support for reform. Ventura believes that if he were running for office today, he would make cannabis legalization a top campaign issue to align with the “loyal” base of consumers eager for change.

 

One of the key points Ventura raised in the interview was his criticism of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) role in the cannabis rescheduling process. He questioned why the DEA, an enforcement agency, is allowed to make decisions on the legal status of marijuana, stating, “I guess the first thing that I did was I had to scratch my head and go, ‘Why is the DEA, the enforcement people, allowed to make the decisions on whether it should be legal or not?'”

 

Ventura pointed out the inherent conflict of interest in the DEA’s involvement, saying, “Excuse me, they have the biggest conflict of interest of anybody on the planet, right? Because if they keep it illegal, that means they stay in business and they get way more money allocated to them by the federal government to continue to go out and bust people for cannabis. How come they’re the deciding agency?”

 

He further emphasized his point by drawing a comparison to law enforcement, stating, “Excuse my French, but that’s bullshit. You know, that’s like putting the police in charge of lawmaking. You elect people to make laws. The police merely enforce the law. Why are you allowing the enforcer of the law to make the law?”

 

Ventura’s critique of the DEA’s role in the rescheduling process highlights the need for a more impartial and evidence-based approach to cannabis policy reform. As support for legalization continues to grow, with a recent poll showing that one in five American adults are regular marijuana consumers, it is crucial that the decision-making process is guided by science and public opinion rather than the interests of enforcement agencies.

 

As the 2024 presidential election approaches, Ventura believes that embracing cannabis reform could be a winning strategy for candidates looking to secure the significant “cannabis vote.” While he acknowledged that President Donald Trump might face pushback from his evangelical base if he were to support legalization, Ventura maintains that the time is right for bold action on cannabis policy.

 

With his newly launched cannabis brand, Jesse Ventura Farms, the former governor is committed to making a positive impact on the industry and the lives of those who can benefit from medical marijuana. As he continues to champion reform, Ventura’s message is clear: it’s time for the federal government to catch up with public opinion and end the prohibition of cannabis once and for all.

 

 

Jesse Ventura’s critique of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) role in the cannabis rescheduling process is spot on. The fact that the very agency responsible for enforcing drug laws is also tasked with determining the legal status of substances like marijuana is an inherent conflict of interest. As Ventura aptly put it, this arrangement is akin to allowing the police to make the laws they enforce. It’s an insane setup that undermines the principles of fairness and impartiality in our legal system, and it’s something that America needs to address urgently.

 

While the potential rescheduling of cannabis to Schedule III might seem like progress, it’s crucial to recognize that this move could be primarily a power grab by the pharmaceutical industry. If marijuana remains on the controlled substance act in any capacity, it is still, in essence, illegal. To put this into perspective, we can equate the situation to slavery: descheduling would be akin to liberty, while Schedule III is like having permission to go to town unattended while still being considered someone’s property. True progress will only be achieved when cannabis is completely removed from the controlled substance act.

 

As the 2024 elections approach, it’s important for voters to be aware of the games politicians play when it comes to hot-button issues like cannabis legalization. While Democrats may tout their support for reform as a core part of their campaign strategy, it’s worth noting that they failed to legalize marijuana despite having majority control over the past four years. This inconsistency should give pause to anyone who believes that campaign promises will inevitably lead to meaningful change.

 

At the end of the day, the path to genuine cannabis reform is fraught with obstacles, including entrenched interests, political maneuvering, and a lack of political will. As citizens, it is our responsibility to hold our elected officials accountable and demand that they take action to end the failed war on drugs and the unjust prohibition of marijuana.

 

Only by remaining vigilant, informed, and engaged can we hope to achieve the kind of lasting change that will benefit individuals, communities, and our nation as a whole.

 

THE DEA STRUGGLES ON CANNABIS, READ ON…

DEA ARRESTS FOR MARIJUANA JUMP

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What Rescheduling Marijuana Means for California’s Cannabis Industry

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California‘s cannabis industry suffers from a seemingly unending list of problems: high taxes, prohibitionist cities, a related lack of retail licenses and oversupply of non-retail licenses, a monster illegal market with no end in sight, burdensome and often senseless regulations, and so on. Unfortunately, rescheduling won’t solve most of these problems–at least not directly. Today I want to look at what rescheduling could mean for California’s cannabis industry.

If you’re not already up to speed on rescheduling, check out my colleague Vince Sliwoski’s explainer of the DEA’s notice of proposed rulemaking to move marijuana from schedule I (where it sits next to heroin) to schedule III, or any of the following posts of ours:

With that out of the way, let’s look how rescheduling could affect (or not affect) California’s cannabis industry.

First and foremost, rescheduling does not mean that state-legal cannabis markets will be federally compliant. In other words, all California cannabis businesses will still violate federal law. The biggest change would be that  IRC § 280E – which prohibits cannabis businesses from making standard federal tax deductions – will go away. But the statewide cannabis industry won’t be federally “legal.”

What that means is that rescheduling will have no impact on things like the prohibition on interstate commerce, which has kept California walled off from other states (at least California’s legal market). So for now, California’s still on its own.

Rescheduling also won’t impact state law where it counts. Things like local control, burdensome regulations, fighting the illegal market, and so on, will stay the same. Importantly, local and state tax law won’t change: California and many local cities tax cannabis businesses as if they are piggybanks. While 280E relief will undoubtedly help, it makes it much less likely that the state will revisit its own excise tax or think about how it could cap local gross receipts taxes.

So with all that out of the way, is there any good news? I think the answer is a clear yes. Here’s why:

  • Even without state and local tax relief, 280E relief alone will be a monumental change for the industry.
  • Investments into California’s cannabis industry are likely to increase as investors who previously stood on the sidelines become more comfortable with the idea of investing into a (slightly) less regulated industry.
  • Other ancillary service providers may also be more open to providing services to the industry for similar reasons. More ancillary service providers may reduce costs within the cannabis industry.
  • It’s possible that state governments also decide to be more bold. For example, states could decide to roll the dice on interstate commerce compacts after rescheduling, even in spite of schedule III issues.
  • Although the impact on the illegal market will likely be small, the removal of 280E liabilities could entice people who would otherwise have remained unlicensed to become legal and complaint operators.

We’ve got a long way to go before rescheduling happens. And while nobody can really say for sure how things will shake out, it seems like there are some definite positive outcomes for California’s cannabis industry. So stay tuned for more updates.



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The End of the US Hemp Industry is Near

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The 2018 Farm Bill legalized the cultivation of hemp, distinguishing it from marijuana based on its low THC content. However, an emerging loophole has allowed the proliferation of psychoactive hemp-derived products, particularly delta-8 THC, which has led to significant regulatory and public health concerns. In response, a proposed amendment to the Farm Bill seeks to address these issues by banning hemp-derived cannabinoid products, including delta-8 THC. This proposed amendment, filed by Rep. Mary Miller (R-IL), aims to redefine hemp and close the existing loophole around intoxicating hemp. The amendment has sparked a heated debate among industry stakeholders, regulators, and lawmakers.

If you have followed the legal hemp market over the past 8 years and attended shows like the Benzinga Cannabis Conference, you know that the only thing keeping the US hemp industry alive, and on life-support at best, is the sale of commerical retail products that create revenue, ie, Delta-8 THC and Delta-9 THC products derived from hemp.  While hemp-crete and hemp twine are nice stories, the only “cash crop” hemp has right now is selling “hemp that gets you high” to Americans that don’t have acccess to legal weed.

As mentioned by a few VCs and investment firms at the industry trade shows, the only think keeping hemp alive in America is Delta-8 and Delta-9 THC products and sales.

That “loophole” in the original 2018 Farm Bill may be closing, and for good, with a new amendment put forward this week.

 

 Key Provisions of the Proposed Amendment

The amendment includes several critical provisions designed to tighten regulations on hemp-derived products:

  • Redefinition of Hemp: Redefines hemp to exclude products containing detectable levels of THC and cannabinoids synthesized outside the plant.

  • Ban on Delta-8 THC: Explicitly bans hemp-derived products that contain psychoactive cannabinoids, such as delta-8 THC.

  • Enhanced Regulatory Oversight: Aims to provide clearer guidelines and stricter controls over the production and sale of hemp-derived products.

 Concerns Leading to the Amendment

Proponents of the amendment argue that the current lack of regulation has led to several issues:

  • Marketing to Children and Teens: Psychoactive hemp products are often marketed in colorful packaging, resembling candy and snacks, raising concerns about their appeal to children and teenagers.

  • Unregulated Market: The proliferation of hemp-derived cannabinoids has resulted in an unregulated market where the safety and quality of products are inconsistent.

  • Public Health Risks: There are concerns about the potential health risks associated with the unregulated sale and consumption of these products.

 Industry Opposition and Concerns

Industry stakeholders and advocates for the hemp industry have voiced strong opposition to the proposed amendment. Their main arguments include:

  • Impact on CBD Products: The amendment could criminalize many non-intoxicating CBD products that naturally contain trace amounts of THC.

  • Economic Consequences: The ban could devastate the hemp industry, resulting in significant job losses and economic decline.

  • Access to Health Products: Many Americans rely on hemp-derived products for health and wellness, and the ban could deny them access to these beneficial products.

 Economic Implications

The hemp market is currently valued at approximately $28 billion, with a significant portion of this market driven by hemp-derived cannabinoid products. The proposed amendment could have profound economic implications, including:

  • Job Losses: Potential loss of tens of thousands of jobs in agriculture, retail, and manufacturing sectors.

  • Market Decline: A potential decline in sales and overall market value as many products would no longer be legally available.

  • Investment Uncertainty: Increased regulatory uncertainty could deter future investments in the hemp industry.

Regulatory Challenges

The hemp industry has faced numerous regulatory challenges since the legalization of hemp in 2018. Key regulatory hurdles include:

Lack of FDA Regulation: The FDA has yet to establish clear regulations for hemp-derived CBD products, creating a patchwork of state-level regulations and contributing to market instability.

  • Safety and Quality Standards: The absence of federal guidelines has led to inconsistent safety and quality standards across the industry.

  • Youth Access: The unregulated sale of psychoactive hemp products has raised concerns about youth access and potential misuse.

Legislative Process and Potential Outcomes

The amendment’s approval by the House Agriculture Committee is the first step in a potentially contentious legislative process. The Senate, which has yet to release its version of the Farm Bill, will play a crucial role in determining the amendment’s fate. Key considerations include:

  • Senate’s Stance: The Democratic-controlled Senate may take a different approach to the regulation of hemp-derived cannabinoids, potentially leading to a conflict between the two chambers.

  • Bipartisan Negotiations: Successful passage of the amendment will likely require bipartisan support and negotiations to reconcile differing viewpoints.

  • Final Legislation: The final version of the Farm Bill will need to balance the interests of public health, industry stakeholders, and regulatory clarity.

Broader Implications for Cannabinoid Regulation

The proposed amendment raises broader questions about the regulation of cannabinoids in general:

  • Defining Cannabinoids: The amendment’s language excluding detectable levels of THC and synthesized cannabinoids could impact the regulation of other cannabinoids, such as CBD.

  • Regulatory Parity: Proponents argue that the amendment would create regulatory parity and facilitate state-level regulation of intoxicating hemp products.

  • Future of Cannabinoid Products: The regulation of cannabinoids will continue to evolve, with ongoing debates about the safety, efficacy, and legality of various products.

 Public Health Considerations

The shift towards greater regulation of hemp-derived cannabinoids has significant public health implications:

  • Consumer Safety: Enhanced regulatory oversight could improve consumer safety by ensuring that hemp-derived products meet consistent quality and safety standards.

  • Health Risks: The unregulated sale of psychoactive hemp products poses potential health risks, particularly for vulnerable populations.

  • Research and Education: Increased research and public education efforts are needed to fully understand the health impacts of hemp-derived cannabinoids and inform regulatory policies.

Industry Adaptation and Future Outlook

The hemp industry will need to adapt to the proposed regulatory changes if the amendment is enacted. Key strategies for adaptation include:

  • Compliance and Certification: Producers and manufacturers will need to invest in compliance and certification processes to meet new regulatory standards.

  • Product Innovation: The industry may shift focus towards non-psychoactive hemp applications and develop new products that comply with stricter regulations.

  • Advocacy and Engagement: Ongoing advocacy and engagement with policymakers will be essential to ensure that the industry’s interests are represented in regulatory discussions.

 Conclusion

The proposed Farm Bill amendment to ban hemp-derived cannabinoid products represents a significant shift in U.S. agricultural and regulatory policy. While proponents argue that it addresses critical public health and safety concerns, industry stakeholders warn of devastating economic consequences and the potential loss of beneficial products. As the amendment moves through the legislative process, the hemp industry faces a period of uncertainty and adaptation. The outcome of this debate will shape the future of hemp regulation, balancing the need for consumer protection with the growth and innovation of a burgeoning industry.

 

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Just Say No to Pesticides on Your Weed

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How To Prevent Pests In Your Homegrown Cannabis Plants Without Using Harmful Chemicals

 

Just like every other plant, cannabis plants will also attract its fair share of pests and bugs when you try to grow them at home. Even professional cannabis growers have to deal with pests!


Pests come in the form of insects, fungus, mites, and bacteria. For homegrown marijuana, the most common offenders include aphids, thrips, spider mites, botrytis, cabbage loopers, whiteflies, powdery mildew, fungus gnats, and root aphids. When they go on undetected or without any treatment, they can cause a wide array of damage to your precious cannabis plant.

 

The worst-case scenario is that your plant can end up being so unhealthy and damaged, that you might even have to end up throwing it away before you can harvest anything. Sometimes, the pest problem can hide itself so effectively that you won’t even know it’s there until you’ve harvested your weed, and are opening your buds apart to smoke. Then, it would be far too late to do anything!

 

Many weed growers end up resorting to strong, harmful chemical pesticides and fungicides to prevent pest problems or nip them in the bud. However, these chemical pesticides and fungicides can also be dangerous for humans and the environment. They are, after all, made with chemicals – and some of these chemicals are known to be carcinogenic.

 

But don’t worry: there are several other ways cannabis home growers can deal with pests without harmful chemicals and strong pesticides.

 

Prevention Is Key

 

Truly understanding your home grow setup and operation is the first and most important step to preventing pests. This can take some time and resources in the beginning, but it will save you time and money in the long run!

There are certain factors involved with specific grow setups as well as environments. For example, when growing marijuana outdoors, the most common pests to deal with include aphids, Eurasian hemp borers, corn earworms, and hemp russet mites among others. You’ll also have to learn to prevent squirrels, deer, raccoons, and other bigger animals since humans aren’t the only ones that are attracted to weed!

 

Meanwhile, there’s a different set of beasts to deal with indoors because other factors are involved. These include humidity, ventilation, and air circulation. But regardless of whether you are growing indoors or outdoors, keep in mind that soil plays a critical role in preventing pests. Many growers have found success in using beneficial nematodes, which are microscopic and thus invisible roundworms that eat pests that thrive in soil. Nematodes are excellent for eliminating root aphids and fungus gnats; you can drench the soil in it or mix it up in water before irrigation.

 

Companion Planting

 

Companion planting is a common and widely practiced technique in farming as well as gardening. You can apply the principles of companion planting for cannabis cultivation; it entails planting certain plants or herbs next to cannabis which are known to create a symbiotic or beneficial environment. For example, certain plants or vegetables are known to equally feed off water, while other plants consume more water and thus leave their companion plants thirsty.

 

Meanwhile, some companion plants are effective in helping repel insects and diseases, which is why they are favored among cannabis growers. When it comes to companion planting, some plants to consider include marigolds, lavender, basil, and nasturtiums.

 

Beneficial Insects

 

Believe it or not, some insects can actually be good for your cannabis harvest. Lacewings and ladybugs are two of the most valuable types of insects for cannabis growers, especially if you are growing outside.

To ensure an abundant population, you can purchase beneficial insects and let them roam free in your greenhouse or grow area. They are fantastic for all kinds of plants, not just marijuana. Ladybugs and lacewings are particularly effective because they feed on spider mites, whiteflies, mealybugs, and other soft-bodied pests as well as larvae.

 

Organic Pesticides

 

There are several different kinds of effective organic pesticides and fungicides in the market, too. You can use them as a complement to other pest-prevention techniques that you are already doing. Adding organic pesticides to cannabis crop care and maintenance can help greatly deter pests especially if you find that other techniques are lacking or not working as well.


Organic pesticides come in the form of neem oil, insecticidal soap, and botanical sprays. Neem oil is a top choice when it comes to organic pest control, even among household plants! Keep in mind to use neem oil only during the vegetative growth cycle of marijuana.

 

 Just dilute two teaspoons of neem essential oil into a gallon of water, then spray. Or, you can also buy ready-to-use neem spray. Neem oil can be sprayed directly on the foliage, or you can also drench the soil in neem oil no matter what stage of growth your cannabis plant is in. It’s extremely effective in killing and preventing cannabis pests including leafhoppers, crickets, aphids, mealybugs, and so much more.

 

If you’re going to end up using foliar sprays, it’s important to buy the best-quality organic, natural sprays that you can afford. That’s because any ingredients used in those sprays are going to end up in the cannabis flower, which means that you’re going to end up smoking it. When it comes to the best time to use foliar spray on cannabis, it’s during the flowering cycle because it can help keep cabbage loopers and other pests off during this phase.


Conclusion

 

There are many creative ways you can get rid of pests effectively, whether you are growing cannabis indoors or outdoors. Follow these tips to ensure a healthy harvest without compromising your health or that of the environment – there’s no need to use nasty and highly toxic chemical sprays

 

PESTICIDES ON WEED? YOU BET, READ ON..

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