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You Can Smoke Weed in Dallas and Houston, but Not Texas?

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A recently introduced bill in the Texas legislature may pave the way for select cities and counties to legalize recreational marijuana. House Bill 1937, proposed by State Representative Jessica Gonzalez (D-Dallas), would grant local governments the authority to decide whether or not to allow Texans 21 or older to use cannabis for recreational purposes.

 

As per the bill, an individual would be permitted to possess a maximum of 2.5 ounces of marijuana. The bill also outlines a 10% tax on all cannabis-related products allocated towards various initiatives such as cannabis testing, regulation, quality control, government oversight, and school funding. Representative Jessica Gonzalez (D-Dallas) highlighted that while 21 states in the US have legalized cannabis, and 27 have decriminalized it, Texas is yet to embrace the potential revenue source fully.

 

According to a recent survey, a majority of Texans favor some form of legalization of cannabis use, and Gonzalez believes that such a move would not only generate investments for public education but also prevent unnecessary arrests for cannabis possession while creating job opportunities.

 

Gonzalez previously introduced a similar bill in 2021, but it failed to progress to a vote. The fate of this year’s bill remains uncertain and may encounter a similar outcome.

 

Cannabis Legalization in Texas

Cannabis legalization in Texas has been relatively slow and limited compared to other states in the US. In 2015, Texas passed the Compassionate Use Act, which allows patients with intractable epilepsy to access low-THC cannabis oil. Still, the law remains restrictive, with only a few conditions qualifying for medical cannabis use. In addition, smoking cannabis is still prohibited under the Compassionate Use Act.

 

In 2019, Texas lawmakers passed House Bill 1325, which legalized the cultivation, processing, and sale of hemp and hemp-derived products. However, the bill did not legalize cannabis, and there are still strict penalties for the possession of marijuana.

 

There have been several attempts to legalize cannabis in Texas for recreational use, but none have been successful thus far. In 2019, the Texas House of Representatives approved a bill to decriminalize cannabis possession, but it did not pass the Senate. In 2021, a bill to legalize and regulate cannabis was filed, but it did not progress to a vote.

 

House Bill 1937, filed in the 2023 legislative session, seeks to grant counties and municipalities the authority to legalize recreational cannabis use. Still, it remains to be seen whether the bill will ultimately pass and become law. According to Jesse Williams, a local cannabis advocate and managing editor of the Texas Cannabis Collective, the likelihood of House Bill 1937 making it to the governor’s desk is low. Even if it does, Governor Greg Abbott is unlikely to sign it.

 

Williams also pointed out some potential issues with the bill, including opposition from the cannabis community due to the proposed 10% tax on top of other taxes already collected by businesses. He expressed concerns that the added costs could make it too expensive for businesses to enter the market and too expensive for customers compared to the black market, potentially leading some customers to turn to illegal sources. Williams noted that similar issues have arisen in other states implementing cannabis legalization.

 

If House Bill 1937 were to become law in Texas, Dallas could be allowed to legalize the recreational use of cannabis. Dallas City Council members Chad West and Adam Bazaldua have expressed their support for such a move, stating that they would vote in favor of legalization if given the opportunity by the state.

 

Bazaldua emphasized his willingness to support the measure, saying he would vote to legalize recreational cannabis use in Dallas if given a chance. With the possibility of increased revenue and reduced law enforcement costs, some local officials and advocates may view the legalization of cannabis as a positive step for the city. However, as mentioned previously, the likelihood of House Bill 1937 passing and becoming law in Texas remains to be seen.

 

Significant Support for Recreational Cannabis

A recent poll by the University of Texas/Texas Politics Project revealed that most Texas voters support legalizing marijuana. In fact, the survey found that about four in five residents feel that cannabis should be legal for medical or recreational use.

Furthermore, the poll indicated that a significant majority of Texans (72%) would like to see marijuana decriminalized, meaning that the offense would be punishable by a citation and fine rather than jail time.

 

Overall, the survey results suggest that Texans are enthusiastic about marijuana reform, with 55% of respondents indicating that they believe cannabis possession should be legal for any purpose, in any amount or small amounts. Only 17% of those polled said marijuana should not be legal, while 28% said it should be legal for medical purposes only.

 

According to the Poll, Democrats are the strongest advocates for marijuana reform, with 72% expressing support for broad legalization and 19% supporting legalization solely for medical purposes. Independents followed, with 57% supporting legalization for any purpose and another 31% supporting medical cannabis legalization exclusively.

 

Republicans were the least supportive group, with 41% in favor of legalizing the plant for any use and another 36% supporting medical marijuana legalization only.

The poll also asked respondents if they support reducing the punishment for possession or use of small amounts of marijuana to a citation and a fine, effectively a decriminalization model. A strong majority of 72% expressed support for this approach.

 

As the upcoming legislative session approaches, Texas lawmakers have an opportunity to enact marijuana reform. However, it remains uncertain whether the conservative legislature will heed public opinion on the issue or once again disregard it.

 

Conclusion

As the debate over marijuana legalization continues in Texas, it remains to be seen whether House Bill 1937 or any other reform legislation will ultimately become law. While a growing number of Texans support legalization, there is also significant opposition, particularly among conservative lawmakers. Nevertheless, the conversation around marijuana reform has continued to evolve, and advocates and opponents alike will continue to make their voices heard in the years to come. Ultimately, the fate of marijuana reform in Texas will be decided through a combination of public opinion, legislative action, and the views of key decision-makers in the state.

 

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90% of People over 50 are Using Cannabis for One Reason

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cannabis for chronic pain and arthritis

Tilray Medical, a division of Tilray Brands, Inc., unveiled its latest scientific publication titled “Medical Cannabis for Patients Over Age 50: A Multi-Site, Prospective Study of Usage Patterns and Health Outcomes” on Tuesday.

 

This new research expands upon an earlier Tilray study revealing a rising number of older patients seeking medical marijuana. The study identified chronic pain (27.8%), arthritis (14.9%), and anxiety (9%) as prevalent conditions prompting cannabis use among older adults. Pain emerged as the primary symptom, followed by anxiety and insomnia/sleep disorders.

 

Known as the Medical Cannabis in Older Patients Study, this multi-site, prospective, observational research investigates how medical marijuana, guided by healthcare providers, affects patients over 50. It underscores the impact of medical cannabis on health outcomes, particularly focusing on pain relief, sleep improvement, and overall quality of life.

 

With 299 participants averaging 66.7 years old, the study found that 90% used medical cannabis primarily for pain management, notably chronic pain and arthritis. The results indicated that medical cannabis correlated with better pain scores, improved sleep, and enhanced quality of life among a growing subset of patients, along with a notable reduction in concurrent medications.

 

José Tempero, the company’s medical director, emphasized their commitment to advancing medical research and supporting products aligned with comprehensive findings. He underscored the role of medical cannabis in enhancing therapeutic options for an ageing population.

 

Study Focus and Methodology

 

Leading the way in examining the effects of medical cannabis use on the health of older adults, Tilray Medical’s “Medical Cannabis for Patients Over Age 50” study included 299 participants, most of whom were female and averaged age 66.7. The study was conducted at several sites and used a prospective, observational design to evaluate the effects of medical marijuana under the supervision of a healthcare provider on actual health outcomes.

 

The study’s central focus was on the efficacy of medicinal cannabis in treating chronic pain, arthritis, anxiety, and other diseases common among the elderly. Participants were followed to determine changes in pain ratings, sleep patterns, and general quality of life, offering information on cannabis’ medicinal potential in addressing age-related health issues.

 

The findings underscored a significant trend: approximately 90% of participants reported using medical cannabis primarily for pain relief, with notable reductions in co-medication observed. This research not only highlights the growing acceptance and application of medical cannabis among older adults but also underscores the importance of continued scientific inquiry into its benefits and implications for ageing populations.

 

Key Findings on Patient Demographics and Conditions

 

The study by Tilray Medical provided insightful demographics and conditions prevalent among older adults using medical cannabis. Among the 299 participants, the average age of 66.7 years reflects a cohort squarely within the ageing demographic seeking alternative therapies. Notably, over 62% of the participants identified as female, indicating a significant gender distribution in the study sample.

 

Of the participants, 27.8% cited chronic pain as their major reason for seeking medical cannabis treatment. This made chronic pain the most prevalent primary symptom driving medical cannabis usage. This result is consistent with more general healthcare trends, which show that older adults continue to have significant concerns about managing chronic pain. After chronic pain, arthritis was shown to be another common ailment that led to cannabis usage, as 14.9% of individuals used cannabis to treat this inflammatory chronic illness. With 9% of research participants suffering from anxiety, it was also a major ailment, underscoring the variety of therapeutic uses of medicinal cannabis among older persons.

 

The study’s emphasis on these particular disorders highlights medicinal cannabis’s growing potential as a therapy for illnesses that are typically linked to ageing. By clarifying the characteristics and ailments that are common among elderly medical cannabis users, the study offers a significant understanding of the incorporation of alternative treatments into geriatric healthcare procedures.

 

These results provide insight into the health problems and demographics of older adults who use cannabis medicinally. They also lay the groundwork for future research on the safety and effectiveness of cannabis-based treatments for age-related health disorders. Studying medical cannabis’s impact on conditions like chronic pain, arthritis, and anxiety is becoming more and more crucial for lawmakers and healthcare professionals as it gains acceptance as a therapeutic option.

 

Key Findings on Patient Demographics and Conditions

 

The study by Tilray Medical provided insightful demographics and conditions prevalent among older adults using medical cannabis. Among the 299 participants, the average age of 66.7 years reflects a cohort squarely within the ageing demographic seeking alternative therapies. Notably, over 62% of the participants identified as female, indicating a significant gender distribution in the study sample.

 

Chronic pain was identified as the most prevalent primary condition driving medicinal cannabis usage, with 27.8% of patients indicating it as the major reason for therapy. This conclusion is consistent with wider healthcare trends, in which chronic pain treatment remains a major problem among older populations. Following chronic pain, arthritis was found as another common reason for cannabis usage, with 14.9% of participants looking for treatment for this chronic inflammatory illness. Anxiety was also identified as a significant problem, impacting 9% of research participants, illustrating the broad therapeutic uses of medicinal cannabis in older persons.

 

By clarifying the demographics and conditions common among older medical cannabis users, the research adds important insights into how alternative therapies are being integrated into geriatric healthcare practices. The study’s focus on these particular conditions highlights the evolving role of medical cannabis as a potential treatment option for ailments traditionally associated with ageing.

 

As medical cannabis becomes more and more popular as a therapeutic option, legislators and healthcare professionals will need to understand the effects of medical cannabis on conditions like chronic pain, arthritis, and anxiety. These results shed light on the health issues and demographics of older people who use medicinal marijuana. They also serve as a foundation for future studies on the safety and effectiveness of cannabis-based therapies for age-related health issues.

 

Bottom Line

 

The Tilray medicinal research emphasizes how important medicinal cannabis is for older persons’ chronic pain, arthritis, and anxiety. According to the findings, cannabis can enhance pain ratings, sleep quality, and general quality of life, as indicated by the fact that 90% of the 299 participants used it primarily for pain relief. This study highlights the necessity for further research into the advantages of medicinal cannabis and its incorporation into geriatric healthcare, supporting its increasing recognition as a therapeutic alternative for older adults.

 

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What Does the Corporate Transparency Act Mean (CTA) for the Cannabis Industry?

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On January 1, 2024, the federal Corporate Transparency Act (CTA) took effect. The CTA requires a host of both domestic and foreign entities to disclose their beneficial ownership to the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN). Compliance with the CTA is required for all businesses, including those in the cannabis industry. In this post, I’ll overview some (but not all) key requirements of the CTA, and some of the implications for the cannabis industry.

What is the CTA?

The purpose of the CTA is to combat illegal activities like money laundering by disclosure of information concerning “beneficial owners” to FinCEN. Beneficial ownership essentially means the individuals who own or control a company (more on that below). FinCEN and other domestic governmental authorities can use this beneficial ownership information in certain contexts for law enforcement purposes. Detailed FAQs on the CTA are available here.

Who must report?

Corporations, limited liability companies, and other business entities are considered reporting companies for purposes of the CTA. Certain sole proprietors may not count as reporting companies, and CTA exempts 23 classes of entities, such as governmental bodies, banks, and certain large operating companies.

Figuring out whether a business qualifies for an exemption can in some cases be complicated, and businesses can flow in and out of exemptions over time. So it’s a good idea for businesses to confer with counsel to determine whether they are compliant.

When must reporting happen?

Reporting is done by submitting an initial beneficial ownership report (BOIR) with FinCEN via an electronic portal called the Beneficial Ownership Secure System, located at FinCEN.gov, free of charge. There are some key reporting deadlines, which change based on when a company was formed (for domestic companies) or registered in the US (for foreign companies) as follows:

  • Entities created or registered before January 1, 2024, must submit their initial BOIR by January 1, 2025.
  • Entities registered in 2024 are required to file within 90 calendar days of their registration becoming effective.
  • For registrations from January 1, 2025, onwards, the deadline is 30 calendar days post-registration notice.

CTA also has requirements to periodically update beneficial ownership information after changes occur. Failure to comply with CTA can lead to monetary penalties and even criminal liability.

What must be reported?

Reporting companies must disclose individuals with substantial control or those owning at least 25% of the entity. Substantial control includes abilities like appointing or removing directors, making significant business decisions, or other forms of major influence. For example, question D8 on FinCEN’s FAQs addresses how management companies could be considered beneficial owners of a reporting company. Sound familiar?

Disclosure itself is not dissimilar to state-level cannabis regulatory disclosures. Beneficial owners must provide their legal name, date of birth, address, and an identifying number (e.g., SSN).

How will this affect the cannabis industry?

In case you were wondering, CTA applies to cannabis businesses. There is no exemption for reporting by state-legal cannabis companies.

A lot of cannabis companies will probably get squeamish at the thought of making detailed beneficial ownership disclosures. That’s especially the case where CTA by its terms allows FinCEN to share beneficial ownership information with other federal agencies engaged in law enforcement activities, or federal agencies that supervise financial institutions.

So, expect to see owners of cannabis businesses engage in all kinds of corporate changes to obscure beneficial ownership or reduce equity and control rights to get out of disclosures. In some cases, this will not work and people will face penalties.

Also expect to see a lot of cannabis companies (and non-cannabis companies for that matter) make a good-faith effort to comply with CTA initially but fail to update information as required by law. This is just going to happen, the way CTA is set up. Whether or not people are actually penalized for late disclosures or updates absent some kind of misfeasance remains to be seen.

Conclusion

CTA is complicated and has already been a headache for many businesses – so much so that at least one group of businesses brought a challenge to its constitutionality and won. Fortunately or unfortunately (depending on how you look at it) the court did not issue a nationwide injunction but only enjoined enforcement of CTA against the specific plaintiffs. It’s possible that in different litigation or future appeals, the law itself is enjoined on a nationwide level. But for the time being, it’s the law of the land.



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Could the Smell of Marijuana Ever Be So Strong That It Knocks You to the Ground?

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knock you over marijuana smell

Ohio’s New Miami Village Council unanimously voted on June 27 to fire Police Chief Harold Webb after Mayor Jewell Hayes-Hensley accused him of having an office that smelled of marijuana. This information, reported by the New York Post, was based on a letter from the mayor’s office obtained by Ohio’s Fox 19.

 

A ballot initiative approved in November 2023 completely legalized cannabis in Ohio.

 

On June 20, when Hayes-Hensley and another council member went to Webb’s office to pick up his daily logs, they noticed a strong marijuana smell. This is when the incident started.

 

“When I first said, ‘Who has been smoking weed in here?'” The mayor of New Miami Village, a hamlet of 2,226 people in southeast Ohio, stated, “The smell of marijuana could knock you off your feet.”

 

Cananbis with a strong odor is known as “loud” or “dank” in the cannabis community.

 

Marijuana Odor from a Bust Four Months Ago?

 

In the same letter regarding the marijuana odor, Mayor Jewell Hayes-Hensley accused Police Chief Harold Webb of multiple infractions, including stealing hot dogs from a gas station where only free soda was allowed on duty, refusing to respond to 911 calls, “theft of office,” falsifying timesheets and daily logs, and “cashing his paycheck knowing he was required to show proof of his being at work.”

 

The mayor suggested that the marijuana smell might be linked to a bust that occurred four months prior, implying that Webb could have been smoking the confiscated cannabis. However, experts note that the smell of cannabis smoke typically lingers in a room for only four to six hours and does not cling to furniture or curtains like tobacco smoke. This casts doubt on the idea that the odor from a previous bust could still be present in Webb’s office months later.

 

The allegations against Webb extend beyond the marijuana odor, painting a picture of misconduct and unprofessional behavior. The claim about stealing hot dogs suggests a disregard for department policies and ethical standards. Refusing to respond to 911 calls is a severe accusation, indicating a failure to perform critical duties that could endanger public safety. The “theft of office” and falsification of timesheets and daily logs imply deceit and misuse of taxpayer funds.

 

Whether Webb’s dismissal was based on the marijuana smell, the stolen hot dogs, or the accumulation of these allegations, the situation underscores the importance of accountability and integrity in law enforcement. The controversy surrounding Webb’s behavior has undoubtedly affected the New Miami Village community, emphasizing the need for trust and transparency in public officials.

 

Ultimatum Delivered: Take a Drug Test or Face Consequences

 

On June 24, the New Miami town attorney delivered a letter to Police Chief Harold Webb at his home, informing him that he had until 5 p.m. the following day to take a drug test at the request of Mayor Jewell Hayes-Hensley or face “disciplinary action.”

 

Chief Webb arrived at the testing site on June 25 but refused to provide a urine sample in front of a nurse, describing the process as “belittling.” This refusal was a critical turning point in the situation, further complicating his position and raising additional concerns about his conduct.

 

Following his refusal to complete the drug test, Webb texted the mayor, expressing his frustration and feeling of being unfairly targeted. “You know what, you win,” he wrote. “This is the third time you have questioned my integrity.” This message highlighted the escalating tension between Webb and Mayor Hayes-Hensley, suggesting a breakdown in communication and trust.

 

The mayor responded decisively, instructing Webb to resign. “Sorry things didn’t work out,” Hayes-Hensley wrote. “Please turn in all your New Miami Village properties along with your resignation and leave all access to video cameras and computers turned over to me.”

 

This interaction highlights the greater confrontation between Webb and the village leadership, marked by claims of misbehavior, refusal to comply with directions and personal animosities. Webb’s unwillingness to take the drug test, exacerbated by the other claims against him, finally led to his dismissal. The event shows how difficult it is to uphold professional standards and responsibility in law enforcement and emphasizes the importance of following clear procedures and treating misbehavior claims with respect from one another.

 

Fallout and Community Reaction

 

The dismissal of Police Chief Harold Webb from New Miami Village has triggered a wave of reactions and repercussions within the community. Residents, caught off guard by the sudden removal of their police chief, are divided in their responses. Some express concern over the allegations leveled against Webb, particularly regarding the integrity and conduct expected of law enforcement officials. They emphasize the importance of accountability and transparency in local governance, calling for thorough investigations into the accusations made by Mayor Jewell Hayes-Hensley.

 

Conversely, others in the community rally behind Chief Webb, questioning the timing and validity of the accusations. They argue that Webb’s contributions to public safety and his tenure should be taken into account before any hasty decisions are made. Supporters of Webb highlight his past achievements and dedication to the village, urging for fair treatment and due process in resolving the controversy.

 

Meanwhile, the broader implications of Webb’s dismissal extend beyond local sentiment. The incident has raised broader questions about leadership and governance within New Miami Village. It underscores the challenges faced by small communities in maintaining effective law enforcement and ensuring public trust. Moving forward, community leaders and residents alike are seeking clarity and resolution, hoping to restore stability and confidence in the village’s administration amidst the ongoing controversy.

 

Bottom Line

 

The case of Police Chief Harold Webb in New Miami Village serves as a stark reminder of the complexities and responsibilities involved in local law enforcement. The allegations, ranging from a peculiar marijuana smell to serious accusations of misconduct, have deeply impacted both the community and its leadership. While some residents advocate for accountability and transparency in addressing these issues, others stand by Webb, questioning the fairness of his dismissal. As the village navigates through this controversy, the need for clear protocols, mutual respect, and adherence to professional standards remains paramount. The outcome of this case will likely shape the future governance and public trust in New Miami Village, underscoring the importance of due process and ethical conduct in all levels of public service.

 

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