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The consumption of marijuana has surged dramatically, with a notable instance in Michigan, where recreational use has recently been legalized. In its first year, marijuana sales are poised to exceed $3 billion, propelled by a remarkable performance in July.

 

This upswing can be attributed to Generation Z opting for marijuana over alcohol, considering it a healthier alternative. However, the industry faces challenges such as disorderly state enforcement, burdensome taxes, and restrictive regulations, including the absence of interstate commerce, leading to significant disruptions.

 

Lawmakers’ Push for Cannabis Reform: Urgency, Criticism, and Response

A Democratic congressman is urging the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to expedite its evaluation of marijuana and adhere to the recommendation from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to reclassify cannabis to Schedule III.

 

In a letter addressed to DEA Administrator Anne Milgram on Thursday, Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN) expressed gratitude for the opportunity to discuss the scheduling review process during a House subcommittee hearing in July.

 

However, he emphasized the need for the agency to accelerate the task completion. Since the mentioned hearing, HHS has concluded its scientific assessment of cannabis, advising the DEA to move it from Schedule I to Schedule III under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA).

 

Congressman Steve Cohen strongly told the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to listen to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) advice. He said it’s essential to speed up the DEA’s review process and quickly make new rules.

 

Cohen said that putting marijuana in Schedule I was a big mistake in the past. It led to very harsh and unfair prison sentences, especially for people of color. In a letter to DEA Administrator Anne Milgram, he talked about how this affected society, especially in marginalized communities. He also mentioned that almost half of the states had already allowed people to use marijuana for fun.

 

Cohen told Milgram directly that she can make history by making positive changes. He talked about the efforts in Congress to change the rules about marijuana and said it’s essential to fix the unfair and wrong policy. Cohen wanted Milgram to take decisive action to bring justice and fix the problems caused by the current rules on marijuana.

 

Congressman Steve Cohen strongly supports ending the federal ban on marijuana. He’s urging the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to act quickly. Cohen stressed the importance of prompt action, saying, “The DEA should move as fast as possible on this, and I hope to see a proposal on this issue soon.”

 

Cohen’s stance aligns with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recommendation to reclassify marijuana to Schedule III potentially. However, the Congressional Research Service (CRS) mentioned that while it’s “likely” the DEA will follow the HHS recommendation, the DEA has asserted its “final authority” in making scheduling decisions, regardless of HHS findings.

 

In a recent letter to lawmakers, the DEA clarified its role: “DEA has the final authority to schedule, reschedule, or deschedule a drug under the Controlled Substances Act, after considering relevant criteria and HHS’s evaluation.” The agency emphasized that it is conducting a thorough review before deciding on marijuana scheduling.

 

Cohen’s push for quick action reflects his belief in urgently addressing marijuana’s current Schedule I classification. The complexities between HHS recommendations and DEA authority highlight the importance of carefully evaluating scientific evidence and regulations in decision-making.

DEA’s Controversial Role in Marijuana Rescheduling: A Tug-of-War on Federal Action

Biden’s slow progress toward federal action was significantly boosted when his administration sought rescheduling last year. However, the DEA has recently stirred controversy over the issue of marijuana rescheduling. Traditionally at the forefront of the War on Drugs, the DEA has asserted its role as the ultimate decision-maker in this matter.

 

In a letter addressed to Congressman Earl Blumenauer, Michael Miller, who is currently acting as the Chief of the Office of Congressional Affairs at the DEA, shed light on the ongoing examination of potentially reclassifying marijuana. This entire process was set in motion following a directive from President Biden in October 2022.

 

The initial step involved a scientific evaluation carried out by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), which recommended the reclassification of marijuana from Schedule I to Schedule III under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA).

 

This recommendation surfaced in August. Subsequently, the DEA is now conducting a thorough review of the situation, as outlined in the letter that was reported by Punchbowl News just last month. This dual-layered examination process is part of the broader initiative to understand and potentially modify the current scheduling of marijuana within the regulatory framework.

 

According to the DEA, they hold the ultimate decision-making power to schedule, reschedule, or deschedule a drug according to the Controlled Substances Act. They explain that the decision was made after considering relevant statutory and regulatory criteria and the scientific and medical evaluation conducted by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Currently, the DEA is actively conducting its comprehensive review.”

Presidential Influence and Policy Impact

President Joe Biden issued an executive order in October 2022 asking federal cabinet-level bodies to reassess marijuana’s legal categorization in the United States. This action served as the impetus for the possible rescheduling of marijuana.

 

In response to Biden’s order, the Department of Health and Human Services suggested on August 29 that the DEA take into consideration reclassifying marijuana from its present Schedule 1 classification to Schedule 3 within the Controlled Substances Act.

 

Significant federal tax reform for financially suffering legal cannabis companies is possible with this proposed reclassification, which may also spur additional progress on federal marijuana reform programs.

However, the DEA must carefully analyze and then formally propose a modification to federal law before any amendments can take effect. A group of Democratic governors has already requested the Biden administration to reschedule marijuana by the end of 2023.

 

Even though this request was granted, it appears that the question of marijuana rescheduling is one of when rather than if. According to a Congressional Research Service analysis, the DEA should follow the HHS proposal.

 

Amid these developments, Democratic Representative Blumenauer of Oregon stressed in a memo on Wednesday that President Biden’s chances of winning reelection this year could be improved by pushing for marijuana policy change.

 

After his legislative term ends on January 3, 2025, Blumenauer—who has long supported cannabis use and co-chairs the House’s legislative Cannabis Caucus—plans to retire.

Conclusion

The emotional call from Democratic Congressman Steve Cohen for the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to promptly reassess and reclassify marijuana highlights a critical juncture in the ongoing debate over cannabis regulation. Cohen’s plea aligns with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recommendation to shift marijuana to Schedule III, emphasizing the urgency of rectifying the historical misclassification that disproportionately affected marginalized communities.

 

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How Legal is CBD, Really?

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The legality of CBD remains a subject of considerable debate. Despite the fact that many CBD companies[1]  have now existed for more than a decade, the legal context surrounding this non-intoxicating cannabinoid remains muddy for the average shopper. In this guide, we’ll explore the legality of CBD in detail, examining the implications along the way.

History of CBD Laws

Extracts of Cannabis sativa have been widely prepared and sold for centuries beyond count. It’s unclear exactly when human beings and cannabis intersected, but it’s believed cannabis has been a part of daily life at least as long as apples and potatoes.

 

It’s only recently that laws have turned discriminatory toward cannabis. Starting in Europe in the 19th century, this anti-cannabis fervor eventually reached the United States, spurring the “Reefer Madness” craze that ultimately led to cannabis being illegalized with the 1937 Marihuana Tax Act.

 

In 1970, the Controlled Substances Act sealed the deal, and hemp was not grown in considerable acreage until academic pilot programs began resurfacing in the early 2000s. By the early 2010s, legal loopholes were identified at the federal level that allowed CBD commerce to emerge online.

 

In 2014 and 2018, the United States Congress gave CBD the nod with Farm Bills that facilitated hemp cultivation and commerce. Not much has changed in the ensuing years, however, leading to a hemp economy that has begun to stagnate in some sectors.

Recent Developments in CBD Legislation

Cannabis-related measures continue to be proposed at both the state and federal level. Few of them focus specifically on CBD, however, which remains in a gray area loosely delineated by the 2018 Farm Bill and subsequent clarifications from the FDA, DEA, and USDA.

 

It appears the situation with CBD will remain unclear federally for the foreseeable future. There seems to be an “unwritten rule” that upstanding CBD companies will not run afoul of federal agencies as long as their conduct meets a certain unofficial threshold.

 

The FDA continues to issue warning letters to CBD companies that violate the dictates of the 2018 Farm Bill, but enforcement is rare and usually amounts to relatively small fines. At the state level, legislators continue to evolve their stances on CBD and related products, mainly in an effort to siphon tax revenue.

Potential Future CBD Regulations

Over time, the slew of largely unrelated hemp and cannabis laws continuously being produced by Congress may begin to amount to a comprehensive federal stance on cannabinoids. At this current juncture, however, cannabinoid regulations ever more commonly have less to do with the shopper’s interests and more to do with securing government revenue.

 

The ideal solution that hemp proponents have expounded for years, namely that CBD be judged an over-the-counter substance, appears further and further away as time goes by. At present, it seems the de facto approach is to not address the underlying legality of cannabinoids but to instead determine how best they should be taxed.

 

It might not be an ideal situation, but for the average CBD producer, this is still good news. There was a time in the not-so-distant past when it seemed the federal government was on the verge of attempting to ban CBD products outright. Though the current circumstances may remain muddy, at least there’s no longer any indication that the federal government is antithetical to hemp and CBD overall.

CBD Legality: The Bottom Line

As we finish up, it’s important to carefully address a few final points:

CBD regulations vary by state

For most intents and purposes, CBD can be considered federally legal. Each state has its own laws and regulations pertaining to CBD and other cannabinoids, however, some of which are more restrictive than others. CBD laws can be restrictive both in states that are firmly anti-cannabis and in those that have newer adult-use cannabis industries that suffer from direct competition with online CBD vendors.

No medical claims

CBD is certainly not legal when it is advertised as offering medical benefits. It’s fine to reference evidence that CBD might be useful for a particular ailment. To outright say that CBD treats or cures a medical condition, is tantamount to asking for the scrutiny of the federal government.

Professionalism first

The CBD companies that are currently succeeding are those that go above and beyond. Clean products, transparent communication, impeccable certification: these are the hallmarks of the future’s top CBD brands. Focusing on quality will make it less likely to flub regulations.

Respect CBD

CBD is a powerful compound, and it comes from a plant that has an amazing power to heal. Put CBD’s benefits first and foremost, and you’ll find that your company naturally begins to fit the parameters that both shoppers and regulators approve of most.



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California Cities: Prohibition Doesn’t Work

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California has a population of nearly 40 million, six years of cannabis licensing, but only has about 1,200 licensed dispensaries. These stores are mostly spread out in highly populated areas like Los Angeles, San Francisco, and so on. The problem is that many California cities still prohibit cannabis licensing, even in places where a majority of the locals approved the state’s recreational cannabis program in 2016. This is a massive problem and is one of the key reasons the illegal market thrives. Let’s look at why that is the case and what these cities can do to change it.

Why prohibition doesn’t work

When the government prohibits something, there is an existing market for that thing, and a fear on the part of the government (justifiable or otherwise) that failure to prohibit it would lead to some kind of societal harm. Because there is an existing market for the thing, there is necessarily some kind of demand for it. If the government bans the thing, some people will realize that the potential cost (prison, fines, stigma, etc.) outweighs the benefit, and demand will go down.

But others will find that the benefit outweighs the potential cost, no matter how high it is — which is why people still roll the dice in countries like Singapore that will execute drug traffickers. So while prohibition may decrease demand, it won’t end it. And so long as there is some demand, again, some people will roll the dice.

This is exactly what has happened in the decades since cannabis was prohibited. If prohibition were an effective deterrent, then you would expect there not to be a high level of use or incarceration. But we’ve seen the opposite. There have been millions of people arrested and incarcerated for violating the Controlled Substances Act and state-law counterparts. It’s pretty clear then that these laws don’t have their intended effects, which brings me to the next point.

What problems are California cities creating?

When California voters passed the state’s flagship recreational licensing law in 2016, California cities were given an immense amount of control over the new industry. Perhaps realizing the initiative would face strong opposition if it took power away from cities, the drafters included provisions that allowed California cities to completely ban cannabis activities within their limits. These provisions led to local bans in vast swathes of the state.

While cities have slowly “come online” over the years, there are still vast swathes of the state without legal access to cannabis. In fact, many cities even sued the state when it tried to officially sanction statewide delivery rules. What this means is that there are still many California cities that prohibit cannabis.

If those cities are trying to eliminate local cannabis markets, I’ve got a bridge to sell them. Prohibition didn’t work before the state legalized cannabis, and it certainly won’t work when the state won’t lift a finger on enforcement. California cities that keep their bans alive are only bolstering their illegal markets and making it more difficult for the legal market to survive.

What California cities should be doing to combat the illegal market

I recently corresponded with Hirsh Jain of Ananda Strategy, who believes that the state needs 4,000 to 5,000 dispensaries to carry the legal market. And those dispensaries shouldn’t just be in Los Angeles or San Diego. They’d need to be dispersed across the state so that people have access and the legal dispensaries could compete with the illegal ones (and ideally put them out of business). If more California cities don’t end prohibition, illegal dispensaries and delivery services will continue to operate whether they like it or not.

That said, there are other things that California cities can do to combat the illegal market without allowing brick-and-mortar sales. One big one would be to allow outside delivery services to deliver into their borders. While the state did pass a law attempting to expand statewide access to medical cannabis deliveries, that fails to include the much larger recreational market. It also likely excludes potential medical cannabis purchasers who don’t want to or don’t have the resources to obtain a physician’s recommendation or medical marijuana ID card (MMIC).

Expanding retail deliveries would be a win-win for the legal market and cities alike. Yet for some reason, California cities fought it tooth and nail. While those cities may have thought they won, the real victory belonged to the illegal market, which continues to grow and grow.


If the legal market is to survive, California cities are going to have to make compromises when it comes to cannabis prohibition. After all, cannabis is still being sold within their borders. For some of my thoughts on California’s problematic illegal market, check out these posts:





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The Good ‘Dirty Little Secret’ about Weed

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You may remember that Justin Timberlake once said, “Some people are just better on weed”. Well, if he was referring to people with ADHD or ADD, he may be right.  While many studies on marijuana for ADD or ADHD show great results to help people with “scatter” brain start to focus, UFC Sean O’Malley is the latest person to preach the plants’ benefits for focus.

Bantamweight champion Sean O’Malley breaks the stereotype associated with marijuana users. At 29, he incorporates marijuana into his training regimen to achieve a state of intense focus, which appears to yield positive results.

 

In an interview with Demetrious Johnson, O’Malley clarified misconceptions about his marijuana use: “Contrary to popular belief, I don’t consume as much as people assume.” Asserting his professionalism as an athlete, he claims to excel in managing his recovery compared to others in the UFC, attributing it to his disciplined habits and routines.

 

Recognizing the potential drawbacks of smoking on lung health and conditioning, O’Malley adopts measures to safeguard his fitness standards. He opts for vaporizing marijuana, particularly during training camps, using a high-quality vaporizer once daily instead of traditional methods like joints, bongs, pipes, or dabbing.

 

O’Malley reveals that during specific training sessions, such as longer, lower-intensity workouts lasting up to 60 minutes, he trains while under the influence, leveraging marijuana to enhance his focus. However, he acknowledges the importance of using it as a tool responsibly, cautioning against falling into unproductive habits like aimlessly watching YouTube while high.

 

The upcoming UFC 299 main event on March 9 sees O’Malley defending his 135-pound championship title for the first time against his rival, Marlon “Chito” Vera. Seeking redemption for his only career loss, which Vera inflicted upon him at UFC 252 in August 2020, O’Malley is determined to emerge victorious.

 

The Science Behind O’Malley’s Approach

 

Sean O’Malley’s use of cannabis to increase concentration during training begs interesting concerns concerning the relationship between marijuana use and athletics. Cannabis includes chemicals like THC and CBD that interact with the brain’s endocannabinoid system to influence a variety of physiological activities, despite being frequently linked to relaxation and altered perception.

 

Studies suggest that low to moderate doses of THC may improve focus, creativity, and cognitive performance in some individuals, potentially explaining O’Malley’s reported ability to “hyper-focus” during workouts. Additionally, CBD, another prominent compound in cannabis, has been linked to reduced anxiety and improved recovery, which could complement O’Malley’s training regimen.

 

However, the effects of cannabis on athletic performance remain complex and multifaceted. While some athletes may experience benefits in terms of concentration and relaxation, others may encounter impairments in coordination, reaction time, and cardiovascular function. Furthermore, individual responses to cannabis can vary widely based on factors such as dosage, method of consumption, and personal tolerance levels.

 

Experts caution that while cannabis may have its place as a performance-enhancing tool for certain athletes, careful consideration must be given to its potential drawbacks, including the risk of dependence, negative effects on lung health, and legal implications, particularly in professional sports settings.

 

O’Malley’s method offers as an engaging case study for negotiating the complex link between cannabis use and sports performance as researchers continue to investigate the physiological and psychological impacts of cannabis. O’Malley starts a wider discussion about the place of cannabis in contemporary sports training and competition by illuminating the science underlying his unorthodox training techniques.

 

Managing Marijuana Use in Professional Athletics

 

Navigating the use of marijuana in professional athletics involves a delicate balance between personal choice, regulatory compliance, and performance optimization. Despite evolving attitudes toward cannabis, organizations like the UFC maintain stringent anti-doping policies, prohibiting its use above specified thresholds during competition periods. Athletes such as Sean O’Malley must therefore carefully manage their marijuana consumption to ensure adherence to these guidelines while still leveraging its potential benefits for training and recovery.

 

For O’Malley and others incorporating cannabis into their routines, managing marijuana use requires strategic planning and adherence to regulatory standards. This involves selecting consumption methods and timing consumption to minimize the risk of exceeding allowable THC thresholds during testing. O’Malley’s transparency about his usage patterns and advocacy for responsible consumption practices set a precedent for athletes navigating the complex landscape of drug policy in professional sports.

 

Professional sports may see more changes in policies and attitudes as talks about decriminalizing and legalizing cannabis continue. Athletes who are willing to share their personal stories and advocate for more nuanced approaches to drug policy, such as O’Malley, are vital in influencing this conversation. Going forward, managing the changing link between cannabis usage and sports performance will need constant communication and cooperation between players, coaches, and regulating authorities.

 

O’Malley’s Training Rituals: Balancing Intensity and Recovery

 

Gain insight into Sean O’Malley’s methodical strategy to integrating cannabis into his routine while striking a balance between intensity and recuperation by learning about his training rituals. To maximize effectiveness in the octagon, O’Malley’s training regimen combines focused rest times with intense sessions in a calculated manner.

 

The understanding that efficient recuperation is equally as important as intense exercise is at the heart of O’Malley’s training philosophy. O’Malley makes sure that his body can adjust and get stronger in response to the demands of his training routine by using restorative habits like healthy eating, drinking enough of water, and getting enough sleep. When utilized responsibly, cannabis is another weapon in O’Malley’s toolbox that he can employ to improve concentrate during longer, lower-intensity sessions without jeopardizing his recuperation.

 

O’Malley is a perfect example of the value of an all-encompassing approach to sports training as he strikes a balance between effort and recuperation. O’Malley reduces the chance of injury and fatigue while simultaneously optimizing his performance capacity by placing equal emphasis on restorative techniques and physical activity. O’Malley’s training regimens are always being improved, and his techniques are proof of the need of smart, individualized approaches to physical preparation for success in the UFC and other competitions.

 

Bottom Line

 

Sean O’Malley’s pioneering approach to incorporating cannabis into his training regimen challenges stereotypes and opens up discussions about its potential benefits and drawbacks in professional athletics. His transparency and advocacy for responsible usage set a precedent for athletes navigating complex drug policies while seeking performance optimization. As attitudes toward cannabis continue to evolve, ongoing dialogue and collaboration among athletes, coaches, and governing bodies will be crucial in shaping policies that balance regulatory compliance with individual health and performance goals. O’Malley’s dedication to balancing intensity and recovery underscores the importance of personalized, holistic approaches to training, serving as a blueprint for athletes striving for success in high-level competitions like the UFC.

 

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