The Advocate: Weekly Cannabis News

Rhode Island mulling medicinal expansion & adult-use legalization

This week, officials in Rhode Island announced the hiring of Andrew Freedman, who served as Colorado’s Director of Marijuana Coordination from 2014-2017.

Freedman will now work with Rhode Island state officials to provide necessary updates to the existing medicinal program; which could include the addition of more qualifying conditions, and updates to current rules surrounding marketing and branding regulations.

With the help of the Department of Health, Freedman intends to implement stricter testing regulations to ensure the quality behind all medicinal products – something he regularly advocated for in Colorado.

His work is expected to reach beyond the medicinal market as lawmakers are hoping Freedman and his firm can provide necessary data analytics and research to suggest how an adult-use market would look under state supervision.

An adult-use hearing, led by Gov. Gina Raimondo, is expected in the days ahead as the state continues to push for a broader, more robust cannabis market.

South Carolina lawmakers advance medicinal cannabis bill

A South Carolina subcommittee voted Wednesday to advance a bill that would legalize medicinal cannabis across the state.

Led by Sen. Tom Davis, author of the bill known as the Compassionate Care Act, the committee overwhelmingly supported the proposal as just 1 member voted “no” on legalization.

The Compassionate Care Act includes common qualifying conditions like PTSD, cancer, muscle spasms, and any disease that includes persistent pain or nausea. Under the current wording of the bill, the state would create a Medical Cannabis Review Board to oversee all patients & approved caregivers.

Recent polling suggests more than 70% of South Carolinians support medicinal cannabis, and some of the local advocates may even surprise you; earlier this week, a group of faith leaders and clergy members held a news conference at the Statehouse in support of the CC Act.

“Our most afflicted and vulnerable neighbors need help, and many of them cannot wait much longer for relief. Enacting a compassionate medical cannabis law is the right thing to do, and now is the right time to do it,” said. Baptist minister Terry Alexander.

Arkansas officials pass new rules affecting edibles & advertising

Under a unanimously approved Senate bill, cannabis producers in Arkansas will be prohibited from advertising near schools and programming that might be seen by children.

Producers will also be restricted from using cartoon-like characters, or “appealing foods to children”, like candy, brownies, and chocolate.

Cannabis companies operating in the state will have to quickly adjust to the new rules and regulations as product is expected to hit the shelves by mid-April; in the coming months, more than 32 dispensaries are expected to open as the state begins to roll out its MMJ program.

Legalization not leading to more teen-use in Colorado

Dissidents of broad cannabis legalization often highlight the dangers it will present to nearby children and teenagers, siting questionable studies that often lack reputable data.

A new survey published by High Costs, a Denver-based city funded campaign, reveals that teen use has decreased across the state since adult-use became widely available.

The study was done to review how successful High Costs marketing campaigns were, which were funded by tax payers and aimed to better educate children on the health risks of cannabis – without using outdated scare-tactic propaganda.

More than 50,000 teens were surveyed across the state, with just an avg. of 1 out of 5 admitting to using cannabis.

The surveys results are similar to a handful of others carried out in legalized states, where cannabis use among teens has yet to increase.

John Kuster

As Social Media Coordinator, John oversees all things related to getting Revolution Enterprises' unique message out. An Iowa native, John joined the Revolution team to help educate, and inform the public on cannabis and all it has to offer. Prior to joining Revolution, John helped multiple companies grow and expand their reach, ranging from the tech industry to the world of international football. He is thrilled to be working in a rapidly expanding market, and is proud to represent Illinois patients and cannabis advocates across the globe.