The Advocate: Weekly Cannabis News

38 Attorneys General support banking changes

Wednesday morning, congressional leaders in D.C. received a letter signed by 38 Attorneys General representing states & territories with existing medical cannabis, adult-use, or CBD markets.

The letter urges Congress to support and advance the SAFE Banking Act, a bill that would create financial protections for cannabis businesses by opening up the same banking services provided to all other legal businesses.

“This is simple: not incorporating an $8.3 billion industry into our banking system is hurting our public safety and economy,” wrote California Attorney General Xavier Becerra in a tweet posted Wednesday evening.

For now, the act remains stalled in the House – but with lawmakers and representatives continuing to pressure Congressional leaders, an official House vote is becoming a real possibility.

Cannabis referendum announced in New Zealand

When casting their vote for the 2020 general election, New Zealanders will have the choice of voting yes or no to a govt. question that could legalize adult-use cannabis.

Chlöe Swarbrick, a Green Party MP based in Auckland, has helped spark the recent demand for legalization by promoting a campaign based on medicinal potential, criminal justice reform & community empowerment. For the next year and a half, Swarbrick has pledged herself to tour around the country, listening to suggestions made by constituents and influential stakeholders.

For now, few details have been carved out; but here’s what we know:

  • Home-grow, on a limited basis, will be allowed
  • A considerable amount of revenue will be used to fund public & youth education
  • The minimum purchasing & consumption age will be set at 20 years old
  • Marketing and advanced advertising methods will be prohibited

If Swarbrick and her fellow Green Party colleagues are successful, it will be the first time a country has legalized & regulated cannabis through a vote of the people.

Congressional members pushing for US-based cannabis research

This week 30 U.S. representatives filed a memo to the DEA, Department of Justice, and US Attorney General William Barr; pleading for rule changes that would allow  domestic research relating to the medicinal benefits of cannabis.

With a status as a Schedule 1 Drug, current research can only be allowed under federal grants or specific-approval from the DEA & DOJ – but even those approvals can take up to years before research begins.

In their memo, representatives urge AG William Barr to act on the 26-impending research applications, along with the approval of the removal of cannabis as a Schedule 1 Drug.

“We hope (the) DOJ and DEA share our goal of bringing safe and effective medical treatments to those who are suffering as quickly as possible; we believe cannabis can be part of the solution, but we need more research,” concluded the 30 US reps.

Expansion bill advances in Texas

Monday morning, Texas House members approved a bill that would increase the number of dispensaries while also adding a handful qualifying conditions to the state’s existing Compassionate Care Act; including PTSD, cancer, severe pain and nausea, Alzheimer’s, Crohn’s Disease, and muscular dystrophy.

House Bill 1365, authored by state Rep. Eddie Lucio III (D-Brownsville), received little push back Monday morning, with House representatives approving the bill in a sweeping 121-23 vote. But the bill is expected to soon meet significant hurdles in the Republican-controlled Senate, despite the majority support in the House.

For now, no THC products are allowed under the existing program; but with more severe conditions, like cancer, potentially being added – lawmakers are beginning to shape policies that better-reflect voter demand; currently, just 14% of Texans believe cannabis use should remain illegal.

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.