DEA may soon reward more cannabis-based research licenses
In an official press release, the DEA announced earlier this week that it is “moving forward to facilitate and expand scientific and medical research for marijuana in the United States.“
“I am pleased that DEA is moving forward with its review of applications for those who seek to grow marijuana legally to support research,” said Attorney General William P. Barr. “The Department of Justice will continue to work with our colleagues at the Department of Health and Human Services and across the Administration to improve research opportunities wherever we can.”
Currently, only one license for cannabis research exists; belonging to the University of Mississippi, who works in collaboration with the National Institute on Drug Abuse; many researchers have complained the cannabis grown at the facility does not accurately compare to the high-quality medicine produced in legal markets.
With thirty-three states and the District of Columbia all offering a medicinal or adult-use cannabis market, the need for scientific-based cannabinoid research has been a trending topic in 2019 – leading to a handful of Democratic 2020-hopefuls calling for widespread Federal changes.
Washington officials considering major change
Monday afternoon, Washington regulators announced a new set of proposals that would bring significant change to the state’s medicinal and adult-use cannabis industry.
The potential change comes through a handful of new policies rooted in social equity, with the intent to increase minority ownership and participation in a market that generated more than $319 million in cannabis income and license fees.
State officials won’t be creating any new licenses, but instead propose that the 11 (recently forfeited) licenses to be all distributed to participants in the social equity program; those who could potentially qualify include veterans, women, and minorities.
Other changes include a new delivery system, and an increase of size and plant production capacity for “tier 1” cultivators, also referred to as ‘craft growers’, in hopes of creating more medical-grade cannabis while prioritizing local businesses.
The Department of Health and state officials will now be tasked with reviewing the proposed changes – if approved, the new set of policies could be implemented as early as December 2019.
Minnesota Gov. urges state agencies to prepare for legalization
Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz has ordered state agencies and public health departments to prepare for the legalization of adult-use cannabis.
“My agencies have been tasked to put all of the building blocks in place, from Revenue to the Department of Public Safety to the Department of Health,” said Walz in a recent interview with MPR.
Walz will have a majority of support in the House, which was flipped by Democrats in 2018. But he’ll face an uphill battle in the Senate, where multiple legalization efforts have been killed since Walz took office.
Outside of agency preparations, Walz declared a new bill to be introduced by the beginning of next year, which has reportedly received bipartisan support; for the past few months, Gov. Walz and supporting advocates have toured across the state, meeting with dissidents of the bill in hopes of reaching a middle ground.
Expect a new legalization bill to be on the table by Jan. 1, 2020
New study shows legalization reduces crime
A new cannabis study, published last week in the Regional Science and Urban Economics latest issue, sheds light on how legalization can potentially positively affect community and state crime-rates.
Researchers used the city of Denver, which features one of the largest recreational markets in the U.S., as their control group; studying a handful of key areas in crime and analyzing all arrest and criminal records.
One of the most significant findings, was that when a community of over 10,000 people add a dispensary within county lines, the general crime rate reduces at an avg. 19%.
“Our results are consistent with theories that predict that marijuana legalization will displace illicit criminal organizations and decrease crime through changes in security behaviors or substitution toward more harmful substances.,” stated authors of the study.