Martha Stewart’s CBD, Mexico Adult Use Further Delays and The U.S. House Passes Research Bill
The U.S. House passes a bill which could significantly accelerate medical cannabis research by allowing scientists access to marijuana from state-legal dispensaries. The Medical Marijuana Research Act, sponsored by the improbable pair of representatives Democratic legalization advocate Earl Blumenauer of Oregon and Republican prohibitionist Andy Harris from Maryland, was approved by a voice vote after advancing from the Energy and Commerce Committee in September. It would open up cannabis research cultivation from the sole federally-authorized producer the University of Mississippi, to an unlimited number of approved private manufacturers and dispensaries. Furthermore, the DEA, which has faced multiple legal challenges over their failure to approve more research cannabis growers, would be required to create a licensing process within one year of the law’s enactment. This comes only days after the House voted in favor of the MORE Act, a comprehensive measure to decriminalize and deschedule recreational marijuana on a nationwide level. While both bills are unlikely to be taken up by the Senate before the end of the current Congress, experts agree the bipartisan medical cannabis research proposal has a much better chance of passing the Republican-controlled chamber.
In California, a new, government-funded study aims to examine the economic impact of cannabis legalization on the rural, Northern region of the state. With an 183,000 dollar grant from California’s Bureau of Cannabis Control, the Humboldt Community Business Development Center will be partnering with researchers from both Humboldt and Sonoma state universities to take a look at the effects of marijuana farming, manufacturing, distribution, and retail sales. The analysis, which is the first of its kind in the region, will cover topics such as job creation, administrative costs, and price differences between the legal and illicit markets. Areas of focus include the famed Emerald Triangle, as well as Sonoma and Del Norte counties. The project is one of 34 recently-approved university studies to receive state funding, with an additional 465,000 dollars going to CSU Humboldt for a proposal more specifically focused on marijuana businesses and jobs.
In the entertainment sector, the Vitamin Shoppe becomes the first national retailer to offer Martha Stewart’s line of hemp-derived CBD products. The collection, developed in collaboration with Canopy Growth, will be available online and at more than 580 brick and mortar stores. The partnership between Canopy and the celebrity lifestyle guru was first announced in March of last year, with Stewart initially planning to offer CBD products for pets. Her new line, initially introduced on Canopy’s website in September, is made exclusively for humans, however, and includes softgels, oil drops, and 15 flavors of gummies. To celebrate the launch, Vitamin Shoppe is offering a 25 percent discount on her products, which range from 35 to 65 dollars, for the holiday season. They join the wellness retailer’s other Canopy offering, BioSteel’s cbd and cannabinoid-free sports drink powders. Stewart isn’t the only big name associated with the Canadian marijuana giant, as her friend Snoop Dogg, rapper Drake and actor Seth Rogan are also involved with Canopy.
In Mexico, adult-use cannabis legalization faces further delays, more than two years after the country’s Supreme Court ruled its prohibition unconstitutional. Though a draft bill was approved by the Mexican Senate last month, the lower legislative house, the Chamber of Deputies, is now requesting more time to study and debate the proposal. The Supreme Court’s most recent December 15th deadline to pass the law comes after two previous deadline extensions from October of last year. The Senate-approved version of the measure would allow adults 18 and older to possess and purchase up to 28 grams of recreational marijuana and grow up to 6 plants for personal use. Changes from past versions include the allowance of vertically-integrated business operations, mandated record expungements, and limits on the locations of community cultivation cooperatives. Because the lower house is expected to make significant changes to that legislation, which must then be agreed upon by the Senate and signed off on by the president, experts predict Mexico’s legal adult-use market could still be years away. While Chamber of Deputies leaders are currently asking the Supreme Court to push the legalization deadline back to February, it’s unclear if the request will be granted.
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