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Biden touts cannabis reform ahead of Presidential debate

Plus, UCLA study says risk of lung cancer with cannabis use is low

Friday, June 28, 2024

Good morning. 

Yesterday was a historic debate day, where two presidents — one current and one former — shared the debate stage for the first time. For those keeping track, no cannabis mentions from either one.

Let’s get to it.

-JB & CB 

This newsletter is 902 words or about a 7-minute read. 

💡What’s the big deal?

Biden touting cannabis reform heading into Atlanta

What happened: President Joe Biden’s campaign is touting his efforts toward cannabis reform as a way to win over young voters and distinguish himself from former President Donald Trump’s regressive policies. 

His campaign website has a full page touting Biden’s cannabis moves. Check it out.

What they’re saying: “Donald Trump opposes marijuana reform and, as president, made the failed approach worse,” the page reads.

Back up: Biden is so far the only US president to advocate for loosening federal restrictions on cannabis. 

As we’ve written, his administration is pushing to move cannabis to Schedule III — a much less restrictive category of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). If it passes, it’s perhaps the biggest shift in federal drug policy in over fifty years. 

Biden’s campaign is even taking out web ads to that effect, Marijuana Moment reports.

Trump’s administration, on the other hand, moved cannabis reform backwards. His first attorney general, Alabama Republican Jeff Sessions, rescinded federal guidance that barred the Justice Department from using its resources to prosecute states that chose to legalize medical cannabis. 

Why it matters: At the same time, many cannabis industry stakeholders, from investors and executives, to advocates and consumers, say Schedule III doesn’t go far enough.

They want cannabis to be removed from the CSA entirely, and say Schedule III does little to rectify criminal justice concerns. 

But while many say Biden’s moves don’t go far enough, it’s unclear how Trump would treat the industry or whether he has evolved his stance on legalization. 

Given that many Republican elected officials are staunchly against legalization — including Trump supporters like Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis — his policies might be far more regressive than Schedule III and may even be a step backward rather than forward.

What’s next: Cannabis is and will continue to be an issue in the November election. But nearly 70% of Americans support legalization — which means both candidates may ultimately end up on the pro-reform side of the ledger. 

We’ll see.


🗣️ Quote of the day

“It is increasingly clear that cannabis has different effects on lung function (compared) to tobacco and the effects of widespread cannabis use will not necessarily mirror the harms caused by tobacco smoking,” Robert J. Hancox et al. wrote in a recent paper published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine

Smoking cigarettes seems to be more hazardous to health than smoking marijuana, according to a new UCLA study that found long-term marijuana smokers do not have an elevated risk of lung cancer, unlike tobacco smokers. 

Other studies indicate that cannabis smoke is not as carcinogenic as tobacco smoke, and cannabis smoking is not associated with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) progression. However, cannabis smoke is not entirely harmless and does share some toxins with tobacco smoke, so using vaporizers or non-smoking products reduces exposure to harmful substances. 

Experts say more research is needed to fully understand the link between lung cancer and long-term cannabis smoking. Read more.

Quick hits

Uh oh West Coast Cure 🧐
A lawsuit was filed against West Coast Cure for selling pesticide-tainted vape products, following a state recall of an “Orange Cookies” flavored vape cartridge containing the insecticide chlorfenapyr. The lawsuit seeks damages for 21 contaminated vape flavors and is part of broader allegations of testing fraud within the industry. Read more

Thailand Says 🙅to Weed
A Thai government survey revealed that over 80% of participants support reclassifying cannabis as a narcotic to prohibit its recreational use. This policy shift, driven by Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin’s concerns over social and health impacts, aims to limit cannabis use to medical and health purposes. Read more

Kentucky = Early 🐦
Kentucky will begin accepting license applications for medical marijuana businesses on July 1 — six months ahead of schedule, as announced by Governor Andy Beshear — to provide safe access to medical cannabis for patients with serious conditions. Read more

Delaware Expedites Recreational 🌿
A Delaware Senate committee advanced a bill allowing existing medical marijuana businesses to also sell adult-use cannabis to expedite recreational sales. Critics argue larger, multi-state operations will have an unfair advantage, while proponents believe it will support social equity-owned cannabis providers. Read more

Arizona Weed Going ⬇️
Arizona’s medical marijuana market has significantly declined. It is only one-quarter the size of the adult-use market three years after recreational sales began. The state has seen a steady drop in medical cannabis program participants. Read more.

📈 Deals, launches, partnerships

TYSON 2.0, a cannabis brand founded by Mike Tyson, will expand into Washington state through a partnership with Perfect Harvest.

The Cannabist Company announced a multi-state partnership with The Bloom Brand to introduce Bloom’s vapes and strain formulations at Cannabist dispensaries and through wholesale channels in New Jersey and Virginia

📰 What we’re reading

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