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The anti-pot Petes start strategizing

Plus, the Bluegrass state wants to go green

TGIF to you. 

Well, the drumbeat for a big rescheduling announcement continues on social media. It might feel different this time around, but we’re not holding our breath.

Let’s get to it.

A 7-minute read from JB and JR

💡What’s the big deal?

Anti-weed lawmakers are making their case

Driving the news: Anti-cannabis Republicans on Capitol Hill are coalescing around a strategy to stymie reform.

Maryland Rep. Andy Harris wrote a letter to the Drug Enforcement Administration saying that the Department of Health and Human Services’ recommendation to shift cannabis to Schedule III from Schedule I “ignored several key factors,” including cannabis’ potential for abuse and harm to public health.

The anti-pot Petes: Rep. Harris, along with stalwart cannabis opponent Texas Rep. Pete Sessions, on Thursday introduced ‘Randy’s Resolution’ to raise awareness about and call for further study of “high potency” THC products. What constitutes high potency, however, wasn’t explicitly defined. 

Sen. Pete Ricketts of Nebraska introduced a companion version in the Senate.

The resolution is named for Randy Bacchus, who committed suicide at the age of 21 after allegedly frequently consuming cannabis with high amounts of THC. 

What they’re saying: “The FDA also failed to compare marijuana’s potential for abuse to many other Schedule I drugs, instead opting to hand-select drugs that appear more harmful,” Harris wrote in his letter.

What the science says: The jury is still very much out on whether or not consuming cannabis can lead to psychosis or suicidal ideation. 

Though a causal link hasn’t been proven, there is compelling evidence to show that adolescents who consume cannabis could be more at risk for developing schizophrenia and other mental illnesses later in life.

Back up: Cultivated readers know Congressional Democrats earlier this week wrote a letter calling on the DEA and the Biden Administration to go further than Schedule III — to legalize cannabis outright, rather than move it to Schedule III.

And, stop us if you’ve heard this before, plugged-in reporters say they expect a Schedule III announcement to happen imminently, as in the first quarter of this year. 

So it’s no surprise that opponents are starting to get more vocal and coalesce on a strategy. 

Our take: We here at Cultivated understand how difficult it is to research the effects of cannabis on brains, given that people consume in various ways — edibles, joints, etc. — and that this is all such a new field with a lot of loud voices on either side and little expertise.

There are, however, much more responsible ways for us to incentivize this important research that can lead to more effective policymaking than ‘Reefer Madness’ style fear-mongering over crime statistics and suicides. 

We’d call for more empirical-driven research than ideology and preconceived biases driving these crucial policy decisions. 

Randy Bacchus deserves better. 


📢 Quote of the day

“We get sued every day,” New York Governor Kathy Hochul said at a press conference about new subway cars. “I say get in line. Get in line behind the cannabis people.”

Kentucky lawmakers introduce a legalization bill

What happened: Kentucky Democratic Rep. Rachel Roberts introduced House Bill 420 😉 on Tuesday, which would legalize cannabis in the bluegrass state, reports The Louisville Courier-Journal.

If passed, the bill would levy a 9% tax on cannabis sales. And like other states, the sales tax would go toward creating a fund that would pay for the administration of the law, the Courier-Journal reports.

The move comes as Kentucky works to implement its medical cannabis program, which is set to launch in 2025. 

What’s next: The bill is likely a longshot in the deeply Republican Kentucky House. 

Recent polls show a slim majority of Kentucky voters don’t want legal cannabis

👊 Quick hits

MedMen is laying off corporate employees, with the Los Angeles-based accounting and marketing departments affected, Marijuana Business Daily reports. The company didn’t disclose the total number of jobs affected.

Cannabis brand Cookies’ eponymous clothing store on Herald Square in New York City is now Culture House, a full-service dispensary. The move is also subject to a lawsuit in New York State courts, WeedWeek reports.

Speaking of lawsuits, cannabis vape company PAX is suing Stiiizy — which is subject to eight other ongoing lawsuits — over patent infringement associated with the leak-proof, single use vape pods both companies market. Read the full complaint here.

A former consultant for Eaze has been ordered to pay $17 million to the government — increased from just $100,000 — for his role in facilitating illegal credit card payments for cannabis transactions, Law360 reports

German cannabis company Sanity Group laid off ten employees, or about 12% of its workforce, the company confirmed to the German-language Manager Magazine

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is suing five cities, including Austin, for adopting amnesty and non-prosecution toward cannabis users. Paxton’s office says these policies undermine Texas’ ability to enforce state law. Read the filings here.

A coalition of cannabis trade groups in New York is launching The Cannabis Conference, which will work to fix what they call the “flawed and delayed” rollout of legal cannabis in the Empire State. Read their full list of priorities here, which include tax reform, shutting down the illicit market, and more.

🚀 Deals, launches, openings

California cannabis distributor Nabis is launching Nabis Capital, a fintech platform that helps provide cannabis brands working capital and manage cash flow. At Cultivated Live in Las Vegas, we connected with Nabis CEO Vince Ning. Check it out.

Ascend Wellness is consolidating its social equity push under the Ascend CO-LAB for Social Equity, which provides mentorship opportunities for social equity-focused entrepreneurs, expungement clinics, and donations to grassroots cannabis advocates. 

Terrapin Hoboken will be the newest dispensary to open its doors in New Jersey on February 5. 

C3 Industries opened its 11th dispensary in Michigan, and its 22nd nationwide.

📰 What we’re reading

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