The last week brought a number of significant cannabis moments, from reform movement at the state and local level to an encouraging study on cannabis and the brain. Below is a recap.
Legalization moves one step closer in New Hampshire
What happened: The New Hampshire House of Representatives voted in favor of a cannabis legalization bill this week.
New Hampshire’s Governor has stated that he will veto the measure if it reaches his desk, but lawmakers are proceeding nonetheless.
Why it matters: New Hampshire is one step closer to joining other states that have legalized cannabis for adult use.
If New Hampshire does so, which is possible but not certain, it would encourage other states to legalize via legislative action. To-date only Vermont has legalized via legislative action.
First national cannabis conference held at a church
What happened: The “Business of Cannabis” event was held this week at the historic Emmanuel Baptist Church in Brooklyn.
It’s the first time that a national cannabis conference was held at a church.
Why it matters: Much of the faith community has historically been at the forefront of calling for cannabis prohibition. Church-goers are less likely to support cannabis reform, which is not a coincidence.
Regardless of how one feels about religion, the entire cannabis community should be able to agree that getting more members of the faith community on board with cannabis reform is a great thing.
San Francisco to expunge thousands of cannabis convictions
What happened: San Francisco’s District Attorney announced this week that it is moving to expunge over 9,000 cannabis convictions dating back to 1975.
California voted to legalize cannabis in 2016, however, convictions still remain on many people’s records, including convictions that occurred in San Francisco.
Why it matters: Having a cannabis conviction on your record can cause all types of problems, including losing out on housing, employment, and other things.
No one should have to walk around with the ‘cannabis scarlet letter’ and hopefully this move by San Francisco will be copied around the state of California and beyond.
Denver makes social-use law permanent
What happened: Voters in Denver, Colorado, approved a social-use cannabis measure in 2016 which legalized certain cannabis venues that met certain requirements.
The measure had a sunset clause which would have ended the legality of the venues in 2020, but Denver’s City Council voted to make the measure permanent.
Why it matters: Denver’s new law has had a bumpy ride when it comes to implementation. So far only two venues have been licensed, and the second one recently closed down temporarily.
But Denver’s law is still extremely important because it will be looked at by other municipalities when they craft similar laws. Denver now has the time to get the policy dialed in.
Study: cannabis exposure is not associated with significant changes in brain morphology
What happened: Not one, but two studies found that cannabis exposure is not associated with significant changes in brain morphology.
“The studies’ conclusions are similar to those of prior trials similarly finding no significant long-term changes in brain structure attributable to cannabis exposure,” NORML said about the studies.
Why it matters: ‘Cannabis is horrible for your brain’ is a talking point that cannabis opponents have clung to for decades.
But, as more and more studies are finding, the negative propaganda surrounding cannabis use and the brain is not based on science.
A $42 per ounce tax is proposed in New Jersey
What happened: As New Jersey continues to pursue a viable cannabis legalization model, a tax of $42 per ounce of cannabis flower was proposed.
The cannabis community has been anxiously awaiting legalization in New Jersey since pro-cannabis Governor Phil Murphy took office.
Why it matters: In a perfect world, political motivation to legalize cannabis would be based on social justice. Unfortunately, politics is not a perfect world. Not by a longshot.
Tax revenue is going to factor in largely in the minds of many New Jersey lawmakers for better or worse, so a tax rate figure being proposed is hopefully a sign that things are moving along.