This last week had quite a few notable cannabis happenings at the local and federal level.
Some of the news was inspiring and at least one item was a bit disappointing, and either way, it was all newsworthy.
Here are the big highlights you might have missed:
Congressman predicts ‘best chance yet to make big moves on cannabis reform’
What happened: The 116th Congress is officially in session and it is packed with more cannabis supporters than ever.
Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) is already predicting that it will be Congress’s “best chance yet to make big moves on cannabis reform.”
Why it matters: When it comes to Congressional cannabis reform efforts, prohibitionists no longer being in key positions is just as important as filling leadership positions with cannabis supporters.
Senator Chuck Grassley and now-former Congressman Pete Sessions prevented a lot of cannabis bills from moving forward. With Grassley in a new position and Sessions being gone, expect fireworks.
Washington D.C. councilmember pushes for a regulated industry
What happened: Washington D.C. councilmember David Grosso introduced a measure that would legalize regulated cannabis sales in the district.
Washington D.C. voted to legalize cannabis in 2014, but due to a Congressional provision, the district has not been allowed to implement regulated adult-use sales.
Why it matters: The push to legalize adult-use cannabis sales in D.C. is yet another example of how the fight to reform cannabis laws does not stop after a successful election.
If adults can cultivate, possess, consume, and transport cannabis, it makes logical sense that they should also be able to purchase it.
Alaska cannabis tax revenues take a dip
What happened: Alaska voted to legalize cannabis for adult use in 2014 along with Oregon and Washington D.C.
Legal adult-use sales took a while to launch, but when they did, Alaska’s industry experienced month-over-month growth every month. Unfortunately, that streak has come to an end.
Why it matters: The most recent month on record is November, which was down a little over 20% from the previous month.
It’s too early to say if Alaska’s cannabis industry has reached its ceiling or if the dip is just an anomaly. Only time will tell.
Study finds that terpenoids help reduce inflammation
What happened: Researchers in Israel released the results of a study which shows how the terpenoids found in cannabis can also reduce inflammation.
Researchers concluded that terpenoids ‘partly suppress the production of free radicals associated with inflammation’ and possess ‘moderate anti-inflammatory activities.’
Why it matters: Terpenes and terpenoids, found in many plant species, have long been associated with the distinct scents and flavors from different cannabis flowers. They can also affect how different cannabis strains make you feel in combo with the cannabinoids.
Learning that they also have anti-inflammatory properties will no doubt have many researchers asking: what else?
It’s worth noting that the study compared the results with purified CBD and found CBD to be more effective than terpenes for chronic pain relief with longer-lasting effects.
Sports cannabis organization offers to educate retired baseball star Darryl Strawberry
What happened: Retired baseball player Darryl Strawberry was featured in an anti-cannabis rant in which he called cannabis a gateway drug, and blamed cannabis for his problems.
The sports cannabis organization Athletes for Care invited Mr. Strawberry to join their organization so that he can learn about the facts about cannabis and the science involved.
Why it matters: Darryl Strawberry is a high-profile celebrity with a large following. When he talks, it spreads far and wide, which is why his reefer madness is particularly bad.
Hopefully, Darryl takes Athletes for Care up on their offer and gets on the right side of history sooner rather than later.
Washington State Governor to pardon cannabis offenders
What happened: Washington State Governor Jay Inslee announced that his initiative that would help people convicted of certain cannabis offenses seek and obtain a pardon for their convictions.
Washington State was one of the first states to legalize cannabis in 2012, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t still people that have to live with the ‘cannabis scarlet letter.’
Why it matters: Having a cannabis conviction on a person’s record can prevent them from getting jobs, from obtaining housing, loans, and a number of other things, even in a legal state.
My dad was convicted of a cannabis-only offense in Oregon in 1986 and was denied a volunteer coaching position in 2017 because of it. Governor Inslee’s move to pardon really hits home!