The U.S. government is in a strange place these days – being shut down and all – however we did see some potentially great cannabis news via the Trump administration’s nominee for attorney general, plus results from the latest CBD study, and a bunch of other positive cannabis news from all across the U.S.
Here are the highlights:
Trump’s nominee for new attorney general answers the cannabis question
What happened: Former United States Attorney General William Barr was nominated to replace Jeff Sessions and faced Congress this week.
Cannabis policy came up during his confirmation hearings, and Mr. Barr stated that he would respect state cannabis laws and legal businesses when it comes to enforcing federal cannabis statutes.
Why it matters: In the midst of political strife and accusations of treason, at least the Trump administration is appearing to be cannabis friendly. Cannabis freedom and cannabis progress are both good things for society and public health.
Mr. Barr stated that cannabis companies that are in compliance with the previously-rescinded Cole Memo (rescinded by Jeff Sessions) should not be punished, which is great news for the industry and the people it serves.
This is good timing with the flurry of cannabis legislation in Congress this year.
New study suggests CBD helps with anxiety
What happened: Researchers looked at cannabidiol (CBD) and how it affects sleep and anxiety.
The study found that ‘anxiety scores decreased within the first month in 57 patients (79.2%) and remained decreased during the study duration.’
Why it matters: Anxiety affects as many as 40 million U.S. adults annually. If CBD can help, which this study seems to indicate it can, that’s good news for people struggling with anxiety.
U.S. Governors are more favorable to cannabis reform than ever before
What happened: NORML released its 2019 Gubernatorial Scorecard which ranks state Governors based on their stance and actions regarding cannabis policy.
According to NORML, ‘twenty-seven US governors received a passing grade of ‘C’ or higher (22 Democrats, 5 Republicans).’
Why it matters: 9 Governors received an ‘A’ grade. That’s a significant increase over last year when there were just two Governors that received an ‘A’ grade.
Governors obviously have a lot of power and prominence, and having so many Governors on the right side of history is stellar news for cannabis policies at the state level across the nation.
New York Governor unveils his plan for cannabis legalization
What happened: New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the details of his much-anticipated cannabis legalization plan.
The full text of the measure has not been released, but Cuomo announced that his plan would include a regulated industry, set a legal age of 21, and automatically seal certain past convictions.
Why it matters: New York is a very, very important domino in the fight to end cannabis prohibition. New York is a world leader for media and industry. A win there is a win for efforts everywhere.
It sounds like the legalization model will not include home grow provisions, which is unfortunate, but hopefully this reform measure is seen as a stepping stone and not a ‘permanent fix.’
Ohio begins cannabis sales
What happened: Ohio launched legal medical cannabis sales on Wednesday. The start of sales has been a long time in the making.
Why it matters: Ohio is the 7th most populous state in the nation, and has been a vital state in federal politics because of how it factors into the Electoral College.
A successful rollout in Ohio will no doubt boost efforts to launch legal cannabis industries elsewhere in the region.
Cannabis legalization effort gets a boost in Rhode Island
What happened: Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo announced that she will be including cannabis legalization in her upcoming proposed budget.
The Governor has historically resisted the idea of legalization but appears to be caving to political peer pressure with surrounding states looking more likely to legalize.
Why it matters: Rhode Island may not be the biggest state, but a legalization victory there adds to national momentum for cannabis legalization at the federal level.
[Editor’s note: Also a victory for the people of Rhode Island!]
Massive hemp farm is coming to New York
What happened: United States Senator Chuck Schumer announced this week that Canadian cannabis company Canopy Growth would be investing in a hemp farm in New York State.
The investment is estimated to be worth $100-150 million dollars, which is obviously a significant sum.
Why it matters: The announcement of Canopy Growth’s entrance into New York State’s hemp industry is significant in many ways.
It signals that Canada’s cannabis industry clearly has its eyes on the U.S. hemp industry, and demonstrates how far hemp policy has come considering Chuck Schumer’s political status.