Cannabis News & Research 3/5/21
We apologize for not having a blog post since our vacation last week, but we’re making up for it this week with some positive news and research.
Government eases employment rules for marijuana users
Acting director of the U.S. Department of Human Resources Management (OPM) Kathleen McGettigan sent a statement to heads of federal departments and agencies regarding federal employees who use cannabis and their suitability for employment. The letter definitely shows a weakening of the federal government’s attitude towards employees who use cannabis. While it is still being said that employees are not allowed to use cannabis because it is a List I substance, it also states that prior use should not prevent the government from hiring a candidate.
The letter to the heads of government noted that fifteen states and DC have lifted the criminal bans on medicinal and recreational marijuana, and an additional 33 states allow medicinal use. As a result, federal agencies are increasingly encountering well-qualified individuals who may have had cannabis use in the past. This poses a problem for the federal government, as its pool of possible candidates is getting smaller and smaller. Kathleen McGettigan admits that 49% of Americans have admitted using marijuana.
When the government is considering an applicant for a position who has consumed marijuana, the applicant should be “assessed on a case-by-case basis to determine the potential impact on the integrity and effectiveness of the government.”
“The OPM’s eligibility rules for illicit drug use do not allow the authorities to automatically find individuals unsuitable for federal service due to marijuana use prior to appointment. Even if a person has illegally used marijuana with no evidence of substantial rehabilitation, the only way for authorities to consider a person unsuitable is if there is a link between the behavior and the “integrity or … efficiency of the service”. “
She also stressed that federal employees caught with marijuana should not be fired. “No discipline is required for current employees who seek counseling or rehabilitation and then stop using illegal drugs.”
IRS favors cannabis companies that pay electronically
IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig told the Financial Services Subcommittee and State of the House that he would prefer state-approved marijuana companies to pay taxes electronically. Currently, companies cannot use banks and are paying cash to the federal government.
The current situation is a security concern for the IRS as their employees who receive these payments in their tax relief centers have to deal with huge sums of money. This puts them at risk for robbery and criminal activity.
After some setbacks, New Jersey has finally closed its recreational marijuana bill. Governor Murphy has signed several bills legalizing cannabis for adults 21 and older. Penalties for small amounts of cannabis have also been removed.
New Jersey already had medical marijuana law, but now patients can use it for non-medical reasons. This may affect residents of Pennsylvania and New York who can now go to New Jersey and purchase cannabis there. In theory, they are not allowed to bring it back to their home states, but it is unclear how this will be enforced. For now, residents in neighboring states must present a medical marijuana card to avoid criminal prosecution.
The Missouri Supreme Court made a chilling comment to attorneys practicing there. “If any state law in advising or assisting a client is in conflict with federal law, the attorney should inform the client of the fact, but cannot (1) engage in behavior that violates federal law, or (2) advise or advise the client support how to carry out an act that would violate federal law, even if that behavior were lawful under the statutory or constitutional law of the state. “
This means lawyers could get into trouble helping pharmacies, growing facilities, and even patients. The comment contradicts Missouri Medical Marijuana Act, which aims to protect attorneys from working with marijuana patients and organizations. It appears that the Missouri Supreme Court is trying to disregard the majority of the votes of its citizens who legalized medical cannabis.
Medical marijuana has passed in the Alabama Senate. Legislators voted 21 to 8 for doctors to allow cannabis for patients with anxiety, nausea, chronic pain and sleep disorders. The law has yet to be passed by the House of Representatives to become law.
This is a big step forward for Alabama as cannabis is allowed to treat sleep disorders. Few states have allowed insomnia to be a qualified condition, although cannabis is one of the best treatments. Currently, treating insomnia requires harmful and addictive drugs such as zolpidem (Ambien). Anyone who has tried this drug knows how sedating it is as it is literally designed to sedate someone. Patients experience serious side effects, such as sleepwalking, and fail to remember activities that were performed while they were asleep at night. Marijuana is a great alternative so that patients do not need to take such drugs.
Unfortunately, the Alabama House of Representatives is taking time to vote on this bill. House spokesman Mac McCutcheon said they will send it through the justice and health committees before it gets into the house. That seldom happens. It doesn’t sound like they want cannabis legalized anytime soon, but at least the law has been passed by the Senate. That is progress for the conservative state.
The Washington State Supreme Court has penalized criminal offenses for simple drug possession. A law decriminalizing all drugs was passed by a legislative committee last month.
The Seattle Police Department said in a public statement that simple drug possession “is no longer an arrestable crime.”
The Washington Association of Prosecuting Attorneys sent a memo asking their prosecutors to stop all ongoing drug possession cases and request the waiver of convictions on previous cases. “The group also urged the Seattle Police Department to” advise their officers on whether they should continue to confiscate the illegal drugs as contraband or leave them in their possession. “
This is a sign that the war on drugs is coming to an end. It just starts with marijuana legalization … It seems America is approaching the opposite approach of the war on drugs, where drugs are allowed and substance abuse is treated as a health disease rather than a criminal matter.
Weed giant Verano is a giant Chicago-based marijuana company that went on a shopping spree to acquire Pennsylvania’s TerraVida for $ 135 million. This shows how cannabis companies are being bought by bigger companies and big companies running the entire show. One reason for this is that states often only allow a limited number of licenses to run cannabis companies, and this prevents smaller organizations with less funding from applying.
Verano already owned pharmacies in Pennsylvania called Zen Leaf in Altoona, Harrisburg, and York.
No increase in the frequency of driving while under the influence of marijuana after legalization
A study was published that evaluated whether patients in car accidents in states where cannabis was legalized were more likely to test positive for THC. The results show that the frequency of driving under the influence of THC is not increasing in states that have legalized pot.
The study found that more patients tested positive for THC in all states, which is likely due to the general increase in pot acceptance among the population. More and more people are using it, so more people who have also been in a car accident (regardless of whether or not they drove up) test positive for THC.
The state with the highest percentage of THC positive people after a car accident was Texas, where marijuana is still banned. This suggests that states legalizing cannabis shouldn’t fear that more motor vehicle accidents are due to their new laws.
Although cannabis has been shown to shorten response times, it is still unclear whether it leads to increased vehicle accidents. Unlike alcohol, which obviously interferes with driving, cannabis can cause patients behind the wheel to be so cautious that it more than compensates for affecting their reaction times. Of course, we continue to advise patients not to consume cannabis before driving or using other heavy machinery.
Please check back next week for more information on changes and research on the cannabis law. If you’ve learned anything, please share it with us on Facebook so other people can keep up to date on the cannabis reform too!