PA has no choice but to legalize cannabis, gov says (Newsletter: February 13, 2024)

FDA accepts MDMA review; DE marijuana sales delay; Study: Delta-8 interest in illegal states; VA legal cannabis sales plans; DEA psilocybin lawsuit

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro (D) said officials in the state “don’t even have a choice anymore” on legalizing marijuana “given the way in which this is moving so quickly across our region and across the country.”

The Food and Drug Administration has accepted an application to consider MDMA-assisted therapy as a potential treatment for PTSD—and the review has been granted priority status with a target completion date of August 11.

Delaware’s marijuana commissioner said recreational cannabis sales might not start until March 2025, four months later than initially planned—though regulators are considering allowing existing medical dispensaries to start serving adult consumers sooner.

The Virginia Senate and House of Delegates have now each given at least initial approval to competing plans to legalize recreational marijuana sales, teeing up the chambers to enter bicameral negotiations in the coming weeks to form a single bill to send to the governor.

  • Measures on resentencing people with prior cannabis convictions and preventing the legal use of marijuana from denying parental custody or visitation rights also moved forward.

A doctor who wants to provide terminally ill cancer patients with psilocybin therapy filed a brief asking a federal court to reverse the Drug Enforcement Administration’s decision to deny him access to the psychedelic, saying it was “arbitrary and capricious.”

A new study shows that internet search interest in delta-8 THC—a federally unregulated cannabinoid commonly synthesized or derived from hemp—is significantly higher in states where marijuana itself remains criminalized.

Ohio House Speaker Jason Stephens (R) is still in no rush to enact changes to the state’s voter-approved marijuana legalization law—saying it’s a “complex issue” and that he wants to take time to have “thorough discussions” about any potential amendments.

/ FEDERAL

The Drug Enforcement Administration posted an interview with a pharmacologist for the agency who collects data used in scheduling decisions.

The National Cancer Institute is encouraging research to apply for funds to support studies on contemporary modifiable exposures including cannabis use that have an unclear impact on cancer.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) announced the winners of his annual essay contest for Vermont high school students, including one that argues in favor of opening safe consumption sites for illegal drugs.

/ STATES

South Dakota lawmakers sent Gov. Kristi Noem (R) a bill to allow employers to fire workers in safety-sensitive jobs over medical cannabis use.

Virginia’s Senate president pro tempore tweeted, “Are there 420 people out there tonight who would like a tweet learning that my bill to stop marijuana use from being used in child abuse or neglect cases (absent other conduct) passed Senate committee unanimously this week?”

Missouri House and Senate committees heard testimony on legislation to restrict hemp-derived products.

The Minnesota representative who sponsored the bill that created the state’s marijuana legalization law said he will work this session to accelerate the launch of the legal market.

A New York senator discussed his bill to allow reciprocity for out-of-state medical cannabis patients.

Ohio’s top marijuana regulator spoke about an initial round of proposed rules.

Maryland regulators announced which marijuana equity business license applicants will advance to a lottery.

Kentucky regulators said they would be prepared to issue medical cannabis business licenses early if given permission from lawmakers.

Maine’s Permanent Commission on Racial, Indigenous & Tribal Populations is calling on lawmakers to pass a drug decriminalization bill.

Oregon regulators suspended a marijuana producer’s license over alleged violations.

The U.S. Virgin Islands Cannabis Advisory Board will meet on Tuesday.

California officials will hold a public auction on property seized during cannabis enforcement actions on Thursday.

New York marijuana regulators will meet on Friday.


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/ LOCAL

Winnebago, Minnesota’s mayor was arrested in connection with an alleged marijuana grow operation.

The Boston, Massachusetts Cannabis Board will meet on Wednesday.

/ INTERNATIONAL

The chair of the Philippine House Dangerous Drugs Committee spoke about a medical cannabis bill that is advancing.

The former chair of the Malta Authority for the Responsible Use of Cannabis criticized the government for allegedly failing to prepare for the social impact of marijuana legalization.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A review of research on multiple sclerosis concluded that “cannabinoids exhibit potential as a disease-modifying treatment rather than merely symptomatic relief.”

A study suggested “anxiety-reducing effects of CBD in cats.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors is pushing for marijuana legalization legislation to include provisions giving municipalities a share of state tax revenue.

/ BUSINESS

Cresco Labs Inc. announced the transfer of super voting shares to some board members.

Michigan retailers sold $242.8 million worth of legal marijuana products in January.

Colorado retailers sold $115.8 million worth of legal marijuana products in December.

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