Weekly Roll Up: February 16, 2018
Welcome to the inaugural Weekly Roll Up, Heady Vermont’s regular review of the top local, regional and national cannabis news.
This week Heady reporter TJ Branfalt examined what it will take for Vermont to ensure social equity in the taxed-and-regulated cannabis market that we all know is eventually coming.
“I think it would be a really good start to repair some of the damage that the war on marijuana has brought on people of color,” ACLU Policy Director Chloe White told him.
At the same time, Vermont Public Radio reporter Emily Corwin revealed that Gov. Phil Scott and lawmakers in Montpelier raided $300,000 from the state’s medical marijuana registry fund to help plug a $30 million general fund deficit.
That move incensed medical marijuana patient and advocate Fran Janik who told VPR that money should be used solely for the program.
Scott’s Finance Director Adam Greshin said it’s no big deal, because the registry fund has consistently run a surplus. Here’s an idea, why not use that surplus as a subsidy for low-income medical marijuana patients?
Finally, on the topic of medical marijuana, Seven Days reporter and editor Sasha Goldstein found that Canna Care Docs, a practice that registers people for medical cannabis, isn’t taking new patients.
Why? It appears the Department of Public Safety is making it too difficult for them to operate.
Just across Vermont’s southern border, a fight is brewing in the Bay State over whether to license cannabis cafes and delivery services as planned on July 1, according to the Boston Globe’s Dan Adams.
Gov. Charlie Baker and Boston Mayor Marty Walsh say regulators should focus on the basics — retail sales and their suppliers — before issuing licenses to ancillary businesses.
Activists say it’s an attempt to subvert the will of voters and would also keep businesses in communities disproportionately affected by prohibition from cashing in on cannabis.
In Tennessee, 23 businesses selling CBD were padlocked overnight, according to local NBC affiliate WSMV. The lesson here appears to be don’t sell cannabis products that look like they’re marketed to kids.
Finally, The New York Times reports that a lawsuit filed in federal court challenges the Trump Administration’s cannabis policy and seeks to overturn federal prohibition.
The plaintiffs include a former NFL player with a cannabis business and a 12-year-old girl using cannabis to treat her chronic epilepsy.
The suit makes its case on constitutional grounds while also presenting evidence that “early efforts to criminalize pot were a way to disrupt the hippies and the black community after the 1960s.”
Definitely one to watch as it wends its way through the justice system.
We’ll be back next Friday to roll up the news again. Have a great weekend!