Weekly Roll Up: February 23, 2018
Welcome to the Weekly Roll Up, Heady Vermont’s regular review of the top cannabis news locally, from our region and beyond.
Heady Vermont reporter Tim Branfalt takes a deep dive on the shortcomings of roadside saliva testing for drug impairment, including cannabis.
Meanwhile, VTDigger reporters that a second House committee is taking testimony on legislation that calls for the implementation of such a regime as part of the public safety response to marijuana legalization.
Heady Vermont co-founder, Eli Harrington, weighs in on the state’s transfer of $300,000 out of the medical marijuana registry fund, asking policymakers to spell out how the program fulfills its mission without shelling out much dough?
Harrington argues that, if the program is bringing in extra money, it should be used to make medical cannabis more affordable for low-income patients.
On that topic, medical marijuana patient Vanessa Thomas, discussed with Heady Vermont her own challenges paying for medicine that she says changed her life.
“If we could get medical cannabis through Medicaid that would be so great, people would actually be able to afford it,” Thomas tells us.
That may not be possible because of restrictions on the use of federal funds, but certainly Vermont could be doing more to make medical marijuana affordable if the program has $300,000 lying around.
With recreational cannabis sales in Massachusetts scheduled to begin July 1, the Bay State is mulling a state-run bank to serve cannabis businesses, which would otherwise likely have to remain cash operations, according to the Boston Globe.
“If word gets out on the street that there’s large amounts of cash on hand at these places, someone’s going to roll the dice and go in with weapons,” Chelsea police chief Brian Kyes, vice president of the Massachusetts Major City Chiefs of Police Association told The Globe.
The excitement to our south may not stop there, as The Cannabist takes a look at whether Massachusetts will be the first legal state to sanction cannabis lounges or social use clubs.
Meanwhile in Maine, lawmakers are pushing back on the state’s voter approved cannabis legalization law, with an attempt to cut the number of plants adults can grow from six to three, according to Maine Public Radio.
In a recent interview with NBA Players Association Executive Director Michele Roberts, the sports website SBNation asked for her thoughts on medical cannabis.
“My own view is that there are substantial signs that support its efficacy and the value that it has for us, especially pain management,” Roberts said, predicting cannabis will be decriminalized nationwide in “short order.”
Still, Roberts wants to be cautious to avoid “my guys being arrested at airports in possession of a cannabinoid by some fed.” Seems prudent, especially with Jeff Sessions running the Department of Justice.
With a growing acceptance of medical marijuana though, the human resources industry publication HRDive takes a fascinating look at where things stand when it comes to medical cannabis in the workplace.
Finally this week, we take a peek to the north where Business Insider reports that e-commerce giant Shopify is getting involved with cannabis, having minted a contract with Ontario Cannabis Retail Corp., to handle online sales.
It’s a good reminder that the cannabis sector is going to be a major international industry, and if the United States would like to partake, our leaders need to get their heads out of the sand.