Arizona Judge Rules Walmart Discriminated Against Medical Marijuana User

Another ex-employee has won in court after losing their job due to their authorized possession and use of medical marijuana. It’s a story that’s repeating itself across the country. So much so, in fact, that New York lawmakers want to ban most workplace THC tests the moment the state legalizes marijuana. This time, however, the story involves an Arizona Walmart that fired an employee in 2016 because she tested positive for cannabis. But last week, an Arizona judge ruled that Walmart discriminated against the woman when it terminated her for her medical marijuana use. Importantly, the judge’s ruling sets a key legal precedent for medical cannabis patients in Arizona.

Arizona Judge Rules That Drug Tests for THC Can’t Determine Impairment

Carol Whitmire is in her 50s. She worked at Walmart for eight years before her manager fired her. And for the last five years, Whitmire has been a registered medical cannabis patient in Arizona. Whitmire told the court that she used medical cannabis to treat her chronic shoulder pain and arthritis and as a sleep aid. She says she consumed cannabis before bed and never brought her medication to work or showed up under the influence.

But on May 21,

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Bank Officials Urge Congress to Allow Cannabis Businesses Banking Services

Bank officials and cannabis industry representatives joined together on Wednesday to urge Congress to allow marijuana businesses access to banking services. At a hearing of the House Consumer Protection and Financial Institutions Subcommittee, lawmakers heard from advocates of the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act of 2019 who are seeking support for the bill.

Due to federal drug and money laundering regulations, even cannabis businesses operating legally under state laws are often unable to obtain financial services regularly used by other industries. As a result, companies in the cannabis industry often do business only in cash, putting the firms and their employees at great risk. The SAFE Banking Act would protect financial institutions and likely make more banks willing to serve the cannabis industry.

Gregory S. Deckard, speaking for the Independent Community Bankers of America, said that the legislation “would offer the needed clarity” to financial institutions hesitant to provide services to marijuana businesses.

Mason Tvert, the communications director for the advocacy group the Marijuana Policy Project, noted that the SAFE Banking Act is not about legalizing cannabis at the federal level.

“Lawmakers are not being asked to weigh in on whether marijuana should be legal or not. They are simply looking

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Georgia Lawmakers Introduce Bill to Allow Growth, Sale of Medical Marijuana

A bill introduced in the Georgia House of Representatives would legalize the cultivation and sale of medical marijuana. Georgia has had a limited medical marijuana program since 2015. Under the program, patients with one or more qualifying medical conditions who register with the state may possess cannabis oil with less than 5 percent THC. But there are no provisions for growing, transporting, or selling cannabis legally. State Rep. Micah Gravley, a Republican and sponsor of the legislation, told local media that the law makes it difficult for patients to obtain their medicine.

“The problem is that there’s nowhere to purchase the oil here in the state of Georgia,” said Gravley. “We know it’s beneficial. We’ve seen seizures reduced, we’ve seen the easing of the effects of Parkinson’s, cancer, MS, Crohn’s, sickle cell anemia, and autism.”

Although passage of the bill is not guaranteed, it is supported by lawmakers from both parties and last month Republican Gov. Brian Kemp indicated in an interview with Georgia Public Broadcasting that he might support in-state cultivation.

“I sympathize and empathize with them on that issue, and I support research-based expansion,” Kemp said. “Thankfully, there is some research that’s going on in this field that will give us

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World Health Organization Expert Committee Calls For Changes In Cannabis’ International Classification

The World Health Organization’s (WHO) Expert Committee on Drug Dependence have proposed amending the classification of cannabis under international law.

According to reporting in the British Medical Journal, the WHO policy reversal “takes account of the growing evidence for the medical applications of the drug,” and marks the first time that the agency has reviewed its stance on cannabis in nearly 60 years.

The recommended changes, outlined in a letter by WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and reported on by NORML, call for cannabis to be removed from Schedule IV of the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs. Schedule IV is the most restrictive classification under the treaty. Instead, the committee advises that whole-plant cannabis and THC be designated as Schedule I controlled substances under international law.

“The current [international] scheduling of cannabis is as strict as that for heroin,” the BMJ summarizes. “[T]he Committee believes that keeping cannabis at that level of control would severely restrict access to and research on potential therapies derived from the plant.”

In a separate recommendation, the Committee reiterated its 2017 request that preparations containing “pure cannabidiol … and not more than 0.2 percent of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol” no longer be scheduled within the international drug conventions.

The Committee’s policy recommendations now await

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California’s Largest Sun-Grown Cannabis Company Raises Record-Breaking $125 Million Financing Round

Amid the marijuana industry’s already massive first quarter of M&A and capital infusion activity this year, a new record has already been set. Flow Kana announced today the completion of a $125 million round of financing from Gotham Green Partners — the largest private funding round of a cannabis company executed in the United States to date.

Since its start in 2015, the Redwood Valley-based supply chain and distributor of sun-grown cannabis from the Emerald Triangle (the world-renowned growing region spanning Mendocino, Humboldt and Trinity counties), the company has raised a total of $175 million. Gotham Green Partners also led Flow Kana’s Series A raise in 2018.

– Read the entire article at Forbes.

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Barneys Department Store Introducing Cannabis Section

The new shop will be opening in Beverly Hills.

Luxury department store Barneys is adding a cannabis lifestyle and wellness section to its store.

Racing to grab a piece of the thriving Cannibidiol (CBD) market, Barneys is to become the first department store to introduce an entire section devoted to cannabis.

On Wednesday, the retailer announced the new department, called The High End, will reside in a 300-square-foot space on the fifth floor of its Beverly Hills Flagship location.

– Read the entire article at News.

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Some Legalization Activists Skeptical of Newly Pro-Pot 2020 Candidates

There’s no denying it: pro-pot regulation views are practically requisite for Democrat aspirants to the 2020 presidential nomination. But an article published Wednesday in the Washington Examiner interviews activists who have long been struggling to push for expanded access to cannabis, and who don’t take kindly to fair weather marijuana friends.

“I think they put their fingers in the wind,” cannabis advocate Douglas Hiatt told reporter Steven Nelson for the piece. “But which of them were talking about if before it became acceptable in the last few years? Not many.”

Take your pick of the 2020 White House challengers, both announced and considering — most have now declared federal regulation is the only way to go when it comes to cannabis. But though some declared candidates like Senators Kirsten Gillibrand, Cory Booker, Elizabeth Warren, Representative Tulsi Gabbard, and the still-considering Senator Bernie Sanders have long proven themselves as active advocates for the end of pot prohibition, others have rather recently incorporated green into their political wardrobe.

Take for example, the as-yet unannounced candidate, former VP Joe Biden. In the past, Obama’s number two did not mince about the fact he thought marijuana should be decriminalized, but remain illegal. In 2010,

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Parolee Sues Minnesota Department of Corrections Over Medical Marijuana Denial

Darrell Schmidt suffers from anxiety and PTSD. He’s also on parole. But his court-granted supervised release is in jeopardy, because he uses medical marijuana to treat his mental illness. Despite his state authorization to possess and consume medical cannabis in Minnesota, Schmidt’s parole officer threatened to revoke his parole over his use of the drug, effectively denying him access to his medication. Now, attorneys representing Schmidt are suing the Minnesota Department of Corrections over the denial. And they hope the case will set a precedent for future parolees who utilize medical cannabis treatments legally.

Lawsuit Aims to Protect Parolees’ Right to Access Medical Cannabis in Minnesota

When Darrell Schmidt saw a doctor about his anxiety and PTSD, he received a prescription for an anti-depressant. But after experiencing severe side-effects—a common problem with pharmaceutical anti-depressants—he asked his physician about using medical cannabis as an alternative. With his doctor’s recommendation, Schmidt registered with Minnesota’s medical cannabis program. Shortly thereafter, he began treating his diagnosed mental health problems with marijuana.

Parolees have to meet strict requirements to maintain the degree of freedom afforded by supervised release. Those requirements include routine drug screenings, including tests for THC, the main psychoactive compound in cannabis. Knowing

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Michigan Predicts Over $18 Million in Medical Marijuana Tax Revenue This Year

The governmental green rush is on in Michigan. The state’s Bureau of Marijuana Regulation has announced that its nascent medical marijuana program sold $30.2 million of medical product in the first four months of operation. That should equal some $1.8 million in sales taxes, and $112,800 in excise tax paid to the state. Medical marijuana license fees for businesses have brought in an additional $11.9 million.

Cash flow has been so good, in fact, that authorities are weighing the reduction of fees associated with getting a medical marijuana card, since the entire amount they have been collecting isn’t necessary to operate the program. The Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs announced that application fees from the last three years are generating 90 to 100 percent more revenues than the program’s operating expenses.

As such, a part of the money generated from marijuana is currently going to fund other types of governmental programs and positions, including the attorney general and state police, addition treatment and prevention facilities, sobriety tests, and the Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards.

Voters put their stamp of approval on legalization back in November in the state. Marijuana dispensaries have been hawking cannabis in the state since

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Iowa Lawmaker Pushing for Psychedelic Rescheduling, Legalization

An Iowa state lawmaker who introduced two bills to legalize psilocybin last week says that research shows that there is potential for the medical use of magic mushrooms and other hallucinogenic drugs. Rep. Jeff Shipley, a Republican who began his first term in the Iowa House of Representatives last month, said in a press release that the medical use of psilocybin, MDMA, and ibogaine should not be illegal.

“I believe an Iowan should not be criminalized for trying to use psychedelic substances for medicinal purposes,” Shipley said. “The DEA currently identifies Psilocybin, MDMA, and Ibogaine as schedule I drugs, meaning they have no accepted medical use and high potential for abuse. A significant body of research indicates that there are substantial medical benefits.”

The bills sponsored by Shipley are House File 248 and House File 249, which he introduced on February 6. H.F. 248 would remove psilocybin and psilocin from the list of schedule I controlled substances under Iowa’s uniform controlled substances act. H.F. 249 would allow the Iowa Board of Pharmacy to reclassify ibogaine, MDMA, and psilocybin as controlled substances for medicinal purposes. The bill also removes statutory penalties when these substances are utilized for medicinal purposes pursuant to

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