Greetings, dabbers, and welcome to another weekly feature here at Dab Connection! Every Monday, we’ll be rounding up news stories about cannabis law, mostly in the US. Join us for this exciting time in history, the gradual end of pot prohibition, and keep track of this rapidly evolving field.
Blazing In New York Is Now Only A Fining Offense
No more jail time for offenders in New York State. Rolling Stone reports that the worst you can suffer from the law in New York for consuming cannabis is a cash fine, the same as a speeding ticket. If you’re caught carrying under two ounces, there’s a fine of just $50. The above-two-ounces fine is $200.
Civil rights watchdogs have pointed out that criminal charges for cannabis possession have frequently targeted minorities in New York in the past. Groundwork has been laid to expunge past records for cannabis-related offenses in New York.
The first attempt at a full recreational legalization was attempted this year, but the bill didn’t pass the state Senate. Senator Liz Krueger (D-Manhattan) said of this event: “Unfortunately, the delay means countless more New Yorkers will have their lives upended by unnecessary and racially disparate enforcement before we inevitably legalize.” In the meantime, the decriminalization is a band-aid until state lawmakers return to the bargaining table.
USDA Struggles To Devise THC Testing Rules
While the 2018 Farm Bill removed hemp species from the Controlled Substances Act, they’re still without legal guidelines to produce the crop on the federal level. CannaLawBlog reports that the hang-up is in drafting TCH standards. Without them, there’s no legal definition between plain old hemp and the recreational kind.
Hemp cultivation goes back a long way, some 10K years of recorded human history as one of the first fiber crops. The very sails of Christopher Columbus’ ship were woven hemp canvas when he set sail to discover America. Alongside our progress to legalizing THC-cannabis, hemp is an important industrial textile crop which farmers are eager to cash in on too. However, they want it free of the additional regulation that would be imposed on the smoke-able kind.
The difficulty lies in making a coherent federal policy against 50 states with 50 standards of testing. So far the best proposed testing method is to use post-decarboxylation, or more correctly gas chromatography. The problem there is that it tends to artificially inflate the levels of delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration in the test result, which would lead to false positives.
Perhaps our testing standard should involve a volunteer to ingest some, wait 24 hours, and provide a urine sample? That’s been a bang-up method of confirming TCH levels so far.
California Cannabis Black Market Is Bigger Than Its Legal One
This year’s licensed cannabis sales in California show promise of rolling in at a green $3.1 billion, but licensed dispensaries aren’t the only ones with a smoking profit line. As the L.A. Times has it, the black market for cannabis has that all beat, projected to reach $8.7 billion, more than double the licensed sales.
One of the reasons cited for this is that cannabis is so expensive to produce under the provisions of Proposition 64. This leads to an easily undercut market, together with a number of counties and cities which won’t welcome marijuana within their jurisdiction. California being a coastal city, it is also more vulnerable to bootleg brands making it in from overseas.
California is easily the biggest cannabis market in the US, dwarfing sales in Colorado or the entire nation of Canada. But that’s still not all the business it could be doing, if it could find an equilibrium favorable enough to bring the market over the counter rather than under it. The president of the United Cannabis Business Assn. puts illegal operations 10 to 1 over legal ones in the state.
Til next time, dab fans!