In ‘This Week in Cannabis’ we want to help you uncover leading cannabis news, industry insights, scientific discoveries and more. Our hope is to help educate the greater public on the many uphill battles we still need to achieve prior to legalization. There are still a lot of laws, regulations and problems that cannabis companies and consumers are faced with.

This Week in Cannabis: May 3rd-9th, 2020

Another week passes, this one bringing us a pretty even mix of good and bad news. On the bright side, people are continuing to buy and use cannabis just like they’ve done before, perhaps even using it to cope with the truly new version of normal we’ve found ourselves in. And on the medical side of the industry, researchers are wondering if CBD might help fight COVID-19. But let’s go over the bad news first, just to get it out of the way…

Cannabis Prohibition is Ending…But Its Victims Still Suffer

Cannabis has been legalized in many parts of the U.S., and even states where the plant remains illegal have largely decriminalized small offenses. But what about people who received harsh sentences—or even life sentences—back when the law wasn’t so forgiving?

It’s easy to forget about such people…but it shouldn’t be. Take the tragic case of Craig Cesal, a former truck mechanic accused of trafficking cannabis back in the ’80s. He’s fought his charges and maintained his innocence since then, which is partially why he’s still in prison serving a life sentence. Even though Craig is now at risk of catching COVID-19 from other inmates (also, he’s diabetic), the federal prison he’s kept at has repeatedly denied him parole. 

Upsetting, right? If you feel the same way, there’s one thing that you can do: Take a few minutes to join the 322,400-and-counting people who’ve asked President Trump to get Craig Cesal out of prison by signing the petition here

4/20 Sales A Success

Many cannabis dispensaries reported higher than normal sales this past 4/20, despite having to resort to curbside pickups and delivery options. “We were slammed on 4/20,” said Platinum dispensary’s George Sadler, with sales up “across the board.” Could it be their mindset? Maybe. “We’re not retreating,” explains Sadler.

But other dispensaries saw sales flatline or even decline. It appears location is everything; in New York, where residents might normally use public transit, sales have decreased and shifted to home-delivery options.

Californian Groups Band Together for Lower Taxes

Marijuana companies, churches, Americans for Safe Access, the NAACP, and the Black Women’s Cannabis Council—what do they all have in common? A desire to see California lower its cannabis taxes, of course.

This unlikely alliance explains that California’s combination of high cannabis prices and high unemployment is driving customers to the black market. “The legal industry is seeing its customers flock to lower priced cannabis products in the illegal market regardless of quality or safety,” a letter from the group(s) to California’s Governor aptly pointed out. Given black market sales still outnumber legal sales 3:1, we’d agree it’s time for a change. 

Swiss Hemp Grower Investigated for High-THC Plants

While both hemp and higher-THC cannabis have all sorts of health benefits, the laws in most countries don’t exactly allow these varieties to be grown together. Swiss officials recently arrested a hemp grower and closed his operation after finding “approximately 3,700 marijuana shrubs and 12 kilograms (26.5 pounds) of prepared and packaged marijuana” hidden alongside more ‘by-the-book’ options. 

Hemp & Planet Earth

Hemp is great for us humans…and it can be great for the Earth, too, if its cultivation is done right! U.S. hemp farmers can now participate in all sorts of sustainability-based government programs, and obtaining USDA-Certified Organic status is also easier than ever. Only fitting given Earth Day is coming up. 

CBD for COVID-19: Clinical Trials Begin!

Admittedly, this one got us excited. Israel researchers are looking at inserting CBD into small structures called exosomes in order to provide targeted relief to COVID-19 patients. Patients with the virus will be closely monitored as they inhale these special CBD-infused exosomes through a vaporizing device.

To Sum Things Up…

With the exception of those whom the law abuses (and those who try to abuse the law), this was actually a pretty good week in the world of cannabis. Here’s to hoping those clinical trials go well! When it comes to fighting the coronavirus, we can use all the help we can get. 

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