The Digital Dime: 11/22/2019

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Following important cannabis news articles every day can be a real burn-out, we know. That’s why the Emerald rolls up a chronicle of the headiest news hits, and passes them to you at the end of each week. We Bring You: The Digital Dime.

By Samantha Wahl 

 

Ooh-Oh, Baby Please Don’t Blow

After the 2018 Farm Bill passed, Washington legislatures nixed the rule that maintained a distance between hemp and pot farms in order to ease hemp into the production mix. But there’s trouble in paradise. Pot and hemp farms are struggling to coexist as cross-pollination threatens their reproductive makeup, and not just in the Pacific Northwest. Colorado’s farms are also being cost thousands of dollars due to winds blowing seeds from male hemp plants into all-female pot plots, deeming them un-harvestable. Hemp Business Daily explains, “female cannabis flowers produce far more cannabinoids, notably THC and CBD, when they aren’t pollinated.” Nobody wants to smoke seedy weed, and this issue is one of many on the long list of trials and errors that come to the U.S. as the legal industry expands. 

Who’s Boarding the Legal Train?

Progress continues to be made in America’s adult-use cannabis market. The current count is at 11 recreational-use states, plus the District of Columbia. More states are following suit. 

Meetings in October raised questions of conformity for the Northeast’s Tri-State area. New York, Connecticut and New Jersey legislatures met to discuss coming to agreements on regulations in order to reduce crime for people crossing state lines. Now, New Jersey is adding the question of adult-use to voter ballots in the November 2020 election, providing tax-payers with the opportunity to decide whether or not cannabis should be legal.

The next stop, however, may be in Minnesota, where lawmakers drafted another recreational-use bill for consideration in February 2020, Cannabis Business Daily reports. The ride hasn’t exactly been the smoothest, as previous proposals have been rejected. But as our country’s history with legalization shows us, persistence is key.

Are U.S. Drug Policies Too Harsh?

Denver, CO and Oakland, CA both voted to decriminalize magic mushrooms earlier this year. A few years ago, conversations like these would hardly be on the legislative radar. But history has shown that as groundbreaking ideas surface in one area, it causes a ripple effect in liberals elsewhere. 

Rep. Alexandra Ocasio Cortez, D-NY, publicly backed decriminalization of psychedelics for therapeutic research earlier this month, and has now gone so far as to “voice support for decriminalization of all drugs,” Marijuana Moment reports

AOC isn’t the first person to recognize this option as a possible solution to our country’s extreme incarceration issues. In fact, a 2019 survey conducted by the Cato Institute found that 55% of Americans back re-categorization of all drugs currently considered to be criminal. 

Drugs are one of the most taboo political matters in our country today. Ultimately, the more society considers their existence, the more research can be done on their potential benefits.

The Problem With Illegality 

As the legal industry grows, we begin to see what makes our environment thrive. We also begin to notice what harms our ecosystems. Research now shows that illegal, unregulated farms are poisoning surrounding organisms and the ecosystems they live in, according to an NPR report. Contamination from toxic chemicals and trash used to repel vermin in these unsupervised farms are leaking into water systems, damaging cultivation, and killing natural wildlife in nearby forests. Experts say it could take years to recover from such damage. Through regulation and research, we can learn how to grow and consume it safely. But until cannabis cultivation is normalized from a societal standpoint, illegal production will remain ubiquitous.

Emerald contributor since September 2019

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