The House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security held a hearing today on the impact of marijuana laws in America.
Despite the wave of cannabis progress, and products, sweeping the country coast to coast, marijuana arrests rose in America last year for the second year in a row. Are we generally down from the most horrifying arrest numbers seen when prohibition was at full blast? Yes. Are communities of color still impacted the most by cannabis enforcement? That’s going to be a big yes. The committee noted in announcing the hearing that of the 660,000 arrests for marijuana last year, 600,000 were for simple possession.
The Committee leadership was hoping to give the reps taking part an opportunity to consider the wider issues around the importance of reforming marijuana laws in America.
The subcommittee was chaired by congresswoman Karen Bass. Bass noted that since the time President Nixon declared a war on drugs, people of color have been hit the hardest. African Americans are 3.73 times more likely to be arrested for marijuana than white people.
“Part of the devastation has been we criminalized a health problem.” Chairwoman Bass noted, “While we poured millions of dollars into incarceration, we did not put adequate resources into drug treatment. Bass noted while legalization is the direction many places are going, we need to make sure there is a plan to use a piece of the money to help folks with substance abuse issues.
She doesn’t automatically believe that legalization will result in a decrease in the disproportionate arrests of people of color, especially African Americans. “But I do hope those who use the disproportionate arrests as part of their campaign for legalization are just and concerned and active if the disproportionate arrests continue after legalization,” Bass noted.
Bass called the hearing a moment to address the urgent reforms so obviously needed around cannabis.
Rep. Tom McClintock from California served as the acting ranking member for the republicans. He immediately called marijuana one of the few issues they might be able to get everyone in Congress to agree on. “It doesn’t require endorsing cannabis, quite the contrary,” McClintock said noting the psychological issues some are prone to and urged all to make sure kids aren’t getting their hands on it, “But it ought to be crystal clear to everyone that our laws have not accomplished their goals.”
McClintock told a tale he heard from a police officer. The officer said if he gave any two kids from any town across America $20 each and told one to get booze and the other to get pot, the kid buying the pot would always come back first. McClintock said they know where to get it because the dealer’s entire business revolves around breaking the law, “and have trouble finding the booze because the dealer’s whole business revolves around not breaking the law.”
McClintock says people will worry about young people using marijuana in excess, “but excess is a trait of the young and you learn with experience. And against this, we have to weigh how many young people have had their lives ruined by a marijuana conviction that’s followed them the rest of their lives.”
McClintock dove in further on the impact of the war on drugs, comparing it to the crime wave of alcohol prohibition. “People growing radishes don’t kill each other over territory,” he said.
“The majority has decided to play the race card at today’s hearing, we should have only one race in our free country, the American race. The left does enormous harm every time it tries to divide Americans along racial lines. The fact is our marijuana laws have badly served all of us as a nation and this realization could be used to bring us together rather than tear us apart.” McClintock said, despite the chairwoman pointing out African American men being 3.7 times as likely to be arrested for marijuana use compared to their caucasian counterparts.
McClintock said it was time to reform these laws that had failed, and, “Shame on those that would use it to inflame racial tension.”
Rep. Jerry Nader, who chairs the full House Judiciary Committee, jumped in saying he agreed with most of what McClintock said until he got to the claims of the left attempting to inflame racial tensions. Nadler noted on the proven racial disparities of enforcement, “to point that out, to see that, is not to inflame racial divisions. It’s to point out a fact of life and to try and cure it.”
“I’ve long believed the criminalization of marijuana has been a mistake,” said Nadler, the most powerful member of the full judiciary committee. “The racial disparity in enforcement of marijuana laws has only compounded this mistake with serious consequences.”
Nadler said marijuana should be viewed as an issue of personal choice and public health.
“The collateral consequences of a conviction for marijuana possession—and even sometimes for a mere arrest—can be devastating. For those saddled with a criminal conviction, it can be difficult or impossible to vote, to obtain educational loans, to get a job, to maintain a professional license, to secure housing, to receive government assistance, or even to adopt a child.”
Nadler spoke of those exclusions creating a permanent second-class status for millions of Americans with a conviction. “This is unacceptable and counterproductive, especially in light of the disproportionate impact that enforcement of marijuana laws has had on communities of color,” he said.
Nadler’s counterpart on the full judiciary, ranking member Rep. Collins, was waiting on deck to follow.
Collins reminded the room he had called on Nadler to take a wider look at conflict between state and federal marijuana law. And they would need to go far beyond the scope of this hearing to make federal progress. Later Collins noted he was a co-sponsor of The STATES Act that would give states the room to dictate their own marijuana policy, but he said the will of those places that want to keep it banned should be respected.
Marilyn Mosby, State’s Attorney for Baltimore City, Maryland, kicked off the testimony. In January, Mosby made waves announcing her office would no longer be using resources to prosecute marijuana possession. She then moved to vacate thousands of convictions from her office dating back to 2011.
Mosby said the reason she was there is because there is no better illuminator to the failure of the war on drugs than Baltimore. She spoke of how a city so close to our nation’s capital and so critical to its founding led the nation last year in homicides, rising opioid deaths, and is one of the most segregated and impoverished cities in the nation.
“Meanwhile, Over 20,000,000 Americans have been arrested for violating marijuana laws that have imposed legal, social, and economic debilities and marginalization of every basic survival necessities [sic] of life,” she said, “For those not only convicted but also those incarcerated. From housing, healthcare access, immigration, employment, mobility, education, financial aid, and even voting.”
Mosby said whole communities have been ravaged losing whole generations of mothers, fathers, brothers, sons, and daughters. She said making it worse is the fact data backs that this dark reality hits poor and black communities the hardest.
“In the city of Baltimore, black people are six times more likely to be arrested for simple possession. And while many hoped decriminalization would offer a respite to communities of color, flagrant racial disparities continue to exist,” said Mosby before noting in Washington D.C., blacks were 11 times as likely to be arrested for public marijuana consumption than whites.
Mosby said she came to the hearing for three reasons. The first is her refusing to accept the status quo any longer. Second is she refuses to be complicit in the devastation of poor black and brown communities or defend the obviously racist policies. And finally, because it is the right thing to do.
Physicians David L. Nathan and Malik Burnett also testified. Nathan is the Board President of Doctors for Cannabis Regulation, and represents hundreds of physicians. Burnett is an advocate and entrepreneur working to move U.S. drug policy from a criminal justice framework to one focused on public health.
The final expert Cannabis Trade Federation CEO Neal Levine was invited to testify at the hearing at the request of the Committee’s Republicans.
“We have a long way to go with respect to reversing the harms caused by marijuana prohibition and need to begin the process as soon as possible,” Levine said, “The question before this Subcommittee and before Congress is whether there is a willingness to advance a bill to the President’s desk that will immediately address nearly all of the issues I have raised.”
Levine went on to note that with strong bipartisan support for legislation like the STATES Act, it is possible during the current session of Congress to take major steps toward respecting state cannabis laws, protecting workers, and advancing a more secure, vibrant, and equitable cannabis industry. “We hope that Congress will take advantage of the opportunity,” he said.
Advocates were excited to see the conversations being pushed at the hearing on both sides of the aisle. NORML Executive Director Erik Altieri weighed in following the hearing.
“After nearly a century of prohibition, it is clear this policy has been an absolute failure and a national disgrace,” Altieri said, “All we have to show for the war we have waged on marijuana is the egregious harms it has wrought upon tens-of-millions of our fellow citizens. Congress must act swiftly and begin to remedy the pain caused by the criminalization of marijuana.”
Altieri said the only real federal solution to this problem is the full descheduling of cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act. “This would allow us to stop ceding control of the marijuana market to the illicit market and allow state governments the opportunity to pursue alternative regulatory policies, free from the threat of federal intervention or prosecution. The American public is overwhelmingly ready to legalize marijuana, their elected officials in Washington need to finally start representing the will of the people,” Altieri said.
The National Cannabis Industry Association also weighed in on the hearing.
“It is imperative that we recognize the disparate and ongoing impact of marijuana prohibition on people of color and the barriers it creates for them to take part in the burgeoning legal cannabis market,” said NCIA Executive Director Aaron Smith,“Congress should quickly move toward policies that allow legitimate businesses to supplant the illicit market and promote racial equity in the cannabis industry. Removing cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act is a cornerstone of that process.”
You can watch the Q&A portion of the hearing here.
The post What Was Said at Today’s Congressional Hearing on Federal Marijuana Law Reform appeared first on High Times.
1. What is CBD? What is CBD Oil?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a naturally occurring constituent of industrial hemp/cannabis. Its formula is C21H30O2 and it has a molecular mass of 314.4636. It is the most abundant non-psychoactive cannabinoid found in cannabis, and is being scientifically investigated for various reasons.
CBD oil is a cannabis oil (whether derived from marijuana or industrial hemp, as the word cannabis is the latin genus name for both) that has significant amounts of cannabidiol (CBD) contained within it. Our CBD products and extracts are derived from industrial hemp, so they could be considered CBD-rich hemp oil, hemp derived CBD oil, CBD-rich cannabis oil, or plainly “hemp extracts” since they typically contain much more than just CBD. Again, cannabis doesn’t mean marijuana, but is the genus name, and general umbrella term which all forms of marijuana and hemp fall under. The form of cannabis we use for our CBD and hemp extracts is industrial hemp; we do not sell marijuana.
2. If a hemp extract is 40% cannabinoids, what’s the other 60%? What’s in your hemp extracts besides the naturally occurring cannabinoids?
Our Kentucky hemp extracts contain over 80 different phyto-cannabinoids such as cannabidiol (CBD), CBC, CBG, CBN, etc.. In addition to the cannabinoids naturally present in our agricultural hemp extracts, there are also many other types of natural molecules and phyto-chemical compounds such as amino acids, carbohydrates, vitamins (including B1, B2, B6, D), fatty acids (including omega 3 & 6), trace minerals (including iron, zinc, calcium, magnesium, potassium), beta-carotene, chlorophyll, flavanoids, ketones, nitrogenous compounds, alkanes, glycosides, pigments, water, and terpenes. The most common terpenes in our hemp extracts are Myrcene, Beta-caryophyllene, Terpinolene, Linalool, alpha-Pinene, beta-Pinene, Nerolidol og Phytol, trans-alpha-Bergamotene, Limonene/ beta-Phellandrene (Co-elution), and alpha-Humulene.
3. What’s the difference between Hemp and Marijuana?
Scientifically, industrial Hemp and Marijuana are the same plant, with a genus and species name of Cannabis Sativa. They have a drastically different genetic profile though. Industrial Hemp is always a strain of Cannabis sativa, while marijuana can be Cannabis sativa, Cannabis indica, or Cannabis ruderalis. The major difference is how industrial hemp has been bred compared to a marijuana form of Cannabis sativa. Typically speaking, industrial hemp is very fibrous, with long strong stalks, and barely has any flowering buds, while a marijuana strain of Cannabis sativa will be smaller, bushier, and full of flowering buds. However, newer industrial hemp varieties in the USA are being bred to have more flowers and higher yields of cannabinoids and terpenes, such as our Kentucky hemp we’re now using!
99% of the time marijuana has a high amount of THC and only a very low amount of CBD. Hemp, on the other hand, naturally has a very high amount of CBD in most instances, and only a trace amount of THC. Fortunately, the cannabinoid profile of hemp is ideal for people looking for benefits from cannabis without the ‘high.’ Hemp is used for making herbal supplements, food, fiber, rope, paper, bricks, oil, natural plastic, and so much more, whereas marijuana is usually used just recreationally, spiritually, and medicinally. The term cannabis oil can refer to either a marijuana or hemp derived oil, since marijuana and hemp are two different forms of cannabis.
In the USA the legal definition of “industrial hemp,” per Section 7606 of the Agricultural Appropriations Act of 2014, is “INDUSTRIAL HEMP — The term ‘‘industrial hemp’’ means the plant Cannabis sativa L. and any part of such plant, whether growing or not, with a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of not more than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis.”
4. Are hemp derived cannabinoids such as CBD as good as CBD from marijuana?
The short answer is yes. CBD is CBD, whether from marijuana or hemp. Most marijuana has a very low non-psychoactive cannabinoid profile (like CBD, CBC, CBG), so most of the time hemp would be much more preferable for anything besides THC. Marijuana is usually very high in THC (gives people the high) but usually very low in other non-psychoactive cannabinoids.
Nowadays in the USA, many farmers are growing industrial hemp flowers that are just as beautiful, odor-producing, and terpene rich as the best marijuana strains, such as our partnered farmers in Kentucky.
5. Why don’t you source your Hemp and CBD from within Colorado?
We feel that the hemp program in Kentucky is more well suited for our company in regards to growing hemp, and that because it’s 100% compliant with Section 7606 of the 2014 Farm Bill (and the 2016 Agricultural Appropriations Act), procuring it from there is perfectly legal at the federal level. Kentucky’s ecology is perfect for hemp just as it is for tobacco. The growing season is longer than in Colorado, and the soil is richer, so the quality of the hemp and the yields are better.
6. What’s the percentage of cannabinoids and CBD in your product?
Our raw extracts have varying percentages of cannabinoid and cannabidiol (CBD) content, the range being 10%-99%. Each product has a unique formulation and uses varying ratios of our extract types. Our CBD Isolate is over 99% pure CBD.
7. What is the best method of use?
For our dietary supplements we can only recommend them for internal consumption. Our CBD isolate is for research purposes only. If you don’t like the flavor of the oil supplements, you can mix with something sweet like apple sauce or honey to cut through the flavor.
8. What’s the ideal serving size for me, and how often should I take it?
There is no easy answer to this. Our starting recommended serving size is 15 drops but we generally recommend experimenting to see what feels best to you. Some prefer 5 drops, some prefer over 50 drops per day.
9. What is the safety of your hemp extracts? Are there negative side effects?
Hemp is considered by many to be generally safe. We’ve never seen or heard of any significant or negative side effects in our years in the industry. That said, we can’t rule them out. Please consult with your physician before using any dietary supplement including Hemp extract supplements.
10. Which of your CBD and hemp products should I get?
As a company who sells various dietary and food supplements, we can’t suggest any of our products for the prevention, treatment or cure of any disease or ailment.
When considering our different dietary hemp products, know that they all come in two strengths. Our Original Hemp blends (Classic Hemp Blend, Hemp Complete, Brainpower oil, & Signature Blend) all have 250+mg of cannabinoids per fluid ounce, and our concentrated blends have 1,500+mg per fluid ounce, six times the potency of our traditional oils. We’ve found that sometimes less is more, but nevertheless, some people like to take very large serving sizes of our hemp extracts.
The main difference between the four Original Blends is the additional herbal ingredients besides hemp. We suggest you research the separate components of each blend to determine which product may be most appealing to add to your dietary regimen. If you know it’s solely the hemp extract that you are looking for, with no additional ingredients, then Classic Hemp Blend or Classic Hemp 6x is what you’re looking for.
For dabbing and vaporizing or for research you can try our CBD Isolate.
THOSE WHO SUSPECT THEY MAY HAVE A DISEASE OR ARE SEEKING HELP FOR A DISEASE SHOULD CONSULT A QUALIFIED MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL.
11. Why do people use Hemp Extracts and CBD? What are the benefits and uses of CBD?
In accordance with federal regulations we cannot make health claims regarding our dietary supplement products. We can only recommend our products for general wellness.
12. Is a standard hemp seed oil the same as a high-CBD hemp extract?
Absolutely not. Standard hemp oil, which can be found very cheaply at a grocery store, is a much different product than our CO2 hemp extracts (not from seed). Standard hemp oil is produced by cold pressing the seeds, whereas our hemp extract is a supercritical CO2 extraction of the hemp plant itself, not the seeds. Hemp seed oil is considered to be a great nutritive food, but it doesn’t have the naturally occurring terpenes, cannabinoids and other components that our extracts do have.
13. Do I need to move to Colorado to get your Hemp Extracts and CBD? Where do you ship?
No. We actually source our hemp from Kentucky, as it’s legal to ship across state lines. Many people are under the impression that the only way to acquire hemp extracts and CBD for themselves or a loved one is to move to Colorado or another cannabis-friendly state. Many major news outlets are misinformed and are unfortunately spreading the idea that you can only get CBD oil in the states where medical marijuana has been legalized. This is simply not the case though. Because our extracts comes from hemp instead of marijuana, we can and do ship to all fifty states, and no medical marijuana card is needed. There are some exceptions, like with Indiana, Missouri and South Dakota we can’t sell our concentrated products due to state legislation.
We also ship to Japan, Australia, the EU, Switzerland, and Brazil. For all EU orders contact our exclusive distributor there, Cannawell.
14. Is your Hemp Extract Oil similar to Rick Simpson Hemp Oil?
Not quite. Ours are from hemp and RSHO is usually using marijuana, a different form of cannabis than industrial hemp. Our industrial hemp extracts are more standardized and will usually have a much higher content of non-psychoactive cannabinoids like CBD than one produced through the Rick Simpson method. And oils produced through his method will usually have a much higher THC content, as it’s typically marijuana that is used for RSHO.†
Generally speaking, most marijuana producers and sellers (especially on the black market) don’t test for contaminants (metals, pesticides, bacteria, etc.). Rick Simpson Hemp Oil is actually more a method of extraction than it is a specific product. People use the Rick Simpson method with hundreds of different strains of marijuana, so the THC, CBD and other cannabinoid content of the final oil is always varying greatly, depending on the cannabis the consumers are acquiring. Usually what’s used for Rick Simpson oil is a strain with an inferior CBD content (and high THC), because that’s what the vast amount of marijuana is nowadays.
15. Where do you source your hemp and CBD from?
We have partners in Kentucky who grew a dedicated plot for us this year (2016) which is being used in our products now. We also currently source from Europe but we’ll be changing that soon.
16. What kind of testing/analysis is performed on your products?
We have an industry leading quality control system, and we have third party laboratories analyze all of our hemp extracts and our final products for cannabinoid potency, heavy metals, bacterial and microbial life, mycotoxins (fungus), and pesticides.
17. What is CO2 extraction? What’s the difference between subcritical and supercritical CO2 extractions?
CO2 extraction is an extraction process that uses pressurized carbon dioxide to extract phyto-chemicals (such as CBD, CBG, or terpenes, flavonoids, etc.) from a plant. CO2 at certain temperatures and pressures acts like a solvent, without the dangers of actually being one. It is the most expensive extraction method, and is widely considered the most effective and safest plant extraction method in the world.
Many hemp and CBD companies boast about their supercritical CO2 extractions, but that’s actually only one (and perhaps an inferior) method of using a CO2 extraction machine. There are also subcritical CO2 extractions, and ‘mid-critical’, a general range between subcritical and supercritical. Subcritical (low temp, low pressure) CO2 extractions take more time and produce smaller yields than super-critical, but they retain the essential oils, terpenes, and other sensitive chemicals within the plant. Supercritical, on the other hand, is a high pressure and high temperature process that damages most terpenes and heat sensitive chemicals, but can extract much larger molecules such as lipids (omega 3 and 6), chlorophyll, and waxes. A truly full-spectrum CO2 extract includes first performing a subcritical extraction, separating the extracted oil, and then extracting the same plant material using supercritical pressure, and then homogenizing both oil extracts into one. In the essential oil industry, an extract made using this specific process is referred to as a CO2 Total.
18. What is the endocannabinoid system (ECS)?
“The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a group of endogenous cannabinoid receptors located in the mammalian brain and throughout the central and peripheral nervous systems, consisting of neuromodulatory lipids and their receptors.” Wikipedia
There are two main types of receptors in the ECS, CB1 and CB2. CB1 receptors are primarily located in the central nervous system and brains of mammals, and CB2 are generally found in the peripheral nervous system. There are two main cannabinoids mammals produce- 2AG and Anandamide (named after the Sanskrit term “ananda” which translates to “peace”).
For hundreds of millions of years every vertebrate on Earth has been equipped with this ECS, a crucial system in the body, and it has been known about in the scientific and medical communities since the 1980’s. However, it’s still not taught about in most medical schools.