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Week in Review: President Biden Forcefully Advocates For Federal Cannabis Reform in Historic State of the Union Address

President Biden cannabis reform

Current Events

Week in Review: President Biden Forcefully Advocates For Federal Cannabis Reform in Historic State of the Union Address

ICYMI: Catch up on the week’s latest news from across the cannabis spectrum.

In this week’s cannabis news round-up, President Biden advocates cannabis reform in reelection State of the Union address; Florida legislature passes bill to ban delta-8 and hemp products; how to land the ultimate stoner dream job; and Mike Tyson to face Jake Paul in ring comeback.

President Biden cannabis reform
PHOTO Elvert Barnes

President Biden Forcefully Advocates Cannabis Reform in Historic State of the Union Address

President Joe Biden utilized a portion of his State of the Union address to advocate for cannabis reform, marking a significant milestone for the industry. In his historic speech, which licked off his re-election bid, the president highlighted the pardons he has issued and the ongoing review of cannabis’s scheduling status. 

He also reiterated his stance against incarceration for possession, referencing his recent proclamation for mass cannabis pardons, emphasizing his commitment to “expunging thousands of convictions for mere possession,” emphasizing his belief that individuals should not face imprisonment simply for using or possessing cannabis.

“The topics addressed in the State of the Union are a barometer for the will of the people and the voters want cannabis reform at an amazing rate of 70% per the most recent Gallup Poll,” says Emily Paxhia, Managing Partner, Poseidon Investment Management. “President Biden’s comments tell us that the Executive Branch is listening; we need to see this sentiment reflected through the actions of our branches of government.”

While President Biden has consistently highlighted the pardons he has granted in various speeches, addressing the issue during the State of the Union carries significant weight. It signals the administration’s acknowledgment of the importance of cannabis reform, particularly in the lead-up to the November election.

“The US has made substantial progress in overcoming the stigma surrounding cannabis, from Reefer Madness to state-led reform to the precipice of broad federal reform today,” says David Goubert, President and CEO of AYR Wellness. We implore the Biden Administration to act on its promises and take the next step in implementing sensible federal cannabis reform.”  

However, the President has been criticized by cannabis advocates that the pardons may be overstated, as they symbolically forgive rather than expunge criminal records and they do not affect individuals currently incarcerated for non-violent cannabis offenses not covered by the pardons.

Despite this, Biden’s focus on cannabis reform resonates politically, as recent polling suggests that awareness of the potential rescheduling of cannabis under his administration’s review has boosted his favorability ratings.

While rescheduling cannabis from Schedule I to Schedule III under the Controlled Substances Act may have public appeal, advocates for equity emphasize that it falls short of legalization and fails to address the harms inflicted by decades of prohibition. However, it would enable state-legal cannabis businesses to access federal tax deductions currently unavailable under IRS code 280E.

“Rescheduling would contribute to further de-stigmatizing the plant and by removing the burden of 280-E, it would allow businesses to focus further on growth and job creation,” says Matt Darin, CEO of Curaleaf. By reducing the tax burden, cannabis businesses of all sizes will be better positioned to thrive and realize this industry’s true potential.”


Florida Legislature Passes Bill to Ban Delta-8 and Hemp Products

A bill poised to reshape Florida’s hemp industry awaits Governor Ron DeSantis’ signature, despite concerns from businesses that it could devastate the state’s market and impact products without psychoactive properties.

Critics warn that the legislation could dismantle the hemp sector, leading to job losses for thousands of Floridians. Consumers have advocated for hemp’s positive effects on mental and physical well-being. However, bill sponsor Rep. Tommy Gregory, R-Lakewood Ranch, downplayed these concerns, alleging that hemp products are intoxicating and are driven by profit motives.

While the Senate passed the bill unanimously, the House vote was more divided, with a 64-48 outcome and 14 Republicans voting against it. The legislation, SB1698, targets delta-8 products like gummies, tinctures and vapes, potentially affecting other items such as CBD extracts due to banned natural cannabinoids found in hemp extract.

Florida’s hemp industry surged following the 2018 federal farm bill, employing over 100,000 individuals and generating sales exceeding $10 billion in 2022, as per a study commissioned by a hemp trade group.

Gregory criticized lawmakers, accusing them of approving a hemp market they believed would focus on industrial uses like textiles but instead allegedly facilitating the production of intoxicating substances from hemp products.

The bill would limit hemp products to 5 milligrams of delta-9 THC per serving or 50 milligrams per container, with Gregory suggesting it as a “compromise” while expressing a preference for zero milligrams.

Photo courtesy of Daysavers by Custom Cones USA

DaySavers by Custom Cones USA Launches Ultimate Stoner Dream Job

Custom Cones USA, a leading manufacturer of pre-rolled cones, has unveiled an exciting campaign for its new direct-to-consumer brand, DaySavers, which it calls “the ultimate cannabis content creation opportunity.” 

The company is recruiting passionate content creators, writers, videographers and social media experts to get paid for their love of cannabis. Selected candidates will attend top industry events and receive free samples of the latest smoking accessories. The chosen full-time social media guru will earn $70,420 annually, including bonuses and perks. 

CEO Harrison Bard calls it a dream opportunity for any cannabis enthusiast. “The response to the DaySavers Ultimate Stoner Dream Job has been overwhelming,” he told Cannabis Now. There’s so much creativity and passion in this industry—it’s really exciting! It’s going to be hard selecting the best candidate and we might need the entire community’s help—stay tuned for more!”

Mike Tyson cannabis brand
Photo courtesy of Mike Tyson

Mike Tyson to Face Jake Paul in Ring Comeback for Netflix

Former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson is set to return to the ring against YouTuber-turned-boxer Jake Paul. The fight, live-streamed by Netflix, will take place on July 20 at the 80,000-seat AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX (home of the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys).

Iron Mike—who recently launched his latest cannabis partnership, RQS x Tyson with Royal Queen Seeds—holds a 50-6 record and sees it as a fun challenge against the 27-year-old Paul, who holds a 9-1 record. 

“I’m very much looking forward to stepping into the ring with Jake Paul,” Tyson said. “He’s grown significantly as a boxer over the years, so it will be a lot of fun to see what the will and ambition of a ‘kid’ can do with the experience and aptitude of a GOAT (Greatest Of All Time). It’s a full circle moment that will be beyond thrilling to watch, as I started him on his boxing journey on the undercard of my fight with Roy Jones and now I plan to finish him.”

Despite his age, Tyson aims to showcase his skills in the 80,000-seat arena. Paul, reflecting on his journey since his viral knockout on Tyson’s undercard in 2020, expressed excitement about facing one of boxing’s biggest icons.

“It’s crazy to think that in my second pro fight I went viral for knocking out Nate Robinson on Mike Tyson’s undercard,” Paul said. “Now, less than four years later, I’m stepping up to face Tyson myself to see if I have what it takes to beat one of boxing’s most notorious fighters and biggest icons.”

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