In the days of the Armada, a fleet of warships, the scuttlebutt was the rumor or gossip that would spread throughout the ship. Today, Armada Law Corp presents The Scuttlebutt, a daily summery of news articles that people within the cannabis, hemp and plant medicine industries are chatting about along with links to the full articles.

In today’s news:

California shuts down testing at most pot labs in the state

#californiacannabis – “On Jan. 1, California shut down testing of popular products at a majority of pot labs previously certified to check the potency of cannabis flower, in a drastic move intended to combat widespread labeling scams in the industry.

For years, the state’s legal industry has faced allegations that labs often artificially increase the amount of THC they’ve “found” in cannabis products in order to increase their values. To fight the problem, California’s Department of Cannabis Control has now rolled out new requirements for testing cannabis flower, the smokable form of the drug, which includes bud and noninfused pre-rolls.

As of Jan. 3, only 12 of the state’s 38 labs had met the new requirements, according to the DCC’s website. Noncompliant labs can still test other products, including edibles and vape pens. But until they prove they can meet the new standards, they’ll be blocked from testing flower — by far the most popular category of legal weed….”

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#californiacannabis – “San Francisco Assemblymember Matt Haney has reintroduced his popular bill to create Cannabis Cafes in California.

Assembly Bill 1775 empowers cities to choose to allow Amsterdam-style Cannabis Cafes where Californians can enjoy food, coffee, and entertainment while consuming cannabis. Last year the bill sailed through both the Assembly and Senate with broad bipartisan support before being vetoed by Governor Gavin Newsom, citing concerns about workers being provided a smoke-free environment. At the Governor’s urging, Haney is in conversations with the Department of Cannabis Control and the Governor’s office, to address those concerns and to create a bill that allows Cannabis Cafes but protects workers’ health….”

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Out-of-State Applicants Swarmed Missouri’s Social Equity Cannabis Lottery

#cannabisindustry – “Business owners from California, Michigan, Louisiana, Arizona and elsewhere took a liking to Missouri’s recent social equity cannabis licensing process, according to a state report released Jan. 3.

While the state’s 48 microbusiness licenses were designed to allow marginalized or under-represented individuals to participate in Missouri’s adult-use marketplace, nearly 41% of owners listed on 1,625 applications were from out of state, Chief Equity Officer Abigail Vivas revealed in her annual activity report.

Overall, 1,898 owners were listed on the 1,625 applications, with 118 coming from California, 110 from Michigan, 89 from Louisiana and 87 Arizona. While one application could include more than one owner, no owner could appear on more than one application….”

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Fourth suspect arrested as probe over Oakland officer’s killing continues

#californiacannabis – “A Bay Area man has been arrested on burglary charges stemming from the cannabis business break-in that preceded the fatal shooting of Oakland police Officer Tuan Le as three other suspects made their first court appearances Thursday.

Marquise Cooper, 34, was arrested on a burglary warrant in Southern California on Wednesday night, and authorities intend to transport him to Alameda County. Prosecutors have not yet decided whether to charge Cooper, who was identified as a suspect in last week’s burglary after cellphone data placed him at the scene.

His arrest came as Alameda County prosecutors announced murder charges against Mark Demetrious Sanders, 27, and Allen Starr Brown, 28, as well as burglary charges against 30-year-old Sebron Russell, all related to the burglary and killing of Le on Dec. 29.

Sanders, Russell and Cooper have been co-defendants before — they were jointly charged in a strikingly similar marijuana grow house burglary in Pittsburg in 2021, court records show….”

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Defending Psychedelics: Congress Includes Psychedelic Provisions in Defense Authorization Act

#psychedelics – “We told you it may be coming, though we were admittedly cynical about the ability to pass a bill funding psychedelic research given the current political landscape — a narrowly controlled Democratic Senate that is generally considered more conservative than the House and on the eve of an election year. But, it happened. Just before Christmas, President Joe Biden signed into law the 2024 National Defense Authorization Act to the tune of $886 billion. The NDAA passed through Congress with strong bipartisan support.

You may have read that the NDAA left out certain parts of the act that some in Congress claimed addressed “divisive social issues.” And it certainly left out certain provisions the cannabis industry would have liked to have seen included — including a separate section to create a medical cannabis pilot program for veterans. What you may not have realized, though, is what the NDAA did include, such as funding for psychedelic treatment studies for members of the U.S. military with post-traumatic stress disorder or traumatic brain injuries.

Admittedly, the psychedelic component of the NDAA is small. But it shouldn’t be discounted. The law requires that the Department of Defense establish a process under which military service members with PTSD or traumatic brain injuries can participate in clinical trials involving psychedelics, including psilocybin and MDMA, as well as any “qualified plant-based alternative therapies.” The 2024 NDAA devotes $10 million to these efforts, which is certainly not an insignificant sum. DOD is also allowed to partner with eligible state or federal agencies and academic institutions to carry out the clinical trials. This could significantly expand the scope of the contemplated studies….”

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Industry Attorney Weighs in on Possible Cannabis Rescheduling Timeline: ‘It Normally Takes Years and Years for This to Get Done’

#cannabispolitics – “While some have speculated that the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is on the cusp of deciding whether to accept or reject the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recommendation to reschedule cannabis under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), Shane Pennington, partner at Porter Wright Morris & Arthur LLP, has a different perspective. He believes it could be after the 2024 presidential election before federal officials come to a decision on cannabis’s Schedule I status.

As Cannabis Business Times previously reported, the HHS recommended in August that cannabis be reclassified under the CSA, which currently lists cannabis as a Schedule I drug alongside heroin and LSD. HHS officials have not confirmed publicly the details of its recommendation, but Bloomberg, which broke the news, reported that it viewed an unredacted letter sent to the DEA that indicated a suggested move to Schedule III. The DEA must now decide whether it will accept or reject that recommendation, a process that Pennington says may take longer than industry stakeholders would like….”

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Navajo Nation charges 2 tribal members with illegally growing marijuana as part of complex case

#cannabis – “Authorities on the largest Native American reservation in the U.S. have charged two tribal members with illegally growing marijuana on the Navajo Nation, marking just the latest development in a years-long case that also has involved allegations of forced labor.

Tribal prosecutors announced the charges Thursday, claiming that Navajo businessman Dineh Benally and farmer Farley BlueEyes had operated a massive marijuana growing operation in and around Shiprock, New Mexico. The two men were expected to be arraigned on the charges in late January, prosecutors said.

Benally had previously been charged for interference with judicial proceedings after a Navajo judge granted a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction in 2020 that was aimed at halting operations at the farms in northwestern New Mexico…..”

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Cannabis Retailers Now Massively Overpaying Excise Tax, California Lawsuit Claims

#californiacannabis – “If a vape pen is sold for $40 at a California cannabis dispensary but only contains $5 of actual cannabis oil, should retailers be collecting the state’s 15% cannabis excise tax on the entire purchase?

This question is at the heart of a lawsuit filed Dec. 28 by HNHPC Inc., which operates one of Catalyst Cannabis Co.’s 26 branded dispensaries in the Golden State, where a fight to exclude “cannabis accessories” from the state’s cannabis excise tax is now in the Superior Court of California, Orange County…..”

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