Cannabis Co. Trulieve Sued In Mass. Over Worker’s Death and More

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:

Commerce city manager, tied up in federal cannabis probe, abruptly resigns

#californiacannabis – “Commerce City Manager Edgar Cisneros, entangled in a federal cannabis corruption probe of public officials, has quietly resigned the position he held for six years.

Cisneros stepped down during a closed meeting late Friday, a day that City Hall is typically closed. The city has yet to announce the departure on its website or social media, though Cisneros submitted a resignation letter at the time and the City Council formally accepted it.

The city declined to release copies of the letter or the terms of Cisneros’ separation, claiming the agreement between the two sides has not been finalized yet.

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Cannabis Co. Trulieve Sued In Mass. Over Worker’s Death

#cannabislawsuit – “The family of a woman who died last year of an asthma attack that began while she worked in a Massachusetts cannabis processing plant has sued the marijuana company and its contractors in state court, alleging that their misconduct and negligence was responsible for her death.

The lawsuit, filed on Tuesday in Hampden County, Massachusetts, Superior Court accuses publicly traded multistate marijuana giant Trulieve of gross negligence, recklessness and willful and wanton misconduct resulting in the death of Lorna L. McMurrey, who died at age 27 in January 2022.”

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USDA is giving some farmers an ultimatum: Grow hemp or marijuana

#hemp – “American farmers seized the opportunity to grow hemp after it was legalized in the 2018 farm bill, hoping the potentially lucrative crop could help keep their businesses afloat.

But now, the U.S. Department of Agriculture is revoking hemp licenses for some farmers who have also chosen — in states where it’s legal — to grow hemp’s federally illegal cousin: marijuana.

Some farmers say the USDA’s interpretation of federal law has yanked a financial life raft from under them.

“It was definitely a huge blow to our business,” said Sam Bellavance, a cannabis farmer in Vermont who had separate licenses to grow both marijuana and hemp before USDA rescinded the latter earlier this year.

Bellavance estimates that he will lose at least $250,000 in revenue due to the license revocation….”

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Genetic risks behind ‘cannabis use disorder’ found in huge study

#cannabisresearch – “Scientists have pinpointed gene variants tied to the risk of developing cannabis use disorder, in which people build up tolerance to weed and struggle to cut back despite negative impacts on their life and health.

The disorder has formal diagnostic criteria in the manual for mental health disorders. But “roughly, what it means is cannabis use that becomes problematic and involves tolerance or other biological signs of dependence, like withdrawal,” Dr. Joel Gelernter, a professor of genetics and neuroscience at Yale University School of Medicine and researcher with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (UDVA), told Live Science.

To probe potential genetic risks of the disorder, Gelernter and colleagues drew data from the Million Veterans Program, which gathers genetic and medical data from U.S. veterans, as well as other large datasets….”

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Study Finds Increased Brain Connectivity in Regular Cannabis Users

#cannabisresearch – “In a study published earlier this month, researchers aimed to examine the influence of cannabis use on the connectivity of areas in the brain associated with empathy and that also contain many CB1 receptors (1). The study, titled “Empathy-related differences in the anterior cingulate functional connectivity of regular cannabis users when compared to controls,” was published in the Journal of Neuroscience Research on November 8, 2023 (1). Citing negative associations between cannabis and mental health, the researchers for this study stated that the results demonstrated some potential therapeutic benefits of cannabis and its positive effects on relationships (1).

Researchers studied a total of 136 participants, 85 of whom used cannabis regularly, using the Cognitive and Affective Empathy Test to analyze their ability to empathize with others (1). They also examined MRI images taken from a smaller sample, 46 regular cannabis users and 34 controls, of the original population (1). According to the study’s results, the participants who used cannabis showed greater connectivity in areas of the brain associated with empathy (1)…”

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New York Moves to Relieve Cannabis Businesses on Two Fronts

#cannabisregulation – “Even though adult-use cannabis is legal in the state of New York, marijuana is still considered an illegal controlled substance at the federal level, and that leads to numerous problems for the state’s legal cannabis companies.

To assist in two areas where those companies encounter problems — banking and taxes — the state has passed new laws that take effect immediately.

The first law provides New York City cannabis companies with tax relief by allowing them to deduct certain business expenses for city tax purposes, a privilege not permitted under federal law.

The Internal Revenue Code prohibits businesses selling products classified as Schedule I controlled substances from deducting certain business expenses for purposes of computing federal taxable income.

Because New York City’s Business Corporation Tax, General Corporation Tax and Unincorporated Business Tax subject a business to tax on its entire federal taxable income, the fact businesses cannot deduct business expenses at the federal level means they will also pay higher taxes at the local level….”

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Federal Government Continues to Withhold Key Cannabis Scheduling Recommendation Letter Despite FOIA Requests, Lawsuit

#cannabispolitics – “After nearly three months, multiple public records requests and a lawsuit, the U.S. federal government has still not released an unredacted version of the widely reported letter detailing the U.S. Health and Human Services recommendation to reschedule cannabis.

HHS confirmed in an email Aug. 30 to Cannabis Business Times that it “expeditiously responded to President Biden’s directive to HHS Secretary [Xavier] Becerra and provided its scheduling recommendation for marijuana to the DEA [Drug Enforcement Administration] on August 29, 2023.”

But after email correspondence between CBT, HHS and DEA, as well as Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests to both the HHS and DEA from CBT and others, neither agency has confirmed if HHS recommended reclassifying cannabis from a Schedule I to a Schedule III substance in the Controlled Substances Act, as Bloomberg first reported after seeing but not obtaining the letter. No other media outlets have reported seeing nor obtaining a copy of the HHS letter to the DEA….”

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