SCOTUS Denies Certiorari to Dispensary Owner Seeking Citizenship 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:

DEA Considers Reclassifying Cannabis, Boosting Legal Industry and Research

#cannabispolitics – “Rescheduling would give a big boost to the legal cannabis industry in a few different ways; chiefly, it would allow cannabis companies to write business expenses off on their federal taxes. Among other benefits, it would also make life much easier for cannabis researchers who currently work under onerous restrictions.

It might sound bizarre that serious cannabis reform is in the hands of the DEA, historically the government’s literal army in the War on Drugs. But that’s the agency that makes scheduling decisions like this under the Controlled Substances Act. And it seems more likely than not that it will follow through.”

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SCOTUS Denies Certiorari to Dispensary Owner Seeking Citizenship (UPDATED)

#cannabispolitics – “Lost among the many, many cases denied certiorari by the United States Supreme Court in its order list for the week of Monday, January 8, 2024 was Reimers V. U.S. Citizen & Immigration Services, a case the plaintiff was desperately hoping would be seen by SCOTUS as the perfect opportunity to right an injustice by a government agency that was following rigidly interpreted rules and probably never intended to harm an innocent person, especially not a 45-year-old mother of two with permanent resident status in the United States and no criminal record. However, it did not follow that narrative.

Maria Elena Reimers, who emigrated legally to the United States from El Salvador in 2004, is also a Washington state dispensary owner, and for that reason alone she was denied the right to become a naturalized citizen after applying in 2017. Her application was denied the following year. USCIS argued that because cannabis was a Schedule I drug under the Controlled Substance Act, Reimers was an ‘illicit trafficker of a controlled substance,” which by definition meant that she lacked the ‘good moral character’ required for U.S. citizenship….”

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Over 500 pounds of unlicensed cannabis seized in raid at garden supply in Fresno

#californiacannabis – “Over 500 pounds of unlicensed cannabis was seized Wednesday morning during a raid at a garden supply in Fresno.

A search warrant was served at Gro More Garden Supply by the California Department of Cannabis Control on Clovis Avenue, just north of Clinton Avenue….”

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California judge rules against feds in psychedelic tea case

#psychedelics – “A federal magistrate judge on Tuesday denied the government’s motion to dismiss a case involving a California church’s use of a plant-based, psychedelic tea.

The Church of the Celestial Heart sued U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland and other officials last year after a shipment of ayahuasca, the church’s sacramental tea, was intercepted by law enforcement. Jade Osborne — the intended recipient of the tea and wife of pastor Kai Karrel — was arrested in 2021 by Tulare County authorities and criminally charged, though no formal accusations have followed.

Osborne, the church and others argue in their suit filed in April 2023 that the government has forced them to choose between following the tenets of their religion or foregoing their beliefs over threats of civil or criminal penalties….”

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D.C. Council Passes New Penalties For Unlicensed Cannabis Gifting Shops

#cannabisindustry – “The D.C. Council unanimously passed emergency legislation on Tuesday that would empower city officials to penalize unlicensed marijuana gifting shops that have not applied to the city’s medical cannabis program. The bill, which takes near-immediate effect, would treat cannabis businesses similarly to how the city treats businesses with liquor licenses.

The council in 2022 expanded the city’s medical marijuana program to lift the cap on the number of dispensaries in the city and give gifting stores — which are retailers where anyone can buy, say, a sticker or t-shirt and be “gifted” weed — the opportunity to apply for a medical marijuana license. Lawmakers were trying to find a way to regulate an illicit “gray” market, one that D.C. has not been able to remedy largely due to congressional interference.

The law says gifting outlets that don’t apply for the program or meet its qualifications would be subject to civil enforcement. More than a year in, there is ambiguity over which government agency should deal with the businesses that continue to operate without a license, according to Ward 6 Councilmember Charles Allen. So Allen introduced emergency legislation that, among other things, authorizes the Alcohol Beverage and Cannabis Administration to issue warnings, fines, and cease-and-desist orders to unlicensed businesses that have not applied to the medical cannabis program….”

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The Continuing Negative Impact of Federal and State Taxation on the Cannabis Industry; Where Do We Go from Here?

#federallegalization – “The cannabis industry has experienced significant growth over the past decade, with increasing numbers of states legalizing both medical and recreational use. Currently, cannabis is legal for adults in 24 states and the District of Columbia, and medical cannabis is legal in 38 states and the District of Columbia. However, despite the industry’s rapid expansion, it faces a unique and significant challenge in the form of Internal Revenue Code Section 280E (IRC §280E).[1] This federal tax code provision has a profound negative impact on the profitability of cannabis businesses and causes those businesses to constantly evaluate their operational strategies. In addition to IRC §280E and other federal tax challenges, the industry also faces significant state tax burdens….”

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Thailand seeks public opinion on draft to end recreational cannabis use

#cannabispolitics – “Thailand is canvassing public opinion on a draft bill outlawing recreational use of cannabis after more than a year in which marijuana-related businesses flourished following legalisation and insufficient regulation.

The first Southeast Asian nation to decriminalise cannabis in 2021, Thailand spawned an industry worth up to a projected $1.2 billion in the next few years, as thousands of dispensaries sprang up, along with spas, restaurants and festivals.

Rushed and piecemeal rules adopted within a week of decriminalisation sought to curb its use but left loopholes for recreational use.

The changes, aiming to deliver on an election promise, come after Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin spoke out against recreational use amid concerns of drug abuse and vowed that his government would only support medical use….”

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California Judge Rules Against Feds in Suit Filed by Ayahuasca Church

#psychedelics – “A federal judge in California has ruled against a motion from the U.S. Attorney General’s office to dismiss a lawsuit filed by a church that uses the psychedelic brew ayahuasca as a sacrament. The suit was filed last year by the Church of the Celestial Heart after a shipment of ayahuasca to the church was intercepted by law enforcement officials.

The legal action, which names U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland and other federal officials as defendants in the case, was filed by Jade Osborne, the wife of the Church of the Celestial Heart’s pastor Kai Karrel and the intended recipient of the shipment. After the ayahuasca shipment was intercepted, Osborne was arrested and criminally charged in 2021 by authorities in Tulare County, although prosecutors have not filed formal charges.

Osborne, the church, and additional plaintiffs maintain in the lawsuit filed in April 2023 that the federal government is forcing them to choose between practicing their religion or going against their beliefs to avoid prosecution by law enforcement…”

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Marijuana Rescheduling: Process and Procedures To Know Now

#cannabislaw – “On October 6, 2022, President Biden made a statement in which he asked the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Attorney General to review how marijuana is scheduled under federal law. In his statement, the President appeared to express disappointment that marijuana is listed in the same schedule as “drugs that are driving our overdose epidemic” (Id.). It was highly anticipated that this review would lead to the rescheduling, or even de-scheduling, of marijuana. On August 29, 2023, HHS submitted its recommendation to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) that marijuana be rescheduled from Schedule I to Schedule III.

Most recently, as first reported by Punchbowl News, Michael Miller, the DEA’s lead liaison to Congress, wrote in a December 19, 2023 letter to House lawmakers that “DEA is now conducting its review,” and the DEA “has the final authority to schedule, reschedule, or deschedule a drug under the Controlled Substances Act, after considering the relevant statutory and regulatory criteria and HHS’s scientific and medical evaluation…”

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City Council ends anticipation on cannabis lounges

#californiacannabis – “City council made a decision on the highly anticipated item that some community members say they have waited years for.

The council passed its first motion that could ultimately allow cannabis lounges. The item will appear on the next consent agenda on Jan. 23 for a final vote on ordinance amendments allowing cannabis consumption lounges, curbside pickup, and provide updates to outdated provisions….”

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California shuts down testing at pot labs after state cannabis agency issues new guidelines

#californiacannabis – “Multiple California labs previously certified to test the potency of cannabis flowers fell out of compliance after the Department of Cannabis Control issued new guidelines aimed at combating labeling scams in the industry.

As of Jan. 4, 18 of the state’s 38 labs met the new requirements, according to the DCC’s website.

Labs that don’t meet the new guidelines will be blocked from testing cannabis flower, the smokable form of the drug that includes the plant’s buds and and noninfused pre-rolled joints. It’s considered to be the most popular category of legal weed, according to reports….”

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Vape Distributor Can’t Get Quick Win In Contract Dispute

#cannabislawsuit – “An Alabama federal judge has denied a bid by a vape distributor for summary judgment in its suit alleging that a wholesaler didn’t pay up on more than $100,000 in invoices for delivered products, saying there are a number of factual disputes left to resolve.

In a short order Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Annemarie Carney Axon of the Northern District of Alabama said Safa Goods LLC hasn’t put up undisputed evidence of its claims against Perfect Wholesale Inc. and must proceed to trial.

According to the order, still in dispute is whether the invoices represent valid contracts, whether Safa performed under the contracts, whether Perfect Wholesale actually accepted the goods, and whether the price was established in the contracts….”

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