Marijuana violations have taken over 10,000 truck drivers off the road this year, adding more supply chain disruptions

Delayed packages, bare grocery store shelves, and inflated prices have become the norm for American consumers over the past two years. While the COVID-19 pandemic has been the catalyst, there are other challenges causing supply chain issues, including a lack of truck drivers to transport goods from one place to another. In late 2021, the American Trucking Associations reported that the driver shortage had risen to an all-time high of 80,000, partly due to the aging population and shrinking wages.

In response, the Biden administration vowed in December to get more truck drivers on the road by boosting recruitment efforts and expediting the issuing of commercial licenses. However, that won’t have an effect on another hurdle: disparate marijuana laws across the U.S. that are contributing to an increase in violations. In 2022, a growing number of truckers are being taken off the job, which could soon worsen the already suffering supply chain.

As more states legalize recreational marijuana—four of which did so in the past year and three more are expected to by the end of 2022—more truck drivers have tested positive for the substance. As of April 1, 2022, 10,276 commercial vehicle drivers have tested positive for marijuana use. By the same time in 2021, there had been 7,750 violations. That’s a 32.6% increase year over year.

Truck drivers who travel cross-country face inconsistent state regulations as 19 states have legalized recreational marijuana and 37 states permit it for medicinal purposes. But even if a driver used marijuana or hemp-based products like CBD while off duty in a state where those substances are legal, they could still be faced with a violation due to the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) zero-tolerance policy at the federal level.

“While states may allow medical use of marijuana, federal laws and policy do not recognize any legitimate medical use of marijuana,” a DOT handbook for commercial vehicle drivers reads. “Even if a state allows the use of marijuana, DOT regulations treat its use as the same as the use of any other illicit drug.”

Stacker looked at what’s causing thousands of truckers to be removed from their jobs, and the looming domino effect of the continued supply chain disruptions.

Keep reading

Gov. Newsom Proposes Eliminating One of California’s Many Marijuana Taxes

The latest California budget submitted by Gov. Gavin Newsom could go a long way in fixing the state’s ailing recreational marijuana industry by fully eliminating an oppressive cultivation tax.

Newsom’s May revisions to the 2022–23 fiscal year budget call for some significant statutory changes to the state’s cannabis tax system. The biggest change would be zeroing out the cultivation taxes beginning in July. The excise tax of 15 percent would remain intact.

When Californians voted to legalize recreational marijuana cultivation and sales back in 2016, the industry ended up saddled with state and local taxes that make it inordinately costly to attempt to sell or buy cannabis legally. As a result, the black market for marijuana still dominates sales in a state where it’s legal to buy it. Industry analysts estimate about $8 billion in black market marijuana sales annually in California—double the amount of marijuana purchased through licensed dispensaries.

The cultivation tax has been consistently eyed by industry analysts as a problem. This particular tax is unique among agricultural products in California, and due to the legislation passed in 2017 to establish tax authorities, it’s regularly adjusted for inflation. As a result, cultivation tax rates actually increased at the start of 2022 despite this big black market problem.

Keep reading

Step by Step for Liberty: Cannabis Edition

In the early days of the state-level movement to legalize marijuana, we often got opposition from a surprising camp – libertarians.

You would think libertarians would be thrilled with laws rolling back cannabis prohibition, but for many, it wasn’t enough. Skeptical libertarians found a myriad of reasons to oppose legalization efforts, saying they “didn’t go far enough.”

The movement started in the early 1970s and really started to grow with the legalization of medical marijuana in California way back in 1996. Opponents protested, “what about everybody else?”

Some libertarians also opposed medical marijuana on principle, saying people shouldn’t need a state-issued “card” to access cannabis. They’re not wrong theoretically. Asking the government for permission is never desirable. But the fact is virtually all of these people carry a card so they can drive.

As the legalization movement grew and states started allowing recreational marijuana, libertarians often complained about the tax and regulatory schemes attached to cannabis legalization bills and used this as a reason to oppose reforms. Of course, you never heard any of these people arguing that it would be better for alcohol to be illegal rather than heavily taxed and regulated, as it is in most states.

Another common objection was that legalizing marijuana doesn’t help people who have already been convicted of marijuana crimes. Having a criminal record has lifelong consequences and millions of people have to go through life with this legal millstone tied around their necks simply because at some point they possessed or sold a plant. What about these people? Again, they would actively oppose legalization bills on this basis.

But think about the implied logic. We’re going to allow more people to get caught in this legal web because this bill doesn’t address the needs of people already caught in this legal web. Sounds self-defeating, doesn’t it?

In reality, all of these are legitimate concerns. These libertarian opponents were generally right about the problems inherent in most legalization schemes. They were good on the philosophy. But opposing legalization efforts because they “aren’t good enough” is a bad strategy.

Consider this: would a starving man turn down a slice of bread because it wasn’t a whole loaf?

Let’s be honest here. Today, we’re starving for liberty at every turn.

Sometimes you have to take what you get so you have the ability to move forward. If the man gets a slice of bread, he’ll have the energy to go for that loaf.

The same principle applies to legislative activism. Small steps forward often lead to more steps forward.

Thomas Jefferson understood this well. In fact, in a 1790 letter to the Rev. Charles Clay Jefferson said liberty is to be gained by inches.

Keep reading

Lawmakers strike the word ‘marijuana’ from all state laws, calling term racist

“Pot,” “weed,” “grass,” “Mary Jane,” “flower” — there is no shortage of terms to describe cannabis. However, Washington state is taking one word officially off the table: “marijuana.”

Legislators recently passed a law that changes every Revised Code of Washington with the word “marijuana.” The change gets rid of the term, swapping it out for the word “cannabis.”

Supporters say the word “marijuana” has a long history of racism.

“The term ‘marijuana’ itself is pejorative and racist,” said Washington state Rep. Melanie Morgan during testimony in 2021. Morgan is a Democrat representing the 29th Legislative District and sponsored the bill — House Bill 1210. Morgan discussed the history of the word, which originates from Spanish.

“As recreational marijuana use became more popular, it was negatively associated with Mexican immigrants,” Morgan said.

Governor Jay Inslee signed the bill that passed unanimously into law March 11. The changes will take effect in June.

Keep reading

Brave Entrepreneurs Openly Defy Licensing Laws and are Selling Cannabis Even Though it’s “Illegal”

So far, New Yorkers in 2022 have seen a massive increase in crime across the city. For the month of February 2022, New York City saw a 58.7% increase in overall index crime compared to February 2021. Every major index crime category saw an increase for the month of February 2022. Robbery increased by 56 percent, grand larceny increased by a whopping 79.2 percent, and grand larceny auto more than doubled, jumping up a massive 104.7 percent.

So, what are the politicians doing about it? Drafting legislation to shut down family-owned businesses for selling a plant. That’s right, currently, politicians in New York are moving through legislation to shut down honest mom and pop operations who would dare to sell a plant to a willing customer — without first paying the state for the privilege of doing so.

In March of 2021, New York legalized recreational marijuana and that’s where the progress stopped. Despite legalization, the state of New York requires businesses to obtain a license from the government before they can legally sell the plant. There’s only one problem… for an entire year, the state didn’t issue any licenses.

In the land of the free, attempting to earn money in certain professions without first paying the state for the privilege of doing so can and will get you kidnapped and extorted. These laws are applied to children behind lemonade stands as well as adults selling flowers. The state callously and with extreme prejudice has been documented arresting people, or even beating up women to enforce these licensing laws.

Instead of focusing on their rampant crime problem, legislators in New York are using their authority to continue this disturbing cycle. They are now going after unlicensed cannabis companies who dared to earn a living without first obtaining a license that didn’t exist.

The good news is that many folks aren’t waiting for the state to give them permission and are openly defying the licensing requirement — and they’re doing so successfully.

Keep reading

FDA Takes Only Months to Approve Pfizer Jab Yet Cannabis Remains Schedule 1 Despite Centuries of Data

Since Dec. 11, 2020, the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine has been available under the Food and Drug Administration’s Emergency Use Authorization in individuals 16 years of age and older, and the authorization was expanded to include those 12 through 15 years of age on May 10, 2021. On August 23, 2021, it was granted full approval by the FDA.

The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine now become the fastest created, deployed, and subsequently approved vaccination in history. Previously, the fastest vaccine to go from development to deployment was the mumps vaccine in the 1960s, which took about four years.

The swift approval of the vaccine illustrates just how fast the government can react if it wants to do so. On the contrary, however, there have been hundreds if not thousands of studies on the benefits of cannabis to safely treat multiple ailments and diseases, spanning the course of centuries, yet the FDA has failed to approve its use for anything.

To be clear, the FDA has approved patentable pharmaceutical synthetic compounds such as dronabinol. The pharmaceutical patented drugs Marinol and Syndros both use dronabinol which is nothing more than a chemical synthetic equivalent to delta-9- tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) — but the plant-based version you can grow in your own home remains off the list.

Keep reading

65 Teens, Arrested, Shackled, Jailed Because Cops Found a Small Bag of Weed Outside of a Party

House parties among teenagers and young adults are a part of growing up. When kids experience freedom from their parents for the first time, they will often make poor choices and this is a part of experiencing life so one can learn. Poor choices that cause harm to others are certainly not acceptable but when young people are experimenting with substances and make choices which have no victims, they should never have to worry about their lives being ruined over it. Unfortunately, for 65 young people in Cartersville, Georgia, they had no say in the matter when cops arrested all of them — despite none of them making any poor choices.

The nightmare for these 65 teenagers and young folks started back in 2017 as they gathered at a home to celebrate the New Year. As is common on New Year’s Eve, firecrackers can be heard going off all around town. Thought none of the teens involved in this party were popping fireworks, police used it as a reason to enter the home, without a warrant, claiming they heard gun shots.

When police came to the door that night, they had no evidence of a crime being committed, nor did they have reasonable suspicion. Nevertheless, they barged into the legally rented Airbnb, paid for by 21-year-old Deja Heard, who was celebrating her 21st birthday that night.

Officers had no warrant as the shut down the entire party and searched everyone. The only evidence of a crime — which is not a crime at all — was claimed when police found a small bag of weed in the front yard.

Because no one wanted to go to jail over a plant, no one fessed up, or perhaps the person who dropped it, left the party. Regardless, the solution proposed by the officers that night was to arrest everyone and charge them all with possession of marijuana. And they did exactly that.

These teens and young adults were then hauled off to jail, booked into the Bartow County lockup and shackled — for a small bag of weed found outside on the ground.

Keep reading

NIH spends $14 million to study reproductive effects of marijuana on macaques

This week’s Golden Horseshoe is awarded to the National Institutes of Health for a $14 million experiment last year on monkeys that included feeding them marijuana edibles and then monitoring the effects, according to the watchdog group Open The Books.

The primate marijuana experiment had two parts, according to an investigation by the White Coat Waste Project (WCWP).

In the first part, female macaques were served THC edibles daily for up to four months. They were then observed to see if any changes occurred in their menstrual cycles. 

In part two, male macaques were fed the edibles for up to seven months and then observed to see if any fertility changes occurred.

NIH awarded the two grants for the experiments. A $13.1 million grant was awarded to the Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU), and $1.1 million was awarded to the University of Missouri-Columbia.

“The White Coat Waste Project was only able to find the enormous price tag of this project by filing a complaint with the NIH,” wrote Open The Books CEO and founder Andrew Andrzejewski. “Federal law known as the Stevens Amendment requires labs to say what percent of the costs of the experiment come from taxpayer money, the dollar amount of taxpayer funds used, and the percent and amount of funding by non-governmental sources. The Oregon Health and Science University disclosed none of these figures in its reports announcing the research results.”

Andrzejewski also pointed out that since recreational marijuana is legal in Oregon, experiments could have been conducted on humans.

Keep reading