Federal Legalization Bill Enters Senate, WNBA Star Begins Russian Court Saga, and Zimbabwe Legalizes Hemp Products
July 29, 2022 08:00 am ET
Estimated Read Time: 4 Minutes
A U.S. Senate leader introduced a federal legalization bill, Brittney Griner’s Russian court proceedings began, and Zimbabwe legalized hemp products.
Let’s dive into this week’s cannanews.
Sen. Schumer Introduces Federal Legalization Bill
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has finally introduced his long-awaited federal cannabis legalization bill. Titled the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act (CAOA), the bill aims to lift the federal prohibition on cannabis and, in turn, leaves the issue of cannabis regulation up to the states. Though the CAOA only has a small chance of passing, its language is likely to find its way into future cannabis bills.
The first draft of the CAOA was unveiled just over a year ago. Since then, the CAOA has undergone various revisions in an effort to make it inclusive of both Democratic and Republican priorities. Still, the bill is likely to go through even more revisions, as Republicans have shown opposition to some of its statutes.
In its current iteration, the CAOA calls for the expungement of all federal cannabis-related charges and the creation of a social equity fund. Further, the bill designates funding for law enforcement to fight the illegal cultivation of cannabis and stipulates that the federal government create a standard for cannabis-impaired driving.
Should the bill pass the Senate and House, it is still not likely to become law. President Biden has repeatedly made it clear that he does not support federal cannabis legalization. Schumer, nonetheless, has told advocates not to lose hope should the bill fail. “I want to stress that this is the beginning of the legislative process, not the end,” Schumer told ABC News. “We are going to work hard to create support for our bill, and I hope we can make more progress towards cannabis reform in the future.”
What do you think of Schumer’s bill? Does it live up to your expectations? What part of the bill would you like to see make its way into future legislation? Let us know in the comments!
Brittney Griner Makes First Appearance in Russian Court
WNBA star Brittney Griner made her first appearance in Russian court earlier this week. The star athlete has been under Russian custody since she was arrested for cannabis possession back in February.
Griner’s defense team opened by arguing that the basketball star was in possession of cannabis for solely medical reasons. A narcology expert—brought on board to verify the defense team’s claims—confirmed that many athletes use cannabis for its pain-relieving properties. The expert added that medical cannabis’ popularity stems from its relative lack of side effects compared to traditional pain killers.
The following day, Griner recounted how Russian authorities made several legal missteps during her arrest. Griner testified that Russian law enforcement failed to read her her rights at the time of her arrest. She added that law enforcement then made her sign documents in Russian without providing a translator to read them to her first.
Griner says her treatment did not improve once she was fully under Russian custody and stated that Russian authorities immediately confiscated her phone, leaving her unable to contact her lawyer until the following morning. “At that point it felt like I was being held against my will,” Griner said. “I asked again what’s going on and when can I see my lawyer. I was then told I have to be interrogated.”
Griner’s next hearing is Aug. 2. Make sure to follow Veriheal to stay up to date with the developments in the Griner case.
Zimbabwe Legalizes Hemp Products
Zimbabwe has officially legalized the sale of hemp-based products for medical patients. The decision will help the country begin shifting its main cash crop from tobacco to cannabis over the next couple of years. If all goes according to plan, Zimbabwe’s Treasury says a fully formed hemp industry could net the country an extra $1.25 billion a year.
The country is encouraging all licensed cannabis and hemp companies to begin applying for approval to sell their hemp products. If approved, Zimbabwe plans to run regular inspections of these companies’ hemp products to ensure consumer safety. Zimbabwe officials are already reporting an influx of applications.
What do you think of Zimbabwe’s recent move to legalize hemp products? Do you think the decision will pay off in the long run? Let us know in the comments!
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