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Republican Senators Sign Legislation to Impose Criminal Penalties for the Sale of “Cannabis Candy”, Cannabis Advocates Demand Action After Brittney Griner Sentenced, and Maryland Officials Make Changes to Medical Marijuana Program

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AP

Republican Senators Sign Legislation to Impose Criminal Penalties for the Sale of “Cannabis Candy”

Republican Senator Chuck Grassley has introduced legislation to increase criminal penalties for the manufacture and sale of Schedule 1 drugs in the form of candy edibles or drinks if there is reason to believe that the products could be sold to minors. More than a quarter of the U.S. Senate has signed the bill. While cannabis legalization advocates are in favor of measures taken to keep edibles out of the hands of youth, there is concern that legislation such as this could be abused by overzealous prosecutors to continue to wage war on cannabis use. If this bill becomes law, it would increase the penalty for a first offense for manufacturing candy-shaped or flavored cannabis edible by ten years if the product is sold to an individual under age 18. Advocates have also voiced concern over how such legislation would impact the CBD market. 

Cannabis Advocates Demand Action After Brittney Griner Sentenced

After being found guilty of possessing cannabis vape cartridges, basketball star Brittney Griner was sentenced to nine years in a Russian prison. The case has garnered international attention and advocates are putting pressure on the Biden Administration to take action to secure her release. The injustice of Griner’s case has also brought into focus the issue of U.S. cannabis laws that criminalize individuals for cannabis use. While marijuana laws in the U.S. may not be as severe as those in Russia, cannabis advocates argue that this case highlights the need for cannabis reform at the federal level. Martiza Perez, director of the office of federal affairs at the Drug Policy Alliance, said that our federal marijuana laws create an obstacle to protecting U.S. citizens abroad, as in Griner’s case. A Foreign Ministry spokesperson pointed out that the U.S. criminalization of cannabis makes it hypocritical for officials to decry Griner’s sentencing in Russia. 

Maryland Officials Make Changes to Medical Marijuana Program

Medical cannabis regulators in Maryland made changes to the program to benefit patients. The changes will lower the cost of renewing medical marijuana cards and make the process easier for patients. Officials with the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission made medical marijuana ID cards valid for six years instead of three. They also lowered the price of the cards from $50 to $25. Medical cannabis advocates in the state have been requesting these changes for years, and the hope is that the adjustments will increase patient numbers and sales for medical dispensaries.