Former NY cannabis policy maker is FDA’s new cannabis research and regulation advisor

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Former NY cannabis policy maker is FDA’s new cannabis research and regulation advisor

The FDA has appointed Norman Birenbaum to be its senior public health advisor on cannabis research and regulatory actions, reports Benzinga. This is the first time the FDA has hired a cannabis research and regulation advisor. 

Benzinga highlights that the appointment of Birenbaum, former New York State cannabis program director, signals more FDA action and involvement in cannabis matters. Birenbaum previously served on the staff of Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and was a chief cannabis policy advisor to governors of New York and Rhode Island leading the cannabis regulation agencies in both states.


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WHO THINKS WHAT?

Where do the congressional candidates stand on cannabis reform?

Brookings has coded each candidate on a four-point scale: whether they supported legalization or decriminalization of cannabis, whether they supported medical legalization only, whether their position was complex or indecipherable, and whether they failed to mention the issue at all. 

As state legislatures and voters via referendums have enacted changes to cannabis laws, the issue has become more popular even in the halls of Congress. However, cannabis reform advocates’ frequent stupefaction at the lack of progress at the federal level bumps up against a stark reality. 

Most candidates for federal office do not see cannabis as an issue prominent enough to discuss, and deep partisan differences still remain among elected officials, even as support for cannabis in the general public has exploded in recent years.


RED TAPE

Legacy farmers still being kept out of the legal market

Even after nearly four years of legalization, small growers say the government hasn’t done enough to make the cannabis market more accessible, reports the National Post

It highlights that craft growers agree the government isn’t doing enough to make the market more accessible — particularly when supplanting the black market was a key plank in the Trudeau Liberals’ cannabis legalization plans even before forming government in 2015.

“If they really wanted to get rid of the black market, they would have more support for growers to transition,” stated Tara Kirkpatrick, one of BC’s legacy craft cannabis growers.


JUST A FRONT

Illicit cannabis operations using front companies according to intelligence agency

Canada’s financial intelligence agency says a wide range of businesses — from food wholesalers to electronics repair services — are being used to disguise the proceeds of illicit cannabis operations, reports CP24

In a new operational alert, the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada, known as Fintrac, warns banks and others that handle cash to be on the lookout for various clues that dealings are linked to the black-market cannabis trade. 

Front companies used most frequently to launder proceeds included e-commerce businesses in the beauty and wellness industry, food and beverage wholesalers, automotive-related businesses, electronics repair services, construction-related firms, and those in marketing, advertising and consulting.


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