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Florida Needs a New Approach to the Opioid Problem
Unfortunately, Bondi misdiagnosed both the problem and the solution. And new state Attorney General Ashley Moody seems determined to continue these mistakes.
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Cannabis-Impaired Driving: A Common Sense Approach
It’s important to remove impaired drivers from the road without unfairly implicating the unimpaired. With per se limits, that involves establishing a direct and parallel relationship between blood levels of THC and levels of impairment. Using the data from DUI arrests, researchers have studied this very relationship. Overall, they find that per se laws face many challenges when cannabis’s metabolic factors are taken into account. Unlike alcohol, cannabis is stored in the fatty tissues of the body. This characteristic means that cannabis compounds, including the psychoactive THC, store and are detectable long term, up to a month or longer of abstinence. Research on frequent and long-term recreational cannabis users finds that, since cannabis stores in the fatty tissues of the body and can be released long after sobriety, chronic users maintain a certain amount of measurable THC in their plasma at all times, even while sober, sometimes exceeding the typical per se standard of 5 ng. In fact, NHTSA found specifically that “THC levels of a few nanograms per milliliter (ng/ml) in blood can result …from chronic use where no recent ingestion has occurred and no impairment is present.” In a state with per se limits, such drivers, while not impaired, would be assumed impaired and prosecuted under per se laws, without evidence of impairment.
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Nevada's Banking Bill is Not a Viable Solution
Over the past few years, I’ve been an entrepreneur in the legal marijuana industry in Nevada and elsewhere. I can tell you firsthand how incredibly frustrating it can be to operate in an industry for which banking services are generally unavailable. Actions that most entrepreneurs take for granted, like making deposits, transferring payments, remitting employee payroll tax withholdings or sending earnings distributions to out-of-state investors, become incredibly difficult and dangerous when it all must be done by physically moving cash. Unfortunately, however, the proposal would mostly fail to solve the legitimate needs of the industry and would not improve the physical safety at marijuana dispensaries. The reasons for this are not shortcomings of the legislation itself, per se, but limitations inherent to a banking system that is predominantly regulated at the federal level. Understanding this history is important because any attempt at a marijuana bank in Nevada would likely run into similar complications. SB 437 essentially abandons hope of a marijuana bank receiving a Federal Reserve master account and only authorizes the bank to issue limited checks that would not go through the Fed clearinghouse. Those checks would only be payable to state and local governments for taxes and to certain in-state vendors who could only cash them at the marijuana bank. This means the marijuana bank would mostly be a glorified vault for marijuana businesses. This isn’t the type of fix that will improve the safety of marijuana businesses or their customers. The bill also requires the proposed bank or credit union to acquire deposit insurance. It’s unlikely that would happen unless the institution plans to serve a much broader population.
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