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Industry News Update | November 2021

Hurdles for Michigan-based products, federal legalization, and mass pardons for non-violent convictions. Discover all that and more in November’s Industry News Update.

Reading Time - 5 min

November 2021 Industry News Update

Here’s a quick rundown if you need info and you need it ASAP

  1. Michigan businesses who want to manufacture cannabis products can ONLY use botanically derived terpenes (unless they want to source alternative FDA-approved flavoring ingredients or cannabis-derived terpenes from Michigan). 
  2. Considering the volatile nature of terpenes, this creates a huge challenge for Michigan manufacturers. 
  3. For manufacturers looking for botanically-sourced terpene options, our Native Series offers authentic cannabis flavor, aroma, and effects without any of the legal difficulties.
  4. A new Congressional Research Service report discusses whether or not President Biden has the authority to federally legalize cannabis without needing to wait on lawmakers. Spoiler—it’s tricky.
  5. A number of senators signed a letter encouraging the President to grant a mass pardon for those with non-violent cannabis convictions.

Michigan Marijuana Regulations Hinder Product Development 

If you’re a Michigan resident attempting to develop certain cannabis products, you may have already run into this issue. Currently, the Michigan Marijuana Regulatory Agency states,

All non-marihuana inactive ingredients must be clearly listed on the product label. Inactive ingredients, other than botanically derived terpenes that are chemically identical to the terpenes derived from the plant Cannabis Sativa L., must be approved by the FDA for the intended use, and the concentration must be less than the maximum concentration listed in the FDA Inactive Ingredient database for the intended use.

Essentially, it means Michigan product developers who want to manufacture cannabis products can ONLY use botanically derived terpenes (unless they want to source alternative FDA-approved flavoring ingredients). The other option is to use the natural flavoring from any plant matter used in the manufacturing of said products.

Unfortunately, that’s not always a viable option. The compounds that dictate each cannabis strain’s aroma, flavor, and effects (aka terpenes) are volatile. That means they’re easily damaged or destroyed during the manufacturing process. This leaves product developers with final products that rarely smell, taste, or feel like the original plant matter. For manufacturers who don’t want to rely on cannabis-derived terpenes from Michigan, this presents a big challenge.

Our Native Series collection delivers authentic cannabis flavor, aroma, and effects via botanically-derived terpene blends. Contact us today to discuss specific blends, product formulations, and/or shipping details.

Native Series Sample Kit | Abstrax Tech

Federal Cannabis Legalization

Yes, we’re talking about federal legalization AGAIN. With so much public support, and even support from several key political figures, it’s a topic that isn’t likely to die down until a definitive decision has been made.

At the moment, there’s a lot of discussion around WHEN federal legalization will happen and HOW. A new Congressional Research Service report discusses whether or not President Biden has the authority to federally legalize cannabis without needing to wait on lawmakers. 

Although the President cannot directly remove marijuana from control under federal controlled substances law, he might order executive agencies to consider either altering the scheduling of marijuana or changing their enforcement approach.

Both Congress and the executive branch can change the status of cannabis under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). However, if Biden wanted to alter controlled substances regulations, it’s likely he would accomplish that through executive order.

Unfortunately, the “CSA does not provide a direct role for the President in the classification of controlled substances, nor does Article II of the Constitution grant the President power in this area.” Basically, it’s a lot trickier for the President to directly deschedule or reschedule controlled substances. He could, however, use his influence to encourage other agencies to change their approach.

If Congress wishes to remove or scale back federal legal restrictions on marijuana beyond what the executive branch chooses to pursue, it has significant authority to do so. While the CSA does not grant the President the power to change the status of a controlled substance or the punishments for controlled substance offenses, Congress unquestionably holds the power to amend the CSA to reschedule or deschedule a controlled substance or change applicable penalties.

Mass Cannabis Pardons

Speaking of “penalties,” the voices calling for mass pardons for certain marijuana cases are getting louder and louder.

We hesitate to use profanity in such a professional capacity, but we think it’s fairly safe to say that the number of men and women (predominantly black males) incarcerated for non-violent marijuana crimes is BS. It appears that a number of senators agree with that sentiment.

A number of senators (including Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Sen. Ed Markey, and Sen. Jeff Merkley) signed a letter encouraging the President to grant a mass pardon for those with non-violent cannabis convictions. 

On November 10th, Sen. Warren tweeted, “For too long, our country's senseless cannabis laws have disproportionately punished Black & Brown communities. My colleagues & I are urging @POTUS to use his executive authority to issue a pardon for all non-violent federal cannabis offenses.”

The same Congressional Research Service report that discussed whether Biden had the authority to legalize cannabis also touches on this topic. It states, 

While the President cannot change the law as written, he has substantial control over how the law is enforced. For instance, the Constitution grants the President the power “to grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offences against the United States.” That clemency power extends to all federal offenses….It, therefore, appears that the President could provide clemency for some or all past federal marijuana-related offenses without making any changes to the CSA.

That being said, there’s still no response from President Biden to this senatorial request. 

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