Amazon, Human Rights Watch push for MORE Act • Washington regulators OK joints as vaccine incentive • & more…

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Amazon comes out in support of the MORE Act. 

On June 1, the company published a post with the headline: “Update on our vision to be Earth’s Best Employer and Earth’s Safest Place to Work.”

It read:

“In addition to changing our Time off Task policy, we’re adjusting our drug testing policy. In the past, like many employers, we’ve disqualified people from working at Amazon if they tested positive for marijuana use. However, given where state laws are moving across the U.S., we’ve changed course. We will no longer include marijuana in our comprehensive program for any positions not regulated by the Department of Transportation, and will instead treat it the same as alcohol use. We will continue to do impairment checks on the job and will test for all drugs and alcohol after any incident.

And because we know that this issue is bigger than Amazon, our public policy team will be actively supporting The Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act of 2021 (MORE Act)—federal that would marijuana at the federal level, expunge criminal records, and invest in impacted communities. We hope that other employers will join us, and that policymakers will act swiftly to pass this law.”

+ Context: The MORE Act was reintroduced in Congress last month, as Cannabis Wire recently reported. The House passed the previous version of the Act in late 2020, as Cannabis Wire reported at the time.  

Human Rights Watch, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights call for MORE Act passage.

HRW wrote a letter to House leadership in Congress that urged them to pass the MORE Act.

Laura Pitter, the deputy director of HRW’s US program, wrote: “The passage of the MORE Act represented a landmark step toward a rights-respecting criminal legal system while furthering racial justice and equity. Human Rights Watch again calls upon members of Congress to take the necessary steps to further racial justice by swiftly ending marijuana prohibition and repairing the harm it has caused.”

Another letter came from The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, which is a coalition of more than 200 groups.

In a letter sent to House leadership, the Conference wrote: “The MORE Act represents a historic opportunity to address the decades of harm perpetrated by federal marijuana criminalization on communities of color and low-income communities. Now is the time for the House to pass the MORE Act once again. We strongly urge House leadership to support the passage of the bill and schedule the bill for a vote in June.”

Washington regulators allow cannabis shops to provide joints with vaccines.

On Monday, Washington’s Liquor and Cannabis Board sent an email that notified stakeholders that it has “received multiple requests” from cannabis shops seeking to “encourage COVID-19 vaccinations.” 

Therefore, the Board continued, “Effective immediately, the LCB is providing a limited allowance for retail cannabis licensed businesses to offer COVID-19 vaccination clinics at the retail store, and offer one joint at no cost to customers who receive a COVID-19 vaccination at the promotional clinic.”

The permission ends in mid-July.

Michigan’s cannabis sales tax will fund $20 million in research on veterans and cannabis. 

Michigan’s Marijuana Regulatory Agency released a Request for Proposals related to the 2021 Veteran Marijuana Research Grant Program.

These grants, totaling $20 million, are funded by adult use cannabis legalization, specifically a 10% excise tax on adult-use cannabis sales.

Washington State University formally launches Center for Cannabis Policy, Research, Outreach.

While cannabis research is rapidly increasing in- and outside of academic institutions across the country (and world), Washington State University is among the first to invest heavily in this area. 

This is due in large part to the text of I-502, the state’s cannabis legalization initiative that voters passed in 2012, the same year that Colorado voters legalized cannabis for adult use, too. But unlike Colorado, Washington’s law imposed the heaviest tax on adult use cannabis to-date, and directed millions in cannabis tax revenue toward research, including at Washington State University.

The University officially approved the formal launch of the Center for Cannabis Policy, Research, Outreach (CCPRO) in May, and the Center will support nearly 100 researchers’ work on cannabis. 

“WSU is one of the leading universities in the country on cannabis research,” said Michael McDonell, CCPRO’s director, in a statement. “The center status recognizes our researchers’ outstanding, multi-disciplinary scholarship on cannabis. It also brings together under one center work on everything from research focused on the impact of cannabis on development to scholarship on cannabis and public safety, as well as our growing hemp research.”

The university’s researchers have received nearly $10 million in funding for fifty projects since 2014.

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