420 with CNW – Washington State Halts Marijuana Research in Order to Respond to Coronavirus Outbreak

April 14, 2020 16:20:29

The past month or two hasn’t been easy for a lot of countries. The Coronavirus pandemic has infected over 1.9 million people worldwide and claimed at least 118,000 lives, and experts say the virus may infect up to 70% of the world’s population. Even before the virus had left South Asia, most of the world was experiencing supply chain disruptions and the economic fallout has only gotten worse as the virus spreads.

Now, with healthcare systems almost collapsing and all but the most essential businesses closed down, the economy is taking quite a hit. The U.S. has become the epicenter of the outbreak, and the federal and state governments have had to provide funds to support healthcare facilities as well as aid to in-need citizens. While such measures are necessary to get through the pandemic, they have thrown most budgets into disarray.

In Washington, for instance, the governor has had to cut funding for a variety of programs so funds can be diverted to the Coronavirus response. This included a cannabis research provision that would have provided $100,000 funding for the University of Washington and Washington State University to “collaborate on cannabis policy, research. And outreach to create frameworks for future studies.”

The budget stated that the research was to explore “impairment due to marijuana use and the correlation between age of use, the dosage of use, and appearance of occurrence of cannabis-induced psychosis,” with a report to the legislature on the development of these frameworks due by December 1.

“These are difficult and challenging times, and we must make difficult and challenging choices. Under normal circumstances, I would not veto bills and budget items that are good policy and smart investments for the state. As everyone knows, these are not normal times,” Washington Governor Jay Inslee said.

“As we address the health crisis, we must also look ahead to ease as much fiscal pain as we can. It is all but certain that we will need to make adjustments to our next budget cycle and we must get started now.”

The governor used his inline veto to trim $235 million from the 2020 supplemental operating budget that the Legislature had approved last month, and the vetoes will trim another $210 million in the state’s next two-year budget. A total of 147 items were vetoed, reducing a total of $445 million in spending over the next three years.

This halt to funding research is likely to disappoint cannabis sector actors like Champignon Brands Inc. (CSE: SHRM) (OTC: SHRMF) (FWB: 496) who would like the academic to play a bigger role in shaping cannabis policy in different jurisdictions.

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