Bill Weinberg's blog

The Delta-8 Controversy

Delta-8Even as the edifice of cannabis prohibition crumbles state by state, the federal illegality of the plant and its psychoactive compound THC continues to drive a quest for loopholes in the relevant statutes.


The latest such legal artifice concerns Delta-8 tetrahydrocannabinol — a less potent cannabinoid than the more common and notorious Delta-9 THC. Is there truth to the claim that hemp-derived Delta-8 THC was inadvertently legalized by the 2018 Farm Bill?

New York state of euphoria: MRTA becomes law at last

Posted on March 30th, 2021 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , .

New YorkAfter years of activist effort, New York state finally passed the Marijuana Regulation & Taxation Act (MRTA), signed into law by a politically besieged Gov. Andrew Cuomo. This is being hailed as a victory by advocates, who pledge to craft a model of legalization that will dismantle a long legacy of racism and oppression under the prohibition regime.

Clausewitz and the cartels

Posted on March 25th, 2021 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , .

VoetenVeteran war photographer Teun Voeten has worked in conflict zones from Afghanistan and Iraq to Rwanda and Sierra Leone, to Haiti, Nicaragua and Colombia. Now he makes the leap into academia, with his newly published doctoral thesis, Mexican Drug Violence: Hybrid Warfare, Predatory Capitalism and the Logic of Cruelty. Voeten attempts to provide a theoretical framework for the unrelenting cartel wars that may now threaten an actual collapse of the government in the United States' southern neighbor.

Northeast legalization: New Jersey beats Empire State to punch

Posted on February 23rd, 2021 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , , , , .

New JerseyAfter a frustrating delay and deadlock in the statehouse, New Jersey finally answered the will of the voters in last year's referendum, and passed enabling legislation to create a regulated adult-use cannabis market. Activists are still dissatisfied with limits—most significantly, no provision for homegrown—and have concerns about how a "recreational" market will impact medical users. But the belated move is being hailed as a victory that ups the pressure on neighboring New York to follow through on pledges to legalize—and even on the federal government.

The Vilsack Attack?

hempWhat will Biden’s Agriculture Department Mean for Small Farmers and Hemp?

Progressives coast to coast breathed a heavy sigh of relief as Joe Biden took the oath of office, ending the turbulent and reactionary rule of Donald Trump over the past four years.

But hemp cultivation, like the rewriting and replacement of NAFTA, was one of the few areas that actually saw positive change in the Trump years—with bipartisan support. The 2018 Farm Bill that re-legalized the crop after generations of prohibition bore Trump’s signature.

And there are fears that Biden could mean a return to the Washington consensus of a corporate-friendly “free trade” status quo ante, shorn even of the limited populist measures of the Trump era.

For small farmers, including some hemp cultivators, Biden’s choice to lead the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) may provide a case in point.

UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs deschedules cannabis —partially

Planet WatchAt the annual Vienna meeting of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs, the governing body of the UN Office on Drugs & Crime (UNODCvoted Dec. 2 to strike cannabis from Schedule IV of the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, the global treaty regulating drug control policy.

Cannabis, ecology and the California fires

CaliforniaThe year 2020's record-breaking wildfires in California and other Western states have compounded the grim impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic—and have similarly been politicized. Thus far, the blow they have dealt to the burgeoning cannabis industry has been well weathered. But this will clearly pose a growing challenge in the years to come—as those parts of the country where legal cannabis cultivation is most advanced are also the most vulnerable to this devastating sign of ecological disequilibrium.

Montana's tortuous trail to legalization

Posted on November 8th, 2020 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , , , , .

MontanaVoters in Montana passed a ballot measure mandating legalization of adult-use cannabis. But there was a pre-emptive attempt in the state legislature to repeal it before it even passed. Montana's road to legalization has been a long and twisted one, and there may be further political fights ahead. 

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