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Should the U.S. consider marijuana a lower-risk drug?

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The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has proposed a relaxation of restrictions on marijuana, marking a significant step following a review request from the Biden Administration last year.

As the trend toward legalisation gains momentum across nearly 40 U.S. states, the move could signal a pivotal shift in marijuana’s legal status both at state and federal levels.

While marijuana has been legalised for various forms of use in almost 40 U.S. states, it remains prohibited in certain states and under federal law.

The HHS’s recommendation to reclassify marijuana reflects a push to acknowledge its potential benefits while demoting its perceived risks, in alignment with a growing majority of Americans who support broader legalisation.

The HHS conveyed its scheduling recommendation to the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) on Tuesday, as per President Biden’s directive.

The DEA, tasked with enforcing drug-related laws, possesses the authority to schedule or reschedule drugs under the Controlled Substances Act.

Presently designated as a schedule I drug, on par with heroin and LSD, marijuana’s classification implies high potential for abuse and lacks accepted medical applications.

The HHS’s proposal, in contrast, suggests a reclassification of marijuana to acknowledge its moderate to low potential for dependence and reduced abuse likelihood, likening it to substances such as ketamine and testosterone.

Should federal regulations around marijuana become more lenient, it could open doors for cannabis-related businesses. Major stock exchanges might allow the listing of such enterprises, and international companies could potentially enter the U.S. market.

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre emphasised that the administration’s process is rooted in evidence and led by independent bodies such as HHS and the Department of Justice.

North of the border, cannabis has gained legal status in Canada, creating a haven for publicly traded cannabis businesses. Many of these Canadian entities are poised to expand into the U.S. market if federal legalisation progresses.

News of the proposed shift triggered a surge in the stock prices of various cannabis companies. Notable firms like Canopy Growth, Tilray Brands, and Cronos Group experienced stock price increases, while entities such as Verano Holdings and Sunburn Cannabis expressed support for the HHS’s move.

George Archos, CEO of Verano Holdings, articulated the sentiment shared among advocates for marijuana reform, citing the outdated scheduling status of cannabis as a hindrance and emphasising the harm caused by the historical “War on Drugs.”

The HHS’s recommendation marks a notable development in the ongoing dialogue surrounding marijuana’s legal status in the United States, potentially setting the stage for a broader reconsideration of its classification and the resulting implications.

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BREAKING: Shots ring out at Trump rally

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Donald Trump was whisked off the stage at a rally in Butler, Pennsylvania after loud noises rang through the crowd.

Trump was showing off a chart of border crossing numbers when bangs started ringing through the crowd. Trump could be seen reaching with his right hand toward his neck. There appeared to be blood on his face.

He quickly ducked behind the riser as agents from his protective detail rushed the stage and screams rang out from the crowd. The bangs continued as agents tended to him on stage.

His motorcade has left the venue.

In a statement, Trump says he is “fine” and says he is being checked at a medical facility.

Donald Trump was safe, the U.S. Secret Service and his campaign said on Saturday after multiple shots rang out at a rally by the Republican presidential candidate in Pennsylvania as video showed Trump grimacing and raising a hand to his right ear.
The former president had just started his speech when gunshots erupted and Trump and other rally attendees hit the deck. Secret Service agents swarmed around him and live video showed blood on the right side of Trump’s face and ear.
 
Trump repeatedly raised his fist in the air, with an American flag visible behind him, as security ushered him away.
“The Secret Service has implemented protective measures and the former president is safe,” a spokesperson for the agency said on X after what it called an incident.
“This is now an active Secret Service investigation and further information will be released when available.”

A map of the site, showing where the alleged gunman was situated compared to Donald Trump.

CNN reported that Trump was injured, but gave no other details. It was not clear how or what injuries he may have sustained.

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NASA astronauts phone home, confident Boeing’s Starliner will return to Earth safely

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Stranded NASA astronauts express confidence in Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft, assuring its capability to safely transport them back to Earth from the International Space Station.

The astronauts, over a video call to NASA, highlighted Starliner’s enhanced safety features and testing protocols as reassuring factors for their safe return.

“I have a real good feeling in my heart that this spacecraft will bring us home, no problem…”, said Sunita “Suni” Williams, one of the stranded NASA astronauts.

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Franchising vs. Independent: key differences to choosing the right SMB model

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With latest Australian Federal budget, many SMB’s are weighing their options when selecting a suitable business model.

Franchising provides brand recognition, operational support, and economies of scale but involves ongoing fees.

Independent businesses offer full control and profit retention but face higher costs and regulatory challenges.

For risk and reward, the franchising model reduces risk through established practices and support but involves ongoing fees and profit-sharing with the franchisor.

On the alternative, independent businesses retain full control of profits but face higher risks and responsibilities in managing the business.

Sonia Shwabsky, CEO at Kwik Kopy Australia, joins to share her key insights on SMB’s. #featured

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