The global elite jumped on their Gulfstreams this week to descend on Davos, a small town of about 11,000 residents in the Swiss Alps, for the 50th annual World Economic Forum, a chance for the globe's richest people to rub shoulders and talk policy and investment with world leaders.
And for the second year in a row, the cannabis industry will have a seat at the table. One hundred of them, actually, in the Cannabis House, an exclusive industry-specific sidebar conference held in a swanky restaurant that's accessible only by cable car. According to the sponsors, this year's event aims to highlight "the economic role of cannabis in the future of healthcare, international trade, investment and environmental and resource security, with the goal of creating a fair and viable cannabis-related industry globally." And this folds into the framework of Davos 2020, which will roll out under an espoused theme of using "stakeholder capitalism" to usher in a "new era of sustainability" aimed at reversing the global climate crisis.
Perhaps underscoring the ridiculousness of the top 1 percent of the top 1 percent convening to talk sustainability, President Donald Trump offered one of the event's opening keynote addresses and used it to warn against "prophets of doom," by which he meant virtually all of the world's reputable scientists who believe the climate crisis is, in fact, real. "Fear and doubt is not a good thought process," Trump warned before boasting about the U.S. being one of the world's largest producers of natural gas.
So, yeah. It's against this backdrop that the Cannabis House event will ostensibly focus on how climate change has "opened people's eyes to hemp as a sustainable plant with innumerable uses for construction, industry and medicine," Saul Kaye, founder of CannaTech, which is sponsoring the event, said in a press release.
While we suppose it's possible leaders will emerge from the cable car leading back from Cannabis House with revolutionary plans for hemp-seed powered cars, biodegradable hemp plastics and some kind of giant reverse bong that will suck CO2 from the atmosphere, it seems far more likely they'll hop back on their private planes having plotted ways to get even richer.
In other news, medical researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital threw up a red flag for the estimated 2 million Americans with serious heart disease who use cannabis in a review published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
The researchers raised a host of concerns about both unknown effects of cannabis on the body and its interactions with other medications, noting that cannabis can effect how the body metabolizes drugs like statins, used to control cholesterol, and blood thinners. The biggest takeaway, according to cardiologist Muthiah Vaduganathan, who helped author the study, is that patients need to talk about cannabis use with their medical providers.
Meanwhile, Congress took another baby step toward sanity this week as the Health Subcommittee of the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce held a three-and-a-half-hour hearing on cannabis. Specifically, according to CNN Business, lawmakers "took a crack at cannabis' chicken-and-egg problem: Cannabis remains a Schedule 1 substance — the most restrictive class and identified as having no medical use — because of a lack of comprehensive research. Research, however, is hindered because of the Schedule 1 classification." [Those paying attention may recall we wrote about this last week ("The Need to Study Weed") after National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins lamented how little has been scientifically proven about the benefits and risks of cannabis due to federal prohibition.]
After the hearing, at which no policy decisions were made, Rep. Greg Walden (R-Oregon), provided the type of insight that proves he's entirely deserving of his $174,000 annual salary when he told CNN Business, "The states are way ahead of where we are federally."
Now, if only someone had the power to do something about that.
Thadeus Greenson is the Journal's news editor and prefers he/him pronouns. Reach him at 442-1400, extension 321, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @thadeusgreenson.