AG Jeff Sessions says legalization framework is “Not too far from good policy”

Posted by | April 30, 2017 | Cannabis News, Weed Week News by Alex Halperin

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AG Jeff Sessions says legalization framework is “Not too far from good policy”

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Here’s the news:
Politics

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) met with U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions (R) to discuss legalization. A Hickenlooper aide said the main takeaway was that Sessions is not especially interested in disrupting the legal cannabis industry and considers the Cole Memo, the Justice Department document that has allowed the industry to operate, “not too far from good policy.” Sessions, no-fan of legalization, also expressed interest in visiting Colorado.

California released draft regulations for growing, testing, moving and selling MED, initiating a 45-day public comment period. See the rules here.
To protect businesses from a federal crackdown, the Colorado Senate passed legislation that would enable REC businesses to reclassify inventory as MED.

In Washington state, support for legalization reached 78% at the end of 2016. State lawmakers also sent a raft of bills to the governor. If signed, it will be legal in the state to share a joint, and billboards will not be allowed to show pictures of pot.
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) ordered a study of racial disparities in awarding state MED licenses. Washington Gov. Jay Inslee signed a bill allowing dispensaries to give away small safes to keep kids out of customers’ supply.

Anaheim, Calif., banned marijuana businesses. Reno, Nev., backed off a moratorium on REC businesses.
The Colorado Supreme Court backed Denver-suburb Northglenn’s denial of a MED license, on grounds that it was unneeded.

Denver will allow dispensaries to stay open until 10 p.m., a three hour extension.
Philadelphia mayor Jim Kenney (D) said Pennsylvania should legalize REC. Some of the candidates running to replace New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie want to legalize.

In Alaska, businesspeople carry pounds of cannabis on commercial flights with permission from airport police. (Some parts of Alaska are only accessible by plane.)
Montana lawmakers voted to overhaul the state’s MED program. A social use bill advanced in Nevada

Virginia Rep. Tom Garrett (R) has emerged as one of the more vocal legalization supporters in Congress.

Canada’s Hill Times, weighs the political calculus of legalization for the country’s governing Liberal Party.
A new push to legalize is underway in Switzerland.

On 4/20, Trump advisor and political chimera Roger Stone tweeted a picture of his Richard Nixon bong. Nixon, who coined the phrase ‘war on drugs,’ is probably not a frequent subject for bong sculptors.

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Business
The Sessions Justice Department warned federal bankruptcy officials that they can’t help with liquidating or restructuring cannabis businesses. Also from Tom Angell, a bill proposed in Congress would increase access to banking for cannabis businesses.
A bill to protect cannabis workers advanced in the California Assembly. It follows a report by the Center for Investigative Reporting on sexual assault in the state’s Emerald Triangle growing region.
In Michigan, alcohol and tobacco companies have shown interest in the state’s MED industry.

A vineyard in Oregon’s Yamhill county is suing a neighbor for growing marijuana on grounds that the odor could taint the grapes. The vineyard said the grower has already cost it a customer.
In Forbes, Julie Weed reports on growing demand for low-THC edibles. She also spoke to five entrepreneurs who think the industry is “now unstoppable.”

MED shops in Maine want a head start on REC sales. Oregon said it will start to inspect more commercial grows. MED businesses are a lobbying force in New York.
Canadian producer Emblem Cannabis recalled several batches for containing less CBD than advertised.

Last year, U.S. MED users spent three times more on cannabis than REC users, according to New Frontier Data.
There’s a forthcoming Idiot’s Guide to starting and running a marijuana business, by Debby Goldsberry of Oakland’s Magnolia Wellness dispensary.

Volte Face suggested that Britain’s future legal pot market should be online only. (The U.K. has not legalized.)

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Health and Science
The father/daughter researchers who found last year that access to MED reduces Medicare (elderly) prescriptions for opiates, antidepressants and some other drugs, have learned MED reduces the prescriptions for Medicaid (low income) patients as well.

Florida’s slow progress on MED rules is frustrating doctors. See here for more details on the state’s legislative process.

Researchers noticed similarities in how cannabinoids and capsaicin (found in hot peppers) interact with the body, with potential benefits for gastrointestinal health.

A study found that cannabis use increases the risk of heart disease in HIV-positive men aged 40 to 60.

A first of its kind study in Israel is trying to determine whether CBD benefits patients with autism.

Harvard Medical School professor Bertha Madras Ph.D. who sits on Trump’s anti-opioid commission compared opioids and marijuana “The lessons that we have learned from opioids are directly applicable or generalizable to marijuana,” she said.

Tom Marino, Trump’s nominee for drug czar, said last year that he supports forced inpatient rehab for “non-dealer, nonviolent drug abusers.” Critics say this approach with cannabis users is unnecessary and potentially harmful.

A judge approved an assisted living facility’s move to evict a Colorado man for cannabis use. (In Massachusetts, and in general, landlords still have power to ban cannabis use in their buildings.)

The AP profiles conservative Georgia lawmaker Allen Peake (R) who distributes state-legal cannabis oil to patients who have no legal way to obtain it.

Riley Hancey, 19, died after being denied a lung transplant on account of his cannabis use. Earlier this month Buzzfeed published an excellent story on Hancey’s ordeal.

In a first of its kind case, an 11-year old U.K. boy was prescribed cannabis to treat his epilepsy.

Hemp seeds have been approved for eating in Australia and New Zealand.

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Criminal Justice

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau “remained largely noncommittal about plans for pardons, reparations, or even an apology to anyone convicted of marijuana charges under prohibition,” Vice reports. Last year, 5,000 Canadians faced charges for pot possession.

Canadian activist Jodie Emery writes that the country’s legalization plan “is not legalization — it is continued criminalization, with new harsher laws designed to punish even more people.”

Colorado marijuana regulator turned lobbyist Andrew Freedman said the black market won’t go away overnight. He also warned of a second black market that could arise in homegrown pot.

Delaware has decriminalized but it’s still illegal to carry a handgun and a small amount of weed simultaneously.

Trump’s Wall Won’t Stop the Drugs,” Five Thirty Eight says. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) proposed a bill named for Mexican drug kingpin El Chapo that would use property seized from drug dealers to pay for the wall. “The government is seeking forfeiture of $14 billion but has yet to demonstrate that Mr. Guzman has any assets at all,” El Chapo’s lawyers said.

Meanwhile, El Chapo complained about conditions in his Manhattan jail cell.

Acting Brooklyn DA Eric Gonzalez (D), wants to prevent undocumented immigrants from being deported for low level offenses.

Mother Jones explains how Jeff Sessions could halt progress on forensic science.

An Oregon cannabis business has been fined $5,300 for a butane explosion last fall that sent one man to a burn unit. A criminal investigation is ongoing.

Former New England Patriots star Aaron Hernandez, who hanged himself in his prison cell, tested positive for synthetic cannabinoids.

In Massachusetts, convicted felon Sean Berte called on the state to end its ban on drug offenders working in the industry. “I’m looking to ply my trade, I’m a marijuana grower, I’m good at what I do,” he said. “I don’t want to be left out.”

Retired DEA agent Jeffrey James Higgins argued that buying illegal drugs is immoral because it supports terrorists and organized crime.

According to the DEA, teens are stashing their weed in graphing calculators, teddy bears and game consoles.

Two of the eight arrested during last week’s pot giveaway on the U.S. Capitol steps have been charged. Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank looked into the legalization situation in D.C., and made a lot of bad puns, i.e. “I know to what she reefers.”

Twenty two were arrested at a Philly pot party.

Hawaii could decriminalize drug paraphernalia.

A Filipino lawyer told the ICC that President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs is a campaign of “continuing mass murder.” Duterte also told the New York Times to “stop publishing” after it criticized him.

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Culture

The New Yorker profiled Portland, Ore. cannabis chef Laurie Wolf. Stoned people enjoy frozen grapes, Wolf says.

Is cannabis the next kale? Maybe

Actress Anne Hathaway copped to being “not a little” stoner.

Outgoing Drug Policy Alliance chief Ethan Nadelmann did a Reddit Ask Me Anything.

Denver will review the “disrespectful state” of Civic Center park after 4/20. Portland, Maine’s mayor was dismayed by a 4/20 rally.

Atlas Obscura investigates the superstitions about white lighters. According to lore, Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix and Kurt Cobain, all of whom died at 27, perished with a white lighter on their person.

L.A. Weekly profiles cannabis friendly drag queen Laganja Estranja.

Here’s the WeedWeek list of pot journalists on Twitter and the list of cannabusiness people on Twitter. Both are works in progress. Recommendations welcome.

I’ve also created two political Twitter lists you can subscribe to: Real News and Tweeting the Resistance.

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Alex
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