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Senators Push to Lock in State MED Rules

Posted by | June 25, 2017 | Cannabis News, Weed Week News by Alex Halperin

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Senators Push to Lock in State MED Rules
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Here’s the news:
Politics

Rolling Stone looks into the Senate’s bipartisan push to pass the CARERS Act, which would force the federal government to respect state MED laws. Sponsors include Democrats Cory Booker (N.J.), Al Franken (Minn.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.) and Republicans Rand Paul (Ky.), Mike Lee (Utah) and Lisa Murkowski (Ak.). For more see here.

 

The 49-member Congressional Black Caucus declined to meet with President Trump, citing U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ efforts to “accelerate the failed war on drugs,” among other factors.

 

The Massachusetts Senate passed a bill to revise the voter-passed REC law. A journalist said cannabis activists should stop complaining and “chill out” over proposed changes, such as higher taxes. The state may also eliminate protections for people of color who want to join the industry.

 

After much back and forth, Vermont House Republicans blocked REC during a special legislative session. Gov. Phil Scott (R) said passing REC “wasn’t a priority for me.” The issue is likely to come up again in next year.

 

Nevada regulators want REC to be available July 1 despite a lawsuit from liquor wholesalers. The state’s powerful gaming industry has thus far declined to participate in the industry, but it wants to learn more.

 

Ohio Congressman Bob Gibbs (R) has repeatedly spoken up for MED but votes against it.

 

The Morning Call explains the MED situation in Pennsylvania. Philadelphia feels overlooked.

 

Dispensaries are confronting more grassroots opposition in San Francisco. Los Angeles is struggling to regulate its large market.

 

Canada is sticking to its goal to make REC available by July 2018.

 

Americans don’t mind if reporters use cannabis, according to a poll.

 

A Tampa strip club impresario and lung cancer patient is suing the state to grow his own MED.

 

Cuba says the movement toward legalization increases drug smuggling and said it would not liberalize its cannabis laws. The U.S. and Cuba are still collaborating to crack down on trafficking despite a chill in relations under President Trump.

 

In Poland, lawmakers voted to legalize MED. In Ireland, MED has run into political headwinds.

 

Seattle mayoral candidates discussed their favorite strains.

Business

MJ Freeway, a software firm for cannabis businesses, suffered its second security breach in six months, when some of its source code was posted online. MJ Freeway called it a “theft” but said its data would not be affected. In January its system suffered a minor crash which it called a criminal attack.

 

Despite these setbacks, MJ Freeway is on a good run. It recently won contracts to track inventory for the governments of Washington and Pennsylvania.

 

A new “self-regulatory” group called the National Association of Cannabis Businesses, wants to create national standards for the industry.

 

Citing fears of a Justice Department crackdown, PNC Bank said it will close pro-legalization group MPP’s 22 year old bank accounts.

 

The Guardian finds that commercial cultivation has a heavy environmental cost.

 

Louisiana State University will earn at least $3.4M over five years from a MED production deal.

 

Colorado’s cannabis producer tax has reached the historic low of 43 cents per gram.

 

Buzzfeed goes inside the race to develop a weed breathalyzer.

 

The Winklevoss twins are being sued after allegedly pledging to invest almost $500,000 in weed delivery app Eaze.

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Health and Science

Editorial: This week the U.S. Senate is expected to vote on a sweeping health care bill without public hearings. The best guess available is that it will leave 23 million more Americans uninsured. In exchange it will deliver large tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans. Vox found that eight Republicans who plan to vote for it can’t coherently defend it. 

 
The Senate vote comes down to 10 key states: Alaska, West Virginia, Maine, Nevada, Arizona, Colorado, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Louisiana and Arkansas. All of those states have legalized MED or REC. Some have thriving industries.
 
In December I argued in Slate that the cannabis industry’s unique history gives it a moral obligation to oppose the nomination of then Sen. Jeff Sessions (R) to U.S. Attorney General. No one listened. The industry’s largest lobby, the National Cannabis Industry Association, took an accommodationist stance. If there was any significant dissent within the industry, I’m unaware of it. 
 
The cannabis industry’s ties to the health care issue are perhaps not as direct as they were to Sessions, but if this bill passes, it will hurt many of you and the ones you love. It will also hurt your customers, employees, colleagues, patients and friends. 
 
Some cannabis people like to say they’re building a “new kind of industry,” one that cares about the world around it. In part that’s because many involved in cannabis have fought for justice themselves and know from experience that authority can be ignorant and cruel. But for too many, doing the right thing translates into making or eating gluten-free edibles, rather than active struggle to achieve what’s decent and right.    
 

An industry effort to oppose this health care law is another opportunity for cannabis to prove that it’s a new kind of industry. And if it misses enough opportunities, it will soon become a very familiar kind of industry. 

To learn what you can do, go to Indivisible’s TrumpCare Ten page.

To share this editorial on Facebook go here.

 

Two studies differed in their findings on whether legalization worsens road safety. One study found it did not change the number of fatalities, another study said it led to a three percent increase in crashes.

 

An Ohio coroner says he has seen cannabis mixed with the powerful synthetic opioid fentanyl, but the statement couldn’t be confirmed independently.

 

Science journalist Maia Szalavitz says pot addiction is real.

 

California doctors are seeing more pot-induced vomiting.

 

States remain skeptical about including opioid addiction as a qualifying condition for MED.

 

A Kentucky lawmaker says terminally-ill patients should have MED access.

 

Researcher’s at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania will study MED’s effect on autistic children.

 

On the podcast “Shaping Fire” neurologist Dr. Ethan Russo talks about medical uses for MED and psilocybin (the hallucinogen in mushrooms).

Parents worry that in the Trump era it may be harder to obtain MED to curtail children’s seizures.

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Criminal Justice

In a Washington Post op-ed, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions defended his plan to escalate the war on drugs. Among his points, Sessions argued that locking up more drug offenders will make minority neighborhoods safer.

 

The Post published rebuttals from cannabis activist and journalist Tom Angell, Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and others.

 

The Pew Charitable Trusts found no relation between a state’s drug incarceration rates and its drug problems.

 

New video looks at the shooting death of Philando Castile in Minnesota. The officer who fatally shot him after smelling pot was acquitted last week.

 

Queens New York man Carlos Cardona who pleaded guilty to a 1990 drug sale (his only conviction) and years later worked in hazardous conditions at Ground Zero faces deportation under Trump’s policies.

 

A UN report found that the global market in illegal drugs is on the rise, powered largely by cocaine and synthetics. There are about 250M illegal drug users worldwide including 183M cannabis users.

 

In Washington and Colorado, cases highlight the temptation for regulators to illegally assist cannabis businesses.

 

The Seattle Times reports on efforts to keep organized crime out of the legal industry.

 

A Colorado judge ruled that state laws don’t protect a man who caused an explosion while making hash at home.

 

In New Jersey, a group of clergy members want pot decriminalized and a notorious juvenile detention facility closed.

 

The Marshall Project says legalizing pot would reduce the number of searches during traffic stops.

 

ProPublica finds that the DEA is largely unaccountable “when its missions cost lives.

 

Drug-related violence in Mexico has increased as factions vie to replace imprisoned kingpin El Chapo.

 

Arizona’s border with Mexico sees a disproportionate number of smuggling arrests.

 

Pot dealing arrests are back up to pre-legalization levels in D.C., where REC is legal.

 

Under the auspices of President Rodrigo Duterte’s drug war, Philippine police are extorting families.

 

Jawara McIntosh, son of reggae icon Peter Tosh was beaten and left in a coma in a New Jersey jail where he was serving six months for pot possession.

 

Rapper Jay-Z is taking on the exploitative bail industry. Rapper Taleb Kweli discussed the war on drugs with Vox.

 

A new miniseries looks at drug war hypocrisies.

Product reviews:

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Culture

In a new music video for, “Wacky Tobaccy,” country star Toby Keith smokes with Willie Nelson.

 

Washington’s 1964 Supply Co. features packaging designed by artists after they ingest cannabis.

 

Willamette Week scoured Portland for places where tourists can get high.

 

The new hip-hop underground is powered by SoundCloud and prescription pills.

 

Marc Emery, Canada’s “prince of pot” took some guff online over a comment he posted about trans-people.

 

Pueblo County, Colo., distributed $420,000 in cannabis-funded scholarships.

 

April Pride of lifestyle brand Van der Pop talked to Playboy about weed and sex.

 

Mendocino Co. (Calif.) grower Soil Bae is Internet famous.

 

L.A. Weekly recommends five apps for stoners.

 

We live in complicated times, so watch this gorilla play in the bath.

 

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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Bye,
Alex

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