This is WeedWeek, because cannabis news is everywhere.
In a speech caught on video, N.J. Gov. Chris Christie said legalizing pot is “beyond stupidity.” Christie, the country’s least popular governor, added that wealthy suburbanites would never allow dispensaries in their neighborhoods.
Even as he argues that advocates of marijuana legalization are pushing a principle that logically leads to heroin legalization, Christie says it’s really all about the money. “This is the part that liberals love the most: We can tax it,” Christie said. “Sweet Jesus, we can tax it! More money for us!” As he has done before, Christie referred to marijuana tax revenue as “blood money,” saying “crazy liberals” who support legalization are willing to “poison our kids” in exchange for another $300 million or so a year, which he desribed as “a rounding error” in New Jersey’s $35.5 billion budget.
President Trump’s “drug czar” nominee Rep. Tom Marino (R-Pa.) withdrew his name from consideration, citing a family illness. Marino came under fire for supporting involuntary committal for casual drug users, and for his work supporting opioid makers. Meanwhile, the Trump administration suggested cutting the drug czar office’s budget by 95%.
Trump invited Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte to the White House. Duterte has become an international pariah due to a war on drugs which has resulted in thousands of extrajudicial killings. Duterte has not committed to the visit but his spokesman said that in a phone call Trump expressed “his understanding and appreciation of the challenges facing the Philippine president, especially on” drugs.
Maria McFarland Sánchez-Moreno of Human Rights Watch writes:
“Donald Trump hasn’t called for the killing of his own citizens, like his Philippine counterpart Rodrigo Duterte has repeatedly done since taking office in June 2016.
“But the two men do have at least one thing in common. Both have made a habit out of scapegoating vulnerable people to justify cruel, abusive, and counterproductive policies in the name of fighting drugs.”
Sens. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and Marco Rubio (R-Fl.) sponsored a bill that would restrict arms sales to the Philippines on account of human rights abuses there.
The government’s $1.1 trillion spending bill extends the requirement that federal dollars can’t block state MED programs until September. Tom Angell noted that the provision may not apply to North Dakota and Indiana. Congress “ties Jeff Sessions’ hands” on weed, Rolling Stone notes.
The Colorado House voted to let REC businesses reclassify inventory as MED in the event of a federal crackdown. Lawmakers in the state are still torn over whether smoking on your front porch constitutes “open and public” consumption which is banned in the state. They also may raise REC taxes.
Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval (R) said he spoke with U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions about REC. “I can’t speak for the attorney general, but I advised him that it’s in our state law now,” Sandoval said. “We are moving forward.”
Pro-legalization Rep. Dana Rohrbacher (R-Calif.) said he’d take the fight for MED access to the U.S. Supreme Court if necessary.
“The reason we are choosing to legalize and control marijuana is because the current system is not protecting our kids,” Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told Bloomberg. “Right now it’s easier for an underage Canadian, a teenager, to buy a joint than it is for them to get their hands on a bottle of beer.”
In L.A. Weekly, I looked at California’s proposed regulations. Reporter Brooke Staggs also dives in.
CannaRegs co-founder Amanda Ostrowitz will give a free webinar on the topic this Monday. Law firm Harris Bricken will host a similar event June 1.
The Florida legislature is making progress on MED regulation, though a bill passed by the house bans smoking cannabis. REC launches on July 1 in Nevada and cannabis lounges are under discussion.
“Marijuana refugees” are returning to Texas to push for MED. Eighty percent of North Carolinians want to legalize MED.
A dispensary has run up against NIMBYism in S.F.’s Sunset District.
Mexico appears poised to legalize MED.
The first legal MED shipments have arrived in Australia. National Geographic suggests that hemp was a major reason why Britain colonized Australia. In the 18th century, hemp was essential for making rope and other components of ships.
Today is the Global Marijuana March against prohibition.
Last week I mistakenly said former head of Colorado marijuana regulation Andrew Freedman is now a lobbyist. He is a consultant. I regret the error.