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WeedWeek: “Beyond Stupidity,” NJ Gov. Chris Christie rants against legal pot

Posted by | May 7, 2017 | Cannabis News, Weed Week News by Alex Halperin

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WeedWeek: “Beyond Stupidity,” NJ Gov. Chris Christie rants against legal pot

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Here’s the news:
Politics

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.

Reason writes:

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.

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Business

New York MED license holders are suing the state to block it from awarding more licenses. The NY Times learned that members of the panel that awards New York MED licenses don’t know much about MED.

Cultivation Technologies, which has promised to build a massive grow in Coachella, Calif., has been sued by an investor for “gross mismanagement of the corporation, self dealing by the individual defendants, dilution of the stock, corprorate (sic) waste, etc.”

Cannabis real estate company Innovative Industrial Properties plans to spend up to $15M in Maryland.
Tribeca Investment Partners, an Australian hedge fund that surged last year thanks to bets on cannabis and other commodities, has invested in Cann Group, an Australian cannabis company.

An Australian pot stock jumped from 1.3 cents to 41 cents in two days.
Casino gambling didn’t work out for a Native American tribe in San Diego County California. Now they want to grow weed.

Publicly-traded lawncare company Scotts Miracle-Gro is committed to the hydroponics business through its subsidiary Hawthorne Gardening.
A business thinks that by selling CBD processed from the plant’s stalk, it can sell in Idaho, which has some of the strictest CBD laws in the country.

Canadian pharmacy chain Loblaw may be interested in selling REC as well as MED. Canadian grower Tilray said it has clearance to ship MED to Cyprus.
Canadian regulators found traces of a banned pesticide at producer Hydropothecary.

An Oregon bill that would ban firing employees for cannabis use fizzled. Legal weed is really expensive in Alaska.

There was a cannabis wedding expo in the Bay Area.

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Health and Science

This week the U.S. House passed an Obamacare repeal widely described as “crueler” than the bill that failed to attract support from far-right lawmakers. The original bill would have cost 24 million Americans their health insurance according to the Congressional Budget Office. This time Republicans didn’t wait for a CBO score. As someone said on the podcast Pod Save America: “Everyone knows someone who will be screwed by this bill.” This bill is not about marijuana, but will almost certainly have implications for MED and the industry.

As the bill moves to the Senate, the key players include the more moderate Republicans and those facing tough reelection fights in 2018: Susan Collins (Maine), Sen. Dean Heller (Nevada), Jeff Flake (Arizona), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska). Those of you who live in these states may want to contact them. If you don’t live in those states, MoveOn, among other groups, is raising money to defeat politicians who support Trumpcare.

The U.S. government’s National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) noted on its site that “medical marijuana products may have a role in reducing the use of opioids needed to control pain.”

The number of pot-related ER visits to Children’s Hospital Colorado roughly quadrupled between 2005 and 2015.

In California, public schools are wary about MED access for students with epilepsy.

Leafly asked if a Washington state lab is inflating clients’ potency and purity numbers to give itself a competitive advantage. The lab denied the accusation.

Stat tells the story of an opioid salesman who was addicted to his product before finding relief with MED.

A Canadian reporter looks at how Colorado edibles companies comply with health rules.

The Cannifornian has a special report on Parenting in the Age of Legalization.

Tea trees have very large genomes.
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Criminal Justice

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio was called a liar for his claim that the city is “ending arrest for low-level possession of marijuana.” Democratic rival Robert Ganji said the NYPD made more than 5,000 of these arrests in the first quarter of this year.

An insurance study linked dispensaries to an uptick in proximate property crime, though not violent crime.

Colorado’s seed to sale tracking system is leaking cannabis, though apparently not very much, into the black market. The black market is flourishing in Oregon. Despite legalization. It’s more profitable for growers.

A Louisiana Supreme Court judge called a sentence of 18-years for possessing 18 grams of marijuana “ridiculous.”

For the first time, the DEA wants its own prosecutors to go after offenders involved in the opioid crisis. Critics say the move could revive the war on drugs.

Despite falling incarceration rates, the number of Americans serving life in prison is at an all time high. Within the federal system, two thirds of lifers committed a non-violent crime.

Mexican drug lord El Chapo will go on trial in April. He’s currently in solitary confinement in New York City.

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Culture

Disney World added weed to its banned items list. Sharp-eyed journalist Ben Adlin noted that Disney Land, in California, didn’t add the restriction. In this 2011 NY Times Magazine essay John Jeremiah Sullivan finds folks who strategize online about cannabis consumption in the parks.

The NFL players union may be making progress on MED access.

Miley Cyrus hasn’t smoked weed in three weeks. “I like to surround myself with people that make me want to get better, more evolved, open,” she told Billboard. “And I was noticing, it’s not the people that are stoned. I want to be super clear and sharp, because I know exactly where I want to be.”

Broad City’s Ilana Glazer is in a show called “Time Traveling Bong.

Members only Hitman Coffee in L.A. allows guests to BYOC.

My former colleague Roben Farzad visited the International Church of Cannabis for his podcast Full Disclosure. The Outline interviews Bill Levin, who started Indiana’s First Church of Cannabis.

Leafly meets the cutest #dogsofcannabis. In an unforgiveable oversight, it omitted WeedWeek’s adorable mascot Flora, who once ate a “medicated” chocolate bar and then threw up profusely.

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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