This is WeedWeek, because cannabis news is everywhere.
U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions directed federal prosecutors “to charge and pursue the most serious readily provable offense” in drug cases. A reversal of Obama-era policy, the move aims to increase the number of harsh mandatory minimum sentences that have fallen out of favor with Democrats and many Republicans.
Obama Attorney General Eric Holder, whose policy Sessions is reversing, called the move “unwise and ill-informed.” The Economist argues that the move is not evidence based. Libertarian leaning Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) criticized Sessions even though Paul voted to approve him in February.
As I predicted in Slate, Sessions appears to be using his authority to prosecute drug crime as a way to suppress minority voting and accelerate deportations.
On Friday May 5, Trump referred to cannabis for the first time since he became president. It came after he signed the government spending bill which extends existing protections on MED.
Activist and writer Tom Angell interpreted the remark as the government “asserting their right” to go after certain medical marijuana businesses if they choose to at a later date. Bloomberg went further saying the president has “signaled a fight” with MED.
Vermont’s legislature became the first in the country to approve REC. Gov. Phil Scott (R) has expressed concerns about legalization and has not said whether he’ll sign or veto the bill.
After years of setbacks, New Hampshire is on the path to decriminalization. It would be the last state in New England to do so.
Despite setbacks, anti-legalization activist Kevin Sabet plans to keep fighting.
A MED bill with unprecedented momentum died in Texas. So did a decriminalization bill.
Florida lawmakers failed to reach a compromise on MED regulation before the legislative session ended. But the legislature could hold a special session.
Some businesses in the state are already selling MED with THC. At least one sells smokable weed, which is not allowed.
Colorado lawmakers failed to reach an agreement on social use before the legislative session ended. WestWord profiles Colorado pot lobbyist and lifelong Republican Cindy Sovine-Miller.
Proposals in California would ban animal-shaped edibles and restrict packaging to limit products’ appeal to children.
Denver will require anyone entering a social use area, at a bar for example, to sign a waiver. The city could begin accepting applications from existing businesses in July.
REC could be on the ballot next year in Arizona but supporters are riven by infighting.
Oregon has not yet started distributing revenue from pot taxes.
In Arkansas, some consider MED an economic opportunity but others are wary. Pennsylvanians want to legalize REC.
To meet its plan to legalize next year, Canada has to withdraw from three international treaties by July 1. But it seems to be dragging its feet.
Australia’s One Nation party, which ran on a pro-MED platform, appears to have reversed itself, leaving patients stranded. HuffPo has more.
In the U.K., the Liberal Democrats party supports REC legalization.