Comments Off on WeedWeek, July 29, 2017: Legalization Has a Good Week

WeedWeek, July 29, 2017: Legalization Has a Good Week

Posted by | July 29, 2017 | Cannabis News, Weed Week News by Alex Halperin

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Here’s the news:
Politics

A congressional committee voted to extend protections for state legal MED against federal law enforcement. The move defies U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions (R) who requested its removal. The extension, which has been in place since 2014, will be tacked onto the 2018 federal budget.

AG Sessions did not release the recommendations of a crime reduction task force expected to contain updates on federal marijuana enforcement. In a short statement the AG said he receives recommendations on a “rolling basis” from the task force. The statement didn’t mention marijuana. For more see here.

KKTV has more on the closed door meeting between the task force and authorities in Colorado Springs.

Sessions’ job appears to be safe for now after President Trump spent a week publicly berating the AG for recusing himself from the administration’s Russia scandal. (The Onion says Sessions peruses at minority incarceration statistics to cheer himself up.)

House Republicans blocked a committee vote on MED access for veterans. Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) had made the case for it with a deeply felt speech.

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker, a legalization opponent, signed a new REC law, a legislative adaptation of a REC initiative passed by voters in November.  It raises sales taxes from 12% to 20% (3% to the municipality). It also creates a pathway to edibles. (For more see here.)

Shaleen Title, a Boston attorney, and entrepreneur who was involved in the effort to secure stronger equity protections, calls the Massachusetts law “great law.” Title is a board member of the Minority Cannabis Business Association which has published a model bill for state legalization.

The cannabis industry has contributed more than $300,000 to the California gubernatorial campaign of Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom (D), far more than any other candidate. The vote is in November 2018.

The L.A. Times calls on the city to follow the voters’ will and regulate the industry.

California needs to revert to an “emergency rulemaking process” if it’s going to start issuing licenses by the January 2 goal.

Five plaintiffs including former NFL-player have filed a federal lawsuit against AG Sessions and the DEA claiming the plant’s schedule I status is unconstitutional.

Pew’s Stateline project says legalization still faces a “rocky road.” (Mmmm, rocky road.)

Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R) wants the state to repeal its REC law.

Canadian provinces are trying to shape legalization.

Former drug czar William Bennett predicts the legal states will soon regret it.

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Staying updated on cannabis news is obviously important to you. For daily updates, subscribe to Marijuana Moment, a newsletter from longtime legalization activist and journalist Tom Angell.

Breaking news, primary source documents and exclusive scoops. http://MarijuanaMoment.net

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Business

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin seems sympathetic to the cannabis banking issue.

L.A. may set up a public bank for cannabis businesses. (The Santa Barbara Independent looks at how cannabis businesses deal with all the cash.)

The Toronto Stock Exchange needs to figure out a policy for listing U.S. cannabis companies since they are federally illegal in their home country.

Under its new ownership, High Times plans to go public through a special purpose acquisition company.

California growers produce eight-times as much cannabis as is consumed in the state. Hezekiah Allen, head of the California Growers Association says state licensed growers “are going to have to scale back. We are on a painful downsizing curve.”

MJ Biz Daily asks if Minnesota MED company Vireo can survive two former employees facing charges for driving product from Minnesota to New York.

Australian MED company Creso is expanding to Canada with the acquisition of MED producer Mernova Medical. A Canadian company wants an Ohio MED license.

A company called Craigsweed.com changed its name to GanjaRoad.com after a cease and desist warning from craigslist.

Struggling social media app MassRoots raised $1.2M.

Companies trying to set up pot busses for Vegas tourists have hit a legal snag.

Food and drink professionals want to set up cannabis businesses in D.C.

Raymond Sackler, an entrepreneur who introduced OxyContin, died at 97. In later live he became a celebrated philanthropist.

Anti-legalization activist Kevin Sabet says legalization is a drain on the economy and needs to be stopped. Drug testing is a significant expense for companies, who struggle to find factory workers who can pass.

Sabet confirmed a recent conversation with AG Sessions to WeedWeek but declined to comment on what they discussed.

Legalization in Nevada benefits Uber and Lyft drivers.

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Health and Science

The powerful House Appropriations Committee suggested cannabis’ schedule I status impedes medical research. Despite promises, the DEA has yet to award a grow license for research purposes.

Rep. Andy Harris (R-Md.) sponsored a bill that would better enable MED research.

Florida doctors are testing cannabinoids as a treatment for concussion induced headaches, anxiety and pain.

Doctors groups are debating whether there should be drug testing for doctors following an L.A. Times report on drug use by USC medical school dean Dr. Carmen A Puliafito.

The U.K.’s MS Society says patients should have MED access as a last resort.

I recently came across an investigation by the OC Register looking into how southern California rehab centers exploit addiction.

For the first time, Denver forced a flower recall on account of mold and mite contamination.

Columbia Journalism review says politicians and the media now depict white people who are addicted to opioids more gently than previous depictions of drug crises affecting primarily minorities.

Washington apologized for anti-marijuana billboards aimed at Hispanics. 

Criminal Justice

In Time, Tessa Berenson looks at how Sessions could crack down on state legal weed, and why he might not. Some still fear a crackdown.

President Trump told an audience of police, “Don’t be too nice,” to “thugs being thrown into the back of a paddy wagon.” The audience laughed and cheered.

Trump is also repeatedly overstating the link between undocumented immigrants and a criminal gang called MS-13.

Trump son-in-law and advisor Jared Kushner reportedly supports shorter drug sentences than AG Sessions.

The New York Times discusses how more aggressive drug policing hurts women, who tend to be relegated to lower levels of the illegal trade. And, yes, the article clarifies, it is possible to obtain a warrant to search someone’s vagina.

A Washington Post opinion piece suggests police departments have become addicted to asset forfeiture revenues.

Violent crime has declined in Washington since REC legalization.

A three judge panel ruled in favor of a Kansas couple who want to sue their local sheriff’s office after a dramatic raid on their home.

The Texas Observer talks to Harris County (Houston) district attorney Kim Ogg (D), who decriminalized pot and opposes overly harsh drug sentences.

The Coast Guard said pot is illegal in boats in U.S. waters.

A Nevada D.A. rejected plea bargains for REC sales to minors. Enforcement of pot laws varies across Florida.

Marijuana arrests still account for half of drug arrests in Canada.

A U.K. judge sentenced 14 members of a major “skunk” ring to a total of 90 years.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte defended his drug war. Indonesian President Joko Widodo said drug traffickers should be shot.

Smugglers are still ingenius in their methods, the N.Y. Times reports.

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Product reviews:

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Culture

The L.A. Times visits longtime Mendocino County entrepreneur and grower Tim Blake, founder of the Emerald Cup festival. Blake misses the “more paranoid, more profitable” way of life that’s disappearing.

Legalization supporter and Bloomberg View columnist Virginia Postrel wishes pot smokers would “stop stinking up the sidewalks.

Noël Duan takes a long look at fashion’s infatuation with cannabis. Rihanna’s in there too.

A Tucson group is helping homeless veterans get MED cards.

The country’s first public hemp building opened in Sun Valley, Id.

The new space adventure Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets,” could be a stoner classic.

I think this Good Mythical Morning video is rather charming.

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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