WeedWeek AG Sessions Faces Blowback Nationwide; PLUS: Turmoil at NCIA

Posted by | January 15, 2018 | Cannabis News

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So much news.
POLITICS
The implications of Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ (R) decision to rescind the Cole Memo, which protected state legal cannabis from federal prosecution, continue to ripple through the industry and U.S. politics. Some Trump supporters say the move is the “first time they feel let down by the man they helped elect,” the AP reports.
Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner (R), who has pledged to hold up Justice Department nominees if his state’s cannabis industry isn’t secure, got nowhere in a Wednesday meeting with Sessions. The Washington Post reports Sessions’ move could be a headache for Republicans during this year’s midterm elections.
The A.P. runs through comments from the 13 federal prosecutors presiding in REC states on whether they expect to crackdown on state-legal businesses. Of them only four are Trump appointees with Senate confirmation. Leafly lists Congresspeople who have worked to protect cannabis, and the ones who are “all talk.”
Sessions caused confusion by failing to notify the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) before his Cole Memo announcement.
Nearly 70 members of Congress signed a letter to protect state-legal cannabis in this week’s appropriations bill. At least four bills in Congress would protect state cannabis industries.
Podcast Cannabis Economy interviewed former U.S. deputy attorney general James M. Cole, who wrote the Cole Memo rescinded by Session. Cole also spoke to KQED San Francisco.
Jeff Sessions is making a cataclysmic mistake,” Trump ally Roger Stone said at an event in Orlando. “My question is, has he chimed in with his boss?”
A USAToday opinion columnist writes: If you don’t like Sessions’ decision change the law.
California’s cannabis community is largely unafraid of Sessions, Mother Jones reports.
Massachusetts has questions after U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling left the door open to prosecuting state legal businesses. Most Massachusetts dispensaries have been forced to go cash only after a payments processor stopped serving the industry. State and local police said they wouldn’t participate in a federal crackdown. The Boston Globe’s Dan Adams has more on the standoff against Sessions.
Alaska may rewrite its REC law to protect its state industry.
Conservative National Review says Sessions needs to talk to a cancer patientabout medical cannabis.
Canna Law Blog asks “Now what?
The Guardian has a piece on cannabis and other aspects of California’s revolt against the Trump administration. The N.Y. Times has a piece on the same subject.
This year is the first time cannabis taxes will be included in California’s state budget. California is also reviving a proposal to become a cannabis “sanctuary state.”
The state predicts 1M pounds of legal weed will be sold during the first budget year, worth $3.4 billion and generating $643M in taxes (roughly half of percent of the state’s budget.) The one million pounds is less than 10% of the 13.5M pounds California growers produced in 2016.
Delayed licensing has hurt Los Angeles businesses, NBC reports. And the state is testing out its legal supply pipeline.
The Economist calls California pot laws, “almost comically progressive.
Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval wants to protect the state’s cannabis industry from Sessions and the newly appointed federal prosecutor. Plans for social use in Vegas are now on hold.
Vermont is poised to become the first state to legalize REC through the legislature. The bill allows possession and small-scale homegrow but not an industry. Despite this substantial restriction, entrepreneurs are bullish. For moresee here. Meanwhile in Vermont, MED costs way more than prescription opioids.
Two months after rejecting it, New Hampshire’s House voted to legalize REC.
In Maine, a coalition which includes REC opponents appears to have reached a compromise on a REC law. Some lawmakers also want to protect small farms. For more see here.
A New Jersey lawmaker filed a bill to legalize REC. Governor-elect Phil Murphy (D) has promised to legalize and said Sessions’ potential crackdown won’t affect the plan.
Detroit’s new MED program is stalled at a legal impasse. A lawsuit is challenging Ohio’s diversity quota for MED growing licenses.
A bipartisan group of 28 Congresspeople dispute the DEA’s assertion that hemp should be a schedule I drug. Kentucky approved 12,000 acres for hemp this year.
Arkansas released the names and locations of MED licensees. Kansas lawmaker Steve Alford (R) resigned his leadership posts after making racist commentsabout African Americans and cannabis.
Politico investigates how President Richard Nixon and TV host Art Linklettercollaborated to launch the war on drugs.
BUSINESS
Cannabis Business Executive published Kayvan Khalatbari’s Decemberresignation email from the National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA) board. In the email, Khalatbari, who’s under an NDA, expressed serious concerns about Executive Director Aaron Smith. Since it’s not clear if Smith has had the chance to respond I won’t reprint it here. As Khalatbari departed in December, Smith said the group was stronger and stabler than ever before. (NCIA did not respond to WeedWeek’s Friday night request for comment.)
Anyone familiar with the situation who wants to talk on background can contact me

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