Bill to reschedule marijuana introduced in the House. Florida congressman Matt Gaetz introduced legislation to move marijuana from Schedule I to Schedule III. “This drug should not be in the same category as heroin and LSD, and we do not need to continue with a policy that turns thousands of young people into felons every year,” said Gaetz. Other Schedule III drugs include ketamine and anabolic steroids. The Pulse Moving marijuana to Schedule III would protect state-legal cannabis businesses from 280E — part of the tax code that prevents them from taking normal business deductions. It would also allow federal employees to use marijuana. MassRoots
How would legal weed in Canada affect the US? Expected legislation to legalize recreational marijuana in Canada could affect reform efforts in the U.S. Legalization up north “would be an important signal about the movement coming of age. It would add to the critical mass,” said House rep. and Cannabis Caucus member Earl Blumenauer. Though that may be helpful in informing policy discussions, “it’s unlikely to tip any scales in terms of major reform.” Time
Fighting the feds. Sessions may want to go after drug offenders, but the choice to prosecute low-level marijuana offenses lies in the hands of local district attorneys. One program out of Harris county, Texas shows how local officials can spearhead criminal justice reform efforts — despite the rhetoric of the Trump administration. District attorney Kim Ogg’s “win in a county that has historically opted for conservative candidates signals a shift that more hard-line prosecutors would be wise to heed.” Slate
Will Sessions crack down? A recent report from Arcview Market Research struck an optimistic tone about the Trump administration. Many in the industry think the administration will not risk the politically unpopular move of cracking down on cannabis. Others believe the administration doesn’t care and will try to suppress the burgeoning industry. “I don’t think anything can stop legalization’s momentum. We’re like LeBron James now; they can only hope to contain us,” said one legalization advocate. Word on the Tree
Uruguay to authorize pharmacies to sell cannabis. The first country in the world to completely legalize recreational marijuana has reached the last stage of its legalization process: authorizing pharmacies to sell the drug. This authorization was expected in 2014, but has been postponed several times. Sixteen pharmacies have registered to sell cannabis, which is expected to hit the shelves in July. (But tourists won’t be able to buy it.) Reuters
Cannabis reform in the French elections. Four out of 5 presidential candidates in France support liberalizing marijuana laws in the country. Marine Le Pen, the far-right candidate, is the only one to oppose cannabis policy reform. “Officers have welcomed the proposals, saying they will cut down court time and paperwork for an offence that in many cases police turn a blind eye to.” The Independent
Decriminalization: not a cure-all. In Portugal, drug decriminalization has been widely cited for its public health benefits. But in Costa Rica, a similar policy fell short. A variety of issues including poverty and geography have prevented decriminalization from reaching its goals. “If we want to stop the violence, we have to start thinking of legalization,” said one Latin American drug policy expert. Vice
Attorneys for El Chapo fight for better prison conditions. Lawyers for Joaquín Guzmán say he’s “being held under the worst, most restrictive conditions of any prisoner currently detained by the United States government.” The infamous leader of the Sinaloa cartel has been held in solitary confinement since Jan. 19. His lawyers say his conditions make it “virtually impossible to plan his defense,” violating his constitutional right to due process. A human rights group said his treatment appears “to be unnecessarily harsh and to breach international standards for humane treatment.” Vice News
Studying ayahuasca for PTSD. An ambitious study seeks to find out more about ayahuasca’s therapeutic effects. Anecdotal evidence and preliminary research point to the psychedelic brew’s medical value. But while the organization conducting the research screens applicants’ mental health history carefully, most ayahuasca retreats in Peru don’t go to such lengths and provide little psychological support. “People should pursue using ayahuasca with great care and do thorough research to find reputable retreat centers” said one MAPS scientist. The Guardian
Word on the States
- In California, the cannabis industry lauds the governor’s “pro-business” proposals.
- In West Virginia, medical marijuana legislation heads to the governor, who is expected to sign it.
- In Colorado, the governor signed legislation to shield medical pot use for those awaiting trial.
- In Nevada, state lawmakers ask Sessions for guidance on marijuana laws. A Senate committee considers proposals for recreational marijuana taxes.
- In Washington, the state gets ready to defend legal cannabis from the feds.
- In Arkansas, the state legislature changes course on medical marijuana licensing.
- In Arizona, an appeals court ruled that medical marijuana on college campuses is not a crime.
- In Indiana, both chambers of the legislature approved measures to loosen restrictions on CBD oil.
- In Alaska, cannabis regulators delay discussions about onsite consumption.
Word for Word
“Yes, reliance upon drugs as a means of self-medication can be very problematic. It’s taken me a long time to get ‘clean’ (ponder that metaphor and the corresponding ‘dirtiness’ of the drug user). Nonetheless, at the same time I was using drugs, I was a full-time academic. I was lecturing, researching and teaching classes at the tertiary institution where I have worked since 2000. Perhaps my CV would be more impressive had I not been struggling outside the work space. Still, I built a career in higher education (in marked contrast to tabloid morality plays in which pathetic junkies are responsible for all manner of social ills).” – James Rowe for The Age
“I knew David Peel for more than 25 years. I occasionally sang backup with him and the band. We went to many concerts together and stopped at countless diners along the way. He also played for the High Times Bonghitters softball team when I was the coach from 1992-2006. Wherever Peel was, with his loud voice and boisterous personality, you couldn’t miss him. He was the mayor of the East Village, an iconoclastic figure known to all in the neighborhood where he lived for the last 35 years. Peel, who answered the phone, ‘Yo, yo, yo’ and had a characteristic stutter, will be missed.” – Steve Bloom for CelebStoner
Psychedelic Soul. “Smoke a little weed and maybe have a cocktail” as Sly Stone did and enjoy our playlist of soulful songs. Word on the Tree