44 members of Congress voice support for medical cannabis. Dozens of House representatives from both sides of the aisle signed an open letter advocating against federal intervention into state medical marijuana laws. The letter was spearheaded by California rep. Dana Rohrabacher, who asked the Commerce, Justice and Science committee to bar the use of federal funds to enforce drug laws in states that have legalized medical cannabis. The Cannabist Related: In Los Angeles, there’s a growing interest in the cannabis industry. There’s also growing unease about the uncertainties of a Trump administration. LA Weekly
The cannabiz in Canada. The Canadian government is expected to introduce legislation to legalize recreational marijuana this week. Industry watchers expect further consolidation as cannabis businesses seek to expand their market share. Stocks of publicly traded medical marijuana producers have risen this week. Bloomberg The impending legislation is driving “dreamy valuations” of Canadian cannabis companies. The first cannabis-focused exchange traded fund recently launched in the country, and “investors are likely to be attracted to the industry’s mouth-watering returns.” But they should not expect a smooth rollout of the recreational market. The Economist A new analysis found that federal and local governments will rake in at least $675 million a year in marijuana money (as long as they don’t set taxes too high, which would push people to the black market). Vice News
How the DEA lets drugs into communities. The acting director of the DEA was asked at a Congressional hearing whether agents intentionally allow drug shipments into communities with the hope of making a bigger bust later. “I’ll have to check and get back to you on that,” he said. But there is considerable evidence that the DEA does this. Informants and agents are allowed engage in illegal activity, including large-scale trafficking. They’re also interested in seizing cash proceeds from the sales of those drugs. “When police seize drugs, those drugs get destroyed. But if they seize cash, they often get to keep it under highly permissive state and federal asset forfeiture laws.” The Washington Post Related: The DEA put six synthetic cannabinoids in Schedule I. The chemicals are often found in fake cannabis products like K2 and Spice. Cannabis Now
A sheriff’s ‘tough-on-crime’ video. “We’re coming for you,” says a Florida sheriff, flanked by four masked deputies. The video was intended to send a message to drug dealers: The sheriff speaks of SWAT raids and charging drug dealers with murder — drug war tactics that have proven ineffective. Vox While the internet is a great tool for law enforcement to spread drug war hysteria, it’s also a great tool for commenters to take them to task. “In the social media era, young people can send flagrant abuse publicly to law-enforcers without any repercussion – unlike in, say, 1977 when merely rolling one’s eyes at a constable would result with him in your mother’s sitting room for two hours solidly threatening you with [juvie].” The Independent
Anti-pot group slapped with fine. Smart Approaches to Marijuana, the nation’s most prominent anti-legalization advocacy group, has been hit with a $6,000 fine for campaign finance violations. The violations stem from its activities opposing Proposition 64 – the recreational ballot initiative in California that passed in November. SAM Action Inc., the group’s political arm, has agreed to pay the fine and said the violations were “inadvertent.” Los Angeles Times
Puzzling charges for Aussie medical cannabis supplier. An attorney for a woman recently hit with various drug charges said she was “puzzled” by the timing. Her client, who has admitted to giving away cannabis oil to terminally ill patients, was raided by police at her home in January. But she was only recently charged by police. “You either prosecute her in a timely fashion, which was back in January, or exercise the discretion given the massive public support around the nation and given the political debate, you just let it die,” said the lawyer. ABC News
Study finds medical marijuana has little impact on quality of life. A review of studies looking at medical marijuana use and quality of life did not find an association between the two. Drug and Alcohol Dependence One of the study’s authors said, “it was difficult to disentangle whether changes in Quality of Life were attributable to those medical conditions, or to the cannabis itself.” He did say the drug holds “exciting therapeutic potential.” PsyPost
El Chapo gets a Netflix mini-series. Joaquín Guzmán will be the protagonist of a new mini-series produced by Netflix and Univision. The series – titled “El Chapo” – has been secretly filming in Colombia. Guzmán’s lawyers have threatened to sue over unauthorized use of his story and name. The drug kingpin is currently being held in a Manhattan jail after being extradited to the U.S. in January. The Associated Press
Decriminalize all drugs. There are many reasons to decriminalize cannabis to benefit public health: prohibition does not deter use, decriminalization frees up resources for treatment, taxes from regulated sales go to the state instead of criminal organizations. “Every one of those arguments apply to every drug, from hash to heroin. So why stop at marijuana?” Here’s the case for decriminalizing all drugs, which 25 countries have done to some degree. The Globe and Mail
States consider weed. Three states and one U.S. territory are holding hearings this week for a variety of cannabis proposals. They include decriminalizing possession (New Hampshire), legalizing recreational use (Rhode Island), and noncommercial legalization (Vermont). MassRoots
Word on the States
- In Oregon, the legislature passed a bill that would shield the personal data of cannabis consumers.
- In Colorado, a bill that bans marijuana growing co-ops heads to the governor’s desk.
- In Nevada, tribal leaders advocate for joining the cannabis industry.
- In Rhode Island, lawmakers say they have the votes to legalize recreational marijuana. The Superior Court will hear a medical marijuana employment discrimination case.
- In Montana, patient counts are on the rebound.
- In Alabama, how readers reacted to AL.com’s marijuana series.
- In Louisiana, advocates question LSU’s medical marijuana operations.
- In Maryland, the legislative session ended before lawmakers could pass an MMJ bill. Patients and caregivers can now sign up for medical cannabis licenses.
- In Tennessee, a bill to lessen cannabis penalties failed in the House.
- In Maine, absentee votes saved a bill to allow MMJ patients to receive organ donations.
- In Massachusetts, a look at who’s angling for a place on the state’s Cannabis Control Commission.
- In Pennsylvania, drug treatment programs are clogged up by marijuana users.
Word for Word
“To me, Tupac was, first and foremost, the homie. We shared a lot in common. In a way, our journeys started together… I finally met Pac in ’93 at the wrap party for Poetic Justice in L.A. And on that night, Pac passed me my first blunt. That’s right, Tupac is the one that got Snoop Dogg smoking blunts. I was a Zig Zag man before that. Shit, we became very good friends quickly thereafter.” – Snoop Dogg, Rolling Stone