The next U.S. drug czar. Various outlets report that House rep. Tom Marino (R-PA) is being tapped by the Trump administration to head the Office of National Drug Control Policy. Marino has previously introduced two bills on drug control — one of them increased collaboration between the DEA and prescription drug distributors. Critics have argued that the legislation “curbs the DEA’s ability to prosecute corporate drug distributors who have profited from the opioid epidemic.” Anti-marijuana activist Kevin Sabet praised the pick, saying that Marino “has a deep understanding of the issue.” CBS News The choice is bad news for cannabis policy reformers. Marino has consistently voted against measures to reform cannabis policy in Congress — even modest ones to allow industrial hemp and non-psychoactive CBD oil. MassRoots Marino has also proposed to involuntarily commit drug users in some sort of “hospital-slash-prison.” The Washington Post
Sessions wants to bring back the old-school war on drugs. But some of those who waged the drug war in the ’70s and ’80s say the tactics are ineffective. “In many ways with this administration we are rolling back… We are implementing plans that have been proven not to work,” said a former federal prosecutor. “Those of us who were on the front line of that era of policing have learned there are far more effective ways to arrest repeat, violent offenders, versus arresting a lot of people. That’s what we have learned over the last 30 years,” said a former police chief of New Orleans. The Associated Press Meanwhile, in a speech to military personnel, Sessions repeated his opposition to cannabis legalization and said he was “surprised” that people didn’t like his anti-weed comments. The Arizona Republic
Cannabiz in Canada. The Canadian government has filed an official notice about its impending introduction of legislation to legalize recreational marijuana. Marijuana Moment The medical marijuana industry predicts that the government will heavily restrict cannabis marketing and advertising. Bloomberg The legislation is expected to empower provinces and territories to oversee sales and distribution, like alcohol. The Globe and Mail
‘No other country comes close.’ Israel is the epicenter of medical marijuana research. As the U.S. continues federal prohibition that makes it difficult for scientists to study cannabis, Israel “is carving a place for medical cannabis research, an increasingly lucrative industry.” There are currently more than 110 clinical trials involving medical marijuana underway in the country. US News
Can cannabis save this struggling small town? It seems so. Adelanto, Calif. had a $2.6 million debt when mayor Rich Kerr was elected in 2014. “By June we’ll be in the black,” he says, thanks to marijuana cultivation. Last year the city became one of the few in the state to allow marijuana cultivation on an industrial scale. “The fate of Adelanto will help determine whether the green rush is another boom-and-bust California dream, or an industry that’s sustainable for decades.” LA Weekly
Colombia to regulate medical marijuana production. The government issued a decree that would regulate the production of medical cannabis after Congress approved the use of medical marijuana last year. The Ministry of Health will oversee imports and exports, and the government will prioritize licensing small and medium producers. PanAm Post
Word on the States
- In Colorado, social use could be coming to Denver as soon as July. Cannabis sales topped $126 million in February.
- In Washington, the state contract for seed-to-sale tracking software is up for bids.
- In Pennsylvania, draft MMJ regulations would prohibit doctors from advertising.
- In New Hampshire, the Senate considers loosening pot laws.
- In Vermont, the Senate president says it would take a “miracle” to pass non-commercial legalization.
- In Missouri, the House passes an industrial hemp bill.
- In Rhode Island, legalization in Massachusetts has changed the marijuana debate.
- In Nevada, the legislature ponders combining medical and recreational cannabis programs.
- In Iowa, a new push to legalize medical marijuana in the Senate.
- In North Carolina, legislators consider a range of medical cannabis bills.
- In Kansas, a look at the cannabis-related bills currently in the legislature.
- In California, more than 600 people applied to be on the state’s Cannabis Advisory Committee.
- In Michigan, Detroit has shut down 161 medical marijuana centers since 2015.
- In Washington D.C., stark racial disparities in cannabis arrests remain after decriminalization.
- In Guam, the governor is suspending support for his own legalization bill due to the Trump administration.
Word for Word
“I was a constant marijuana indulger, I guess, for a while. I didn’t do it because I knew that there was medical reasons for it. I used marijuana, cannabis, since college because I liked it. I liked it better than drinking. I didn’t feel the effects, the hangover, lingering around. I was able to get back on the horse and get into training the next day without having to take a day off.” – Former Eagles offensive lineman Todd Herremans, CBS Philly