Word on the Tree was out West last week for the High Times Cannabis Cup (among other festivities). In lieu of our typical Friday dispatch, here’s a special weekend edition to catch you up on the 4/20 media frenzy.
Jeff Sessions hasn’t made any marijuana policy changes yet. But his anti-cannabis rhetoric has already hurt reform efforts. Threatening language from the attorney general has driven lawmakers in some states to protect their legal cannabis programs. But in other states, lawmakers are stymying voter-approved legalization and pulling back from reforms, citing the uncertainty of the Trump administration. The Cannabist
‘Politically motivated arrests.’ While Sessions may not have changed any DOJ marijuana enforcement policies yet, a spokesperson for DCMJ said the arrests of their activists on 4/20 were “carried out to disrupt the civil disobedience action we have planned for Monday.” DCMJ, which planned to comply with D.C. cannabis laws, did not anticipate the arrests. They had given out about 100 joints before the arrests began. Washingtonian
$1.1 billion in savings. That’s how much money taxpayers could save in Medicaid prescriptions if there was a nationwide medical marijuana program. Researchers found that Medicaid prescriptions fell after states adopted legal medical marijuana. Prescriptions for drugs that treat nausea, depression, seizures, and psychosis all declined. Most importantly, prescriptions for painkillers fell 11 percent. The Washington Post
Scientists confirm what we already knew… Government weed is much worse than what you can get at a dispensary. Researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder and Steep Hill Labs found that NIDA’s research cannabis had just 27 percent of the THC found in marijuana from the commercial market. The lead researcher suspects the culprit is a storage issue, and thinks that scientists should be able to access state-legal cannabis. “This mismatch between what the public is using and what is available to researchers limits scientific study on the potential harms or benefits.” Bloomberg
Mother gets cannabis oil seized. Vera Twomey traveled from Ireland to Spain to obtain cannabis oil for her epileptic daughter. But the 3-month supply of medicine was seized when she arrived in Dublin. Twomey said the customs officials were “sympathetic,” but took the medicine anyways. She was accompanied by two Irish lawmakers in a show of support. “If I was a parent in Spain, Germany, Italy, Canada, Poland, or in 30 states of the US, I would be allowed to give my daughter this medication,” she said. independent.ie
College students are trying cannabis more. Students today are more likely to try marijuana for the first time in college than any other point in the last three decades, according to the University of Michigan’s annual Monitoring the Future study. The increase of first-time users in college does not hold for those in the same age group who are not in college. M Live
Risk of developing psychosis for pot is very low. A review of research on cannabis and psychosis found that “the increased risk is weak and the vulnerabilities relatively rare” when it comes to pot-induced psychosis. The British study found that the greatest health risk of consuming cannabis was from tobacco, not the marijuana itself. (Cannabis and tobacco are commonly used together in the country.) In the U.S., the practice of mixing the two drugs is much less common. Independent
Scientists dispute entourage effect. Some cannabis researchers are convinced of the drug’s entourage effect, where interactions between THC and other cannabinoids and terpenes produce an effect that THC alone cannot. These scientists admit that there’s a lack of scientific evidence, but have seen plenty of anecdotal evidence to support the theory. Other cannabis researchers warn that the effect has been overhyped and it’s impossible to know of its existence without conducting clinical trials. Scientific American
Wall Street thinks weed will hurt the alcohol industry. Financial services firm Cowen lowered its rating of Molson Coors, saying the company’s beer sales will suffer due to increased marijuana use. “Since 1980, we have seen three distinct substitution cycles between alcohol and cannabis; we are entering another cycle,” said a Cowen analyst. CNBC
Conspiracy of the day. Alex Jones, the conspiracy theorist and radio show host, floated a weed conspiracy during the first days of a custody trial. Jones said he sometimes smokes marijuana “to monitor its strength, which is how law enforcement does it.” He claimed that cannabis has gotten too strong because of the billionaire investor George Soros. BuzzFeed News
Word on the States
- In California, demand for marijuana trimmers is a boon for migrant workers.
- In Vermont, the Senate approved a marijuana legalization bill.
- In Indiana, the Senate approved a CBD oil bill.
- In Alaska, the state ordered a marijuana club in Anchorage to shut its doors.
- In Massachusetts, the chair of the marijuana panel wants to keep pot taxes low to kill off the black market. The state’s AG thinks Sessions shouldn’t focus so much on marijuana.
- In Nevada, a pro-cannabis state senator gave (non-infused) brownies to fellow lawmakers for 4/20.
- In Colorado, controversy over 4/20 celebrations and trash in the Denver Civic Center park.
- In Iowa, the legislature approved a bill to expand the medical CBD oil program.
- In Maine, lawmakers consider delaying cannabis social clubs.
Word for Word
“The reason that we are choosing to legalize and control marijuana is because the current system is not protecting our kids. It’s right now easier for an underage Canadian — a teenager — to buy a joint than it is for them to get their hands on a bottle of beer. Whatever you may think of the relative harms of marijuana vs. alcohol or cigarettes, marijuana is not good for the developing brain, it’s not good for our kids… That’s the main part of our legalization strategy, along with recognizing that criminal organizations and street gangs are making billions of dollars every single year off of the sale of marijuana, which they then funnel into other criminal activities. You put those two things together and you realize we have a system that isn’t working.” – Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau, Bloomberg
“My son was killed when he was seven by a distracted driver. The man was texting on his phone. He ran a two-way stop sign into moving traffic. T-boned my wife, she had multiple injuries. Three days later we turned off life support to my son. The driver was charged and convicted of 2nd-degree vehicular homicide. A misdemeanor. Sentenced to one year probation, $1,000 fine, and three hours of community service. Later that year, I was arrested for simple possession. I had one gram of marijuana in my pocket and a blown fuse that disabled the taillight on my car. I was sentenced to one year probation, $1,000 fine, and 60 hours of community service. For 57 hours I drove nails thinking about being punished more severely than the man that killed my son.” – u/stonedhillbilly, Reddit AMA with congressman Earl Blumenauer