Marino out of the running for drug czar. House rep. Tom Marino (R-Pa.) will not be the Trump’s pick to head up the Office of National Drug Control Policy. Marino was widely expected to be nominated by the administration, and was reportedly in the final stages of completing paperwork for the official nomination. While both the White House and Marino’s camp have declined to comment on the development, issues with his past have recently surfaced in the press. Among them: an allegation that he tried to “win a cocaine-dealing expungement for a friend” when he was a county prosecutor. US News
Well, they tried. House rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) and House rep. Tom McClintock (R-Calif.) attempted to extend medical marijuana protections in the federal spending bill to include state-legal recreational marijuana. The congressmen’s amendment would simply ensure “the federal government doesn’t waste its limited resources prosecuting men and women who are acting in full accordance with state law,” said Polis. A House committee would not consider it. MassRoots
Eyes on Vermont. Last year, cannabis advocates hoped that Vermont would become the first state to legalize adult-use through the legislature. (It didn’t happen.) Now, lawmakers are tackling the issue again. Last night, the House passed a non-commercial legalization measure, though the timing makes its passage in the Senate “highly unlikely this year.” VTDigger Members of the House rejected an amendment that would’ve created a commercial market for cannabis. The Senate supports taxing and regulating the drug. Burlington Free Press Related: The House also passed a bill to expand the list of qualifying conditions for medical marijuana. VT Digger
Baby steps. Restrictive CBD oil laws often come under fire for being unworkable and unhelpful to patients. But one area where they can help? Convincing anti-cannabis Republicans to change their minds. Fourteen Iowa Republicans who voted against the state’s 2014 CBD oil bill decided to support the expansion of the medical marijuana program this time around. While advocates criticize the new expansion as falling short, the issue has forced some lawmakers to reconsider their positions. “I think it’s probably time to face up to the fact that there might be some good things coming from it,” said one state Rep. who previously opposed legalizing cannabis oil. “It didn’t take nearly as much arm-twisting or conversations as it did three years ago,” said the Senate president. The Des Moines Register
Scientists look into the potential of CBD for brain tumors. After observing a surge in parents attempting to treat their sick kids with CBD, a researcher will study the effect of CBD on brain tumor cells. Scientists will grow various tumor cells in the lab — some with CBD and others without. “We expect the brain tumor cells grown in cannabidiol to stop growing and die,” said the study’s lead researcher Richard Grundy of Nottingham University’s children’s brain tumor center. One four-year-old being treated at the center saw his brain tumor shrink by two-thirds in six months after his parents started him on CBD and a ketogenic diet. The Guardian
Retired NFL players learn about medical cannabis. Retirement from pro football is “a daily exercise in managing pain,” which brought a group of former Broncos to the CW Hemp offices in Boulder, Colo. Most of the former players on the tour had been skeptical of medical marijuana until recently. “But the more they learned, the more they’d come to think that some form of marijuana could be the alternative they’d been looking for.” The Washington Post
Wall Street’s pot play. Scotts Miracle-Gro, one of the largest mainstream businesses to get into the cannabis industry, has seen revenue growth that “significantly exceeded expectations” thanks to its acquisitions of cannabis-related companies. Scotts has made headlines for buying up businesses that specialize in hydroponics, lighting, soil, and nutrients for growing cannabis. While some of its anti-weed board members stepped down due to its CEO’s gamble on pot — it seems to be paying off for the company. The Cannabist
Medical marijuana in Oz. The first legal imports of medical cannabis products to Australia have arrived in Melbourne and Perth. Before, the drug had to be imported into the country on an individual, case-by-case basis. Now, pharmacies will be able to stock the drug, which will likely be a boon for patient access. The medicine comes from Canada, though other permits have been issued for importations from Switzerland and the Netherlands too. ABC News Related: A top hedge fund is betting big on medical cannabis in the country. Tribeca Investment Partners has bought shares in the IPO of Cann Group — the only Australian company with a federal license to cultivate medical marijuana. Investments in the North American cannabis industry helped Tribeca become the world’s top-performing hedge fund last year. Bloomberg
How drugs and paranoia doomed Silk Road. Ross Ulbricht, a gifted programmer, had an idea for an e-commerce site on the Dark Web. He headed to San Francisco to pursue his startup dreams, where many startups were already capitalizing on the still-federally illegal cannabis market. The entrepreneur hoped to “disrupt the shady business of recreational-drug purchasing.” But the site soon changed from his original plan and he was faced with a terrifying decision: “Was he ready to kill someone to protect his billion-dollar company?” Vanity Fair
Woof. “Dogs are much more reliable than people,” said the owner of a company that trains security dogs to protect cannabis businesses. “Since dogs are considered to be ‘less-than-lethal force,’ [they] reduce the liability [associated with] keeping guns around.” Kindland A look at the #dogsofcannabis on Instagram. Leafly
Word on the States
- In California, the medical marijuana industry criticizes proposed regulations.
- In Colorado, regulators collected more than $683,000 in fines from dispensaries. A proposed marijuana tax hike stretches the limits of what voters approved.
- In Oregon, a bill to ban employers from firing workers for off-duty cannabis use dies in the Senate.
- In Nevada, Clark County will begin accepting applications for recreational dispensaries today. The county is not too keen on social use.
- In Washington, a look at the legislature’s restrictions on cannabis advertising.
- In Kansas, the Wichita city council delayed a vote on lessening pot penalties.
- In North Dakota, the health department begins implementing the new medical cannabis law.
- In Florida, the House passed a medical marijuana bill than bans smoking weed.
- In New York, the state Assembly approved a bill to add PTSD to the medical marijuana program.
- In Louisiana, a Senate committee approved a measure to protect MMJ patients from getting arrested.
Word for Word
“It is a blessing from God to be here and be able to register [to buy cannabis]. What’s more, we can buy it in pharmacies with a guarantee of quality, not just buy any old thing in the streets. I came to Uruguay especially for this.” – Manuel Martin, AFP
“What is this incredible hysteria over some adult smoking marijuana in his backyard that we have to waste the resources of our police forces? The police should be out protecting people down the street, but instead they are going into the guy’s backyard to make sure that he is not smoking marijuana… Trying to control people’s personal lives, especially their consumption of cannabis, has been a horrendous failure because it has not prevented people’s use, and it has been dramatically costly.” – House rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.), C-Span