Sessions’ new policy threatens bipartisan reform efforts. Attorney general Jeff Sessions’ recent directive to toughen up against drug offenders was no surprise. But the move comes after liberals and conservatives had come together on the issue of criminal justice reform: “It ran so contrary to the growing bipartisan consensus coursing through Washington and many state capitals in recent years.” The New York Times Medical marijuana advocates are concerned by the uncertainty of this administration. Washington Post One advocate for criminal justice reform says there is a lot of conservative support for the issue in Congress and that reformers are “well-positioned” to influence the Trump administration. Vice However — apart from senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) — none of the Republican criminal justice reformers in Congress are willing to critique Sessions’ memo so far. Mic Some prosecutors were critical of former attorney general Eric Holder’s directive, saying that it would make it more difficult to get defendants to plead guilty. But two years after Holder’s policy, the percentage of guilty pleas are the same: 97 percent. NBC News Related: Appalachia has been hit hard by the opioid epidemic. The region’s approach to drug policy is at odds with Sessions’ directive. The Associated Press
Iowa wants to team up with Minnesota on medical marijuana. A new medical marijuana expansion plan in Iowa would allow more patients to access the medicine from dispensaries by the end of 2018. But the bill looks to Minnesota as a source of the drug until the state readies its own supply. The House speakers of both states are discussing this arrangement, which could offer relief to patients in Iowa while the state sets up its own program. But even if the two states come to an agreement, the prospect raises federal concerns: transporting state-legal cannabis over state lines is still a federal offense. The Associated Press Related: The governor of Iowa signed the medical cannabis oil expansion bill. Quad-City Times
From solitary confinement to graduating magna cum laude. For 10 years, Kyle L. Gathers was in and out of prison for drug offenses, among others. He spent two of those years in solitary confinement. This past weekend, Gathers graduated from vocational school and was the student commencement speaker: “Today seemed impossible… No one taught us how to believe in ourselves. That grit came from us.” The New York Times
Helping veterans enter the cannabis industry. Marijuana played a large role in Roberto Pickering’s recovery process after he returned from serving as a Marine sniper. Now, he’s teaming up with Dr. Sue Sisley to help veterans when they return, including offering them medical support with cannabis and helping them find jobs in the burgeoning marijuana industry. LA Weekly
Israel eases MMJ restrictions. The country’s Health Ministry has issued new directives to allow medical marijuana patients vape the drug in public. (Public smoking remains banned.) Previously, patients were restricted to consuming cannabis at the address listed on their permit, creating unnecessary bureaucracy. Haaretz
Lib Dems: cannabis enforcement a waste of time. The British political party, which announced on Friday it would pledge to legalize cannabis, criticized enforcement in the country. Their own research found that one million hours of police time are wasted every year enforcing cannabis prohibition. “The average cost to the taxpayer per case estimated at £2,256… in total £31m was spent on 1,044,180 police hours.” The Independent
NASCAR pot kerfuffle. Race car driver Carl Long was ordered by NASCAR to strip the logo of one of his sponsors — a marijuana vape company — from his car on Friday. A NASCAR spokesman said the logo was never vetted or approved by the company. The Associated Press Long explained on his Facebook page that the ordeal was his mistake because he had misspelled the name of the vape company when he submitted it to NASCAR for approval. He defended NASCAR’s decision in the post. Uproxx Related: The story of how four race-car drivers were busted for marijuana trafficking, “two of them multi-million dollar schemes that funded, or partially funded, high-end racing teams.” The Indianapolis Star
A marijuana marketing campaign gone wrong. Civilized — a Canada-based marijuana media startup — offered a $2,000 giveaway as part of a marketing campaign. Part of the giveaway included products from two companies operating in violation of Canadian and international laws: WeedDaddy, which sells “mail-order marijuana,” and Crop King Seeds, which sells and ships seeds internationally. “This Civilized promotion is ill-conceived. The company appears to be not only violating Canadian and U.S. laws but also promoting the black market.” The company ended the contest two days before the original closing date. New Cannabis Ventures
Philippines panel throws out impeachment complaint against Duterte. Members of a Congressional committee unanimously voted down an impeachment complaint against president Rodrigo Duterte. The complaint accused the president of “betrayal of public trust by concealing assets, supporting summary executions of thousands of Filipinos in his war on drugs, and having a ‘defeatist’ approach towards Beijing’s assertiveness in the South China Sea.” Reuters
The therapeutic effects of recreational drugs. The idea of prescribing illegal drugs is heretical in Western medicine. But it shouldn’t be: cannabis, MDMA, ketamine, and psilocybin have all shown promise for therapeutic use. Word on the Tree Famed Hollywood actor Cary Grant said that LSD therapy saved his life. A new documentary explores his adventures in psychedelia, opening “a window on to a lost utopia of LSD therapy.” The Guardian
Word on the States
- In California, a Santa Rosa cannabis business is fueling a land-use feud.
- In New Jersey, a state lawmaker introduced legislation to legalize recreational marijuana.
- In South Dakota, prosecutors subpoenaed a journalist to testify in a tribal marijuana case.
- In Colorado, cannabis businesses plan for growth amid federal concerns.
- In North Dakota, police are cracking down on hemp-derived CBD oil.
- In New Mexico, medical marijuana is a booming industry.
- In Florida, an MMJ business says its flowers are not meant for smoking.
- In Hawaii, marijuana bills await approval from the governor.
Word for Word
“How do we know that George Washington and Alexander Hamilton didn’t while away those long, bone-chilling nights at Valley Forge passing a blunt back and forth while Martha was whipping up some Alice B. Toklas brownies by the bonfire?… Who can deny a large, smoking marijuana joint doesn’t at least rise to the level of theme, color, animation, special effects, originality and visual appeal? Or you could argue that attempting to craft language specifically designed to eliminate a single [parade] float could well be viewed as a one toke over the line assault on the First Amendment.” – Daniel Ruth for Tampa Bay Times
“Your Twitter is public, so I find out some things on there about you, because you don’t appear to have any sort of filter. Recently, on 4/20, I learned you and your brother once made pot brownies and accidentally got the housekeeper involved. I don’t condone drug use, but I guess I’m glad you did it in the house. I didn’t know you guys could even bake.” – Mother of a Vice copy editor Cindy Norcia, Vice
“How much LSD should you give to an elephant, should you feel minded to do such an irresponsible thing? The answer is not the 297 milligrams that was injected into a poor pachyderm called Tusko in 1962, leading shortly to his death. The researchers came up with that amount by extrapolating from research on cats. They had simply scaled up a feline acid dose to account for the greater mass, without accounting for the fact that safe dosages for drugs do not quite double with a doubling in mass, and other factors also play a role. Extrapolate this over the many multiples of mass an elephant has over a cat, and Tusko should have had a few milligrams, not several hundred.” – The Economist