Criticism of Sessions comes from all corners. Criticism of attorney general Jeff Sessions is mounting after his memo bringing back harsh drug sentencing. A former federal prosecutor and judge say the policies “led to scandalous racial disparities. They have caused untold misery at great expense. And they have not made us safer.” The Washington Post Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who has already criticized the policy, said he was surprised by the move. “I spoke with Sessions last when he was up for nomination, which makes this move by him even more disappointing now, because it was different from what I was led to believe,” said Paul, who voted to confirm the attorney general in February. Rare
Even one of the most prominent conservative evangelicals came out against it. “We ought to take away those mandatory minimums and let judges have some discretion so that they can deal with the cases as they arise,” said televangelist Pat Robertson “For the attorney general to say, ‘let’s enforce every law that Congress has made,’ dear me. Congress has gone overboard on this tough on crime stuff… It falls disproportionately on the minorities, on the poor, on the urban blacks.” MassRoots “I’d like to suggest to Jeff to try [cannabis] and then let me know later if he thinks he’s still telling the truth!” said country legend Willie Nelson. Rolling Stone
New drug policy bills in Congress. Senators Rand Paul, Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) re-introduced legislation that would allow federal judges to exercise discretion with regards to mandatory minimums. Washington Examiner New Hampshire senators Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan have introduced a bill aimed to protect the Office of National Drug Control Policy, which the Trump administration has proposed a 95 percent budget cut for. The Associated Press
Defense will talk marijuana in police shooting death. Cannabis use will play a role in the case of a Minnesota police officer’s fatal shooting of Philando Castile last July. While the defense is not allowed to bring up Castile’s past marijuana use, it will be allowed to present evidence of his alleged marijuana use the day of the shooting. An attorney for the officer said, “Castile was ‘stoned’ the day he was killed, and that a defense expert will testify the presence of THC in his system shows he was intoxicated.” They somehow argue that consuming cannabis “contributed to negligence in his death.” The Associated Press
Certified organic marijuana is coming to Washington. The governor of Washington state signed a bill that will create a state certification system for organic cannabis. It would be the first of its kind — marijuana certified under the system is expected to hit the shelves in about a year and a half. The Republican senator who sponsored the bill said the legislation was driven by consumers: “We’re hearing people say, ‘We don’t want any pesticides, fungicides, none of that stuff in our weed.'” Reuters
Today in officers behaving badly. Two former deputies in California plead guilty to marijuana trafficking. According to court documents, the officers conspired to steal cannabis from the sheriff’s storage unit. The Associated Press One of the former deputies apologized in a YouTube video, saying he made “a horrible decision.” “I made that decision based on Satan playing games with me and making me feel like I was prideful and unable to go to family members for help,” he said. The Los Angeles Times
Duterte attacks Dr. Carl Hart. The Columbia University neuroscientist and outspoken advocate of drug policy reform has drawn the ire of Rodrigo Duterte. The Philippine president called him a “son of a bitch who has gone crazy.” Hart spoke about his research at a drug policy forum at the University of the Philippines and had to cut his trip short after receiving death threats. The Root
Cannabis in Canada. The year before Canada cracked down on medical marijuana reimbursement costs to veterans, the department of Veterans Affairs paid out $44.5 million in medical marijuana expenses. Financial Post Anne McLellan, the head of the country’s legalization task force, believes the government will be able to launch recreational cannabis by July 2018. She also dispels some criticism of regulations favoring “Big Marijuana” — “most of the licensed producers aren’t big… you’ve also got licensed producers who are two or three people growing a few hundred plants.” Marijuana Business Daily
Positive drug tests are on the rise. A lab services company says positive workplace drug tests for marijuana, cocaine, and methamphetamines are at their highest level in 12 years. Last year, 4.2 percent of tests came back positive. It remains much lower than the 14 percent rate in 1988, when the company first started its annual report on the data. The Chicago Tribune
Lib Dems in U.K. reveal manifesto. The party is pledging to legalize and regulate cannabis, saying that it could generate £1 billion a year in taxes. It also pledges a second EU referendum, which would include an option to remain. BBC
Word on the States
- In California, hundreds serving time for marijuana offenses have been released after filing petitions under Prop 64. The Assembly approved a measure to ban edibles that could appeal to children.
- In Connecticut, Democrats include recreational marijuana legalization in their budget proposal.
- In Nevada, an Assembly committee approved a social-use measure.
- In Maryland, a medical marijuana company tries to halt the state from licensing MMJ companies.
- In New Mexico, more than 40,000 patients have enrolled in the state’s MMJ program.
- In Minnesota, most MMJ patients reported seeing substantial benefits with the program.
- In Montana, a Congressional candidate canceled an interview after his past marijuana use was revealed.
- In Delaware, a bill to expand the state’s medical marijuana program stalled in the Senate.
- In Rhode Island, a House committee approved a bill that would study recreational legalization.
- In Alabama, the mayor of Mobile clarifies that an ordinance he introduced would not decriminalize cannabis.
- In New Jersey, Starbucks asks cannabis activist NJ Weedman to stop using a similar logo for his restaurant Weedbukx .
Word for Word
“Property price spikes are fast and furious, offering financial security for struggling old-timers willing to trade petunias for pot… Local contractors are booked, with a two- to three-month waiting list for greenhouse construction. And workers — some of them former seasonal laborers who stooped over fields — are learning new skills at year-round indoor jobs, such as cloning and trimming.” – Lisa M. Krieger for Santa Cruz Sentinel
“There is nothing inherently violent about the sale of psychoactive substances, as a trip to your local liquor store will confirm. Drug trafficking is violent only because the government makes it so by creating a black market in which there are no legal ways to resolve disputes. In any case, the observation that drug offenders are sometimes violent does not justify the assumption that any given defendant is. Holder’s policy made sensible distinctions that Sessions pretends do not exist.” – Jacob Sullum for Reason
“The rosemary just fell right through. I’m sure it works well for nugs but I actually need a spice grinder and it’s impossible to find now thanks to the weed industry. I wish they would call them something else so I don’t have to sort through 89679376 products like this to find an actual spice grinder.” – Amazon reviewer A. Maddox, Vice / Munchies