The DOJ’s mysterious marijuana subcommittee. A review of the Justice Department’s marijuana enforcement policy is ongoing, with new recommendations expected July 27. The marijuana subcommittee is led by Michael Murray, counsel to deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein. But the DOJ is keeping mum about the details, declining to identify other members of the subcommittee or talk about the process of its review. House rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.), who requested a meeting with Jeff Sessions to discuss cannabis policy, was refused such a meeting with the attorney general. US News
Sessions and Trump clash. Amid rising tensions between the president and the attorney general, Sessions has reportedly suggested resigning. The Justice Department declined to comment on the report, while White House press secretary Sean Spicer evaded questions about the president’s confidence in the AG. ABC News Sessions told Trump that he needed independence to do his job, though Trump turned down the resignation offer. Sessions is reportedly upset that Trump tapped New Jersey governor Chris Christie to head up an opioid task force without consulting him first. The New York Times Related: NFL players are speaking out against Sessions’ return to mandatory minimums for low-level drug offenses. CNN
More banks serving marijuana industry. Nearly 400 banks and credit unions around the country are serving marijuana businesses, according to a new report. Their numbers have increased about 10 percent since Trump took office. As of March, there were at least 1,600 cannabis company bank accounts in the U.S. “The increase runs contrary to widespread fears that anti-marijuana comments from [Sessions] and [Spicer] could spook mainstream companies from working with the cannabis industry.” MassRoots
A horrifying violation. Students at a Georgia high school are suing the county sheriff after he ordered a search for drugs. The suit alleges that deputies stuck their hands in students’ bras and underwear, cupped boys’ genitals, and exposed girls’ breasts to their classmates. “He came up under my privates and then he grabbed my testicles twice… I wanted to turn around and tell him to stop touching me. I wanted it to be over and I just wanted to call my dad because I knew something wasn’t right,” said one of the plaintiffs. No drugs were found. The Washington Post
Cannabis lawyers worried. Cannabis lawyers in California are speaking out about San Diego’s district attorney charging a lawyer for a medical marijuana company with conspiracies to commit a crime, obstruct justice, and manufacturing a controlled substance. Other lawyers expressed shock that a business attorney was charged and say the move is retaliation after a judge ordered the D.A.’s office to return assets it seized in the case. “This is clearly a vindictive prosecution arising from the court’s order that they return the seized funds… As bad as that is in and of itself, this is clearly calculated to send a chill to the attorneys that defend cannabis businesses, that they can become targets,” said one prominent San Francisco cannabis lawyer. Marijuana Business Daily
Going backwards. Despite bipartisan progress towards criminal justice reforms that move away from harsh mandatory minimums, a bipartisan duo in Congress is pushing tougher penalties targeting synthetic opioids. Senators Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) are preparing legislation that would give the Justice Department more power to ban synthetic drugs. One drug policy reformer who has seen the legislation says harsh sentencing “does nothing to help the opioid epidemic.” NPR
Philippine lawmaker appeals to ICC. Senator Antonio Trillanes asked the International Criminal Court to probe president Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs. He traveled to The Hague, Netherlands to hand over new information to supplement a dossier accusing Duterte of mass murder. “There is an urgency to conduct a preliminary examination on the allegations… [to] prevent further commission of crimes against humanity.” AFP Outspoken drug policy advocate and neuroscientist Carl Hart said he “thought it would be a nice thing to do” to counter some of the myths surrounding methamphetamine in the country. He had no idea that it would result in death threats and attention from the president himself. “[The U.S.] pretended [the drug war] was about crack cocaine. We now know it was never about crack. The same is true in the Philippines,” said Hart. PRI
THC for relieving stress. A study of 42 volunteers found that a small dose of edible THC (7.5 milligrams) helped relieve stress while a larger dose (12.5 milligrams) increased negative moods. The volunteers had a history of cannabis use, but none of them were daily consumers. “We found that THC at low doses reduced stress, while higher doses had the opposite effect, underscoring the importance of dose when it comes to THC and its effects,” said one of the researchers, though they cautioned about the difficulties comparing eating cannabis to smoking it. Medical Daily
How regulations drive packaging innovation. A medical marijuana dispensary in Illinois had a problem: it was losing $50,000 a year displaying flowers for customers because of a state law that requires retailers to throw out unsealed product after seven days. The dispensary turned to an architecture firm to help it redesign its display packaging to show off the products without breaking the seal. The architects came up with a glass bulb that twists into a wooden base that uses a pressure-locking mechanism to create a seal. Fast Company
Uruguay ambassador: We paved the way. Uruguay’s envoy to Canada says his country paved the way for others on the international stage to legalize cannabis. Both countries are a part of three U.N. drug control treaties that ban recreational marijuana. The task of implementing adult-use legalization has forced the country to risk its international credibility: “We see not that the tide is turning, but the international community’s allowing this issue to be part of the discussion.” Uruguay hasn’t pushed for changes to international law, but has called for more flexibility within current laws. “We have facilitated a lot because we worked very hard in the last years to introduce this perspective,” he said. The Canadian Press
Word on the States
- In California, a judge ordered that a Santa Ana cop fired after a controversial dispensary raid be reinstated. The ACLU and DPA sue a city over its restrictive home-grow rules.
- In Colorado, three years after legalization, unemployment is the lowest in the nation.
- In Nevada, how the state’s new marijuana laws will affect consumers.
- In Connecticut, the House debated marijuana legalization (but didn’t vote on it).
- In Vermont, a look behind legalization efforts in the state.
- In Washington, sales of cannabis concentrates are skyrocketing in the state.
- In Massachusetts, cigarette wholesalers seek monopoly on distributing recreational marijuana.
- In Arkansas, regulators approved final application forms for its MMJ program.
- In Indiana, a state senator hits back against the AG’s anti-pot op-ed.
- In Hawaii, the state’s first MMJ dispensary will open its doors this week (but without cannabis).
- In Florida, a former tribal chief is partnering with a Nevada cannabis firm to bring the marijuana business to Native American tribes.
- In New Mexico, a McDonald’s billboard with a marijuana joke is coming down after higher-ups objected.
Word for Word
“This is shocking, at least at first glance. But perhaps it shouldn’t be. If police believe the drug war gives them authorization to conduct anal and vaginal cavity searches, forced enemas, and colonoscopies based on little more than a police officer’s suspicion that someone is hiding some quantity of illegal drugs, allegations of a little over-the-clothes groping of high school students ought not surprise us in the least.” – Radley Balko for The Washington Post
“I still [write stoned]. I’ve long used marijuana as an editorial tool, and recommended it to others. It really is like putting on another pair of eyes. It allows you, above all, to see the entire forest, not just a bunch of trees — or vice versa, sometimes. I’ve usually used it to edit, not write. But I did write large sections of The Other Paris stoned—I suppose because I happened to possess a particularly sharp strain of sativa. It’s probably the first time I’ve ever done it in a premeditated fashion over a period of time, used pot to kind of help me out of a certain kind of freeze at certain points in the writing. Of course, cannabis can also make you lose the thread or dawdle over word choices.” – Writer Luc Sante, The Paris Review