The struggle for social-use. State-level cannabis legalization has seen great gains in recent years. But one thing that’s conspicuously absent? A place for people to consume cannabis. While legal markets ban public use and on-site consumption, Denver has been ironing out regulations for social use after voters approved a ballot measure last November. It’s on track to be the first city in the U.S. to have cannabis cafes. But advocates warn that tight restrictions are setting it up to fail. BuzzFeed News
Prohibitionists vs. politicians. The anti-legalization group Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM) declared victory on Wednesday by announcing that “a proposed government spending bill released today eliminated a provision that has protected the marijuana industry.” The press release was in reference to the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment that protects state medical marijuana programs from federal intervention. Advocacy groups and members of Congress quickly pointed out the amendment has never appeared in the base bill and has always been added through amendment votes later on. “SAM clearly doesn’t understand legislative process,” tweeted rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) SAM responded by attacking Blumenauer and fellow cannabis reformer rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.), saying they are “funded by illegal marijuana operations selling pot candies to kids.” MassRoots
Colorado’s biggest pot bust. Officials announced the indictment of 62 people and 12 businesses that pretended to grow cannabis legally for medical patients, but were actually trafficking the drug out of state. Group members are also alleged to have bilked investors, who were misled to believe that the operation was legal. Their investors include two former NFL players. The enterprise is the largest known illegal operation in the state since it legalized adult-use in 2012. The Associated Press So far, authorities have 43 people in custody — leaving 19 at large. The investigation was triggered by a 2014 tip to Denver police. The individuals involved were mostly Coloradans. The Denver Post
Another chance for a cannabis credit union. A federal appeals court vacated a district court ruling that barred the Fourth Corner Credit Union from receiving a master account with the Federal Reserve. The credit union first formed to serve marijuana-related businesses that can have trouble accessing financial services. The district court ruled that the credit union would use the account to violate federal drug laws. “This ruling was erroneous,” wrote one circuit court judge. The Cannabist
Demand for cannabis dropped in April. Demand for cannabis products dropped more than 1.1 percent in April, according to the AndCan Index, which monitors the U.S. cannabis industry. “All indications are that this drop is but a detour on an otherwise steady path in the growth of the cannabis market,” said one analyst. Marijuana Business Daily
Teaching grandma about weed. Seniors can benefit greatly from medical marijuana. But many of them are concerned about the stigma of pot use. Here’s a look at how Canadians are educating seniors about the therapeutic uses of marijuana. “A lot of the people of my generation still picture Cheech and Chong from the late 60s sitting in their barracudas toking up,” said one 62-year-old advocate. “Most seniors still view medical marijuana as a recreational drug that a bunch of loser kids smoke to either piss of the law or the parents… the attitude is going to take some time to change.” Vice
GW Pharma’s pot grow stinks up Norfolk. British Sugar traded tomatoes for cannabis when it signed on to cultivate the crop for GW Pharmaceuticals last year. It started growing the cannabis crop and just finished harvesting on Friday. The odors from the harvest seem to have traveled to nearby towns, where residents complained of the skunky smells (though it seemed to lift some spirits). “Extra smelly this morning… everyone was smiling though,” wrote one resident. A spokeswoman for the company said it is “investigating the recent reports to understand the distance any smells could travel from our operations.” BBC
Analyzing Canada’s pot guidelines. Earlier this week, Canadian health and addiction organizations released guidelines for cannabis that emphasized abstinence and the potential harms of pot use. The guidelines for pot seem to play up the harms, while the guidelines for alcohol seem to downplay its risks. “The result of this skewed information will be to encourage more people to use alcohol, instead of the safer alternative, cannabis.” HuffPost
Cannabis in Catalonia. Catalonia’s parliament says it will start regulating adult-use marijuana. For years, the region has been home to cannabis cooperatives that have operated in a legal gray area. “This ambitious and bold decision marks the first time in Europe that an adult-use system of this nature is permitted, effectively making cannabis a legal commodity in the region.” marijuana.com
Data on drug use is lacking. In the midst of the opioid crisis, data about drug use is becoming increasingly difficult for researchers to access. Many researchers are skeptical about the quality of data coming from national surveys. Other sources of federal data — like the Drug Abuse Warning Network — are no longer being updated. Then there’s the DEA, that “has basically substantially reduced access to their data, which taxpayers are paying for that collection of data,” said one drug policy expert who has served both Democrat and Republican administrations. Experts say that a lack of national data is hindering the public-health response to opioid abuse. FiveThirtyEight
Word on the States
- In Nevada, emergency regulations restrict the sales of cannabis edibles to adults. The feds will be drug testing drivers at Burning Man.
- In Hawaii, an insurance company pulls worker’s comp for seven MMJ businesses.
- In Colorado, business is booming for a marijuana recycling site.
- In Washington, Seattle’s Hempfest is struggling financially.
- In California, Bay Area airport screeners plead guilty to taking bribes to allow drugs through.
Word for Word
“I put [cannabis] where drinking used to go, and the quality of life has gone up considerably. Drinking is a fucking con. How much is enough? Every time I drank, I was looking for some sort of regulated amount. It always feels wrong for me. I always feel like I went overboard… I was always the guy saying that I didn’t like altered states. Once you know who you are, then it becomes OK. I’m much more open-minded to small changes in consciousness. I remember every trip I ever took. I remember every thought I ever had when I laid there.” – John Mayer, Rolling Stone
“Did Green really experience a life-threatening overdose by briefly touching a small amount of fentanyl? That’s certainly what his story suggests. But neither fentanyl nor even its uber-potent cousin carfentanil (two of the most powerful opioids known to humanity) can cause clinically significant effects, let alone near-death experiences, from mere skin exposure… Each of the medical and toxicology professionals I asked agreed that it’s implausible that one could overdose from brushing powder off a shirt. Skin cannot absorb even the strongest formulations of opioids efficiently or fast enough to exert such an effect.” – Jeremy Samuel Faust for Slate