A former attorney general talks about Jeff Sessions’ “obsession with marijuana,” how a 12-year-old girl is fighting to end prohibition, and the danger of bad marijuana headlines from cannabis publications. Also: Twitter users loved a weed dealer’s out-of-office message, praising him for his customer service. 🌳
Jeff Sessions’ obsession with weed. “The Sessions almost-obsession with marijuana I think is the thing that’s put the Justice Department in this strange place,” said former attorney general Eric Holder about the current AG. “I think [the Cole memo] was a really good policy.” Sessions has repeatedly criticized state marijuana legalization measures and talked about revising federal enforcement policies on cannabis. Holder also spoke about the tension between Sessions’ anti-marijuana and pro-states rights views. Washington Examiner
How a 12-year-old could help end prohibition. “I’m now over two years seizure-free because of my cannabis medicine,” says sixth-grader Alexis Bortell. Bortell is one of the plaintiffs in a lawsuit against the federal government, which argues that marijuana’s Schedule I status is unconstitutional. “Every time I look around my classroom, I think about what my classmates will be when we grow up. But there’s nothing I can be because the government thinks I’m bad… I know they’re wrong. I do hope we can win this case. If that happens, maybe I can be a doctor, or if I need to, run for legislature,” said Bortell. Rolling Stone
How bad marijuana headlines are actually dangerous. Cannabis publications like The Cannabist and Marijuana Business Daily printed headlines that suggested it was legal to consume marijuana at beaches and state parks in California. The problem? The headlines were inaccurate, which could lead consumers to unwittingly break the law. The Cannabist wouldn’t comment on its coverage, while Marijuana Business Daily acknowledged its piece needed to be “reframed and clarified.” Marijuana Moment
Army gives waivers to former marijuana users. In an effort to reach its recruiting goals, the army has relaxed its process of granting waivers for cannabis use. The move reflects marijuana’s legal status in several states, although recruits must vow not to use cannabis again. “The big thing we’re looking for is a pattern of misconduct where they’re going to have a problem with authority… Smoking marijuana in an isolated incident as a teenager is not a pattern of misconduct,” said a major general who leads recruiting efforts. USA Today
A cannabis tea party at the U.K. Parliament. Pro-cannabis members of Parliament and marijuana activists gathered outside the House of Commons to advocate for legalization. The ‘tea party’ was organized by the United Patients Alliance and attended by Labour and Liberal Democrat MPs. Labour MP Paul Flynn has introduced legalization legislation, and has criticized the government for its “evidence-free” approach to marijuana laws. Independent Protesters were not afraid of breaking the law as they lit joints and laid a table with cannabis-infused cakes. Flynn declined offers to partake, saying that he had to make a speech later, but otherwise would be happy to indulge. Reuters
Criminal injustice. Massachusetts has suffered two high-profile drug lab scandals in recent years. In one case, a state drug chemist began stealing drugs to consume herself, engaging in evidence tampering for years while smoking and cooking crack at work. About 18,000 defendants were convicted based on her work, yet there has been no systematic notification to those defendants that their convictions may be flawed. But such egregious cases are far from surprising — systemic pressures are partly to blame rather than “bad apples.” Injustice Today The story of a New York detective is a case in point: Kevin Desormeau excelled at his job and even received a medal for valor after a shootout. Now he’s been indicted for lying about drugs. Others have accused him of planting drugs on them. The New York Times
Cannabis as an anti-anxiety drug. A recent study found that medical marijuana might hold promise as an anti-anxiety medication. “The potential effects of cannabis on stress do appear to extend beyond the period of intoxication,” said a co-author of the study. Now, her colleagues plan to do a follow-up study and also hope to replicate its findings in rats. “One of the limitations of this research is that we can’t ethically manipulate who uses cannabis daily and who does not… it could be that people who are already less prone to stress are also more prone to being chronic cannabis users. With rats, we can manipulate both stress and cannabis.” Leafly
Twitter shows love for dealer’s OOO message. After a cannabis consumer tweeted her “weed man’s” out-of-office message, users hailed the dealer’s customer service and business skills. The dealer apparently sent a message to his loyal customers informing them that he will be off work for his birthday and will “resume regular scheduled hustling the following Saturday evening. Thank you for [your] understanding.” Metro
Cannabis in Canada. Ontario has become the hub of marijuana business activity in the country. The province is home to the most licensed producers of medical marijuana, and also boasts the most potential cannabis consumers. “Other provinces will try to compete on grants, lower energy costs, etc., precisely because they’re at a natural disadvantage in all of these fundamental elements,” said a former provincial official. Marijuana Business Daily One Canadian cannabis company plans to enter the Australian market with a strategic partnership to build a 22-acre greenhouse grow. Leafly Alberta hasn’t decided on a public or private industry framework yet. But labor unions are advocating for government-owned stores. Calgary Herald
Philippine lawyers take on Duterte’s drug war. A group of lawyers filed an injunction to the Philippine Supreme Court in an effort to stop president Rodrigo Duterte’s drug crackdown. Lawyers argued that the case grants police “license to kill suspected users and dealers, without gathering evidence or building a case.” The chairman of the Free Legal Assistance Group said that the war on drugs won’t stop illicit drug use and “will only result in the killing of more and more people especially the poor.” Reuters
Word on the States
- In Colorado, regulators are seeking public comment on proposed marijuana regulations. The Longmont city council lifted its pot shop ban. A Carbondale cannabis business is facing permit revocation due to odor complaints.
- In Maine, Portland welcomes a cannabis convention this weekend.
- In New Jersey, why additional illnesses take so long to be added to the medical marijuana program.
- In Arkansas, the state regulator gave approval for accountants to work for the MMJ industry.
- In Maryland, medical marijuana companies fear Rohrabacher-Farr’s prospects for renewal.
- In Montana, the state’s MMJ industry is expected to hit $18.7 million this year.
- In Texas, the state’s first MMJ dispensary is set to open in December.
- In Wisconsin, Republican lawmakers introduced an industrial hemp bill.
- In Illinois, Cook county commissioners consider marijuana taxes to make up for a proposal to repeal a sweetened beverage tax.
- In Kentucky, the governor says he will not allow marijuana legalization.
- In North Dakota, the assistant attorney general says the state is “working towards zero tolerance” for employee medical marijuana use.
Word for Word
“From an environmental standpoint, ending prohibition should be a boon. Illegal cultivation creates a raft of environmental problems — erosion, clear-cutting, garbage dumping, poisoned watersheds, and water diversions from creeks that support imperiled salmon and steelhead trout. [California] will also begin collecting fees and taxes from growers who go legit; about $1 billion is expected next year, of which 20 percent will go toward watershed protection and remediation of state lands that were damaged by growers. But for the O’Neills and other small-scale growers in the Emerald Triangle, legalization looks a lot less appealing. Many are either unable or unwilling to pay state or county fees, and even for those who can, legalization will increase competition from large-scale, cut-rate growers.” – Stett Holbrook for grist.org
“I am 100% in support of marijuana legalization. I was nervous to be public about this at first, but I decided to be authentic. I don’t drink, but I’ve vaped cannabis and it has helped improve my life. People have access to marijuana already, so we can make money off of the market, or we can waste money on arrests, imprisonment and ruining lives. It has turned into a plus for my campaign. Other primary candidates then jumped on board after I was outspoken on the issue.” – New York City mayoral candidate Mike Tolkin, Marijuana Politics