Rep. Earl Blumenauer educated his colleagues on the benefits of medical marijuana, former surgeon general Dr. Joycelyn Elders says decriminalization isn’t enough, and the federal landscape of pot policy is stranger than ever without administrators for the DEA and HHS. Also: A Phoenix man is suing the city, alleging that cops forced him to eat weed during a traffic stop. 🌳
Blumenauer on medical marijuana and opioids. U.S. rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), one of the founding members of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus, testified that medical marijuana could be part of the solution to the opioid crisis. The congressman also distributed a pamphlet to members of the House subcommittee on health, which cites 16 studies on how marijuana can reduce opioid consumption and overdose deaths. The Cannabist
Legalize it, says former surgeon general. Dr. Joycelyn Elders, who served as surgeon general for the Clinton administration, advocated for marijuana legalization in an article she co-authored with other members of Doctors for Cannabis Regulation. “Although decriminalization is certainly a step in the right direction, [it is] an inadequate substitute for legalization and regulation for a number of reasons,” they wrote. The problem with decriminalization is that the policy does not actually end arrests of marijuana users. Marijuana Moment
Federal pot policy. A cannabis lawyer looks at the most important people in federal pot policy. Besides attorney general Jeff Sessions, the head of the DEA and HHS are currently open, making “the federal landscape for weed stranger than ever.” Here’s a look at why the administrators of the DEA and HHS are so important. “The confirmation hearings for those individuals may serve as referenda on US law and policy regarding weed, much like the Jeff Sessions hearings in January.” Portland Mercury
Colorado cannabis sales hit $1 billion in 8 months. This year, the Colorado marijuana industry surpassed the $1 billion mark in the first eight months of 2017. Last year, it took the industry 10 months to reach $1 billion in sales. Year-to-date sales are up 21 percent compared to the previous year. So far, that means $162 million in pot tax revenue for the state. The Cannabist Related: The Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area released a report that said marijuana usage in the state has increased along with marijuana-related traffic deaths. However, the report uses data that defines a marijuana citation as any citation that might have included combined use of marijuana with alcohol and other drugs. The data is also “based on officer opinion only.” ABC 7
Fires destroy weed farms in NorCal. At least six marijuana farms have been destroyed in the wildfires that have been plaguing Northern California, according to the director of a grower’s association. That number is expected to rise significantly in the coming weeks. One grower said that she barely escaped with her two children as flames engulfed her home. She spent her life savings getting her paperwork in order for her marijuana farm. Bloomberg Many farmers who lost their crops couldn’t get insurance because of the federal illegality of marijuana. Forbes Cannabis company CannaCraft is donating $40,000 of medical marijuana to patients who have been affected by the fires. The company is also converting its headquarters in Santa Rosa into a shelter for those who have been evacuated. Mashable
Phoenix man sues police for forcing him to eat weed. Edgar Castro has filed a lawsuit against the city and three former police officers seeking undisclosed punitive and compensatory damages. Castro alleges that police officers pulled him over for speeding and forced him to eat marijuana that they found in the car. He says he became sick after ingesting the drug. The Associated Press
How hurricane Maria damaged Puerto Rico’s fledgling MMJ industry. The California wildfires are not the only environmental disasters that have been hurting cannabis businesses. Hurricane Maria has caused millions of dollars in damage to the island’s medical marijuana industry, setting back its development by at least half a year. No outdoor marijuana grows survived the hurricane. “All the greenhouses were blown away… They don’t exist. We lost it all,” said one cannabis lawyer based in Puerto Rico. Marijuana Business Daily
Study on cannabis and violence. A study by researchers in Montreal found a link between cannabis use and violence among those with severe mental illnesses, including schizophrenia, bipolar, psychotic and depressive disorders. However, the study relied on self-reporting and did not address the amount of marijuana consumed. The findings echo other research on cannabis consumption and those who have a genetic predisposition to certain psychiatric illnesses. Montreal Gazette
Cannabis in Canada. Canopy Growth Corp. is expanding its cannabis empire into British Columbia in a deal with a mysterious B.C. greenhouse operator. The largest medical marijuana company is partnering with a vegetable grower to convert massive greenhouses into cannabis grows in a deal that would double Canopy’s production capacity. The vegetable grower does not want to be named, for fear of “disrupting its primary business.” Ottawa Citizen Canadian company Sunniva Inc. announced that it got approval for a large cultivation facility in Cathedral City, Calif. Marijuana Business Daily Aurora Cannabis is raising $50 million in a stock-purchase deal to fund domestic and international expansion. Marijuana Business Daily Ganja School hopes to teach people how to grow their own pot. CBC News
MMJ research in Oz. The University of Newcastle is allocating $2.5 million to set up the Australian Centre for Cannabinoid Clinical and Research Excellence. The research initiative is a partnership between several universities across the country. Researchers hope their work will translate to more access for patients to cannabinoid medicines. Gippsland Times
Word on the States
- In Colorado, how an effort to unionize cannabis workers fell apart.
- In California, Los Angeles issued its first cannabis license to a minority-owned dispensary in Malibu.
- In Maine, the state named a new medical marijuana director.
- In Louisiana, only two doctors have applied for a medical marijuana permit.
- In Michigan, two marijuana proposals are heading to the ballot. A medical marijuana racketeering trial gets underway.
- In Maryland, a case that could disrupt the state’s medical marijuana program is going to trial.
- In Wisconsin, two political figures were swept up in apparent drug overdose cases.
- In Georgia, a new staffer at the Atlanta city council faced disciplinary action after erroneously tweeting that the mayor vetoed a marijuana measure.
- In Hawaii, the state’s fourth MMJ dispensary opened its doors.
- In Minnesota, parents are pushing for autism to be added to the MMJ program.
- In Pennsylvania, one medical marijuana company broke ground on its cultivation facility.
- In Florida, state regulators denied a California bank’s proposal to handle MMJ transactions.
- In West Virginia, a state delegate proposed changes to the MMJ program after traveling to Colorado.
Word for Word
“At first it’s cool, and then you realize, I’m filling some drugs that are for some pretty serious health problems as well [like diabetes and Alzheimer’s]. And these are the people that are running the country… It makes you kind of sit back and say, ‘Wow, they’re making the highest laws of the land and they might not even remember what happened yesterday.'” – Pharmacist who serves members of Congress Mike Kim, Stat
“Other countries have drug problems. Other countries have crime problems. But we over incarcerate in this country… There’s a system here that is insidiously preying upon minorities, poor people, drug addicted people, mentally ill people… We are all responsible. This is a severe injustice going on in our country. And if there’s a problem going on out there that’s not affecting you directly personally and you think it’s not a problem, then you’re indulging in the most insidious type of privilege that there is. Because it could be you.” – Senator Cory Booker (D-N.J.), YouTube / Teen Vogue