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Mona Zhang

Mona Zhang is the founder and editor of Word on the Tree. Her work has appeared in High Times, Vice, Freedom Leaf, Adweek, and more.

  • Anti-pot group says cannabis industry violates Cole Memo

    Smart Approaches to Marijuana encouraged attorney general Jeff Sessions to 'target the big players' in the cannabis industry

    September 18, 2017
    By Mona Zhang

    In 2013, former deputy attorney general James Cole sent marijuana enforcement guidance to U.S. attorneys. Known as the Cole Memo, the guidance instructed federal prosecutors not to go after state-legal cannabis activities. This Justice Department policy has allowed state-legal marijuana markets to flourish.

    On Aug. 30, the nation’s most prominent anti-legalization group Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM) sent a report to attorney general Jeff Sessions,

  • Guterres urges U.N. to follow Portugal’s lead on drugs

    Secretary general was Portuguese prime minister when the country decriminalized all illicit substances

    By Mona Zhang

    In a joint statement on June 30, the United Nations and the World Health Organization called for “ending discrimination in health-care settings.” Among their suggestions was “reviewing and repealing punitive laws that have been proven to have negative health outcomes and that counter established public health evidence.”

    Certain laws,

  • Sessions to meet with Oregon law enforcement

    Anti-pot AG will talk enforcement with Oregon officials, community mourns slain dispensary employee, and more in today's newsletter.

    By Mona Zhang

    Sessions to meet with Oregon law enforcement. Attorney general Jeff Sessions is scheduled to meet with federal and local law enforcement officials to discuss drug enforcement and the opioid crisis, among other issues. Sessions previously expressed his concerns about the state’s legal cannabis market, which the governor pushed back against.

  • U.S. Rep. Tom Marino nominated for drug czar

    Trump's 'disastrous choice' for top drug policy official voted against medical marijuana for veterans

    September 15, 2017
    By Mona Zhang

    For the second time, U.S. Rep. Tom Marino (R-Pa.) is being considered to head the Office of National Drug Control Policy. The news that Marino, 65, was President Trump’s choice for the drug czar post came four months after he withdrew his name due to a “critical illness” in his family.

  • ‘Ominous comments’ on marijuana from the DOJ

    Deputy AG says marijuana is harmful, cannabis delivery service raises $27 million, and more in today's newsletter.

    By Mona Zhang

    ‘Ominous comments’ on marijuana from the DOJ. Deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein said that while the Justice Department hasn’t made any changes to its marijuana enforcement policy, “we are reviewing it” and studying states that have legalized or decriminalized the drug. “I think there is some pretty significant evidence that marijuana turns out to be more harmful than a lot of people anticipated,

  • Life sentence without parole for selling $20 worth of weed

    The absurdity of marijuana laws, cannabis shops coming to Uruguay due to banking woes, and more in today's newsletter.

    September 14, 2017
    By Mona Zhang

    While people profit off pot, others languish behind bars. Well-heeled Wall Street types have been getting into the marijuana business, but there are still people serving life sentences for cannabis offenses. “It’s not an easy contradiction to justify.” Here’s a look at some of the individuals serving absurd sentences on pot charges.

  • GOP senator from Utah introduces marijuana research bill

    Senator's office issues a pot pun-filled statement, the feds are asking for MMJ patient data from 29 states, and more in today's newsletter.

    September 13, 2017
    By Mona Zhang

    GOP senator from Utah to introduce marijuana research bill. Senator Orrin Hatch, a conservative Republican from Utah, is introducing legislation this afternoon that would ease research barriers to marijuana. The Marijuana Effective Drug Study (MEDS) Act is co-sponsored by a bipartisan group of senators that represent states with some form of legal medical marijuana (including limited CBD-only laws).

  • Case against cannabis activist dropped, marijuana lounges could be coming to Las Vegas

    Prosecutors weren't prepared to try the case against D.C. activist, a legal opinion favors social use in Nevada, and more in today's newsletter.

    September 12, 2017
    By Mona Zhang

    Judge drops case against cannabis activist. Adam Eidinger, the co-founder of DCMJ who led the campaign to legalize marijuana in Washington D.C., planned a smoke-in as an act of civil disobedience in April. Eidinger was one of four people arrested, but the three others took a plea deal.

  • Congress extends MMJ protections, senators want feds to test marijuana

    Rohrabacher-Blumenauer gets another few months, a Senate committee calls for testing dispensary weed, and more in today's newsletter.

    September 11, 2017
    By Mona Zhang

    Medical marijuana protections extended. Existing protections for state-legal medical marijuana were extended to Dec. 8. A government spending package including the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment was approved by Congress on Friday and sent to president Trump’s desk. The news comes after Republican leadership in the House said it would not allow a vote on the amendment for the 2018 appropriations bill.

  • U.S. cannabis activist detained and denied entry into Canada

    Advocate suspects his work in cannabis played a role, pot pesticides are seeping in California's water, and more in today's newsletter.

    September 8, 2017
    By Mona Zhang

    Cannabis activist detained, denied entry to Canada. Usually, it’s the other way around — Canadians entering the U.S. get denied entry to the country for admitting to past marijuana use. This time, Maine-based cannabis activist Paul McCarrier was denied entry into Canada. Border agents say it’s because he was arrested during a 2008 protest in Minnesota,