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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.

  • Senate committee, Kushner push back against Sessions

    Jared Kushner, the criminal justice reformer, a Senate committee approves medical marijuana protections, and more in today's newsletter.

    July 27, 2017
    By Mona Zhang

    Jared Kushner, chief ally of drug sentencing reformers? The son-in-law and adviser to president Trump includes criminal justice reform among his many responsibilities. He’s been in talks with lawmakers and criminal justice organizations about the issue, including moving away from mandatory minimums for non-violent drug offenders. Such a change would put him at odds with attorney general Jeff Sessions who is promoting the policy as part of his tough-on-crime agenda.

  • Congressmen introduce new cannabis research bill

    A bipartisan group promote marijuana research, House Republicans block cannabis votes, and more in today's newsletter.

    July 26, 2017
    By Mona Zhang

    Congressmen introduce marijuana research bill. A bipartisan group of congressmen have introduced a new bill that would make it easier for researchers to study cannabis by removing some of the bureaucratic red tape surrounding the process. It would also allow for private companies to grow research marijuana, which is now currently monopolized by NIDA and the University of Mississippi.

  • Advocates sue Sessions and the DEA, challenging the CSA

    Lawsuit claims marijuana in the CSA is unconstitutional, Congress to consider a variety of cannabis amendments, and more in today's newsletter.

    July 25, 2017
    By Mona Zhang

    Suing Sessions and the DEA. Five plaintiffs have filed a federal lawsuit against attorney general Jeff Sessions and the DEA, claiming that marijuana’s Schedule I status is unconstitutional. The plaintiffs include retired NFL player-turned cannabis entrepreneur Marvin Washington, three medical marijuana patients (including two children and one veteran),

  • Some fear a DOJ crackdown on cannabis could be coming

    The Justice Department will reconsider its marijuana policies, the House considers MMJ for vets, and more in today's newsletter.

    July 24, 2017
    By Mona Zhang

    Fears that DOJ will crack down on cannabis. Attorney general Jeff Sessions’ Task Force on Crime Reduction and Public Safety is expected to release a review next week on the Justice Department’s marijuana policies. Given Sessions’ rhetoric linking cannabis to violent crime, some advocates are worried that harsher policies are to come.

  • Behind RRNY, a campaign to legalize marijuana in New York

    A once-in-20-year chance to put the issue before voters

    July 12, 2017
    By Mona Zhang

    Marijuana is still illegal in New York, but that did not stop more than 4,000 people from descending on the Javits Center in Manhattan for a cannabis-industry conference in June. Longtime activists in blazers decorated with weed leaves mingled among Wall Street types in crisp suits. But one man stood out among the well-heeled crowd.

  • Cannabinoid receptors aren’t what we thought, finds new research

    The "lock-and-key" model isn't quite right, employers reconsider the drug test, and more in today's newsletter.

    July 7, 2017
    By Mona Zhang

    We’re going on vacation. This editor is taking a two-week break from this newsletter and the maddening pace of news on the internet. We’ll be back with our regular dispatches on July 24! 🌳

    Cannabinoid receptors are actually quite malleable. Scientists have long thought that cannabinoid receptors worked like a lock and key with cannabinoids.

  • Inside the fight for Peter Tosh’s son

    Jawara McIntosh resisted a plea deal, MMJ patient sues over wrongful termination, and more in today's newsletter.

    July 6, 2017
    By Mona Zhang

    Inside the fight for Jawara McIntosh. The son of the late reggae icon Peter Tosh is in a coma after sustaining a traumatic brain injury from a jail beating. McIntosh was serving a one-year sentence after pleading guilty to possession of marijuana with intent to distribute. “Jawara would have preferred to fight against what he saw as the unjust criminalization of cannabis in an open court,”

  • Long lines for legal weed in Nevada, but retailers aren’t worried about selling out

    The latest adult-use market comes online, Denver finalizes rules for social-use, and more in today's newsletter.

    July 5, 2017
    By Mona Zhang

    Recreational pot sales start in Nevada. The state rolled out an early start to its adult-use cannabis program when medical marijuana dispensaries started selling recreational pot on Saturday. Both tourists and locals took advantage of the newly legal weed for sale, waiting in long lines at dispensaries. The demand exceeded cannabis businesses’

  • The EPA rejected California’s pot pesticide request, citing federal drug laws

    The EPA weighs in on weed, how a poorly named drug bust put a company in financial jeopardy, and more in today's newsletter.

    June 30, 2017
    By Mona Zhang

    The EPA rejects California’s pot pesticide request. The Environmental Protection Agency is rejecting California’s request to approve pesticides for cannabis cultivation. While the four pesticides have been approved for other crops, EPA head Scott Pruitt wants to block the application. “Under federal law, cultivation (along with sale and use) of cannabis is generally unlawful as a Schedule I controlled substance,”

  • Will the US ever get marijuana cafes?

    A look at the push for social use, politicians call out prohibitionists, and more in today's newsletter.

    June 29, 2017
    By Mona Zhang

    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.