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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.

  • The DEA is unhappy that the DOJ is hampering marijuana research

    25 have applied to grow research cannabis, weed's winning streak, and more in today's newsletter.

    August 15, 2017
    By Mona Zhang

    DOJ at odds with DEA on marijuana research. Last year, the Drug Enforcement Administration announced that it would begin accepting applications for growing research marijuana. The agency has received 25 proposals, but hasn’t been able to act on any — thanks to attorney general Jeff Sessions. The Department of Justice has effectively blocked the DEA from moving forward on any of the proposals.

  • Rohrabacher-Farr saves growers from prison (for now)

    A judge halted the prosecution of two cannabis growers, marijuana's rise as a central political issue, and more in today's newsletter.

    August 14, 2017
    By Mona Zhang

    The importance of Rohrabacher-Farr. A federal judge in San Francisco halted the prosecution of two cannabis growers thanks to the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment (which prohibits the Justice Department from going after state-legal medical marijuana businesses). Two growers pleaded guilty to conspiring to possess and grow marijuana in Humboldt county,

  • Media blames weed for wreck that killed two children

    But the headlines don't say anything about the Oxycodone pills and alcohol in the car.

    August 11, 2017
    By Mona Zhang

    “Police: Woman high on weed in wreck that killed grandkids,” blared a headline from The Associated Press.

    But it’s unclear whether the driver of the car was indeed under the influence of marijuana.

    The AP report states:

    The Morning Call of Allentown reports that authorities found marijuana and 49 Oxycodone pills inside Walton’s purse and several bottles of alcohol in the car.

  • ‘You know, when I was growing up, they had the LSD’

    Trump declares emergency over opioid crisis, a look at cannabis in coal country, and more in today's newsletter.

    By Mona Zhang

    Trump declares national emergency over opioids. Two days after Health and Human Services secretary Tom Price said an emergency declaration wasn’t necessary, president Trump declared the opioid crisis a national emergency. Stat The declaration could speed up access to resources that could help fight the crisis,

  • How prosecutors are using prohibition to go after a cannabis attorney

    The worrying case of Med-West, Gorilla Glue's sticky legal situation, and more in today's newsletter.

    August 10, 2017
    By Mona Zhang

    The worrying case of a cannabis lawyer. A San Diego cannabis lawyer is facing multiple felony charges for her work representing medical marijuana business Med-West. Jessica McElfresh has counseled hundreds of people about medical cannabis law, but email conversations with her clients have been seized in the case.

  • Public support for legalizing weed at an all-time high

    Americans don't want Sessions to crack down, but his letters to legal-cannabis states are worrying. This and more in today's newsletter.

    August 9, 2017
    By Mona Zhang

    Public support for legalization at an all-time high. A recent Quinnipiac poll found that a whopping 94 percent of Americans support legalizing medical marijuana, and 61 percent support federal legalization for adult-use. These numbers have all increased over the past year. But a political-party and age divide both remain in terms of support for cannabis policy reform.

  • Why innocent people plead guilty to marijuana offenses

    The injustices of plea bargaining, police officers avoid jail time for stealing and selling weed, and more in today's newsletter.

    August 8, 2017
    By Mona Zhang

    It doesn’t matter if you’re innocent. A deep dive into plea bargaining shows how the practice — which started out as a seemingly fair and reasonable one — has corrupted the criminal justice system. The story looks at how Shanta Sweatt ended up pleading guilty to a marijuana offense,

  • DOJ task force recommends no marijuana policy changes

    Sessions could still crack down, Booker and Christie clash on cannabis, and more in today's newsletter.

    August 7, 2017
    By Mona Zhang

    ‘No ammunition’ for a crackdown on cannabis. A task force convened by Jeff Sessions “has come up with no new policy recommendations to advance the attorney general’s aggressively anti-marijuana views.” The report “largely reiterates” the current hands-off policy of marijuana enforcement of the Justice Department. But it also suggested that officials “should evaluate whether to maintain,

  • States tell Sessions legal weed is working (but he still might crack down)

    Legal weed works, Congress clashes with Sessions on cannabis, and more in today's newsletter.

    August 4, 2017
    By Mona Zhang

    States tell Sessions legal weed is working, but he might not listen. State officials from Colorado and Oregon are telling the Department of Justice that their legal marijuana programs are going well. But attorney general Jeff Sessions is considering a crackdown anyway. A report out of the Colorado governor’s office found that recreational cannabis legalization “didn’t significantly increase youth drug abuse,

  • 57% of Americans think legalization would make society better

    Polls continue finding support for marijuana, how a cannabis racial equity program is working out, and more in today's newsletter.

    August 3, 2017
    By Mona Zhang

    Another poll finds most Americans support legalization. The results just keep coming. The latest Harvard-Harris poll found that 86 percent of Americans support some form of cannabis legalization. Only 14 percent of respondents said that cannabis should remain illegal. And 57 percent thought that legalizing weed would make society better.