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    Word on the Tree

  • Horse farm can sue pot farm over smell with RICO laws, judges rule

    'My clients did not complain when odors of manure wafted onto their delicious marijuana crop.' This and more in today's newsletter.

    June 8, 2017

    Horse vs. pot. The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that a Colorado horse farm can sue a neighboring cannabis grow over “noxious odors” under federal racketeering laws. While the law was crafted in the ’70s to fight organized crime, the three-judge panel wrote that the horse farm owners have at least one racketeering claim.

  • A look at the DOJ’s mysterious marijuana subcommittee

    The Justice Department is reviewing marijuana enforcement, Jeff Sessions offered to resign, and more in today's newsletter.

    June 7, 2017

    The DOJ’s mysterious marijuana subcommittee. A review of the Justice Department’s marijuana enforcement policy is ongoing, with new recommendations expected July 27. The marijuana subcommittee is led by Michael Murray, counsel to deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein. But the DOJ is keeping mum about the details, declining to identify other members of the subcommittee or talk about the process of its review.

  • SCOTUS rules to limit asset forfeiture in drug cases

    A 'growing hostility' to asset forfeiture, why hemp-derived CBD isn't really legal, and more in today's newsletter.

    June 6, 2017

    SCOTUS limits asset forfeiture. The U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled to limit the government’s ability seize assets involved with drug crimes. The case involved a man who sold iodine water purification filters — something used to manufacture methamphetamine. Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote that forfeiture is “limited to property the defendant himself actually acquired as the result of the crime.”

  • Man gets 24 years for selling weed in case that highlights new DOJ policy

    Meanwhile, the deputy attorney general defended harsh sentences for drug offenses. This and more in today's newsletter.

    June 5, 2017

    Deputy AG defends harsh sentencing policy. “We’re not about filling prisons,” said deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein. In his first interview on the job, the Justice Department official defended the agency’s new sentencing policies. “The mission is to reduce violent crime and drug abuse, and this helps us do that.”

  • Police chief sued for directing officers to target black people with marijuana

    The suit says he instructed officers to investigate "if there is more than one black person in a car there is marijuana present." This and more in today's newsletter.

    June 2, 2017

    Racist drug enforcement. A Maryland police chief is the target of several lawsuits filed by former police officers. The lawsuits allege racism, sexual harassment, and other instances of misconduct by Harry “Buddy” Robshaw. According to one suit, he directed officers to racially profile black people, saying “if there is more than one black person in a car there is marijuana present and they should investigate.”

  • Sessions claims guns are the real reason to crack down on drugs

    More on the DOJ's new policy, High Times sells to 20 investors, and more in today's newsletter.

    June 1, 2017

    Using guns as an excuse to crack down on drugs. Attorney general Jeff Sessions went off script in a speech last week, arguing that his new sentencing policy was about guns. Sessions rescinded a memo from former AG Eric Holder that helped low-level drug offenders avoid mandatory minimums and argued that the policies hampered prosecutors from seeking stiff sentences for gun crimes.

  • Obama administration secretly wanted to decriminalize weed

    Several factors hampered the ONDCP from taking more of a public, pro-pot stance. This and more in today's newsletter.

    May 31, 2017

    What could’ve been. Officials at the Office of National Drug Control Policy under the Obama administration wanted to decriminalize marijuana at the federal level, but never publicly disclosed the stance. The former deputy director of the agency said that the “ONDCP was in favor of decriminalizing but not legalizing.”

  • ‘Unabashed drug warrior’ turns his attention to marijuana

    'We now somehow see these drug traffickers as the victims. That's just bizarre to me,' says the the associate deputy attorney general.

    May 30, 2017

    The DOJ’s ‘unabashed drug warrior[s].’ Steven H. Cook, the associate deputy attorney general, helped Jeff Sessions craft a directive last month to ramp up harsh punishments for drug offenders. He’s now turning his attention to marijuana enforcement (among other issues) with a “broad mandate” to review the Justice Department’s policies.

  • ‘There’s been too much legalization talk,’ says Sessions

    The attorney general doubles down on drugs-violence link, the DEA chief says 'marijuana is not medicine,' and more in today's newsletter.

    May 26, 2017

    ‘Drugs and crime go together.’ Attorney general Jeff Sessions continues to argue that drugs and crime are closely linked. In a speech he gave in Memphis, Tenn. he argued that a recent “surge” in violent crime was tied to a decrease in drug prosecutions by the Obama administration.

  • Pharma company hopes to capitalize on cannabis compound for epilepsy

    Promising results for CBD as an epilepsy treatment, the story of a Texas teen who lost his life in the war on drugs, and more in today's newsletter.

    May 25, 2017

    Study indicates CBD’s effectiveness. The first “rigorous test” of a plant-derived CBD drug on epilepsy was a success for GW Pharmaceuticals — the manufacturers of the drug called Epidiolex. A study published Wednesday found that CBD reduced the number of seizures in epileptic children. The Associated Press The trial involved 120 patients.