Can we even call it justice? A new report found that black people account for a disproportionate share of exonerations, affirming that “failings of the criminal justice system disproportionately affect African Americans.” While blacks and whites use illicit drugs at similar rates, the report found that innocent black people were 12 times more likely to be convicted of drug crimes than innocent white people. The Los Angeles Times Harris County, Texas had more exonerations than any state in the country. Why? Because its crime labs test drug samples even after defendants plead guilty. The DA says the practice helps “to ensure the integrity of our convictions,” and hopes that more crime labs will follow suit. The Texas Tribune
LA sheriff thinks feds will crack down on weed. Los Angeles county sheriff Jim McDonnell expects federal raids on the cannabis industry to “set the tone,” but said federal agencies lack the manpower to conduct widespread enforcement. He said accidental edibles ingestion “could be fatal” for kids, though no evidence supports this. He also thinks legalization will result in an increase in crime, despite evidence to the contrary. The Associated Press Related: What’s with the federal-state conflict anyway? While previous marijuana cases have cited the Supremecy Clause, there has been no “legal precedent involving the relationship between federal preemption and state marijuana laws.” The Cannabist
Prohibition and private prisons. An investigation into Hawaii sending its prisoners out of state shows a lack of oversight when it comes to facilities managed by private prison companies. Vice The story centers around a young man who died behind bars when he was just 21-years-old. Johnathan Namauleg self-medicated with cannabis since pharmaceutical treatments for his ADHD came with bad side effects. “When he was high, he became just like when he drank his medication. His mind stopped moving so fast. He could focus,” said his mother. A judge revoked his probation because of his “drug problem.” Word on the Tree
No rush to legalize it. MP Bill Blair, who’s leading Canada’s legalization efforts, said legislation is due in the spring but “we will take as much time as it takes to do it right.” He said he was “pretty reluctant to suggest a specific time frame.” Cannabis stocks in the country dropped on the news. Bloomberg
Developments in social-use. After previously shooting down an effort to regulate on-site cannabis consumption, the marijuana control board in Alaska will reconsider social-use. The board chair said existing regulations required them to reconsider. Alaska Dispatch News Denver continues to work on establishing rules for social consumption in the city. Officials are considering a requirement for employees to receive training to be able to spot intoxication. Denverite
The Cannabist has a new editor. Alex Pasquariello will take over as editor-in-chief of The Denver Post‘s cannabis site. “At least 200 people applied for a job that must be one of the most fascinating in journalism right now,” said Denver Post editor Lee Ann Colacioppo. As far as consumption goes, Pasquariello prefers sativa flowers, “preferably après-ski, definitely not on federal land.” The Cannabist Good thing for him that the company changed its drug-testing policy. Last year, a job posting for the site said candidates “must successfully pass a drug test.” The paper’s managing editor Linda Shapley confirmed that this is no longer company policy. Twitter / ZhangMona
The science on pot. A deep dive into the science on cannabis finds many unknowns about the cannabis plant and its effects. Scientists tracking medical marijuana users in Massachusetts say it’s too early to draw conclusions, but preliminary results showed patients actually showed significant improvement in cognitive function. “If your mind is no longer struggling with constant pain or anxiety, cognitive tests might become easier. But that had never been demonstrated before, which just shows how much we have to learn about the effects of medical cannabis use.” Business Insider
Dutch judges rule in favor of MMJ patient. A 58-year-old HIV patient in Amsterdam was facing eviction for growing medical marijuana to treat his symptoms. A district court ruled that he can remain in his home and continue to grow, and also ordered the housing corporation to pay his court costs. Dutch News
More people want pot for their pets. But veterinarians risk losing their licenses if they recommend cannabis. “Our hands really are tied,” Ken Pawlowski, president of the California Veterinary Medical Association, told the AP. “Definitely we’re getting more questions from clients asking about it for their pets, but unfortunately we don’t have any answers for them. The Associated Press
And now, in local news…
- In California, Los Angeles voters approved a measure to regulate the canabis industry.
- In New Hampshire, the House approved a marijuana decriminalization bill.
- In Connecticut, lawmakers are split on recreational legalization.
- In Wisconsin, the state assembly approved CBD oil and right-to-try bills.
- In South Dakota, the House approved a CBD measure.
- In Florida, a medical marijuana bill would restrict the industry to seven currently licensed producers.
- In New York, an aggrieved MMJ license applicant withdrew its lawsuit.
- In Maine, the head of the National Guard is worried legal cannabis could complicate recruiting.
- In Tennessee, a Senate panel defeated a cannabis decriminalization bill.
- In Utah, the Senate approved a medical marijuana research measure.
- In Massachusetts, the House Speaker wants to use cannabis tax revenues for substance abuse treatment programs.
- In Montana, a medical marijuana provider is set to plead guilty to federal drug charges.
Word for Word
“Experts are still working out the precise effects of the Obamacare repeal bill should it pass Congress… But the early impressions suggest the bill will allow insurers to effectively cut coverage for addiction care. And since many of the bill’s cuts go through Medicaid and Obamacare’s tax credits for health insurance, it will have a disproportionate impact on low-income Americans — those least likely to be able to afford addiction treatment in the first place.” – German Lopez for Vox