From lobbying for pharma to lobbying for cannabis. Cindy Sovine-Miller has been a key figure behind several legislative wins for medical marijuana patients in Colorado. She used to count pharmaceutical and insurance companies among her clients, and even criticized her mother for wanting to give her cancer-stricken father medical marijuana. But after she saw how cannabis helped him, she changed her mind: “I saw my dad go from being a vegetable in a hospital waiting to die to being at home again, thanks to a plant… I had spent my career helping to build a system that was failing people. I said to myself, ‘I can’t do this. I worked for the wrong people.’” Westword
Rec sales to start early in Nevada. The state Tax Commission has approved a proposal for “early start” recreational cannabis licenses. They’ll be awarded to existing medical marijuana businesses who are in good standing with state regulators. “The temporary program was established to [allow] the department to identify and solve problems with recreational weed before issuing more state certifications for the industry in 2018.” But local governments could still delay adult-use sales in their municipalities. Las Vegas Sun The tax department director cited tax revenue as the main reason for approving the early start program. Some in the cannabis industry cheered the move. A group representing alcohol distributors were unhappy with the regulations, and are considering legal action to protect their monopoly on distribution licenses. Las Vegas Review-Journal
Today in drug war racism. Federal agents claim to be targeting Albuquerque, N.M.’s “worst of the worst” through sting operations. But a closer look shows that the operations disproportionately targeted African-Americans — most who sold small quantities of drugs or simply brokered deals. Yusef Casanova (who is black) brokered a meth deal for an ATF agent. He got charged with meth distribution. The dealer (who is white) was never even arrested. “I’m being made out to be this big drug dealer,” said Casanova. “I feel like they employed me to commit a crime, knowing I was homeless and had a habit.” New Mexico In Depth
Rare happenings: Man will get seized assets back. A medical cannabis business owner scored a win in court after his business was raided and assets seized. A superior court judge ordered the San Diego district attorney to return more than $100,000 as she found no indication “that criminal charges are going to be filed in this case in the near future.” A spokesperson for the D.A.’s office says it is considering an appeal. The Los Angeles Times
Today in international business. In Greece, pro-cannabis advocates are making the case for marijuana as a means to help the country out of its economic crisis. “With a perfect climate to grow natural ganja, they argue legalization could save the state millions in law enforcement costs, generate significant tax revenue and help provide cheap medication for patients with chronic conditions.” Huck The co-founder of Tweed has a new marijuana venture: a cannabis streaming company. “Streaming refers to when a company strikes a deal with a miner to purchase all or part of its future output of a metal in exchange for upfront cash. Rifici says applying the streaming model to marijuana will help licensed producers get the capital they need to expand and ramp up production ahead of legalization.” Toronto Star
Duterte ally says extrajudicial killings are ‘alternative facts.’ A Filipino senator told the UN Human Rights Council that reports of extrajudicial killings in the country’s drug war are inaccurate and politically motivated. He alleged that human rights groups changed how they counted killings as a “political tactic.” Human Rights Watch urged the UN to set up an international inquiry into the issue: “The government’s denial and deflection of criticism shows it has no intention of complying with its international obligations.” The New York Times
The 2017 Global Marijuana March. A look at photos from around the world as people came out to support cannabis legalization. Crowds filled the streets everywhere from Brazil to the Czech Republic to South Africa this past weekend. The Cannabist In New York, hundreds turned out to march from 32nd Street to Union Square. While public pot consumption is still a criminal offense, cops at the parade seemed not to care. “They’re human beings. They’re enjoying themselves. That’s all that matters,” said one. New York Post
Coincidence of the day. The Chicago Bears’ Kyle Long tweeted some sarcastic comments about the NFL’s marijuana policy this past weekend. “I don’t smoke weed it’s dangerous and addictive from what I’ve been told by my superiors,” read one. “Prescription pills and alcohol are the solution right?” read another. On Monday, he was “randomly selected” to complete a pee test. The Score
A clinical trial on microdosing. Amanda Fielding, who runs the Beckley Foundation for psychedelic research, is hoping to raise $350,000 to fund what would be the first clinical trial on microdosing LSD. The trial would subject participants to a variety of cognitive tasks, including playing Go against an AI. Vice / Motherboard
Word on the States
- In Florida, a cannabis advocate writes about failed MMJ legislation. The House and Senate are blaming each other.
- In Texas, despite strong bipartisan support, an MMJ bill likely won’t reach the House floor.
- In Oregon, owners of an extraction business are charged with assault and reckless endangerment after an explosion.
- In Washington, a Seattle police officer was charged with smuggling hundreds of pounds of marijuana.
- In Oklahoma, residents think the prosecution of a pipe shop is a waste of taxpayer dollars.
- In Arizona, the House gives preliminary approval to hemp farming regulations.
Word for Word
“If material is developed by a company in a foreign country, it can be imported into the U.S. for clinical trials. It has to go through a variety of hoops in conjunction with both the Food and Drug Administration and the Drug Enforcement Agency, but it can be done. It has been done. In comparison, a company in the U.S. that is developing a cannabis-based medicine has no ability to use that in clinical trials. They can’t cross state lines, all the material has to be funneled through the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). That is the catch 22 in which we find ourselves.” – Dr. Ethan Russo, Willamette Week
“All of this uncertainty is creating a lot of challenges for business owners. It’s hard to plan for tomorrow when you don’t know the enforcement strategies of the attorney general, and we simply don’t know what they are. We don’t know if they’re going to ratify existing priorities, if they’re going to establish new priorities to interfere with businesses that are legal in our state. There’s just a huge amount of uncertainty out there.” – House rep. Jared Polis, Marijuana Business Daily
“Cannabis isn’t something new. It has all of a sudden become this burgeoning industry where people have jumped on board and gotten into because they see an incredible financial opportunity. However, I want to make sure that those who are getting into this [industry] understand that this trail was blazed by patients; I repeat, patients. You go back to 2001, 2002, 2003 or 2004…The federal government was knocking down doors, dragging people out of their homes in wheelchairs, putting handcuffs on them, sending people away to jail for five, six, 10, 15 years, just because they were using marijuana medically.” – Montel Williams, Leafly