Vermont passes recreational legalization. The Vermont legislature became the first in the nation to pass a bill to legalize adult use of marijuana. This past legislative session saw the House and Senate disagree on how to approach legalization, with the House favoring a non-commercial model and the Senate favoring a tax-and-regulate framework. The bill passed on Thursday is a compromise between the two approaches and would remove criminal penalties for those possessing less than an ounce of marijuana. Word on the Tree The bill still awaits a decision from Vermont governor Phil Scott, who has previously expressed reservations about legalization. Scott could sign or veto the bill. He could also allow the bill to become law without his signature. So far, he has not indicated what he’ll do. “I believe that what we should be doing is trying to find ways to protect those on our highways, deliver a level of impairment that is consistent throughout the Northeast, as well as to address the edibles for our kids, before we move forward with legalization. Having said that, I’m going to review the bill as it’s passed,” he said. Burlington Free Press
White House names opioid commission. The White House announced appointments for its new Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis to be headed up by New Jersey governor Chris Christie. Its new members are: Massachusetts governor Charlie Baker, North Carolina governor Roy Cooper, addiction researcher Bertha Madras, and former Rhode Island congressman Patrick Kennedy. Baker opposed recreational legalization in his state, and Cooper “wants to move slowly” on the issue. Stat Related: Published in 2014, here’s an in-depth look at Patrick Kennedy’s crusade against cannabis. NBC News
Sessions’ drug warrior. Steven H. Cook’s star is rising in the Trump administration — the former federal prosecutor is now the associate deputy attorney general. He’s been a vocal critic of criminal justice reform, an issue that has increasing bipartisan support. “For reformers, Cook’s elevation to Sessions’ inner circle is disheartening, to say the least. It signals a pivot back to a Drug War based on fear over evidence of what actually helps curb drug sales and lower addiction rates.” Rolling Stone
Cannabis and racial equity. The issue of marijuana became the first project for Oakland, Calif.’s Office of Race and Equity. The officials heading up the program talk about the importance of cannabis in their efforts: “We suspected that there would be national interest in what we were doing because it really brought to the center of the conversation the history about cannabis and the impacts of the war on drugs. This is a moment in time when we can address historical inequities by doing some things a bit differently.” CityLab / The Atlantic
Cannabiz in California. The state’s famed wine country is looking more like cannabis country. Seven months after voters passed recreational legalization, vineyard operators are studying up on weed, and marijuana businesses are popping up in the area. Winegrape farmers are looking at the cannabis crop as a financial opportunity. The value of an acre of grapes from Napa county is no more than $365,000. The value of an acre of NorCal cannabis is around $1.1 million. Sacramento Bee The governor has earmarked $1.5 million for the environmental cleanup of illicit cannabis grows in the Emerald Triangle. Times-Standard Meanwhile, state attorney general Xavier Becerra admitted to having consumed cannabis when he was “much younger.” Becerra said he was willing to fight against a federal crackdown on cannabis in the state. Politico
Allergic to weed. For people who are allergic to cannabis, decriminalization and legalization measures have caused some problems. One writer recounts how being near someone smoking a joint will cause her allergies to flare up. “People who already have seasonal allergies are more at risk because marijuana is a type of plant as well,” explained one immunologist, who has had patients move due to cannabis allergies. Motherboard / Vice
Medical marijuana in Chile. Pharmacies in the South American country will begin selling medical cannabis this week. The country legalized medical marijuana in 2015, and its first products will be imported into the country from Canada. Initially, the products will only be available in Santiago, with a prescription. Reuters
Canadian government hopes to stamp out black market pot. Government officials are trying to collect data in an effort to get rid of the illicit cannabis market ahead of legalization in 2018. The government hopes that collecting information on cannabis use will yield useful insights into the black market. Times Colonist
President Duterte remains popular in the Philippines. But 78 percent of Filipinos say they are “very” or “somewhat worried” that they or someone they know will be the target an extrajudicial killing. While the Catholic Church has emerged as an opposing force to Duterte’s drug war, it lacks the moral authority it commanded in the ’80s. The Economist
The women fighting sexism in psychedelic research. “Any field of study will suffer from a lack of diversity if the only people with enough clout to withstand the scrutiny and the legal ramifications are white men.” But psychedelic feminists are trying to raise the profile of women working in the field, in hopes of avoiding past mistakes. Vice
Word on the States
- In Colorado, cannabis sales reached nearly $132 million in March, setting a new record. Lawmakers could not agree on public use of marijuana.
- In Delaware, a House committee approved a bill to legalize recreational marijuana.
- In Texas, medical marijuana legislation died due to legislative deadlines. But a decriminalization measure could come up for a vote today.
- In Nevada, the House is undecided on edibles regulation. The Reno city council approved recreational sales for July 1.
- In Florida, the Senate president and House speaker are open to calling a special session for medical marijuana regulations. Despite a lack of regulations, some MMJ companies are already selling high-THC products.
- In New Jersey, a trade association will promote marijuana legalization after governor Chris Christie leaves office.
- In Pennsylvania, the mayor of Philadelphia supports recreational marijuana sold in liquor stores. Fifty-six percent of voters in the state support legalizing adult-use.
- In Utah, the Republican Party will vote on whether it should support medical marijuana.
- In Illinois, an MMJ company will partner with a California brand to sell its products in the state.
Word for Word
“So many communities and families have been destroyed. I’ve personally seen the effects of incarceration on my own family and my community… My mother had an issue with drugs when I was younger and she was in and out of jail during my teenage years… I think a lot of families know that when people have drug problems, what people don’t really need is a lot of punishment, they need a lot of help.” – John Legend, CBS News
“[Charlie] Hunnam booked a trip to London on a week off from filming Sons of Anarchy and landed a meeting with [Guy] Ritchie. He had a standard pitch raring to go but quickly learned Ritchie didn’t want to even talk about the [King Arthur] movie. ‘He actually creatively was interested in the medical marijuana business in California of which I knew a little bit about. So we ended up bizarrely talking about medical marijuana for two hours.'” – Jill Dobson for The Associated Press
“Foria claims Awaken users may experience enhanced sensation, deeper orgasm, increased desire, heightened awareness, and full body relaxation. But I experienced none of these things. Because I was too distracted by the burning in my vagina to feel anything else… ‘Why would they do this to my vagina?’ I said to my girlfriend, after she spritzed my labia and clit four times (the recommended serving size) and my loins ignited. When it was still burning 20 minutes later, I was like, OKAY, AWAKEN. MY VAGINA IS WOKE. PLEASE MAKE IT STOP.” – Anna Pulley for Green State
“[Daniel] Saynt says that he believes that President Trump has only helped increase the interest in cannabis-friendly play parties, saying that ‘elevated vice’ has become more appealing with an administration that’s more restrictive on cannabis policy and access to affordable sexual health care. In fact, NSFW plans to expand their events to California, where they can integrate cannabis without worrying about legal ramifications (although marijuana does remain a Schedule I drug under federal law).” – Sophie Saint Thomas for Refinery29