Opining on Sessions. The attorney general’s recent memo puts the federal criminal justice system at odds with states that have more enlightened policies. States that have reduced their prison populations significantly have seen simultaneous declines in violent and property crime. USA Today Sessions’ sentencing crackdown is limited in scope: criminal justice is primarily dealt with on a state and local level. The vast majority of incarcerated Americans are held in state prisons and local jails. Bloomberg
DAs on marijuana. The National District Attorneys Association drew criticisms from drug policy reform advocates after issuing a white paper calling for consistent enforcement of marijuana laws across the country. A co-chair of the group now says the stance should not be interpreted as a position against the Cole Memo. “I’m sorry I can’t be more specific, but the working group simply did not get into that level of minutia in our final report,” he said when pressed for details. The Boulder county D.A. was one of two prosecutors who voted against the final version of the report. He said several committee members viewed post-legalization Colorado as a “marijuana-fueled Sodom and Gomorrah… everybody smoking and civilization collapsing.” Some were unaware that the state was regulating the industry at all. The Cannabist
‘God made the perfect medicine. Man is the one that made it illegal.’ The South is America’s most religious, conservative, and anti-cannabis region of the country. But many proponents of marijuana are couching their advocacy in terms of religion, pointing to Bible verses to support their argument. Still, it’s an uphill battle — one chronic pain patient in Texas who had been on opiates for years finally found relief with cannabis. Other members of her church commented about her remarkable recovery so she eventually told them the truth: it was medical marijuana. “I’m taking what God made as medicine,” she said. Her church did not agree and dropped her from its membership. BuzzFeed News
GMO cannabis ‘only a matter of time.’ Agriculture officials in California and scientists who study cannabis genetics say it’s inevitable that Big Ag will enter the marijuana industry and develop genetically modified cannabis. Tools like CRISPR could be used to tailor the cannabinoid and terpene profiles of the plant. However, other researchers say consumers will be unwilling to accept GMO weed, and plant breeding techniques can be used to achieve the same results. The Cannifornian
Those popular weed products you all know and love? They could be gone under California’s new medical cannabis regulations. The largest state marijuana market has operated without regulations for decades, spawning products like infused chocolate-covered espresso beans, wine, and juice. The proposed regulations would also ban consumers from smelling flowers before they buy them. (The state is currently accepting public comment on the rules.) LAist
Drunk drive? Welcome back to the NFL. Smoke weed? You’re out of luck. The league has allowed players back to the game after the following: domestic violence incidents, drunk driving accidents that killed others, sexual assault accusations, pleading guilty to child abuse, and being involved in a double-murder. But the NFL has reportedly denied Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon’s reinstatement application for smoking marijuana. “Disturbing is their willingness to allow second chances to killers and those who assault women over a guy who likes to spark up a joint every once in awhile.” The Oregonian
Study: cannabis could help people addicted to crack. Researchers in Canada followed crack users for three years and found that they reported using the drug less frequently when they also used cannabis. “We’re not saying that these results mean everyone will be able to smoke a joint and forget the fact that they are dependent on crack,” said the study’s senior author. “What our findings do suggest is that cannabinoids might play a role in reducing the harms of crack use for some people.” The Globe and Mail
Canadian cannabis companies will dominate the global market. Federally licensed producers of medical marijuana in Canada have already developed a first-mover advantage when it comes to international export deals. Twenty-nine countries recognize medical marijuana, but only Canada and The Netherlands export the product. The global medical cannabis market is dominated by four Canadian producers. Vice News
PayPal exec jumps to cannabis industry. Dave Peck, formerly global head of social and digital media marketing at PayPal, has made the move to the cannabis industry as the first CMO for Kind Financial, a software and compliance company. “I love being a part of a team that is solving an industry problem and doing it better than others,” said Peck. MediaPost
The toll of the drug trade. Mexican journalist Javier Valdez, who has won awards for his coverage of the drug trade, has been shot and killed by unidentified gunmen in Sinaloa, Mexico. He covered drug trafficking for decades and is one of several Mexican journalists who have been killed this year. BBC Haunting photographs show the toll that the illicit drug trade has taken in the Brazilian Amazon. The New Yorker
Word on the States
- In Nevada, the state began accepting applications for early-start recreational sales.
- In Minnesota, the state’s two MMJ producers have lost a combined $11 million in two years.
- In Florida, the governor continues to evade questions about calling a special session for MMJ regulations. The Health Department ordered an MMJ business to stop selling whole flower that can be smoked.
- In Washington, D.C., the medical marijuana industry is poised to grow.
- In Michigan, how a marijuana ballot initiative could affect the 2018 election.
- In Virginia, black people are three times more likely than white people to be arrested for marijuana.
- In South Dakota, the attorney general dropped a subpoena for a journalist in a tribal marijuana case.
- In Connecticut, state Democrats will push marijuana legalization to help balance the budget.
- In California, more than 70 percent of those shot by police in San Bernardino county showed signs of substance use.
- In Alaska, cannabis companies won’t get the ‘Alaska-grown’ label for weed anytime soon.
- In the U.S. Virgin Islands, a lawmaker said he would reintroduce a bill to legalize MMJ in the Senate.
Word for Word
“The reason I don’t believe in making cannabis use legal is because of the impact I see it having on too many people in terms of the drug use. What we’ve seen is stronger forms now being used – I think it can have a real impact on people in terms of their mental health. But it can also of course lead to people going on to harder drugs. There’s a wonderful woman in my constituency, Elizabeth Burton Phillips who runs something called DrugFAM, which supports families. One of her twin sons – they both started on cannabis when they were at school and went on to heroin and one of her twin sons committed suicide. This has a huge impact on families.” – U.K. prime minister Theresa May, The Daily Mirror
“I don’t know what empathy has to do with getting high, but for me apparently it’s a lot… What I have found funny in mental health treatment is that they don’t have a problem if you drink, but if you occasionally smoke weed, you’re denied support. I eventually lied to my doctor about my cannabis use just so I could get some treatment and support after being turned down.” – Katie, Volteface