Federal judges rule in favor of pro-marijuana group. Judges at the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Tippecanoe county, Indiana violated Higher Fellowship’s First-Amendment rights when it denied the group permission to hold a rally with its “closed forum” policy. An attorney for the ACLU argued on behalf of the group that the county could not pick and choose which political messages it deems appropriate. “Tippecanoe County openly admitted to restricting Higher Society of Indiana solely because of the message we were sending,” said the group’s founder. Journal & Courier
Struggling to study the plant. The first FDA- and DEA-approved clinical trial on whole-plant cannabis is seeking to study the medicine’s efficacy for PTSD. Their goal: recruit 76 veterans to participate in the study. So far, they’ve only managed to recruit 16 subjects. “We don’t have any budget for advertising,” said Dr. Sue Sisley, lead researcher of the trial. “I’m worried we will not get all 76.” Recruitment efforts suffered a setback when Johns Hopkins University dropped out as a partner — a move that drew criticism from veterans groups. Sisley says she’s also been stonewalled by the Veterans Affairs hospital in Phoenix. The Arizona Republic
Colorado officials ‘appear to have forgotten that the Constitution still exists.’ The housing authority in Longmont, Colo. allowed police to train drug dogs at the homes of low-income residents without warrants. Other housing authorities in the area “said they don’t do this, have never heard of anyone doing this, and one housing authority official laughed out loud at the thought.” 9News “I’ll go ahead and write this, because it apparently needs to be written: Low-income people have the same rights as everyone else. Low-income people are not the equivalent of tackling dummies, or lab rats or volunteers on some police training course. You can’t use poor people to train your police dogs.” The Washington Post
Feds confiscate containers for cannabis. Colorado-based Stashlogix produces lockable, odor-blocking bags and containers that can be used for marijuana or other medications. Federal customs officials confiscated 1,000 bags, deeming them “drug paraphernalia.” “We’ve laid off everybody; we’re just trying to survive,” said the founder of the company. “I thought of all the things that do get through — vaporizers, bongs — we’d be one of the last to get flagged.” While the bags don’t appear to be drug-related (the logo contains no pot leaves and the bags look like a camera or makeup case), customs cited coverage on The Weed Blog and Stoner Mom in its ruling. Daily Camera
Senate decries (but doesn’t change) hemp laws. The Senate unanimously passed a resolution that criticized the country’s hemp laws, recognizing its potential as an agricultural crop. Despite that industrial hemp has low levels of THC, its cultivation is just as federally illegal as its psychoactive counterpart. While 2014’s Farm Bill allowed states to adopt hemp research pilot programs, commercial cultivation remains prohibited on the federal level. “The Senate’s repeated adoption of nonbinding resolutions criticizing hemp’s illegal status raises questions about why the body doesn’t move to actually change federal law.” MassRoots
How a clinical trial went horribly wrong. Last year, a clinical trial of a drug targeting the endocannabinoid system left one man dead and others hospitalized in France. The drug in question was an enzyme inhibitor that targeted endocannabinoids in the brain. It seems that the compound in the study had “off-target” effects on many other enzymes apart from the one it was supposed to inhibit. While researchers discovered these effects, they “do not have evidence for a causal relationship yet.” Other scientists are expressing shock that the research company did not spend more time studying the drug before giving it to human subjects. Science This is why synthetic drugs targeting the endocannabinoid system must be viewed as very different from a plant that has been used medically for thousands of years. Twitter / @maiasz
Cannabis legalization in Canada. Legislation to legalize recreational marijuana passed its second reading in the House of Commons. Lift There was one Conservative who broke ranks with his party and voted for the bill: Scott Reid. In a statement, Reid pointed out that he has been a more consistent advocate for cannabis legalization than current prime minister Justin Trudeau. HuffPo But “reefer madness appears to have taken hold” of other members of his party, who argued that the legislation would put marijuana in the hands of kids. “[Children] would probably become the drug mules at the school,” said one. “How can the government ensure that children and teenagers will not be recruited by organized crime? I can see that is what is going to happen,” said another. Vice News
On Sessions. The attorney general’s dismantling of the National Commission on Forensic Science (NCFS) hurts local prosecutors who have limited resources. An Oregon district attorney has been struggling with a stack of convictions that were possibly affected by evidence tampering from a state crime lab technician. “We look to better resourced agencies such as the [Department of Justice] to develop guidelines and recommendations for us,” he said. The NCFS was developing guidelines for how to mitigate such damage, which he says, “would’ve been nice to have.” Slate Former FBI director James Comey called into question Sessions’ independence as attorney general in his Congressional testimony on Thursday. The Justice Department disputed his comments. The Daily Beast
Congress turns to failed drug-war tactics. Draft legislation proposes increasing penalties and mandatory minimums for dealers and traffickers who sell synthetic drugs like fentanyl. The problem? Heroin is often cut with fentanyl (or other synthetic opioids) before it even enters the country, and dealers can be unaware of the true contents of what they’re selling. “More people would be sent to prison for longer due to low-level drug offenses. This is a clear example of lawmakers repeating past problematic practices.” Vox Related: The feds raided the offices of a California DNA testing lab that claimed to be able to predict a person’s likelihood of opioid addiction. Stat
Headline of the day. “Man busted with over 1,000 fake drugs at Bonnaroo: ‘I’m doing God’s work.'” The Tennessean
Take A Hit. Rap music and reefer, hip-hop and the holy herb; these two things have been virtually rolled into one fat blunt since the ’90s. Today’s playlist features some of the early pioneering tracks and gives some shine to lesser known cannabis-centric cuts that deserve more airplay. Word on the Tree
Word on the States
- In Florida, lawmakers will vote on MMJ regulations. An MMJ advocate threatens to sue if the legislature bans smoking marijuana. Citrus growers could get an edge in the industry.
- In Rhode Island, pro-legalization lawmakers propose “incremental legalization” as a compromise.
- In New York, veterans groups are pushing lawmakers to add PTSD to the MMJ program. Lawmakers renew a push to legalize recreational cannabis.
- In Massachusetts, the legislature considers adding incentives for cities to allow recreational sales.
- In California, Los Angeles finalized draft marijuana regulations. Hundreds showed up for a cannabis job fair in Davis.
- In Colorado, the governor signed legislation that would use marijuana taxes to fund marijuana enforcement.
- In Nevada, lawmakers race to finalize recreational marijuana rules.
- In Arizona, the attorney general wants to reinstate a ban on MMJ on college campuses.
- In Washington, pot sales are a bright spot in the state’s retail sector.
- In Ohio, a look at where medical marijuana stands.
- In Connecticut, three new conditions are recommended for the MMJ program.
- In Iowa, emergency rules are proposed for the state’s MMJ program.
Word for Word
“As traditional media has thrived in discovering the marijuana beat — note the full-time cannabis-focused journalists at the Orange County Register and San Francisco Chronicle — High Times’s freelancer-rooted editorial operation has lagged in comparison. Much of the magazine’s news coverage in recent years has been based on aggregation; instead of leading the cannabis conversation, High Times has been following — and suffering the consequences from a digital readership that demands more.” – Ricardo Baca for Columbia Journalism Review
“It’s easy to say that now, in retrospect, that’s why I was doing it. But in 2002 I didn’t have the language or perspective to put it exactly into that kind of perspective like I do now. For me, it was healing. I was dealing with physical stuff. But I also was dealing with emotional and mental stuff. Marijuana helped me work on everything I was dealing with so my internal world ran more efficiently.” – Former Miami Dolphins running back Ricky Williams, Sun-Sentinel
“I used to be a vegetable smuggler. It’s not how I got to prison, but it’s what I did once I was there. I wasn’t alone. The men with whom I worked in the garden on ‘China Hill’ at California’s Folsom Prison were there with me, every day, waiting in line to get back into the prison building and hoping the guards wouldn’t discover the vegetable contraband they had secreted away in their clothing… We were never able to smuggle in enough vegetables for entire meals — just morsels, just momentary freshness in our stale world.” – Matthew Hahn for The Marshall Project