Blumenauer calls out the V.A. for its stance on medical marijuana, the Washington Supreme Court ruled urinalysis was unconstitutional in a case of marijuana-impaired driving, and 280E reforms could make it into the Republicans’ tax plan. Also: Americans think trying LSD once or twice is just as bad as consuming four to five alcoholic drinks per day. (It’s not.) 🌳
The VA highlights anti-weed stance. New language on a Veterans Affairs webpage claims that marijuana’s Schedule I status makes it federally illegal for the agency to allow its doctors to recommend medical marijuana. U.S. rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) described the language as “disturbing,” calling out the agency for prescribing addictive opioids. “Even with marijuana’s Schedule I status, there is nothing in federal law that prevents V.A. from allowing its doctors to fill out medical cannabis recommendation forms in states where it is legal. The only thing standing in the way is V.A.’s own internal policy, something that Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin can change at any time.” Marijuana Moment
Random pee tests unconstitutional, rules court. The Washington Supreme Court ruled that subjecting people who were arrested for driving under the influence to random urinalysis tests as a condition of pretrial release is unconstitutional. The ruling reversed the decision of a lower court. The case involved three arrests, one of which dealt with driving under the influence of marijuana. “Urinalysis is at least as invasive as a roadblock or a pat down search… [and] constitutes an acute privacy invasion by the state,” said the Supreme Court. The Associated Press
The IRS targeting MMJ nonprofits. The Internal Revenue Service is scrutinizing nonprofits that applied for tax exempt status that had names referencing “Medical Marijuana” (along with other causes including “Green Energy” and “Occupy”). The IRS suspected the groups of “engaging in disallowed political activity.” A new federal watchdog report found that it was inappropriate for the IRS to target the groups based on their names. “Groups that were selected for review waited months — years, in some cases — for their applications to be reviewed and were subjected to onerous and, in some cases, improper requests for information on their donors and activities.” The Washington Post
Could 280E reforms make it into Republicans’ tax plan? A bill that would exempt state-legal cannabis companies from the 280E tax code could make it into the broader Republican tax reform package, according to one of its co-sponsors. “If this becomes a bipartisan exercise – which is a strong possibility – that improves the chances of this [bill] being included,” said U.S. rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-Fla.). “[280E] stood out as a strange and unjustifiable inequity in the tax code.” Marijuana Business Daily
What role did the drug war play in mass incarceration? The question has been a source of disagreement among those studying criminal justice reform. Many attribute the rise of mass incarceration to the war on drugs. Others say that long sentences for violent criminals were the main culprit. Here’s a case for why criminal justice reformers should focus on rolling back the war on drugs. Grits For Breakfast
Marijuana grows and their energy consumption. No one batted an eye when National Grid, a multinational utility company set up shop at a marijuana conference in Massachusetts. The company works with marijuana cultivators in the state to help with energy efficiency. While an average office building uses 0.7 watts of electricity per square foot, a cannabis grow can use up to 60 watts per square foot. “These facilities use more energy per square foot than anything other than maybe a few in industrial processing,” said an energy efficiency program manager for the company. Mass Live
Cannabis in Canada. Alberta released its proposed framework for the marijuana industry, which includes the possibility of private companies selling the drug. The plan also left room for potential marijuana lounges. Allowing private businesses into the industry would set the province apart from Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick, which have all planned to use the government to supply the adult-use market. Marijuana Business Daily Twelve medical marijuana producers propose a plan for the provincial government Global News Bank of Montreal and Toronto-Dominion Bank are emerging as the banks of choice for the cannabis industry. The two banks are providing accounts to at least 21 marijuana businesses. The Globe and Mail
Strange studies. A new study suggested that children of women who avoided eating meat during their pregnancies were more likely to abuse alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana by the time they were 15. The link is an “intriguing but unproved idea.” Stat Contrary to other research on the subject, a new study claims that marijuana use may be associated with an increased risk of abusing opioids. The research was funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. PsyPost
How to choose a weed vape pen. In a sea of unregulated products, here’s a guide to what consumers should look for when buying cannabis vape pens. Among the tips: look for low-voltage batteries with different temperature settings, buy oil that’s the consistency of honey, and stay away from products that taste bad. “Your tongue is already primed to pick up on some of the yucky chemicals that you shouldn’t be consuming.” Rolling Stone
The Philippines’ drug war is spreading. President Rodrigo Duterte’s anti-drug campaign, which has resulted in thousands of extrajudicial killings, is spreading to other countries in the region. “The Philippines is chair of ASEAN in 2017 and has been using this platform to call on member states to support the war on drugs,” explained one drug policy expert. Indonesia looks to be ramping up similar tactics. The Diplomat
Word for Word
Flesh Barbie. This week’s playlist takes its name from Julie Rousse’s ‘Flesh Barbie Techno Fuck,’ a Paris-based artist whose work goes beyond sound. Word on the Tree
Word on the States
- In Massachusetts, marijuana billboards are coming to the state. Cannabis companies descended on Boston for an industry conference.
- In Oregon, a petitioner seeking to reverse a municipal ban on recreational marijuana pulls the campaign amid “intimidation and threats of violence.”
- In California, San Francisco withdrew a license for a cannabis dispensary. Los Angeles considers a city-owned bank for marijuana, among other things.
- In Maine, a proposed rule would require cities to opt-in to recreational marijuana instead of opting out.
- In Washington, home-grow proves divisive as the state studies legalizing it.
- In Pennsylvania, an MMJ company dropped its lawsuit against the health department, but vows to continue fighting a licensing decision. One company is shopping a state MMJ license for $20 million.
- In Colorado, creditors are suing a defunct cannabis dispensary that defaulted on a $1.4 million loan.
- In Florida, a nursing home denies a chronic pain patient MMJ use, citing federal law.
- In New York, a state Supreme Court judge denied a motion to dismiss a lawsuit against the health department over MMJ licenses.
Word for Word
“Americans roughly equate the danger of trying LSD once or twice with consuming four to five alcoholic beverages a day, a testament to our country’s drug warriors… Alas, a majority of American adults are wrong (our youths much less so). Although included in schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act, LSD is a relatively safe, non-habit forming drug, while alcohol is a hepatotoxic sedative that kills roughly 80,000 Americans every year.” – Mike Riggs for Reason
“[Marijuana legalization is] a bold experiment! It’s a bold experiment. We don’t know how many people will be stoned, how long. Is it going to reduce the influence of criminals and cartels? Or is it going to lead to just another – you know: There they go! [Droops his head back on the couch, pretends to be a stoner.] ‘Well, I’m gonna have another joint; don’t worry about climate change.’ [Makes huge inhaling noise as he pantomimes smoking a doobie.] ‘It’s all great.’ [Colorado Gov. John] Hickenlooper says it’s working pretty good. He has more experience. I would say the devotion and the zeal of the marijuana people is extraordinary. And far exceeds the mainline church community’s, as I encounter it.” – California governor Jerry Brown, Rolling Stone
“These women are hardcore cannabis connoisseurs, at home at the two ‘dab bars.’ (Dabbing, it turns out, is the flash vaporization of cannabis concentrates applied to a hot surface and inhaled, or as one attendee explains to me, ‘It’s like a fancy bong.’) I fake my way through multiple discussions about ‘microdosing,’ and descriptions of ‘fun and uppity hybrids.’ Every so often, someone excuses themselves with, ‘My edible just kicked in,’ while others nod in solidarity.” – Rina Raphael for Fast Company
“Are we really at the point where we are debating whether our auntie should be able to relieve her pain, when it’s established she can do [that] with cannabis? Are we really that insensitive that we’re going to let medically proven remedies not be used because we have some archaic view?… For me to have friends who said to me, ‘Al, I’m with you on a lot of stuff but I’m not with this because kids smoking a joint could get too high and cause a problem.’ And they say, ‘I’m on my way to the bar to have a vodka.’ That could cause a problem!” – Rev. Al Sharpton, YouTube / Merry Jane