Chair of White House opioid commission spouts reefer madness, how police use drug convictions to smear victims of violence, and a look at whether public banks could fix the industry’s financial woes. Plus: A California cannabis company took out ads in TSA bins that read “CANNABIS IS LEGAL.” 🌳
Trump opioid commission’s report. The final draft of the White House opioid commission’s report is set to be released on Wednesday. It details 53 recommendations, including the establishment of drug courts in all federal judicial districts, streamlining federal funding, and allowing more emergency responders to administer naxalone. Stat Native Americans are among the most harmed by the opioid crisis. But they’ve been left out of the conversation on how to address the problem. The Washington Post “Marijuana legalization will lead to more drug use, not less drug use, will lead to more death not less death, and the National Institute of Drug Abuse has proven it,” said N.J. governor Chris Christie, who heads up the commission. Fox 59 Meanwhile, alcohol and tobacco kill way more people than opioids. Should they be considered an “epidemic?” Vox
How police use drugs to smear victims of police violence. Latasha Cure was one of three black friends in a car which was shot at by cops in Miami. Her two companions died, and it took her seven years to get her day in court. But despite that cops seemingly fired 27 shots at the car for no reason, their attorneys relentlessly focused on her irrelevant criminal record at trial: “You are going to hear about Latasha Cure, a 29-year-old woman, multiple-time convicted felon who spends her money on marijuana and ecstasy,” said one lawyer. “We can agree that you’re a convicted felon, right?” Here’s a deep dive on a federal rule that allows police attorneys to effectively smear victims of police violence at trial no matter how irrelevant their convictions are to the case. Vice News
Police detectives charged with rape and kidnapping. Brooklyn’s D.A. unsealed an indictment against two New York detectives, charging them with rape, kidnapping, and official misconduct. The indictment alleges that the officers stopped an 18-year-old woman, found a small amount of marijuana on her, and asked what she wanted to do to avoid being arrested. They then placed her in handcuffs and took turns sexually assaulting her. The officers pleaded not guilty. The New York Times
Cannabis ads in TSA bins. At Ontario International Airport in California, travelers and TSA agents were somewhat taken aback by TSA trays that read: “CANNABIS IS LEGAL.” The conspicuous statement included some fine print that read: “Traveling with it is not. Leave it in California.” The advertising campaign is the brainchild of Organa Brands, and has taken advantage of the fact that the TSA does not regulate advertising messages in its trays. Los Angeles Times
The cost of prohibition. A report on marijuana decriminalization in Virginia found that it can cost taxpayers upwards of $10,000 a day to jail individuals on marijuana charges. Thousands of Virginians are convicted of cannabis offenses every year, resulting in devastating consequences like losing a job, student aid, or housing. Like elsewhere in the country, marijuana enforcement disproportionately targets young black men. The Washington Post
Marijuana and the NBA. Detroit Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy recognized that that the NBA is in a “tough spot” as more states legalize both medical and recreational marijuana. “You let people be impaired by alcohol because it’s legal, how are you going to draw that distinction with marijuana in states that it’s legal?” he said. Detroit Free Press “I was one of those guys who grew up thinking if you smoked weed you had no future,” said former NBA player Al Harrington. Now, he’s discovered the benefits of medical marijuana for chronic pain and has jumped into the cannabis industry full time with his company Viola Extracts. NBA
The case of the CBD scam. After a Forbes contributor posted an article on Montel Williams’ medical cannabis company, scammers started using the coverage to hawk “purported CBD oils.” Now, Williams is suing three companies for “unscrupulous businesses [and] online scams that are deceiving customers.” Forbes The defendants include Timothy Isaac, and companies called Advanceable Technology, Beauty Strong, and Snowflake Marketing. Williams seeks “injunctive relief; damages, including exemplary and punitive damages.” Marijuana Business Daily
Could public banks fix the marijuana industry’s financial woes? There is currently only one state-owned bank in the country: the Bank of North Dakota, which will not comment on whether it will serve the state’s medical marijuana industry. Still, officials in California and New Mexico have studied whether public banks could be a viable option for the cannabis industry. “While public banks can operate independent of some federal agencies, they still need to obtain a so-called master account from one of the nation’s 12 federal reserve banks. Financial institutions need master accounts to open accounts, process checks and interact with the rest of the nation’s financial system.” Marijuana Business Daily
Cannabis in Canada. Conservatives are seeking to eliminate home grow from Canada’s marijuana legalization bill. “The Conservatives have been highly critical of all aspects of the Cannabis Act, but home-grown cannabis has been a major point of contention for several party members through the legislative process.” Lift The CEO of Tokyo Smoke is banking on private pot stores in Alberta. Calgary Herald
Elsewhere around the world… New Barbadian political party the United Progressive Party is prioritizing marijuana legalization as part of its agenda. Barbados Today Cannabis advocates in the U.K. are calling out the anti-marijuana bias in the tabloids. Cannabis Now Meanwhile, a cannabis conference in London shows the future of corporate weed. Vice
Word on the States
- In California, patients fear that local bans on commercial cannabis will create MMJ deserts. Hmong cannabis growers feel unfairly targeted by law enforcement. Merced county considers banning outdoor cannabis cultivation.
- In Nevada, a look at Las Vegas’ newest pot store on tribal lands.
- In Colorado, Pueblo has drawn black-market growers from around the world.
- In Arkansas, businesses that lost out on MMJ licenses sue the state medical marijuana commission.
- In Nebraska, the attorney general compared the marijuana industry to the tobacco industry.
- In Indiana, a Republican lawmaker plans to introduce a bill that would legalize medical marijuana.
- In Virginia, the senate majority leader plans to introduce a measure to decriminalize marijuana for first-time offenders.
- In Missouri, a look at efforts to get medical marijuana on the ballot.
- In Hawaii, a testing lab reports that 75 percent of pot grown by patients or caregivers are tainted by yeast, mold, or pesticides.
- In Texas, the House speaker directed a committee to study marijuana decriminalization.
Word for Word
“The 1980s marked cannabis-law reform’s nadir. The two drivers principally behind U.S. drug policy were large pharmaceutical interests and the federal government. The former, after investing billions in drug development that seeks exclusive marketing rights from the Food and Drug Administration, didn’t want a cheaply produced competitor in the form of cannabis, and the latter cranked out publicly funded anti-marijuana propaganda campaigns. The pharmaceutical companies and their government regulators were, in effect, in cahoots against cannabis. As cannabis could not be patented, Big Pharma would rather fight it, since they couldn’t at the time see a way to make a profit from it. When I learned in the early 1990s that the Partnership for a Drug-Free America was an idea put forward by the pharmaceutical, alcohol and tobacco companies, I knew the deck was stacked against cannabis-law reform lock, stock and barrel.” – Harvard professor and marijuana researcher Lester Grinspoon, Freedom Leaf
“Alcohol and cigarette use by minors is at the lowest levels in the study’s history. Drinking and driving is down 54 percent since 1991, part of a huge drop in the number of teenage auto deaths, some 7,000 kids a year since the early-’80s fatalities peak. And while yes, the opioid epidemic is slithering across all types of American neighborhoods, illicit drug use among teens is still down basically across the board, even for marijuana. Which, it’s worth noting, is not the case for their parents. You know, us.” – Patrick Sauer for The New York Times
“I like to think that Cypress Hill had something to do with changing that culture and that mentality [around marijuana]… Not just us, but Cheech and Chong as well as other guys who have taken up the cause. I’m glad to see all these changes going on in America as far as people educating themselves on the whole cannabis issue because it’s about time. They were treating it like a hard-core narcotic. People are… turning around laws that have been in place for decades.” – Cypress Hill member Sen Dog, Washington Times