The Supreme Court hears a case that could have implications on marijuana policy. Why a government shutdown could be bad news for state-legal cannabis. According to lawsuit, cops beat up and used stun guns on a man after finding a bit of weed. Also: Michigan’s governor signed emergency medical marijuana regulations. 🌳
SCOTUS hears case with marijuana implications. The Supreme Court expressed skepticism over a ban on sports gambling in a case that could have implications for marijuana legalization: Sports leagues argued that a New Jersey initiative that legalized sports betting violated federal law. Justice Sonia Sotomayor said that a ruling that allowed for sports betting could threaten federal marijuana regulations. The New York Times A lower court ruled in favor of the sports leagues. If the Supreme Court were to affirm this ruling, “Congress could potentially enact laws blocking states from legalizing almost any activity they previously banned, except perhaps in cases where they do so without leaving any regulatory restrictions in place at all… For example, state marijuana legalization laws often limit sales to specially licensed establishments, and continue to forbid sales to minors, among other restrictions.” The Washington Post
Government shutdown, marijuana crackdown. Conservatives are pushing to extend the budget deadline till the end of the month. But what if they don’t? Without an extension, attorney general Jeff Sessions “would be newly empowered to enforce federal cannabis prohibition wherever [he] wants, regardless of state laws.” Current federal protections for state medical marijuana laws would expire. Meanwhile, drug enforcement agents and federal prosecutors are exempt from furloughs. Forbes Related: A coalition of conservative groups want urge Congress to extend medical marijuana protections. Marijuana Moment
Hemp farmers lose in federal court. A federal judge rejected a request from farmers to resume growing industrial hemp in Southern California. Cannabis Science Inc. and the Winnemucca Shoshoni tribe said they were growing research hemp at the American States University. But San Joaquin County, which raided the hemp grow, argued that the supposed university is “clearly a business enterprise, not an educational or research institution.” The Record Related: A ‘maverick’ farmer in North Dakota grew 300 acres of hemp this year, and hopes to start producing marijuana next year. Farm Journal
How a bit of weed turns into a law enforcement nightmare. A black man is suing Ohio police, alleging he was seriously hurt by former and current Cleveland police officers. One of the officers named in the suit, who is white, was recently fired after a video “showed him repeatedly punching a different black man during a traffic stop.” The lawsuit says that the officer found a small amount of marijuana in the man’s pocket, shoved him against the wall, kneed him in the groin, and shoved him to the floor while another officer jumped on his back. Both officers then shocked him with stun guns, according to the suit. The Associated Press A union says that the officer used “reasonable force.” The Associated Press
From party drug to FDA approval. Two illicit drugs could become legal medicine in the U.S. soon: The plant-derived CBD drug called Epidiolex has completed all three phases of clinical trials for treating epilepsy. If approved, the drug could be legally prescribed within a year. Meanwhile, phase three clinical trials on MDMA for PTSD are set to begin next year. So far, existing clinical data show that MDMA plus therapy “eliminated symptoms in nearly 70 percent of the participants previously diagnosed with treatment-resistant PTSD.” VOA News
Spotlight on cannabis in California. Some counties are offering tax exemptions to medical marijuana patients who obtain an MMJ ID card. Sierra Sun San Francisco is considering starting a public bank to serve the marijuana industry. San Francisco Examiner Sonoma county has awarded its first cannabis cultivation license to The Fiddler’s Greens farm, a 10,000-square-foot operation. The Press Democrat A look at how the state’s largest cities are regulating recreational marijuana. Marijuana Business Daily
Cigarette smokers more likely to use marijuana. Researchers found that those who smoke cigarettes are seven times more likely to consume cannabis daily. The link between tobacco and marijuana smoking was especially strong among 12- to 17-year-olds and Hispanics. “With the changing landscape of recreational legalization by states, it will be important to continue to monitor time trends in daily marijuana use by medical versus recreational use and modes of use,” said one policy researcher. CNN
Cannabis in Canada. The federal government initially proposed a 50-50 split on marijuana tax revenue with provincial governments, but now says it is willing to give provinces a bigger share. The Canadian Press The country’s black market isn’t going to disappear after the legal marijuana market launches. The Canadian Press Licensed producer Aurora Cannabis increased its stake in Australian MMJ licensee Cann Group. Reuters Licensed producer Aphria struck a deal to supply medical marijuana to Shoppers Drug Mart, Canada’s largest pharmacy chain. Financial Post The managing partner of Green House Brands, which recently launched a joint venture in Canada, said the company hopes to become the Procter & Gamble of pot. Adweek
Google keeps drug war games in Android. After facing outcry over mobile games that depicted the Philippines drug war, Apple dropped them from the App Store. “Now human rights advocates are calling (again) for Google to do the same, arguing that they violate Android’s rules about crassness and capitalizing on tragedy.” Forbes
Watch the trailer for LSD documentary. Netflix released a new trailer for Errol Morris’ upcoming documentary Wormwood, which delves into the CIA’s LSD experiments in the ’50s. The story centers on a CIA scientist who fell to his death from an NYC hotel room. Vice / Motherboard
Word on the States
- In Michigan, the governor signed emergency medical marijuana rules.
- In Nevada, a survey found 28 percent of adults are buying cannabis.
- In Massachusetts, the state Medical Society develops a medical marijuana curriculum.
- In Ohio, medical cannabis patients are prohibited from having firearms.
- In Alaska, regulators rejected a proposed lease agreement rule for the marijuana industry.
Word for Word
“David McKinley had drifted in and out of rehab for years, but his recovery never lasted long. Desperate, he asked his mother to have a judge commit him to a drug treatment center… Patients there wear orange uniforms, carry a laminated badge that says ‘inmate,’ and are monitored by corrections officers — although none was there because of a criminal charge. The toilets overflow and the food was hardly edible, he told his mother, Michelle Wiley. Unlike the small group of actual inmates who are held in a separate part of the complex, patients are not even allowed to have visitors. ‘They treat you like you’re a criminal,’ she recalled him saying. On Sept. 29, three days after he arrived at the treatment center, McKinley was found hanging from the top bunk bed in his room, a sheet around his neck.” – Maria Cramer and Felice J. Freyer for The Boston Globe
“While the White House has made numerous announcements about the opioid crisis… these steps are not adequate without critical funding and strong, experienced leadership… Has [Kellyanne] Conway led or coordinated any interagency efforts to address the opioid epidemic? Has Conway led or coordinated any interagency efforts to address the opioid epidemic?” – Senator Elizabeth Warren to White House chief of staff John Kelly, Washington Examiner