Trump loses supporters thanks to Sessions’ anti-weed stance. Banking officials were blindsided by Sessions’ new marijuana memo. Senator Kamala Harris talks about cannabis and criminal justice reform, but her actions on those issues are questionable. Also: Sister Mary Joseph, believed to be the first cannabis cultivator in New Zealand, is set to become a saint. 🌳
Trump loses supporters thanks to Sessions’ anti-weed move. Some Trump supporters say they feel let down in the wake of attorney general Jeff Sessions’ decision to rescind the Cole memo. “Trump needs to realize that a lot of his supporters are pro-cannabis and it would be extremely hurtful to them if he allowed Sessions to move forward with this,” said a Trump voter who is also a cannabis cultivator in Oregon. The Associated Press The move could also become a headache for the GOP during an election year. But how big of an effect it could have will depend on how U.S. Attorneys decide to implement the new policy. The Washington Post Related: Polls show that most U.S. voters oppose federal intervention in marijuana-legal states. Marijuana Moment
FinCEN blindsided by Sessions’ marijuana memo. FinCEN, part of the U.S. Treasury Department, has guidance for financial institutions working with the cannabis industry that is based on the Cole memo. But the Justice Department did not notify federal banking officials about the Cole memo rescission, putting them in a tough spot amid the backlash. FinCEN says its previous guidance “remains in place.” Reuters
What is the DEA hiding? A new report takes a comprehensive look at how federal law enforcement uses secret evidence to build criminal cases. The author of the Human Rights Watch report says the techniques could “hide illegal searches that violate defendants’ Fourth Amendment Rights, or that result in exculpatory evidence not being turned over, violating the Fifth Amendment. It could also be used to hide discriminatory actions by law enforcement.” Reason
Prison population drops. The number of people incarcerated in state and federal prisons has dropped for the third year in a row. The small decline — 1 percent — can be attributed to drug sentencing reforms around the country. Federal prisons accounted for one-third of the drop as the Obama administration tried to cut the number of drug offenders in the prison system. The Washington Times
The action behind the backlash. A look at an “honor roll” of senators who have not only spoken out against Sessions, but have introduced and/or co-sponsored legislation to reform federal marijuana laws. Some — like senator Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) — have expressed outrage at Sessions’ Cole memo rescission but have not co-sponsored meaningful cannabis reform legislation. Leafly The same could be said for Harris’ record on criminal justice. While she has spoken out on criminal justice reform, here’s a look at how she defended or displayed indifference towards prosecutorial misconduct during her time as San Francisco D.A. and California A.G. Reason
The fast-growing field of cannabis research. Scientists who have a lot of cannabis experience are hard to find, but much in demand in the cannabis industry. For those who have related knowledge and enthusiasm to learn about marijuana, the cannabis industry has many job opportunities. Still, there is anti-cannabis stigma to overcome, as well as the risk of working in a still-federally illegal industry. Science
A quiet conservative town (sort of) welcomes MMJ. Schulenburg, Texas, a small town with fewer than 3,000 residents, is the unlikely place to become one of the first to offer state-legal medical marijuana. The highly restrictive program only allows high-CBD, low-THC products, and only three companies have gotten medical marijuana licenses. While the dispensary and farm could be an economic boon for Schulenburg, town officials and residents are not so keen on embracing the industry. The cultivation manager of the farm “has already learned not to volunteer that he grows pot when talking to people in Schulenburg.” The Atlantic
In other cannabis business news… Longtime High Times editor Steve Hager is suing the company, claiming he was defrauded of his shares. He’s seeking $1 million in damages. “High Times fired me, threatened me with litigation, seized all my archives, and forced me to give up the shares for less than a quarter on the dollar,” he wrote in a blog post. “And then they didn’t even honor the bullshit deal.” Courthouse News Facebook and Google dominate online advertising, but not when it comes to marijuana due to its Schedule I status. That opens the door for smaller players to take advantage of cannabis ad dollars. Digiday
Cannabis in Canada. The Canadian government put together a marijuana guide ahead of legalization, and Twitter users are pleased to learn about dank krippy from the feds. BuzzFeed Meanwhile, Canadians are uncomfortable with the idea of consuming cannabis with their families. Global News A deal with a Dutch pharmaceutical distributor will allow Canadian medical marijuana producer CanniMed to sell its products in 17 countries. Marijuana Business Daily
In international news… Iran has abolished the death penalty for some drug offenses. About 5,000 people who had been sentenced to death for drug offenses could be spared. BBC A woman who is believed to be the first cannabis grower in New Zealand is set to become a saint. Suzanne Aubert, also known as Sister Mary Joseph, formulated cannabis-based medicines. New Zealand Herald You’ve heard about Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte’s brutal drug war. Here are the stories of women whose husbands and sons have been killed by their own government. Narratively
Word on the States
- In California, dispensaries are struggling to stock edibles amid the transition to regulated market. San Diego police plan to target marijuana users with DUI checkpoint.
- In Oregon, those in the cannabis industry shrug at Sessions. Portland leaders denounce Sessions’ new policy. Multiple dispensaries failed a compliance check for selling cannabis to minors.
- In Washington, the attorney general is still waiting for a meeting with Sessions to discuss marijuana. Lawmakers and industry leaders seek to correct oversupply.
- In Colorado, the mayor of Colorado Springs sides with Sessions on marijuana enforcement. Two groups are now trying to legalize psilocybin mushrooms.
- In Maine, lawmakers are trying to rein in large medical marijuana growers.
- In North Dakota, the state created eight regions for MMJ dispensaries.
- In Arizona, the state Supreme Court will decide whether medical marijuana patients can possess the drug on college campuses.
- In South Carolina, a survey found that 61 percent of voters support medical marijuana legalization.
- In Virginia, a state lawmaker seeks to reform marijuana laws.
- In New York, a legislative panel hears testimony on adult-use legalization.
Word for Word
“In a purely rational world, you’d probably regulate cannabis and heroin very differently: One is quite deadly and damaging, the other much less so. But under international law, as set by the 1961 U.N. Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, the two substances are for all intents and purposes equivalent: They fall under the strictest category of regulation, reserved for substances with no medical use and a high potential for abuse.” – Christopher Ingraham for The Washington Post
“What’s the point of a cannabis GP Hotline when NSW Health won’t let GPs prescribe cannabis?” – GP Brad McKay, BuzzFeed News