Colorado’s cannabis industry hit an all-time high of $1.5 billion last year. Sessions calls out a Republican senator for standing up for his state’s legal marijuana market. Trump nominates his deputy chief of staff to head up the ONDCP and proposes gutting its budget by 90 percent. Also: Cops in Washington D.C. are cracking down on the marijuana gifting economy. 🌳
Colorado sold more than $1.5 billion in marijuana last year. The state’s marijuana industry has hit a new high: $1.51 billion in sales in 2017. Adult-use sales accounted for $1.09 billion, with medical marijuana making up nearly $417 million in sales. The state collected $247 million in marijuana taxes. While the industry keeps growing, experts caution that growth rates may soon plateau. “We’re starting to see… leveling off of the market after the illicit market is absorbed,” said one marijuana consultant. “And we’re nearing the completion of that absorption.” The Cannabist
Jeff Sessions slams fellow Republican for standing up for states’ rights on legal weed. Attorney general Jeff Sessions called out senator Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) during a speech at the National Sheriffs’ Association. “Our nominee to the National Security Division — the anti-terrorism division — was approved unanimously in the committee. But because right now one senator’s concerns over unrelated issues — like reversing federal law against marijuana — we can’t even get a vote,” complained Sessions, referencing Gardner’s commitment to blocking DOJ nominees until Sessions reinstates the Cole memo. “I cannot and will not pretend that a duly enacted law of this country — like the federal ban on marijuana — does not exist. Marijuana is illegal in the United States — even in Colorado, California, and everywhere else in America,” said Sessions, who seemed to imply that Gardner’s actions are undermining national security. Forbes
Republican congressman for medical marijuana research. U.S. rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) is hosting roundtables with veterans and “faith-based community leaders” on medical marijuana research today. His bill hopes to move marijuana to Schedule II to make it easier for researchers to study the drug. “We do not need to continue with a policy that turns thousands of young people into felons every year,” said Gaetz. “Nor do we need to punish the millions of people who are sick and seeking medical help – from pain, from muscle wasting, from chemotherapy-induced nausea.” WEAR An op-ed about the congressman’s stance on Mueller’s investigation reveals an interesting anecdote: “Everyone seems more interested in the Russia investigation — except… the CEO of Scotts Miracle-Gro who chases after Gaetz in the hallway to talk about Republican opposition to legalized weed (‘It’s total bullshit,’ he says while squeezed next to Gaetz in the elevator. ‘Like what the fuck?’).” The Washington Examiner
Trump’s plan for the ONDCP. After his first pick was derailed over various controversies, president Trump has nominated White House deputy chief of staff Jim Carroll as drug czar. “Fighting the opioid crisis and drug addiction is a priority for this administration,” Sarah Sanders, White House press secretary, said in a statement. Politico Trump’s budget plan proposes slashing the ONDCP’s budget by 90 percent. Marijuana Moment
Cannabis cafes inching closer to launching. The owners of the Coffee Joint — a Denver business seeking a social-use license, made their first pitch to government officials on why they should be awarded a license. The city legalized a pilot program for social marijuana use at the ballot box in 2016. Since then, not one business has successfully obtained a social-use license. The city has only received two applications so far. The Associated Press A private club that allows its patrons to consume cannabis opened its doors in Massachusetts on Friday. Membership costs $50 a month, and members can “smoke anything that’s legal in Massachusetts,” said one of the club’s owners. “We’re not just a place people can come smoke cannabis, we’re a place where people can smoke cigars, smoke hookah, they don’t even have to smoke.” Boston Herald Related: Ontario, Canada is mulling proposals to allow cannabis consumption in hotels, lounges, and RVs. Marijuana Business Daily
Yale Business of Legal Cannabis Conference. I’m excited to share the stage with such eminent folks as Ebele Ifedigbo, co-founder of the Hood Incubator, and Jesce Horton, co-founder of the Minority Cannabis Business Association, at Yale School of Management’s Business of Legal Cannabis Conference. On February 16, Yale will host the first-ever cannabis conference held at a U.S. business school. Tickets and more details here: Yale
Can Trump reissue a drug-testing rule? As part of a rollback of Obama-era policies, Trump eliminated a Department of Labor rule that allows states to drug-test certain workers who get unemployment checks. Now, the Trump administration wants to reissue a similar rule, but it might run up against the Congressional Review Act. Politico The number of federal transportation workers who failed drug tests have jumped 77 percent since 2006. The Washington Post
More banks are serving the cannabis industry. The number of financial institutions serving marijuana businesses jumped 30 percent in a year. Now, 400 banks are serving the industry. But attorney general Jeff Sessions’ decision to rescind the Cole memo might put a stop to this growth streak. Marijuana Business Daily
Cannabis in Canada. The military is spending $170,000 on “marijuana impairment goggles” so its leaders can experience what it’s like to be stoned. National Post Canadians pay an average of $7 per gram of weed, according to a survey by Stat Canada. The agency expected 1,000 – 2,000 survey respondents, and received more than 15,000 participants. CBC News Canadian cannabis companies aim for world domination. Financial Post Patients say medical marijuana should be remain distinct from the recreational market. The Globe and Mail Large employers want mandatory drug testing as part of the government’s plan for marijuana legalization. The Globe and Mail
In international news… Australia’s poster boy for medical marijuana struggles to obtain the medicine. His story exemplifies “the absurdity of the nation’s marijuana regulations.” The New York Times Tanzania, one of the world’s largest cannabis producers, is cracking down on cannabis. The country destroyed 35 acres of the crop in recent days. AFP Albania signed a “memorandum of understanding” with the EU on drug enforcement. The country’s interior minister pledged to crack down on its cannabis trade. The Associated Press
Word on the States
- In Massachusetts, prosecutors asked marijuana regulators to hold off on licensing cannabis cafes. The governor recommends energy standards for the pot industry.
- In Vermont, marijuana will remain illegal on Lake Champlain despite state-level legalization. A House panel approved a bill to allow saliva drug testing on drivers.
- In Washington D.C., cops are cracking down on the marijuana gifting economy.
- In Oregon, a look at why patients don’t talk to their doctors about medical marijuana.
- In Michigan, an effort to put marijuana legalization on the ballot cleared another hurdle.
- In New Jersey, the governor will reconvene a state commission on criminal justice.
- In New Hampshire, a House committee approved a bill to annul marijuana convictions.
- In Nebraska, a state lawmaker pitches a medical cannabis ballot measure.
- In Illinois, the state’s Department of Health appealed a judge’s order to add “intractable pain” to the list of MMJ-qualifying conditions.
- In Utah, lawmakers passed a medical marijuana bill, but failed to pass companion legislation for marijuana production (leaving patients with no legal access).
- In Florida, despite legalizing medical marijuana, patients lack access to the drug.
- In Iowa, 22 businesses filed letters of intent to participate in the state’s medical marijuana program.
- In Texas, a 2-year-old epilepsy patient reportedly made the state’s first medical marijuana sale. A 14-year-old epilepsy patient was also reportedly the first to make the historical purchase.
- In Maryland, Baltimore’s first medical marijuana dispensaries opened their doors. Legalization could make it to the November ballot.
- In New York, a Democratic challenger for Congress supports criminal justice reforms and legalizing marijuana. A poll found that 56 percent of voters favor legalizing recreational marijuana.
Word for Word
“I do not want to be the governor who presides over the state with the widest racial disparity in incarceration, and I will not be that governor. I want to be the governor who presides over a state with safe communities and neighborhoods, and a criminal justice system that lives up to all in that all-important word: justice.” – New Jersey governor Phil Murphy, Burlington County Times
“Still, older users — like their younger counterparts — are not exclusively focused on therapy. Some just want to recapture the sweet buzz of youth. ‘I smoke every night,’ said Terri Graham, 61, a visitor from Wisconsin who had stopped to admire the Cannabus, a black bus with tinted windows that runs from Ocean Beach to a dispensary in Bay Park. ‘Why not?’ Why? ‘It’s the high!'” – Peter Rowe for San Diego Tribune