Malcolm Turnbull sure loves beer, but thinks weed is dangerous and causes mental illness. The Congressional Black Caucus introduced legislation to remove marijuana from the CSA. Los Angeles officials are trying to warn teens about weed through rap videos. Also: Xzibit gets sued for allegedly promoting pesticide-laden cannabis vape cartridges. 🌳
Aussie PM: Weed causes mental illness, beer is great though. Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull loves beer, he said while gulping on an Evil Eye Red IPA. But marijuana “causes a lot of mental illness… and I think it should remain illegal,” he said during an interview at a brewery. While he admitted that he had tried marijuana in the past, “it’s not a harmless drug, it’s a very strong and dangerous drug and we don’t want people to engage in [it],” he said. news.com.au Related: Existing research does not support his claims. While studies have found links between marijuana use and certain mental health issues, those studies do not find a causal link. “The proportions of individuals with psychosis among the population and among cannabis users are low. Current estimates suggest that if frequent long-term cannabis use was known to cause psychosis, the rates of incidence would increase from seven in 1,000 in non-users to 14 in 1,000 cannabis users.” The Conversation
Congressional Black Caucus backs marijuana reforms. Leaders of the caucus introduced the Jobs and Justice Act, which would remove marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act. The bill also includes a “reinvestment fund” to help communities that are disproportionately impacted by drug enforcement. “That would include grants for job training, funds to clear past cannabis convictions, public libraries, and community centers.” The legislation would also eliminate mandatory minimums for drug offenses, along with numerous non-drug-policy related provisions. The inclusion of the reinvestment fund is similar to senator Cory Booker’s (D-N.J.) Marijuana Justice Act, which both appear “unlikely [to] advance in the current Congress.” Marijuana Moment
Strong polling for marijuana ballot initiatives. A recreational legalization ballot initiative in Michigan looks like it has strong chances as 61 percent of voters favor legalization, according to a survey. Oklahoma, Utah, and Missouri will consider medical marijuana legalization — a policy favored by most voters in those states, according to polling data. Forbes
Cancer doctors recommend medical marijuana, but don’t really understand it. A new study found that nearly half of U.S. cancer doctors have recently recommended medical marijuana to their patients, despite their lack of understanding of the drug. “The results reflect how marijuana policy in some states has outpaced research, the study authors said.” The doctors said it was almost always the patient who initiated a conversation about medical marijuana — nearly eight in 10 doctors have discussed marijuana with patients and their families. Most doctors who have recommended medical marijuana say “they did not have sufficient knowledge to do so.” The Associated Press “Unfortunately, at this time, the evidence base to support medical marijuana’s efficacy in oncology is young… So, often oncologists are borrowing from clinical trials for other diseases, or extrapolating from evidence on pharmaceutical-grade cannabinoids,” said the study’s lead researcher. NPR
Officials try to warn teens about pot with rap video. Los Angeles officials launched a $2 million social media campaign in an effort to deter teenagers from consuming cannabis. Teens who helped develop the campaign “said they drew some of their inspiration to inspire change from students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.” The videos feature lyrics like “girls won’t think you’re fly if your bank account is dry,” which the Associated Press found to be “catchy” and “funny.” The Associated Press
🚨 Shameless Promotion 🚨
Earl Blumenauer in NYC. High NY is hosting U.S. rep. Earl Blumenauer this Friday in Brooklyn. Tickets go towards the congressman’s Cannabis Fund, which supports “pro-cannabis candidates, ballot measures, initiatives, referendums and oppose those who stand in our way.” ActBlue / The Cannabis Fund
Cannabis Law Summit. The first annual Cannabis Law Summit is coming to New York City this May. Hear from such eminent speakers including Shaleen Title, Commissioner of the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission, Cristina Buccola, a cannabis attorney, advocate, and business developer, Senator Liz Krueger, an advocate of marijuana reform in the New York state legislature, and Maria McFarland Sánchez-Moreno, the Executive Director of the Drug Policy Alliance. Word on the Tree readers get $50 off with the discount code: WORDT50. Cannabis Law Summit
Denver using more marijuana money. Since Colorado introduced legal recreational marijuana, the state capital has used cannabis tax revenues to cover one-time costs like paving roads. Now, the city is planning to commit marijuana money to building affordable housing. “The Denver milestone shows the promise for the industry, which has been restrained by the federal designation of the drug as illegal, limiting businesses’ access to financial services. As more municipal governments authorize sales, there would be more momentum to work around the federal obstacles.” But a recent report from Moody’s found that cannabis tax revenues make up a very small share of state and local government budgets. Bloomberg
Police dog controversy. A spokesperson for the Denver Police Department said that despite recreational legalization, their K9s are doing just fine. Law enforcement continues to use dogs to sniff out black-market marijuana. Meanwhile, dogs that are retired go on to become family pets. “We do not euthanize any of our dogs… Narc dogs make great pets, they are just well trained dogs that like to play fetch,” he said. Grit Post Experts from around the nation have disputed the claim that drug-sniffing dogs in Illinois would have to be euthanized if the state legalizes marijuana. The police department of the officer who made those claims said “it was a bad choice of words” and that the officer “wishes he didn’t make” those statements. The Chicago Tribune
Speculation about the new VA head. After the abrupt firing of former VA secretary David Shulkin, the White House has been searching for a replacement. According to an unnamed source, U.S. rep. Brian Mast (R-Fla.) is among the list of candidates for the job, though the source wouldn’t say whether he is a leading candidate for the position. The Associated Press Mast has previously spoken up for states’ rights and medical marijuana. A combat veteran who lost both of his legs in Afghanistan, Mast is a “proponent for alternative forms of medicine in our VA that don’t exist.” Marijuana Moment
In cannabis business news… Shopify, a Canadian e-commerce platform, hopes to dominate online cannabis sales in the country and already has a deal with Ontario to power marijuana sales in the province. A VP and GM at Shopify said that the company is “having discussions with players all over the world,” but declined to discuss whether the company has any plans to enter the U.S. marijuana market. Business Insider Moms working in the cannabis industry talk about the stigma of working in weed. Forbes
Celebrities and cannabis. A cannabis consumer is suing the rapper Xzibit, claiming that the musician’s brand of cannabis oil was laden with pesticides. Ignacio Lee has filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of anyone who consumed the vape cartridges after he experienced “fatigue, headaches, nausea, chest pains, shortness of breath, wheezing and difficulty breathing.” While Xzibit promoted the products as “COMPLETELY pesticide AND contaminate FREE,” independent lab tests showed otherwise. TMZ Gayle King, co-anchor of CBS This Morning, said that her pal Oprah has “smoked a little marijuana,” but demurred when asked whether she found it enjoyable. King herself said she has never tried the drug, but was open to trying it with Amy Schumer after the actor suggested it. YouTube / TheEllenShow
Word on the States
- In Vermont, county prosecutors are looking to expunge marijuana convictions.
- In Ohio, the attorney general certified a resubmitted petition to legalize marijuana. A judge will hear arguments in a case challenging the state’s MMJ licensing process.
- In Michigan, regulators will treat CBD oil like medical marijuana.
- In Maine, gubernatorial candidates split along party lines on recreational marijuana.
- In Washington, marijuana exposures in young children increased but were significantly less frequent than other substances like aspirin, melatonin, and acetaminophen.
- In Minnesota, the CEO of one of two MMJ dispensaries left the company.
- In Connecticut, law firms press on with cannabis practices, despite legislative setback.
- In New Jersey, the mayor of Atlantic City hopes marijuana will be legalized in the state.
- In West Virginia, the state treasurer proposes marijuana banking solutions.
- In Wisconsin, the Department of Justice rolled back its guidance banning CBD oil in the industrial hemp program.
Word for Word
“Thousands of jails and prisons across the United States use a company called Securus Technologies to provide and monitor calls to inmates. But the former sheriff of Mississippi County, Mo., used a lesser-known Securus service to track people’s cellphones, including those of other officers, without court orders, according to charges filed against him in state and federal court. The service can find the whereabouts of almost any cellphone in the country within seconds.” – Jennifer Valentino-DeVries for The New York Times
“Young conservatives in general are far more likely to support gay rights and marijuana decriminalization as well as openness to immigration. But they’re not embracing gay rights and marijuana decriminalization for the same reasons as liberals… Young conservatives are far more likely to support same-sex marriage and marijuana decriminalization because they believe that the government should leave everyone alone. Young liberals call for tolerance because they want to promulgate a lifestyle, in other words; young conservatives call for tolerance because they actually believe in tolerance, even of lifestyle choices with which they disagree. In return, young conservatives demand that their opponents mind their own business.” – Ben Shapiro for The Weekly Standard