New York City’s unluckiest pot smokers get arrested for marijuana as the city moves towards changing its policies. In 1967, a federal report found that drug enforcement was ineffective. A look at who Trump is and isn’t pardoning. Also: The state-legal marijuana industry supports at least 125,000 full-time jobs in the U.S. 🌳
NYC cannabis consumers caught up in last days of pot arrests. In May, Manhattan’s D.A. announced that his office would stop prosecuting minor marijuana offenses as NYC’s mayor said that the NYPD would overhaul its marijuana arrest policies. Six days later, a 24-year-old college student, who was arrested for smoking pot on a bench in Union Square, faced a judge and had his case postponed. “I feel as if it’s unfair to me, because based on my race, or even my gender — I’m a male African-American — I just felt as if I shouldn’t have gotten arrested for a minor misdemeanor such as smoking marijuana,” he said. Others who are caught up in court proceedings on marijuana charges are hopeful that the new policies will change things: “Hopefully in August, marijuana smokers won’t have to go through this nonsense… There’s rapes and murders. Go save a life, officer; why are you bothering me for marijuana?” The Associated Press Related: Two dozen criminal justice reform groups are urging city agencies like NYCHA and Administration for Children’s Services to stop penalizing those who use marijuana. New York Daily News
‘Ahead of its time.’ In 1967, the Johnson administration released a law enforcement report with a chapter dedicated to “narcotics and drug abuse.” Drug policy researchers say the chapter was “decades ahead of its time,” according to a new paper in Criminology & Public Policy. “I was really shocked by how they recognized the limits of drug law enforcement. They said even complete control, complete enforcement, won’t eradicate this problem,” said one researcher. “By and large, you’re going to find very few people in the drug policy community who think arresting people for simple possession is a reasonable approach to our drug problem.” The Appeal
President Trump and political pardons. Trump has bypassed the Justice Department’s recommendation system for clemency, pardoning five people during his time in office so far. Most recently, Trump pardoned conservative commentator Dinesh D’Souza, who pleaded guilty to violating campaign finance law. Who hasn’t gotten a pardon? Matthew Charles, who was sentenced to 35 years in prison for selling crack cocaine. Charles was a model prisoner who was released after serving 21 years, becoming a model citizen with a steady job and a regular volunteer at a food pantry. (Federal prosecutors appealed his release and he got sent back to prison.) Or John Knock, who received two life sentences plus 20 years for conspiracy to launder money and distribute marijuana. The New York Times
A new kind of drug education. As marijuana reforms spread across U.S. states, drug education programs are changing, too. In California, the focus is on facts rather than scare tactics — “delay” instead of “don’t.” “I’m not here to tell you what to do today. Not at all… I’m here to give you the most up-to-date information possible so that you can make your own healthy, informed decisions,” said one drug educator to a classroom full of eight graders. MPR News Related: Meanwhile, youth support for marijuana legalization is at an all-time high. In 2017, 49 percent of high-school seniors supported full legalization, and only 12 percent said they believed marijuana use should be criminalized. “Youth are smart enough to understand that saddling someone with a marijuana arrest is far more detrimental than marijuana use itself,” said the executive director of the SSDP. Marijuana Moment
Local and federal authorities talk cannabis. Colorado law enforcement officials met with federal agencies and a U.S. rep. to talk about the state’s illicit cannabis problem. The U.S. Forest Service is concerned about an increase in illicit cultivation sites on public lands. Meanwhile, U.S. rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.) said “the right laws are already in place, but it might take funding to provide more tools and resources to those agencies before the problem gets bigger.” KRDO
Jobs, jobs, jobs. The state-legal marijuana industry supports 125,000-160,000 full-time jobs, according to a new report. That’s about three times the size of the coal industry. The number includes those in plant-touching and ancillary companies. “By 2022, the cannabis industry is expected to support as many as 340,000 full-time jobs – growth of approximately 21 percent per year.” Marijuana Business Daily
Racing for CBD patents. As the CBD industry grows, cannabis companies are racing to secure CBD-related patents. At least “several patents and intellectual property agreements were sought or secured for CBD applications” in the past month, including one for using CBD to treat graft versus host disease. “All this activity is setting off alarm bells in certain activist and scientific circles.” Cannabis Now Related: CBD might help tobacco smokers kick the habit. PsyPost
Cannabis and medicine. Hospitals in California are talking about their experiences with cannabis post-legalization, but none can offer any data. “There has been a huge surge since the beginning of this year in patients coming to the emergency room with acute cannabis intoxication,” said one doctor at a hospital in Orange, Calif. “I was actually very fearful with marijuana being legalized that we’d see a huge increase in car accidents and kids showing up high in the ER and huge numbers of people getting hurt… We’re not really seeing that,” said another in Los Angeles. Neither could offer any data and local health departments aren’t tracking marijuana-related hospital visits either. The Cannifornian Allergists say that marijuana legalization could bring about an increase in cannabis allergies. Most at risk are those who work directly with the plants. CBC News
Marijuana money. Legalizing and regulating marijuana could earn the U.K. £1 billion to £3.5 billion a year in tax revenues, according to a new report. About 47 percent of Brits support licensing marijuana dispensaries. The report used models from Colorado, as well as alcohol and tobacco, to calculate the potential tax revenues of a legalized cannabis industry. Meanwhile, reducing criminal justice costs also boosts the value of potential legalization. The Guardian
Cannabis in Canada. The Senate voted to ban merchandise with cannabis brands and logos. iPolitics Those in the industry mocked the decision. “So it will be legal to buy the drug but not the shirt?” wondered one Twitter user. An executive argued that making clothing illegal will make it more attractive to young people. Within hours of the vote, one company started selling T-shirts that read #FreeTheSwag. Ottawa Citizen The World Anti-Doping Agency may consider cannabis to be a performance-enhancing drug, but its Canadian affiliate does not agree. “We don’t believe there is sufficient scientific evidence supporting its performance-enhancing benefits.” CBC News A 23-year-old business school student beat out more than 150 applicants for one of seven coveted cannabis retail permits in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. “I did it actually all by myself.” CBC News
Word on the States
- In Massachusetts, the marijuana market can expect a slow rollout.
- In California, a congressman visited Humboldt marijuana farms.
- In New York, a bill would expand the list of MMJ-qualifying conditions. Criminal justice reform groups want city agencies to overlook past pot arrests.
- In Maine, the state forced an outdoor vape tent at a medical marijuana tradeshow to close.
- In Connecticut, there are still fears of shortages amid a booming medical marijuana program.
- In Ohio, medical marijuana could bring in $11 million in fees.
- In Michigan, getting a medical marijuana license comes with a hefty price tag.
- In Delaware, a clinic owner is accused of medical marijuana fraud.
- In Oklahoma, doctors are divided on the benefits of medical marijuana. Advocates are confident the measure will succeed.
- In Utah, law enforcement groups are unofficially opposing a medical marijuana ballot initiative. The U.S. attorney is also opposed to the measure.
- In Louisiana, the governor signed a bill to expand the medical marijuana program.
- In Arkansas, the state’s surgeon general opposes marijuana legalization.
- In New Hampshire, the Democratic party moves to endorse marijuana legalization.
- In Missouri, the governor signed a bill legalizing industrial hemp.
- In Georgia, a police officer was fired after running over a fleeing suspect with his patrol car.
- In Colorado, a Denver campaign to legalize psilocybin faces hurdles.
Word for Word
“Smelling that aroma at a music festival, or on a warm evening in my residential neighborhood in Verdun, has been normal for a long time. What’s new is that that scent is creeping into unspoken off-limits areas. Decades of prohibition have had an effect on how we perceive the smell of weed. For some people, it’s the smell of enjoying yourself among friends, free from the petty, pleasure-hating regulations of the state. For others, it’s the odor of idle youth, disrespect for authority and low-class stupefaction. These competing aroma profiles won’t disappear the day the stuff becomes legal.” – Robert Everett-Green for The Globe and Mail
“At the end of the day, and we’ve seen this in any capitalistic society, money plays an outsized role and an outsized influence in outcomes. Money buys you access, buys you influence. And there’s a lot of fear, about cultivators, people, small farmers, others that have been at this for a generations that somehow they’re going to be left behind, that everything they’ve built that actually has, you know, allowed an industry to thrive despite the black market, allowed families to thrive — not just survive — despite the black market, that all can be taken away because of restrictive regulation or, frankly, over indulgence by certain factors, or factions within the industry, that could take over the industry and dominate it.” – California lt. governor Gavin Newsom, marijuana.com