Canada’s Senate voted in favor of a bill to legalize marijuana across the country. President Trump said he will “probably end up supporting” a bill to end federal prohibition. Minneapolis police are ending marijuana stings after blatant racial disparities emerged. Also, a marijuana company in Oregon filed a $10 million lawsuit against anonymous (?) social media users for resurfacing rape allegations against its (former) CEO. 🌳
Canadian Senate approves marijuana legalization. Canada’s Senate voted to legalize marijuana on Thursday. The 56-30 vote clears a major hurdle for the legalization legislation, which faced pushback from Conservative senators. “While there is not yet a definite date for when marijuana will be available for sale, the Senate was one of the last significant obstacles standing in the way of legalization.” The House of Commons will now review the Senate’s amendments to the bill, which include restrictions on advertising and allows provinces to ban home-grow. Reuters The Marijuana Party continues to fight “prohibition 2.0.” The leader of the party is critical of the government’s approach to legalization: “Legalization is great if you’re rich and old and have your own house and can afford to buy expensive marijuana… But if you’re still young and poor and don’t own your own house, it’s worse than it was before.” The Guardian Why legalization won’t stop black-market sales. Reuters
Cannabis in Congress. Could the new marijuana bill, cosponsored by senators Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) finally end federal prohibition? Despite strong bipartisan support, majority leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has consistently opposed recreational legalization. “This is not a bill that forces legalization on any state that doesn’t want it,” explained Warren. “So part of the pitch here for getting a vote through Congress is to say ‘This is for the states who want to act.'” Rolling Stone When announcing the bill, Gardner was hopeful that the legislation would have the president’s support. The Washington Post Trump indicated that he is open to supporting the legislation. When asked about it on Friday, the president said: “I support senator Gardner. I know exactly what he’s doing; we’re looking at it. But I probably will end up supporting that, yes.” NPR Related: Elsewhere in the Senate, a committee voted in favor to allow VA doctors to discuss medical marijuana with their patients. Marijuana Moment
Minneapolis stops marijuana stings. Minneapolis police are ending the practice of conducting sting operations on low-level marijuana dealers after a public defender complained about the seemingly blatant racial profiling. The police will also dismiss charges against 47 individuals who have been arrested this year for marijuana offenses. Undercover officers purchased small amounts of marijuana from those 47 people — 46 of whom are black. “The fact that racial disparities are so common nationwide in the enforcement of marijuana laws is one of the reasons I support full legalization,” said Minneapolis’ mayor. Star Tribune
Black market operators on legalization hypocrisy. In New York, Albany county’s district attorney is holding a series of public meetings to discuss marijuana legalization in the state. At the first meeting on Wednesday, attendees criticized the hypocrisy of racially disparate drug enforcement. The cannabis industry “is already making heaps of money for white entrepreneurs and Wall Street investors, while communities like Albany’s Arbor Hill, West Hill and South End neighborhoods are still struggling to heal from a federal and state-sanctioned War on Drugs.” “I’m still paying for this… My whole life I’ve paid for it. Forty years of my life are gone for it,” said one man who spent time in federal prison for a marijuana offense. Times Union
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A conversation on race, mental health, and psychedelics. There is vast potential for psychedelics to help heal trauma and move people toward wholeness. But how does that healing potential stand up to systemic oppression? This panel on Monday, June 11 will explore if and how psychedelics can contribute to healing the trauma that stems from racism and create a more just society. Get (free) tickets here: The Assemblage
The Maze. Our friends at Mannada have launched The Maze, a weekly newsletter highlighting all the cannabis events you need to know. The listings include something for everyone, whether you’re a professional looking for networking events, an advocate looking to get politically involved, or just a casual consumer looking to meet like-minded people. From New York City to Toronto to Amsterdam, The Maze hopes to help the cannabis community stay on top of the burgeoning cannabis event scene. Submit your event or sign up for the newsletter here: Mannada
Marijuana company is suing over rape allegations. Former CEO of Oregon cannabis company Cura Cannabis Nitin Khanna resigned last week after anonymous social media accounts publicized past rape allegations against him. In 2014, Khanna settled a lawsuit alleging that he raped his fiancée’s hairdresser the morning of his wedding. At the time, county prosecutors declined to prosecute the case because they couldn’t prove it beyond a reasonable doubt. “That is not to say that the sexual assault didn’t happen exactly as the victim describes,” the prosecutors wrote. The Oregonian The new CEO claims that the accusations were due to a “campaign by a competitor to harm our company.” But the lawsuit does not name any competitors. It does name the anonymous individuals behind social media accounts that warned people of the allegations against Khanna and encouraged consumers to “vote with your wallet.” Willamette Week
MPP cuts staff amid fundraising woes. The Marijuana Policy Project has cut its staff by 30 percent. “Traditional, philanthropic donors have reduced their funding because they view the industry as having a certain self-momentum” said the advocacy group’s interim executive director. “Meanwhile, it’s been difficult for the organization to raise money from the industry because many businesses are in a growing-pain phase and being taxed at a high level.” Marijuana Business Daily
Cannabis in California. “Legalization is not going well,” said the executive director of the California Growers Association. “I think our oversupply problem is worse than Oregon’s.” Oregon is home to a glut of marijuana, resulting in prices as low as $4 a gram. But it’s hard to figure out how much of the state’s oversupply is actually destined for the black market. Indoor cannabis cultivators say they’re confident that prices will remain high for their products. Leafly An environmental advocacy group is suing the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors over changes to marijuana regulations. The group is concerned that the rules don’t sufficiently protect local watersheds. North Coast Journal
Vapor Trails. Tranquil sounds make up this week’s playlist, traversing the work of ambient pioneers and recent innovators. They’re perfect for soundtracking rare moments of solitude in a hectic, noisy world. Word on the Tree
Word on the States
- In Oregon, Portland is getting a CBD cafe with products derived from tree bark.
- In California, a look at temporary licensing rules.
- In Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh’s mayor supports recreational legalization.
- In Maine, Auburn MMJ caregivers are worried about a possible moratorium on retailers.
- In Florida, a medical marijuana operation sold for $53 million.
- In Arkansas, the Supreme Court hears a case over medical marijuana permits. A regulator accused an unsuccessful applicant of trying to bribe him.
- In New Jersey, a senator introduced a bill that combines medical marijuana expansion and recreational legalization.
- In Ohio, an independent audit found fault in the way regulators reviewed medical marijuana applications.
- In New York, lawmakers are divided on recreational legalization.
- In Michigan, Detroit tries again to craft a marijuana ordinance.
Word for Word
“We at PotCoin definitely believe that Dennis Rodman deserves the Nobel Peace Prize jointly with President Trump and the Marshal Kim Jong Un.” – PotCoin spokesman Shawn Perez, The Washington Post
“Who would have thought that the access to treatment for somebody in opiate addiction would be through the lobby of a police station? That really highlights a failure of the health care system. … I hope that at some point we put ourselves out of business, and health care and public health take the ball.” – Arlington police chief Frederick Ryan, Politico