Jeff Sessions is still waging his lonely war against weed. How a drug prosecutor became the CEO of a cannabis company that hires people out of prison. There’s nothing stopping California cannabis businesses from selling consumer information to data brokers. Also: A British mum tried to bring cannabis oil into the country for her epileptic son and customs agents confiscated it. 🌳
Jeff Sessions’ lonely fight against weed. After president Trump indicated that he would “probably” support a bill to end federal marijuana prohibition, attorney general Jeff Sessions is doubling down on his anti-cannabis agenda. “I think there’s universal belief that [marijuana is] particularly dangerous,” said Sessions. “I can’t give [the cannabis industry] immunity. I can’t guarantee that they are free from any consequences from an act that is contrary to United States law.” The attorney general emphasized that the Cole memo is no longer in place. CPR The drug warrior is fighting a fight that lacks support from the president, Congress, and plenty of lawmakers from his own party. The Wall Street Journal Related: Trump’s seeming pro-cannabis comments have angered anti-drug groups: “Marijuana is still the number one gateway drug next to alcohol. And if you make this decision, President Trump, you will be making one of the worst decisions in your life.” ABC 7
Congressional Black Caucus for ending prohibition. Members of the caucus are calling for ending federal prohibition of marijuana. Caucus chairman Cedric Richmond (D-La.) describes the drug war as a “war on black and brown communities.” An overwhelming majority of the 48-member caucus wants to federally decriminalize cannabis and other reforms that would reduce the black prison population. The Associated Press
Prison reform divides allies. Criminal justice advocates like Veda Ajamu are catching heat for working with the White House on a prison reform bill. While plenty of reformers argue that the White House-backed bill is too narrow, others say it’s better than nothing. Ajamu’s brother has been incarcerated for decades on a non-violent drug charge. “I understand not all will benefit from this, however it will benefit many. In every bill passed regarding criminal justice reform, way too many people have been left behind,” she wrote. “Most didn’t think ANY bill for any kind of criminal justice reform would be passed under the Trump administration. Is this about them or us?” The Intercept
From prosecutor to pot entrepreneur. A former prosecutor in Massachusetts has a new gig: CEO of a recreational marijuana company. Andrea Cabral sees her new job as “a natural extension of her efforts to reduce recidivism and keep communities safe from crime.” Her company will work directly with a sheriff’s office to hire people who have been recently released from prison. “Because Massachusetts took such a strong approach to social equity in its regulations, there’s a real opportunity to balance profits against conscience,” she said. Suffolk county’s sheriff is “downright enthusiastic” about the arrangement. While Cabral got her start has a drug prosecutor in the ’80s, she said her views have slowly evolved since then. The Boston Globe / This Week in Weed Related: Former conservative congressman and pharmaceutical lobbyist Billy Tauzin now works for a cannabis company. Reason
McConnell adds hemp reform to Farm Bill. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has added language to legalize industrial hemp farming into the Senate Farm Bill. The measure builds on the 2014 Farm Bill, which legalized state research and pilot programs for industrial hemp cultivation. Lex 18 “Securing the Hemp Farming Act as part of the 2018 Farm Bill has been a top priority of mine,” said the Kentucky senator. The Hill
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Elsewhere in Congress. U.S. rep. Michael Burgess (R-Texas) is advocating for marijuana reforms that would allow for more cannabis research. While Republicans like Burgess are increasingly evolving on their marijuana stances, Burgess stopped short of supporting medical marijuana legalization. WFAA U.S. rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) is the first sitting congressman to cut the ribbon of a new adult-use marijuana store. Leafly
On the cannabis industry. Some legal-weed states have prohibited marijuana businesses from selling their customers’ information to data brokers. But the largest market — California — has no such protections. Vice / Motherboard A look at seven upcoming marijuana markets. Marijuana Business Daily Colorado governor John Hickenlooper recently vetoed a bill that would allow publicly traded companies to invest in the state’s cannabis industry. Now, marijuana businesses are threatening to leave the state. Denver Business Journal
Cannabis in Canada. The Canadian military won’t ban marijuana after the federal government passes legalization legislation. But its restrictions on the drug “will be more wide-ranging than its policy governing alcohol.” “We can’t do that. If the law says it’s no longer criminal to have it in your possession, it’s not a criminal act. You just can’t ban it outright,” said a senior commander. CBC News The cannabis industry is not happy with the strict rules on marketing and advertising. CBC News The exciting thing about legalization is Canada: “When the information floodgates open, researchers from all fields – health, criminology, policy, economy and more – will be able to collect information about cannabis use that they weren’t able to get before.” Wired
Elsewhere around the world… A British mother tried to bring cannabis oil from Canada into the U.K. to treat her 12-year-old son, who suffers from severe epilepsy. The oil was confiscated by customs officers. The Independent New CBD cafes in Paris, France attracted long lines of eager consumers when they opened over the weekend. The Telegraph
Seeking those with life-changing trips. Researchers at Johns Hopkins who are studying psychedelics want to hear from people who have had life-changing experiences on hallucinogenic drugs. “Mystical and insightful experiences that are brought about by psychedelics might explain why they are so powerfully associated with positive behavioral, emotional, and cognitive change,” said one of the researchers. Vice / Motherboard
Word on the States
- In Michigan, a canceled meeting means more delays for medical marijuana licenses.
- In Colorado, despite social use licensing, pot clubs are rare.
- In New Mexico, the state is struggling to fill its medical cannabis advisory with doctors.
- In Maine, a Florida company applied for a permit to grow federal research marijuana in the state.
- In Rhode Island, the House budget kills the governor’s plan to expand medical marijuana dispensaries.
- In New Jersey, the governor remains neutral on varying marijuana legalization bills.
- In Kansas, CBD products are now legal in the state.
- In Louisiana, industry observers are concerned that the medical marijuana program can’t keep up with demand.
- In Indiana, a Democratic candidate for Congress supports marijuana legalization.
- In Ohio, a look at neighboring Michigan’s medical marijuana program.
- In Utah, a look at the opposition to medical marijuana.
- In South Carolina, a proposal to legalize medical marijuana advances in both chambers.
- In New Hampshire, a state senator plans on introducing legislation to legalize marijuana next session.
Word for Word
“Why are we allowing pharmacy companies to completely control this process from top to bottom when they’ve already done so much harm to America when they lied about the effects of their “safe and nonaddictive” opioid pill? Even if Epidiolex is rubber stamped and used in Nebraska, other conditions could be treated by medications that contain varying percentages of the chemicals found in different cannabis plant strains… We don’t need the approval from the FDA or Big Pharma, just from politicians with a conscience that will allow them to do the right thing.” – Lawyer John Cartier for Lincoln Journal-Star
“I was organizing to stop a governor from turning a black college into a prison, and I was stressed out because Dave [Chappelle] wanted to fire up a joint, and I didn’t want to go to jail in Mississippi. Dave was like ‘well, this shit should be legal,’ and I was like, ‘yeah, but it’s not.’ That was basically the conversation… Dave was the one who really first talked to me about the way in which marijuana enforcement had been targeted at our communities. It just so happened that that day in Mississippi, the stakes were so high, I wasn’t really having it.” – Maryland gubernatorial candidate Ben Jealous, Marijuana Moment
“[Allen] Ginsberg’s plan [for world peace] included allowing Communist China to join the UN as well as the Tibetans to present their case there; a ‘Telestar TV Debate with Khrushchev, Kennedy, Mao and Nehru at UN together translated into all languages’; and above all, ‘International legalization of kif, ganja, marijuana, cannabis, hashish, bhang.'” – Srinath Raghavan for Quartz