Police in California are profiting off of seizing marijuana from compliant businesses. Support for ending federal prohibition grows. Why John Boehner should advocate for releasing marijuana offenders from prison. Also: A U.S. law is preventing federally legal cannabis retailers from accessing banks in Uruguay. 🌳
Police are robbing compliant marijuana businesses. Huedell Freeman was carrying his “compliance briefcase” when he was transporting marijuana from his grow to a licensed dispensary in California. Filled with documentation showing that he had the proper permits, police still pulled him over, seized 47 pounds of marijuana, and never charged him with a crime. There are plenty of other stories like Freeman’s, which “suggest a pattern of questionable and potentially illegal stops and seizures over the past three years by officers from a small city along a major marijuana transportation corridor.” Meanwhile, the police department that seized the cannabis gets to profit from asset forfeiture. Two officers are on leave while the city of Rohnert Park conducts an investigation on what defense attorneys describe as “highway robbery.” KQED
Momentum for ending federal prohibition. Support is growing for the new bipartisan legislation that would resolve the conflict between state and federal marijuana laws. “From growers on the West Coast and bankers on the East,” the bill is uniting those with disparate interests and political persuasions. Leafly The bill’s co-sponsor, senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), has a natural ally on the states’ rights-focused bill: Supreme Court justice Clarence Thomas, who wrote a dissent in Gonzalez v. Raich. Reason How states that have legalized marijuana get around federal prohibition. Asbury Park Press
John Boehner on his marijuana evolution. Former House Speaker John Boehner, who spent decades advocating against marijuana reform, said that stories from medical marijuana patients moved him to shift his stance on the issue. WCPO “If you’re making money in cannabis and not donating to criminal justice reform efforts, that’s problematic,” said Jon Perri, the creative director for Nation of Second Chances and director of impact partnerships at Change.org. “John Boehner never once used his political power to advocate for people in prison for marijuana. So when I see Acreage Holdings bring him onto their advisory board, I expect him to be advocating not only for legislation that helps regulate the industry but supporting the release of people in prison — it’s literally the least they can do.” Cannabis Now
Mayors against prohibition. Mayors from seven U.S. cities in legal-cannabis states formed a coalition to push for federal marijuana reforms. A resolution at the U.S. Conference of Mayors was approved unanimously, which asks Congress to deschedule marijuana, reform taxation and banking for the industry, and provide legal medical marijuana to veterans. The seven mayors hail from cities in Colorado, Washington, Oregon, California, and Nevada. The Associated Press
DEA vs. NYC. A DEA agent vowed to continue enforcement marijuana prohibition in New York after NYC mayor Bill de Blasio announced changes to how the NYPD would handle minor marijuana offenses. “It’s still a Schedule 1 substance not approved by the FDA… We will not stop enforcing, because Congress makes these laws,” said the agent. De Blasio wants the NYPD to stop arresting people for pot smoking after criticisms of the racial disparities in marijuana arrests. New York Post
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Dennis Rodman’s Potcoin gimmick. Former NBA star Dennis Rodman was not invited to the Trump-Kim summit in Singapore, according to the president himself. Nevertheless, he traveled to the country on a trip sponsored by the marijuana cryptocurrency Potcoin, just like his previous trip to North Korea. Reuters “Look closer, and it’s more like multiple reality shows playing simultaneously, than history in the making.” Quartz argues that cryptocurrency and how it links the marijuana industry to the summit is a total gimmick. “[Rodman] helped create the blueprint for today’s celebrities, who have learned that publicity stunts should be not a one-off PR strategy but a way of life. Live the gimmick.” Quartz
Medical marijuana in Oklahoma. The healthcare community in the Bible-Belt state is opposing an initiative to legalize medical marijuana, arguing that the proposal is more recreational than medical. KFOR Tell that to the desperate patients who are breaking the law to access medical marijuana. One parent was nervous about bringing medical marijuana across state lines, but did so anyway to help their cancer-stricken child: “It’s not that I don’t respect the law, because I do… But when it’s up to life or death for a little one, you do what you have to do. For doing something any other parent would do, risking jail time or probation — whatever the cost is, they shouldn’t have to worry about that.” Enid News & Eagle Or consider the veteran who says that marijuana saved his life. Cannabis helped him get out of his wheelchair after doctors told him he would never walk again. News 9
Today in cannabis business news… Cannabis media startup Prøhbtd raised $8 million in Series A funding. The company is exploring opportunities to expand internationally and has plans for going public in Canada. TechCrunch Beverage companies are getting into the space in hopes of developing marijuana-infused drinks. Inc High Times’ finances continue to deteriorate: In its latest SEC filing, the company’s sales plunged nearly 65 percent in the first quarter of this year. Its events businesses fell almost 83 percent. New Cannabis Ventures
Elsewhere around the world… Human rights groups in Mexico are calling on the International Criminal Court to investigate drug-war related atrocities. The Associated Press The Parliament in Switzerland rejected a motion in a 96 to 93 vote that would have allowed researchers to study cannabis. SWI Uruguay made history when it became the first country in the world to legalize marijuana for adult-use. But the program is encountering a major obstacle from the Patriot Act, a U.S. law targeting terrorists. “Most banks in Uruguay route their international transactions through the United States and thus rely on American banks, which are regulated by the Patriot Act.” US News
Word on the States
- In Massachusetts, employers are grappling with drug testing ahead of retail sales.
- In Colorado, Denver’s mayor has converted on marijuana. Law enforcement is making a dent in the black market. Jeff Sessions met with law enforcement officials about marijuana enforcement. Cannabis sales were flat in April.
- In California, $14 million for a black-market marijuana crackdown was left out of the budget. Price spikes and shortages could come to the recreational marijuana market.
- In Alaska, U.S. senators are backing legislation for states’ rights and cannabis legalization. A report looked into inconsistent marijuana lab testing results.
- In Vermont, a look at the state’s conflicting pot laws. A housing authority is struggling to make sense of conflicting laws on medical marijuana and public housing. The state’s MMJ patient count has plateaued. The Vermont Law School is hosting a marijuana expungement event.
- In Utah, medical marijuana opponents are worried about MMJ for chronic pain.
- In Michigan, regulators say medical marijuana retailers can only describe themselves as “provisioning centers,” not “dispensaries.” Cannabis Cup attendees are optimistic about the chances of recreational legalization.
- In Louisiana, regulators are preparing for the medical marijuana program rollout.
- In Florida, regulators are struggling to keep up with the medical marijuana industry.
- In Ohio, one police chief thinks medical marijuana will help combat the opioid crisis.
- In South Carolina, medical marijuana legalization is gaining momentum.
- In New Mexico, a judge ruled that a MMJ business should receive a lesser punishment for displaying a marijuana plant at the State Fair.
- In the Northern Marianas, a cannabis legalization bill was referred back to committee.
Word for Word
“In that moment in the cemetery on Mother’s Day, I couldn’t help but think of a New York Times Magazine story published in early May about children of the opioid epidemic—a some 9,000-word feature about an increase in the number of babies born with the opioid-withdrawal condition neonatal abstinence syndrome… It was the cover photo that grabbed me most, a white child dressed in angelic white tulle, his wide-eyed, open face in contrast with that of his mother next to him: turned away and covered by her hair, an attempt to shield herself from the camera lens and the shame of addiction. I cannot remember a single story about the children in my family, or kids like them, that used that kind of compassionate tone in the 1980s or 1990s, despite the far-reaching effects the crack epidemic had on black families like mine.” – Issac J. Bailey for Politico Magazine
“I’ve been part of legal cannabis businesses in nine states, shortly after each first legalized marijuana. For seven out of nine states, the rollout was significantly delayed and enrollment of medicinal patients was much lower than expected… A lot of people think they’re going to get rich quick [in cannabis]. But, in reality, you are not going to be an immediate cash flow business.” – CEO of Green Man Cannabis Christian Hageseth, Entrepreneur