Two House committees blocked separate marijuana amendments. How one woman came to be known as the ‘Mother Teresa’ of pot prisoners. A CBD producer is struggling thanks to the DEA seizing its hemp plants. Also: PotCoin is great at marketing stunts, but does anyone actually use it? 🌳
House committee blocks marijuana amendment for vets. Congressman Pete Sessions (R-Texas) has emerged as one of the greatest foes of federal marijuana reform. He has consistently blocked modest cannabis proposals from coming up for a vote in his role as the chairman of the House Rules Committee. Wednesday was no different: the congressman blocked a vote on an amendment that would encourage the VA to research the benefits of medical marijuana for veterans. “I offered a very simple and commonsense amendment at the Rules Committee last night that authorized the secretary of Veterans Affairs to study medical marijuana as an alternative treatment option to prescription opioids,” explained U.S. rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.). “As a legislator who has a lot of ideas to save lives, increase freedom and decrease opioid abuse that would pass, I think a lot of my ideas would get 350 votes here in the House. We are not allowed to bring them forward.” Marijuana Moment
Another House committee blocked a marijuana banking amendment. The House Appropriations Committee rejected a measure that would have protected banks that serve the marijuana industry. The proposal would have prevented the Treasury Department from cracking down on financial institutions that work with state-legal marijuana businesses. Due to marijuana’s Schedule I status, banks are fearful of breaking money laundering laws by servicing the still federally illegal industry. Forbes The chairman of the Federal Reserve said that the lack of guidance on marijuana banking puts “regulators in a very difficult position and that the Fed would love to see the hazy issue clarified.” The Associated Press The number of banks servicing the cannabis industry has grown to 411. Marijuana Moment Related: For the industry, a lack of banking hurts small businesses and only allows the wealthy and privileged to succeed. Forbes
The ‘Mother Teresa’ of pot prisoners. Beth Curtis became a marijuana and criminal justice advocate when her brother, John Knock, was given two life sentences plus 20 years without parole for a marijuana offense. “Our family was shocked because we really didn’t understand the justice system and thought it couldn’t be right,” she said. Her work has helped lead to at least five marijuana offenders receiving commutations for their life sentences. She continues to work towards the release of thousands of others, including her brother. “The people who are serving life sentences, egregiously long sentences, are really stunned people are making millions of dollars off the product they’re in federal prison for life for,” she said. High Times
‘CBD oil is legal, except that it’s not.’ A CBD producer in North Carolina that uses hemp to make its products keeps getting its hemp shipments seized by the DEA. While many believe that hemp-derived CBD is legal nationwide, the DEA has a different interpretation of the law. “People sometimes think that, because there’s little or no THC, that it’s legal, but the plant, if it’s intended for human consumption it’s illegal – with very few exceptions, for example sterile seeds, which people toast and put on their salads,” said a spokesperson for the agency. “It’s legal under state law in Colorado, and it’s legal in North Carolina, but that doesn’t matter — marijuana is legal under state law in Colorado, but not the DEA. The plant, for human consumption, is illegal, bottom line. If you ship it–then that’s interstate commerce, that’s trafficking, and so that’s a problem.” Port City Daily
Wrongfully imprisoned men seek $40 million in damages. Two men who were wrongfully imprisoned are suing Baltimore Police for $40 million. Officers had planted drugs in their car, a revelation that emerged during an investigation into police misconduct. As a result of the investigation, six officers pleaded guilty and two others were convicted at trial. The two men saw their convictions vacated. “I wish I had come clean when I found out the drugs were planted,” said one of the former officers who was sentenced last week. “The fact still remains, however, that two innocent men were wrongfully incarcerated ‘for far too long’ as a result of the BPD’s failings,” read the complaint. Baltimore Sun
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PotCoin is great at marketing stunts but no one actually uses it. PotCoin, the marijuana cryptocurrency, is more known for its sponsorship of Dennis Rodman’s trips to North Korea and Singapore than for actually serving the marijuana industry. “If PotCoin was as disruptive a banking solution as they market it, I would know at least one dispensary owner that used it… Truth is, there are much easier ways to process payments in the cannabis industry, and cash will always be king,” said Jason Spatafora, who covers marijuana and finance. Meanwhile, a variety of cryptocurrency experts all expressed skepticism of the cryptocurrency’s value. “How does someone get their money from cash to PotCoin?… For any significant sum, you still need a bank transfer and probably have to go through bitcoin.” Still, PotCoin’s price jumps after every marketing stunt. Vox
A medical marijuana refugee returns home. 18-year-old Coltyn Turner has moved back to his hometown in Illinois after spending four years in Colorado to access the medicine he needs. Turner had struggled with Crohn’s disease and its various complications, including botched surgeries and worrying side effects from pharmaceuticals. Eventually, he sought treatment in Colorado. “The sick child once confined to a wheelchair has since grown into an exuberant young man. He’s now completely ‘pharma-free’ and his Crohn’s has gone into remission.” Now, he has returned home and can access medical marijuana in Illinois. “I wouldn’t have survived without it. And because of that, I’ve been able to get my life back,” he said. He’s also considering going to college in a conservative state: “I’m not really sure which one I’ll go to, probably something in an anti-cannabis state, like Kansas, so I can maybe raise some mayhem.” Chicago Sun-Times
Cannabis in Canada. A fight is brewing between the Canadian House of Commons and the Senate on marijuana legalization legislation. Prime minister Justin Trudeau blamed the Senate for delaying the bill thanks to its amendment that would allow provinces to ban home cultivation. “It is critically important to permit personal cultivation in order to support the government’s objective of displacing the illegal market,” said the Liberal government. CBC News Meanwhile, Quebec’s marijuana bill bans home cultivation and also is the only province to set a limit on how much marijuana can be possessed at a single residence. Leafly Green Thumb Industries is the latest U.S. marijuana company to go public in Canada. Marijuana Business Daily
Britain’s largest weed grow. The U.K. produced 95 tons of marijuana in 2016 and exports nearly 70 percent of the world’s medical cannabis. Meanwhile, the government is actively preventing sick children from accessing medical cannabis oil. “The breathtaking hypocrisy of the government allows them to declare in law that cannabis has no medicinal value, whilst simultaneously accounting for nearly half the world’s medical and scientific supply,” said one lawmaker who is trying to legalize medical marijuana in Parliament. Here’s a look at a greenhouse that grows a lot of medical marijuana for export. Vice
Elsewhere around the world… 113 politicians in Mexico have been killed during this election season. “Astonishing as these numbers are, they only tell part of the story: There are hundreds of candidates who have backed out of their races out of fear for their safety, and many others who have curbed their campaign activities.” Drug violence has spiked in the past year. BuzzFeed News The Israeli government is waffling on cannabis exports, causing troubles for the marijuana industry. Haaretz
Word on the States
- In Vermont, dozens are seeking to have their marijuana convictions expunged.
- In Alaska, regulators consider taxing marijuana based on THC content.
- In Colorado, a look at the fallout from regulators’ marijuana pregnancy study. Denver is using marijuana taxes to fund after-school and summer youth programs.
- In Massachusetts, a state commission met to address impaired driving.
- In Tennessee, the governor has not commuted a sentence since 2011.
- In New Jersey, a former law enforcement officer argues against expanding medical marijuana.
- In Delaware, a bill to legalize marijuana gets amendments to address safety and regulatory concerns.
- In Missouri, St. Louis will no longer prosecute low-level marijuana offenses.
- In Oklahoma, businesses were warned that a medical marijuana ballot initiative “would create risks for Oklahoma businesses.”
- In Michigan, a medical marijuana ordinance was repealed in Kalamazoo county. Livingston county commissioners are split on the prospect of marijuana legalization.
- In Florida, a medical marijuana advocate is running for Agriculture Commissioner. Medical marijuana advocates warn against promises to legalize adult-use.
- In Ohio, more doctors are signing on to the medical marijuana program.
Word for Word
“[The STATES Act] also wouldn’t necessarily stop federal prosecutors from finding excuses to crack down on the industry if Sessions wants to go in that direction… Most obviously, the Warren-Gardner push does nothing for those who want access to medical marijuana and live in one of the states where it remains illegal.” – Jeremy Borden for Cannabis Wire Newsletter
“As Nine Ball, Rihanna puffs tough from the get-go. Her fat blunts haze up the screen as she expertly hacks into the Met Museum security system. She gets shit done while high as hell, and her weed intake is never an issue. When Nine Ball lights up after pulling off some big moves, she’s blazing just like James Bond swills his martini: it’s a well-deserved power move… Rihanna smoking fatties and running the show as a character she based on herself and her own life was the best part. Oh, and Hollywood? Make more movies with all-female casts that are about women kicking ass while smoking weed.” – Mary Jane Gibson for High Times