New York decriminalized marijuana in the ’70s, but police still found a way to arrest a lot of people. Auditors find problems with Obama’s clemency initiative for drug offenders. The Army is issuing a lot of waivers for past marijuana use. Also: A police chief in Alabama was caught with marijuana and a bong in his patrol car. 🌳
How New York police found a marijuana loophole. Lawmakers in New York decriminalized marijuana in the ’70s, hoping to curb marijuana raids and mass arrests. Pro-decriminalization lawmakers added a provision that it would still be a crime to carry marijuana “open to public view” in order to get enough votes from Republicans. “The era of mass arrests for carrying around marijuana seemed to be over. It wasn’t.” In the early ’90s arrests for marijuana dipped below 1,000, but surged past 50,000 under mayors Giuliani and Bloomberg. “That history shows how carveouts in decriminalization plans, like one Mr. de Blasio included in the policy set to take effect next month, can haunt people for years. It also highlights the gap between policy and practice when it comes to policing.” The New York Times Related: NYC cannabis consumers caught with marijuana will be treated differently by prosecutors, depending on their borough. The Associated Press
The problems with Obama’s clemency program. President Obama’s initiative to grant clemency to drug offenders was beset by infighting and a lack of planning. While the former president commuted more sentences than any other recent president, a report from Justice Department auditors found that “the Department did not effectively plan, implement, or manage the initiative at the outset… there remains a question as to whether the Department treated all petitions consistently over the course of the initiative.” The initiative was discontinued under president Trump, who is “bypassing the traditional Justice Department process and instead relying on appeals from political allies or celebrities to make clemency decisions.” USA Today Related: In other criminal justice matters, here is a look at the history of bail, which became a practice nearly 15 centuries ago. The U.S. issues about $14 billion in bail bonds per year. Quartz
Army issuing more drug waivers. In an effort to fill its ranks, the Army is issuing more waivers for past drug use and bad conduct. “Nearly one-third of all the waivers granted by the Army in the first six months of this fiscal year were for conduct and drug problems, mainly involving marijuana use.” The number is higher than other military service. “Army leaders said there has been no move to reduce enlistment standards in order to meet recruitment goals.” The Associated Press
NCSL calls for respecting state marijuana laws. The National Conference of State Legislatures is calling on the federal government to “respect state decisions to regulate cannabis… NCSL believes that federal laws, including the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), should be amended to explicitly allow states to set their own cannabis policies without federal interference and urges the administration not to undermine state cannabis policies.” The organization described the Treasury Department’s guidance for working with the cannabis industry as “insufficient” and highlighted the public-safety risks of an industry operating mostly in cash. Marijuana Moment
Oklahoma’s medical marijuana saga. After strong criticisms of its initial medical marijuana rules, state health officials adopted new regulations on Wednesday. The new rules scrap some controversial provisions, including the ban on smokable products, requiring a pharmacist at every dispensary, and forcing women of “childbearing age” to undergo a pregnancy test for medical marijuana. The new rules also did not have THC limits. The Associated Press A legislative panel questioned representatives of pro-marijuana groups for four hours, discussing zoning and how to regulate home cultivation. Tulsa World
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How to break in to the cannabis industry. Cannabis education platform Green Flower is hosting a virtual summit featuring 13 professionals from all corners of the industry talking about how they landed their dream jobs. The lineup includes everyone from lawyers to doctors to marketers to cultivators who have found their own niche in the industry. To watch the virtual event from August 6 – August 19, sign up here: Green Flower
Los Angeles is finally licensing cannabis companies. After months of delays, Los Angeles began accepting license applications from cannabis growers, manufacturers and testing labs. “We’ve been hanging on by the skin of our teeth,” said one cultivator who has been paying rent on a commercial space that he couldn’t use without a license. The city has been slow to get its legal cannabis market off the ground compared to other major cities across the state. The Associated Press This phase of licensing likely won’t fix a market in tumult. Licensed dispensaries find themselves competing with thousands of unlicensed businesses while many growers and manufacturers have left the city in frustration. The equity program “remains unclear.” Marijuana Business Daily
The landscape for marijuana research is shifting despite prohibition. It’s notoriously difficult for scientists to study marijuana in the U.S. thanks to the myriad bureaucratic hurdles in researching a Schedule I substance. But the landscape is shifting as states with legal weed invest in more cannabis research: California regulators are planning to award $10 million by next summer for universities to study marijuana legalization. Bills introduced in Congress are also trying to lessen the barriers to research. The Orange County Register
Today in cannabis business news… U.K. member of Parliament Jacob Rees-Mogg’s investment firm is an adviser to one of the most prominent investors in the Canadian cannabis industry. But Rees-Mogg has refused to support cannabis policy reform in the U.K. The Guardian A look at how Trump’s trade battles are hurting the cannabis industry, especially vaporizer companies. Marijuana Business Daily “It’s clear that something’s happened… But it’s not clear what,” said one attorney about cannabis-related Facebook pages not showing up in search results. The problem is affecting government agencies, cannabis media outlets, and advocacy groups. Facebook has yet to provide an explanation. Marijuana Moment Former New Jersey governor Jim Florio is joining the advisory board of a Colorado edibles company. nj.com
Today in law enforcement hypocrisy… The police chief of Lipscomb, Ala. was arrested after marijuana and a bong were discovered in his home and patrol car. He was charged with second-degree marijuana possession and possession of drug paraphernalia. He initially denied having knowledge of the marijuana, but later recanted his statement, admitting that he was aware of the marijuana in his home. “However, [he] denied any knowledge of the marijuana and drug paraphernalia recovered from his patrol vehicle.” Alabama is home to some of the harshest pot laws, where a single joint can result in a year in prison. al.com
Pups and pot. A writer with an anxious dog looks into whether CBD could help him, especially during 4th of July fireworks. Here’s the story of how Portland bulldog Max Daddy’s joint problems and pain issues inspired his human to develop her own line of CBD products. The Guardian A viral tweet showing a super stoned pup shows why cannabis consumers should take care to dispose of their edibles properly. Rita ate something on her walk and was kept overnight at a hospital. BuzzFeed News
Word on the States
- In California, cannabis lobbying has surged in the state, with Weedmaps topping the list as the biggest spender.
- In Alaska, the state collected more than $11 million from marijuana cultivators, exceeding predictions.
- In Illinois, the governor signed a bill allowing medical cannabis at school.
- In Colorado, candidates for attorney general said they would not thwart legal weed laws.
- In Oregon, regulators cited seven cannabis businesses for infractions.
- In Nevada, regulators released a new symbol for edibles packaging.
- In Arkansas, regulators are scoring medical marijuana license applications.
- In Minnesota, new rules allowing sleep apnea and autism in the medical marijuana program take effect.
- In Mississippi, many conservatives are coming out in support of a medical marijuana legalization campaign.
Word for Word
“Gadsden isn’t reinventing the wheel. Work release programs are a time tested (and historically exploited) tradition in the US criminal justice system. Mentoring for children with incarcerated parents has been a priority for youth advocates for at least a decade, and even enjoyed a healthy federal grant outlay in the early days of the Obama administration… But what Sheriff’s Young’s team does seem to be showing is that an earnest commitment to rewriting the southern tradition of harsh and punitive punishment can have real impacts on how communities perform and how they relate to the police.” – Jamiles Lartey for The Guardian
“For Andre Chiles, it’s an amateur pic of a family standing outside a federal courthouse. One of the children holds up a sign that reads: The DEA Took My Daddy Away. I Miss Him. ‘That really hits me close to home,’ Chiles said. ‘I was first incarcerated for cannabis in 2002, and that took me away from my daughter when she was just two years old. Looking at that photo, I know that’s exactly how my family felt when I was locked up, and how so many other families still feel right now. Really, I’m inspired by this entire exhibit, because it shows how much people have put on the line for this cause, all because they know this plant saves lives.'” – David Bienenstock for Leafly
“As a dollar-driven entrepreneur, I’m always experimenting with life hacks to increase my productivity. These are the microdoses that I use to make MEGA MONEY! 11. LSD: The granddaddy of all microdoses. Dropping a few particles of the hallucinogen into my green juice every few hours jump-starts my creativity, murders my ego, and absolutely annihilates my inefficiencies!” – Sam Weiner for The New Yorker / Daily Shouts