Trump backs sentencing reforms for non-violent drug offenders. Even some Republicans are against McConnell’s ban on drug felons from the hemp industry. After police arrested, handcuffed, and jailed an 80-year-old woman for possessing marijuana, prosecutors dropped the charges after she renewed her medical marijuana card. Also: Doctors are suing Colorado, accusing regulators of illegally policing those that recommend medical marijuana. 🌳
Trump presents compromise on criminal justice reform. President Trump presented a prison reform bill to Republican senators that combined a prison reform bill with four sentencing reform provisions that have bipartisan support in the Senate. The prison reform bill was passed by the House in May, but has come under criticism by some criminal justice advocates for lacking sentencing reform provisions. The provisions would lower mandatory minimums for non-violent drug offenders, but would not apply retroactively. The Hill Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), who has championed sentencing reform, warned attorney general Jeff Sessions to stay out of negotiations: “With all that I have done to help Sessions, to keep the president from firing him, I think Sessions ought to stay out of it,” said Grassley. Sessions has opposed sentencing reform. The Hill Related: What will Anthony Kennedy’s retirement mean for the criminal justice system? The Appeal How drug-induced homicide laws end up putting low-level users in prison for life. Rolling Stone
How two Republicans from Kentucky became hemp advocates in Congress. U.S. rep. James Comer and senator Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) have led the fight for hemp legalization in Congress. While hemp reform has bipartisan support, not everyone is on board with McConnell’s hemp legalization language, which bans anyone with a drug felony from participating in the hemp industry. A hemp advocate says the felon ban was put in to appease Grassley, though a spokesperson for the senator says that he did not propose the measure. “To me, if hemp is a safe product that’s now been scientifically engineered to the point that it’s not ‘drugs,’ why would we be so cautious? … Having a felon ban hangs on to some of that stigma,” said U.S. rep. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.). Politico
Will New York legalize weed? While governor Andrew Cuomo announced a working group to draft marijuana legalization legislation, bills to legalize cannabis have already been introduced to the legislature. Cuomo has charged his working group to “engage” with the sponsors of those bills. “Cuomo’s penchant for replacing others’ marijuana legislation with his own aside, whether marijuana legalization would pass the state legislature depends on whether Democrats can regain a majority in the State Senate.” Here’s a look at key races that could make or break the issue during in the next legislative session. Gothamist
80-year-old arrested after medical marijuana card expired. A Michigan grandma who uses medical cannabis to treat a variety of ailments was arrested and jailed for having a small amount of marijuana in her home. The woman, Delores Saltzman, admitted to police that the marijuana was hers, but that her medical marijuana card had expired. She was handcuffed in the patrol car and said she was not read her rights. The county prosecutor’s office, which initially authorized a marijuana possession charge, dropped the charge after Saltzman renewed her medical marijuana card. Saltzman is advocating for people to vote for recreational legalization this November: “I’m hoping that we all learn a lesson from this and that we make amends, and people will get out and vote for it.” WXMI
Lack of cannabis cultivators holding up research. The DEA still has not moved forward with any applications for additional cultivators of research marijuana. “Until the DEA licenses other growers for research, we’ll continue to be stuck in limbo, not able to do what the medical community has been demanding,” said Dr. Sue Sisley, who is leading the first federally approved clinical trial on whole-plant cannabis in the U.S. The trial is set to enter Phase 3 next spring, but the FDA requires Phase 3 trials to use the same product that would be commercially available. Without additional growers, the trial won’t be able to move forward. Stripes
🚨 Shameless Affiliate Promotion 🚨
How to get medical marijuana. Looking to become a medical marijuana patient in New York or California, but don’t know where to start? Nugg MD simplifies the process through a simple online process, allowing you to order cannabis right away. Plus, they promise to never share your information with anyone, which is great because Jeff Sessions still continues to spout reefer madness. Sign up here: NuggMD
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
Lawsuit accuses Colorado of illegally policing MMJ doctors. Nine physicians filed a lawsuit that accuses the state with creating a policy that illegally polices doctors who recommend medical marijuana. A judge initially agreed with the doctors that the policy was created illegally, but an appeals court overturned that decision. The doctors allege that the creation of the policy violated open meetings laws and lacked public input. The policy was adopted in 2014 and the court battle has been hidden from the public. “No trace of the case appeared on any courthouse database where the public can track lawsuits filed in Colorado, nor on the state-recommended services that require a fee. There was no complaint to review; there were no court records available of any kind.” The Denver Post
A company claims to have invented a pot breathalyzer. A California company says its marijuana breathalyzer can accurately detect whether a person has smoked weed in the past two hours. But there’s “still no agreement on what amount or level of THC in breath, blood or saliva constitutes functional impairment.” Police in Boston and other cities are eager to test out the device, and scientists say more research is needed to determine the relationship between THC and crash risk. One major study underway at University of California San Diego is hoping to determine impairment levels and how long that impairment lasts. NPR
Today in cannabis business news… William Wrigley Jr. II, who made a fortune off of chewing gum, is getting in the marijuana industry. After orchestrating the sale of his family’s business, Wrigley led a $65 million investment in a medical cannabis startup. He is boosting his stake and is set to become chairman of Surterra Wellness, which has medical cannabis licenses in Florida and Texas. “When I understood the massive benefits, it really changed my mind about the industry,” said Wrigley, who said the company has plans to participate in the recreational marijuana market. Bloomberg Scotts Miracle-Gro CEO Jim Hagedorn is not so happy with the company’s cannabis subsidiary’s disappointing financial results. “Hawthorne’s on their own long-term plan and they’re clearly off their first year.” CNBC Cannabis was once a booming industry in this Oregon city. But overproduction, too many licenses, and plummeting pot prices are putting many entrepreneurs out of business. KVAL
Cannabis in Canada. Scientists are skeptical about a Canadian startup’s cannabis beer. The beverage reportedly has “an accelerant to make intoxicating effects hit faster like alcohol, and a decelerant to bring the effect down sooner than, say, smoking a joint.” But scientists that study how drugs interact with the body are skeptical of the company’s claims: “I can’t think of a way this would at all be possible.” Inverse Stories of those in the Canadian cannabis industry getting banned from the U.S. is having a chilling effect on the industry. Marijuana Business Daily The Canadian Medical Association says that doctors want the medical marijuana program to be phased out after recreational legalization is enacted. CBC News
Elsewhere around the world… While the U.K. is moving towards liberalizing its cannabis laws, an underground network of cannabis oil makers is providing medical marijuana to needy patients. One man, who saw how cannabis helped his cancer-stricken brother, is on a mission to make and distribute his cannabis oil for free. He could face up to 14 years in prison if charged. The Huffington Post A look at Australia’s restrictive medical marijuana program and the efforts to legalize recreational use of the drug. news.com.au The incoming head of public security for Mexico says the government will review a U.S.-supported effort to fight drug trafficking. Reuters
Word on the States
- In Maine, condo owners sue neighbor for using medical marijuana inside. Rockland’s mayor wants a moratorium on marijuana businesses.
- In Oregon, some lawmakers want to reform marijuana regulations.
- In California, San Diego is struggling to crack down on unlicensed delivery services.
- In Arizona, medical marijuana business owners are the largest donors to Glendale’s city council races.
- In New Jersey, the assembly speaker publicly endorsed marijuana legalization.
- In Alaska, regulators reversed their decision to revoke a marijuana business permit, saying they made a mistake.
- In Oklahoma, lawmakers will address gaps in medical marijuana regulations in the next session. Legalization opponents heavily outspent pro-marijuana groups and still lost.
- In Ohio, regulators award seven MMJ processing licenses.
- In Georgia, lawmakers consider improving access to medical cannabis oil.
- In Wyoming, police crack down on stores that sell CBD products.
- In Wisconsin, where Democratic gubernatorial candidates stand on marijuana legalization. Will advisory referendums influence lawmakers to legalize marijuana?
- In Minnesota, a look at where Democratic gubernatorial candidates stand on marijuana policy (and other issues).
- In Louisiana, a look at how aspiring medical marijuana businesses leveraged their relationships with lawmakers and other officials.
- In Texas, veterans are finding relief in CBD oil.
Word for Word
“[Ted Cruz’s campaign] will tell you, because I want to end the war on drugs and end the prohibition on marijuana, that I want to do some terrible things like legalize crack cocaine and give your kids heroin… Nothing could be further from the truth.” – U.S. rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas), Texas Tribune
“Actor/director Kevin Smith is hoping a new cannabis-themed TV show will appeal to all sorts of viewers, who also will have a role in whether new episodes are filmed. Although total viewership is traditionally a big part of a show’s success or failure, Smith’s new project ‘Hollyweed’ provides viewers with more active control of whether its fate.” – Joe Butler for The Spokesman-Review
“To understand the displacement and migration of people from Latin America, it is crucial to examine the damage inflicted by U.S. drug policies on these countries and recognize that the drug war has utterly failed to reduce the demand for illicit drugs coming from within the U.S.’s own borders… Americans need to reflect on the role of the U.S. drug war in fueling migration to the United States. Instead of dehumanizing immigrants and asylum seekers and further compounding the trauma they’ve experienced by locking them up and separating families, we need to get at the root causes that are leading them to migrate — including the war on drugs.” – Eunisses Hernandez and Norma Palacios for Salon