Federal research marijuana is still being held up by Sessions. Elon Musk sparks discussion of CEOs smoking weed. A Pittsburgh attorney is mounting a long-shot attempt to decriminalize cannabis throughout Pennsylvania. Also: Manhattan’s district attorney will vacate marijuana warrants. 🌳
Research marijuana growers in limbo. More than two dozen applicants to grow research marijuana are stuck as the application process has stalled. The DEA opened up applications two years ago, but the process seems to be stymied by the Jeff Sessions-led Justice Department. Lawmakers have pressed Sessions on the issue, writing to the attorney general multiple times to no avail. Meanwhile, entrepreneurs are unable to proceed. The Wall Street Journal 🔒 A bipartisan group of House members recently sent a letter to Sessions, the latest of at least 15 letters asking him to stop holding up the licensing of additional research marijuana cultivators. “No one has been answered,” said an unnamed source. Reason
Elon Musk’s pot-smoking drama. Can CEOs be open about marijuana? While an increasing number of high-profile execs have been open about their pot use, social stigma remains. The Wall Street Journal 🔒 While it’s unlikely that Musk would lose his job over the cannabis incident, the same cannot be said of his employees. A former Tesla production worker said the video of Musk smoking cannabis was “a slap in the face” after being fired for testing positive for THC last year. Bloomberg Meanwhile, after reports that the Air Force was reviewing Musk’s security clearance, an Air Force spokesperson said that the claims are inaccurate. Reuters
An attorney’s long-shot attempt to decriminalize cannabis. Pittsburgh attorney Patrick Nightingale is appealing his client’s drug conviction for possessing and growing marijuana in his home. Nightingale argues that his client should be found not guilty because marijuana possession shouldn’t be a crime. If his appeal is successful, it would decriminalize marijuana in the state of Pennsylvania. “He knows it’s a Hail Mary strategy, but he’s excited to give it a try.” Trib Live
More marijuana reforms in NYC. Manhattan’s district attorney Cyrus Vance plans to vacate misdemeanor marijuana warrants that date back to 1978. Brooklyn’s D.A. will also vacate marijuana warrants and consider dismissing some low-level marijuana convictions. In Manhattan, 3,042 marijuana warrants will be vacated — 78 percent of which involve defendants who are black or Latino. “It will save so many of our clients from deportation, loss of student loans, loss of housing, removal of their children and other very disproportionate outcomes that make no sense,” said the executive director of Brooklyn Defender Services. The New York Times
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Feds investigating Massachusetts marijuana service. Federal prosecutors are investigating an unlicensed marijuana delivery business in the Boston area. While no charges have been filed yet, prosecutors in the office of U.S. attorney Andrew Lelling said they were pursuing money laundering, conspiracy, and drug-related charges. Other similar delivery services continue to operate openly in the state, claiming to be compliant with the law (though authorities have a different interpretation). The Boston Globe
Crackdown on unlicensed cannabis businesses in Los Angeles. Misdemeanor charges have been filed against 515 people in L.A. after police cracked down on unlicensed operations. The charges were filed in connection with 105 unlicensed businesses, including cultivation sites, extraction labs, and delivery services. Unlicensed commercial cannabis activity carries a potential sentence of six months in jail and up to $1,000 in fines. The city attorney said the law enforcement action is an attempt to help licensed cannabis businesses: “If they’re going to go through this process, it just cannot be the case that others that flout the rules are allowed to function.” The Los Angeles Times
In other cannabis business news… Cannabis farmers in Calaveras county, Calif. are suing the county after it granted temporary licenses to medical marijuana farms and then decided to ban such operations entirely. Entrepreneurs describe investing their life savings in order to meet regulatory requirements, only to have the rug pulled out from under them: “The ban annihilated our investment and an entire industry.” Vice The market is obsessed with high-potency marijuana. But the same marijuana tested by different labs could have different potency results. Anchorage Daily News Becoming a marijuana entrepreneur isn’t as lucrative as it seems. Detroit Free Press
Canada’s military release marijuana rules. The Canadian military unveiled new rules governing marijuana rules ahead of recreational legalization in the country. The new policy takes effect in October and prohibits troops from consuming cannabis eight hours before any duty, 24 hours before operating weapons or vehicles, and 28 days before certain activities like high-altitude parachuting or serving on military aircraft. Reuters
Elsewhere around the world… The Swiss government says it wants to liberalize medical marijuana laws and do more research into the drug. While medical marijuana growers are currently hampered by the country’s small market, they hope to be able to export to other countries. BBC Scottish lawmakers will hear arguments for medical marijuana. The National A Nigerian presidential candidate touted the country’s marijuana quality and said he would seek to export the drug if elected. Africa News
Word on the States
- In Massachusetts, some retailers could receive final regulatory approval this month. The health department is concerned that a medical marijuana business poses a threat to public safety due to pesticides.
- In Maine, the Maine Cannabis Connection returns for its fourth year. Portland is grappling with commercial cannabis rules.
- In Oregon, security companies see growth in cannabis opportunities. Legal cannabis remains divisive in Deschutes County.
- In Colorado, former regulators urge the state to reform its cannabis laws.
- In California, Burlingame banned commercial cannabis. Santa Barbara is hopeful for cannabis tax revenue.
- In Ohio, restrictive regulations are hampering the state’s medical marijuana program.
- In Utah, an anti-marijuana group defends its radio ad after it was criticized for being misleading.
- In Kentucky, lawmakers listened to an epilepsy patient’s case for legalizing medical marijuana.
- In North Dakota, the medical marijuana law shields information about businesses from the public.
Word for Word
“Decriminalization is not a silver bullet. If you decriminalize and do nothing else, things will get worse. The most important part was making treatment available to everybody who needed it for free. This was our first goal… Our approach is based on respect. It’s incremental. Our system works by asking citizens what he can give at that given moment.” – Portugal’s director-general of drug policy João Goulão, The Province