Border patrol agents sure are busting a lot of Americans for small amounts of cannabis. Prosecutors are getting behind expungement efforts. Utah could create a state-run cannabis program (and apparently the DEA is cool with it). Also: a former cannabis columnist writes about his struggles with the substance. 🌳
US citizens busted for small cannabis possession at the border. U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s mandate is to “safeguard America’s borders.” But despite a dramatic drop in marijuana smuggling at the border, CPB seems to be focusing its efforts on seizing small amounts of cannabis from U.S. citizens. CPB agents often conduct traffic stops supposedly looking for undocumented immigrants. But these checks are boosting marijuana seizures much more than immigration-related arrests. Meanwhile, data from ports of entry “suggest that its agents are confiscating cannabis from more US citizens year after year, while making fewer big busts.” What’s the line between immigration enforcement and federal drug stops? Cannabis Wire
More prosecutors are getting behind expungement. Since the beginning of 2017, at least 20 states have passed expungement laws aimed at helping those with criminal records re-enter society. Those seeking help with expunging their records are finding support in an unlikely corner: prosecutors. In Indiana, some prosecutors proved enthusiastic about a Second Chance law, working with non-profits to expunge mostly minor offenses like marijuana possession. “The key is you protect the public, and protecting the public means a whole lot of options,” said one prosecutor who was assigned to handle expungement petitions. The New York Times
Conservative lawmakers fear “de-facto legalization.” The politics of marijuana reform are changing, with even the reddest of states jumping on board with medical marijuana laws. But for conservative lawmakers who have historically been opposed to any type of marijuana reform, legalizing medical marijuana is an exercise in strict regulations out of fear of “de-facto legalization.” “Last year, I was against it. But I met with some constituents and heard, ‘hey, maybe I’m wrong,'” said the Republican sponsor of a medical cannabis bill in Kentucky. But “we’re not interested in allowing people to go and smoke marijuana just for the heck of it.” Meanwhile, opponents to legalization argue that medical marijuana programs don’t “have anything to do with cancer patients, or folks with epilepsy.” Politico
Utah could create state-run cannabis industry. The agreement between marijuana proponents and opponents could make Utah a national test case of state-run cannabis. The proposed legislation would create a “centralized state pharmacy that would package individual medical cannabis orders and ship them to a local health department for pickup by patients who qualify.” It allows for up to five private dispensaries, but rural residents would rely on their local health departments. A pharmacist who was involved in negotiating the agreement said he vetted the idea with the DEA and wasn’t concerned about the state getting involved in distributing a Schedule I substance. Meanwhile, some advocates are skeptical of a state-run model. The Salt Lake Tribune
On the rise of CBD. The CBD industry is growing fast, but neither science nor regulations are keeping up. Laws surrounding the sale of the substance are “murky at best” — “people are gonna push the envelope until they get in trouble,” said the host of the CannaBS Detector podcast. USA Today Demand for the cannabinoid is growing in Canada too, ahead of recreational legalization. An increasing number of consumers are inquiring about CBD products, according to those in the industry. Global News
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Help a Reefer Dad. Longtime cannabis activist Rick Cusick is suffering from health issues and needs a liver transplant. “The infamous donor list… may not welcome a person with my personal history. I haven’t drank alcohol in 34 years and never smoked cigarettes, but my public lifestyle might kick me down the list,” he writes on his GoFundMe campaign. Cusick has raised more than $9,600 of his $15,000 fundraising goal so far. GoFundMe
First person. A former columnist for The Cannabist pens a piece about his marijuana addiction. Neal Pollack writes that cannabis should be legal, but his addiction to the drug almost wrecked his life. “Like most pot addicts in denial, I spent years telling myself that marijuana isn’t addictive, and so I didn’t have a problem. But clearly I did.” His gig as a pot columnist gave him “lots of excuses to get up to Colorado, America’s new weed utopia.” But consuming cannabis also made him lose his temper for no reason — at one point he started a bar fight and broke someone’s tooth with a beer bottle while “high as a promotional blimp.” His story is a reminder that individuals can have varying reactions to the same substance, and that plenty of people struggle with their cannabis use, too. The New York Times
Facebook comments restored. After pro-marijuana comments were hidden from the Facebook page of the Norton Shores Police in Michigan, government officials restored the comments. The police department shared an anti-marijuana post advocating against the upcoming ballot initiative that seeks to legalize cannabis in the state, prompting several residents to leave comments disagreeing with the post. The city received several complaints about the censorship, and the city manager said that employees will receive training on social media best practices. M Live
In cannabis business news… An independent report found that Washington state and cannabis software company MJ Freeway “were forced to rush out a new cannabis seed-to-sale traceability system earlier this year despite technical problems that cost MJ businesses tens of thousands of dollars in lost sales.” Marijuana Business Daily Silicon Valley investors are shunning Juul and other nicotine products, but “were open-minded about investing in start-ups focused on cannabis.” The New York Times Denver-based Dixie Elixirs is planning on going public in Canada. Westword
Cannabis in Canada. The president of the Ontario Medical Association is walking back comments that cannabis is a “gateway drug.” Dr. Nadia Alam says she “misspoke” and apologized for the comments. “Recreational cannabis is NOT a gateway drug. I thank my colleagues for correcting me.” The Province Cannabis brands including Leafs By Snoop and Marley Natural could soon run into trouble. While current regulations allow for celebrity branding, the new legalization law will prohibit such promotions. Marijuana Business Daily Shopify is “very confident” that the first day of cannabis sales in the country, October 17, will go smoothly because “cannabis isn’t Kylie Cosmetics.” CBC News
Elsewhere around the world… Cannabis medicines will be available in the U.K. within a month. The government plans to reschedule the drug, which will allow specialist doctors to prescribe it for chronic pain, severe epilepsy, and chemotherapy-related nausea. The Telegraph 🔒 Mexico‘s defense minister said legalizing opium could help combat drug-related violence. Reuters The country’s president-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador also said he would “consider legalizing certain drugs as part of a broader strategy to fight poverty and crime.” Reuters
Word on the States
- In Massachusetts, why medical marijuana testing labs can’t test recreational pot (yet). Fall River’s mayor received $7,500 in donations from those associated with the cannabis industry.
- In Florida, a judge gave the state two weeks to start licensing MMJ businesses or risk being found in contempt of court.
- In Alaska, the state collected $1.54 million in marijuana tax revenue in August, continuing its steady climb.
- In Missouri, a look at competing medical marijuana proposals in the state.
- In Maine, the state warns of increasing numbers of kids accidentally ingesting marijuana.
- In Arizona, a look at where gubernatorial candidates stand on marijuana reform.
- In Louisiana, a medical marijuana clinic is opening in Bossier City today.
- In Oklahoma, a Tulsa dispensary is suing the city over its land-use regulations on medical marijuana facilities.
- In Connecticut, the Democratic gubernatorial candidate talks about his support for marijuana legalization.
- In New Hampshire, the state’s marijuana study commission will deliver its final report to the governor by November 1. A town is already trying to pass zoning bylaws for recreational marijuana.
- In Illinois, the governor supports medical marijuana, but remains opposed to adult-use.
- In Idaho, support for marijuana reform is divided along partisan lines.
- In Missouri, the fight for medical marijuana intensifies between three ballot initiatives.
- In Ohio, as cultivators begin harvesting, processors, labs, and dispensaries wait for approval.
- In Wisconsin, 16 counties and two cities will find marijuana initiatives on the November ballot.
- In New Jersey, a look at one town that welcomed a medical marijuana dispensary.
Word for Word
“I would like to describe for you what a real marijuana user is like. I am a middle-aged woman who attends school full time at Treasure Valley Community College. I mother two teenage girls. I have a steady, long-term partner. I enjoy hiking in the hills, camping and fishing. I am active in my community. And I use marijuana regularly… marijuana is used by more kinds of people than you might think, and it is possible to teach your kids how to have a healthy relationship with marijuana when they are old enough. Just like alcohol. Studies show that when these things are demystified, kids are less likely to feel the need to rebelliously experiment.” – Heather Cummins, Argus Observer
“When Crook to Cook: Platinum Recipes from tha Dogg’s Kitchen comes out on Oct. 23, Snoop Dogg will officially join the pantheon of experts who are here to tell us all how to live well. He’s more relatable than Gwyneth Paltrow, more laid back than his pal Martha Stewart, and less intimidating than Oprah Winfrey—but no less canny an executive than any of them. (He’s also, like all three, often referred to by just his first name.) In Snoop’s midlife—he’ll turn 47 on Oct. 20—the man who once taught us to sip on gin and juice has shifted his focus to keeping himself healthy through exercise, diet, and high-quality weed… He is now making his lifestyle into a business.” – Annaliese Griffin for Quartzy