A look at the efforts to expunge cannabis convictions. How legalization in the U.S. hurts drug cartels. A California judge struck down local limits on cannabis cultivation. Also: A mom writes about how she used to judge other parents who used cannabis… until she tried it herself. 🌳
Expunging cannabis convictions. As legalization spreads around the country — marijuana arrests have actually increased. And while cannabis convictions don’t usually result in lengthy prison sentences, they do hamper the prospects of those seeking jobs. housing, and education. Thanks to the help of expungement clinics and non-profit groups, those with drug offenses on their records are getting much-needed legal help to navigate the often-confusing expungement process. The Guardian
Marijuana and the midterms. Four states will vote on reforming their marijuana laws on Tuesday. Polls show a strong likelihood of them passing. The Guardian The former White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci predicts that president Trump will legalize weed after the midterms. Marijuana Moment Leafly asked White Castle why it’s opposing a ballot measure that would reduce marijuana penalties. “It isn’t related to cannabis… It’s about the opioid crisis.” But even so, “is continued criminalization the right way to curb overdose deaths? Increasingly, drug policy experts say no.” Leafly
Legalize weed, fight the cartels. Data show that state-level legalization efforts in the U.S. are hurting Mexican drug cartels. The U.S.-Mexico border has seen a steady decline in the number of marijuana seizures starting in 2014 — the year when the first state-legal cannabis markets launched. “These days, Mexican growers and dealers are even facing competition from American legal weed in their own backyard: some discerning consumers are ditching locally-grown varieties in favor of those cultivated in the US and smuggled into Mexico.” Quartz
California judge strikes down local restrictions on home grow. In a case where city- and state-cannabis laws clashed, a judge ruled against a local ordinance that restricted person cannabis cultivation. A medical marijuana patient, with help from the ACLU and DPA, challenged Fontana’s cannabis ordinance, which required onerous fees and excluded many from applying for a home-grow permit. While Fontana tried to argue that federal law preempted state law, the judge “adhered to California state law, which stipulates that though cities and counties can regulate personal indoor cultivation, it cannot completely prohibit it.” Cannabis Wire
In criminal justice reform news… Kentucky bans those convicted of felony offenses from voting for life. Here’s a look inside the effort to change that. The New York Times People being held in jail who are awaiting trial or serving time for misdemeanors are “still eligible to vote, but confusion, fear, and a long list of logistical complications often stand in their way.” The Atlantic Florida voters will weigh in on felony enfranchisement on Tuesday. Pastor Kenneth Glasgow, a pioneer in the movement, could face prison himself. New York Related: Rachael Rollins would be the first woman of color to serve as Boston’s D.A. if she’s elected. She vows to tackle racial disparities in sentencing. Mother Jones
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‘I used to judge parents who used weed. Then I tried it.’ A woman who once thought drugs were bad and dangerous (as were their consumers) tries a new way to unwind: cannabis mints. She finds that “for the first time in about six years, I wasn’t feeling stressed or preoccupied by the familiar pull of my Type-A brain — the one that never shuts off.” While her buzz lasted much longer than she expected, she was “enthralled.” “The Lost Saturday ended with dinner as usual, followed by an unplanned nap for me on the sofa. I woke up feeling relaxed and hangover-free.” The Washington Post
Today in cannabis business news… The Bank of Montreal predicts the global cannabis market could reach $194 billion — but only if the U.S. and all E.U. countries legalize it. Financial Post Despite Wall Street interest in the cannabis sector, banks are still too wary to give out loans to those in the industry. Reuters A cannabis company hires the former creative director of Nike after realizing that “design has a major role to play in the very near future of cannabis consumption.” Fast Company
Canadian cannabis businesses have ties to organize crime. An investigation from Radio Canada found that licensed cannabis producers that are federally regulated in Canada have ties to organized crime. Those ties include investors who have business dealings with prominent crime families and a cannabis business owner who sold his company to a large industry player, despite his connections to drug traffickers. CBC News Federal ministers are now on the defensive about the legalization law. Meanwhile, a law enforcement official said that while they conduct background checks on those applying for cannabis licenses, “the RCMP cannot afford to employ deep surveillance techniques on every producer.” CBC News
Cannabis in Canada. Olympic gold medalist Ross Rebagliati, who briefly had his medal stripped after testing positive for cannabis — never fully recovered from the controversy. “Cannabis back then was seen as being for losers and lazy stoners.” Now, he’s launched a cannabis brand and hopes that legalization “will bring him closure, business opportunity and, perhaps most importantly, vindication.” The New York Times Medical marijuana patients are getting hit with product shortages. Patients suspect that licensed producers are prioritizing shipments to the recreational market. CBC News The Ontario Cannabis Store is facing more criticism — this time over mislabeled product. CBC News
Elsewhere around the world. A study found that 76 percent of U.K. residents would be open to using medical cannabis if prescribed by a doctor. While millions are interested in the drug, legal access will only be available to a small sliver of patients. Vice Even the poster child for medical cannabis, Billy Caldwell, is fighting to access the medicine he uses to keep his epileptic seizures at bay. The Times Andrés Manuel López Obrador, Mexico‘s president-elect, affirmed the Supreme Court rulings in favor of recreational marijuana use. latinousa.org His party is working on repealing criminal statutes against cannabis and plans to draft legislation to regulate adult-use marijuana. Marijuana Moment
Word on the States
- In Colorado, regulators gathered in Denver to learn about implementing cannabis laws. A state report found that legalizing marijuana did not contribute to an increase in crime.
- In Oregon, the medical marijuana program is declining as patients and growers leave.
- In Pennsylvania, a state-appointed attorney found “significant errors” in the MMJ permit-scoring process.
- In Alaska, a report finds that criminal justice reforms are working.
- In Nevada, the hospitality industry has mixed feelings about the prospect of marijuana lounges.
- In Washington, a leading dispensary launches random product testing.
- In Massachusetts, regulators will hold off on revising the medical marijuana program until early next year, drawing criticism from patient advocates.
- In Iowa, the medical marijuana board rejected an effort to raise the 3 percent THC cap.
- In New York, the governor predicted that legalization would be a close call in the legislature. Regulators look for edibles products that might appeal to children.
- In Utah, lawmakers are trying to plan a special session on medical marijuana.
- In Tennessee, where candidates stand on medical marijuana.
- In Maine, the state gives potential marijuana consultants an extra week to apply. A lobster festival apologized to a pageant winner who was stripped of her title for past cannabis use.
- In Arizona, residents are concerned about a marijuana growing facility in Tucson.
- In South Carolina, a look at the state’s growing industrial hemp program.
- In Oklahoma, hemp farmers look to wild hemp for genetics. The first hemp harvest comes to the state. A Tulsa County D.A. hopeful vows not to prosecute marijuana possession if elected.
- In North Dakota, a look at the fight over the marijuana legalization initiative.
- In Minnesota, candidates for state office weigh in on marijuana reform.
Word for Word
“Marijuana is helping people across the country… As a congressman, I learned that government works best when it listens to its constituents. Representatives must use what the people tell them to question constantly which policies are serving the greater good. It’s past time for government to rethink how it approaches cannabis.” – Former U.S. House Speaker John Boehner for The Wall Street Journal
“Political opponents also claim that [overdose prevention] sites are a magnet for illegal drug use and crime. Yet a person suffering from painful drug withdrawals does not need ‘encouragement’ to use drugs. Vancouver’s overdose prevention sites have not increased neighborhood crime or the volume of drug users, according the city’s law enforcement and health professionals.” – Former federal prosecutor Miriam Aroni Krinsky and King’s County prosecuting attorney Dan Satterberg for USA Today