A federal prosecutor in West Virginia is sponsoring a “marijuana symposium” on Wednesday to talk about the impact of adult-use legalization in Colorado.
Looking forward to invite-only marijuana symposium next week. Facts not propaganda. Facts about Colorado. Facts about ecology & environment. Facts about health. Facts about black market. FACTS!Public deserves facts & policy makers, media, law enforcement should know the facts.
— US Attorney Mike Stuart (@USAttyStuart) December 5, 2018
But don’t expect a ringing endorsement from U.S. Attorney Mike Stuart’s office. The official is decidedly opposed to legalization and has regularly taken to Twitter to express his disdain for cannabis.
Have visited many treatment facilities. Every single treatment professional – EVERY SINGLE ONE- has told me “Marijuana is a gateway drug.” My office is preparing to enforce laws against marijuana aggressively – AGGRESSIVELY.
— US Attorney Mike Stuart (@USAttyStuart) March 9, 2018
In Denver meeting w/ marijuana experts. Powerful meetings. Adverse ecological/environmental impact clear. In utero pot exposure- baby/child impact clear. Early pot use predicts higher injection drug use. As marijuana use goes up in CO, alcohol use goes up. Edibles of every sort. pic.twitter.com/z96u6kLpCw
— US Attorney Mike Stuart (@USAttyStuart) September 19, 2018
I receive LOTS of letters from good folks. This one reminds us “why” we do what we do. She said, in part,“Lost my two children to addiction. Marijuana was their gateway & their relapse drug. POWERFUL. Thank you for sharing. My prayers to you & all others who share the same pain. pic.twitter.com/fLDxywvxt4
— US Attorney Mike Stuart (@USAttyStuart) August 17, 2018
In August, Stuart said “aggressive efforts” will be taken in his district “to enforce federal laws for hemp, marijuana and CBD edibles/oils.” He’s made good on that promise, too, taking the issue to court.
New aggressive efforts beginning in SDWV to enforce federal laws for hemp, marijuana and CBD edibles/oils. Grow, cultivate & sell at your own risk. Marijuana, hemp & CBD (except in certain limited instances) remain ILLEGAL. I don’t make laws but do fully enforce them.
— US Attorney Mike Stuart (@USAttyStuart) August 4, 2018
This week’s symposium promises invited policymakers “[v]aluable information” on the “impact marijuana legalization has had on communities,” featuring guest speakers such as Kevin Sabet, president of the prohibitionist group Smart Approaches to Marijuana, and Mourad Gabriel, who has specialized in research assessing the environmental consequences of illicit grow operations.
The only information I’ve been able to discover so far is what was included in the invite: pic.twitter.com/jZ997c5CHC
— Dave Mistich (@davemistich) December 8, 2018
Marijuana Moment reached out to Stuart’s office for additional information about what will be discussed at the symposium, but a representative was not immediately available.
The West Virginia legislature approved a medical cannabis bill last year, but concerns about banking access—in addition to Stuart’s hostility to the industry—has delayed implementation.
“You know we’re not trying to reinvent the wheel here in West Virginia,” Rusty Williams, who is on the West Virginia Medical Cannabis Advisory Board, told WOWK 13 in September. “California has had medical cannabis since 1996, with great success. There are 29 other states that are doing this currently and to me there is no reason why West Virginia can’t figure this out.”
For the record, since Stuart’s event will apparently focus on Colorado’s experience with legalization, the state released a report in October that determined intoxicated driving cases dropped 15 percent from 2014 to 2017 and adolescent cannabis use for the 2014-15 school year was at “the lowest it’s been since 2007-08,” among other findings.