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Medical cannabis laws don’t increase crime, study finds (Newsletter: August 24, 2018)



Poll: CT voters back legalization; AK regulators release proposed social use rules; NJ AG wil let prosecutors drop marijuana cases

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A study found that state medical marijuana laws generally have no effect on crime rates, while there was a roughly 20% reduction in property and violent crime in California following medical cannabis legalization.

A poll showed that Connecticut voters support legalizing marijuana, 59%-36%.

Alaska regulators released draft rules allowing marijuana dispensaries to apply to open social use areas where people could consume cannabis together.


President Trump told U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions in a meeting that he favors the death penalty for people who sell fentanyl in cases resulting in overdose deaths. They also spoke about criminal justice reform legislation that is expected to be considered in Congress after the midterm elections.

Here’s a look at how a federal RICO case against a Colorado marijuana business threatens the industry.

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) spoke about his work to legalize hemp at a Kentucky Farm Bureau event.

Congressman Ted Deutch (D-FL) tweeted, “Treating [Florida agriculture commissioner candidate] Nikki Fried’s campaign as a marijuana business because she expresses support for legalization of medical marijuana is an extraordinary overreach. A candidate’s campaign committee is not a marijuana business and shouldn’t be shut out of banking.”

Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) tweeted, “Wells Fargo is at it again. The bank that’s cheated thousands of its customers is now undercutting the will of more than 70% of Florida voters. This is absolutely absurd. Marijuana prohibition will end. Stories like these are why we’re fighting.”

Several members of Congress spoke about marijuana-related employment issues:

  • Congressman Gerry Connolly (D-VA): “We’ve passed the point of absurdity with respect to disqualifying people from federal service because they’ve tried marijuana. I think that’s a policy that ought to be discarded… Starting, frankly, with my generation, marijuana became fairly commonly used — to disqualify generation of Americans from security clearances or federal employment because they indulged makes no sense at all. Moving forward, that policy needs to be changed.”
  • U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL): “Marijuana is a controlled substance and we ought to either repeal that or enforce the law.”
  • U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA): “You could argue that if it’s been prescribed to you legitimately, not allowing you to do it could be some sort of a discrimination based on medical condition, which could violate other laws.”

Congressman Rob Bishop (R-UT), Congressman Chris Stewart (R-UT) and Republican U.S. Senate candidate Mitt Romney signed a statement opposing Utah’s medical cannabis ballot measure.

An entity named “Task Force on Marijuana Laws” is on the client list for former Clinton administration Deputy White House Counsel Vince Foster that was included as part of government documents released about Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.


Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin (R) reiterated a pledge to sign medical cannabis legislation if it reaches his desk.

New Jersey’s attorney general does not plan to extend a moratorium on marijuana prosecutions when it expires next month and will instead issue a memo telling prosecutors that they can use their own discretion not to pursue cannabis cases.

The California Assembly defeated a bill to allow medical cannabis administration at schools. And the Senate approved legislation concerning the transportation of legal marijuana. Separately, former Lt. Gov. Abel Maldonado (R) was cleared of false accusations of growing marijuana on his ranch and has instead been determined to have been cultivating industrial hemp.

Massachusetts regulators approved  the first recreational marijuana testing labs and rejected a motion to review municipal agreements that some see as requiring excessive payments from cannabis businesses that effectively shut out smaller players. Separately, Republican attorney general candidate Jay McMahon said he would not defend state-legal marijuana businesses against federal action and would pursue “extreme prosecution” in drug cases. Also, Thursday’s newsletter contained a broken link to regulators’ guidance to municipalities on how to ensure participation in the marijuana industry by communities impacted by the drug war, because they changed the URL after first publishing the document. It is now hosted here.

Utah medical cannabis opponents held a press conference that included representatives of the Mormon Church.

The former Oklahoma Health Department lawyer who resigned after admitting she sent fake threats to herself over restrictive medical cannabis regulations was arraigned in court. Separately, applications for medical marijuana licenses start on Saturday.

Here’s a look at Hawaii’s medical cannabis reciprocity provisions for out-of-state patients that will go into effect next year.


Jersey City, New Jersey’s mayor cheered, and took credit for, the state attorney general’s move to let local prosecutors decline to bring marijuana cases.

Lauderdale County and Colbert County, Alabama officials are sending cease and desist letters to retailers selling CBD oil.


The Mexican Supreme Court refused to rule marijuana criminalization unconstitutional. In a separate ruling, the court upheld Mexico City’s medical cannabis policy.

Australia’s medical cannabis patient count is increasing.

Here’s a look at drug decriminalization laws around the world.


Utah House Democrats issued a statement saying they support citizens’ right to vote on a medical cannabis ballot measure.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints sent an email blast to its members urging them to oppose Utah’s medical marijuana ballot measure.


A study of patients undergoing outpatient orthopaedic surgery found that “marijuana use was associated with less pain and better lower extremity activity rating scale scores when compared to non-users.”

The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia is recruiting participants for a study on medical cannabis’s impact on autism.


The Tulsa World editorial board is skeptical of a proposal to let Oklahoma podiatrists, chiropractors, dentists and optometrists issue medical cannabis recommendations.


ASTM International is considering adopting a standard on “hazard analysis critical control points” systems for cannabis processing.

Alcohol firm Diageo Plc is actively holding meetings with Canadian marijuana companies in search of a deal.

High Times Holding Corp. reversed its announcement that it would take cryptocurrency payments for its initial public offering.

Charlotte’s Web Holdings Inc. increased its Canadian initial public offering 52 percent to C$100.1 million.

Bloomberg looks at how many insurance companies are staying away from marijuana businesses.

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Tom Angell is the editor of Marijuana Moment. A 20-year veteran in the cannabis law reform movement, he covers the policy and politics of marijuana. Separately, he founded the nonprofit Marijuana Majority. Previously he reported for and MassRoots, and handled media relations and campaigns for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition and Students for Sensible Drug Policy.


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