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Police Departments In Legal And Illegal Marijuana States Play Into 4/20 With Jokes And Puns

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In legal marijuana states and those that maintain prohibition alike, police departments evidently wanted to get some giggles on the marijuana holiday 4/20.

On Monday, social media accounts for the Fort Collins Police Department in Colorado, the Bath Township Police Department in Michigan and the Wyoming Police Department in Minnesota shared posts in recognition of the annual occasion.

Cannabis is legal for recreational use in Colorado and Michigan but not Minnesota—which makes at least one of the posts a bit awkward given the criminal justice implications of ongoing prohibition for most adults.

In Fort Collins, the department shared a Tiger King-themed infographic explaining state regulations, riffing off the popular Netflix documentary series about a rivalry between two competing exotic animal companies. The visual explains rules around age requirements, personal cultivation and allowable consumption practices.

For those 21 and older, the department asked how the person reading the infographic plans to obtain cannabis.

“From that lady… Carole Baskin. I hear she’s nice,” one option reads. That response leads to a blurb stating, “File in the ‘Bad Ideas’ folder next to petting tigers.”

“We’ll be blunt – if you’re ganja partake in 4/20 activities, weed preefer if you consume responsibly,” the department said on Twitter. “Don’t get your mota running – driving while impaired is illegal. Know your limits & follow the law (helpful chart below). Share this info with your buds. Dank you & be safe!”

Another law enforcement agency that really got into marijuana puns on 4/20 is the Bath Township Police Department, which posted a notice about social distancing on the holiday rife with cannabis terminology.

“Weed not be doing our jobs if we didn’t remind you all that social distancing is still important. It’s a joint effort between all of us, from Herb to Mary Jane,” a Facebook post states. “Doobie cautious and avoid social gatherings such as pot lucks. If you’re out blazing some fall leaves or chatting with neighbors make sure to stay on your side of the grass.”

“Hash out issues with your family peacefully even if they’re acting like a little roach. Today is 4/20 which means we’re closer to being able to hang out with our buds again which will be pretty dope,” it continues. “So reefer to the guidelines until then and stay safe. “And we’re aware of the difficulties faced by everyone as they cannot get together today to celebrate Carmen Electra’s birthday.”

The Wyoming Police Department in Minnesota, where medical cannabis is legal, also played off the coronavirus pandemic for its 4/20 post. In a short segment, two officers explain that they have two tasks—getting rid of confiscated marijuana in evidence and testing face masks to prevent the spread of the virus—and they decide to tackle them at the same time.

You see where this is going…

After heading back to the evidence room, the officers return and one goes straight for the pantry and pulls out cereal and Mountain Dew. Get it? His mask didn’t work and he accidentally got high from the fumes of incinerating marijuana the department seized as part of a statewide policy of criminalizing the plant and consumers.

It’s supposed to be funny—until you think about the fact that Minnesota ranks in the top 10 states with the greatest racial disparities in cannabis enforcement, as ACLU documented in a report released on Monday.

Outside of police departments, dozens of lawmakers, brands, organizations and celebrities also participated in 4/20 with their own set of social media posts and promotions.

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Colorado Governor Tells Texas Not To Legalize Marijuana So His Own State Can Get More Tourists

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The governor of Colorado is jokingly discouraging Texas from legalizing marijuana, saying it would mean less tax revenue for his own state from cannabis tourism.

Gov. Jared Polis (D) was responding to a Marijuana Moment report on a new economic analysis that showed how Texas stands to generate billions in tax revenue and tens of thousands of jobs if it enacted the policy change.

That analysis might be true, the governor tweeted, “BUT it would reduce tourism to Colorado, so make sure to consider Colorado first in any Texas decisions.”

Polis has been known to quip about the marijuana tourism dollars his state receives from non-residents.

Shortly after he was sworn in last year, the governor said “we get a lot of extra business from people coming into our state” and so “from the economic perspective in Colorado, I’d love other states to go slowly so that we can continue to see all these benefits for Colorado.”

“For years, I’d been sort of countering this sort of dire picture of Colorado,” he said. “But again, if they think that it’s bad, it’s better for us to have less competition at this point. So I mean, if I’m looking at it as governor, I would hope they halt their efforts and send all their business here.”

That said, despite his interest in preserving cannabis tourism for Colorado, during a Reddit Ask Me Anything session in May, he jokingly entertained the idea of using hypnosis to convince Ohio’s governor to advance legalization in the state.

While he’s been quick to note the economic benefits of regulating marijuana sales, Polis has also emphasized the need for restorative justice in the industry. Earlier this month, he exercised new clemency powers to grant nearly 3,000 pardons for people convicted of low-level marijuana possession.

Meanwhile, Polis isn’t alone in touting the fact that his state sells legal marijuana to people who live in places where it is still prohibited.

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D), during his State of the State speech earlier this year, talked about how his state’s new recreational cannabis market “gives us a chance to collect tax revenue from the residents of Wisconsin, Missouri, Iowa and Indiana.”

Indeed, the state has continued to see record-breaking cannabis sales month after month, including tens of millions of dollars worth to out-of-state residents.

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Launch Of Maine’s Legal Marijuana Sales Inspires Rambling Police Department Facebook Post

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A member of a local Maine police department has some thoughts about the state’s newly launched marijuana retail system. In fact, he has a lot of thoughts—and he laid them all out in a rambling 1,400-word Facebook post on Saturday. The diatribe touches on everything from Phish festivals to drug-sniffing dogs to the medical benefits of cannabis to sweet chili Doritos.

Lt. Tim Cotton of the Bangor Police Department took over the agency’s social media page, advising people about the policy change, discussing the ban on cannabis use among law enforcement, sprinkling in a few stoner stereotypes and seemingly sympathizing with tobacco consumers who face their own restrictions. He said he’s been “inundated with incoming questions” about what’s allowed in the new retail market.

For what it’s worth, Maine voters legalized marijuana though a ballot initiative in 2016, but it took until last week to implement a commercial sales component. That’s a significant delay in bringing a retail market online compared to California, Massachusetts and Nevada, which also legalized for adult-use on the same day four years ago.

Cotton recommended that people read up on state statutes for any questions they might have, or to ask “your friendly and professional purveyor of marijuana.”

In any case, the lieutenant took the opportunity presented by incoming cannabis-related inquiries to run the gamut on marijuana policy in his post. While it might not have been especially informative on the nuances of the market rules, the comments section is filled with people thanking him for the lively dialogue.

Here are some notable excerpts from the post.

On his own eating habits.

“I already snack like a 70s stoner, and I have been known to partake in both Hostess cupcakes and sweet chili Doritos within the same half-hour period. Years of black coffee and stale doughnuts have made my stomach both larger, and cast iron. I don’t even need to chew Tums or Rolaids after a road-trip that is littered with empty bags of delightful and deep-fried tubers, Mountain Dew, and Whoppers containing self-installed banana peppers..because the King really doesn’t supply those burgers exactly ‘my way.'”

On personal use and police policy.

“This is not me complaining about the fact that cops can’t partake in recreational marijuana usage. It’s merely me advising you to avoid passing the fatty to the cop who happens to be standing between you and the next person in your ‘therapy’ group at the next Phish festival. It’s best if we don’t become involved in the ritual of passing of the happy salad to your friend, Kevin, even though he has really short arms ever since he has been lifting heavy.

“Just ask us to get out of the way so the party can continue uninterrupted by the guy with the bad moustache and the pistol.

“For the record, I don’t smoke cigarettes or medicine. As for the recreational use of marijuana, Federal statutues [sic] disallow your local, county, and state employed gendarme from partaking in dabs, doobies, and bong-hits as we— apparently—are not actually regular citizens, but merely a class of individual who should not stoned or buzzed while enforcing laws and such. I have to agree.

“For you? Smoke away my friends. Check the rules at the State of Maine website, you must be twenty-one-years-old to stop referring to weed as medicine, at least, in front of your mom and dad who you have derided for years for having a couple of Swisher Sweet stogies at the poker game. And, yes, I am talking about dear mother. She also cheats at cards. We love that woman.”

On marijuana terminology.

“One of the upsides in the new rules regarding the recreational use of Marijuana is that I no longer will have to worry about misusing the terms, caregiver, medicine, herbal therapy, and patient when I am engaged in conversations with humans who chose to partake in the ingestion of plant-based herbal calming smoke.

“No, these conversations were not work related. These were the terms that I was forced to use at family reunions and other events when my great nephew piped up and said, ‘Hey, be careful! He’s a cop. I think he’s wearing a wire.'”

On tobacco regulations.

“I have found it somewhat disconcerting that the entire world has deemed all forms of smoke ingestion to be a repulsive and filthy habit, while also telling me that filterless hand-rolled firesticks of the finest backyard-grown Mary. J. Wauna has zero negative effect on lung function. I’m no doctor, and I am not the boss of you.

“You see, the people who smoke cigarettes, pipes, cigars, and all manner of tobacco products have been literally shunned and thrown outside in cold weather, hurricanes, and winter storms for the last thirty-years.

“They are forced to walk five-hundred-feet away from the doorways of buildings. No one even supplies a burn-barrel for them to keep their hands warm. I worry about how they feel. Because they have feelings, too. No one ever lets them refer to themselves as caregivers when they pass the menthol-filtered tobacco torch to their friend who is short on cash and can’t afford to pay two hours wages so they can have their own pack of cigarettes.

“They’ve been taxed, tormented, and ridiculed for a very long time. I like to show a bit of support for the little guy with a ‘fresh pack of Luckys and a mint called Sen-Sen.’ And, I refuse to judge him for his use of Old Spice aftershave.”

On drug-sniffing dogs.

“FYI- Bangor Police Department dogs are not trained to sniff out your marijuana, that would be really dumb, because it is now legal. We saw this coming. Our dogs do sniff out lost people, evidence at crime scenes, and illegal narcotics. Don’t get all hinky and bolt across town if you see Aki, Raye, or Jessie when you are carrying some shake and a half pack of ZigZags, you’ll be tired for no reason. Relax.”

The post also features purported interjected notes from Bangor Police Department’s “legal team” that is later revealed not to even exist and was all written by Cotton himself.

For more clear directions on the legal sales system in Maine, residents might want to turn to policymakers like U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-ME), who last week shared a Portland Press Herald article about what people should know before they go to a new cannabis dispensary.

“Do your research before waiting in line,” she advised.

In nearby Vermont, things are also changing when it comes to marijuana sales. A bill to legalize cannabis commerce in the state was enacted without Gov. Phil Scott’s (R) signature last week, though it will still take up to two years to license dispensaries based on the timeline.

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Dave Chappelle’s Marijuana And Psychedelics Parties Don’t Concern Local Sheriff

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Comedian Chris Rock spilled the beans on behind-the-scenes festivities at Dave Chappelle’s recent comedy shows, telling Ellen DeGeneres that the parties have included “way more weed than anyone should ever have” as well as “a lot of mushrooms.”

“Mushrooms, like hallucinogenic mushrooms?” DeGeneres asked in an interview that aired on Thursday.

“Yeah, I was trying to be nice because your show’s on in the daytime, but we do lots of drugs,” Rock replied.

Lucky for the comics, the local sheriff thinks they’re only joking.

For the past several weeks, Chappelle has been hosting a series of socially distanced comedy shows at an outdoor pavilion in the small village of Yellow Springs, Ohio. The show, “Dave Chappelle & Friends – An Intimate Socially Distanced Affair,” has featured comics from across the country—including Rock, Michelle Wolf, Kevin Hart, Sarah Silverman, David Letterman and others—and drawn a cadre of other celebrity entertainers.

“A bunch of comedians fly in every weekend, we get COVID tested and we kinda put on a show,” Rock said, describing a buttoned-down atmosphere of friends. “It’s a bunch of us just having fun, being comics,” he explained.

Asked by DeGeneres about rumors of mushroom tea being served, Rock confirmed that certain drugs were common at the events. “Dave’s got, like, a weed–mushroom chef that prepares amazing meals with weed and mushrooms,” he said.

He emphasized that “no hard stuff,” such as cocaine, was provided.

To be clear, both marijuana and psilocybin mushrooms are illegal in Ohio, although possession of up to 100 grams of marijuana carries no jail time and a maximum penalty of $150. The limit is higher in the village of Yellow Springs, where officials last month decriminalized possession of up to 200 grams.

The state Senate voted in July to double the statewide cannabis possession decriminalization limit to 200 grams as well, but the bill has not been enacted into law. Meanwhile, four additional cities will be voting on marijuana reform ballot measures next month.

Possessing psilocybin, classified by the state as Schedule I controlled substance, is a criminal offense.

Greene County Sheriff Gene Fischer, however, doesn’t seem too worried about what’s going on at Chappelle’s events. Fischer told local media outlet WHIO that he thought Rock’s comments were probably meant in jest.

“Chris Rock’s a comedian. Chris Rock is probably looking for jokes,” the sheriff said. “People have been making jokes about marijuana and drugs for years. Hopefully that’s what he’s talking about.”

While attendees have reported the smell of marijuana at the events, Fischer added, his department has not received any drug-related complaints about the shows. “To me these are just comments right now, unless we prove otherwise,” Fischer said. “It’s not raised to the level that we would go out en masse and try to make arrests.”

Whether or not the Ohio stories were all comedy, Chappelle’s fondness for psychedelics is well documented. When he was awarded the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, Chappelle proposed to fellow comedian Aziz Ansari that they trip on psilocybin mushrooms to celebrate. Ansari accepted, dedicating the dose to Twain himself.

Earlier this summer on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, comedian Tiffany Haddish said that she drank mushroom tea at a Chapelle event despite not normally doing drugs. “I went to Dave Chappelle’s to do some comedy,” Haddish said. “I got peer pressured into drinking the tea.”

What followed was a psychedelic trip, Haddish said, in which everyone around her—including actor Jon Hamm—began to resemble actress Phylicia Rashād.

In his interview with DeGeneres, Rock claimed that drinking the shroom-infused tea is what led Haddish to shave her head. “Tiffany Haddish drank the mushroom tea and cut her hair the next day,” Rock said. “I know she likes to act like, ‘Ooh, Common told me he loved me with no hair.’ No no, it was the mushroom tea talking.”

On a podcast in 2019, Joe Rogan claimed Chapelle once rented out a movie theater for a private film screening and took mushrooms given to him by a stranger. “We have this private screening of Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, at one o’clock in the morning,” Rogan said. “Dave is eating mushrooms that some fucking guy gave him in the crowd.”

Beyond laughs, Chappelle’s openness about substance use has also made a serious impact on the drug policy reform debate. Former NAACP head and Maryland gubernatorial candidate Ben Jealous, for example, said it was Chappelle who first convinced him that marijuana should be legal.

In her interview this week with Rock, DeGeneres said she’d be wary of tripping. “I think I would be freaked out,” she said. “Everyone that goes there drinks the mushroom tea?”

“Yeah, man!” Rock said. “We’re in a cornfield in a pandemic. What have you got to lose?”

For now, the comedy celebrations are on hold. Last week, organizers canceled six remaining shows due to coronavirus concerns after what organizers described as “a possible exposure within our inner circle.”

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Photo courtesy of YouTube/Kennedy Center

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