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Did Trump make a pro-legalization argument in gun debate? (Newsletter: March 1, 2018)

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American Legion presses Congress on medical cannabis; DE task force report fails; UT ballot signatures

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

In a meeting about gun policy, President Trump appeared to make an argument often used by drug legalization activists: “The problem is you have a real black market… They sell a gun and the buyer doesn’t care… And you have that problem with drugs. You make the drugs illegal and they come.”

The American Legion, which represents 2.4 million military veterans, pushed lawmakers to reschedule marijuana during a joint hearing of House and Senate committees.

/ FEDERAL

President Trump has reportedly stated his support for executing drug sellers to members of Congress and foreign leaders.

A bipartisan group of congressional leaders is asking the inspectors general of the Departments of Justice and State to investigate the Drug Enforcement Administration’s role in operations that triggered violent attacks by Mexican drug cartels.

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Office of National Drug Control Policy Acting Director Jim Carroll, First Lady Melania Trump and other administration officials will speak at  White House summit on opioids on Thursday.

U.S. Sen, Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) tweeted, “Big pharma keeps pushing back against legalizing medical marijuana because, in many cases, they want to continue to sell addictive drugs and dominate the market for drugs that address chronic pain.”

The Congressional Black Caucus criticized Sessions’s drug enforcement policies.

Congressman Ro Khanna (D-CA) tweeted, “Outdated regulations prevent legal marijuana businesses from accessing financial services. This self-defeating policy makes it harder to tax revenue and risks public safety.”

Former Office of National Drug Control Policy spokesman Robert Weiner is criticizing Democrats for supporting marijuana legalization.

The U.S. House bill to deschedule marijuana got one new cosponsor, for a total of 33.

/ STATES

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner (R) said he would veto a marijuana legalization bill if passed by the legislature.

Delaware’s marijuana legalization task force failed to find enough votes to approve its draft report.

The Georgia House of Representatives voted 145-17 to approve a bill to add PTSD and intractable pain as qualifying conditions for the state’s limited CBD medical cannabis law.

Idaho’s House of Representatives voted 59-11 to approve a CBD medical cannabis bill. Gov. Butch Otter (R), who vetoed similar legislation before, indicated he might do so again.

The West Virginia House of Representatives passed a bill to raise caps on medical cannabis licenses and allow for vertical integration.

The Colorado House Finance Committee approved a bill to allow out-of-state investments in the marijuana industry.

The New Hampshire House Judiciary Committee approved a bill to mandate state officials refuse requests for information on medical cannabis program participants unless accompanied by a warrant.

Massachusetts regulators agreed to place a cap on marijuana cultivation and made other decisions on legalization implementation.

Utah activists have collected more than 150,000 signatures to qualify a medical cannabis ballot measure.

The Florida Supreme Court disbarred an attorney who helped to sell false medical cannabis certificates.

Alaska representatives filed a bill to create a state-run bank that would be allowed to serve the marijuana industry.

Georgia representatives introduced a resolution calling on Congress to reschedule marijuana or otherwise remove roadblocks to cannabis research.

North Dakota regulators are accepting applications for medical cannabis testing lab licenses.

Tennessee police are dismissing charges against stores recently raided for selling CBD products.

Washington State regulators extended the period through which they are accepting contingency reporting from marijuana licensees due to problems with the state’s electronic tracking system.

A Louisiana representative (jokingly?) said the state should legalize marijuana and fund transportation: “We’d call it a pothole tax. It makes sense.”

/ LOCAL

The Los Angeles, California City Council approved a resolution supporting a state-run bank to serve the marijuana industry.

The East Baton Rouge, Louisiana Metro Council approved a proposal to remove the threat of jail time for low-level marijuana possession.

The Easton, Pennsylvania City Council voted 4-3 to reject a proposed marijuana decriminalization ordinance.

The police chief of Lumberton, Mississippi was suspend with pay after a video surfaced appearing to show him smoking marijuana.

The Savannah, Georgia City Council will consider a marijuana decriminalization proposal on Thursday.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Russia will allow foreigners attending the World Cup to bring medical cannabis and other drugs with them, as long as they have proper documentation.

The UK government said a six-year-old boy whose family wants him to have legal medical cannabis could access it through clinical trials.

Jamaican medical cannabis harvests began.

/ ADVOCACY

Activists led by StoptheDrugWar.org held a demonstration outside the Philippine embassy in Washington, D.C. to protest the country’s bloody “war on drugs.”

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

Questions are being raised about the methodology of an analysis that suggested pedestrian fatalities rose in some states that legalized marijuana compared to states that did not. Namely, the analysis put California into the latter group instead of the former one, likely skewing the results.

A survey conducted by Michigan regulators found that more than 60 percent of patients said they benefited greatly from using medical cannabis.

/ BUSINESS

The owners of Marijuana Business Daily reportedly reached an undisclosed settlement with the site’s former president and publisher.

Former Overstock.com president Stormy Simon spoke about her support for marijuana law reform.

/ CULTURE     

A basketball coach at Texas Wesleyan University sent an email telling a high school student from Colorado that he doesn’t recruit students from that state because they “have had trouble passing our drug test.”

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Tom Angell is the editor of Marijuana Moment. A 15-year veteran in the cannabis law reform movement, he covers the policy and politics of marijuana. Separately, he serves as chairman of the nonprofit Marijuana Majority. Previously he reported for Marijuana.com and MassRoots, and handled media relations and campaigns for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition and Students for Sensible Drug Policy. (Organization citations are for identification only and do not constitute an endorsement or partnership.)

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