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Trump picks new drug czar (Newsletter: Feb. 12, 2018)



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MI legalization ballot signatures under review; UT House OKs medical cannabis bill; Scotts Miracle-Gro slams legalization opponents

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President Trump named White House Deputy Chief of Staff Jim Carroll to take over the Office of National Drug Control Policy as acting director.

No one challenged Michigan marijuana legalization ballot petition signatures by a Friday deadline, meaning that the process goes to the next step of a random sampling to determine the validity rate.


The U.S. Department of Labor is preparing to issue a rule concerning drug testing of unemployment insurance applicants.

The U.S. Department of Justice’s National Institute of Justice is seeking grant applications for research on “illegal marijuana markets and drug-related violent crime.”

A report from Democratic members of the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee recommends that federal agencies “should prioritize research that could lead to a scientifically valid and legally defensible testing standard for marijuana impairment.”

Congressman Matt Gaetz (R-FL) said he will soon introduce a bill titled, “The Medical Marijuana Research Act.” He is also hosting two roundtable discussions about medical cannabis on Monday.

Congressman Tim Walz (D-MN) and Congressman Mark Takano (D-CA) are criticizing the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs for blocking medical cannabis access for military veterans.

Congresswoman Dina Titus (D-NV) tweeted, “We must stop Sessions from attacking the marijuana industry by de-scheduling & regulating like alcohol.”

The U.S. Coast Guard is warning Vermonters that marijuana remains illegal on Lake Champlain, which borders New York and Canada.

The U.S. Senate marijuana banking bill got one new cosponsor, for a total of 14.

The U.S. House marijuana banking bill got two new cosponsors, for a total of 81.

The U.S. Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control is hiring for two staff positions.

Former Congressman Bob Barr (R-GA) published an op-ed calling on the federal government to respect state marijuana laws.

New York Democratic congressional candidate Adem Bunkeddeko supports legalizing marijuana.

Texas Democratic congressional candidate Tami Walker said the federal government should respect state marijuana laws.


New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) is convening a state commission to study criminal sentencing laws.

Illinois Gov Bruce Rauner (R) wants the state to “be careful” and “slow down” its consideration of legalizing marijuana.

Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt (R), a gubernatorial candidate, defended his lack of effort to defend the state’s marijuana laws from federal interference.

The Utah House of Representatives approved a bill to give terminally ill patients a “right to try” medical cannabis, but narrowly defeated a related proposal to direct the Department of Agriculture and Food to grow marijuana for those patients.

The New Hampshire House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee approved a bill to let people apply to have prior marijuana convictions annulled.

The Vermont House Transportation Committee approved a bill to let police officers use saliva testing to detect the presence of drugs in motorists.

Rhode Island representatives are trying to extend the state’s marijuana legalization study commission’s report due date until February 2019. The report is currently due next month.

Illinois regulators are appealing a court ruling directing them to add severe pain as a medical cannabis qualifying condition.

The Massachusetts District Attorneys Association is asking regulators to hold off on approving marijuana social use areas and delivery services.

The Hawaii Senate Committee on Commerce, Consumer Protection and Health will hear several medical cannabis regulation bills on Tuesday.

Pennsylvania Auditor Eugene DePasquale (D) will debate marijuana legalization with Republican congressional candidate Joe Peters on Thursday.

Maryland delegates filed a bill to place a marijuana legalization referendum before voters.

California assemblymembers filed a bill to prevent employment discrimination against medical cannabis patients.

A New Mexico senator introduced a resolution calling on Congress to “expand the provisions of the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment to protect all medical cannabis patients participating in state medical cannabis programs, including those living on federal trust land, from the threat of harassment or prosecution by the United States department of justice.”

Washington, D.C. police are starting to crack down on the questionably legal marijuana “gifting” economy.

Iowa regulators received letters of intent from 22 prospective medical cannabis dispensary license applicants.

Colorado regulators launched a survey to learn more about why people drive under the influence of marijuana. And on Wednesday, the House Finance Committee will hear a bill to allow cannabis delivery services.


A Monmouth County, New Jersey freeholder fears that legalizing marijuana will lead to “legalizing car thefts, murders, what have you.”

The Denver, Colorado City Council’s Marijuana Committee will meet on Monday.


Malta Prime Minister Joseph Muscat spoke in favor of a medical cannabis bill before a session of Parliament.

The New York Times looks at how Australia’s restrictive medical cannabis regulations are preventing patient access.


The Pennsylvania Republican Party adopted a resolution opposing marijuana legalization.

Prohibitionist organization Smart Approaches to Marijuana donated $150,000 to the campaign to defeat Michigan’s legalization ballot measure.

The Canadian Federally Regulated Employers – Transportation and Communications, which represents companies like Air Canada, FedEx Canada and Via Rail, wants marijuana legislation to mandate drug testing for safety-sensitive industries. Landlords also want restrictions on cannabis.


A study found that “cannabis tourism experiences revolve around instrumental needs, liberation, education, and sensual pleasure” and  “guides use cannabis tourism as a political platform upon which to destigmatize the plant and its industries, contest deviance, and challenge law.”

A study of cigarillo sales found that “characteristics such as fruit flavors, single sticks, and 2-3 packs were more popular in legal marijuana regions compared to the overall U.S.”


A poll found that New York voters support legalizing marijuana, 56% – 40%.

The Los Angeles Times editorial board is endorsing San Francisco’s move toward opening safe injection facilities for illegal drug consumers.

The Boston Globe editorial board also supports safe injection facilities.

The Chicago Tribune editorial board is open to legalizing marijuana but doesn’t want the state to rush into the decision.

Breitbart News is blaming a longstanding vacancy at the U.S. Department of Justice’s National Security Division on U.S. Sen Cory Gardner’s (R-CO) marijuana nomination blockade, which only began last month.

The Press of Atlantic City editorial board wants New Jersey to expand medical cannabis even faster.


Colorado retailers sold $128.3 worth of marijuana products in December, for a 2017 total of roughly $1.5 billion.

The CEO of Scotts Miracle-Gro said that Republican opposition to legalizing marijuana is “total bullshit.”

The Summit Lounge is taking advantage of apparent loopholes in Massachusetts law that allow social marijuana use at private clubs.

Utopia All Natural Wellness Spa and Lounge has applied for a Denver, Colorado marijuana social use license.

/ CULTURE     

On NBC’s “Today Show,” Megyn Kelly interviewed a father fighting for his daughter’s right to use medical cannabis in school.

This editorial cartoon compares the Canadian government’s restrictive regulations on marijuana and relatively lax restrictions on arms sales.

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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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