Two more state parties back legal cannabis (Newsletter: June 25, 2018)
Comey weighs in on legalization; Ireland considers legal marijuana; MA AG approves long moratoriums
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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW
The New Hampshire and Texas Democratic parties adopted marijuana legalization platform planks at conventions over the weekend.
Former FBI Director James Comey said it is “worth experimenting with relaxation” of cannabis laws, but also that “smoked marijuana is not medicine.”
U.S. Department of Justice officials are complaining that immigration enforcement is taking resources away from drug cases.
Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ) did a Facebook chat about her resolution calling on Congress to apologize for the war on drugs.
U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) said he doesn’t think the U.S. will legalize marijuana “in my lifetime.” (Grassley is 84 years old.)
U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) tweeted, “Congratulations to Canada on moving forward with the legalization of marijuana. As the world moves forward, we can’t afford to keep making the same mistakes of the past — it’s time to legalize marijuana at the federal level.” She also tweeted, “Too many lives have been ruined because of the War on Drugs. Federal marijuana legalization and restorative justice are about stopping our country from repeating the same mistakes of the past.”
U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) spoke in support of legalizing marijuana at a press conference:
- “Just one minor possession conviction could take away a lifetime of opportunities for jobs, education, and housing, tear families apart, and make people more vulnerable to serving time in jail or prison down the road. The reality that my 14-year-old son would likely be treated very differently from one of his Black or Latino peers if he was caught with marijuana is shameful. Legalizing marijuana is a social justice issue and a moral issue that Congress needs to address to help fix decades of injustice caused by our nation’s failed drug policies.”
U.S. Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) tweeted, “NV voters made it clear they favor regulation & taxation of marijuana in our state. The federal gov’t must respect the rights of states who choose to legalize & regulate marijuana.”
U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) spoke about her marijuana legislation in a radio interview.
Congressman Ro Khanna (D-CA) tweeted, “It’s telling that we put people in jail for smoking marijuana and detain immigrant families for crossing the border but not one banker has been held accountable for destroying millions of lives and causing the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.” He also tweeted, “Canada has just become the second country to legalize marijuana and a report from one of the largest Canadian banks estimates that marijuana sales will outpace liquor sales by 2020. Legalizing marijuana is good for jobs and the economy.”
Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA) tweeted, “The RESPECT Resolution is the first bill in Congress focused on building equity in the cannabis industry. There is systemic exclusion and discrimination at play, and it’s time we address it.”
Former Congressman Patrick Kennedy (D-RI) appeared on Fox News to advocate for marijuana prohibition.
The U.S. Senate bill to encourage the Department of Veterans Affairs to study medical cannabis got one new cosponsor, for a total of two.
The U.S. House bill to deschedule marijuana got two new cosponsors, for a total of 37.
The U.S. House industrial hemp bill got six new cosponsors, for a total of 12.
The U.S. House bill to require the licensing of more marijuana cultivators for research got one new cosponsor, for a total of 37.
The Massachusetts attorney general’s office approved a lengthy municipal marijuana moratorium that advocates see as a de facto ban in violation of a provision of the statewide legalization ballot initiative requiring that such moves be approved by voters in some cases.
Washington State Gov. Jay Inslee (D), in a speech in Iowa, claimed that his state has “the best regulated legal medical marijuana market in the United States.”
Pennsylvania lawmakers sent legislation to allow a medical cannabis research program to the desk of Gov. Tom Wolf (D), who says he will sign it.
Oklahoma gubernatorial candidates weighed in on the state’s medical cannabis ballot initiative. Separately, advocates sent out a mailer criticizing U.S. Sen. James Lankford’s (R-OK) opposition to the measure. And the Associated Press looks at conservative support for medical marijuana.
Kansas Republican gubernatorial candidate Jim Barnett said the state should allow medical cannabis and industrial hemp.
Here’s a look at where marijuana legalization efforts stand in New Jersey.
Nevada lawmakers approved additional funding for regulators to hire more staff to process cannabis industry background checks.
Maine lawmakers are considering legislation to give municipalities more control over medical cannabis caregivers.
The Arkansas Ethics Commission dismissed a complaint against a medical cannabis regulator.
The Associated Press looks at moves to expunge marijuana convictions in states with legalization.
The Los Angeles, California City Council president wants to place a measure on the November ballot that would create a municipally chartered bank to serve the marijuana industry.
Sacramento County, California’s district attorney has been moving to dismiss old marijuana convictions.
Ireland’s prime minister said his government is considering legalizing marijuana.
Grenada’s prime minister said the country should look at legalizing marijuana.
The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime criticized Canada’s move to legalize marijuana.
Russia is agitating for global condemnation against Canada’s legalization of cannabis.
Canada’s public safety minister said the government will consider pardons for people with marijuana convictions after legalization takes effect. For now, the government released updated guidance about traveling with marijuana.
The police chief in Durham, UK called for cannabis legalization. Separately, police in London were rushed to the hospital after reportedly being overcome by the smell of seized marijuana.
Some Mexican poppy farmers are turning back to growing marijuana as a result of dropping prices for opium.
The Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police is opposing industrial hemp legislation.
The former executive director of the South Carolina Sheriffs’ Association sent an open letter urging current sheriffs to support medical cannabis.
The Oklahoma Oil & Gas Association is opposing the state’s medical cannabis ballot measure.
/ SCIENCE & HEALTH
An analysis concluded that “Colorado, Washington, Oregon, and Alaska all had a significant increase in marijuana use” following legalization but that “these states did not experience similar trends for more addictive substances like alcohol, tobacco, cocaine, and heroin” and that “education and unemployment have stayed the same or improved .”
A study concluded that the “substantial reduction in opioid-related mortality associated with the implementation of medical cannabis laws can be explained by selection bias” because “states that legalized medical cannabis exhibit lower pre-existing mortality trends.”
A study found that CBD products “were mislabeled with 26% containing less CBD than labeled and 43% containing more, indicating a high degree of variability and poor standardization.”
/ OPINION & ANALYSIS
A Boston Globe op-ed looks at the history of alcohol prohibition proponents’ post-loss strategies for clues about what marijuana legalization opponents might do with their lives moving forward.
Molson Coors Brewing Co. is reportedly in talks with several marijuana companies about potential investment and collaboration.
Treatwell cofounder Alison Ettel is at the center of an online backlash after apparently calling the police on an eight-year-old girl who was selling water outside her office. Several dispensaries have announced they will stop carrying the company’s products.
The Los Angeles Times looks at how California hotels are trying to appeal to cannabis consumers.
Comedian Seth Rogen is excited about his native Canada’s legalization of marijuana. He also said that U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions “probably believes his own bullshit. If he doesn’t believe it, he’s just fucking saying it because he’s like a crusty old white dude that wants to uphold the war on drugs, probably because he’s racist.”
The Late Show With Stephen Colbert had a little fun with Canada’s new cannabis law.
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Photo courtesy of Chris Wallis // Side Pocket Images.