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Watch: 80-Year Old Michigan Marijuana Patient Recounts Possession Arrest In New Documentary

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Since being busted for possession at her home this year, 80-year-old Michigan medical marijuana patient Delores Saltzman has become a cannabis hero and a rallying point for the legalization campaign in her state. And now, she’s the subject of a short documentary film.

For “Mrs. Saltzman Goes to Jail: The True Story of a Michigan Outlaw,” Emmy-nominated filmmaker Rebecca Richman Cohen pays a visit to Saltzman at her home in Lake George, a small resort town, and takes viewers through the senior citizen’s brief ordeal with local police in June.

While Saltzman doesn’t fit the profile of a typical marijuana arrest—she is white, she is a woman and she is an octogenarian—the story of her bust over a non-violent possession offense is “not unlike a whole lot of other stories,” and it has turned her into an avowed supporter for Proposal 1, which would legalize recreational marijuana in Michigan and end petty busts like hers.

Saltzman uses cannabis to deal with the pain that arthritis causes “throughout” her body. On June 3, she was “relaxing and having a joint” at her home when a sheriff’s deputy knocked on the door.

The deputy smelled cannabis and asked Saltzman if it was hers. When she answered in the affirmative—and it was determined that her medical marijuana recommendation from the state had lapsed—she was handcuffed and taken to jail.

Sleeping overnight in a cold cement-floored cell aggravated her arthritis, and it took Saltzmann “two months to get over the cold.”

“Just because someone’s wrong doesn’t mean you have to torture them,” she says on camera. “That’s torture.”

Cohen also managed to get Sheriff John Wilson to sit for an on-camera interview. Wilson, for his part, was adamant in maintaining that his officer “did nothing wrong.”

“I mean, morally in this country, we don’t want to put this old lady in jail,” Wilson says. “But if the officer doesn’t enforce the law with her and the 25-year-old gets in trouble for it—that’s not good fairness across the board.”

In Michigan, black people are 3.3 times more likely to be arrested than white people for marijuana possession offenses, according to an ACLU review.

According to a poll released before Saltzman became marijuana-famous, forty-eight percent of Michigan voters said they favored full legalization. Support has only grown since then, with 55 percent of voters telling pollsters in September that they want full legalization.

Michigan Cops Lock Up 80-Year Old Grandmother For Expired Medical Marijuana Card

Marijuana Moment is made possible with support from readers. If you rely on our cannabis advocacy journalism to stay informed, please consider a monthly Patreon pledge.

Chris Roberts is a reporter and writer based in San Francisco. He has covered the cannabis industry since 2009, with bylines in the Guardian, Deadspin, Leafly News, The Observer, The Verge, Curbed, Cannabis Now, SF Weekly and others.

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Lots Of Politicians And Companies Are Tweeting About Marijuana On 4/20

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It’s 4/20 again, and that means another slew of tweets from politicians and mainstream brands looking to use the marijuana holiday as a hook to get their message out.

Here’s a roundup of some of the best, funniest, most important or otherwise notable cannabis-related tweets of the day…

Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), a presidential candidate:

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), a presidential candidate:

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), a presidential candidate:

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), a presidential candidate:

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), a presidential candidate:

Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA), a presidential candidate:

Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX), a presidential candidate:

Former Sen. Mike Gravel (D-AK), a presidential candidate:

Washington State Gov. Jay Inslee (D), a presidential candidate:

Former San Antonio, Texas Mayor Julián Castro (D), a presidential candidate:

Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang:

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY):

House Committee on Small Business:

Congressional Black Caucus:

Sen. Jacky Rosen (D-NV):

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR):

Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN):

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA):

Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA):

Rep. Charlie Crist (D-FL):

Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN):

Rep. Deb Haaland (D-NM):

Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman (D):

Los Angeles, California City Council President Herb Wesson (D):

Cook County, Illinois State’s Attorney Kim Foxx (D):

The American Civil Liberties Union:

Ben & Jerry’s:

Denny’s:

Hidden Valley Ranch:

Carl’s Jr.:

Boston Market:

George Washington’s Mount Vernon:

Bill Maher:

Miley Cyrus:

311:

The Onion:

Ben & Jerry’s Stands Out From Companies Just Trying To Make Money From 4/20

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Ben & Jerry’s Stands Out From Companies Just Trying To Make Money From 4/20

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Ben & Jerry’s wants to remind people this 4/20 that hundreds of thousands of people are still getting arrested for non-violent marijuana offenses.

As a growing number of companies compete to win over consumers with weed-themed promotions and social media gimmicks surrounding the cannabis holiday, the ice cream giant is pointing out ongoing racial disparities in marijuana enforcement—including in states that have legalized it.

“Happy 4/20, everyone! Now that pot is legal in 33 states and counting, it’s a pretty heady moment for stoner culture. Fans of cannabis can celebrate 4/20 openly and in style in more places than ever before,” they company wrote in a blog post on Friday. “And even if you’re not in a state that legalized pot, there’s a still a pretty good chance that the cops won’t hassle you as you spend 4/20 doing your thing.”

“If you’re a white person.”

The blog goes into detail about racial disparities in the legal industry, disproportionate arrest rates in states like Colorado and also notes that while Republican former House Speaker John Boehner’s stance on cannabis has evolved—from prohibitionist to marijuana firm board member—it also reflects a problematic willingness to profit off the legal industry without recognizing the criminal justice reform work that’s still to be done.

Increased support for cannabis reform, including from former opponents, is “good news,” the company wrote. “What’s troubling is that the criminal justice system hasn’t kept up with the culture.”

Ben & Jerry’s is calling on Congress to expunge the records of individuals with prior marijuana convictions and pardon anyone “whose only crime was possession of cannabis.” The company is also applauding city officials who’ve proactively expunged marijuana records and prosecutors who’ve announced that their offices would no longer be pursing low-level cannabis crimes.

“Want to feel really really good this 4/20? Then let’s make sure that legalization benefits all of us. That’ll turn 4/20 into a day that we all can celebrate.”

To that end, the company is teaming up with San Jose marijuana dispensary Caliva, which is donating 4.20 percent of profits from 4/20 sales to support Code for America’s effort to automatically expunge past cannabis convictions.

They’re also linking to a petition that people can sign to show their support for comprehensive marijuana reform and, to sweeten the deal, they’re offering a a free pint of their “Half Baked” ice cream blend to anyone who orders a cannabis delivery from Caliva.

“At this point where a company can’t just invoke 4/20 for laughs or give lip service to social justice, it’s great to see a campaign use the holiday to call attention to concrete solutions around ‘cannabis justice,'” Shaleen Title, who holds the social justice seat on the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission, told Marijuana Moment.

Meanwhile, other mainstream brands are launching 4/20-themed campaigns of their own—most of which don’t address the historical harms of prohibition enforcement.

Fast food chain Carl’s Jr., for example, is hoping to turn out the 4/20 crowd in Denver by selling a burger with CBD-infused sauce on the marijuana holiday. The burger will cost $4.20 and all of the proceeds will go to…the company.

While that move caught plenty of media headlines—in part because the Food and Drug Administration has repeatedly said that adding CBD to the food supply remains prohibited—Carl’s Jr. is far from alone in its overt campaign to leverage the holiday without addressing the inherent privilege it represents.

Pizza Hut is offering a Triple Chocolate Brownie for $4.20 on Saturday.

Boston Market is offering a promotion surrounding…pot pies.

Via bostonmarket.com.

“It is unfortunate to see the white-washing and commercialization of 4/20 by corporate interests with no stake in the fight for marijuana justice,” Erik Altieri, executive director of NORML, told Marijuana Moment. “While the news will undoubtedly focus on light hearted celebrations, it is imperative we remember that every year over 600,000 Americans are still arrested for simple marijuana possession, those arrested are overwhelmingly people of color and other marginalized communities.”

“While there is still much to celebrate in regards to the progress we have made, we still have a long way to go to right the wrongs of prohibition,” Altieri said. “Instead of focusing on a quick way to get rich, marijuana-related businesses should follow Ben and Jerry’s lead and they must take seriously their social obligation to advance social justice and civil liberties as members of the nascent cannabis industry.”

New York-based Fresh&Co rolled out a line of marijuana-themed offerings like “half-baked salad.”

GrubHub analyzed its own sales data to show what food items were the most popular on 4/20 before and sent out an email blast on the findings.

“Let us be blunt. The ultimate stoner holiday is around the corner, and if there’s one thing Grubhub knows, it’s that one crucial ingredient of a successful 4/20 is food,” GrubHub wrote. “The munchies are a natural side effect of smoking marijuana, so why not indulge on the hungriest day of the year?”

Ridesharing service Lyft—in a promotion that at least advances a harm reduction message—announced that it is offering a $4.20 credit for a single ride in Colorado and various select cities throughout the U.S. and Canada where marijuana is legal—similar to what it did last year.

“Kick back and enjoy 4/20 with the help of Lyft and our designated drivers,” the company wrote. “We’ve partnered with some great folks to help you get to the park, to the store, and back to the couch — easier than ever.”

Increasingly, advocates and some lawmakers are growing frustrated by the country’s lighthearted, or profit-driven, attitude toward cannabis reform. Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) no longer wants people to talk to him about legalization without making restorative justice for those harmed by prohibition a key part of the conversation.

Congressional Democrats also held a panel at a recent policy retreat that centered on social equity in the cannabis industry. That marijuana should be legal was regarded as a given, but more to the point, a legal system should lift up those who’ve been disproportionately targeted by the drug war.

Legalization advocate and rapper Killer Mike, whose birthday happens to coincide with the cannabis holiday, said in a press release on Friday that 4/20 should remind people of the need to decriminalize cannabis.

“While there has been progress, we should go one step further and ensure that the very people (African Americans) who have been profiled and punished due to the War on Drugs, have an opportunity to participate in the commercialization of marijuana,” he said. “It is not enough to decriminalize weed, promote its sale in local economies and not think creatively about how Black people can benefit from the very thing that has directly impacted their lives.”

Congressional Democrats Compete In Marijuana-Themed Trivia Game

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Congressional Democrats Compete In Marijuana-Themed Trivia Game

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Democratic members of Congress scored points for correctly answering questions about marijuana during a trivia game at a retreat they participated in last week.

The cannabis quiz was part of a bond-building exercise designed to unite the party around shared legislative goals. The category in question was reportedly titled the “Green New Deal,” a play off climate change legislation that Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) is championing. But these questions concerned a different kind of green matter.

The marijuana queries weren’t especially policy-oriented, though, according to one reporter who got information about how things went down. Instead of questions about various cannabis bills that have been introduced in the 116th Congress, they tested lawmakers’ cultural understanding of the plant and how it is consumed.

Trivia finalists Ocasio-Cortez and Reps. Katie Hill (D-CA) and Ruben Gallego (D-AZ) made it into the cannabis round, according to Politico’s Heather Caygle. The two congresswomen correctly identified “sativa” as the answer to an open-ended question about variants of marijuana.

A Democratic staffer told Marijuana Moment that the question was phrased: “there are two main types of marijuana: indica and ______.”

But Gallego was ultimately victorious, answering a question about a type of device that uses water or air pressure to quickly draw smoke. Caygle wrote that the question was about a “gravity bomb,” but clearly she meant gravity bong.

The trivia category is the latest in a series of signals that marijuana is a popular topic among congressional Democrats. At the same time, some members like Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) have emphasized that the issue isn’t a laughing matter and should be discussed seriously.

But reform advocates can nonetheless rest assured that cannabis is fresh on the minds of Democratic members as they take their two-week recess—and that at least some of them know their marijuana products.

Joe Biden Applauds Anti-Marijuana Speech At Opioid Forum

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