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Vermont Legislature Legalizes Marijuana

Wed, 01/10/2018 - 18:23

Vermont lawmakers took final action on Wednesday to make the state the first in U.S. history to legalize marijuana by an act of lawmakers. Gov. Phil Scott (R) has pledged to sign the bill into law.

Vermont Governor “Comfortable” Legalizing Marijuana In Early 2018

While eight other states and Washington, D.C. have also ended cannabis prohibition for adults over 21, they did so with voter-approved ballot initiatives.

Vermont’s legislative move signals a milestone in the evolving politics of marijuana. Polls consistently show majority voter support for legalization, and more politicians are beginning to see the issue as a winning one they should embrace rather than run away from.

In neighboring New Hampshire, the House of Representatives approved a similar legalization bill on Tuesday.

The marijuana victories come just days after the Trump administration rolled back Obama-era guidance that generally allowed states to implement their own legalization laws without federal interference.

Both New England states’ proposed laws provide for a noncommercial approach to marijuana under which possession and home cultivation of relatively small amounts would be allowed, but storefronts and sales would not.

In Vermont, the bill would allow people over 21 years of age to legally possess up to one ounce of marijuana and grow as many as two mature and four immature cannabis plants.

Once legislative counsel finalizes the bill formatting and it is officially transmitted to the governor’s desk, he will have five days to act on it.

Last year, the state fell just short of legalizing marijuana. The legislature passed a bill to legalize personal cannabis possession and homegrow, but Scott vetoed it. However, in doing so, he laid out a few small changes he wanted legislators to make in order to win his support. The Senate quickly acted to make the requested revisions, but the House was not able to overcome procedural hurdles to get it done in time during a short special session over the summer.

The House approved the bill last week, making a minor amendment, necessitating Wednesday’s final Senate vote to send the measure to Scott’s desk. Final passage was accomplished via a voice vote.

Legalization supporters appear ready to keep pressing toward full-scale commercial legalization as soon as the governor signs the current proposal, which is set to take effect on July 1.

“It’s up to citizens across the state whether or not we see a bill like that pass this year with their participation in the process,” Lt. Gov. David Zuckerman (Progressive) said at a press conference on Tuesday. “I would like to see that. I think every year we go by not doing it, we are perpetuating the underground, unregulated, unjust system that we have today while other states are moving forward.”

The Senate approved bills to allow legal marijuana sales last year and in 2016, but they didn’t gain traction in the House, which favored the noncommercial approach.

Advocates believe that New Jersey is also poised to end marijuana prohibition via the legislature this year. Phil Murphy (D), who will be sworn in as governor next week, campaigned on full-scale commercial legalization, and the Senate president says he is ready to pass a bill.

A number of other states are expected to vote on ballot initiatives to legalize recreational or medical cannabis later this year.

These States Are Likely To Legalize Marijuana In 2018

The post Vermont Legislature Legalizes Marijuana appeared first on Marijuana Moment.

New Hampshire House approves legal cannabis (Newsletter: Jan. 10, 2018)

Wed, 01/10/2018 - 12:53

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VT Senate voting today; 2nd biggest VA city backs state decrim; Congressional bills get lots of new cosponsors

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

The New Hampshire House of Representatives approved a marijuana legalization bill.

Norfolk, Virginia, the second-largest city in the commonwealth, is calling on state lawmakers to decriminalize marijuana and expand the limited medical cannabis program.

/ FEDERAL

U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) and U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions will meet to discuss marijuana policy on Wednesday, as Gardner has already placed holds on numerous Department of Justice nominations over the issue. On Tuesday, Gardner led a meeting of a bipartisan group of senators to plan a pushback. U.S. Sens. Jeff Merkley (D-CO) and Michael Bennet (D-CO) attended the meeting, reportedly with about ten other senators.

President Trump’s son-in-law and senior advisor Jared Kushner will host a listening session on prison reform at the White House on Thursday.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) said she’s working on legislation to protect state marijuana laws from federal interference.

Marijuana reform champion U.S. Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) has been appointed as a new member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), who tweets a lot about cannabis lately but hasn’t yet cosponsored any legislation, was also named to the panel.

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) is concerned that medical cannabis is at risk under the new federal marijuana enforcement policy.

The U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Ohio said, “We’re going to still continue to be in a position to prosecute those cases, and marijuana’s still illegal under federal law just like it was last week, so that doesn’t change.”

Four members of Colorado’s congressional delegation sent a letter asking Sessions to rethink his marijuana policy decision. Members of Congress from the state also held a meeting to plot strategy on Tuesday.

Nevada’s congressional delegation pushed back against the federal cannabis change as well. Congresswoman Dina Titus (D-NV) wrote a letter telling congressional leaders she will oppose a big spending bill unless it includes protections for state marijuana laws. In an interview, she suggested the Trump administration change could spur legislative action. Congresswoman Jacky Rosen (D-NV) sent a letter urging Sessions to reverse his marijuana directive. Congressman Mark Amodei (R-NV), who also opposes the federal shift, nevertheless  said, “I don’t think there’s a reason for panic.”

Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) gave a House floor speech pushing back against the Trump administration’s marijuana move.

U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI) tweeted about marijuana’s health benefits.

The U.S. House bill to deschedule marijuana got four new cosponsors, bringing the total to 19.

The U.S. House bill to exempt state-legal marijuana activity from the Controlled Substances Act got 11 new cosponsors, bringing the total to 35.

The U.S. House bill to regulate marijuana like alcohol got four new cosponsors, bringing the total to 21.

The U.S. House bill to create a federal tax structure for legal marijuana got one new cosponsor, bringing the total to nine.

/ STATES

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) sent a letter to President Trump requesting he support extending state medical cannabis protections.

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R) said that federal prosecutors should not focus on marijuana.

Vermont’s Senate is set to vote on sending a House-passed marijuana legalization bill to the governor on Wednesday. Lt. Gov. David Zuckerman (VPP) suggested lawmakers might pass full-scale legal marijuana sales legislation this year after the noncommercial bill is signed into law.

Maine marijuana legalization supporters and opponents reportedly reached a deal on an implementation plan.

Michigan’s House speaker and other candidates for state attorney general are criticizing the federal marijuana policy change.

A Kansas representative who made racist comments about marijuana has stepped down from committee leadership positions following criticism.

New Jersey’s Senate Republican whip has “major concerns” about marijuana-impaired driving under legalization.

The State of New York is providing funding to open a hemp processing facility.

Texas Democratic gubernatorial candidate Tom Wakely supports legalizing marijuana.

A Florida judge ruled in favor of a black farmer in a medical cannabis licensing case.

A Mississippi representative introduced a marijuana legalization bill.

A California assemblyman is filing a bill to make it easier to expunge past marijuana convictions. Separately, regulators proposed a timeline and strategy for cannabis rulemaking.

A New Mexico representative filed a resolution calling on the state’s congressional delegation to “create new legislation protecting medicinal cannabis users in New Mexico from the threat of being sent to federal prison.”

A Nebraska senator introduced a bill to exempt substances containing ten percent or less CBD by weight and three-tenths of one percent or less THC by weight from the definition of marijuana.

The parents of a Vermont prosecutor who were arrested transporting 60 pounds of marijuana across the country last month were busted again, this time on suspicion of carrying drug money.

Kentucky’s agriculture commissioner approved more than 12,000 acres for industrial hemp research in 2018.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Paraguay President Horacio Cartes signed medical cannabis regulations.

Canadian Prime MInister Justin Trudeau answered questions about marijuana legalization at a town hall meeting.

Former Mexican President Vicente Fox will host a marijuana conference at Centro Fox facilities in May.

/ ADVOCACY

Conservative commentator Milo Yiannopoulos says he’s conflicted about the federal anti-marijuana move.

/ OPINION & ANALYSIS

A survey found that 60% of adults in the Birmingham, Alabama metro area support legalizing marijuana for medical and/or recreational use.

The Philadelphia Inquirer editorial board slammed U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s anti-marijuana move.

The News & Observer editorial board isn’t happy with the change either.

The Toledo Blade editorial board wants Congress to amend federal marijuana laws.

The Washington Times editorial board wants Sessions to “take the lead” in resolving the federal-state marijuana conflict.

/ BUSINESS

Medical cannabis dispensaries in Massachusetts and Rhode Island have been shut off from debit card processing in the wake of federal changes.

Iowa State University has agreed to pay more than $300,000 in damages and legal fees after a federal court found it improperly prevented a student group from making t-shirts that featured school mascot and a marijuana leaf.

/ CULTURE     

Jimmy Kimmel Live visited the MedMen marijuana dispensary in Los Angeles.

The post New Hampshire House approves legal cannabis (Newsletter: Jan. 10, 2018) appeared first on Marijuana Moment.

Major Virginia City Calls For Marijuana Decriminalization

Wed, 01/10/2018 - 01:12

Virginia’s second-largest city is officially calling on state lawmakers to decriminalize marijuana. It also wants an expansion of the commonwealth’s existing limited medical cannabis program.

At a meeting on Tuesday evening, the Norfolk City Council approved its 2018 state legislative agenda. Item number four reads:

“Support the decriminalization of simple possession of marijuana as well as the expansion of conditions that physicians licensed by the Virginia Board of Medicine can treat with cannabidiol or THC-A oil.”

The call by Norfolk officials comes as the state is better positioned than ever before to remove cannabis’s criminal penalties.

Incoming Gov.-elect Ralph Northam (D) made decriminalization a centerpiece of his campaign, often describing the issue in stark racial justice terms.

“We need to change sentencing laws that disproportionately hurt people of color. One of the best ways to do this is to decriminalize marijuana,” he wrote in a blog post early last year. “African Americans are 2.8 times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession in Virginia. The Commonwealth spends more than $67 million on marijuana enforcement — money that could be better spent on rehabilitation.”

New Virginia Governor Pledges Marijuana Decriminalization

And, the issue has bipartisan traction. Republican Senate Majority Leader Tommy Norment has announced he will file a decriminalization bill when the new legislative session convenes. Earlier this week, he revealed some details of his modest proposal, which would only apply to first-time offenders.

Democratic Sen. Adam Ebbin has also filed a separate, more far-reaching decriminalization bill.

The cannabis effort could get an additional boost by Democrats’ surprising number of wins in House of Delegates elections in November. Depending on the results of two still-pending races that may be settled by litigation, the party could either have a narrow majority in the chamber, be tied with Republicans or be just a couple of seats in the minority. The GOP has a two-seat majority in the Senate, and tie votes there would be broken by the Democratic lieutenant governor.

Over the past week, legislative chambers in New Hampshire and Vermont have voted to pass marijuana legalization bills.

New Hampshire Lawmakers Approve Marijuana Legalization

Vermont Lawmakers Approve Marijuana Legalization Bill

The post Major Virginia City Calls For Marijuana Decriminalization appeared first on Marijuana Moment.

New Hampshire Lawmakers Approve Marijuana Legalization

Tue, 01/09/2018 - 15:23

The New Hampshire House of Representatives voted to legalize marijuana on Tuesday, just five days after the Trump administration moved to rescind federal guidelines protecting state cannabis laws.

Under the bill, which now moves to the state Senate, people over 21 years of age would be allowed to legally possess three-quarters of an ounce of marijuana and grow up to three mature cannabis plants at home. Retail sales locations would not be allowed.

Please visit Forbes to read the rest of this piece.

(Marijuana Moment’s editor provides some content to Forbes via a temporary exclusive publishing license arrangement.)

The post New Hampshire Lawmakers Approve Marijuana Legalization appeared first on Marijuana Moment.

NH & VT cannabis legalization votes this week (Newsletter: Jan. 9, 2018)

Tue, 01/09/2018 - 13:02

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KS lawmaker’s racist marijuana comments; More congressional Sessions reaction; NV gov wants Sessions to explain

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I’ve continued to add congressional pushback to U.S Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s marijuana policy change to my compilation post on Marijuana Moment. There are…a lot…of lawmakers from both parties who are speaking out against the move.

A Kansas representative justified marijuana prohibition by saying these racist comments:

  • “One of the reasons why, I hate to say it, was that the African Americans, they were basically users and they basically responded the worst off to those drugs just because of their character makeup, their genetics and that. And so basically what we’re trying to do is we’re trying to do a complete reverse with people not remembering what has happened in the past.”

The New Hampshire House of Representatives is scheduled to vote on a marijuana legalization bill on Tuesday.

The Vermont Senate is expected to vote on a House-passed marijuana legalization bill on Wednesday.

/ FEDERAL

U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) will lead a meeting of a bipartisan group of senators on Tuesday to push back on the Trump administration’s marijuana policy reversal.

U.S. Sen. James Lankford (R-OK) said he supports Sessions’s anti-cannabis move. Meanwhile, the U.S. attorney for Oklahoma’s Western District said the office’s “primary focus is going to be on multi-state drug trafficking organizations and I don’t anticipate that [federal marijuana]  memo will change what have been our practices here in this district.” But the state’s Eastern District U.S. attorney said  the move “opens up” marijuana laws, allowing his office to further “protect the citizens of the eastern district.” And the Northern District’s U.S. Attorney said his office is committed to “turning back the tide of the drug crisis.”

The Massachusetts U.S. attorney, in response to requests for more information about his cannabis enforcement plans, said he cannot “provide assurances that certain categories of participants in the state-level marijuana trade will be immune from federal prosecution.”

Delaware’s U.S. attorney said his office has “limited resources and [we] have got to be smart with how we utilize the. The public safety of the citizens of Delaware is our overarching priority, as far as I’m concerned, and that starts with violent crime.”

The U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Washington said he would apply “principles [that] have always been at the core” of his office’s work in determining marijuana enforcement and will “focus on those who pose the greatest safety risk.”

Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) reiterated that Congress should consider extending existing state medical cannabis protections in a budget rider to cover broader recreational marijuana laws too.

U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)  said the federal marijuana change is “an incredibly destructive thing to do.”

Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) tweeted that he sides with the New York Times editorial board over U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions on marijuana.

Congressman Morgan Griffith (R-VA) said Sessions was within his right to rescind the Obama-era guidance, but he wants Congress to pass a law exempting medical cannabis from federal marijuana prohibition.

Congressman Doug Lamborn (R-CO) is siding with Sessions.

Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) is calling on his colleagues to change federal marijuana laws.

Congressman Ro Khanna (D-CA) tweeted, “”Even with all of the progress we’ve made, the ‘war on drugs’ continues to criminalize communities of color. There won’t be justice until we end this double standard which has ruined so many lives.”

Texas Democratic congressional candidate Lillian Salerno, who is challenging anti-marijuana Congressman Pete Sessions (R-TX), says she supports legalization.

Two of the top ten most-viewed bills on Congress.gov over the past week concern marijuana.

/ STATES

Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval (R) said he thinks legalization has gone “extremely well” in his state and will be reaching out to U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions about federal marijuana enforcement soon.

Virginia’s Senate majority leader discussed details of a limited marijuana decriminalization bill he plans to file soon.

Connecticut’s Senate president and other lawmakers will continue pushing marijuana legalization this year.

Oklahoma’s acting commissioner of health says that if voters approve a medical cannabis ballot measure, another agency should be in charge of regulations.

An Indiana senator introduced a medical cannabis bill. Separately, state officials are apologizing to businesses after erroneously citing them for selling CBD products.

A Virginia delegate introduced a bill to allow doctors to recommend CBD and THC-A oil for any condition.

Kentucky representatives filed resolutions urging Congress to remove hemp from the definition of marijuana and to incorporate safety and efficacy standards for medical cannabis.

A Pennsylvania senator is introducing a resolution calling on Congress to allow medical cannabis patients to purchase guns.

New Hampshire’s marijuana study commission met Monday. Also, the state’s medical cannabis patient count has more than doubled in the past year.

California’s Cannabis Advisory Committee will meet on January 18.

Rhode Island regulators are preparing to approve delivery plans from medical cannabis dispensaries.

Colorado regulators are asking people to submit “topics to study related to the potential adverse effects or public health impacts of marijuana use.”

An Ohio company that failed to win a medical cannabis business license is suing the state over an alleged “unconstitutional racial quota.”

/ LOCAL

Las Vegas, Nevada officials put plans for marijuana social use areas on hold after news of the federal cannabis policy change.

Former Baltimore, Maryland Mayor Kurt Schmoke (D) criticized the Trump administration’s anti-marijuana move.

/ INTERNATIONAL

The Government of Canada’s Cannabis Legalization and Regulation Secretariat hired a staffer from marijuana website Lift. (Lift is now hiring a new editor and news writer.)

/ ADVOCACY

The Democratic Attorneys General Association said that “Dem AGs are vowing to push back on the [Trump administration’s new marijuana] directive.”

The American Civil Liberties Union is pressuring New Jersey prisons to stop banning incarcerated people from reading drug policy book “The New Jim Crow.”

The Minority Cannabis Business Association announced a new president and Board of Directors.

A fellow from the conservative Heritage Foundation says the federal anti-marijuana move is a good thing.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study concluded that state medical cannabis policies “decrease high school graduation rates by 0.36 percentage points, indicating that nearly 13,000 students will not graduate as a result of the [medical marijuana law]  implementation.”

A study found “a high degree of association between Cannabis use and the occurrence of traffic accidents with injuries of the driver.”

A study found that medical cannabis “dispensary users do not necessarily reside in the same area in which dispensaries are located and do not necessarily reflect the local population.” (Some readers reported trouble with the link to this study in Monday’s newsletter, so I’m trying again.)

/ OPINION & ANALYSIS

The Denver Post editorial board slammed U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s anti-marijuana move.

The San Diego Union-Tribune editorial board isn’t happy either.

Neither is the Seattle Times editorial board.

Nor the the Las Vegas Sun editorial board.

The Colorado Springs Gazette editorial board says nothing much will change without the Cole memo.

The New Hampshire Union Leader editorial board is criticizing U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) for slamming the Sessions marijuana move without sponsoring any cannabis reform legislation.

/ BUSINESS

The Canadian Securities Exchange is asking listed marijuana companies with U.S. operations to publicly detail any risks they face in light of federal enforcement policy changes.

A debit card processor has stopped working with Massachusetts medical cannabis dispensaries in light of the federal move.

Significant percentages of marijuana professionals reported witnessing or personally experiencing sexual harassment “specifically in the cannabis industry” in a survey.

Stateline looks at how the Justice Department’s marijuana policy change could further imperil marijuana businesses’ access to banks.

EdSource looks at how California universities are continuing to ban marijuana even in light of state legalization.

/ CULTURE     

Actress Meryl Streep says her son gave her marijuana-infused foot cream for Christmas.

The post NH & VT cannabis legalization votes this week (Newsletter: Jan. 9, 2018) appeared first on Marijuana Moment.

Will Sessions’s anti-cannabis move actually help legalization? (Newsletter: Jan 8, 2017)

Mon, 01/08/2018 - 12:42

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Another poll shows majority legalization support; Sessions & Gardner to meet; Lots of state bills filed

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

A Pew poll found that Americans support legalizing marijuana, 61% – 37%.

I put together some thoughts about how U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s anti-marijuana move might actually be good for legalization.

U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) says he told Sessions in a phone call that he will be blocking all Justice Department nominations over the Trump administration’s marijuana policy change. The two are set to meet this week. The nomination block threat stands to leave several key posts unfilled for the foreseeable future.

/ FEDERAL

Former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder is working with California officials to formulate a response to the Trump administration’s anti-marijuana move.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs said Justice Department marijuana changes won’t affect government doctors’ ability to talk with veterans about cannabis.

Montana’s U.S. attorney said he would focus “on identifying and prosecuting those who create the greatest safety threats to our citizens and communities.”

Former U.S. Deputy Attorney General James Cole, who authored the Cole memo, spoke about its rescission.

A federal judge scheduled oral arguments in a lawsuit against marijuana’s Schedule I status for February 14.

President Trump said that countries with “harsh” drug policies see “less difficulty,” adding: “We are going to be working on that very, very hard this year, and I think we’re going to make a big dent into the drug problem.” He also tweeted that he spoke with Cabinet and military officials about “the ever increasing Drug and Opioid Problem.”

U.S. Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), chair of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, criticized Sessions’s anti-marijuana move and said that cannabis could become a campaign issue in 2018.

Congresswoman Jacky Rosen (D-NV), who is running against U.S. Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV), is making marijuana a campaign issue.

Members of Congress from Colorado held a conference call to discuss legislative responses to the Sessions marijuana move. U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO) sent a letter asking the attorney general to rescind the anti-marijuana guidance, while Congressman Jared Polis (D-CO) sent a letter asking President Trump to overrule Sessions on cannabis.

U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-AK) said the Sessions marijuana move could be an impetus for Congress to end prohibition.

Congressman Mark Meadows (R-NC) said he supports the Sessions policy change.

U.S. Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) cheered on the Sessions cannabis move, and also seems upset that some Democrats want to include broader state marijuana protections in appropriations legislation.

Congressman Rod Blum (R-IA) says Sessions’s anti-marijuana move inspired him to cosponsor cannabis legislation.

Former Congressman Ron Paul (R-TX) is calling on Sessions to resign.

/ STATES

New Jersey Gov.-elect Phil Murphy (D) and legislative leaders say they will continue with plans to legalize marijuana despite federal enforcement policy changes.

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R) is concerned the federal government is sowing “confusion” about marijuana enforcement.

Oklahoma Democratic gubernatorial candidates are backing medical cannabis, but Republican contenders are mostly mum on the issue.

Louisiana is moving ahead to implement its medical cannabis program.

California’s attorney general is considering suing the federal government over marijuana policy. Separately, officials pulled a PSA on drugged driving after critics viewed it as pro-marijuana.

The New Mexico Supreme Court temporarily upheld hemp legislation vetoes by Gov. Susana Martinez (R).

Colorado regulators said they will continue to adhere to the principles of the Cole memo even though it is no longer in place. Separately, they are proposing changes to medical cannabis rules.

Missouri’s House speaker says that he’s surprised by momentum behind medical cannabis and that he’d prefer lawmakers pass legislation instead of having voters do it via a ballot initiative.

Indiana’s Republican majority floor leader introduced a resolution calling for a study on medical cannabis.

New York regulators say they will continue the state’s medical cannabis program in light of federal changes. Separately, lawmakers filed a bill to allow doctors to recommend medical marijuana for any condition.

Maine lawmakers will hold a hearing on marijuana legalization implementation legislation on Tuesday.

A Florida representative filed a marijuana decriminalization bill. Another representative introduced legislation setting procedures for medical cannabis use in schools.

A Mississippi representative filed a medical cannabis bill.

A Washington, D.C. councilmember, at the request of the mayor, introduced legislation to allow reciprocity for out-of-state medical cannabis patients.

Washington State regulators identified marijuana products with undisclosed pesticide residues. Separately, the House Committee on Commerce and Gaming will hear a bill to use marijuana tax revenue to fund indigent defense on Monday.

/ LOCAL

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) spoke out against the federal marijuana enforcement change.

San Francisco, California retailers began recreational marijuana sales.

/ ADVOCACY

Trump ally Roger Stone called the Justice Department’s marijuana policy change a “cataclysmic mistake.”

The National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators also slammed the Sessions anti-cannabis move.

Purported criminal justice reform group Right on Crime cheered the Sessions decision.

Conservative commentator Ben Shapiro bashed cannabis consumers but said he supports decriminalization.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study concluded that “consumption of cannabis reduces vigilance and increases driving errors.”

A study found that medical cannabis “dispensary users do not necessarily reside in the same area in which dispensaries are located and do not necessarily reflect the local population.”

A study concluded that “there are higher proportions of personal communication tweets and Twitter users tweeting about rosin in U.S. states where cannabis is legalized.”

/ OPINION & ANALYSIS

The New York Times editorial board slammed U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s marijuana enforcement policy.

The Los Angeles Times editorial board wants Congress to overrule Sessions on cannabis.

Even the Washington Post editorial board, which has long opposed marijuana legalization, criticized the Justice Department action.

The Wall Street Journal editorial board supports Sessions’s anti-marijuana change, but said that it could spur Congress to end prohibition.

The Chicago Tribune editorial board is calling on Congress to end federal marijuana prohibition.

/ BUSINESS

Corona distributor Constellation Brands, which has marijuana investments, says it is not concerned about a federal crackdown.

Marijuana industry operatives don’t seemed too spooked by Sessions’s anti-marijuana move.

Environmentalists are concerned about the marijuana industry’s energy usage.

/ CULTURE     

Comedian Seth Meyers opened the Golden Globes by saying, “It’s 2018: marijuana is finally allowed and sexual harassment finally isn’t. It’s going to be a good year.”

Trump-supporting Dilbert cartoonist Scott Adams said he may turn on the president over the administration’s anti-cannabis move.

The post Will Sessions’s anti-cannabis move actually help legalization? (Newsletter: Jan 8, 2017) appeared first on Marijuana Moment.

Why Sessions’s Anti-Marijuana Move Might Be Good For Legalization

Fri, 01/05/2018 - 18:40

For the past several years, the marijuana industry and its customers have been relying on a piece of paper — an Obama-era document known as the Cole memo — to indulge in their business and pleasure mostly without fear of arrest by federal agents.

On Thursday, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded that document. Observers took it as a sign that a large-scale cannabis crackdown could be on the way.

But could Sessions’s move actually turn out to be good news for legalization supporters?

The development generated immediate and intense pushback from federal and state officials, from both sides of the aisle. And it wasn’t just the usual suspects of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus chiming in. Democratic and Republican House and Senate members who almost never talk about marijuana, except when asked about it, proactively released statements pushing back against Sessions.

Congressman Rod Blum, Republican of Iowa, for example, said that the attorney general’s action inspired him to sign on as a cosponsor of House legislation to let state set their own cannabis laws without federal interference.

Iowa has not legalized marijuana, and only has an extremely limited medical cannabis oil law on its books.

Because of @jeffsessions actions, I’m joining the “Respect State Marijuana Laws” bill. I believe in States' Rights & I’ve seen how cannabis derived medicines can stop seizures in a child, help a veteran cope with pain, or provide relief to a senior with glaucoma. #IA01

— Congressman Rod Blum (@RepRodBlum) January 5, 2018

Not surprisingly, lawmakers who represent state-legal marijuana businesses and consumers who are now at greater risk in a world without the Cole memo are also fired up.

Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi of California, the House Democratic leader, for example, issued a statement in response to the Sessions move saying that Congress should not only continue an existing budget rider that prevents the Justice Department from interfering with state medical cannabis laws but should expand its scope to protect full recreational laws as well.

“Congress must now take action to ensure that state law is respected, and that Americans who legally use marijuana are not subject to federal prosecution,” she said. “Democrats will continue to insist on bipartisan provisions in appropriations bills that protect Americans lawfully using medical marijuana. Congress should now consider expanding the provisions to cover those states that have decriminalized marijuana generally.

Similarly, Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon said that “any budget deal Congress considers in the coming days must build on current law to prevent the federal government from intruding in state-legal, voter-supported decisions.”

Republican Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado took to the Senate floor and issued a threat to block Trump administration nominees over the move.

.@SenCoryGardner on Attorney General Jeff Sessions' #marijuana policy change: "I will be holding all nominations for the Department of Justice. The people of Colorado deserve answers." pic.twitter.com/BnVEkA54ag

— CSPAN (@cspan) January 4, 2018

Likely 2020 Democratic presidential contenders rushed to beat one another to the punch in slamming the Trump administration’s anti-cannabis action.

Not a single member of Congress from either party issued a statement supporting the rescission of the Cole memo.

Whereas the marijuana industry has been operating in a sort of legal gray area under the Cole memo and the medical cannabis budget rider, the Sessions move forces marijuana to the forefront of American politics, where a breaking point may finally be reached.

While in the short-term, Sessions’s move has sent shock and fear through the cannabis community, caused stocks to tumble, spooked investors and gave banks greater pause about opening accounts for marijuana businesses, the disappearance of the Obama-era protections could actually have positive long-term implications.

Yes, DEA agents may raid some businesses. And federal prosecutors might bring some cannabis entrepreneurs to court. People in the cannabis industry could go to prison or have their assets seized.

Those actions could have long-lasting implications negative for those targeted. That’s nothing to take lightly, and no one in the legalization movement wants it to happen.

But by launching a crackdown in any form, Jeff Sessions’s Justice Department could spur a backlash — among the public and from federal, state and local officials whose job-creating, taxpaying constituents are being targeted.

And that could finally force a resolution to to the growing federal-state divide on marijuana that might otherwise persist longer in a murky gray area under the Cole memo and annual appropriations riders.

If Congress passes legislation to change cannabis’s status under federal law in the next year or two, legalization supporters may have Jeff Sessions to thank for it.

The post Why Sessions’s Anti-Marijuana Move Might Be Good For Legalization appeared first on Marijuana Moment.

Trump administration ends Obama cannabis policy (Newsletter: Jan. 5, 2018)

Fri, 01/05/2018 - 12:54

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VT House approves legalization bill; OK medical cannabis vote date set; Lawmakers push back on Sessions

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded the Obama-era Cole memo that has generally allowed states to implement their own marijuana laws without federal interference.

The move represents a clear violation of President Trump’s repeated campaign promises to respect state cannabis laws.

A large number of members of Congress and state officials across party lines pushed back against the decision.

Vermont’s House of Representatives approved a marijuana legalization bill, setting up a final Senate vote next week.

/ FEDERAL

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders, asked about the federal marijuana move, said, “The president believes in enforcing federal law…that is regardless of what the topic is, whether it’s marijuana or it’s immigration.”

A U.S. Department of Justice spokesperson wasn’t willing to predict whether the marijuana change would lead to more prosecutions. The official also said there are no current plans to begin sending threat letters to state-legal cannabis businesses. However, an official also wouldn’t rule out medical cannabis prosecutions.

Colorado’s U.S. attorney suggested that the disappearance of the Cole memo wouldn’t change his marijuana enforcement strategy.

The U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Ohio implied that the Sessions move wouldn’t change much.

Vermont’s U.S. attorney also indicated she’s not about to launch a cannabis crackdown.

The same goes for the Western District of Washington’s U.S. attorney.

Oregon’s U.S. attorney suggested he would continue to use Cole memo priorities in determining enforcement actions.

Alaska’s U.S. attorney said he will “continue to use the long-established principles of federal prosecution to determine what cases to charge.”T

he U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia said the office will “utilize long-established principles of prosecutorial discretion in pursuing cases.”

Pennsylvania’s U.S. attorney said his office will continue going after “criminal organizations which traffic in all illegal controlled substances, including marijuana.”

The U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas said he will “continue to exercise our prosecutorial discretion and evaluate criminal cases on an individual basis.”

Rhode Island’s U.S. attorney said he would “evaluate each matter based upon its specific facts, and then rely upon the well-established principals that govern all federal prosecutions when deciding which cases to pursue.”

The Massachusetts U.S attorney said his office would “prosecute bulk cultivation and trafficking cases, and those who use the federal banking system illegally.”

The U.S. attorney in the Eastern District of California said the office will “evaluate violations of those laws in accordance with our district’s federal law enforcement priorities and resources.”

Former U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration head Chuck Rosenberg suggested the removal of the Cole memo wouldn’t change much.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) is responding to the federal marijuana change by pushing for even broader state protections in federal spending legislation than just the existing medical cannabis rider.

U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) seems to want to extend budget protections to cover state recreational laws as well.

Congressman Earl Blumenaeur (D-OR) congratulated Vermont on its marijuana legalization vote.

The U.S. Senate bill to respect state medical cannabis laws got one new cosponsor, bringing the total to eight.

/ STATES

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin (R) placed a medical cannabis measure on the state’s June 26 primary election ballot.

Washington State Gov. Jay Inslee (D) said the state won’t amend its marijuana laws in response to federal enforcement policy changes.

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) announced that regulators have approved that state’s first medical cannabis dispensary to begin serving patients.

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) says he wants the federal government to distinguish between medical and recreational marijuana.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D) said the state will move ahead with legal marijuana sales.

California’s top marijuana regulator and attorney general said the state will move ahead with legalization. And an assemblyman will file legislation to prevent state and local police from assisting federal agents in any cannabis crackdowns.

Massachusetts regulators are moving ahead with marijuana legalization implementation.

Ohio regulators said they would continue implementing the medical cannabis program despite federal changes.

Minnesota regulators said their medical cannabis program would continue as well.

The chair of Alaska’s Marijuana Control Board, who is a police chief, resigned in response to the federal move.

Illinois Democratic gubernatorial candidates JB Pritzker and Daniel Biss slammed the federal marijuana change.

Louisiana’s attorney general said he supports the move to scale back state marijuana protections.

Indiana’s attorney general also seemed pleased with the change.

New Jersey’s Senate president slammed the federal cannabis move.

A Maine legislative committee hearing on marijuana legalization implementation scheduled for Friday has been canceled.

/ LOCAL

Seattle, Washington Mayor Jenny Durkan (D), a former U.S. attorney, said local police will not assist federal agents in any marijuana crackdowns.

Denver, Colorado Mayor Michael Hancock (D) expressed “severe disappointment” about federal marijuana changes.

The Los Angeles, California City Council president said the city would move ahead with legal marijuana sales.

San Francisco, California’s marijuana permitting will proceed as well.

/ INTERNATIONAL

New Canadian data shows an increasing number of patients and doctors participating in the country’s medical cannabis program.

/ ADVOCACY

The Fraternal Order of Police applauded the Department of Justice’s move to rescind state marijuana law protections.

The National Sheriffs’ Association is also happy.

Prohibitionist group Smart Approaches to Marijuana could barely contain itself over the federal news.

Freedom Partners, an advocacy group funded by the Koch Brothers, slammed the federal cannabis change.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that “current blunt smokers had 1.4 times the odds of purchasing cannabis relative to the cannabis users who had never smoked a blunt” and  “current blunt smokers had greater odds of purchasing cannabis frequently and making the purchases in outdoor settings,” suggesting  that “current blunt smokers compared to other cannabis users are at greater risk of the dangers associated with illegal drug transactions.”

/ OPINION & ANALYSIS

Some Democratic analysts think that the party stands to benefit politically from the Trump administration’s anti-marijuana move.

/ BUSINESS

Marijuana stocks slid following news that U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions was rescinding guidance on state cannabis laws.

Monsanto tweeted to shoot down rumors it is working on GMO marijuana.

/ CULTURE     

Actor George Takei tweeted, “AG Sessions’s move to override the will of local voters and legislatures when it comes to marijuana laws is just the latest example of conservatives’ using federal power to impose red state values on the whole country. So much for that whole smaller government thing, I guess, eh?”

Actor Richard Schiff tweeted, “The war on drugs was a monumental mistake on so many levels. Militarizing gangs and police forces; mass incarceration; crowning kingpins of trafficking in Mexico, Columbia et al; endangering and handcuffing law enforcement and costing taxpayers over a trillion dollars.”

Late night TV hosts bashed Sessions’s marijuana move.

The post Trump administration ends Obama cannabis policy (Newsletter: Jan. 5, 2018) appeared first on Marijuana Moment.

Vermont Lawmakers Approve Marijuana Legalization Bill

Thu, 01/04/2018 - 23:23

The Vermont House of Representatives voted on Thursday to legalize possession and home cultivation of marijuana.

The move comes on the same day that U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions moved to rescind Obama-era guidance that has generally allowed states to implement their own marijuana laws without federal interference.

Under the Vermont legislation, an earlier version of which passed the Senate last summer, commercial sales of cannabis would not be allowed. But if the proposal is enacted, as is expected, the state would become the first to legalize marijuana by an act of lawmakers. To date, all eight states that have ended cannabis prohibition have done so via voter initiatives.

Gov. Phil Scott (R) has promised to sign the bill into law after the Senate votes to approve the new language, expected next week.

Vermont fell just short of ending marijuana prohibition in 2017. Both legislative chambers approved a legalization proposal, but Scott vetoed it. However, the governor then laid out a few small revisions he wanted legislators to make in order to garner his signature. The Senate quickly acted to make the requested changes, but the House wasn’t able to overcome procedural hurdles to pass the revised bill in time during a short special session over the summer.

That left the House poised to approve the bill under regular order after reconvening for the year this week. The vote on Thursday was 81 to 63.

Representatives voted down several floor amendments, including proposals to delay consideration of the bill in light of news about the federal enforcement policy change. They also rejected an attempt by GOP House leader Don Turner to add legal cannabis sales to the bill. The move by Turner, a legalization opponent, was seen by advocates as an attempt to attach a poison pill to the legislation, because Scott would have been less likely to sign it into law as amended.

In his State of the State speech on Thursday, Scott seemed to express disappointment about a recent news report suggesting that Vermont’s consideration of cannabis legalization was the biggest story in the state last year.

“Imagine how it must seem to a family who’s struggling to get by, who can’t afford to pay their property tax bill, to turn on the news and hear that the marijuana debate was ranked Vermont’s number one news story of 2017,” he said.

If the proposal is enacted, possession of up to one ounce of cannabis and home cultivation of two mature plants by adults over 21 years of age would be legal.

While the legislation initially included language creating a study commission to examine the possible future legalization of commercial marijuana sales, Scott created such a panel on his own by executive order during the interim. On Wednesday, the House Judiciary Committee amended the bill to remove the commission provisions, which is why it now requires one more vote in the Senate, where it is widely expected to pass.

Advocates believe that New Jersey is poised to end marijuana prohibition via the legislature this year as well. Phil Murphy (D), who will be sworn in as governor later this month, campaigned on legalization, and the Senate president says he is ready to pass a bill.

A number of other states are expected to vote on ballot initiatives to legalize recreational or medical cannabis.

This story was first published by Forbes.

The post Vermont Lawmakers Approve Marijuana Legalization Bill appeared first on Marijuana Moment.

Lawmakers React To Sessions Anti-Marijuana Move

Thu, 01/04/2018 - 16:14

A bipartisan collection of members of Congress and state officials are pushing back on U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s move to rescind Obama-era guidance that has generally allowed states to implement their own marijuana laws without federal interference.

Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO):

.@SenCoryGardner on Attorney General Jeff Sessions' #marijuana policy change: "I will be holding all nominations for the Department of Justice. The people of Colorado deserve answers." pic.twitter.com/BnVEkA54ag

— CSPAN (@cspan) January 4, 2018

This reported action directly contradicts what Attorney General Sessions told me prior to his confirmation. With no prior notice to Congress, the Justice Department has trampled on the will of the voters in CO and other states.

— Cory Gardner (@SenCoryGardner) January 4, 2018

I am prepared to take all steps necessary, including holding DOJ nominees, until the Attorney General lives up to the commitment he made to me prior to his confirmation.

— Cory Gardner (@SenCoryGardner) January 4, 2018

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY):

Attorney General Sessions' decision to restrict states’ ability to legalize and decriminalize marijuana is either willfully ignorant of the medical science or an act of greed on behalf of the pharmaceutical industry. In either case, it's an attack on patients, and it's wrong. pic.twitter.com/Kiw8nOmPb7

— Kirsten Gillibrand (@SenGillibrand) January 4, 2018

This is about public health. You can join me in fighting back by calling for support for my bill, the CARERS Act, which keeps the federal government out of the way when doctors and patients decide that medical marijuana is the best treatment for them.

— Kirsten Gillibrand (@SenGillibrand) January 4, 2018

DOJ should investigate how pharma helped create the opioid crisis, not institute policies that take marijuana based medicines from patients and needlessly target non-violent minority youths.

— Kirsten Gillibrand (@SenGillibrand) January 4, 2018

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK):

pic.twitter.com/xjQOTx6MtS

— Sen. Lisa Murkowski (@lisamurkowski) January 4, 2018

Washington State Gov. Jay Inslee (D):

Make no mistake: As we have told the Department of Justice ever since I-502 was passed in 2012, we will vigorously defend our state’s laws against undue federal infringement. https://t.co/R3jJrncN9X pic.twitter.com/uM48hVH26q

— Governor Jay Inslee (@GovInslee) January 4, 2018

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (D):

INBOX: @GovofCO releases a tame statement by comparison to @SenCoryGardner, but expresses support for the Cole memo. #marijuana #COpolitics pic.twitter.com/lQvYfIUzxM

— Brandon Rittiman (@BrandonRittiman) January 4, 2018

Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission:

.@MA_Cannabis statement regarding anticipated repeal of @TheJusticeDept Cole memo which has allowed cannabis industry to go forward despite federal laws against it. #mapoli pic.twitter.com/LQnQP2UeCM

— Steve Brown (@WBURSteve) January 4, 2018

Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi (D-CA):

Attorney General Sessions, your unjust war against Americans who legally use #marijuana is shameful & insults the democratic processes that played out in states across the country.

— Nancy Pelosi (@NancyPelosi) January 4, 2018

Nancy Pelosi says the Justice Dept’s new marijuana policy "bulldozes over the will of the American people." pic.twitter.com/PIuRQPCFiA

— Dominic Holden (@dominicholden) January 4, 2018

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY):

I believe that the States should continue to be the labs of democracy when it comes to recreational & medical marijuana. Jeff, this is one place where states’ rights works. Let each state decide.

— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) January 6, 2018

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D):

Reports that Attorney General Jeff Sessions will roll back federal marijuana policy are deeply concerning & disruptive to Oregon's economy. Oregon voters were clear when they chose to legalize the sale of marijuana & the fed govt shouldn't stand in the way https://t.co/3ax9EvdGGE

— Governor Kate Brown (@OregonGovBrown) January 4, 2018

Reports that AG Jeff Sessions will roll back federal marijuana policy are deeply concerning & disruptive to Oregon's economy. Oregon voters were clear when they chose to legalize the sale of marijuana & the fed govt shouldn't stand in the way. #orpol https://t.co/BKy4hSCXas

— Kate Brown (@KateBrownForOR) January 4, 2018

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R):

.@AsaHutchinson said there needs to be a difference of views between medical and recreational marijuana when it comes to today's decision by DOJ on legalized marijuana.https://t.co/avmZkAiZWc pic.twitter.com/CZZR51P51k

— THV11 (@THV11) January 4, 2018

Alaska Gov. Bill Walker (I):

“I remain committed to upholding the will of Alaskans on this issue, and maintaining our State’s sovereign rights to manage our own affairs while protecting federal interests.”

Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman (R):

My statement on today's DOJ announcement regarding potential changes to federal marijuana policies: https://t.co/fJkOjlG8k5 pic.twitter.com/ZBIN6wfZgv

— Cynthia Coffman (@CynthiaHCoffman) January 4, 2018

Congressman Denny Heck (D-WA):

Perhaps b/c the Trump Admin. was unsuccessful in repealing the ACA, they’ve thought up another way to harm cancer patients, chronic pain sufferers, & other law-abiding citizens by taking away guidance for DOJ to work w/ local communities who voted to legalize marijuana. 1/4

— Denny Heck (@RepDennyHeck) January 4, 2018

Congressman Mike Coffman (R-CO):

pic.twitter.com/pcGElRDtMi

— Rep. Mike Coffman (@RepMikeCoffman) January 4, 2018

Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-AK):

Today’s action by the Department of Justice — which contradicts previous statements by the President that this is an issue best left to the states, and adds new confusion and uncertainty for numerous states and communities — could be the impetus necessary for Congress to find a permanent legislative solution for states that have chosen to regulate the production, sale and use of marijuana. As we move forward, I will be examining new and existing legislative proposals and working to ensure the rights of Alaskans and the State of Alaska are protected.”

Congressman Don Young (R-AK):

“Today’s decision announced by the Department of Justice (DOJ) is a direct violation of states’ rights. Rolling back the Cole Memo without a responsible replacement to protect individuals and the states they live in is unacceptable.”

Congressman Carlos Curbelo (R-FL):

.@jeffsessions confirms that he has no respect for the Tenth Amendment of the Constitution and no respect for over 70 percent of Floridians who voted to legalize #MedicalMarijuana. It's time for Congress to pass meaningful legislation on this issue that honors states' rights. https://t.co/jUaUxEPF2u

— Carlos Curbelo (@carloslcurbelo) January 4, 2018

Businesses operating in compliance with their state's laws deserve a federal government that respects the 10th Amendment. Very disappointing to see an Attorney General who supposedly respects the federalist model of our government take such a drastic step ignoring states’ rights https://t.co/n8a5EVz1Jl

— Rep. Carlos Curbelo (@RepCurbelo) January 4, 2018

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT):

No, Attorney General Sessions. Marijuana is not the same as heroin. No one who has seriously studied the issue believes that. Quite the contrary. We should allow states the right to move toward the decriminalization of marijuana, not reverse the progress that has been made.

— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) January 4, 2018

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA):

Congress needs to take immediate action to protect state marijuana laws, and the patients that rely on them.

— Elizabeth Warren (@SenWarren) January 4, 2018

Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI):

There is a growing bipartisan group of Senators that is not going to stand by while Jeff Sessions takes us back several generations on marijuana policy. More later.

— Brian Schatz (@brianschatz) January 5, 2018

We have an opioids epidemic. But there is no such thing as a marijuana epidemic.

— Brian Schatz (@brianschatz) January 4, 2018

Congressman Ted Lieu (D-CA):

Dear Attorney General Jeff Sessions and @TheJusticeDept: Let me give you a list of things more important for federal prosecutors and federal law enforcement to pursue other than marijuana:

1. Basically anything. https://t.co/ctyJui7g4c

— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) January 4, 2018

AG Jeff Sessions apparently wants to take America back to the 1920s. Prohibition didn't work then and it will not work now. Congress needs to pass sensible laws to prevent a monumental waste of precious federal resources chasing Americans who use #cannabis. #thursdaythoughts https://t.co/GP3qPyKIve

— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) January 4, 2018

Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT):

In 2013, as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, I held a hearing on the conflict betw. federal laws and evolving state laws on marijuana. That hg. prompted DOJ to release the Cole memo. Rescinding that memo is a terrible, facts-backwards decision by Atty Gen Sessions.

— Sen. Patrick Leahy (@SenatorLeahy) January 4, 2018

(2/4) Make no mistake, the Cole memo NEVER PREVENTED the gov from going after bad actors, like those who traffic marijuana to minors or across state lines. ONLY reason to rescind the memo is because the AG wants to target patients & businesses that are COMPLIANT with state laws.

— Sen. Patrick Leahy (@SenatorLeahy) January 4, 2018

(3/4) We need to protect the patients and dispensaries in the 46 states with medical marijuana and CBD laws. As Vice Chair of Appropriations, I offered an amdt in Committee to do just that – and it was approved with a bipartisan voice vote.

— Sen. Patrick Leahy (@SenatorLeahy) January 4, 2018

(4/4) I'm now fighting to include my amdt in the final omnibus Approps bill so we can protect patients and law-abiding businesses. With an AG determined to waste finite DOJ resources to prosecute even those who are compliant with state law, this amdt is more important than ever

— Sen. Patrick Leahy (@SenatorLeahy) January 4, 2018

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH):

As lead Democrat on DOJ funding subcommittee, I’ll work to ensure that resources are devoted to opioid response NOT foolish policy of interfering with legal marijuana production. My statement: pic.twitter.com/0w9x22ByQg

— Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (@SenatorShaheen) January 4, 2018

Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT):

Hatch office on DOJ’s marijuana announcement: “Senator Hatch encourages the Department of Justice to remove bureaucratic red tape – not put up roadblocks – to allow our nation’s top medical researchers to study the potential medicinal benefits of marijuana.” #utpol pic.twitter.com/nmTXOkcZ6K

— Senator Hatch Office (@senorrinhatch) January 4, 2018

Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) and Congressman Steve Cohen (D-TN):

“This change takes us in the wrong direction and is another step by the Trump Justice Department toward rolling back the sensible and more effective prosecution policies established by the Justice Department under President Obama. The Judiciary Committee should conduct hearings on these issues so that we may develop better strategies for preventing drug abuse and focusing the Justice Department’s efforts on those who pose the most serious threats to public safety.”

Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA):

Rohrabacher Blasts Attorney General’s Marijuana Policy Decision https://t.co/TeV9wmuWyj

— Dana Rohrabacher (@RepRohrabacher) January 4, 2018

I believe states, not the federal government, should determine the extent to which the use of #cannabis should be regulated, so I introduced H.R. 975, the Respect State Marijuana Laws Act of 2017. To read the bill, visit this link: https://t.co/kALjeM8aLS #marijuana

— Dana Rohrabacher (@RepRohrabacher) January 5, 2018

Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR):

There's nothing to be gained from going back to an era when fed resources were wasted prosecuting nonviolent cannabis crimes. This will create massive uncertainty, hurt local biz & tax revenue, & harm public safety by driving cannabis activity back into the dangerous black market

— Senator Jeff Merkley (@SenJeffMerkley) January 4, 2018

Jeff Sessions is turning back the clock to the failed “war on drugs.” Instead of punishing local businesses, how about focus those resources on actual problems, like the opioid epidemic that is killing tens of millions? https://t.co/agG1X1HqS2

— Jeff Merkley (@JeffMerkley) January 5, 2018

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R):

Statement from Gov. Baker's office on the DOJ memo on marijuana: "The administration believes this is the wrong decision and will review any potential impacts from any policy changes by the local U.S. Attorney’s Office.” pic.twitter.com/Ewk9FNr1on

— Gideon Resnick (@GideonResnick) January 4, 2018

North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum (R):

We support states’ rights when deciding whether medical marijuana should be legalized, and North Dakota voters have spoken.”

Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ):

Senator @CoryBooker on Attorney General Jeff Sessions' #marijuana policy change: "This is an attack on our most sacred ideals." pic.twitter.com/ehkAS2f65Y

— CSPAN (@cspan) January 4, 2018

Sessions' determination to revive the failed War on Drugs is fiscally wasteful, morally bankrupt, unjust—and won't make us safer. This backwards policy is wrong for America, and on the wrong side of history. https://t.co/KgoEtz3MrK

— Cory Booker (@CoryBooker) January 4, 2018

We must stop Jeff Sessions' backwards actions. There is now great urgency to pass the Marijuana Justice Act to legalize marijuana on the federal level.

Now is the time. Call your Senator. https://t.co/Cr8FZjITWI pic.twitter.com/9OMTz3VMjN

— Sen. Cory Booker (@SenBooker) January 4, 2018

Congressman Matt Gaetz (R-FL):

Dear @jeffsessions – Prosecute Hillary Clinton, not medical marijuana businesses and patients! https://t.co/GwMP3NETjY

— Matt Gaetz (@mattgaetz) January 4, 2018

I am extremely disappointed that AG Sessions is rescinding medical cannabis protections; it is a step backward for the American people. When Congress passes new spending bills, I will fight this misguided plan. Prosecute criminals, not patients!https://t.co/eklRBR5SXL

— Rep. Matt Gaetz (@RepMattGaetz) January 4, 2018

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D):

Despite backwards moves by the Trump administration, I will continue to protect cancer patients, kids with epilepsy, veterans with PTSD and all Pennsylvanians seeking relief from legal medical marijuana.

— Tom Wolf (@WolfForPA) January 4, 2018

Congressman Rod Blum (R-IA):

Because of @jeffsessions actions, I’m joining the “Respect State Marijuana Laws” bill. I believe in States' Rights & I’ve seen how cannabis derived medicines can stop seizures in a child, help a veteran cope with pain, or provide relief to a senior with glaucoma. #IA01

— Congressman Rod Blum (@RepRodBlum) January 5, 2018

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra (D):

In California, we decided it was best to regulate, not criminalize, cannabis. Unlike others, we embrace, not fear, change. After all, this is 2018 not the 20th century. 1/ https://t.co/71auR83R4V

— Xavier Becerra (@AGBecerra) January 4, 2018

Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosello (NPP):

Breaking with the Trump administration, Puerto Rico's Gov. cites "lack of awareness of the scientific evidence" as reason for the Attorney Generals decision to crackdown on states where marijuana is legal. @ricardorossello will "join any legal actions that arise to defeat it." pic.twitter.com/giW5A7Gi7D

— David Begnaud (@DavidBegnaud) January 4, 2018

Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD):

We should not be using federal law enforcement resources to lock people up for the use of marijuana. In fact, no one should be jailed for marijuana use. I strongly oppose AG Session’s decision yesterday. https://t.co/TO1aDg2utd

— Chris Van Hollen (@ChrisVanHollen) January 5, 2018

Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV):

Nevada voters made it clear that the state should be able to enforce its marijuana laws without federal interference. We must respect the will of states while ensuring prosecutorial resources are used effectively.

— Senator Cortez Masto (@SenCortezMasto) January 4, 2018

Nevada’s marijuana industry is a boon to our economy: it supports nearly 300 small businesses and currently employs more than 6,700 Nevadans. AG Sessions’ decision to ignore states’ rights will create uncertainty and could cost Nevada millions in economic revenue.

— Senator Cortez Masto (@SenCortezMasto) January 4, 2018

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA):

Instead of going after drug cartels, and violent crime, and major traffickers, Attorney General Jeff Sessions is going after recreational marijuana users. That’s not being smart on crime.https://t.co/BNlcxbTT4v

— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) January 4, 2018

Instead of wasting money on failed policies like the “War on Drugs,” the Department of Justice should be directing federal resources toward working with local law enforcement to clamp down on transnational criminal organizations and the trafficking of guns and human beings.

— Kamala Harris (@SenKamalaHarris) January 4, 2018

Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA):

.@SenBobCasey says he's concerned about how Sessions' pot action could impact PA medical marijuana and says states should determine own policies, per statement. "Bureaucrats in Washington should not interfere with the medical care these patients are receiving."

— Justine McDaniel (@McDanielJustine) January 4, 2018

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR):

My full statement on AG Sessions' announcement today: pic.twitter.com/6YaHskHxIF

— Ron Wyden (@RonWyden) January 4, 2018

Sen. John Hoeven (R-ND):

States are really determining how this issue will be handled now and going forward, and I don’t think this policy decision will change that.”

Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA):

“It seems to be the absolute opposite direction from where our country’s headed.”

Congressman Keith Ellison (D-MN):

The war on drugs didn’t stop drug usage; it just ruined a lot of lives. Jeff Sessions is reviving it because he believes in using the criminal justice system as an instrument of racial and economic control of poor people and brown people. https://t.co/XRd8OldE2N

— Rep. Keith Ellison (@keithellison) January 4, 2018

Congressman Kevin Cramer (R-ND):

Congress should act on this and make it clear that … this a states’ rights issue, that it should be up to states to determine whether they want to allow marijuana.”

Congresswoman Dina Titus (D-NV):

I will fight for businesses that are legally operating in states, contributing to tax bases, & creating jobs. We don't need a crackdown. We need to protect states' rights, respect the voice of voters, and pass laws to prevent this from happening again. https://t.co/0XBLrgf0iM

— Dina Titus (@repdinatitus) January 4, 2018

Congressman Jason Lewis (R-MN):

My statement on marijuana policy #MN02 pic.twitter.com/Q3OsYqZwky

— Jason Lewis (@RepJasonLewis) January 5, 2018

Congressman Scott Tipton (R-CO):

“The announcement by the Department of Justice is a drastic departure from the Attorney General’s previous commitment to Senator Cory Gardner during the confirmation process that he would uphold the Obama Administration’s treatment of marijuana enforcement and President Trump’s comments that he would leave it to the states. Furthermore it creates even greater confusion and uncertainty by leaving enforcement decisions up to federal prosecutors. The Department of Justice should provide guidance on enforcement of marijuana for states that have voted to legalize it. The people of Colorado voted to legalize marijuana in the state, and I am committed to defending the will of Coloradans.”

California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom (D):

Jeff Sessions has destructively doubled down on the failed, costly, and racially discriminatory war on drugs, ignoring facts and logic, and trampling on the will of CA voters.

Have no doubt — CA will pursue all options to protect our reforms and rights. https://t.co/0EuSp5GJ2z

— Gavin Newsom (@GavinNewsom) January 4, 2018

My full statement on Attorney General Jeff Sessions' harmful and destructive attempt to revive the failed war on drugs.

Calling on our federal leaders to move quickly to protect states’ rights from the harmful effects of this ideological temper tantrum by Sessions. pic.twitter.com/96xtRx6OYE

— Gavin Newsom (@GavinNewsom) January 4, 2018

"States rights" is nothing more than a catch phrase to Jeff Sessions. CA overwhelmingly voted to legalize marijuana. Sick and tired of elected officials who lack the courage to stand up for those that are unjustly targeted by the failed war on drugs. The time to speak out is now. pic.twitter.com/Pnj4rsKYF9

— Gavin Newsom (@GavinNewsom) January 7, 2018

Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval (R):

Statement from @GovSandoval on the Sessions removing the Cole Memo pic.twitter.com/DMOPdn99XO

— Colton Lochhead (@ColtonLochhead) January 4, 2018

Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR):

This is outrageous. Going against the majority of Americans—including a majority of Republican voters—who want the federal government to stay out of the way is perhaps one of the stupidest decisions the Attorney General has made. https://t.co/favJUDVBiA

— Earl Blumenauer (@repblumenauer) January 4, 2018

One wonders if Trump was consulted—it is Jeff Sessions after all—because this would violate his campaign promise not to interfere with state marijuana laws. It’s time for ANYONE who cares about this issue to mobilize and push back strongly against this decision. https://t.co/S0neITlP5q

— Earl Blumenauer (@repblumenauer) January 4, 2018

Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC):

Sessions has it exactly backwards. Americans are ending the war on marijuana, not escalating it. Republicans, get on board and remove the DC marijuana rider to let DC commercialize recreational marijuana as 7 states have done. #HandsOffDC https://t.co/oXMgu2rrMF

— Eleanor H. Norton (@EleanorNorton) January 4, 2018

Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA):

Jeff Sessions’ War On Drugs is a direct attack on communities of color, who bear the burden of overzealous policing & mass incarceration. This Attorney General makes a mockery of the so-called “Justice Department.”https://t.co/phJaVRD3Mr

— Rep. Barbara Lee (@RepBarbaraLee) January 4, 2018

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI):

Veterans suffering from invisible wounds like Post-Traumatic Stress and chronic pain, or with addiction to opioids, deserve our commitment to researching every possible treatment to help them, and Sessions is failing them.

— Tulsi Gabbard (@TulsiGabbard) January 4, 2018

Congressman Thomas Massie (R-KY):

Thank you @RepRodBlum for cosponsoring this bill with us! Marijuana laws should be set by the states, not the feds. https://t.co/S9iz0iy0FG

— Thomas Massie (@RepThomasMassie) January 5, 2018

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY):

Statement from @RandPaul on Sessions rescinding Obama-era marijuana guidance to U.S. Attorneys: "I continue to believe that this is a states’ rights issue, and the federal government has better things to focus on."

— CJ Ciaramella (@cjciaramella) January 4, 2018

Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV):

.@SenDeanHeller statement on Sessions move to rescind Cole Memo: "Knowing Attorney General Sessions’ deference to states’ rights….." #Marijuana pic.twitter.com/zas7dft3GM

— Colton Lochhead (@ColtonLochhead) January 4, 2018

Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND):

“I’m going to continue to follow this situation to see how it will impact our state, especially after North Dakotans made their voices heard and voted to legalize medical marijuana.”

Congressman Steve Cohen (D-TN):

Sessions will end policy that allowed legalized marijuana to prosper https://t.co/Jrx50hRwme Sessions & Trump for states rights to secede and discriminate but not to innovate and be as Justice Brandeis said,”the laboratories of democracy.”
Opioid crisis and no action.Pot?Get real

— Steve Cohen (@RepCohen) January 4, 2018

Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson (D):

AG Ferguson response on reported action by US AG Jeff Sessions on federal marijuana policy. Read AG Ferguson and @GovInslee's letter to Sessions correcting Sessions' bad information on WA marijuana law here: https://t.co/z1DY0fbnsE pic.twitter.com/i68zhtHc9A

— WA Attorney General (@AGOWA) January 4, 2018

Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA):

When it comes to the legal, adult use of marijuana, the voters in my home state of Washington, and in many other states, have spoken clearly and I intend to keep fighting to make sure Washington state is able to continue carrying out the will of its voters.

— Senator Patty Murray (@PattyMurray) January 4, 2018

Washington state has created a well-regulated system for the legal, adult use of marijuana that works for families and communities. I intend to keep fighting to make sure Washington state is able to continue carrying out the will of its voters.https://t.co/db84cwCmbP

— Senator Patty Murray (@MurrayCampaign) January 6, 2018

Congressman Ro Khanna (D-CA):

Let’s be clear: Trump’s decision to prosecute marijuana use will hurt Black and Latino youth the most. Privileged kids who use these drugs in private schools rarely get prosecuted. This is a civil rights issue. It’s not only bad policy. It’s morally wrong. https://t.co/REIekeWCeY

— Ro Khanna (@RoKhanna) January 4, 2018

We must allow states the right to move towards the decriminalization of marijuana, not turn back the clock as more states – like CA – legalize marijuana for medical and recreational use. I will do all I can to stop Sessions’ backwards decision to reverse the Cole Memo. https://t.co/i9a6njpG0M

— Rep. Ro Khanna (@RepRoKhanna) January 4, 2018

Congressman Jared Polis (D-CO):

.@realDonaldTrump pls stop your loser Attorney General from making you look weak and undermining you by putting big swamp government in the way of our state marijuana laws

— Jared Polis (@jaredpolis) January 4, 2018

It is absurd that @USAGSessions has broken @POTUS’s campaign promise & is now waging war on legal #marijuana & states’ rights. I am calling on the President to overrule & protect consumers, our economy, the will of voters, & states’ rights. #ColeMemo pic.twitter.com/sQCL0yFkzv

— Rep. Jared Polis (@RepJaredPolis) January 4, 2018

Colorado has proven that a thoughtful approach to cannabis works much better than the failed federal prohibition. And as #COgov, I will fight back against attacks by Jeff Sessions & the Trump administration that undermine the work we have done here in CO. https://t.co/EWWV4Po9Oq pic.twitter.com/bjrFZ7DmQ4

— Polis for Colorado (@PolisForCO) January 4, 2018

Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE):

Devoting our limited resources to prosecuting medical marijuana use that is permitted under Delaware state law is a poor allocation of federal time, money, and manpower that should be focused on more important things, such combating violent crime on our streets.”

Congressman Justin Amash (R-MI):

Under our Constitution, marijuana shouldn’t be federally criminalized. @RepTomGarrett has a bill that will stop AG Sessions in his tracks: the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2017 (#HR1227), which I’ve cosponsored.

Here’s a list of cosponsors: https://t.co/buRPtGh9Bm

— Justin Amash (@justinamash) January 5, 2018

Congressman Beto O’Rourke (D-TX):

We're not going to let Jeff Sessions drag us backwards. His decision on marijuana is terrible policy. pic.twitter.com/LxwWwBkid4

— Beto O'Rourke (@BetoORourke) January 5, 2018

Congressman Adam Schiff (D-CA):

As more states, including California, legalize and regulate marijuana, both for medicinal and recreational use, turning back the clock on federal enforcement is a waste of limited resources. I believe the hands-off policy should be reinstated, by Congressional action if necessary https://t.co/N2cA83k94g

— Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff) January 4, 2018

With a nationwide opioid epidemic and innumerable other priorities, busting legal marijuana sellers and medicinal dispensaries is wasteful and destructive. Whatever happened to their states’ rights creed? https://t.co/gDi8RTUylZ

— Adam Schiff (@AdamSchiffCA) January 4, 2018

Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D-ME):

As a member of Congress, I’ve cosponsored legislation to uphold state laws regarding marijuana legalization. I hope @TheJusticeDept will reconsider its one-size-fits-all approach so that congressional action is not needed. #mepolitics https://t.co/nFCV0ih6FS

— Chellie Pingree (@chelliepingree) January 4, 2018

Congressman Derek Kilmer (D-WA):

“This action by Attorney General Sessions would silence the voices of the majority of Washington state’s voters. No matter how you feel about the legalization of marijuana, this decision by the federal government to meddle in a state issue settled by public referendum is particularly troubling and would create tremendous uncertainty. It’s the wrong decision and is in direct conflict with the Attorney General’s long career of advocating for more autonomy for state and local governments.”

Congressman Seth Moulton (D-MA):

This is the opposite of what we should be doing. Let’s not kid ourselves – people will be using marijuana regardless of what Attorney General Sessions says. We have an obligation to regulate it and make it as safe as possible.
https://t.co/5JSGMLMnU4

— Seth Moulton (@sethmoulton) January 4, 2018

Congressman Darren Soto (D-FL):

AG Jeff Sessions leads fed crackdown on legalized marijuana. What century does he think we’re in? #Sayfie @JohnMorganESQ https://t.co/wnAsmvGZHY

— US Rep. Darren Soto (@RepDarrenSoto) January 5, 2018

Congressman Hank Johnson (D-GA):

More bad policies & politics from this chaotic, incompetent administration #marijuana policy. https://t.co/vS4F2tCcwh

— Rep. Hank Johnson (@RepHankJohnson) January 4, 2018

Congressman Tim Walz (D-MN):

While the VA moves (slowly) in the right direction, AG Jeff Sessions is dead set on overruling states that have legalized recreational or medical cannabis, including MN. I'll keep fighting alongside the 83% of vets & caregivers who support legalizing medical cannabis nationally. https://t.co/b6LkoPvxYP

— Rep. Tim Walz (@RepTimWalz) January 4, 2018

Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez (D-NY):

It makes no sense to dedicate additional fed resources toward marijuana enforcement when our nation faces an opioid epidemic & many states are taking steps toward marijuana decriminalization. Height of hypocrisy coming from party that makes ‘states rights’ a litmus test.

— Rep. Nydia Velazquez (@NydiaVelazquez) January 5, 2018

Washington, D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine (D):

DC residents voted overwhelmingly to legalize small amounts of marijuana, in part because of racial disparities in drug arrests and convictions. This is a step backwards for local autonomy and smart criminal justice policy. DOJ should focus on larger public safety priorities. https://t.co/AdCX8k3nDd

— AG Karl A. Racine (@AGKarlRacine) January 4, 2018

Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt (R):

Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt on rescinding of Cole Memo that created “hands off” approach by the Feds when it comes to state sponsored marijuana programs @News3LV pic.twitter.com/LNQyLnaTCR

— Nathan O'Neal (@NateNews3LV) January 4, 2018

Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh (D):

This puts the health and safety of patients at risk. It’s inhumane and short-sighted to take this away from people who are suffering.
Trump policy change on marijuana raises questions in Maryland https://t.co/XwX1LqX6vP

— Brian Frosh (@BrianFrosh) January 4, 2018

Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO):

In rescinding the Cole memo, the Attorney General failed to listen to Colorado, and will create unnecessary chaos and confusion. https://t.co/vSQuhlkv4D

— Michael F. Bennet (@SenBennetCO) January 4, 2018

Attorney General Sessions’ decision to rescind the Cole Memorandum completely disregards the steps Colorado has taken to regulate legal #marijuana dispensaries and retail stores.

Read my letter to the Attorney General: https://t.co/qx0DvobMUi

— Michael F. Bennet (@SenBennetCO) January 5, 2018

Congressman Mark Takano (D-CA):

More than 90% of veterans support research into medical cannabis as an alternative to addictive opioids. The DOJ's announcement will discourage progress on a potentially safer way to manage veterans’ post-traumatic stress and chronic pain. https://t.co/uW5AqTdrWb

— Mark Takano (@RepMarkTakano) January 5, 2018

Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal (D-WA):

I'm extremely disappointed in Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ attempt to disregard the will of the people and return us to the days of prohibition and the war on drugs.

— Rep. Pramila Jayapal (@RepJayapal) January 4, 2018

Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy (D):

“Especially during the midst of a national opioid crisis, medical marijuana provides an important alternative to opioids and is counted on for relief by 22,000 Connecticut residents. Rather than diverting critical federal resources and infringing on the will of the American people, Attorney General Sessions would do well to take a leaf out of Connecticut’s book, where our marijuana policies have allowed law enforcement professionals to focus on reducing violent crime, with demonstrated success. We will continue to follow Connecticut law regarding marijuana policy despite this short-sighted decision.”

Congresswoman Suzan DelBene (D-WA):

Attorney General Sessions’ decision to rescind the @TheJusticeDept’s Cole Memo is a slap in the face of the voters in every state that has chosen to legalize #marijuana. https://t.co/wEZFOe2UGu

— Rep. Suzan DelBene (@RepDelBene) January 4, 2018

Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR):

The Department of Justice has much more important things to focus on than prosecuting licensed, legitimate businesses. Oregon voters have spoken and the federal government must respect the will of the states that have legalized the use of marijuana.https://t.co/xqptVqvTyc

— Suzanne Bonamici (@RepBonamici) January 4, 2018

Congresswoman Julia Brownley (D-CA):

The state of California has the right to enact its own policies on marijuana, and the voters have spoken. Rather than wasting taxpayer money going after medical and recreational marijuana users, Attorney General Sessions should concentrate on protecting Americans from criminals. https://t.co/pbdTw6ANYS

— Julia Brownley (@JuliaBrownley26) January 5, 2018

Congressman Mike Thompson (D-CA):

The Trump Admin is rescinding a policy that has allowed states to freely operate legal marijuana markets. The people of CA have made their will clear and the Admin should help implement the policy responsibly, not subvert our democratic process. https://t.co/68haHERjI9

— Mike Thompson (@RepThompson) January 4, 2018

Congressman Ed Perlmutter (D-CO):

#JeffSessions' decision creates even greater uncertainty in the industry and shows a lack of respect for states’ rights. https://t.co/huaDOgsUvx

— Rep. Ed Perlmutter (@RepPerlmutter) January 4, 2018

Congressman Joe Crowley (D-NY):

The war on drugs was a costly failure that targeted communities of color and worsened mass incarceration. Attorney General Sessions has no business resurrecting the discriminatory policies of yesteryear.https://t.co/2v4l7sfdLq

— Rep. Joe Crowley (@repjoecrowley) January 4, 2018

Congressman Ryan Cosetllo (R-PA):

In 2016, PA passed a law to allow patients facing certain illnesses to legally use medical marijuana, and I believe it is critically important the Commonwealth’s law and patients who benefit from it are protected. https://t.co/y5xYFUebii

— Rep. Ryan Costello (@RepRyanCostello) January 7, 2018

Congressman Ruben Gallego (D-AZ):

Jeff Sessions' decision to ramp up DOJ #marijuana enforcement isn't just an infringement on states' rights – it's bad policy. Read my statement: pic.twitter.com/bhesdnifAj

— Ruben Gallego (@RepRubenGallego) January 4, 2018

We need to stop AG Sessions attempt to roll back the progress we have made to decriminalize marijuana. Time to legalize not criminalize.

— Ruben Gallego (@RubenGallego) January 4, 2018

Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey (D):

Mass. Attorney General @maura_healey weighs in on Jeff Sessions' move against legal marijuana in states, says it takes away from fight against opioid epidemic#mapoli pic.twitter.com/yGNXo0M5Kd

— Gintautas Dumcius (@gintautasd) January 4, 2018

Congresswoman Jacky Rosen (D-NV):

This is an insult to Nevada voters, an affront to states’ rights, and a threat to our local economy. Nevadans made it clear at the ballot box in 2016 that they support the legalization of marijuana for recreational purposes, and their decision should stand. https://t.co/lC6fsCOFWn

— Rep. Jacky Rosen (@RepJackyRosen) January 4, 2018

Congressman Peter Welch (D-VT):

Peter’s statement in response to Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ decision to reverse an Obama administration policy on the legalization of marijuana #vtpoli pic.twitter.com/rXthCg7EzS

— Rep. Peter Welch (@PeterWelch) January 4, 2018

Congressman Tom Garrett (R-VA):

Attention @DanaPerino @guypbenson @lesliemarshall2 My bill, HR 1227 would deregulate marijuana policy by removing federal oversight and empowering the 50 States… It has been around for a year now. Congress is TRYING to "do something."

— Tom Garrett (@GarrettforVA) January 4, 2018

H.R. 1227, the Ending Federal #Marijuana Prohibition Act, is a #bipartisan bill that gives states the ability to formulate their own marijuana policy free from federal interference. Read more HERE → https://t.co/TUF0Q5uaCW pic.twitter.com/rO0ti8ozXy

— Tom Garrett (@RepTomGarrett) January 5, 2018

Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa (D-HI):

.@TheJusticeDept is signaling to prosecutors that it is open season on marijuana dispensaries and businesses operating legally in states with established policies and procedures. What a complete waste of time. @jeffsessions https://t.co/RQMhHsJYz5

— Colleen Hanabusa (@RepHanabusa) January 5, 2018

Congressman Adam Lowenthal (D-CA):

AG Sessions’ move to attack state marijuana laws is nothing short of hypocritical. @GOP supports states’ rights when it suits them, and thwarts the will of voters when it doesn’t. https://t.co/J9VFpH665G

— Rep. Alan Lowenthal (@RepLowenthal) January 5, 2018

Congressman John Delaney (D-MD):

“The Cole Memo provided clear guidance to an otherwise conflicting situation. Revoking the Cole Memo will restore that confusion and undermines the will of the voters in several states.”

Congressman Ruben Kihuen (D-NV):

.@TheJusticeDept marijuana decision clashes with the will of hundreds of thousands of Nevadans and will put at risk a stable source of vital tax revenue for our state. pic.twitter.com/AGmHVdbbrX

— Rep. Ruben J. Kihuen (@RepKihuen) January 4, 2018

Congressman Adam Smith (D-WA):

The actions taken by AG Sessions to rescind existing protections for citizens complying w/lawfully enacted state laws regarding marijuana use across the country represents a flagrant disregard for the will of the majority of Americans. My full statementhttps://t.co/18k0NsLB3u

— Rep. Adam Smith (@RepAdamSmith) January 4, 2018

Colorado Senate Democrats:

The marijuana industry supports hundreds of small businesses across our state.

Since legalization, marijuana has generated $617,767,334 in tax revenue. Instead of going to drug cartels, that money helps fund our schools and addiction treatment programs for more dangerous drugs.

— Colorado Senate Dems (@COSenDem) January 4, 2018

This post will be updated as more reactions come in.

The post Lawmakers React To Sessions Anti-Marijuana Move appeared first on Marijuana Moment.

These States Are Likely To Legalize Marijuana In 2018

Tue, 12/26/2017 - 17:56

After four of five statewide marijuana legalization ballot initiatives were approved by voters in 2016, no additional states ended cannabis prohibition in 2017 (though New Hampshire did decriminalize possession of the drug and West Virginia allowed its medical use).

Now, a number of states are poised to legalize marijuana and approve other far-reaching cannabis measures in 2018.

Please visit Forbes to read the rest of this piece.

(Marijuana Moment’s editor provides some content to Forbes via a temporary exclusive publishing license arrangement.)

The post These States Are Likely To Legalize Marijuana In 2018 appeared first on Marijuana Moment.

Kampia out at MPP (Newsletter: Dec. 26, 2017)

Tue, 12/26/2017 - 12:40

Subscribe to receive Marijuana Moment’s newsletter in your inbox every weekday morning. It’s the best way to make sure you know which cannabis stories are shaping the day.

Trump notices medical marijuana patient’s case; 2018 legalization bills already introduced; Oppo funding numbers released

Subscribers who value this daily dispatch enough to show their support with a few dollars help me keep doing this. Please chip in, if you can afford it.
http://patreon.com/marijuanamoment

/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Marijuana Policy Project founder Rob Kampia is no longer employed by the organization and is starting a new cannabis-focused consulting firm. Marijuana Moment obtained Kampia’s three-page memo outlining the new company’s plans and spoke to him about the reasons he is leaving MPP. There are still several unanswered questions, some of which may be answered by a looming major newspaper story about previously unreported sexual misconduct allegations against him that is expected to be published soon.

President Trump is reportedly taking personal interest in the case of an American being punished for medical cannabis in Indonesia.

2017 isn’t even over yet, but lawmakers in a number of states are already making legislative moves to prepare for 2018 marijuana legalization efforts.

/ FEDERAL

U.S Attorney General Jeff Sessions ordered a review after a report indicated the Obama administration essentially allowed Hezbollah to traffic drugs into the U.S.

Congressman Andy Barr (R-KY) and two cosponsors introduced a bill to give hemp businesses greater access to banks.

U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) jokingly tweeted that an elderly couple arrested for marijuana was not him and his wife.

As a Festivus grievance, U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) noted that Hatch has better marijuana jokes than he does.

Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) issued a statement on the short-term extension of state medical cannabis protections.

Congresswoman Dina Titus (D-NV) tweeted that “we must end the threat [to medical cannabis] that comes with every deadline and provide a permanent solution.”

Congressman Ro Khanna (D-CA) tweeted that “ending the ‘war on drugs’ must include restorative justice for all those who had their lives destroyed by harsh convictions.”

Indiana Democratic congressional candidate Dan Canon supports legalizing marijuana.

The U.S. House industrial hemp bill got one new cosponsor, bringing the total to 39.

/ STATES

Ohio Sen. Joe Schiavoni, a Democratic gubernatorial candidate, supports legalizing marijuana. Another Democratic candidate, former state legislator Connie Pillich, said she would sign a marijuana legalization bill if passed by lawmakers.

A New Mexico senator prefiled a proposed marijuana legalization constitutional amendment.

California’s top marijuana regulator says the implementation of legalization “is going to be an adjustment for a lot of folks.” Separately, the state treasurer sent a letter to members of Congress requesting the extension of a federal budget rider protecting state medical cannabis laws.

Massachusetts regulators posted draft rules they initially approved last week.

Alaska regulators will discuss marijuana testing issues on January 2.

A West Virginia delegate plans to introduce legislation to allow vertical integration in the medical cannabis industry.

Some Colorado officials are questioning the validity of surveys that track youth marijuana use.

Iowa regulators are trying to figure out why more companies didn’t apply for state medical cannabis oil licenses.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Georgia’s interior minister admitted that the country’s drug policies are repressive.

/ ADVOCACY

Prohibitionist organization Smart Approaches to Marijuana released its 2017 annual report, showing more than $1.3 million in annual funding between its two branches.

A new group called Physicians, Families and Friends for a Better Vermont is lobbying against marijuana legalization.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study’s findings “do not support a link between reduced motivation and [cannabis use] among adolescents after controlling for relevant confounds.”

A survey found that “youth with [multiple sclerosis] endorse recreational marijuana as safe, and many use marijuana frequently despite appreciating a negative impact on memory.”

A study concluded that “Spanish-speaking Latino respondents had less accurate knowledge of laws permitting use of marijuana than English-speaking Latino respondents, while reporting greater agreement with negative health effects and higher perception of risk associated with marijuana use.”

/ BUSINESS

First Green Bank, which provided financial services to marijuana businesses, is now closing down such accounts.

Labor unions see a lot of potential in organizing marijuana industry workers.

/ CULTURE     

Monica Lewinsky tweeted happily about a marijuana strain named after her.

The post Kampia out at MPP (Newsletter: Dec. 26, 2017) appeared first on Marijuana Moment.

Rob Kampia Leaves Marijuana Policy Project

Sun, 12/24/2017 - 19:19

Marijuana Policy Project founder Rob Kampia is no longer employed by or serves on the board of the organization.

He is starting a new cannabis policy group called Marijuana Leadership Campaign (MLC), structured as a for-profit LLC consulting firm.

The new company “will focus almost exclusively on changing U.S. laws,” Kampia said in a relatively unusual memo shared with Marijuana Moment late Saturday night, which also says that the firm has lined up “nearly $500,000 in seed money” from “a marijuana investment firm in Los Angeles, a major marijuana dispensary in Colorado, Kampia’s wealthy friends in Texas (where he lives half-time) and a coalition of new donors in South Carolina.”

The split with MPP is occurring as greater attention is being paid to past allegations of sexual misconduct by Kampia amidst a national backlash against workplace sexual harassment and abuse.

In 2010, a lengthy Washington City Paper story reported that Kampia had sex with an intoxicated MPP employee, an incident after which a staff revolt nearly led to his ouster from the organization. He later took a leave of absence to seek therapy, telling the Washington Post that he was “hypersexualized.”

Now, Kampia’s departure from MPP comes as several sources tell Marijuana Moment that a major newspaper is working on a story about previously unreported allegations against the former executive director. It is unknown when that article will be published, but its existence has been an open secret in cannabis reform circles for weeks.

Formally leaving the organization is the second and final wave in Kampia’s diminishing role at MPP, which he co-founded in 1995.

In November, days before Thanksgiving, MPP announced that Kampia had stepped down from his role as executive director but would remain at the organization in a new capacity focused on fundraising and strategy.

The new memo, shared with Marijuana Moment just before midnight on the day before Christmas Eve, says that the first announcement “opened new business opportunities for Kampia” and that while he “initially proposed splitting his time equally between MPP and the new MLC, Kampia and his fellow MPP board members reached a second milestone by voting unanimously on Dec. 20 to end his full-time status at MPP this weekend.”

It was also revealed this week that Kampia is no longer a member of Students for Sensible Drug Policy’s Advisory Council. Kampia said in an interview with Marijuana Moment on Sunday that he remains a member of the National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA) board of directors.

The memo appears to lay out the case that Kampia’s departure from MPP has nothing to do with any old or new allegations of sexual misconduct, and he said in the interview that conversations among the organization’s board “about me shifting into lesser roles at MPP extend all the way back into late October.”

“We didn’t even talk about the s-word at all,” he said, referring to sex. “It wasn’t even on our minds, which I think was kind of naive of us given the stuff that’s happening with all of these celebrities.”

But Kampia acknowledged in the interview that he “did know that there was a story in the works somewhere” at the time he registered the domain name www.marijuanaleadershipcampaign.com on December 5.

“I didn’t know which publication. I didn’t know any of the questions. I didn’t know the name of the reporter. I didn’t know anything,” he said. “I just knew that people were sort of talking about how there’s a story in the works.”

Kampia has been a key architect of many of the most significant marijuana policy victories over the past two decades, and has arguably been the legalization movement’s best fundraiser.

In the memo, he says that MLC “will work alongside the institutions he views as most effective in each sector” of the movement and industry. While the document names MPP, NCIA and New Federalism Fund as “leading the charge,” and says that the new company will “provide substantial funding” for Doctors for Cannabis Regulation (DFCR), the Law Enforcement Action Partnership (LEAP) and Clergy for a New Drug Policy, Kampia said in the interview that he hasn’t “cleared the fact that I want to give them money” with those groups.

LEAP and DFCR did not respond to requests for comment.

The memo says Kampia will divide his time between work on Texas, South Carolina, Michigan and congressional cannabis policy reform efforts as well as “raising money to make MDMA (known as ‘Ecstasy’) available as a prescription medicine for the treatment of PTSD and end-of-life anxiety.”

He plans to raise more than $2 million in 2018 from steering committees comprised of donors contributing at least $100,000 each.

When asked if the investors who have already committed nearly half a million dollars to the new venture are aware of the looming newspaper story on sexual misconduct allegations, Kampia said that “they know about the worst allegations that have ever been made about me, and I have no reason to believe that the [newspaper] story will be worse than that, so these guys are friends of the family and they’re not going to be surprised by anything in the [newspaper] and in fact they might be pleasantly surprised.”

Several of the projects mentioned in the MLC document are campaigns that Kampia had been raising money to support through MPP, but he rejected the idea that his outside efforts would drain the nonprofit of resources.

“Are there people that want to fund Texas where they might otherwise be nervous about writing a check to MPP, where they might have to pay for payroll for Rhode Island, Vermont and the national operation?” he asked, suggesting that his new outfit would be “value-added” rather than competition.

“One thing for sure that no one would do if not for the fact that I’m going to agitate for it, is to take out Congressman Pete Sessions,” he said, referring to the Republican House Rules Committee chairman who has consistently blocked marijuana amendments from being voted on. “Take out, meaning not to date him,” he said, but to un-elect him.

In the memo, Kampia twice offers quotes that he suggests are in jest, at least in part.

In the first instance, he jokes that working full-time for nonprofit organizations is “a good way to avoid amassing wealth,” while working on marijuana policy reform through an LLC will allow him to form business relationships with for-profit institutions.

Kampia, who owns a Washington, D.C,. row house that he has often referred to as “The Purple Mansion,” dismissed concerns that people might take offense to his quip about amassing wealth.

“It depends on what your definition of wealth is. I don’t have cash,” he said in the interview. “All my money goes into my mortgage. So you could say that I have wealth or not, depending on your perspective. I don’t mind if that offends people or not, because socialists who are averse to wealth probably already hate me.”

He also “half-jokingly” wrote that he hopes “to be standing behind President Rand Paul during his bill-signing ceremony [for ‘the ultimate bill to legalize marijuana on the federal level’] in the White House in 2022.”

“I don’t think Trump is going to survive reelection,” he said when asked what Paul’s path to the presidency in the 2020 election would be. “I would like to see [Trump] impeached…and I think Mike Pence is tainted as a result of being in bed with Trump. So I think that you are going to see a bunch of challengers… Rand Paul was obviously my favorite candidate last time around and so I’m cheering him on. I don’t have any inside knowledge, though. I haven’t talked to him personally.”

The memo mentions Kampia’s holiday vacation plans in the Caribbean and says that when he returns to the country the new organization will hold a series of leadership meetings in Austin, Dallas and Washington, D.C.

He will also write a book that “provides an insider’s look at the marijuana-legalization movement.” He told Marijuana Moment that the working title is, “How We Legalized Marijuana.”

The memo offers a very specific account of the book’s progress to date.

“I’m particularly excited about writing my book, which will be nonfiction but will oftentimes read like fiction, as my life is strewn with outrageous experiences that are sometimes relevant to readers who have an interest in politics generally and marijuana policy specifically,” Kampia wrote. “The book is already one-eighth written, and I’m planning to spend my time in the Bahamas and other sunny islands writing another three- eighths of the book. In fact, one reason I’m leaving MPP is to write this book, with an aggressive book tour planned for the fall of 2018.”

As of Sunday afternoon, Kampia was still listed as an employee and board member on MPP’s website.

An MPP communications staffer could not be reached for comment by publication time, but a board member who did not wish to be named said, “I can confirm that we have been negotiating his permanent separation from the org for weeks and that he is no longer conducting any MPP business.”

Read Kampia’s full three-page memo on the new firm below:

Rob Kampia Memo by tomangell on Scribd

Photo courtesy of ReasonTV.

The post Rob Kampia Leaves Marijuana Policy Project appeared first on Marijuana Moment.

State Lawmakers Already Filing Marijuana Bills For 2018

Fri, 12/22/2017 - 15:46

There is widespread anticipation among marijuana policy watchers that 2018 could finally be the year that states begin legalizing cannabis by acts of lawmakers.

All eight states that have ended marijuana prohibition to date have been directed to do so by voters at the ballot box.

But not all states allow for ballot initiatives, and so at some point the fight to legalize cannabis will shift in earnest to legislative chambers, just as lawmakers began taking medical marijuana reform into their own hands after the first wave of voter-enacted laws in the 1990s demonstrated the popularity of the issue.

There are growing indications that the shift for recreational legalization is happening now.

In Vermont, House and Senate leaders and Gov. Phil Scott (R) have signaled in recent weeks that they are prepared to legalize marijuana very soon after the legislature reconvenes on January 3. Because the state operates on a biennium, all that is needed is one more House vote in favor of a previously-Senate-passed bill that the governor has pledged to sign.

New Jersey Gov.-elect Phil Murphy (D) campaigned on legalization, and the Senate president says he’s ready to pass a bill in 2018.

While many observers of cannabis policy are already aware the the Green Mountain State and Garden State are vying to be the first to legalize marijuana legislatively, lawmakers in other states are already making moves to prepare for anti-prohibition efforts in 2018.

On Thursday, a New Mexico senator prefiled a proposed constitutional amendment to legalize cannabis.

Also on Thursday, New York lawmakers announced that three Assembly committees will hold a joint hearing on marijuana legalization in January.

In New Hampshire, an early January floor vote could breathe new life into a marijuana legalization bill that was voted down in committee this year.

Missouri representatives have already prefiled two separate cannabis legalization bills.

These examples are just the earliest indications of what could be the busiest year on record for state cannabis lobbying efforts.

In 2017, Marijuana Moment tracked 59 separate marijuana legalization bills in state legislative chambers. (Overall, we tracked more than 300 marijuana bills ranging from penalty reforms to medical cannabis to licensing tweaks to nonbinding resolutions calling for federal action, and more.)

Marijuana Moment makes legislative tracking tools available to Patreon supporters pledging at least $25 per month to support our ongoing cannabis reporting work.

Supporters get access to custom interactive maps and charts so they always know where key bills are in the legislative process — in Congress and in all 50 states. The tools include full bill text, sponsor lists, amendments, vote tallies and more — on an automatically updated basis

Heat maps show concentrations of relevant bills in each state and Congress:

Click a state to see a sortable list of bills we’re tracking:

Click a bill to see detailed information on legislative progress, including scheduled hearings:

Access full bill text and compare amended versions:

A Patreon pledge to support Marijuana Moment not only helps us continue our reporting work, but gets you access to these tools that make it easy for your business or organization to track legislation that impacts what you’re working on.

Legislatures aside, five or more states could vote on marijuana legalization or medical cannabis ballot initiatives in 2018.

These States Will Probably Vote On Marijuana In 2018

The post State Lawmakers Already Filing Marijuana Bills For 2018 appeared first on Marijuana Moment.

Sessions rescinds old guidance — Cole memo safe for now (Newsletter (Dec. 22, 2017)

Fri, 12/22/2017 - 12:44

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NY legalization hearing scheduled for Jan.; Congress extends state protection deadline; Former CA AG starts marijuana businesses

 

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Congress approved a short-term extension of federal funding levels — and policy riders like state medical cannabis protections — through January 19. It still hasn’t been determined whether the marijuana provision will be included in full Fiscal Year 2018 legislation. President Trump is expected to sign the continuing resolution on Friday, along with separate tax reform legislation.

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded 25 previous federal guidance documents. Not among them is the Cole Memo, which lays out guidelines for states to avoid federal interference with their marijuana laws.

Three New York Assembly committees will hold a joint hearing on marijuana legalization on January 11.

/ FEDERAL

Rolling Stone spoke to a number of members of Congress about federal drug policy reform in 2017 and 2018:

  • Congressman Andy Harris (R-MD): “If you look at medical marijuana, it’s still in a grey zone about on whether or not there’s going to be very strict enforcement. I think this Department of Justice is not going to take it lightly, when states have recreational use of marijuana legalized.”
  • Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA): “I don’t think they have actually established their marijuana policy yet. I think the president needs to pay personal attention to it, because he made commitments during the election that he would support the legalizing medical marijuana, it should be left to the states, to legalize it that way as well as personal use, adult use…. It’s a total waste of money. The states – the people across this country – are voting for it, and for [Sessions] to think that he can superimpose his control over what adults will consume is contrary to our Constitution and a violation of individual freedom.”
  • Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR): “This next year there will be more expressions of that support as it builds around the country – more markets open up and more and more people take a stand in support of it. I mean, the train’s left the station.”  

A bipartisan group of 17 members of Congress wrote a letter to Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb pushing back on the agency’s threats on kratom. In a related press release, Congressman Jared Polis (D-CO) said, “Like cannabis, it should be legal and available.”

Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) decried congressional interference in Washington, DC’s marijuana laws in a House floor speech.

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions created a new Department of Justice Director of Opioid Enforcement and Prevention Efforts role.

ProPublica looks at the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s role in keeping silent the reasons for kidnappings conducted by a Mexican drug cartel.

/ STATES

California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) tweeted, “Legalizing marijuana is, at its core, about criminal justice reform. It’s about ending the failed war on drugs and fixing a broken system that has disproportionately affected low-income and minority communities.”

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) appears in an ad touting the state’s program to drug test food stamp recipients.

Massachusetts regulators unanimously voted to approve draft marijuana legalization implementation rules.

A Missouri representative prefiled a marijuana legalization bill.

Florida lawmakers filed legislation to expand medical cannabis retail licensing.

New Ohio legislation to increase penalties for drug trafficking exempts marijuana.Here’s a look at states’ efforts to test marijuana products.

The Associated Press looks at how people in legalized states are taking advantage of marijuana gifting provisions in laws during the holiday season.

/ LOCAL

Los Angeles County, California health officials will conduct inspections of marijuana businesses.

/ INTERNATIONAL

The Australian government is launching an online medical cannabis information portal for doctors.

/ ADVOCACY

The American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia successfully pressured a Georgia sheriff over his deleting marijuana comments from his Facebook page.

Cannabis Wire noticed that Marijuana Policy Project Founder Rob Kampia is no longer listed as a member of Students for Sensible Drug Policy’s Advisory Council.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that more than 63,600 people died of drug overdoses in the U.S. in 2016, the highest annual toll on record. More than 42,200 were linked to opioids.

A study of medical cannabis dispensaries in Colorado and Washington found that those in areas of that voted against recreational legalization ballot measures subsequently “accentuated the medical orientation of their identities,” whereas there was a “blurring of medical/recreational identity in communities where voters demonstrated support for recreational-use legalization in the state-level ballot.”

A study suggested that “cannabis use relates to reduced neural activity underlying attention to motion stimuli.”

/ OPINION & ANALYSIS

The Los Angeles Times editorial board wants California and federal officials to solve the marijuana industry’s banking access issues.

/ BUSINESS

Former California Attorney General Bill Lockyer (D) co-founded a marijuana concentrates and edibles company.

Jack In The Box and Merry Jane are partnering on a “Merry Munchie Meal” to celebrate California’s legalization of marijuana.

/ CULTURE     

Country musician Michael Ray was arrested for possession of cannabis oil.

The post Sessions rescinds old guidance — Cole memo safe for now (Newsletter (Dec. 22, 2017) appeared first on Marijuana Moment.

New York Lawmakers Holding Marijuana Legalization Hearing

Fri, 12/22/2017 - 00:03

New York lawmakers will hold a joint session on marijuana legalization early in the new year.

“This hearing will examine the potential for allowing regulated sale and adult possession of marijuana in New York and how it would affect public health and the criminal justice systems,” a notice posted on Thursday by the chairs of the Assembly Committees on Codes, Health and Alcoholism and Drug Abuse says.

Under current New York law, marijuana possession is decriminalized. But a loophole that allows police to bust people for cannabis seen in public view has led to robust arrest rates.

“Forty years ago, New York decriminalized non-public possession of small amounts of marijuana, making such possession a non-criminal violation punishable only by a fine. However, a significant number of people are arrested for public possession of a small amount of marijuana every year,” the hearing notice says. “Studies have repeatedly shown that those arrested are disproportionately African American and Latino. Existing laws expose many of these nonviolent offenders to possible imprisonment and a lifelong and unnecessary criminal record that can prevent gainful employment and full participation in society.”

The state also has a relatively limited medical cannabis laws that has gradually expanded over the years to allow greater patient access and qualifying conditions.

The three-committee joint hearing on legalization will be held on January 11.

Information on how to submit testimony is online here.

The post New York Lawmakers Holding Marijuana Legalization Hearing appeared first on Marijuana Moment.

100% of Oregon dispensaries pass cannabis sting operation (Newsletter: Dec. 21, 2017)

Thu, 12/21/2017 - 12:54

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Mexico to legalize cannabis edibles in 2018; HI adds ALS as MMj condition; ONDCP chief of staff fired

 

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

100% of Oregon marijuana retailers passed a sting operation and refused to sell cannabis to underage minors.

Mexico’s health regulator said the country will legalize sales of marijuana-based medicines, foods, drinks, cosmetics and other products early in 2018.

/ FEDERAL

The acting chief of staff and general counsel at the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy was suddenly dismissed.

Congressman Jared Polis (D-CO) made one more last-minute unsuccessful attempt to insert a fix to the 280E penalty on marijuana businesses into the tax reform bill. Congressman Ken Buck (R-CO), who is a cosponsor of a standalone 280E reform bill,  spoke up against adding it to the broader tax bill because he sees it as a “poison pill.”

U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) said that “federal marijuana policy is an issue where the government is light years behind the times.”

Congresswoman Dina Titus (D-NV) tweeted that “we must continue the fight to modernize our nation’s marijuana policies.”

Congressman Ro Khanna (D-CA) tweeted that expungement programs are an “important step in repairing the damage of past marijuana convictions.”

/ STATES

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) signed into a law a bill allowing expungement of criminal records for possession of marijuana with the intent to sell up to one ounce.

Maine lawmakers will hold a hearing on marijuana legalization implementation legislation on January 5.

Washington State Gov. Jay Inslee (D) did not include any funding for the state’s industrial hemp licensing program in his budget request, putting its future in jeopardy.

Colorado officials published a journal article on “lessons learned after three years of legalized, recreational marijuana.”

Oregon regulators voted to make changes to marijuana rules to implement approved legislation. They also released updated guidance on pesticide usage.

Hawaii regulators added Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis as a medical cannabis qualifying condition but rejected a petition to add general anxiety disorder.

Alaska regulators are concerned about potential inaccuracies in marijuana potency testing.

A Washington State representative prefiled a bill to earmark some marijuana tax revenue to pay for legal services for indigent defendants.

Ohio regulators released a list of medical cannabis processor business license applicants.

New Hampshire lawmakers prefiled legislation to create a medical cannabis oversight board.

A South Carolina senator discussed his recently filed resolution calling on the federal government to remove barriers to marijuana research.

A Guam senator says a bill to implement medical cannabis regulations is almost complete.

/ LOCAL

Travis County, Texas commissioners approved a proposal to allow people to avoid criminal charges for marijuana possession by taking a diversion program.

The Los Angeles, California City Attorney’s Office is concerned that a proposed public bank to serve the marijuana industry could violate federal laws.

New data shows continued racial disparities in St. Louis, Missouri marijuana enforcement.

/ INTERNATIONAL

The Canadian government is shooting down rumors of a possible delay in its marijuana legalization implementation timeline.

Lawmakers in Portugal will introduce marijuana legalization and medical cannabis legislation in early 2018.

Austria’s new government plans to ban the sale of hemp plants and seeds.

/ ADVOCACY

Longtime activist Dana Beal was arrested again for allegedly transporting large quantities of marijuana.

/ OPINION & ANALYSIS

Utah adults support a proposed medical cannabis ballot measure, 73%-23%.

A poll found that Michigan Republican primary voters oppose legalizing marijuana for adults over 18, 59%-25%.

The San Diego Union-Tribune editorial board is concerned that California still hasn’t solved the marijuana industry’s banking access issues.

The Bismarck Tribune editorial board is criticizing North Dakota regulators for delays in medical cannabis implementation.

/ BUSINESS

Nevada retailers sold $37.9 million worth of recreational marijuana products in October.

MassRoots is at risk of being evicted from its office over owed rent. (Disclosure: I am a former employee and minority shareholder.)

/ CULTURE     

HBO released a new trailer for season 2 of “High Maintenance.”

The post 100% of Oregon dispensaries pass cannabis sting operation (Newsletter: Dec. 21, 2017) appeared first on Marijuana Moment.

Oregon Marijuana Stores Score 100% In Youth Sales Sting Operation

Thu, 12/21/2017 - 01:28

The following is a press release from the Oregon Liquor Control Commission.

OLCC Launches Marijuana Retailer Minor Decoy Checks

Bend Licensees Pass OLCC Check for Sales to Minors

Portland, OR – The Oregon Liquor Control Commission has conducted the first of its statewide minor decoy operations to determine if marijuana license retailers are complying with state laws and OLCC regulations ensuring minors aren’t able to enter the business to purchase marijuana products.

On December 19, 2017 OLCC marijuana inspectors visited 20 marijuana retailers in central Oregon, and all of the 20 businesses visited in Bend and La Pine passed a check for prohibiting sales to a minor volunteer.

“That our licensed retailers in central Oregon scored 100 percent on refusal to sell marijuana to a minor is a sign that this segment of our regulated industry understands the importance of compliance,” said Steve Marks, Executive Director of the OLCC. “As we continue these checks I hope that these results will be reflected across the state.”

Sale of marijuana products to anyone under the age of 21 is a violation that for a first offense could result in a 10 to 30 day license suspension, or a fine of $1650, depending on whether or not the sale is intentional. Failure by a marijuana licensee, or its employee, to check a customer’s identification before the attempted purchase of a marijuana product is a violation that could result in a seven (7) day license suspension or a fine more than $1100.

During the sales checks, a minor volunteer attempts to enter a licensed marijuana retailer and/or purchase marijuana products from a licensed business to see if staff are checking ID’s correctly and refusing entry to anyone under 21. Commission inspectors supervise the minor volunteers. The volunteers carry their own legal ID that identifies them as under 21 and do not disguise their age or lie to encourage the sale of marijuana.

The Oregon Driver license for a minor carries a red border around the picture with the words “Minor Until” followed by the date of his/her 21st birthday.

The OLCC tests licensed marijuana businesses throughout the year, with each licensed retailer receiving a minimum of one visit per year. The OLCC offers a free training course on how to check ID’s and identify false identification.

“This is part of our stepped up compliance and enforcement activity,” said Marks. “We’re working to make sure that all segments of our regulated market are living up to the requirements of their license, and the expectations Oregonians have that they will act responsibly and follow the law.”

###

To see a list of marijuana retailers that were included in the sting operation, go here.

The post Oregon Marijuana Stores Score 100% In Youth Sales Sting Operation appeared first on Marijuana Moment.

V.A. issues updated medical cannabis policy for veterans (Newsletter: Dec. 20, 2017)

Wed, 12/20/2017 - 12:51

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Ben Carson slams drug war’s impact; Bill Nye on Schedule I; New Zealand MMj bill

 

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs issued a new medical cannabis policy that continues to bar government doctors from recommending marijuana but encourages them to talk more openly with veterans about it.

U.S. Housing and Urban Development Sec. Ben Carson spoke about how enforcing the war on drugs undermines anti-poverty efforts.

/ FEDERAL

Congresswoman Dina Titus (D-NV) slammed GOP congressional leaders for not undoing the 280E penalty on marijuana businesses as part of tax reform legislation.

/ STATES

Kentucky’s secretary of state spoke about her support for medical cannabis.

  • “My hope is Kentucky won’t be the last state to address the issue, and I’m tired of sitting back and waiting for the general assembly to address the issue… Kentucky is perfectly situated. We have the best farmland and the best people to be able to grow, cultivate and dispense medical cannabis for pain relief.”

Oregon saw a rise in the number of teens seeking treatment in an emergency room or calling a poison center after ingesting marijuana last year.

Rhode Island’s medical cannabis patient count grew 17% over the past year.

California regulators are deciding how to grant water access to marijuana growers.

A Virginia representative filed a bill to extend that state’s current affirmative defense protection for CBD or THC-A oil to people with cancer.

/ LOCAL

The Reading, Pennsylvania City Council withdrew a proposed marijuana decriminalization ordinance.

Denver, Colorado is using marijuana sales tax revenue to fund a campaign to encourage youth not to use cannabis.

Clark County, Nevada commissioners delayed a decision on whether to allow local standalone recreational marijuana stores.

/ INTERNATIONAL

New Zealand’s government revealed its medical cannabis legislation.

Mexican health regulators ruled against allowing home cultivation of medical cannabis.

Reuters looks at a police squad responsible for many deaths in the bloody Philippines “drug war.”

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that marijuana legalization will roll out “next summer” and not necessarily on July 1.

/ ADVOCACY

Past allegations of misconduct by former Marijuana Policy Project Executive Director Rob Kampia are resurfacing amidst a national backlash against workplace sexual harassment and abuse. Former MPP Chief of Staff Alison Green says she now regrets the way she responded to Kampia’s behavior at the organization.

In a potentially related development, the Drug Policy Alliance seems to have removed its honorary board from its website in the past week. Former Congressman John Conyers (D-MI) and music mogul Russell Simmons, both recently accused of sexual misconduct, were (are?) members.

A National Cannabis Industry Association board member stepped down, and a newly hired chief of staff parted ways with the organization.

AAA is urging New Jersey to slow down its march toward legalizing marijuana.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that “the majority of patients…believed that medical marijuana is a valid treatment and that it does have a role in reducing postinjury and postoperative pain,” and “those patients who used marijuana during their recovery felt that it alleviated symptoms of pain and reduced their opioid intake.”

Here’s a look at how Pennsylvania hospitals and medical schools are getting involved in cannabis research.

/ OPINION & ANALYSIS

A poll found that 66% of Americans believe legalizing marijuana will help the economy and that 64% think the federal government should not enforce prohibition in states that allow cannabis.

Public Policy Polling had a little fun in a holiday survey: “Much like gay marriage or marijuana legalization, ‘Die Hard’ as a Christmas movie is very much a generational issue. If pace of change in opinion over last 2 years continues it will be seen as Christmas movie by 2025.”

/ BUSINESS

The CannaInsider Cannabis Education Scholarship pays students to enroll in marijuana industry training programs.

Here’s a look at how California marijuana workers are increasingly joining unions.

Here’s a lengthy look at the demise of Tradiv, an aspiring “Amazon of the cannabis industry,” after its founder had a psychedelic religious experience.

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine announced that a report on marijuana research topped its 2017 bestseller list.

Longtime Seattle Times marijuana reporter Bob Young left his journalism job to become a state historian.

The Associated Press looks at looming struggles between big and small marijuana growers in California.

/ CULTURE     

Scientist Bill Nye says that marijuana’s Schedule I status is “not based in any science.”

The post V.A. issues updated medical cannabis policy for veterans (Newsletter: Dec. 20, 2017) appeared first on Marijuana Moment.

Bill Nye: Marijuana’s Federal Status ‘Not Based In Science’

Tue, 12/19/2017 - 20:54

One of the world’s most famous scientists says that the U.S. government’s classification of marijuana has absolutely nothing to do with science.

“Nobody’s really sure how it works, marijuana. Nobody’s exactly sure what it does,” he said in a new interview released on Tuesday. “And so there’s a very strong argument that keeping it as a Schedule I drug is not based in any science.”

Schedule I — most restrictive category under federal law — is supposed to be reserved for drugs with a high potential for abuse and no medical value.

“But people use marijuana and marijuana extracts for all sorts of medical applications, so you’ve got to think there’s something to it,” Nye said.

Researchers have often complained that keeping marijuana in Schedule I perpetuates extra hurdles that studies on other drugs don’t need to overcome.

In the new season of “Bill Nye Saves the World,” premiering December 29 on Netflix, the scientist is seen getting a medical cannabis recommendation and visiting a California dispensary.

But Nye doesn’t consume marijuana on camera. He does, however, play ultimate frisbee with teammates who are under the influence of cannabis, he said in the new interview with CNET.

In a separate interview released last month, Nye touted the benefits of legalization.

“I lived in Washington State for a long time, and Washington State legalized it in 2012. We legalized marijuana, we tax it,” he said. “We have a lot of tax revenue. It’s no longer criminalized. We don’t spend money on the police department. We spend money regulating the industry in the same way we regulate other substances.”

Bill Nye Likes Legalization, But Not Marijuana

Photo courtesy of Gage Skidmore.

The post Bill Nye: Marijuana’s Federal Status ‘Not Based In Science’ appeared first on Marijuana Moment.