Joint Committee Chair: Draft Regs Ignore Law Posted by on February 19, 2018 at 09:24:42 PT By Donna Goodison Source: Boston Herald Massachusetts -- The state rep who helped write the state’s legal marijuana law is blasting several of the Cannabis Control Commission’s draft regulations, saying they appear to have “disregarded” key provisions.
State Rep. Mark J. Cusack (D-Braintree), co-chairman of the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Marijuana Policy, wrote to the commission that he has “grave concerns” about draft regulations dealing with licenses for on-site social consumption establishments such as cafes and movie theaters, local control over them and minors’ access to those businesses, as well as licenses for delivery-only retailers, and micro-businesses that would be allowed to cultivate, manufacture and deliver pot to consumers. Read More... Lawsuit Could Be The One To Legalize Marijuana Posted by on February 15, 2018 at 05:55:27 PT By Mona Zhang, Contributor Source: Forbes Washington, D.C. -- On Wednesday, advocates and professionals in the cannabis industry descended on a federal court in New York to watch Justice Department lawyers try to dismiss a case against Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
The suit involves a motley crew of plaintiffs: Alexis Bortell and Jager Cotte, both pediatric medical marijuana patients, Jose Belen, an Army combat veteran who uses cannabis to treat his PTSD, Marvin Washington, a former New York Jet-turned cannabis entrepreneur, and the Cannabis Cultural Association, a non-profit dedicated to ending the war on drugs and promoting people of color in the cannabis industry. Read More... Democrats Forming Marijuana Legalization Consensus Posted by on February 15, 2018 at 05:45:36 PT By Tom Angell, Contributor Source: Forbes Washington, D.C. -- Support for marijuana legalization is quickly becoming a mainstream consensus position in the Democratic Party. Two of the party's leading potential 2020 presidential candidates joined together this week in support of far-reaching legislation that would end the federal prohibition of cannabis and encourage states to legalize the drug.
“Legalizing marijuana isn’t a matter of if, it’s a matter of when," Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) said about the legislation, the Marijuana Justice Act, which he introduced last August. Read More... Sessions Opposes Plan To Reform Prison Sentencing Posted by CN Staff on February 14, 2018 at 16:09:39 PT By Sarah N. Lynch Source: Reuters Washington, D.C. -- Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Wednesday warned the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee to not approve a draft criminal sentencing reform bill that he claims would reduce sentences for “a highly dangerous cohort of criminals.”
In a letter seen by Reuters, Sessions told Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman and fellow Republican Charles Grassley that he feared passage of the legislation would be “a grave error.” Read More... Calif. Poised To Become Largest Jobs Creator Posted by on February 14, 2018 at 11:11:31 PT By Julie Weed, Contributor Source: Forbes California is poised to become the largest recreational cannabis market in the world. It’s also a great place to get a job helping marijuana growers, processors, and sellers or work in adjacent services including legal advice, marketing and security for the nascent industry.
That’s according to ZipRecruiter, an online employment marketplace, whose data shows that Los Angeles and San Francisco advertised the most marijuana-focused jobs in the legal marketplace. “When it comes to growth in this industry, we see the most significant growth in states that recently loosened their marijuana laws,” said the report. California’s recreational cannabis market just opened, but it’s already topping the list of marijuana-related help-wanted postings. The next biggest employment centers are Denver and Seattle, major hubs in the longer-established recreational markets of Colorado and Washington. Read More... Seattle To Vacate Hundreds of MJ Convictions Posted by on February 09, 2018 at 05:30:04 PT By Daniel Beekman and Christine Clarridge Source: Seattle Times Seattle -- When your crime is no longer considered a crime, should it still count against you? Not when the crime is small-time marijuana possession, Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan and City Attorney Pete Holmes said Thursday. Since Washington legalized marijuana in 2012, some people have been stuck with criminal records for misdemeanor pot convictions while watching others make killings off the business of selling legal weed.
So Seattle will move to go back and vacate misdemeanor marijuana-possession convictions prosecuted by the city before legalization, Durkan and Holmes said. Read More... Marijuana Can Save Lives Posted by on February 08, 2018 at 12:58:46 PT By Richard A. Friedman Source: New York Times USA -- This week, Attorney General Jeff Sessions paused a discussion of the opioid epidemic to, once again, go after marijuana. He suggested that addictive pain medication wasn’t the only problem and that many heroin addicts start out “with marijuana and other drugs.”
There is a relationship between cannabis and opioids, but Mr. Sessions has it backward. Marijuana isn’t a gateway drug to opioid addiction; it’s a safer alternative to pain medicines. Mr. Sessions’s vow to crack down on marijuana will only make the opioid epidemic worse. Read More... Sessions Says Marijuana Fuels the Opioid Epidemic Posted by on February 08, 2018 at 12:40:42 PT By Julia Lurie Source: Mother Jones Washington, D.C. -- At a Heritage Foundation event celebrating Ronald Reagan’s birthday this week, Jeff Sessions made a familiar argument: Easy access to marijuana is helping fuel the opioid epidemic. The Drug Enforcement Agency says that the vast majority of heroin addiction starts with prescription painkillers, he acknowledged, but “We think a lot of this is starting with marijuana and other drugs, too.”
Quote: A 2016 study found that marijuana use was associated with a 64 percent reduction in opioid use among patients with chronic pain. Read More... Marijuana is Now Legal in California Posted by on February 06, 2018 at 10:54:22 PT By The Times Editorial Board Source: Los Angeles Times California -- Marijuana is now legal under California law, but hundreds of thousands of Californians have criminal records for possessing or selling the drug when it was still banned. Those records can make it harder for people to get a job, obtain a loan, go to college, rent an apartment or otherwise become productive members of their community — even if their marijuana arrest happened decades ago.
Proposition 64 not only allowed the sale and adult use of marijuana going forward, subject to state and local regulation, it applied the law retroactively and created a process for people to have certain pot convictions reduced or expunged entirely from their records. Yet few people — about 4,900 — have filed for expungements in the first year. Perhaps they don't know that this relief is available. Perhaps it's too expensive or intimidating; the process requires hiring a lawyer, filing a petition and going to court. Read More... Governor Looking Into Dismissing MJ Convictions Posted by on February 05, 2018 at 14:10:52 PT By Rebecca Savransky Source: Hill Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) said he is looking into the idea of dismissing convictions for nonviolent marijuana offenders. During an interview on the news network Cheddar, Hickenlooper said "it's roughly about 40 cases where we can be absolutely sure there was no violence involved in the sentencing."
"For several of the people, a number of them, it was multiple times that they'd been arrested and prosecuted for marijuana or marijuana sales," he said.
"So we're going to go back and look at those and I think it's legitimate to at least go case by case and say, alright, if we can get these people out of jail and take some of the pressure, the cost." Read More... California Makes Marijuana a Wellness Industry Posted by on February 01, 2018 at 15:11:12 PT By Dana Goodyear Source: New Yorker Magazine California -- By the time recreational marijuana usage became legal in California, on New Year’s Day, the government’s official permission seemed, for many Californians, like a belated, nearly irrelevant formality. Twenty-two years of ready access to medical marijuana had made casual consumption—a pull off a vape pen on the walk to dinner, post-prandial pot chocolates circulating in the living room, a THC strip tucked under the tongue—no more remarkable than an aperitif. Actually, less remarkable than a drink, because everyone knows that alcohol is bad for you (kills your stem cells, gives you cancer, makes you grouchy, paunchy, gray), whereas, increasingly, the industry is equating conscious marijuana use with sublime good health. Read More... San Francisco Will Wipe Out Marijuana Convictions Posted by on January 31, 2018 at 14:35:30 PT By Sarah Parvini and Rong-Gong Lin II Source: Los Angeles Times California -- San Francisco will retroactively apply California's new marijuana legalization laws to prior convictions, expunging or reducing misdemeanor and felony convictions dating back to 1975, the district attorney's office announced Wednesday.
Nearly 5,000 felony marijuana convictions will be reviewed, recalled and resentenced, and more than 3,000 misdemeanors that were sentenced prior to Proposition 64's passage will be dismissed and sealed, Dist. Atty. George Gascón said. The move will clear people's records of crimes that can be barriers to employment and housing. Read More... Marijuana Sanctuary State? Posted by on January 26, 2018 at 05:32:13 PT By Linley Sanders Source: Newsweek Massachusetts -- Democrats in Massachusetts are pushing their state to become the first so-called sanctuary from marijuana prosecution as Attorney General Jeff Sessions pushes a crackdown on the legalized drug.
Legislation proposed in the Massachusetts House of Representatives would prohibit state and local police from contributing resources to marijuana-related investigations, said Massachusetts Representative David Rogers. He told Newsweek that the bill is in response to Sessions's recent shift in an Obama-era policy that said The Justice Department would not interfere with marijuana businesses and use in states where it was allowed. Read More... Trump Administration Should Back Off of Marijuana Posted by on January 25, 2018 at 15:19:32 PT By Melina Delkic Source: Newsweek Washington, D.C. -- Bipartisan lawmakers are urging the Trump administration to back off of marijuana, they wrote in a letter on Thursday.
The letter, an effort spearheaded by Senator Elizabeth Warren, Democrat of Massachusetts and Representative Jared Polis, Democrat of Colorado, urged the president to stand in Attorney General Jeff Sessions' way as he attempts to roll back protections for marijuana in the United States, focusing on the president's campaign promises to leave marijuana alone. Fifty-four members of Congress signed. Read More... Pharmaceutical Industry Brings Cannabis to FDA Posted by on January 25, 2018 at 12:00:37 PT By Kate Sheridan Source: Newsweek Washington, D.C. -- A prescription medication made from marijuana might be approved by the Food and Drug Administration this summer. The advance could be a huge step forward for people with epilepsy, which this drug treats. And it would signal a new—some would say long-delayed—embrace of cannabis-based medications in the U.S.
GW Pharmaceuticals, the company behind the drug, started the approval process with the FDA last year, and a study published this week offers more encouraging signs. Read More... Marijuana Legalization is Succeeding Posted by on January 25, 2018 at 05:14:40 PT By Jolene Forman Source: Hill USA -- Recently Governor Phil Scott signed H.511 into law, making Vermont the ninth state to legalize marijuana, and the first to do so through a state legislature.
Vermont’s new law comes only weeks after Attorney General Sessions rescinded Obama-era guidance limiting federal interference with state marijuana programs. Whether Sessions likes it or not, the federal government cannot prevent states from legalizing marijuana. Even if he could stop them, it would be bad policy — and bad politics. Read More... About That Joint: Marijuana Start-Ups Pass Posted by on January 24, 2018 at 13:07:11 PT By Farhad Manjoo Source: New York Times California -- The streets of San Francisco have always smelled of marijuana. Yet it’s worth noting that the city doesn’t seem to have gotten much smellier in the new year, after the recreational use of marijuana became legal in California under a law approved by voters in 2016.
Well, obviously: because nobody smokes marijuana anymore. Everyone’s vaping it. Or eating, drinking, sipping, dabbing, sucking on lozenges, chewing on gum, applying unguents or administering a drop or two of a cannabis-infused tincture under one’s tongue, where it is absorbed into the sublingual artery, within minutes producing an invisible, odorless, private high. Read More... Vermont Governor Signs Marijuana Legalization Bill Posted by on January 23, 2018 at 13:18:32 PT By Reid Wilson Source: Hill Vermont will become the latest state to allow the possession of marijuana for recreational purposes under a new measure signed into law Monday by Gov. Phil Scott (R).
The measure brings the number of states where recreational marijuana is legal to seven. But the Vermont bill is notable because it is the first time a state legislature has voted to legalize the drug. Read More... Murphy To Expand Access To Medical Marijuana Posted by on January 23, 2018 at 13:11:14 PT By Nick Corasaniti Source: New York Times New Jersey -- Having campaigned on a pledge to fully legalize marijuana, Gov. Philip D. Murphy took the first step toward expanding access to the drug in New Jersey on Tuesday, signing an executive order that would ease regulations on the use of marijuana for medical purposes.
New Jersey legalized medical marijuana in 2010, but Mr. Murphy’s predecessor, Chris Christie, a Republican, kept tight limits on the drug, including on which conditions could qualify for prescriptions. Read More... Bills Would Defund Federal Civil Forfeiture Posted by on January 20, 2018 at 16:03:08 PT By Nick Sibilla , Contributor Source: Forbes Washington, D.C. -- Amid relentless partisan bickering, it can be downright surprising when Members of Congress actually agree on a major policy reform. Multiple bills currently pending on the Hill would defund or eliminate many federal civil forfeiture programs. This notorious power enables law enforcement to permanently confiscate cash, cars, real estate and other valuable property without ever charging the owner with a crime. In a Kafkaesque twist, the property is the defendant in civil forfeiture cases, while owners must prove their innocence to recover what was taken. Read More... House Bill Seeks To End War On Marijuana Posted by on January 19, 2018 at 05:29:56 PT By Janet Burns Source: Forbes Washington, D.C. -- Yesterday, Representatives Barbara Lee and Ro Khanna introduced a house bill aimed to reform federal cannabis laws and foster healing in communities that prohibition has hurt most.
Introduced in the Senate last August by New Jersey Senator Cory Booker, the 'Marijuana Justice Act of 2017' seeks to remove cannabis from the U.S.' illegal and restricted drug 'schedule,' and to address the destructive impacts that cannabis prohibition continues to have on both individuals and their government. Read More... VA Won't Study Marijuana's Effect on Veterans Posted by on January 17, 2018 at 05:20:46 PT By Katie Zezima Source: Washington Post Washington, D.C. -- The Department of Veterans Affairs says it will not conduct research into whether medical marijuana could help veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and chronic pain, as veterans groups are pushing for the use of the drug as an alternative to opioids and anti-depressants.
In a letter to U.S. Rep. Tim Walz (D-Minn.), Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin said VA’s ability to research medical marijuana is hampered by the fact that the drug is illegal federally. Shulkin’s letter came in response to an inquiry by 10 Democrats on the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee. The letter asks Shulkin to commit the VA to investigating whether medical marijuana can help veterans suffering from PTSD and chronic pain and identify barriers to doing so. Read More... Family of Doctors Helps Reinvent Medical Marijuana Posted by on January 15, 2018 at 05:05:12 PT By Justin Wm. Moyer Source: Washington Post Oregon and California -- The Knoxes are a clan of four doctors living in Oregon and California who specialize in medical marijuana. They seem to be doing quite well selling something that is illegal in many states, working with those they know best.
“We’re all fighting the same fight,” said Janice Knox, the founding doctor behind American Cannabinoid Clinics in Portland, Ore. — and the mother of two fellow physicians and the wife of the other. “I think when they do see us they’re surprised at who we are,” she said of her patients. The family aims for something not always associated with medical marijuana: professionalism. Read More... Vermont Senate Passes Bill To Legalize Marijuana Posted by CN Staff on January 10, 2018 at 13:17:43 PT By Scott Malone Source: Reuters Vermont -- Republican Governor Phil Scott is expected to sign the bill, which passed the Democratic-controlled Senate by a voice vote. The Democratic-controlled House of Representatives passed the measure last week. Although Vermont is one of the most politically liberal states, it is also one of 23 in the nation that do not allow ballot initiatives.
The Vermont bill would allow those 21 and older to possess up to one ounce of marijuana, two adult plants and four immature plants beginning on July 1. It does not immediately clear the way for retail sales of the drug, leaving that up to a commission created last year to study how to tax and regulate it. Read More... New Hampshire Lawmakers Approve MJ Legalization Posted by on January 09, 2018 at 16:41:43 PT By Tom Angell Source: Forbes N.H. -- 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 is expected to soon move 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. Read More... Jeff Sessions’s Endless War on Marijuana Posted by on January 08, 2018 at 05:34:17 PT By The NYT Editorial Board Source: New York Times Washington, D.C. -- The key to understanding the Trump administration’s approach to policy, it seems, is to look at what most Americans want and then imagine the opposite.
Consider the new guidance on marijuana that Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued last week, which reverses Obama-era policy and gives prosecutors more leeway to enforce federal laws against the drug in states where it is legal. Mr. Sessions has been on a lifelong crusade against the plant, which he considers the root of many of society’s ills. Read More... DOJ's Memo Creates Big Decision for US Attorneys Posted by on January 07, 2018 at 07:31:38 PT By Lydia Wheeler Source: Hill Washington, D.C. -- Attorney General Jeff Sessions is leaving it up to federal prosecutors to decide whether to crack down on marijuana in states where medical and recreational use is legal.
In rescinding the Obama-era policy that relaxed enforcement of federal marijuana laws on Thursday, Sessions opened the door for federal prosecutors to begin pursuing cases. But the memo didn’t explicitly call for action, experts noted. Read More... NY Lawmakers Ask Congress to Pass Marijuana Law Posted by on January 06, 2018 at 12:39:54 PT By Josefa Velasquez Source: New York Law Journal New York -- The architects of New York’s medical marijuana program are asking Congress to pass legislation allowing medical and recreational use programs after U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced Thursday that he is rescinding an Obama-era policy that generally kept federal law enforcement from interfering with states’ marijuana sales.
Assemblyman Richard Gottfried and state Sen. Diane Savino, both Democrats who helped craft New York’s medical marijuana program, are calling on U.S. Congress to enact legislation that would protect marijuana programs in the states that have them, which include New York and California, among others. Read More... Defiant Vermont Legislators Vote To Legalize MJ Posted by CN Staff on January 05, 2018 at 15:14:56 PT By Christopher Ingraham Source: Washington Post Vermont -- The Vermont House of Representatives voted 83 to 61 Thursday in favor of a bill that would fully legalize the possession of up to an ounce of marijuana and allow individuals to grow up to six marijuana plants at home.
The bill is expected to win approval in the Senate, which passed a nearly identical version last year. The state's Republican governor, Phil Scott, has already said he is “comfortable” with the legislation and has signaled he'd sign it. Read More... California Defiant in Face of Federal Move Posted by on January 05, 2018 at 13:50:32 PT By Thomas Fuller Source: New York Times San Francisco -- The sale of recreational cannabis became legal in California on New Year’s Day. Just four days later, the Trump administration acted in effect to undermine that state law by allowing federal prosecutors to be more aggressive in prosecuting marijuana cases.
A memo by Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Thursday was widely interpreted in the nation’s most populous state as the latest example of Trump vs. California, a multifront battle of issues ranging from immigration to taxes to the environment. Read More...
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