Trump won't “turn his back” on Colorado pot laws, GOP lawmaker says

Trump won't “turn his back” on Colorado pot laws, GOP lawmaker says

A top Republican lawmaker in Colorado is casting doubt on whether Donald Trump’s administration will crack down on the legalization of marijuana, saying the new president wouldn’t “turn his back” on state’s rights.

Colorado Senate President Pro Tem Jerry Sonnenberg, the chamber’s No. 2 Republican and a Trump supporter, reacted after the statement from White House spokesman Sean Spicer that recreational pot will face “greater enforcement.”

“I’m not sure I’d put too much thought or too much credit into what he was saying,” Sonnenberg told reporters Monday morning. “This president has been all about federalism and giving the states more authority, this just flies in the face of that. So I would anticipate not much coming from that.”

Gov. John Hickenlooper downplayed the suggestion a day earlier in a “Meet the Press” interview, affirming that he didn’t believe the federal government would target states like Colorado that legalized weed.

Colorado U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner has suggested a change in federal policy toward states on marijuana is unlikely, but Sonnenberg’s comments are the most forceful Republican push back against the White House on the issue since the announcement Thursday.

“Colorado has been the leader when it comes to marijuana and the regulation,” he said. “People look to us for leadership, and I don’t think our new president will turn his back on allowing states to do what they need to do, whether (marijuana) or anything else.”

In the TV interview Sunday, Hickenlooper suggested that even though he opposed Amendment 64, he is moving closer to supporting legalized pot. But Sonnenberg disputed that there is a shift in public opinion on the issue — even though Republican lawmakers are sponsoring various bills related to easing marijuana rules in Colorado.

“The vast majority of the people who supported marijuana continue to support it and the vast majority of the those that hated it in the beginning, still hate it,” he said.

This story was first published on DenverPost.com

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Published at Mon, 27 Feb 2017 18:07:39 +0000

Suits to Resurrect MILegalize 2016 Initiative Failing, Attention Turns to 2018

Suits to Resurrect MILegalize 2016 Initiative Failing, Attention Turns to 2018

Suits to Resurrect MILegalize 2016 Initiative Failing, Attention Turns to 2018

We have previously reported on twin court battles challenging a now-rescinded state policy on “rehabilitation” of petition signatures that kept MILegalize from making Michigan’s 2016 ballot. Coverage can be found at the links below:

MI Legalize Petition Signers Head to Federal Court, but Are Unlikely to Find Early Relief

No Marijuana Measure on November Ballot—Federal Judge Rejects Bid to Halt Michigan Election Process

Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court closed the door on one of these challenges, rejecting without comment a petition for certiorari that asked the Court to hear a challenge to the decisions of Michigan’s appellate courts.

The other litigation effort to belatedly save the 2016 MILegalize initiative appears to be languishing before Judge Parker in the U.S. Eastern District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. The State of Michigan filed a motion to dismiss that case back in October, and briefing on the motion was complete on December 9, 2016. No further action has been taken by the court in that case.

With efforts to salvage the 2016 initiative apparently stalled, MILegalize has joined with the Marijuana Policy Project in preparing a draft of an initiative for 2018. As we wrote last week, anyone with comments on that draft has been asked to submit comments by this Saturday, February 25. In the meantime, MILegalize has scheduled a $500 per ticket fund raising event in Detroit for March 23.

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Published at Wed, 22 Feb 2017 17:00:00 +0000

Marijuana industry angered by White House reversal

Marijuana industry angered by White House reversal

The Columbian / Associated Press

The cannabis industry was rattled Thursday after White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said he expects the Department of Justice to increase enforcement of federal laws prohibiting recreational pot, even in states where it’s already legal.

Along with the District of Columbia, eight states have legalized recreational use among adults, including California, Maine, Massachusetts, and Nevada just this past November. That means one in five American adults can smoke, vape, drink, or eat cannabis as they please under state law.

Meanwhile, over half of the nation’s states have legalized medical marijuana despite federal laws prohibiting its sale. The industry is estimated to be worth north of $6 billion and will hit $50 billion by 2026, according to Cowen & Co.

“Today’s news coming out of the administration regarding the adult use of cannabis is, of course, disappointing,” Derek Peterson, CEO of marijuana cultivator Terra Tech Corp., said Thursday in a statement. “We have hoped and still hope that the federal government will respect states’ rights in the same manner they have on several other issues.”

Spicer sought to distinguish the prospect of federal enforcement for medical, versus recreational, cannabis use, saying “there’s still a federal law that we need to abide by when it comes to recreational marijuana and other drugs of that nature.”

Spicer’s statements reanimated industry concern that first arose when Republican President Donald Trump’s short-list of potential attorney general nominees emerged. The final pick, former senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama, a Republican, has long opposed cannabis use, but is a major proponent of state’s rights.

In his mid-January confirmation hearing, Sessions said he wouldn’t “commit to never enforcing federal law” but added that “absolutely it’s a problem of resources for the federal government.” He said that if Congress felt marijuana possession should no longer be illegal, it “should pass a law.” Trump has similarly gone back and forth on the issue of legalization.

The Bloomberg Intelligence Global Cannabis Index fell as much as 3.7 percent after Spicer’s press briefing.

A crackdown on the industry would reverse existing federal policy and go against public opinion. The Obama administration largely deferred to the states, instead focusing on preventing distribution to minors, blocking sales across state lines, and keeping it out of the hands of gangs and criminals. A recent poll from Quinnipiac University found 71 percent of voters think “the government should not enforce federal laws against marijuana in states that have legalized medical or recreational use.”

The Drug Policy Alliance, a nonprofit organization that advocates for drug policy reform, cited the poll on Twitter in a reaction to Spicer’s statement. Of the more than 1,300 voters polled, 59 percent said marijuana should be legal in the U.S. Notably, Republicans opposed widespread legalization 61 percent to 35 percent.

Some in the cannabis industry see the federal reversal as a contradiction of the administration’s stated positions on state’s rights and job creation.

“To have Mr. Spicer say in one sentence that they’re a state’s rights administration and in the very next sentence say they’re going to crack down … it just defies logic,” said Robert Capecchi, director of federal policies for the Marijuana Policy Project, an organization that lobbies for pot-friendly changes to drug-related legislation.

The industry is also an abundant source of revenue, according to Patrece Bryan, president of Cannabrand, a pot focused marketing firm. New Frontier Data says the cannabis industry will create more than 283,000 jobs by 2020.

“This is absurd. For a president who ran under the banner of job creation, he actually needs to start looking at where the jobs are being created,” she said. “With Colorado generating $1.8 billion over a 10 month period, this is America’s new agriculture. Why would we take this revenue away from our country?”

The Drug Policy Alliance echoed Bryan’s point, noting that eliminating part of the legal cannabis market would mean “wiping out tax-paying jobs and eliminating billions of dollars in taxes.”

Still, not everyone was frantic about Spicer’s comments. The tacit endorsement of medical pot use was comforting, said Allen St. Pierre, a partner at Strategic Alternative Investments, which focuses on marijuana. Ian Eisenberg, founder of Seattle-based pot retailer Uncle Ike’s, was also sanguine.

“After the feds learn how well regulated Washington’s adult use and medical cannabis markets are, they will leave it status quo,” he said. Between July 2014 and April 2016, the state reportedly collected close to $200 million in tax revenue on cannabis.

Republican Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado, where pot is legal, said he was assured before Sessions’ confirmation that there would be no drastic changes to federal policy. “That was the take-away from my conversation with Jeff,” Gardner said. “It’s not a priority of the Trump administration.”

Other politicians in states where recreational use is allowed said they will act to protect the industry. “These comments leave doubt and uncertainty for the marijuana industry, stifling job growth in our state,” said Democratic Rep. Jared Polis of Colorado.

Nevada Senate Majority Leader Aaron Ford, a Democrat, said his state’s attorney general “must make it immediately clear that he will vigorously defend Nevada’s recreational marijuana laws from federal overreach.”

Given the size and growth trajectory of the industry, entrepreneurs are not going to shut their doors without a fight, warns Troy Dayton, CEO of Arcview, a cannabis market research firm.

“People don’t respond well to having freedom taken away,” Dayton said.

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Published at Fri, 24 Feb 2017 17:44:56 +0000

Trump administration puts recreational marijuana in crosshairs

Trump administration puts recreational marijuana in crosshairs

Recreational marijuana is in the sights of the Trump administration, White House spokesman Sean Spicer said Thursday.

Spicer, during his daily briefing, gave the first clear glimpse at how the new administration views the burgeoning rise of legal marijuana.

“There’s a big difference between (medical marijuana) and recreational marijuana, and I think when you see something like the opioid addiction crisis blossoming in so many states around this country, the last thing we should be doing is encouraging people,” Spicer said, when asked about the topic of legalization. “There is still a federal law that we need to abide by in terms of recreational marijuana and other drugs of that nature.”

When asked about enforcement action, Spicer deferred to the U.S. Department of Justice.

“That is something you should follow up with … them but they are going to continue to enforce the laws on the books with respect to recreational marijuana,” Spicer said, according to a CSPAN transcript. “I think it was pretty real.”

A Quinnipiac poll released Thursday found 71 percent of Americans surveyed would oppose a federal crackdown on legal marijuana, and 93 percent are in favor of medical marijuana.

This story is developing and will be updated.

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Published at Thu, 23 Feb 2017 21:14:35 +0000

Michigan Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Releases Draft Initiative for Comment

Michigan Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Releases Draft Initiative for Comment

Michigan Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Releases Draft Initiative for Comment

Today, the Michigan Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol released its draft initiative. The Coalition is accepting comments until Saturday, February 25, so those wishing to weigh in should do so quickly.

The draft is available on Dropbox, and may be accessed through the Coalition’s Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/RegulateMichigan/. The Dropbox site enables direct comments on the document.

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Published at Thu, 16 Feb 2017 17:00:00 +0000

Colorado To Add PTSD As Qualifying Condition For Medical Marijuana

Colorado To Add PTSD As Qualifying Condition For Medical Marijuana

Colorado taking steps to allow cannabis for PTSD

colorado ptsd

Even though Colorado has long been a pioneer when it comes to cannabis policy in the United States, they’ve still been behind when it comes to recognizing the medicinal properties of cannabis in treating certain conditions, including PTSD.

It’s only now that the first state to ever legalize cannabis is doing something about making it available for those suffering from PTSD. Pot’s been legal in Colorado for several years now, and recreational use was legalized back in 2012. Despite this, doctors still aren’t allowed to recommend cannabis use to treat PTSD. The result? Victims need to pay higher taxes in order to obtain recreational cannabis and use it as medicine.

COLORADO PTSD LAW

Colorado is the only state which denied requests to add PTSD as an approved condition for medical cannabis.  Denver dispensaries cannot issue marijuana for that condition yet, nor can doctors.  The Colorado Board of Health, within the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment hasn’t added another medical condition to the list in the 16 years that medical use of cannabis has been legalized in the state.

Patients of PTSD in Colorado are forced to lie about their conditions; instead they tell doctors that they suffer from chronic pain just so that they could have access to MMJ.

Now the state’s lawmakers are finally giving patients a glimmer of hope through the legislative proposal, which is backed by the Senate State, Veterans, and Military Affairs Committee. The measure, known as Senate Bill 17, was assigned to the consent calendar of the Senate which means that it’s highly unlikely that it would face debate as it progresses through Senate approvals. Once it passes the Senate, it would then face debate in the House.

“The impetus … for this bill was we did hear about the large number of veterans who commit suicide because of PTSD,” says Sen. Irene Aguilar, D-Denver, one of the sponsors of the legislation.

Before the committee meeting on Monday there was some confusion surrounding the powers of the legislature to make PTSD a qualifying condition. Specifically there were concerns that only the state health department was allowed to add qualifying conditions for cannabis which would then limit the authority of the legislature. But results of a legal analysis revealed that if lawmakers found a disabling medical condition that includes PTSD, then the constitution would permit them to include it as a qualifier. Colorado lawmakers then amended the bill to include these changes. “Rather than contribute to the wealth of attorneys, we decided to take a different way out,” explains Aguilar.

Some in the medical community still expressed concerns that cannabis use could actually contribute to stress.

PTSD DEPRESSION

“As far as safety, there are well-known proven treatments for PTSD. The most important thing is not to approve something that would mentally worsen the symptoms of PTSD,” says Dr. Adam Burstein, who was present at the hearing to represent medical organizations.

Sen. Irene Aguilar is also a physician, and she blamed the medical community for having an “institutional bias” against using cannabis as a veritable treatment option. Once the bill is passed, Colorado would then become the 20th state to make PTSD a qualifying condition.

Having cannabis as an option for treatment is much more promising for vets suffering from PTSD. Currently treatment includes psychotherapy and pharmacotherapy, both of which have shown to have limitations in their efficacy to treat sufferers of PTSD. Patients who are given opioids are prone to addiction and can face even worse side effects as a consequence.

“I probably wouldn’t be alive today if it wasn’t for cannabis,” says veteran Curtis Bean, one of the many vets who came to speak at the hearing before the State, Veterans and Military Affairs committee. Bean says one of his friends committed suicide last year due to the side effects of the drugs prescribed to treat PTSD symptoms.

OTHER STORIES YOU MAY ENJOY…

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Published at Tue, 14 Feb 2017 06:00:00 +0000

New Hampshire Committee Passes Bill to Decriminalize Cannabis and Hash

New Hampshire Committee Passes Bill to Decriminalize Cannabis and Hash

New Hampshire’s House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee has passed a bill to decriminalize cannabis and hash possession.

House Bill 640 was approved with an overwhelming 14 to 2 vote. The measure would decriminalize the possession of up to an ounce of cannabis, and up to five grams of hash, for those 21 and older.

If police do catch someone possessing cannabis or hash within those limits, it would be “a fine of $100 for a first offense under this paragraph, a fine of $200 for a second offense within three years of the first offense, or a fine of $350 for a third or subsequent offense within 3 years of 2 other offenses.” Under current law the possession of even a minuscule amount of cannabis is a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail.

House Bill 640 is sponsored by a bipartisan, bicameral coalition of a dozen lawmakers including Representatives Robert Cushing (D), Keith Murphy (R), Frank Sapareto (R), William Pearson (D), Carol McGuire (R), Chuck Grassie (D), Daniel Eaton (D), Patricia Lovejoy (D), as well as Senators Martha Clark, John Reagan, Daniel Innis.

Last year New Hampshire’s full House of Representatives passed a similar bill with a 289 to 58 vote, but it failed to pass the Senate.

According to a WMUR Granite State Poll released July of last year, 61% of New Hampshire voters support legalizing cannabis.

The full text of House Bill 640 can be found by clicking here.

About Anthony Martinelli

Anthony, co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of TheJointBlog, has worked closely with numerous elected officials who support cannabis law reform, including as the former Campaign Manager for Washington State Representative Dave Upthegrove. He has also been published by multiple media outlets, including the Seattle Times. He can be reached at TheJointBlog@TheJointBlog.com.

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Published at Tue, 14 Feb 2017 08:10:51 +0000

Second New Mexico Committee Approves Bill to Legalize Hemp With 10 to 1 Vote

Second New Mexico Committee Approves Bill to Legalize Hemp With 10 to 1 Vote

A proposal that would fully legalize hemp in New Mexico has passed its second committee, sending it towards a vote in the full House of Representatives.

hempHouse Bill 166 was filed by Representative Rick Little (R). The measure passed the House Agriculture, Water & Wildlife Committee last month. Earlier this week it also passed the House Labor and Economic Development Committee with a 10 to 1 vote.

According to the measure’s officially legislative summary; “House Bill 166 adds new language to the definition of marijuana in the Controlled Substances Act (“CSA”) to explicitly exclude the plant Cannabis sativa L. and any part of the plant, whether growing or not, with a delta-9 -tetrahydrocannabinol (“THC”) concentration of not more than 0.3percent on a dry weight basis, the seeds thereof and every compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture or preparation of the plant or its seeds.”

The proposal now heads for a vote in the full House of Representatives, where its passage is expected. It will then go to the Senate, where passage will send it to Governor Susana Martinez for final consideration.

Click here for the full text of House Bill 166.

About Anthony Martinelli

Anthony, co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of TheJointBlog, has worked closely with numerous elected officials who support cannabis law reform, including as the former Campaign Manager for Washington State Representative Dave Upthegrove. He has also been published by multiple media outlets, including the Seattle Times. He can be reached at TheJointBlog@TheJointBlog.com.

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Published at Sun, 12 Feb 2017 20:19:52 +0000

Bill allowing for administration of medicinal marijuana on school property passes committee

Bill allowing for administration of medicinal marijuana on school property passes committee

The Columbian / Associated Press

ABERDEEN — An Aberdeen schoolgirl plagued by a seizure disorder that’s proven untreatable by mainstream medication is one step closer to finding relief today with the State House of Representative’s Health Care and Wellness Committee’s 13-3 approval of a bill that would allow parents and guardians to administer medical marijuana to qualified students on school property.

According to the bill summary, House Bill 1060 – also known as Ducky’s Bill – would require school districts to allow students to consume marijuana for medical purposes on school grounds, aboard a school bus, or while attending a school sponsored event. School districts would be required to adopt policies to allow that practice. That policy would have a long list of requirements of its own, ranging from which students would qualify to the establishment of legal protections for anyone involved with providing that student medicinal marijuana.

“Ducky” is the nickname for River Barclay, an elementary school student who is only able to attend half-days of class because her seizures are “intractable,” meaning not controllable by any of the anti-seizure drugs available today, according to her dad, John Barclay. The only thing that has proven to give her relief from these seizures is marijuana, said Barclay. The bill, if passed, would allow him or another guardian to administer the medication to his daughter on school property.

“With four out of the five seizure medications she tried she presented with even worse seizures,” said Barclay. “The one that didn’t do that to her didn’t help at all.”

The marijuana helps with the seizures themselves, and also with the withdrawals that come from being weaned off the other medications she had been taking; the detox experience of these drugs can be compared to those endured by opioid addicts, said Barclay.

House Bill 1060 is sponsored by 19th District Representatives Brian Blake, an Aberdeen Democrat, and Jim Walsh, an Aberdeen Republican, and others. The legislation needs to get through the House Rules Committee to make it before the Legislature for a vote.

“I talked to Walsh and he said with that kind of support from the committee, and only one negative public comment compared to the dozens for it, he didn’t see it being held up in the Rules Committee,” said Barclay. He added that Rep. Joe Schmick from the 9th District, who is ranking minority leader on the Health Care and Wellness Committee, was key helping clarify certain provisions of the bill which that could help it through the rules process.

If passed, the legislation would be implemented beginning in September. There is a companion bill in the Senate, Senate Bill 5290, sponsored by Sen. Dean Takko, D-Longview, and others.

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Published at Mon, 06 Feb 2017 17:37:04 +0000

Scooby Snacks Marijuana Strain Overview

Scooby Snacks Marijuana Strain Overview

Scooby Snacks is a hybrid that’s slightly indica-dominant. It’s a genius mix between Platinum Girl Scout Cookies and Face Off OG.

Scooby SnacksThe buds of this strain are dense, slightly sticky and often purple. The smell and taste is sweet (almost caramelly) and piney.

The high is incredibly relaxing and smooth. It immediately hits the head like indicas tend to do, but also pulses throughout the body.

This strain is excellent for insomnia, depression and pain.

Smell and taste:

  • Pine
  • Subtle caramel
  • Earthiness (a subtle wood-like flavor)

Reviews:

Scooby Snacks currently has 87 reviews on Leafly with an average score of 4.5 out of 5.

Highlighted quote (from one of the Leafly reviews):

persian503:

“Scooby Snacks is fire! It tastes sweet and piney with hints of chocolate when vaped. It has a excellent mind and body effects. Very stoney and one of my favorites!”

Where to find it

If you live in a state where cannabis is legal, Leafly has a strain finder that can use your exact location to find the closet cannabis store or dispensary to you that is currently carrying the Scooby Snacks marijuana strain; you can also look for a variety of other strains.

Click here for this strain finder.

About Anthony Martinelli

Anthony, co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of TheJointBlog, has worked closely with numerous elected officials who support cannabis law reform, including as the former Campaign Manager for Washington State Representative Dave Upthegrove. He has also been published by multiple media outlets, including the Seattle Times. He can be reached at TheJointBlog@TheJointBlog.com.

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Published at Sat, 11 Feb 2017 01:48:23 +0000