The Shake: 60% of America Likes Legalization (but Hillary Doesn’t), and Broccoli Proves a Poor Smuggling CoverBruce BarcottMarch 25, 2016
National support for cannabis legalization just hit an all-time high. A survey released Friday by the Associated Press and the University of Chicago pegs nationwide support for legalization at 61 percent. That figure represents a significant rise from last October’s Gallup survey, which found 58 percent support for legalization. Once you get into the weeds, the numbers get a little more nuanced. Twenty-four percent of legalization supporters want medical only, 43 percent believe there should be restrictions on purchase amounts, and one-third say there should be no such limits on quantity. Christopher Ingraham’s got a fuller story over at the WaPo Wonkblog today.
Meanwhile, Clinton holds fast to tepid position. Even as a solid majority of Americans embrace legalization, Hillary Clinton remains steadfast in her position — which is looking increasingly out of step with most voters. Clinton went on Jimmy Kimmel Live! last night and reiterated her stand against federal legalization, for now. “I absolutely support all the states that are moving toward medical marijuana, moving toward absolutely legalizing it for recreational use, but I want to see what the states learn from that experience,” she said. “There are still a lot of questions we have to answer at the federal level.” Kimmel noted that she had received an endorsement from Snoop Dogg. “Yes, I have,” she answered, rapier wit in full flash. “That’s right.” We’re wondering exactly which cannabis questions Clinton wants answered. Because we bet we could answer them for her with the help of our friends science, evidence, experience, and data.
Dear Missouri: It’s called The Google. Look into it. In Oregon, state regulators put common sense to good use by revising their concentrates policy. The Oregon Health Authority announced on Wednesday that cannabis processors may continue to operate while they await a decision on their operating licenses. That reversed the previous policy, which essentially put concentrate producers out of business and unintentionally encouraged the potentially dangerous production of black market BHO. Meanwhile, in Missouri, local constables are warning the citizenry about this here newfangled drug called “marijuana honey.” KSPR-33 calls it, in classic Kent Brockman fashion, “a new twist to an old drug.” Ozarks First quotes one local sheriff explaining that “they’ll cook it into cookies or gummy bears — and that’s what they’ll eat.” Not to quibble, sheriff, but you’re looking at the same extracted cannabis oil they’re producing safely, and with state permission, in Oregon. When it’s legal and regulated, see, people don't blow their homes to smithereens.
Dudes caught smuggling cannabis nearly as cheap as broccoli. U.S. Customs officials on Tuesday seized 766 pounds of cannabis from smugglers who tried to sneak it across the US–Mexico border hidden in a load of fresh broccoli. Several things to note about this story: First, a broccoli truck? Really? I’ve crossed those borders in Texas. (Well, OK, the one in Laredo.) They have some sophisticated imaging equipment down there. And well-trained dogs. Second, the Houston ABC-13 report ends by estimating the street value of the haul at $153,000. Which… hold on… 766 goes into 153… puts the “approximate street value” at a shocking $12.48 per ounce. Damn. We’ve got $6 grams here in Seattle, but apparently we’re shopping at the wrong supermarket.
New study ties lifelong cannabis use with troubles in middle age. Popular Science has a story up about a new study published earlier this week in Clinical Psychological Science: “Lifelong Marijuana Use Correlated With Troubled Middle Age.” I’m an open-minded evidence freak. I try to make myself go where the science takes me, on cannabis studies as in all scientific endeavors. But I’ve learned a few things about cannabis studies over the years. One is that the correlation-vs-causation question looms large, and remains unanswered, in most of these types of studies. As Paul Armentano notes in the PopSci story, it may be that “those facing social and economic adversity are more likely than those who are not to turn to the use of legal and illegal intoxicants as a coping mechanism.” Also, any time a drug study is based on the Dunedin Cohort (a group of 1,000 New Zealanders tracked since birth), as this one is, raise your level of skepticism. Researchers love to pound that Dunedin data eight ways from Sunday. They often end up with flashy correlations but never solid causations.
- Ohio MMJ proponents hit their first mark, but still have a long way to go. The state attorney general OK’d their initial initiative summary. If it’s approved by the secretary of state, Ohioans for Medical Marijuana will have until early July to collect 305,591 signatures to qualify for the November ballot.
- Tampa, home to some of America’s last prohibition advocacy groups, votes to decriminalize small amounts of cannabis. People are still getting 10-year prison terms for cannabis. A federal judge in Maryland sentenced 34-year-old Leonaldo Harris to a decade behind bars for moving 1,000 to 3,000 kilos between California and Maryland. By the time Harris sees freedom, Maryland will be selling that much every day, legally, from retail stores.
- Georgia’s medical marijuana bill dies as the legislature closes its 2016 session. Condolences to Rep. Allen Peake, a good man fighting a tough battle. See you in 2017, Allen!
- And finally: The cast of Silicon Valley guesses what actual (Anaplan, Sprinklr, Twilio, Klarna) Silicon Valley companies do. We here at Leafly are, of course, huge T.J. Miller fans, but man, I’m telling you, Martin Starr will be funny until he draws his last breath upon this earth.m