The Shake: Alaska’s VIP Bags Raise Hackles, Reefer Madness Meets Fargo, and the Clash of the Cannabis TitansBruce BarcottMay 16, 2016
Tongues wag over swag bags in Alaska. Last weekend’s cannabis hot spot was the Dena’ina Civic and Convention Center in Anchorage, which hosted the Northwest Cannabis Classic trade show for the second—and possibly last—time. Alaska is famously legal, of course. Adults may possess and gift up to one ounce of cannabis. But that doesn’t mean local authorities have to like it. Last year the Anchorage Assembly prohibited cannabis giveaways inside municipal buildings during trade shows, a measure aimed directly at the Cannabis Classic. This year’s show, which took place over the weekend, saw Anchorage Police patrolling the Dena’ina to keep the air clear and the edibles unmedicated.
Any trouble? Just a house manager irritated by swag bags. A $299 VIP ticket got you a gift bag with party passes, breakfast and dinner tickets, and a few samples of actual cannabis. “They can’t do that,” said Steve Medina, the Dena’ina Center operations manager. But show organizer Cory Wray said it was all legal and by-the-book. “If Dena’ina wants to sue me because I broke their contract, then that’s up to Dena’ina,” Wray said. Anchorage Dispatch News has the full story. Extra tip o’ the cap to Radical Russ Belville, who kept us entertained all weekend with his live tweets from the show.
California and Canada battle over cannabis supremacy. Everybody wants to be the Napa Valley of cannabis. Canada thinks it’s got a shot. California laughs at the notion. The Guardian makes the case for the Great White North, while the Los Angeles Times shows why California remains the once and future king.
Maine hosts impaired driving summit today. On the heels of its groundbreaking report on cannabis and impaired driving — which concluded that science doesn’t support impairment charges based on THC blood levels—the AAA hosts an impaired-driving summit in Maine, which will vote on cannabis legalization in November.
Cannabis comes to West Virginia. But not in the way you’re thinking. For the first time in 70 years, cannabis will be planted legally in West Virginia, in the form of hemp. West Virginia University researchers will sow the hearty fiber as part of a project to investigate the plant’s ability to remove contaminants from the soil.
Legalization fights racism but doesn’t end it. It’s a point we’ve made before, and others have rightly highlighted. The London-based Independent carries the news overseas.
Speaking of which… Prohibiting people with criminal records from receiving cannabis licenses is an ongoing problem that extends the racism inherent in the drug war. Now California is considering an initiative that would end this barrier to market entry. The Christian Science Monitor has the story.
Prohibitionists emerge in Florida. The Vote No on 2 campaign announced itself earlier this morning by releasing a video alleging the state’s proposed medical marijuana amendment would lead to the opening of dispensaries. “Looks like Amendment 2 is still a scam to legalize pot,” the ad says. Interesting side note: Casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, who gave $5.5 million to defeat the MMJ measure in 2014, is now a leading contributor to the Donald Trump campaign, which raises questions about his financial commitment to Florida’s 2016 cannabis race.
Relax, Fargo, it’s not marijuana. An alert dog walker in North Dakota’s glamour capital spotted what he thought might be a sprig of cannabis peeking through the soil. Alarmed, he called the cops. They checked it out. Turned out it was just a tree putting up shoots. You betcha.
And finally… USA Today is on the case when it comes to cannabis moving beyond the borders of Colorado. But it appears that they missed the larger story here, which is Colorado’s clandestine takeover of its northern neighbor, Wyoming. Never bury the lead, folks.
Image Source: USA Today (since updated)