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The Shake: California Police and Prisons Fight Legalization, and Vets Can Talk to Docs About Cannabis

May 19, 2016

California police and prison guards are some of prohibition’s biggest backers. Roughly half the money raised to fight California’s upcoming adult-use legalization initiative has come from police and prison guard groups, which The Intercept sees as a sign they’re “terrified that they might lose the revenue streams to which they’ve become so deeply addicted.” What does law enforcement stand to lose? Huge government grants, asset seizures that siphon money to local police departments, and the massive private prison profits that come with keeping drug offenders behind bars. Gawker’s Andy Cush encourages Californians to consider the push as they decide which way to vote: 

"The law enforcement community’s flailing to stop legalization also happens to show exactly why it’s a good idea to support it, even if you don’t smoke: Fewer people imprisoned, and less policing for policing’s (and profit’s) sake. Go out and vote for pot this November, California."

Congress to give veterans (in some states) the right to talk about medical cannabis with doctors. Lawmakers are expected to pass a bill that would allow military vets in states where medical marijuana is legal to discuss it with their doctors as part of treatment. “The death rate from opioids among VA health care is nearly double the national average,” said Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), who introduced the bill. “What I hear from veterans is that medical marijuana has helped them deal with pain and PTSD, particularly as an alternative to opioids.”

States with Legal Medical Cannabis Have Seen a 25% Decrease in Prescription Painkiller Overdose Deaths

Toronto dispensaries vow to fight mayor’s crackdown. The city’s Cannabis Friendly Business Association held a meeting Tuesday night at the Hotbox Café, The Globe and Mail reports. Many members felt Toronto Mayor John Tory, who’s threatened unlicensed dispensaries with $50,000 fines, simply doesn’t understand cannabis. “It’s not time to protest,” one attendee said. “It’s time to lobby.” But Tory doesn’t look all that receptive: Earlier today he postponed an effort to force a debate on licensing Toronto dispensaries, and he vowed to continue aggressive enforcement actions in the meantime.

The girl suspended for smelling like cannabis — even though she passed a drug test — is headed back to school. North Carolina school officials have reversed Tameka Johnson’s suspension, her mother says. Johnson was suspended after a school resource officer decided she smelled like cannabis despite a lack of evidence she consumed or possessed any at all. 

 What It's Like to Live in Your Own Illegal Idaho: A Special Report

The DEA is being dragged “kicking and screaming” into the world of legal cannabis. That’s the takeaway from Christopher Woody’s Business Insider piece, which takes a look at the Drug Enforcement Administration’s obstinate opposition in the face of new science, changing public perception, and state-by-state legalization. 

Another example of the DEA being difficult: Agents raided one of Montana’s biggest medical dispensaries yesterday, taking Montana Buds and its neighbors by surprise. A DEA agent on the scene refused to answer observers’ questions, saying, “This is now a federal investigation.” Saying that probably makes you feel pretty badass as a narc, but what gives? The state Supreme Court ruled most dispensaries in their current form are illegal, but that ruling doesn’t take effect until August.

Cannabis could be coming to wine country. Napa city leaders are warming to the idea of allowing dispensaries among the valley’s vineyards. It’s part of a broader thawing of attitudes toward cannabis among some cities in the state, as the Orange County Register reports

Behind the Big Ban: Why California Towns are Scrambling to Oust Dispensaries

“Say Why to Drugs,” a U.K. newspaper urges. The Guardian is doing a series on the myths, harms, and benefits of various drugs (updated “fortnightly” because it’s a British publication). Today’s installment: cannabis

A former DEA agent says there’s “real potential” for rescheduling this year. But don’t get your hopes up for more meaningful reform. “We are certainly preparing for the possibility of it moving from Schedule I to Schedule II,” Charles Feldmann, now a Colorado attorney, tells MJ Biz Daily, but “I don’t see it moving past that at this stage.”

Vermont cannabis entrepreneurs: “The market’s coming and we’re ready for it.” Forget that an ambitious legalization bill crashed and burned in the statehouse last month. As the Burlington Free Press reports, many are still bullish on the cannabis economy.

 Crash and Burn in Burlington: How Legalization Failed in Vermont

Florida legalization opponents launch first attack ad. Cannabis advocates, pushing to allow medical cannabis use for individuals with “debilitating” conditions like cancer, glaucoma, and HIV, describe the hit as “not a very accurate ad at all.” Surprised? Me neither.

Cannabis is changing the real estate game. Oregon writer Mohammed Alkhadher takes a look at what Washington and Colorado might show us about cannabis and location, location, location.

And finally, a Michigan man was busted for having a gun, some cannabis, and a box of baby squirrels. I’m not thrilled to see a headline tying medical cannabis to a lethal weapon, but I don’t mind the association with baby squirrels one bit. Squeeeee!

Cannabis Makes You Watch Cat Videos (According to Google Trends)

  • Jack Glenn

    It has become blatantly obvious which lobbies are helping the Federal government to maintain the stubborn stand of illegal status of marijuana. The whole police department wants to confiscate money from people who are consuming marijuana. All violent crimes users have been ignored to the oblivion. Yes, there is a need to regulate the adult use of marijuana, especially to prevent driving accidents or transportation of Cannabis illegally. However, such crackdown is not justifiable to any extent