Politics 

The latest in cannabis legalization including laws and policies, legislators’ views, election coverage, and more.

The Shake: Cannabis Cup Permit Lost, Psychosis Gene Found

Denver Cannabis Cup permit rejected. April usually brings the High Times Cannabis Cup to Colorado. It’s the magazine’s biggest annual event and a festival that draws tens of thousands of enthusiasts. But this year, maybe not so much. Concerns about cup-goers openly partaking have led Adams County commissioners to deny a permit to Denver Mart, the expo center where the event is usually held. Last year as many as 35,000 visitors attended the event, and safety concerns escalated when, according to law enforcement, a military veteran experienced breathing problems and a woman leapt from a moving vehicle. Owners of Denver Mart assured county officials they’d cap this year’s crowd at 15,000 daily, but apparently that wasn’t enough. Where will the event be held? Stay tuned.  

Cannabis psychosis gene identified. Researchers from the University of Exeter and University College London have discovered a link between those who carry a specific gene and those who go on to develop cannabis-triggered psychosis. Young people who carry a variation of the “alpha serine/threonine-protein kinase AKT1” gene code were more likely to experience visual distortions, paranoia, and other symptoms when under the influence of cannabis. The same researchers also found that female cannabis consumers are more susceptible to short-term memory loss than men.  

Protest marks opening of Massachusetts dispensary. In an unusual turn of events, medical marijuana protesters interrupted the long-awaited opening of Patriot Care, the first medical dispensary in Lowell. The protest was inspired by Daniel Delaney, a registered lobbyist who assisted Patriot Care in obtaining a medical marijuana license. Delaney created a group called Safe Cannabis Massachusetts to oppose the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol in Massachusetts, an effort to legalize cannabis for adults 21 years of age and older. Patriot Care has three dispensaries in the state and is owned by Columbia Care, a larger organization that also operates in Arizona, New York, and Washington, D.C.  

Will the VA’s cannabis gag order be lifted? A directive from the Department of Veterans Affairs that prohibits VA doctors from discussing medical marijuana with their patients expired this year, and veterans are wondering whether it will be renewed or whether VA physicians will finally be allowed to consider cannabis as a treatment. The directive was issued in 2011 and prohibits physicians from informing veterans of their options or recommending cannabis to those seeking to patients in legal states. But the times are changing. Since the edict was issued, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved an amendment to the 2016 Military Construction–Veteran Affairs appropriations bill that prohibits doctors from interfering with a veteran who seeks medical marijuana treatment. The Veterans Equal Access Act was also introduced in the House of Representatives, but received no action. 

QUICK HITS: Charlotte, N.C., Mayor Jennifer Roberts says she's troubled by racial disparities in arrest rates for the possession of small amounts of cannabis. * Two organizations in Billings, Mont., are competing to collect 24,175 signatures for two different petitions to change Montana’s medical marijuana law. * Utah state senators have introduced a new measure, Senate Concurrent Resolution 11, which urges Congress to reclassify cannabis from a Schedule I to a Schedule II drug. The measure requires the approval of the full Legislature and Gov. Gary Herbert before it can be delivered to lawmakers in Washington, D.C.

The Shake: Maher Sparks Up On-Air, Ohio Tries Again