Senate bill coming: Aid reinstatement for students with drug convictions. Capitol Hill observers are expecting the introduction of a bill in the U.S. Senate this afternoon that would repeal the longstanding ban on financial aid to students with drug convictions. The Stopping Unfair Collateral Consequences from Ending Student Success (SUCCESS) Act would eliminate the drug conviction question on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). It’s the college student version of President Obama’s move to “ban the box” (the requirement that job applicants check a box if they have a criminal record) last year. It’s a big deal. Behind the bill are Sens. Bob Casey (D-Penn.), Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.). The presence of Hatch, a longtime anti-cannabis drug warrior, as a co-sponsor marks this as a bill with a real chance of passage. Stay tuned.
No more finger-wagging from Chris Christie. The most openly hostile (to cannabis) Republican candidate throws in the towel after a poor 7 percent showing in New Hampshire. “Today, I leave the race without an ounce of regret,” he wrote on Facebook. Interesting choice of words from a man who bear-hugged the war on drugs at every whistle stop. Not even a gram of regret? Or a dab? We could go on. But the governor will not.
Also, Carly Fiorina dropped out. Did you even know she was still in? She was. Got 4 percent in New Hampshire — double Ben Carson’s total, and he’s still in the race! We’re pretty sure she was against cannabis too but never cared enough to really check. Clare Malone’s got a nice piece at FiveThirtyEight on the Fiorina blip. Anyway. Now she can go back to developing her CNBC pilot, America’s Scariest Bosses.
Elizabeth Warren tells CDC: Study cannabis to tackle opioid epidemic. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) sent a letter to Dr. Thomas Friedan, director of the Centers for Disease Control, urging his agency to ramp up its efforts to combat the nation’s opioid crisis. Those steps, she wrote, should include looking at the “effectiveness of medical marijuana as an alternative to opioids” and the impact of legalization on opioid overdose deaths. We’re not sure if Sen. Warren wants the CDC to conduct those studies or just read the 2014 University of Pennsylvania study showing 25 percent fewer opioid-related deaths in states allowing medical marijuana. Either would be a start.
FDA tells CBD product producers to knock it off. Alan Brochstein reports that the FDA has sent letters to six companies producing products with cannabidiol (CBD), warning them that the agency has determined that CBD doesn’t fall under the legal category of “dietary supplement.” Claims that CBD can be used “in the cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease,” FDA officials wrote, could violate the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. We’re not sure if the FDA is more concerned about the presence of CBD or the claims for its use as a medically efficacious drug. Interesting legal territory here, we’ll be keeping an eye on it.
- St. Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister wonders if legal cannabis crops could replace the island nation’s ailing banana industry.
- Wyoming balks at the teensiest tiniest cannabis reform, rejecting a bill to decriminalize an ounce of the drug.
- Comedian and longtime cannabis advocate Roseanne Barr has invested in a licensed dispensary in Santa Ana, California, the Orange County Register reports. Yes! The same city made famous last year by its edibles-noshing police department and its “nub”-kicking ways. We’d like to see the video when the cops bust through the door on Roseanne’s shop. There’d be some nub-kicking, all right.