A Utah Republican says he’s moving to South America. Why? Because his effort to legalize medical cannabis fell short. State Sen. Mark Madsen (R-Saratoga Springs) said he expects South America to offer more personal freedom. “I’ve long since concluded that I desire more freedom in my individual life than I’m allowed to have in this state,” he told the Salt Lake Tribune. Madsen’s bill, SB 73, essentially died on Monday after a more conservative measure, SB 89, won the support of a House committee. “It is fundamentally, functionally constructed to fail,” Madsen said of the current proposal, which he worries won’t adequately meet patient needs. “It’s entirely possible they wanted it to fail all along.” South America might be a nice change of scenery, Sen. Madsen, but Colorado, Oregon, and Washington are a lot closer.
Still need evidence medical cannabis isn’t “a joke”? Mic has a persusasive piece spotlighting a 15-year-old epilepsy patient. Toni Richard, the boy’s mother, says he was experiencing 3,000 seizures a day before trying medical cannabis — at which point he promptly went 375 days with a single one. It’s anecdotal evidence, sure, but it squares with a growing body of scientific research (going back to the 1980s) that suggests cannabis has the potential to drastically reduce epileptic seizures in children, even among patients who don’t see relief from traditional pharmaceuticals. How many other Schedule I substances can you say that about? (Related: Looks like Virginia, which legalized industrial hemp this week, is also on track to legalize cannabis cultivation for epilepsy treatment.)
How bad would Hillary be for cannabis? We’ve quipped that Clinton would provide “tepid” leadership on cannabis by essentially allowing states to do their own thing. Romain Bonilla at Marijuana Politics goes further, saying that from her time as first lady to secretary of state, Clinton “has proven herself to be one of the greatest drug warriors of our generation.” It’s a bit of a hit piece, yes, but it’s worth a read if you’re looking for a president who cares about cannabis. It’s not clear Clinton does.
The Seattle Times sides with Bernie, misses chance to mention cannabis. You’d think the largest newspaper in one of the country’s first legal states would say something Sanders’ forward-thinking view on cannabis. But nope! Washington’s Democratic caucus — yes, it’s a caucus — will be held on March 26. (ICYMI, Sanders won Colorado. Probably. And Oregon’s primary isn’t until May.) On the Republican side, the Times endorsed John Kasich, but don’t try asking him about cannabis.
Washington’s cannabis-testing scene gets even more bizarre. There’s been quite the kerfuffle over the state Liquor Control Board’s reportedly lax enforcement of pesticide rules. But now a state-certified testing lab has accused its science director of falsifying results. Poulsbo-based Testing Technologies fired Dustin Newman on Feb. 10, CEO Larry Ward tells the Seattle Times. But Newman, the former science director, says the dispute is over company ownership: "Mr. Ward's efforts to blame it on audits or questionable results is merely a cover-up and disingenuous," he said. It’s a developing story, so expect more to come.
Cannabis regulations confuse you? One California county decided to simplify things by releasing an animated video. It’s not half bad. Take a look:
QUICK HITS: Do Canada’s mandatory minimum sentences for cannabis qualify as cruel and unusual? One B.C. Supreme Court judge thinks so. Growing more than six plants could land you upward of half a year in jail, even if you’re just giving away some extra bud. A U.S. senator says legalization is a “disturbance.” But Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Alabama) was also the first sitting senator to endorse Donald Trump for president. Draw your own conclusions. How does cannabis affect pregnant women? The truth is, we don’t really know. A new University of Colorado study hopes to change that. Industrial hemp could be even bigger in Massachusetts than cannabis. We’re still a little skeptical, but that’s what the headline says. Colorado recalls more cannabis. The latest recall affects five strains grown and sold by Bailey dispensary Sunrise Solutions. A high-school football coach might’ve lost his job over legal cannabis. Hillary Butler, who played for the Seattle Seahawks, won’t be coaching the Lakes High School team next year, and he thinks it’s due to his new cultivation business. The district won’t say. Rhode Island, as we all know, is tiny. But according to Marijuana Business Daily, its recreational cannabis market could be huge. And finally, your headline of the day: “Shiva Is A God Who Likes Marijuana — And So Do Many Of His Followers.”