Politics 

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

The Shake: Don’t Bogart That Vape, Congressman

A Denver judge tossed a class action lawsuit against a top Colorado cannabis retailer. A pair of consumers had sued LivWell, alleging the company inappropriately used Eagle 20, a pesticide that contains myclobutanil, which isn’t approved for use on cannabis in the state. But Denver District Judge J. Eric Eliff threw out the case, the Denver Post reports, saying plaintiffs “bought the cannabis and consumed it” without harm. “There are no allegations that the product did not perform as it was supposed to,” Eliff wrote. LivWell owner John Lord called the lawsuit “a public relations ploy.”

California wants to tax medical cannabis. A newly proposed law would set a 15 percent tax on medical marijuana and funnel that money to public programs. The bill comes on the heels of new cannabis laws that establish statewide standards for the industry (even though nobody can agree how they work). The proposed tax, which is similar to what would be imposed under recreational laws on the ballot in November, could bring California more than $100 million in new revenue. To pass, it will need support from two-thirds of the state Legislature.

A ex-judge wants Obama to commute the harsh sentence he gave. Paul Cassell, who as a federal judge sentenced a Utah music producer to 55 years in prison for bringing a gun to cannabis deals, is calling on the president to undo the sentence. Due to mandatory minimum sentencing laws, the judge said, the offender got a longer prison term than people convicted of crimes such as kidnapping, rape, and second degree murder.

Trump’s drug policies are getting dumber and dumber. The Chicago Sun Times compiled a collection of Trumpisms illustrating the presidential candidate’s radical shift on drug policy over the decades. “We’re losing badly the war on drugs,” he said back in 1990. “You have to legalize drugs to win that war.” Today, however, he opposes cannabis reform, having flip-flopped completely. On the campaign trail he said he’d solve the nation’s drug problem by building a wall at the U.S.–Mexico border — conveniently, also his solution to immigration.

What Would a Trump Presidency Mean for Cannabis?

Rubio’s policies might be even worse. The Republican presidential hopeful is keeping things simple, and stupid, when it comes to his stance on drugs. At a campaign event yesterday, he told voters he’s against legal cannabis “because this country already pays a terrible price for the abuse of alcohol.” Reassuring to know that the man wielding such razor-sharp logic might one day run the country.

Two Washington state cannabis producers face fines over pesticide use. Regulators temporarily barred New Leaf Enterprises and BMF Washington from selling products back in December, Tobias Coughlin-Bogue reports, pending an investigation into possible use of prohibited pesticides. Observers have questioned the state's enforcement of pesticide rules in the past, and the penalties against New Leaf and BMF show regulators could be stepping up their game.

Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) took a defiant puff in Congress. He hit a vape pen at a House Transportation Committe hearing on Thursday as lawmakers considered a proposal that would ban vaping on airplanes. “There is nothing noxious about this whatsoever,” he told his colleagues, theatrically loosing a cloud and thereby undermining his whole point. Cannabis wasn’t part of the discussion, but whatever rules Congress adopts for e-cigarettes would likely also apply to legal cannabis products. No dice for Rep. Hunter, though — or anyone with dreams of one day vaping their way to the, uh, mile-high club. The measure passed. 

Rep. Duncan Hunter (D-Calif.) hits a vape pen in a Congressional Transportation Committee hearing.

QUICK HITS:

  • The DEA raided an Oregon extract maker. No charges have been filed yet, but it’s a reminder the feds aren’t as hands-off in legal states as they claim.
  • Cannabis-related DUI arrests in Colorado are down. Overall, the number of people cited for driving under the influence of drugs fell 1.3 percent.
  • A U.K. man diagnosed with terminal cancer says his use of illegal cannabis oil has prolonged his life.
  • CV Sciences pushed back against this week’s FDA warning letters to marketers of cannabidiol products. The agency says it’s determined that CBD isn’t a “dietary supplement,” but CV, which makes hemp-derived CBD for use in consumer products, argues the warnings are “inapplicable” on technical grounds.
  • Medical marijuana in Florida could be a $1.5 billion industry by 2020, according to a new report. Voters will decide in November whether to legalize medical cannabis.
  • Don’t try singing “Smoke Weed Everyday” in Tunisia. Lawmakers there are considering plans to crack down on “public incitement to commit drug-related offenses,” which could make it illegal to even talk about cannabis.

The Shake: Roseanne Gets in the Biz, Chris & Christie Get Out