Politics 

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

The Shake: Kosher Cannabis for Passover, and the Lucas Bros Do a Dowd

Rabbi declares medical cannabis kosher for Passover. Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky, a prominent orthodox leader in Israel, recently gave the nod to the medicinal plant, which he found had a “healing smell.” Cannabis has been forbidden among some Jewish groups during Passover, but the rabbi gave permission for people with a medical need for it to consume during the seven-day holiday. Special note to Washington, D.C., residents: Takoma Wellness Center, the dispensary run by Rabbi Jeffrey Kahn and his family, will be closing at 5 p.m. today. Chag Pesach sameach, Rabbi Jeff! 

Somebody out there is still buying Mexican brickweed. That’s one of the sad takeaways from news that border officials discovered another Tijuana-to-San Diego smuggling tunnel this week. This one ran from a Tijuana house equipped with an elevator to a San Diego business that sold wooden pallets for suspiciously low, low prices. [Editor's note: This story on pallets is too good not to share.] Local police stopped a truck leaving the pallet “business” loaded with 2,240 pounds of cocaine and 11,030 pounds of crappy cannabis. Not to belabor the obvious, but these tunnels are created to supply illegal cannabis to all those states that choose to keep cannabis illegal. Out here in the legal future our cannabis is supplied by farmers, not smugglers. 

 Smuggler's Blues: U.S. Legalization is Crashing Mexico's Cartel Market

Lucas Brothers pull a Maureen Dowd on 4/20. Say it with us: Start low, go slow. Seriously. Keith and Kenny Lucas, “comedy duo and noted weed enthusiasts,” were scheduled to headline a comedy show in Denver on 4/20. The show was sponsored by Incredibles, which makes some mighty tasty 100-mg THC chocolate bars. A little too tasty, apparently. After chowing down pre-show, and maybe adding a dab or two, the brothers never made it to the venue, let alone the stage. Kenny hunkered down in his hotel room, Keith wandered around downtown Denver looking for a cheeseburger, while the audience (at 30 bucks a throw) was left wondering WTF. Jake Browne at the Cannabist reports that comedian Billy Wayne Davis saved the show with a heroic 45-minute set. Tolerance. Know it. Respect it. (Don't Dowd it.)

 Why Are Legal States Setting More Limits on Cannabis?

Iowa knows a guy. It’s Minnesota. A 2014 Iowa law legalized cannabis oil for seizure patients in the state, but it failed to provide them any legal way to obtain the medicine. Now lawmakers are exploring an arrangement that would allow Iowa patients to purchase cannabis from Minnesota, the AP reports. Minnesota launched its own medical marijuana program last year. The proposed setup would be unwieldy, in both practical terms and legal ones. Residents of Des Moines, Iowa’s capital and largest city, would need to make a three-hour drive to get to the nearest dispensary, in Rochester, Minn. And with cannabis crossing state lines (Pennsylvania is mulling a similar option), the plan would almost certainly draw the scrutiny of federal authorities. Unless there’s a big DEA announcement right around the corner, that is.

Cannabis club takes out the trash in Colorado Springs. Kudos to Gabriel Pieper, owner of the Pothole, a cannabis club in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Pieper celebrated 4/20 by giving away free joints in exchange for trash picked up around town. Result? “Bags stuffed with trash were piled high next to the front door,” reports local station KRDO. The Colorado Springs City Council recently voted to ban new clubs and gradually shut down existing ones. Pieper said he hoped the 4/20 program would show locals that cannabis clubs contribute in positive ways to the community. 

Which States are Most Likely to Legalize Cannabis in 2016?

QUICK HITS:

  • L.A. Times, fooled by fake press release, wrongly reports that U.N. drug chief is way groovy. Reporters and editors relayed that the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime announced a major shift in drug policy, pushing for the “the decriminalization of marijuana, universal access to controlled medicines, criminal justice system reforms including elimination of mandatory minimum sentences and abolition of the death penalty and acknowledging marijuana’s medical use.” That would be big news. But as cannabis advocate Tom Angell points out, it’s not true. 

U.N. Hears Major Differences on Global Approach to Drug Use

  • We all know there’s a diversity problem in the cannabis industry. (And if you didn’t, now you do.) Here’s a piece looking at the small steps — still too small, unfortunately — that some are taking to address it. 
  • Five percent of New Zealanders use cannabis medically. That’s according to a study in the New Zealand Medical Journal. Much of that use is still happening underground, as the only legal cannabis product in the country is a prescription mouth spray. 
  • Is the cannabis business really just the real estate business? It’s more complicated than that, of course, but don’t sleep on the land grab
  • Epileptic children in Connecticut are one step closer to medical cannabis. The state House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly Thursday to expand the state’s four-year-old medical marijuana program to include children.  
  • And finally, here’s some late-breaking 4/20 news: U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, from what we can tell, had a real nice nap at work. 

Canada Will Bring Legalization Measure in Early 2017