Politics 

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

The Shake: NFL Players Team Up to Study Medical Cannabis

An elderly, disabled veteran faces life in jail because cannabis laws are insane. The New York Times editorial board, in a piece about “outrageous sentences for marijuana,” takes a look at Lee Carroll Booker, 75, who faces a life sentence without the possibility of parole after being caught growing 30 or more cannabis plants in 2011. Booker, a disabled veteran who lives in Alabama and suffers from chronic pain, was told by the sentencing judge that if he “could sentence you to a term that is less than life without parole, I would.” State law, however, prevented it. On appeal, the chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court found the sentence to be “excessive and unjustified,” and the U.S. Supreme Court will be reviewing the case to determine whether it fits the bill as “cruel and unusual punishment.” Alabama is one of just a handful of states that still carry such severe penalties, even though nearly 40 now allow some form of cannabis. 

Anti-prohibitionists to descend on this months’ United Nations summit on the drug war. The organization Students for Sensible Drug Policy plans to send 200 students to UNGASS 2016 this year not only to protest the global war on drugs, but also to urge world leaders to heed the valid concerns of younger generations. The activists intend to perform and stage art pieces in protest. The action complements an open letter to U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon containing more than 1,000 signatures from world leaders, including rock stars, policy makers, members of law enforcement, and others.  

Canadian and Mexican Lawmakers Seek Broad Leeway From U.N. Drug Summit

Ex-NFL players in California are teaming up for medical marijuana. A group of 30 ex-NFL players have joined with the Gridiron Cannabis Coalition to test the effectiveness of cannabis as treatment for chronic pain and depression. Kyle Turley, a nine-year veteran of the NFL, founded the group after suffering from chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) and finding that cannabis significantly improved his condition. The Gridiron Cannabis Coalition has recruited Constance Therapeutics to provide extracts and oils for the study participants. Constance Finley, owner of Constance Therapeutics, hopes the study will bring much-needed relief. “My mission is to help people, and these NFL players so desperately need help treating the lasting ramifications from the high-impact sport,” she told the Daily Beast. “We want to embark on scientific research that will clearly show that medicinal cannabis actually can be an option for the issues that NFL players or any athlete deal with.”

Kings of Pain: Watching a Broncos Game with Ex-NFL Player Nate Jackson Will Lay You Out

We’ve all seen Bill Maher smoke cannabis, but how has it shaped his show? Maher has been vocal about supporting cannabis legalization, even going so far as to light up a joint on the air. He admitted after the fact that his heart was “pounding in my chest.” Maher claims to be a moderate user, consuming cannabis two or three times a week, in particular as a way to fuel his creative efforts. “I’m hardly the only person in this world who finds pot to be a creative aid,” he said. “My priority is work — the writing process — and that’s what I save it for.”

Reschedule 420 Takes the Cannabis Cause to the White House

QUICK HITS: 

  • Denver raids are through the roof today. Thirty people in the Denver area were arrested as part of a probe into illegal cultivation in residential areas. Many of the operators were growing illegal amounts of cannabis and shipping it out of state. When you’ve got so many legal options, why resort to criminality?
  • New anti-cannabis coalition rises in Massachusetts. Gov. Charlie Baker, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, and House Speaker Robert DeLeo have created the Campaign for a Safe and Healthy Massachusetts, devoted to oppose the Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act. 
  • And finally, expecting the munchies? Your pizza could come with a disposable pipe for post-pie nomming. The Push for Pizza app developers are now offering a foldable cardboard section that can be used as a pipe, with the plastic stand in the center of the pizza doubling as a bowl piece. Now that’s innovation!

Blockbuster Report Backs U.N. Cannabis Regulation, End to Prohibition