Politics 

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

The Shake: Richard Nixon Gets His Own Strain, and Is Cannabis a Gateway Drug?

Does D.A.R.E. Still Think Cannabis is a Gateway Drug? Nobody Knows

Is cannabis a gateway drug? As East Coast states mull legalization amid an ongoing opioid epidemic, a number of politicians have warned that legal, regulated cannabis markets could lead to an uptick in heroin and prescription painkiller abuse. (The numbers don’t back this up, but politics, right?) Today the New York Times posted a number of policy papers on the issue of whether or not cannabis is indeed a gateway drug. The conclusion? There is none — like many NYT “Room for Debate” topics, it’s less debate than it is different advocates talking past each other. If you want something more substantial, check out some of our past coverage or read these pieces in the Atlantic, Vice, Newsweek — heck, even Factcheck.org. The upshot: Cannabis probably is not a gateway drug relative to other substances, and it’s certainly nowhere near as bad as politicians and anti-drug groups want you to believe. The scientist who came up with the “gateway” term even came out recently to say that nicotine, not cannabis, is the gateway substance we should be worried about. (More fun with double-standards: A growing body of research indicates that giving children tastes of alcohol correlates — beware correlations! — with them developing drinking problems later in life.)

The Shake: Tricky Dick's Racist Drug War. Also, What's 'Biosynthesis'?

California grower trolls Richard Nixon, sort of. You remember Nixon, right? That guy who started the drug war because he didn’t like black people or hippies? Well, now Roger Stone, a notorious political consultant and former Donald Trump adviser who worked on Nixon's campaign, is growing a strain of cannabis dubbed Tricky Dick in the president’s hometown of Yorba Linda. It’s not clear whether it’s an homage or an insult, but Stone describes the strain with a wink, calling it a “very unique blend” of cannabis: “You smoke it, you become very paranoid, and you want to go to a Chinese restaurant.” America.

Forget 420. The magic number in Denver is 421. The City Council there voted Monday to cap the number of cannabis businesses, grandfathering in 421 existing retail shops and grow sites, the Associated Press reports. The existing businesses joined with parents’ groups and neighborhood organizations to support the limit, saying the city has enough shops as it is. The measure allows pending license applications to go through before the limit takes effect, meaning Denver could see up to 45 more cannabusinesses. Another provision, however, calls for the eventual reduction of 15 grow sites.

 Canada Will Bring Legalization Measure in Early 2017

QUICK HITS:

  • A Canadian cannabis advocate is gunning for a spot on a federal task force. Jodie Emery, whom we like a lot and who basically won at 4/20, worries the panel will be stacked with prohibitionists intent on passing overly restrictive rules as the country moves toward adult-use legalization next year. Emery is no prohibitionist.
  • Are monthly subscriptions really “the future of cannabis”? I admit I’m tempted by those clothes-in-a-box thingies, but I really don’t mind picking up cannabis in person. Green Rush Daily disagrees. What do you think? 

 Alaska to Become the First State with Legal Cannabis Cafés

  • Have your cannabis and smoke it, too. Alaska regulators are planning to consider rules for onsite consumption at authorized adult-use retail stores, the AP reports.
  • A mother and son are going to jail for running a Michigan dispensary. Ellen Dee Shaw was sentenced to 290 days for running dispensaries Kent County. Under a 2013 state Supreme Court ruling, storefront dispensaries aren’t protected under the state’s medical cannabis law. Shaw’s 26-year-old son was sentenced to 90 days. 

 Georgia Gov. Deal and Rep. Allen Peake Go Head-to-Head Over Medical Cannabis

  • Clarkston could be the first Georgia city to decriminalize cannabis. Despite warnings from Gov. Nathan Deal (who’s kind of a prig about cannabis in general), Clarkston could vote as early as next week to make possession of less than an ounce a ticket-only offense.
  • That plan for Iowa patients to get medical cannabis from Minnesota? It’s probably dead. The measure failed a recent Iowa House vote, 31–63, according to the AP. Sorry, Iowans, looks like you’ll have to keep getting your kids’ epilepsy medicine illegally.
  • And finally, need a break? Check out Carrot Facts and learn something useful. 

 Weekend Weirdness: Cannabis Disguised as Carrots Has Agents Saying "What's Up, Doc?"

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons