Rihanna gives new meaning to “compassionate use.” According to an anonymous source over at Daily Star Online, the 28-year-old singer-songwriter rented out an entire hotel floor in London (in addition to her regular VIP suite) so she can “smoke without complaints.” Best one-liner from a Leafly staffer: She Found Bud in a Hotel Place.
Legal cannabis outsold Girl Scout cookies last year. That’s one way of putting it. You can also say, according to Forbes contributor Debra Borchardt, that the U.S. cannabis market is bigger than craft beer, wine, and organic food — not exactly cottage industries. The best available estimates peg the nationwide market at $40 billion to $45 billion, which includes illegal sales. As far as the legal market goes, Marijuana Business Daily says the industry could pump up to $44 billion yearly into the economy by 2020. That’s a whole lot of money, sure, but also: Is anyone else in the mood for Girl Scout Cookies?
On Friday (maybe), the U.S. Supreme Court will weigh a challenge to Colorado cannabis. Don’t hold your breath, though. The high court has already punted a few times, postponing its consideration of the suit from Jan. 22 to Feb. 19 to March 4 to, now, March 18. Justices are trying to decide — er, will eventually try to decide — whether to hear a case brought by Nebraska and Oklahoma, whose attorneys general claim that legal cannabis in Colorado is being diverted into their states. The Obama administration has thrown its weight behind Colorado, and the death of Justice Antonin Scalia has made things even more complicated. We’ll let you know what happens, when it happens, if it ever happens. Stay tuned.
The founder of NORML calls Maine “a missed opportunity.” Polls suggested a clear majority — 65 percent — of Maine voters would’ve supported full legalization in November, but stuff hit the fan after officials tossed thousands of signatures and disqualified an initiative by the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol in Maine. Keith Stroup, the D.C. attorney who founded NORML in 1970, has a bunch of takeaways about what can be learned from the snafu. For more about what’s happening in Maine, check out our recent piece.
There’s “no toxic basis to criminalize marijuana.” At least not according to Lester Grinspoon. Grinspoon wrote a letter to the Boston Globe condemning the stance of top Massachusetts officials — Gov. Charlie Baker, state Attorney General Maura Healy, and Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh — who recently came out strongly against legalization. Grinspoon, 87, may be an old man with time to write letters to newspapers, but he’s no gadfly — he’s a professor emeritus of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. So when he writes that cannabis “is far safer than any pharmaceutical or recreational drug,” maybe it’s worth paying attention. It might not be en vogue for politicians to make decisions based on science, but you, Gov. Baker & Co., have a chance to buck that trend. (Maybe in time for New England’s largest cannabis convention next month?)
A moment of silence for Cyndimae Meehan. Meehan, the 13-year-old medical patient who moved from Connecticut to Maine to gain access to cannabis oil, died on Sunday. Meehan suffered from Dravet syndrome, a rare and severe form of epilepsy. Cannabis has shown to be a promising treatment for the syndrome, inspiring the development of strains like Charlotte’s Web, famously used to treat Charlotte Figi, who also has Dravet. Just yesterday, GW Pharma announced that its cannabis-derived drug, Epidiolex, had been proven effective for children with the syndrome. Meehan and her family became advocates for medical cannabis, often testifying before lawmakers mulling medical marijuana bills. A family friend tells the Associated Press that the girl regained her strength and stopped using a wheelchair once she began taking cannabis oil. Our deepest condolences to her family.
QUICK HITS: Cannabis is the only drug Americans want to legalize. By a long shot, too, according to this Vox poll. Second in line? Psychedelic mushrooms. Meet the scientist who’s mapping the cannabis genome. It sounds very complicated, but it’s not all hard work; Mowgli Holmes had to smoke “a massive joint” with an Ohio lawyer just to get the ball rolling. A DC-based magazine weighs in on “pot’s image problem.” The magazine looks at how companies are trying to make cannabis “seem as all-American as an ice-cold beer,” and provides its readers with a solidly reported piece about how things stood back in 2014, when “a Seattle start-up” (ahem) took out a full-page ad in the New York Times. Do you like infographics? Of course you do. Real estate site Estately just released its “U.S. Marijuana Enthusiasm Index” as a state-by-state map. In case you forgot, 1 in 5 incarcerated people are locked up for a drug offense. The Prison Policy Initiative takes an in-depth look at the numbers. One of those people is Bernard Noble. Currently serving 13 years in jail for two measly joints, Noble is featured in a Vice “War on Weed” episode that airs tonight at 11 p.m. Email Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards and tell him it’s time to grant Noble clemency. Oregon laws are changing.Lawyers are here to explain what’s new. In celebrity news, Wiz Khalifa talks about starting a cannabusiness. Even if you’re already aware of his namesake strain, can we all take a second to appreciate that shirt? Orange County announces its first unionized dispensary. Some think unionization could do even more than legalization to bring cannabis into the mainstream. Wanna get away? A Denver company is hard at work trying to open a cannabis-themed resort. I humbly offer to review the 414-acre Camp Bud+Breakfast ranch. And finally, how’s this for a happy ending? Bustle has a bunch of facts about cannabis and sex.