Politics 

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

The Shake: The Feds Grow Brickweed and Cannabis Is a Staple in Spokane

In Ohio: No last year, yes this year. The new team leading Ohioans for Medical Marijuana, the state’s medical cannabis campaign, includes Brandon Lynaugh, which may come as a bit of a surprise to those familiar with Ohio’s last cannabis campaign. In 2015 Lynaugh served as campaign manager for No On 3, which pushed against the ill-fated ResponsibleOhio initiative. It’s an interesting but not altogether surprising turn of events for Lynaugh, who supports medical cannabis access as a result of having a close family member who suffers from epilepsy. Ohioans for Medical Marijuana also hired Trevor Vessels as deputy campaign manager, Aaron Marshall as director of communications and Lee Roberts as political director.

What do you consider a household staple? One of the top-selling staples in one Washington state county was — you guessed it — cannabis. Legal cannabis sales in Spokane County outsold bread, milk, and even wine last year. Beer was the only competing product that outsold cannabis, and only barely. Each Spokane household spent an average of $225.64 on cannabis last year, while households spent an average of $232.70 on beer during the same period. By comparison, the average household in the same area spent $109.71 on bread, $154.85 on wine, and $155.37 on milk. How do you like them apples?

Special Report: Unpacking the Inefficiencies, Intentions, and Unclear Ethics of ResponsibleOhio

The government’s cannabis is schwaggy, to say the least. It may come as no surprise, but the cannabis that the National Institute on Drug Abuse legally grows at a farm in Mississippi — currently the only legal cannabis available for research purposes — is, for all intents and purposes, ditch weed. Its “high-THC” cannabis levels top out at 13.7 percent, while the average in the legal retail industry hovers around 18.7 percent and can test north of of 30 percent. The revelation came in a letter drafted in response to a group of senators’ request for information on cannabis grown at the University of Mississippi. The DEA provided the information, giving the public a peek into the strange world of federal cannabis grown behind closed doors. Time for a change?

Pennsylvania nears the finish line for medical cannabis. State Senate majority leader Jake Corman says his chamber is close to releasing changes to the states’ medical marijuana legislation, the Associated Press reports. The bill has been in the pipeline for more than a year and has undergone major changes across the board. The Senate passed a similar version of the bill last May, but gaining the necessary support from the Republican-controlled House has been challenging. The most recent changes will be technical, designed to eliminate potential glitches down the road. The bill is likely to see a vote soon and is the closest that the Keystone state has come to legalizing medical cannabis.

Pennsylvania House Votes to Legalize Medical Cannabis

New Jersey lawmakers take a note from Whoopi’s book on cannabis. State Assembly Members Tim Eustace, L. Grace Spencer and Anjelica Spencer introduced a bill that would add menstrual cramps to the state’s list of qualifying conditions for medical cannabis. If it passes, this will make New Jersey the first state to allow access to medical marijuana products to women suffering from dysmenorrhea, or menstrual cramps. When Whoopi Goldberg recently introduced her new line of cannabis products geared toward easing menstrual pain, some state officials considered it a viable alternative. “One of the most underserved populations is women,” noted Assemblyman Eustace. Thanks for thinking of the ladies, NJ!

QUICK HITS:

  • Cruz reiterates that he supports states’ rights on cannabis legalization. Although Sen. Ted Cruz says he’d likely vote against legalization in his home state of Texas, he told ABC in Denver that he supports the right of the people to make that decision for themselves under the Constitution. Good on ya, Ted!
  • MassRoots just filed to be NASDAQ’s first listed cannabis stock. The social network has been around since 2013 and last April began trading on the OTCQB Marketplace under the symbol MSRT. This time they’re hoping the NASDAQ Capital Market will pick up their listing. It’s unclear whether the company is eligible, however, based on the federal illegality of cannabis.
  • The French Secretary of State for Relations with Parliament calls for legalization. Jean-Marie Le Guen, liaison for the French government, told BFMTV that the decriminalization of cannabis deserves to be discussed, arguing that prohibition isn’t effective in decreasing use among teens. Instead he expressed support for allowing restricted adult use. We agree — comme il faut.
  • And finally, Howard Marks, once a famed international cannabis smuggler known as “Mr. Nice,” died Sunday. Marks spent three years in jail and was described in his obituary as “Britain’s most charming drug smuggler.” Goodbye, Mr. Nice, you left quite a legacy.

 The Shake: Obama Frees 61 Inmates and Whoopi Tackles Period Pain