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

The Shake: Walgreens Acknowledges the Reality of Medical Cannabis

Shocking Turnabout in Maine: Legalization is on the November Ballot

Give it up for… Walgreens? Last week the pharmacy chain quietly put up a web page discussing how medical cannabis is used. The drug store (which, its page notes, “is not a licensed medical marijuana provider”) includes a simple description of cannabis, how it’s administered, its physiological effects, ailments it’s commonly used to treat, and an even encouragement for patients to discuss cannabis with their doctors. It’s a very boring deal, sure, but it’s also a very big deal. Have you been to Walgreens? Have you heard the music they play? This is a clear step forward in the societal acceptance of cannabis. 

QUICK HITS:

  • And you thought Donald Trump was brash. The presidential frontrunner in the Philippines, asked what he would do if one of his children were involved in drugs, replied: “I will kill him.” That’ll learn ‘em.
  • A very smart lawyer says legalization will be harder than you think. It may be just a question of when, not whether, cannabis becomes legal in the United States, but Erwin Chemerinsky warns to expect plenty of arrests in the meantime. 
  • Good work, everyone. You spent more than $37.5 million on legal cannabis on 4/20. That’s according to a new report released by data firm MJ Freeway. 

States with Legal Medical Cannabis Have Seen a 25% Decrease in Prescription Painkiller Overdose Deaths

  • You’ve heard it before, you’ll hear it again, and you should probably tell your friends: States that allow medical cannabis access have significantly lower rates of prescription opioid abuse. Legalization really can save lives.
  • Shopping mall magnate pledges gobs of cash to fight medical legalization in Florida. “It’s not a medicine,” said Mel Sembler, falling victim to the classic blunder of thinking money makes you right. (Can someone send him the Walgreens link?) 
  • San Diego is threatening criminal charges over the city’s illegal dispensaries. Only 14 operating dispensaries have city-issued licenses, and City Attorney Jan Goldsmith says he’s ready to bring down the hammer on those that don’t. (Here’s what a lawyer has to say.) 

Court Ruling Could Doom L.A. Cannabis Deliveries

  • A nug by any other name would smell as sweet. Alaska businesses are trying to figure out whether they want to sell marijuana, pot, ganja, cannabis… 
  • Massachusetts school superintendents oppose legalization. They’re worried it would make cannabis more accessible to kids. It’s the right worry but the wrong conclusion: Most studies so far have found that teen use doesn’t increase after legalization. 
  • The ban on Colorado Springs cannabis clubs is all but certain. Opponents missed a key deadline (on April 20, which seems like kind of a mean-spirited deadline to have set) to submit a petition against the ban. 
  • Wyoming lawmakers reveal cannabis ignorance. They’re debating edibles and whether they should be limited by weight or potency. It’s easy to poke fun — should a cake that contains just 5 mg of total THC be outlawed because the cake itself weighs a couple pounds? — but it’s also an important reminder: Many fair-minded officials still know much less about cannabis than they should.

Why are Legal States Setting More Limits on Cannabis?

  • Here’s how to deal with finding your parents’ stash. Resist the urge to be self-righteous, and instead try a bit of humor, writes advice columnist Harriette Cole. People change. Let them.
  • And finally, anyone engaging in some “certain defined conduct” later? That’s how Pittsburgh will classify possession of small amounts of cannabis under a new city ordinance. Offenders will be ticketed up to $100 for the offense, and the citation won’t even mention cannabis. It’s a big improvement over misdemeanor possession charges that previously saddled casual consumers with criminal arrest records. 

Clinton Vows Tepid Leadership on Cannabis