27713058645_d91b09359d_oLesley L.

Marijuana may be the main attraction for many in the cannabis world, but Colorado also leads the way in hemp cultivation. In fact, as of this week, there are approximately 400 active industrial hemp businesses registered with the state’s Department of Agriculture. Still, misconceptions around the differences (or lack thereof) between hemp and marijuana run rampant, so let’s clear the confusion.

5501509228_30fdcd61a2_bDank Depot

Marijuana legalization is going more smoothly in some states than in others. A major reason that four more states legalized recreational marijuana this year is the tax revenue that pot brings in. Last year, Colorado collected over $70 million in tax revenue from marijuana — nearly double the $42 million brought in by alcohol, Time reports. But one state that voted to legalize recreational marijuana this year actually cut the amount of tax revenue it will see from marijuana sales over the next year.

5396653671_90a1883f31_b_1_Matthew Kenwrick/Flickr

Trying to pass marijuana legislation in Texas “is akin to trying to clean the Statue of Liberty by licking it,” State Representative Harold Dutton (D-Houston) said in a recent interview with Houston NORML.

Sure, it’s no doubt been tough. But after four more states legalized recreational marijuana on November 8, might Texas be a little more inclined to at least take more baby steps?

Dutton is hoping the answer is yes. Last week, lawmakers filed several key marijuana-reform bills or proposals in the Legislature, ranging from a proposal allowing Texas voters to decide whether weed should be legalized to various bills that decriminalize possessing an ounce or less.

United-States-Marijuana-Flag--70678.jpegadmin | Toke of the Town

Here’s your daily dose of cannabis news from the newsletter WeedWeek:

On a conference call with reporters this week, Bill Piper, the Drug Policy Alliance’s Senior Director of National Affairs, discussed the nomination of Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions (R) for U.S. Attorney General:

“Civil rights groups point out that Sen. Sessions has been one of the Senate’s most extreme voices on issues affecting immigrants, Muslims, African-Americans, Latinos, Women and the LGBT community. He has a long record of obstructing civil rights.

“In the area of drug policy reform, Sen. Sessions is a drug war dinosaur. His has nearly singlehandedly blocked bipartisan sentencing reform in the Senate. Sessions has been critical of the Obama Justice Department’s guidelines around sentencing that were designed to limit harsh sentences, and he has criticized the Justice Department’s use of consent decrees that force local police departments to address police brutality, racial profiling and other civil rights issues. He opposes giving formerly incarcerated individuals the right to vote. 
“He recently described marijuana as a dangerous drug and said that, “Good people don’t smoke marijuana.” He has criticized the Obama administration for respecting state marijuana laws. 
“If confirmed as U.S. Attorney General, Jeff Sessions could escalate the failed war on drugs. He will likely use his position to oppose any kind of sentencing or criminal justice reform…He could also undo the Cole Memo which provided guidance to U.S. attorneys instructing them to generally not raid marijuana dispensaries in states where it is legal.
“The war on drugs could also be a weapon that Sessions and the Trump administration use to spy on, investigate incarcerate or deport immigrants and other targeted groups. Already, President-elect Trump has said he wants to aggressively deport any immigrant who commits any offense, no matter how minor, including drug offenses…Senator Sessions could not only escalate the war on immigration and the war on drugs, he could combine them.

“He was deemed unfit to be a Federal judge in 1986 and I believe he will be deemed unfit to be U.S. Attorney General when the Senate looks at his history and record during confirmation hearings next year.”

Following Piper, representatives from LatinoJustice PRLDEF, the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, theCouncil on American-Islamic Relations, and the Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference, and the Cato Institute—“massive, massive privacy concerns” – each discussed what Attorney General Sessions could mean for criminal justice and civil liberties.

As Piper writes in a blog post, it isn’t clear how state-legal marijuana businesses would be affected if Sessions wins confirmation:

“No one knows for sure what exactly to expect, but we should assume the worst. His administration, which looks set to be staffed by drug-war extremists, could go after state marijuana laws. Instead of just opposing sentencing reform, they could push for new mandatory minimums. They might demonize drugs and drug sellers to build support for mass deportations and a wall. Trump’s law-and-order rhetoric could fundamentally alter the political environment, nationally and locally.”
Piper adds:
“We need to pace ourselves, choose our battles carefully, be strategic, and perhaps most importantly, keep our morale up. We need to find ways of supporting each other…
“It’s especially important that we find ways to create division among Republicans, who now hold Congress and the White House. The more they disagree, the less they can get done. Two areas that stand out for us are marijuana and sentencing reform. We have enough Republican support on both these issues that we might be able to create dissent within the GOP if Trump tries to do something bad in these areas…
The rise of Trump and Trumpism has put a national spotlight on white supremacy and misogyny. Everywhere, people are now organizing against hate. Drug policy reformers should be part of that fight.

We can start by taking a hard look at our movement and the marijuana industry we have created. If groups draft legalization laws that  ignore racial justice, we need to call them out. If dispensaries, marijuana magazines or other marijuana businesses objectify and demean women to sell their products, or if they exclude people of color, we need to call them out. It is long past time to clean up our own house.”

The Christian Science Monitor tries to parse how or if AG Sessions will go after the industry. So does The Hill. “Pot policy in the U.S. is up in the air,” Brookings Institution scholar John Hudak tells the NYTimes.

Cannabis business lawyer Hilary Bricken shares her views at Above the Law. More from LAist, andMarijuana.com.

Pro-pot activist and journalist Tom Angell told Buzzfeed, “From a political lens, I think reversing course on [marijuana]and trying to shut down broadly popular state laws, that’s going to be a huge distraction from all the other things they care a lot more about,” Angell said. “It’s a fight that they don’t want to pick.”

To put this differently, unlike going after undocumented immigrants or Muslims, an attempt to crush the legal marijuana industry would likely have political consequences for a Republican administration.

If Sessions doesn’t realize it already, he’ll soon learn that gutting the REC and MED industry would require opposing state Legislatures in Ohio, Pennsylvania and elsewhere, and going against the will of voters in states including Florida, Arkansas, Nevada, Colorado, Montana and North Dakota. It would mean killing tens of thousands of jobs, and perhaps prosecuting White, media-savvy, cannabis executives, who can afford good lawyers.

Trump did not make a return to prohibition central to his campaign — his support for MED has beenrelatively consistent – and for a president who wants to win re-election, it’s hard to see much if any upside for him in a widespread crackdown. Given these uncertainties, there is a case for the industry to keep its head-down and hope President Trump has other priorities.

There is also a case for action.

In important respects, the marijuana industry is a marginalized community. But unlike other marginalized groups, marijuana is also a thriving industry, one expected to generate more than $6 billion in revenue this year.

During the Obama years, the marijuana industry has obtained the resources and geographic scope to make the Sessions confirmation a fiercely contested battle, and perhaps even defeat him. To do so, Republican Senators, especially those from legal states, need to understand that a vote for Sessions will cast a long shadow over their political futures.

For more than two years, cannabis executives have been telling me that this industry isn’t just about getting high and getting rich, that it’s rooted in struggles for health and justice. The Sessions nomination is the test of that commitment. If industry leaders don’t fight when other groups –including those that include colleagues, friends and customers — appear far more vulnerable, it’s hard to see how this industry stands for anything except its own enrichment. If the industry doesn’t fight now, who will stand up for it if political realities shift and legal cannabis emerges as a primary target?

The cannabis industry is indebted to countless Americans whose lives have been ruined by the war on drugs. Honoring their sacrifice demands a full-throated, and generously-funded, campaign against the Sessions nomination.
img_9214Kate Simmons | Toke of the Town

As the weather cools down, the marijuana scene in Denver is heating up. The first two weeks of December see two big events: an awards ceremony for the industry and a high-end glass art show. On Wednesday, December 7, the Cannabis Business Awards will honor enterprises across the state; two days later, Heaterz is hosting an exhibit at the Space Gallery with multiple glass artists showcasing their hand-crafted bongs. Read on for the details.

img_2820Herbert Fuego

While Mom is in the kitchen obsessing over her cranberry sauce and Grandpa is watching football on the couch, we’ll be upstairs taking a quick hit from one of our favorite strains. Whether you’re in the mood for the sour flavor of Super Lemon Haze or stanky smell of Girl Scout Cookies, head to your local dispensary and pick up something to help ease you through the family obligations this holiday season.

While you’re at it, be sure to check out Herbert Fuego’s advice on how to stay high on the sly while you’re at family dinner.

1. Super Lemon Haze

As the smell implies, smoking Super Lemon Haze is like inhaling a handful of Lemonheads. The delicious sour flavor is complemented by a subtle but spicy and earthy back end, making it a great appetizer before dinner.

Quick and effective, Super Lemon Haze brings an instantly uplifting high that can last for hours. Smoke it with caution your first time, though, because some users report a lack of focus or heightened paranoia. Still, the majority enjoy a euphoric buzz and an easy state of mind, good for harmless laughs or a mindless walk around the neighborhood.

ask_a_stonerWestword

Dear Stoner: I really want to get high before Thanksgiving dinner, but it’ll be with some family from around the country, and a lot of them aren’t cool with weed. Any advice?
Chief Toker

Dear Chief: I faced the same dilemma in my college years, but I was lucky enough to have Thanksgiving without a Catholic grandmother or baby-faced niece staring at me from across the table, so my parents always got over it. I smoked out of one-hitters and apples and blew in toilet-paper rolls covered in dryer sheets to hide the smell back then, but you can be much more inconspicuous now.

vape_comic_den_20nov_19_of_50_Brandon Marshall

Cannabis and comic-book culture collided at the third annual Chromic Con. On Saturday, November 19, the Speakeasy Vape Lounge and Cannabis Club in Colorado Springs hosted the original marijuana-friendly comic-book convention. People came dressed as their favorite fantasy characters, studied comic books and graphic novels, and socialized while smoking their favorite herb. Here are five of our favorite things about Chromic Con:

donaldtrumpbrandonBrandon Marshall

The news that Senator Jeff Sessions will be the new Attorney General made pot proponents very unhappy. Is it time to panic? Here’s an opinion from attorney Tom Downey, former head of the Denver Department of Excise and Licenses, who’s watching developments in D.C. closely:

What will happen to the legal marijuana industry in Colorado and other states under the Trump administration and newly named Attorney General Jeff Sessions? The short answer is that we don’t know, but significant change is unlikely anytime soon.

marijuana-denver-bars-late-showCBS via YouTube

Last week, as we reported, the Denver social-marijuana-consumption measure Initiated Ordinance 300 officially passed. But the initiative’s vision of patrons being able to use cannabis in bars or restaurants that serve alcohol is very much in doubt.

Why? The Colorado Department of Revenue has adopted a proposal recommended by the state’s Liquor Enforcement Division to prohibit marijuana consumption anywhere that’s licensed to serve alcohol.

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