United States Attorney General Jeff Sessions continues to make remarks that alarm state-legalized pot industries and consumers across the country. During a press conference on Wednesday, November 29, announcing new grants and Drug Enforcement Administration projects to combat the national opioid crisis, Sessions told reporters that the Department of Justice is looking at ways to increase federal enforcement against cannabis use, something he called “detrimental” to the country.
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Within minutes of press secretary Sean Spicer’s comment on February 23 that we can expect “greater enforcement” of marijuana laws by the Trump administration, outcries resounded throughout the marijuana industry.
“Over 60 percent of Americans support cannabis legalization. It is one of the few bipartisan issues that actually has the potential to unite us right now. Our country and many of our citizens are still recovering from the devastation of a failed Drug War. It would be a crime to waste any more resources prohibiting adult access to this safe, effective medicine,” says Christie Strong, marketing communications manager for Kiva Confections.
Others warn the administration of a potential legal battle and take some hope in the fact that Spicer has previously made inaccurate statements from the press-secretary podium. “Sean Spicer’s comments on recreational marijuana seem to be a disturbing departure from Trump’s purported position on states’ rights. We will have to see how this plays out. I suspect this issue will end up being litigated at the Supreme Court. Let’s not forget, however, this is the same guy who falsely reported on the attendance at the inauguration,” says Steve Gormley, CEO of Seventh Point LLC.
Danny Davis, managing partner at Convectium, hopes that Spicer’s sentiments are not shared throughout the administration. “We are hopeful that Mr. Spicer’s comments are not representative of the entire administration,” he says. “Many of the states that helped elect President Trump just voted to also support recreational marijuana. It is hard to imagine that he would push an agenda with the support ratings where they are. As an equipment company, we represent both the recreational and medicinal markets, but we would hate to see an action that would stop the current multi-state momentum for recreational.”
Myles J. Ambrose, one of the paranoid forefathers of the American drug war, died earlier this month at the age of 87 in Leesburg, Virginia. Although, throughout the years, there was speculation that bookies were taking wagers on who would be the first to dance on Ambrose’s grave: a prominent Mafia family or a Mexican drug cartel, in the end it was a heart attack that led to his demise.
In a perfect example of why it’s best — if you’re looking to run a successful drug empire — to keep the manufacturing and distribution arms of your outfit separate, the Drug Enforcement Administration moved to seize 35 financial accounts, six cars, jewelery, almost $20,000 in cash, seven gold Canadian “Maple Leaf” coins and 18 properties from Lawrence Shahwan of Lewisville, Gas Pipe head shop owner Jerry Shults and others associated with the Texas and New Mexico-based chain.
According to court documents, the seizure comes after a months-long investigation consisting primarily of federal agents going to Gas Pipe shops and purchasing what the documents call “synthetic marijuana,” but is more accurately described as a varying cocktail of hallucinogenic chemicals mixed with a plant base. The substance is packaged as potpourri or incense or something else that shouldn’t be ingested. Before July 2012, synthetic marijuana was legal. That month, President Obama banned it. It’s now just as illegal as actual marijuana. For more, check out the Dallas Observer.
Though he spared exactly zero words regarding cannabis, drug policy, or criminal justice reform in his 2014 State of the Union address, President Obama and his administration have been increasingly more vocal on these issues as he settles into his second, and final, term in office.
Both the President and Attorney General Eric Holder in the Department of Justice have earned few friends and little trust in the cannabis community, but both wings of the Executive Branch have vowed to address the undeniable fact that when it comes to victimless, drug-related crimes, our criminal justice system is broken. This past Thursday, the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee took an historic step to begin the long overdue reform process.
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration is looking to move forward on creating a new controlled substances code number for a specific marijuana extract.
Feds are just now catching on to high-potency BHO, which is jacked up with concentrated levels of tetrahydrocannabino (THC).The code number set by the DEA would allow them to track quantities of extract separately from quantities of marijuana. The Broward-Palm Beach New Times has more.
In less than five years, Barack Obama has spent nearly $290 million to arrest and prosecute medical marijuana caregivers, patients and dispensary owners. It’s a huge number, but interestingly only makes up about four percent of the overall Drug Enforcement Administration Budget.
According to Americans for Safe Access, which compiled the report using DEA and other federal statistics, says federal intervention flies in the face of state-legal cannabis patients, which number more than 1 million people nationally.
If you combined Saturday Night Live‘s “Really?” segment with ESPN’s celebration of boneheaded NFL plays titled “C’Mon Man!” you would have my reaction to Derek Rosenfeld’s recent HuffPo article trashing our commander in chief. In his piece “President Obama Is the Last Person Who Should Joke About Marijuana”, Rosenfeld, who is the Internet communications associate at the venerable Drug Policy Alliance, took issue with one joke from the Prez’s annual White House Correspondents Dinner.
What was so egregious about Obama’s marijuana diss? It wasn’t one to begin with.
|Smoked marijuana/became President.|
The Obama administration is taking a shift (albeit not a very drastic one) towards treating drug problems as a health issue and not as a criminal issue. On Wednesday the White House released their 2013 National drug Control Strategy, a 104-page document that outlines how treatment should become a focus for the nation’s drug control policy.
But at the same time, it doesn’t really tell the police and DEA to stop arresting anybody either and continues a prohibition and war against marijuana (both recreational and medical).
What do P-Diddy, Cameron Diaz, Nicki Minaj, Ron Howard and Mark Wahlberg all have in common? Aside from being ridiculously famous and wealthy, they all support the reformation of drug laws in this country.
More than 175 actors, artists, athletes and elected officials signed on to an open letter to President Obama today, asking him to change our drug policy laws from punitive, harsh jail times to one that favors evidence- based prevention and rehabilitation.