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Weed geeks love to test the same strain at different dispensaries. The Grow-Off is a type of Pepsi challenge whose results show which shops specialize in flavor, potency and yield — and which shops to avoid altogether. Last summer, when it was announced that over forty of Colorado’s commercial cannabis growers would be pitted against each other using the same mystery genetics, I couldn’t decide what I wanted to know more — who would win, or what the special strain was.

It took more than half a year, but the results are finally in: The secret mandatory ingredient was Race Fuel OG (also known as Race Fuel), a mix of High Octane OG and Face Off OG, two OG-heavy strains with names that leave little to the imagination. The Herbal Cure in Denver took home first for flavor and potency, while mountain-based High Country Healing saw the most yield.

As difficult as the scoring probably was, I would have paid a lot of money to be a judge on that panel. Luckily, some of the participating dispensaries are now selling their cuts of Race Fuel to the public. A quick whiff of the strain’s diesel and OG scents, which are like a combination of citrus cleaner and gasoline, will make tokers realize just how fortunate they are.

Thornton is finally getting a recreational dispensary. On March 23, the Thornton City Council approved a license for its first retail pot store, but not without some hesitation from councilmembers.

The Marijuana Local Licensing Authority had convened a meeting with Mayor Heidi K. Williams and the council to hear testimony from each of the four dispensaries requesting a license from the city, which had previously had a moratorium on recreational marijuana. That ban was lifted last August, and the applicants all came armed with community-engagement plans to explain what each business would bring to the town.

The evening began with a PowerPoint presentation by Rocky Road Remedies, outlining a $12,000 restorative-justice program the company would like to introduce in schools. After that, Stephanie Hull, director of operations for Rocky Road, was questioned for over an hour by councilmembers.

In states like Colorado, where the recreational use of cannabis is legal, the population is divided into two categories: those who use marijuana, and everyone else. LucidMood, a Boulder-based company, is hoping to bridge that gap with a product it bills as “cannabis for the rest of us.”

Charles Jones, a cognitive scientist, started Chooze, the company behind LucidMood, after a friend called to ask whether smoking marijuana would affect her son’s IQ. He started researching cannabis on her behalf.

WeedStream has been an ally to the legalization movement since 2014, producing a 24/7/365 soundtrack for the cannabis community. It’s been an advocate for the medical, cultural and financial benefits of marijuana, pushing legalized medicinal and recreational marijuana as a positive influence on society.

“For me, this is a local opportunity to do something for something I believe in. I think it’s important that this culture has an entertainment platform and a positive way of messaging all the positive things that come about with legalization — medicinal in particular, but also recreational,” says Mike Henry, CEO of WeedStream.

WeedStream has become a “peephole” for the rest of the world, so people everywhere can see what’s really happening with marijuana in Colorado. “People have seen us enough to know we’re not some corporate monster. We’re just a local family business,” Henry says. “We use this top-ten list every year to highlight what we think are the top songs with a marijuana theme.”

This year’s list is very eclectic, Henry says; it’s got everything from reggae to the Motet, a Denver band. Here are the station’s picks for the top ten marijuana songs of 2016:

The National Fraternal Order of Police released a statement through its website last month suggesting that Donald Trump make good on campaign proposals and tackle a number of issues within his first 100 days in office. In addition to more than a dozen proposals that would dismantle much of the reforms suggested by President Barack Obama’s policing task force in 2015, the FOP also requested that Trump not use federal law enforcement agencies to pursue violations of marijuana in states where the “use, manufacture and possession of marijuana” is legal. And, in fact, the FOP asks for more research into medical marijuana.

 

Singapore executed Chijioke Stephen Obioha by hanging. A Nigerian national and football player, Obioha was found with 2.5 kg (5.5 pounds) of marijuana in 2007. According to Singapore law, anyone with more than 500 g is presumed to be trafficking.

Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte, known as “The Punisher” for his advocacy of vigilante murders,threatened his human rights activist critics.

A Florida county sheriff’s office may have trained drug sniffing dogs with material other than drugs, according to ProPublica. Another ProPublica report led Portland, Ore. to change its policy for the drug tests used in many arrests.

The U.S. Supreme Court won’t take up the case of a Native American church in Hawaii that wants to be exempt for marijuana laws.

A college student who had $11,000 confiscated at the Cincinnati airport after his checked bag smelled of pot, challenged the forfeiture and got his money back.

Seantrel Henderson, a Buffalo Bills offensive lineman, may sue the NFL over his second cannabis suspension of the season. Henderson’s Crohn’s disease forced him to have two and a half feet of his colon removed.

The Bay Area has the country’s highest concentration of cannabis users in the country.

My friend Reilly Capps wrote a story for The Rooster about “ Stoners anonymous.

A survey found that cannabis is attracting an increasingly upscale clientele.

Anita Thompson, widow of Hunter S. Thompson, wants to market the gonzo journalist’s personal cannabis strains. Skepticism abounds.

The founder of Healing Church, a Catholicism-inflected pot “ministry” in Rhode Island, is involved in abizarre legal situation. If I’m reading this correctly, Anne Armstrong had a vision of cannabis leaves on a six-foot replica of the Virgin of Guadeloupe – an image said to have appeared on a Mexican peasant’s poncho in 1531. Armstrong later obtained and then lost custody of the replica. She also faces a possession charge.

The Stranger put together a cannabis gift guide. It includes weed filled advent calendars and Christmas ornaments. The piece also cites scripture to prove Jesus was a stoner.

Country music legend Loretta Lynn smoked pot for the first time at 84, for her glaucoma. She didn’t like it, but defended Willie Nelson and the right to do it.

A woman in Greensboro, N.C., was “shocked,” in a bad way, when someone mistakenly mailed her four pounds of weed.

But that hasn’t stopped the guessing.
Here’s your daily dose of pot news from the newsletter WeedWeek.

Speculation continues about what anti-pot U.S. Attorney General nominee Sen. Jeff Sessions could mean for the legal marijuana industry. The Associated Press says cannabis has the upper hand but could still collapse. Fortune says smaller companies, already dealing with larger competitors, can expect more pain.

Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee say Sessions will get an  contentious confirmation hearing.

An op-ed in the Wall Street Journal says Sessions is not a racist, and in fact championed the end of sentencing discrepancies between cocaine, associated with affluent whites, and crack, which devastated inner cities. President Obama signed the Fair Sentencing Act into law in 2010. Sessions later said that by granting clemency retroactively to non-violent drug offenders, Obama was abusing the law.

D.C. pot-activists were received warmly at Sessions office but didn’t leave feeling especially reassured. Sen. Minority Leader Chuck Schumer’s (D.-N.Y.) aides weren’t as welcoming. “So typical that you are taking this less seriously than Republicans,” an activist said. The whole piece, in USNews, is worth a read, and funny too.

President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee to lead the Department of Health and Human Services, Rep. Tom Price (R- Ga.), is another staunch prohibitionist who, if confirmed, would have the authority to interfere with state-legal MED access.

I wrote a story for California Sunday about efforts in Oakland to create a diverse cannabis industry. The photos are by Pulitzer winner Preston Gannaway.

 

President Obama discussed legalization at length in an interview with Rolling Stone, conducted the day after the election:

I’ve been very clear about my belief that we should try to discourage substance abuse. And I am not somebody who believes that legalization is a panacea. But I do believe that treating this as a public-health issue, the same way we do with cigarettes or alcohol, is the much smarter way to deal with it. Typically how these classifications are changed are not done by presidential edict but are done either legislatively or through the DEA. As you might imagine, the DEA, whose job it is historically to enforce drug laws, is not always going to be on the cutting edge about these issues.


            [Laughs] What about you? Are you gonna get on the cutting edge?
Look, I am now very much in lame-duck status. And I will have the opportunity as a private citizen to describe where I think we need to go. But in light of these referenda passing, including in California, I’ve already said, and as I think I mentioned on Bill Maher’s show, where he asked me about the same issue, that it is untenable over the long term for the Justice Department or the DEA to be enforcing a patchwork of laws, where something that’s legal in one state could get you a 20-year prison sentence in another. So this is a debate that is now ripe, much in the same way that we ended up making progress on same-sex marriage. There’s something to this whole states-being-laboratories-of-democracy and an evolutionary approach. You now have about a fifth of the country where this is legal.
Obama added that Trump voters “in large numbers” favor decriminalizing.

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.

The industry is worried.

Here’s your daily round-up of pot-news, excerpted from the newsletter WeedWeek

President-elect Donald Trump nominated anti-pot hardliner Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama (R) for Attorney General. At a Senate hearing in April 2016, Sessions said that ‘we need grown-ups in charge in Washington to say marijuana is not the kind of thing that ought to be legalized, it ought not to be minimized, that it’s in fact a very real danger.’

“I think one of [Obama’s] great failures, it’s obvious to me, is his lax treatment in comments on marijuana,” Sessions said at the hearing. “It reverses 20 years almost of hostility to drugs that began really when Nancy Reagan started ‘Just Say No.’ ”

Lawmakers, he said, have to “send that message with clarity that good people don’t smoke marijuana.”
USNews calls Sessions an “ Existential threat” to state-legal cannabis. Industry leaders are very nervous.

Reason points out that Sessions has an “aversion to civil rights” and gay rights. The U.S. Senate failed to confirm him for a federal judgeship in 1986, amid allegations of what late Senator Ted Kennedy called “racial insensitivity” and “lack of commitment to equal justice under the law.” The New York Times editorializes that the nomination is an “ insult to justice.”

What does a Trump presidency mean for the industry? The transition team isn’t talking. NBC speculates.So does CBS.

The Sessions nomination needs to be approved by the Senate. Have a view you want to share?  Contact your Senator.

Before the Sessions pick, the Washington Post’s Radley Balko said former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani (R) would also be “ terrifying.”

Before the Sessions pick, anti-legalization activist Kevin Sabet said, “A Trump administration throws everything up in the air… “Is it going to be ‘ states’ rights Trump’ or ‘law-and-order Trump’?”

Marijuana.com’s Tom Angell has launched a petition for Trump to keep his “marijuana pledge” to respect state laws.  Even if he doesn’t go after the industry, The Stranger says President Trump will  make the industry whiter.

It’s official, Denver will be the first U.S. city to license social use businesses.

After the Massachusetts REC vote, Rhode Island could legalize REC through the legislature. Alaska is setting up a  drop box system  to collect taxes in cash.

Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery (R), said looser cannabis regulations in Memphis and Nashville can’t stand.

Due to a glitch, it appears that MED in California will be tax-free until the state’s REC program begins in 2018.

Some conservatives don’t like that MED patients can’t buy guns.

Among other things, they are preparing safety guides for “trimmigrants”

Here’s your daily round-up of pot-news, excerpted from the newsletter WeedWeek

Reveal follows up on its investigation of sex abuse of trimmigrants in California’s Emerald Triangle, with an update on how communities in the region have responded.

Massachusetts became the first state on the east coast to legalize REC, despite opposition from the state’s most prominent politicians, both Democrats and Republicans. Dispensaries could open as soon as January 2018.

All four states voting on MED approved it. In Florida, voters legalized MED with 71% in favor. In Arkansas, a MED initiative has a comfortable lead with most precincts reporting. North Dakota’s MED initiative passed with about 64% of the vote and Montana’s Initiative to expand MED access also passed comfortably.

Each of the MED states also voted for Donald Trump, who is now president-elect.

It looks like the proposed REC business bans in Pueblo, the Colorado industry’s secondary hub, failed. I wrote about the situation for the L.A. Times.

There were numerous local votes in Oregon on the industry’s status in communities. See the results here.

The Eureka Times-Standard explains your rights in California post Proposition 64. Public consumption will not be allowed except in licensed businesses, which will open in 2018 at the earliest.

Stocks in private prison companies jumped following Donald Trump’s victory. Racial disparities in criminal enforcement remain a concern.

The Nation profiles Bill Montgomery (R), the anti-pot Phoenix prosecutor who won re-election.

An odor problem has earned a Boulder grow $14,000 in fines.

The NFL Player’s Association said it would explore MED as a pain management tool. The league isn’t budging, for now.

Playboy calls legalization one of the election’s “ silver linings.

Colorado Harvest Company and O.pen vape were among the major donors to Levitt Pavilion amphitheater, a new venue for free concerts in Denver.

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