Browsing: Feds ‘N Heads

women.vaping.marijuana.jacqueline.collinsJacqueline Collins

Since 2013, the Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area, a federally funded law-enforcement organization, has been issuing highly critical, persistently biased reports about the impact of marijuana legalization in Colorado.

But beyond a few scattered stories and a brief reference in U.S. Attorney Bob Troyer’s unexpectedly strident September 28 anti-pot op-ed in the Denver Post, the group’s latest salvo, released this month, has gotten comparatively little traction, especially compared to its earliest offerings.

woman-marijuana-grower-marijuana-grow-istockiStock/cyano66

The Drug Enforcement Administration appeared to take a large step forward on Thursday, September 27, when it confirmed that it would reclassify Epidiolex as a Schedule V substance. The move follows Food and Drug Administration approval and classifies the marijuana-derived cannabidiol (CBD) medication under the DEA’s lowest restriction for drugs, so physicians and pharmacies can now prescribe and dispense it in all fifty states under federal law.

Despite the headlining news, the reaction in Colorado was a mixed bag, ranging from ho-hum to angry disappointment.

trumpjulydenverBrandon Marshall

Has the Trump administration secretly organized a committee of federal agencies to “combat public support for marijuana,” as Buzzfeed reported on August 29? The article describes White House memos and emails instructing fourteen federal agencies and the Drug Enforcement Administration to submit “data demonstrating the most significant negative trends” about marijuana to the Marijuana Policy Coordination Committee.

According to an unclassified summary obtained by Buzzfeed, committee notes are not to be distributed externally and require a close hold. Among other things, “departments should provide…the most significant data demonstrating negative trends, with a statement describing the implications of such trends.”

home growFlickr/Mark Eggrole

Government reports recently revealed that over 665,000 pounds of legal marijuana were sold in Colorado last year, but that number hardly accounted for every sale in the state. Although market research shows that Colorado’s marijuana black market has become significantly smaller than the rest of the country’s since retail dispensaries showed up in 2014, it hasn’t evaporated altogether.

Various law enforcement agencies collaborated on a network of raids on illegal marijuana grows in at least five towns and two counties on August 9, as first reported by the Denver Post — and the marijuana seized from the raids could be small potatoes compared to what’s happening on public land in Colorado.

marijuana.billboard.pesky.hangoverPhoto courtesy of the RAND Corporation

The National Association of Cannabis Businesses’ draft guidelines to establish a country-wide advertising standard for the marijuana industry was the subject of a months-long comment period and is expected to be finalized this summer. Doug Fischer, chief legal officer for the NACB, believes such a criterion is needed as soon as possible, even though cannabis remains illegal on a federal level.

In his words, “The time to do this is now.”

usamappotKate McKee Simmons

An amendment attached to a federal finance bill that would have provided the legal marijuana industry with banking protections was stifled on Thursday, June 21, by a U.S. Senate committee. The measure, introduced by Senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon, would have shielded financial institutions and banks that open accounts for state-legal pot businesses from federal prosecution.

Denver mayorBrandon Marshall

Mayor Michael Hancock wasn’t a fan of legal marijuana before Colorado voters approved it in 2012, but he’s since become a public defender of the plant — or at least, the actions taken by the City of Denver to comply with Amendment 64. On Sunday, June 10, Hancock’s office announced that he’s spearheading a coalition of mayors from around the country in an effort to push Congress to protect states with legal pot.

Although he originally opposed legalization efforts, Hancock was the mayor of the first major city to legalize marijuana, and since the first recreational sales on January 1, 2014, Denver has become into one of the nation’s capitals of legal weed, with over 200 dispensaries and 1,100 licensed pot businesses now operating in the city, according to the Denver Department of Excise and Licenses. Now, he and mayors of at least eight other cities are asking Congress to listen to them about their experiences so that legalization “can be done smoothly, safely and effectively.”

noco_hemp_expo_collins20180408_023Jacqueline Collins

The industrial-hemp industry may have gotten a nod of approval from the Drug Enforcement Administration in late May, when the agency clarified that not all compounds of cannabis fall under the Controlled Substances Act. Referencing a 2004 decision by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals that excluded non-psychoactive cannabinoids from the federal government’s definition of marijuana, the announcement came after the DEA says it had received numerous inquiries on the matter.

Kenzie Bruce

Members of Congress joined legal cannabis-industry representatives in front of the United States Capitol today, May 23, calling for an end to federal pot prohibition. Among the lawmakers appearing in solidarity with the National Cannabis Industry Association were Colorado representatives Diana DeGette and Jared Polis.

“There are 34,000 Coloradans who are licensed to work in this industry, so you can imagine how dismayed everyone in Colorado was when Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced he was going to rescind the Cole Memo,” DeGette told the gathering. “I can say, I have never seen our delegation work so quickly to fix something in a bipartisan way.”

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