Browsing: Feds ‘N Heads

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.”

evolabCourtesy of Evolab

Colorado marijuana extraction company Evolab has partnered with one of Canada’s heavily funded public pot companies, according to a joint announcement from Canadian marijuana firm The Green Organic Dutchman (TGOD) and Evolab. The licensing deal will take Denver-based Evolab’s production technology as well as its CBx Sciences brand into Canada after that country implements federal marijuana legalization, which could come as early as August.

Having a presence in Canada also gives Evolab a chance to jump across the Atlantic Ocean, according to Nicole Smith, CEO of Evolab and CBx Sciences. Canada, already a global exporter of the plant’s medical products, will be shipping out even more marijuana products after new businesses open in July, she says, with the potential for Canadian marijuana companies to distribute their products in up to fifteen countries that allow medical THC products — not including America, where medical marijuana is still federally prohibited.

marijuana adsElizabeth D'Amico

Marijuana advertising works on kids whether they’re the intended audience or not, a new study maintains.

According to “Planting the Seeds of Marijuana Use,” assembled under the auspices of Elizabeth D’Amico, a licensed clinical psychologist and senior behavioral scientist with the RAND Corporation, the more medical cannabis ads an adolescent sees, the more likely he or she is to use or express an interest in consuming the substance and to view it in a positive light.

donald.trump.bongWestword photo-illustration

Of the 33 state legislators from Colorado who signed a recent letter to U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions calling for congressional action “to protect the sovereignty of states like Colorado and ensure that marijuana businesses and consumers will be free from undue federal interference,” none were Republicans.

Given that Republican U.S. Senator Cory Gardner was among the document’s original signatories and is currently working with the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, aka NORML, to prepare legislation on the subject, the reticence of GOP state reps and senators seems surprising. But while Republican state senator Tim Neville says he agrees with the letter’s ultimate goal, he doesn’t see the need for such a measure.

cory gardnerBrandon Marshall

In a story of strange political bedfellows, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws is working with the office of Colorado Republican Senator Cory Gardner on an upcoming bill that would prevent the federal government from interfering with the marijuana system here and in other states that have legalized.

As noted by NORML political director Justin Strekal, Gardner has confirmed that he’s teaming up with Senator Elizabeth Warren, a Democrat from Massachusetts, “to craft legislation that would reduce the tension between federal prohibition and states that have moved forward with legalizing marijuana for medicinal or adult use. And we’re working with a number of offices to make sure the language is going to be right and palatable to a bipartisan majority of the U.S. Senate.”

Kate McKee Simmons

Back in February, Cory Gardner and Michael Bennet were among the eighteen senators who urged the Senate Committee on Appropriations to “respect states’ laws regarding the regulation of marijuana.” But this week, those laws didn’t get any respect.

In the wake of Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ rescinding the Cole Memorandum and other Obama-era protections, the senators’ goal was to make sure that states that have legalized recreational marijuana, such as Colorado, would be protected from punitive action by the Department of Justice. “It is our hope that the fiscal year 2018 appropriations will alleviate the turbulence the attorney general’s abrupt decision has caused and that the appropriations will help preserve the strong regulatory frameworks the states have created,” they wrote.

Jacqueline Collins

When President Donald Trump implemented the sweeping 2018 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, most of America wasn’t concerned with how it’d affect the legal cannabis industry.

But a recent study from New Frontier Data, an analytics firm serving the legal cannabis industry, predicts legal pot would generate $105.6 billion in tax revenue over the next eight years and create 654,000 jobs under Trump’s tax overhaul — if it were legalized nationwide.

File photo/Facebook

Last year, then-eleven-year-old Colorado resident and medical marijuana patient Alexis Bortell joined other plaintiffs in a lawsuit against pot-hating Attorney General Jeff Sessions over federal scheduling of cannabis. Yesterday, February 26, a judge with the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York dismissed the suit, but Bortell, now twelve, wasn’t distressed. Shortly after the news went public, a post appeared on her Facebook page reading, “We were ready. Smile. We know #SCOTUS [Supreme Court of the United States] is where we are probably going.”

The note ended with the hashtags #IStandWithAlexis and #AlexisBortell.

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