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Drug Policy Alliance
Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson (left) will join Drug Policy Alliance Executive Directeor Ethan Nadelmann (right) to speak about the need for greater momentum and political debate to end the failed War On Drugs

To Be Discussed Thursday, March 15: Legalization Debate in Latin America, Portugal’s Decriminalization Experience, Marijuana Legalization Ballot Initiatives in Colorado and Washington, and the State of National Drug Policy Reform Efforts
Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson will join Drug Policy Alliance Executive Director Ethan Nadelmann to speak about the need for greater momentum and political debate to end the failed Drug War this Thursday, March 15, at a forum organized by The Atlantic (600 New Hampshire Ave. NW, 8th Floor) from 9:15 to 10:30 a.m.
Steve Clemons, editor at large of The Atlantic, will host the session and interview Branson and Nadelmann before opening to questions from the audience and media.
In the past year, Branson has stepped out as a prominent supporter of drug policy reform. His involvement with the Global Commission on Drug Policy electrified the international media and brought a new level of attention to the growing movement to end the 40-year-old War On Drugs.

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Photo: Notes from the Psychedelic Salon
Ethan Nadelmann, DPA: “The War On Drugs is a cancer in our society”

​Ethan Nadelmann, the articulate and engaging executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, will be a guest on Real Time with Bill Maher on Friday, July 8 at 10 p.m. Eastern and Pacific.

Nadelmann will be interviewed one-on-one by Maher at the top of the show, and will discuss the War On Drugs and the movement to end marijuana prohibition, according to the DPA.
The topic is quite timely, as there was an avalanche of media coverage in June about the failed War On Drugs:
• The Global Commission on Drug Policy (Kofi Annan, the former presidents of Colombia, Mexico, and Brazil, Richard Branson of Virgin, etc.) made worldwide news by calling for an end to the War on Drugs.
trump-nov3_mikegaliciaMike Galicia

The president-elect may not be a hardliner, but he’s surrounded himself with them.

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

The all-but-final Election Day tally is California, Massachusetts, Nevada and Maine legalized REC, whileFlorida, Arkansas, and North Dakota legalized MED.

Arizona rejected a REC measure. Montanans voted to allow a MED industry, though it remains contentious.

Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson (R), a legalization opponent and former DEA chief, said the process requires federal input. “It’s an example of the states innovating in a risky area, and certainly the states are leading on this, but we’re to a point that the federal government is going to have to readdress this,” he said. “This does not call for a state-by-state solution, it calls for … a national solution.”

This is an early indication that the cannabis industry will be harder for the Donald Trump administration to ignore than it was for the Obama administration.

Vice president elect Mike Pence (R) has replaced New Jersey Governor Chris Christie as head of Trump’s transition team. Both are known for their hardline stances against legalization, as is former New York City Mayor, Rudy Giuliani, a possible attorney general in the administration.

Several pieces speculate on what a Trump presidency means for legalization. Here are three:  The Cannabist, MJBiz, Reveal (Center for Investigative Reporting).

Drug Policy Alliance head Ethan Nadelmann said, “the federal government retains the power to hobble much of what we’ve accomplished…The progress we’ve made … will be very much at risk when Donald Trump enters the White House.”

Vivian Azer, a stock analyst with Cowen, predicts cannabis will be a low priority for Trump.

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D.-Ore.), probably pot’s best friend in Congress, said he thinks the industry’s priorities for banking and tax reform could both pass a Republican Congress under President Trump.



By allowing Colorado, Washington, Alaska, Oregon and Washington D.C. voters to legalize limited amounts of cannabis for personal use, the United States has violated United Nations conventions. That’s the gripe from the head of the U.N. director of the Office on Drugs and Crime, Yury Fedotov, who says he plans to take official actions.
“I don’t see how (the new laws) can be compatible with existing conventions,” Fedotov told reporters this week.

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Although it has been a U.S. territory since we swiped it from the Spaniards in 1898, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico is rarely taken into consideration when discussing American politics.
But with the issue of various levels of cannabis reform quickly becoming a dominant topic of debate here on the mainland, there is a rising wave of support for a 3-way blast of more progressive pot legislation for Puerto Ricans.

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Just two months after filing title language for a ballot initiative legalizing limited amounts of cannabis with the state, the Drug Policy Alliance says they will not be moving forward with their California proposal in 2014. According to one spokesman for the campaign, 2014 was a “trial run or dress rehearsal for 2016”.
And they aren’t alone. Longtime activist Ed Rosenthal says he’s no longer pursuing his ballot measure any longer either.

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As we told you last week, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder is expected to announce some rather substantial changes to federal drug policy this week including dropping mandatory minimum sentencing in some drug cases, early release for non-violent offenders, allowing states to handle more drug cases and, eventually, bi-partisan drug reform at the congressional level.
According to the Drug Policy Alliance, we can expect Holder’s comments sometime today in his remarks to the American Bar Association national convention in San Francisco.

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