Search Results: nomination (40)

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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.

And so it begins. Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions, Trump’s nominee for the country’s next attorney general, took center stage on January 10 at his confirmation hearing. Marijuana supporters had been quick to voice their concern over Sessions’s nomination because of his stance on marijuana, as well as his positions on other social issues.

Sessions’s most recent statements on marijuana were made during a Senate hearing last April, when he said that “good people don’t smoke marijuana,” that “we need grownups in Washington to say marijuana is not the kind of thing that ought to be legalized” and that “it is in fact a very real danger.”

It doesn’t really change anything for now.

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The DEA confirmed that marijuana extracts containing CBD are illegal. The agency explained that the notice, published in the Federal Register, does not change its enforcement priorities.

Cannabis attorney Bob Hoban responded, “The sky is not falling; however, this is a very concerning move by the DEA…What it purports to do is give the DEA control of all cannabinoids as a controlled substance.”

More than 30% of cannabis businesses are very concerned about Trump’s presidency, according to a Marijuana Business Daily Poll. In particular, they’re worried about the U.S. attorney general nomination of prohibitionist Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions (R).

In Slate, I wrote that the industry is cowardly, hypocritical and stupid for not fighting the Sessions nomination. Legalization activist and journalist Tom Angell tweeted that I’m “ WAY off base” and then got into an interesting Twitter exchange with Bill Piper of Drug Policy Alliance, which is opposing the nomination.

The U.S. Senate extended the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment, which prohibits the federal government from interrupting state MED programs, until April 28. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R- Calif.) said he’s confident that it will be extended again. He also wants it to be expanded to include state REC programs.

Rohrabacher and Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) are forming a “ cannabis caucus” in Congress. Congress also announced that it will perform a comprehensive review of the war on drugs in search of alternative policies in the Caribbean and Latin America.

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, called for changes in U.S. drug policy, as he accepted the Nobel Peace Prize.

Mexico’s Senate passed a MED bill, amid a new wave of drug violence.

Maine’s REC recount has been suspended until the new year. With 30% of the votes counted, yes remains ahead. After Montana’s MED vote, state laws need to be rewritten.

The election of Donald Trump and his nomination of marijuana-hating senator Jeff Sessions as attorney general has raised concern among members of the cannabis community about a crackdown on pot laws in states such as Colorado.

Such worries aren’t without merit. University of Denver law professor Sam Kamin recently outlined three ways Donald Trump could shut down state-legal marijuana, and NORML executive director Erik Altieri told us that “we need to make sure we’re ready to stand up and fight should that time come.”

Like Altieri, Aaron Smith, co-founder and executive director of the National Cannabis Industry Association, among the oldest and largest marijuana business organizations, stresses the importance of lobbying Congress to hold the line against a pot-biz crackdown. But in a wide-ranging interview on view below, he describes himself as cautiously optimistic that the worst-case scenario won’t come to pass.

In a recent interview, University of Denver law professor Sam Kamin outlined three ways Donald Trump could shut down state-legal marijuana — a prospect that has raised increasing levels of concern among cannabis reformers since the president-elect’s nomination of pot-hating Senator Jeff Sessions as U.S. Attorney General.

Erik Altieri, executive director of the Washington, D.C.-based National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, shorthanded as NORML, acknowledges that such worries are prevalent right now, and he doesn’t dismiss them out of hand. Indeed, he encourages NORML supporters and anyone who objects to the federal government treating marijuana as a substance on par with heroin to be prepared for a crackdown, even if one has not yet been announced.

Ever since the nomination of hardcore pot prohibitionist Senator Jeff Sessions for the position of United States Attorney General, numerous members of the cannabis community have expressed increasing concern that the incoming Donald Trump administration might crack down on state-legal marijuana businesses in Colorado and beyond.

At this writing, neither Trump nor Sessions has publicly announced such a policy. But if they decide to move in this direction, what tactics would be at their disposal? How would they go about attempting to outlaw an entire industry — one that employs thousands of people and generates millions in tax revenues for the State of Colorado?

Possibly the largest legal pot company in the world.

Here’s your daily dose of pot news from the newsletter WeedWeek.

Canada’s Canopy Growth Corp. will acquire Mettrum Health Corp. for C$430M, creating a dominant Canadian player.

Vice examines 280E, the tax code provision used to tax marijuana businesses more than other businesses.

Warehouse rents are skyrocketing in legal states. But the New York Stock Exchange IPO of cannabis real estate trust Innovative Industrial Properties went nowhere, following the Sessions nomination.

The BBC calls Albania, a small, poor country in southeast Europe, the continent’s “ outdoor cannabis capital.

The industry could create an opportunity for clean energy technologies like “ renewable microgrids.

LAWeekly asks if small cannabis businesses can survive legalization.

Accounting Today says, “ The Cannabis Industry Needs Accountants.

Pot was a hot topic at the 2016 Wine Industry Expo. For more see here.

Financial firm Cowen said legalization is bad for beer sales. MarketWatch disagrees.

Dispensaries offered discounts for “ Green Friday.” (The shopping day after Thanksgiving.)

The BBC profiles John Stewart, an executive who was CEO of Purdue Pharma, which sells the opioid Oxycontin and now leads a MED company in Canada.

There’s an incubator that aims to turn formerly-incarcerated drug dealers into legal entrepreneurs.

Century Bank in Massachusetts openly works with pot businesses.

A new site called The Cannifornian will cover legalization in the state.  Parent company Digital First Media also owns The Denver Post and its site The Cannabist.

RAND Corporation scholar Beau Kilmer editorializes in favor of the state legalization experiments.

Denver’s social use measure may face legal challenges. Juneau, Ak.’s first dispensary opened and sold out in three hours.

Maryland’s pot regulator has hired a diversity consultant, after it failed to award any of its initial 30 licenses to African-Americans. It has also given preliminary approval for 102 MED dispensary licenses. The names will be made public this week.

Florida’s MED community has few friends in Tallahassee. The new law will also undermine the state’s largely disregarded bong ban.

The Cannabist meets Rilie Ray Morgan, the 66-year old man who championed MED in North Dakota.

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) is launching a new effort to use pot taxes to build apartments for the chronically homeless.

Massachusetts may delay implementing aspects of its REC law. Maine will recount its REC vote. MED legalization is on the table in Ireland and South Africa.

British politician Nick Clegg called for legalization. Vice sketches out what a legal U.K. market for recreational drugs could look like.

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.

That could end with legalization.

The following is excerpted from the newsletter WeedWeek. Get your free and confidential subscription at WeedWeek.net.

California companies tell Inc. that a growing number of raids on businesses in California owe to asset forfeiture laws which allow authorities to seize cash and other valuables even if criminal charges aren’t filed.

An American citizen who was invasively searched at the Texas/Mexico border in 2012 will receive a $475,000 settlement but not an admission of guilt from the U.S. Border and Customs Protection agency. She previously received $1.1M from an El Paso, Texas, hospital that conducted secondary searches.

Devontre Thomas, the Oregon teen who faces a federal misdemeanor charge for possessing “about a gram” of marijuana, allegedly had it at his boarding school which is run by the federal Bureau of Indian Education. He faces up to a year in prison.

A judge in a trafficking case has ordered Yahoo to disclose how it handles deleted emails. The evidence includes emails that, according to Yahoo’s policy should not be accessible.

Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte defended war on drugs which includes offering money to those who kill drug dealers.

Masamitsu Yamamoto, a Japanese man with liver cancer died at 58 while on trial for MED possession.

A lot of cannabis is found on federal land. The mail is a popular way to send weed and other drugs.

An Alabama prison guard was charged with using a Bible to smuggle opioids into a prison.

TV personality Montel Williams was briefly detained in Germany for MED.

At 99.9 % THC, crystalline is the strongest hash in the world. It sells for $200 a gram in southern California dispensaries.

Humboldt County, Calif. will start stamping product originating in the famed growing region. John Malkovich will star as the head of a crime family in the Netflix series “ Humboldt,” inspired by Emily Brady’s book “ Humboldt: Life on America’s Marijuana Frontier.”

Hip hop star Lil’ Wayne stormed off stage 10 minutes into his set at a High Times event in southern California. High Times said it was “baffled” and “awaiting an explanation.”

Yahoo meets Jeremy Plumb, Portland’s “wizard of weed.” The Oregon State Fair will give out blue ribbons for top pot plants. A Portland director made the first professional cannabis drink commercial/video. It features a cute song.

Billionaire Richard Branson said he has smoked pot with his son and recommended that other parents do the same. Cannabis Now interviews impresario Dr. Dina, who’s not a real doctor.

Cannabis absinthe exists, but doesn’t contain THC.

The Cannabist says little gifts of weed are not a substitute for tipping.

In The Onion, Joe Biden said it breaks his heart that so many hard working Americans can only afford “shitty ditch weed.”

Here’s the WeedWeek list of pot journalists on Twitter. Send recommendations for upcoming lists (opponents, executives, activists etc.) to [email protected]. Self-nominations welcome.

Adam Hartle (left) with Tom Tancredo.


In January 2013, ex-Colorado Congressman Tom Tancredo had promised to puff a joint on camera as part of a comedian/filmmaker’s movie about Colorado’s new marijuana laws should the measure pass — which it did.
Tancredo later welched on his bet under pressure from his family. But in Mile High — The COmeback of Cannabis, the now-completed documentary, which screens tonight through Thursday (with Hartle promising to give out free legal pot to adults 21 and over outside theaters), Tancredo watches as the director blazes.

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