Tags Posts tagged with "USA"


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Though marijuana has been illegal for nearly 50 years under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), the possession and selling of marijuana seems to be losing its negative stigma. Medical marijuana is currently legal in 29 states, and the recreational use of marijuana is legal in Washington, Colorado, Oregon, Alaska, California, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, and the nation’s capital. Despite many states loosening their marijuana laws, the drug remains federally prohibited under the CSA.

This means marijuana is legal and illegal at the same time. The tension between the federal prohibition of the drug and its legality in some states has the potential to cause significant problems for state officials and recently legal marijuana corporations.

Will Marijuana State Laws Be Respected By The Federal Government

It is somewhat unclear what the legalization of marijuana means for the states that have legalized the recreational use of the drug. In 2012, Colorado became the first state to legalize recreational marijuana. Colorado is consistently at the forefront of drug policy reform; the state also legalized syringe exchange programs and has the most comprehensive medical marijuana regulatory scheme in the country.

After legalizing recreational marijuana, Colorado made over $135 million in tax revenue in 2015, and opened the door to a billion-dollar industry that has created thousands of new jobs in the state. So far, there do not seem to be many negative effects of recreational legalization in Colorado. However, it is possible that Colorado’s changing drug laws are outpacing government enforcement. There is still much confusion surrounding marijuana related DUIs, and a problem has emerged with children mistakenly eating THC infused edibles.

Like the alcohol and tobacco industries, it’s possible that the marijuana industry might exploit its profitability to avoid much government regulation. Because of uncertainties like these, it won’t be clear for 5-10 years whether the long-term effects of marijuana legalization are negative or positive.

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As the hatred towards legalizing marijuana continues grows for U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions he has repeatedly hinted at a possible crackdown against states that have approved recreational or medical marijuana sales, different members of Congress have introduced bills directed at improving the way the federal government deals with marijuana, including its designation as a Schedule I narcotic by the Drug Enforcement Administration. But there’s disagreement among national leaders of the cannabis community about whether it would be preferable to shift marijuana to Schedule II or Schedule III or to de-schedule it entirely.

HR 714, backed by Representative H. Morgan Griffith, a Virginia Republican, and introduced in January, would move marijuana from Schedule I, which falls into the same category as heroin and recognizes no medical advantages, to Schedule II alongside cocaine, opium and other substances that can be used medically. Another Griffith bill, HR 715, calls for medical marijuana to be switched from Schedule I to different DEA classification, but doesn’t give the specifics on which one. And in April, Representative Matt Gaetz, a Republican from Florida, put forward HR 2020, which would place marijuana in Schedule III, where assorted stimulants (e.g., Benzphetamine), depressants (Amobarbital) and products such as Tylenol with Codeine are listed.

How Can (NORML) Further Help De-Schedule Marijuana

Still, these legislative efforts fall short in the view of Justin Strekal, political director for the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML)

“NORML is committed to a de-schedule effort,”Strekal says. “The growing acceptance of marijuana reform and the growing consensus that we inevitably need to take cannabis out of Schedule I is demonstrated by the introduction of these bills, but quite frankly, we don’t think they go far enough. We want it to be regulated in a similar manner to alcohol.”

“We have a growing momentum in Congress, with the formation of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus,” a coalition that includes Colorado representatives Ed Perlmutter and Jared Polis, Strekal points out. He adds: “At the end of the day, we’ve already seen eight states legalize adult use, and we expect that number to grow significantly in the coming years. It’s time for the federal government to get out of the way.”

Mason Tvert, the Colorado-based spokesperson for the Marijuana Policy Project, has a similar feeling about de-scheduling.

“We believe that marijuana should be removed entirely from drug schedules, because it’s less harmful than alcohol and other products that are not included in the schedules,” Tvert says.

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For more than 50 years, Israeli scientists have been researching the medical benefits associated with cannabis and the country’s pro-cannabis standpoint has made it attractive to several cannabis-focused biotech firms.

Although the Israeli cannabis research and development efforts are unmatched by any country, the growth of the North American cannabis industry has caught Israel’s attention.

The Canadian recreational cannabis movement has been the story of the year so far, but Israel is not too far behind as its cannabis initiatives are starting to gain traction in some of the world’s largest markets.

Israeli Cannabis Company Continues to Expand

Tikun Olam is one of Israel’s leading suppliers of medical cannabis and has been operating under a license from Israel’s Ministry of Health since 2007. From plant to patient, Tikun Olam is a vertically integrated company and the founder of the world’s first professional cannabis nursing clinic.

The company has been capitalizing on the United States legal cannabis market and Tikun Olam plans to enter Nevada’s cannabis market and continue to expand its presence in the United States following the completion of its pilot program in Delaware.

Tikun Olam will enter the Nevada market and will be licensed to sell its products through a non-exclusive agreement with CW Nevada and its chain of dispensaries. The nature of the agreement will enable Tikun Olam to increase its market share within Nevada and enter new dispensaries as the state’s cannabis market continues to grow.

T.O. Global LLC CEO Bernard Sucher said, “Tikun Olam is the gold standard for pharmaceutical grade medical cannabis production in both Israel and Canada. The U.S. cannabis market is becoming more sophisticated, looking beyond high-THC content to demand medically-proven, quality products for therapeutic cannabis use as part of a healthy lifestyle.”

A Global Focus

From Israel to the United Sates, from Canada to Australia, Tikun Olam has been executing on the burgeoning global cannabis industry.

In 2014, Tikun Olam entered a partnership with MedReleaf, a licensed Canadian medical cannabis producer. The partnership has been successful and is focused on treating Canadian patients.

Last year, Tikun Olam expanded into the United States and established a subsidiary, Tikun Olam USA. The company also recently said it would be working with Medifarm of Australia, which is Queensland’s first medical cannabis cultivation license.
A Company to Watch

Tikun Olam is privately held and we think this is a company to watch as it continues to execute on its business plan and increase it leverage to the rapidly growing legal cannabis market, which is the fastest growing in industry in the world.

Although cannabis is a cash crop, companies like Tikun Olam are learning about the plant’s incredible ability to treat medical ailments and debilitating diseases.


Authored by: Michael Berger

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The marijuana industry is growing rapidly, as lawmakers in more states pass legislation making it legal. Twenty eight states have legalized medical cannabis, and eight states have passed recreational. According to the latest research by GreenWave Advisors, those numbers are about to greatly increase. Last November’s election transformed the cannabis state map. Ahead of the election, voters in only four states (Alaska, Colorado, Washington, and Oregon) had voted to establish recreational markets for use of marijuana, and twenty four states had passed medical cannabis laws.

As a result of the election, four more states will open up recreational markets: California, Maine, Nevada, and Massachusetts. Another four states passed laws allowing medical cannabis, including Florida. Matt Karnes, GreenWave’s founder, believes that we are on the edge of a considerable increase in the number of states that will pass recreational and medical cannabis laws.

Plans are already underway to get cannabis bills on ballots in 2018 and 2020, and depending on how those votes go, recreational or medical cannabis could be legal in all 50 states, plus D.C., by 2021. Donald Trump and his attorney general, Jeff Sessions, could be key to that projection coming true. In the past, the federal government has deferred to the states when it comes to cannabis legalization, however, that could change.

On the campaign trail, Donald Trump supported medical cannabis, but he was less than eager about recreational cannabis. His appointment of Jeff Sessions as the country’s top lawyer also creates skepticism. Sessions has been a vocal opponent of cannabis, and he may not be willing to continue with a lassez-faire policy when it comes to enforcing federal laws restricting cannabis. Recently, he suggested enforcement of federal cannabis laws could intensify, and in a speech in Virginia, he said that cannabis was “only slightly less awful” than heroin.

States have a lot of reason to legalize cannabis. According to Karnes, retail sales of cannabis clocked in at $6.5 billion last year, up from $4.8 billion in 2015. GreenWave estimates that the cannabis black market is worth $36 billion and that passage of marijuana-friendly laws nationally could lead to $30 billion in cannabis sales in 2021. Based on those predictions, the potential tailwinds for tax revenue over the next five years should be strong, and that could factor greatly into whether or not pro-marijuana laws pass.

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Last week’s comments from Press Secretary Sean Spice about recreational cannabis raised eyebrows but they are nothing compared to what United States Attorney General Jeff Sessions said yesterday.

Sessions met with reports and said that experts told him about violence in the cannabis industry. These experts also said the potency levels are unhealthy. Sessions also implied that state-level legalization was leading to increased youth consumption.

Alternative Facts Distort the Truth

From Conway to Sessions, it is very tough to believe what you hear from the White House anymore. The number of alternative facts being reported from the White House is disheartening and yesterday’s comments by Sessions is a perfect example of it.

The Attorney General did not discuss the type of violence being reported by his experts, the government is the one of the main culprits responsible for any increase in violence (high cash business since these companies cannot use banks). The legalization of cannabis would lead to a significant decrease in violence since the only connection between the violence and cannabis is the one that exists on the black market. A regulated market would solve this problem very quickly.

Although we do acknowledge the fact that cannabis is more potent than it was 20-30 years ago, there is not any evidence in support of Sessions’ claim about higher potency being unhealthy.

When it comes to cannabis usage, specifically among youths, studies looking at consumption trends in legal states have found the opposite to be true from what Sessions reported. The lack of a spike in youth consumption in Colorado is the main reason why the governor, John Hickenlooper is getting close to fully supporting recreational marijuana.

Hickenlooper said, “We didn’t see a spike in teenage use. If anything, it’s come down in the last year. And we’re getting anecdotal reports of less drug dealers.”

Show Your Support Today

Sessions said, “I’m definitely not a fan of expanded use of marijuana. States they can pass the laws they choose. I would just say it does remain a violation of federal law to distribute marijuana throughout any place in the United States, whether a state legalizes it or not.”

Based off Sessions comments, the United States cannabis industry is facing an imminent attack by the Federal government and support is needed now more than ever.

Change will only occur when there is enough support to drown out the naysayers. Reach out to your state’s governor. Contact your state representatives and senators as well as local officials and anyone who will file a complaint on your behalf.

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Often referred to as the cannabis crusader by his colleagues for putting all of his efforts into the legalization of marijuana, After three years of trying to introduce the legislation to the state, but with little to no luck his arguments never made it out of the committee hearing rooms.

In a series of turning events, Miller’s colleagues have recently began to indicate interest in the outcomes of legalizing recreational marijuana and most importantly all of the tax revenue that can be made out of it.

“We now have the wind at our backs,” Said Miller confidently as he introduced his latest marijuana bill last week. “Seeing our next door neighbor legalize it should help us a lot”

When Looking back at the ballots that took place in the fall, Massachusetts was one of four states to legally pass the recreational pot ballot measures along with: Maine, California and Nevada. Not to mention the four other states(Alaska ,Colorado, Oregon &Washington) who have legalized recreational marijuana through ballot initiatives in the past.

During the past year, lawmakers of 17 different states have become independent enough to introduce over two dozen measures to legalize recreational pot for adults and allow for the taxation of its sale by the government. The Benefits incurred by Colorado and Washington state(the first two states to legalize recreational marijuana) have been the pioneers of this nation-wide trend.

A recent report from Colorado officials shows that the state managed to bring a whopping amount of $200 million dollars of tax revenue to the state of Colorado in the past year. Remarkably, even Washington managed to rake in 256 million dollars, most of which is being allocated to the funding of public school systems.

Mary Washington, A state delegate from Maryland who recently introduced a bill that taxed marijuana like alcohol claimed that her focus was to bring in revenue and cash to the state as legalization becomes more and more widespread. Based on her calculations she estimated that the state would be able to net around $165 million dollars a year. Without even mentioning, California’s estimation of tax revenues bring in around 1 billion dollars a year, there is no doubt that the legalization of marijuana will be a very lucrative investment.

Washington, whose district is in Baltimore, has not yet sponsored pot legislation in their own district but has been a huge supporter for nation-wide legalization. Her outlook on the issue was grounded upon her disdain on low-level possession arrests that would continue to happen to African Americans in her community.

The optimism of her efforts was also inspired by the success of Maryland lawmakers legalization of medical marijuana in 2014. With individuals being able to hold up to an ounce of marijuana legally in some states, tied with the cash generated from sales revenue, Washington felt like it was time to join the legalization movement.

Much like the legalization of medical marijuana, Six states passed ballot measures to approve the use of medicinal pot between the mid 1990’s and 2000. It wasn’t until later in the year that Hawaii became the first to accomplish this through the legislature. Since then, nearly double the states have adopted medicinal marijuana laws through legislatures, 13 compared to the seven passed through ballot initiatives.

The spokesman for the Washington, D.C- based marijuana policy project, Mason Tvert, stated that the voters were the true leaders of the battle for the legalization of medicinal marijuana. For wary makers however, Polling is helpful as a public-approval monitor for the legalization of marijuana.

A Pew Research center survey from October showed that 57% of Americans do believe that marijuana should be legal, compared to the minor 37 percent that believe it should remain illegal. Compared to 2006 where the odds were reversed and 60 percent believed it should remain illegal.

Comparably in Rhode Island, A poll released this month stated that 59 percent of Rhode islanders support the legalizations of recreational marijuana, in comparison to the 35 percent who believe it should be illegal. Due to it’s miniscule size, Lawmakers are fearing that Rhode Island will lose millions of dollars to Massachusetts, the concerns have even spread to Connecticut and new York, Two states where legalization methods are also being debated.

The Massachusetts vote and the astounding upset in the public poll were enough to convince Rhode Island State senator Ryan Pearson, a previous advocate of marijuana illegality, to change his opinion on the matter. After openly opposing miller’s past efforts for the past 3 years due to worries of marijuana edibles getting in the hands of the youth. A problem recently addressed by Colorado State Gov. John Hickenlooper, who warned other states, that it must be regulated extremely carefully.

“I saw this shift around the country with other states. It’s crept into New England and we see it legal right next door,” he said. “now it’s not a matter of if, but when, for legalization in this state. … We should take the initiative to get this done right. “

Among other concerns, Rhode Island law enforcement agencies have recently been worried about the enforceability and prosecution of patrons who are driving under the influence. While the senator agreed with Miller, Rhode Island Atty. Gen. Peter F. Kilmartin remains openly opposed, due to the fact that it’s ‘long lasting effects’ and ‘unintended consequences’ are still ‘unknown’.

“We see legalization moving into the new England area and out here it’s a very regional economy,” he said. “Why give Massachusetts all the benefit?” said Scott Slater, Miller’s house sponsor for the legal pot measure

Although the road is long and weary, Miller has still seen momentum in all of his actions in the recent years. “One member of legislative leadership would back it, then another. It was a slow trickle,” claimed miller. These ‘trickling’ actions were enough to continue to inspire and give Miller faith in his 3-year battle for the legalization of recreational marijuana.

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Marijuana-Stocks- cannabis-trump

One of the decisions President Donald Trump will have to make is whether to move forward with the federal government’s hands off policy on cannabis, which has allowed the sale of the substance in 27 states. President Trump’s nominee for attorney general, Senator Jeff Sessions, has signaled that the new administration could end the practice of allowing states to legalize marijuana. Sessions stated, “It’s not so much the attorney general’s job to decide what laws to enforce. We should do our job and enforce laws as effectively as we’re able.”

Paul Callan and Danny Cevallos, from CNN, were asked for their views on the subject.

1. Cannabis is illegal under federal law. It’s a Schedule 1 controlled substance. Does the President have an obligation to enforce the law as written until the law is repealed?
Danny Cevallos: Yes. As a criminal defense attorney you might think I’d be anti-enforcement instead of pro-enforcement. But there’s no question that the President and the Attorney General are charged with enforcing the law. Arbitrary or selective enforcement of existing law is itself an abuse of power. The Equal Protection Clause already prohibits the “selective enforcement” of a law based on standards like race or religion. The broad discretion of the executive branch or a prosecutor to charge identical defendants with different crimes creates a real threat of unequal, and unconstitutional, treatment. If you want to legalize marijuana, the solution for the federal government is not to be willfully blind to existing federal law. That sends a bad message. The solution is to be proactive: get rid of the outdated federal law.

Paul Callan: No. Sure, Danny is correct that the President and the Attorney General are supposed to enforce the laws as written, but there is also an important concept called prosecutorial discretion. The government has limited resources and can choose to focus on terrorists, kidnappers, murderers and big-time white collar criminals rather than pot smokers listening to Daft Punk’s latest rendition of “Human After All.” The statute books are filled with laws that are not being enforced because they are obsolete and legislators haven’t gotten around to repealing them. There are an abundance of such laws listed in numerous internet sites. But more serious examples are closer at hand. For example, in 2013 the Justice Department issued a memo from Deputy Attorney General James Cole outlining a limited enforcement policy of only prosecuting federal marijuana criminal violations in cases of violence, interstate smuggling, distribution to minors and in matters of adverse impact on public health. Attorney General nominee Sessions would be wise to follow the Obama approach here, and President Trump should understand that there are a lot of electoral votes in those weed-legal states. And as for my friend Danny Cevallos; it is time for him to face reality and, as they say in Colorado, “chill.”

2. President Obama has excused thousands of drug offenders serving substantial amounts of time in prison for the sale and possession marijuana. Should President Trump continue with the Obama pardon policy given the number of states which have now legalized the drug?

Callan: Yes. President Trump would be wise to follow the example of his predecessor by making use of the pardon and commutation power, with care and discretion. The prisons are filled with inmates who have been sentenced to lengthy prison sentences for drug-related crimes. Many have gotten old in prison and no longer pose a threat to society. Many were unjustly convicted. We have seen a massive increase in costly, wrongful conviction lawsuits throughout the nation. Members of America’s minority communities have been aggrieved by what they perceive as the mass incarceration of their young men due to unjust drug laws that are no longer relevant in modern America. The pardons and commutations should be carefully monitored to make sure violent criminals are not slipping through the cracks but President Trump should follow President Obama’s example in continuing this policy.

Cevallos: No. Does anyone else think it’s a huge waste of resources for President Obama to pardon federal drug offenders instead of getting rid of the federal law that made many of them federal drug offenders in the first place? Think of the resources frittered away: existing federal law is what causes investigations, arrests, trials, appeals, and incarceration. Then, ultimately the same branch of government that spent all that time and money convicting the person grants a pardon or commutation, effectively canceling out all those resources spent getting the conviction. Wouldn’t it be a lot less expensive to get rid of the federal law that led to the expensive investigation, arrest, trial, appeal, and incarceration in the first place? President Obama’s pardon policy for drug offenders is a good thing, but it’s largely cosmetic, and it only conceals the bruises that the federal government itself continues to inflict upon the citizenry. Paul Callan wants to paint himself as a freedom fighter here, and he’s right that the pardon power is good for freeing those for acts no longer considered crimes. But true freedom isn’t pardoning the crime after the person has been incarcerated. It’s getting rid of the crime itself.

3. Republicans have commonly supported the doctrine of federalism. Should President Trump’s Republican Administration allow the states to experiment with cannabis legalization under the doctrine of federalism?
Cevallos: No. As Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis put it: “it is one of the happy incidents of the federal system that a single courageous State may, if its citizens choose, serve as a laboratory; and try novel social and economic experiments without risk to the rest of the country.” I agree completely with that general sentiment. But marijuana is different. States legalizing pot is “experimenting” with something that is flat-out illegal under federal law. When the threat of federal prosecution hangs over a marijuana shop owner or user, states cannot truly serve as laboratories. It’s hard to experiment when banks, investors, insurance companies, and even attorneys are reluctant to provide necessary services, for fear of federal criminal penalties or professional discipline. Paul Callan may cheer states for their open flouting of federal law, but would he represent a shop owner if he thought the bar association’s disciplinary committee would come after him? Heck no. He’s as afraid of the ethics board as I am. And so are plenty of other lawyers, who fear potential disciplinary action for counseling a client to engage in the business of violating federal law. Everyone loves the idea of civil disobedience, until it’s their turn to actually get hit with the fire hose or the police truncheon.
Callan: Yes. There is a lot of truth in a statement often heard in conservative gatherings: “The states created the federal government and not the other way around.” The Constitution was drafted by founding fathers deeply sensitive to the concept of a limited federal government with a vibrant democracy flourishing at the local level. Nowhere is the leadership of the states more clearly demonstrated than in the approval of recreational and medical marijuana in 27 states at last count. This state laboratory creates a superb opportunity to test different approaches to legalization rather than rely on the alleged wisdom of Cevallos’ elite pals in DC, many of whom have just been unceremoniously kicked out of office in the tumultuous election of 2016. Local authorities will ensure that rather than a “one size fits all” federal approach, the best state ideas will be imitated and implemented by other states. And as for the Cevallos claim that lawyers will never represent weed store owners for fear of an ethics prosecution, the Colorado Supreme Court has just given the weed lawyers the green light to represent marijuana businesses. Perhaps Danny Cevallos should consider opening a Denver office.

4. Should cannabis be legalized because taxing it will lead to a rich source of government revenue?
Cevallos: No. Don’t get me wrong. I think ending federal marijuana prohibition is a good idea. I also hope that taxing the drug will be a good source of revenue for states and the federal government. Paul Callan knows that this is a popular argument. But when you think about it, taxing vices hasn’t always been the cure for all ills. Gambling has been legal and taxed for years in places like Atlantic City, where it is the town’s primary industry. Has anyone strolled down that town’s main drag lately? It’s hardly a monument to American prosperity. Speaking of gambling, how about the lottery? State-sponsored gambling is heavily taxed and supposedly goes to help senior citizens and schools. But, would Paul Callan honestly say that the net effect of the lottery on society has been a good one? Hopefully marijuana taxation will be different. Early reports are positive: marijuana generates a lot of tax revenue in the legalized states. But there’s good reason to remain skeptical.
Callan: Yes, Danny raises a legitimate point that taxing vices often fails to raise the large amounts of revenue promised. Things like the lottery seem to generate more money for state bureaucracies than for education. Although Atlantic City looks grim, the gambling vice tax is thriving in Las Vegas, Indian Reservations around the country and even in Bethlehem, PA in Danny’s home state. The lesson is that you must carefully pick the vice you seek to tax. Given the track record to date marijuana seems a winner on the tax revenue side. In Colorado and Oregon, recreational use has spawned a $7.1 billion tax-generating industry. And for vice comparison purposes, the taxing of alcohol has proven to be quite lucrative to the states. Alcohol taxes yielded over $9 billion in revenues in 2015 with projections of $10.18 billion by 2021. As a drug which is arguably far less dangerous, marijuana is likely to generate an even greater revenue stream. The states are finding it difficult to overlook such a revenue stream given the thriving underground economy where only illegal producers and dealers enjoy the profit. If Mr. Trump really does want to lower corporate and personal income taxes, legalized, taxed marijuana may be of assistance in achieving that goal.

5. Many argue that cannabis is no more dangerous than alcohol, yet it’s illegal under the laws of many states and the federal government. Is it fair to treat the substances differently under law?

Callan: No. Wisely, Cevallos will not even fight me on this one. Marijuana is far less dangerous than alcohol and there is a great hypocrisy in permitting legal sales of the older generation’s vice, alcohol, while locking up younger Americans who partake of the far less dangerous marijuana. Of course it must be conceded that the drug is not without serious risks, particularly for those with a propensity toward drug abuse. This is yet another reason to allow experimentation on a state level to see how legalization works out in the real world. As for the Cevallos argument that a teetotaling POTUS will resist legalization, there are more than a few reasons to suggest otherwise. He has previously indicated support for medical marijuana stating: “In terms of marijuana and legalization, I think that should be a state issue, state-by-state. Marijuana is such a big thing. I think medical should happen, right? Don’t we agree? I think so. And then I really believe we should leave it up to the states.” Washington Post, October 29, 2015 And let’s face it, most liberals and progressives would have to be under the influence of drugs to support him, so there may be new Trump supporters if legalization succeeds. Though, let’s hope the new president maintains his teetotaling ways as heaven help us all if POTUS starts smoking “Trump Weed” before preparing his next 3 a.m. tweet.
Cevallos: No. Paul Callan has me here. Prohibiting marijuana and allowing alcohol makes zero sense. But then again, nothing about vice crimes is “fair” or even “logical.” In fact, alcohol is much more dangerous than marijuana. Not only is it bad for your body, it’s a major contributor to accidents, and violence. But the real question is: could Mr. Callan convince Mr. President? Our new POTUS is a self-described teetotaler, a nondrinker and non-drug user. And he’s not the kind who stopped drinking because he used to have a problem, who hit a Bukowski-like bottom and turned his life around in AA. Trump is the kind who says he has never had a sip of alcohol in his life. Those people are intense. They usually like order and control. It’s easy to imagine Trump might be intolerant of vices like marijuana. Then again, he’s been socially liberal in many ways too. It’s hard to predict where his administration will come down on the marijuana industry.

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Not far into the Trump administration, we are marking history’s most chaotic authoritarian rule via a narcissist’s Twitter account and a radical right wing presidential puppeteer, Stephen Bannon, who just moved on to the National Security Council. Despite Neil Gorsuch’s tenure on the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver, he has made few public announcements about cannabis policy. One way to gather more information is to look at his rulings. In one case, covered by the New York Daily News, Gorsuch governed a marijuana industry tax case in which a Colorado dispensary was forced by the IRS to pay taxes on their business expenses, which one typically is permitted to deduct. The dispensary in question deducted theirs but did not wish to disclose the nature of their business.

Gorsuch ruled against the dispensary, although he did go out on a limb and question the government’s strange and confusing federal versus state government pot laws and the “mixed messages” that continue to dumbfound all of us. Gorsuch stated, “This case owes its genesis to the mixed messages the federal government is sending these days about the distribution of marijuana. So it is that today prosecutors will almost always overlook federal marijuana distribution crimes in Colorado but the tax man never will.”

While Gorsuch didn’t care for the mixed messages, he didn’t really say which side of the fence he was on. He went on to wonder how the IRS gets to cash in on a business the feds consider illegal. This leaves the question lingering to many people: who has the final word and will the federal government respect the will of the people who have voted to legalize cannabis in over 50% of the United States?

Another clue on Gorsuch’s viewpoint came out on the Joint Blog, which reported that a former student of Gorsuch’s asked him several years ago whether he supported legalization of marijuana or not. Gorsuch responded by saying that, at the very least, he supports “the federal government getting out of the business of prohibiting in.” Still unsure what that means. Gorsuch also recognized the Obama administration’s willingness to allow legal cannabis states to work out their own problems. He even expressed worry that everything could come crashing down in the event of a new attorney general.

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Recently Jeff Sessions held his confirmation hearing, during which he was asked various types of questions from Senators. Some of those questions specifically dealt with the subject of marijuana. The nomination of Jeff Sessions for United States Attorney General has caused a great amount of risk in the marijuana world, both in America and overseas. President Donald Trump has made remarks in the past that he supports reform, but has also made comments contradicting what he previously said.

If you are an ‘actions speak louder than words’ person like me, then the nomination of Jeff Sessions likely scares you to your core. Jeff Sessions gave answers to the marijuana-related questions from his confirmation hearing. Those answers were neatly compiled and included in today’s ‘Tom Angell Report. The Tom Angell Report is jam packed with all types of marijuana information, whether it be local, state, national, or international news.

  • “While I am generally familiar with the Cole memorandum, I am not privy to any internal Department of Justice data regarding the effectiveness and value of the policies contained within that memorandum. I will certainly review and evaluate those policies, including the original justifications for the memorandum, as well as any relevant data and how circumstances may have changed or how they may change in the future.”

    “I will not commit to never enforcing Federal law. Whether an arrest and investigation of an individual who may be violating the law is appropriate is a determination made in individual cases based on the sometimes unique circumstances surrounding those cases, as well as the resources available at the time.”

    A new federal court ruling that a Congressional rider prevents the Justice Department from going after people complying with state medical marijuana laws “is relatively recent, and I am not familiar with how other courts may have interpreted the relevant appropriations language or the Ninth Circuit’s opinion. As an emerging issue, that is one that will need to be closely evaluated in light of all relevant law and facts. I will conduct such a review. Of course, medical marijuana use is a small part of the growing commercial marijuana industry.”

    Regarding “good people don’t smoke marijuana,” “My words have been grossly mischaracterized and taken out of context. I was discussing the value of treating people for using dangerous and illegal drugs like marijuana, and the context in which treatment is successful.”

    “I echo Attorney General Lynch’s comments [on marijuana being illegal], and commit, as she did, to enforcing federal law with respect to marijuana, although the exact balance of enforcement priorities is an ever-changing determination based on the circumstances and the resources available at the time.”

    “I will defer to the American Medical Association and the researchers at the National Institutes of Health and elsewhere about the medical effects of marijuana. Without having studied the relevant regulations in depth, I cannot say whether they may need to be eased in order to advance research; but, I will review this.”

    The Judiciary Committee is scheduled to recognize Sessions’ nomination but Democrats have hinted they will try to set back the vote.

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Following the legalization of recreational marijuana in four states, there are at least eleven other states considering changing their policies this year.

1. Connecticut
Not only are lawmakers expecting to expand Connecticut’s five-year-old medical cannabis legislation, but Martin Looney, the state’s Democratic Senate President pro tem, introduced a bill recently that would legalize marijuana for recreational use.

2. Missouri
The Missouri Recreational Marijuana Legalization Initiative did not make the ballot in 2016, however the state did pass medical use. Missouri’s secretary of state, Jason Kander, has endorsed a petition behind the initiative pushing to legalize recreational use.

3. New Hampshire
Senate Minority Leader Jeff Woodburn said he would introduce recreational legislation this year, but first, a group of legislators introduced House Bill 215 on January 4, commissioning a study of the current cannabis laws in other states. Results of that research will be released on December 1, 2017.

4. New York
Governor Andrew Cuomo recently proposed a measure that would decriminalize cannabis, according to the Washington Times. In his 2017 legislative agenda, he wrote, “Data consistently show that recreational users of marijuana pose little to no threat to public safety.”

5. Rhode Island
For seven years, Rhode Island lawmakers have introduced legislation that would allow the use of marijuana recreationally. It would impose a 23% tax.

6. South Carolina
South Carolina passed a bill in 2014 allowing cannabis oil for medical use, however lawmakers recently introduced the South Carolina Compassionate Care Act, which would legalize cannabis for terminally ill individuals, as well as people with “debilitating medical conditions.”

7. Tennessee
Two cities in Tennessee have already decriminalized marijuana; recently, Representative Jeremy Faison told The Marijuana Times that he wants full medical use across the state and plans to introduce a bill in the 2017 legislative session to legalize medicinal use.

8. Texas
On the first day of the 2017 legislative session, lawmakers in TX filed multiple requests to decriminalize cannabis. Instead of being thrown in jail, anyone caught with minor amounts of marijuana would be charged with a civil infraction and a $250 fine.

9. Utah
House Speaker Greg Hughes told the Deseret News that medical cannabis could be the biggest issue of the session. However, word on the street is that most legislators in Utah think it is smart to wait for the federal government to act.

10. Virginia
Governor Terry McAuliffe stated he wishes to legalize medical cannabis this year, and legislators in Virginia are following through. They filed a bill this month to decriminalize cannabis and only fine for possession.

11. Wisconsin
Medical cannabis is only legal for people suffering from seizures in Wisconsin, but lawmakers hope to expand the current law to make medicinal marijuana legal for all.

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