Saturday, August 10, 2019

Official approval

I just received my official government approval grade. I felt very honored that they held me in high esteem.

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Congress Schedules Hearing To Discuss Ending Marijuana Prohibition

A major congressional subcommittee will hold a hearing on marijuana policy next week, Marijuana Moment has learned.

Though few details about the meeting are currently available, the House Judiciary Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security Subcommittee are expected to discuss various legislative proposals to allow states to set their own cannabis policies without fear of federal intervention.

Several sources who did not wish to be identified shared with Marijuana Moment the names of witnesses expected to soon receive formal invitations to testify before the panel on Wednesday, July 10. Given the backgrounds of these individuals, it seems apparent that committee members will be discussing not whether the U.S. should end federal cannabis prohibition, but will focus primarily on how to do it.

Witnesses are anticipated to include Malik Burnett, a physician at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health who previously served as the Washington, D.C. policy manager at the Drug Policy Alliance’s Office of National Affairs, where he helped lead a successful ballot initiative campaign to legalize cannabis in the nation’s capital in 2014.

Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby, who announced in January that her office would no longer prosecute cannabis possession cases and would work to clear the records of certain individuals with prior marijuana convictions, is also being invited to testify.

David Nathan, a physician and board president of the pro-legalization group Doctors for Cannabis Regulation (DFCR), will also appear before the committee.

He told Marijuana Moment that he looks “forward to discussing the evidence-based health effects of cannabis, the failure of prohibition, the inadequacy of decriminalization, and the public health and social justice benefits of effective regulation.”

“DFCR physicians have successfully fought for legalization in states around the country,” Nathan said. “Now DFCR is proud to advocate for the broad majority of Americans—both Republicans and Democrats—who want our government to remove cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act and finally end the specter of federal interference with state cannabis laws.”

Finally, Neal Levine, CEO of Cannabis Trade Federation, will be the minority witness—which is noteworthy in and of itself, as Levine advocates for legalization, while one might expect the minority Republican party to invite someone who shares an opposing perspective on ending prohibition.

“I cannot comment on what has not been announced publicly by the committee, but I would welcome the opportunity to share the perspective of our members,” Levine, who previously served as a staffer for the Marijuana Policy Project, told Marijuana Moment. “We are especially well positioned to discuss the challenges arising from the inconsistency between state and federal cannabis laws.”

(Full disclosure: the Cannabis Trade Federation and its affiliate CTF Action have sponsored Marijuana Moment.)

After this story was initially published, the subcommittee posted an official notice for the hearing. It is titled “Marijuana Laws in America: Racial Justice and the Need for Reform” and will begin at 10:00 AM ET.

While lawmakers aren’t expected to vote on any particular bill at the hearing, it will nonetheless be one of the most significant congressional developments on marijuana reform to date.

The Judiciary Committee, under which this subcommittee falls, wields particular influence in advancing broad changes to federal drug laws, and Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) designated it as the panel to bring about the end of cannabis prohibition in a blueprint to legalization in the 116th Congress.

“For the first time in recent memory, there will be a candid conversation in the Judiciary Committee about the failures of marijuana prohibition in the United States and how people have been impacted,” Justin Strekal, political director of NORML, told Marijuana Moment. “We look forward to working with the subcommittee to best inform the conversation and the public at large.”

Legislation that could be marked up by the panel in the future includes the Strengthening the Tenth Amendment Through Entrusting States (STATES) Act, the Marijuana Justice Act, the Marijuana Freedom and Opportunity Act and the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act.

Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), chairman of the Judiciary Committee, is also said to be working on his own bill to end federal marijuana prohibition, but no details have yet been announced.

Notably, every single Democratic member of the full Judiciary Committee, including the chairman, voted in favor of amendment protecting cannabis programs in all states, U.S. territories and Washington, D.C. from Justice Department intervention last month. Six Republican members of the panel joined them in support of the measure, which was attached to spending legislation that has since cleared the House. The bipartisan nature of that vote indicates that further reform legislation stands a strong chance of passing in the committee.

Besides Blumenauer’s House-passed amendment protecting cannabis programs, this Congress has also seen several other hearings on cannabis issues. The House Veterans’ Affairs Committee discussed four pieces of legislation concerning veterans and marijuana last month, and the House Small Businesses Committee also convened to address opportunities and barriers for small cannabis businesses under the federal framework of prohibition.

In March, a bipartisan bill that would provide protections for banks that service cannabis businesses cleared the House Financial Services Committee following a hearing on the issue, and a full floor vote on that legislation could be coming soon.

Unlike the new Judiciary hearing, the minority witnesses at the Financial Services and Small Business hearings—representatives of the prohibitionist group Smart Approaches to Marijuana and the Heritage Foundation, respectively—opposed legalization.


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Friday, June 21, 2019

Congress Votes To Block Feds From Enforcing Marijuana Laws In Legal States

The House of Representatives approved a far-reaching measure on Thursday to prevent the Department of Justice from interfering with state marijuana laws, including those allowing recreational use, cultivation and sales.

The amendment, which also shields cannabis laws in Washington, D.C. and U.S. territories, is now attached to a large-scale appropriations bill to fund parts of the federal government for Fiscal Year 2020.

The inclusion of adult-use programs represents a significant expansion of an existing policy that protects only local medical cannabis laws from federal intervention which was first enacted in 2014 and has since been extended through annual spending bills.

The broader rider was approved in a floor vote of 267 to 165, a tally that is considered by legalization supporters to be an indication of how much support there is in Congress for more comprehensive and permanent changes to federal marijuana policies.

“This is the most significant vote on marijuana reform policy that the House of Representatives has ever taken,” said NORML Political Director Justin Strekal. “Today’s action by Congress highlights the growing power of the marijuana law reform movement and the increasing awareness by political leaders that the policy of prohibition and criminalization has failed.”

Cannabis Trade Federation CEO Neal Levine agreed with the importance of the legislative victory.

“The historic nature of this vote cannot be overstated," he said. "For the first time, a chamber of Congress has declared that the federal government should defer to state cannabis laws."

Aaron Smith, executive director of the National Cannabis Industry Association, called the vote "without a doubt the biggest victory for federal cannabis policy reform to date, and a hopeful sign that the harmful policies of marijuana prohibition will soon be a relic of the past."

The measure, sponsored by Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) and Tom McClintock (R-CA), would bar the Department of Justice from spending money to prevent states and territories from "implementing their own laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession, or cultivation of marijuana."

In 2015, a nearly identical measure came just nine flipped votes short of passage on the House floor. Since then, the number of states with full legalization laws has more than doubled, meaning that far more lawmakers now represent constituents who stand to benefit from its protections.

“The end of marijuana prohibition has never been closer. When Drug Policy Alliance and a small band of allies first worked on this amendment in 2015, we were told that we didn’t stand a chance," DPA Director of National Affairs Michael Collins said. "But we convinced members this was the right thing to do, and four years on, victory is sweet."

"Now is the time for Democrats to pivot to passing legislation that will end prohibition through a racial justice lens, making sure that the communities most impacted by our racist marijuana laws have a stake in the future of legalization," he said. "To do anything less would be to repeat an injustice.”

On Wednesday, the House approved a similar amendment protecting the marijuana laws of Indian tribes by a voice vote, and no member requested a roll call vote, so that language is also now attached to the spending bill.

“We’re watching the growth of this industry, a multibillion-dollar industry. We’re watching state after state move forward,” Blumenauer said in a floor debate on the state protection amendment on Wednesday evening. “Every one of us on the floor of the House who are here now represent areas that have taken action. We have had embedded in our legislation protections for medical marijuana. And this would simply extend that same protection to prevent the Department of Justice interfering with adult use. I strongly, strongly urge that we build on the legacy that we’ve had in the past, that we move this forward to allow the federal government to start catching up to where the rest of the states are.”


Eleanor Holmes Norton

@EleanorNorton
Tonight, my amendment with @repblumenauer to prohibit the DOJ from using its funds to prevent jurisdictions from implementing their own medical and recreational marijuana laws passed in the House. Thank you to @repblumenauer for working with me to include D.C.

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4:33 PM - Jun 20, 2019
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In a letter circulated to colleagues prior to the vote, McClintock wrote that "the issue at hand is whether the federal government has the constitutional authority to dictate policy to states on an issue which occurs strictly within their own borders."

"I do not believe the federal government has that authority, but even if it did, states should determine their own criminal justice policies," he wrote. "This is how our constitutional system was designed to function."

Don Murphy, director of federal policies for the Marijuana Policy Project, said that Blumenauer and McClintock "deserve credit for their early leadership on marijuana policy reform, which dates back to the days when it was just good policy, not good politics too."

The fate of the cannabis measures in the Senate is unknown for now. Historically that chamber's Appropriations Committee has been relatively open to attaching marijuana riders to spending bills, and has consistently approved the medical cannabis protections. But the body's Republican leadership may be reluctant to take the further step of also tying the Justice Department's hands when it comes to enforcing federal prohibition against licensed businesses and consumers in states that allow recreational marijuana use and sales.


Dina Titus

@repdinatitus
The House just made history! I’m so proud to have voted with my colleagues to puff, puff, pass an amendment to prevent the @DOJ from interfering with state cannabis programs. This progress is outstanding news for Nevada and so many states across the country.

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2:44 PM - Jun 20, 2019
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House Democratic leadership urged their conference to support the measure in a whip email on Thursday, and only eight members of the party voted against it.

While the majority of Republicans voted against the rider, 41 GOP members supported it.

The passage of the state protection amendment comes despite congressional offices receiving an 11th-hour email saying Greenwich Biosciences, maker of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved CBD-based medication Epidiolex, wanted lawmakers to defeat it.

The message to congressional staff claimed that the measure is "overly broad and could be interpreted as impacting the ability of the DOJ to assist the FDA with any enforcement action that may need to be taken to ensure the public safety."

But Collins, of DPA, pointed out that if that were true, it would also apply to the current medical cannabis rider that's been part of federal law for nearly five years.

It "doesn’t pass the laugh test,” he said. "Who are Dems going to side with: Big Pharma or people trying to end the drug war?”

A company media representative didn't respond to a phone message seeking comment.

Earlier on Thursday, the House approved an amendment from Rep. Jerry McNerney (D-CA) that directs the Food and Drug Administration to establish a process for regulating CBD in foods and dietary supplements.

Another measure passed in a voice vote, from Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), shifts $5 million away from the Drug Enforcement Administration toward an opioid treatment program.

An additional Ocasio-Cortez amendment aimed at removing barriers to research on psychedelic drugs such as psilocybin and MDMA was soundly defeated on the House floor last week.

The House is set to consider another amendment on the spending legislation in the coming days that would allow military veterans to receive medical marijuana recommendations from Department of Veterans Affairs doctors.

A separate spending bill moving through the House already contains language to protect banks from being punished for working with state-legal cannabis businesses and removes a longstanding rider that has prevented Washington, D.C. from spending its own local tax dollars to legalize and regulate marijuana sales.

Meanwhile, standalone cannabis legislation is also advancing.

A comprehensive marijuana banking bill was cleared by the Financial Services Committee in March and is expected to receive a floor vote next month. The Veterans' Affairs Committee held a hearing on four separate pieces of legislation concerning cannabis and military veterans on Thursday. And the Small Business Committee hosted a Wednesday hearing on issues facing cannabis firms, with the panel's chairwoman announcing she would soon file a bill on the issue.

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This is huge. Never before in history has this ever happened before. We've come a long way. Now we lobby the Senate. If it passes the Senate we lobby Trump for his signature thus making these reforms the laws of the land.

Victor Davis Hanson: Mueller Probe Could Backfire on Those Who Fabricated Russia-Collusion Narrative



Victor Davis Hanson pieces together the conspiracy between James Clapper of the National Security Agency,James Comey of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and John Brennan of the Central Intelligence Agency and how they formed a coup to try to topple a voter-approved President.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

With Joe Biden it's all about the power-Stalin style



In a 1974 interview for the Washingtonian magazine, Biden explained to interviewer Kitty Kelley that “politics is power.”

“And, whether you like it or not, young lady,” Biden told Kelley, “us cruddy politicians can take away that First Amendment of yours if we want to.”

He went on to say that he loved being a politician because it has so much power, and is better for “mankind” than doctors and “Indian chiefs.”

“I am proud to be a politician,” Biden said. “There is no other walk of life which can do more good for mankind than politics. It influences everything that happens to the American people.”

Politics should be the most honorable of professions,” he continued. “Those of you who are doctors and lawyers and Indian chiefs in the audience, how can any of you possibly do as much good, if you are very good at what you do, as I can do if I am very good at what I can do?”

‘You can’t,” Biden added. “So the point is, this is where the action is.”

Fast forward 45 years, and ask: what has Joe Biden done in government since then that’s done “good for mankind”?

Interestingly, after the interview was re-published in 2015, Biden’s team pushed back on his somewhat pro-life stance on abortion rather than his egregious and authoritarian comments over the First Amendment.


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