Tuesday, August 15, 2017

George Soros and the Reichstag Fire in Charlottesville

The driver of the Charlottesville vehicle, which killed Heather Heyer and injured 19 others, was Alex James Fields. He was a supporter of Hillary Clinton and a member of Antifa funded by George Soros. He was only 20 years of age and lived in Maumee, Ohio. George Soros used him to further his movement to destroy the United States. All Americans, Left and Right, need to understand exactly what this evil man is doing to this Country. He is using two political parties to divide the US; ultimately starting a civil war that will crush the United States of America.

Driver of Charlottesville vehicle was Alex James Fields, democrat, Hillary supporter, ANTIFA member#MAGA #FraudNewsCNN #FakeNewsMedia
5:30 PM - Aug 12, 2017
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The mainstream media insists that Fields is a neo-Nazi, producing photos of him standing with Vanguard America and carrying a shield bearing the group’s insignia. What they don’t mention is that Fields is a known left-wing operative.

A further discovery made by the ACLU is that the police officers at the protest were ordered to stand down just before the attack by Fields.

ACLU confirms that police were given stand-down order. This invited the violence the city used to shut down a court-permitted protest. https://twitter.com/ACLUVA/status/896386562484731904 …
4:55 PM - Aug 12, 2017
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Again we are witnessing a shocking takedown of America by the Far Left funded by George Soros, as his goal is to destroy Western civilization. After the driver of the car, Alex James Fields, was identified by the authorities, someone put his social media accounts on lockdown, trying to hide his connections fo Hillary Clinton.

12 Aug
Whitehouse Plumber @rharrisonfries
Driver of Charlottesville vehicle was Alex James Fields, democrat, Hillary supporter, ANTIFA member#MAGA #FraudNewsCNN #FakeNewsMedia pic.twitter.com/VMN1tKzAyb

Joe Middleroad @JoeMiddleroad
Who scrubbed all of his facebook-twitter and why? He was arrested...he did not remove the content. REEKS of a setup/false flag #infowars
9:05 AM - Aug 13, 2017
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As George Soros is funding Antifa, many allegedly agree that he is involved in funding the Charlottesville terrorism attack. I am using the word “terrorism,” as in my opinion what Fields did was a “terrorist attack.” George Soros, in my opinion, is nothing more than a terrorist.


Organized by Soros funded RACE ☠️ BAITERS who want CHAOS & HATE!

3️⃣DEAD including 2️⃣LEOS#MAGA #Chalottesville
6:46 PM - Aug 12, 2017
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Let us never forget that Obama actually invited the Ferguson Black Lives Matter group to the White House after the terrorism in Ferguson. He did not hold their feet to the fire, he simply kissed them in such a blatant slap in the face to the American people; therefore, encouraging these types of terrorist style attacks.

Feisty☀️Floridian @peddoc63
Obama didn't disavow BLM after they destroyed Ferguson & Baltimore.
Quite the contrary.
He invited them to White House! #Charolettesville
5:18 AM - Aug 13, 2017
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A citizen journalist actually made her way through the crowd in Charlottesville to bravely capture the event on video. She proved the mainstream media lied, as usual, spreading fake news from their ivory towers.

Joni Turner @joniturnerlaw
This shows everything!! Car ram and BLM being chanted! This show girl being killed! This is a BLM march https://www.pscp.tv/w/bF5MPzFwempNQllaZW5PRWR8MXlOR2FtUllZQWdHah1B1L-XlZ0_ouojn5QSZwzXjj-17pFFW_gWjB9VrDoa …
6:10 PM - Aug 12, 2017

Faith J. Goldy Ω†πŸ‡¨πŸ‡¦ @FaithGoldy
#Charlottesville DOUBLE STANDARD: antifa allowed to march!!! — Charlottesville, VA, United States
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The man accused of being a neo-Nazi and murdering a woman by deliberately driving into her during protests in Charlottesville is in reality a supporter of Hillary Clinton and member of Antifa in receipt of funding by George Soros, according to reports.

James Fields, 20, of Maumee, Ohio, allegedly killed Heather Heyer, aged 32, and injured 19 others when he rammed his car into a group of protesters on Saturday in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Mainstream media is claiming Fields is a neo-Nazi and has conveniently produced photographs showing Fields standing with Vanguard America and carrying a shield bearing the group’s insignia.

But the mainstream media is actively suppressing information that proves Fields is actually a left-wing operative at the heart of a false flag designed to spark civil war, introduce martial law, and take away the rights of conservative groups to assemble peacefully.

Police were ordered to stand down just before the incident, as confirmed by ACLU. “This invited the violence the city used to shut down a court-permitted protest,” said Robert Barnes, a high-profile constitutional lawyer.

Immediately after the car was driven into the crowd and James Field was identified as the driver and arrested, his social media accounts were put on lockdown and scrubbed of political content. His affiliation to Clinton and the dangerous far-left is being actively suppressed.

There is only one winner in Charlottesville. His name is George Soros and he funds Antifa.

The UniteTheRight rally was planned months in advance, proper permits were sought and granted, and the peaceful protest was going to plan. Then, due to political pressure from the left, the city of Charlottesville rescinded the permit a few days before the rally.

This was a clear violation of the 1st Amendment.

So UniteTheRight went to federal court and won. A federal judge ordered that the rally must go on and the rally-goers Constitutional rights be protected.

But the left wasn’t finished. The Democrat mayor and police department ordered the rally an “unlawful assembly,” and threatened to arrest everybody – once again, violating 1st and 9th amendment rights.

Then things got bloody. George Soros’s Antifa stepped up to the plate, unleashing chaos and hate as per their job description.

Many are wondering if a civil war is starting within America’s borders. I, too, feel this could be the beginning of an ongoing civil war. Since the Far Left began attacking the Right and that includes a sitting President, it has felt as though their goal was to divide and conquer the United States of America. You have to wonder why they would do this? Why would they disrespect our voting system and strive to destroy their own country?

My belief is the Far left no longer considers the US a country at all, for they have surrendered their own rights to the New World Order, which is funded by George Soros. The goal of this elite globalist club is to destroy all borders and countries uniting together as one One World Order. This is only my opinion.


Saturday, August 12, 2017

Court Blocks Federal Prosecution of California Pot Growers

A U.S. District Court this week blocked federal prosecutors from moving forward with their conspiracy case against a pair of Northern California cultivators because the duo was determined to be in compliance with Golden State medical marijuana laws.

Humboldt County growers Anthony Pisarski and Sonny Moore had already pleaded guilty to federal allegations (conspiracy to manufacture and possess with intent to distribute) but sought an evidentiary hearing based on legislation, first enacted in 2014, that prohibits the U.S. Department of Justice from cracking down on cannabis suspects who are otherwise following their state laws. The Rohrabacher-Farr amendment is a budget rider, co-authored by SoCal U.S. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, that prevents enforcement and prosecution in medical marijuana states by stripping funding for such endeavors.

U.S. District Court Judge Richard Seeborg on Tuesday stayed the prosecution, so the case is closed unless the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment expires and fails to be re-enacted and federal prosecutors want to resume their case. The defendants' Beverly Hills attorney, Ronald Richards, says: "This is the first time in my 23-year career I've had a case stopped because of an appropriations rider.

"What the court did in this case may be used as a blueprint for other cases," he says. "It opens the door for people not to get scared."

The judge cited United States v. McIntosh, a United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit decision last year that affirmed a medical marijuana defense for defendants facing federal prosecution in medical states. But experts say that United States v. Pisarski, et al. could help establish such a defense even further.

"It's significant that a federal court ruled that people targeted by feds and in compliance with California's medical marijuana laws ruled in the defendants' favor," says Dale Gieringer, director of California NORML. "This is the first case I'm aware of where McIntosh was cited and used to full effect."

Pisarski and Moore owned a property raided by feds in July 2012. Authorities said they found 327 marijuana plants, $416,125 in cash, and guns. But during the evidentiary process, the duo argued they were abiding by California laws and that federal prosecutors had no right to continue spending cash on their prosecution under Rohrabacher-Farr.

They argued that the weed was being sold to legit collectives. Judge Seeborg agreed, writing: "Their conduct strictly complied with all relevant conditions imposed by California law on the use, distribution, possession and cultivation of medical marijuana."

Tamar Todd, director of the Drug Policy Alliance's office of of legal affairs, said the ruling could have ripple effects throughout the West.

"This shows that you can prevail — defendants in federal court could have their prosecutions halted," she says. "It's enjoining the prosecution from being able to spend any more money on this case. It's very encouraging. It gives a lot of teeth to Rohrabacher-Farr."


Thursday, August 10, 2017

Poll: Americans’ Support For Marijuana Law Reform At All Time High

A record percentage of American voters support reforming the nation’s marijuana laws, according to polling data released by Quinnipiac University.

Sixty-one percent of voters believe that “the use of marijuana should be made legal in the United States” — the highest percentage ever reported by the poll. Support for legalization is strongest among those between the ages of 35 to 49 (77 percent), those between the ages of 18 and 34 (71 percent), Democrats (70 percent), and Independents (67 percent). Support is weakest among those age 65 or older (42 percent) and Republicans (37 percent).

With regard to the use of medical cannabis, 94 percent of voters say that adults ought to be able to legally consume it therapeutically. Among those polled, no group expressed less than 90 percent support for the issue.

Finally, 75 percent of voters oppose “the government enforcing federal laws against marijuana in states that have already legalized medical or recreational marijuana.” Super-majorities of every group polled, except for Republicans (59 percent), hold this position.

The Quinnipiac poll possesses a margin of error of +/- 3.4 percent.


This would be great to share with out public officials. Let's contact our Congressional Representative and our Senators. It would also be a good idea to contact the Speaker of the House and the The Senate Majority Leader along with the House Minority Leader and the Senate Minority Leader let them know we are serious about marijuana legalization at the federal level.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

'Leave Medical Marijuana States Alone': Leahy Warns Trump Administration

Sen. Patrick Leahy is leading an effort in the U.S. Senate to prevent the Trump Administration from cracking down on states that have legalized the use of medical marijuana.

Leahy says he strongly believes that the issue of medical marijuana is a state concern and he doesn't want the federal government to take any action to block states from administering their laws.

Currently, 29 states including Vermont have approved the use of medical marijuana.

Leahy says it's a waste of time and money for Attorney General Jeff Sessions to threaten states over this issue.

“If a state has a law that allows medical marijuana we've got enough important things to do not to have Jeff Sessions or anybody else go in and try to change that," said Leahy.

The U.S. Senate Appropriations committee has voted to support an amendment, sponsored by Leahy, that prohibits the use of federal funds to interfere with the operations of state approved medical marijuana programs.

"That ensures the Justice Department actually focuses on real things,” said Leahy. “They don't have enough people to go after medical marijuana patients who are following their state laws."

"If a state has a law that allows medical marijuana we've got enough important things to do not to have Jeff Sessions or anybody else go in and try to change that." — Sen. Patrick Leahy
In Vermont, a new law went into effect last month that could double the number of medical marijuana dispensaries in the next year.

Currently, there are four licensed facilities — in Burlington, Montpelier, Brandon and Brattleboro.

The new bill adds a fifth dispensary and allows each of these operations to open a satellite facility with state approval. In addition, another dispensary can open when the number of medical marijuana patients reaches seven thousand. Right now there are roughly four thousand Vermonters who participate in this program.

Bennington Sen. Dick Sears is the chairman of the Vermont Senate Judiciary committee and a sponsor of the new law.

"It has tremendous benefit in relieving the symptoms of various illnesses,” said Sears. “The new bill also provides more alternatives for people to buy through increased number of dispensaries."

"It has tremendous benefit in relieving the symptoms of various illnesses." — Bennington Sen. Dick Sears
Sears is hoping that the new law will result in the opening of a facility in the southwestern part of Vermont.

"Right now my constituents will have to travel to Brattleboro or Brandon to find the product to buy it legally, so many are still using the black market," said Sears.

While Gov. Phil Scott has some concerns about the legalization of recreational marijuana, as a state senator he voted for the original medical marijuana legislation and he signed the new bill into law this Spring.

"I think that it's regulated and it's been beneficial for Vermont," said Scott.

The full U.S. Senate is expected to consider this issue after its August recess.


Saturday, August 5, 2017

Justice Department Marijuana Task Force fails to come up with new recommendations.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The betting was that law-and-order Attorney General Jeff Sessions would come out against the legalized marijuana industry with guns blazing. But the task force Sessions assembled to find the best legal strategy is giving him no ammunition, according to documents obtained by The Associated Press.

The Task Force on Crime Reduction and Public Safety, a group of prosecutors and federal law enforcement officials, has come up with no new policy recommendations to advance the attorney general’s aggressively anti-marijuana views. The group’s report largely reiterates the current Justice Department policy on marijuana.

It encourages officials to keep studying whether to change or rescind the Obama administration’s more hands-off approach to enforcement — a stance that has allowed the nation’s experiment with legal pot to flourish. The report was not slated to be released publicly, but portions were obtained by the AP.

Sessions, who has assailed marijuana as comparable to heroin and blamed it for spikes in violence, has been promising to reconsider existing pot policy since he took office six months ago. His statements have sparked both support and worry across the political spectrum as a growing number of states have worked to legalize the drug.

Threats of a federal crackdown have united liberals, who object to the human costs of a war on pot, and some conservatives, who see it as a states’ rights issue. Some advocates and members of Congress had feared the task force’s recommendations would give Sessions the green light to begin dismantling what has become a sophisticated, multimillion-dollar pot industry that helps fund schools, educational programs and law enforcement.

But the tepid nature of the recommendations signals just how difficult it would be to change course on pot.

Some in law enforcement support a tougher approach, but a bipartisan group of senators in March urged Sessions to uphold existing marijuana policy. Others in Congress are seeking ways to protect and promote pot businesses.

The vague recommendations may be intentional, reflecting an understanding that shutting down the entire industry is neither palatable nor possible, said John Hudak, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution who studies marijuana law and was interviewed by members of the task force.

“If they come out with a more progressive, liberal policy, the attorney general is just going to reject it. They need to convince the attorney general that the recommendations are the best they can do without embarrassing the entire department by implementing a policy that fails,” he said.

The task force suggestions are not final, and Sessions is in no way bound by them. The government still has plenty of ways it can punish weed-tolerant states, including raiding pot businesses and suing states where the drug is legal, a rare but quick path to compliance. The only one who could override a drastic move by Sessions is President Donald Trump, whose personal views on marijuana remain mostly unknown.

The Justice Department declined to comment.

Rather than urging federal agents to shut down dispensaries and make mass arrests, the task force puts forth a more familiar approach.

Its report says officials should continue to oppose rules that block the Justice Department from interfering with medical marijuana programs in states where it is allowed. Sessions wrote to members of Congress in May asking them — unsuccessfully so far — to undo those protections. The Obama administration also unsuccessfully opposed those rules.

The report suggests teaming the Justice Department with Treasury officials to offer guidance to financial institutions, telling them to implement robust anti-money laundering programs and report suspicious transactions involving businesses in states where pot is legal. That is already required by federal law.

And it tells officials to develop “centralized guidance, tools and data related to marijuana enforcement,” two years after the Government Accountability Office told the Justice Department it needs to better document how it’s tracking the effect of marijuana legalization in the states.

Most critically, and without offering direction, it says officials “should evaluate whether to maintain, revise or rescind” a set of Obama-era memos that allowed states to legalize marijuana on the condition that officials act to keep it from migrating to places where it is still outlawed and out of the hands of criminal cartels and children. Any changes to the policy could impact the way pot-legal states operate.

The recommendations are not surprising because “there’s as much evidence that Sessions intends to maintain the system and help improve upon it as there is that he intends to roll it back,” said Mason Tvert, who ran Colorado’s legalization campaign. He pointed to Sessions’ comment during his Senate confirmation hearing that while he opposed legalization, he understood the scarcity of federal resources and “echoed” the position of his Democratic predecessors.

But in July, he sent letters to Colorado and Washington that stirred concern, asking how they would address reports they were not adequately regulating the drug.

It remains unclear how much weight Sessions might give the recommendations. He said he has been relying on them to enact policy in other areas. Apart from pot, the task force is studying a list of criminal justice issues. The overall report’s executive summary says its work continues and its recommendations “do not comprehensively address every effort that the Department is planning or currently undertaking to reduce violent crime.”


Thursday, August 3, 2017

Congress Is Heading for a Confrontation With Sessions Over Marijuana

Congress is heading for a confrontation with Attorney General Jeff Sessions over pot.

Sessions is seeking to crack down on marijuana use while lawmakers from both parties are pushing legislation that would do the opposite.

Measures have been attached to must-pass bills in the Senate that would allow Veterans Affairs doctors to counsel patients on the use of medical marijuana, and to continue blocking the Justice Department from pursuing cases against people who use medical marijuana in states that have legalized it.

Some lawmakers are pushing to go even further. Senator Cory Booker, a New Jersey Democrat, this week unveiled legislation that would legalize marijuana at the federal level. In the House, Republican Matt Gaetz of Florida proposed legislation that would change the federal classification of marijuana to allow research and a range of medical uses.

Booker said the law needs to be changed because minorities and the poor are disproportionately arrested for what amounts to a minor offense.

“It disturbs me right now that Attorney General Jeff Sessions is not moving as the states are -- moving as public opinion is -- but actually saying that we should be doubling down and enforcing federal marijuana laws even in states that have made marijuana legal,” he said in a video posted Tuesday on Facebook.

Eight states have fully legalized marijuana for adult use and 21 more have legalized it for medical use only. Federal law continues to ban the use and sale of cannabis. During the Obama administration, the Justice Department didn’t actively prosecute marijuana offenders, an approach Sessions has said needs to change.

Read more: Trump Casts Cloud Over Cannabis, But Money Keeps Pouring In

“I’m not sure we’re going to be a better, healthier nation," he said in February, "if we have marijuana being sold at every corner grocery store.” He later added, “My best view is that we don’t need to be legalizing marijuana.”

In April, Sessions put out a memo to U.S. attorneys about his crime-reduction efforts and said one of his subcommittees will "undertake a review of existing policies in the areas of charging, sentencing, and marijuana to ensure consistency with the department’s overall strategy on reducing violent crime and with administration goals and priorities."

Sarah Flores, a Justice Department spokeswoman, declined to comment on the matter.

The president has repeatedly expressed his dissatisfaction with Sessions, a former senator from Alabama, for recusing himself from a federal investigation into whether there was collusion between Trump’s presidential campaign and Russia. The new White House chief of staff, John Kelly, told Sessions in a phone call over the weekend that Trump doesn’t intend to fire him, according to a person familiar with the conversation.

Spending Legislation

The Veterans Administration measure, sponsored by Republican Senator Steve Daines of Montana and Democratic Senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon, was added to a bill approved by the Appropriations Committee on July 13. The measure preventing funds from being used to crack down on medical marijuana was sponsored by Senator Patrick Leahy, a Vermont Democrat, and was approved by the Appropriations Committee on July 27.

The Republican-controlled Congress is already on record supporting medical marijuana. Since 2014, the Justice Department spending bill has included language that blocks funds from being used to enforce federal law relating to medical marijuana in states where the drug is legal.

Gaetz, the Florida lawmaker who introduced his marijuana legislation in April, said at the time that pot shouldn’t be classified by the federal government the same way as heroin or LSD.

“We do not need to continue with a policy that turns thousands of young people into felons every year,” he said in a statement. “Nor do we need to punish the millions of people who are sick and seeking medical help -- from pain, from muscle wasting, from chemotherapy-induced nausea.”

Republican Senator Cory Gardner of Colorado said Sessions told him before being confirmed as attorney general earlier this year that he planned to take a hands-off approach toward states that legalize marijuana. Gardner, whose state is among them, said he’ll hold Sessions to his comments.

“The founders of our country intended states to be laboratories of democracy and Colorado is now deep in the heart of laboratory, along with many other states now," Gardner said in an interview.


Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Ana Kasperian versus Ann Coulter on marijuana

There are times that Ann Coulter is one clueless bitch and this is one of them. Coulter came off very ignorant and she doubled down on her ignorance. She also came off as very elitist as well. Sometime she needs to shut the fuck up.

Could Trump replace Jeff Sessions in a recess appointment?

President Donald Trump sounds like he’s intent on forcing out his “beleaguered” attorney general, Jeff Sessions, either by firing him or demeaning him until he quits. Firing Sessions might get rid of one of the president’s problems, but it could create a whole host of others.

Most urgently, firing Sessions could sever Trump’s relationship with Republicans in Congress – you know, the same Republicans he needs to approve his nominees (in the Senate) or pass bills he can sign into law (both the Senate and House).

“If Jeff Sessions is fired,” Sen. Lindsey O. Graham, R-S.C., told reporters, “there will be holy hell to pay.”

The Washington Post’s White House team reports that if Sessions is out soon, Trump is discussing going over indignant Republicans in the Senate and bringing on a new attorney general while the Senate is on break this August.

Donald J. Trump ✔ @realDonaldTrump
Why didn't A.G. Sessions replace Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, a Comey friend who was in charge of Clinton investigation but got....
6:48 AM - Jul 26, 2017
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It could happen. But it could also backfire bigly. And since Republicans control a majority of Congress, when they’re upset at the president, there’s a lot they can do to stop him – including preventing a new attorney general from taking office.

Let me explain.

Yes, Trump has the authority for a recess appointment
There’s actually a “Recess Clause” in the Constitution (Article II Sec. 2) that reads: “The President shall have Power to fill up all Vacancies that may happen during the Recess of the Senate, by granting Commissions which shall expire at the End of their next Session.”

Presidents have used it for everything from relatively obscure labor boards to filling seats on the Supreme Court. In 1956, President Dwight D. Eisenhower used that authority to appoint William Brennan to the Supreme Court less than a month before the presidential election. A few years before that, he had appointed Chief Justice Earl Warren to the court when the Senate was in recess. In both cases, the Senate later confirmed those justices.

But the courts have made it more difficult
Recess appointments can backfire, legally. In 2014, the Supreme Court overturned President Barack Obama’s three recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board, arguing that the president overstepped his constitutional authority.

The Senate can make recess appointments nearly impossible.
When it overruled Obama, the Supreme Court also gave the Senate a wide latitude to decide when it considers itself to be in recess and when it’s out. Today, a recess has to last at least 10 days before the president can legally make an appointment.

The court also okayed a loophole the Senate can use to leave town but still block a president from having free rein.

The Senate can go into “pro forma” sessions, which exist almost entirely to prevent a president from making recess appointments. In a pro forma session, the Senate can gavel into Congress – with no legislative business being conducted – and claim it has been in session. “The whole thing takes 20 seconds,” said Cornell Law professor Josh Chafetz. The Senate could theoretically gavel in/gavel out the whole time it’s gone in August.

It’s up to Republicans to decide if they want to hold the line against Trump.
If our hypothetical scenario becomes reality, this is where things get really interesting. You need a majority of the Senate to decide to go into a pro forma session. Republicans have the majority. So if Republicans decide to set up pro forma session when they go out of town in August, they’d basically be sticking it to Trump, saying they don’t trust the president not to do something ill-advised like fire his attorney general after complaining about said attorney general’s recusal from an investigation into Trump’s campaign.

Trump has one other legal avenue.
If Trump is itching to fire Sessions, Congress be damned, he could simply skip an appointment for good and just name an acting attorney general under the 1998 Federal Vacancies Reform Act. The end result is the same: One official out, another one in.

But, Chafetz notes, the president could only appoint people who have already been confirmed by the Senate for another job, and that’s a historically thin list. Plus, there’s legal uncertainty on whether the president can use this tool if he fires someone.

“It says death, resignation or unable to perform the duties of the office,” Chafetz said. “And there’s an argument that ‘firing’ is left out of that deliberately….”

Checks and balances can be a bother.

Pat Ward ✔ @WardDPatrick
AG Jeff Sessions to @TuckerCarlson on President Trump's criticism of him: "it’s kind of hurtful". Full intv 8pm @FoxNews
12:16 PM - Jul 27, 2017
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Thursday, July 27, 2017

Senate committee, rejecting request from Sessions, keeps protection for medical marijuana states

The Senate Appropriations Committee has approved an amendment to protect state medical marijuana programs from federal interference, despite a written request from Attorney General Jeff Sessions earlier this year that they not do so.

The amendment, put forward Thursday by Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont), adds a clause to the Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies (CJS) appropriations bill for Fiscal Year 2018 that prevents the Department of Justice from using funds to prevent any “State or jurisdiction from implementing a law that authorizes the use, distribution, possession, or cultivation of medical marijuana.”

Twenty-nine states, the District of Columbia, and territories Puerto Rico and Guam have passed laws legalizing various forms of medical marijuana.

In May, Sessions sent a letter to Congress asking them not to extend the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment with nearly identical language, which has been added to federal budgets since late 2014.

In his letter, Sessions argued that the amendment inhibits the Justice Department’s “authority to enforce the Controlled Substances Act. … It would be unwise for Congress to restrict the discretion of the Department to fund particular prosecutions, particularly in the midst of an historic drug epidemic and potentially long-term uptick in violent crime. The Department must be in a position to use all laws available to combat the transnational drug organizations and dangerous drug traffickers who threaten American lives.”

Last August, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously ruled that the language of the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment bars the federal government from taking legal action against any individual involved in medical marijuana-related activity absent evidence that the defendant is in clear violation of state law.

In May, Representatives Dana Rohrabacher (R-California) and Earl Blumenauer (D-Oregon) introduced into the omnibus congressional spending bill a similar amendment that prevents the Justice Department from using funds to interfere with the implementation of medical marijuana laws in U.S. states and territories.

The CJS budget now moves to the full Senate. If approved, the bill and its included amendments will go to a special conference committee to reach a compromise with the House version of the budget. If no budget is approved by Sept. 30, the previous amendment will be automatically renewed for another year.

In response to the vote, Blumenauer tweeted: “No surprise! This effort has overwhelming bipartisan support. Now, it’s time for the House act.”

Earl Blumenauer ✔ @repblumenauer
No surprise! This effort has overwhelming bipartisan support. Now, it's time for the House act. https://twitter.com/NORML/status/890601987900940288 …
10:25 AM - Jul 27, 2017
47 47 Retweets 128 128 likes
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Here’s a look at some of the reactions from advocacy groups on both sides of the marijuana debate:

Erik Altieri, executive director for the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws said in a statement: “Attorney General Sessions thinks that medical marijuana patients are no better than members of illegal drug cartels. It is imperative that our elected officials remove any potential bite from Sessions’ bark by taking away his ability to use the full force of the federal government to go against the will of over 90 percent of American citizens who support medical marijuana access and, in the process, endangering the well-being of millions of medical marijuana patients.”

Kevin Sabet, president of Smart Approaches to Marijuana, said: “No one wants to deprive chronically ill patients of medication that could be helpful for them, but preventing the Justice Department from enforcing federal law is fueling black market activity and pushing patients toward an unregulated market proven to be hawking contaminated products as medicine.” He said efforts should be directed to fund more research on marijuana compounds that would go through the Food and Drug Administration approval process.

Don Murphy, director of conservative outreach for the Marijuana Policy Project, said in a statement: “More than half the states have taken a stand and said they want their seriously ill residents to have safe and reliable access to medical marijuana, and today the Senate Appropriations Committee listened. We strongly urge the rest of Congress to do the right thing and include this amendment in the final budget.”


Republicans Block Congressional Marijuana Votes

House Republican leadership is blocking floor consideration of several marijuana amendments on issues ranging from military veterans’ access to medical cannabis to water rights for cultivators.

Despite passionate pleas and support from members of both parties, particularly on the veterans issue, the House Rules Committee on Tuesday night ruled that the marijuana amendments were not in order and would not receive votes by the full chamber this week.

Earlier in the day, Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), the veterans amendment’s lead sponsor, testified before the committee that it was “a critical area of literally life and death.”
Many military veterans use cannabis to treat physical pain caused by war wounds or to manage the symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

But under a current internal U .S. Department of Veterans Affairs (V.A.) administrative directive, government doctors are not allowed to fill out recommendation forms that would let veterans legally receive medical cannabis under state law.

Blumenauer’s measure, which he sought to attach to legislation funding the V.A. and other departments for fiscal year 2018, would simply prevent the government from spending money to enforce the current ban in states where medical cannabis is legal.

Citing statistics showing that an average of 22 military veterans a day commit suicide and that death rate from opioid overdoses among V.A. patients is nearly double the national average, he said, “It’s essential that veterans be allowed to access this as a treatment if it’s legal in their state.”

Republican Congressman Dan Newhouse of Washington State, a Rules Committee member, also voiced his support.
“I’m one of those people that have seen firsthand the benefit that people can derive from medical marijuana. We’re not just talking smoking joints here,” he told his fellow committee members. “There’s a lot of different derivatives that can be used that help people alleviate pain. It seems to me that if that’s available and it works we should make it available to our veterans as well, as long as it’s in accordance with state law.”

But those pleas, and the fact that the amendment was adopted by the House last year by a vote of 233 to 189, or that the Senate Appropriations Committee approved a similar measure this month with a bipartisan margin of 24 to 7, were not enough to convince Rules Committee Chairman Pete Sessions (R-TX), to allow a floor vote.

Eighteen lawmakers — nine Democrats and nine Republicans — cosponsored the veterans cannabis proposal, more than any of the other 333 amendments filed before the committee. A total of 72 of those were approved for floor consideration.

After the news about the amendment being blocked broke late Tuesday night, Blumenauer’s office sent a press release pointing out that the measure had “stronger support in the House and Senate than ever before.”
“All we want is equal treatment for our wounded warriors,” the congressman said in the statement. “This provision overwhelmingly passed on the House floor last year – and bipartisan support has only grown. It’s outrageous that the Rules Committee won’t even allow a vote for our veterans. They deserve better. They deserve compassion.”

Congresswoman Dina Titus (D-NV), one of the cosponsors of the veterans amendment, pledged to “keep fighting.”

Amnd. to remove barriers for #veterans to access med. #marijuana won't get vote after @RulesReps blocks. It would pass. I'll keep fighting.

— Dina Titus (@repdinatitus) July 26, 2017
Blumenauer also took to Twitter to restate his commitment to keep pushing the issue.
Our vets are dying from opiate overdoses at alarming rates. You better believe we're going to keep fighting to get them safer alternatives.
— Earl Blumenauer (@repblumenauer) July 26, 2017

The Rules Committee also did not allow three amendments addressing water rights for marijuana and hemp cultivators to advance to the floor.

Whereas spending bills have in years past been brought to the floor under open rules that allow votes on almost any germane amendment, House Republicans last year began locking down the process after controversy surrounding riders concerning gun policy and the right of transgender people to access public bathrooms threatened the passage of some bills.

As a result, amendments on cannabis businesses’ access to banks and Washington, D.C.’s ability to spend its own money legally regulating marijuana sales were blocked from floor consideration last summer.
The veterans access issue isn’t necessarily dead for the year. Advocates hope that because the provision was inserted into the Senate’s version of V.A. funding legislation with such a strong bipartisan vote that the conference committee that later merges the two chambers’ bills together into a single proposal will adopt the language.

However, a conference committee stripped the veterans cannabis provision out of last year’s bill even though it had been approved by strong bipartisan majorities in both chambers. This time, there won’t even be a House vote on the measure.

The Senate version of the bill that covers the U.S. Department of Energy and water regulations contains an amendment protecting hemp growers’ water rights, a result of a voice vote in the Senate Appropriations Committee last week.

Meanwhile, that panel is expected to consider an amendment to continue blocking the U.S. Department of Justice from interfering with state medical cannabis laws on Thursday.


If you are a constituent of Congressman Pete Sessions and you are less than thrilled with his blocking this amendment perhaps you should let him know. You call him at

Washington, DC Office
2233 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515-4332
Phone: 202.225.2231
Fax: 202.225.5878

Or you can email and let him know your displeasure.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Controlled Substances Act may be unconstitutional

As an attorney, I am always disappointed that the courts in this country – both at the state and federal level – have refused to get involved in the efforts to end marijuana prohibition and end the practice of treating responsible marijuana smokers as criminals. But that is the reality.

While the courts in this country have played a leading role in ending racial discrimination, in guaranteeing women the right to obtain a legal abortion, in protecting the rights of the LGBT community, and in many other areas involving the protection of personal freedom, they have consistently rejected attempts to declare state and federal anti-marijuana laws as unconstitutional.

But that does not mean that we should give up the fight in the courts, and rely only on voter initiatives and elected officials to fix this problem. As long as there are new legal arguments to be made, and fresh and hopefully more convincing facts to be argued, we must continue to engage the courts in this struggle for personal freedom.

Washington, et.al v. Sessions, et.al

One such legal challenge, Washington, et.al v. Sessions, et.al, was recently filed in US District Court in the Southern District of New York by lead attorney Michael Hiller, with NORML Legal Committee (NLC) attorneys David Holland and Joseph Bondy serving as co-counsel. The full complaint can be found here.

Individual plaintiffs in the suit were two young children, an American military veteran, and a retired professional football player, all of whom are medical marijuana patients; and a membership organization alleging their minority members have been discriminated against by the federal Controlled Substances Act.

Seeking to overturn the 2005 Supreme Court decision in Gonzales v. Raich, plaintiffs request a declaration that the CSA, as it pertains to the classification of Cannabis as a Schedule I drug, is unconstitutional, because it violates the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment, an assortment of protections guaranteed by the First Amendment, and the fundamental Right to Travel. Further, plaintiffs seek a declaration that Congress, in enacting the CSA as it pertains to marijuana, violated the Commerce Clause, extending the breadth of legislative power well beyond the scope contemplated by Article I of the Constitution.

Named as defendants in the case are Attorney General Jeff Beauregard Sessions, Acting Administrator of the DEA Chuck Rosenberg, the Justice Department, the DEA and the Federal Government.

In their Complaint, plaintiffs allege that the federal government does not, and could not possibly, believe that Cannabis meets the definition of a Schedule I drug, which is reserved for the most dangerous of substances, such as heroin, LSD, and mescaline; and that classifying Cannabis as a “Schedule I drug,” is so irrational that it violates the U.S. Constitution.

Among the other claims in the lawsuit are that the CSA: (i) was enacted and implemented in order to discriminate against African Americans and to suppress people’s First Amendment rights; and (ii) violates plaintiffs’ constitutional Right to Travel.

Joseph Bondy, a federal criminal defense attorney and legalization advocate, explained he felt it was important to “question the agenda of those who continue to push for enforcement of the CSA, given its unlawful and discriminatory impact and that so few in America support such an effort.” Co-counsel David Holland, a litigator and Executive Director of Empire State NORML, noted that “the efforts to criminalize Cannabis are relatively recent and were largely underwritten by racial and ethnic animus,” referring to recent findings that African Americans and other persons of color are four times as likely to be arrested under the CSA than white Americans, even though marijuana is used equally by people of color and Caucasians.

Perhaps the federal courts will surprise us at long last and finally take a critical look at marijuana prohibition, and find the courage to declare the CSA to be unconstitutional. That would be an enormous step forward in ending marijuana prohibition altogether. But regardless of the outcome of this particular suit, it is encouraging to see the criminal defense bar continue to push the legal envelope, and to advance the best and latest legal and factual arguments. At some point, the courts will have no choice but to strike downC1_8734_r_x prohibition as a violation of our personal


One man will decide if people are allowed access to marijuana

Michael Murray isn’t well known outside of legal circles, but that may soon change. The former Supreme Court clerk holds the fate of a multibillion-dollar cannabis industry in his hands and will make recommendations soon on whether to launch a crackdown.

People who know Murray can’t imagine the straight-laced young father of three thinking highly of marijuana use and describe him as quiet and personally conservative. But they also say he is thoughtful and independent-minded.

Murray, a 2009 Yale Law School graduate, is a counsel to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and was tasked with the review earlier this year, when Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced a larger crime task force would have a marijuana subcommittee.

The marijuana subcommittee's work is shrouded in secrecy, with recommendations due by July 27. The outcome could be either a yawn or a jarring assault on states that have regulated seed-to-sale markets serving adults 21 and older.

Possession and sale of marijuana remain federal crimes. The Obama administration, however, allowed states broad leeway to regulate medical and recreational sales. Eight states now have laws authorizing recreational pot markets.

Among the conceivable outcomes, the subcommittee could move to pull the rug out from under the cannabis industry by withdrawing or modifying the 2013 Cole Memo, which allowed recreational pot stores to open so long as enforcement triggers – such as underage sales, interstate smuggling and public health consequences – aren’t tripped.

At least in theory, Murray is not the only person reviewing the policy. But it’s not clear who else may be serving on the subcommittee and some legalization advocates fear the fix is in, with large pot advocacy and business groups saying they have had no contact.

"They have been operating in a black box, really," says Taylor West, deputy director of the National Cannabis Industry Association. "There has been no indication that there was an opening for any viewpoint other than those of whoever is on this committee."

West says the group is "preparing with our allies in D.C. for whatever may come from this."

Statistics from the early years of pot legalization can be manipulated to support a viewpoint, making diverse input potentially significant. For example, two recent studies came to opposite conclusions on the effects of legalization on traffic safety. And while surveys show teen pot use has not increased nationally or in the pioneering states since 2012, contrasting current rates to historical low points offers a different impression.

A closed-to-the-press June summit associated with the larger Justice Department task force featured a discussion on drug-supply reduction with Kevin Sabet, the nation's most prominent anti-legalization organizer and leader of the group Smart Approaches to Marijuana. Sabet has not said what interactions, if any, he has with the subcommittee.

Amplifying reformers’ concern is the fact that the larger task force is co-chaired by Steve Cook, an advocate of harsh sentences for drug crimes. And Murray’s boss, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, is a cantankerous critic of marijuana use who in May asked Congress to drop budget language protecting state medical marijuana programs.

Murray lacks the combative style of Sessions or Cook, according to friends and former colleagues, who describe him as family-oriented and scholarly. One supporter of legalization who asked not to be identified said they trusted his judgment.

Murray joined the Justice Department after working for the Jones Day law firm, which has sent many attorneys to the Trump administration. His wife, Claire McCusker Murray, became associate counsel to President Donald Trump earlier this year.

“Michael is a brilliant young lawyer [and] he has a somewhat understated personality, especially compared to a lot of people who fill the ranks of the Trump administration,” says David Lat, who also clerked for Judge Diarmuid O'Scannlain, a prominent conservative on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit.

“I would not expect anything crazy from him,” says Lat, who did not clerk for O'Scannlain at the same time as Murray but knows him socially.

Lat, managing editor of legal news website Above the Law, and others contacted for this story say they cannot recall any specific conversation with Murray about marijuana, but Lat says “my guess would be that he’s not a toker type.”

“The types of people who clerk for Judge O’Scannlain are not the types of people who smoke marijuana,” Lat says. “Judge O'Scannlain hires very proper people. His clerks are basically boy scouts and girl scouts. We are very buttoned-up people, and Michael fits that mold.”

Katherine Moran Meeks, an attorney who clerked alongside Murray for Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy in 2013-2014, says Murray is, however, “a man of his own mind.”

“He’s a person of integrity and he’s there to offer a careful legal opinion,” Meeks says. “I’m sure that’s what he’ll give, rather than something driven by partisanship.”

The Justice Department does not have an official photograph of Murray, but a picture showing the tall and fair-haired attorney among a group of Jones Day associates was circulated in 2014 and remains available online. A member of the firm’s media relations department refused to authorize reuse of the photo for this article.

A Justice Department spokesman declined to provide additional details about the ongoing review.

Robert Dunn, who overlapped briefly as a clerk in Judge O'Scannlain’s office in 2010 recalls Murray being “a smart, smart dude” who handed over case work with “a very well-thought-through reason” for everything.

“The adjective that jumps to my mind is that he strikes me as very thoughtful,” Dunn says. “He thinks before he acts."


Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Jeff Sessions wants police to take more cash from American citizens

Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Monday said he'd be issuing a new directive this week aimed at increasing police seizures of cash and property.

“We hope to issue this week a new directive on asset forfeiture — especially for drug traffickers,” Sessions said in his prepared remarks for a speech to the National District Attorney's Association in Minneapolis. "With care and professionalism, we plan to develop policies to increase forfeitures. No criminal should be allowed to keep the proceeds of their crime. Adoptive forfeitures are appropriate as is sharing with our partners."

Asset forfeiture is a disputed practice that allows law enforcement officials to permanently take money and goods from individuals suspected of crime. There is little disagreement among lawmakers, authorities and criminal justice reformers that “no criminal should be allowed to keep the proceeds of their crime.” But in many cases, neither a criminal conviction nor even a criminal charge is necessary — under forfeiture laws in most states and at the federal level, mere suspicion of wrongdoing is enough to allow police to seize items permanently.

Additionally, many states allow law enforcement agencies to keep cash that they seize, creating what critics characterize as a profit motive. The practice is widespread: In 2014, federal law enforcement officers took more property from citizens than burglars did. State and local authorities seized untold millions more.

Since 2007, the Drug Enforcement Administration alone has taken more than $3 billion in cash from people not charged with any crime, according to the Justice Department's Inspector General.

The practice is ripe for abuse. In one case in 2016, Oklahoma police seized $53,000 owned by a Christian band, an orphanage and a church after stopping a man on a highway for a broken taillight. A few years earlier, a Michigan drug task force raided the home of a self-described “soccer mom,” suspecting she was not in compliance with the state's medical marijuana law. They proceeded to take “every belonging” from the family, including tools, a bicycle and her daughter's birthday money.

In recent years, states have begun to clamp down on the practice.

“Thirteen states now allow forfeiture only in cases where there's been a criminal conviction,” said Robert Everett Johnson, an attorney for the Institute for Justice, a public interest law firm that represents forfeiture defendants.

In 2015, Eric Holder's Justice Department issued a memo sharply curtailing a particular type of forfeiture practice that allowed local police to share part of their forfeiture proceeds with federal authorities. Known as “adoptive” forfeiture, it allowed state and local authorities to sidestep sometimes stricter state laws, processing forfeiture cases under the more permissive federal statute.

These types of forfeitures amounted to a small total of assets seized by federal authorities, so the overall impact on forfeiture practices was relatively muted. Still, criminal justice reform groups on the left and the right cheered the move as a signal that the Obama administration was serious about curtailing forfeiture abuses.

In his speech Monday, Attorney General Sessions appeared to specifically call out adoptive forfeitures as an area for potential expansion. “Adoptive forfeitures are appropriate,” he said, “as is sharing with our partners.”

“This is a federalism issue,” Johnson said. “Any return to federal adoptive forfeitures would “circumvent limitations on civil forfeiture that are imposed by state legislatures … the Department of Justice is saying 'we're going to help state and local law enforcement to get around those reforms.'”

The Department of Justice did not return a request for comment.


Senate Committee Overwhelmingly Passes Veterans Equal Access Amendment

Today, the Senate Appropriations Committee voted 24-7 to include the Veterans Equal Access amendment as part of the 2018 Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations bill, which would expand much needed medical marijuana access to our nation’s veterans.

Presently, V.A. doctors in states where cannabis therapy is permitted are forbidden from providing the paperwork necessary to complete a medical cannabis recommendation, thus forcing military veterans to seek the advice of a private, out-of-network physician.

Veterans are increasingly turning to medical cannabis as an effective alternative to opioids and other conventional medications to treat conditions like chronic pain and post-traumatic stress. A retrospective review of patients’ symptoms published in 2014 in the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs reported a greater than 75 percent reduction on a scale of post-traumatic symptom scores following cannabis therapy. This is why, in recent months, two of the largest veterans’ rights groups — AMVETS and the American Legion — have resolved in favor of patients’ access to cannabis therapy.

The amendment was introduced by Senator Daines, R-Montana for the second year in a row. Last year, majorities in both the US House and Senate voted to include similar language as part of the Fiscal Year 2017 Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations bill. However, Republicans sitting on the House Appropriations Committee elected to remove the language from the bill during a concurrence vote.

The 24-7 roll call was an increase over last years 20-10 appropriations passage. The changes came from Senators Susan Collins (R-ME), Senator John Hoeven (R-ND) and Jerry Moran (R-KS) all voting “aye” after having voted against the effort last year and both new members of the committee, Senators John Kennedy (R-LA) and Joe Manchin (D-WV) voting in favor.

Identical language is expected to receive a vote in the House later this year. Keep an eye on NORML’s Act page for that and other changes.


This is what activism accomplishes. We made 3 prohibitionists vote in our favor. That is the power of the people. That is what we can accomplish. There are petitions at the NORML Action Center website. Please fill these petitions out on a daily basis. This is how we get through to them and to make sure Washington DC doesn't forget about us.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Jeff Sessions balks at state's rights concerning marijuana

NEW YORK — In a national vote widely viewed as a victory for conservatives, last year’s elections also yielded a win for liberals in eight states that legalized marijuana for medical or recreational use.

But the growing industry is facing a federal crackdown under Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who has compared cannabis to heroin.

A task force Sessions appointed to, in part, review links between violent crimes and marijuana is scheduled to release its findings by the end of the month. But he has already asked Senate leaders to roll back rules that block the Justice Department from bypassing state laws to enforce a federal ban on medical marijuana.

That has pitted the attorney general against members of Congress across the political spectrum — from Senator Rand Paul, Republican of Kentucky, to Senator Cory Booker, Democrat of New Jersey, — who are determined to defend states’ rights and provide some certainty for the multibillion-dollar pot industry.

“Our attorney general is giving everyone whiplash by trying to take us back to the 1960s,” said Representative Jared Huffman, Democrat of California, whose district includes the so-called Emerald Triangle that produces much of the United States’ marijuana.

“Prosecutorial discretion is everything given the current conflict between the federal law and the law of many states,” he said in an interview last month.

In February, Sean Spicer, the White House press secretary, said the Trump administration would look into enforcing federal law against recreational marijuana businesses. Some states are considering tougher stands: In Massachusetts, for example, the Legislature is trying to rewrite a law to legalize recreational marijuana that voters passed in November.

About one-fifth of Americans now live in states where marijuana is legal for adult use, according to the Brookings Institution, and an estimated 200 million live in places where medicinal marijuana is legal.

Cannabis retailing has moved from street corners to state-of-the-art dispensaries and stores, with California entrepreneurs producing rose gold vaporizers and businesses in Colorado selling infused drinks.

Sessions is backed by a minority of Americans who view cannabis as a “gateway” drug that drives social problems, such as the recent rise in opioid addiction.

“We love Jeff Sessions’s position on marijuana because he is thinking about it clearly,” said Scott Chipman, Southern California chairman for Citizens Against Legalizing Marijuana.

He dismissed the idea of recreational drug use. “’Recreational’ is a bike ride, a swim, going to the beach,” he said. “Using a drug to put your brain in an altered state is not recreation. That is self-destructive behavior and escapism.”

Marijuana merchants are protected by a provision in the federal budget that prohibits the Justice Department from spending money to block state laws that allow medicinal cannabis. Under the Obama administration, the Justice Department did not interfere with state laws that legalize marijuana and instead focused on prosecuting drug cartels and the transport of pot across state lines.

In March, a group of senators that included Elizabeth Warren, Democrat of Massachusetts, and Lisa Murkowski, Republican of Alaska, asked Sessions to stick with existing policies. Some lawmakers also want to allow banks to work with the marijuana industry and to allow tax deductions for business expenses.

Lawmakers who support legalizing marijuana contend that it leads to greater regulation, curbs the black market and stops money laundering. They point to studies showing that the war on drugs, which began under President Richard M. Nixon, had disastrous impacts on national incarceration rates and racial divides.

In a statement, Booker said the Trump administration’s crackdown against marijuana “will not make our communities safer or reduce the use of illegal drugs.”

“Instead, they will worsen an already broken system,” he said, noting that marijuana-related arrests are disproportionately high for black Americans.

Consumers spent $5.9 billion on legal cannabis in the United States last year, according to the Arcview Group, which studies and invests in the industry. That figure is expected to reach $19 billion by 2021.

A Quinnipiac University poll in February concluded that 59 percent of US voters believe cannabis should be legal. Additionally, the poll found, 71 percent say the federal government should not prosecute marijuana use in states that have legalized it.

But marijuana businesses are bracing for a possible clampdown.

“People that were sort of on the fence — a family office, a high-net-worth individual thinking of privately financing a licensed opportunity — it has swayed them to go the other way and think: not just yet,” said Randy Maslow, a founder of iAnthus Capital Holdings.


Friday, July 7, 2017

The Trump administration wants to gut Net Neutrality

From Free Press Action Fund:

The Trump administration, the Chairman of the FCC and greedy corporations have banded together to kill the Net Neutrality protections passed by the FCC in 2015. But they’re about to find out what happens when you mess with our internet.

On July 12, people, organizations and companies will be participating in a day of action to save Net Neutrality. Will you join us?

Sign up to participate in the day of action and we’ll give you more details about the things you can do: from changing your profile picture to posting a blog — we have options for everybody!

This is going to be the biggest day in the fight for internet freedom — you won’t want to miss it.

Internet service providers, like Comcast, Verizon and AT&T, are doing all they can to take away your right to an open internet — even while they admit that Title II Net Neutrality rules haven’t harmed online investment or innovation one bit. The truth is, they want to control what we do and say online, and charge us more for full speed internet access. July 12 is the day we fight back.

Join the internet-wide day of action to save Net Neutrality.

Thanks for all you do—

Lucia, Candace, Dutch and the rest of the Free Press team,

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Press release for Cannabis Consumers For Liberty

CC4L Launches Signature Campaign on Independence Day
Accuracy of signatures a focus

Spearfish, SD: Cannabis Consumers for Liberty formally launched its signature campaign on Tuesday, July 4th. Registered South Dakota voters who wish to sign the petition are encouraged to stop by 239 W. Jackson when the "FREE CANNABIS" sign is out front, or to email info@plainstribune.com to make an appointment with John Dale, CC4L founder. Signature accuracy is a focus of the campaign, which employs a straightforward, scalable process to verify the validity of each signature on the petition. Volunteers are welcome. Please email cc4lvolunteer@plainstribune.com

ABOUT CC4L: Cannabis Consumers for Liberty (CC4L) is a political action committee located in Spearfish, SD. At this time, CC4L has no direct sponsorship aside from the time devoted to draft and submit the initiative, dedicated to advancing the proposition that Cannabis was unjustly prohibited in the face of other fully legal far more harmful products.

A couple of disappointments

Barrack Obama

Kim Jong Un

What do Barrack Obama and Kim Jong Un have in common? They are both disappointments. Obama could have given us a Star Trek future where race was no longer a factor. That you could be anything you wanted without someone holding you down. He could have shown African-Americans a better,brighter future. What does he do? Take us back to the '50's and before with his race baiting and divisive tactics.

Kim was educated outside of North Korea. He knows the western world is nothing like the North Koreans are portraying it. He could have led his people into the 21st century. He could have been the Korean version of Mikhail Gorbachev instead he is the 2nd North Korean leader that is a a reminder of Josef Stalin. Just like his grandpa.

These two showed promise and as it turns out it is a promise broken.

Monday, July 3, 2017

The government wants to spy on you

From Freedom Press Action Fund:

The Trump administration may get even more power to spy on your personal communications — unless we speak out.

Sen. Tom Cotton (R–Arkansas) has introduced a bill that would permanently reauthorize an invasive surveillance program that violates your online privacy. Given this administration's hostility toward communities of color and activists, the reauthorization of this program would pose a particular threat to marginalized people in the United States.

Tell Congress that this is unacceptable: Do not reauthorize Section 702 spying.

Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act authorizes intelligence agencies (like the FBI and NSA) to scan in bulk phone calls, text messages and emails traveling across the internet. These agencies are supposed to target only people outside the United States, but they also sweep up massive amounts of Americans’ communications — without a warrant or any individualized suspicion of wrongdoing.

Section 702 is one of the surveillance programs Edward Snowden exposed. Now it's up to us to protect our online privacy from an administration that's notorious for abusing its power.

It’s common for the Section 702 dragnet to sweep up “family photographs, love letters, personal financial matters, discussions of physical and mental health, and political and religious exchanges” between Americans. While this sweeping authority was meant to protect us from the most serious threats to our national security, the FBI regularly uses it to sidestep Fourth Amendment protections and search Americans' personal information for matters entirely unrelated to foreign intelligence. Instead of letting this horrible surveillance dragnet expire, Cotton's bill would make it a permanent fixture of life in the United States.

Urge Congress to protect your online privacy and rein in mass government surveillance.

To sign petition

Monday, June 26, 2017

Congress is considering expanding the powers of the Attorney General

Complaining about how Congress has abdicated its constitutional authority in foreign policy is a major staple of my political writing career, but this habit of fecklessness extends well beyond matters of war and peace.

Right now, for example, Congress is considering a bill (the Stop the Importation and Trafficking of Synthetic Analogues [SITSA] Act of 2017) that would give dangerous new power to the attorney general, currently drug warrior extraordinaire Jeff Sessions.

The Washington Post reports:

The bipartisan legislation, sponsored by powerful committee chairs in both chambers of Congress, would allow the attorney general to unilaterally outlaw certain unregulated chemical compounds on a temporary basis. It would create a special legal category for these drugs, the first time in nearly 50 years that the Controlled Substances Act has been expanded in this way. And it would set penalties, potentially including mandatory minimum sentences, for the manufacture and distribution of these drugs.

Current policy on this subject isn’t great, but SITSA is still a big step in the wrong direction:

Under current policy, an attorney general may temporarily schedule a substance for up to two years and only after demonstrating the drug’s “history and current pattern of abuse; the scope, duration and significance of abuse; and what, if any, risk there is to the public health.”

The new bill extends the temporary scheduling duration to five years for Schedule A substances and eliminates the requirement for analyzing the drug’s abuse record and its potential risk to public health.

The federal drug war is bad enough already. It is inhumane, expensive, and a violation of basic individual liberty. Mandatory minimum sentencing is a particularly egregious part of this, subjecting people convicted of low-level, nonviolent crimes to wildly unnecessary and unjust prison sentences — and subjecting taxpayers to the enormous bill.

But one way to make this bad situation worse is to give an un-elected official authority to expand the drug war and mandatory minimums at his own discretion.

The United States is (theoretically) supposed to have “a government of laws, not of men.” This is literally government by a single, unaccountable man.

In the short term, it’s especially egregious because Sessions would be the immediate recipient of this new authority should the bill pass, and he has proved himself irrationally and dishonestly committed to escalating the drug war.

But the problem is much bigger than Sessions himself. He shouldn’t have this unilateral authority, but neither should anyone else.


Do you like the idea of giving more power to a government official to implement failed policies? Do you favor escalating the drug war which was in reality a war on the Constitutional rights that protect us from governmental overreach? If the answer is "no" then contact your Congressional Representative and your Senators and let them know you are not a big fan of granting more powers to Jeff Sessions.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Muslim supremacy in Minneapolis

Mayor of Minneapolis,Minnesota Betsy Hodges

It’s always challenging attempting to figure out the convoluted motivation behind the absurd bluster of progressive politicians. Take for example the current mayor of Minneapolis who gave her “Annual State of the City” address not in a city facility but rather in a Muslim Mosque devoting much of her speech not to the issues regarding her city but instead bashing President Trump’s agenda in securing the homeland against radical Islamic extremism.

Obviously, Mayor Betsy Hodges wasn’t concerned regarding the thorny issue within our Constitution regarding the separation of church and state when it came to giving an officially sanctioned speech within a Mosque.

And almost immediately began attacking President Trump claiming “his agenda of oppression, and regression and suppression has no place in Minneapolis.”

However, the loony mayor has apparently taken her delusional message even further by specifically targeting “anyone” who publicly speaks out against this barbaric doctrine known as “Shariah Law.”

The leftist loon has apparently created a “city website” including a “hotline” for residents to actually monitor the speech of individuals they come into contact with who speak out against this Islamic doctrine.

Obviously the mayor's embrace of Islamic culture seems to have put her at odds with “our” First Amendment” regarding “our” right to engage in free speech, even in gruff speech, which is definitely in stark contradiction to a doctrine that promotes “stoning, honor killings”, and the “molestation of children.”

According to local reports, “the announcement comes amid signs of a recent surge of such incidents affecting Muslims and Jews across the country, many of which go unreported.”

The cities Department of Civil Rights states on the website that it only enforces hate crimes against certain “protected classes,” which begs the question “don’t we already have those laws within our federal court system?

Moreover this chilling written overview on the cities website authored by Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights Director Velma Korbel should worry every “normal individual” residing within the city limits; “Since the general election, many of us have experienced, witnessed firsthand or heard of actions of: racism, xenophobia, sexism and bigotry directed at people here and in cities across the United States, in no uncertain terms, hate-motivated speech and actions have no place in Minneapolis nor will they be tolerated.”


Saturday, June 24, 2017

Sessions Asks Congress to Roll Back Medical Marijuana Protections

Attorney General Jeff Sessions has penned a letter to Congressional leaders requesting the Department of Justice (DOJ) be financially unshackled – allowing the federal agency use their budget to obstruct, hinder, and prosecute individuals in states where medical marijuana is legal.

Better known as the Rohrabacher–Blumenauer amendment, Session’s May 1 letter to Congressional leaders requested federal lawmakers oppose the provision. And, breaking yet another campaign promise in which candidate Trump pledged “100%” support for states that have legalized medical marijuana, the Trump administration appears to be on board with turning up the legal heat on state-sanctioned medical marijuana businesses.

Sessions noted in the letter: “I believe it would be unwise for Congress to restrict the discretion of the department to find particular prosecutions, particularly in the midst of an historic drug epidemic and potentially long-term uptick in violent crime.”

The U.S. AG rationalized his archaic request to those in Congress by offering only hyperbolic innuendo, and the occasional bad actor as fact. “Drug traffickers already cultivate and distribute marijuana inside the United States under the guise of state medical marijuana laws.”

Strongly disagreeing with the AG’s philosophy, in 2016 “the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit interpreted this provision broadly to apply both to the Department actions that prevent states from implementing their laws regarding medical marijuana and to Department prosecutions of certain individuals and organizations that operate under those laws.” Concluding that, “the Department may not prosecute violations of the CSA with respect to marijuana unless the court concludes that the individuals or organizations are not in compliance with state medical marijuana law.”

Sessions, in an attempt to explain his infamous “good people don’t smoke marijuana” comment, noted, “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.”

No fan of the growing research that demonstrates marijuana’s medicinal efficacy, Sessions cited the Department of Health and Human Services and the DEA in demonizing the medicinal herb, adding, “Marijuana has a high potential for abuse, no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States, and a lack of accepted safety for use under medical supervision.”

First reported by Tom Angell on Monday, this leaked letter to Congressional leaders quickly went viral.


Wait a minute.

Rewind to here:

Sessions noted in the letter: “I believe it would be unwise for Congress to restrict the discretion of the department to find particular prosecutions, particularly in the midst of an historic drug epidemic and potentially long-term uptick in violent crime.”

Sessions is criticizing Congress for ignoring the Controlled Substances Act of 1970 while Sessions himself wants to ignore the Rohrabacher–Blumenauer amendment of 2017. That reeks with hypocrisy. Also it makes the people wary of their government because they see hypocrisy coming from their government.

Congress should tell Sessions to stuff it.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Congress should keep Department of Justice out of states’ marijuana rules

Donald Trump was not elected president to renew crackdowns on marijuana in states that have legalized it for medicinal or recreational purposes.

Last week, it was revealed that U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions sent a private letter to congressional leaders dated May 1 asking them to lift the Rohrabacher–Farr amendment, which prevents the Justice Department from meddling with state medical marijuana laws.

“I believe it would be unwise for Congress to restrict the discretion of the Department to fund particular prosecutions, particularly in the midst of an historic drug epidemic and potentially long-term uptick in violent crime,” Sessions wrote, citing no evidence linking medical marijuana to the “historic drug epidemic” or violent crime increases.

The Rohrabacher-Farr amendment, first enacted in 2014, is an important barrier to unnecessary federal intrusion in states which have considered and enacted laws permitting, by varying degrees, the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes.

While marijuana remains illegal under the federal Controlled Substances Act, Congress should retain the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment to protect the right of states to make their own choices.

The majority of states, and the District of Columbia, now have laws on the books permitting marijuana for medicinal purposes. As an April Quinnipiac poll found, 73 percent of Americans oppose federal intervention in states which have legalized marijuana for either medicinal or recreational purposes. For the Trump administration to intervene now would not only contradict campaign statements by Trump himself favoring states’ rights on marijuana policy, but also needlessly flout the wishes of most Americans.

But clearly a legislative solution is needed beyond simply restricting the ability of the Justice Department to enforce laws against medical marijuana.

One such proposal was reintroduced last week by a bipartisan group of U.S. senators, including Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., and Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky. Called the CARERS Act, the bill would protect the possession, production and distribution of medical marijuana so long as individuals and businesses are in compliance with state laws permitting such activity. It would also allow Veterans Affairs physicians to prescribe medical marijuana, and remove federal restrictions on cannabidiol, a non-intoxicating chemical in marijuana which can treat problems like epilepsy.

The idea of depriving individuals suffering from ailments like cancer of safe access to medical marijuana is a cruel one that does nothing to make anyone safer.

Another proposal to consider is the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act, introduced by Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, and Rep. Tom Garrett, R-Va., which would remove marijuana from the confines of the federal Controlled Substances Act, leaving to the states the autonomy to make their own choices, as with alcohol and tobacco. This would permanently resolve the conflict between state and federal law on medical and recreational marijuana.

For now, Congress should retain the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment and work toward shifting greater power over marijuana policy to the states.


Congress should be aware of this so let's tell them. Contact your Congressional Representative and your Senators and tell them all about this.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Marijuana is kicking alcohol's ass

The legal weed market appears to be impacting booze’s bottom line.

Consumer trend data compiled by OutCo and Monocle Research finds that many California twenty-somethings, post-legalization, are switching from beer to pot. Marketers surveyed 2,000 cannabis consumers in seven major California cities. One-third of millennial respondents said that they are choosing cannabis over beer. One out of five acknowledged substituting weed for wine, and 14 percent admitted consuming herb rather than hard alcohol.

Older respondents, including baby boomers, also reported making the switch from booze to pot. According to the survey, 20 percent of Gen Xers and eight percent of boomers similarly acknowledged substituting pot in place of alcohol.

The findings provide further credence to a December 2016 report from the Cowan & Company research firm which determined that beer sales by major distributors – including Anheuser-Busch and MillerCoors – have “collectively underperformed” over the past two years in Colorado, Oregon, and Washington. In Denver, arguably the epicenter for the marijuana retail sales market, beer sales have fallen nearly seven percent, analysists concluded.

A March 2017 research report by the Cannabiz Consumer Group similarly indicates that cannabis is cutting in on beer’s popularity. Researchers reported that 27 percent drinkers surveyed said that they had either substituted cannabis for beer, or that they would do so in the future if retail weed sales become legal. The company estimated that beer sales could decline by as much as $2 billion if cannabis was legal nationwide.

Questions concerning whether cannabis typically acts as a substitute or as a complement to alcohol remain ongoing. But a 2014 literature review published in the journal Alcohol and Alcoholism indicates that the weight of the available evidence supports the former theory – particularly among young adults. Authors concluded: “While more research and improved study designs are needed to better identify the extent and impact of cannabis substitution on those affected by AUD (alcohol use disorder), cannabis does appear to be a potential substitute for alcohol. Perhaps more importantly, cannabis is both safer and potentially less addictive than benzodiazepines and other pharmaceuticals that have been evaluated as substitutes for alcohol.”

Survey data from states where medical cannabis has long been legally available frequently report declines in alcohol consumption. For instance, a 2011 patient survey from California reported that those qualified to access medicinal cannabis used alcohol at rates that were “significantly lower” than those of the general public. More recently, a study published this year in the Journal of Psychopharmacology reported that over 40 percent of state-registered medical marijuana patients acknowledged reducing their alcohol intake after initiating cannabis therapy.

Polling data finds that most Americans, and those between the ages 18 to 40 in particular, now believe that cannabis is far less harmful to health than alcohol. Their belief is supported by the relevant science. For example, alcohol possesses a dependence liability that is nearly twice that of cannabis, is a far greater contributor to traffic accidents, and is capable of causing organ failure and even death by overdose. According to a 2011 study comparing the physical, psychological, and social impact of the two substances: “A direct comparison of alcohol and cannabis showed that alcohol was considered to be more than twice as harmful as cannabis to [individual] users, and five times more harmful as cannabis to others (society). … As there are few areas of harm that each drug can produce where cannabis scores more [dangerous to health] than alcohol, we suggest that even if there were no legal impediment to cannabis use, it would be unlikely to be more harmful than alcohol.”

The fact that the legal marijuana market may pose potential challenges for the alcohol beverage industry is hardly going unnoticed. The topic was front and center at the 2016 Beer Industry Summit, according to reports from attendees. And last year, industry players contributed funds against voter-initiated legalization measures in Arizona and Massachusetts. (The Massachusetts initiative passed while the Arizona measure was defeated.)

Yet, given the ubiquitous role alcohol plays in American culture, it is hard to imagine a scenario where the emerging legal marijuana market presents a serious threat to Big Booze any time soon. After all, while federal lawmakers have endorsed Congressional resolutions “commending” US beer sales, they simultaneously refuse to amend federal law to even permit marijuana businesses to have relationships with banks or take standard payroll deductions. In short, as long as booze remains king on Capitol Hill, the cannabis industry will continue be engaged in an uphill battle for both respectability and market share.


Monday, June 19, 2017

The blind leading the blind

The American opiate crisis continues to spiral out of control with no end in sight. And the numbers stagger the mind.

More than half a million Americans died of drug overdoses from 2000 to 2015, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Each day, 91 people in this country will die from an opioid overdose — more than 33,00o a year.
And although the opioid addiction epidemic is global in scale, it is uniquely dire in the United States. We account for 4.4 percent of the global population, and yet we gobble up about 80 percent of the worldwide opioids supply.

Drug overdose is the leading cause of accidental death in the U.S. and opioid addiction is driving this epidemic. In 2015, more than 20,000 overdose deaths were reported related to prescription pain relievers, with another 13,ooo overdose deaths related to heroin.

About 80 percent of new heroin users started out misusing prescription painkillers.
To put the data in perspective, opioid deaths now surpass the peak in death by car crash in 1972, AIDS deaths in 1995 and gun deaths in 1993.

To battle this deadly crisis, President Donald Trump in March created the President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Epidemic, an advisory committee designed “to review the state of drug addiction and the opioid epidemic and make recommendations regarding how the Federal Government can best address this crisis.”

On Friday, the task force will hold its first meeting at the White House, to be livestreamed beginning at 12:30 p.m. EST.

Almost immediately after announcing the committee, Trump selected New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie to lead it. Clearly, solving America’s opioid epidemic will take bipartisan cooperation. This is simply not an issue in which there is much disagreement.

Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) welcomed the news of the task force. “Drug overdose deaths, the majority of which are from heroin and prescription opioids, are a national crisis,” McCaskill said in a written statement. “We’ll need the help of Governor Christie, President Trump, and others at all levels of government, from any party affiliation, if we’re going to make progress and save lives.”

But many health professionals and cannabis advocates are wary of Trump’s task force. Nearly all the members selected to the committee have spoken out against marijuana legalization — which runs counter to the overwhelming majority of the American people. Christie, an ardent longtime opponent of cannabis regulation, will lead these members:

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker, former U.S. Representative Patrick Kennedy, Dr. Bertha Madras of Harvard Medical School and North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper. All but Cooper have a record of conflating cannabis consumption with opioid addiction. When you add the fact that Attorney General Jeff Sessions clearly wants to put the brakes on cannabis reform, you can understand the trepidation of marijuana advocates.

“Governor Christie has zero percent credibility on drug policy,” Eric Altieri, the executive director of NORML, told Forbes last month. “When it comes to cannabis’ relationship to opioids from real-world experience, not bluster and rhetoric, states that have medicinal and recreational cannabis laws on the books see lower rates of overdose, lower rates of use, and lower rates of opioids being prescribed to patients,” Altieri added.

In Forbes’ story titled “Chris Christie Is The Last GOPer Who Should Be Leading Our Opioid Fight,” Altieri slammed the N.J. governor and unsuccessful presidential candidate as a suitable task force chairman:

Christie has spent much of his time as governor (and, as it happens, much of the opioid crisis) fighting the rising tide of calls for cannabis reform in his state. Last week, as part of opioid-themed comments, Christie even called the ever more crucial and commonplace drive to bring regulated adult and medical cannabis use to New Jersey “total stupidity” and “baloney,” and described any tax revenues from the industry as “blood money. …

In response, NORML released an open letter to the governor days later, explaining in simple terms how scientific and social research have repeatedly shown that cannabis offers quite the opposite of “baloney” in the face of opioid addiction. Citing years of evidence-based conclusions, the letter pointed out, “It makes no sense from a public health perspective, a fiscal perspective, or a moral perspective to perpetuate the prosecution and stigmatization of those adults who choose to responsibly consume a substance that is safer than either alcohol or tobacco.”

According to a 2106 survey published in The Journal of Pain, patients suffering from chronic pain report a 64 percent decrease in opioid use. They also experience fewer negative side effects and say their quality of life is better than what they experienced under opioids.

A 2o14 study published in JAMA The Journal of the American Medical Association, revealed that opioid overdose deaths were roughly 25 percent lower in states that allowed medical cannabis compared with those that did not.

Even the the National Institute on Drug Abuse disagrees with Christie. According to NIDA:

Some preliminary studies have suggested that medical marijuana legalization might be associated with decreased prescription opioid use and overdose deaths. … Additionally, data suggests that medical marijuana treatment may reduce the opioid dose prescribed for pain patients, and a recent study showed that availability of medical marijuana for Medicare patients reduced prescribing of medications, including opioids, for their pain.

The Christie-led task force meets just days after a firestorm over Sessions’ desire to crack down on states that have medical marijuana programs in place — defying 94 percent of the American public. Sessions, who oversees the DEA, continues to mistakenly conflate the opioid crisis with marijuana consumption.

The members selected to the opioid crisis task force appear to share the views of Christie and Sessions. Here is a brief rundown of each member:

N.J. Gov. Chris Christie
As noted above, Christie is one of the nation’s leading voices in the anti-legalization movement. Last month, he had this to say about legalization: “We are in the midst of the public health crisis on opiates. But people are saying pot’s OK. This is nothing more than crazy liberals who want to say everything’s OK.” Clearly, his comments run counter to the scientific evidence.

Former R.I. Congressman Patrick Kennedy
Kennedy, a liberal Democrat who has publicly admitted to his past addiction to opioids, benzodiazepines, alcohol, stimulants and cocaine, is affiliated with Project Sam, an anti-cannabis organization. He crisscrosses the country and appears routinely on cable news programs vilifying cannabis legalization. Earlier this year, Kennedy was interviewed by Yahoo News and made the audacious claim that the medicinal use of marijuana was “a Trojan horse designed to addict people.” Kennedy says that Project Sam’s main focus is “educating the public about the harms of marijuana legalization.”

According to Kennedy, “marijuana destroys the brain and expedites psychosis. It’s just overall a very dangerous drug. In terms of neurobiology, there’s no distinction between the quality and types of drugs that people get addicted to. That’s why they call it a gateway drug. Addiction is addiction is addiction.”

Mass. Gov. Charlie Baker
Baker, a Republican, has supported medical marijuana but was a fought vigorously against recreational legalization in Massachusetts in last year’s election. NORML gives the governor an F grade for cannabis policy. During the 2016 campaign for legalization, Baker, a former health insurance executive, said “I’m going to oppose that and I’m going to oppose that vigorously … with a lot of help from a lot of other people in the addiction community.” He has also believes marijuana use is a “significant first step” toward addiction to other drugs. The “gateway theory” has been debunked over and over again. There is no science to support his claim.

Last year, he wrote an opinion piece in the Boston Globe headlined “Mass. should not legalize marijuana” in which he conflated cannabis use to opioid addiction.

Bertha Madras, Harvard Medical School Researcher
Madras is the former Deputy Director of Demand Reduction for the ONDCP and is the one non-politician on the task force. She authored a story in the Washington Post headlined “5 Reasons Why Marijuana is Not Medicine” and has fought against rescheduling marijuana. She has called marijuana legalization “tragic for our country”

N.C. Gov. Roy Cooper
North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper, a Democrat, defeated incumbent Pat McCrory last November. McCrory was an ardent opponent of marijuana legalization. Cooper, so far, has been mum about his position on cannabis.