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.”

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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 …
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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.”


Source

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.


Source

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


Source

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."


Source

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.


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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.


Source

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.


Source

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,
freepress.net

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Press release for Cannabis Consumers For Liberty

FROM CANNABIS CONSUMERS FOR LIBERTY (CC4L), FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 7/4/2017
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