Political Candidates Courting Ganjapreneurs

It seems the days of cannabis businesspeople clamoring for the ears of politicians may be coming to an end.

Two candidates for San Diego County elected offices recently spoke at the monthly meeting of a marijuana industry trade group. The Association of Cannabis Professionals event was held at a café in the San Diego, California neighborhood of City Heights. A standing room only crowd spilled out of the area that had been reserved for the meeting.

First up to speak was Dave Myers, who claimed to be the only Democrat to run for San Diego County Sheriff in the last 60 years. Myers is currently a Commander in the Sheriff’s Department, where he has worked for 32 years.

Read more at High Times

Nevada Fails to Legalize Cannabis Lounges

Nevada had a fighting shot at becoming the first state in America to bring to life the inception of the cannabis lounge, but lawmakers dragged their feet on the issue, causing it to die a quiet death last week at the steps of the State Assembly.

A report from the Nevada Appeal indicates that Senate Bill 236, which was introduced by Senator Tick Segerblom, failed to be given any consideration from the lower house before last Friday’s deadline—killing the bill until it can be reintroduced in 2018.

The proposal, which was designed to give tourists “options to legally and responsibility consume marijuana,” would have allowed the existence of pot clubs in certain areas. It also would have provided opportunities for promoters to permit public consumption at festivals and other special events.

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Pot Matters: Trump, Belief and the Drug War

The president of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, likes to kill drug dealers and users, or, at least, he’s been known to kill them.

Once, he said he would be “happy to slaughter” millions of drug addicts, though he later apologized (mostly, though, for comparing himself to Adolph Hitler). Nonetheless, for Duterte, the War on Drugs is, literally, a drug war in which he has encouraged citizens, as explained by CBS News, “to shoot and kill drug dealers.”

The President of the United States, Donald Trump, recently praised Duterte for this strategy.  Once again, according to CBS, Trump told the Philippine president “I just want to congratulate you because I am hearing of the unbelievable job on the drug problem… Many countries have the problem, we have a problem, but what a great job you are doing, and I just wanted to call and tell you that.”

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Anti-Legalization Governor Lied to Keep Pot Illegal

April 20 was a big day for Arizona Governor Doug Ducey.

While marijuana users in California, Maine, Massachusetts and Nevada were enjoying the first stoner’s holiday in the era of marijuana legalization—approved in all four of those states on Election Day in the fall—Ducey was in Atlanta, taking a victory lap for his role in handing legalization, which a majority of Americans support, its lone loss on Election Day.

And he was happy to employ Donald Trump-worthy alternative facts while doing it.

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France to Drop Prison Terms for Pot Use

France will introduce a law by year’s end to end prison terms for cannabis use, a spokesman for the new President Emmanuel Macron said last Friday.

Macron made his pledge to reform laws on cannabis use a key campaign plank during the hard-fought race. Under current law, offenders can face a year in prison plus a fine of up to 3,750 euros ($4,200).

“Last year, 180,000 people were found to be in violation of drug laws,” said Macron spokesman Christophe Castaner, according to the French national news agency AFP. “On average these cases take up six hours of police time and the same amount for the presiding magistrate. Is the system effective? No. What is important today is to be effective, and above all to free up time for our police so they can focus more on essential matters.”

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Access to MMJ for Veterans Grows, But the Struggle Continues

On Memorial Day, we honor those military service members who made the ultimate sacrifice. But for many combat veterans who return from battle with PTSD and debilitating injuries, medical cannabis provides crucial, sometimes life-saving relief. Veteran access to cannabis medicine is better than ever, but there’s still plenty of work to be done to ensure all our veterans can benefit from medical marijuana.

While veterans are not technically barred from access to Veterans Administration health services and programs for using medical marijuana, many other VA rules and regulations prevent access to the medicinal cannabis, especially for patients with limited mobility: the use or possession of marijuana is prohibited at all VA properties — no matter the form — and VA doctors may not prescribe medical marijuana or complete paperwork for state-approved marijuana programs.

And unlike Canada, where reimbursements for medical cannabis went from $400,000 to $20 million in just a few years for veterans, the VA will not pay for medical marijuana prescriptions from any source.

Read more at Cannabis Now

Jeff Sessions’ Phony Marijuana War

On Thursday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, America’s cheerful white-hooded Smeagol, was in Memphis selling his vision of the country as a violent wasteland beset by ruthless criminals and mindless gang members preying on helpless innocents.

Speaking to an appreciative audience of about 100 law-enforcement officers—the likes of whom have been “under siege” in the United States in recent years, according to Congressman David Kustoff, a former local federal prosecutor—Sessions reiterated his tough-on-crime, more-is-less solution.

The only hope for civilization in our time is more mandatory minimum sentences for drug crimes, locking more people up for longer periods of time.

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Florida Medical Marijuana’s Last Hope is its First Problem

The Florida Legislature decamped without setting up rules for producing and selling medical cannabis — in violation of the requirements of Amendment 2, passed overwhelmingly by voters in November. Now the last best hope rests with Gov. Rick Scott — that’s bad news for patients.

Nobody is happy with the Florida state Legislature at the moment. That’s what you get when you have clear direction and a relatively simple job before you and you go home leaving it undone.

This is what state lawmakers did on May 5 when they decamped from the state capitol without creating rules for the state’s new medical marijuana system.

Read more at Cannabis Now

British Health Authorities Accused U.S. Pharma Giant of Price-Fixing

American drug companies are some of the most profitable corporations in the world. Profit margins of 10 percent, 20 percent, even 40 percent—returns even banks struggle to achieve—are not unknown for firms lucky enough to manufacture life-sustaining prescription pharmaceuticals.

They enjoy this stupendous success in no small part thanks to what amounts to price-fixing.

Not actually conspiracy to artificially keep drug prices high—although some companies allegedly do that, too—but by leaning on the U.S. government hard enough to ensure that potential competitors, who might offer sick people a similar product for less money, don’t have access to the domestic market despite promises from people like the president of the United States to give Americans cheaper prescription drugs (the prices of which meanwhile magically rise by four to eight percent every year).

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Martial Law Declared in South Philippines, Trump Praises Duterte’s Drug War

After threatening to do it for months, on Tuesday, the Philippines’ ultra-hardline President Rodrigo Duterte declared martial law on the conflicted southern island of Mindanao.

The declaration takes immediate effect and will last for 60 days—officially. But in his comments upon the declaration, Duterte said it could last up to “a year”—and (not for the first time) favorably invoked the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, under whose harsh rule the Philippines saw a decade of martial law.

“To those who have experienced martial law, it would not be any different from what president Marcos did,” Duterte said. “I’ll be harsh.”

Read more at High Times