Tennessee Republicans Move to Undo Local Pot Decriminalization

Like everywhere else in the South, marijuana isn’t legal in Tennessee. But since last fall, police in Nashville and Memphis have had a less-punitive alternative to an arrest and subsequent misdemeanor charge for someone caught possessing a small amount of cannabis. City councils in the state’s two largest cities both passed limited decriminalization efforts, which give cops the option of handing out a civil infraction—comparable to a parking ticket—for marijuana possession.

You can still be arrested and charged for marijuana possession, but if it’s less than a half-ounce, the cop might give you a break. Such a conservative and limited move is hardly legalization, but it’s nonetheless a significant step forward in the marijuana-unfriendly South. It’s also a big deal for civil liberties and racial justice advocates, as black people are arrested for marijuana possession at four times the rate of whites in Tennessee. As it happens, Memphis is a majority-black city, and Nashville is roughly 28 percent black.

Tennessee attorney general Herbert Slatery III is not black. Neither is William Lamberth, a state representative from the tiny hamlet of Cottontown and chairman of the Tennessee General Assembly’s House Criminal Justice Committee.We’re not saying that’s why Slatery declared both cities’ decriminalization efforts invalid, which was enough to scare Memphis into putting its decriminalization plan on hold.

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Colorado Prosecutor Named to Group that Will Advise Trump on Pot

Boulder District Attorney Stan Garnett is on the newly formed National District Attorney’s Association’s (NDAA) policy group, which along with 14 other DAs, will advise the Trump administration on pot policy.

Good luck gentlemen and women, if indeed there are any females in the group.

Following the swift firing of acting Attorney General Sally Yates hours after she said the Justice Department would not defend Trump’s executive order to ban refugees and travelers from certain countries, it is becoming abundantly clear that the Trump administration will not tolerate dissent.

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Watch: Good People Smoke Weed

On Tuesday, the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to vote to confirm marijuana-hater Jeff Sessions as attorney general. While he remained vague on pot legality during his confirmation hearings, he’s still the same guy who declared “good people don’t smoke marijuana” last spring.

To remind us just how wrong Sessions is, the folks over at MEL Magazine made the following video to show all the naysayers that millions of good people—including Christians, veterans and the elderly—all smoke weed, too.

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The Republicans Sick of Marijuana Prohibition And The Lawmakers Who Listen

Marijuana is bipartisan. We know this: In every session circle, there’s at least one person with a Ron Paul button stashed in a junk drawer or a Gary Johnson vote in his or her past (now hidden for all time, tucked away under the weight of a Trump presidency). 

But marijuana’s relationship with mainstream Republicans is complicated at best. 

Sure, you had presidential candidate Rand Paul stay true to the GOP’s small-government values and espouse marijuana legalization—and now we have Jeff Sessions and his avowed support for mandatory minimums and enforcing drug laws preparing to take over the Justice Department. 

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F You, Voters: Arkansas Senator’s Plan to Defy Electorate and Undo MMJ

Thirty-two of America’s 50 state legislatures have Republican majorities, and the party of President Trump has at least a split stake in deciding what laws are made and unmade in six more states.

Having Republicans in charge of American lawmaking doesn’t mean the end for drug-policy reform, far from it. Marijuana legalization and medical cannabis are winning in red states, where lawmakers—Republicans, even—have introduced bills to reduce penalties, allow access to marijuana oil and otherwise prove that ending cannabis prohibition is a bipartisan issue.

But then there’s Jason Rapert.

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Travel Guru Rick Steves Combats War on Drugs With ACLU Donation

Longtime cannabis activist and GOAT travel expert Rick Steves raises $50K for the American Civil Liberties Union on Inauguration Day.

After election day guidebook author and travel host Rick Steves, like many Americans, was bummed. He had planned to go to Washington D.C. for the presidential inauguration, but was suddenly changing his plans. In a statement on Facebook he told a fan, “Even though I canceled my flight and hotel reservations for the inauguration in Washington D.C. after Election Day, I still want to celebrate this important day for all of us Americans. And I want to do it in a way that reflects my values and what I love most about America: tolerance, diversity, and freedom.”

To do so, Steves chose to match every dollar spent in his website’s shop on Inauguration Day with a donation to the ACLU. The ACLU, a friend and ally to cannabis reformers long before it was cool, was selected by Steves due to the diversity of their mission in protecting the rights of Americans.

Read more at Cannabis Now

Massachusetts Lawmaker Wants 80 Percent Less Marijuana Legalization

Massachusetts state senator Jason Lewis has no chill.

Voters in the Bay State just legalized recreational cannabis, but if Lewis has his way, they’ll be enjoying far less weed, and they won’t be able to purchase any until 2020 at the earliest — more than two years behind the schedule set by voters.

More than 53 percent of voters in the birthplace of the American Revolution approved Question 4 on Election Day, legalizing marijuana use, small-scale cultivation, and possession of up to an ounce of marijuana for adults 21 and over.

Read more at Cannabis Now

New Answers on Marijuana From Trump’s Attorney General Pick

The confirmation hearings for Senator Jefferson Beauregard “Jim Bob Skeeter Bubba” Sessions to become our next attorney general under Predator Trumputin featured a few pointed questions from senators concerned about federal enforcement of marijuana laws in their states.

Back in April, Sessions had a blistering response to a witness in a hearing about the impact of state recreational marijuana legalization.

“Did the Drug Czar of the United States of America… express any opinion… about the possible dangerous impacts of marijuana legalization in Colorado?” he asked.

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Toke Grenades: DC Activists Pull Off Marijuana Fueled Trump Protest

“America first” floated into a cloud of marijuana smoke. 

A marijuana-themed protest of Donald Trump’s inauguration went off as planned on Friday, with several thousand (sort-of-legal) cannabis joints distributed and at least several hundred smoked four minutes into Trump’s first address as the nation’s chief executive.

As much less mellow protesters burned trash cans on K Street and President Donald Trump’s triumphant Inauguration Day parade trundled past empty bleachers, activists with DCMJ—the organization behind the successful 2014 ballot measure that legalized marijuana possession and cultivation in Washington, D.C.fulfilled their vow to mark the occasion with a protest smoke.

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Obama’s Many Commutations Overlooked Women Inmates, Say Advocates

On President Obama’s last day in office, he granted another 330 commutations to nonviolent drug offenders, bringing his total number of clemencies to 1,715—more than the last 12 presidents combined.

But clemency advocates argue that Obama’s clemency policy consistently overlooked one group: women.

Of the 1,715 individuals who received commuted sentences under Obama, fewer than 100 were women.

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