AG Sessions Escalates Drug War with New Sentencing Rules

Nostalgia for the 1980s and ’90s is hot right now, and that retro fever seems to have afflicted AG Jeff Sessions, whose new sentencing memo initiates a throwback to the draconian law enforcement policies of the Reagan years of the Drug War.

In a memo released to federal prosecutors, Attorney General Jeff Sessions opened the door for prosecutors to “charge and pursue the most serious, readily provable offense” in federal drug cases, including those against low-level offenders.

While the memo does not explicitly mention cannabis, it signals a sharp escalation of an enforcement-focused approach to federal drug enforcement that, while not unexpected, is still sweeping in its scope and severity.

Read more at Cannabis Now

How Trump’s War on Weed Could Start on Saturday (And Why It Probably Won’t)

The most important Congressional action on cannabis — ever — is set to expire this Friday at midnight; chances are, you won’t even notice.

Depending on who you ask, the next few Saturdays will see the cannabis industry waking up to just another day in Donald Trump’s America — or the beginning of the end.

Ongoing squabbles in Congress mean the country is veering towards a temporary shutdown of the federal government. Unless lawmakers can agree on a new federal spending bill, the nation will run out of money and the government will shut down: National parks will close, in-process government loans will be frozen, and all “nonessential” government employees will be sent home.

Read more at Cannabis Now

Does Trump Even Have a Cannabis Policy? Signs Point to No

Initial cannabis industry responses to Trump’s election and subsequent promotion of avowed “drug warriors” ranged from cautious optimism to abject horror. But after repeated mixed signals and false starts on a potential federal cannabis crackdown, a new picture is emerging: the Trump administration may not have any official policy plans when it comes to cannabis.

Apart from using the power of his office to promote his own businesses and enrich his children — and delaying Twitter’s free-fall into cash-bleeding irrelevancy — President Donald Trump has had a hard time actually getting anything done. Whether this relative policy gridlock is the result of an inexperienced cabinet, a lack of organization or an internal mutiny is difficult to say, but the record speaks for itself: not much is getting done.

Even basic functions of office like presenting cogent (or at least consistent) messaging has proven difficult for the Trump team. On top of the almost daily scandals plaguing its communications department, the White House can’t even be sure where its own (presumably GPS-tracked, hopefully very hard to lose track of) ships at sea are located.

Read more at Cannabis Now

Report: Cannabis Industry Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop

New financial analytics from a heavy hitter in the world of cannabis capital finds that even if Trump cracks down on the industry, the profit margins are simply too high to fail.

According to a new report, even if the Trump administration were to crackdown on the cannabis industry nationwide, he would not be able to curtail the projected expansion of safe access: the number of Americans able to purchase cannabis in their home-state will reach 22.6 Billion in five years.

The report, released by mega-cannavestor firm The Arcview Group and data researcher BDS Analytics, found legal consumer spending across North America grew 34 percent to $6.7 billion in 2016. Even with the threat of a crackdown, it can be expected to grow at a 27 percent compound annual growth rate over the next five years — meaning the $6.7 billion in 2016 will be $22.6 billion in 2021.

Read more at Cannabis Now

How A Trump Cannabis Crackdown Would Hurt Trump

With tension building around the conflict between federal and state laws on cannabis and the looming possibility of a federal crackdown, some analysts are exploring who would take the biggest fiscal and political hit and Trump isn’t getting skipped.

Donald Trump may want to think twice before allowing the country’s marijuana industry to fall victim to a Justice Department crackdown.

That promise to invest $1 trillion in rebuilding the country’s crumbling infrastructure? Aside from being rank nonsense — it’s really a package of tax cuts and other handouts to private enterprise — it would also require even more actual investment if the feds start clamping down on recreational cannabis, as various White House flacks have suggested.

Read more at Cannabis Now

Sessions Recession? What a Federal Cannabis Crackdown Would Mean for CO

Colorado has been setting (and subsequently breaking) records for state revenue from cannabis sales. But with the grim prospects of a Jeff Sessions-lead DOJ looming larger than ever, some people are starting to do the math on what a federal crackdown would mean to the Centennial State’s economy — the numbers aren’t pretty.

2016 was a record year for cannabis sales in Colorado—the third record-breaking year in a row. The state’s dispensaries sold $1.3 billion worth of recreational and medical marijuana last year, the first time sales exceed the billion-dollar threshold, representing an increase of almost 30 percent from the year before.

Where to go from here, aside from onward and upward? Every market estimate pegs growth, growth and nothing but growth for the cannabis industry through the next decade. With $200 million in state sales taxes flowing to schools and other civic agencies in local taxes and marijuana sales so strong that one cannabis company’s made a totally legit bid for naming rights on the Denver Broncos’ home stadium, what can stop marijuana’s momentum?

Read more at Cannabis Now