Back to the Future: The Trump Administration’s War on Drugs, Redux

At the height of the Reagan presidency, Americans were consumed by a cresting Cold War with the Soviet Union, an unprecedented, menacing anti-drug campaign, a burgeoning public health crisis known as AIDS, and, oh yeah, a blockbuster of a movie Back to the Future.

If you missed the 1985 flick, just know that Rotten Tomatoes scores it at 96 percent, and it’s considered a comedy classic. Once a clever movie made in the service of fun, its undertones now reanimate the unbelievable—the Trump administration’s retro ‘War on Drugs.’

In the service of avengement, Attorney General Jeff Sessions has coveted a return to the Reagan era, including policies that propelled mass incarceration and funded the private prison industry. Remarked Sessions, “I realize this may be an unfashionable belief in a time of growing tolerance of drug use. But too many lives are at stake to worry about being fashionable. I reject the idea that America will be a better place if marijuana is sold in every corner store. And I am astonished to hear people suggest that we can solve our heroin crisis by legalizing marijuana—so people can trade one life-wrecking dependency for another that’s only slightly less awful. Our nation needs to say clearly once again that using drugs will destroy your life.”

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SOCIAL MEDIA’S WAR ON CANNABIS: The silent attack of deleting accounts

Imagine what it means to be deleted online: All of your friends and followers, gone…the images you shared, gone…the stories you told, all gone. My company’s Instagram account, Kiva Confections, has been shut down eight times. We’ve lost over 60,000 followers and countless hours of community building, original content and user feedback.

What type of content would get an account shut down eight times? Graphic nudity? Direct-sales to followers? Minors abusing drugs?

Here are a few examples of the content Kiva Confections shares on social media:

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EL PRESIDENTE: Vicente Fox

In March, former President of Mexico Vicente Fox took the stage to talk with Conan O’Brien. President Fox walked onstage in jeans, a navy and white checkered button-up and casual navy suit jacket. He carried a black bag and pulled out a gift for Conan—whose coiffed red ‘do was somehow taller and wider than when he hosted NBC’s Late Night—an unbelievable feat. From this black bag, President Fox pulled out a pair of sleek black leather boots that read “No Fucking Wall” personalized with a silver applique: “Conan.” Needless to say, President Fox’s stance on Trump’s Mexico wall is that of clear disdain. He goes on to say, quite simply, that “walls don’t work,” citing the Berlin Wall that divided West and East Berlin for 28 years.

Vicente FoxA testament to fighting ignorance, the former president of Mexico is probably best known in the US for his abrasive, albeit just, tweets to Donald Trump rather than his tenure in Los Pinos (The White House of Mexico). That said, one thing is for certain: President Fox’s voice is being heard around the globe—140 characters at a time.

Vicente Fox grew up the second oldest of nine children on their father’s ranch in Guanajuato. I can’t help but wonder if his birth order played a role in his trajectory as not only a successful businessman in the private sector, but as a politician in the public sector as well. In the ‘80s, Fox received his degree from the Ibero-American University in Mexico City, then a Harvard Business School diploma in Management Skills. After working as Coca-Cola’s Chief Executive in Mexico, he resigned and headed home to Guanajuato. It was at this time Fox became convinced that Mexico’s struggling economy needed new leadership, and he swiftly entered the political arena. Nearly Twenty years later, Vicente Fox became the President of Mexico.

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WHEN MOM SHOPS FOR WEED: Medical Marijuana: A Mother’s Journey-Washington or Bust

As a mom desperately trying to quell inflammation from the autoimmune disease that has haunted my son’s existence for the past six years, I sought out medical marijuana when Western medicine’s arsenal of immunosuppressive drugs failed him. Like any proper medical sleuth, I reached out to experts around the globe to learn more about the endocannabinoid system and why many people believed this non-toxic plant was a medical miracle often alleviating their symptoms and pushing them into remission.

Although I was able to get a medical marijuana license in my home state of Michigan, I could not find a knowledgeable caretaker for my son’s particular disease nor a responsible one who would return my phone calls. Dispensaries were few and far between and equally not medically oriented. In my mind, his care (and other circumstances), required a 2,200-mile cross-country move to Washington State.

Whew! Now what?

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ON A PLATFORM OF BRUTE-FORCE NICENESS: Cannabis Man Steve Lee Shakes Up Kennewick

Steve Lee, co-owner of the flourishing Green2Go cannabis dispensary in the Tri-Cities area, is running for city council in Kennewick, a resolutely anti-cannabis community in southeastern Washington. Lee, a lifelong Kennewick local knows what (and who) makes this town tick. He announced his candidacy on April 12, 2017, and his first ad hit newspapers on April 20. With the Benton County primaries coming up in August, we thought this would be the perfect time to ask him some questions.

DOPE Magazine: Can we get some background as to why you’re running for city council?

Steve Lee: I’ve always wanted to run for office, even as a little kid. In the fourth grade I got to go to Washington D.C. for peer mediation training and speak to congress as this little politically active child. And I worked as a campaign organizer in 2007 and 2008, so I got a good taste of politics from being on the job. On top of that, I’m from Kennewick. I’m a local boy and I’ve been here all my life . . . my wife and I realized that if we could convince people that cannabis isn’t an issue—which we don’t think it is—then I started to look like a really good candidate; I’m actually qualified to step forward civically, and help out the community.

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CANNABIS AND CALIFORNIA COUNTIES: Chico

With the historic passing of Prop 64 this last election it would seem that a lot of the California Cannabis Community’s problems would be 0ver. Many people are excited to be able to partake freely of their favorite medicine and preferred high.  However even with this victory for the cannabis movement, there still remains a potential obstacle for many cannabis users: their local government.

I live in a county called Butte in Northern California. Although medical marijuana is obtainable here, there are no storefronts due to local regulations that compare them to having strip clubs in the township. So I get my cannabis through a delivery service. There are many other counties that have the inconvenience of not allowing their medical patients to have a physical location to go to and actually see the medicine and talk to a budtender or other patients to aid in medicating.

This is unfortunately being carried over into the recreational sphere in my town as the local city council has voted to disallow recreational storefronts as well. These antiquated views on cannabis use are both ridiculous and scientifically unfounded. All that it really will achieve is the continued “underground” production and sale of cannabis. Think about it, would you rather go to a dispensary, where you are surrounded by other patrons, local police driving by, and security cameras, or would you rather have someone you don’t know deliver inprivate to you without all these safety nets? Though personally I have not had any dangerous situations in my home, this risk is still unfair to put onto medical OR recreational patients and their families.

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FAKE WEED: The DEA Just Approved an Anti-Marijuana Company’s Potentially Dangerous Synthetic Pot

Despite an increasing number of states approving measures to legalize marijuana, the Federal Government has not budged from its stance on the flower. Their party line, of course, is that weed is dangerous and should remain illegal. Yet, in March 2017, the Federal Government’s Drug Enforcement Agency approved a synthetic drug which many call a “fake weed,” created by a company that staunchly opposed marijuana legalization in Arizona last year. This is our collective surprised face.

The pharmaceutical company Insys Therapeutics gave $500,000 in 2016 to a group called Arizonans for Responsible Drug Policy, which led the fight against marijuana legalization in the sunset state. According to the Washington Post, Insys was the sole pharmaceutical company to donate funds toward the opposition of marijuana legalization. We may now know their motive: they wanted to make their own weed, and patent it for commercial sale!

“…commercial-stage specialty pharmaceutical company that develops and commercializes innovative supportive care and therapeutic products.”

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GREECE HAS JUST LEGALIZED MEDICINAL CANNABIS: What Does This Mean for the Future of Greek Weed?

The government of Greece, led by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras of the left-wing Syriza party, has today announced that cannabis is effectively legal for medicinal use. Tsipras announced in a press briefing at the Ministry of Health that the Joint Ministerial Decision on the legalization of medical cannabis was signed and published.

The Greek Government Gazette quoted Mr. Tsipras as saying: “From now on, the country is turning its page, as Greece is now included in countries where the delivery of medical cannabis to patients in need is legal.”

As part of the announcement, it was stated that cannabis is to be reclassified from Table A—the most restrictive category of narcotics, which also includes heroin, LSD and MDMA—to Table B, a category that includes methadone, cocaine and opium.

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WHEN BANKS FAIL: Cannabusinesses Turn to Bitcoin

Banking in the cannabis industry has been a struggle since legalization. Banks, credit card companies, and even online payment apps such as PayPal have refused to work with businesses that traffic in cannabis—mainly because federal law requires banks to disclose marijuana-related transactions as suspicious activity.

“As a federally regulated institution, we don’t process payments for businesses participating in federally prohibited activities,” a Chase spokesman told Forbes.

That leaves many canna-businesses with two options: make a cash-only business or lie to the bank. The problem with choosing the later option is that cannabusinesses are inevitably caught and have to face the consequences.

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A PUSH FOR SCIENCE: Arizona Advocates Demand Testing Standards

As cannabis legalization continues its march across the country, accurate testing of cannabis products has emerged as one of the most visible consumer concerns.

 

Testing assures standards of quality, health and safety, according to Ryan Treacy, founder and CEO of C4 Laboratories in Mesa, AZ. The state of Arizona has established “no standards to ensure the potency, efficacy and safety of cannabis products. Testing is very close to us. We saw a need for this. Patients need to know what’s in their products.”

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