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Chronicle AM: AG Nominee Stokes MJ Fears, Global Commission Calls for Drug Decrim, More... (11/21/16)

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #950)
Consequences of Prohibition

Donald Trump has nominated a harsh drug warrior to head the Justice Department, Montanans will see a slew of bills aiming at making their medical marijuana system more workable (and at least one that wants to kill it), the Global Commission on Drugs called for drug decriminalization, and more.

"Good people don't use marijuana," says Trump's attorney general pick, Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions.

Trump's Pick of Jeff Sessions as AG Raises Fears in Marijuana Industry. President-elect Donald Trump (R) has nominated anti-marijuana Alabama Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions to head the Justice Department, setting off alarms in the marijuana industry. As attorney general, Sessions would oversee federal prosecutors and the DEA and could move to undo the Obama administration's policy of largely allowing the states to set their own course on pot policy.

Colorado Bureaucrats Nix On-Site Pot Consumption for Bars. Just a week after voters in Denver approved a social use initiative allowing restaurants and bars to seek permits to allow on-site consumption of marijuana, the Department of Public Health and Environment has announced that it will not allow liquor license-holders to obtain such permits. The department said using alcohol and marijuana together increases impairment. But proponents of the measure said alcohol establishments already rely on the judgment of servers and that the move would allow consumers to use marijuana products without having to go outside or hide behind closed doors.

Medical Marijuana

Arizona Dispensary Operator Eyes 2018 Expansion Initiative. The owners of the Wellness Center, an Apache Junction dispensary, are moving toward an initiative to expand the state's medical marijuana program. The move comes a week after a legalization initiative was narrowly defeated. The initiative would expand the list of qualifying conditions for marijuana and it would allow people who live more than a mile from a dispensary to grow their own. The current law bars people who live within 25 miles of a dispensary from growing their own.

After Initiative Victory, Medical Marijuana Bills Pile Up in Montana. Montanans voted last week to restore their state's medical marijuana system, which had been gutted by the Republican legislature in 2011, and now the legislature faces at least 10 bills designed either to make the system more workable or to try to thwart the will of the voters once again. It's going to be a busy session in Helena.

Heroin and Prescription Opioids

Kentucky Legislator Files Bill to Limit First-Time Opioid Prescribing. State Rep. Jeff Taylor (D-Hopkinsville) has prefiled a bill, BR 202, that would limit first-time adult prescriptions for non-chronic pain relief to a seven-day supply. The bill does include an exception that would allow a doctor to prescribe a longer supply if deemed medically necessary.


Still Ten Days Left to Comment on Proposed Kratom Ban. Anyone who wants to commit on the DEA's plan to schedule kratom has until December 1 to do so. Click on the link for more information.


New Report Calls on UK to Legalize Marijuana. A new report from the Adam Smith Institute says that Great Britain's drug strategy "has failed in its core aims to prevent people from using drugs, manufacturing drugs, and to put a stop to the crime, corruption and death that is taking place on an industrial scale around the world," and calls on the government to legalize marijuana. The report is winning support from a cross-party parliamentary group that includes former deputy prime minister Nick Clegg.

Global Commission on Drugs Calls for Global Drug Decriminalization. In its annual report, the Global Commission on Drugs has called for an end to criminal and civil penalties for drug possession and more research into alternative regulatory models. The report comes months after the commission sharply criticized the United Nations' refusal to embrace more radical drug reforms at its UNGASS on Drugs last spring. Commission member Richard Branson called the UN's status quo approach "fatally flawed" at the time.

Permission to Reprint: This content is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license. Content of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.


saynotohypocrisy (not verified)

use of cannabis? That seems to be the implication, if so Denver could still have cannabis use only restaurants, which is what some reformers want anyway, not wanting to be blamed for any alcohol related problems. I'd be surprised if there isn't a market in Denver for cannabis use only restaurants.

Mon, 11/21/2016 - 7:06pm Permalink
Mark Mitcham (not verified)

In reply to by saynotohypocrisy (not verified)

The market is there, the citizens are ready.

But two things went wrong: there were two cannabis club initiatives, and the BETTER ONE (the one for cannabis clubs without alcohol, proposed by Denver NORML) wasn't able to get enough valid signatures to make it onto the ballot.  I personally collected signatures for that one here in Denver, and others did much, much more than I, but still we fell short on valid signatures.  They handed in way more than enough; but a staggering percentage were disqualified.)  That was the first thing that didn't go as well as intended.

The second initiative is a power grab by the alcohol industry, which sees cannabis as a competitor and a threat.  If you can't beat 'em join 'em, they seem to be saying!  From a social point of view, this second one is WORSE than the first, because it tries to put social cannabis use into the bar scene.  I've always said that was a bad idea -- we need a place separate from alcohol venues.  First, so we customers can have a proper cannabis club without all the beer on the fucking floor, and all the fights, puke, broken glass, etc.  Secondly, we don't want the political blame for all the problems that alcohol causes.  When someone chugs a fifth of whiskey and smokes a joint, then commits a violent crime, do they blame the whiskey?  Fuck no, they blame the poor lil ol joint.

I voted for the second initiative, however, because I will never vote to prohibit cannabis.  But I never had any intention of being a customer.  I'd rather smoke at home.

The good news is, now the slate is clean, and we can keep working on opening up proper cannabis clubs, that are NOT under the control of the alcohol industry.

Unless Trump and Sessions fuck it all up.  As Americans, we have bigger fucking problems right now: We can't assume things will be okay.  John Oliver explains why:  "I think the danger of saying 'Live your lives, the sun comes out tomorrow' is that that's true for some people, and so it's very easy to forget that it's very much not for others.  That's the danger.  If you are lucky enough for your life to become routine, it's easy not to feel the pain of others whose routines are going to be shattered.  Not everyone is going to be OK, so it's incumbent on everyone to remember that."

Tue, 11/22/2016 - 3:38am Permalink
Mark Mitcham (not verified)

In reply to by Mark Mitcham (not verified)

If you follow the link provided (thank you Phillip!) you will find that Mason Tvert of MPP says, the ruling was actually supported by the alcohol/bar industry, who don't want their customers drinking anything better or safer than alcohol!  And I'm not saying he's wrong; I'm sure he's right -- he would know, he's spokesperson for MPP.  He's got the inside scoop, not me.

But from a customer's point of view, I want a proper cannabis clubs goddamn it, where I can smoke a joint and dance at the same time!  Not a bar that happens to offer cannabis on the side.  That still plays into the "reefer madness" notion that somehow alcohol is normal and socially acceptable, but somehow marijuana isn't.

...and besides, if you're drinking in a bar in Denver, why would you "step outside" to take a hit?  C'mon man stiffen your spine, it's legal now!  Use a sneak-a-toke, take a hit, put it back into your pocket!  Who cares if they smell it?

Tue, 11/22/2016 - 4:17am Permalink

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