Chronicle AM: Judiciary Committee Change, Massachusetts Marijuana Sales, More... (11/19/18)

There's a changing of the guard at the top of the Senate Judiciary Committee, a Pennsylvania medical marijuana patient sues over gun access, a new report finds fake and counterfeit drugs killing tens of thousands each year in Africa, and more.

Massachusetts will see its first marijuana stores open this week. (Sondra Yruel/Drug Policy Alliance)
Marijuana Policy

Graham to Replace Anti-Marijuana Hardliner Grassley as Head of Senate Judiciary Committee. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) announced last Friday that he is stepping down as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. He will be replaced by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), who, while not exactly a friend of marijuana law reform, is not nearly as oppositional as Grassley. While Grassley has stifled marijuana bills during his tenure as chair, Graham has cosponsored bills to protect legal medical marijuana states from federal interference, reschedule marijuana, and remove CBD from the list of banned substances. (Grassley has also been a champion late in his career for enacting at least modest criminal justice and sentencing reform.)

Massachusetts's First Marijuana Stores to Open Tuesday. Slightly more than two years after voters approved marijuana legalization, the state's first retail marijuana outlets are set to open their doors tomorrow. The state Cannabis Control Commission announced last Friday that retail shops in Leicester and Northampton had received final sign-offs to start selling recreational weed.

Medical Marijuana

Indiana Poll Finds Strong Support for Medical Marijuana. Even in red-state Indiana, they like their medical marijuana, a new poll finds. The poll from Ball State University finds that 81% of Hoosiers believe marijuana should be legal for medical reasons. The poll had support for full legalization at only 39%.

Pennsylvania Doctor and Medical Marijuana Patient Sues for Right to Own a Gun. A Philadelphia physician who is also a medical marijuana patient filed a lawsuit in federal court last Thursday challenging a federal law that prevents him from owning a firearm because he uses medical marijuana. Dr. Matthew Roman was blocked from buying a gun earlier this year when he honestly answered a question about marijuana use. Roman's lawsuit claims that the blanket prohibition against marijuana users violates the constitutional rights of tens of thousands of nonviolent, law-abiding American citizens. The filing, in US District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, claims the law violates both the Second and Fifth Amendments of the Constitution.

Harm Reduction

Opioid Reversal Drug Company Gouged Taxpayers With 600% Price Increase. A new report from the Senate's Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations finds that a pharmaceutical company "exploited the opioid crisis" to gouge taxpayers by increasing the price of its overdose reversal drug by 600% between 2014 and 2017. The report found that the company Kaléo raised the price of its drug EVZIO from $575 in 2014 to $4,100 in 2017. EVZIO is an auto-injector form of the drug naloxone. The price hikes cost taxpayers more than $142 million over the past four years in Medicare and Medicaid charges.


Fake and Counterfeit Drugs Are Killing Thousands in Africa, Report Finds. A new European Union-funded report finds that tens of thousands of Africans are dying because of fake and counterfeit drugs. Fake or substandard anti-malarial drugs alone were linked to anywhere between 64,000 and 158,000 deaths each year, the report found. The fake drugs are especially entrancing to the region's poor, who often cannot afford prescribed drugs and turn to the streets to buy cheaper alternatives. "So this is a criminal activity, you can focus on and try to find the source of this. The problem is also the access of the real medicine, the cost to buy them is too high so poor people are just despaired (they despair) to find something, anything that they think could help them," said Ruth Dreifuss, Chair of the Global Commission on Drug Policy.

Mexico Supreme Court Rejects Law Regulating Tr0ops Fighting Drug Cartels. In a 9-2 decision last Thursday, the nation's highest court threw out a new law aimed at regulating the use of the military to fight drug cartels. The law was meant to set out rules of engagement for the armed forces in their fight with organized crime, but human rights groups warned it could clear the way for more military human rights abuses. The court ruled that Congress does not have the power to legislate on "domestic security" and only the executive can dispatch troops. The court ruling came a day after incoming security minister Alfonso Durazo said there was "no way" to withdraw the military from the fight because it is more trustworthy than the police.

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Dain Bramage's picture

Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-SC) is a FUCKING FASCIST!!

There is no reason to cheer Putin-Puppet Graham's involvement in the marijuana legalization movement's efforts.

I understand that the stinking Republicans held the Senate in the midterms, and that the choice for who holds the chair for the Senate Judiciary Committee is not mine to make.  But choosing between Grassley and Graham is like choosing between cutting off your hands or cutting off your feet!!  Both options suck thoroughly.

When will I get through to the legalization community?  Am I ahead of my time, or am I too late?

Listen, we have to see the big picture here, which is FASCISM.  This is no longer Democrats vs Republicans.   This is now Democrats vs violent, fascist authoritarianism!!  The old political calculations of give-and-take do not apply!!

I have reduced it to a syllogism:  the premises are true, thus the conclusion must be true.  As follows:

Major Premise: Violent, fascist authoritarianism is an existential threat to marijuana legalization.

Minor Premise: Republicans are violent, fascist authoritarians.


Conclusion: Republicans are an existential threat to marijuana legalization.

Dain Bramage's picture

The Major Premise is true,

The Major Premise is true, both inherently and historically.  Inherently, because legalization requires a democracy, which fascism excludes.  Historically, because we know that both The Right, and the fascist Alt-right, HATE DRUGS, ESPECIALLY MARIJUANA! 

The minor premise is true because of Traitor Trump's allegiance to Putin, his open criminality and thuggery, his drooling lust for Absolute Dictatorial Power, COMBINED with the total complicity of the fuck-wad Republicans as they systematically destroy the institutions of democracy!!

Therefore, the conclusion MUST BE TRUE.

Dain Bramage's picture

What if I am right...?

If someone said to me "Dain, let's assume you are right.  What are you asking people to do?"

This: I am asking the leaders within the marijuana legalization community to recognize the threat of fascism posed by Trump and the Republicans, and come out openly against it, even at the risk of alienating Republican donors!  Otherwise, we will win a battle and lose the war.

Nevertheless: Everyone should vote FOR marijuana legalization initiatives, given the chance.

Dain Bramage's picture

Liberate Indiana

Okay, let's step through this...

Assuming the poll about Indiana is about accurate,

39% of Indiana citizens support marijuana legalization "for medical reasons" only.  This means that they believe that, unless you can provide documentary proof of a specific ailment, you should not be allowed to buy, grow, or use cannabis.

But cannabis is medically beneficial based on its inherent pharmaceutical properties, not on the motives or legal standing of the person in question.  In short, cannabis is good for you!  So, cannabis will provide the well-documented health benefits associated with its use, regardless of whether you use it to treat neurological pain, or for religious reasons, or just to get "high", or even to get back at your parents!

Cannabis don't give a shit.  Once ingested, it is going to to have its pharmacological effects, which are almost universally positive, with few if any negative side-effects.

Consider an analogy -- a delicious orange.   Oranges are both delicious, and good for you.  But people don't crave Vitamin C with their eggs and toast; they crave the glass of OJ with their breakfast because they LIKE IT!  If people had to document a medical need for oranges before they could buy them, OJ would be scarce, and people would have to find alternative sources for Vitamin C, purposefully, or suffer the health consequences.

This would obviously be foolish Puritanism.  And so it is with "Medical Only" marijuana sales.  True, marijuana ain't oranges; but it ain't heroin either, and it is perfectly safe for use in human beings.

So, while I applaud their best intentions, due to their overbearing judgementalism, these misguided 39% are still committed to depriving people of their good health.


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