Chronicle AM: William Barr Confirmed as US AG, Congressional Marijuana Banking Hearing, More... (2/14/19)

The Senate has confirmed old drug warrior William Barr as attorney general, Congress holds a hearing on marijuana and banking, Ted Cruz wants El Chapo to pay for the wall, and more.

CA Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) is sending the National Guard after what are likely mythical cartel pot grows. (Creative Commons)
Marijuana Policy

Congress Urged to Open Banks to Marijuana Industry. At a House hearing Wednesday, bank officers and state officials urged Congress to fully open the US banking system to the legal marijuana industry. California Treasurer Fiona Ma said allowing access to banking was a critical step for the growth of the fledgling legal industry, while Gregory Deckard, speaking for the Independent Community Banks of America, said allowing financial access was a critical step.

California Governor Vows Crackdown on Illegal Pot Grows, Blames Cartels. In his State of the State address Tuesday night, Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) vowed to crack down on cartel-grown black market marijuana, even though it's not clear how great a role the Mexican drug gangs have in the state's huge illicit pot market. Newsom said he would pull state National Guard troops from the Mexican border, and they will be "redeploying up north to go after all these illegal cannabis farms, many of which are run by the cartels that are devastating our pristine forests and increasingly themselves becoming fire hazards." Dale Gieringer, long-time head of California NORML, scoffed at the cartel claims. "I don’t know about this old 'cartels' thing," he said. "Frankly we’ve seen very little at all about illegal activity in the way of growing in the wilderness the way we used to. Cartel involvement is a bugaboo they like to throw around."

North Carolina Marijuana Legalization Bill Filed. State Sen. Paul Lowe (D-Forsyth) filed a marijuana legalization bill, SB 58, on Wednesday. The bill would legalize the possession of up to three ounces, with possession of more than three ounces charged as a misdemeanor. Lowe introduced a similar measure last year, but it never made it out of the Senate Rules and Operations Committee.

Medical Marijuana

House, Senate Bills to Give Vets Access to Medical Marijuana Filed. Legislators in both the House and Senate filed companion bills to make it legal under federal law for military veterans to "use, possess, or transport medical marijuana" in compliance with state laws. Sponsored by Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI) and Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA), the bill, known as The Veterans Medical Marijuana Safe Harbor Act, would block veterans who use medical marijuana under state laws from being harassed by federal officials and would clarify that VA doctors can recommend medical marijuana to their patients. The bill is not yet available on the congressional website, but the text is available here.

Arkansas Medical Marijuana Expansion Bill Dies. A bill that would have added 13 qualifying conditions to the state's medical marijuana law was killed Wednesday after state health officials maintained the drug causes harm. More than a dozen people spoke in favor of  HB 1150, to no avail.

Asset Forfeiture

Ted Cruz Wants El Chapo to Pay for the Border Wall. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) is using the conviction of Sinaloa Cartel head Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman to flog a bill he introduced last month that would use assets seized from Mexican drug cartels to build a wall on the US-Mexico border. "America’s justice system prevailed today in convicting Joaquín Guzmán Loera, aka El Chapo, on all 10 counts. U.S. prosecutors are seeking $14 billion in drug profits & other assets from El Chapo which should go towards funding our wall to #SecureTheBorder," Cruz wrote in a tweet. The bill is S. 25, cutely titled the Ensuring Lawful Collection of Hidden Assets to Provide Order Act or the EL CHAPO Act. Companion legislation has also been filed in the House.

Law Enforcement

Old Drug Warrior William Barr Confirmed as US Attorney General. The Senate confirmed William Barr as attorney general Thursday on a 54-45 vote. Only three Democrats—Sens. Kyrsten Sinema (AZ), Doug Jones (AL), and Joe Manchin (WV) voted in favor of Barr, while Sen. Rand Paul was the only Republican to oppose his nomination. His nomination was opposed by drug reformers who cited his record as a drug war hardliner while serving as attorney general under President George HW Bush.

International

European Parliament Approves Resolution to Advance Medical Marijuana. The European Parliament voted Wednesday to approve a resolution aimed at advancing medical marijuana in countries that form the European Union. The non-binding resolution seeks to provide incentives to member states to increase access to medical marijuana and prioritize medical marijuana research and clinical studies.

Brazil Drug War "Shoot to Kill" Policy Bears First Fruit—13 Dead in Rio. Police engaged in drug raids under the aggressive policies of state Gov. Wilson Witzel, who campaigned on using "shoot to kill" tactics against armed drug gang members, killed at least 13 people in the Fallet/Fogueteiro favela in central Rio de Janeiro last Friday. But relatives of the dead and witnesses said some were gang members but had surrendered their weapons before being executed and two others were teenagers with no gang links who were tortured and executed in their own homes. The killings led to a heated public meeting to demand justice in the favela on Tuesday, but analysts said to expect more: "It’s a very symbolic operation," said Ignacio Cano, a professor of sociology at the State University of Rio, who said he expects police killings to rise: "Everything indicates there will be an increase because there is an open encouragement from both the federal and state government." Cano, compared the killings to the extrajudicial executions of drug users in the Philippines under Rodrigo Duterte and said there were indications of "summary executions."

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Dain Bramage's picture

Rhetorical Question

 

 

Is there ANYONE within the Trump administration, including Barr, who can be trusted to do the right thing?

 

HELL NO!

Dain Bramage's picture

Marijuana Legalization under Putin Administration

Republicans are the enemy of marijuana legalization, because Republicans are owned by Trump, and Trump is owned by Putin.  Fuck the goddamn treasonous Republicans! 

Here, let ShowerCap at DailyKos explain it:

McCabe went on 60 minutes to tell an amusing little after-dinner anecdote about an FBI official briefing the President on the nuclear threat from North Korea, and hitting a wacky snag when the assessment of the American intelligence apparatus ran counter to what Little Donnie Two-Scoops had heard from his BFF, Vladimir. I don't remember how the whole story went, but the punchline was, “I don't care, I believe Putin.”

I don't care. I believe Putin.

Can I just ask, why didn't the whole goddamn world come to a complete stop the minute those words were broadcast? Like, why isn't the entire U.S. Congress changing into their impeachin’ pants right now? If the nuclear codes are in the hands of a dude whose foreign policy is the Whatever Vlad Says Doctrine, we have a real fuckin’ problem, folks.

Dain Bramage's picture

Similarly...

Similarly, and to complete the line of thought, I ask: Why didn't "the whole goddamn world" of marijuana legalization activists "come to a complete stop" the minute Trump was fake-elected?  Or the minute he appointed Jeff Sessions for AG?  Or Matt Whitaker for AG?  Or William Barr for AG?

COULD IT BE BECAUSE OF THE GODDAMN REPUBLICANS WITHIN THE MIDSTS OF THE LEGALIZATION MOVEMENT?

Take the venerable organization NORML, for example.  Here is their headline on Barr:Nominee For US Attorney General Will Not Take Action Against State-Sanctioned Marijuana Industry

Huh?

Whu?

That's it?  Just reassurances to overwhelmingly white dispensary owners?  No word for consumers in non-legal states?  What the hell is up with that?  Bill Barr is as bad as Sessions on marijuana policy.  I've been trying to sound the alarm about that.

A little help here please,  NORML?  Can we please cut the bipartisan bullshit and just acknowledge that Republicans are the enemy?

Or is NORML now covering for corrupt Republicans? 

If that sounds like heresy to you, then I challenge you to give me a better explanation. 

Dain Bramage's picture

Nuclear Furnace

As bad as marijuana prohibition is, there are worse things.  Nuclear annihilation, for example.  Let's keep our perspective.

But that is precisely why the marijuana legalization community must amputate the Republicans within our midsts, riddled as they are with the inoperable and terminal cancers of fascism and white supremacy.  Our objectives are no longer compatible with theirs.

If we don't, then the marijuana legalization movement will become just another sold-out fascist front for propaganda, like fake Fox News.

Dain Bramage's picture

Marijuana Facts Sheets and Nuclear Codes

Alternative Facts are no better than Reefer Madness.

Republicans believe in Alternative Facts.

Anyone who believes in Alternative Facts cannot be trusted to handle a Marijuana Fact Sheet, much less the nation's nuclear codes.

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