Cannabis News Roundup: Attorney General pick raises concerns

Jan 13, 2017

Cannabis under the Trump Administration ... Oakland municipal bank idea might help dispensaries ... “I bribed the sheriff” ... and more.

LEGISLATION

Governor Brown’s marijuana regulation budget inadequate, says insider // L.A. Times

“Gov. Jerry Brown’s budget includes $52.2 million for regulation of cannabis,” which an industry executive says is a woefully small sum “to tame California's highly unregulated free-for-all.’"

Calaveras County to see special election on commercial pot grow sites // Recordnet.com

“Voters in November did approve taxing commercial marijuana farms, which supporters say would bring in millions of dollars each year to help the struggling county if in fact marijuana growing is allowed to continue.

“But some residents have been outspoken about their belief that the farms pose a danger to the rest of the citizenry.”

Attorney General candidate concerns advocates // The Cannifornian

If Congress wants marijuana to be legal, then it  “should pass the law to change the rule,” U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions said in response to a direct question about marijuana legalization during his confirmation hearing as the nominee for new Attorney General.

BUSINESS

Oakland considers starting a municipal bank // East Bay Times

“Among other things, a municipal bank could provide a way for cannabis entrepreneurs, caught in a limbo between being legal in California but still illegal under federal law, to deposit their proceeds.” [Editor’s note: See related article, next.]

Banking reforms among Warren’s goals // The Cannifornian

“[Elizabeth] Warren, a member of the Senate Banking Committee, said there are benefits to letting marijuana-based businesses move away from a cash-only model.

“’You make sure that people are really paying their taxes. You know that the money is not being diverted to some kind of criminal enterprise,’ Warren said recently. ‘And it’s just a plain old safety issue. You don’t want people walking in with guns and masks and saying, ‘Give me all your cash.’”

HEALTH

Use of pot at college may benefit some // theLEAFonline

“’The key issue,’” says one advocate, “’is not if, but how collegians decide to consume cannabis. Responsible use includes a lot of different things.... You can consume responsibly, while upholding your obligations and meeting your personal goals, and still enjoy yourself, and probably enjoy it for a lifetime if you do it right.”

Child-proof packaging slowly improves // SFWeekly

“For all of their billions in revenue, the drug industry has not significantly changed their child-resistant packaging in decades. But the increasingly mainstream cannabis industry, the fastest growing industry in the U.S., already has a range of new child-resistant containers on the market.”

Study: marijuana is useful medicine, but not risk free // SFChronicle

“’Conclusive or substantial evidence’ confirms cannabis can treat chronic pain, nausea, vomiting, and multiple sclerosis spasticity. There is moderate evidence cannabis can improve sleep, and limited evidence pot or its derivatives can help manage post-traumatic stress disorder and anxiety.”  Researchers also call for marijuana’s Schedule 1 drug classification to be removed.

OPINION

Flawed DEA informant program should stop // Orange County Register

“According to a recent audit from the Justice Department’s Office of the Inspector General, the DEA amassed an army of more than 18,000 informants between October 2010 and October 2015. Informants are offered cash rewards of up to $500,000 or 25 percent of successful cash seizures, whichever is less, and the DEA made $237 million in payments to more than 9,500 sources during this period.

“The DEA uses these informants to get around pesky privacy protections like the Fourth Amendment and obtain traveler information that private companies would not hand over without a subpoena.”

IT’S A CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE, SO KEEP IT UNDER CONTROL...

 Grower bribes sheriff in his office // The Cannabist

“Authorities say [Robert] Behrens told the sergeant that an inmate at the county jail had told him the officer was ‘shady’ and Behrens asked the sergeant if he’d be willing to ignore Behrens’ illegal marijuana plants in Amargosa Valley” in exchange for $30,000.