Cannabis News Roundup: August 30, 2013
“Soon” has arrived: Feds change stance on legalization… Another Hemp Fest next weekend… How not to deliver pot to a jail… and more
Associated Press //The Obama administration has been saying since November that a reaction to Colorado and Washington state’s legalization of cannabis is coming “soon.” “Soon” finally arrived yesterday when a list of eight “federal law enforcement priorities” was announced. Find the specifics here.
Steph Sherer, Executive Director of advocacy group Americans for Safe Access (ASA) views this announcement cautiously. "While we're hopeful that the Justice Department will adhere to these policies, our experience with the Obama Administration so far has been lots of double-talk.”
One new factor in the priorities is that dispensaries cannot be raided simply because they are large and successful. That’s good news for Harborside Health Center in Oakland and San Jose, but Steve DeAngelo, Harborside executive director, says in a statement “the new policy does not specifically apply to current civil enforcement actions.” Harborside, the largest cannabis dispensary in the country, still faces many legal woes, ranging from threats of property seizure to denial of banking services.
Huff Post // Those concerns about banking services, mentioned above, could also be lessened with the new policy. A Justice Department official also acknowledged yesterday “that forcing [dispensaries] to operate on a cash basis put them at greater risk of robbery and violence.”
Sen. Leahy // These announcements have not inspired U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy, chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, to cancel a hearing planned for September 10. It’s title: “Conflicts between State and Federal Marijuana Laws.” The Senator “looks forward hearing more about this issue” when Deputy Attorney General James Cole, who released DOJ’s guidelines on Thursday, testifies at the hearing.
Huff Post // Here are eleven states that are likely to reform their cannabis laws.
INTCHE // Richmond has been the site of cannabis festivals this summer. Here’s one in San Francisco: the third International Cannabis & Hemp Festival, Saturday, September 7th.
SFGate // Maybe cannabis should be decriminalized, maybe not. But leave physicians out of the argument, says a psychiatrist at California Pacific Medical Center.
SFGate // “I don’t think the federal government needs any more wars against its citizens,” says columnist Jon Carroll, in relation to last week’s news that armored trucks are being encouraged to cancel contracts with cannabis dispensaries.
IN OTHER NEWS…
Toke of the Town // Legal cannabis is coming to Washington state next year, but even then people should not attempt to shoot arrows with pot attached to them into a jail.
SFGate // Back in California, the Vallejo Police Department has returned medical cannabis and paraphernalia to a dispensary after dropping charges for lack of evidence. That’s the good news. The bad news: “It’s all destroyed,” according to Matthew Shotwell, owner of the dispensary. Shotwell was a subject on “Weed Country,” seen on the Discovery Channel.
USA Today & Cannabis Culture // Three Canadian politicians admitted smoking marijuana on Wednesday. They didn’t smoke it on Wednesday; they admitted it on Wednesday. That took place in the past, probably, not now, so stop asking. But with 69 percent of Canadian survey respondents saying cannabis should be legal, or taxed or regulated in some way, those politicians may not have much to worry about at the polls.
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