Cannabis News Roundup: Legal break-throughs, from Massachusetts to Uruguay

Jul 21, 2017

Marijuana is legal in Uruguay ... San Francisco approves Office of Cannabis ... A.G. Sessions quietly tightens rules ... and more.

[Click the blue hyperlink headline to read the full story.]

LEGISLATION & REGULATION

Office of Cannabis approved by San Francisco Supervisors // ABC-7 News

The goal is to have a central location for all cannabis questions once recreational marijuana goes on sale in January.

Learning from Nevada: California’s plans to provide sufficient legal marijuana // L.A. Times

“With Nevada suffering a shortage of legalized marijuana, California’s state pot czar said Wednesday that efforts are being made in her state to make sure sufficient licenses go to farmers, testers and distributors to supply retailers.”

Sonoma County boldly goes where others fear to tread // SF Chronicle

“Santa Rosa, in particular, is positioning itself as the Bay Area epicenter of quality pot. The city released a comprehensive draft ordinance June 30 that sets zoning guidelines for medical marijuana, opening up more options for businesses by lifting a two-dispensary cap that has existed within city limits since 2005.”

In related news, Sonoma County named a 20-member cannabis advisory board earlier this week.

Mendocino County application process frustrates all involved // Daily Journal

“The Department of Agriculture, in charge of approving applications, is reportedly being crushed under the weight of the new program. The total number of applications received by the department was 580 on Monday, while only one permit has been issued.”

Uruguay is first nation with legal recreational marijuana // The Guardian

Other nations are legalizing in dribs and drabs, but marijuana is now legal everywhere in this small South American country, for any citizen over 18 who joins a fingerprint registry.

COPS & COURTS

Attorney General quietly cracks down on marijuana // NY Times

“A task force Mr. Sessions appointed to, in part, review links between violent crimes and marijuana is scheduled to release its findings by the end of the month. But he has already asked Senate leaders to roll back rules that block the Justice Department from bypassing state laws to enforce a federal ban on medical marijuana.”

Guilty or not, A.G. Sessions wants to increase property seizures from suspects // Time

In many states, local police can seize money and property from suspected criminals, even if they are never charged or convicted. Allegations of abuse of this practice have led conservatives and liberals to join together to call for reform.

“But this week Attorney General Jeff Sessions said that he instead wants to increase asset forfeiture, including a form called adoptive forfeiture where law enforcement agencies let the federal government step in when state law restricts it.”

Massachusetts rules in favor of employee fired for medical cannabis use // Masslive

"I can't stress this enough, it's the first case of its kind in the country,’" said Dale Deitchler, a shareholder at world's largest labor and employment law firm representing management Littler Mendelson and an expert on marijuana issues in the workplace. ‘”

Massachusetts reaches compromise on cannabis tax // SF Chronicle

“The bill mostly splits the difference between a House proposal to raise the total tax on marijuana to a mandatory 28 percent and the Senate version, which called for keeping the tax at the maximum 12 percent established by the November ballot question.”

Teen drug treatment skyrockets as overall use declines // Alternet

“So, if fewer young people are using pot – and even fewer are doing so problematically – why are more teens than ever before winding up in substance abuse treatment programs? The answer lies with the criminal justice system.

Oregon college town rejects 1,000 ft. buffer zones for pot shops // KLCC

Oregon state law says marijuana dispensaries must be at least 1,000 feet away from any school. The City Councilors of Eugene point out that the same rule does not apply to grocery stores, where alcohol is sold.

BUSINESS

Forget that dispensary T-shirt if this bill passes // The Cannifornian

“A bill making its way through the California Legislature would prohibit ... any ... marijuana business from using branded merchandise as a form of advertising. The bill seeks to reduce teenage use of marijuana.”

OPINION

If marijuana is medicine, why doesn’t the FDA regulate it? // The Hill

That marijuana is a drug there is no doubt. The FDA states that ‘marijuana and marijuana-derived products’ are ‘’drugs.”

IN OTHER NEWS....

Drug Policy Alliance has new director // DPA

Maria McFarland Sánchez-Moreno replaces the founding head of the Drug Policy Alliance, who retired last year. Sanchez-Moreno comes to DPA from the Human Rights Watch organization.

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