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Marijuana industry boosts DC lobbying team

1/11/19--The marijuana industry is boasting its largest lobbying team in Washington ever, as it gears up to push through major legislation in 2019. The Cannabis Trade Federation (CTF), a nonprofit to educate and advocate for cannabis in public policy, has hired 15 lobbyists to push the Strengthening the Tenth Amendment Through Entrusting States (STATES) Act. The bill would protect state laws regulating marijuana use from the federal government. Read

New studies show that legal cannabis access reduces opioid abuse

3/4/18--Scientific data is growing nearly by the day in support of the notion that legalized cannabis can mitigate opioid use and abuse. For instance, among states where medical cannabis access is permitted, patients routinely lessen their opioid intake. According to data published this week by the Minnesota Department of Health, among those patients known to be taking opiate painkillers upon their enrollment into the program, 63 percent “were able to reduce or eliminate opioid usage after six months.” Read

Just say no to D.A.R.E — starting a better conversation about youth drug prevention

8/9/17--According to The Hill opinion contributor Andrew Freeman, D.A.R.E., the 1980s anti-drug campaign aimed at helping prevent and combat youth drug use, didn’t work. A number of academic studies have shown how D.A.R.E. was at best ineffectual and, at worst, more likely to convince kids to try drugs. Freeman believes a Youth Marijuana Prevention Council needs to be developed and implemented to effectively learn how best to prevent youth substance addiction. Read

Trump’s DOJ gears up for crackdown on marijuana

7/23/17--The Trump administration is readying for a crackdown on marijuana users under Attorney General Jeff Sessions. President Trump’s Task Force on Crime Reduction and Public Safety, led by Sessions, is expected to release a report next week that criminal justice reform advocates fear will link marijuana to violent crime and recommend tougher sentences for those caught growing, selling, and smoking the plant. Read

Marijuana legalization: The new Reefer Madness

7/12/17--In a published commentary featured in The Hill, Kevin Sabet, president and CEO of Smart Approaches to Marijuana, presents his argument for why the proposed Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment is bad for public health and safety. Sabet deems restricting the Justice Department's spending on enforcement in states that have violated federal law and passed medical marijuana initiatives as a back-door gimmick to legalize marijuana at the federal level, while also benefiting major criminal organizations seeking legal cover for drug trafficking. Read

Bid to legalize marijuana in Vermont goes up in smoke

6/22/17--A measure that would have made Vermont the first state to legalize marijuana for recreational purposes through the state legislature died in a special session after a quiet lobbying campaign by legalization opponents. The bill, which had passed the state Senate, did not earn enough votes in the state House to win fast-track status. Read

Maher, Roger Stone share marijuana cake on TV

4/1/17--HBO host Bill Maher and former Donald Trump campaign adviser Roger Stone shared a marijuana cake on “Real Time” on Friday night after finding common ground on marijuana policy. Maher later noted that it was the 420th episode of "Real Time" and asked Stone to bring out what he referred to earlier as a "420 cake." Read

Government has apparently dropped ‘gateway’ theory

2/16/17--Recently the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) quietly removed a report from its website, suggesting that it is finally giving up the false theories that cannabis is a “gateway drug,” or that it causes permanent brain damage or psychosis. These myths have been at the heart of positions held by marijuana prohibitionists and often served as their platform when voting against medical cannabis legislation. Read

Amtrak engineer in deadly crash tested positive for marijuana

1/26/17--The 47-year-old train engineer in a deadly Amtrak crash that killed two workers near Philadelphia last year tested positive for marijuana, according to documents released by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). The locomotive was going 106 mph in an area where the speed limit was 110 mph. Read