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Imprisoned pot perps use 4/20 to remind Biden of his campaign pledge to release them from jail and expunge their records

Tuesday is a big day for potheads — or marijuana enthusiasts: It’s 4/20, the calendar day marking toke-up time. A number of Mary Jane aficionados are currently in the slammer for weed offenses — many of them as a result of the 1994 crime bill President Joe Biden slapped his name on when he was a senator from Delaware.

Now, hashish hounds stuck in the clink — and their advocates on the outside — are using 4/20 to remind Biden of his campaign pledge to get them out and get their records expunged, the New York Post reported.

What’s this now?

The president received repeated criticism from the left during the 2020 Democratic primaries for his tough-on-crime stance in the 1990s — characterized by his mantra of “Lock the S.O.B.s up” — that led him to help draft and pass legislation that featured a crackdown on drug offenses with increased jail time for perpetrators, including a “three-strikes” provision that mandated life sentences for violent felonies and drug trafficking.

Biden attempted to appease critics on the left by saying he wanted free ganja prisoners and get their records cleared.

“I think we should decriminalize marijuana, period,” he said during the Nov. 20, 2019, Democratic primary debate. “And I think everyone — anyone who has a record should be let out of jail, their records expunged, be completely zeroed out.”

Biden, who has repeatedly claimed that he opposes pot legalization, added, “But I do think it makes sense, based on data, that we should study what the long-term effects are for the use of marijuana. That’s all it is. Number one, everybody gets out, record expunged.”

His campaign website largely echoed those sentiments, though it did say Biden wanted to “decriminalize” pot use:

? Decriminalize the use of cannabis and automatically expunge all prior cannabis use convictions. Biden believes no one should be in jail because of cannabis use. As president, he will decriminalize cannabis use and automatically expunge prior convictions. And, he will support the legalization of cannabis for medical purposes, leave decisions regarding legalization for recreational use up to the states, and reschedule cannabis as a schedule II drug so researchers can study its positive and negative impacts.

? End all incarceration for drug use alone and instead divert individuals to drug courts and treatment. Biden believes that no one should be imprisoned for the use of illegal drugs alone. Instead, Biden will require federal courts to divert these individuals to drug courts so they receive treatment to address their substance use disorder. He’ll incentivize states to put the same requirements in place. And, he’ll expand funding for federal, state, and local drug courts. […]

? Use the president’s clemency power to secure the release of individuals facing unduly long sentences for certain non-violent and drug crimes. President Obama used his clemency power more than any of the 10 prior presidents. Biden will continue this tradition and broadly use his clemency power for certain non-violent and drug crimes.

Now marijuana users are pushing Biden to stick to his guns.

Corvain Cooper was jailed for life for pot under the “three strikes” provision, but he was released in January by President Donald Trump. He noted that the drug has been legalized in several states that are now raking in a lot of tax money from weed.

He told the Post, “No one should be serving a long prison sentence over marijuana when states and big corporations are making billions of dollars off of this plant,” adding, “When the punishment doesn’t fit the crime, the president has to step in and fix that.”

Ismael Lira, who, the Post said, was convicted of distributing marijuana imported from Mexico, said in an email to the paper, “I believe President Biden truly sees the harm caused to the community of color, and I also believe President Biden will keep his promise to free all pot prisoners.”

Pedro Moreno was convicted on similar distribution charges and sentenced to life in prison in 2001. According to the Post, he was a first-time offender and is now praying the president “will have mercy on me and my family”:

All I want is to reunite with my children and my grandkids so we can become whole and put my past mistakes to bed. April is second chance month. I pray President Biden will consider me worthy of a second chance so my family can celebrate all the milestones we have missed over the years. I’m truly remorseful for my crime and pledge to devote my life to making up for the past. I promise I won’t need a third chance.

Cooper’s attorney, Patrick Megaro, who successfully got his client released, is putting pressure on Biden:

I would like to see President Biden honor his commitment to criminal justice reform by using the authority given to the president in the Constitution to right the wrongs of the past, especially the results of the 1994 crime bill he sponsored as a senator. I believe President Biden owes it to the people and the families this law negatively impacted.

And clemency advocate Amy Povah is pressuring the Biden-Harris White House to keep its promises, the Post noted.

“It’s time to end the hypocrisy that allows some to rake in millions while others languish in prison even during a historic pandemic,” she said. “Given that both President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris took strong positions on the campaign trail to free the pot prisoners, decriminalize cannabis and expunge the records of those with cannabis convictions, we are anxiously awaiting to hear whether how that will come about.

“It adds insult to injury that literally millions of people will be celebrating what has become a national holiday for cannabis enthusiasts on April 20th while people serving time for pot continue to languish in prison for engaging in the same activity that is now legal [in many states],” Povah added.

According to the Post, Trump’s First Step Act reduced the “Biden law’s mandatory life sentence for a third serious drug conviction” to 25 years — however, the reduction was not retroactive.

The White House did not respond to the Post’s requests for comment.

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Biden White House reportedly weeds out dozens of staffers for past pot use despite Kamala Harris bragging about using cannabis

Dozens of White House staffers were suspended, asked to resign, or forced into a remote work program because of their past marijuana use, according to a report from the Daily Beast.

Young White House staffers revealed their use of cannabis in an official document they were required to fill out as part of the background check to work at the White House. The staffers allege that they were assured by officials in Biden’s administration that recreational marijuana use would not be a disqualifying factor, three people familiar with the situation informed the Daily Beast.

The staffers were reportedly “pleased” that the Biden administration was so open-minded about cannabis.

“In some cases, staffers were informally told by transition higher-ups ahead of formally joining the administration that they would likely overlook some past marijuana use, only to be asked later to resign,” the report stated.

Some of the staffers used marijuana in places where cannabis use is legal for adults, which includes 15 states and Washington, D.C.

However, sources claim that the Biden administration weeded out those who had used marijuana, and “young staffers were either put on probation or canned because they revealed past marijuana use.”

“The policies were never explained, the threshold for what was excusable and what was inexcusable was never explained,” a staffer told the Daily Beast.

Last month, NBC News reported that “past marijuana use won’t automatically disqualify Biden White House staff.”

“Though marijuana use is legal in a growing number of cities and states, it’s still illegal under federal law and is therefore a potentially disqualifying factor in obtaining security clearances,” NBC News stated. “Transition officials quickly identified recreational marijuana use as a potential hurdle for applicants, especially younger ones, in meeting that requirement.”

An official in the Biden administration reportedly said that the candidates who used cannabis in the past would be considered eligible on a “case-by-case basis.”

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said five staffers were fired because of past marijuana use, despite the updated guidelines detailed by NBC News.

“We announced a few weeks ago that the White House had worked with the security service to update the policies to ensure that past marijuana use wouldn’t automatically disqualify staff from serving in the White House,” Psaki tweeted on Friday. “As a result, more people will serve who would not have in the past with the same level of recent drug use. The bottom line is this: of the hundreds of people hired, only five people who had started working at the White House are no longer employed as a result of this policy.”

A White House spokesperson said the Biden administration is “committed to bringing the best people into government—especially the young people whose commitment to public service can deepen in these positions.”

“The White House’s policy will maintain the absolute highest standards for service in government that the president expects from his administration, while acknowledging the reality that state and local marijuana laws have changed significantly across the country in recent years,” the spokesperson said. “This decision was made following intensive consultation with career security officials and will effectively protect our national security while modernizing policies to ensure that talented and otherwise well-qualified applicants with limited marijuana use will not be barred from serving the American people.”

Coincidentally, one person in the White House who has used marijuana in the past is Vice President Kamala Harris.

In February 2019, Harris appeared on the New York-based “The Breakfast Club” radio talk show, where she bragged about smoking weed.

Co-host Charlamagne Tha God asked Harris if she is opposed to legalizing marijuana. “That’s not true. And look I joke about it, half-joking — half my family’s from Jamaica, are you kidding me,” Harris replied while boisterously laughing.

Donald Harris, Kamala’s father, was offended by his daughter’s comment about Jamaicans smoking marijuana and declared, “My dear departed grandmothers, as well as my deceased parents, must be turning in their grave right now to see their family name, reputation and proud Jamaican identity being connected, in any way, jokingly or not with the fraudulent stereotype of a pot-smoking joy seeker and in the pursuit of identity politics.”

“Speaking for myself and my immediate Jamaican family, we wish to categorically dissociate ourselves from this travesty,” he added.

Charlamagne Tha God then asked Kamala if she has ever smoked marijuana, and she responded, “I have. And I inhaled — I did inhale,” as she laughed openly. “It was a long time ago. But, yes.”

She said she used cannabis in college, and she smoked the drug in the form of a joint. There are questions as to the timeline of the vice president’s marijuana use, and whether or not she smoked marijuana in college or when she was a deputy district attorney, where she enforced drug laws.

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Dear Gun People, Follow the Lead of the Weed People

Dear Gun People,

I know a lot of you are pretty upset about the prospects of a Joe Biden presidency. He’s promised to be tough on guns and you think he might start an all-out assault on the Second Amendment. We could see more federal gun control coming down the pike. We could even see some kind of weapons ban.

Now granted, the Senate may slow Biden’s roll if it remains in Republican control. But even that isn’t a guarantee. After all, there are quite a few liberal Republican senators who might just go along with more gun control, especially if there is some kind of tragic shooting incident that gets people all riled up about guns again. On top of that, modern presidents have proven that they don’t really need Congress to implement gun control. They can do a lot of damage to the Second Amendment via executive order.

But let’s back up for a moment. Despite the rhetoric, Trump wasn’t exactly great on the Second Amendment. He ramped up enforcement of existing federal gun control each of the first three years of his presidency, and there’s no reason to think he didn’t ratchet it up again this year. Don’t forget, every federal firearms law currently on the books is a violation of the Second Amendment.

On top of that, Trump did something the “gun-grabbing” Barack Obama didn’t do – instituted new federal gun control in the form of a “bump stock” ban.

Yes, I know a lot of you don’t really care about bump stocks. But the ban was unconstitutional whether you think anybody “needs” a bump stock or not. On a side-note, it’s ironic that some of you Second Amendment supporters used that “you don’t need one” argument for bump stocks considering that’s the exact same argument the “gun-grabbers” use for “assault rifles.”

Anyway, Trump wasn’t much of a Second Amendment president. Now, I will grant you — Biden could be even worse. But it doesn’t have to matter. Because the weed people have given you the blueprint to stop federal gun control in its tracks.

Actually, the weed people didn’t come up with the blueprint. James Madison gave it to us in Federalist #46 when he said states could impede “unwarrantable” federal actions (or even warrantable actions that happen to be unpopular) with “a refusal to cooperate with officers of the union.”

This is what marijuana activists have done. Instead of focusing on D.C. politics, they took action at the state and local level. And they’ve enjoyed great success. Despite federal prohibition, 36 states have legalized marijuana in some form. During the 2020 election, four more states legalized recreational marijuana, bringing the total number to 15.

Did I mention that the federal government continues its efforts at marijuana control?

You see, the dirty little secret is the federal government can’t enforce its laws without state and local cooperation. When it comes to weed, state and local governments haven’t cooperated. In fact, they have outright defied federal prohibition.

When a state legalizes marijuana for medical or recreational use, it removes a layer of laws prohibiting the possession and use of marijuana. This is significant because FBI statistics show that law enforcement makes approximately 99 of 100 marijuana arrests under state, not federal law. By legalizing cannabis, these states can essentially sweep away at least some of the basis for 99 percent of marijuana arrests. Furthermore, figures indicate it would take 40 percent of the DEA’s yearly-budget just to investigate and raid all of the dispensaries in Los Angeles – a single city in a single state. That doesn’t include the cost of prosecution. The lesson? The feds lack the resources to enforce marijuana prohibition without state assistance.

The feds would almost certainly have the same problem maintaining any federal gun control scheme if states simply stopped enforcing it.

But for whatever reason, you all don’t seem to want to press that option. You gun folks would rather send money to the feckless NRA, or elect a “Second Amendment president” like Trump (who ends up awful on the Second Amendment), or beg federal judges to protect their rights.

Newsflash – that isn’t working.

What I’m trying to tell you is to follow the lead of the weed people. Show some guts like the weed people. Get out there and nullify like the weed people. Because when it’s all said and done, that’s the only way you’re going to stop the erosion of the Second Amendment. The federal government isn’t ever going to limit the federal government.

You have the blueprint. Now get busy and start building.

In liberty, your fellow gun person,

Mike

The post Dear Gun People, Follow the Lead of the Weed People first appeared on Tenth Amendment Center.

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House passes legislation to federally decriminalize marijuana in historic vote

Neither chamber of Congress has ever voted on marijuana decriminalization, but that changed on Friday when the House of Representatives voted to pass legislation that would decriminalize marijuana use at the federal level.

In the historic vote, the House voted to pass the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act. The final vote on the cannabis bill was 228-164, mostly down party lines. There were five Republicans who voted in favor of the measure, including Reps. Brian Mast (Fla.), Matt Gaetz (Fla.), Denver Riggleman (Va.), Don Young (Alaska), and Tom McClintock (Calif.).

Six Democrats voted against their party to oppose the bill, including Reps. Cheri Bustos (Ill.) Dan Lipinski (Ill.) Henry Cuellar (Texas), Conor Lamb (Pa.), Chris Pappas (N.H.), and Collin Peterson (Minn.).

While the bill passed in the House, it is not expected to pass the GOP-controlled Senate.

The proposed legislation would remove marijuana from the federal list of controlled substances, thus decriminalizing it on a federal level. The legislation would also mandate a reassessment of prior marijuana convictions and expunge some marijuana convictions for nonviolent criminals.

The legislation creates a federal tax on marijuana sales that would begin at 5%. The bill would still allow states to establish their own rules and regulations regarding sales and access to medical marijuana.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.), who introduced the bill, said on Friday before the vote, “The MORE Act is a common-sense bill that will make a tangible, real difference in the lives of millions of Americans. I’m proud of this bill centered around ideals of racial, economic, and moral justice and I look forward to the House passing it today.”

Oregon Democratic Rep. Earl Blumenauer, one of the bill’s original sponsors, said during Friday’s House floor debate, “We’re not rushing to legalize marijuana. The American people have already done that. We’re here because Congress has failed to deal with a disastrous war on drugs and do its part for the over 15 million marijuana users in every one of your districts.”

Gaetz, the only Republican co-sponsor of the bill, said he was voting for the bill “because the federal government has lied to the people of this country about marijuana for a generation.”

“My Republican colleagues today will make a number of arguments against this bill, but those arguments are overwhelmingly losing with the American people,” Gaetz said. “I’m going to vote for the MORE Act. It won’t pass the Senate. It won’t become law. We should come back in the 117th Congress and we should truly do more for our people.”

Republican lawmakers lampooned Democrats this week for putting up a vote on the legalization of marijuana before securing COVID-19 pandemic relief for Americans. Republicans were also frustrated that Congress made it a priority to review a bill that will attempt to ban breeding and private ownership of big cats, as seen in the Netflix docuseries “Tiger King,” before a coronavirus package.

“This week, your House Democrat majority is tackling the tough issues by holding a vote on legalizing pot and banning tiger ownership,” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy tweeted on Monday. “Nothing for small businesses. Nothing for re-opening schools. Nothing on battling the pandemic. Just cannabis and cats.”

House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) proclaimed, “Let me get this straight: Nancy Pelosi is blocking a bill to deliver unused Paycheck Protection Program funds to workers and small businesses. But she managed to find time for a vote on pot legislation this week.”

Things @SpeakerPelosi brought members back to vote on: Legalizing marijuana Tiger King legislation,” Rep. Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.) said. “Things we aren’t voting on: More PPP funding COVID-19 relief Military funding Funding for the entire federal government It’s clear where Democrats’ priorities lie.”

Recreational cannabis is legal for adults in 15 states and Washington, D.C., while there are 36 states that have legalized medical marijuana.

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Thirty-Six and Counting: More States Legalize Marijuana Despite Federal Prohibition

Yesterday, voters in two more states legalized marijuana for the first time, bringing the total number of states defying federal cannabis prohibition to 36.

Last month, Virginia became the 34th state with legal marijuana when its first dispensary opened. Virginia’s medical marijuana program slowly evolved with incremental regulatory change. Over time, the state broadened the definition of products cannabis patients can obtain and possess. According to Marijuana Moment, “Organizations like NORML and the Marijuana Policy Project now consider the state to be the 34th in the U.S. to meet its definition for having an effective medical marijuana system.”

Today, Mississippi and South Dakota became the 35th and 36th states to legalize marijuana.

South Dakota

South Dakota voters overwhelmingly approved Measure 26 legalizing medical marijuana by a 69.2-38.8 margin. The ballot measure establishes a medical marijuana program for patients with qualifying conditions. Patients will be able to possess up to three ounces of marijuana and can grow up to three plants. The measure also establishes a licensing program for commercial production of medical marijuana and sales through licensed dispensaries.

Voters also approved Amendment A 53.4-46.6 to legalize marijuana for adult use. The measure amends the state constitution to “legalize regulate and tax marijuana, and to require the legislature to pass laws regarding hemp as well as laws ensuring access to marijuana for medical use.”

South Dakota is the first state to legalize medical and recreational marijuana at the same time.

Mississippi

Mississippi had a choice between two competing ballot measures. Voters approved Initiative 65 by a 68-32 margin.  A citizen initiative led by Mississippians for Compassionate Care put the measure on the ballot. Activists turned in more than 214,000 signatures. The measure allows patients suffering from 22 qualifying conditions to access medical marijuana with the recommendation of a physician. Patients will be allowed to possess up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis per 14-day period.

Initiative 65 was in competition with Alternative 65A put the constitutional amendment on the ballot with the passage of HC39. It had far less detail and has more restrictions than the citizen initiative. The legislature’s passage of a competing ballot initiative was widely seen as an attempt to prevent the legalization of medical marijuana in Mississippi. According to Forbes, Gov. Phil Bryant (R) voiced opposition and suggested that the legislature propose an alternative.

OTHER STATES

Three other states expanded marijuana legalization through ballot measures.

Arizona

Arizona voters passed Prop. 207 to legalize cannabis for adult use by a 59.8-40.2 margin. The new law allows limited marijuana possession, use, and cultivation by adults 21 or older. It also sets up a tax and regulatory structure for the cultivation and sale of cannabis. The ballot measure includes a provision to allow the expungement of marijuana offenses.

Arizona voters legalized medical marijuana in 2010.

Montana 

Montana voters approved Ballot issue I-190 by a 56.6-43.4 margin. The statutory measure legalizes the possession and use of limited amounts of marijuana by people 21 and older. It also establishes a licensing, taxation and regulatory scheme for cannabis sales and cultivation. I-190 includes a process for resentencing and records expungement for past marijuana offenses.

Voters also approved a separate measure, CI-118, by a 57.7- 42.3 vote. The initiative amends the state constitution to allow the legislature or a citizen initiative to establish the legal age of purchasing, consuming, or possessing marijuana. In effect, it will set the legal age for recreational marijuana at 21.

Montana legalized medical marijuana in 2004 through a ballot initiative.

New Jersey

New Jersey voters said “yes” to  Public Question No. 1 by a 66.9-33.1 margin. The ballot measure legalizes the possession, use and cultivation of marijuana by persons 21 and older, along with the manufacture and retail sales of cannabis products. The Cannabis Regulatory Commission that currently oversees the state’s medical-marijuana program will manage the regulatory scheme.

Public Question 1 was passed and place on the ballot by the New Jersey legislature.

New Jersey legalized medical marijuana in 2010. The program languished under Gov. Chris Christie, a staunch opponent of cannabis. When Gov. Phil Murphy took office, he loosened requirements and expanded the number of qualifying medical conditions. The New Jersey legislature expanded the program further in 2019.

NEXT UP?

New Hampshire took a small step toward legalizing recreational marijuana during the 2020 legislative session. The House considered HB1663, a bill that would have legalized cannabis and created a regulatory scheme. The House  Criminal Justice and Public Safety didn’t approve the measure, but it voted 7-4 to form an interim study committee to produce a report on future legislation. This could create a foundation for the legalization of marijuana in a future legislative session.

Meanwhile, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) recently said legalizing marijuana represents a key way the state can recover economically from the coronavirus pandemic. During a virtual event, Cuomo said that the state will soon legalize marijuana for adult use.

“Soon, because now we need the money,” he said, according to a recording that was obtained by USA Today Network. “I’ve tried to get it done the last couple years. There are a lot of reasons to get it done, but one of the benefits is it also brings in revenue, and all states—but especially this state—we need revenue and we’re going to be searching the cupboards for revenue. And I think that is going to put marijuana over the top.”

Legislative efforts to legalize medical marijuana in Tennessee continue. Two bills (SB2441/HB2741) were introduced in February 2020 and will be taken up again later this year.

EFFECT ON FEDERAL PROHIBITION

State efforts to legalize cannabis continue despite federal prohibition.

Under the federal Controlled Substances Act (CSA) passed in 1970, the federal government maintains the complete prohibition of marijuana. Of course, the federal government lacks any constitutional authority to ban or regulate cannabis within the borders of a state, despite the opinion of the politically connected lawyers on the Supreme Court. If you doubt this, ask yourself why it took a constitutional amendment to institute federal alcohol prohibition.

The legalization of marijuana for medical or recreational use removes a layer of laws prohibiting the possession and use of marijuana. This is significant because FBI statistics show that law enforcement makes approximately 99 of 100 marijuana arrests under state, not federal law. By legalizing cannabis, these states can essentially sweep away at least some of the basis for 99 percent of marijuana arrests.

Furthermore, figures indicate it would take 40 percent of the DEA’s yearly-budget just to investigate and raid all of the dispensaries in Los Angeles – a single city in a single state. That doesn’t include the cost of prosecution. The lesson? The feds lack the resources to enforce marijuana prohibition without state assistance.

A GROWING MOVEMENT

These five states join a growing number of states simply ignoring and defying federal prohibition – nullifying it in practice.

Washington, Colorado, Oregon and Alaska were the first states to legalize recreational cannabis, and California, Nevada, Maine and Massachusetts joined them after ballot initiatives in favor of legalization passed in November 2016. Michigan followed suit when voters legalized cannabis for general use in 2018. Vermont became the first state to legalize marijuana through a legislative act in 2018. Illinois followed suit in 2019.

With 36 states allowing cannabis for medical use, the feds find themselves in a position where they simply can’t enforce prohibition anymore.

“The lesson here is pretty straightforward. When enough people say, ‘No!’ to the federal government, and enough states pass laws backing those people up, there’s not much the feds can do to shove their so-called laws, regulations or mandates down our throats,” Tenth Amendment Center founder and executive director Michael Boldin said.

 

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Status Report: Nullify Federal Marijuana Prohibition

Marijuana is the granddaddy of the modern nullification movement. On no other issue do we find state-by-state resistance to federal power so advanced, well-funded, supported and successful. 

Beginning in California with the legalization of cannabis for medical use in 1996, states have advanced the issue every year. This has happened in spite of a 2005 Supreme Court opinion supporting federal prohibition, at least 12 years of relentless year-to-year increase in spending and enforcement efforts by the federal government through three presidential administrations and ongoing, complete prohibition at the federal level.

Thirty-three states and Washington D.C. have legalized marijuana for medical use, and 24 states along with Washington D.C. have decriminalized marijuana possession. Eleven states have expanded on these efforts and legalized marijuana for recreational use.

Each year, new state laws and regulations help expand the market, and each expansion further nullifies the unconstitutional federal ban in effect. With state and local actions accounting for as much as 99 percent of all enforcement efforts, the feds rely heavily on state and local help to fight the “drug war.” That help has rapidly evaporated in the last few years with marijuana legalization and decriminalization. 

In 2019, Illinois joined Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont and Washington State in legalizing marijuana for recreational use. Illinois was the second state to legalize adult-use marijuana through legislative action. Vermont was the first in 2018.

Voters in Arizona, New Jersey and South Dakota will have the opportunity to legalize marijuana for recreational use during the 2020 election cycle. The South Dakota and Arizona referendums were placed on the ballot through a citizen initiative. The New Jersey legislature passed a resolution putting the issue before voters there.

Mississippi voters will choose between competing medical marijuana legalization initiatives in November, one placed on the ballot by citizen initiative, the other by the state legislature.

Meanwhile, several states expanded their medical marijuana programs and paved the way to grow the market even further.

New Jersey passed the biggest expansion. According to USA Today, the law  “simplifies the process for patients to qualify for, purchase and consume cannabis for medicinal purposes.”

Oklahoma also expanded its medical cannabis program and took a significant step to protect patient rights by including a provision that prohibits the denial of firearms ownership to patients using medical marijuana. The law also prohibits the state from denying a medical marijuana patient access to public assistance programs, including Medicaid, SNAP and WIC.

North Dakota’s expansion increased the number of qualifying conditions from 17 to 29 and expanded the definition of “health care provider” to include physicians assistants, authorizing them to offer medical marijuana recommendations. The new law also eliminated a provision that required doctors to attest that medical marijuana would definitively help a patient.

New Mexico expanded its program to allow medical cannabis use on school campuses under defined circumstances and extended the registration renewal period from one to three years. The new law also allows for licensed medical marijuana establishments to create “consumption areas.” 

Florida changed language in the current medical marijuana statutes to include the possession, use, or administration of marijuana in a form for smoking.

Utah made a number of tweaks to the state’s medical-marijuana program that will help expand access for patients. Significantly, the new law doubles the caps on the number of patients to whom a doctor can recommend marijuana from 300 to 600. It also adjusts dosing parameters to allow for more flexibility.

West Virginia made a number of changes to the state’s medical marijuana laws to streamline the program, increase access for patients, and open up the market.

And finally, Washington state enacted a law that allows the consumption of medical marijuana on school grounds.

We also saw some interesting cannabis market-expanding laws in states with legal recreational marijuana.

California enacted a law that severed a link between state and federal tax law, allowing individuals to deduct expenses from legal marijuana businesses for state income tax purposes.

Colorado enacted four new laws to help expand the legal marijuana market in the state. HB1230 legalized limited on-site sales and consumption of marijuana in licensed, public establishments. These include restaurants, hotels, music venues and other businesses. Dispensaries will be able to open “tasting rooms.” The law also authorizes marijuana tour buses and limos. Establishments running the vehicles can’t sell cannabis, but marijuana consumption is allowed in a “bring-your-own-weed” system. HB1234 legalized marijuana delivery. HB1090 opens up Colorado’s cannabis industry to outside investors and capital, including publicly held companies and large venture funds. And HB1311 established the Institute of Cannabis Research at Colorado State University-Pueblo. The role and mission of the institute are to conduct research related to cannabis and publicly disseminate the results of the research.

Marijuana businesses face significant challenges accessing banking services due to ongoing federal prohibition. West Virginia enacted a law to begin addressing this issue. The legislation empowers the West Virginia Treasurer to authorize financial institutions to provide banking services for the state fees, penalties, and taxes collected under the West Virginia medical marijuana program. The bill also commits the state to do everything “permitted by law” to defend these financial institutions and cover “payment of the amount of any judgment obtained, damages, legal fees and expenses, and any other expenses incurred.” The California legislature sent a similar measure to the governor in September

Maine ensured there will be a market for edible marijuana products in the state with the passage of a law declaring that food additives or food products containing adult-use marijuana are not considered to be “adulterated,” and thus, illegal.

We’ve also seen a growing movement to expunge past marijuana charges in states where cannabis is now legal. Washington state, Vermont, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Utah, New York. and Oregon all passed expungement bills in 2019-20. 

In many states, the decriminalization of marijuana is the first step. Decrim doesn’t legalize marijuana but it does change possession from a criminal charge to a civil offense punishable by a fine. Last year, Delaware and New Mexico passed decriminalization laws. New York expanded its decriminalization law by lowering fines.

As marijuana becomes more accepted and more states simply ignore the feds, the federal government is less able to enforce its unconstitutional laws. After more than two decades of state, local and individual nullification, the federal government’s unconstitutional prohibition of cannabis is beginning to come apart at the seams. 

This is an overview of the most recent moves to legalize marijuana and expand the market for cannabis despite federal prohibition. To get more details on state efforts to undermine the drug war, along with other unconstitutional federal actions and programs, make sure you read our latest State of the Nullification Movement report. You can download it for free HERE.

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Kanye West says Harriet Tubman didn’t free slaves, all parents should get $1M, and marijuana should be free

Kanye West held a campaign rally Sunday, and his remarks included some inflammatory claims about abolitionist Harriet Tubman and a bizarre proposal to help families so fewer people choose abortion, according to the Associated Press.

West is supposedly running for president, although he has qualified for the ballot in only one state, Oklahoma, so far. Sunday’s campaign rally was in South Carolina, where he’s seeking the 10,000 required signatures needed to get on the ballot in the state. He has until noon on July 20.

The rapper is attempting to run as an independent, although his alliance with President Donald Trump and his views on religion and abortion make him somewhat of a conservative-leaning candidate. For example, West has been aggressively critical of Planned Parenthood, although he believes abortion should be legal.

At the same time, West advocated for an outlandish policy to help families support children — a policy that would not be mistaken as conservative in nature.

“Everybody that has a baby gets a million dollars,” West said, according to AP. This plan was reportedly referred to as “Plan A,” a play off Plan B, the emergency contraceptive pill.

During his discussion about abortion, he tearfully said his mother considered aborting him, and that he even considered abortion for his own daughter at one point. From the New York Post:

The Chicago rapper wore a bulletproof vest and had the numbers “2020” shaved into his head as he addressed the crowd, revealing that he and wife Kim Kardashian West considered terminating their first pregnancy — but didn’t after he had a “vision from God,” according to a livestream of the event.

He then began to cry hysterically as he said: “My mom saved my life. My dad wanted to abort me.”

“I almost killed my daughter,” West, 43, continued in tears, referring to the couple’s eldest, North West.
“No more Plan B, Plan A,” he added.

“The only thing that can free us is by obeying the rules that were given to us for a promised land,” West said, according to Reuters. “Abortion should be legal because guess what? The law is not by God anyway, so what is legality?”

West stirred up controversy and lost some of the audience with his comments about Harriet Tubman.

“Harriet Tubman never actually freed the slaves,” West said while discussing economic inequality, prompting audible protest from the crowd. “She just had the slaves work for other white people.”

West also said marijuana should not only be legal, but it should be free.

The rally was, at times, contentious. West got into brief verbal altercations with attendees; one who asked him to name the “fellow billionaire” West referenced during an answer about gun reform, and another with the woman who asked that gun reform question. She posted a video about her experience online.

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Demand For Alternative Medicine Could END Big Pharma

When it comes to the number of Americans on medications offered by Big Pharma, it’s staggering. People are beginning to demand alternative options and more choices when it comes to their own health, and that could lead to incredible innovative solutions to the problem of Big Pharma.

Many people used to tell those who looked for more natural and holistic remedies for their conditions that they were crazy and should just trust Big Pharma.  Yet the tides are turning, as most know the pharmaceutical companies are interested in doping people up and controlling symptoms instead of curing ailments. They are also borderline cruel with the prices they charge.

Big Pharma: Hooking People On Drugs And Hiking Prices 667%

Not-So-Shocking Poll: Americans Hate The Government Almost As Much As They Hate Big Pharma

According to Healthline, the term “alternative medicine” is out, and “integrative medicine” is in.

Patients are simply demanding more options. People want to choose how they take care of their health and increasing numbers are viewing prescription drugs for every minor thing as more harmful than good.

The Most Medicated Country In The World: 46% Of Americans Have Taken A Pharmaceutical Drug Within The Last 30 Days

In the past few years, many doctors and conventional healthcare institutions in the United States have shown a new acceptance of treatments and philosophies that historically have not been part of mainstream medicine.

Proponents explain that integrative medicine addresses the full range of a patient’s physical, emotional, spiritual, and environmental influences. It also deploys therapies that extend beyond the surgeries and drugs that have historically defined the American medical establishment.

In 1994, Dr. Andrew Weil, the Harvard-educated physician, author, lecturer, and internationally recognized pioneer of integrative and holistic health, founded the Program in Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona.

This was years before most people had even heard of integrative medicine.

“Patients are dissatisfied with the small amount of time they get with their doctors and with doctors who prescribe a pill for every ill,” Weil said. “The integrative medicine movement is not a rejection of conventional methods. But patients are saying that the conventional model is not working, that it’s broken. And they are right.” –Healthline

As people continue to turn their backs on the medical establishment that is keeping them sick and dependent on their drugs, more and more are willing to look into alternatives, such as the decriminalization of marijuana and psychedelics. Actually, there’s a “shroom boom” going on right now, and it could lead to immense progress when it comes to the treatment of alcohol and tobacco additions and depression. More research is needed, of course, but as regulations on some previously banned substances are loosened, more studies on the efficacy of those substances can be completed.

If things continue the way they have been, and more turn from the addictive and harmful substances often pushed by Big Pharma, we may actually see a rebound in our overall health.

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San Francisco provides free marijuana and alcohol to homeless

San Francisco is supplying free drugs and alcohol to homeless people who are staying at city-leased hotels. The San Francisco Department of Public Health defended the city providing free alcohol, marijuana, and cigarettes to the homeless by saying it is necessary to prevent people from breaking quarantine during the coronavirus outbreak.

On Wednesday, San Francisco health officials confirmed that the California city was supplying homeless people with free alcohol, marijuana, tobacco, and methadone to prevent them from going outside to get the substances themselves.

“They’re doing San Francisco a great service by staying inside,” Jenna Lane, a spokeswoman for the city’s Department of Health, told the San Francisco Chronicle. “We’re saying, ‘we’re doing what we can to support you staying inside and not have to go out and get these things.'”

Thomas Wolf, a former homeless drug addict turned advocate, is concerned that the city is enabling drug abusers.

“I just found out that homeless placed in hotels in SF are being delivered Alcohol, Weed and Methadone because they identified as an addict/alcoholic for FREE,” Wolf tweeted. “You’re supposed to be offering treatment. This is enabling and is wrong on many levels.”

The San Francisco Department of Health responded on Twitter: “These harm reduction based practices, which are not unique to San Francisco, and are not paid for with taxpayer money, help guests successfully complete isolation and quarantine and have significant individual and public health benefits in the COVID-19 pandemic.”

“Has he been examined by a medical professional or were they just asked a series of questions? Because if it was me and I was addicted, I would answer yes to everything,” Wolf told KRON. “Yes I want everything, yes I’m a heroin addict, yes I’m an alcoholic, yes I need weed for anxiety and boom there you go. To me, that’s blurring the lines between harm addiction and enabling.”

San Francisco’s health director, Dr. Grant Colfax, said, “Our focus is using the best evidence to help people manage their addiction and in some cases, this will include helping to manage their alcohol use and their nicotine years so they can stay safe and in place as much as possible to help their community and to help themselves.

“With regard to supporting people who are at risk, or who need to be in quarantine or isolation because they’re COVID positive, our focus needs to be on supporting them,” said Colfax. “Meeting them where they are so that they can be cared for in the most appropriate way. In the way that’s good for them and for our community.”

San Francisco has 270 homeless people who have either tested positive for COVID-19 or are highly susceptible to infection.

San Francisco is housing homeless people in hotels that the city rented. Last month, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors instructed Mayor London Breed to secure 7,000 hotel rooms to house the city’s homeless population, which is estimated to be around 8,000.

This comes at a time when the liberal city has experienced an influx of homeless people. A city report found that homeless tents and structures have risen by 285% in San Francisco’s Tenderloin neighborhood over the last four months.

“My people are telling me there are unhoused folks coming from out of town basically trying to get themselves on a list for housing,” San Francisco Fire Chief Jeanine Nicholson told ABC7 News. “Some are being released from jail and sent here from Stockton, from Lake County, so they’re coming from all over.”

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Just 15 days after pot was legalized in Illinois, a man allegedly shot his would-be dealer after she refused to let him smell what she was selling

An Illinois man has been charged with fatally shooting a woman he arranged to buy marijuana from on Facebook after the victim refused to let him smell it, prosecutors say, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

The alleged crime took place just 15 days after the recreational sale of marijuana was legalized in the state.

Terrell Vining, 18, was arrested on first-degree murder charges in the shooting that killed Sasha Moore, 20, at a South Side Chicago gas station in January. The two had arranged to meet there to complete the drug deal, according to records from Facebook.

Vining, using the name “Chris Paul,” reportedly contacted Moore on Facebook after she advertised on the social media platform that she had weed to sell. After initially picking a different location, Vining eventually set up the meeting at the gas station on 83rd and Halsted streets.

Surveillance cameras videos showed Vining waiting at a nearby gas station before the meeting, prosecutors said.

Moore, along with her boyfriend, arrived at the gas station shortly after midnight, at which point, Vining stuck his head inside the car and asked to smell the marijuana before purchasing it, authorities said. When Moore refused, Vining allegedly pulled out a handgun and shot her in the head.

After the initial gunshot, Moore’s boyfriend was able to reach his foot over to the gas pedal and drive off as Vining reportedly fired two more shots at the car. Moore was taken to a nearby hospital and was pronounced dead.

Moore’s boyfriend was able to get away safely and later provided police with Vining’s Facebook account, which contained photos of Vining that he had uploaded. He was also able to identify Vining in a photo array, prosecutors said.

According to an assistant public defender assigned to Vining, the suspect was working part-time and living with his mother while enrolled as a senior at a downtown charter high school.

His next court date is set for March 23.

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A man stabbed his boyfriend multiple times with a samurai sword after he failed to buy him pot, police say

A Ypsilanti, Michigan, man stabbed his partner multiple times with a samurai sword last month after he failed to buy him marijuana, a police report on the incident said, according to MLive.com.

Neil Patrick Wasinski, 28, or “Nalla” — who is listed as a woman in police reports but as a male in court documents — was charged with assault with intent to murder, assault with a dangerous weapon, and resisting arrest on Jan. 18 after attacking his boyfriend two days prior.

Wasinski reportedly used a 21-inch samurai sword in the attack, striking his boyfriend several times in the abs and torso while the two were in his apartment. He then allegedly chased his boyfriend outside to the parking lot of the apartment complex, bloodied sword still in hand.

Police arrived at the scene at around noon on Jan. 16 where they found the victim soaking the blood from his stab wounds with a towel. He told police that he was attacked after failing to buy his partner marijuana, according to local news outlet MLive.

The victim was rushed to the hospital where he was listed in critical condition having suffered a collapsed lung in the attack. He has since recovered.

Police then obtained a master key to the suspect’s apartment and entered despite his resistance. Wasinski allegedly spat on one of the officers as they apprehended him and took him outside.

According to the police report, Wasinksi claims he was intoxicated during the incident and blacked out after the victim threw him on the ground.

Wasinski is being held in the county jail and is scheduled for sentencing March 17. The intent to murder charge was reportedly dismissed after Wasinski pleaded no contest to the other charges on Feb. 13.

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Colorado State University creates ‘rigorous’ cannabis degree to help meet industry demand

Colorado State University is launching a cannabis degree program aimed at meeting the demand for experts as legalized cannabis becomes more commonplace across the United States, according to the Associated Press.

The new Cannabis, Biology and Chemistry program at CSU will be similar to a double-major in biology and chemistry, with some specific emphases on analyzing cannabis.

“It’s a rigorous degree geared toward the increasing demand coming about because of the cannabis industry,” College of Science and Mathematics dean David Lehmpuhl told the AP. “Hemp and marijuana has really come to the forefront in a lot of economic sectors in the country. We’re not pro-cannabis or anti-cannabis. What we’re about will be the science, and training students to look at that science.”

The natural products coursework would place students in a lab setting to learn about the genetics of cannabis or other plants with additional courses in neurobiology, biochemistry and genetics, university officials said.

The analytical chemistry coursework would also place students in a lab setting to learn about the chemical compounds, such as determining what kind of cannabidiol concentration should exist in a product, university officials said.

Marijuana is fully legal — both recreationally and medicinally — in 11 states. It is fully illegal in just eight states, with all other states carrying mixed legal status allowing for varying levels of medicinal use, and some having decriminalized the substance to different degrees.

Colorado legalized marijuana in 2014, and has since generated more than $1 billion in revenue from the industry.

When marijuana is legalized to any degree in a state, there comes a rush of would-be entrepreneurs seeking licenses to open dispensaries, as well as a need for pharmacies and qualified pharmacists to run them. Also, experts are needed to handle research and production of legal marijuana that meets whatever state guidelines apply.

The university had previously established the Institute of Cannabis Research in 2016 at its Pueblo campus, where the new cannabis degree program will be. The campus had a minor program in cannabis studies.

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