You can almost feel the country holding its breath and waiting for something to happen. First Sessions was sent to the chopping block, then longtime opponent of cannabis Chris Christie shocked everybody by flip-flopping and framing cannabis legalization as a states' rights issue. Just last year Christie told a crowd at New Jersey Hospital Association’s conference on substance abuse that “crazy liberals” who supported legalizaton were willing to “poison our kids” for “blood money.”
More recently Rep. Joe Kennedy III, of Massachusetts—a staunch hater of the dreaded marijuana plant—wrote an op ed in STAT saying that after a year of research and debate, he's come to the conclusion that the “federal government has ceded its responsibility—and authority—to thoughtfully regulate marijuana.” He actually said in plain text that the government needed to “remove marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) and legalize it at the federal level.”
And here's the big one: Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb told CNBC host Joe Kernen last week that federal marijuana legalization is bound to happen: (emphasis mine) “Obviously it’s happening at the state level, and I think there’s an inevitability that it’s going to happen at the federal level at some point soon.” He also said the medical claims surrounding cannabis have not been proven, making the whole interaction weird.
These days I'm loathe to print anything remotely optimistic, but these rumblings have my ears cocked. Arguments on the subject these days seem more like masturbatory political posturing than discussions concerning existential threats or the lack thereof—akin to arguments about abortion or gun control: things that are unlikely to change, but highly likely to make people froth and argue for hours at the dinner table.
This is a good sign, dear reader. It means that Gottlieb might be right and legalization is inevitable. Of course, it's doubtful that the next Attorney General will be friendly toward marijuana, but it can't last forever.
A Pennsylvania doctor filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration over prohibitions which prevent medical cannabis patients from owning firearms. The doctor regularly treats PTSD with marijuana and was denied a firearm when he tried to buy it.
The Philadelphia-based doctor's lawsuit names acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker and the directors of the FBI and the BATFE, claiming they are infringing upon his Second Amendment right to gun ownership and his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.
The doctor's attorney, John Weston, told reporters, “The seller correctly said, 'Do you use marijuana?' The doctor correctly answered that he did. And the person at the store also correctly said then, 'I can't sell you a gun.' ”
According to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, you cannot purchase or possess a firearm if you are an “unlawful” user of controlled substances. This isn't a new rule, by any means. And in 2011 the Bureau published an open letter clarifying that medical cannabis still counted as a controlled substance federally, so marijuana patients weren't allowed to own firearms. Back in 2016, the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the ban was not in violation of the second amendment when a Nevada resident sued for being denied a gun after she admitted to possessing a medical cannabis card.
Last week Missouri State Representative Nicholas B. Schroer posted on Facebook that he planned to fight the unfair statute. “Plain and simple, I am against the federal government stopping law abiding citizens here in Missouri from purchasing firearms and utilizing their #2A rights,” he wrote.
It's doubtful that the ban will be turned over, but this story is especially beautiful because it illustrates how trying to make marijuana sit up and beg for party politics is futile. They'll tell you it's more of that Left versus Right claptrap, but they’re wrong. Don't listen, friends.
Last week—just in time for Thanksgiving—retail cannabis shops in Massachusetts opened their doors for the first time. It's been two years since the state's voters decided to legalize recreational cannabis, and it seems the time was well spent in preparation. Unlike the recent troubles with product shortages felt by Canadian shoppers, Massachusetts' consumers found its two recreational marijuana stores well-stocked and ready to serve.
The Cannabis Control Commission reported a combined total of $440,011 was made from the sale of 10,700 products from the stores. According to the Boston Globe, the state will get 17 percent of that total—thanks to a regular 6.25 percent sales tax and a 10.75 percent on marijuana tax—which equals about $74,800 for just the first day of sales. The communities where the shops were located—Leicester and Northampton—also imposed a 3 percent local tax each.
I sure hope our state legislators here in New Mexico read that number and felt it like a kick in the ribs.
The day apparently went well for consumers, too. Despite the fact that they stood in lines for hours, suffering through a cold and rainy New England day, photos and reports depict smiles and good cheer all around. Go figure.