Sen. Chuck Schumer Introduces Bill to Decriminalize Marijuana Nationally
Happy Friday everyone! Let’s start by taking a look at what has been happening on the political front lately. Last Friday, on the 4/20 holiday, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer introduced a new bill in Congress to decriminalize marijuana nationally. It took him quite some time to join the movement but he now believes that too many lives have been ruined by the criminalization of marijuana. Many politicians have been jumping on the marijuana legalization bandwagon lately, Bernie Sanders has co-sponsored the Marijuana Justice Act, Mitch McConnell is pushing legislation to legalize hemp and Trump told Senator Cory Gardner of Colorado that he would not let the Justice Department prosecute state legal cannabis businesses. There seems to have been a real swing in perspective towards marijuana lately in Washington D.C..
Jeff Sessions was Questioned About the Justice Department’s Intentions Towards State Legal Cannabis on Wednesday by the Senate Appropriations Committee
Despite Trump’s promises to Senator Gardner, Attorney General Jeff Sessions was very coy in answering questions asked of him by the Senate Appropriations Committee on Wednesday concerning the Justice Department’s intentions towards state legal cannabis companies. He dodged their questions saying, “The federal government has passed some laws on marijuana that I’m not able to remove from the books.” And, “We have very few, almost zero, virtually zero small marijuana cases. But if they are a big deal and illegally acting and violating federal law, our agents may work that case.” The president’s promise to Senator Gardner was quite clear, but apparently Jeff Sessions has not received the memo yet. There have been many reports that the President and the Attorney General do not get along and rumors that Trump may end up firing Sessions.
The Mayor of New York City, Bill de Blasio is Fighting Against the Legalization of Marijuana in the Big Apple
There is a lot of support in New York for the legalization of marijuana, but New York City’s mayor, Bill de Blasio, is not one of those supporters. He recently commented, “…as we’ve seen with tobacco, there’d be a consistent effort to try and hook young people [on marijuana]…” The mayor’s comments seem uninformed and fail to acknowledge some of the truths about New York residents. According to data from SEEDO, New York City residents consume more marijuana than any other city in the entire world. The racial disparities in black men versus white men being arrested for nonviolent marijuana possession is still very high in the Big Apple as well.
Illinois Supports the Legalization of Cannabis but a Few Key Members of the Legislature are Preventing it
Illinois voters are also very much in support of legalized marijuana and the topic is brought up in the legislature frequently as of late. But, a few key people have prevented the topic from gaining any real traction. One of the more influential individuals is democrat and House Speaker for Illinois’s Congress, Michael Madigan. If he would get on board, legislation to legalize marijuana would likely become a reality. He does not provide any clear reason why he is not in support of marijuana legalization though.
The Michigan Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Have Collected Enough Signatures to Have Recreational Marijuana Added to the Ballot for November
While marijuana advocates may be discouraged by the news out of New York and Illinois, they will likely be happy with the news out of Michigan. According to the Michigan State Board of Canvassers, the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol has collected enough signatures to have an initiative placed on the November ballot to allow voters to decide if marijuana should be legal for adult consumption. Just as the advocacy group’s name suggests, if the initiative was approved, marijuana would be regulated just like alcohol in Michigan. If passed, Michigan would become the first Midwest state to legalize recreational marijuana.
Ultra Health is Building the Largest Cannabis Cultivation Center in all of North America in New Mexico
In New Mexico, Ultra Health, the largest distributor of medical marijuana to New Mexico medical marijuana patients is building the largest marijuana cultivation center in all of North America. The company seems to be quite sure that recreational marijuana is coming to New Mexico soon and so they are laying the foundation for Ultra Health to become the largest producer of adult-use cannabis as well.
Cheech and Chong Appeared on the Stephen Colbert Show to Tell the World They are Giving up on Marijuana, but Not Really
Finally, on a humorous note, inspired by former House Speaker John Boehner joining the advisory board of Acreage Holdings, Stephen Colbert had Cheech and Chong join his show this week to discuss their perspective on marijuana legalization and the apparent shift in thinking nationally towards marijuana. The stoner duo did not seem that excited about the new perspective on marijuana claiming it was taking the fun out of smoking weed. They are considering the idea of getting involved in the black market trade of unpasteurized dairy products. Cheech commented that all he has to do to get weed now is head to the strip mall down the street from his house and walk through the front door of the weed shop. When Colbert asked him where he bought his weed before pot became legal, Cheech said he bought it behind the strip mall.
Have a great weekend everyone!