This Week’s Marijuana News Round-Up:The DOJ’s Mysterious Marijuana Subcommittee; Prosecution of Marijuana Attorney Could Severely Impact Industry; Texas Man Gets 24 for Selling Weed; SCOTUS Limits Asset Seizure from Drug Conspiracies; ACLU and Drug Policy Alliance Sue City of Fontana, CA; Florida Governor Rick Scott Vetoes Marijuana Research Projects; High Times Magazine Sold; and more.
Legal/Political Marijuana News
The DOJ’s Mysterious Marijuana Subcommittee — Led by an outspoken legalization opponent, Jeff Sessions’ Justice Department is reviewing federal marijuana policy, with significant changes possible soon. Almost nothing about the review process is publicly known and key players in the policy debate have not been contacted. The outcome of the review could devastate a multibillion-dollar industry and countermand the will of voters in eight states if the Obama administration’s permissive stance on non-medical sales is reversed. What is known: The review is being conducted by a subcommittee of a larger crime-reduction task force that will issue recommendations by July 27. The subcommittee was announced in April alongside other subcommittees reviewing charging and sentencing.
Prosecution of Marijuana Attorney Could Severely Impact Industry — The week before Memorial Day, California lawyer Jessica McElfresh was charged with multiple felonies by the San Diego County district attorney. Her alleged wrongdoing? Conspiracies to commit a crime and obstruct justice and manufacturing a controlled substance. But a number of cannabis industry attorneys have another word for the charges: retaliation.
SCOTUS Limits Asset Seizure from Drug Conspiracies — The Supreme Court is placing new limits on the government’s ability to seize assets from people who are convicted of drug crimes but receive little of the illegal proceeds. The unanimous ruling on Monday comes as the Justice Department has moved to impose harsher punishments for drug trafficking and related crimes, reversing Obama-era policies.
Federal Case: Man Gets 24 for Selling Weed — It seems the Trump administration wasn’t kidding around when they hinted at a crackdown on cannabis-related crimes. A 56-year-old Texas man has joined the ‘marijuana lifer’ club after being sentenced to 24 years in federal prison for selling cannabis.
Marijuana News State by State
ACLU and Drug Policy Alliance Sue City of Fontana, CA — Shortly after the law took effect, several cities acted against the will of the voters and adopted ordinances that are so restrictive they operate as a de facto ban on cultivation. And for some groups of people, such as people with a prior felony drug conviction, it is an outright ban. In Fontana—where Prop. 64 passed with 53.5 percent of the vote and with 52.5 percent in the surrounding San Bernardino County—the Mayor and City Councilmembers even boasted that they wanted this ordinance to be the most restrictive in the state and they hoped it would to deter people from cultivating marijuana.
Florida Governor Rick Scott Vetoes Marijuana Research Projects — Among the $409 million in projects vetoed by Gov. Rick Scott were three line items that would have provided just more than $3 million to the Moffitt Cancer Center and the University of Florida. The budget called for the money to be used to begin studying medical marijuana.
Former Seminole Chief to Leverage Sovereign Land in Florida Legal Weed Game — When it comes to the medical marijuana business, the complex web of local, state and federal regulations is among the greatest complications holding back companies, frightening banks and boxing in retailers. But a new South Florida partnership believes it has a game-changer: sovereign land.
NM State Fair Bans Marijuana Imagery at Booth, Producer Files Lawsuit — It’s a sticky situation pitting cannabis against the Constitution. A metro medical marijuana producer wanted to bring cannabis cultivation equipment to 2017’s New Mexico State Fair, but organizers told them they couldn’t. Ultra Health is a massive medical marijuana producer and provider. The company’s vice president, Leonard Salgado, said purchasing booth space at Expo New Mexico in September would be pointless if they’re not allowed to educate folks about medical marijuana production. There’s now a federal lawsuit. Ultra Health says restrictions on displaying equipment are illegal.
Marijuana Business News
High Times Magazine Sold — The youngest son of reggae star Bob Marley as well as wealthy legal pot sellers from Colorado have taken control of High Times magazine, the storied counterculture media brand known around the world. A consortium of entertainment and cannabis veterans, including musician Damian Marley and pioneers from Colorado pot shop chain Denver Relief, acquired a controlling interest in High Times, at a valuation of $70 million, High Times’ new chief executive told The Chronicle Wednesday. The deal includes websites, book publishing and the influential Cannabis Cup trade shows and competitions. The magazine is holding its Northern California event in Santa Rosa this weekend, including seminars and a cannabis cook-off.