Lynch Confirmed as Next Attorney General

Yesterday’s News – April 24, 2015

 

U.S. Attorney General nominee Loretta Lynch

Lynch Confirmed as US Attorney General

Loretta Lynch was finally confirmed yesterday as the nation’s next attorney general, replacing Eric Holder and becoming the first African American woman in this position. Though her tenure could be as short as 18 months, leaving her little time to make major policy changes, she plans to focus on shifts within the Justice Department. She hopes to devote more resources to cybersecurity, to work to repair rifts between law enforcement agencies and the communities they serve, and to improve the DOJ’s relationship with Congress. As for marijuana: Lynch has made it clear that she does not share the president’s view that cannabis is safer than alcohol, nor does she agree with Holder’s questions about marijuana’s Schedule I status, so it’s not likely she’ll do much to advance the cause. The New York Times has more:

nytimes.com/2015/04/24/us/as-attorney-general-loretta-lynch-plans-to-shift-tone-for-justice-dept.html?_r=0

 

 

Debunking the Gateway Drug Theory

Chris Christie’s dubious claims about cannabis have reignited the old “gateway drug” argument that prohibitionists keep in their back pocket to use whenever they don’t have an intelligent response to pleas for legalization. It’s been around as long as D.A.R.E., but more and more research has shown that the “gateway drug theory” of cannabis is simply not valid. The team at Treatment4Addiction recently used data from the 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health in order to learn more about the sequence of substance use: what other drugs are people likely to use before and after a particular substance? Both alcohol and nicotine are more qualified to win the title of “gateway drug” than is cannabis, with 88 percent of people trying alcohol before any other drug and studies that show rodents like other drugs much more when they’ve been exposed to nicotine first. Finally, the piece points out, we all know that correlation is not causation, so it’s hard to say that marijuana use leads to other drug use; socioeconomic factors, mental illness, and peer groups are all better predictors of future drug use. You can read the piece and use Treatment4Addiction’s interactive tool to see “substances tried sequentially before and after” at The Atlantic:

theatlantic.com/health/archive/2015/04/the-real-gateway-drug-isnt-marijuana/391266/

 

 

Charlotte’s Web Medical Access Act

We reported yesterday on the momentum the Charlotte’s Web Medical Access Act is gaining in the House, after its introduction in March. Brian Resnick at The National Journal takes a closer look at the legislation and some of the families who would be affected by it. The article focuses on the use of CBD oil to treat seizures in children caused by epilepsy and disorders such as Dravet syndrome, which has prompted many lawmakers to reconsider their understanding of medical marijuana. CBD-only legislation is particularly popular in the South, where conservative legislators aren’t likely to otherwise change marijuana laws. Read the full story:

nationaljournal.com/health-care/the-case-for-legalizing-medical-cannabis-for-kids-20150423

 

 

The Challenges of Compliance in Cannabis

The media loves the cannabis industry these days, and Fast Company is no exception. They frequently feature pieces on the “green rush,” the latest of which highlights rebranding efforts by companies such as Dixie Elixirs & Edibles. Alex Halperin investigates the difficulties of remaining compliant in the cannabis industry, including regulations around cannabis-infused edibles and drinks, the differences in packaging from medical to recreational products, and the changing face of the cannabis consumer. Check out the entire piece:

fastcompany.com/3045240/rebranding-pot/how-to-brand-market-and-sell-weed-without-breaking-the-law

 

 

Tension Between Ohio Campaign Organizations

Despite conflict among the groups campaigning for cannabis legalization in their state, ResponsibleOhio is more than halfway to their goal of collecting 305, 591 signatures of registered voters in order to ensure their initiative makes the November 2015 ballot. ResponsibleOhio recently came under fire from Ohio Rights Group for allegedly interfering with the latter group’s ability to collect signatures and secure funding for their ballot measure. Cleveland.com has details:

cleveland.com/open/index.ssf/2015/04/supporters_of_two_ballot_issue.html

 

Philip A. Wallach evaluates the ResponsibleOhio campaign for the Brookings Institution and notes the similarities between this for-profit endeavor and the successful Ohio Casino Initiative of 2009, which guaranteed casino licenses for those who financially backed the campaign:

brookings.edu/blogs/fixgov/posts/2015/04/23-420-series-ohio-profiteering-marijuana-legalization-wallach

 

 

State Legislation Roundup

Missouri House passes industrial hemp bill:

ktrs.com/missouri-house-endorses-legalizing-growth-of-industrial-hemp/

 

Progress in Pennsylvania, as medical marijuana bill advances in state Senate:

philadelphia.cbslocal.com/2015/04/22/medical-marijuana-bill-advances-again-in-pennsylvania-senate/

 

Tennessee MMJ bill dies on the House floor:

chattanoogan.com/2015/4/21/298748/Medical-Marijuana-Proposal-Advances.aspx

 

Medical cannabis bill will not advance to full Senate in Alabama:

al.com/news/index.ssf/2015/04/all_for_nothing_key_senator_sa.html

 

 

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