Yesterday’s News – May 15, 2015
DPA Skewers DEA With Satirical Ad
In what was perhaps their final farewell and good riddance to outgoing DEA head Michele Leonhart, Drug Policy Alliance produced a mock job ad for a new leader of the struggling agency. The ad claims the DEA is looking for “a new chief to prolong the failed war on drugs” and that key responsibilities include “mass incarceration,” “police state tactics,” “obstruction of science,” “subverting democracy,” and “undermining human rights.” It ran Wednesday in the congressional newspaper, Roll Call, and was part of an effort to draw attention to scandal and corruption within the DEA as well to the agency’s increasingly obsolete status as it has refused to evolve with the changing public perception of the drug war. Huffington Post has the full story:
Will Rosenberg Be a Reformer?
In the meantime, President Obama and Attorney General Loretta Lynch pegged Chuck Rosenberg, currently chief of staff to the FBI director, to replace Leonhart as acting DEA head, and there are conflicting opinions as to the role he might play in reforming the troubled agency. Marijuana Business Daily reports that he won’t make state-legal cannabis operations an enforcement priority and is hopeful that he’ll “improve procedures on how to classify, declassify, or reclassify” substances like marijuana:
But Vox doesn’t think there’s reason for advocates to celebrate. Their piece points out that Rosenberg “unapologetically enforced mandatory minimums” when he was a US attorney in Virginia, contributing to racial disparities in sentencing laws. It goes into detail about the ways that mandatory minimum sentences for possession of crack cocaine have been a major component of the racism of the drug war. So, while his appointment may be good news for cannabis activists, it’s important to remember the other pieces of prohibition that continue to cripple our society. Vox also has a really cool “card stack” at the end of the article that gives a fairly comprehensive overview of the war on drugs.
TIME for Cannabis Research
TIME enlisted Bruce Barcott, author of Weed the People (published by TIME Books), along with Washington bureau chief Michael Scherer to write a cover feature about what they call the “encouraging, troubling, and strangely divided frontier of marijuana science” for the magazine’s May 25 print edition. The piece mentions the relative safety of cannabis when compared with alcohol and tobacco, the possibility of using cannabis to treat a variety of ailments from post traumatic stress disorder to multiple sclerosis, and the hindrances to research given marijuana’s Schedule I status. There’s still some questionable information, such as overstating marijuana’s effects on the developing brain and correlating cannabis use and schizophrenia, but we’re glad to see the mainstream media pushing for more research in this area.
Cannabis Shop Layoffs
Major job cuts are coming to a Colorado cannabis company, as they layoff 65 employees, mostly from their cultivation facilities. The nine shops and their associated grows are all part of the Strainwise-branded network, owned by Shawn and Erin Phillips, and include The Haven, The Retreat, and The Shelter in Denver a well as other stores across Colorado. No stores will close, according to Erin Phillips. The layoffs are the result of licensing issues that prevented the company from obtaining a new cultivation site that would expand his grow by 40 percent. Shawn Phillips says it’s the nature of a nascent and tightly regulated industry, and he hopes the situation will be temporary. Read details on The Cannabist: