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U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions directed federal prosecutors “to charge and pursue the most serious readily provable offense” in drug cases. A reversal of Obama-era policy, the move aims to increase the number of harsh mandatory minimum sentences that have fallen out of favor with Democrats and many Republicans.  

Obama Attorney General Eric Holder, whose policy Sessions is reversing, called the move “unwise and ill-informed.” The Economist argues that the move is not evidence based. Libertarian leaning Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) criticized Sessions even though Paul voted to approve him in February.  

As I predicted in Slate, Sessions appears to be using his authority to prosecute drug crime as a way to suppress minority voting and accelerate deportations.

On Friday May 5, Trump referred to cannabis for the first time since he became president. It came after he signed the government spending bill which extends existing protections on MED. 

Activist and writer Tom Angell interpreted the remark as the government "asserting their right" to go after certain medical marijuana businesses if they choose to at a later date. Bloomberg went further saying the president has “signaled a fight” with MED. 

Vermont’s legislature became the first in the country to approve REC. Gov. Phil Scott (R) has expressed concerns about legalization and has not said whether he’ll sign or veto the bill. 

After years of setbacks, New Hampshire is on the path to decriminalization. It would be the last state in New England to do so.

Despite setbacks, anti-legalization activist Kevin Sabet plans to keep fighting.

A MED bill with unprecedented momentum died in Texas. So did a decriminalization bill.

Florida lawmakers failed to reach a compromise on MED regulation before the legislative session ended. But the legislature could hold a special session.

Some businesses in the state are already selling MED with THC. At least one sells smokable weed, which is not allowed.

Colorado lawmakers failed to reach an agreement on social use before the legislative session ended. WestWord profiles Colorado pot lobbyist and lifelong Republican Cindy Sovine-Miller.

Proposals in California would ban animal-shaped edibles and restrict packaging to limit products’ appeal to children.

Denver will require anyone entering a social use area, at a bar for example, to sign a waiver. The city could begin accepting applications from existing businesses in July.

REC could be on the ballot next year in Arizona but supporters are riven by infighting.

Oregon has not yet started distributing revenue from pot taxes.

In Arkansas, some consider MED an economic opportunity but others are wary. Pennsylvanians want to legalize REC.

To meet its plan to legalize next year, Canada has to withdraw from three international treaties by July 1. But it seems to be dragging its feet.

Australia’s One Nation party, which ran on a pro-MED platform, appears to have reversed itself, leaving patients stranded. HuffPo has more.

In the U.K., the Liberal Democrats party supports REC legalization.

The National Cannabis Industry Association is electing its board of directors. Voting ends May 22. The NCIA declined to oppose Jeff Sessions’ nomination for attorney general.

If anyone running for the board wants to introduce themself and their ideas to WeedWeek readers, send a statement of 250 words or less to by the end of business Wednesday. I’ll share all received statements, unedited, before the vote closes.  

March was the best month yet for Colorado dispensaries; they sold $131M worth of weed. In Maine caregiver MED sales, which are not tracked, appear to be outpacing dispensary growth. Maine is also struggling with REC rules.

REC sales threaten MED shops in Massachusetts.

Data firm BDS analytics compares attitudes towards cannabis in California and Colorado. In general, Coloradans have more positive and accepting views of the plant.

Producer Aphria raised C$86M, which it claims is the largest raise in Canada to date.

A new weed vending machine identifies customers with a fingerprint scan.

Canadian cannabis veteran Chuck Rifici is starting a “streaming” company that would buy a grower’s future production for cash.

A study predicted that legalization would reduce Canadian booze sales by 1%.

A $49 study from marketing firm Canna Ventures divides consumers into four categories: indies, outsiders, idealists and traditionalists.

A company called Prohibition Partners studies the business climate in Europe’s nascent legal market. Strain guide Leafly is launching a site in German.

Oregon businesses are launching the Craft Cannabis Alliance to fight corporate weed. The Sacramento Bee has more on cannabis’ incursion into wine country.

In Blunt Network, I spoke to Würk which wants to be the “ADP of cannabis.

The site Huck suggests legalizing could benefit the Greek economy.


Health and Science

A study found that THC significantly improved cognitive function in elderly mice. The chemical slightly decreased brain function in young mice.

A study found that neither alcohol nor cannabis use benefitted high school students.

Canada plans to test whether MED benefits military members and veterans with PTSD.

Colorado launched a pot-safety hotline.

Senators worry that Trump’s proposed cuts to the drug czar’s office will exacerbate the opioid crisis. A former employee told Stat that slashing the agency’s budget would be foolish.

California may phase out MED ID cards.

At Vice, a woman who’s allergic to pot shares how legalization has become a personal hell. Being in the vicinity of a lit joint can cause her itching, stuffiness and a headache.

Pharmacies in Chile are starting to sell MED, a first in Latin America.


Criminal Justice

Rolling Stone profiles Steven H. Cook, “Jeff Sessions’ right-hand drug warrior.” Tasked with reducing crime in cities, Cook is “truly committed to rolling back the bipartisan momentum on criminal justice reform.”

“After 45 years, more than $1 trillion wasted, and the creation of the world's largest prison system, America still lacks the political will to change its failed drug policy,” Rolling Stone says.

In a wrongful death suit, an insurance company refuses to cover the manufacturer of edibles a Colorado man consumed before fatally shooting his wife.

A judge ordered the San Diego District Attorney to return $100,000+ to James Slatic whose MED business was raided in early 2016. Slatic was never charged with a crime.

The New Republic says drug testing welfare applicants is a bad idea.

Huffington Post has a story about a sober Georgia woman taken to jail because the arresting cop is a “drug recognition expert,” a controversial certification that claims to use observation to determine if someone has used drugs.  In Georgia, more than 250 cops have received the training.

Canada’s Liberal party is proposing sweeping changes to reduce drug and alcohol impaired driving. The country has also reduced the number of people charged with low-level drug offenses.

California cops are testing a roadside drug detection kit.

A former northern California drug cop was convicted for pot smuggling.

The administration is looking into the criminal records of the roughly 50,000 Haitian nationals allowed to live in the U.S. since the devastating 2010 earthquake. It’s also asking if they receive public benefits.

Canada, which plans to legalize REC next year, thinks data can help it stamp out the illegal market.

Prison drug smugglers are very creative.

California is allocating $1.5M to clean up illegal grow sites in the Emerald Triangle.

Philly writer and activist Chris Goldstein was at the Philly “smokeasy” that a SWAT team raided.

Vanity Fair excerpt’s a new book on the collapse of “dark web” drug bazaar Silk Road.

Product reviews:



NFL team owners appear to consider MED access a bargaining chip in negotiations with the players union.

Chicago Bears guard Kyle Long tweeted about weed and was quickly summoned for a drug test.

New Jersey MED users want permission to consume on the seaside boardwalks.

Denver’s non-profit pot church pays a $10,000+ monthly retainer to a for-profit PR firm run by some of its members, according to SEC filings. And some neighbors resent the church for its lack of disclosure.

Check out these photos from the Global Marijuana March.

The N.Y. Times went to country’s “premier psychedelics conference,” hosted by MAPS.

Dispensaries are celebrating Mother’s Day.

Here's the WeedWeek list of pot journalists on Twitter and the list of cannabusiness people on Twitter. Both are works in progress. Recommendations welcome.

I've also created two political Twitter lists you can subscribe to: Real News and Tweeting the Resistance. 

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