New Senate banking bill; Legal sales could reach $17 billion by 2021; 9th Circuit avoids Rohrabacher-Farr ruling

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Conservative Christian televangelist Pat Robertson went on an epic rant against U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions's ramped up drug war prosecution policy.
U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) led a bipartisan group of eight other senators in introducing legislation to increase marijuana businesses' access to banking.

In a series of tweets, Merkley said:
  • "Introduced the SAFE Banking Act to ensure legal cannabis biz have the same access to resources and services as every other legitimate biz. In states like OR, why are legal businesses still treated like criminals, denied financial services and forced to carry around bags of cash? All-cash operations are a huge target for criminals. They put businesses and communities at risk. We cannot let AG Sessions roll back all the progress we’ve made towards common-sense drug laws."  
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit rejected a federal medical marijuana prisoner's petition to be released under a Congressional appropriations rider because he'd already given up the right to appeal under a plea deal. The move sidesteps the question of whether the amendment prevents the Bureau of Prisons from spending money on incarcerating medical cannabis prisoners:
  • "Because of this waiver, we need not reach and save for another day the issue of whether the expenditure of federal funds to incarcerate individuals who fully complied with state medical marijuana laws violates the appropriations rider."
The court previously ruled that the provision stops federal prosecutions of state-legal medical cannabis activity.
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Members of Congress held press conferences outside on Capitol Hill to push for marijuana law reform legislation.



Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) said the Trump administration is "essentially irrelevant" on marijuana policy.
The U.S. House bill to exempt state-legal marijuana activity from the Controlled Substances Act got two new cosponsors.
The U.S. House bill to increase marijuana businesses' access to banks got three new cosponsors.
The U.S. House CBD bill got a new cosponsor.
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Maryland regulators issued the state's first medical cannabis cultivation license.
A Vermont representative introduced an amendment to tax and regulate marijuana.
The Nevada joint Subcommittee on General Government unanimously approved funding for staff positions to regulate the legal marijuana industry.
Rank and file Florida lawmakers are agitating for a special session to pass medical cannabis implementation legislation.
The New York Times takes a look at how federal marijuana prisoners in California aren't helped by the provision in the state's legalization initiative that retroactively eliminates penalties for some prior cannabis crimes.
The Missouri secretary of state cleared for signature collection a cannabis legalization initiative that would, according to its official ballot title, "legally allow people to drive under the influence of marijuana," among other things.
The Denver Post looks at the question of where people can smoke marijuana in Colorado and why legislation to define "open and public" failed this session.
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A Miami, Florida city attorney compared legalizing medical marijuana to legalizing pedophilia.
ACTION ALERT: Tell Congress To Respect State Marijuana Laws


Drug Policy Alliance board member Carl Hart cut a trip to the Philippines short in the wake of death threats he received after criticizing the country's bloody "drug war."
Prohibitionist organization Smart Approaches to Marijuana is attacking Congressman Tom Garrett (R-VA) over his sponsorship of a bill to deschedule marijuana.


Legal analysis from a former U.S. Justice Department official who now teaches at UC Hastings argues that President Trump's recent signing statement can't undo Congress's prohibition on federal interference in state medical cannabis laws.
  • "Trump’s statement presumes that he bears some obligation (and thus some prerogative) to enforce federal marijuana prohibitions without regard to congressional appropriations. But that view is just wrong. Law enforcement is a resource-dependent executive power. In consequence, the only law the President is duty-bound to execute is the appropriations restriction itself. That means his Justice Department also must adhere to Congress’s will."
The Lexington Herald Leader editorial board is cheering pushback from U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) against the Justice Department's ramped up war on drugs.
The Orange County Register editorial board is also slamming Sessions's drug war policies.
The Detroit News editorial board doesn't like the Sessions drug war memo either.
Libertarian commentator John Stossel called the attorney general's new drug prosecution policy "cruel and stupid."


For News: "Legalized marijuana turns Colorado resort town into homeless magnet"


A new analysis from Marijuana Business Daily projects that annual legal marijuana sales could reach $17 billion by 2021.
Cannabist founding editor Ricardo Baca announced his next project: Grasslands, a content agency for the marijuana industry.
Journalist Alex Halperin was issued a subpoena for his reporting notes by a medical cannabis company's co-founder in a case against his former colleagues.
Workers at a Canadian medical cannabis dispensary unionized.


Musician Willie Nelson wants U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions to try marijuana.
Khloe Kardashian was apparently filmed holding a joint on the latest episode of "Keeping Up with the Kardashians."
The Twitter account for the band Smash Mouth quote retweeted conservative political operative Roger Stone criticizing Jeff Sessions's stance on marijuana.
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