NEWS: VA admits they can talk to veterans about medical cannabis; DEBUNK: Rep. Pete Sessions’ insane claim that marijuana today is “300 times more potent” than 1973; GUEST: Keith Stroup, founder of NORML, on the future of marijuana legalization as we move on to non-initiative, non-coastal states.
Despite repeated claims to the contrary, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is now admitting that it “can look at marijuana as an option for treating Veterans.” The stance, which comes in the form of new content uploaded to a VA webpage last week, first noted by Marijuana Majority, contrasts with a letter that Veterans Affairs Sec. David Shulkin sent to members of Congress in December, less than two months ago. “Federal law restricts VA’s ability to conduct research involving medical marijuana, or to refer veterans to such projects,” he claimed at the time. There have been no changes to federal cannabis laws in the interim. The update to the webpage comes as Shulkin and the department are under increasing pressure on medical cannabis and completely unrelated issues.
Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) announced on Thursday that he has lifted holds on certain Department of Justice nominees as a show of good faith for continued positive conversations with DOJ leadership, including Deputy Assistant Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and the Acting United States Attorney for Colorado, aimed at finding a path forward that respects states’ rights and clarifies the DOJ priorities regarding marijuana enforcement. “Because we have had positive conversations, I have decided to lift my holds on the Assistant Attorney General for National Security, United States Attorneys, and United States Marshals as an act of good faith. My holds on all other DOJ nominees will remain in place as discussions continue.” Senator Gardner’s holds on other DOJ nominees will continue as he works toward a solution that protects Coloradans’ rights. Senator Gardner also remains committed to the bipartisan work he has been leading to find a legislative solution to the issue.
People in Israel who use cannabis in public will not be subject to criminal proceedings until they are caught for the fourth time, according to a Public Security Ministry bill approved by the Ministerial Committee for Legislation on Sunday. The Jerusalem Post reports that enforcement will focus on the public use of cannabis. Those caught for the first time will be fined NIS 1,000 (about $282) – twice that when caught for the second time. On the third occurrence, the case will be closed under a conditional agreement, under which the offender agrees not smoke again – and on the fourth occasion, criminal proceedings will be opened. The bill, spearheaded by Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, still has to undergo three votes in the Knesset before it can become law. Meanwhile, the Israeli government failed to follow through on previous hints that it would approve of medical cannabis exports, leaving licensed producers facing millions of dollars in crop losses.
Marijuana Moment reports that lawmakers in the United Kingdom are expected to debate medical cannabis legislation on Friday. The text of the proposal from MP Paul Flynn (Labour) is still being drafted, but it is anticipated to be far-reaching in scope and reschedule cannabis under British law. Recent UK press reports have focused on the case of Alfie Dingley, a six-year-old boy whose family is seeking government approval for him to use cannabis to treat severe epilepsy. The government of Prime Minister Theresa May (Conservative) rejected the family’s appeal this week. Members of various parties — including Conservatives — tore into the government’s position of refusing to let a suffering child access helpful medicine. In remarks on the House floor on Tuesday, Flynn advised Dingley’s family to disregard criminal prohibition and provide him with the cannabis he needs. “I would urge them to break the law, because the law in this case is an ass,” he said.
A proposal in Oklahoma to make it more difficult for citizens to enact laws by petition is apparently being driven by a fear of marijuana legalization. Tulsa World reports that term-limited Rep. John Enns (R-OK41) is proposing legislation that would alter Oklahoma’s citizen initiative process by imposing an increase in the number of registered voters needed to get an initiative on the ballot, as well as requiring a minimum threshold of signatures gathered from each Oklahoma county. “A lot of what’s going around in these other states, like legalization of recreational marijuana, has been done through initiative petition,” Enns said in explaining his bill to the House Rules Committee on Tuesday. “And (constituents) are like, ‘We don’t want to see that happen in Oklahoma.'” This summer, Oklahomans will vote on Question 788, a citizens’ initiative to legalize medical marijuana. Last month, a Sooner Poll found 62 percent of Oklahomans in favor.
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The one good thing from the canceled show ‘Disjointed’; The sneaky secret in Virginia CBD oil law; Oklahoma lawmakers seek to make citizen initiative harder, citing legal weed; Mexican cartels shifting to heroin and meth, since legalization took their weed business.