Podcast available at https://www.patreon.com/posts/18286435.
If Donald Trump was sending a message to GOP leadership that it’s time to reform marijuana laws, they didn’t hear it. While the president was assuring Colorado Senator Cory Gardner that he’d support congressional efforts to fix issues plaguing the legal marijuana states, the powerful House Rules Committee was hearing a proposal from Colorado Congressman Jared Polis. [POLIS CLIP: “This would revise section 280E of the tax code to exempt marijuana sales. In effect, without this amendment that we can include here today, legal businesses in my state are forced to pay an effective federal tax rate as high as 70 percent.”] Polis’s amendment was defeated on a 7-to-4 vote, with all the committee Republicans opposed.
POLITICO reports that former Congressman Patrick Kennedy, co-founder of the anti-marijuana legalization group Project SAM, is “reaping well over $1 million” from opioid manufacturers and rehab industries. In his work with Project SAM Kennedy has lobbied to oppose all efforts to establish state medical marijuana programs. Last summer, Kennedy warned that the marijuana industry would replicate the devastation wrought by the opioid manufacturers like Purdue Pharma. [KENNEDY CLIP: “The notion that we would give a financial incentive for a kind of a new Purdue Pharma – this is the Big Tobacco of our time. Big Marijuana will now have a financial incentive of marketing to people which is the same problem we saw that got us into this crisis on the opioid crisis.”]
Two new state polls are showing majority support for marijuana legalization, but the red state supports it more. A poll conducted by Monmouth University in New Jersey finds that 59 percent of adults support the legalization of marijuana. New governor Phil Murphy has promised to do just that. [MURPHY CLIP: “The criminalization of marijuana has only served to clog our courts and cloud people’s futures. So, we will legalize marijuana.”] But in Texas, a new poll from Quinnipiac University found that 61 percent of adults in the Lone Star State support legalization. Despite that support, Texas governor Greg Abbott is opposed to even the legalization of medical marijuana. [ABBOTT CLIP: “There are federal laws concerning the use of drugs that Texas wants to continue to abide by, because we want to do all we can to ensure that we are going to limit the expansion of illegal drugs, making them legal. That’s just the way Texas is.”]
Rideshare company Lyft is partnering with the stoner movie Super Troopers 2 to help tokers get home safely on 4/20. “Lyft wants to be a reliable, and affordable partner for marijuana enthusiasts,” the ridesharing company said in an announcement. “That’s why during April 20 we will also be offering up to $4.20 off your next ride.” Riders can also change the icons in their app from cars to Super Troopers characters by entering the promo code LYFTTROOPERS. Characters from the film also appear in a web video promotion for the 4/20 holiday. [TROOPERS CLIP: “And now that we’ve heard that potheads are entitled to smoke freely, we take our job more seriously that ever. So, this 4/20, if you’re trying to get higher than a fruit bat, don’t drive. Call a Lyft ride instead.”] The promotion is only valid on the legal marijuana cities of Denver, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, and Portland.
Senator Bernie Sanders has signed on to the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act introduced by Senator Cory Booker. Senator Booker joined Senator Sanders on the latter’s Facebook page to discuss the issue. [SANDERS CLIP: “Nobody I know thinks that it makes any sense at all that under the federal Controlled Substances Act, you have marijuana as a Schedule I drug alongside of heroin, which is a killer drug. Very few people think that that makes sense. And I think people increasingly understand that Prohibition didn’t work in the 1920s; it’s not going to work now. Half of the American people have smoked or are smoking marijuana. Do you think you can have laws that make it illegal for what a majority of the American people are doing?” BOOKER: “Well, the hypocrisy is Senators, Congresspeople, openly admit now using it. Two of the last three presidents admitted to drugs much more harsh than marijuana.”]