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DEA to Reschedule Cannabis... Maybe—Do you need another reason to love Elizabeth Warren? Okay, here's one. Because of a letter the Massachusetts senator wrote in July 2015 asking the government to "facilitate scientific research on the potential health benefits of marijuana"—which was signed by not one but two Oregon senators, Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden—the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has announced they will decide by July if they plan to reschedule cannabis. The government has five different designated categories, or schedules, of drugs, and cannabis has always been listed as a Schedule I drug along with heroin and LSD, all of which are considered as having "no currently accepted medical use" and a "high potential for abuse." This current designation for weed has about as much credibility as a 1981 Afterschool Special called Timmy Shot Up Some Marijuana, Turned Gay, and Died.
Rescheduling cannabis won't make it legal on the federal level, but it would allow researchers to actually, you know, research the benefits and risks of cannabis. The US Food and Drug Administration has submitted its research on the plant's safety and effectiveness to the DEA, along with its recommendations. (I don't know what they suggested.)
But there is hope, as the DEA went into great detail regarding the supply of cannabis available at the University of Mississippi, the only place where the feds currently grow weed (calm down, it's for research). The DEA explained that if there were a greater demand for cannabis for research purposes, they would be open to licensing additional growers. This would be fantastic news, because the marijuana Ole Miss produces is, in clinical terms, "schwag." Not to mention botanists' cool points would be off the charts if they could drop this at their next cocktail party: "What do I do? Well, I grow weed... for the feds."
Senator Asshole Says What?—Unfortunately, not all of our nation's senators are enlightened. Shocking news, I know. A senator from the great forward-thinking state of Alabama, Republican Jeff Sessions, dropped some heavy wisdom bombs this week during a hearing titled "Is the Department of Justice Adequately Protecting the Public from the Impact of State Recreational Marijuana Legalization?" (Answer: Yes. Yes, it is. Next question.) This hearing was put together by Senators Chuck Grassley (Iowa) and Dianne Feinstein (California), longtime prohibitionists, so naturally, there was much handwringing and absurd testimony. But the low point came from Sessions, who, harking back to the good ol' days of Nancy Reagan's remarkably unsuccessful "Just Say No" campaign, drawled:
"I can't tell you how concerning it is for me, emotionally and personally, to see the possibility that we will reverse the progress that we've made.... It was the prevention movement that really was so positive, and it led to this decline. The creating of knowledge that this drug is dangerous, it cannot be played with, it is not funny, it's not something to laugh about, and trying to send that message with clarity, that good people don't smoke marijuana."
Where to begin? You can't fix stupid, so let's not even try. Passing baseless, hate-filled moral judgment upon harmless personal choices made by adults is pretty much how Alabama Republicans spend their days. Let's all be "not good people" together, shall we?
Well, It Beats "Moda Center"—Finally, let us turn our eyes to our cousins in cannabis, the state of Colorado. The stadium where the Denver Broncos play is currently named Sports Authority Field at Mile High Stadium, which just drips off the tongue. One problem: Sports Authority recently filed for bankruptcy, and announced plans to close 140 of their stores. It's been reported that they owe more than $3.6 million to the Denver Broncos for naming rights, money that's due on August 1.
Enter Native Roots, arguably the state's most successful dispensary chain. They blew up from a single store to 14 since Colorado enacted legalization in 2014. Native Roots announced their intentions on April 1, leading many to believe it was an April Fools' joke, but their owner insists it's on the level, and the chain is vying for the opportunity to rebrand the stadium as Native Roots Field at Mile High. With the strict and asinine anti-cannabis policy held by the National Football League, though, don't hold your breath.