Tag Archives: marijuana

"We are very optimistic that the case is going to come out the way it should, which is that the Controlled Substances Act is going to be found unconstitutional,"

AlexisInThePatchesOfHopeGardenBeforeGroundBreaking

Jeff Sessions’s War on Pot Goes to Court, Attorney General Will Fight 12-Year-Old With Epilepsy

By Kate Sheridan On 1/18/18 at 7:59 AM

Updated | A 12-year-old suing the federal government may have a whiff of adorableness. But for Alexis Bortell, who filed a lawsuit against Attorney General Jeff Sessions last fall, it’s a choice she had to make to save her life. Alexis has epilepsy, and Sessions has made it his mission to make it impossible for her to access the only drug that has kept her seizures at bay: cannabis.

A Scream of Terror

Alexis doesn’t remember her first seizure. But her father, Dean Bortell, does.

“We were literally folding clothes, and Alexis was sleeping on the couch,” Bortell told Newsweek. “All of a sudden, I heard her make this shriek—I mean, it was a scream of terror,” he said. “I look over, and Alexis is stiff as a board, on her back, spasming.”

At first, Bortell suspected his daughter had a brain-eating amoeba on account of headlines about them that summer and took her to the hospital. Within hours, it became clear something else was wrong. Alexis was diagnosed with epilepsy in 2013.

Three years ago, Alexis began taking medical marijuana, and her seizures disappeared. But that treatment option is threatened by an aggressive federal crackdown on medicinal cannabis led by Sessions, who is also the acting director of the Drug Enforcement Administration. 

Her day in court—February 14, at a New York City federal courthouse—is fast approaching. Alexis won’t be there in person, but her lawyer, Michael Hiller, thinks the ruling will go their way.

“We are very optimistic that the case is going to come out the way it should, which is that the Controlled Substances Act is going to be found unconstitutional,” Hiller said. Several other plaintiffs—a former professional football player, a veteran and another child—are also included.

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Sen. Cory Booker was LIVE!

cory booker live

Cory Booker was live.


I’m excited to join Representatives Barbara Lee and Ro Khanna right now for a live press call announcing the House introduction of the #MarijuanaJusticeAct—a bill that I introduced in the Senate late last year.

The Marijuana Justice Act aims to end the federal prohibition on of marijuana in the United States by legalizing marijuana at the federal level, and incentivizing states to legalize it at the state level if they disproportionately arrest or incarcerate poor people or people of color. For decades, the failed War on Drugs has locked up millions of nonviolent drug offenders—especially for marijuana-related offenses—at an incredible cost of lost human potential, torn apart families and communities, and taxpayer dollars. The effects of the drug war have had a disproportionately devastating impact on Americans of color and the poor. Our bill aims to right some of the wrongs of our failed War on Drugs—particularly especially for those communities most hardest-hit by these failed policies—and do the right thing for public safety while reducing our overflowing prison population.

SOURCE LINK

VIEW THE LIVE VIDEO!

https://www.facebook.com/corybooker/videos/10157597581027228/

Ron Paul: Jeff Sessions should be fired over marijuana decision

By Alexandra King, CNN   Updated 9:00 AM ET, Sun January 7, 2018

(CNN)Ron Paul, the former GOP congressman and onetime presidential candidate, called on Attorney General Jeff Sessions to step down Saturday after he moved this week to rescind the Obama-era policy of restricting federal enforcement of marijuana laws in states where the drug is legal.

Sessions’ action essentially shifts federal policy from the hands-off approach adopted under the Obama administration to unleashing federal prosecutors to decide individually how to prioritize resources to crack down on pot possession, distribution and cultivation of the drug in those states.

Currently, recreational marijuana is legal in eight states and the District of Columbia. Twenty-two states also allow some form of medical marijuana, and 15 allow a lesser medical marijuana extract.

Paul told CNN’s Michael Smerconish that Americans should have a choice on marijuana use, and he called Sessions’ actions “unconstitutional.”

    “He represents something that is so un-American, as far as I’m concerned,” the Texas libertarian said.

    “The war on drugs, to me, is a war on liberty. I think that we overly concentrate on the issue of the drug itself, and I concentrate on the issue of freedom of choice, on doing things that are of high risk,” he said. “And we permit high risk all the time. … Generally, we allow people to eat what they want, and that is very risky. But we do overly concentrate on what people put into their bodies.”

    Paul called the war on drugs a “totally illegal system.”

    “Just because you legalize something doesn’t mean everyone’s going to do it, and then if you look at the consequences, of the war? Why don’t the people just look and read and study Prohibition? … (a) total failure. And the war on drugs is every bit as bad and worse,” he said.

    “People should have the right or responsibility of dealing with what is dangerous,” Paul insisted. “Once you get into this thing about government is going to protect us against ourselves, there’s no protection of liberty.”

    However, he said, he didn’t expect Sessions to be successful.

    “I predict that Sessions is not going to be victorious on this,” Paul told Smerconish.

    “And unfortunately, it’s for reasons that I don’t get excited about. It’s because the states want to collect all of those taxes (on marijuana), so it becomes this tax issue,” he said.

    CONTINUE READING AND VIDEO!

    Justice Department Issues Memo on Marijuana Enforcement 1/4/2018

    Department of Justice

    Office of Public Affairs


    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

    Thursday, January 4, 2018

    Justice Department Issues Memo on Marijuana Enforcement

    The Department of Justice today issued a memo on federal marijuana enforcement policy announcing a return to the rule of law and the rescission of previous guidance documents. Since the passage of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) in 1970, Congress has generally prohibited the cultivation, distribution, and possession of marijuana.

    In the memorandum, Attorney General Jeff Sessions directs all U.S. Attorneys to enforce the laws enacted by Congress and to follow well-established principles when pursuing prosecutions related to marijuana activities. This return to the rule of law is also a return of trust and local control to federal prosecutors who know where and how to deploy Justice Department resources most effectively to reduce violent crime, stem the tide of the drug crisis, and dismantle criminal gangs.

    “It is the mission of the Department of Justice to enforce the laws of the United States, and the previous issuance of guidance undermines the rule of law and the ability of our local, state, tribal, and federal law enforcement partners to carry out this mission,” said Attorney General Jeff Sessions. “Therefore, today’s memo on federal marijuana enforcement simply directs all U.S. Attorneys to use previously established prosecutorial principles that provide them all the necessary tools to disrupt criminal organizations, tackle the growing drug crisis, and thwart violent crime across our country.”

    Attachment(s):

    Download Marijuana Enforcement 1.4.18

    Component(s):

    Office of the Attorney General

    Press Release Number:

    18-8

    Updated January 4, 2018

    SOURCE LINK

    The legacy of Manfred Donike

    Image result for manfred donike

    For all of his hard work attending school and graduating as a German Chemist, while participating in the Tour de France in the 60’s, Manfred Donike was most widely known as an “doping expert” and is credited with the first accurate urine testing procedures.

    He was Director for the Institute for Biochemistry at the German Sports University Cologne and head of drug testing operations at the 1972 Munich Olympics.

    Manfred Donike, at 61 years old, suffered a major heart attack and died in flight to Johannesburg to set up a drug testing lab for the All-African Games in August of 1995. 

    There is a Manfred Donike Institute, and a Manfred Donike Workshop which is closed to the public.  There is also a Manfred Donike Award !

    At the time of his death, Dr. Don Catlin, head of the Paul Ziffrin Analytical Laboratory at UCLA stated:

    “He devised all the chemical methods of identifying prohibited substances.  This is a staggering blow (to the anti-doping movement), but we will recover…”LINK

    The first thing I saw on google January 3rd,  while browsing the news was an article at the Daily Beast written by Christopher Moraff.

    Jeff Sessions’ Marijuana Adviser Wants Doctors to Drug-Test Everyone

    I had to look two or three times with my glasses on just to make sure of what I was seeing.  I checked to see if it was a spoof – and it is not – as it is being reported by a number of news sites.

    I immediately thought to myself, “I wonder if Manfred Donike knew what would happen when he came up with the procedure for drug-testing?”  Did he have any idea that this testing would be used to imprison people throughout the World?  Did he know how many Children would be separated from their Parents for nominal use of any substance that the Government saw fit to deem illicit?  Did he know how many people would go to jail or prison or possibly a mental health facility for smoking Marijuana?

    Then, on January 4th we wake up to this news!

    Sessions to rescind Obama-era rules on non-interference with states where pot is legal

    Manfred Donike was appointed director of the Institute of Biochemistry at the German Sport University in Cologne in 1977, he is THE man who was responsible for the development of drug testing which is still used today.

    Single handedly he is responsible for more people being imprisoned or confined in facilities for drug use than any other person on Earth.   Whether or not he realized at the time what would happen we will probably never know.   Continuing long after his death the long arm of drug testing has nestled into every Country on the face of the planet and threatens to control all of Society at large for a long time to come… 

    His lab work also led to the massive drug bust at the 1983 Pan American Games  LINK

    Dr. Robert Dupont formerly of NIDA, Kevin Sabet of Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM), and several other notable anti-legalization Activists joined Mr. Sessions in a meeting to discuss the situation regarding the many States who have “legalized” Marijuana in December. 

    “I think it’s a big issue for America, for the country, and I’m of the general view that this is not a healthy substance,”  USAG Jeff Sessions  LINK       VIDEO LINK

    As the meeting was closed-door there was no initial reports except to the fact that it did take place.  Mr. Sessions said this about the meeting…

    We’re working on that very hard right now,” he said on Wednesday. “We had meetings yesterday and talked about it at some length. It’s my view that the use of marijuana is detrimental and we should not give encouragement in any way to it. And it represents a federal violation which is in the law and is subject to being enforced, and our priorities will have to be focused on all the things and challenges that we face.”(USAG Sessions) LINK

    As of this morning, we know what he decided to do!  The “COLE MEMO” will be rescinded.

    (CNN)In a seismic shift, Attorney General Jeff Sessions will announce Thursday that he is rescinding a trio of memos from the Obama administration that adopted a policy of non-interference with marijuana-friendly state laws, according to a source with knowledge of the decision. LINK

    If anyone thinks that it is not feasible for the Federal Government to drug-test everyone, they would be wrong.  The health-care system is set up as a monitoring system.  At some point everyone will have to see a doctor for illness. 

    A national model bill Dr. DuPont wrote in 2010 called for testing  anyone stopped for suspicion of DUI for all controlled substances, and arresting them if any trace amount at all is detected.

    “Doctors already check for things like cholesterol and blood sugar, why not test for illicit drugs.”

    — Dr. Robert DuPont

    Ultimately, it will all lead you back to Agenda 21/30.  The total control of the people through the food and medicine (and plants) you consume.  Add to that drug testing at your local PCP and the NWO has us rounded up pretty well.

    The principle of fair play forbids saying someone is guilty without evidence.”

    Therefore, we MUST have evidence.  And what better way to have the evidence at hand than to routinely urine test every citizen  as part of our healthcare, as a way to keep us free from addiction?  Not to mention the fact that it is all conveniently entered into a computerized health care system for easy access by any Federal entity that is deemed appropriate at the time.  Sounds like a great plan to me…(!!) if I were interested in maintaining total control over the population and keeping the prison industrial complex flowing…

    Additionally, there was an article written by R. William Davis, entitled “Shadow of the Swastika – The Elkhorn Manifesto” which outlines the historical avenues which were taken to get us where we are at today.  Today, on the anniversary of Gatewood Galbraith’s death I invite you to take a look at it.  It is a very interesting and informative read.

    After the morning news today there isn’t much more to be said about what is happening unless they literally declare martial law across the Nation just to control the potheads.

    I can’t wait for the new “memo” to come out!

    I’ll keep you informed…

    RELATED:

    “Rights and freedoms may in no case be exercised contrary to purposes and principles of the United Nations.” HOW THE UNITED NATIONS IS STEALING OUR “UNALIENABLE RIGHTS” TO GROW FOOD AND MEDICINE THROUGH THE U.N. CONVENTION ON NARCOTIC DRUGS AND AGENDA 21.

    IMG_20140509_134339

    https://www.thedailybeast.com/jeff-sessions-marijuana-adviser-wants-doctors-to-drug-test-everyone

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=txukr5zgHnw

    https://www.c-span.org/video/?438309-1/attorney-general-sessions-makes-remarks-drug-policy

    https://www.cbsnews.com/news/flo-jo-passed-all-drug-tests/

    https://www.marijuanamoment.net/jeff-sessions-just-met-anti-marijuana-activists/

    https://www.marijuanamoment.net/trump-administration-considering-marijuana-policy-changes-sessions-says/

    https://fis.dshs-koeln.de/portal/en/organisations/manfreddonikeinstitut(370032ec-cc3e-4785-b263-4c184c4f91f8).html

    https://www.agilent.com/en/manfred-donike-award

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27732762

    http://mdi-workshop.com/login.php

    http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1995-08-22/news/9508220085_1_doping-chinese-athletes-drug-testing

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Munich_massacre

    https://www.justice.gov/iso/opa/resources/3052013829132756857467.pdf

    https://kentuckymarijuanaparty.com/in-remembrance-of/gatewood/

    https://kentuckymarijuanaparty.com/2015/10/26/rights-and-freedoms-may-in-no-case-be-exercised-contrary-to-purposes-and-principles-of-the-united-nations-how-the-united-nations-is-stealing-our-unalienable-rights-to-grow/

    Sessions to rescind Obama-era rules on non-interference with states where pot is legal

    By Laura Jarrett, CNN Updated 10:07 AM ET, Thu January 4, 2018

    sessions mj

    (CNN)  In a seismic shift, Attorney General Jeff Sessions will announce Thursday that he is rescinding a trio of memos from the Obama administration that adopted a policy of non-interference with marijuana-friendly state laws, according to a source with knowledge of the decision.

    While many states have decriminalized or legalized marijuana use, the drug is still illegal under federal law, creating a conflict between federal and state law.

    Sessions: DOJ looking at 'rational' marijuana policy

    Sessions: DOJ looking at ‘rational’ marijuana policy

    The main Justice Department memo addressing the issue, known as the “Cole memo” for then-Deputy Attorney General Jim Cole in 2013, set forth new priorities for federal prosecutors operating in states where the drug had been legalized for medical or other adult use. It represented a major shift from strict enforcement to a more hands-off approach, so long as they didn’t threaten other federal priorities, such as preventing the distribution of the drug to minors and cartels.

      The memo will be rescinded but it’s not immediately clear whether Sessions will issue new guidance in its place or simply revert back to older policies that left states with legal uncertainty about enforcement of federal law.

      The decision had been closely watched since Sessions was sworn in. He told reporters in November he was examining a “rational” policy.

      CONTINUE READING AND TO VIDEO!

      Prominent cannabis advocate Dana Larsen called Mr Fantino’s decision to enter the market "shameful" and "unacceptable".

      The cops and politicians joining Canada’s cannabis business

      By Jessica Murphy BBC, Toronto   29 December 2017

      Former police chief and Conservative cabinet minister Julian Fantino speaks at his company, Aleafia

      As Canada moves towards legalising recreational cannabis, there’s a surprising group of entrepreneurs jumping into the market: cops and politicians.

      In 2015, former Toronto police chief Julian Fantino was “completely opposed” to marijuana legalisation and supported mandatory jail time for minor cannabis offences.

      Mr Fantino, who was also a Cabinet minister in the former Conservative government, criticised the now governing-Liberals’ plan to legalise the drug, saying it would make smoking marijuana “a normal, everyday activity for Canadians”.

      In November, along with former RCMP deputy commissioner Raf Souccar, he opened Aleafia, a “health network” that helps patients access medical cannabis.

      He also had a change of heart on legalisation, telling the Toronto Star newspaper he now supports it as long as it keeps pot away from children and criminals.

      In an interview with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, he said his 2015 comments were made “in a different era”.

      Mr Fantino said his turning point on medical marijuana came when he was minister of veterans affairs and met ex-soldiers who relied on it.

      Marijuana activists who have fought against prohibition for decades – and sometimes faced subsequent criminal charges for their activities – were angry over Mr Fantino’s reversal on pot.

      Prominent cannabis advocate Dana Larsen called Mr Fantino’s decision to enter the market “shameful” and “unacceptable”.

      “I would not buy from those people,” he says, adding he would tell other marijuana users to do the same.

      There is also concern the pot counterculture that flourished for decades will be elbowed out of a likely multi-billion dollar industry by a new corporate sector.

      Mr Fantino is arguably among the more controversial entrepreneurs to join the “green rush”.

      But a number of high-profile former police officers and politicians have jumped into the industry in recent years, including Mr Fantino’s Aleafia colleague and fellow ex-MP Gary Goodyear, former Ontario premier Ernie Eves and former deputy Toronto police chief Kim Derry.

      Medical cannabis has been legal in Canada since 2001.

      The industry got a boost in 2013 when federal government regulations shifted to allow licensed commercial producers to grow, package and distribute medicinal cannabis to patients.

      Registered patients have also skyrocketed from 24,000 in June 2015 to more than 200,000 in June 2017.

      Many of companies supplying that market have plans to expand into the recreational product when the product is legal next summer.

      In December, the federal statistics agency estimated Canadians consumed an estimated C$5bn ($3.8bn; £2.9bn) to C$6.2bn worth of marijuana in 2015. Canadians spend about C$7bn a year on wine.

      The government is pitching the legislation winding its way through Parliament as a way to keep pot out of the hands of minors and to undercut organised crime.

      Derek Ogden spent more than 25 years with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, including as head of the force’s drug squad.

      He understands the frustration of activist watching the people they battled for decades now entering the industry.

      “There’s absolutely no way Canada would be in this position right now as far as taking steps to legalise had it not been for the work that the activists did,” he says.

      But Mr Ogden, who now runs National Access Cannabis, a consultancy that helps patients access medical marijuana, says it’s no surprise that ex-cops are in demand.

      Licensed producers are hungry for people with security experience who can get clearances and who understand Canadian drug laws.

      “One of the ideal groups of candidates to slide into those positions were former law enforcement personnel,” he says.

      Mr Ogden himself got into the business around 2014, when Canadian and American producers hired him to consult on security protocols.

      His nascent consulting company was “overwhelmed” by the demand.

      Mr Ogden no longer believes that people who use medicinal cannabis are simply doing so “to avoid the legal implications” of using the drug recreationally.

      He had an “aha moment” after meeting a respected physician who relied on cannabis during a bout with cancer. Mr Ogden now uses it himself for a chronic health issue.

      He concedes changing his mind on its recreational use was “a tougher one”.

      Former British Columbia municipal politician Barinder Rasode “grew up thinking [pot] was a gateway drug that ruined people’s lives”.

      Now she’s president of the new National Institute for Cannabis Health and Education, which researches cannabis production and its use in Canada.

      Marijuana activists have done “an amazing job” at highlighting problems with prohibition but with legalisation on the horizon, “having many voices at the table is really, really important”, she says.

      “I don’t think the fact that somebody at some point had a different opinion about cannabis should exclude them,” she adds.

      “I actually think their voices are extremely valuable.”

      Marijuana is the most commonly used illegal drug in Canada. Almost 60% of drug offences in the country in 2016 were cannabis-related.

      Mr Larsen says he doesn’t “want to put narcs in jail”. But he believes police and politicians who supported prohibition and are now entering the cannabis business should admit they were wrong.

      “I want people who were victimised by cannabis prohibition – who went to jail, who had their families torn apart, who lost their children, who couldn’t access medical cannabis – I want their voices to be heard,” he said.

      CONTINUE READING AND TO VIEW VIDEO!

      Marijuana firms in cloudy haze over banking woes

      (Reuters) – Zach Lazarus, chief executive officer of A Green Alternative, a marijuana dispensary in San Diego, California, has lost count every time he re-opened a bank account after it was closed because of his connection to the cannabis industry.

      Lazarus has had to play a game of “whack-a-mole” with banks, likening his frustrations to a popular arcade game in which a player repeatedly gets rid of something only to have it re-appear somewhere else.

      “We have had Chase Manhattan and Wells Fargo shut us down … my wife’s personal bank accounts and credit cards have been shut down as well, all because I‘m in the cannabis industry,” he says.

      Lazarus and other marijuana business owners in the $8 billion industry resort to cash-only transactions for business and to pay employees because they cannot get access to banks.

      Despite making legal inroads in the United States, with California the latest state to legalize marijuana for recreational use starting Jan. 1, owners still feel the pinch.

      The main problem is the classification of marijuana as a Schedule I controlled substance by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, alongside heroin, LSD, and ecstasy – making it almost impossible to get banking services.

      Banks are governed by federal laws and doing business or extending services to the firms means tougher scrutiny, often at significant costs, as banks have to do their own due diligence to prove transactions are legal.

      They are required to prove that the firms are not selling to minors, funding crime groups, and not using the pretext of selling marijuana to push illegal drugs among other things.

      A poll conducted by industry publication Marijuana Business Daily in 2015 showed 60 percent of the companies operating in the cannabis industry reported not even having a basic bank account.

      UNDERGROUND ECONOMY

      The void makes it hard for cannabis companies to conduct basic financial transactions such as deposit money, receive federal insurance or pay taxes.

      “Most marijuana companies have a courier service, or a Brinks truck, or a big wheelbarrow full of cash that they send to the Internal Revenue Service to pay their taxes,” says Stuart Titus, CEO of California-based Medical Marijuana Inc (MJNA.PK).

      With an estimated 165,000 to 230,000 full and part-time workers, according to Marijuana Business Daily, many marijuana business owners pay their employees in cash. bit.ly/2nQBeYw

      “It is basically a kind of underground, cash-based economy,” said Titus.

      Sapphire Blackwood, director of public affairs for the Association of Cannabis professionals, says she got paid in cash at her last firm, a San Diego-based cannabis consulting company.

      “Because I get paid in cash, and even though I did no illegal activity, I’ve had to deposit so much cash every week and every so often … I felt like I was being stared at by the banks. It’s frightening,” she said.

      Blackwood’s current firm also had banking problems. All the deposit accounts were closed because the word “cannabis” was in the name of the company, she said.

      SHADY WORKAROUNDS

      Workarounds exist but most are borderline unethical.

      Medical Marijuana Inc0.17923

      MJNA.PKOTC Markets Group – (Current Information)

      +0.02(+15.48%)

      MJNA.PK

      • MJNA.PK

      A widely-used practice is to create a shell or a holding company whose operations are acceptable to banks, and conduct financial transactions through the holding company.

      “In many states that have legalized cannabis, pot companies deposit cash under a different description,” says Tim McGraw, CEO of Canna-Hub, a California-based real estate development and property management company for the cannabis industry.

      “A lot of operators set up accounts as real estate management companies or call themselves ‘medical marijuana’ companies when they are anything but,” McGraw added.

      Others use personal bank accounts to deposit cash earned from the sale of products, wire payments to employees and pay companies.

      However, California’s state treasurer John Chiang wants the state to consider creating a public/government-owned bank that could serve cannabis companies.

      Chiang’s office formed a group made up of representatives from law enforcement agencies, banks, taxing authorities, local government and the cannabis industry.

      It held several meetings with owners to discuss ways to alleviate banking challenges and make information more available to banks for better transparency.

      Talks have also begun to form a multi-state group to lobby Congress to ease federal regulations for marijuana companies and remove the Schedule I drug classification.

      But it will be an uphill battle. In November, Attorney General Jeff Sessions at a congressional hearing said former President Barack Obama-era guidelines on cannabis will remain, meaning even though a state can legalize marijuana, it will continue to be illegal on the federal level.

      To view a graphic on Legalization legislation jpg, click on this link: tmsnrt.rs/2AC91Hk

      Reporting By Aparajita Saxena in Bengaluru; Editing by Bernard Orr

      CONTINUE READING…

      Labor unions see organizing California marijuana workers as a way to grow

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      Unions have caught a whiff of a rare opportunity to organize a whole new set of workers as recreational marijuana becomes legal in California.

      The United Farm Workers, Teamsters and United Food and Commercial Workers are looking to unionize the tens of thousands of potential workers involved in the legal weed game, from planters to rollers to sellers. The move could provide a boost to organized labor’s lagging membership — if infighting doesn’t get in the way.

      The United Farm Workers, co-founded by iconic labor leader Cesar Chavez, says that organizing an industry rooted in agriculture is a natural fit, and that growers could label their products with the union’s logo as a marketing strategy.

      “If you’re a cannabis worker, the UFW wants to talk with you,” national Vice President Armando Elenes said.

      But United Food and Commercial Workers, which represents grocery store employees, meat packers and retail workers, registered its intent to organize cannabis workers across the country.

      “We would hope they respect our jurisdiction,” UFCW spokesman Jeff Ferro said.

      Teamsters organizer Kristin Heidelbach said there’s no need for unions to battle each other. There will be plenty of workers needing representation as small cannabis businesses run by “happy stoner” types give way to large pharmaceutical corporations, she said.

      The green rush that begins in 2018 is an opportunity for unions to regain influence that began declining in the late 1950s, said David Zonderman, a professor of labor history at North Carolina State University. But discord between unions could upend it, as could resistance from cannabis business leaders.

      California's top marijuana regulator talks about what to expect Jan. 1, when legal pot market opens

      “Are they going to be new age and cool with it,” Zonderman said, “or like other businesspeople, say, ‘Heck, no. We’re going to fight them tooth and nail’?”

      Last year, California voters approved sales of recreational marijuana to those 21 and older at licensed shops beginning Jan. 1.

      Cannabis in California already is a $22-billion industry, including medical marijuana and a black market that accounts for most of that total, according to UC Davis agriculture economist Philip Martin. Medical marijuana has been legal since 1996, when California was the first state to approve such a law.

      Labor leaders estimate recreational pot in California could employ at least 100,000 workers from the north coast to the Sierra Nevada foothills and the San Joaquin Valley, harvesting and trimming the plants, extracting ingredients to put in liquids and edibles, and driving it to stores and front doors.

      Pot workers have organized in other states, but California should be especially friendly territory for unions, said Jamie Schau, a senior analyst with Brightfield Group, which does marketing analysis on the marijuana industry.

      The state has one of the nation’s highest minimum wages and the largest number of unionized workers across industries. Its laws also tend to favor employees.

      At least some workers say they’re open to unionizing.

      “I’m always down to listen to what could be a good deal for me and my family,” said Thomas Grier, 44, standing behind the counter at Canna Can Help Inc., a dispensary in the Central Valley community of Goshen.

      The dispensary — with $7 million in yearly sales — sells medical marijuana.

      Called a “bud tender,” Grier recently waited on a steady flow of regular customers walking through the door to pick out their favorite strains.

      He said that so far, no unions have contacted him. Grier gets along with his boss and said he doesn’t want to pay union dues for help ironing out workplace disputes. But he hasn’t discounted the possibility of joining.

      After recently entering the marijuana industry, Los Angeles resident Richard Rodriguez said one sticky traffic stop three months ago converted him into a “hard core” Teamster. He’d never been in a union until this year.

      Rodriguez said an officer pulled him over while he was delivering a legal shipment of pot. He was accused of following too closely behind a semi-truck and was detained for 12 hours, he said.

      A union lawyer stepped in, and Rodriguez said he was released without being arrested or given a ticket.

      “Most companies can’t or are unwilling to do that,” he said, “because employees are easily replaced.”

      CONTINUE READING…

      Congress saves medical marijuana patients from pot crackdown — for now

      Jonathan Bach, Statesman Journal Published 11:59 a.m. PT Dec. 22, 2017

      Federal protections for medical marijuana patients are safe for now thanks to an emergency resolution passed by Congress Thursday.

      Protections offered under the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer Amendment will need to make it into a final congressional spending package to extend past Jan. 19.

      That’s the expiration date of Thursday’s continuing resolution, a temporary measure that keeps the government running while federal lawmakers hash out the details of their 2018 fiscal-year spending plan. President Trump signed the emergency resolution Friday.

      While weed remains federally illegal, the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer Amendment stops the Justice Department from cracking down on patients where state law permits medical marijuana use. U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has condemned use of the drug.

      More: Seeking pot for pain, Oregon patient feels shortages

      U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Oregon, said, “Patients around the country who rely on medical marijuana for treatment — and the businesses that serve them — now have some measure of certainty. Our fight, however, continues to maintain these important protections in the next funding bill passed by Congress.”

      Jered DeCamp, who co-owns marijuana retailer Herbal Remedies in South Salem, was happy to hear the news. In addition to being an owner, he’s a medical marijuana patient and grower.

      “It’s nice to know they’re protecting us,” DeCamp said, though he wished the provisions extended past January.

      Congressional lawmakers passed a similar continuing resolution Dec. 7 to keep the government open through Friday.

      The newest extension comes after U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Oregon, announced he would cosponsor a bill to decriminalize marijuana across the nation. Passage of the Marijuana Justice Act of 2017 would make the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer Amendment obsolete.

      More: Sen. Ron Wyden cosponsors bill to legalize marijuana across U.S.

      The amendment is named for U.S. Reps. Blumenauer and Dana Rohrabacher, R-California.

      Reach staff reporter Jonathan Bach by email at jbach@statesmanjournal.com or by phone at 503-399-6714.

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