Tag: Jeff Sessions

‘The Trouble With Pot, Said a Doctor I Know’: The Week in Cannabis Quotes

The holidays are just around the corner, making us all wonder what the hell happened to this year. As you warily ponder what 2018 has in store for us, chew on these quotes to help stretch out your stomach for the impending Thanksgiving feast. In the latest roundup, Art Garfunkel gets weird(er) and waxes poetic about the herb, both politicians and late night talk show hosts take jabs at Jeff Sessions, an economist highlights legalization as a way to reduce crime, and more.

Here’s a roundup of quotes from the past week.

“Our policy is the same, really, fundamentally as the Holder-Lynch policy, which is that the federal law remains in effect and a state can legalize marijuana for its law enforcement purposes, but it still remains illegal with regard to federal purposes.”

– Attorney General Jeff Sessions during his appearance in front of the House Judiciary Committee to discuss his oversight of the Department of Justice. He also tepidly responded, “I think that’s correct” when Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN) said that cannabis is not as dangerous as heroin.

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“You said one time that good people don’t smoke marijuana. Which of these people would you say are not good people? Is John Kasich a good person? George Pataki? Rick Santorum? Newt Gingrich? Ted Cruz? Jeb Bush? George Bush? Arnold Schwarzenegger? Judge Clarence Thomas? Which of those are not good people?”

– Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN)’s clapback to Jeff Sessions’ assertion at a Senate drug hearing in April 2016 that “good people don’t smoke marijuana”

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“Jeff Sessions testified again as part of the Russia investigation, and at one point he was questioned about his stance on marijuana. Because, you know, it’s a little odd when a guy’s anti-weed but seems to forget every conversation he’s ever had.”

– Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon

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“Now can we get back to discussing legalizing marijuana and opening the state hospital network to combat the opioid crisis. I am sooooo disappointed by this national feeding frenzy about sexual indiscretions decades ago.”

– Ohio Supreme Court Justice Bill O’Neill, who bizarrely took to Twitter for a very much unprompted overshare about the “approximately 50 very attractive females” with which he was “sexually intimate” over the last 50 years

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“—The trouble with pot, said a doctor I know,
is: the insights, the color, quite wonderful—
are like fireworks…there and gone…
points in time…last year’s clouds”

– A poem excerpted from Art Garfunkel’s recently released memoir, What Is It All But Luminous: Notes From an Underground Man

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“You just can’t make those statements because then what happens is lay people say, ‘Oh my God, did you hear a kid died from marijuana poisoning?’ and it can be sensationalized. It’s not based on reality. It’s based on somebody kind of jumping the gun and making a conclusion, and scientifically you can’t do that.”

– Northern Colorado emergency room physician Noah Kaufman, responding to initial reports that an 11-month old suffered “the first marijuana overdose deaths” earlier this week. Thomas Nappe, one of the report’s authors who serves as director of medical toxicology at St. Luke’s University Health Network in Bethlehem, PA, added, “We are absolutely not saying that marijuana killed the child.”

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“A lot of the violence around in the big cities, at least the ones that I’ve been in, have been around crack cocaine, cocaine more generally. I think very effectively and quickly, we could dramatically reduce violent crime through the legalization, not just of, say, marijuana, but of all drugs. Now, I think actually that would be a bad idea in general. But for solving crime, that, to me, is an obvious and clear path to some success.”

Freakonomics co-author and economist Steven Levitt on the Freakonomics podcast discussing ways to reduce violent or drug-related crimes in cities


Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

NORML Needs Your Help to Protect Medical Marijuana Patients from Jeff Sessions

During a House Judiciary Committee oversight hearing Tuesday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions admitted his Department of Justice would be required to abide by budget amendments that restrict their use of funding to go after state-legal medical marijuana programs.

Representative Steve Cohen (D-TN) grilled Sessions on a number of his Reefer Madness talking points including his comments stating marijuana consumers are not “good people” and if he believed that he would be bound by budget amendments, like Rohrabacher-Blumenauer and McClintock-Polis, that ban him from using DOJ funds to target state marijuana laws. Sessions agreed.

This explains why he was vigorously lobbying Republican members of the House to oppose these amendments earlier this year. We know full well that Jeff Sessions despises marijuana and is a die-hard drug warrior from the Just Say No era.

While these restrictions remain in place, he cannot pursue his lifelong dream of returning us to old, failed drug war policies.

Unfortunately, these budget amendments need to be renewed on an annual basis, and so far they have not been for 2018. If these protections go away, there is no guarantee that the Department of Justice won’t begin to implement federal prohibition laws in states that have moved in a more common sense direction on marijuana policy.

The good news is: YOU CAN HELP STOP SESSIONS IN HIS TRACKS. CLICK HERE TO SEND AN URGENT EMAIL TO YOUR REPRESENTATIVE TO URGE THEM TO PROTECT STATE MARIJUANA LAWS NOW!

The best defense is a good offense and we need to make our voices heard loudly and clearly now, before it is too late. Take a minute today to stand up for respecting state marijuana laws and tell Sessions we won’t accept any attempts to crack down on these important programs. Send a message NOW.

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Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

The Haymaker: Sending Sessions Back to the Senate Could Boost Legalization

‘The Haymaker’ is Leafly Deputy Editor Bruce Barcott’s weekly column on cannabis politics and culture.

The hot-and-cold bromance between President Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions marks its one-year anniversary this week—the President nommed Jefferson Beauregard for the job exactly one year ago this Friday—but the odds of it surviving another month are starting to look slim indeed.

Roy Moore becomes more toxic by the hour. Giving Sessions his old Senate seat back could solve a lot of problems for Republicans.

Earlier today, the New York Times’ Sheryl Gay Stolberg floated a potential exit strategy that looks more viable than anything we’ve seen to date. It’s essentially a baseball trade: Sessions for Roy Moore and an interim attorney general to be named later.

Moore, of course, is the Alabama Republican candidate for US Senate who becomes more politically toxic by the hour. The latest polls have him actually behind a Democrat in a state that hasn’t elected a Democrat to the Senate in nearly three decades.

After initially waffling, Senate Republicans and party elders are now pitching themselves off the burning Moore bandwagon, calling on the controversial judge to step down before more damage is done. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell moved from the “if true” stance to a full-on condemnation of Moore: “I believe the women, yes,” McConnell said. In the White House and on Capitol Hill, the talk among Republican leaders has moved from saving Moore’s candidacy to saving the seat.

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Quoting Stolberg:

One idea now being discussed under this scenario, brought up by two different White House officials who spoke on condition of anonymity, would be for Gov. Kay Ivey of Alabama to immediately appoint Attorney General Jeff Sessions to what had been his seat when it becomes vacant again. Mr. Sessions remains highly popular among Alabama Republicans, but his relationship with President Trump has waned since he recused himself from the investigation of the role that Russia played in last year’s campaign.

Does that even work within Alabama’s rules of succession? Who knows. Everybody’s just spitballing at this point. But it’s worth nothing that so, so, so many problems could be solved with this move.

  • Trump finally jettisons Sessions, who’s been in The Donald’s doghouse for months, due to his refusal to halt, delay, or otherwise interfere with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation.
  • For Sessions, the move allows him to get out from under his boss’s torment while saving face and coming out as the good guy. He takes one for the party and remains politically relevant and employed.
  • For Republicans, it solves the ever-deepening problem of Roy Moore, removing an embarrassing seat-loser and replacing him with Sessions, whose statewide popularity would assumedly carry him to an easy write-in victory against Democrat Doug Jones.
  • For Roy Moore…well, Roy Moore has issues that won’t be solved by this move. But that’s on him.

U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore is being pressured by Republican leaders to abandon the race after five Alabama women said Moore made inappropriate sexual or romantic advances when they were teenagers. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson, File)

And what would such a move mean for cannabis legalization? I think it would effectively carry legalization across the finish line. By the time a post-Sessions Justice Department regains its bearings under a new leader, California will have opened its recreational cannabis system. The world’s single largest legal cannabis market will be a fait accompli.

Sessions has had nearly a year to knock legalization off its rails. And he’s done nothing.

Look at it this way. Jeff Sessions was nominated about two weeks after California voted to legalize adult-use cannabis. He and President Trump have had nearly a full year to knock that process off the rails—something Sessions has made clear is his fondest desire. It’s a rare month that passes without Sessions making some public comment about the ridiculous, outlandish nature of marijuana laws in the 29 medical and eight adult-use states. And yet he has done nothing—no single—about it. As his fellow Alabamians might put it, ol’ JB is all bark and no bite.

Who Follows Sessions?

Probably Rod Rosenstein, the current deputy attorney general. He’d serve as the interim AG, possibly for the remainder of Trump’s term. It’s possible that Trump could name someone like Chris Christie to the job, but that would require Senate confirmation, and Senate Democrats might insist upon the new AG’s recusal from the Russia investigation. That’s the card up Rosenstein’s sleeve, in Trump’s eyes: Unlike Sessions, he hasn’t recused himself from Mueller’s investigation.

Rod Rosenstein could be more of a Dick Cheney-style operator: pulling levers behind the scenes, getting stuff done.

The risk for cannabis legalization is that Rosenstein could prove to be all bite and no bark. Sessions likes to holler but he doesn’t seem to be all that great at getting things done when it comes to cannabis.

Rosenstein, by contrast, could be an operator more in the Dick Cheney mode—moving gears and pulling levers ten hours a day, instead of spending his time yakking with the likes of Hugh Hewitt. We don’t know exactly where Rosenstein stands on state-legal cannabis. It’s a fair bet that he’s less exercised by the issue than Sessions, but he may also choose to use cannabis to make a statement about the supremacy of federal law over state legalization.

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Time is on Our Side

Whatever the outcome, it’s a game of musical chairs that could further delay any federal action against state-legal cannabis.

And in some ways that’s the best we can hope for at this point. Because with every passing day, the state of California’s legal cannabis infrastructure grows and gains strength. Up north, Canada’s federal government and its provinces work diligently to build a well-regulated legal cannabis industry.

By this time next year, we may not be celebrating the anniversary of the Trump-Sessions relationship. But we will be enjoying the benefits of legal cannabis in two of the world’s largest markets, and that progress will be nearly impossible to reverse.


Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

Maine Lawmakers Can Save the State’s Marijuana Law

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Maine lawmakers are returning to Augusta on Monday following Republican Gov. Paul LePage’s veto of a bill to regulate and tax the sale of marijuana.

A two-thirds vote of lawmakers present Monday evening will determine whether or not the veto stands. The bill that establishes rules for the retail sale of recreational marijuana was previously approved with a veto-proof, two-thirds majority in the Senate, but not in the House.

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LePage urged lawmakers to go back to the drawing board. He has cited concerns including how the Trump administration is going to treat the federal-state conflict in the proposal.

“If we keep delaying it, the grey market is going to get entrenched.”

Eddie DuGay , medical marijuana consultant

LePage has also said he’d need assurances from the Trump administration before establishing a new industry and regulations. Proponents of legal cannabis, which passed a public referendum a year ago, say it’s time to put a regulatory structure in place.

“If we don’t stem the tide of all the grey market going on in the state, we keep delaying it, the grey market is going to get entrenched,” said Eddie DuGay, a medical marijuana consultant.

Nov. 3 was the last day for LePage to veto bills to regulate the sale of cannabis, and he did.

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The House and Senate had approved a cannabis bill in October after it was proposed by a bipartisan legislative panel. Panel members spent months rewriting the law to allow local communities to opt-in to recreational marijuana sales. Other changes included adding an excise tax to the existing 10 percent sales tax on recreational cannabis.

House Republican Leader Rep. Kenneth Fredette, R-Newport, said on Monday that the Legislature also needs to focus on extending the current moratorium on sales of recreational marijuana. The moratorium is set to expire on Feb. 1, 2018, and Fredette said there’s no way all of the necessary rules will be in place by then.

He has tried unsuccessfully to extend the moratorium to July 1, 2018, or Jan. 1, 2019.

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“Regardless of what action the Maine Legislature takes today regarding recreational marijuana, it’s simply not realistic to think that the necessary rules will be in place by February 1,” Fredette said. “The Legislature needs to do the responsible thing and extend this moratorium today or as soon as we return for the new session beginning in January.”


Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

‘I Spent the Next Day and a Half in Bed’: The Week in Cannabis Quotes

This week, we hear from a bevy of celebrities about cannabis, from long-time Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek trippin’ hard on some potent potables edibles, Larry Flint lashing out at the Trump administration, Bill Nye the Science Guy throwing shade at stoned ultimate frisbee players, and Woody Harrelson revealing which of his dinner companions was so narcissistic, he had to smoke a joint to get through the meal.

Plus, President Macron’s got a healthy nose, Chris Christie whinges about cannabis for the umpteenth time, and Singapore’s Home Affairs Minister is not impressed with Colorado’s legalization experiment. Here’s a roundup of quotes from the past week.

“Trump’s failure to mention Big Pharma is like attacking gambling and extortion rackets without mentioning the Mafia, or crystal meth without mentioning Mexican drug cartels. The President’s plan will address all of the symptoms, but not the root cause of the problem: Big Pharma’s greed and deception. Instead he’s letting his throwback attorney general wage war against the one cheap, totally safe alternative to these highly addictive and deadly drugs—cannabis. Oh, and guess which state has the highest rate of prescription opioid use in America: none other than Sessions’ own Alabama.”

– Hustler founder Larry Flynt, who issued a statement criticizing President Trump’s anemic declaration of a national opioid emergency while Attorney General Jeff Sessions continues to “[wage] federal war on states tha thave legalized marijuana for recreational consumption.” Flynt cited a study funded by the National Institutes of Health that showed legal medical marijuana states have experienced a reduction in opioid overdose deaths.

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“So, there are some of you who do not only smoke cigarettes, huh?”

– French President Emmanuel Macron, who detected the scent of cannabis in the air during his visit to French Guiana. He joked to the crowd, “I still have a nose,” and advised, “That will not help with your schoolwork.”

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“Marijuana legalization will lead to more drug use, not less drug use, will lead to more death not less death, and the national institute of drug abuse has proven it. There is no reason, if I told you today that anything would make your child two and a half time more likely to be addicted to opioids, you would be getting them as far away from it as you possibly could.”

– New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who was the keynote speaker at an annual conference in Indiana that focuses on the state’s opioid and prescription drug crisis. Christie is famously anti-cannabis.

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“Colorado has chosen not to measure the outcomes of legalised marijuana, paying more attention to the commercialisation…People have referenced this as the grand experiment…and the only outcome they measure is the tax revenue, and that’s shameful and a disgrace.”

– Singapore’s Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam, speaking at a forum about combating drug use

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“Now when I played ultimate frisbee very seriously, these guys I would play with would get high and they sucked when they were high.”

– Bill Nye the Science Guy talking to Now This about the need to push for more cannabis research (while also citing poor ultimate frisbee skills as a negative effect of cannabis consumption). He admitted he doesn’t like cannabis or the smell of it but encourages those of us who do to “knock [our]selves out.”

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“It was brutal. It was brutal. Uh, I’d never met a more narcissistic man. He talked about himself the whole time…I had to walk out like halfway through, smoke a joint, just to, just to like, steel myself for the rest of the dinner. It was brutal.”

– Woody Harrelson recounting to Bill Maher about the time he had dinner with Donald Trump

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“I had just arrived in California and went to a friend’s house for dinner, and there were brownies. I love brownies—I’m a chocoholic—and I didn’t realize that they were hash brownies. And… whoa. That threw me for a loop. I took down about a half-dozen. The dinner party was on a Friday, and I was not able to leave that house until Sunday afternoon. I spent the next day and a half in bed. It was not a good trip, and I have not done any of that stuff since!”

Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek to The Daily Beast, in which he recounts the time he first arrived in California and attended a “swanky party at a friend’s house” that had some extremely potent edibles available for consumption


Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

Washington’s Cannabis-Tracking Snafu Could Disrupt Sales

Last week, the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (LCB) threw the state’s cannabis industry into panic with the announcement that its new traceability system, MJ Freeway’s Leaf Data, wouldn’t be ready until Jan 1. The development set the stage for a two-month gap between software systems, as the contract with the state’s current provider, BioTrack THC, will expire on Oct. 31.

With US Attorney General Jeff Sessions already critical of Washington’s legal cannabis program, failure of the state’s track-and-trace monitoring could be devastating. One of the key provisions of the Cole memo, a Department of Justice document outlining enforcement priorities around state-legal cannabis, is that states ensure cannabis isn’t being diverted out of state or to the illegal market. Without a tracking system, however, that’s impossible to demonstrate.

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In other words, as Washington’s cannabis industry switches systems, Sessions is likely to be watching closely.

“We have no intention of giving the federal government any reason to give this industry a hard time.”

Patrick Vo, BioTrack CEO

The LCB tried to extend its contract with BioTrack, but talks fell apart after BioTrack cited unaddressed security concerns and the LCB dismissed them as unfounded.

That impasse triggered the LCB’s contingency plan: a system of spreadsheets submitted on a weekly basis. Use of the manual system sparked rumors of product shortages, and many observers worried the industry’s ability to function during an incredibly busy harvest season might grind to a halt.

Jim MacRae, a data scientist who monitors the Washington cannabis industry, has called the situation the “Great Traceability Meltdown of 2017,” and has theorized that, under the spreadsheet system, there could be “pickup trucks full of bales of fine Washington Cannabis driving out of the state.”

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BioTrack’s Plan B

This past Thursday, in something of an end run around the state, BioTrack CEO Patrick Vo sent an open letter to the industry announcing that the company would continue operating its traceability system independently. Under the arrangement, cannabis businesses would be able to continue transferring products and tracking production as usual.

“We have no intention of giving the federal government any reason to give this industry a hard time,” Vo wrote. “BioTrack understands that even with manual spreadsheets, there needs to be some method of communication and data exchange between licensees regardless of which third-party commercial system you use.”

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The Cole memo mandates that legal states keep close track of their cannabis, ensuring that none is shipped across state lines or diverted to the black market. The fear is that cannabis could get lost under the spreadsheet system, as state regulators would be responsible for manually reconciling records rather than an automated software system that covers all licensees.

“If someone is manually keying in, ‘Okay, I received Manifest #123, I have a dozen brownies with identifier #456, I have two dozen vape cartridges under #789,’ and they mis-input something—intentionally or from honest human error—it’s going to be a lot more difficult to track that down,” Vo said.

The LCB, for its part, has downplayed the transition. Brian Smith, the LCB’s director of communications, told Leafly that the state will collect exactly the same data it currently does, just on a less regular basis.

Data on destruction and transportation of cannabis will still be collected daily, he noted. And while he acknowledged it wasn’t an ideal system, he predicted that traceability enforcement—by far the agency’s highest priority for cannabis—wouldn’t suffer.

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“We believe that we will enforce and we will be reviewing records, and we believe that most of our licensees will try and follow this new procedure correctly,” Smith said. “It’s too bad. We wish that there was more time and they wouldn’t have to make a change like this and it would happen automatically, but there is a period for two months that this will be in effect.”

Coordination is Key

Vo at BioTrack said it isn’t so much that the LCB won’t have access to the necessary data for enforcement, it’s that the data won’t be of much use to them if it’s not coordinated across the industry.

“The system we’re putting up just allows coordination,” he said. “If I’m using [the BioTrack inventory management client] and you’re using GreenBits, our systems can still exchange information. It’s going through the same switchboard.”

“The worst possible outcome in all of this is a splintered solution.”

Bob Ramstad, Oz owner

Having that information reconciled in real-time is crucial to the LCB’s ability to conduct traceability enforcement, he said. Reconciling by hand all the data submitted via spreadsheets could be prohibitively time-consuming for the LCB’s enforcement staff

“This is one of, if not the, busiest time for these licensees,” Vo said. “Even taking malicious diversion aside, the licensees have so much activity that there’s definitely a potential for creating a high-risk environment with respect to errors and inconsistencies.”

Cannabis businesses in Washington, meanwhile, universally agreed that maintaining a consistent traceability platform was essential for the industry to function.

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“The worst possible outcome in all of this is a splintered solution, some of them free, some of them paid, with different processors having to integrate with different solutions in order to work with different retailers,” Bob Ramstad, owner of Seattle retailer Oz, wrote in a forum discussion about the situation.

As of Monday, BioTrack still plans to maintain the tracking platform, which will be offered free to all state licensees for 30 days. After that, the company plans to charge each licensee a $50 subscription fee, which it says will go to cover costs.

“I can guarantee you that there will be turbulence.”

Patrick Vo, BioTrack CEO

How the independent system will interface with the LCB is still undetermined. BioTrack spokesman Jeffrey Gonring said that having the central BioTrack system generate the necessary spreadsheets for all licensees, instead of leaving it up to the various third-party software providers, was  a possibility, but that it wasn’t currently part of the system.

At least, Vo concluded, there is a system.

“Please remember that we are attempting to surf a wave in the wild here, so I can guarantee you that there will be turbulence as we go,” he wrote in his open letter.

“However, my team and I believe that this is our best option to avoid industry Armageddon and we will all band together to navigate these unpredictable waters as best we can.”


Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

Trump Declares Opioid Health Emergency; Sessions Blames Cannabis

President Donald Trump on Thursday declared the opioid crisis a nationwide public health emergency — a step that won’t bring new dollars to fight a scourge that kills nearly 100 Americans a day, but will expand access to medical services in rural areas, among other changes.

“This epidemic is a national health emergency,” Trump said in a speech at the White House, where he bemoaned a crisis he said had spared no segment of American society.

“As Americans we cannot allow this to continue,” he said.

“If we can teach young people, and people generally, not to start, it’s really, really easy not to take ’em.”

President Donald Trump

Administration officials have made clear that the declaration, which lasts for 90 days and can be renewed, comes with no dedicated dollars. But they said it will allow them to use existing money to better fight the crisis. Officials also said they would urge Congress, during end-of-the year budget negotiations, to add new cash to a public health emergency fund that Congress hasn’t replenished for years.

The Public Health Emergency Fund currently contains just $57,000, according to the Department of Health and Human Services, a negligible amount. Officials would not disclose how much they were seeking.

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Sessions Blames Cannabis

Meanwhile, across town at a forum hosted by the Heritage Foundation, Attorney General Jeff Sessions pinned the blame on cannabis and advised Americans to heed the advice Nancy Reagan gave in the 1980s. Americans, he said, should “just say no” to drugs.  

“I do think this whole country needs to not be so lackadaisical about drugs,” Sessions said. “When you talk to police chiefs, consistently they say much of the addiction starts with marijuana. It’s not a harmless drug.”

“We’ve got to to reestablish, first, a view that you should just say no,” he said. “People should say no to drug use.”

Buzzfeed’s Dominic Holden reported on Sessions’s Heritage Foundation speech, which was scheduled to focus on Constitutional law. Holden pointed out that numerous studies found that the ‘Just Say No’ programs of the 1980s were abysmal failures. Holden writes:

Exposure to abstinence-based drug programs of the era such as D.A.R.E. — which also promoted the notion that students should simply say no — have been abandoned by many school districts amid reports the curriculum failed to reduce drug initiation or use.

A 1994 study by the Research Triangle Institute, which was funded in part by the Justice Department, found that the program had little to no impact on drug use. And in 2011, the National Institute of Justice rated D.A.R.E. as having “no effects,” adding that there was “no statistically significant impact on drug use or attitude towards drug” for students involved.

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Pelosi: All Talk, No Action

Critics of the White House policy complained that today’s action by Trump consisted of no action at all. 

Leading up to the announcement, Trump had said he wanted to give his administration the “power to do things that you can’t do right now.”

“How can you say it’s an emergency if we’re not going to put a new nickel in it?” said Dr. Joseph Parks, medical director of the nonprofit National Council for Behavioral Health, which advocates for addiction treatment providers. “As far as moving the money around,” he added, “that’s like robbing Peter to pay Paul.”

Democratic House leader Nancy Pelosi also was critical, calling the new declaration “words without the money.”

Trump’s audience Thursday included parents who have lost children to drug overdoses, people who have struggled with addiction, and first responders whose have used overdose reversal drugs to save lives. He also echoed Sessions’s back-to-the-80s advice: 

“The fact is, if we can teach young people, and people generally, not to start, it’s really, really easy not to take them,” the president said of drug use, after detailing his brother’s struggles with addiction. “And I think that’s going to end up being our most important thing. Really tough, really big, really great advertising. So we get to people before they start so they don’t have to go through the problems of what people are going through.”

“There is nothing desirable about drugs,” Trump added later. “They’re bad.”

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There’s an Ad Campaign?

Trump also spoke personally about his own family’s experience with addiction: His older brother, Fred Jr., died after struggling with alcoholism. It’s the reason the president does not drink.

Trump described his brother as a “great guy, best looking guy,” with a personality “much better than mine”

“But he had a problem, he had a problem with alcohol,” the president said. “I learned because of Fred.”

Trump said he hoped a massive advertising campaign, which sounded reminiscent of the 1980s “Just Say No” campaign, might have a similar impact.

“If we can teach young people, and people generally, not to start, it’s really, really easy not to take ’em,” he said.

Candidate Trump: Opioid Crisis a Priority

Leading up to the announcement, Trump had said he wanted to give his administration the “power to do things that you can’t do right now.” As a candidate, he had pledged to make fighting addiction a priority, and pressed the issue in some of the states hardest hit.

“When I won the New Hampshire primary, I promised the people of New Hampshire that I would stop drugs from pouring into your communities. I am now doubling down on that promise, and can guarantee you we will not only stop the drugs from pouring in, but we will help all of those people so seriously addicted get the assistance they need to unchain themselves,” Trump told a crowd in Maine weeks before last November’s election.

Once in office, Trump assembled a commission, led by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, to study the problem. The commission’s interim report argued an emergency declaration would free additional money and resources, but some in Trump’s administration disagreed.

Chris Christie: This Is ‘Bold Action’

Christie, in a statement, said Trump was taking “bold action” that shows “an unprecedented commitment to fighting this epidemic and placing the weight of the presidency behind saving lives across the country.”

Officials said the administration had considered a bolder emergency declaration, under the Stafford Act, which is typically used for natural disasters like hurricanes. But they decided that measure was better suited to more short-term, location-specific crises than the opioid problem. Drug overdoses of all kinds kill an estimated 142 Americans every day.

As a result of the public health emergency declaration, officials will be able to expand access to telemedicine services, include substance abuse treatment for people living in rural and remote areas. Officials will also be able to more easily deploy state and federal workers, secure Department of Labor grants for the unemployed, and shift funding for HIV and AIDs programs to provide more substance abuse treatment for people already eligible for those programs.

Obamacare Medicaid Pays for Treatment

Trump also directed other departments and agencies to exercise their own available emergency authorities to address the crisis.

But Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), said the effort falls far short of what is needed and will diverts staff and resources from other vital public health initiatives.

“Families in Connecticut suffering from the opioid epidemic deserve better than half measures and empty rhetoric offered seemingly as an afterthought,” he said in a statement. He argued, “An emergency of this magnitude must be met with sustained, robust funding and comprehensive treatment programs.”

Democrats also criticize Trump’s efforts to repeal and replace the “Obamacare” health law. Its Medicaid expansion has been crucial in confronting the opioid epidemic.

Adopted by 31 states, the Medicaid expansion provides coverage to low-income adults previously not eligible. Many are in their 20s and 30s, a demographic hit hard by the epidemic. Medicaid pays for detox and long-term treatment.

Sessions: ‘Do Our Best’ To Enforce Laws

Also today, Attorney General Jeff Sessions went on Hugh Hewitt’s conservative talk radio show to discuss a number of issues. Cannabis, of course, came up:

Hugh Hewitt: Let me turn to marijuana, Mr. Attorney General. A lot of states are just simply breaking the law. And a lot of money is being made and banked. One RICO prosecution of one producer and the banks that service them would shut this all down. Is such a prosecution going to happen?

Jeff Sessions: I don’t know that one prosecution would be quite as effective as that, but we, I do not believe that we should, I do not believe there’s any argument, because a state legalized marijuana that the federal law against marijuana is no longer in existence. I do believe that the federal laws clearly are in effect in all 50 states. And we will do our best to enforce the laws as we’re required to do so.

HH: But one prosecution that invokes a supremacy clause against one large dope manufacturing concern, and follows the money as it normally would in any drug operation and seizes it, would shut, would chill all of this. But I haven’t seen on in nine months, yet. Is one coming?

JS: Really analyze all those cases, and I can’t comment on the existence of an investigation at this time, Hugh, you know that, so, but I hear you. You’re making a suggestion. I hear it.

HH: I’m lobbying.

JS: (laughing) You’re lobbying.

Although a growing body of research suggests that medical marijuana is a powerful tool in preventing opioid addiction, lowering opioid dosages, and helping opioid-addicted patients move off the powerful painkillers, there was no mention of cannabis at today’s White House event.

RELATED STORY

How Cannabis Can Combat the Opioid Epidemic: An Interview With Philippe Lucas

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 


Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

Jeff Sessions: We Will Do Our Best to Enforce the Laws as We’re Required to Do

Jeff Sessions: We Will Do Our Best to Enforce the Laws as We’re Required to Do | Justin Strekal

In an interview with conservative radio show host Hugh Hewitt, Attorney General Jeff Sessions reiterated his position against marijuana, his commitment to enforcing its prohibition, and expressed an openness to use RICO suits against businesses that handle the plant. Earlier this year Cully Stimson of the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think-tank that has a tremendous amount […]

Jeff Sessions: We Will Do Our Best to Enforce the Laws as We’re Required to Do | The Daily Chronic


Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

Holder: Sessions’ ‘Almost Obsession’ With Cannabis Puts DOJ in ‘Strange Place’

Former US Attorney General Eric Holder took aim at current AG Jeff Sessions this week, saying Sessions has an “almost obsession” with cannabis that has put the Justice Department in a “strange place.”

Holder, who also defended the Obama administration’s stance on state-legal cannabis as “really good policy,” was speaking at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice on Tuesday.

“I think the policy we had in place was a good one.”

Eric Holder, Obama-era AG

Since taking office, Sessions has repeatedly lamented state-level legalization, continuing a stream of earlier statements deriding both recreational and medical use of cannabis. His office is currently reviewing the so-called Cole Memo, an Obama-era policy under which federal authorities said they wouldn’t interfere with state-legal cannabis laws provided states met certain guidelines, such as prohibiting underage sales and diversion to the illegal market.

While the Cole Memo was never binding policy—and although Holder himself signed off on a statewide crackdown on cannabis businesses in California during his time in office—it was a key piece of the federal framework that allowed state-legal programs, such as those in Colorado and Washington state, to move forward.

RELATED STORY

Sessions Task Force Will Review DOJ Cannabis Enforcement

“I think the policy we had in place was a good one,” Holder said, according to Washington Examiner reporter Steven Nelson. “Let the states experiment with the notion that, again, we have these eight or nine federal factors, and if you trigger one of these eight or nine factors, the feds are going to be coming in.”

Sessions in recent months has sought to make a case that legal states are in fact failing to meet those criteria, although representatives in some of those states have pushed back against his claims. The attorney general has also appealed to Congress to remove protections that prevent federal prosecutors from targeting state-legal medical marijuana.

RELATED STORY

Jeff Sessions Asks Congress to End Medical Cannabis Protections

“The Sessions almost obsession with marijuana, I think, is the thing that’s put the Justice Department in this strange place,” Holder said.

Some activists, including Marijuana Moment writer Tom Angell, pointed out that Holder could have gone a step further by reclassifying cannabis under the federal Controlled Substances Act.

“Eric Holder could’ve rescheduled marijuana while in office but didn’t,” Angell wrote on Twitter.


Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

Eric Holder: Attorney General Sessions “Almost Obsessed With Marijuana”

Jeff Sessions speaking at the Values Voter Summit in Washington, DC. (Flickr/Gage Skidmore)

In recent remarks at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, former US Attorney General Eric Holder spoke about current Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ views on marijuana, saying “The Sessions almost obsession with marijuana I think is the thing that’s put the Justice Department in this strange place,” in regards to potential changes in current policy held up by what is known as The Cole Memo.

Authored by US Deputy Attorney General James Cole in 2013 to US attorneys in all 50 states, the memo directs prosecutors not to interfere with state legalization efforts and those licensed to engage in the plant’s production and sale, provided that such persons do not engage in marijuana sales to minors or divert the product to states that have not legalized its use, among other guidelines.

Despite Holder’s comments, he took no action while he had the power as the Attorney General to deschedule marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act.

Jeff Sessions has a long history of advocating for the failed policies of the “Just Say No” era — policies that resulted in the arrests of millions of otherwise law-abiding citizens who possessed personal use amounts of marijuana.

This comes as Congress is currently debating the extension of federal protections for the 30 state lawful medical marijuana programs and the 16 state lawful limited CBD access programs, know as the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment.

At a time when the majority of states now regulate marijuana use, and where six out of ten votes endorse legalizing the plant’s use by adults, it makes no sense from a political, fiscal, or cultural perspective to try to put this genie back in the bottle. It is high time that members of Congress take action to comport federal law with majority public opinion and the plant’s rapidly changing legal and cultural status.

Take action to contact your federal lawmakers and urge them to support the descheduling of marijuana to prevent Jeff Sessions from implementing a crack-down on marijuana consumers

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Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.