Four years after deflecting questions whether he smoked marijuana while in college, Kentucky Senator and 2016 presidential hopeful Rand Paul appears to acknowledge his own marijuana use. “Let’s just say I wasn’t a choir boy when I was in college,” Paul replied when asked whether he smoked marijuana while in college, “and that I can recognize that kids make mistakes, and I can say that I made mistakes when I was a kid.” Paul, however, is not calling for marijuana to be decriminalized. He is striking a balance on the issue and does not want to be seen as an advocate for the use of marijuana. “If your kid was caught selling marijuana or growing enough that it’s a felony conviction, they could be in jail for an extended period of time, they also lose their ability to be employable,” Paul explained. “So I want to change all of that. I want to lessen the criminal penalties on it.”
The California Medical Association (CMA) House of Delegates in San Diego voted Saturday on Resolution 116-14 to urge transplant clinics in the state against removing patients from organ transplant lists simply because they were recommended cannabis by a physician. One in 20 California adults have used medical cannabis for serious condition, and denying transplants to patients who do so is common in the state at hospitals like Cedars-Sinai, University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), University of California San Francisco, and Stanford Medical School, reports indicate. Advocacy group Americans for Safe Access said Californians who lawfully use cannabis are dying from denied transplants. Patients on transplant lists are drug-tested while waiting for an organ, and often learn only after they’ve been denied an organ that testing positive for or reporting marijuana use disqualified them. The CMA resolution comes as the California legislature considers introducing a bill to block transplant clinics from rejecting patients based on their medical marijuana use.
A new credit union aimed specifically toward the cannabis industry would help move Colorado’s pot industry out of the shadows. The Fourth Corner Credit Union hopes to open its doors within weeks in Denver, offering to accept cash deposits and to permit members to make electronic transfers for payroll and rent, and to buy supplies. Colorado’s banking regulators granted Fourth Corner a charter on Nov. 19, and now the union is waiting for the Federal Reserve to issue it a master account number, which would give it access to the country’s electronic banking system. The credit union believes that it will get the account number without a fight because the Federal Reserve must give out numbers to organizations that have been granted state charters. Money-management concerns have gotten so bad in Colorado that many of the state’s largest stores have hired armed security guards to handle their cash.
According to the CDC, teenage consumption and the availability of drugs on school grounds went up in states where marijuana remained criminalized. However, in Colorado, consumption went down and availability went down despite the medical marijuana industry developing in the state during the same period. According to a recent white paper from the Cato Institute, teenage consumption of marijuana didn’t increase in the sixteen states that legalized medical marijuana. Recent data also shows that despite legalizing recreational marijuana, teenage consumption of marijuana in Colorado is still falling, decreasing from 39 percent in 2011 to 37 percent in 2013. Additionally, after states legalized medical marijuana suicide rates among men aged from 20 to 39 years decreased compared with those in states where legalization didn’t take place.
CNN and MSNBC have recently joined the marijuana programming bonanza with “Pot Barons of Colorado” and “High Profits,” but the original pot network is back with a new show. CNBC’s new program “Marijuana Country: The Cannabis Boom” premiers on Jan. 5 at 9 pm ET. Correspondent Harry Smith returns to Colorado to detail the rise of a new American industry, one year after the state legalized marijuana. CNBC produced and repeatedly aired “Marijuana, Inc.” and “Marijuana USA” before weed programming was all the rage. It even updated “Marijuana in America” with Smith replacing original reporter Trish Regan, who is now with Bloomberg TV. As we’ve reported for years, pot documentaries have brought in big ratings for cable networks. With Colorado making the programming both easier and more interesting, this isn’t a trend that will die down anytime soon.