Tonight at midnight Eastern is the deadline for passing the trillion dollar government spending bill. The so-called cromnibus bill contains many amendments, including one to prevent Washington DC legalization from being enacted and another that may undo Washington DC decriminalization. But there are also amendments to ban the federal government from interfering with state-authorized medical marijuana and industrial hemp laws. Other political controversies stuffed into the bill include requiring all Washington DC birth control regulation to include a “conscience clause” allowing doctors and pharmacists with religious objections to avoid providing certain prescriptions and services for women; forever banning Washington DC from fighting to have a voting representative in Congress; and removing the protections enacted in 2008 against federally-insured derivatives trading by big Wall Street banks. Changes and negotiations are still taking place at this hour in an effort to prevent a government shutdown.
The Justice Department today told U.S. attorneys to not prevent Native Americans from growing or selling marijuana on their sovereign lands, even in states that ban the practice. The new guidance, released in a memorandum, will be implemented on a case-by-case basis and tribes must still follow federal guidelines, said Timothy Purdon, the U.S. attorney for North Dakota and the chairman of the Attorney General’s Subcommittee on Native American Issues. It remains to be seen how many reservations will take advantage of the policy. Many tribes are opposed to legalizing pot on their lands, and federal officials will continue to enforce the law in those areas, if requested. The policy comes on the heels of the 2013 Justice Department decision to stop most federal marijuana prosecutions in states that have legalized the possession or sale of pot. Colorado, Washington, Oregon, and Alaska have all moved to legalize marijuana.
Tommy Chong, the 76-year-old veteran of stoner-comedy duo Cheech and Chong, has lent his endorsement to several pot-related products already — his Chong Star brand cannabis blend debuts in Colorado next week, there’s hemp-infused Chongwater in the works, and he’s also getting buzz for his line of clothing wipes that remove that telltale pot reek. More products bearing Chong’s likeness are on the way, he says, possibly including a “Chongrola” joint rolling machine that’ll make his signature giant-sized spliffs, from Amsterdam-based Futurola. “I had to go through some trials and tribulations,” Chong says. “But now, I’m going to be the Sam Walton of pot,” referring to the late WalMart founder. Next, he envisions partnering with Marisol Therapeutics in Pueblo, Colo. to spread Chong Star nationwide, as legalization spreads, which Chong expects to happen rapidly. “It’s a tsunami that cannot be stopped,” he says. “I predict within two years, it’ll be totally legal, and then the whole rest of the world will fall in line. And we’ll be the Starbucks of pot, eventually.”
A mother of two may be sent to jail for two years for attempting to treat her son’s seizures with cannabis oil. Angela brown is charged with transporting the oil from Colorado to Minnesota. “We chose to treat him with medicinal cannabis oil, which saved his life, after all doctors failed him.” Her son, Trey Brown, suffered a traumatic brain injury three years ago after being hit by a baseball. In response to his regular seizures, a doctor suggested the family travel to Colorado to purchase cannabis oil. The treatment appears to be a success, that is, until Trey’s school found out. School officials turned Angela into the authorities. As result, she was arrested and charged with two misdemeanor counts of child endangerment. Ironically, Minnesota has become the 22nd state to approve medical marijuana and Trey’s condition is covered under this provision. The law doesn’t go into effect until July of 2015, Angela will still be charged and could face up to two years in prison. The family isn’t wealthy by any means, so they have set up a GoFundMe page to raise funds for her legal defense.
This week marked the official two-year anniversary of legal marijuana in Washington and Colorado. While Colorado, being in the Mountain Time Zone, passed legalization first by about two hours, it was on December 6, 2012, that Washington’s I-502 went into effect, an anniversary we passed last Saturday. Colorado’s Gov. John Hickenlooper signed Amendment 64 into the Colorado Constitution on December 10, 2012, two years ago yesterday. Colorado began its legal marijuana market in January of this year and Washington State followed with sales beginning in July. Both states have reaped millions of dollars in tax revenues, both states continue to see traffic fatalities decline, and both states report consistent marijuana use rates among adults and lower use rates among teenagers. Meteorologists report that over the past two years, the sky has remained firmly in place.