Ann Arbor, Michigan’s, annual celebration of all things cannabis, known as the Hash Bash, returns this Saturday. Thousands of marijuana advocates from throughout Michigan and beyond are expected to swarm the University of Michigan Diag at noon for a two-hour rally featuring speakers ranging from comedian Tommy Chong to Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero, as well as activist John Sinclair, for whom the original rally was held in 1972. The annual event, which organizers call a “speak out and smoke down” protest, has a long history in Ann Arbor, now in its 44th year. Serving as the political backdrop for this year’s festivities is the prospect of a 2016 ballot initiative to fully legalize marijuana in Michigan, not just for medical purposes. Representatives from the newly formed Michigan Comprehensive Cannabis Law Reform Initiative Committee will be discussing their plans at the rally.
A spokesperson for the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) recently told the Los Angeles Times that a bipartisan amendment passed by Congress last year prohibiting DOJ from spending any money to undermine state medical marijuana laws doesn’t prevent it from prosecuting people for medical marijuana or seizing their property. The statement comes as the agency continues to target people who are complying with their state medical marijuana law. This insubordination is occurring despite the fact that members of Congress in both parties were clear that their intent with the amendment was to protect medical marijuana patients and providers from federal prosecution and forfeiture. Last May, Republican Congressman Dana Rohrabacher and Democratic Congressman Sam Farr offered an amendment to a spending bill prohibiting the Justice Department from spending any money in 2015 to prevent states “from implementing their own State laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession, or cultivation of medical marijuana.”
Black farmers are now joining the debate over Florida’s low THC medical marijuana law passed last year. They’re calling for changes to the law saying its requirements to participate in the industry are unfair. Eugene Monts is among a small number of black farmers who would meet the strict guidelines under Florida’s low THC pot law, to become one of just five dispensing organizations chosen. Owner of Mont farms, he’s been in business for 37 years. Under the law qualifying nurseries are those that have been in business for at least 30 years continuously and produce at least 400,000 plants. Howard Gunn, who heads the state’s Black Farmers Agriculturalists Association says due to discriminatory lending practices over the years, you’ll find very few black farmers who meet the criteria. Farmer Mont says he has no intention of applying to be able to grow and dispense the non-euphoric cannabis. But for those who are interested he believes it should be fair across the board for all farmers.
Colorado’s marijuana tourists quickly run into a harsh reality: Most hotels and ski condos prohibit indoor smoking of any kind, never mind the “kind” kind. Enter Sean Roby and his new website, Bud and Breakfast. Roby aims to make his site the Air BnB of marijuana-friendly lodging, connecting visitors with homeowners willing to let their guests partake of legal marijuana. The site has about 50 listings from around the globe, with many in Colorado, and is an outgrowth of Roby’s existing of “Taste of Travel” company. Among the current Colorado offerings: a loft in the trendy Denver Highlands neighborhood, tents near Pagosa Springs, renowned for its naturally heated mineral waters, and sunny room with an attached rooftop deck overlooking Boulder’s famed Flatirons. The site also features homes in Hawaii, Alaska and Uruguay. Listings are available only in places that have legalized either recreational or medical marijuana.
Pain, insomnia, nausea, and some psychological conditions are among the health issues medical marijuana is used to treat—but the drug can come with frustrating side effects like dizziness, dry mouth, and telltale red eyes. Another drug that’s been in use since the 1970s, however, is showing promise for treating similar conditions, and it’s known for not having many side effects. Fenofibrate, aka Tricor, is currently used to treat high cholesterol. The link between the two drugs has to do with the way they bind to cells, Popular Science reports. Compounds in fenofibrate adhere to cannabinoid receptors in some cell membranes—just as compounds in marijuana do. In the lab, scientists found that fenofibrate made cells with these receptors behave in the same way marijuana does. The discovery could pave the way for a new class of pot-like drugs, researchers say.