Jun 022015

Lawmakers are prepping for what could turn into a marijuana vote-a-rama Wednesday, sources say. Pot advocates expect lawmakers to introduce at least half a dozen marijuana-related appropriations amendments that would roll back the Justice Department’s authority to enforce drug laws around the country. The Justice Department would be prohibited from using federal funds to interfere with states’ medical marijuana laws under an amendment expected from the California delegation — Reps. Dana Rohrabacher (R) and Sam Farr (D). The measure was approved by Congress for the first time in 2014 but it must be renewed each year when the DOJ’s spending bill expires. Some lawmakers hope to push the boundaries even further. An amendment from Reps. Tom McClintock (R-Calif.) and Jared Polis (D-Colo.) would prohibit DOJ from using federal funds to interfere with any state marijuana law, including laws permitting the recreational use of pot.

The Drug Enforcement Administration and the Federal Bureau of Investigations raided a state-legal medical cannabis cooperative in the Lake Tahoe area Monday, in a chilling reminder that the four year-old joint federal-state attack on medical marijuana continues despite widespread opposition and a federal law barring the use of federal funds for such activity. Several reports trickled in Monday of the raid at Tahoe Wellness Collective in South Lake Tahoe. Police took cash, cannabis, computers, keys, phones and the like, reports indicate. A federal law passed in 2014 also bars the use of Department of Justice funds for such raids. However, the DOJ has stated they do not believe the law applies to California. The law’s author Rep. Dana Rohrabacher said the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment very much applies to the oldest medical cannabis economy in the world. “It’s U.S. attorneys, like Melinda Haag in the Bay Area, who are breaking federal law, not the dispensaries they’re prosecuting,” Rohrabacher explained

Golf’s U.S. Open is coming to Chambers Bay, Washington, in just three weeks, and it means a big boost to the local economy. Local pot shops see the opportunity as well. “We were really pushing to get open for the U.S. Open at Chambers Bay,” said Alden Linn, general manager of World of Weed, a retail pot store expected to open next week. Retail marijuana stores are one of the many industries expecting to cash in the week of the U.S. Open Championship, a topic Tacoma city leaders even mentioned in an April study session. “Pot store owners are expecting a week`s of marijuana sales each day of the tournament,” said Tacoma City Council member Marty Campbell during that study session. While retail marijuana store owners are excited about the increased business the U.S. Open will bring, they`re also trying to educate those out-of-towners.

The Milwaukee, Wisconisin, Common Council voted 10-3 Tuesday to reduce the maximum fine for possession of 25 grams of marijuana or less from $500 to $50. Alderman Nik Kovac, who authored the measure, said the current ordinance, which imposes a fine of $250 to $500 of first time possession, unfairly affects the African-American community. Alderman Joe Davis, who said he was reluctantly voting in favor of the measure, wanted the ordinance to be returned to committee to give the city’s business community an opportunity to weigh in on the issue. Alderman Terry Witkowski voted against the measure, saying he believed it sent the wrong message. “We’ve been sending this message for decades,” Kovac said. “It’s not getting through.” A state law enacted last year gives local governments more authority to craft laws on the possession of marijuana or its synthetics.

In mid-April, a former Colorado Springs-area Fox Sports radio outlet switched its format to K-HIGH, a marijuana-talk station. Now, a Denver station has followed suit. What had been KDCO-FM/Mile High Sports Radio is now KBUD-FM, also known as Smokin 94.1. In March, the station and its sister signal at 1550 AM were reportedly sold to Marc Paskins’s Marco Broadcasting for $875,000. And this morning, Smokin FM launched with syndicated host Bubba the Love Sponge. Bubba, who’s made headlines for shenanigans aplenty over the years (click to read about his claimed Hulk Hogan sex tape), is based in Florida, and his show isn’t exclusively about pot. This morning, however, he kindly did an extended segment about THC lube. In his own statement, Bubba added: “Rock music and smoking pot have historically gone together like peanut butter and jelly. The Bubba the Love Sponge Show has been an advocate for the legalization of marijuana long before it was the cool thing to do.”