By Kevin Zeese for Popular Resistance. A total of 26 protesters were arrested today in opposition to Jeff Sessions, including members of Refuse Fascism, the NAACP, Democracy Spring, Code Pink, and Howard University, according to Refuse Fascism. The group is calling for millions to pour into the streets of DC to prevent Trump and Pence from assuming power. The protests began even before confirmation hearings officially began. Two CODE PINK members dressed in KKK costumes stood up before the hearing was gaveled to express their support for Sessions. They praised “Jefferson Beauregard” and as they were taken from the room they yelled mockingly “you can’t arrest me, I am white!” and “white people own this government.” In the hall as they were being detained they explained that Sessions history on racism, immigration, LGBTQ rights and sexism made him inappropriate to serve as attorney general.
By Staff of ABC – New figures put North America’s legal marijuana “green rush” above the dot-com boom of the early 2000s in terms of industry growth, according to Forbes. North America’s legal marijuana market posted $US9.3 billion ($12 billion) in revenue in 2016 — a 30 per cent increase on 2015 — according to a report by ArcView Market Research, a leading cannabis research publisher. The report said the industry could post sales topping $US20.2 billion ($27.9 billion) by 2021, assuming a compound annual growth rate of 25 per cent. The magazine reported GDP grew at 22 per cent during the dot-com boom, which saw dial-up internet replaced by broadband.
By Nina Golgowski for The Huffington Post – No matter where you stand on Donald Trump’s impending presidency, pot activists promise his inauguration will be a “smokin’ fun time.” A cannabis coalition from Washington, D.C., said it will hand out 4,200 marijuana joints for free to the public, as the group marches toward the National Mall on Jan. 20. It’s legal to give away marijuana as a gift in D.C., but it’s against the law to sell it or smoke it in public. But that last part’s not stopping DC Marijuana Justice’s plans to publicly light up four minutes and 20 seconds into Trump’s speech.
By Tom Angell for Marijuana – The nation’s largest military veterans organization is pushing President-elect Donald Trump to reschedule marijuana after he takes office early next year. Top officials from the American Legion, which passed a resolution endorsing the reclassification of cannabis under federal law earlier this year, sat down with Trump’s transition team last week to discuss key priorities for the more than 2 million military veterans the organization represents, including marijuana policy reform. The group “initiated a call-to-action on fairly new Legion priorities…
By Phillip Smith for AlterNet – Four states, including California, the nation’s most populous, voted to legalize marijuana on November 8. That doubles the number of legal states to eight, and more than quadruples the number of people living in legal marijuana states, bringing the number to something around 64 million. Every one of those states legalized marijuana through the initiative process, but we’re not going to see anymore initiatives on state ballots until 2018, and perhaps 2020. That means that if we are to make more progress on spreading marijuana legalization in the next couple of years, it’s going to have to come at the state house instead of the ballot box.
By Beau Kilmer for USA Today – As of last week, voters in California and seven other states have passed ballot initiatives to allow for-profit companies to produce, distribute and sell non-medical marijuana. With more than 65 million peopleliving in states that have passed marijuana legalization, and a Gallup poll showing that 60% of the country supports legalizing marijuana use, national legalization may seem inevitable. As goes California, so goes the nation, right? Not necessarily. Consider what happened with medical marijuana. California was the first state to allow medical marijuana, starting nearly 20 years ago.
By Phillip Smith for AlterNet – The election of Donald Trump is sending chills down the spine of the nation’s nascent marijuana industry. Could he and a Republican Congress try to roll back the clock and force federal pot prohibition down the throats of states that have, via the popular vote, gone down the path toward legalization? Marijuana remains illegal under federal law, and Trump and the Congress could, in theory, try to put the genie back in the bottle.
By Liz Essley Whyte for the Center for Public Integrity. Despite massive losses for Democrats in races from the White House to governors’ offices Tuesday, those on the left celebrated some significant victories with state ballot measures. From marijuana to minimum wage to gun control laws, they won many key initiatives among the 162 statewide measures — part of a concerted plan put in motion more than a year ago to circumvent Republican-led legislatures and take policy questions directly to voters. Progressive advocates appeared to lose major healthcare initiatives in California and Colorado, however. The Center for Public Integrity tracked how those fighting over these measures shaped their messages with TV ads, typically an expensive yet far-reaching endeavor. Media tracker Kantar Media/CMAG estimates that more than $384 million was spent through Monday just to air TV ads about such measures this election.
By Alan Pyke for Think Progress. It turns out pot is a stronger economic driver than 90 percent of the industries active in Colorado. Legal weed created 18,005 full-time jobs and added about $2.4 billion to the state’s economy last year, an analysis from the Marijuana Policy Group (MPG)shows. Between the dollars that customers spend and the money businesspeople invest in their crops and shops, pot is generating more wealth and activity than almost anything else on a pound-for-pound basis. Every dollar spent in the industry generates between $2.13 and $2.40 in economic activity. Only federal government spending has a higher multiplier. Normally a business boom redounds immense benefits to people far outside of its immediate influence, as the money generated in one set of activities gets recirculated into others through consumer spending and business investment. But federal prohibition puts undue friction on that cycle, preventing it from reaching its full potential to create jobs and generate new opportunities.
By Ryan J. Reilly and Nick Wing for The Huffington Post – WASHINGTON ― Criminalizing the personal use and possession of drugs results in “devastating harm,” and states and the federal government need to decriminalize such low-level offenses, according to a new report released Wednesday by Human Rights Watch and the American Civil Liberties Union. Police are making more arrests for drug possession than any other crime, the report said. With more than 1.25 million such arrests each year, someone gets busted for drug possession in the U.S. every 25 seconds.
By Staff of Reuters – The U.S. Department of Justice cannot spend money to prosecute federal marijuana cases if the defendants comply with state guidelines that permit the drug’s sale for medical purposes, a federal appeals court ruled on Tuesday. The ruling, from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, comes as voters in nine more states will consider allowing the recreational or medical use of marijuana this November.
By Rob Kampia for The Huffington Post – In the wake of the DEA’s decision against rescheduling marijuana, the super-majority of the American people who support legalizing medical marijuana might properly wonder, “How bad is this news?” As the leader of the largest marijuana-policy-reform organization in the nation, my answer might surprise you: It barely mattered which way the DEA ruled. Back in 1970, Congress and President Nixon placed marijuana in Schedule I, along with LSD and heroin, defining these drugs as having no therapeutic value and a high potential for abuse.
By Pamela Wood for The Baltimore Sun – The small Western Maryland town of Hancock — population 1,545 — is poised to be a part-owner of a medical marijuana company after winning a license to grow cannabis plants this week. The town is in a unique partnership with an Arizona company that plans to grow cannabis in a town-owned warehouse and share profits with the Washington County town. After Hancock suffered an exodus of about 1,000 jobs over the past two decades, the cannabis industry could spark an economic turnaround for the town and surrounding communities, said Mayor Daniel Murphy.
By Tony Newman for Drug Policy Alliance – Today, the DEA announced that it was not rescheduling marijuana, in effect refusing to recognize marijuana’s medicinal benefits. But in what is viewed as a victory for the marijuana reform movement, the DEA said that it was ending its monopoly on marijuana research. “Keeping marijuana in Schedule I shows that the DEA continues to ignore research, and places politics above science,” said Michael Collins, deputy director of national affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance. “In reality, marijuana should be descheduled and states should be allowed to set their own policies.”