The first week of 2018 was a doozy in the world of weed, and this week was no different with plenty of breaking cannabis news.
Here are five cannabis news nuggets that caught our attention.
Cory Gardner vs. Jeff Session cage match
Okay, it wasn’t a battle royale in the WWE sense, but the Colorado senator did stand his ground against every marijuana fan’s favorite Attorney General when they met Wednesday morning. The bad news is that Sessions apparently held firm too. So what does this mean? That’s still to be determined. The Cole Memo — which helped the legal cannabis industry flourish — still resides in the policy trashcan, and Sen. Gardner, like many other elected officials, continues his protest. In his particular case, Gardner vowed to block any Justice Department nominees so long as Sessions keeps his heels dug in.
East Coast legalization efforts speeding ahead
West Coast states may have gotten the jump on the rest of the U.S. when it comes to marijuana legalization, but a handful of East Coast states are sprinting to catch up.
This week the Vermont Senate gave the final thumbs-up to a bill that will allow adults 21 and older the ability to possess up to an ounce of marijuana and two mature plants at their residence for recreational purposes. Vermont Gov. Phil Scott has said he’ll sign the bill into law soon.
Over in New Hampshire, a similar bill — this one allows people over 21 years old to possess three-quarters of an ounce of marijuana and grow up to three mature cannabis plants at home — advanced out of the House and is heading for the Senate.
And in New Jersey, a bill was introduced in the House that would allow the legal possession of recreational marijuana while also establishing the framework for commercial marijuana enterprises in the state. Incoming Gov. Phil Murphy campaigned on legalizaition and appears committed to a speedy legislative passage.
California recreational sales booming
California’s Jan. 1 recreational rollout was the marijuana news of the week last week until Jeff Sessions decided to shred the Cole Memo. But Sessions’ move has not put the slightest dent in Golden State marijuana sales. While total retail numbers won’t be out for a while, anecdotally there’s reason to believe they’ll be massive. So heavy was foot traffic that some California dispensary owners are worried about employee burnout. We’ll keep an eye on how estimates actually pan out, but for now the state’s projections for a million pounds worth of first-year sales doesn’t sound too far-fetched.
Problematic Oregon underage sting results
It wasn’t too long ago that legalization advocates were cheering the results of an undercover sting operation in Oregon designed to catch dispensaries selling marijuana to underage customers. The results? A 100% pass rate! But just after we finished spiking that football, news broke this week that multiple dispensaries in a different Oregon sting operation were busted selling pot to people under 21 years old. Talk about a — low note.
Who likes poll numbers? We do (at least these, anyway)
Not only does marijuana legalization enjoy majority support across the United States, but these two new polls came out reflecting that — by wide margins — Americans oppose federal marijuana intervention in state-based legalization efforts, and they have little faith in the War on Drugs. Take heart, friends, for if politics is indeed downstream from culture, the future of legalization looks bright.
We’ll keep our ears to the ground again next week, so we can give you a rundown on more cannabis news highlights.