Whether to crack down on marijuana in states where it is legal is a decision that will now rest with those states' top federal prosecutors, many of whom are deeply rooted in their communities and may be reluctant to pursue cannabis businesses or their customers.
When he rescinded the Justice Department's previous guidance on marijuana, Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions left the issue to a mix of prosecutors who were appointed by President Trump's administration and others who are holdovers from the Obama years.
Legal experts do not expect a flood of new cases, and people familiar with the job of U.S. attorney say prosecutors could decide against using already limited resources to seek criminal charges against cannabis companies that abide by state regulations or their customers.
The cast of “Super Troopers 2” has teamed up with Lyft to encourage those observing the unofficial weed holiday of 4/20 not to get behind the wheel if they’ve gotten behind the business end of a joint.
In a PSA posted to YouTube on April 12, Jay Chandrasekhar, in character as Vermont state trooper Arcot “Thorny” Ramathorn (with castmates Kevin Heffernan, Steve Lemme, Paul Soter and Erik Stolhanske goofing around in the background) addresses the camera.
“The Super Troopers are back,” he says, “and meow that we’ve heard potheads are entitled to smoke freely, we take our jobs more seriously than ever. So, this 4/20, if you’re trying to get higher than a fruit bat, don’t drive. Call a Lyft ride instead.”
California would license special banks to handle billions of dollars generated by the legal marijuana market under legislation buoyed by recent comments from the Trump administration and given initial approval by state lawmakers Wednesday.
The measure gained momentum just days after President Trump indicated that his administration would not crack down on recreational marijuana in states that have voted to make it legal. Selling and growing marijuana for recreational use was legalized by California voters under a state licensing system that began Jan. 1.
The state issued a warning Tuesday that businesses holding licenses to sell marijuana could face penalties if they participate in unlicensed temporary events away from their stores, including on April 20, which has become an annual celebration for counterculture groups.
The warning was issued ahead of 4/20 by the state Bureau of Cannabis Control. Since Jan. 1, the bureau has issued more than 700 state licenses to sell marijuana for medical or recreational use.
The bureau has issued 47 temporary event licenses to groups that are limited to holding the marijuana celebrations on county fairgrounds that have authorized such events with city approval.
States that have passed laws legalizing recreational marijuana in recent years appear to have found some new, unexpected supporters: Republican politicians.
Since voters began to pass recreational marijuana measures in 2012, the pro-pot movement has seen swift support from many Democrats, with Republicans often pushing back against legalization. Those expressing concern or opposition have cited, among other things, the potential for pot to be a gateway drug, and they have regularly sided with law enforcement, which has established a unified front against recreational marijuana.
Former House Speaker John A. Boehner said Wednesday he has had a change of heart on marijuana and will promote its nationwide legalization as a way to help veterans and the nation's deadly opioid crisis.
The Ohio Republican, an avid cigarette smoker, has joined the advisory board of Acreage Holdings, a multistate cannabis company. The company also announced that former Massachusetts Gov. William Weld had joined its advisory board.
Faced with opposition from drug legalization advocates, California lawmakers backed away Tuesday from a proposal to adopt a “zero tolerance” policy on motorists under age 21 who drive after using marijuana.
A bill by state Sen. Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo) originally proposed a one-year suspension of driver’s licenses for minors caught for the first time driving with measurable amounts of marijuana in their system. Hill had said the state should have the same “zero tolerance” policy for cannabis that it has for those under 21 who drive under the influence of alcohol.
Los Angeles based High Times Media announced Thursday that it has acquired Green Rush Daily, a 2 1/2-year-old online publication that calls itself “the voice of the cannabis revolution.” Terms of the acquisition were not released beyond stating that Green Rush Daily would continue to operate as a standalone publication based in New York City.
Founded in New York in 1974, High Times magazine, with its glossy close-up photos of marijuana plants, growing tips and tales of outlaw culture, became the de facto weed bible for generations of pot smokers. In recent years, the brand has moved beyond publishing and used its authority in the cannabis space to build a budding live event business that includes business summits, music festivals and a “Cannabis Cup” series that’s part trade show and part weed-strain competition (think chili cook-off — but with bowls of green instead of bowls of red).
In October 2016, with California voters’ approval of legal recreational use of cannabis on the horizon, the company moved west and took up residence in the Art Deco Wilshire Tower building alongside a cluster of cannabis-focused businesses. In mid-2017, L.A.-based investment group Oreva Capital bought controlling interest in the company and announced plans to become a publicly listed company on NASDAQ. (Thursday’s announcement noted that High Times has filed paperwork with the Securities and Exchange Comission to that end and hopes to have that process completed before the end of June.)
Chalice Festival, an annual SoCal celebration of music, art and cannabis, has announced that Bassnectar and Ludacris are among the acts headlining this year’s event, which is scheduled to take place July 13 through 15 at the San Bernardino County Fairgrounds in Victorville, Calif.
Bassnectar (the stage name of DJ and record producer Lorin Ashton) and Chris “Ludacris” Bridges will be part of a musical lineup that is slated to include Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, PharcydeSizzla and Curren$y. Also on tap: large-scale art installations, graffiti artists and a host of notable names in the glass-blowing business, including DWreck, Mothership, JD Maplesden, Mr. Gray and JAG X SALT. (For those unfamiliar with the aforementioned brands, they all specialize in crafting glass pipes that are as much works of art as they are smoking accessories.)
Chalice 2018, which marks the festival’s fifth year, will differ from past years in one very big way, according to organizers: Attendees will be able to purchase and consume cannabis on site, thanks to changes in California’s adult-use laws that went into effect in January. (This means festival-goers must be at least 21 years old.)
Three months after recreational marijuana went on sale in California, San Diego retailers say business has been brisk and the customer base diverse, including older people who use a private shuttle bus to reach one dispensary.
"There's been a change in the culture," said Will Senn, who operates two Urbn Leaf marijuana stores in San Diego and is about to open a third.