Sessions Says Obama Marijuana Memo Is ‘Valid’

March 15th, 2017 by Tom Angell

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is indicating that he might keep Obama-era marijuana enforcement guidelines in place, perhaps with some modifications.

“The Cole Memorandum set up some policies under President Obama’s Department of Justice about how cases should be selected in those states and what would be appropriate for federal prosecution, much of which I think is valid,” he said in a question-and-answer session with reporters on Wednesday following a speech in Richmond, Virginia.

That memo, adopted in 2013, lays out guidelines for how states can avoid federal interference with their marijuana laws.

Sessions added that he “may have some different ideas myself in addition to that” but indicated that the federal government would not be able to enforce its remaining marijuana prohibition laws across the board in states with legalization.

“Essentially we’re not able to go into a state and pick up the work that the police and sheriffs have been doing for decades,” he said.

The attorney general also addressed medical cannabis, suggesting that it “has been hyped, maybe too much.”

“It’s possible that some dosages can be constructed in a way that might be beneficial,” he said. “But if you ever just smoke marijuana for example where you have no idea how much THC you’re getting it’s probably not a good way to administer a medicinal amount. So, forgive me if I’m a bit dubious about that.”

In the speech before taking questions from reporters, Sessions acknowledged that marijuana isn’t as harmful as heroin, something that Justice Department officials have been reluctant to do in the past:

“I realize this may be an unfashionable belief in a time of growing tolerance of drug use.  But too many lives are at stake to worry about being fashionable.  I reject the idea that America will be a better place if marijuana is sold in every corner store.  And I am astonished to hear people suggest that we can solve our heroin crisis by legalizing marijuana – so people can trade one life-wrecking dependency for another that’s only slightly less awful.  Our nation needs to say clearly once again that using drugs will destroy your life.”

During his Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing in January, Sessions called the Obama-era Cole memo “valuable” but suggested that he thought its provisions might not have been enforced strictly enough under the prior administration.

In a radio interview last week, he admitted that “it’s not possible for the federal government, of course, to take over everything the local police used to do in a state that’s legalized it.”

As a Republican senator representing Alabama, Sessions was long one of Congress’s most ardent proponent of the war on drugs. Last year, he said that “good people don’t smoke marijuana.”

Medical pot group gives California ‘B+’ on access report card By Todd R. Hansen

FAIRFIELD — California, one of the original eight states to legalize medical cannabis use, received a “B+” in the 2017 annual report by Americans for Safe Access.

Overall, the organization said there is still a lot of work to do, as none of the 44 states that allow medical marijuana use received an “A” grade. However, the number of states receiving a “B” or higher went from 11 to 19.

“Medical cannabis laws are moving in a positive direction, but only a handful of the 44 medical cannabis states are truly meeting the needs of patients, and there are still six states where cannabis remains completely illegal for patients,” Steph Sherer, executive director of Americans for Safe Access, said in a statement released with the annual report.


The grades are based on a formula that reviews the rights of patients, legal constraints and overall accessibility to medical cannabis. California also received a “B+” grade in 2016, the first year the report came out. Americans for Safe Access was formed in 2002.

“In short, we’re seeing a lot of progress, but the fight is far from over. As of 2017, no state cannabis laws are within the ‘A’ range,” Sherer said in the statement. “Only a small minority of states currently include ASA’s criteria of protections and rights that we believe all patients should be afforded under the law.”

The report is not broken down by regions or counties within a state. Solano County has limited access as Vallejo is the only city in the county where medical marijuana can be legally accessed. The city has 10 retail dispensaries.

California’s highest grading (97) came in the categories of “Access” and “Functionality,” while its lowest grading (59) was given for “Product Safety,” the report states.

The poor grade does not mean the marijuana is not safe, according to a written response to a question by the Daily Republic. Instead, Americans for Safe Access said California was docked points on several regulatory fronts.



California explores energy impacts of cannabis cultivation

The strain that California’s legalized cannabis industry could place on the state’s power grid came into focus on Tuesday, as marijuana cultivators, energy regulators and utility companies huddled to begin hashing out how to square the state’s clean energy goals with the surge in electricity usage expected to accompany recreational pot.

The California Public Utilities Commission hosted a pair of panel discussions that brought together cannabis and energy industry professionals from California, Oregon, Washington State and Colorado — all of which have moved to legalize recreational marijuana in recent years — to share information and experiences about energy usage and conservation in growing marijuana in their respective states.


PUC President Michael Picker said California lacks “deep data” surrounding how the state’s electrical and water infrastructure might be impacted by the expected spike in marijuana cultivation when recreational pot becomes legal next year.

But he said he expects the PUC to consider “distinct set of (electricity) rates for cannabis to help ensure that electricity consumption in the sector supports our greenhouse gas reduction goals and energy efficiency goals.”

Indoor marijuana cultivation is an energy intensive process that relies on powerful lights, heating and cooling systems, ventilation and other processes to control the growing climate and ensure a more bountiful harvest. As much as 40 percent of new demand on Denver’s power grid has been attributed to cannabis cultivation since Colorado legalized pot in 2012, Picker said.



6 new things we learned from California’s cannabis czar

SAN FRANCISCO — Lori Ajax, chief of the Bureau of Medical Cannabis Regulation, talked to the Bay Area News Group on Friday at the International Cannabis Business Conference in San Francisco.

We wanted to find out what’s up with the state’s law legalizing recreational marijuana. Here are the most interesting things we learned:

1. The state’s on schedule — so you may actually be able to walk into a store and buy marijuana on Jan. 1, 2018. That’s because Ajax may start issuing temporary licenses.

“We are going to issue licenses” on Jan. 1, she said. “We may issue temporary licenses until we complete our background investigations.”

But it’s going to take awhile for the whole system to ramp up.  “There is no possible way we can issue everybody a license on Day 1,” she said. “For some people, it make take a few months.

“We expect to accept applications on Day 1,  we expect our licensing system will be in place, where you can go online to apply.”

But if you have a medical marijuana card, relax: It’s business-as-usual. Under the Medical Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act, if you have a local permit you are allowed to continue cultivation and dispensing — until the state makes a final decision on applications.

2. Want a commercial growing license? Talk to your local officials. Now.

“You have to be in compliance with your local jurisdiction before we issue a license,” Ajax said.

And because there will be limits to the number of “Type 3” licenses — which will allows licensees to grow up to one acre outdoors — you’ll need to hurry to make sure you’re at the front of the line.

3. Colorado, Washington and Oregon have offered some helpful hints — but only up to a point.

“Colorado had issues with edibles and overconsumption — and it getting into the hands of kids. Washington taxed very high. We can learn from that,” she said. “Those are important lessons for us to look at — to make sure we don’t make the same mistakes here.”

California has a lot more commercial cannabis than these other states. And we’re really diverse — culturally and geographically, she noted.

“At the end of the day, we’ve had a cannabis industry for two decades,” she said. “We need to learn from our own folks. We need to do the best model for California.”


What are High CBD Cannabis Strains and How Do They Differ from High THC Strains? by: RACHEL CHAMBERS

Cannabis connoisseurs have long prized potency as one of the main factors that makes a particular strain more desirable than another. Potency has long been popular in an illicit market—when the local selection consisted of the offerings of one illegal dealer versus those of another, many consumers were looking to get more bang for their buck and sought out the strongest strain. Traditionally, cannabis users attributed strain potency to high levels of the cannabinoid THC, which has led to the proliferation of strains that are full of it. THC may be the most prevalent active compound in marijuana, but it is only one of at least 85 that we know of. Thanks to marijuana’s growing legitimacy as a medicinal option, CBD is starting to emerge as the cannabinoid poised to steal THC’s thunder.

What are High CBD Cannabis Strains?

CBD is the abbreviation for cannabidiol, the cannabinoid second only to THC when it comes to average volume. Recently, research has shown CBD to have analgesic, anti-inflammatory, and anti-anxiety properties without the psychoactive effects (the “high” or “stoned” feeling) that THC provides. While high THC strains often tout levels of over 20%, generally, CBD levels of over 4% are considered to be high.

the remainder of the article can be found at:

California Bill Provides Trademark Protection for Marijuana Industry

California, long a pioneer in legalizing cannabis, is intent on giving the industry the legal tools to grow.

California Bill Provides Trademark Protection for Marijuana Industry

In any business, the owner can trademark the name, logo and even images associated with their business with the United States government.

Every business, that is, expect the marijuana business.vThe federal government grants trademarks for businesses but the federal government still classifies marijuana as an illegal drug. That makes getting a trademark at the national level impossible.

However, lawmakers in California, which has been among those leading the way in the new era of legalized marijuana, have proposed a solution for businesses in the Golden State.

California Trademark Proposal

Businesses need trademarks to protect intellectual property, keeping other businesses from stealing names and logos associated with their product and using it on products of their own. The lack of trademark protection in the marijuana industry already has led  a German pipe maker to sue companies in the United States for appropriating their name and placing it on other products.

Under current law, a secretary of state can provide trademark protection for businesses at the state level, but only if they already have a federal trademark.

“Not being able to trademark your brand is a huge setback if you’re trying to get capital investment,” Nate Bradley, a lobbyist for marijuana sellers, told non-profit journalism site “If you’re not able to protect what you’re asking people to invest in, you’re not likely to get investments.”

California lawmakers have introduced a bill that would provide that protection. Assembly Bill 64 expands provisions of the Model State Trademark law allow the state to grant trademarks to business that deal in “medical cannabis and nonmedical cannabis goods and services.” Assemblyman Rob Bonta, a Democrat representing the Oakland area, is lead author on the bill.

Both Colorado and Washington have passed similar laws to offer marijuana businesses in those states trademark protection. THE REMAINDER OF THE ARTICLE CAN BE FOUND AT:

Inside ‘Pot Alley’ as LA Gears Up for Legal Weed


Marijuana has been legalized in California for recreational use.

It is referred to as the “salad bowl of the nation,” best described in iconic pages when John Steinbeck, American author and son of Salinas, put pen to paper in most of his classic writings.

It’s here where Japanese immigrants found their American dream after World War II in the cut flowers business, evident even today.

“A lot of these houses are Japanese-style houses,” said Alicia, a cannabis properties realtor.
Alicia agreed to show us around the valley on the condition we don’t share her last name. She specializes in the new green that’s growing here, pointing out farms she says are now cannabis farms.
“Look. Barbed wires, cameras,” she said.
Alicia works to sell, buy or manage what used to be properties housing the booming flower market, properties that have since fallen apart due to various free trade agreements over the years.
She says ever since California legalized marijuana, there’s new life breathing into the valley and sucking dry the idea of continuing with the cut flowers business, when owners can sell their properties for millions.
“It wouldn’t make sense to grow flowers, you know, at $5 million,” she said.
Under new California law, cannabis cultivators are banned from building new greenhouses, unless they are built in the footprint of old ones.
So any “green” house in the state has the potential to evolve into a “grow” house.
“California cannabis is its own brand, no different than California wine or anything else,” Michael Williamson, the director of operations at Harborside, a leading cannabis grower and distributor in northern California.
He says his hairnet, white jumpsuit and gloves are a way to keep the product pure and free from human interaction.
“When you look at our product and our plants, it’s really not that different than a lot of the cut flowers market,” he said. “Which makes this valley kind of the potential to be the Sonoma Valley of cannabis.”


Follow us: @NBCLA on Twitter | NBCLA on Facebook