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Battle over legal marijuana: a monumental moment for states’ rights

West Hollywood is painted with rainbow flags. Known as “The Creative City,” this counterculture hub is set in rolling hills, thrumming with thrift stores, vegetarian restaurants, and, since Jan. 1, four dispensaries selling recreational cannabis. The most populous state in the union, with 39 million people, started allowing legal recreational pot sales three days before the Justice Department threatened to step up enforcement of federal prohibition.  As people waiting in a line outside West Hollywood’s MedMen brush off a rainstorm, Iain McDonald, an actor and Lyft driver from Australia, says he’s puzzled…

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My guns or my ganja? Firearm-owning pot fans face a choice

HARRISBURG, Pa. — The federal government says grass and guns don’t mix, and that is putting gun owners who use marijuana — and the strongly pro-gun-rights administration of President Donald Trump — in a potentially uncomfortable position. As gun-loving Pennsylvania becomes the latest state to operate a medical marijuana program, with the first dispensary on track to begin sales next month, authorities are warning patients that federal law bars marijuana users from having guns or ammunition. “They’re going to have to make a choice,” said John T. Adams, president of…

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Science 

Greece set to allow medical cannabis use

Over a dozen EU countries have authorised the use of cannabis for medical purposes (AFP Photo/Robyn Beck) More Athens (AFP) – Greece’s parliament is expected to approve the medical use of cannabis in the coming weeks, a deputy minister said Sunday, adding that the change would attract investment to the country. “In a few weeks’ time, an amendment will be brought to parliament to define the legislative framework for the cultivation and manufacturing of pharmaceutical products based on medical cannabis, which will open the way for Greek and foreign investments,”…

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Left vs. Right: State pols set to battle over voter rights, guns and unions

New year, new fights. As state legislatures across the country prepare to go into session, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are primed to tackle — and clash over — specific solutions to new problems and old troubles that haven’t been dealt with. Progressive legislators are focused on legalizing marijuana and passing gun control, while conservative lawmakers are prioritizing measures dealing with reining in unions and immigration. Here’s a look at the coming wars in U.S. Statehouses. On the left… Workers’ rights: With many states raising their minimum wage…

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California OK’d getting high, but all’s not kush for L.A. sellers

State law has made it legal since New Year’s Day for Californians to buy marijuana to get high — not just to treat their medical ills. Full legalization of the drug has been a blockbuster hit for many of the 134 businesses licensed as of Wednesday for “recreational” sales, with sales up nearly three-fold in some stores. But the boom times in the state’s fledgling legal marijuana era have not been spread equally. Fresno and Riverside counties have prohibited cannabis sales. Many other cities have been slow to write regulations…

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Why California may not dominate the pot market

SALINAS, Calif. — This state has long been dubbed America’s salad bowl, because of the ability of California’s industrial-scale farms to produce food in mass quantities. Beginning this year, it will also begin widespread legal production of a very different crop. The grower of more than one-third of the nation’s vegetables and two-thirds of its fruits and nuts is expected to begin providing an outsize share of its marijuana, after the drug became legal for recreational use on Jan. 1. But it’s still not clear who will produce all that…

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Feds’ pot policy shift could slow booming industry

America’s marijuana industry, already threading a thicket of conflicting state and federal laws, entered a new era of uncertainty this week when the Justice Department scrapped a policy that allowed pot to flourish in states that legalized it. In his memo Thursday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions didn’t directly order a federal crackdown on pot enterprises. But it was vague enough to leave that possibility open. So while growers, sellers and their financial backers aren’t panicking, they know Sessions’ move isn’t good for business. Sessions on Thursday rescinded an Obama-era guidance…

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For legal marijuana to survive Trump, Congress must legalize it

Get the Think newsletter. SUBSCRIBE In a not-at-all shocking move, Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Thursday rescinded the Cole Memo, a list of Department of Justice enforcement priorities that has been the tenuous legal foundation for the burgeoning cannabis industry since August of 2013. News outlets, nonprofits, and blogs went crazy, cannabis stocks plunged and investors ran for the hills. What happened was simply a restoration of prosecutorial discretion to individual U.S. Attorneys to make enforcement decisions within their own districts. So what does this really mean, and what might…

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Science 

'Right Now It's Chaotic.' Jeff Sessions' Marijuana Move Is Jeopardizing the Pot Industry

Dispensary owners and cannabis growers may suddenly be sleeping more restlessly. Though setting up a pot shop has always been an uncertain business, memos issued by the Department of Justice under President Obama gave people in the industry some assurance that if they were abiding by state laws, they were at small risk of federal prosecution. But on Thursday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded those memos, allowing federal prosecutors to enforce federal marijuana laws more aggressively and sending ripples of unease throughout the burgeoning industry. “A lot of folks in…

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Sessions to end Obama-era policy on legalized marijuana

Attorney General Jeff Sessions is preparing to reverse an Obama administration policy that shielded legalized marijuana from federal intervention and enabled the pot industry to flourish, a senior Justice Department official told NBC News on Thursday. In doing so, Sessions will give U.S. attorneys in states where marijuana is legal like California and Colorado the green light to aggressively enforce federal marijuana law, which prohibits growing, buying and using pot. While Sessions is giving permission to prosecute marijuana cases, he did not explicitly call for it. The move could conceivably…

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