The defeat of Issue 3 in Ohio has to lead off this week’s roundup of news from the cannabis sector. The vote really wasn’t even close—it lost in all 88 counties and opponents nabbed 64% of the votes. There are several possible reasons for the defeat.
First appears to be a reaction against the monopoly-like effect the law would have created. If adopted, an amendment to the state’s constitution would have limited the number of permitted cultivators to 10 and those lucky few had already been chosen. Raging against a monopoly or a cartel rewarded opponents of the bill, including some who would ordinarily be expected to vote in favor of legalization.
A second reason could have been the jump from no legal sales of marijuana in the state to full legalization of both medical and recreational marijuana. Of course the fact that the state legislature has refused to consider a medical marijuana bill for more than 15 years also indicates how most Ohioans feel about legalization.
There’s even a conspiracy theory. According to Alternet:
Televised screen shots taken Tuesday night of live election returns in Ohio provided by the Secretary of State’s office showed hundreds of thousands of votes flipping from the “yes” to “no” column of Issue 3, the ballot measure to legalize marijuana.
Here are other important news stories for the week.
Clinton Joins Democratic Rivals in Backing Change to Marijuana Classification
Hillary Rodham Clinton has long declined to endorse legalized medical or recreational marijuana at the federal level, but on Saturday, she added more specifics to her proposal to increase research into medical marijuana.
Clinton said that she supports removing marijuana from a list of schedule 1 drugs, a classification that prevents federally-sponsored research into its effects. As a schedule 1 drug, marijuana is classified among the most dangerous drugs that the federal Drug Enforcement Agency regulates.
“We haven’t done research, why? Because it’s considered a schedule 1 drug,” Clinton said during a town hall meeting at Claflin University in South Carolina on Saturday. “I’d like to move it from schedule 1 to schedule 2.”
Read more at The Washington Post.
Santee Sioux Tribe Suspends Marijuana Operation
The Flandreau[,South Dakota,] Santee Sioux Tribe is burning millions of dollars worth of marijuana intended to be sold in the nation’s first pot smoking lounge on tribal land, KELOLAND News has confirmed.
A source tells KELOLAND News that the decision was made because the tribe didn’t want to deal with the ongoing controversy with the federal government. Instead, they want to sell marijuana the right way and the safest way possible.
“After government-to-government consultation with the United States, the Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe is temporarily suspending its marijuana cultivation and distribution facilities, and is destroying its existing crop,” said Seth C. Pearman, Attorney for Flandeau Santee Sioux Tribe in a statement to KELOLAND News.
Read more at Keloland.com.
Marijuana Decision Sparks Debate in Mexico
A Mexican Supreme Court ruling permitting marijuana use for recreational purposes has sparked a sensitive debate in Mexico about the country’s drug laws, involving health advocates, scholars, law enforcement officials, and business and political leaders.
Wednesday’s 4-1 decision applies only to four members of an advocacy group seeking to decriminalize marijuana, granting them the right to consume and produce for their own personal use. Still, the issue has touched a nerve for many in Mexico, opening a wide-ranging discussion about the country’s drug policies.
In Tijuana, the issue has led newscasts, dominated headlines and become fodder for radio programs. Baja California has long been located on a lucrative smuggling route for marijuana and other drugs destined for U.S. consumers, and the issue has hit home for many residents who have seen first-hand the effects of drug-related violence and consumption.
Read more at The San Diego Union-Tribune.
DEA Chief: Medicinal Marijuana is a “Joke”
Chuck Rosenberg, chief of the Drug Enforcement Administration, said that smoking marijuana should not be considered medical treatment on Wednesday, calling the notion a “joke.”
“What really bothers me is the notion that marijuana is also medicinal—because it’s not,” Rosenberg said in a briefing to reporters, according to CBS. “We can have an intellectually honest debate about whether we should legalize something that is bad and dangerous, but don’t call it medicine—that is a joke.”
Read more at CNBC.