Marijuana News Roundup: Michigan Won’t Get Vote on Recreational Pot

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In June,  supporters of legalizing recreational marijuana use in Michigan submitted some 354,000 signatures in an effort to get an initiative on the November ballot. That was over 100,000 more than the legal requirement of 252,523 signatures. Last week, the state’s Supreme Court probably shot down for good supporters’ hopes of getting a vote on the measure this year.

The issue was decided on a technical issue. The state legislature had, in May, passed a law related to proving the validity of signatures gathered outside a 180-day window. Under prior rules, signatures collected prior to the 180-day window could have been counted (“rehabilitated”) if collectors could prove that the signers were registered to vote during the window.

Under the new legislation signatures had to have been gathered during the 180-day window, period. The state election board determined that 107,000 signatures were gathered outside the window, were therefore invalid, and the initiative would not appear on the ballot.

A group called MiLegalize sued but lost in the Michigan Court of Claims. The group requested that the state Supreme Court take the case, bypassing the appeals court, but that request was denied. MiLegalize has said it would appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, but time is against it.

In Secretive Marijuana Industry, Whispers of Abuse and Trafficking
In the Emerald Triangle, trees are ever present. They peek over small towns and dip into valleys, sheathing this cluster of remote Northern California counties in silence.

For decades, the ancient forests here have provided cover for the nation’s largest marijuana-growing industry, shielding pot farmers from convention, outsiders and law enforcement.

But the forests also hide secrets, among them young women with stories of sexual abuse and exploitation. Some have spoken out; a handful have pressed charges. Most have confided only in private.

Read more at Reveal News.

Canada Wants the U.S. to Change Its ‘Ludicrous’ Marijuana Policy
Canada plans to push the United States to change a ‘ludicrous’ current policy that forbids Canadians who admit to previously using marijuana from entering the U.S.

A spokesman for the Canadian government said on Friday that it has been in discussions with the U.S. government about Canada’s plans to legalize marijuana, Reuters reported. But the spokesman said the travel policy has not yet been addressed.

The policy drew attention when a Canadian man in 2014 was barred from entering the U.S. after he admitted he had smoked marijuana recreationally, Reuters reported.

“We obviously need to intensify our discussions with our border authorities in the United States, including the Department of Homeland Security,” Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said in an interview with the Canadian Broadcasting Corp late on Thursday, according to Reuters.

Read more in Time.

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A Maker of Deadly Painkillers is Bankrolling the Opposition to Legal Marijuana in Arizona
The campaign against marijuana legalization in Arizona received a major infusion of cash last week from a synthetic cannabis drugmaker that has been investigated for alleged improper marketing of a highly addictive prescription painkiller, according to campaign finance reports.

The $500,000 donation from Insys Therapeutics, based in Chandler, Ariz.,  amounts to more than one-third of all money raised byArizonans for Responsible Drug Policy, the group opposing legalization. It’s one of the largest single contributions to any anti-legalization campaign ever, according to campaign finance records maintained by

The cash infusion could even the playing field in an arena where legalization supporters have traditionally outspent opponents. Until the Insys donation, legalization supporters in Arizona had out-fundraised opponents by about 3-to-1. The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol has raised more than $3 million, much of it from the Marijuana Policy Project, a national group working to change marijuana laws.

Insys has developed a drug based on a synthetic version of marijuana’s active ingredient, THC. Called Syndros, the drug was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in July for treatment of symptoms in AIDS and cancer patients. It is awaiting scheduling by the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Read more at The Washington Post.

Veterans Back on Patrol, This Time to Protect Marijuana
It’s nighttime at the Herbal Cure, a south Denver marijuana shop and grow house tucked into a parking lot beside the highway. Inside is a marijuana bounty: thousands of dollars’ worth of cannabis plants, boxes of marijuana-infused chocolate, jars of $360-an-ounce weed with names like Frankenberry, Lemon Skunk and Purple Cheddar.

Chris Bowyer, a lanky combat veteran turned cannabis security guard, is outside. He has a .40-caliber pistol on his hip and a few extra magazines stored away, and he is talking about his work on the battlefield. Not the one in Iraq — the one in Colorado, where criminals seeking to breach marijuana businesses face veterans trying to stop them.

“This is my therapy,” Mr. Bowyer said, heading for a place where burglars broke in recently. He checked a fence for signs of a new incursion, then headed to an office to note the night’s activities in a rigorously organized logbook. “This is what we did in the military.”

In Colorado, a curious marriage has formed between the booming retail cannabis industry — legal in the state since 2014, but not in the eyes of the federal government — and young war veterans, more than 200 of whom have taken jobs protecting marijuana businesses across the state. They spend their days and nights in urban marijuana shops and suburban warehouses and on rural farms, warding off the burglars who have become hallmarks of this cash-heavy, high-value business.

Read more at The New York Times.

Using Pot While Pregnant Not Tied to Birth Risks
Smoking marijuana during pregnancy doesn’t appear to increase the risk of preterm birth or other harmful birth outcomes, a new review study suggests.

The researchers did initially find a link between smoking marijuana during pregnancy and an increased risk of having a preterm or low-birth-weight baby. But when they took into account whether the pregnant women also smoked tobacco in addition to marijuana, this increase in risk went away.

In other words, the risk of having either a preterm birth or a baby with a low birth weight was due to tobacco smoking, and marijuana use by itself was not linked to these outcomes, the researchers said.

Read more at LiveScience.

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