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legalization | 12.17.2019

This Week In Cannabis & Politics: Senate Members Stay Quiet, Montana Medical Crisis, & Nashville’s Promising Future

This week, we’re letting you in on the sneaky tactics of politicians, the medical cannabis crisis in Montana, and Nashville’s new take on cannabis arrests.

Ah, a new week at last. Incase you didn’t catch last week’s update, I brushed over the sticky situation between landlords and their 420-friendly tenants, how the rights of medical card holders are being restricted, and Pennsylvania’s new take on decriminalization. This week, I’ll be letting you in on the sneaky tactics of politicians, the medical cannabis crisis in Montana, and Nashville’s new take on cannabis arrests.

Sneaky Senators

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Every day, new evidence on the medicinal benefits of cannabis arises, giving hope to those who truly need it. People left and right are finally starting to come around and witness this undeniable medical revolution. Yet, despite this revelation, there are still those who oppose it, particularly those of the conservative politics breed.

I’ve said it before and I will say it again. There is no group that disapproves of legalization more than right-wing Republicans. Not only do they dream of shutting down any (and every) pro-legalization initiative, they also tend to avoid the discussion of cannabis in its entirety.

Dianne Feinstein and Chuck Grassley, two Senate members who live to lock people up for smoking a joint, have come to realize the great medicinal value that cannabis truly holds. While this is an excellent discovery by two pro-drug war conservatives, it appears that they are keeping their newly informed views on the DL. Gee, I wonder why…

The two have been quietly lobbying to get the Department of Justice and Health and Human Services (HHS) to remove restrictions on researching cannabidiol, otherwise known as CBD. Knowing the significance of its medicinal properties, Feinstein and Grassley are finally ready to get things moving faster.

There’s just one, little, problem.

Remember how the DEA recently refused to reschedule cannabis as a Schedule 1 drug? Well, that poses a bit of a setback for Feinstein and Grassley. As long as the DEA keeps cannabis classified as a Schedule 1 drug, the amount of research on cannabis and its medicinal properties remain limited.

So where was this dynamic duo a few weeks ago when the DEA was making their big decision, huh? Who knows. But what we do know is that, after years of supporting the DEA by signaling cannabis out for being a gateway drug AND sending minor possession offenders to prison, Feinstein and Grassley are shit out of luck. So you tell me, who’s laughing now?

Perhaps, that with all the power these Senators have, their newly formed progressive views will have an impact on other politicians, allowing for the issue to resurface and be discussed.

Until then…

Montana’s medical program at a halt

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For medical cannabis patients in Montana, this past week has been a rough one, to say the least.

After five years of unresolved court battles to overturn a 2011 state law that hindered the medical cannabis law in 2004, medical dispensaries throughout the state of Montana have been asked to close up shop as new restrictions are put in place.

Now, cannabis providers will be limited to three patients each, leaving thousands of registered patients in the dust. It is estimated that over 12,000 patients will be losing their legal access to cannabis because they weren’t chosen as a patient by their providers. Now, that’s messed up.

Not only have they restricted patient access, doctors who recommend cannabis to more than 25 patients in a year must be automatically reviewed, and if that wasn’t enough, the Montana Supreme Court also threw in a ban of all cannabis-related advertising.

To make sure every doctor gets the memo, police departments are laying down the law by sending out letters to providers. While it’s going to be hard to crack down on every single doctor and patient in the state, the job has been left up to the sheriff’s offices and local authorities.

Gallatin Country’s Sheriff Brian Gootkin said that knocking on doors to make sure everyone is following the law isn’t such a practical solution.

We’re taking the approach that we’re hoping they do abide by the law, and if we find out otherwise, we will be visiting with them.

For now, patients will have to find other alternatives or they’ll be forced to purchase cannabis illegally. That doesn’t seem right… However, a new initiative is being proposed to reverse some of the restrictions, and there’s a still chance it could make it to this November’s ballot, so keep those fingers crossed!

Nashville gets lenient

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We don’t often hear of many states down south that are paving the way towards legalization. In fact, a handful of southern states have yet to either push for the legalization of cannabis for medical use or are in the process of trying to qualify for a spot on the ballot.

Either way, when it comes to discussing legalization, things down south can get pretty heated.cThe good news is that Nashville, Tennessee has taken it upon itself to follow in the footsteps of other states that have chosen to keep minor offenders out of prison.

On Tuesday, a proposal was submitted to let people, that are caught with small amounts of cannabis, avoid being arrested and given a criminal record.

This is a major turning point for Music City U.S.A, since it’s the first time any sort of plan to decriminalize cannabis has been introduced by the Nashville legislature itself. For now, the goal isn’t to legalize small amounts of cannabis.

Instead, the proposal will allow police to reduce the penalty for possession of half an ounce or less from a $2,500 fine and up to one year in jail to a $50 fine or 10 hours of community service. Sounds a LOT better than the latter, if you ask me.

In the meantime, the bill is being looked over for final approval and a definitive ruling is due to be announced on September 20th.

It should be comforting to know that cannabis’ medicinal value is being discovered, not only by society, but by public officials who actually have the ability to affect change in their communities. For cannabis patients in Montana, the upcoming days will certainly be challenging but there’s no reason to give up hope just yet. In Nashville, the path toward legalization is promising and could easily influence other cities throughout the state (and in the south) as well.

In Nashville, the path toward legalization is promising and could easily influence other cities throughout the state (and in the south) as well.

Tha-a-a-at’s all folks. Stay tuned for next week!

Have you heard anything new in the world of cannabis and politics lately? Share with us on Facebook, Twitter, or in the comments below.

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