Does the DEA want a piece of the weed game?
Nearly half the states in the U.S. have legalized medical marijuana and it looks like the federal government is trying to keep pace with the changing times.
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) recommended on Wednesday that the federal government triple the amount of cannabis it cultivates for research purposes, increasing the stash from 276 pounds to 882 pounds, The Huffington Post reports.
That would be a little less than a half ton of marijuana, which isn't much compared to the amounts reaching consumers in states where it's legal. Colorado sold nearly 55 tons of medical marijuana in 2014, for instance.
But it signals a recognition that the drug is more commonly accepted for research these days. Don't start celebrating yet — the federal government still considers marijuana one of the most dangerous drugs with no accepted medical use.
In December, Congress planted what one legal scholar called a “buried land mine" in a spending bill. The measure barred the Department of Justice (DOJ) from using their funds to stop states from implementing their own medical marijuana laws.
What exactly that means isn't clear. The Justice Department has continued with prosecutions against medical marijuana businesses in states such as California, where the drug has been legal for medical purposes since 1996.
The congressmen behind the aforementioned land mine, Reps. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) and Sam Farr (D-Calif.), are calling for the DOJ to stand down. In a letter to the Attorney General on Wednesday, the pair of legislators said that the Justice Department's insistence that they can move ahead with prosecution is "emphatically wrong" and that he should bring the department "back into compliance with federal law."
— Congressman Sam Farr (@RepSamFarr) April 9, 2015
The issue may be settled in federal courts. The New York Times cited a case on Wednesday involving a California medical marijuana business owner, Charles C. Lynch, whose venture had the blessing of a local mayor, city attorney and Chamber of Commerce. Still, he was convicted in 2008 of multiple felonies for selling marijuana, a decision he is appealing now.
Lynch's attorney's have asked the Ninth Circuit to “direct the D.O.J. to cease spending funds on the case,” the Times reports.
Remember the days when people had to hide their affinity for herbs? A new app called Who is Happy — which is kind of like Foursquare for potheads — is banking that era is dead.
The app lets marijuana consumers tell the world when they're feeling "happy." You can sign in with Facebook or just using an email address, but the site lets you operate anonymously (albeit encouraging you to share your joy via Facebook or Twitter).
Once you let them know about the state of your happiness, a puff of green smoke appears around your general location (it's not an exact geolocation, to protect your anonymity). The app also tells you the happiest places on Earth — Brazil is winning right now, but that's also where the creators are from.
The happiest time of the week? Friday, of course.
Ted Hesson was formerly the immigration editor at Fusion, covering the issue from Washington, D.C. He also writes about drug laws and (occasionally) baseball. On the side: guitars, urban biking, and fiction.