This Week In Cannabis 5/23

The Right to Know. The Right to Grow

Hacking on Weed

It’s been a fairly bizarre week for marijuana at the FBI.

On Monday, FBI Director James Comey set a lot of activists’ hearts aflutter when he told an audience at a White Collar Crime Institute conference that in its efforts to battle growing cyber-crime in 2014, the Federal Bureau of Investigation might have to consider retooling the hiring protocols and policy regarding marijuana use. As it stands now, to be considered for a position candidates have to be weed-free for 3 years.

He allegedly believed that many of those programmers capable of matching wits with cybercriminals were habitual marijuana users, saying “I have to hire a great workforce to compete with those cyber criminals and some of those kids want to smoke weed on the way to the interview.”

However, on Wednesday at an oversight hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, he pulled an amazing 180 stating “I am absolutely dead-set against using marijuana.” And in case there is any confusion, he followed it with, “I did not say that I am going to change that ban.” It was all in jest apparently as he was “making light” of pot-use.

Which part exactly was funny—his allusion to the stereotype of pot-smoking computer genii or the fact that a Federal agency would actually consider altering an in-house marijuana-use policy—is not entirely clear.

Yet, with their adversaries having no such hang-ups, it could prove interesting to see how the agency intends to smoke the cyber-competition.

The Empire State Edges Closer to Legal Medical Marijuana

New York State took another step closer toward legalizing the use of medical marijuana this week with the Compassionate Care Act passing through the NYS Senate Health Committee by a vote of 9-8.

The fact that some 88% of New Yorkers polled were in favor of legalizing medical marijuana might have helped sway that vote.  It did take a little legislative gerrymandering for the Act to pass, meaning it had to be softened enough that it became amenable to lawmakers liking. Next up is the Finance Committee and then onto the Senate for a final vote.

No Fluid Matter

The Huffington Post is reporting that water might be a little harder to come by for marijuana growers in Colorado and Washington in the near future.

The federal government (and more specifically, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation) is considering how the Controlled Substances Act impacts the use and sharing of federal water supplies with those local districts that allow for state-legal marijuana growing.

There are alternatives available to some growers, like city water or wells; but it doesn’t apply to all growers.

Taking a Rip on Insurance

A New Mexico state appeals court has upheld a decision that medical marijuana must be covered under workers’ comp insurance policies, making it the only known state where a workers compensation board has approved a patient’s reimbursement for medical marijuana.

Gregory Vialpando, a 55 year-old mechanic from Santa Fe, suffered a major back injury while working for Ben’s Automotive Services in 2000. One of his doctors is quoted as saying that Gregory suffered from “some of the most extremely high intensity, frequency, and duration of pain,” that he’d witnessed in a MMJ patient.

Both Gregory’s attorney and Tamar Todd, a staff attorney with the Drug Policy Alliance, stated that they are unaware of another state upholding a similar ruling.