USA Weekend Roundup: Federal, Colorado, Maine, South Dakota


Bipartisan marijuana legalization bill gets renewed push on Capitol Hill

The bipartisan sponsors of a marijuana legalization bill currently before Congress renewed their efforts in the name of criminal justice reform Wednesday as the Trump administration pushes to further punish drug offenders.

Reps. Thomas Garrett, Virginia Republican, and Tulsi Gabbard, Hawaii Democrat, touted their Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act during a Capitol Hill press conference as a means of ending the government’s trend of prosecuting pot users as a growing number of states legalize weed.

The bill, if approved, would remove marijuana from the federal government’s list of controlled substances and effectively put cannabis in the same category as alcohol and tobacco, ending a lost-standing prohibition the legislation’s sponsors blame with ravaging the lives of convicted marijuana users.

Mr. Garrett, a former prosecutor, told attendees that his previous gig pursuing criminals as Virginia’s assistant attorney general gave him unique insight with respect to the way drug laws are being applied.

“I have long believed justice that isn’t blind, isn’t justice. Statistics indicate that minor narcotics crimes disproportionately hurt areas of lower socioeconomic status, and what I find most troubling is that we continue to keep laws on the books that we do not enforce,” Mr. Garrett said, according to The Hill.


Federal bills from Colorado legislators seek to shield state marijuana laws, open banking

Reps. Diana DeGette and Mike Coffman push legislation as states’ rights issue; Sens. Michael Bennet and Cory Gardner seek more accessible financial services for cannabis businesses

Colorado federal lawmakers this week amplified efforts to protect state-enacted marijuana laws and cannabis businesses.

Reps. Diana DeGette and Mike Coffman on Thursday introduced the Respect States’ and Citizens’ Rights Act of 2017, which would add a provision to the Controlled Substances Act that would prevent federal preemption of state law. A day earlier, Colorado’s two senators threw their support behind banking legislation for the marijuana industry.


The coalition published the membership of the Advisory Board, which can be found on MPRM’s website. The advisory board represents a cross-section of our membership, Maine professionals who have an interest in creating a quality, safe, and transparent marijuana industry in Maine. Advisory board members provide technical expertise from their field and bring a passion for creating an industry that will have a lasting positive economic impact on the state of Maine.

Members include:

  • Anne Krieg, AICP, Executive Director of the Mid-Coast Regional Planning Commission
  • Emile Clavet, Entrepreneur
  • Pete DuFour, DuFour Tax Group, LLC
  • Marc Fishman, Fishman Realty Group
  • Emily Isler, Tree Tap Extracts Inc.
  • Hannah King, Attorney, Drummond Woodsum
  • Jacques Santucci, Principal, Opus Consulting Group



NBA’s Cliff Robinson Joins Portland Mayor in Statewide Push for Cannabis Clubs


Senate Bill 307  Here



S.D. Sioux tribe’s cannabis resort consultant faces trial on drug charges

PIERRE, S.D. — Roughly two years after an American Indian tribe began an ambitious push to open the nation’s first marijuana resort in South Dakota, a consultant who helped pursue the stalled venture is heading to trial on drug charges.

Jury selection starts Thursday in the case of Eric Hagen, a consultant who worked with the Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe on its operation about 45 miles north of Sioux Falls. Hagen was indicted on state marijuana charges months after the tribe destroyed their crop amid fears of a federal raid.

Here’s a look at key information about the trial:

What’s Going On?

The Santee Sioux began a marijuana growing operation after the Justice Department outlined a new policy clearing the way for Indian tribes to grow and sell marijuana under the same conditions as some states that have legalized pot.

State Attorney General Marty Jackley warned against the idea from the outset. The tribe ultimately destroyed its crop in November 2015 after federal officials signaled a potential raid.

Jackley announced charges against Hagen and Hunt about nine months later. Hagen, 34, of Sioux Falls, has pleaded not guilty to charges of conspiracy to possess, possession and attempted possession of more than 10 pounds of marijuana.

He faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison on both the conspiracy and possession counts and 7 1/2 years on the attempted possession count. Hunt last year pleaded guilty to a drug conspiracy count after agreeing to cooperate with law enforcement.

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