Friday, July 3, 2015

Rand Paul speaks at Cannabis Industry conference

Why Marijuana Merchants Love Rand Paul (And What Could Make Them Love Him More) - Forbes - Jacob Sullum:

July 2, 2015 - "This week about 40 people paid at least $2,700 each to hear Rand Paul talk about drug policy during the National Cannabis Industry Association’s conference at the Denver Convention Center. That 'private briefing' made the Kentucky senator the first major-party presidential candidate to hold a fundraiser aimed at people in the marijuana business.

"'We are now establishing ourselves as a true industry with a professional focus, and we have issues that we need to have dealt with on the federal level,' Taylor West, deputy director of the National Cannabis Industry Association, told The Washington Post. 'We have candidates and elected officials who are seeing that need for reform.' Tripp Keber, CEO of Dixie Elixirs & Edibles, a Denver-based manufacturer of marijuana products, called the fundraiser 'a historical moment, that our industry is now working together with a presidential candidate'....

"Although Paul has refrained from endorsing marijuana legalization, he opposes federal interference with the industry, which is the biggest obstacle it currently faces....

"Four days before his appearance at the cannabusiness conference, Paul received an A– in the Marijuana Policy Project’s report card on 22 presidential candidates. It was the highest grade received by any candidate of either major party. 'Sen. Paul has consistently supported states’ rights to establish their own marijuana policies,' MPP noted, 'and he has been a vocal supporter of decriminalizing or reducing criminal penalties for those arrested for marijuana possession.' The organization also noted Paul’s sponsorship of the CARERS Act, which would make the federal ban on marijuana inapplicable to people who produce, distribute, or use the drug for medical purposes in compliance with state law. Another provision of the CARERS Act is aimed at eliminating federal barriers to banking services for state-licensed marijuana businesses, including those that serve recreational consumers.

"Paul is also a vocal opponent of excessively harsh penalties for drug offenses, including marijuana possession, cultivation, and distribution. He has criticized Republican rivals who used marijuana with impunity in high school or college for continuing to support laws that result in hundreds of thousands of petty pot busts each year."

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