Jeff Sessions Will Recuse Himself In Russian Matters

Attorney General Jeff Sessions indicated in a press conference this afternoon that he will recuse himself in any investigation over Russian interference in the 2016 US Presidential elections, just hours after top Republicans said he should do just that. House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, tweeted early Thursday that “AG Sessions should clarify his testimony and recuse himself.” Later, Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, said in a statement, “Jeff Sessions is a former colleague and a friend, but I think it would be best for him and for the country to recuse himself from the DOJ Russia probe.” House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., also initially said during an appearance on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” that Sessions should bow out. The comments from prominent Republicans follow revelations that Sessions met with the Russian ambassador during election season. Under oath in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee for his confirmation hearing in January, Sessions had said that he had not met with any Russian officials.

Senators from eight states that have legalized the recreational or medicinal use of marijuana are asking Attorney General Jeff Sessions to uphold the Department of Justice’s existing enforcement policy toward states with voter-approved marijuana laws. Massachusetts Democratic Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Edward Markey were among those who signed the Thursday letter. Massachusetts voters backed the recreational use of pot last year. The senators point to comments by White House spokesman Sean Spicer suggesting stepped-up enforcement of federal laws against recreational marijuana. Signatories also include Senators Michael Bennet, Colorado; Brian Schatz, Hawaii; Catherine Cortez Mastro, Nevada; Cory Booker, New Jersey; Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley, Oregon; Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell, Washington; and the lone Republican Senator, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska.

Colorado is moving ahead with a first-in-the-nation attempt to allow marijuana clubs. But the measure that passed a Republican State Senate committee Wednesday evening doesn’t go as far as some marijuana activists hoped. The bill would allow on-site marijuana consumption at private clubs in willing jurisdictions. And those clubs may allow indoor pot smoking, despite health concerns about indoor smoking. But the bill is far from allowing a statewide network of pot clubs. For one, it would allow any jurisdiction to ban them, same as they can currently prohibit retail pot sales. Also, the bill does not permit pot clubs to serve alcohol nor food.

More than 80 percent of Danes are in favour of legalising the medical use of cannabis, a new survey has found, increasing the chance that a pilot scheme planned for next year will lead to an end to prohibition. The survey by Analyse Denmark found that only five percent of people in Denmark opposed medical cannabis, with the remainder saying they did not have an opinion. Denmark plans from January 1 next year to launch a four-year trial which will allow “a defined patient group” to be treated with medical cannabis, after an agreement was reached in the Danish Parliament last November. The Danish Medicine Authority (Lægemiddelstyrelsen) has put forward multiple sclerosis, chronic pain, spinal cord injuries and chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting as eligible ailments.

Peruvian President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski has proposed legalizing medical marijuana in the latest pivot away from decades-old restrictions on drug use in Latin America. It is unclear if the right-wing opposition-controlled Congress will pass Kuczynski’s proposed legislation, which would allow marijuana to be imported and sold in Peru for medical reasons and could permit domestic production after two years. An Ipsos poll showed 65 percent of Peruvians favor legalizing medical marijuana, and another 13 percent back legalizing the drug for recreational use. If the bill is passed, Peru would follow neighboring Chile and Colombia in legalizing the medical use of marijuana. Mexico’s Senate has approved a bill to permit the use of medical marijuana, while Uruguay has fully legalized cannabis from seed to smoke.

A 119-year-old international organization that develops voluntary standards for items ranging from children’s toys to commercial spaceflight could soon do the same for cannabis operations. ASTM International on Tuesday launched a volunteer committee on cannabis to discuss and develop standards in areas such as personnel training, cultivation and security, officials and committee members told The Cannabist. The committee was formed following an all-day meeting and vote of 60 stakeholders — representatives from inside and outside the cannabis industry — who gathered at ASTM’s headquarters in West Conshohocken, Pa.