Category Archives: POLITICO Magazine

03/12/17: Really High Noon in the Nevada Desert

LAS VEGAS—It had the makings of a duel in the desert, the first clash between the legion of marijuana lovers emboldened by a surge of legalization and a new federal administration that has pledged to restore “law and order.” In the days leading up to the Cannabis Cup—which is the pot world’s version of harvest festival, lecture series and outdoor concert rolled into one—it looked like a corner of an… Read Article →

03/08/17: The Obama Idea to Save Coal Country

On February 2, in one of his first acts as Senate majority leader of the 115th Congress, Mitch McConnell ushered through the repeal of the Stream Protection Rule. The Obama-era regulation had taken eight years to write, emerging on the last day of the Obama administration, only to be snuffed out two weeks later. In the so-called War on Coal, this was the first time coal had punched back, drawing… Read Article →

01/05/17: Could President Obama pardon Johnny Boone?

It was three days before Christmas in downtown Montreal, when border agents stopped an elderly man with a biker mustache in a vast indoor mall. The man initially gave his name as Dennis Ross, but when the cops asked him about his tattoos, he acknowledged his real name was Johnny Boone, and his eight-year run was over. La Presse, Montreal’s French-language daily newspaper, called Boone “Le fugitif américain.” When I… Read Article →

12/05/16: Jeff Sessions’s Coming War on Legal Marijuana

On Election Day, eight states voted to legalize recreational or medical marijuana, bringing the nationwide total of medical states to 29. In Florida, medical marijuana won nearly 2 million more votes than Donald Trump… There was another winner on November 8, however, and he has thrown up a serious challenge to the seemingly inexorable march of legal marijuana. By nominating Senator Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III for attorney general, President-elect Donald… Read Article →

10/23/16: In the Land of Raw Firepower, a Feeling That Trump Is Out of Ammo

LOUISVILLE — As the sun dropped behind the tree line at the Knob Creek Gun Range, the crowd of 8,500 began pressing forward against the fence that separated them from the objects of their fascination. The mostly white, mostly male spectators had traveled from all over to watch what Knob Creek has become famous for, its Saturday night machine gun shoot. Since 9 a.m. the day before, the range had… Read Article →

09/20/16: Lindsey Graham’s Mind-Expanding Pot Journey

Eighteen months ago, three junior senators attempted something their chamber had never considered, much less accomplished—starting to roll back the long-entrenched federal ban on marijuana… To no one’s surprise, the bill went absolutely nowhere. But it didn’t die. Despite being ignored by leadership, it managed to collect 16 cosponsors by the end of 2015, a laundry list of mostly Democrats, two Republicans and an independent. Then, early this year, a… Read Article →

07/20/15: Congress’ Summer Fling With Marijuana

It’s not easy being the DEA these days. After an unprecedented losing streak on Capitol Hill, the once-untouchable Drug Enforcement Administration suffered last week what might be considered the ultimate indignity: A Senate panel, for the first time, voted in favor of legal, recreational marijuana. Last Thursday, the Appropriations Committee voted 16-14 on an amendment to allow marijuana businesses access to federal banking services, a landmark shift that will help… Read Article →

03/02/15: Mitch McConnell’s Love Affair with Hemp

Last May, a shipment of 250 pounds of hemp seeds left Italy destined for Kentucky as part of a pilot project made legal by the 2014 federal farm bill. Kentucky farmers had long hoped for a crop that could fill the void left by the decline of tobacco, and many thought that industrial hemp, which is used in a vast array of products, could be that crop. The hemp seeds… Read Article →

12/09/14: In Kentucky, Where Coal is King

The Kentucky General Assembly is controlled by Democrats and it has been the source of the state’s energy legislation for decades. It has crafted laws such as the “net-metering statute” that are so pro-coal that they essentially prevent investment in solar energy beyond single residences… Meanwhile, the Indianapolis Airport is expanding its solar array to become the largest airport solar farm on the planet, and the Cincinnati Zoo has the largest publicly accessible urban… Read Article →