Regular weed columnist Ryan Burns is in New York this week, and he declined my suggestion — in the name of investigative journalism — to pack some of Humboldt's finest on his cross-country flight to test just how lenient the TSA's gropey screeners are (see the Oct. 10 "Week in Weed").
So instead, I'm here to bring you the latest wispy tentacles of the week's news in pot:
• Washington state, which legalized recreational doobage by popular vote last year, finalized rules last week for the drug's sale. It'll be overseen and taxed by the Washington Liquor Control Board, the chairwoman of which told the Washington Times that "we are making history," though Colorado — Washington's cohort in recrational legalization — polished its own, similar law back in September. The rules — designed to curb pot's presence on the black market — include background checks for license applicants, seed tracking and child-resistant packaging. If Washington's laws serve as a model for other states, maybe those Fiskars will be useful for something post-legalization in the emerald triangle. The legislation is garnering international attention, as lawmakers in Uruguay, Poland and Mexico (among other nations) are apparently scrutinizing the law in the event they, too, legalize it.
• Mexico City is indeed considering legalization. The movement has an outspoken proponent in former Mexico President Vicente Fox, whose successor, Felipe Calderón, launched a massive assault against the country's cartels after he was elected in 2006. That effort led to an estimated 70,000 killings in the drug wars that followed. Legalizing pot would devalue one of the cartels' products, Fox argues, and at an event this week, he gained a world spiritual leader as an ally (no, not Francis). The Dalai Lama — visiting Mexican City for an event hosted by Fox — told a French newspaper that he supports marijuana legalization — at least for medical use. "But otherwise if it's just an issue of somebody (using the drug to have) a crazy mind, that's not good," His Holiness told a reporter.
• And right here in California, Lt. Gov. Gavin "The Smile" Newsom announced he'll be leading a pot blue ribbon panel tasked with writing a state legalization law. Joined by the ACLU, the Gav's panel will spend the next few years working on a ballot initiative to make recreational use legal, the Associated Press reported. With Washington and Colorado as Guinea pigs, and 65 percent of Californians in favor of legalization with regulations (according to a Tulchin Research poll), Newsom and co. are looking at a rosy outcome.
• Less rosy is the future of a certain Moldovan cat, who was caught last week smuggling pot into a prison near the Eastern European capital city of Chisinau. Prison guards' suspicions were aroused by the feline's frequent visits and abnormal collar, which as it turned out contained a small amount of marijuana. Apparently, this is not a new technique; Russian prison guards have caught cats sneaking in cell phones and heroin.
• Finally, Dan Rather's TV news report (Rather and Congressman Jared Huffman took an aerial tour back in August) about Humboldt County's grow scene, "Gone to Pot," aired Monday night on AXS TV, a relatively new cable station that I don't get. Previous episodes of Dan Rather Reports are available on iTunes, according to the AXS TV website, so if you missed it too, you can presumably download it soon.