WeedWeek edition / October 11, 2020
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This week in the People Mover: Hirings, Promotions and More: Vireo Health and Allay Consulting.

To be included, send news of personnel changes to hello@weedweek.net by noon PT on Friday.

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1 “WE ONLY SEE GREEN”

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Jason Beck of 420 IMPAC

New bipartisan political action committee, 420 IMPAC, aims to support cannabis-friendly members of Congress and target legalization opponents.
WeedWeek

  • Co-founded by longtime entrepreneur and political operator Jason Beck, the group will study lawmakers voting records to determine who to support and who to oppose.
  • Beck, who has worked with Republicans and Democrats in the past, says the group's decisions are based solely on candidates' relationship to the plant, not their political party. “We don’t see red, we don’t see blue – we only see green.”
  • It aims to be active during the 2022 midterm election cycle.
  • The group is also working on plans to support interstate commerce.
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2 GARDEN STATE: NEW JERSEY REC COULD SHAKE UP NORTHEAST

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New Jersey is the most populous market which could legalize on Election Day. Observers say its strategic location between New York and Pennsylvania, means a legal Garden State could accelerate legalization on the East Coast.
WeedWeek

  • Polls suggest the REC measure will pass by a comfortable margin. It also has support from Gov. Phil Murphy (D).
  • “We’ve got to make sure this passes,” Murphy said. “It will transform our state.”
  • Criminal justice reform is another major driver of support for the measure.
    New York Times

In other election news:

3 SUPREME COURT WEIGHS LEGALIZATION CASE

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The U.S. Supreme Court is weighing whether to hear Washington vs. Barr, a case challenging marijuana's federal illegality.
WeedWeek

  • Plaintiffs, including juvenile and veteran MED patients, and former NFL player Marvin Washington, are appealing a lower court ruling that they must exhaust their appeals to the DEA before challenging federal illegality in court. Plaintiffs argue the DEA has shown itself incapable of providing the requested relief and that federal illegality violates their Constitutional right to life-saving medicine.
  • “We’re not asking the court to change society,” the plaintiff's lead attorney Michael Hiller said. “We’re asking the court to recognize how society has advanced, and how understanding of cannabis has advanced, and to simply take the foot off our necks, if you will, when it comes to the law.”
  • The high court only accepts about 3% of similar appeals. A decision on whether to hear the case is expected this week.

More legal news:

4 L.A. TRIES LICENSING AGAIN

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The world's largest metropolitan cannabis market is set to begin accepting license applications again after a years-long process marred by lawsuits and recriminations.
WeedWeek

  • It "comes after a turbulent year that saw [the Department of Cannabis Regulation] face allegations of corruption and a lawsuit from a group of disgruntled applicants accusing it of bumbling the rollout of its social equity program. That lawsuit led to an overhaul this summer of DCR’s licensing process. A different group of applicants sued the agency last month alleging that the changes favored some applicants over others."

Also in California, the wildfires have cast a long shadow over the industry:

5 DAN BILZERIAN’S IGNITE LOSES PARTY VIBE

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@danbilzerian

Instagram celeb Dan Bilzerian CEO of "still nascent and still-inchoate" cannabis brand Ignite  got some more bad news: Canadian distributor CannMart ended its relationship with the brand and the company has had three presidents since June. One of them is suing Ignite.
Forbes

In other biz news:

6 ILLINOIS LICENSE FIGHT GETS EVEN MESSIER

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Recently, WeedWeek looked at how unsuccessful retail license hopefuls would have a chance to revise their applications. Now successful finalists are suing the state to move forward with the process.
WeedWeek

  • "The process has to be followed," a lawyer for one plaintiff said. "Delay is incredibly costly."
  • The Chicago Tribune has more.

In other state news:

 

7 ALTRIA SCOOPS UP CANNABIS TECH

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Cannabis or tobacco?

Since 2019 when Marlboro parent company Altria invested $1.8B in Canadian cannabis player Cronos Group, the company appears to be "quietly trying to claim a long-term stake in the marijuana industry by patenting cannabis technology," Chris Roberts reports for Forbes:

  • "The Altria cannabis devices have temperature controls meant to allow consumers to vaporize THC or CBD."
  • While the company's plans for cannabis remain unclear, a patent attorney describes its actions: “I don’t see anything here other than, here’s a big business, they made a big investment, and now they’re pursuing it as they would any other business...Once you drop $1.8 billion, you’d be silly not to protect your IP position as much as you can.”

A story in Cannabis Now says cannabis and tobacco are "inexorably intertwined."

8 IS THE MEXICAN GREEN RUSH FINALLY HERE?

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After years of on-again, off-again, Mexico could legalize REC as soon as December and set off a green rush south of the border.🌴WW California has more.
Reuters

  • "The first thing that will happen is that no Mexican will die or go to jail because of this plant," a businessman said. No small thing in a country long plagued by violent drug cartels.
  • The next thing that could happen is big business, with Canadian and U.S. firms already jostling for position.

Quick Hit

  1. France detailed plans for a 3,000 patient MED program to begin in March.
    MJBiz

9 COVID HAS PARENTS REACHING FOR POT

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Amid the pandemic, a New York Times story suggests more parents are turning to alcohol, pot and other drugs:

  • The increase of substance use among parents is “just kind of understandable,” said Jonathan Metzl, the director of the department of medicine, health and society at Vanderbilt University. “This is an incredible, once-in-an-epoch stressful situation, and the kinds of outlets people usually have in their lives are just not available.”
  • “My hobby is doom scrolling and learning the science of Covid and smoking weed and sitting on the toilet staring at the wall,” said one mother of two children. “I just hide in my bathroom and vape.”

10 “DO THE SMOKEY-POKEY”

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WeedWeek columnist Ngaio Bealum sounds off on the joys of the "smokey-pokey":

"You don’t need to be hella high. No one is trying to have sex with an anxiety-riddled paranoiac, unless that’s your thing. A toke or two should do. In fact, you don’t even have to smoke. A small dose of edibles also work well, but don’t overdo it. Stupors aren’t sexy."

Read the whole thing.

Quick Hit

  1. Get ready for "Super High," a "superhero comedy where smoking special weed gives you super powers." Andy Samberg, Craig Robinson and Common are attached.
    Deadline