WeedWeek edition / November 08, 2020
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1 LEGALIZATION INITIATIVES SWEEP FIVE STATES

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Cannabis legalization initiatives succeeded in all five states where they appeared on the ballot. One in three Americans now lives in a legal REC state.
WeedWeek/Politico

Just as legalization in New Jersey is widely expected to accelerate the process in New York and Pennsylvania, industry observers think the results have expanded the possibilities for more states to legalize, especially in the Great Plains and southeast.
WeedWeek

  • New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) said the "time is ripe" to legalize.
    News Break
  • In The Hill, NORML activists say weed was the "clear winner" on election night.

The biggest winners on election night were arguably sellers of booze, weed and pizza.
Los Angeles Times

Quick Hits

  1. AdAge asks what the results mean for cannabis marketing (Paywall).
  2. Late night hosts made some election pot jokes.
    New York Times
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2 CANNABIZ LOBBYISTS BULLISH, DESPITE SENATE SETBACK

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Horizontal color photo of White House and the Lincoln Memorial and Washington Monument in the distance at dusk in Washington DC from the viewpoint of Arlington Ridge Park on Thursday, July 4, 2019

On election night, the result many cannabis industry insiders wanted most was for the Democrats to retake the Senate. Unless they win two upcoming runoffs in Georgia, however, the Democrats fell short. Nonetheless, pot lobbyists remain largely bullish about what they can accomplish with the new Congress and Biden administration.
WeedWeek

  • Notably, after the five state initiatives passed, some believe Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) may be more amenable to reform.
  • Terry Holt, a spokesman for the National Cannabis Roundtable, a group associated with former Speaker of the House John Boehner (R), said the state elections demonstrate strong bipartisan support for reform. While federal legalization may not immediately be on the table, banking access could be doable.
  • He said lobbyists are likely to focus on the economic benefits of reform, like tax revenue and job creation.
  • “The national anthem isn’t playing anymore – the game has started and we’re at-bat,” he said.

Some insiders predicted the state ballot measures would galvanize support for federal reform.
WeedWeek

Quick Hit

  1. Fox News suggested cannabis had kept the revelers mellow as they celebrated Joe Biden's victory.
    @atrupar

3 DID VOTERS END THE WAR ON DRUGS?

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(Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

In addition to the five states that legalized cannabis, Oregon voters decriminalized all drugs and allowed psilocybin therapy. Several writers saw a trend upending decades of U.S. policy surrounding controlled substances.
AP/Oregonian

  • At the New York Times, Nicholas Kristoff says liberal drug laws are one area where Democrats and Republicans agree. "One result of the war on drugs is that today there are as many Americans with arrest records as with college degrees. Yet we still lost the war. Addiction has soared in the United States, and more Americans die from overdoses each year than died in the Vietnam, Afghan and Iraq wars combined. A baby is born dependent on drugs every 15 minutes."
  • Wired argues that rejecting the war on drugs is a positive step for public health.
  • American voters ended the drug war (paywall), Anthony L. Fisher writes in Business Insider.

4 KUSHY PUNCH WRONGFUL DEATH SUIT RAISES LIABILITY ISSUES

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A wrongful death lawsuit against the parent company of California brand Kushy Punch, could signal problems ahead for edibles makers.
WeedWeek

  • The lawsuit involves the death of a 28-year old flight attendant who "experienced acute severe symptoms that lasted for hours, including cardiovascular, respiratory, psychiatric, and dysphoric symptoms that manifested as uncontrollable movements, terrifying heart racing, trouble breathing, and mental and physical uncharacteristic outbursts and severe panic attacks.”
  • The specific cause of death was not clear from the suit.
  • “These companies disguise and market their products as safe, fun and healthy," according to the suit filed by the deceased's parents. “What they do not tell consumers is that the use of their products carry extreme risk of serious injury or even death.”
  • If the case is successful it could be "quite damaging for the industry," said Tom Downey, an attorney with the Denver-based Ireland Stapleton firm. (He's not involved in the case.)
  • While fatal cannabis overdoses are essentially unheard of, there have been cases where overconsumption apparently led to fatal incidents such as homicide and suicide.
  • Kushy Punch didn't respond to requests for comment. The company has also been sued by the state of California for allegedly running an unlicensed gummy factory.
    WeedWeek

5 BUSINESS BITES

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Business news took a bit of a back seat this week, but there were a few notable developments:

Quick Hit

  1. Cannabis Industry Journal discusses nine key developments in the California market. The first is increased access to financial services.

6 GROW DIARIES EXPOSES USER INFO: REPORT

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Photo by Austin Lowman on Unsplash

GrowDiaries, a journaling site for cannabis growers, exposed the emails and IP addresses of more than 1M users, some of them based in places where cannabis is illegal and penalties are harsh, Threat Post reports.

  •  “I do not know if any other third parties accessed the data while it was exposed, but it seems likely,” the researcher who discovered the breach said.
  • After a researcher notified GrowDiaries, the information was apparently secured, though the site did not respond to Threat Post's request for comment. The site claims to be "completely safe."

7 DOCTORS AND PATIENTS SHOULD DISCUSS MED USE: PAPER

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A paper in a nursing journal said doctors and patients shouldn't shy away from the sometimes awkward issue of cannabis use.
WeedWeek

  • “There’s decisions to be made and we need the information to guide patients,” lead author Dr. Marian Wilson said. “Having a central repository of high-quality research would be a next step, now that we know the floodgates are going to be opened with more and more people having access to cannabis. We need to make sure we don’t do more harm than good, and we need to help people enter this new [potential treatment] with some caution and some wisdom.”
  • At the moment, she said too many people get MED advice from friends and budtenders.

8 PLOT THICKENS AFTER N.M. BUST

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A $2.8M pot bust in San Juan County, N.M. appears to may have just scratched the surface of a far larger illegal cannabis operation on Navajo lands involving dozens of farmers and hundreds of Chinese immigrant laborers. The situation has triggered a federal investigation.
Searchlight New Mexico

Searchlight reports:

"A vast network of industrial-scale black-market cannabis farms that now stretch across the Shiprock Chapter. Over 1,000 workers from predominantly Chinese neighborhoods in Los Angeles and New York have arrived on the reservation to manage and work the farms.

"Hundreds of cannabis greenhouses have been built atop 36 farms traditionally dedicated to corn, a food staple that is central to Navajo ceremonies. Transformation of the land has created simmering resentments across the community."

10 EXTREME DABBING, HOW DUMB IS IT?

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@gmhoe710

Cannabis Now takes a look at the world of extreme dabbers who suck down several grams of concentrate in one go.

  • While doing a massive dab isn't going to cause a fatal overdose, that doesn't mean it's a good idea.
  • "According to Regina Nelson, Ph.D., a medical cannabis specialist, author and a founder of eCS Therapy Center, larger dabs increase the chances of experiencing unpleasant side effects like drops in blood pressure, which can lead to fainting, paranoia and coughing fits."
  • Needless to say, social media is a forum for extreme dabbers to spotlight their most impressive accomplishments and build their personal brands.