WeedWeek edition / August 05, 2019
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This week on the podcast
Bruce Linton: The Exit Interview

1 GABBARD SLAMS HARRIS ON POT

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Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) slammed Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) for the later's eagerness to prosecute pot offenses during her time as a prosecutor, during Wednesday night's Democratic primary debate.

"She put over 1,500 people in jail for marijuana violations and then laughed about it when she was asked if she ever smoked marijuana," Gabbard said to applause.

  • The hashtag #KamalaHarrisDestroyed started trending, though some have suggested it received a boost from bots and Trump supporters.
  • " The moment highlighted an uncomfortable truth about Harris’s record on drug reform, one that she is desperately trying to atone for by adopting a more relaxed stance than she’s adopted historically," EJ Dickson writes in Rolling Stone.
  • “This is the work I’ve done," Harris defended herself. "There are going to be hits on a debate stage when people are trying to, you know, make a name for themselves,”
    Rolling Stone

Gabbard has attracted plaudits from cannabis activists for her strong pro-legalization stance. "I don't smoke marijuana. I never have," she told Tom Angell in March. "But I believe firmly in every person's freedom to make their own choices, and that people should not be thrown in jail and incarcerated or made into criminals for choosing to smoke marijuana."

Elsewhere in the debates, Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.Y.) said that on criminal justice, Vice President Joe Biden created "all the problems he's talking about."
New York Times

Quick Hit

  1. Key Senator Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) appeared to endorse cannabis banking reform.
    WikiLeaf

 

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2 OKLAHOMA POT SHOPS SUE TO GET OUT OF “FACEBOOK JAIL”

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Seven Oklahoma MED shops are suing Facebook over allegations that the social network is "subjectively" putting them in "Facebook Jail." They claim Facebook has “a pattern of targeting the Oklahoma medical marijuana industry.”

  • "From the surface" plaintiffs suggest Facebook is less stringent in legal REC states like Colorado and California.
  • The plaintiffs seek a court order preventing Facebook from censoring their sites, as well as $75,000 for "economic harm."
  • Facebook's policy does not allow companies to sell marijuana. It also bans ads for legal products such as alcohol, tobacco, pharmaceuticals and pornography.
    Tulsa World

Quick Hit

  1. Utah may retool a proposed MED distribution plan, because the current model would require public workers to break federal law.
    AP

3 JIM CRAMER: POT STOCK INVESTORS MUST BE “INCREDIBLY SELECTIVE”

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Following scandals at Curaleaf and CannTrust, CNBC host Jim Cramer said investors need to be "incredibly selective" about choosing pot stocks.

Cannabis Wire learned Canadian giant Canopy Growth has expanded its U.S. lobbying to New York, Pennsylvania and Illinois. It also lobbies the federal government.

4 “DRINK UP, STONERS”

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Over at The Verge, Amanda Chicago Lewis goes long on the big question of whether anyone will buy cannabis-infused drinks. The snarky and smart piece takes us to outside Coachella, Canopy's bottling plant, a very upscale industry dinner and a dinner with friends. (WeedWeek Council member Kenny Morrison makes an appearance.)

For a more bullish take on , hear why former Canopy CEO Bruce Linton thinks cannabinoid-infused drinks are going to take over the world, only on the WeedWeek podcast.

5 WANT TO BE ACQUIRED? LOOK TO PATENTS

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A different kind of patent

Bloomberg Law has a fascinating piece on why patents are so valuable for cannabis companies.

Bottom line: It's a way companies can distinguish themselves to potential acquirers.

  • “There’s no second place in patents,” JiNan Glasgow George, a patent attorney and chief executive of market research and analysis firm Magic Number, said. “If you can’t build it, you have to acquire it,” she said.
  • The piece notes, "The number of cannabis-related U.S. patent filings from 2016 through 2018 totaled 767—more than 1.5 times the applications filed from 2013 through 2015, according to Magic Number. Global M&As involving cannabis doubled to 323 from 2017-18, according to Viridian Capital Advisors."
  • Thus far not as many patents are being enforced, a lawyer notes. Patents can only be enforced in federal courts, and therefore mostly aren't. (Yet.)
  • The "poster-child" for the trend is Colorado based Ebbu, which has nine patent applications and was acquired by Canopy Growth last year.
  • I wrote about Ebbu's earlier days in 2016.

6 EX-FDA CHIEF: REGULATE CBD NOW

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Guidance on CBD for pets will probably take even longer.

In a Washington Post opinion piece, former Trump FDA chief Dr. Scott Gottlieb argues the "CBD craze is getting out of hand. The FDA needs to act."

  • Gottlieb, a relative CBD skeptic, says "The FDA can fulfill its public-health obligations and meet the political demand for these goods: It can approve the sale of some CBD products immediately, while effecting a framework for their safe and proper regulation and a pathway for an enforceable market for these goods.
  • He says the risks of CBD are, "It can cause damage to the liver at high doses, and it may have a cumulative effect. If you eat CBD in your breakfast, lunch and dinner, you could get a toxic dose. Currently marketed products might also have undeclared ingredients and impurities," including THC.

Meanwhile, a venture between pharma giants Pfizer and GlaxoSmithKline is investigating CBD.

  • "The science is young in the space, but we realize it's something consumers are using in their repertoire, so we are looking into it," the venture's CEO said.

Quick Hit

  1. The DEA is under pressure to explain why no federal research permits to grow MED have been granted since 2016.
    MJBiz

7 EQUITY APPLICATIONS FLOOD L.A. REGULATOR

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Well over 1,000 applications for equity business licenses poured into the Los Angeles regulator.

🌴Donny has more at WeedWeek California. Also don't miss his look at immigrants deported for cannabis.
KFI

  • Licenses are available for shops and delivery services.

California also reopened applications for $10M available statewide (!) to support city equity projects.
MJBiz

  • To put that $10M figure in perspective, this year private equity fund Gotham Green Partners has made $280M in commitments to one California-based retailer, MedMen.

In Massachusetts, the state's first "economic empowerment" business is slated to be Boston's first REC dispensary. Pure Oasis expects to open in October.
WBUR

8 TEXAS DECRIMINALIZES (BUT NOT REALLY)

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Mooo!

A memo obtained by the Texas Tribune instructed state Department of Public Safety officers to issue citations rather than arrest individuals found with less than four ounces of weed. However, when they show up in court to answer the citation they will face criminal charges.

  • The memo follows a great deal of confusion in the state over hemp legalization and how to distinguish it from Marijuana.

Quick Hit

  1. At Reason, Jacob Sullum explains why New York has had to decriminalize twice.
 

9 FOG OF SMOG

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Leafly suggests the 600 commercial pot grows in the Denver area may be contributing to the city's poor air quality.

  • It notes 11 of the countries 15 smoggiest cities are in legal REC states, mostly California.

10 BORIS JOHNSON AID WANTS TO LEGALIZE

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Photo by Toby Melville - WPA Pool/Getty Images

The new U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson hired a top aide from a job as a MED legalization activist.

  • Johnson, a Tory, has acknowledged smoking "quite a few spliffs" while a teenager at Eton, an exclusive boarding school. But he has taken anti-legalization stances during his career.