WeedWeek edition / November 25, 2019
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1 WEED COULD MATTER IN 2020

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SEAN RAYFORD / GETTY IMAGES

New York magazine asks whether Joe Biden's "fringe views" on legalization could get President Trump re-elected. The top-tier candidate recently said he supports a state's right to legalize, but he wants a lot more research into whether weed is a gateway drug before national legalization. He proposes making cannabis a schedule three drug to facilitate research, a move that could make life miserable for the industry.
Cannabist (R.I.P.)

In New York, journalist Eric Levitz argues "Salt-of-the-earth Americans in flyover country want big government to keep its hands off their bongs." I've similarly said no politician wants to be the one who takes away the people's weed, but Levitz has lots more charts to make the case.
Slate

At this week's Democratic debate in Atlanta, Biden was enough of an outlier that lagging candidate Sen. Cory Booker, (N.J.) joked he thought Biden "might have been high" when he expressed his views on legalization.

However, the race's dynamic could change now that former New York City Mayor and billionaire Michael Bloomberg said he would run and placed a huge $30M+ ad buy. In January Bloomberg called legalizing marijuana "perhaps the stupidest thing anybody has ever done."
AP, The Hill

2 HOUSE COMMITTEE VOTES TO DECRIMINALIZE

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PHOTO BY LOUIS VELAZQUEZ ON UNSPLASH

In a historic vote, the House Judiciary Committee passed a billed to federally decriminalize marijuana. The Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act (or MORE Act) would deschedule marijuana, allow states to set their own laws and require federal courts to expunge many marijuana offenses. It would also include a 5% equity tax.
CBS, Congress.gov

This week on the podcast
WeedWeek’s 2019 Holiday Gift Guide

3 1,000+ LAYOFFS

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Business Insider rounds up the 1,000+ layoffs which have taken place in recent weeks, amid the bear market in pot stocks.

MarketWatch rounds up companies' excuses for their dreary earnings season. Mainly they blame Canada. 🍁WW Canada has way more than you want to know about everything going wrong.

  • BI's tireless Jeremy Berke also learns "big four" accounting firm KPMG is leading its rivals in cannabis business, thanks to a few large Canadian companies. The firm is going to make "an enormous amount of money" one observer said. KPMG declined to comment.
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4 BOSTON GOES BIG ON EQUITY

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PHOTO BY TIFFANY CHAN ON UNSPLASH

Boston City Council passed significant reforms designed to benefit smaller cannabis businesses and those owned by people of color.

Under the bill, which Mayor Marty Walsh (D), who opposed REC legalization, said he would sign, the city will create a "Boston Cannabis Board" to publicly evaluate license applications on criteria such as their diversity hiring plan.
Boston Globe

Meanwhile in California, Chris Roberts looks at how California has failed craft farmers.
Vice

  • And in a blow to legal operators, California pot taxes are going up January 1.
    MJBIz
  • Nicole Elliott, Gov. Gavin Newsom's (D) point person on the cannabis industry, emphasized that the hike "is not a discretionary action" but rather was calculated based on laws passed in 2017.

Quick Hits

  1. New Jersey may have a REC ballot initiative in 2020.
    Politico
  2. Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) said she would pursue REC legalization through the legislature in 2020. She said, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R) told her "Look, you're going to have to do it, so you probably should do it right."
    Marijuana Moment

5 THE CBD MARKET: STILL CONFUSING

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PHOTO BY CHRISTOPHER LEMERCIER ON UNSPLASH

Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell(R), who opposes REC legalization, is pressuring the FDA to speedily regulate CBD.
Marijuana Moment

  • McConnell, who is up for re-election next year, was key to legalizing industrial help in the 2018 Farm Bill.

Leafly published a three-part report on the CBD market.

  • Reporters tested 47 CBD products and found only about half contained within 20% of the advertised amount of CBD.
  • Five of the 47 products contained no CBD.
  • Of the various product types, tinctures and gummies were the most reliable. Water was the least, and the four capsule brands contained more

Read the whole report.

Quick Hits

  1. An observational study found "mostly positive outcomes" for autism spectrum patients who took "CBD-enriched cannabis."
    Frontiers in Neurology

6 KUSHY PUNCH LOSES LICENSE

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Well-known California-based brand Kushy Punch lost its California license. In October, state authorities raided an unlicensed factory in the San Fernando Valley operated by the company and confiscated $21M in products.
MJBiz

  • The company has been operating for more than 20 years.
  • “We have witnessed what has been termed a cannabis extinction event, as many operators are unable to withstand the licensing delays, costs and onerous taxes that continue to be a barrier for historical brands like Kushy Punch to survive.” Kushy Punch's lawyer said.

7 HOW JUUL GOT BIG

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PHOTO BY DONN GABRIEL BALEVA ON UNSPLASH

As a lawsuit looms, the N.Y. Times and L.A. Times have dueling articles on how e-cig giant Juul hooked Millenials on nicotine.

  • The key ingredient was "nicotine salts." Juul salts contained up to three times as much nicotine as previous e-cigarettes according to documents reviewed by the LAT.
  • Evidence reviewed by the LAT "depicts a Silicon Valley start-up that purported to 'deconstruct' Big Tobacco even as it emulated it, harvesting the industry's technical savvy to launch a 21st century nicotine arms race."
  • California is suing Juul for targetting teens and poor oversight.
  • Juul says it is "working to urgently address underage use of vapor products."

President Trump has backtracked from his original call to ban most flavored e-cigs.
CNBC

8 IS K THE MOST ZEITGEISTY DRUG?

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PHOTO BY MARYLOU SALON ON UNSPLASH

New York magazine asks whether horse tranquilizer ketamine, which has received attention as a potential treatment for depression, is "the drug of choice for our disassociated moment."

  • "Because of its reputation as a horse tranquilizer, one recreational user said his group of friends refer to it as 'pony medicine' and greet its arrival at a party with a chorus of neighs."

Quick Hits

9 WEEDWEEK’S HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE!

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COURTESY OF GRAV

California editor Donnell Alexander compiled our First Annual Holiday Gift Guide. There's some fun stuff in there, and exclusive discounts for WeedWeek readers.

10 GOBBLE, GOBBLE

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PHOTO BY FRAN HOGAN ON UNSPLASH

California edibles brand Kiva Confections has devised THC-infused turkey gravy, a product with an obviousness that does not detract from its genius.
Katie Shapiro--Forbes

  • The powder mix contains 10 mg of THC and mixes with one cup of water.