WeedWeek
Politics
   
Jamie Soja, courtesy Harborside
Harborside founder Steve DeAngelo, with puppies

Harborside Loses Tax Case

Industry-hated tax rule 280E remains in effect after Oakland's Harborside Health Center lost a closely watched case in federal tax court. The rule, enacted in the early 1980's blocks plant touching cannabis businesses from deducting their business expenses, which makes it exceptionally difficult to run a profitable cannabis business.
Leafly

"Harborside may well be the largest marijuana dispensary in America [But] to the [Tax Court] Commissioner that just makes it a giant drug trafficker." Harborside's attorney Henry Wykowski

  • The case could leave the megadispensary owing millions in disallowed business deductions.
  • Legalization activists say having 280E in place benefits the illegal market

Trump to Nominate William Barr for Attorney General

Trump plans to nominate George H.W. Bush era Attorney General William Barr, to return to the post and replace interim AG Matt Whitaker.
NY Times

"It's hard to imagine an Attorney General as bad as Jeff Sessions when it comes to criminal justice and the drug war, but Trump seems to have found one," Drug Policy Alliance director of national affairs Michael Collins

  • Barr's views on cannabis legalization aren't known.
  • His former boss President George H.W. Bush died this week. Allen St. Pierre, the former executive director of NORML, called him "The Last American Drug Warrior President."
    FreedomLeaf

Meanwhile...

What's the Right Weed Tax?

Michigan, the latest state to legalize REC and New Jersey, which could take the plunge this month, are facing criticism for plans to charge some of the lowest REC taxes in the country, 16% and 12% respectively.
CNBC

Colorado Poised to Loosen Regs

With 420-friendly Gov.-elect Jared Polis(D) about to take the reins, 2019 could see the most substantial changes to Colorado cannabis laws since legalization in 2014.
Denver Post

  • My friend Andrew Kenney reports that the low-hanging fruit is more social use, more business-friendly investing rules, and MED approval for autism spectrum disorders, which makes it less expensive for patients.
  • Experts say microbusiness licenses and delivery will be harder, but are in the realm of possibility.

Quick Hits

  1. The hosts of "Fox & Friends," Trump's favorite show, are cannabis alarmists.
    Esquire
  2. A MED access group says it will sue Utah after Gov. Gary Herbert (R) signed a MED compromise bill far stricter than the ballot initiative state voters passed.
    Cannabis Wire
  3. Michigan cannabis activists reflected on their decades-long quest to legalize the state.
    MLive
  4. Iowa's first dispensaries opened selling CBD and low-THC (below 3%) products.
    Des Moines Register
  5. The pro-legalization trade group Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America, held a briefing on Capitol Hill to discuss their position on cannabis.
    Marijuana Moment
  6. Pew visits tiny Garden City, Colo. which is thriving thanks to its cannabis businesses.
  7. Despite widespread interest, European Union countries are moving slow on MED access.
    Politico Europe
Business
   
Alexandre Godreau

Altria Arrives with $1.8B Bet on Cronos

In a deal anticipated over decades of dorm-room sessions, Tobacco giant Altria (Altria.com) , maker of Marlboro cigarettes, is investing $1.8 Billion in Canadian company Cronos.
CNN

MedMen Hit with Labor Suit

A class action lawsuit charges retailer MedMen with labor law violations.

Sacramento Lab Busted for Falsifying Results

Sacramento-based Sequoia Analytical Labs surrendered its temporary license after its lab director admitted to falsifying the results from hundreds of pesticide tests.

  • The incorrect data involves 700 tests over four months.

Quick Hits

  1. Aphria stock plunged after a shortseller called the Canadian producer a "black hole for shareholders' money." Aphria rejects the accusation. WeedWeek Canada's Jesse Staniforth explains.
  2. The CEO of Massachusetts retailer 4Front says he's playing Risk while the competition plays Monopoly.
    BUsiness I
  3. Chinese counterfeits are becoming a problem for California vape brands.
    MJBiz
  4. In L.A. an undustry trade group is calling for action against illegal shops.
    Marijuana Moment
  5. Maryland regulators voted unanimously to ban TV, billboard, radio and most online pot ads.
    Baltimore Sun
  6. The Stranger asks, "Why did Instagram shut down @cannabess?"
  7. Colorado awarded a $250,000 grant to Maryland start-up 9Fiber to find uses for hemp and marijuana waste. Possibilities include bioplastics, construction materials and animal bedding.
    Hemp Industry Daily
  8. An MJBiz chart looks at the sources of California's REC supply.
  9. Two former executives of Colorado chain Sweet Leaf will serve one-month jail sentences following the "looping" scandal which closed all 11 of the company's Colorado locations.
    Westword
  10. Canadian producers are importing workers from Central America and the Caribbean.
    Bloomberg
  11. Cannabis Wire checks out Colombia's cannabis boom.

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Health and Science
   
US Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams

Surgeon General: Drug Laws Need Rethinking

US Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams said the country should rethink which drugs are banned by the controlled substances act.
AP

  • As an example, Adams cited cannabis' schedule I classification, the same as LSD and heroin, as blocking MED research.
  • Adams said he's not in favor of "across the board" decriminalization.

California Group Claims Breakthrough in Rare Cannabinoid Production

A Marin County medical and pharmaceutical coalition claims it has developed a way to expand production of THCV, a lesser known cannabinoid believed by some to have valuable medical properties.

“The only thing that THCV does is it’s analgesic and anti-inflammatory, it’s neuroprotective, which means it protects the nervous system...It’s anti-nausea and vomiting. It helps with bone health and bone formation, it’s sleep-promoting, it’s anti-epileptic, it’s anti-anxiety. It’s a major anti-psychotic. And it helps with appetite suppression, it’s anti-diabetic and it’s anti-cholesterol," Marin County psychiatrist Dr. Michael Moskowitz said. “Other than that it didn’t do that much.”

Quick Hits

  1. Pennsylvania rejected all eight applications for its state MED program.
    Philly.com
  2. In the Guardian, I wrote about CBD for dogs.
  3. A European Union agency which monitors illegal drugs says there still isn't much evidence for MED's benefits.
    Reuters
  4. An Oklahoma judge approved the worker's comp claim of an Oklahoma man whose hand was crushed on the job, and later tested positive for marijuana. Co-workers said he hadn't appeared impaired at work.
    Insurance Journal
  5. Wastewater testing found Halifax has the highest per capita cannabis use in Canada.
    CTV
  6. Phillipine president Rodrigo Duterte, who has become an international pariah for his violent drug war, favors MED legalization.
    Inquirer.net

Justice and the Law
   

Suit: Car Seized After $10 Pot Buy

A federal lawsuit claims Wayne County (Detroit) sheriff's deputies impounded her car after she was cited for buying a dime bag.
Detroit News

  • The woman who had to pay $1,200 to get her car back, is suing for unspecificed damages.
  • The case claims the impounding violated the Eighth Amendment which prohibits excessive fines and cruel and unusual punishment.

Quick Hits

  1. Massachusetts police are learning how to spot stoned drivers.
    CBS-Local
  2. Following behind west coast cities, Denver may move to clear past cannabis convictions. And Colorado could try to do so statewide next year.
    AP, Colorado Independent
  3. California's complex rules and regulations appear to benefit the illegal market.
    Press-Telegram
  4. Illegally grown BC bud is finding its way to Amsterdam, where it fetches extraordinary prices.
    The Star

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Culture
   
Thom Masat

Catholic Bishops Condemn Cannabis


Several Canadian Bishops signed a letter calling cannabis use for pleasure "sinful behavior" and a matter to bring up in Confession.
National Post

  • Marijuana “artificially alters consciousness," the letter says "Which can be a way of avoiding challenges that we are facing in our lives.”
  • The Catholic Church is more forgiving about MED.
  • It's not the first time Catholic leaders in the US and Canada have opposed REC legalization.
    Quick Hits

Quick Hits

  1. Yuppies have discovered cannabis, and they like it.
    Washington Post
  2. WeedWeek Canada learns about the latest in cannabis-powered curling. It's called the Bongspiel.
  3. The new Netflix documentary series "Murder Mountain" shines a harsh light on Humboldt.
    N.Y. Times
  4. Cannabis companies are supporting Denver's art scene.
    Westword

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