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Kris Krüg
Malcolm Gladwell

In an interview with NPR program Detroit Today, the promenent New Yorker journalist Malcolm Gladwell identified himself as a legalization skeptic.

“To my mind, the important issue is not the economic one, it is the psychological and medical one...Research seems pretty clear that the kind of marijuana that’s being sold now, which has levels of THC that are seven or eight times higher than historically, has some quite serious side effects, not all of which we understand.” -- Malcolm Gladwell

  • Marijuana Moment casts doubt on some of Gladwell's claims.

REC Reaches the Northeast

Following months of delays, the east coast's first regulated REC market opened in Massachusetts. (NPR)

Ohio Judge: Equity Law Unconstitutional

An Ohio judge ruled the state's requirement to reserve 15% of licenses for minority-owned businesses unconstitutional.

"The court finds the 15 percent set aside is not insignificant and the burden to be excessive for a newly created industry with limited participants," Judge Charles A. Schneider

  • Judge Schneider determined higher marijuana arrest rates of African-Americans and Latinos do not count as discrimination in the MED industry.
Jezael Melgoza

Mexico Weighs REC Legalization

The L.A. Times looks at REC legalization's momentum in Mexico, a country long ravaged by violent drug cartels.

  • A new bill to regulate REC was submitted by Morena, party of new leftist president Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador. It follows two supreme court rulings which found REC prohibition unconstitutional.
  • Though public opinion appears to be shifting, towards legalization, a poll found 56% of Mexicans oppose legal REC.
  • A large portion of Mexico's prison population is locked up for non-violent drug offenses, including marijuana offenses.
  • It's not clear how much legalization would reduce violence since some criminal organizations have moved on to opioids, crystal meth and non-drug-related activity like human smuggling.

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Business
   

Big Brands Want into Maryland, Despite State Rules

The Baltimore Sun found large companies trying to acquire Maryland licenses, despite a state law trying to prevent this kind of consolidation.

  • National and multinational firms MedMen, MPX, GTI and Curaleaf have deals pending to acquire state licenses, despite state regulations limiting license ownership and a current moratorium on license sales to prevent deals like these.
  • Regulators were unaware of three of the deals before learning about them from The Sun.

“I don’t know how the commission is allowing this to happen,” said Del. Cheryl Glenn, a Baltimore Democrat who has worked to establish regulations overseen by the commission. “We are adamantly opposed to large out-of-state companies coming in and buying up licenses.”

Constellation Gets Its Stars in a Row

The Rochester (N.Y.) Democrat and Chronicle has a deep dive on Constellation Brands, the alcohol company, which invested $4 Billion in Canada's Canopy Growth.

  • The company plans to experiment with cannabis brands in Canada in anticipation for US federal legalization.
  • Constellation plans to sell some of its lower end alcohol brands to focus on branding high end cannabis products.

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Health and Science
   
Joey Thompson

Cannabis Use and Pregnancy

Hayley Fox has a big piece in Rolling Stone looking at the effects of cannabis use during pregnancy.

  • It concludes that while the effects of cannabis use on the unborn child remain unclear, mothers who use cannabis during pregnancy risk losing custody of their baby.
  • "Although the health effects of prenatal cannabis use are complex and not well understood, no amount of cannabis has been shown to be safe during pregnancy,” a Kaiser Permanente researcher tells Vox.
  • A recent study found Colorado dispensaries market cannabis to pregnant women as a treatment for morning sickness.
  • A writer says cannabis makes her a better mom. (Washington Post)

Canada's "Grand Experiment"

A N.Y. Times op-ed by cannabis writer Amanda Siebert enthuses over the research opportunities created by REC legalization in Canada.

  • In 2011, Canadian researchers published the first sequencing of the cannabis genome, after Canada became the first country to sanction MED in 2001.
  • Among many other industrial research programs, Aurora's Chief Science Officer Jonathan Page will oversee a team of 40 doctorate and master's level scientists.
  • Research projects will likely look at cannabis as a substitute for opioids, cannabis use during pregnancy, problematic use by teenagers and many more topics.
  • The University of New Brunswick appointed Canada's first academic researcher who'll focus solely on the cannabis plant. For the last five years Prof. Yang Qu has studied compounds found in the Madagascar periwinkle for use in chemotherapy.
  • Other colleges are starting cannabis courses as well. (MarketWatch)
  • Colorado is a promising hemp market. (Denver Post)

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Criminal Justice
   


Politico looks at the propsed ban on people with drug convictions working in the hemp industry.

  • Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is committed to legalizing hemp.
  • The proposed felon ban in the bill is "apparently to placate a stakeholder close to McConnell."
  • Acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker's position on enforcing federal law with regard to cannabis remains unclear.

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Culture
   

Alt-rocker Dean Ween, half of the duo Ween, wants to open a 420-friendly concert venue in Denver. (Denver Post)

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