WeedWeek
A note from our editor

Welcome to the new WeedWeek!

When I started writing WeedWeek in 2015, sales were about to begin in Oregon, the third REC state, and it was possible to pack all of the week’s developments into a single email. This redesign and expansion reflects that as the cannabis industry grows in wealth, reach and influence, a single email is no longer sufficient.

Not that we want to overwhelm you. Whether you’re a cannabis executive or a curious on-looker, WeedWeek aims to be the essential publication for following the green rush. And we want to keep you up to date without wasting your time.

In addition to Jesse Staniforth’s WeedWeek Canada, today we’re launching WeedWeek California, by Donnell Alexander. Throughout the week, Donnell, Jesse and I will be posting original reporting and analysis on a gorgeous new WeedWeek site, which we’ll unveil within days.

Doesn’t this newsletter look great? All credit goes to Marquee and their Proof publishing platform, which us writers have barely begun to explore. We're gonna have some fun with it.

WeedWeek advertisers will never have any influence on WeedWeek’s editorial content, but we’re proud to offer them some of the most attractive native advertising and other promotional opportunities in cannabis media. Plus, there will be swag, events, and lots more. To learn more write to partnerships@weedweek.net

The green rush is a captivating story, touching on the great themes of the human experience. We’ll be watching with arched eyebrows, goofy grins and sometimes both at once.

- Alex Halperin

PS If you’ll be at MJBiz Con in Las Vegas this week, we hope you’ll help us celebrate our expansion with a party produced by Arcane Revelry. Sign up for the guest list here.

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Politics
   

Weed Lights Up the Polls

Legalization had a good election day, winning three of the four state ballot initiatives. Results in these and other races demonstrated bipartisan support for state-level cannabis reform.

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In other races

  • Illinois Gov.-elect, JB Pritzker said he wants to legalize REC as soon as possible. JB's cousin Joseph "Joby" Pritzker is managing director of Tao Capital Partners, which has invested in the cannabis space. Heirs to the Hyatt hotel fortune, the Pritzker's are among America's wealthiest families. (Fox - local) Meanwhile, Illinois-based cannabis companies Cresco Labs and Green Thumb Industries are expanding aggressively. (Chicago Tribune)
  • Rep. Pete Sessions (R- Texas), lost his re-election bid in a conservative Texas district to former NFL player and civil rights lawyer Colin Allred, who supports legal MED. (NY Post) As chair of the House Rules Committee, Sessions -- no relation to Jeff -- has repeatedly block votes on cannabis legislation.
  • As expected, California Lieutenant Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) will be the next governor of California. He was a vocal advocate for REC legalization. (NY Times)
  • Colorado elected legalization supporter Rep. Jared Polis (D) governor. Polis' campaign aggressively courted cannabis voters and in an apparent first, employed a director of cannabis outreach. Polis will be the country's first openly gay governor. (Colorado Sun)
  • Voters in cities across Wisconsin overwhelmingly supported legalization in non-binding referendums, but state politicians aren't ready. (Green Bay Press Gazette)
  • The Democrats' House victory may allow Washington DC to create a regulated industry, Buzzfeed explains. Following the election, Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) said she would send a bill to the city council early next year. (Marijuana Moment)
  • Two parties backing legalization will gain major party status in Minnesota. (ABC - local)
  • Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, (R- California) a founding member of Congress's cannabis caucus, lost his bid for re-election. (USA Today)
  • Maine Gov.-elect Janet Mills (D), currently the state’s AG, supports the states's REC law. (Boston.com)

Jeff Sessions is Out

Pot-hating US Attorney General Jeff Sessions submitted his resignation (USA Today) at President Trump's request. Rolling Stone examines what it could mean for federal policy.

“I just don’t think [cannabis is] going to be one of the criteria,” for replacing Sessions, retiring Congressman Tom Garrett (R) said. "If we were working on a priority list that would be a mile down."

The Feds are Coming

Deputy US AG Rod Rosenstein named Billy J. Williams, US attorney for Oregon and a tough critic of the state’s troubled industry, chair of a federal marijuana working group. (ABC- local , KTVZ - Oregon)

"There is one thing everyone agrees on: a broad need for stronger regulation,” US Attorney for Oregon Billy J.Williams

Quick Hits

  1. Israel's health ministry temporarily closed grower Tikun Olam's cannabis farm, raising questions about MED companies' ability to operate in the country. The ministry cited problems with contamination and improper pesticides, which the company denies. (Globes)
  2. Mexico's incoming government sent a REC legalization bill to the legislature. (Reuters)
  3. L.A. said it has reached an agreement with state regulators to end a logjam on licenses in the city (MJBiz)
  4. REC sales are imminent in Massachusetts after regulators approved two testing labs (Boston.com)
  5. MED sales were delayed again in Ohio because it doesn't have any open labs (Cincinnati.com)
  6. Iowa's first dispensary is set to open December 1, despite the state's 3% cap on THC levels. (Clay and Milk)

New Podcast Episode

WeedWeek Podcast
48. Weed on Wall Street with Business Insider's Jeremy Berke

New York-based reporter Jeremy Berke joins Alex and Donnell to discuss how Wall Street banks are wading into the green rush. Plus, a few words on data firm Headset’s partnership with mainstream data juggernaut Nielsen and the accounting giant Deloitte.

Subscribe on iTunes, Stitcher, or SoundCloud

Business
   

M&A Booms

Business Insider says the "backdoor" strategy of going public via reverse merger in Canada is accelerating industry consolidation.

Canada Needs More Weed
So far, legalization in Canada has been plagued by supply shortages, reportedly sending consumers back to the illegal market. (NY Times)

Quick Hits

Health & Science
   

A Real Health Risk

A Colorado study found cannabis use can have potentially fatal complications for people with type I diabetes (Reuters).

  • Users had about twice of non-users of developing diabetic ketoacidosis, when the body produces high levels of harmful acids after experiencing high blood sugar levels.
  • Type I diabetes is caused by problems with the immune system. The more common type 2 diabetes is linked to obesity.

Quick Hits

  1. The Center for Health Journalism at USC says patients find it awkward to discuss cannabis use with their doctors.
  2. A new film called Remembering Us follows a Denver couple after the husband suffers a traumatic brain injury, which he treats with cannabis (Westword)
  3. Wired explains the Entourage Effect
  4. A study found THC reduces the effect of Alzheimer’s disease in mice. (NPR)
  5. The Verge says the lack of cannabis research has allowed companies to make exaggerated claims about their products’ health benefits
  6. Stat learned that the Department of Health and Human Services recommended a schedule I classification for kratom, which would categorize the supplement alongside LSD, heroin, and cannabis.
  7. Quartz meets Compass Pathways, which harbors ambitions to be Big Psilocybin.

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Criminal Justice
   

Reformists on the March

In the Guardian, I wrote about efforts to expunge past convictions:

As with virtually all drug-related law enforcement, African Americans have been disproportionately punished. In Colorado, for example, arrests of black and Latino youths jumped after legalization. The cruel irony is that at the same time, state-legal and overwhelmingly white-owned businesses now grow and sell marijuana openly on an industrial scale. “My life is destroyed while those white boys get to send their kids to college,” Lanier said.

Quick Hits

  1. Slate looks at cannabis and the Canadian border.
  2. A Bay Area lawyer lost his bank account, because he defends cannabis clients. (CBS - local)
  3. A Philippine lawyer who opposed President Rodrigo Duterte’s brutal drug war was assassinated outside his office. (NY Times)

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Culture
   

Focus...

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lazerdabs

Vice has a pretty cool video of a guy hitting a $2,400 "laser bong." It's made by a company called Silicon Cali. Protective goggles required.

Quick Hits

  1. CNN profiles New York “smokewear”/streetwear brand Sundae School.
  2. Canadian UFC fighter Elias Theodorou says he’s at a “competitive disadvantage” without cannabis. (Bloody Elbow)
  3. Hemp beer is hot in Germany (TheLocal.De)