The New Normal

Welcome to the New Normal. It begins with a 120-second journey through America's complex history with cannabis legalization. But the New Normal isn't just a piece of film. Nor is it only the first-ever recreational cannabis commercial to air on TV by MedMen. It's a new era in which cannabis gets its own line on the grocery list, a point in time where the threat of "madness" is replaced with a promise of wellness. You can watch it now at medmen.com/newnormal.

Video directed by Spike Jonze.

Alex Wong

2020 Will be a Smoke-In

All 12 announced Democratic presidentcandidates favor national legalization, as does former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld, (R) who is challenging Trump for the Republican nomination.
Boston Globe

  • New Jersey Senator and 2020 candidate Cory Booker (D) re-introduced the Marijuana Justice Act, which would legalize federally and help create equity programs. Senator/Candidates Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) are co-sponsoring the bill.
  • Warren is also co-sponsoring the more moderate STATES Act, which would enable banking and protect state industries but not legalize. Her co-sponsor is Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner (R) and the bill has attracted support from the industry and Republican leaning groups.
  • There's speculation Trump could use an executive action to implement something like the STATES Act.
  • Former vice president Joe Biden (D) is the highest profile potential Democratic candidate who has not endorsed legalization. His record on drugs "is so much worse than you think," Leafly writes.

Elsewhere in D.C....

New York and New Jersey Dither on REC

A bill in New Jersey would force a referendum on whether to legalize REC. The idea, proposed by anti-legalization state assemblywoman Holly Schepisi (R), would allow voters to choose whether to legalizedecriminalize possession if that's what voters choose. Anti-legalization Democrat Ronald Rice plans to sponsor a similar bill in the upper house.

Florida Ag Commissioner Talks MED

Florida's 420-friendly new Agriculture and Consumer Services Commissioner Nikki Fried (D) talked about her plans for cannabis in the Sunshine State. She supports access to smokable MED, a controversy in Florida.
WLRN (Public radio)

  • Fried has been criticized for appointing Holly Bell, a Tennessee banker, as Florida's first director of cannabis. She passed over some of the state's best known MED advocates for the job.

Quick Hits

  1. California could run out of legal weed by this summer. 🌴WW California has more.
  2. Unlicensed delivery services are thriving in Detroit.
    Detroit News
  3. The UN delayed a vote on World Health Organization recommendations to reform cannabis laws.
  4. An Oklahoma Senate Committee passed a bill that would allow MED patients to own guns.
    ABC (Local)
  5. Another effort to legalize REC died in the liberal Hawaii legislature.
  6. While licensed MED growers want a monopoly on REC in Illinois, a study found demand is far higher than they could accomodate.
    Chicago Tribune

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Another Story about Dooma Wendschuh

In 2016 I wrote a story for the Silicon Valley site Pando about cannabis entrepreneur Michael "Dooma" Wendschuh and Ebbu, a Colorado company he co-founded. (Canadian company Canopy Growth acquired Ebbu's intellectual property last year.)

This week, WeedWeek published my follow-up: Dooma Goes Nuclear: A Green Rush Story. The new piece tells the story of Dooma's new Canadian company, Province Brands, which is developing a beer brewed from the marijuana plant. It also describes the legal battle between Dooma and Ebbu, following Dooma's departure in early 2016. It's a long story, but I hope you find it interesting.

Civilized published a Q&A with Dooma.

USDA Moves on Hemp, but Slowly

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said the USDA is working to get hemp growing regulations set in time for the 2020 season.
Marijuana Moment

  • “We’re proceeding very judiciously obviously because of the uniqueness of the crop hemp and its relationship to other crops that we’re not encouraging. It’s complex,” Perdue said.
  • “We would love to think that the potential for hemp agriculture is as great as the anticipation is, but that remains to be seen,” he said during the hearing. “We want to proceed slowly to make sure we don’t have another situation where our productive farmers overcompensate and blow out a market before it can get started.”
  • The industry is eager for federal regulations so it can focus on state rules

Quick Hits

  1. Martha Stewart joined Canopy as an advisor. 🍁 WeedWeek Canada has more.
  2. A survey by Boss Ladies of Cannabis (BLOC) finds rampant sexual harassment in the cannabis industry. 🌴WW California has more.
  3. New York financial firm Jefferies initiated coverage of nine pot stocks, most of them based in Canada.
  4. S.F. Chronicle looks at the diverging paths of Juul Labs, and cannabis-vaporizer spin-off Pax Labs.
  5. Michigan growers are struggling with quality control.
  6. Toronto Life asked high-profile cannabis CEOs about their personal relationship to cannabis.
  7. A stock analyst recommends five favorite pot stocks, and two to avoid.
  8. Quartz explains why souped-up Ford Cargo vans are the industry's vehicle of choice for transporting cash and product (but not across state lines).
  9. In the U.S. and Canada, excessive packaging requirements hurt the environment and industry profits.
  10. A lawsuit reveals Boston alcohol-delivery start-up Drizly wants to launch a cannabis business.
    Boston Business Journal
  11. A century ago the Indianapolis-based pharma company Eli Lilly grew one of the country's largest MED farms. Today the company is not eager to discuss its history.
    Indianapolis Monthly

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Health and Science
Erlon Silva - TRI Digital

Cannabis Use During Pregnancy is Understudied

Cannabis Wire rounds up some of what's known about pregnant women using cannabis:

  • According to a Kaiser Permanente study, in 2016 roughly 22% of pregnant females under 18 and 19% between 18 and 24 tested positive for cannabis.
  • A Dutch study of more than 5,900 children found children exposed to cannabis in the womb were more likely to exhibit behavioral problems like rule-breaking and aggression.
  • While human genetics may also be responsible, studies in Ottawa and Pittsburgh had similar findings.

Quick Hits

  1. The U.S. CBD market could reach $16 Billion by 2025, a report found. But scientists can't confirm many of the claims about its purported benefits.
    BNN Bloomberg, N.Y. Times
  2. Amid growing interest, the Parkinson's Foundation will hold its first MED conference this week in Denver.
  3. Colorado cannabis activists worry expanding the state's clean air rules to tobacco vaping could affect MED patients.
  4. For research purposes, Switzerland may allow 5,000 people to use MED.
  5. A painkiller called Kambo which is scraped from the back of Amazonian frogs, is gaining in popularity.

Justice and the Law

Drug Traffickers Love the Mail

A CBS affiliate in Maine found the mail remains a popular method for drug trafficking.
CBS (Local)

  • In 2018 postal inspectors say they confiscated more than 96,000 pounds of narcotics, including legal marijuana. It was more than twice the 2017 total.
  • "You're talking millions of parcels so it's hard to kind of weed out," DEA Resident Agent in Charge Michael Wardrop said.
  • Maine authorities remain more concerned about opioids and methamphetamine.

Quick Hits

  1. S.F. District Attorney George Gascón is wiping out more than 9,000 pot convictions with help from software by Code for America. 🌴WW California has more.
    S.F. Chronicl
  2. Three men were arrested and charged with conspiring with an L.A. County sheriff's deputy to steal 1,200 pounds of pot and $645,000 from a downtown L.A. warehouse and make it look like a raid.
    Fox (Local)
  3. California Attorney General Xavier Becerra talked cannabis, Trump and more with the San Diego Union Tribune.
  4. Owning cannabis stocks can sink a federal security clearance.
    Federal News Network
  5. And cannabis use could be a problem for Washington D.C. city employees.
Rita Chou

Pot Cafes, Ready or Not

It's been a long slog, but a few may open soon. But can they figure out a business model?

Quick Hits

  1. Increasingly, cannabis brands are looking to the fashion world for inspiration.
  2. In L.A., the burrito is back!
    L.A. Taco

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