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Politics
   

Trump AG Nominee Says He Won't Go After REC States

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(Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)

President Trump's Attorney General nominee, a "law and order" conservative who previously had the job in the George H.W. Bush administration, said he wouldn't use federal resources to go after state legal marijuana businesses during his confirmation hearing.
Cannabis Wire

Barr said he would not "upset settled expectations," but is not happy about the current clash between state and federal law.

“I think the current situation is untenable and really has to be addressed,” Barr said. “We either should have a federal law that prohibits marijuana everywhere—which I would support myself ‘cause I think it’s a mistake to back off on marijuana—however, if we want a federal approach, if we want states to have their own laws, then let’s get there and let’s get there the right way.”

The status quo, Barr said, is sowing disrespect for the rule of law.

For more, see Buzzfeed.

A document based on meetings with lawmakers and the Barr hearings, written and circulated by Ken Bazinet, of strategic forecasting firm Collective Consulting, says Barr would represent "little or no practical change" from former AG Jeff Sessions.

Despite some predictions to the contrary, Bazinet does not expect Trump to make federal legalization a priority.

New York Won't Legalize in a Day

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) predicts the state will legalize REC this year, but there are lots of questions in the meantime.
AP

The questions include social use, taxes, regulations and the other usual stuff but on a vast scale.

“There does seem to be this air of inevitability,” state Sen. James Skoufis (D), said. “But we need to make sure we do it right.”

For more see Cannabis Wire.

Gannett explains how a criminal case involving two former employees of MED company Vireo Health, accused of smuggling $500,000 worth of MED in an armed vehicle from Minnesota to New York, complicates New York's REC debate.

The short explanation is attorney's for the defense argue New York and Minnesota allow interstate transfers of MED between the same corporate entity. [Editorial aside: First time we've heard that one, and it would actually complicate things everywhere.]

Meanwhile REC legalization has stalled in New Jersey and accelerated in Connecticut.
Politico, WTNH

Coming to terms with the inevitable, Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) unenthusiastically called for REC legalization.
Providence Journal

Quick Hits

  1. An L.A. Times editorial asks "How long can Congress keep pretending marijuana legalization isn't becoming the norm?"
  2. A senior Treasury Department official wants the banking issue solved.
    Marijuana Moment
  3. Speaking in Toronto, former New York City Mayor and potential 2020 presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg said, legalization "doesn't make any sense at all," before there's more research.
    Macleans
  4. In a break from his predecessor, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) endorsed smokeable MED.
    Tampa Bay Times
  5. In California, a dispute over whether delivery services can operate in areas which don't allow cannabis businesses could end up in court. 🌴Donnell has more on this and the state's final (for now) regulations at WeedWeek California.
    A
    P
  6. Some Humboldt cities remain skeptical about legal businesses.
    Times-Standard
  7. With REC legalization gaining momentum in Minnesota, supporters and opponents got in a shouting match at the state capitol.
    Pioneer Press
  8. After numerous delays and controversies, MED went on sale in Ohio.
    MJBiz

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Business
   
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Daniil Vnoutchkov

Booze Blocking Social Use in Vegas

Social use in Vegas stumbled over questions about whether cannabis lounges should also be allowed to serve alcohol. A Vegas council inserted the alcohol measure to ensure these establishments would be viable businesses, but it has run into opposition from police, who are concerned about road safety.

  • The councilman says a compromise may be viable.
  • The gambling industry is also worried about proximity to federally illegal activity.


Cura Sues Bloom Farms for Defamation

Cura, the Oregon-based parent of Select Oil is suing competitor Bloom Farms for $10M, accusing the California brand of using anonymous social media feeds to damage Cura by surfacing sexual assault allegations against Cura investor and former CEO Nitin Khanna.

Bloom CEO Michael Ray did not explicitly deny the allegations, calling it a free speech issue. 🌉WeedWeek California has more.

Quick Hits

  1. In a suddenly unpredictable stock market, some top fund managers like cannabis.
    Reuters
  1. Multi-state operators are rapidly expanding their state counts. Acreage Holdings at 19, has a comfortable lead over number two MedMen at 12.
    MJBiz
  2. A new report says legalization could cost North American liquor and tobacco companies $55 Billion annually.
    AltaCorp Capital, MJBiz
  3. An Oregon lab business surrendered its licenses following violations involving workers taking home leftover samples.
    KTVZ--Oregon
  1. In a Twitter thread, Canadian journalist Deirdre Olsen accused Marc Emery, founder of Cannabis Culture and Canada's self-proclaimed "prince of pot," of being a serial sexual harasser. He tries to brush aside the accusations in a Facebook post. ��Jesse has lots more at WeedWeek Canada.
  1. Canadian MED company Tilray inked a deal with Authentic Brands Group, parent of Juicy Couture, Nine West and other brands, to produce branded cannabis products.
    Financial Post
  2. Fortune profiled Tilray CEO Brendan Kennedy as the "marijuana billionaire who doesn't smoke weed," and checked out Massachusetts' fledgling REC industry.
  3. More pot companies are turning to social media influencers to promote their brands.
    Wired
  4. A Chinese delegation is traveling to Israel to discuss cannabis research opportunities.
    Calcalist
  5. Denmark approved bulk MED exports, positioning the nation at the forefront of Europe's industry.
    MJBiz
  6. Swiss pharmacies want to sell MED and REC.
    TheLocal.ch

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Health & Science
   

Berenson Book Revives Safety Debate

The new anti-pot book Tell Your Children by former N.Y. Times reporter Alex Berenson has revived the debate over cannabis's safety, in particular the more powerful pot products available today relative to a generation ago.

The Marshall Project hosted a fascinating virtual roundtable between Berenson, Stanford Professor Keith Humphreys, NYU Professor Mark A.R. Kleiman, and Drug Policy Alliance head Maria McFarland Sanchez-Moreno.

Humphreys distinguished between "old cannabis" and "new cannabis." "Almost all our research is on old cannabis;" he said. "By definition any study asking 'What does cannabis consumption do over 10 years' is a study of old cannabis."

  • Berenson suggests warnings for cannabis like: 1) Cannabis use can affect your brain negatively if you are a teenager; try to delay your use; and, 2) If you are using cannabis for psychiatric problems such as anxiety or depression, and those symptoms seem to be worsening, you should consider talking to a doctor and/or quitting.
  • Berenson suggests warnings for cannabis like In other words, Alex is proposing that one reason that police arrest black people three to four times more than white people may be because marijuana supposedly makes black people psychotic and therefore more violent.
  • Kleiman: Start with Alex's first sentence: "Marijuana causes psychosis." ... "The sentence as written—and specifically the use of "psychosis"—is deeply ambiguous: excellent as an attention-grabbing headline, not so good at informing a reader who is thinking about cannabis policy, or the reader's own cannabis use, about the risks.
  • Humphreys: "Every single legalizing state has missed significant opportunities to protect public health and to bring people of color into the legal industry."
  • Much of the roundtable focuses on the connections between cannabis and psychosis and schizophrenia in a relatively small portion of users, and Berenson's more tenuous claims of cannabis use leading to violence.
  • McFarland calls out the "jarring insensitivity Alex's writing reveals toward prohibition's impact on people of color" citing the following passage from Berenson's book:

“Further, the civil rights issues around marijuana legalization are far more complicated than the media or politicians would like them to be. Yes, marijuana arrests disproportionately fall on minorities, especially the black community. But marijuana’s harms also disproportionately fall on the black community. Black people are more likely to develop cannabis use disorder. They are also more likely to develop schizophrenia—and much more likely to be perpetrators and victims of violence. Given marijuana’s connection with mental illness and violence, it is reasonable to wonder whether the drug is partly responsible for those differentials.”

  • McFarland: "In other words, Alex is proposing that one reason that police arrest black people three to four times more than white people may be because marijuana supposedly makes black people psychotic and therefore more violent."

The Atlantic asks, "If Legal Marijuana Leads to Murder, What's Up in the Netherlands?"

Vox calls Berenson's book, "essentially Reefer Madness 2.0."

At the N.Y. Times, pediatrician and health policy expert Dr. Aaron E. Carroll writes on the right way to do MED research.

A new study found even a small amount of marijuana use can change the teenage brain.
NBC

Quick Hits

  1. Reason asks if CBD is a miracle cure or a marketing scam? The Atlantic asks more or less the same thing.
  2. Framingham, Mass found hundreds of vials of cannabis oil in the dumpster behind a testing lab, a violation of state rules.
    CBS-Local
  3. Australia is allowing terminally ill patients to use psychedelic mushrooms.
    9News Australia
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Justice and the Law
   
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(Photo by Scott Eisen/Getty Images)

ICE Deporting Cannabis Offenders

US Immigration and Customs Enforcement is deporting permanent residents with cannabis offenses. Cannabis Wire has the story of Sothy Kum, 44, who arrived here decades ago as a refugee, has a wife and young daughter here,and was recently deported after marijuana offenses.

“I never in a million years thought he could get deported for something so stupid,” [his wife] Lisa told Cannabis Wire. “I mean, we obviously know it’s against the law, especially in Wisconsin. But to be deported and torn away from the rest of your family forever? It just doesn’t make sense.”

  • While it's not clear how many cannabis offenders have been deported, having such an offense on one's record makes one a deportation target.
  • These offenses are "essential elements...[of] deportation/removal packages," according to Gen. John Kelly former chief of staff to Trump, and before that, Homeland Security secretary.

Quick Hits

  1. In a Brooklyn courtroom, Mexican drug lord El Chapo's former mistress told how they escaped a raid by fleeing naked through sewers. Another witness at the trial said El Chapo paid a $100M bribe to former Mexican president Enrique Pena Nieto.
    N.Y.Times
  2. A star DEA narcotics agent has been implicated in a multi-million dollar money laundering conspiracy.
    AP
  3. Following a petition drive led by the bail industry, a new law to eliminate California's cash bail system will be the subject of a 2020 referendum.
    L.A.Times
Culture
   
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Jon Tyson

Allure of the Cannagar

Willamette Week investigates a new product called the G2 CannaMold, a make your own cannagar kit. Released by California outfit Purple Rose Supply, the mold shapes weed into what writer Alison Gootee calls "the most egregious cannabinoid delivery system to hit the market in recent years."

  • A downside for impatient smokers: To obtain the ideal cigar shape, Cannagars are supposed to sit in the mold for two days.

Quick Hits

  1. In the Guardian, I asked why so many oldsters are getting high.
  2. The New Yorker hangs out with some pot journos.
  3. A Kitchen Toke video learns about NFL player turned cannabis entrepreneur Eugene Monroe's diet, cannabis and exercise routine.