Beto is Running

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Former Texas Congressman and legalization supporter Beto O’Rourke (D) is running for President.

“We can free ourselves from the distinction of being the country that imprisons more of its citizens than any other country on the face of the planet,” he told a restaurant in Keokuk, Iowa. “And guess what: By and large they do not look like this room. They are browner and blacker than most of America.”

O’Rourke, who unsuccessfully challenged Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) last year, arguably got his big break from cannabis. As a city councilman in El Paso, Texas, across the border from Ciudad Juarez, O’Rourke introduced a resolution to end the prohibition on marijuana and other drugs. It passed city council 8-0 but was squashed by Congressman Sylvestre Reyes, a conservative Democrat. O’Rourke was so infuriated he launched a primary challenge to Reyes and defeated the incumbent.

The Intercept says it was the first time a member of Congress lost his job for being too much of a drug warrior.
In college at Columbia, O'Rourke was in a punk band.
In other primary news:

In college at Columbia, O'Rourke was in a punk band.

In other primary news:

Pete Buttigieg (D), the 37-year old, openly gay mayor of South Bend, Ind., who’s exploring a presidential run, said he learned about his white male privilege when he was a student at Harvard and a cop busted him for smoking a joint. After frisking Buttigieg and cursing a bit, the cop drove off.

“A lot of people probably had the exact same experience...and would have been a lot worse than yelled at, and would not have slept in their own beds that night — and maybe would have been derailed in their college career because of it,” he said.

Buttigieg, like most of the Democratic field, supports REC legalization.

Quick Hits

  1. A law firm is suing U.S. Customs and Border Protection about why Canadian cannabis industry workers have been blocked from entering the U.S. 🍁Jesse has more in WW Canada.
    The Sta
  2. Facing a challenge from the pro-pot, ultra-right wing Zehut Party, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he would consider legalizing REC.
    Times of Israel

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On REC, New Jersey Advances; New York Retreats

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) said he and the state legislature had reached a REC deal after more than a year of negotiations.

The proposed legislation would set up an expedited expungement process for those with convictions for low-level pot offenses and has provisions to bolster female and minority participation in the industry.

A floor vote in the state assembly is possible as soon as March 25, though it’s not yet clear whether the bill has the votes to pass the Democratic-controlled legislature.

(Meanwhile “Catnip Cocktail,” a intoxicating beverage which doesn’t contain catnip but metabolizes into the “date rape” and club drug GHB, is worrying authorities in New Jersey.
Washington Post)

Black New York lawmakers said they would block REC legalization unless there are guarantees that people of color would participate in the industry. New York would be the first REC state to include such provisions. “I haven’t seen anyone do it correctly,” Assembly Majority Leader Crystal People-Stokes said.
N.Y. Times

For more see Cannabls Wire.

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Alaska First on Social Use

Alaska Lt. Gov. Kevin Meyer (R) signed off on rules to make the last frontier the first state to allow social use.

Dispensary customers will be allowed to consume on-site in an area separated from the rest of the store. It will have to have a ventilation system, and aa smoke free area where an employee can oversee the consumers. It will likely be summer before the first sanctioned on-site consumption area opens.
Anchorage Daily News

Meanwhile down south...

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Big Green Data

Cannabis data company Headset is partnering with Nielsen Holdings in a deal they say will expand the breadth and depth of data available to packaged cannabis companies.

Nielsen, which is best known for its US television ratings, previously acquired data firm Cannabiz Consumer Group.

Elsewhere on the deal front...

Editor Note

In February, WeedWeek hosted its first event, Recharge, in Los Angeles. Click here to see the terrific keynote by Jeremy Plumb, Director of Production Science at Prūf Cultivar in Portland, Ore., and a brief talk by Danny Davis, founder of sponsor Convectium.

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Mainstream Names Move into Cannabis

American billionaire Nelson Peltz, chairman of Wendy’s and founding partner of Trian Fund Management, joined Canadian megagrower Aurora as a strategic advisor. 🍁Jesse has more in WW Canada.

Peltz is among the latest mainstream business people and companies joining the green rush.

In Canada, some of the largest cannabis growers are pushing the Toronto Stock Exchange to allow them to invest in US companies. (We’ll have Business Insider reporter Jeremy Berke on the WeedWeek podcast this Monday to discuss weed on Wall Street.)

Daniel Birnbaum, CEO of the Israeli seltzer company SodaStream -- acquired last year by Pepsico for $3.2 Billion -- joined the board of Seedo, which makes a home grow box. Canadian MED company Tilray hired former Goldman Sachs executive Andrew Pucher as chief corporate development officer.

And it’s not just the 0.1% pouring in. Cannabis is the fastest growing job market in the country. The industry added 64,000+ jobs in 2018, a 44% jump.

Katja Blichfeld, co-creator of HBO show High Maintenance on legalization:

“But I also have complicated feelings about legalization. I’ve been watching what’s happening and it’s just more corporate America bullshit. They’re going to put small farmers out of business, potentially.”


California Industry Faces "Extinction Event"

An estimated 10,000 growers could lose their licenses if state lawmakers don't pass a bill to grant them an extension. Industry lobbyist Jackie McGowan said failure to pass SB 67 would kill the state's cannabis industry. "This bill is a bill that the industry is very anxious to see passed," she said. ��Donnell has more in WW California.
Sacramento Be

It’s not just in California that profits are elusive...

Quick Hits

  1. California-brand Canndescent learned it’s not easy being green, as in environmentally friendly.
    Fast Company
  2. Leafly finds America's cheapest cannabis.

"I took a cannabis DNA test..."

In The Hustle, a writer took a test offered by the company Strain Genie, which purports to recommend cannabis strains and products based on an individual's DNA

“The result, a 19-page “Cannabis Health Report,” informed me that I was at risk for Alzheimer’s and suggested I smoke some Purple Bubba to fortify my memory.”

Scripps Research Institute geneticist Eric Topol said customized DNA tests are “pseudoscience -- complete and utter nothing.” And he was referring to mainstream companies like 23andMe.

It’s hard to imagine Topol thinking better of DNA tests to recommend cannabis strains, since strains don’t even exist.

Quick Hits

  1. The U.K.’s first MED clinic opened near Manchester.
  2. Can cannabis solve the opioid crisis? Probably not, but it might help.
    Scientific American

Cannatech No One Wants

The Institute of Cannabis Research at Colorado State University -- Pueblo, the only cannabis lab controlled by the Colorado government, is developing a seed to sale tracking system that no one in the industry wants. It would use a chemical additive to determine where a cannabis plant originated.
Denver Post

A spokesman for the Terrapin Care Station chain said:

“Colorado already has a robust seed-to-sale system for tracking cannabis...There is no need to risk consumer health and safety by spraying cannabis with an unknown substance for a tracking technology that won’t ever gain traction. This is why the Colorado Legislature twice rejected proposals to use taxpayer dollars to fund private research for a cannabis technology that will never be practical.”


Parenting While High

Facebook groups called “Des fleurs ma chere” (“Flowers my dear”) and Mother Mary have become hangouts for Canadian moms who think cannabis improves their parenting.

Cannabis use during pregnancy, which doctors strongly caution against, is an even touchier subject than parenting while high. Though some women embrace it:

"Right before I went into labor, I smoked a really big joint, and it was fantastic. All my doctors knew," one mom said, “assuring that her three-year-old and one-year-old children are healthy and ‘too smart’ for their respective ages.”

Quick Hits

  1. Malcolm, a wealthy, young “rapper” defended his mom and dad, both charged in the college admissions scandal, while smoking a “giant blunt” in front of their Fifth Ave. apartment.
    N.Y. Post
  2. A young Republican operative in Nebraska is no longer volunteering at the state chapter of anti-legalization group Smart Approaches to Marijuana. It surfaced that he’d made thousands of hateful comments in a white nationalist chatroom.
    Omaha World Herald

Coming Soon: The Miss Marijuana Pageant

Get ready for the first Miss Marijuana Pageant. Hosted by a brand called Miss Marijuana, contestants will vie in online state competitions for spots in the national finals to be held on an undisclosed date in Las Vegas.

Contestants must be a “natural born woman,” a “Miss or Ms.” and between the ages of 18 and 30. The competition will consist of swimsuit and evening gown elements as well as a personal interview question. There’s no talent or “platform” element to the competition, and the grand prize is $25,000.

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  1. Writer Jen Doll visited Denver’s cannabis church.

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