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Also, don't miss this BONUS episode of the WeedWeek Podcast: Donny and I talk marijuana manners with Lizzie Post, author of the new book Higher Etiquette.


FBI Investigating Cannabiz Corruption

Wishs he could wear a dress to work.

The FBI is seeking tips on cannabis-related corruption the law enforcement agency said on a podcast.

  • “States require licenses to grow and sell the drug—opening the possibility for public officials to become susceptible to bribes in exchange for those licenses,” a bureau official said. “The corruption is more prevalent in western states where the licensing is decentralized—meaning the level of corruption can span from the highest to the lowest level of public officials.”
  • NORML Executive Director Erik Altieri said, “As awkward as it feels to sort of side with the FBI, it is imperative that states ensure the licensing for cannabis businesses is an open and fair process... “Cronyism, corruption, and corporate takeovers are not unavoidable side effects of legalizing marijuana and they should be rooted out immediately,”
  • National Cannabis Industry Association spokesman Morgan Fox said, “An easy way to avoid corruption becoming an issue is to get rid of arbitrary license caps and lower the barriers of entry for the industry,” Fox said. “Not only would this make it easier for small businesses and people from marginalized communities to enter the industry, but it stops licenses from being treated as limited commodities."
    Tom Angell

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Aiming High in Illinois

Unlike every other state to legalize REC, Illinois passed a 600+-page cannabis law at the time it legalized, and it's causing problems for some of the state's largest players.
Crain's Chicago Business

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Acreage CEO: Bank Reform Will Come Before States Act

Acreage Holdings CEO Kevin Murphy predicts Congress will pass cannabis banking reform this year.

  • “Conservative Republicans are all about safety and they’re all about taking cash out of the system,” Murphy said.
  • American Banker explains why key Senate Republicans aren't sold on cannabis banking.
  • Former Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner is on the Acreage Board. In WeedWeek I recently asked if Boehner is good for weed.

Murphy is less bullish on the States Act bill which would protect state legal cannabis businesses from federal interference. He doesn't think anything similar will pass before 2021.

Related: Bloomberg profiles Dan Murphy, a conservative cannabis lobbyist. “If we had ten Don’s, cannabis would be legal by now,” NCIA lobbyist and fellow Republican Michael Correia said.

The American Bar Association says states should be able to set their own marijuana laws.
Marijuana Moment

Quick Hit

  1. MSO Harvest Health settled a regulatory inquiry in Pennsylvania by giving up two of its seven permits. CEO Steve White predicted Arizona would legalize REC in 2020.
    Philly Inquirer, Barron's
  2. After sharply reducing its forecasts, delivery app Eaze is raising money again, Business Insider reports.


Cannabis Stocks: Still a Wild Ride

Like that, but with your money.

Canadian giant Canopy Growth reported a staggering C$1.2B loss, though almost all of it was related to a one-time charge. ��Jesse has all the details at WW Canada.

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Everyone's Confused About Hemp Laws

A lab test of a product produced by Diamond CBD turned up a potentially dangerous synthetic cannabinoid. A New York Times story suggests it could be representative of a poorly regulated CBD industry.

  • Diamond CBD parent company Pot Network Holdings said its tests didn't turn up any abnormalities but it will continue to investigate.
  • “People are taking these products in good faith, because they believe somebody is overseeing the quality of these products,” forensic toxicologist Michelle Peace said. “But there’s basically nobody.”

Meanwhile, in Ohio, Texas, Florida Georgia and elsewhere, there's a lot of confusion about hemp laws.

Quick Hit

  1. Don't miss this wild story in Bloomberg Law about America's secret drug war.


Vape Hospitalizations Stump Doctors

Dozens of young people have been hospitalized across the country for severe respiratory problems after vaping cannabis or nicotine.
N.Y. Times

  • "Most of the patients were having difficulty breathing when they arrived at the hospital. Some patients also reported chest pain, vomiting and other ailments. The cases have ranged in severity, with some patients suffering severe lung damage that required weeks of treatment in the intensive care units."
  • Officials aren't sure whether vaping caused the problems and if it did what ingredient of the cartridges was involved.
  • The FDA is also studying a possible link between e-cigarettes and seizures.

Illegal vape cartridges tainted with a potentially deadly lung toxin have hospitalized seven with pneumonia-like symptoms in Hanford, Calif.

Quick Hit

  1. Young people who vape more are more likely to use cannabis, a study found.


Colorado's Illegal Market Still Thriving

Seven years after legalization, Colorado's illicit market is thriving. Suburban Denver prosecutor George Brauchler said, “I’ve only been doing this for 25 years and I have never seen the black market as robust and as complicated and as expertly cultivated as this one right now.”

Quick Hit

  1. California is on track to be the world's largest legal REC market this year with more than $3B in sales. But its illegal market is still almost three times bigger. 🌴WeedWeek California has more.
    L.A. Time


Cannabis Restaurants, a WaPo Preview

In the Washington Post, my friend Maura Judkis visits West Hollywood's first cannabis restaurant.

  • While various legal issues remain, Lowell Farms Cannabis Cafe, which opens soon, has "a lounge to smoke cannabis and a restaurant. Guests who order food and cannabis will receive separate bills," a plan approved by West Hollywood.
  • It won't serve infused foods.
  • Eater: The menu includes grilled peaches and burrata, a fried chicken sandwich, crispy Brussels sprouts, and white bean hummus with crudités. Drummer also built a massive dessert platter with candied bacon, caramel popcorn with Thai chili almonds, peanut butter cookies, sweet potato beignets, crème brûlée, homemade s’mores, and an ice cream sandwich.

Lowell CEO David Elias will join us for a taping of the WeedWeek podcast at our upcoming Recharge event. Contact to request an invitation.


MDMA Shows Promise for Severe PTSD

Scientists are studying whether MDMA in combination with psychotherapy can help patients with severe non-responsive forms of PTSD.

The story describes the treatment thus:

"Tipton was given a dose of pure MDMA. Then she lay down in a quiet room with two specially-trained psychotherapists, one woman and one man.

"They sat next to Tipton as she recalled some of her deepest traumas, like discovering her mother's body after a murder-suicide.

"In the embrace of MDMA," as she describes it, Tipton could revisit this moment without the usual terror and panic.

"I was able to find such empathy for myself. I realized how much I was thinking this was my fault," she says."

  • MDMA therapy is currently in late stage clinical trials. It has been given "breakthrough therapy" status, a kind of fast track program at the FDA.


Nate Diaz: Pot Smoking UFC Anti-Hero

The great N.Y. Times sportswriter John Branch profiles UFC fighter Nate Diaz:

"U.F.C. brands itself as the counterculture edge of the sports world: brash, bloody and unscripted. But as mixed martial arts have bulled into the mainstream, Diaz remains a reliable mutineer. He is the pot-smoking, straight-talking, Stockton-representing renegade who, at the top of his career, had the gall to essentially disappear for three years.

"Diaz stands out in a tent of circus performers by doing nothing but being himself. That much was on display when he strolled into his open workout on Wednesday smoking a CBD joint from his own cannabis business, and proceeded to pass more out to fans. He had planned to stop smoking marijuana a couple of weeks before his fight against Anthony Pettis on Saturday at U.F.C. 241 in Anaheim, because the compound in weed that causes psychoactive effects, THC, remains a banned substance for which fighters are tested.

Read the whole thing.

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