January 13, 2018
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ALEX HALPERIN
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So much news.
POLITICS
The implications of Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ (R) decision to rescind the Cole Memo, which protected state legal cannabis from federal prosecution, continue to ripple through the industry and U.S. politics. Some Trump supporters say the move is the “ first time they feel let down by the man they helped elect ,” the AP reports.

Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner (R), who has pledged to hold up Justice Department nominees if his state’s cannabis industry isn’t secure, got nowhere in a Wednesday meeting with Sessions. The Washington Post reports Sessions’ move could be a headache for Republicans during this year’s midterm elections.

The A.P. runs through comments from the 13 federal prosecutors presiding in REC states on whether they expect to crackdown on state-legal businesses. Of them only four are Trump appointees with Senate confirmation . Leafly lists Congresspeople who have worked to protect cannabis, and the ones who are “all talk.”


Sessions caused confusion by failing to notify the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) before his Cole Memo announcement.

Nearly 70 members of Congress signed a letter to protect state-legal cannabis in this week's appropriations bill. At least four bills in Congress would protect state cannabis industries.

Podcast Cannabis Economy interviewed former U.S. deputy attorney general James M. Cole , who wrote the Cole Memo rescinded by Session. Cole also spoke to KQED San Francisco .

Jeff Sessions is making a cataclysmic mistake ,” Trump ally Roger Stone said at an event in Orlando. “My question is, has he chimed in with his boss?”

A USAToday opinion columnist writes: If you don’t like Sessions’ decision change the law .

California’s cannabis community is largely unafraid of Sessions , Mother Jones reports.

Massachusetts has questions after U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling left the door open to prosecuting state legal businesses. Most Massachusetts dispensaries have been forced to go cash only after a payments processor stopped serving the industry. State and local police said they wouldn’t participate in a federal crackdown. The Boston Globe’s Dan Adams has more on the standoff against Sessions.

Alaska may rewrite its REC law to protect its state industry.

Conservative National Review says Sessions needs to talk to a cancer patient about medical cannabis.

Canna Law Blog asks “ Now what?
The Guardian has a piece on cannabis and other aspects of California’s revolt against the Trump administration . The N.Y. Times has a piece on the same subject .

This year is the first time cannabis taxes will be included in California's state budget. California is also reviving a proposal to become a cannabis “sanctuary state.”

The state predicts 1M pounds of legal weed will be sold during the first budget year, worth $3.4 billion and generating $643M in taxes (roughly half of percent of the state’s budget.) The one million pounds is less than 10% of the 13.5M pounds California growers produced in 2016.

Delayed licensing has hurt Los Angeles businesses , NBC reports. And the state is testing out its legal supply pipeline .

The Economist calls California pot laws, “ almost comically progressive.

Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval wants to protect the state’s cannabis industry from Sessions and the newly appointed federal prosecutor. Plans for social use in Vegas are now on hold.

Vermont is poised to become the first state to legalize REC through the legislature. The bill allows possession and small-scale homegrow but not an industry. Despite this substantial restriction, entrepreneurs are bullish . For more see here . Meanwhile in Vermont, MED costs way more than prescription opioids .

Two months after rejecting it, New Hampshire’s House voted to legalize REC .

In Maine, a coalition which includes REC opponents appears to have reached a compromise on a REC law. Some lawmakers also want to protect small farms . For more see here .

A New Jersey lawmaker filed a bill to legalize REC . Governor-elect Phil Murphy (D) has promised to legalize and said Sessions’ potential crackdown won’t affect the plan .

Detroit’s new MED program is stalled at a legal impasse. A lawsuit is challenging Ohio’s diversity quota for MED growing licenses.

A bipartisan group of 28 Congresspeople dispute the DEA’s assertion that hemp should be a schedule I drug. Kentucky approved 12,000 acres for hemp this year.

Arkansas released the names and locations of MED licensees. Kansas lawmaker Steve Alford (R) resigned his leadership posts after making racist comments about African Americans and cannabis.

Politico investigates how President Richard Nixon and TV host Art Linkletter collaborated to launch the war on drugs .
BUSINESS
Cannabis Business Executive published Kayvan Khalatbari’s December resignation email from the National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA) board . In the email, Khalatbari, who’s under an NDA, expressed serious concerns about Executive Director Aaron Smith. Since it’s not clear if Smith has had the chance to respond I won’t reprint it here. As Khalatbari departed in December, Smith said the group was stronger and stabler than ever before. (NCIA did not respond to WeedWeek’s Friday night request for comment.)

Anyone familiar with the situation who wants to talk on background can contact me at alex@weedweek.net .
MjBizDaily has a dispatch on how California businesses handled the transition to REC. California businesses are furious about the state highway patrol seizing a weed-filled van operated for a licensed business in Mendocino County.

Rolling Stone says legalization is already hurting California’s small-scale cannabis farmers .

Oversupply is hurting Washington businesses . More than 12 Oregon dispensaries failed compliance checks regarding sales to minors.

Minority Cannabis Business Association co-founder and executive director Jesce Horton has stepped down to citing a desire to spend more time with his family.

Following the Cole Memo decision, public Canadian cannabis companies will have to disclose their U.S. exposure. Meanwhile, dealflow is heating up north of the border. For more see New Cannabis Ventures .

Fast Company meets some industry pioneers .

Former High Times editor Steven Hagar is suing the company claiming he was defrauded of his shares. The investment firm Oreva Group acquired a majority stake in High Times last year and intends to take the company public. High TImes has reportedly signed a partnership with Creative Artists Associates and Emerald Branding.

Facebook and Google’s restrictions on cannabis ads have given opportunities to smaller digital advertising companies .

A judge ruled in favor of a black farmer , in a complex lawsuit over one of Florida’s ten coveted grow licenses. State law requires a black farmer to receive the license.

Engadget spotlights the challenge of displaying cannabis accessories at the Consumer Electronics Show. Digital Trends says weed tech didn’t really take off at the immense Vegas show, perhaps because it’s not mainstream enough.

Cannabis advertisers have been caught up in the fight over L.A. Weekly .

If the Canadian REC market faces supply shortages, it will be due to geographical imbalances, not total production , MJBiz says.

Canadian MED producer CanniMed signed a deal with a Dutch distributor that will enable it to sell MED in 17 countries.

Under heavy security, reporters visited Australia’s first MED farm .

Career prospects are good for scientists who want to work in cannabis , Science reports.

In a video, Vice visits a cannabis testing lab .

HEALTH & SCIENCE
In a town hall, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he believes, “ marijuana is problematic for the developing brain, ” but said prohibition wasn’t keeping pot away from kids.
Using a process known as “genetic astrology” a Canadian company claims it can evaluate people for their risk of cannabis dependence.

The parents of an 11-year old girl with leukemia have sued Illinois to let her bring MED to school. For the time being, she can .

California pulled an anti-stoned driving PSA after critics said it encouraged cannabis use. Stat looks at the race to develop a cannabis breathalyzer .

The Washington Post’s Christopher Ingraham presents, “ The irrationality of modern drug laws, in one chart.

In northern California, rat poison used by pot grows is harming the federally threatened northern spotted owl.

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CRIMINAL JUSTICE
CityLab and Harvard Law Review discuss what racial equity in cannabis would look like.  
Colorado business Sweet Leaf filed a motion to dismiss felony charges against four budtenders alleged to have sold more product to return shoppers than state law allows.

AG Sessions’ Cole Memo move could potentially throw a life preserver to Mexican cannabis growers. Newsweek reports Mexican cartels are establishing a presence in the Emerald Triangle .

The elderly couple caught in Nebraska with 60 pounds of weed, has been rearrested and face new charges , after a cop found $18,000 in suspected drug money in their car. The couple was out on bond after saying they intended to distribute the 60 pounds pot as gifts and didn’t know it couldn’t be transported across Nebraska.

D.C. police tweeted : "Anyone misplace 9 lbs of weed over the weekend? Feel free to stop by #DCPolice headquarters . . . we'd be happy to chat." Police already had a suspect in custody and were making a point that the District’s legal possession limit is two ounces.

California state assemblyman Rob Bonta (D-Oakland) wants to make it easier to clear past cannabis convictions . As of September, almost 5,000 Californians had applied to have their cases expunged or reclassified.

To fund his wall on the Mexican border, Trump proposes cutting existing enforcement against drug smugglers , which experts believe are more effective than a wall.

An Iowa mom has been sentenced to probation for giving her seven year old daughter marijuana.

Former Idaho attorney general and chief justice Jim Jones, regrets his support for mandatory minimum drug sentences .

Arizona’s Supreme Court will hear arguments on whether to criminalize MED on college campuses.

In Iran, a loosening of drug laws could save thousands on death row .

CULTURE
N.Y. Mag’s The Cut profiles Katja Blichfeld, co-creator of HBO show “High Maintenance .” Emily Gould writes, “Something “High Maintenance” shares with the experience of being high is an easy willingness to pay attention to stuff that might not otherwise interest you — to follow unexpected associations and trains of thought farther than you ordinarily would.”
Despite legalization, Coachella still bans weed . The era of “free-for-all” pot festivals in California may be over.

A ruled Iowa State University’s attempt to crack down on campus NORML t-shirts unconstitutional . The case will cost state taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars.

A small conservative town in Texas hopes to host one of the state’s first CBD dispensaries .

A poll found most Canadians would be uncomfortable getting high with their families . To prepare parents to talk about pot with their kids, the Canadian government put together an awkward/endearing list of slang terms for weed . They include errl, purp and dank krippy.

Sister Mary Joseph, nee Suzanne Albert, New Zealand’s first known pot grower, is headed for sainthood . Albert who died in 1926, aged 91, spent her life caring for the poor and was known for her homemade medicines, some of which contained cannabis.

Two groups in Colorado want to legalize psychedelic mushrooms .
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Bye,
Alex 

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