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Here's the news:

Politics

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions (R) said the Cole Memo, which allows state cannabis industries to function without federal interference, is largely “ valid.” For more see here.

Nonetheless, he called for a renewal of Nancy Reagan’s ‘Just Say No’ approach, and in prepared remarks referred to it as only “ slightly less awful” than heroin and a “life-wrecking dependency.” MED, he says, “ has been hyped, maybe too much.

But, bro, when Sessions is baked, he totally comes out of his shell.

(That’s a joke .)

Still there may be a residual caution. "My concern right now for both the company and industry is just uncertainty," Chuck Smith, an executive with Colorado edibles company Dixie told CNBC. "It's hard to build an industry or a company when you don't have clarity."

The Washington Post reports that while minor marijuana offenses are less likely to face serious penalties for minor marijuana offenses these days, immigrants face a much stricter system.

Along similar lines, in Slate, I argued that the Trump administration probably won’t crack down on legal weed, but will resume the drug war against illegal product. If this is what happens, I suggest legal cannabis is at risk of becoming an apartheid industry.

Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly appears untroubled about legalization in Canada.

Massachusetts activists are worried that the legislature will undo the REC law voters passed in November.

The Florida legislature’s attempts at MED legislation are all over the place. A major point of contention is how many growers will be awarded licenses. Current rules allow seven, which opponents call a potential “cartel.”  

Georgia Sen. Johnny Isakson (R) clarified that he supports rescheduling cannabis oil, not MED.
 
Connecticut lawmakers could legalize REC to shore up state finances.

For social use, Denver needs to define “ open and public” consumption, which is barred in the state constitution.

L.A. Weekly profiles Grow For Vets, which delivers free MED to veterans.

Home delivery is underway in Oregon. San Diego county banned grows and shops in unincorporated areas.

A court battle is brewing over whether New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez (R) vetoed an industrial hemp bill, and four other bills improperly. Opponents say she needed to explain her rationale. The governor’s office calls the dispute “silly.”

A Hawaii bill would change the official term from marijuana to cannabis.

Tunisia is reducing penalties for marijuana use.

Washington City Paper published a long political history of pot.
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Business

The fallout from Canada’s pesticide scandal continues. There’s new emphasis on releasing testing data to the public. Twenty-five thousand customers were said to be affected and a class action lawsuit. A former Organigram customer says she still suffers symptoms from contaminated MED.

Canada’s Canopy Growth, the defendant in the class action lawsuit, will be the first cannabis company to join the S&P/TSX composite stock index. The lawsuit stems from Canopy's acquisition of Mettrum which had pesticide problems last year. Canopy says it will “ vigorously” defend itself.

The number of mergers and acquisitions in the industry is climbing. Canadian producers have raised C$700M in six months.

Colorado regulators ordered company Green Farms Holdings to stop raising money on Craigslist.

Canadian producer Aphria reduced its stake in clinic company Canabo at a loss.

Anti-tax activist Grover Norquist called the industry hated 280E tax rule “ devastating,” and predicted that it would “be fixed in the next few years.” Norquist also makes the case for federalism – states’ rights – on cannabis policy.

Nevada state Senator Tick Segerblom wants to legalize forms of social use. “That’s what we do. We sell sex. We sell drugs. We sell gambling.” Segerblom is so pro-pot that there’s a strain named after him, and that’s just one of many great details in Politico’s feature on cannabis in Nevada.

Portland, Ore. 14-year old Eddie Herzig has started a change.org petition to restrict cannabis advertising. His young sister asked him about billboards and he, "realized that when she is 6 and 7, she doesn't really need to be exposed to the type of stuff that's out there.”  

Denver city council hit pause on allowing pot shops to stay open until midnight, which some suburbs permit.

I wrote about dispensary software company Baker for L.A. Weekly. They just raised $1.6M.

There’s hope that weed jobs can replace steel jobs in western Pennsylvania.

Two brand extension experts discuss how to protect cannabis brands.

Massachusetts liquor stores want to sell REC.

The federal EPA has fined a Colorado grow shop $27,500 for selling unlabeled pesticides.
Newly unsealed documents renew the debate over whether Monsanto’s Roundup weed killer is a carcinogen. I previously argued that the anticipated merger between Monsanto and Bayer will create a cannabis giant.

Health and Science

Citing contradictory studies in the effects of cannabis use on heart health, the Washington Post argues that “ the relationship of marijuana use to public health is one of the most confounding topics in science.

Studies have shown that teen use has declined in recent years but Denver Health has noticed that more teens are seeking help for marijuana dependence.

U.S. government grown weed, “doesn’t resemble cannabis. It doesn’t smell like cannabis,” according to Dr. Sue Sisley, who has won permission to use it for a PTSD clinical trial on veterans. See the pictures here.

A study found that depression, alcohol use and cannabis use were all linked to future synthetic cannabis use in teens.

Oxford University in the U.K. is starting a cannabis research institute in partnership with investment firm Kingsley Capital Partners. Supporters include actor Patrick Stewart, who uses MED for his arthritis.

Researchers wonder if teenage drug experimentation is falling “in part because they are constantly stimulated and entertained by their computers and phones?”

Physician assistants can now recommend MED in New York.

Many Australian epilepsy patients use MED to manage their condition, and most report success.

An Italian farmer uses cannabis plants to decontaminate his soil.

Merry Jane asks, “ What’s really in your vape cartridge?

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Criminal Justice

New footage in the Ferguson film “ Stranger Fruit” purports to show Michael Brown trading a small amount of pot with a convenience store clerk, hours before he was fatally shot by a cop. Filmmaker Jason Pollock believes the footage absolves Brown of stealing cigarillos from the store. Authorities reject the interpretation.

There were 3,534 federal marijuana related convictions in 2016, the fifth straight year of decline. There are more federal convictions for meth than any other drug.   
 
Philippine vice president Leni Robredo criticized President Rodrigo Duterte’s drug war.

Canadian authorities allege that high-profile entrepreneurs Marc and Jodie Emery have ties to organized crime. Currently out on bail, they’ve been ordered to close their business Cannabis Culture.

Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) suggested using civil asset forfeiture to make Mexican drug cartels pay for Trump’s wall.  

In the U.K., a new type of organization called social cannabis clubs, might enable growers to skirt the law. 
Culture

Companies founded by the estate of Jimi Hendrix are suing Hendrix’s brother Leon and his business partner for trademark infringement. Leon Hendrix is part of an operation that creates Jimi Hendrix branded cannabis and other products. The parties have been fighting over the guitarist’s likeness since at least 2008.

Former Drug Policy Alliance head Ethan Nadelmann gave an exit interview to  Volte Face .

Guess what happens at new Denver creative writing class Lit on Lit. “Be a crazy, dumb saint of the mind…” someone urges.

In Washington state, someone donated a few pounds to Goodwill.

The Harold and Kumar movies hold up pretty well.

Here's the WeedWeek list of pot journalists on Twitter and the list of cannabusiness people on Twitter. Both are works in progress. Recommendations welcome.

I've also created two political Twitter lists you can subscribe to: Real News and Tweeting the Resistance. 

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Alex 

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