October 20, 2018
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ALEX HALPERIN
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Here's the news.
POLITICS
After nearly a century of prohibition, Canada started selling legal REC at midnight on Wednesday, October 17 , becoming the first large nation to regulate the crop and giving it a head start in the global industry. (BBC)

“But this is Canada. The change will be orderly,” The Ottawa Citizen writes. “Marijuana is legal today, but it’s no free-for-all. And probably not that much fun.”

The first sale took place in St. Johns , capital of Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada’s most easterly province. There were long lines and shortages nationwide . (CTVx2)  

Vivian Azer, cannabis analyst at Wall Street firm Cowen called Canadian legalization “the first step” in transforming cannabis into “a key functional ingredient” disrupting a group of consumer product categories worth $500 Billion in annual sales . (MJBiz)

A senior federal official said the government will offer pardons to those with pot convictions involving 30 g or less , but there will be an application process . (Global News)

Access to the US for Canadians in the cannabis industry , and even those who have tried cannabis, remains a source of confusion (LATimes)

The Ontario government’s online dispensary -- the only legal retailer in Canada’s largest province until Spring 2019 -- mislabeled a THC-infused “intimate spray” as an oral product. (CTV)

WeedWeek Canada writer Jesse Staniforth covered legalization week on the WeedWeek Instagram feed . He also wrote a dispatch from Montreal for Leafly.

Leafly has a guide to cannabis laws by province .

CNN says Canadian legalization could hurt underground pot farmers in poor countries.

For much more on Canada’s big day, 🍁check out today’s issue of WeedWeek Canada FREE!

Despite its popularity, Democratic leaders say they won’t push for federal legalization , if they take back the House of Representatives in November. Some members of Congress are pushing for it anyway and are embarrassed by the US’s “backwardness.” (The Daily Beast, Politico, Rolling Stone)

Legalization supporter Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D - Ore.) released an eight-page blueprint to end federal cannabis prohibition in 2019, if the Democrats win control of the House. Read the document here . (Tom Angell, Forbes)

Massachusetts awarded licenses to two testing labs , seen as one of the last hurdles before REC goes on sale. The state is also considering delivery services . (New England Public Radio, Boston Globe)

Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) is seeking to appeal a judge’s ruling that the state’s 2017 MED law is unconstitutional. If the law stands it would further complicate the state’s much criticized rollout. (Florida Politics)

In New Jersey, an investigation into how Gov. Phil Murphy’s (D) team handled a sexual assault allegation against a former staffer, could delay a REC vote . Meanwhile there’s intense business interest in the Garden State. (NJ.com, Courier Post)

Michigan banned products which mix cannabis and alcohol . (ABC-- local)

There are already a raft of local lawsuits over MED rules in Oklahoma. (Tulsa World)

While Utahns will vote on Prop 2 in November, the state House leader unveiled the first draft of a stricter MED bill the legislature will debate in a special session whether Prop 2 passes or not. (Salt Lake Tribune)

Utah’s upcoming MED vote could make it harder for Mia Love, the only black, female Republican in Congress, to retain her suburban Salt Lake City seat. (AP)

Louisiana MED plants are ready for harvest , but the lack of a testing lab could delay access. (NOLA.com)

Mississippi activists want a MED initiative on the ballot in 2020. (Jackson Free Press)

A MED legalization push stalled in Indiana . (Kokomo Tribune)

Vox suggests meditation and psychedelic drugs could heal the US’s political rifts . “Yes, seriously.”
BUSINESS
Multistate company iAnthus Capital agreed to acquire the US assets of Toronto-based cannabis company MPX Bioceutical in a C$835M all-stock deal. The combined company will hold 70 retail, manufacturing, and processing licenses across 10 states. The company said it will rebrand after the deal. (MJBiz)  

MedMen ’s proposed $682M acquisition of PharmaCann , could violate New York State law which limits owners to four dispensaries in the state. (Albany Times-Union)
Facebook said it would end a months-long block on cannabis search results . But businesses still seek clarity on the seemingly arbitrary removal of cannabis accounts from Facebook-owned Instagram. (MarketWatch, AdWeek)

Canadian producer Canopy Growth said it would acquire the intellectual property of Colorado company Ebbu in a cash and stock deal which could be worth up to C$429M. (CNBC)

In 2016, I wrote a long story about Ebbu , focussed on co-founder Michael “Dooma” Wendschuh who was fired and subsequently started the Canadian cannabis beer company Province Brands . Dooma, who is contesting his Ebbu firing in litigation, no longer has a stake in the company. (Pando)


Other Colorado businesses are also finding opportunities in Canada. (Denver Post)

Former Canadian prime minister and legalization opponent Brian Mulroney joined the board of Acreage Holdings , which has already enlisted former Republican Speaker of the House and legalization opponent John Boehner. (Ottawa Citizen)

Vertically integrated Terra Tech placed “Dear Mr. President” ads in the Wall Street Journal and on Fox News , asking Trump to legalize cannabis. (Business Insider)

Bob Troyer, the outgoing federal prosecutor for Colorado, discussed anticipated prosecutions of a licensed cannabis company it considers a front for Denver area traffickers. (Denver Business Journal-- Paywall)

MJBiz takes a look at product shortages, the robust illegal market and other issues facing southern California businesses .

This year Colorado racked up $1 Billion in annual cannabis sales by August , a new record. (Denver Post)

The owner of a former Oregon testing lab sued anonymous Antifa activists for exposing her ties to white nationalists, which she called out of context. (Oregonian)

CNBC’s Jim Cramer said cannabis could be the most disruptive force since Amazon for the pharmaceutical and beverage industries.

“Don’t even think about” cannabis-related tax crime , Canna Law Blog advises. It has another post on “unwritten rules” which can cost Washington state businesses their licenses.

Shark Tank personality Kevin O’Leary says he wouldn’t invest in cannabis before US legalization. (Yahoo)

Legalization is an opportunity and a threat in California wine country. (Washington Post)

WeedWeek Canada writer Jesse Staniforth, Mona Zhang, who writes Word on the Tree , and myself talked to Poynter about the cannabis journalism racket .

Vice says your boss is more likely to be stoned at work than you , though it’s not referring to the cannabis industry.
HEALTH & SCIENCE
The journal Nature looks at how legalization in Canada will likely accelerate cannabis science . “ Full legalization in Canada has brought with it unparalleled access to money for basic research on the plant,” it says.
Canadian companies want to patent genetically modified components of cannabis . (CBC)

MED research is on the rise with legalization, a study found. And a study found CBD can reduce anxiety during public speaking. (Marijuana Moment)

The New England Journal of Medicine has a case study on prescribing MED .

A new study from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found traffic accidents are up about 6% in legal states compared to bordering illegal states. (Bloomberg Quint)

Live Science explores the little-understood illness cannabis hyperemesis syndrome , which is characterized by vomiting and stomach pain. Patients find relief by taking hot showers.

Thousands have responded to the FDA’s request for comment on international cannabis laws. (Marijuana Moment)

A Guardian writer is disappointed with CBD products available in the UK.
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CRIMINAL JUSTICE
Five former New York City probation commissioners said parolees shouldn’t be tested for pot . (The Crime Report)
Washington state’s supreme court declared it unconstitutional to sentence minors to life without parole , joining 20 other states and Washington DC. (Pacific Standard)

The DEA is expanding its use of license plate readers in digital road signs. (The American Conservative)

In Alabama, Blacks are four times as likely as whites to be arrested for marijuana. (The Appeal)

The Bulletin (Bend, Ore.) looks at the illegal market in central Oregon.

Hennepin County (Minneapolis) is likely to dismiss 32 cases after a detective was found to falsify a search warrant.

Rapper Chief Keef couldn’t get a South Dakota marijuana charge dismissed. (Argus Leader, S.D.)
CULTURE
Tommy Chong said he smoked pot for the first time in a Calgary jazz club, but didn’t make it up north for legalization week. (Calgary Herald)
Travel guide writer Rick Steves “barnstormed” Michigan and North Dakota to support their upcoming REC votes. (Rick Steves)

Luxury vape brand Double Barrel said it had released a $100,000 diamond encrusted version . (Instagram)
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Alex 

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