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Here's the news:

Politics
During his confirmation hearings for U.S. attorney general, prohibitionist Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions (R) said nothing to reassure the cannabis industry. “The U.S. Congress made the possession of marijuana in every state — and the distribution — an illegal act. If that’s something that’s not desired any longer, Congress should pass a law to change the rule,” Sessions said.  

In his opening statement he did not mention marijuana but said the in addition to an uptick in violent crime: “The country is also in the throes of a heroin epidemic, with overdose deaths more than tripling between 2010 and 2014. Meanwhile, illegal drugs flood across our southern border and into every city and town in the country, bringing violence, addiction, and misery.”  

In addition, Sessions expressed no support for the principle of state’s rights on marijuana, or legalization’s widespread popularity saying "I won't commit to never enforcing federal law." Instead he considers marijuana enforcement "a problem of resources for the federal government."  

The industry’s largest lobby, the National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA) chose not to oppose the Sessions nomination and undoubtedly hoped he would grant the industry some legitimacy during the hearing. Instead, libertarian outfit Reason called his answers “unclear” and “useless.” The LATimes said he left the door open to “ reviving federal war on pot.”  

In an effort at reassurance, legalization supporters pointed out that current U.S. attorney general Loretta Lynch, was not especially supportive of legalization during her 2015 confirmation hearing.  

Sessions’ views on cannabis have been criticized by some Republicans including Colorado Senator Cory Gardner. Former presidential candidate Ron Paul discussed Sessions’ views on marijuana.  

Republicans are confident they have the votes to win approval for Sessions, whose nomination a New York Times editorial called “ an insult to justice” for his stance on legalization and a number of other criminal justice and civil rights issues.

Longtime Maine cannabis entrepreneur Becky DeKeuster, said that under Trump/Sessions raids could become more common.

The vote on whether to approve Sessions won’t come until after the inauguration, which is on Friday.

In other confirmation news, Secretary of State nominee Rex Tillerson, the former CEO and chairman of ExxonMobil, declined to condemn President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs in the Philippines.

Canada may miss its initial goal of legalizing REC this spring.

Capitol Weekly (Sacramento), reports on California’s “ new marijuana era.”  

A committee in Denver will work to implement the city’s new social use rule. The city may also extend permitted dispensary hours past 7 p.m.

Licensed growers in Maryland have no legal way to obtain seeds, it’s “ the immaculate conception problem.” Rhode Island awarded its first MED grow licenses.

Oregon lawmakers could overhaul the state’s regulatory framework.

D.C. Councilman David Grosso wants the city, which vote to legalize REC in 2014, to have an industry.  

Missouri could vote on MED and/or REC in 2018.  

The U.S. Air Force is relaxing its standards for prior marijuana use. Use by active-duty airmen remains forbidden.
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Business

Starting January 8, software company MJFreeway suffered a major outage, leaving more than 1,000 cannabis businesses in 23 states scrambling. All systems are supposed to be restored by January 15 though some historical data will likely be lost. MJFreeway blamed the outage on a direct attack and says no private data was compromised.

California firm MedMen is acquiring struggling New York producer Bloomfield industries.

New Scientist says Big Weed shouldn’t become a powerful lobby.

Two New York entrepreneurs published the names of doctors in the state able to prescribe MED on the site Dr. MedPot, info the state had kept private.

MED sales are way up in Arizona, but uncertainties remain. Health insurers won’t cover MED in North Dakota.

This could be the year employers update their pot policies.  

A new NCIA web site highlights industry workers who defy stereotypes. Complex spotlit 15 influential women in cannabis.

Health and Science
A huge new study from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine found that conclusive evidence for the health benefits of MED is hard to come by, and that much more research is needed.

Business Insider wrote up 11 key findings from the study, including stronger evidence that MED has benefits for chronic pain and no evidence that cannabis causes tobacco smoke related cancers. Access the report here.  

Scientists are developing a way to test for cannabinoids in breast milk as a way to measure exposure among newborns.

The effects of rising cannabis use among seniors need to be studied, according to Science Daily.  

The Boston Globe has a piece on REC arriving in Massachusetts amid the opioid crisis. Alternet tells the story of John Nadolny, a pot-friendly doctor in Massachusetts who has lost his license.

Rolling Stone argues that the recovery community should welcome cannabis.

So-called abuse-resistant opioids are a hot market segment in pharma.

The Stranger says terpenes, not THC, are “ the interesting part of cannabis.”  

Marie Myung-Ok Lee says cannabis cookies changed life for her violently autistic son.  

The DEA inadvertently tweeted an argument for legalization, Vox says.
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Criminal Justice
In a rare occurrence, an Indiana court overturned a man’s felony drug convictions because a SWAT team set off a flash grenade near a baby when it raided a home. The case could slow the growing use of SWAT teams by police.

The Massachusetts Supreme Court heard arguments about using field sobriety tests to look for cannabis impaired drivers.  

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said the state should decriminalize. Some communities in Illinois have created their own cannabis penalties after the state decriminalized.

Two-thirds of cops want to see it legalized, a Pew study found.

The DEA still conducts eradication raids in Washington state, generally pursuing large unlicensed grows on public land. Rangers in California’s national parks also enforce federal law.

ABC news explains what’s currently legal in California and how REC will unfold.

A report found that California dispensaries are already (and illegally) switching over to REC.  

Contrary to what you might have read, North Korea is not cannabis friendly.

Responding to harsh drug laws, Russian dealers sometimes make customers go on “ treasure hunts.

Culture
High Times is relocating from Manhattan to L.A.

Snazzy mew posters in Uruguay warn not to consume cannabis and drive.  

Henry Rollins will speak at an upcoming cannabis conference.

Some place in Australia asked which celebrity will be highest at the Golden Globes?

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.

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Alex

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