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So much news:

Irvine, Calif.-based Weedmaps is full of bogus dispensary reviews, according to an investigation by the L.A. Times.

Reporter Paresh Dave looked at nearly 600 businesses reviewed on the site and found that 70% included reviews submitted from a single IP address (i.e. a single computer). A textual analysis found that 62% of reviews on the site are “fake.”

Weedmaps, a Yelp-like service with operations in several states, had stored the IP addresses of anonymous reviewers, in its publicly available code. A Weedmaps executive said the 62% figure is far too high, and emphasized that reviews are only part of the product.

An aside: This is a big story and it didn’t, as far as I can tell, get a lot of pick up in the cannabis media. Weedmaps sponsors events and advertises with some of the outlets that might have reasonably been expected to cover it. I’m not suggesting that any journalist decided or felt pressured not to cover a tough story about an advertiser. But the incident is a reminder that within this tight-knit industry, the media needs to be especially conscious of conflicts of interest and the appearance of conflicts of interest. WeedWeek’s advertising policy is at the bottom of every email. (In case you’re interested, the gold standard is at The New York Times.)    

The Sacramento Bees digs up who gave the $6.6M in political contributions to the main group supporting REC in California. “Among the donors are those with obvious existing ties to the issue who could profit immensely from a legal marijuana marketplace,” the paper writes. A report estimated that the California market could reach $6.5B by 2020.

Some cannabis activists are voting no in California.

A State Department report criticizes other countries for persecuting people who use marijuana for religious purposes.

Washington state licensed sales spiked to more than $60M in July suggesting that the state’s elimination of the MED market is working as expected.

An Arkansas group is asking the state supreme court to block a MED initiative. Gov. Asa Hutchinson said allowing MED would suck up state resources. Texas is beginning to write CBD rules.

Floridians are squabbling about whether the MED initiative would allow businesses, “to move in right next door to your neighborhood, your church, your business and even your child's school.”

An Arizona judge threw out a lawsuit to block the state’s REC initiative from appearing on the ballot. An appeal is likely.

Michigan’s Supreme Court will decide whether a REC initiative makes the ballot. A clerical error could complicate Montana’s MED initiative.

Oklahoma’s MED initiative collected (just) enough signatures. Attorney General Scott Pruitt (R) then  changed the ballot title to language supporters find misleading. The maneuver could keep it off the ballot. Pruitt helped lead the Oklahoma/Nebraska lawsuit against Colorado that the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear.

Prosecutors in Missouri are trying to block MED from appearing on the ballot. It’s not yet clear if the initiative will qualify. The column by Dave Helling also has a nice discussion of state vs. federal law.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D.-Mass.) said she’s “open” to REC legalization in Massachusetts.

Pennsylvania is moving aggressively to create rules for its MED industry. Major regulatory changes are coming in L.A.

Portland (Ore.) City Hall is fighting with a pot shop about a license requirement.

In SFWeekly, I said we need more weed reporters. I also spoke to HelloMD about WeedWeek and the cannabis beat.


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Brookings’ scholar John Hudak likes how “ boring” the Colorado industry is. Hudak and NYU professor Mark Kleiman discussed two paths to legalization.

Maryland discussed its ranking methodology for awarding licenses. The Associated Press explains.

Jack Splitt, who inspired and worked towards Colorado’s law to allow MED to be administered in schools, died at 15.

A scheduled L.A. fundraiser for REC in California was shut down following objections from the police.

Two Rupert Murdoch-owned papers in the U.K. are starting to make noise about legalization. U.K. Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn would decriminalize MED. The Region of Southern Denmark is experimenting with MED. (Denmark has five regions.)

A New Zealand woman brought the first legal MED into the country.

Colombia reached a deal with the largest rebel group to end the longest running war in the Americas.

An Idaho official was taken to task after writing an anti-weed op-ed. Legal hemp is in the ground in New York for the first time in 80 years.

Neighbors are complaining about Berkeley, Calif. dispensary CBCB. Thornton, Colo., until recently the largest city in the state to ban all dispensaries, has caved.

In the military, cannabis possession can still be career ending.

Vancouver-based grower Aurora Cannabis is planning a giant   600,000 square-foot grow in Alberta. That’s the size of 10 football fields. Canadian grower Aphria inked a deal to supply an Australian company with MED.

At least two large Canadian producers consider the  new federal home grow rules  “a setback for the advancement of sound cannabis policy.” 

The Commodities Futures Trading Commission approved the first exchange for trading hemp derivatives.

Vice asks if big pharma wants to stop -- or take over -- cannabis.

Marijuana Business Daily interviewed cannabis banker Sundie Seefried.

Ford is exploring agave fiber, hemp and shredded cash to reduce the amount of plastic in new cars.

A new group called Forma Holdings announced investments in four California entities, three of them connected to prominent Oakland executive Steve DeAngelo. The amounts invested were not disclosed. Forbes says many cannabis investors still prefer to keep quiet about it.

Edibles have boosted the Oregon market. The Santa Fe Reporter asked about the state’s supply shortage.

Uruguay may have more of a future in hemp than REC.

Rand Corporation scholar Beau Kilmer writes on the “ Promises and pitfalls of cannabis taxes.

PCWorld looks at some of the tech accelerating the industry. Vice explores connections between hydroponics shops and the black market.

The Cannabist explains the U.S. government’s patent on using non-psychoactive cannabinoids.

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A study found that rats dosed with THC preferred to perform easier tasks for smaller rewards than more difficult tasks for larger rewards. "Their ability to do the difficult challenge was unaffected by THC. The rats could still do the task — they just didn't want to," the lead researcher said.

Washington state will grant cannabis research licenses to scientists. A new campaign in Colorado targets “ trusted adults” to keep kids away from weed.

Canadian doctors don’t agree on what the legal age should be. A study found that cannabis is a more effective pain reducer in men.

U.K. medical journal The Lancet weighs in on the connection between cannabis use and psychosis.

A month’s supply of MED costs $1,000 in New York, three times as much as in Colorado.

Aeon explores why low-income drug users have a harder time walking away. An Australian trial is testing whether CBD drug Sativex can help people stop smoking pot.

Some teens like to vape pens filled with fruit flavoring. Modern Farmer visits a grow trying to get certified as pesticide free.

Responding to criticism of his escalating war on drugs, Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte threatened to leave the United Nations. CNN went inside a very crowded jail in the country. The N.Y. Times tells the story of a father and son killed in custody. The L.A. Times goes out with “ Nightcrawlers,” the journalists covering the bloodshed.

Colorado license plates aren’t sufficient justification for Kansas cops to stop cars, a court ruled. Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) restored voting rights to 13,000 felons and said he wants to extend it to 200,000 more. A challenge from Republicans is possible.

The New Yorker sees a “ drawdown in the war on drugs.” The L.A. Times finds that a California death row inmates have died from overdoses of smuggled drugs.

D.C. employers can’t do drug tests until they’ve made conditional job offers, the city council voted.

Possession of a joint forced a Washington D.C. family out of their home.

In the U.K., one in five people found with cannabis is charged, a big drop from five years ago. A former undercover narcotics cop talks to The Guardian.

In rural northern California, cops are using environmental laws against illegal growers.

“In South Africa the ‘war on drugs’ is still used to justify continued  apartheid-style policing,” scholar Shaun Shelly writes.

The Root asks if with legalization marijuana offenders should be pardoned.

The Influence interviews Juan Pablo Escobar, son of the infamous trafficker Pablo Escobar.

Mixed martial arts fighter Nate Diaz faces a possible one-year suspension after using a CBD vape pen during a post-fight interview. Former NFL player Todd Marinovich was arrested after being found with marijuana.

Nine prize plants are on display at the Oregon State Fair, under extra security.

The Kind asks women what men think about women who smoke weed.

Big Canadian producer Canopy Growth has started an artist-in-residence program. The first recipient is documentarian Ezra Soiferman.

This is how glass pipes are made.

Vogue likes luxury subscription service Au Box.

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

Want to reach a devoted audience of top cannabis professionals? Advertise in WeedWeek. Contact Adrienne Nascimento at  weedweekads@gmail.com  for details. 

Bye,

Alex 

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