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Thanks to everyone for your support this week regarding my trademark concerns. I didn't hear from Vice but hope they'll drop the promotion next year. If they do, I'll loudly thank them for their noblesse oblige. If not, I'll stand up for this newsletter as best I'm able.  

Here's the news:

Politics

Homeland Security Secretary Gen. John Kelly said marijuana is not a “ factor in the drug war .’He gave mixed signals , however, calling it "It is a potentially dangerous gateway drug that frequently leads to the use of harder drugs." He added that marijuana possession is grounds for deportation.

As a congressman, Trump drug czar pick and legalization opponent Rep. Tom Marino (R-Pa.) collected thousands in contributions from opioid manufacturers. His “signature legislative accomplishment” was a bill to protect them.

Legalization is popular in Canada but most feel the 18 year old purchase age is too young. There’s also concern about driving becoming more dangerous .

Toronto’s Globe and Mail criticized the government for not decriminalizing before legalization takes effect next year. Canadian Justice minister defended the legalization law’s strict penalties for those who sell to minors.

Shark Tank star Kevin O’Leary, who’s running to lead Canada’s Conservative Party, favor’s legalization. Not all of his competitors do.

The Sacramento Bee has concerns about Gov. Jerry Brown’s (D) legalization plan. So does the California Growers Association , which represents smaller businesses, Brown’s proposal, it said “ will create an un-level playing field which will lead to decreased rates of participation and decreased rates of success.”

A Yahoo story suggests big business could be a bigger threat to California’s small growers than Trump. The New York Times meets some industrial scale growers.

With two weeks left in Florida’s legislative session, there are significant differences between state house and senate bills for MED regulation. Any compromise is unlikely to allow smoking MED , the Palm Beach Post reports. Here’s a rundown of all the bills in play.

West Virginia became the 30th state to legalize MED.

A key Massachusetts lawmaker wants to keep REC taxes low, to quickly eliminate the black market. New Hampshire is moving towards decriminalization.

A bill headed to Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper’s desk would allow counties to levy and collect REC taxes .

Vermont’s REC push is still alive, according to Tom Angell.

A poll from CBS news found 61% support for REC legalization , the highest it had ever recorded. Vice called legalization “ the last bipartisan cause in America.

Congressman Earl Blumenauer predicted federal legalization within five years. See the rest of his 4/20 ask me anything here. In an interesting package of weed stories, Yahoo looks at how Republicans and Democrats are teaming up to advance legalization.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) said it’s time for a national conversation about rescheduling.

Under Trump, is 4/20 a demonstration or a party? A survey found that the stigma surrounding weed is losing its power in the U.S. Americans also consider opioids more dangerous than cannabis.

Activist Russ Bellville says 4/20 is still necessary .

Los Angeles County is struggling to close illegal pot shops.

Anti-legalization activist Kevin Sabet hosted a Take Back 4/20 conference in Atlanta. “Medical marijuana is sheer poppycock,” former drug czar Gen. Barry McCaffrey said to applause. “We want to see a federal law against marijuana enforced,” Sabet said. “On the other hand, we don’t want a punitive war on drugs, focused on enforcement that goes around arresting users,”

Conspiracy theorist and Trump supporter Alex Jones blamed Jewish billionaire George Soros for weed becoming too strong.

Democrats, listen to the resistance, legalize weed, ” Slate urges.

I wrote a story for Rolling Stone about what legalization in Canada means for the U.S. market.

A Jamaican government official worries that the MED opportunity is passing the country by.
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Business

Investment bank Cowen lowered its target price for Molson Coors stock , due to competition from marijuana.


Cannabis sales still spike on 4/20 . Forbes says lots of businesses, not just pot shops, do well . But some in the industry think brands like Chipotle and Burger King should cut out their coy weed references and “grow up.”

More law firms are starting cannabis practices . But even in California, growers still struggle to access financial services.

A new TV commercial for a cannabis vaporizer doesn’t mention cannabis .

Canadian producer Aphria raised C$100M .

Canada’s financial industry is thrilled about legalization . “ How often do you have a chance to create an industry around something that already has demand?” a banker asked. The country’s pharmaceutical distributors also want a piece .

Bay Area company Flow Kana is converting a major Mendocino County winery into a processing and packaging facility for locally grown weed. The New York Times suggests that weed and wine are becoming “companion” industries .

LA Weekly reports that hackers are holding cannabis Instagram profiles hostage for thousands of dollars.

Americans bought an estimated $688M in hemp products last year. It’s also a way for cannabis companies to stretch their brands .

Yahoo has a feature on African Americans joining the industry following the drug war.\
In a video, Rep. Jared Huffman discussed the industry’s environmental impact .

Enform, a group responsible for safety in the Canadian oil and gas industry, is concerned about legalization.

Conglomerate 3M released a report on worker safety in the industry.

Engadget says concentrates have a bright future.

In Pennsylvania, MJFreeway won the $10M state contract to do seed to sale tracking. The news comes after the company suffered a major outage in January, which it says was the result of a cyberattack.
New Cannabis Ventures called Axim Biotechnologies’ stock “ extremely overvalued. ” It also warned readers about Agora Financial’s “ penny stock scheme.

The only MED dispensary in the Bronx is struggling. Colorado’s first drive-thru dispensary opened.

Cell phone network T-Mobile called its competitor VerHIGHzon . Zing!

Trump FDA chief nominee Scott Gottlieb has a stake in vaping company Kure Corp . that could hold up his Senate confirmation. 

Correction: Last week I incorrectly called Bruce Linton, CEO of Canopy Growth Brian Linton. I regret the error.                                                                  

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Health and Science

A study found that daily cannabis users “may be especially vulnerable” to feelings of “perceived burdensomeness and thwarted belongingness” that can lead to suicidal ideation.

Scientific American casts doubt on the entourage effect, the belief that various cannabinoids in combination will produce unique REC or MED effects.

Weed related DUI’s dropped a third in the first quarter of 2017.

The Weed For Warriors Project published emails in an effort to explain why Johns Hopkins University withdrew from a study to test MED on veterans with PTSD. Short version, the school felt the study wasn’t rigorous enough to produce reliable results.    

The journal Nature found that federally grown marijuana is less potent and less chemically diverse than what’s available in legal states.

A survey found more than three quarters of opioid patients reduced their use after starting to use MED. The results were less impressive for for anti-depressent and alcohol users.

Medicaid chief medical officer Andrey Ostrovsky is interested to see more data on whether MED can curtail opioid use.

More students are using cannabis for the first time in college.

A study found that young people find smoking cigarettes with cannabis less pleasurable than smoking cigarettes with alcohol.

Pro-legalization group Drug Policy Alliance is calling for evidence-based drug policy as part of today’s March for Science. Find your nearest march here.

A Sacramento woman became the country’s first state-certified budtender.

Almost half of cannabis users in Colorado and California get high alone. Reason has a report on anti-drug group D.A.R.E.’s history of getting kids to narc on their parents.

Marijuana saved my pregnancy,” a woman writes at Yahoo.  

Former teachers in Colorado have developed a pot-based science curriculum for high school students.

Personal care company Dr. Bronner’s pledged $5M to win FDA approval for MDMA (ecstasy) to treat PTSD.


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Criminal Justice

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions warned nine “sanctuary city” jurisdictions, including the state of California, that failure to cooperate with federal efforts to deport undocumented immigrants could result in the loss of federal grants. The Justice Department also warned that failure to comply with federal laws, including marijuana laws, could similarly result in lost funds.

The Washington Post says Sessions has a tough fight ahead if he wants to restore prohibition. I made a similar case in Slate recently.

The Guardian says Trump is “embracing” the war on drug’s racism. Rolling Stone discusses cannabis prohibition’s racist origins .

Massachusetts AG Maura Healey (D), who opposed the state’s REC law, said Sessions is “ obsessed ” with marijuana. The opioid crisis, she said, is a much more serious concern.

Legalization in Canada is not expected to include blanket amnesty for those with past cannabis convictions.

Nine activists were arrested for giving out joints on Capitol Hill in D.C.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown signed a law to protecting cannabis consumers’ information from federal authorities.

Maryland eased restrictions on past cannabis use by police applicants. The NAACP Legal Defense Fund applauded the move.

Following a 15 year legal battle, a jury will decide whether Ecuadorean coca farmers deserve compensation for years of harmful pesticide spraying. The spraying was part of the American war on drugs effort.

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Culture

The NFL players’ union wants a less punitive approach to marijuana, but does “not necessarily” want it removed from the banned substance list. 

A Colorado bill to ban cannabis use in churches failed. It was designed to oppose the non-denominational International Church of Cannabis which opened this week.

Vice sent a joint into space.

Former Drug Policy Alliance head Ethan Nadelmann may start a podcast.

Lots of folks have flown commercial with weed.

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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