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Sen. Ron Wyden (D.-Ore.) and Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) introduced a package of three bills that would lead to federal regulation of cannabis and “ provide certainty for state-legal marijuana businesses.” The bills would also eliminate the tax code’s 280E rule which the industry considers an unfair tax.  

In addition, Rep. Jared Polis (D- Colo.) introduced the Regulate Marijuana like Alcohol Act and did an Ask Me Anything on Reddit. The Orange County Register summarizes how the proposed legislation would protect California consumers and businesses from federal prosecution. For more see here.

Canada expects national legalization to be in place by July 1, 2018. Former Toronto Police chief Bill Blair said legalization would reduce youth access. For more see here and here.  

U.S. public support for REC legalization reached an all-time high of 57%, up from 52%  in 2014.  

Lori Ajax, head of MED regulation in California, said legalization will be a turbulent process.  

Texas lawmakers are weighing more than a dozen cannabis bills. West Virginia’s Senate passed a MED bill. A MED bill in South Carolina has support from conservatives.  

Vermont legislators unexpectedly stopped a REC vote.  

An Illinois judge ruled that the First Amendment protects the right of cannabis companies to make political contributions. MED legalization has ignited a lobbyist “ feeding frenzy” in Michigan.  

Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas), a legalization supporter and former punk rocker, said he would run for Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R) Senate seat in 2018.  

Kansas City voters appear likely to decriminalize this week.  

A court in South Africa’s Western Cape province, which includes Cape Town, said cannabis -- “dagga” – can be used at home. Argentina’s Senate approved MED use.

As Canada moves to legalize, a group of producers are lobbying to provide MED tax-free, and for permission to brand their products. A task force recommended that cannabis be provided in plain brown wrappers, similar to Canadian rules for tobacco. “Brands allow professional companies to separate themselves from less scrupulous [i.e. illegal] competitors,” Brendan Kennedy, president of B.C.-based producer Tilray objected.

Canadian pot stocks jumped on the legalization news.

Legalization could benefit “ dozens of industries,” the Boston Globe reports.  

A survey found that only 13% of Canadians trust marijuana producers to do what’s best for the country, the lowest of 20 industries in the survey. Sixty two percent of Canadians trust hospitals, the highest-ranking sector.  

California is exploring how to connect cannabis businesses with banking services.  

Pot activists claimed victory after Twitter reversed a short-lived policy of censoring some weed-related posts.  

More opportunities to grow outdoors and energy efficient lighting are cutting into the revenue power companies see from legalization.

Canadian pharmacy chain Loblaws and subsidiary Shoppers Drug Mart will include MED insurance – for a “narrow range of conditions” --  in its employee benefits package. The company also wants to sell MED.

Resolve Digital Health, maker of a MED system which vaporizes individually dosed and packaged “pods” raised C$5M and plans to debut its Breeze system in California.  

MJBizDaily meets some of the groups bringing labor, environmental and organic standards to the industry.

The Indianapolis Star looks at what a controversial state vaping law might have to do with a state Senator’s ties to a cannabis security company.

A Massachusetts dispensary will offer statewide delivery.

In New Zealand, billionaire Richard Branson told farmers to grow weed rather than raise cattle.  

The growing number of Americans who can’t pass drug tests is creating job opportunities for refugees. “In our lives, we don't have drugs," a Syrian refugee in Pennsylvania tells CNN. "We don't even know what they look like or how to use them."  

The Colorado transportation department has partnered with Lyft to create the “ 320 movement,” a campaign to encourage ride planning before consuming.

Health and Science

A Canadian study found that methadone users who also use cannabis are much more likely to continue using opioids.

The N.Y. Times takes a look at cannabis’s alleged potential to help opioid addicts. The article mentions a January National Academy of Sciences report which “found no evidence to support or refute the conclusion that cannabinoids are an effective treatment” for addiction.

However, MED states have seen a significant drop in hospitalizations for opioid abuse and overdoses.  

Johns Hopkins University backed out of a clinical trial to determine if cannabis helps veterans with PTSD.  
The Trump administration named Richard Baum acting drug czar. Obama drug czar Michael Botticelli will join Johns Hopkins’ public health school as a policy scholar.

Illinois rejected autism and intractable pain as qualifying conditions for MED. Gov. Bruce Rauner (R)  isn’t optimistic about MED but is keeping an open mind.

Canadian researchers identified 30 genes responsible for cannabis’ odor.

Tufts public health professor Margie Skeer says, “ Say no to bad drug policy.”  

In Germany there’s a movement to take away young children’s toys as a way to prevent future drug addiction. The idea is controversial and unproven.

A proposed bill in Maine would stop discrimination against MED users who await organ donations. The bill is named for Mainer Garry Godfrey who needs a kidney. “I should have never had to choose between a lifesaving organ transplant and a lifesaving medicine,” he said. Officially his hospital bumped him from the list because MED use raises the risk of a fungal infection.  

Cannabis figures prominently in ancient Chinese medical texts.

Product reviews:


Criminal Justice

The U.S. can forbid non-citizens, including green-card holders, from entering the country if they’ve ever used cannabis. Leafly suggests that enforcement is increasing under the Trump Administration. If the rule applied to Americans, more than 40% would be unable to enter the country.  

The WSJ suggests that President Trump’s drug policy has a “split-personality.” “Tension is growing between a treatment-focused approach, embodied in a new commission on opioids headed by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R), and the aggressive prosecution of drug crimes promised by Attorney General Jeff Sessions (R).” During the 2016 Republican primaries, Christie was the candidate most vocally opposed to marijuana legalization.

Libertarian pub Reason says Christie is “ not the worst choice in a Trumpian world,” but notes that the panel is “stacked with prosecutors and 12-steppers.”

Eight of the 16 arrested for running a multi-state weed-ring out of Denver had current or expired state licenses.  

Leafly says more police departments are staging raids armed with cease and desist letters and clipboards instead of submachine guns and battering rams.  

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper is expected to sign a bill that would enable MED patients to access the drug after posting bond and awaiting trial. Colorado already allows MED users on probation to consume. See upcoming cannabis legislation in Colorado here.  

A bill proposed in the U.S. Senate would impose extra penalties on criminals who sell drugs designed to appeal to children. A report mentioned, for example, candies laced with MDMA or THC. Such fears tend to be overblown.

Most experts disagree with Attorney General Jeff Sessions that the recent jump in crime represents a “ permanent trend.” In 2016, federal criminal prosecutions fell to the lowest level in almost 20 years.  

Sessions’ home-state paper, the Tuscaloosa (Alabama) News said he “ clings to failed drug policies.”  

A government report found that since 2007 the DEA has confiscated $3.2 billion from individuals not charged with a crime.  

The U.K.’s slavery watchdog is criticizing police for not stopping cannabis-related slavery at grows in the country.  

Trump advisor and son in law Jared Kushner has been meeting with members of Congress about criminal justice reform.

The Montana Supreme Court declined to hear the case of a man who faces charges but claims the pot in his possession wasn’t dry and therefore wasn’t usable.

Proposed legislation in the Philippines would give President Rodrigo Duterte control over tens of thousands of local village councils is being justified as part of his war on drugs.  

Edgar Veytia, attorney general of Mexico’s Nayarit state was arrested at the U.S. border for drug trafficking.

National Geographic encounters pygmies in the Democratic Republic of Congo who have resorted to selling cannabis. Don’t miss the photographs.  

For the first time, San Francisco’s 4/20 festival will have a permit from the city.  

A company is selling weed flower crowns for Coachella. Weedmaps will host a cannabis “oasis” near the southern California music festival.

Proposed budget cuts from President Trump would undermine community gardens in New York City.

Rapper Wiz Khalifa has been criticized for posting a picture of himself smoking a joint at Pablo Escobar’s grave.  

Model Nyima Ward says he’d be just as happy as a pot farmer.

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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