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Here's the news:

Politics

The governors of Alaska, Colorado, Oregon and Washington asked U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Muchin and U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions to let the legalization experiments continue. A reversal, they wrote,  “would divert existing marijuana product into the black market.”

And if asking nicely doesn’t work, Washington plans to fight the feds.

The DEA asked Colorado for information on marijuana prosecutions, a freedom of information request revealed. Despite jitters, Colorado authorities downplayed the note’s significance for legalization.

The Cannabist interviewed Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) on his evolution from legalization opponent to near supporter. He also discusses how he feels about it as a parent of teenagers.

California Gov. Jerry Brown issued a 92-page document with recommendations on how to streamline MED and REC regulation. The response from business was generally positive. Police expressed concerns that proposed rules would make it too easy for organized crime to become involved. Read the document here.

AG Sessions said a new task force comprised of law enforcement officials will review federal marijuana policy and other criminal justice issues. He asked for recommendations by July 27.

At least 13 bills addressing various aspects of cannabis reform have been introduced in Congress and await committee hearings. It’s not clear if any have the support needed to pass. For more see here.

Nevada Republican lawmakers reached out to Sessions for guidance on REC. Rhode Island is conducting its first “census” of legal, home-grown MED plants.

Embattled Trump confidant Roger Stone called on the president to end the “War on weed.”

Four of the five candidates in France’s presidential election support cannabis reform, including centrist frontrunner Emmanuel Macron. Only far-right candidate Marine Le Pen opposes. 

A strict MED bill is heading to West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice’s (D) desk. He’s expected to sign.

Canadian officials unveiled an internal trade agreement to facilitate a national REC market. Time asks how legalization in Canada could affect the U.S.

Delegations from numerous states as well as South American and European nations have visited Washington to learn how to regulate cannabis. Many visit Colorado too.

Maryland may raise the number of MED licenses in a bid to increase minority ownership.

Cannabis supporters in North Dakota are unsatisfied with the MED rollout so far.

Maine lawmakers can’t decide how to regulate REC. Massachusetts lawmakers may strip the state treasurer of her power to regulate REC.

Canna Law Blog has an interesting post on cannabis policy in East Asia.
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Business

A federal judge awarded $47M to Grenco Science, maker of the G-Pen vaporizer, from 47 companies deemed to have violated its trademarks.

A report from Arcview says the industry will maintain double digit growth even if there’s a federal crackdown. Not everyone agrees.

Illinois cannabis companies are now clear to donate to politicians, but will they?

Robots could replace trimmers.

To facilitate tax paying, the IRS is setting up cash counting rooms for cannabis businesses in Seattle and Denver.

In the Bay Area there are tensions around unionizing the industry. The S.F. Chronicle article by Peter Fimrite is worth a read.

Companies are going public in Canada and using the proceeds to invest in the U.S. Canadian producer Aphria invested $18.6M in a licensed Florida CBD business.

A Canadian financial analyst predicts a legal market of $4.6 billion in 2019 eventually growing to exceed $10 billion.

Israeli cannabinoid-pharma company Therapix Biosciences, licensed a nasal drug delivery technology.

New York VC fund Lerer Hippeau Ventures put $3M into LeafLink, an online cannabis marketplace for businesses.

After less than a year, Leah Heise, CEO of networking company Women Grow, is leaving to start a MED dispensary in Maryland. COO Kristina Neoushoff will serve as interim CEO.

A pot real estate boom is on in New England. But small farmers don’t want to be left out.

Horizons Medical Marijuana Life Sciences, the first cannabis exchange traded fund, started trading in Canada.

Water is a concern in the southern California desert towns that allow commercial grows. I wrote a story about cannabusiness security for L.A. Weekly.

Liquor distributors in Nevada didn’t jump on the REC opportunity. “We haven’t picked a side one way or the other,” an executive said. “We’re waiting to get some guidance and information from the state and everyone involved in it to find out how it’s going to be structured. We’re interested in learning more about it.”

The Massachusetts Agriculture Department says regulating legal pot will be expensive.

Personal MED costs can’t be deducted on federal income taxes, but can be on some legal state taxes.

The U.K.’s Telegraph explores the green rush.

Pharmacies in Uruguay can now sell REC.

U.S. Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) criticized the DEA for making it too hard to grow hemp. The North Carolina Industrial Hemp Commission may join a lawsuit against the DEA, over the agency’s ruling that CBD products can’t be transported across state lines. Canna Law Blog has more.


Health and Science

A great story in Buzzfeed tells how 19-year old Riley Hancey almost died because testing positive for marijuana blocked his eligibility for a double lung transplant.

Google has uploaded cannabis DNA sequence data from Phylos Bioscience and it’s publicly available from the 1,000 Cannabis Genomes Project.

A study found that exposure to cannabis advertising is associated with increases use. (Canadian alcohol companies want to make sure cannabis faces the same advertising restrictions it does.)

Canadian Health Minister Jane Philpott said that beyond cannabis the government has no plans to legalize opioids, or other illicit drugs. Activists are calling on Health Canada to cover MED.

A bill in Oregon would shift more pot tax revenue from schools to mental health and addiction services.

New York Times columnist David Brooks suggested MED could alleviate the opioid crisis.

Hebrew University in Jerusalem will open a marijuana research center.

Can ayahuasca treat PTSD?
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Criminal Justice

Kentucky outlaw John Robert “Johnny” Boone was returned to U.S. custody from Canada and he’ll face federal drug charges. Known as the “Godfather of Grass,” Boone, 73, previously spent a decade in prison for running the cornbread mafia, a network of almost thirty pot farms across the Midwest.

At his sentencing in 1988 he said "With the poverty at home, marijuana is sometimes one of the things that puts bread on the table," Boone said. "We were working with our hands on earth God gave us." At times he had a reputation as a Robin Hood.
 
D.C. cops are carrying out $20 sting operations against street dealers. REC is legal in D.C. but sales are not. (D.C. cannabis activists have two protests planned for April.)

Pacific Standard argues that Sessions’ tough on drugs approach is a  jarring contrast with the Trump administration’s new opioid commission, led by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who supports a public health approach to addiction. (During the Republican primaries, Christie was the only outspoken marijuana prohibitionist.) “Trump’s tough-on-drugs rhetoric is recognizable — part of the inglorious history of the “War on Drugs,” launched by President Richard Nixon in the 1970s. But his decision to temper that rhetoric with compassionate understanding for the largely white communities affected by the opioid epidemic betrays the toxic racial undertones of the government’s long-standing anti-drug policies,” Krish Lingala writes.  Vox has more.

Slate says local prosecutors don’t want another crackdown on weed.

Colorado made it illegal to advertise illegal marijuana sales.

Despite briefly saying so on its site, the TSA does not allow MED on flights.

In L.A., an ex-cop offers raid training for dispensaries.

Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D) introduced legislation that would drastically reduce drivers’ license suspension or revocation for those convicted of non-violent drug offenses. O’Rourke, who supports legalization, plans to challenge Sen. Ted Cruz in 2018.

AG Sessions told the Justice Department to “ review reform agreements with troubled police forces nationwide.” The effect, Pacific Standard writes, will be to roll back Obama era work to oppose discrimination and civil rights violations by police departments.

In The New Yorker, Adam Gopnik has an important essay on mass incarceration. It focuses on the book “ Locked In: The true causes of mass incarceration, and how to achieve real reform,” by John Pfaff.

Coloradans will have access to MED while on bond awaiting trial.
Canadian police oppose home growing.

An Arizona appeals court overturned a MED ban on college campuses.

Kansas City voters decriminalized.

Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R) wants more welfare recipients to be drug tested.
Culture

MED use could be on the table as NFL players and owners hope to extend the current collective bargaining agreement. For more see here.

After offering “Coachella Blend” pre-rolls, company Lowell Farms received a cease and desist letter from the festival producer. Lowell posted the letter and dubbed it “NotChilla.” Pot is still banned at Coachella.

A new podcast called Stoner by journalist and Polymath Aaron Lammer features conversations with interesting people that often begin with the question, “When was the first time you ever smoked weed?”

In The Onion, “ Sweating, Shaking Pharmaceutical CEO Says He Can Stop Profiting Off Opioid Epidemic Anytime He Wants.”

A viral video demonstrates smoking weed with your grandma.

Leor released the second edition of its Cannabis Passover Seder Haggadah.

The S.F. Exploratorium hosted a cannabis-themed night.

There was almost a Seinfeld episode where George’s father needed MED for his cataracts.

John Oliver went to town on marijuana’s complicated legal situation. 
 
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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Alex 

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