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So much news:

Politics
The Senate Judiciary postponed its vote on U.S. attorney general nominee Jeff Sessions pending his responses to additional questions, including on marijuana. (See here, pp 13-16) As before, Sessions did not acknowledge the industry’s right to exist.

The closest the Republican Alabama Senator offered to a concession came in a response to a question about MED research:

If I am fortunate enough to be confirmed as Attorney General, I will defer to the American Medical Association and the researchers at the National Institutes of Health and elsewhere about the medical effects of marijuana. Without having studied the relevant regulations in depth, I cannot say whether they may need to be eased in order to advance research; but, I will review this. If confirmed, will be to enforce federal law, under which marijuana is currently a Schedule One controlled substance—defined as a drug with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.

During hearings, Sessions also  claimed not to remember expressing support, in 1996, for executing persons twice convicted of dealing marijuana. “Well, I’m not sure under what circumstances I said that,” he said.

The committee vote is scheduled for Tuesday. If Sessions advances he will require a majority vote from the entire Senate. He’s expected to be confirmed.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D) said that on weed Sessions is “ Against the tide of history.

Treasury Secretary nominee Steve Mnuchin expressed openness to bringing cannabusiness into the mainstream financial system.

While Trump has made many references to the evils of drugs, he did not publicly mention marijuana during his first hectic week as president.

The bipartisan Congressional Cannabis Caucus is poised to expand in the Trump/Sessions era.

At a conference I found that cannabis entrepreneurs aren't too worried about Trump.

A bland interview with Obama drug czar Michael Botticelli was removed from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration web site. The agency said it would be available in the archive.

Illinois State Treasurer Michael Frerichs has written to President Trump asking for guidance on cannabis banking rules.

California business owners are in a “ legal fog” about how they can operate before the state creates rules for both MED and REC businesses. State senator Mike McGuire (D) from Sonoma County said there’s “ no way” MED regulations will be ready to take effect on January 1, 2018 since the state is “building the regulatory system for a multibillion dollar industry from scratch.” The state’s Bureau of Medical Cannabis Regulation disagrees, saying the process is on schedule.

McGuire has also introduced a bill that would block cannabis companies from invoking California counties in product names unless their product is produced in the named county.

Marijuana.com discusses how Canada can legalize while it’s a party to international drug treaties.

Following a drop in pot arrests, Israel is poised to decriminalize. And the country’s government is funding cannabis research.

Benoît Hamon, who won the first round of France’s Socialist party presidential primary, supports legalization.

Massachusetts state senator Jason M. Lewis (D) has proposed creating a much more stricter REC market. Boston city councilor Annissa Essaibi George took a fact finding trip to Colorado where she was generally reassured about legalization, except for the smell. “It’s wicked, it’s wicked,” she said. “It’s like driving through New Jersey with the oil refineries. It’s everywhere.”

A fight is brewing over the shape of Florida’s MED program. Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval (R) wants to create a controversial pot tax.

New Mexico could legalize REC through the legislature. Vermont lawmakers are trying again after last year’s effort fizzled.

The president of Maryland’s state senate apologized for revealing that the legislature had hired a lawyer to investigate a legislator’s work with a MED company.

Colorado’s state Senate voted to crack-down on Craigslist pot sales. Wyoming NORML has new life and is pushing to decriminalize.

An Arizona house panel voted to block rural dispensaries from moving to cities.

The country of Georgia relaxed its very strict cannabis possession law.
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Business

The SEC filed civil charges against four publicly traded companies for allegedly boosting their stock with bogus press releases. The complaint says the defendants generated almost $5M.

Massachusetts MED dispensary Patriot Care attracted outrage for lobbying that anyone with a felony drug conviction should not be allowed to work in the industry. Longtime cannabis journalist and activist Tom Angell broke the story in his new daily newsletter. Welcome to the fray Tom!

California cannabusiness Headspace, which produces an oil called “The Clear,” is suing a Washington state grower for trademark infringement. The case is believed to be the first of its kind in Washington.

Oregon-based Stash Tea Co. is fighting two cannabis companies with “Stash” in their name.

An infographic from CB Insights lists the most active cannabis investors.

High-end German bong company Roor has an aggressive legal strategy of suing small headshops for selling counterfeits. It causes problems for the shops since bongs are in a legal grey area.

Washington state lawmakers may ban dispensaries from accepting bitcoin. Oregon REC sales declined in December due to tight regulations limiting supply. Taxes for the year came in at $60M, beating expectations.

Colorado tourism blamed declining interest in legal weed for a drop in tourism during spring/summer 2016. The office had previously refused to recognize that legalization had boosted tourism.

Finally,  Weed cologne.

A Colorado ad agency has created three strains designed for advertising professionals. They are Coding Sativa, Concepting Indica and Strategy Hybrid.

Health and Science
It’s still difficult for scientists to study cannabis in the U.S.

MedPage Today meets pro-legalization group Doctors for Cannabis Regulation.

Researchers at UC Riverside found that junk food is addictive because it acts on the body in a similar way to pot.

North Dakota’s House voted overwhelmingly not to allow workers comp to pay for MED.

Leafly visits the Atlanta Buyer’s Club, the state’s underground supply chain for obtaining CBD oil, which is legal in the state, but can’t be produced there.

A New Zealand great-grandmother has become a high-profile MED activist in the country. “I’m aware of the law, but I cannot support a bad law that makes criminals out of sick and dying people.”

Testing a area’s sewage is an easy and effective way to track drug use trends, but it raises privacy concerns.
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Criminal Justice
In an executive order, Trump’s White House said undocumented immigrants who “Have been charged with any criminal offense, where such charge has not been resolved; [or]  Have committed acts that constitute a chargeable criminal offense;” are subject to deportation.

Toronto police are concerned that dispensaries – which aren’t yet legal in Canada – aren’t reporting robberies. This may be because in at least two robbery investigations, the owners have found themselves facing charges.

Maryland’s highest court ruled that a pot odor is grounds for a warrantless search of a vehicle. Colorado’s Supreme Court ruled that police cannot be required to return marijuana to acquitted defendants, because they would be acting as “distributors” a violation of federal law.

Mexican drug lord El Chapo plead not-guilty in a New York court, raising the question of whether he’ll go to trial.

Researchers called for more study on whether cannabis facilitates date rape on campus.

A Texas judge ruled that a Texas teacher who copped to edible in Colorado should not be punished. He compared it to gambling on a trip to Nevada.

President Obama granted clemency to Ricardo Montes, who was in prison for opening a dispensary in conservative Modesto, Calif. Obama did not pardon Montes’s former business partner Luke Scarmazzo.

The new book “ Pill City” tells the story of how two kids started selling opiates looted in Baltimore along the east coast.

Forbes profiles a convicted pot grower who, after spending a decade in prison and receiving clemency from Obama, is now a successful Web developer.

Law enforcement is struggling to enforce laws governing synthetic drugs which are developed faster than they can be tracked.

Organized crime in Canada is less likely to traffic pot than cocaine and meth.

Idaho loosened restrictions on prior cannabis use by cops.

It is increasingly clear that many of the current laws that regulate legal pot do, in fact, perpetuate the race- and class-driven inequities of the drug war,” journalist Stacey McKenna writes in Pacific Standard.

The ACLU wants Denver to stop ejecting suspected drug users out of parks

An Amtrak train conductor involved in a deadly Philadelphia crash tested positive for cannabis.

An Oregon panel recommended against a “per se” standard for cannabis DUI, meaning that a blood alcohol level above a certain amount should not in itself be grounds for conviction since THC stays in the bloodstream after impairment.

For example, it’s not clear if the Amtrak driver was impaired at the time of the crash.


Culture
The NFL Players Association -- the player’s union – wants the league to adopt a “less punitive” approach to REC use.

Sports Illustrated profiles Randy Lanier a race car driver who won Rookie of the Year at the 1986 Indy 500 and then spent 27 years in prison for pot smuggling.

Some enterprising stoners make a living getting high on YouTube. Google and Instagram (Facebook)’s weed policies complicate their business. 

Mariah Carey ate a pot cake on her reality show during a trip to Amsterdam.

There’s a concerted push to improve Wikipedia’s cannabis information in time for 4/20.

Roseanne Barr’s plans to open a southern California dispensary fell through.

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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