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So much news:

California’s Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA) will be on the ballot in November. Supporters have raised more than $3.5 million, far outpacing opponents. Polls indicate that about 60 percent of Californians favor the measure.

Mark Kleiman, a policy professor at NYU, called AUMA “ horrible, awful, very bad no-good drug policy,” but said he’d vote for it anyway. His primary concern is that it would make marijuana too cheap. He prefers Washington D.C.’s current policy where it’s legal to grow, possess and give it, but not sell it.

AUMA is controversial within the industry as well.

In Washington state, the long anticipated merging of the MED and REC markets took effect and hundreds of MED dispensaries closed. The state’s voluntary database for MED patients is operational.

The Olympian looks at how MED, passed by Washington voters in 1998, led to full legalization. The state has also discovered undisclosed pesticides in some plant fertilizers.

Colorado companies are funding a group called the Colorado Health Research Council to oppose Amendment 139, which would limit the THC potency of cannabis and cannabis products to 16 percent, below the current average for flower and extracts.

“The marijuana moguls have said time and time again that the sky is falling every time that someone proposes a change to keep marijuana and marijuana products out of the hands of kids,” Frank McNulty (R), a former Speaker of the Colorado House, who’s now counsel to the amendment’s backers, said. “All we’ve seen is their profits skyrocket.” 

The initiative needs to collect 98,492 signatures to appear on the ballot. Opponents have raised more than $300,000 to fight it.

Late last year, the FDA made a recommendation to the DEA on whether marijuana should be rescheduled. The FDA rejected Vice’s request for documents related to its recommendation. The DEA had initially hoped to make a decision in the first half of 2016. The timeline is now unclear.
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Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley (D) accompanied a cannabis entrepreneur to deliver $70,000 in cash to the Oregon Department of Revenue. The stunt was supposed to highlight the absurdity of keeping the industry out of the banking system.

Inc. examines industry’s “ nightmare scenario:” marijuana becoming a schedule II drug regulated by the FDA. The Portland Mercury doesn’t think it would be so problematic for the industry

Arrests of minority youth for marijuana offenses have increased in Colorado.

In Mexico, scores of innocent women have been arrested and tortured by security services in order to improve drug arrest statistics, according to Amnesty International.

Supporters of Arizona’s REC initiative submitted signatures to the state.

The U.S. Supreme Court will not hear Montana MED activists’ case. New restrictions likely to curtail access in the state take effect August 31. 

The Democratic Party Platform will include marijuana reform. Congress is warming to legalization, Politico says.

The Washington Post identifies 950 individuals who want into Maryland’s MED industry. They include former law enforcement officials and numerous companies with political ties. The state has received 144 applications for the 15 grow licenses. A group of doctors wants to open a testing facility there.

A former sheriff in New Mexico who’s now in the cannabis industry says he shouldn’t have to give up his gun because he’s a MED user.

Ohioans will be able to possess limited amounts of MED on September 8. It’s not clear where they’ll be legally allowed to obtain it. Starting this month, Pennsylvania parents of children with epilepsy and other conditions will be able to obtain a “safe harbor” letter allowing them to buy MED in other states.

Illinois MED director Joseph Wright resigned after one year to pursue work in the private sector. Incoming director Jack Campbell has a background in law enforcement.

A judge ordered Illinois to include PTSD as a qualifying condition for MED. Pending lawsuits seek to add seven more conditions.

Los Angeles county extended its ban on growing and distributing in unincorporated areas.

Since last year’s devastating fire, Calaveras County, Calif. has enacted some of the most liberal growing rules in the state.

In Denver, Starbuds became the first company to be denied a cultivation license renewal.
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Genny Barbour, a New Jersey teen with epilepsy who’s case made New Jersey the first state to allow MED on school grounds, still cannot access it. The issue involves whether a caregiver chosen by her parents can administer it.

A lab study by the Salk Institute found that THC can break down plaque in the brain  associated with Alzheimer’s disease. It also reduced neuron inflammation that can block communication between cells. The scientists cautioned that much more research is needed before a preventative link can be established.

Another study found that “for some bipolar patients, marijuana may result in partial alleviation of clinical symptoms.” 

Scientists in Australia will begin clinical trials for a cannabis-based drug to treat melanoma (skin cancer.) It will be used in combination with radiation and other therapies.

Stock in GW Pharmaceuticals jumped after the U.K.-based company released further data showing that its experimental drug Epidiolex reduced the number of seizures in patients with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome.

Eight NYU psychiatry studies involving a Pfizer experimental drug designed to mimic the effects of cannabis on patients with mental health disorders have been shut down for a “ series of violations” involving compliance and patient follow up. Lead researcher Dr. Alexander Neumeister, was dismissed.

Networking company Women Grow named Maryland-based compliance attorney Leah Heise as its new CEO. Started in 2014, the organization has more than three dozen chapters in the U.S. and Canada. Founders Jane West and Jazmin Hupp are stepping down from their executive roles.

Cultivation Technologies wants to build a “ six-acre cannabis industrial complex” in Coachella, Calif.

L.A. Weekly profiles KIND financial, which developed the Agrisoft software that will be marketed by Microsoft.

Following the Microsoft announcement and a separate partnership involving Fortune 500 company Arrow Electronics, Marijuana Business Daily says that the stigma surrounding cannabis is eroding at some mainstream companies.

Consultancy MedMen is launching a $100M cannabis private equity fund.

Testing company Steep Hill Labs broke off its relationship with a company called Pazoo, which had licenses to open Steep Hill-branded labs in Oregon, Nevada and Colorado.

The market for infused drinks is not keeping pace with the rest of the edibles sector.

Colombia is serious about the legal MED industry as an engine of economic growth. Jamaica will reportedly open cannabis booths at airports where arriving tourists can stock up.

Legalization has popular support in Denmark but the government is cracking down. Last month, police raided the open air cannabis market in Copenhagen’s Christiania neighborhood.

Cannabis use is on the rise in Iran. “The same government that  executes hundreds of drug dealers every year — and cracks down periodically on alcohol, which is also illegal — seems curiously oblivious to the growing popularity of marijuana,” the New York Times writes.

National REC sales could approach $2B this year.

Is weed Oregon’s most valuable crop? The federal Department of Agriculture has decided to ignore the question

In Miami, police seized $24 million after the arrest of a suspected marijuana trafficker. The alleged trafficker’s sister was also arrested and charged.

The family of a deceased 20-year old police informant is suing a North Dakota sheriff’s department for not ensuring his safety. Andrew Sadek, a college student, became an informant after he was busted selling small quantities of weed in a school zone. He died two-years ago of a gunshot wound to the head. His body was found tied to a backpack full of rocks.    

Portland’s CoHo Theater will recommend  weed pairings with its summer productions. A company will begin offering cannabis bike tours of Portland. It already offers beer and wine tours.

In 1977, a plane loaded with 5,000 pounds of weed crashed in Yosemite National Park. Men’s Journal recounts the story of “ Dope Lake .” 

Blue Dream is the most popular strain in Colorado.

High Times interviewed Denver entrepreneur Wanda James.

About 50 people attended the first gathering of the non-denominational First Cannabis Church of Logic and Reason in Lansing, Michigan. "The biggest question I get is, 'How can this be a church if we don't subscribe to a religious theology?'" organizer Jeremy Hall told attendees. "Well, the reality is it sounded better than a cannabis cult."

Vox dives into the research on psychedelics’ medical potential. The verdict: There’s potential but much more research is needed.

Smuggled drugs get stored in some unappetizing places.

A company called Hippie Dip has developed a cannabis equivalent of smokeless tobacco.

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Bye,

Alex 

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