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Before the news, a brief editorial:

Around the world, spectacular acts of murder have become commonplace. In the U.S., Whites have been forced to consider the violence committed by police and other authority figures against people of color, in prisons and on the streets, that we have long contentedly ignored. For many years, the war on drugs has multiplied that violence. At the same time, institutions of democracy, both here and abroad, appear more vulnerable than many of us can remember.

Legalizing marijuana will have social and economic consequences that no one fully understands. The pro-legalization side believes it is fighting to repair an historic injustice. Opponents have legitimate concerns about a society where cannabis is as easily obtained as alcohol. Both sides’ arguments are under debate in virtually every state and in every kind of governing body, from city councils and local courts to the highest levels of the federal power. The process has been messy, tedious and grubby and it has often yielded unsatisfying and illogical results.

This is what peaceful democracy looks like, and for this movement in particular, it is inspiring to watch. It needs to stay that way.


New research shows that legal states have seen a drop in Medicare prescriptions for anti-depressants and opiods, and a corresponding reduction in Medicare costs. Prescriptions did not drop for drugs like blood-thinners that can't plausibly be replaced with MED. See the study here.

If California legalizes REC in November, it could influence federal policy on banking and other issues. Regulators in the state said they will  start inspecting dispensary scales  to ensure that customers are getting their money’s worth.

Massachusetts’ REC initiative will be on the ballot in November. Gov. Charlie Baker (R), Boston Mayor Marty Walsh (D) and Speaker of the House Robert DeLeo (D) have banded together to oppose it.

Arkansas voters will decide on a MED initiative

Denver mayor Michael Hancock (D)  blames legal weed for the “urban travelers” who have caused violent episodes on Denver’s 16th Street Mall, the city’s main pedestrian thoroughfare. Recently, a 32-year old Indiana man was arrested after video showed him attacking pedestrians with lengths of PVC pipe. It’s not clear whether he was high at the time. Other recent incidents, also caught on video, have seen arrests after attacks and aggressive panhandling.

Fortune sees signs of a backlash in Colorado.

Murders in California’s Lake County, a center of growing, reached a 10-year high of eight last year.

Donna Weinholtz, wife of Utah gubernatorial candidate Mike Weinholtz (D), is under federal investigation related to her MED use.

The rules for Alaska’s pot café’s are under review. Voters in the state’s Matanuska-Susitna Borough will decide on a commercial ban in the fall.

Former Liberal Party deputy prime minister Anne McLellan will lead Canada’s nine-member legalization task force. McLellan is a former law professor at the University of Alberta. Canada’s legal purchasing age may vary across provinces, but the government wants a consistent national law on DUI.

Both LSU and Southern University are exercising their option to grow Louisiana's MED supply.

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Following Microsoft's recent partnership with Kind Financial, Google may want to go green as well. John Lord, CEO of LivWell, a large vertically-integrated producer in Colorado, said the search giant had reached out to him. (On The Cannabist Show, Lord discusses the implications of industry-hated tax provision 280E.)

Venture capitalists are shaking off the stigma. The Bloomberg article contains the tidbit that New York’s health department uses Oracle software to monitor its MED program.

Jim Hagedorn, CEO of publicly-traded Scotts Miracle-Gro, said he want’s to “Invest, like, half a billion in the pot business…It is the biggest thing I’ve ever seen in lawn and garden.” Since 2015, Scotts has spent $255M acquiring companies that make soil, fertilizers, lighting and hydroponics. He pledges to invest $150M more this year.

Ohio is considering a cashless system -- think pre-paid debit cards -- for its newly legalized MED industry.

Colorado company Helix TCS acquired online wholesale platform Cannabase for an undisclosed sum. Wholesale prices are falling fast in Colorado.

Stock in Insys Therapeutics jumped after the FDA approved its cannabis-derived drug.

According to the Tampa Tribune, there are  15,000 businesses nationwide  providing ancillary products and services to the cannabis industry.

The Verdes Foundation is the  highest-grossing producer  in New Mexico. (The state’s MED industry is non-profit.) MED dispensaries in Hawaii can open next week but  most aren’t ready .

NORML executive director Allen St. Pierre reportedly resigned after 24 years. He will remain on the organization’s board. His interim replacement is treasurer Randy Quast.

A study in JAMA Psychiatry found that cannabis use disrupts the reward processing mechanism in the brain. The journal editorializes that more research into the plant’s effects on the brain is urgently needed.

Smoking cannabis and tobacco together, a practice more common in Europe than the U.S., may contribute to dependency on both, a study found. See the study here.

In Canada, border authorities have cracked down on shipments of CBD oil. In Australia, some children with epilepsy will have access to the CBD-based drug Epidiolex before trials are complete.
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The average joint contains .32 grams of marijuana, researchers have learned. This is an important figure for tax assessments and public health studies, the Washington Post says.

The .32 number was obtained by a statistical analysis of arrest data. In the past, researchers have tried to learn it by asking subjects to compare joint-size to common objects or having subjects roll joints with oregano.

Uruguay's law  allows pharmacists to sell weed, but most don’t want to. A small political party in Japan wants to lift the national ban on MED research.

Synthetic cannabis is still very dangerous.

President Obama’s clemency initiative has commuted the sentences of more than 300 offenders with a focus on non-violent drug offenders. The New Yorker asks why nearly 12,000 prisoner petitions remain undecided.

A case in South Dakota highlights the practice of urine tests obtained by force, with a catheter. State Attorney General Marty Jackley (R) defended the practice on legal grounds, but said “I don’t think anyone wants to go through that methodology.”

A ProPublica investigation finds that field drug tests widely-used by police are unreliable and can turn up false positives.

The Texas Tribune tells the story of a U.S. Border Patrol agent who got romantically involved with a marijuana smuggler.

The Kind profiles Jeff Mizanskey, who until his release last year was the only man in Missouri serving life for a non-violent marijuana offense. He spent 21 years in prison.

A rabbi and an African-American pastor are among the parties competing for grow licenses in Maryland.

The German bestseller “ High Hitler: Drugs in the Third Reich,” is being translated into English.

Product Earth Expo, the U.K.’s largest cannabis convention, took place for the second time. An Australian man called the cops on his father for burning his crop.

There has been a resurgence of the red cannabis associated with Calabria, the rugged “toe” of Italy. In another piece, Leafly’s Enrico Fletzer asks if legalization is coming to Naples, where organized crime controls the market. Fletzer also calls Bologna the “ Hemp capital of Europe.

Rival pro-legalization groups had an altercation outside the Vancouver Art Gallery. An organizer with Cannabis Culture said he was attacked by someone wielding a yoga mat. I’m just juvenile enough to mention that western Canada’s premiere art museum is known as “ the VAG.”

Washington D.C. consultant Natalie Carver has started a business assisting home growers. “She rolls her joints with rosemary, lavender, and mullein, a bronchial dilator used by Native Americans in spiritual ceremonies.”

Contrary to internet rumors, doughnut chain Tim Hortons will not start selling pot next year.

The video game Hemp Inc. resembles Farmville, with one predictable difference. Vice also interviews some female dealers.

The new 419.99 mile markers on Interstate 70 in Colorado, do not get stolen as often as their 420 mile predecessors.

Olympics-branded weed is available in Rio.

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Bye,

Alex 

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