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A group of Democratic Senators is increasing pressure on the DEA to reclassify marijuana. They say that the “dissonance” between state and federal laws has “wide-ranging implications for legitimate marijuana businesses, including access to banking services, the ability to deduct business expenses from taxes, and access for veterans.”

Despite previous guidance, it appears unlikely that the DEA will make a decision on whether to remove marijuana from its current Schedule I classification, the same as LSD, ecstasy and heroin, before June 30. A DEA spokesman said the decision will come "sometime soon." (In April, I wrote a story on what rescheduling could mean for cannabis businesses.)

A new study found that teen marijuana use in Colorado is slightly lower than before legalization. This study is based on a much larger sample size, and so should be more accurate, than a previous study that showed teen use had increased with legalization.

Among states, Colorado has the  highest rate of marijuana use , followed by Oregon and Vermont.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-3 that evidence does not have to be thrown out even if police used unlawful methods to obtain it. In an independent dissent Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote, “The white defendant in this case [ Utah v. Strieff]  shows that anyone’s dignity can be violated in this manner...But it is no secret that people of color are disproportionate victims of this scrutiny.” Her 12-page opinion referenced W.E.B. Du Bois, Ta-Nehisi Coates and Michelle Alexander, author of the book, The New Jim Crow.

The Securities and Exchange Commission has  filed fraud charges  against Bruce Perlowin, CEO of publicly-traded Hemp Inc. Perlowin, a former drug smuggler known as the “king of pot,” spent nine years in prison. According to Forbes, he was among the leaders of the 2014 pot stock bubble.  

Wall Street is still  keeping its distance  from the industry.

A provision of Ohio’s MED law that reserves licenses for minorities may not be constitutional. State Sen. Kenny Yuko (D) has told Ohioans to get MED in neighboring states, which The Cannabist suggests is in violation of the Cole Memo, the Justice Department document that accelerated legalization.

Meanwhile, Ohio lawyers are unclear on whether they can own or represent MED businesses or use MED themselves.
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A Colorado initiative to limit the potency of marijuana and marijuana products in the state is a step closer to appearing on the November ballot. It is deeply unpopular in the industry. AP reporter Kristen Wyatt also looks at pot clubs’ prospects in the state and how the slaying of a dispensary security guard in suburban Denver has dispensaries rethinking security.

Congressional Republicans blocked amendments on whether Washington D.C. can spend its own money to implement a REC program and on industry access to banking. Congress also stalled on a measure that would enable veterans to seek recommendations from VA doctors in legal states. All three proposals have bipartisan support.

Bernie Sanders asked supporters if they want to see federal marijuana reform in the Democratic Party platform. Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin (D)  expanded the state’s MED program.

Pro-legalization group Marijuana Policy Project  endorsed Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson for president . Johnson, the former governor of New Mexico, is the only candidate who uses cannabis and was briefly the CEO of a marijuana company.

Marijuana Business Daily has an  rundown on the slate of REC and MED initiatives that could be decided in November.

The ACLU  endorsed Massachusetts’ REC initiative. A political action committee supporting Nevada’s REC initiative has  raised $285,000 this year

New Mexico has a 25,000 patient backlog on MED applications and state auditor Tim Keller is pressuring the state's health department to pick up the pace.

A proposed three percent pot tax in Portland could support police salaries and people who have been adversely affected by pre-legalization convictions.

Richmond, California, an East Bay city that’s “perpetually strapped for cash,” will  issue an unlimited number of licenses  to grows and processors in a bid to become an industry hub. 
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Dispensaries  perform well on the important retail metric  of annual sales per square foot of retail space. Dispensaries generate $974 per square foot. For comparison, Apple stores take in $4,799, Whole Foods do $930 and pharmacies average $676.

Cannabis social network MassRoots hired former Salesforce executive Lance Galey as CTO.

Derek Peterson, CEO of Terra Tech, was denied life insurance by Mutual of Omaha. “We cannot accept premium[s] from individuals or entities who are associated with the marijuana industry,” the company said in a letter.

The L.A. Times interviewed David Dinenberg, CEO of Kind Financial, which developed Agrisoft, the seed-to-sale tracking software that software giant Microsoft is selling to state governments.

Snoop Dogg is in a  trademark dispute with the Toronto Maple Leafs’  parent company over whether the logo of his cannabis brand Leafs by Snoop is too similar to the hockey team's logo. Canna Law Blog offers a primer on  marijuana trademarks .

Ebbu, the Colorado company I followed for much of last year, announced that it had discovered cannabinoids and terpenes that modify the effects of THC. The company seeks to develop cannabis-derived “Feelings” products called Energy, Create, Chill, Giggle and Bliss.

Cyclist Floyd Landis announced that he would be release a line of cannabis products in Colorado. Landis won the 2006 Tour de France but was stripped of his title for doping. His 2011 confession contributed to Lance Armstrong's downfall.

Tennessee Titans linebacker Derrick Morgan became the second active NFL player to call on the league to research the benefits of cannabis. The first, Eugene Monroe, was recently cut by the Baltimore Ravens.

Len Bias, a promising Boston Celtics prospect, died of a cocaine overdose 30 years ago. His death has been credited with escalating the war on drugs.

David Hibbitt, a U.K. man who claimed cannabis had cured his bowel cancer, died at 34. Given 18 months to live, he survived for four years.

U.S. heroin use is at a 20-year high, according to the UN’s World Drug Report 2016. report. The Influence points out the report’s shortcomings.

A New York Times piece on treatments for opioid addiction doesn’t mention cannabis.

Merry Jane profiles Buzzfeed drug reporter Amanda Chicago Lewis. “I’m kind of like a Narc!” she said. “Most people  don’t want to talk to me.” In March, Lewis published a long piece on the industry’s racial disparities.

Caribbean nations are  weighing decriminalization Leafly looks at Croatia’s fast developing MED program.

The First Cannabis Church of Logic and Reason holds its first service in Lansing, Michigan tomorrow.

A 31-year old man in Georgia appears to have died from natural causes while unloading $12 million worth of weed from a van.

A researcher at Canada's University of Guelph wants to grow pot in space.

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Bye,

Alex 

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