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Here's the news:

Politics

Conservatives criticized U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions for his decision to roll back Obama-era measures that shortened sentences for drug offenders. 

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who voted to approve Sessions, said drug use is not a “lock ‘em up and throw away the key’ problem” He supports a bipartisan bill that would counter Sessions. 

The conservative Charles Koch Institute found that eight out of ten Trump voters want to see shorter drug sentences. The Federalist says Sessions “has neither the authority nor the evidence to pursue a new drug war.”

Sessions' move, the N.Y. Times notes,  “ran so contrary to the growing bipartisan consensus coursing through Washington.The paper also explains how Sessions’ guidance would jack up sentencesReason has more.

Despite Sessions, some states are trying to reduce penalties.

Sessions aggressive stance “creates a lot of uncertainty and that uncertainty is deeply concerning for patients and providers,” Michael Collins of the Drug Policy Alliance told the Washington Post. “We had thought medical marijuana wasn’t really in play in terms of a crackdown.” MJ Biz Daily has more. So does CNBC.

Pro-legalization Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) argued that legalization looks inevitable. “Trump is essentially irrelevant.”

In 2016, a recording caught House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R.-Calif.) saying “There’s two people I think Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump.” Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) is among the most pro-cannabis members of Congress. Republicans have tried to brush aside McCarthy’s remarks as a joke.

The California government is starting to collect feedback on proposed cannabis regulations.

Leafly asks why legalization pushes failed in Texas.

Montana Congressional candidate Rob Quist (D), who’s running in a May 25 special election, ducked out of an interview rather than discuss past marijuana use, that came out in a 20-year old malpractice lawsuit he had filed against a doctor. He later copped to receiving a citation in 1971.

Worried that it would undermine efforts to fight the opioid crisis, New Hampshire Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D) and Maggie Hassan (D) oppose the Trump administration’s plan to gut the Office of National Drug Control Policy.

Both sides are lobbying Vermont Gov. Phil Scott (R) on the REC bill passed by the state legislature. If he doesn’t sign it by Wednesday it automatically becomes law.

Florida ordered a dispensary to stop selling a product that could be smoked. Maryland approved its first MED grow. For the first time, Oregon’s economic forecast accounts for cannabis.

MJ Biz Daily interviewed Anne McLellan, who led Canada’s marijuana task force, on the road to legalization.

Colorado lawmakers haven’t passed social use because they can’t decide on the meaning of “open and public” consumption.

Iowa and Minnesota are trying to work out a way for Iowans to buy MED from Minnesota, despite interstate commerce laws. If successful it would be the first example of cannabis remaining state-legal after it crossed state lines.

In L.A., I found that "rogue dispensaries" are a source of resentment.

Miami Deputy City Attorney Barnaby Min compared legalizing MED to legalizing pedophilia.

U.K. Prime Minister Teresa May has no intention of legalizing. She considers it a gateway drug. 

Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte pushed back an impeachment attempt related to his war on drugs. He’s also cracking down on public tobacco use.

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Business

Cannabis executives were in D.C. this week making the case for banking and fair taxation. Quartz suggests that cannabis is just one of many industries unlikely to see its agenda advance amid the Trump administration’s scandals. Rolling Stone has more.

Vice suggests that Canadian companies’ “ first mover advantage ” will lead to global domination.  New Cannabis Ventures says the plant is now a global investing opportunity .

A bill with bipartisan support in Congress would  make banking easier  for cannabis companies.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D) signed a bill that will enable the state to create the first market for certified organic cannabis .

Minnesota’s two MED businesses have lost $11M in two years of sales, the AP reported.

In California’s Salinas Valley, the decorative flower industry is giving way to a new kind of flower. Farther north, in cannabis friendly Santa Rosa, a housing developer doesn’t want to build apartments close to a large grow.

Media company Civilized was involved in an ill-conceived promotion which it ended.

Starbucks contacted the activist known as NJ Weedman after signage for his WeedBukx cafe resembled the coffee company’s mermaid logo.

The Alaska Grown logo that appears on state-grown produce won’t be on cannabis anytime soon.

A PayPal executive is joining cannabis enterprise software company Kind Financial .

LAist runs through 10 popular products that could become illegal under proposed California regulations, including chocolate covered espresso beans (caffeine), Ganjalato (dairy) and free samples.

The N.Y. Times visits the “ largest vertical farm in the world, ” in Newark, N.J.

More American workers are testing positive for cocaine, marijuana and meth.

Founding editor of The Cannabist Ricardo Baca is starting a content agency called Grasslands . He spoke to Green State .   

Americans are spending more on weed than on erectile dysfunction pills. The same study thinks U.S. REC sales could surpass MED sales this year.

Brad Nattrass, CEO of urban-gro in Lafayette, Colo. is running for the National Cannabis Industry Association board. He submitted the following statement in support of his candidacy:

I am Brad Nattrass, CEO of urban-gro. Our team of nearly 30 employees, located across the country, works with large-scale cultivation facilities to provide advanced technology products and systems solutions.

Our company was honored to be awarded an inaugural Cannavation Award for Cultivation at the NCIA Seed to Sale Show earlier this year.

As a member of the NCIA board, I will be of service to NCIA and my fellow members in three ways:

·         First, bringing attention to the challenges faced by cultivators in every region of the country.

I bring the pulse of cultivators on a national scale. Because urban-gro sells to hundreds of commercial cultivation facilities in every stage of development, we have a unique opportunity to learn about the specific concerns and challenges that growers face in all regions of the country.

·         Second, bringing a network of professionals to drive NCIA membership and sponsorship.

·         Third, providing a relentless entrepreneurial drive to make a difference.

I have an incredible drive. I am an entrepreneur with an MBA, and over a decade of experience in large-scale agriculture. I am a solutions focused individual that rises to the occasion when I encounter challenges.

I believe in the important work NCIA does on behalf of the cannabis industry. I will be honored and humbled if you vote for me to join the NCIA Board of Directors.

#VoteBradNCIA

For more info on voting see here.


                                                                      
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Health and Science

Genetically modified weed is probably inevitable.

A Canadian study suggests cannabis can help wean crack addicts. Canada is trying to rein in the cost of MED for veterans.

Vox says the stricter sentences favored by AG Sessions could push up the HIV rate by incentivizing needle sharing.

L.A. Weekly meets the Battlefield Foundation where cannabis is part of the program for PTSD-scarred veterans.

A New Hampshire doctor was reprimanded for recommending MED to a patient with past pot convictions.

When giving an elephant LSD, make sure to calculate the correct dose.

National Geographic has a photo essay on street pharmacists in Haiti.

Criminal Justice

The National District Attorneys Association published a report on state cannabis enforcement that’s pretty vague in its recommendations on the Cole Memo and other key issues. See the report here.

In Washington, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, urged the U.S. to step up international crime-fighting efforts and reduce its focus on drugs.

Milwaukee County Sheriff, conservative pundit, and tough on crime zealot David Clarke says he’s taking a job with the Department of Homeland Security.

A consultant who helped a South Dakota Native American tribe in its aborted effort to set up a cannabis industry is going on trial. A South Dakota reporter has been subpoenaed to testify.

I was subpoenaed for my Pando story on the rise and fall of a modern weed dealer

In one Virginia County, blacks are six times as likely as whites to be arrested for weed possession. Two deputy sheriffs in Kern County, California (Bakersfield) pled guilty to selling seized weed. “I made the decision based on Satan playing games with me and making me feel like I was prideful,” one of them said.

The Minnessota cop who fatally shot Philando Castile will stand trial for manslaughter May 30. A judge ruled that his defense can bring up Castile’s marijuana use on the day of the shooting but not Castile’s earlier use.

Mexican journalist Javier Valdez, who was known for his brave coverage of the country’s drug war, was shot dead in the state of Sinaloa.

A federal appeals court declined to rule on whether federal prisons can hold offenders who operated within state law. The case involved a California man who went to prison in 2014.

According to the FBI, a suburban Detroit man tried to bribe officials to get a dispensary license.

Cops in Bismarck, N.D. are cracking down on CBD products. (North Dakota voters legalized MED last year.)

Residents of Durango, Col., are upset about a Fox News story that they say distorted the truth to make the mountain tourist town look like a mecca for panhandlers.  

The Trump administration is expanding its use of for-profit prisons to hold undocumented immigrants.

In Alaska, cops can’t own pot shops.

The New Yorker has a photo essay on the ravages of drug smuggling in the Brazilian Amazon. Jon Lee Anderson writes: “We are left with the alarming realization that destruction comes in stages—that the end of nature in the Amazon will likely not terminate with the extinction of its forests but transmute into some new murderous end-game that will carry on, long after the last tree is felled.”

Product reviews:

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Culture

Oregon Live says the NFL’s refusal to reinstate Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon, for cannabis use is “simply absurd” compared to the league’s record of forgiving players who abused women and committed other violent crimes.

Buzzfeed meets pro-cannabis Christians in the deep south. Texas activist Lydia Decker named her organization Genesis 1:29 for the Bible verse that begins “And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed…”

The New Yorker’s Nick Paumgarten visits a bong art show: “Delicate leaves and lace, tubes within tubes, ghouls embedded inside chambers like ships in bottles. One object widely admired by the other lampworkers was a pea-green monster truck with big black tires and flames exuding from six tailpipes—every inch of it glass. Mais oui: Ceci, c’est une pipe.”

There’s an annual todo about whether a big fake joint can be in a July 4 parade in suburban Tampa.

Hollywood legend Cary Grant turned to LSD therapy. Famed LSD chef Nicholas Sand died.

NASCAR vetoed a weed logo on a car. In 1986, four Indy 500 drivers were convicted of pot trafficking.

Willie Nelson said Jeff Sessions shouldn’t opine on drugs unless the attorney general has tried them.

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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