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Politics
Legalization is ahead in all nine states where it’s on the ballot.

The Florida Democratic Party  donated $150,000  to support MED in Florida. Casino billionaire Sheldon Adelson  gave another $500,000  to oppose MED in Florida.

In Massachusetts, sheriffs have shown  bipartisan opposition  to legalization. Eleven medical groups  also oppose .

Asian Americans  oppose legalization , with the exception of Indian Americans who narrowly support it. The American Prospect says that in the upcoming votes, millennials and racial minorities are the  key voting blocs .

Pro-legalization TV ads are  on the air  in Maine and Massachusetts.  California too .

Maine REC supporters have outspent opponents 26-1

In the Washington Post, journalist Maia Szalavitz says we ignore the killings of drug users in the Philippines because drug users are “ dehumanized” by mainstream society. “Nearly 3,000 people have already been gunned down, either by police or vigilante death squads, encouraged by Duterte, who has promised immunity. About 600,000 have also turned themselves in, many now caged in hideously crowded prisons that already look like concentration camps."

The president of the Maryland Legislative Black Caucus said the group will file emergency legislation to block the state’s MED program until racial disparities in the industry are resolved. None of the 15 licenses awarded in the state went to black-owned businesses.

In Arkansas, MED activists have learned lessons from past defeat. Two-thirds of Utahns support MED, though a leaked video from 2010 suggests that senior Mormons remain deeply wary of it.

Oklahoma could vote on MED in 2018.  There’s a new push to  legalize REC  in New Jersey.

Memphis, Tenn. decriminalized. Chris Brown, the former mayor of a small city in Los Angeles County, connects cities with cannabis businesses.

Reuters spoke with California growers who oppose REC. The San Diego County Board of Supervisors opposes REC in California.

The effort to ban cannabis businesses in Alaska’s Mat-Su Borough failed. I wrote about it for High Times. REC sales are expected to begin soon in the final frontier.

As Canada moves to legalize it has two options regarding international treaties to which it is a part. It could take a “ principled stand” against prohibition or quietly withdraw from the treaties and then attempt to re-enter them with exemptions. Canada being Canada, it is leaning towards the quiet approach.

Former Portuguese prime minister António Guterres is the U.N.’s new secretary general, leading to speculation that he could push against prohibition worldwide as he did in Portugal.

The New York Times visited Jamaica which is betting on the plant to charge the nation’s economy.

Snopes dispels the myth that JFK used MED while in office.
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Business

The SEC is investigating publicly-traded Infinex Ventures and CEO Ronald Salem. The agency says infinex claimed to have access to $100M to invest in cannabis companies but had no “operations, specialized expertise, revenue, or funding.”

Gummies have dethroned chocolates as the most popular edibles in Colorado. 

MassRoots has repaid the nearly $1M debt payment it owed and its executives took pay cuts.

A study found that indoor grows have energy needs comparable to data centers.

Stock in Canopy Growth reached a record high following a deal with Snoop Dogg’s brand Leafs by Snoop. Leafs is also embroiled in a trademark dispute with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Denver packaging company High Supply filed for bankruptcy.

A piece in the Huffington Post suggests that much more work is needed to market cannabis to minority customers.

Real estate developer Peter Knobel plans to increase his stake in Colorado chain Native Roots. 

Health and Science

A study found that early cannabis use is associated with “ abnormal brain function” and lower IQ.

A study suggests CBD could be a useful therapy for cervical cancer.

Journalist Emily Willingham discusses what’s known about cannabis relieving symptoms related to autism.

President Obama’s “drug czar” Michael Botticelli, admitted that the federal government has dragged its feet on MED research. “It’s a somewhat fair criticism that the government hasn’t wholly supported research to really investigate what’s the potential therapeutic value,” he said.

A study found that legalizing MED can boost workforce participation by older adults. It found that the policy improves health for older men but has more mixed health results for women.
 
Nationwide, doctors aren’t especially worried about legalization, a study found. But socially conservative physicians may be alarmed.

Live Science asks how cannabis can interact with other drugs.

The American Society of Regional Anesthesia and Pain Medicine, called for rescheduling and for more MED research.

The University of Pittsburgh Medical School is looking for MED research partners in the private sector. Connecticut seeks to advance MED research as well.

Vice recounts what the legalization movement owes to early AIDS activists. Germany, for the first time, will let an MS patient grow their own.

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Criminal Justice

South Carolina is considering jailing overdose victims for three days. The Influence calls the idea “malicious and dangerous.” WRAL (Raleigh, N.C.) says communities nationwide want police to “ de-prioritize” cannabis law enforcement.

The DEA spent $73,000 to eradicate cannabis in Utah without finding one plant. Denver police are overwhelmed by the amount of seized cannabis.

In Massachusetts, a National Guard helicopter raid successfully confiscated one pot plant from an 81-year old woman.

The trial of a Denver man who’s accused of killing his wife after taking edibles is set to begin in March. Attorneys for Richard Kirk have changed his plea from not guilty to not guilty by reason of insanity.

The Dallas Observer studied drug bust records from Love Field Airport and learned, among other lessons, that authorities will claim they can see a nervous person’s heartbeat. Also, elaborate ruses to hide contraband can backfire.

Share Christie, wife of Hawaiian cannabis activist Roger Christie, is trying to stay out of prison.

Oklahoma wants to reduce incarceration for non-violent female offenders.

A former U.K. Justice Minister, Crispin Blunt, says he was told to stop asking tough questions about prohibition. The U.K. is also ceasing CBD sales.

A quiz at The Marshall Project shows how criminal records stick with people for their whole lives.

Rapper T.I. talked about how the war on drugs has affected his family, part of the “Why I vote” video series. 

Culture

Archaologists in northwest China unearthed a 2,500 year-old tomb where a man was buried with cannabis plants. “Thirteen cannabis plants, each up to almost three feet long, were placed diagonally across the man's chest, with the roots oriented beneath his pelvis and the tops of the plants extending from just under his chin, up and alongside the left side of his face.” It’s more evidence that the plant was “very popular” across Eurasia in millennia ago.

Damian Marley, son of Bob, is converting a California prison into a large grow.

Margot Robbie appeared on Saturday Night Live wearing a weed-themed Alexander Wang dress. High Times interviewed SNL star and weed fan Pete Davidson.

The NFL banned synthetic marijuana.

Check out this photo shoot in the New York Times Magazine on the “ dizzying grandeur” of industrial agriculture.

Temple University in Philadelphia will offer a course on marijuana in the news. A Canadian college will teach cultivation.

I went to a cannabis pairing dinner and wrote about it for SFWeekly.
 
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Bye,

Alex 

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