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Here's the news:

Politics
U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions expressed his opposition to legalization, but stopped short of saying that there would be a federal crack down on state-legal businesses. Behind closed doors, Politico reports, Sessions has reassured Senators that no such operation is forthcoming.

In other Sessions news, the attorney general recused himself from any investigation related to Russia hacking the 2016 presidential election. Sessions announced the decision after the Washington Post reported that he had two meetings with Russia’s ambassador to the U.S. during the campaign that he did not disclose to the Senate Judiciary Committee during his confirmation hearing.

Oregon lawmakers are moving to protect cannabis users’ personal information from the federal government. Proposed legislation would require dispensaries to destroy customers’ personal information within 48 hours. California is bracing for a fight as well.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D) defended legalization’s economic benefits. Colorado lawmakers are moving towards allowing pot cafes.

McClatchey reports that federal actions against the industry could “ blow a hole in state budgets.”

Nevada’s U.S. Senators, Dean Heller (R) and Catherine Cortez-Masto (D) wrote to Sessions requesting that he protect state’s rights on marijuana. Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner (R) expressed similar views.

Freshman Virginia Congressman Tom Garrett (R) introduced legislation to decriminalize nationwide.

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) said the state would “ confront” the administration if there’s a crackdown. “If states really are the laboratories of Democracy, which I think they are, let’s let this experiment go a couple more years,” he told Vice.
 
Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman (R), a former legalization opponent, invited Sessions to visit Colorado and learn about the industry. Nevada officials appear undeterred about moving forward with REC.

University of Denver law professor Sam Kamin called the Trump administration’s position “ nonsensical.”

Legalization activists criticized Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker for saying state policy is in a “ no man’s land” following the state’s vote to legalize REC in November. They say Baker, who opposed legalization, is stalling.

California cannabis czar Lori Ajax said the state will start issuing REC licenses on schedule by January 1, 2018.

Louisiana’s MED program faces significant headwinds. Alaska’s pot tax revenue fell in January. There are many unanswered questions in Maine; the state has reached out to the White House for clarity on its plans.

Proposed rules in Ohio would measure MED by THC content rather than weight.

The U.N.’s International Narcotics Control Board has warned the U.S. and Canada that legalization is incompatible with their treaty commitments.

Germany expects to start growing MED in 2019.
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Business

Canadian producer Organigram ( OGI:CVE) has a new CEO. The move comes after a banned fungicide that is highly toxic when heated was found in the company's MED. The shake-up comes shortly after the company announced that an internal investigation came up with “inconclusive findings” and “no hard evidence leading to the source of the contamination.”

The new CEO is Greg Engel, former head of Tilray Canada. Former CEO Denis Arsenault will stay with the company.

Two other Canadian companies, Aurora ( ACB:CVE) and Mettrum (now owned by Canopy Growth ( WEED:TOR) have also issued recalls for myclobutanil.

Aurora raised C$75M which it says is Canada’s largest raise yet

U.S. cannabis stocks fell following the confusion in Washington.

Extracts in California also have a pesticide problem, L.A. Weekly reports.

Bright Green Group of Companies is partnering with the Acoma Pueblo tribe to build a $160M facility, in New Mexico. It would be, by far, the largest growhouse in the country.

Colorado start-up Front Range Biosciences raised $1.5M. It has developed a tissue propagation technology designed to improve plant health and yield.

Maryland state Del. Dan K. Morhaim was forced to publicly apologize for his paid consultant role to a prospective dispensary company, while advocating for MED legalization.

Pacific Gas & Electric Company ( PCG) will give cannabis growers the same discounts farmers receive.

South Dakota lawmakers amended a CBD bill that would have given GW Pharma ( GWPH) a de facto monopoly in the state.

A Canadian landlord lost his insurance due to a legal grow tenant.

Portland, Ore.’s local licensing process is a headache for businesses.

Cannabis Now visits Hood Incubator, a cannabusiness accelerator for Black-owned businesses. 

An Israeli-New Mexican partnership has opened a MED factory in New Mexico.

Bloomberg makes the case for eating weed at (office) work. AdAge listed six strategies for cannabis brands.

I wrote a February deals round-up for the new trade publication Blunt Network.

Health and Science

The National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) recommended lifting barriers to cannabis research. It’s still a very difficult plant to study , reports the Chronicle of Higher Education.

Nevada lawmakers introduced a bill that would allow social workers, nurses and other professionals to prescribe MED to opiate addicts. 

Patients with chronic pain and mental illness prefer cannabis to opiates, a new Canadian study found.  U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is  skeptical  that MED can help opiate addicts.

The American Academy of Pediatrics warned about marijuana use by teens.

In Oregon, a proposal to loosen pesticide testing requirements, produced a backlash from labs and concentrate makers saying it would release “ poison product” into the market.

TV news visits the marijuana farm at the University of Mississippi, the only federally-legal grow in the country.

Scientists have long believed that people with autism don’t get addicted to alcohol or other drugs. New evidence suggests otherwise.

Jane Street Journal has tips on how to avoid freaking out if you get too high.

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Criminal Justice

Busts of pot sent in the mail climbed 18% last year.

A lawsuit in Oregon claims that former Jackson County commissioner accepted cash payments for marijuana consulting while he was in office and conned an elderly couple out of $150,000 to open a dispensary.

Phillippine president Rodrigo Duterte brought the national police back into his brutal drug war. He previously called the force “corrupt to the core.” The country is also calling up the military to conduct “ high-impact operations and arrest high-value targets.

Houston District Attorney Kim Ogg defended her move to decriminalize. A California man faces prison time after he was pulled over with MED in Texas. He was on his way to visit his cancer-stricken granddaughter in the hospital.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said legalizing will undermine gangs.

Vox says a wall along the U.S. – Mexico border won’t stop heroin from flooding into the country.
Culture

A High Times Cannabis Cup scheduled for this weekend on tribal land outside Las Vegas has been scaled back after a warning letter from the Department of Justice. The letter cited the Cole Memo, the legal document that protected state-legal cannabis businesses. This could be an indication that the Sessions Justice Department will allow state legal businesses to continue operating.

The NFL Players Association also pushed back against Sessions.

Residents of a luxury condo building in Boston voted to ban pot smoking and growing.

In L.A. Weekly, Henry Rollins slammed those who are “ just looking to get rich from legal weed.” Rollins has spoken at a cannabis conference but says he’s a non-user.

I had a CBD “power lunch” and wrote about it for L.A. Weekly.

Vice interviews models who pose naked with weed on Instagram, #ganjagirls.

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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