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Here's the news:

Politics
 
President Elect Donald Trump selected Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt (R) to run the Environmental Protection Agency. Pruitt has repeatedly sued the agency to block anti-pollution laws. While this might be seen as support for states’ rights -- and by extension the marijuana industry -- Mark Joseph Stern at Slate calls Pruitt “ one of the phoniest federalists in the GOP.

In particular, Pruitt joined Nebraska in suing Colorado over the state’s REC industry. The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear the case.

Trump’s pick to lead the Department of Homeland Security, retired Marine General John F. Kelly, opposes legalization saying that it increases health care costs and crime, and that the state experiments with it open the U.S. to accusations of hypocrisy from Latin American nations. Kelly is open to the plant having medical benefits.

Meanwhile veterans' group American Legion, pushed the administration  to loosen cannabis laws. " I think they were a little caught off guard and didn’t expect such a progressive statement from such a traditional and conservative organization," a senior Legion official told Marijuana.com.

It also emerged that Jim O’Neill, a Silicon Valley investor who Marijuana.com describes as a “ Marijuana legalization activist,” could be tapped to lead the Food and Drug Administration. O’Neill is neither a doctor or scientist, typical credentials for the position. For more see here.

Marijuana entrepreneurs want Trump to see them as “ job creators,” Forbes reports.  

The New York Observer, which is owned by Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner, called for rescheduling.

In an effort to protect marijuana laws under the Trump administration, Colorado is cracking down on home growers. The state is poised to surpass 3,000 licensed businesses next year.

What attorney general nominee Sen. Jeff Sessions (R) means for state-legal pot business remains the big green question. In an in-depth piece, Politico says Sessions could easily “ ignore the will of millions of pro-pot voters” and crack down. Time lists seven reasons Trump is unlikely to go after the industry.

The Sessions hearing has been scheduled for Jan. 10 and 11.

Pro-cannabis group Americans for Safe Access (ASA) is petitioning the Justice Department to correct what ASA says is incorrect or misleading information about cannabis on the DEA web site. ASA is represented pro-bono by the major San Francisco law firm Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe.

Though he’s promised to legalize next year, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he still wants police to prosecute dispensaries. His pro-pot supporters feel “cheated.”

Canadian producer Cronos Group will work with First Nations groups in Canada to help them join the cannabis economy.

An upcoming March ballot measure for regulating the industry in Los Angeles raises many questions.

A Democratic state Senator in Texas introduced a “longshot” MED bill. Virginia Senate Majority Leader Thomas K. Norment Jr. (R), asked for a study of how the state’s cannabis laws might be changed. Tennessee could also be in play.

Oregon took emergency steps to lower the testing burden on growers, but the industry is skeptical.

REC opponents in Maine were accused of not providing enough volunteers for a recount of the recent vote. A judge ruled that following the recent vote, MED dispensaries in Montana can reopen immediately.

Maryland named 102 pre-approved dispensary license winners. In New York, licensees are worried about competition in the relatively small market.

Guam is implementing a MED program. Dusseldorf, Germany is on the path to legalization.

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Business

Several former executives of Insys Therapeutics, which sells the powerful opiate fentanyl, were arrested accused of “ bribing doctors, defrauding insurance companies, and fueling America’s opioid addiction crisis.” Insys contributed to successfully defeat Arizona’s November REC vote. 

GW Pharmaceuticals reported some “pretty grim” quarterly numbers, but it could benefit from its anti-epilepsy experimental drug Epidolex which is in late stage clinical trials

Bloomberg suggests there's a Canadian pot-stock bubble.

Legalization in more states could depress California’s export market. And in another interesting piece by Madison Margolin, California’s “extract artisans” now have some legal protections from meth-lab laws.

Vice dives into regulatory tech which it calls the “ cannabis surveillance state.

Home grow system Leaf raised $2M.

Celebrity-branded weed costs about 24% more than unbranded. Forbes asks if the trend has gone too far.

Commercial landlords in northern California prepare for legalization.

Quartz profiles marketing company Octavia Wellness which throws pot parties for seniors.  The art world is joining efforts to re-brand cannabis.

The Denver Post’s Cannabist won most influential media source at the cannabis business awards.
 
Health and Science
A new study in Pharmacological Research, by Czech and Italian researchers, found that pot is an aphrodisiac. Read the study here.

Another study found that marijuana use may damage eyesight.

New York state wants patients to be able to access MED in hospitals. A study found that cannabis users have lower in-hospital mortality rates.

In an effort to reduce opioid use, Oregon wants opioid patients monitored for marijuana use. The health agency view on marijuana vis a vis opioid use is unclear.

The world’s first clinical trial to test MED for chemotherapy patients is beginning in Australia.

A device developed by Israeli start-up distributes “ nano-droplets” of CBD as a nutraceutical to relieve inflammation and pain is on sale in the U.S. KKTV looked at the cannabis research happening at Colorado State-Pueblo.

The U.S. is lagging Israel and other countries in cannabis research.

The Washington [state] CannaBusiness Association is starting a fund to support MED access for the needy.
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Introducing WeedWeek critic Carolyn Lipka:
   
Hi! My name is Carolyn Lipka and I’m a writer and comedian living in Los Angeles. My work has been in Noisey, Interview and Paper Magazine. I’ve been a medical cannabis patient since moving to LA in 2014 and a recreational user since 2008; I’ve smoked it all from extremely dirt weed in the suburbs of New Jersey to Wifi OG from an upscale dispensary in Los Angeles. The comedy and cannabis community have significant overlap (from Getting Doug With High to Broad City) and I’m happy to continue the trend. My interests include any edible that features dark chocolate and a dense indica heavy hybrid. I love testing out new weed products and my proximity to a huge sector of the industry has afforded me the opportunity to really plunge into trying every vape, bong, grinder and elaborate dab blow torch I can get my hands on.  I graduated from Yale University in 2014 where I did extensive research on the cold war making me the world’s dorkiest weed critic.  Follow me on twitter for humor @clipka_, on instagram for selfies @clipka or snapchat for high thoughts @carolynlipka

Carolyn will be reviewing accessories and other lifestyle products that may appeal to WeedWeek readers. She will not review submitted cannabis products. 

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Criminal Justice

In a report, the DEA said media attention is making it more difficult to prosecute marijuana offenders.

Ferrell Scott, sentenced to life without parole for possession and conspiracy to sell marijuana, was denied clemency by President Obama.

Charles “Eddy” Lepp, “a defiant 64-year-old Vietnam vet and ordained Rastafarian minister” was released after serving eight years in federal prison for growing.

Two pieces in The Guardian examine the human toll of Mexico’s decade-old, U.S. supported drug war

A New York Times photojournalist documented dozens of homicide victims of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s drug war. The Duterte administration defended its record to Reuters.

Big deal political thinker Ian Bremmer tweeted that Duterte wants to advise Trump on drug policy.

The activist New Jersey Weedman, who faces cannabis charges, compared himself to a “ prisoner at Guantanamo.

Leafly tells the stories of Sam Caldwell and Moses Baca, “ drug war prisoners 1 & 2,” in 1937. Both were apprehended in Denver. It also cites the work of a “48-year old drug felon and autodidactic cannabis historian who goes by the pen name “Uncle Mike,” maintains a site at UncleMikesResearch.com.

Culture
Steve Kerr, coach of the Golden State Warriors, said he tried MED for his back pain. It didn’t help him but he took a strong stand in favor of it for athletes:

"If you're an NFL player, in particular, and you got lot of pain, I don't think there's any question that pot is better for your body than Vicodin," Kerr, 51, said. "And yet, athletes everywhere are prescribed Vicodin like it's Vitamin C, like it's no big deal. And there's like this perception in our country that over-the-counter drugs are fine but pot is bad. Now, I think that's changing.”

The comment got attention and he later added to his remarks. Kerr said the NBA should explore MED for pain relief. New York Knicks president and celebrated coach Phil Jackson said he’d also used MED for pain adding, “I don't think we have been able to stop it in the NBA. I think it still goes on and is still a part of the culture in the NBA. I think it is something that we either have to accommodate or figure out another way to deal with it."

Forbes has more on the science of athletes and MED.

Vice asked budtenders about their worst customers. They’re not fond of weed snobs and scary types. The Cannabist serves up 10 budtender commandments, including “Thou Shalt Not Be Too High.”

The Pantone Color Institute, picked Greenery as the color of 2017.

The AP visits Malana, India, a Himalayan village that depends on cannabis. Uruguay will host a cannabis museum.

A bestseller in Germany and the U.K. says the Nazis ingested huge amounts of meth, and that Hitler was an opiate addict. “Blitzed,” will be published here in April.

Here's the WeedWeek list of pot journalists on Twitter and the new list of cannabusiness people on Twitter. Both are works in progress. Recommendations welcome.

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Bye,

Alex 

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