WeedWeek, 10/14/17: Wildfires Ravage NorCal Pot Country

Posted by | October 14, 2017 | Cannabis News, Weed Week News by Alex Halperin

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Greetings from the New West Summit in Oakland where smoke from the wildfires has overwhelmed the city’s normal ambient cannabis smell.
This morning at 9:30 I’ll be on the Not Another Cannabis Media Panel, a “shark tank” situation where we’ll be sharing our first thoughts on a few brave start-ups. Stop by if you’re around.
The other panelists (last I checked) are:
Derek Riedle – Co-Founder and Publisher Civilized
Gaynell Rogers, Director Alternative Health And Wellness Division, Bond Moroch
Gretchen Gailey – EVP of Communications and Government Affairs, New Frontier
Kieve Huffman – Co-Founder | PRØHBTD Media
Kitty Morgan – Assistant Managing Editor, San Francisco Chronicle
The moderator is Ophelia Chong – Founder, Stock Pot Images
My WeedWeek colleague Adrienne Nascimento will be hosting tea ceremonies at 4:20 p.m. today and 2 p.m. tomorrow.
Here’s the news:
Politics
Wildfires ripped through 200,000 acres of northern California, including numerous vineyards and cannabis farms. Since cannabis is federally illegal, it’s difficult to insure and the head of the California Growers Association said some heavily leveraged members were likely wiped out.
Plants not destroyed by the blazes may be tainted by smoke and growers have cracked mordant jokes about calling strains “beef jerky” and “hickory kush.”  As of Fridaydozens had been confirmed dead with hundreds more missing. Thousands of homes have been destroyed. CNN has more.
Santa Rosa-business CannaCraft donated $50,000 worth of MED to victims of the fire and allowed the Red Cross to take over its facility. Two hundred female inmates are fighting the fires for $2 a day plus $1 for every hour on the fire line.
Fire warnings are still in effect. For the latest info, see here.
The L.A. Times explains the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment which could expire in December after more than three years. The amendment blocks the Justice Department from interfering with state legal MED. The piece also explains the very pro Russia Rep. Dana Rohrabacher’s (R-Calif.) involvement in the administration’s Russia scandal.
In High Times, Trump ally Roger Stone expressed support for state-legal marijuana.
Rolling Stone look’s at the mad dash by California businesses and regulators to prepare for the REC market, which opens January 1. San Francisco REC dispensaries are unlikely to open on time, due to delays with regulations.
California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) vetoed three ant-pot bills. Some of California’s native tribes worry they’re being cut out of the industry.
The L.A. Times explains the “dumb move” L.A. is contemplating to force cannabis businesses to shut down for months while they await licenses. (L.A. County issued its first license, to a Latina-owned dispensary in Malibu.)
The Portland Mercury asks “Who’s currently in charge?” of cannabis at the federal level.
Californians and tourists need consumption lounges, the LA Times editorializes. Despite some misleading headlines, public consumption is not permitted in California. Denver has yet to receive any applicationsfrom potential social use businesses.
Obama Attorney General Eric Holder (D) said current AG Jeff Sessions (R) has an “almost obsession with marijuana.
Speaking at Colorado Christian University, anti-legalization activist Kevin Sabet said the industry targets lower income and minority communities. “Of course they’re going after the weakest in society,” he said. “That’s what you do when you’re a predatory industry…This is about Wall Street and Silicon Valley.”
Coloradans have until Monday to comment on new proposed industry rules.
A survey suggests 11% of D.C.’s federal workers have bought pot.
A Maryland case arguing the state improperly awarded MED licenses, appears bound for trial.
Despite a budget shortfall, REC supporters aren’t getting far in Connecticut.
Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin (R) called legalization a “sucker’s bet” and said it wouldn’t happen on his watch.  Don’t expect Idaho to legalize anytime soon either.
In need of more soldiers, the U.S. Army is making it easier to receive a marijuana use waiver.
In Cook County, Ill. (Chicago) someone suggested replacing soda taxes with pot taxes.
Reading, Pa.-mayor Wally Scott (D) walked out of a city council meeting after the body endorsed REC legalization.
Hurricane Maria did severe damage to Puerto Rico’s nascent MED program.
More than 20,000 British Columbians responded to the provincial government’s request for comment on legalization.
Ozy meets “The Dagga Couple” the middle-aged white pair whose case legalized MED in South Africa.
African nations Ghana, Morocco, Lesotho, Swaziland and Malawi are also exploring the cannabis opportunity, CNN reports.
In London, three MPs joined a cannabis tea party hosted by activists outside Parliament.
After decades of grey market sales, the Netherlands may create a legal supply chain.
Business
A New York City woman is suing Nevada cannabis consultancy Electrum Partners and its president Leslie Bosckor, claiming he fired her for having breast cancer and “because she had reported intra-company sexual activity that posed a risk to the company,” according to the suit. Bosckor declined to comment to the N.Y. Post.
The Winklevoss twins are counter-suing an investor in delivery app Eaze for “portraying them as deadbeats” after they backed out of an investment in the company.
The rate of failed drug tests has risen in coastal northern California to 3%, well above the national average.
Canada-based Canopy Growth, the world’s largest MED company, plans a major expansion into British Columbia, in partnership with an unnamed vegetable grower.
Year to date sales in Colorado topped $1 billion by the end of August. First month REC sales in Nevada far outpaced first month sales in Colorado, Washington and Oregon. Californians are on track to spend more than $2.6 billion on MED this year.
Canadian MED producer Sunniva won permission to build a huge 489,000 square foot grow in Cathedral City, Calif., in Riverside County.
WestWord recounts a failed unionization push among workers at a Pueblo, Colo., dispensary. (Check out the clever illustration.) The Alberta Federation of Labor wants a unionized dispensary workforce in the Canadian province.
The Boston Globe reports beleaguered tracking software firm MJ Freeway permanently lost much of its Spanish clients’ data.
Colorado-based supermarket chain Lucky’s Market will start selling CBD products at its 25 stores nationwide. Grocery giant Kroger has a significant stake in Lucky’s.
Mass(achusetts)Live talks to craft growers trying to survive the advent of corporate cannabis.
Vermont company Simmering Bone recalled a few containers of CBD-infused soup broth on account of a labeling mishap.
Northern Michigan University offers degrees in marijuana growing.
Florida has rejected a California bank’s proposal to serve its MED industry.
Arkansas gave accountants the green light to work green.
The Cannabist asks what GW Pharma’s attempt to win FDA approval for CBD drug Epidiolex could mean for the hemp industry.
Health and Science
Alexis Bortell, a 12-year old girl whose parents moved from Texas to Colorado to access CBD, is one of five plaintiffs suing the federal government. The suit argues that the ban on interstate trade infringes on her rights.
Speaking before a House sub-committee, Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) called for the government to release its “stranglehold” on MED research.
West Virginia will use population surveys to learn users’ thinking on MED.
A group of Minnesota parents wants the state to add autism as a qualifying condition for MED.
Only two doctors have applied for permission to recommend MED in Louisiana.
Environmental site Grist tours California’s Emerald Triangle from an eco-minded perspective.
Clinton-era surgeon general Dr. Joycelyn Elders supports legalization.
Australia’s University of Newcastle received funds to establish a national MED research center.
Thank You to WeedWeek’s Sustaining Members:
Pamela Hadfield
Co-Founder, HelloMD
HelloMD: The largest online community of health and wellness cannabis consumers
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Spencer Vodnoy
CEO, Critical Mind Inc. Adelanto, CA
Affiliations: CA State Bar; Board Member, Adelanto Growers Association
Critical Mind, Inc. is a Medical Cannabis Cultivation and Manufacturing Facility located in Adelanto, CA. Providing the highest quality Cannabis products. Compliance without Compromise!
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Criminal Justice
A Georgia sheriff and two deputies have been indicted following a forced search of 900 high school students. Atlanta Magazine explains the city’s new decriminalization law.
A congressional committee discussed MED access for cops.
In three years, DEA agents seized $550,000 from passengers at the Tucson airport’s baggage claim. The seizures did not result in any substantial busts.
The DEA seized 5.3 million pot plants in 2016, the highest total since 2011.
Ohio State newspaper the Lantern writes up a visit by former DEA agents who discussed chasing Pablo Escobar and the war on drugs.
A Phoenix man is suing the city after a cop allegedly forced him to eat edibles or go to jail.
Leaked documents show AG Jeff Sessions trying to reduce due process protections for those facing immigration court.
Florida could become the first state to execute fentanyl dealers.
The L.A. Times profiles prison journalist Arnulfo Garcia, who died in a car crash shortly after his release from California’s San Quentin prison after serving 16 years. His legacy can be felt in the podcast Ear Hustle, recorded within San Quentin.
Product reviews:
                              
Culture
Legalization supporting New York City mayoral candidat

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