WeedWeek, 12/2/17: AG Jeff Sessions Hints at Crackdown

Posted by | December 3, 2017 | Cannabis News, Weed Week News by Alex Halperin

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Here’s the news.
POLITICS
Anti-cannabis U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions implied a cannabis crackdown may be in the works. Without providing details he said the Justice Department is, “Looking very hard [at whether to go after legal states.] In fact, we had meetings yesterday and talked about it at some length,” Session said the department seeks a “rational” policy and reiterated his opposition to cannabis use. For more see Axios.
Former Republican National Committee head Michael Steele predicted any attempt at a crackdown would backfire. “In one sense, I’m like, ‘Go ahead, Jeff. Do your thing, baby. Bring it. Because you’ll have 18 states lining up to bring an immediate lawsuit pushing back on your crackdown,'” Steele told Civilized. “And that really blows up the conversation at the federal level.”
The Rohrabacher-Blumenauer Amendment, which protects state legal MED from federal prosecution, could expire Friday.
Despite support from Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner (R), the cannabis industry’s push to end hated tax rule 280E failed to be included in the sweeping tax bill the U.S. Senate passed last night. The bill needs to be reconciled with a version passed by the house before heading to the president’s desk. (New York Times columnist and Nobel Prize winning economist Paul Krugman calls it “The Biggest Tax Scam in History.”)
CNBC explains how the tax bill could accelerate legalization.
MJBIz Daily has an FAQ on what California businesses need to know about the new state rules.
Rolling Stone looks at California’s truth in labelling requirement, and how it could help small farmers. New California rules also complicate selling cannabis at festivals and other events.
San Francisco passed rules for REC; Sales will begin January 5. Oakland passed rules for local regulation. Sacramento may try to create a racial equity program.
Wealthy, liberal Marin County, rejected all ten dispensary applications. In Bakersfield, a high-profile cannabis opponent is suing two people who revealed he has a MED card.
Michigan Republican consultant Scott Greenlee, announced a group which will oppose REC in Michigan. He said it has a broad-base of support but declined to say who’s bankrolling it. New Jersey towns skeptical of REC legalization have joined together to study the issue. (For more on New Jersey see here.) Michigan and New Jersey could both legalize next year.
Sixty-two percent of New Yorkers support legalizing MED, a poll found.
Washington state may allow limited home growing.
Legalization in New Jersey could disrupt Pennsylvania’s MED program. Departing N.J. Gov. Chris Christie (R), called pot taxes “blood money.
Several of Connecticut’s gubernatorial candidates favor legal REC. (WeedWeek Forum recently published a piece on how to legalize in Connecticut.)
There’s some friction over the date for Oklahoma’s MED vote next year.
Some New Jersey Democrats are skeptical of Gov.-elect Phil Murphy’s (D) plan to legalize rapidly. Philly cannabis activist and writer Chris Goldstein writes about anti-legalization Democrats.
MED sales began in Marylandbut supply is short. Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb (R), demanded CBD products be removed from stores in 60 days.
Despite some confusing reports, President Trump aide Kellyanne Conway is not a new opioid crisis czar. David Frum at The Atlantic sees the political operative’s involvement in the crisis as a sign of the administration’s unseriousness on the issue. “It’s very difficult to imagine what relevant assets Conway could bring to the opioid czar job, even if it existed,” he writes.
Canada’s House of Commons passed the REC bill and the Senate has begun to debate. Some conservatives have vowed to fight legalization during what’s expected to be a months-long process. Some cities in British Columbia have begun to work on regulations. The province is expected to release rules early next year.
In Italy, the army has a monopoly on MED, and only produces one low-THC strain, The Washington Post explains. The Guardian studies Holland’s cannabis laws.
The state of South Australia, banned driving by MED patients with cannabis in their systems.
A court in Georgia, the nation, decriminalized.
BUSINESS
Canada’s industry appears to be entering a consolidation phase. Vice looks at Canadian MED producer CanniMed Therapeutics’ attempt to stave off a hostile takeover by Aurora Cannabis, a larger competitor.
Quartz explains how Canada will measure legalization’s economic impact. A report found eliminating Canada’s illegal market could hurt the national economy.
Canadian permit applications continue to climb. Former cops are moving into the country’s industry. Leafly tells how MED company Cronos Group, became the largest employer in a small Ontario town.
Canadian company CannaRoyalty said it will acquire California companies Kaya Management, which holds rights to Bhang vaporizer products and Alta Supply, a California distributor.
U.S. investors are looking to Canadian cannabis stocks which already have far higher market capitalizations than their American counterparts.
After failing to secure the necessary approvals from the Federal Reserve of Kansas City, Colorado’s Fourth Corner Credit Union is back with a more modest plan to bank the industry.
Julie Weed, at Forbes, has more on the industry’s ongoing bank woes.
Representatives of a Nevada gaming panel don’t know what to do about federal cannabis laws in the state where REC is legal. They’ll reconvene next year to discuss cannabis conventions.
Beleaguered tech company MassRoots entered a partnership with market research firm New Frontier. Deal terms and what the partnership would entail were not disclosed.
Enterprise software company MJFreeway disclosed it was involved in yet another cyberattack, this one in November 2016.
Ohio announced the winners of large-grow licenses choosing 12 companies out of 109 applicants. Winners include a former spokesman for Gov. John Kasich (R).
A judge declined to dismiss a lawsuit against an aspiring pot farm in Yamhill County, Ore. The N.Y. Times published a story about the nasty dispute in September.
Cannabis real estate investment trust Innovative Industrial Properties agreed to buy an Arizona property for $15M.
Jamaican farmers worry foreign companies will be legalization’s only beneficiaries.
Ozy takes another look at a bullish report on the European market. The report comes from Prohibition PartnersU.K. CBD use is on the rise.
HEALTH & SCIENCE
Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, urged Health and Human Services Department nominee Alex Azar, to support MED as a way to mitigate the opioid crisis.

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