WeedWeek: Cannabiz Steps Up D.C. Lobbying

Posted by | August 22, 2017 | Cannabis News, Weed Week News by Alex Halperin

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Here’s the news:
Politics
The cannabis industry spent $450,000 on lobbying in the first half of 2017, twice its expenditure during the same period in 2016. It was the highest growth rate of any industry, according to a report from the Center for Responsive Politics. Scotts Miracle-Gro., the publicly traded lawncare company making a play for the hydroponics market, accounted for more than 80% of industry lobbying.
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee and Alaska Gov. Bill Walker (I) are pushing back on Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ criticisms of their state cannabis programs. Inslee said Sessions made claims that are “outdated, incorrect, or based on incomplete information.”
To avoid a federal crackdown, legal states are trying to stop “diversion” across state lines.
Politico says legalization will be a central issue during the 2020 presidential campaign.
Maine’s REC program will be delayed until next summer at the earliest. Gov. Paul LePage (R) wants REC repealed.
A new proposal to legalize REC in Michigan would be retroactive to 1970, meaning state felony convictions since then would be expunged and state cannabis prisoners would be released. Like another proposal in the state, the ballot initiative targets a November 2018 vote.
“At this stage, [CBD oil is] as far as Texas will take” legalization, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) said.
The Indiana legislature will consider a Republican-backed MED bill.
Wisconsin state lawmaker Frank Lasee (R) declined to discuss his investment in Canadian MED giant Canopy Growth.
Law professor Jonathan H. Adler writes on what legalization means for federalism.
A bipartisan group of Congresspeople want to legalize hemp.
Business
The Minority Cannabis Business Association said it would withdraw from an upcoming cannabis conference on account of keynote speaker Roger Stone, a political operative and Trump supporter known for racially-charged tactics and messaging. Cannabis Industry Journal supports MCBA’s move and briefly runs through “Stone’s Shady Past.
Cannabis World Congress & Business Expo (CWCB) said it will not revoke Stone’s invitation. “Stone has raised a lot of money. He is pushing Jeff Sessions really hard and he’s got Donald Trump’s ear,” CBCW managing partner Dan Humiston said.
Colorado Public Radio reports businesses are more concerned about their electricity bills, a sign of industry maturation. In Washington and Colorado, the piece notes, utilities are defraying the cost for grows to convert to light-emiting diodes (LED) which use less electricity than metal halide and high-pressure sodium bulbs.
Leafly deputy editor Bruce Barcott suggests hot cannabis stocks have reached the point where “Bullshit becomes monetized.” In particular he questions the proposed go-public valuation of High Times at $250M when it was recently valued at $70M. MarketWatch explains the “blank-check company” method High Times is using to go public.
Motley Fool examines pot stocks after a strong year.
Companies are moving away from strain names, as a way to identify their products. Strain names are widely considered unreliable.
Denver is considering alternate tax structures to push out the illegal market. Social use activists may sue Denver for settling on rules they consider too restrictive.
A Nevada judge expanded the business types eligible for distribution licenses.
Washington altered the rules to allow businesses to own more grow licenses. The step may increase competition, supply and merger activity.
Six of 15 pre-approved growers in Maryland missed the deadline to have their businesses running, but may be granted an extension.
Massachusetts edibles makers talked about how regulation drives innovation.
Trucking companies, which experience as high as 60% drug test failure rates, are rethinking their cannabis policies. Don’t expect change any time soon.
App Wikileaf is advertising in-flight on Virgin America.
L.A. Weekly asks if pesticide regulations will hurt the state industry.
The Alaska Dispatch News asks if the state is making money from legal cannabis.
Still no one has applied to run a MED business in Arkansas.
Canadian MED producer Tilray is investing $24M to convert a pepper farm into one of the country’s largest legal grows.
A Canadian producer with a Florida MED license is increasing its footprint in the Sunshine State. Canadian exports are booming, and executives are thinking about how to go global.
Israel will export MED. Kibbutzes want in on the Israeli green rush.
County law is another reason why the plan to convert tiny desert town Nipton, Calif. Into a cannabis resort seems unlikely.
Investing publication The Midas Letter toured a grow run by Canadian MED player Aphria.
Health and Science
Under Attorney General Jeff Sessions (R), the Justice Department will block the DEA’s push to increase federal grow permits, a program designed to foster MED research. The DEA was considering 25 applications but does not expect Justice to sign off on any of them.
The National Institutes of Health has awarded Bronx-based Albert Einstein medical school $3.8M to conduct the first long term study to test whether MED reduces opioid use for adults with chronic pain, including those with HIV/AIDS. Subjects in the five year study will obtain MED legally in New York dispensaries.
A new University of Texas, Dallas, study found chronic cannabis use may reduce the risk of stroke by improving blood flow. For more see here.
Modern Farmer learns about the “Superfund-like” sites left behind by illegal grows in northern California.
In New Jersey, the parents of a recently deceased 22-year old man are convinced his MED caused his heart to beat erratically and then stop. Cannabis is not listed as his cause of death.
Massachusetts has a new marijuana training course for doctors.
At Leafly, Dr. Dave Hepburn says cannabis activists shouldn’t exaggerate its medical benefits.
A scientific breakthrough could enable large scale production of psilocybin, the active ingredient in hallucinogenic mushrooms.
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Criminal Justice
A federal judge blocked federal prosecutors from pursuing a case against two California growers who tried to act in compliance with state law. The case is the first to test the “Rohrabacher-Farr amendment.” For more see here.
A decorated special forces veteran and MED user in Colorado is suing the Denver suburb of Fountain for raiding his grow. The authorities say they had a signed warrant.
Video documentation emerged in the case of a Harris County (Houston) Texas woman suing the sheriff’s office over a vaginal cavity search conducted on her.
In an opinion piece, Jim Patterson, CEO of delivery app Eaze says the Marijuana Justice Act, the legalization bill proposed by N.J. Sen. Cory Booker (D) “legalizes marijuana the right way.
In an opinion piece, Ryan Jennemann, founder of California grower THC Design, asks if AG Sessions’ opposition to legalization is racially motivated.
The Crime Report profiles LEAR Asset Management, a private security firm that performs “Counter-Trespass Operations” against illegal grows in California’s Emerald Triangle.
San Diego cops raided two illegal dispensaries. The city says it has shuttered more than 60 since March. Voice of San Diego reports the prosecution of cannabis attorney Jessica McElfresh has sent chillsthrough the local cannabusiness community.
A disbarred Nevada lawyer is wanted in an alleged dispensary investment scam.
San Joaquin County, Calif. (Stockton) is targeting dispensaries.
Louisiana is reviewing prison sentences for 16,000 inmates who may see their sentences shortened under a new law.
A woman who tested positive for THC in Pennsylvania after a car crash that killed her two grandchildren, was not high at the time of the crash, her lawyer said. Authorities found Oxycodone pills and alcohol, but not marijuana, in the car. (THC can stay in the system for weeks after the last use.)
A report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration questions the accuracy of marijuana impairment tests used by police. See the government report here.
The small South American country Paraguay, which apparently produces nine percent of the world’s marijuana, has seen a major increase in gangs and drug related violence. Paraguay is also a major cocaine producer.
Charges were dropped against D.C. cannabis activist Adam Eidinger. They stemmed from a 4/20 protest at the Capitol.
A handful of cases illustrate how diversion happens.
The New Yorker explains civil asset forfeiture, the controversial practice favored by AG Sessions.
Product reviews:
                              
Culture
Rolling Stone has a guide to good citizenship for pot smokers.
Washingtonian (D.C.) meets Fooman Zybar who reviewed street drugs in the 1960’s and is “somehow” still alive.
College football coaches are not legalization supportersThe NBA is luke warm.
Elite Canadian athletes are using and investing in cannabis, but are concerned about rules for international competition.
Tiffany Hadish of “Girls Trip” thinks the movie will be popular with stoners forever.
Singer Melissa Etheridge compared going public about cannabis use to coming out of the closet.
Anti-legalization activist Kevin Sabet is taking on Seattle’s Hempfest. “They’re just off-target with everything they do and say,” Hempfest founder Vivian McPeak said.
Sabet gave an upbeat interview to Westword on his progress fighting legalization. A Florida CBS affiliate reports the evidence that legalization is advancing “at an incredible pace.
Professional dominatrix Mistress Matisse writes about her experience at the ArcView investor conference.
A new illustrated book helps growers determine “What’s Wrong with My Marijuana Plant?”
*
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