WeeWeedWeek, July 1, 2017: Bribery, Corruption and Name Calling

Posted by | July 2, 2017 | Cannabis News, Weed Week News by Alex Halperin

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Here’s the news:
Politics

In Nevada fashion, REC went on sale at 12:01 a.m. last night. Restocking may be a concern for dispensaries due to an ongoing legal battle: Liquor dealers have exclusive distribution rights, a judge ruled, but none of the five companies that applied for a distribution license is ready.

 

The Vegas market is expected to be lucrative and acclimate tourists to legal weed. Cannabis is at as far a remove from the gaming industry as is possible in Vegas

 

The AP answers your FAQ. The knick-knack makers were ready.

Massachusetts is still struggling to develop REC rules.

 

California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) signed the state’s $125 billion budget which includes the cannabis regulations known as the trailer bill.

 

New regulations in Washington appear designed to protect the state’s industry from U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

 

Oregon is among the more restrictive states on cannabis data sharing. Ohio wouldn’t reveal the list of MED license applicants to the Cincinnati Enquirer.

 

Rhode Island lawmakers have given up on REC for now and instead want a 19-member commission to study the issue. Maine passed an emergency law to keep growers more than 500-feet from schools.

 

The conservative National Review says legalization will lead to more marijuana consumption.

 

California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) and gubernatorial candidate held a $500 a plate fundraiser for the cannabis industry.

 

Anti-legalization New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) dismissed state REC hearings as a “dog and pony show.”

 

There was a complicated spat over whether pro-legalization Congressmen Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) and Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) were dealt a defeat with the omission of language protecting state legal MED from the current version of a federal spending bill. Whether the language will ultimately be included is not yet clear.

 

Read pro-legalization activist Tom Angell’s take here, and anti-legalization activist Kevin Sabet’s take here. Angell calls the anti-legalization side “increasingly desperate.” Sabet says the Congressmen are “funded by illegal marijuana operations selling pot candies to kids.” Sabet adds that REC setbacks in Vermont and Rhode Island suggest the industry is losing momentum.

 

Rep. Blumenauer tweeted, “SAM’s [Sabet’s group] complete misrepresentation of the legislative process is entirely consistent with their repeated falsehoods about marijuana.”

 

Unprompted, U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry defended states’ rights on cannabis.

 

A bill in California would ban cannabis businesses from advertising on branded swag.

 

The LDS (Mormon) Church opposes Utah’s 2018 MED initiative.

 

Catalonia, Spain, the region which includes Barcelona, legalized REC.

Business

Maryland regulators moved to revoke a license awarded to an affiliate of Minnesota MED producer Vireo because two former Vireo employees face charges for allegedly driving 12 pounds of cannabis oil, worth about $500,000, in an armored vehicle from Minnesota to New York to meet a production deadline. Prosecutors said there were also fraudulent records in Minnesota indicating the oil had been destroyed.

 

A Vireo affiliate has been awarded a license in Pennsylvania. The company said it would appeal in Maryland.

 

A rural Oregon couple filed a racketeering (RICO) lawsuit against 43 cannabis-involved defendants. Canna Law Blog explains why RICO suits, originally intended to fight organized crime, pose an existential threat to the industry. “By its very design, RICO is intended to be ruinous to organizations caught in its crosshairs.”

 

A federal appeals court decision gives new hope to Fourth Corner Credit Union, a Denver group seeking to provide banking to cannabis companies. The 10th circuit court’s decision would allow Fourth Corner to reapply for the “master account” it needs to operate, from the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.

 

Patient data was stolen in cyberattack on delivery app Eaze. TechCrunch reports that the perpetrator is ransoming the data for $70M.

 

Congress may be warming to a cannabis banking law.

 

The newly announced National Association of Cannabis Businesses wants the industry to self-regulateon issues like advertising, packaging, labeling and accounting practices.

 

With REC legalization 12 months away, Canada is facing a weed shortage. In the side video, Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau says they country hasn’t focussed on making money from legalization.

 

Buzzfeed examines prospects for pot cafes in Denver and nationwide and advises: “Adjust your expectations.” Denver released final rules for social use and plans to start accepting applications this summer.

 

A survey conducted by Eaze (the app), found that more women, and moms, are using cannabis.  See the study on modern cannabis consumers here.

 

I wrote about cannabis big-data firm Headset for L.A. Weekly.

 

Financial analyst Alan Brochstein looks at the best online brokers for trading cannabis stocks.

 

About 200,000 Americans work full or part time in cannabis, more than dental hygienists, slightly less than telemarketers.

 

The Wall Street Journals finds that working in “edgy” industries like cannabis and sex toys can hurt executives who later want jobs at mainstream companies. Cannabis experience “is not something that would be in our (management) assortment anytime soon,” Target CEO Brian Cornell said.

 

In another setback for MED in Hawaii, an insurer said it would stop providing legally required worker’s comp. insurance to seven of the state’s eight dispensaries. The insurer said the decision reflected potential exposure to criminal liability, not a value judgement about MED.

OSHA’s California division decided existing workplace protections adequately cover cannabis.

 

A few pharmaceutical companies are developing cannabis-based painkillers that they hope could replace opioids.

 

Canadian MED producer Tilray is packaging product to look like generic pharmaceuticals.

 

The Montana Department of Agriculture refuted a federal decision to deny water to a Montana hemp farmer. The department said the farmer is in full compliance with state and federal law.

 

Hemp crops are doing well in North Dakota, despite a drought.

 

Weedon, a town in Quebec, wants to join the green rush.

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Health and Science

EPA chief Scott Pruitt (R) rejected California’s request to approve four pesticides for use on cannabis. All four pesticides are already approved for use on other crops.

 

Efforts to sway Congress on national CBD legalization are underway, The Cannabist finds. The story is part of a special report called “CBD, TBD.”

 

In preparation for legalization, Canada released “Lower-Risk Cannabis Use Guidelines.” Canadian cannabis activist Dana Larsen says the recommendations are “biased against cannabis,” compared to the government’s recommendations for alcohol.  WeedWeek isn’t aware of any legal state that has issued an equivalent document.

 

A study found that cannabinoids may prevent migraine, but have more limited benefits for cluster headache.

 

A survey by HelloMD, in collaboration with UC Berkeley, of almost 3,000 people in HelloMD’s patient database suggests a strong willingness to replace opioids with cannabis. (HelloMD has advertised in WeedWeek.) For the results see here.

 

FiveThirtyEight says data shortcomings may be exacerbating the opioids crisis.

 

A new study says the terms “hard drugs” and “soft drugs” are unhelpful.

 


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Criminal Justice

A Denver grand jury has indicted 74 following an investigation into a Colorado organization accused of shipping cannabis out of state, while bilking its investors. The organization, which had a base at a suburban Denver hydroponics store, is accused of shipping 100 pounds monthly, worth an estimated $200,000.  Ripped off investors include two former NFL players, neither of whom has been charged with a crime. The indictments represent the largest pot prosecution in Colorado since REC legalization. Most of the suspects remain at large. For more see here.

 

The law enforcement action was called Operation Toker Poker. A cannabis accessory brand called Toker Poker, is annoyed and considering legal action.

 

Workers contracted by the TSA at San Francisco and Oakland airport pleaded guilty to taking bribes in exchange for overlooking bundles of cocaine and marijuana sent through the security checkpoint.

 

Mark Holden, a leader of the Koch Brothers’ conservative political network criticized AG Jeff Sessions for trying to bring back the “harsh” sentences of the war on drugs. “You are never going to win the war on drugs. Drugs won.” The libertarian Koch Brothers have long favored criminal justice reform.

 

Sally Yates, who Trump fired as acting U.S. Attorney General in January, also rejects the Sessions approach.

 

Dan Rush, a former chair of Berkeley’s Medical Cannabis Commission pleaded guilty to three feloniesincluding money laundering after using the position to enrich himself. An attorney who Rush worked with pleaded guilty in February.

 

Armed robbers took more than $30,000 from the CBCB, a Berkeley dispensary. The shop was closed and no injuries were reported.

 

President Trump nominated Dr. Jerome Adams, an anesthesiologist and needle-exchange advocate for U.S. Surgeon General. Adams is currently Indiana’s health commissioner where he served under Vice-President Mike Pence (R) when Pence was governor.

 

Middletown, Ohio is may require overdose victims to perform community service to pay for the overdose drug Narcan. If after two opioid overdoses, an individual hasn’t performed the service, a city councilman proposes not sending out EMTs the third time. Middletown saw 532 overdoses last year and spent $11,000 on Narcan. There have been 577 overdoses so far this year and the town has spent more than $30,000 on Narcan.

 

In the Philippines, police send corpses to hospitals to cover up for extrajudicial drug killings, according to family members of the deceased and other witnesses.

 

Denver police have a system for composting confiscated weed.

 

The feds have a pop-up court at this week’s Rainbow Family Gathering a festival on federal land in Oregon. The federal Bureau of Land Management promises to be out in force drug testing drivers on their way to and from Burning Man, which takes place on federal land in Nevada.

 

The new podcast called Ear Hustle is about life in California’s San Quentin prison.

Product reviews:

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Culture

Rich, liberal Marin County, across the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco, has a decades long history of hostility to commercial cannabis.

 

A reverend and a rabbi editorialized in favor of REC in Connecticut.

 

Cannabis cryptocurrency company PotCoin got lots of press for sponsoring Dennis Rodman’s recent trip to North Korea. (Editorial: Weird times.)

 

Not all chefs want to suppress the cannabis taste in edibles.

 

Singer John Mayer discussed replacing booze with weed. “Drinking is a fucking con,” he said.

 

Seattle’s 26-year old Hempfest is in financial trouble. A smaller version is planned for August.

 

NBC has pics from the Emerald Exchange, a cannabis farmers’ market in Malibu.

 

An Instagram of Kylie Jenner, topless, smoking a joint, accrued 3.2M+ likes.

 

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.

Want to reach a devoted audience of top cannabis professionals? Advertise in WeedWeek. Contact Adrienne Nascimento at weedweekads@gmail.com for details.
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Bye,
Alex

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