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WeedWeek, 1/27/18: Dealflow Heats Up As Cannabiz Ignores AG Sessions

Posted by | January 27, 2018 | Cannabis News, Weed Week News by Alex Halperin

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IN OTHER WEEDWEEK NEWS:
The WeedWeek Podcast’s first two episodes are up on iTunes, and other major podcast managers. (No matter which you use, it’s especially helpful to rate us five stars in iTunes.)
Check in Monday for episode threefeaturing an exclusive interview with Congressmand Earl Blumenauer, (D-Ore.). A longtime advocate for legalization, Blumenauer discusses the mood in Congress and how 2018 candidates should talk and think about legalization
Want to pitch yourself or someone else as a guest? Let us know. Other thoughts comments or feedback? Don’t be shy.
Subscribe and rate us five stars, and the next episode will be out Monday.
Our producer is Katie Long. Interested in sponsorship opportunities? Contact here.
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The 2018 U.S. midterm elections are coming. Register to vote and/or get the information you need to vote here.
So much news.
POLITICS
A bipartisan group of 52 Senators and Congresspeople has called on Attorney General Jeff Sessions to reinstate the Cole Memo which protects state legal cannabis businesses from federal prosecution.
States, especially the most recent to legalize, are concerned about what the Cole Memo decision will mean for pot tax revenue.
Aaron Smith, head of the embattled National Cannabis Industry Association, said lobbyists told him Sessions did not alert President Trump of his decision to rescind the Cole Memo. Sessions is “on an island,” Smith said.
The federal Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment, which protects state legal MED activity, was extended through February 8 as part of the federal budget deal. Subscribe to the WeedWeek podcast for our exclusive interview with Congressman Blumenauer. It drops Monday.
San Francisco will vote on a pot tax and a city cannabis commission in November. Leafly’s Peter Hecht looks at why Calaveras County, Calif.,banned commercial grows.
Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) discussed the Marijuana Justice Actbill with S.F. Weekly. Canna Law Blog has an update on equity programs in Oakland and S.F.
Vermont became the ninth state to legalize REC and the first to do so through the state legislature. The law takes effect July 1 but does not allow for a state industry, which is still under study. The Onion weighed in.
Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R) wants to further delay REC sales.
John Morgan, a wealthy cannabis activist and personal injury lawyer, issuing Florida to allow smokable MED. Joe Redner, a well-known Tampa strip bar owner and cancer patient, is suing the state to grow his own.
Maryland lawmakers may reorganize the state’s cannabis commission.
Michigan REC supporters face some opposition.
The Indiana House voted to study MED legalization. Georgia lawmakersadvanced a MED bill.
Pro-legalization Texas Congressman Beto O’Rourke (D) is running a longshot candidacy for Ted Cruz’s (R) Senate seat.
In Virginia, a House panel defeated a bill to decriminalize. A bill in Oklahoma would pre-emptively restrict MED ahead of the state’s June vote.
Mexico’s tourism minister said the country should legalize REC in tourist spots like Cancun and Los Cabos. He then walked back the remarks. With the legal U.S. market hurting cartels, The L.A. Times reports Mexico is “warming” to legalization.
Greece hopes legalizing MED will help with the country’s employment crisis.
A Russian presidential candidate and reality TV star proposed legalizing cannabis, saying it’s safer than vodka.
BUSINESS
Canada’s Aurora Cannabis agreed to buy smaller competitor CanniMed Therapeutics for C$1.1 billion ($850M) (Reuters) to form the world’s most valuable cannabis company. Aurora paid C$43 a share, up from its initial offer of C$24. Pending shareholder and regulatory approval, the deal brings 2018 cannabis deals to $1.2 billion, more than double the 2017 total. For more see the Financial Post.
Hedge fund Lakewood Capital Management revealed short positions in Aurora and Canopy Growth, the two largest Canadian MED producers. Aurora said it wasn’t concerned.
Canopy Growth meanwhile wants to open dispensaries in the Canadian provinces which allow private ownership.
Seattle-based Privateer Holdings raised $100M in Series C funding(MJBiz), a record in the industry. Privateer says proceeds, about 10% of which arrived after AG Sessions rescinded the Cole Memo, will fund overseas acquisitions. The non-disclosed donors include “ultra high net worth individuals, family offices and institutions,” (TechCrunch) from the U.S., Canada, Australia, Europe and Asia. GQ profiles Privateer investor and sometime Trump friend Peter Thiel.
Upscale California brand Canndescent raised $10M in series B growth capital. Investors included Floret Ventures and Altitude Investment Partners.
The CEO of online brokerage TD Ameritrade said interest in cannabis and bitcoin are fueling “frenetic” trading activity(CNBC), especially among Millenials. For more on “out of control” pot stocks see Reuters and Vice.
High Times plans to raise $50M in an IPO and will trade over the counter if the NASDAQ rejects its application. As of September 30, it reported assets of $3.6M and debt of $38.6M.
MedMen and other U.S. cannabis companies are looking to go public in Canada, CNBC reports.
The California Growers Association sued to block the state from allowing mega grows. The San Francisco Chronicle recounts the travails of a small business in the legal climate. MJBiz has more on California’s developing business climate.
A Baldwin Park, Calif., city councilwoman received a $4,400 campaign contribution from the CEO of cannabis company Rukli, the day after she awarded his company an exclusive cannabis transport permit in the city.
Business Insider profiles oil maker Cura Cannabis Solutions which is chasing a $1 billion valuation.
N.Y. Times tech columnist Farhad Manjoo says cannabis could be big.
The Economist looks at the industry’s banking problem.
“Self-regulatory organization” the National Association of Cannabis Businesses, is proposing national packaging standards. A public comment period will begin in a few weeks. A Colorado recycling non-profit seeks toreduce industry waste.
The Asbury Park Press reports on the obstacles facing would be cannabis entrepreneurs in New Jersey. Gov. Phil Murphy moved to expand the state’s MED program.
With new state taxes, California customers are paying up to 40% more for weed than last year. After seeing a decline, Montana will remind MED providers to pay their taxes.
Massachusetts anticipates $63M in pot taxes during the first year of REC sales, roughly 0.15% of the state budget.
An applicant for an Oakland license defended his decision to offer a city official a trip to Spain, ostensibly to study the Iberian cannabis situation. The official declined the offer.
Colorado announced a recall of Bronnor vape pens for containing excess residual ethanol (alcohol).
Oregon increased penalties for selling to minors. After stores were busted selling to minors, the state’s top pot regulator said “your friends in government are really, really disappointed.”
Massachusetts may send “secret shoppers” into dispensaries to ensure they’re following rules.
The Associated Press is expanding its cannabis coverage.

Cannabisjobs.us
THIS IS WEEDWEEK.
BECAUSE CANNABIS NEWS MATTERS.
DID YOU KNOW? You can list your conferences, festivals and parties for FREE on the site.
Check out those upcoming events here.
Would you appreciate a WeedWeek regional supplement with more news from California and/or Canada? Or more news about the opioid crisis? Sign up at the appropriate link.
If you consider WeedWeek a valuable resource, consider supporting us with a monthly contribution on Patreon.
Swag and discounts start at $2 a month.
For $25 a month you get five (5!) WeedWeek stickers, discounts to all future WeedWeek events, a postcard from Los Angeles, cannabis capital of the world and you get to join a monthly Google hangout with me and other WeedWeek supporters to discuss the latest news…
Brandbuilding opportunities to appear in the newsletter with your links and social media handles start at only $50 a month.
LIKE US.
FOLLOW US:
ALEX HALPERIN
IN OTHER WEEDWEEK NEWS:
The WeedWeek Podcast trailer is up on iTunes, and other major podcast managers. (No matter which you use, it’s especially helpful to rate us five stars in iTunes.)
The first two episodes land on Monday. One features a conversation with Emily Dufton, author of Grass Roots: The Rise and Fall and Rise of Marijuana in America.In a fascinating conversation, Dufton discusses how the U.S. almost decriminalized cannabis in the 1970’s, and the backlash which paved the way for Nancy Reagan’s Just Say No movement.
Hosted by reporters Hayley Fox and Alex Halperin, the podcast is a weekly look at the green rush focussed on Politics, Business, Health and Science, Criminal Justice and Culture.
Want to pitch yourself or someone else as a guest? Let us know. Other thoughts comments or feedback? Don’t be shy.
So, listen to the trailer, subscribe and rate us five stars, and you’ll hear from us on Monday.
Our producer is Katie Long.
Interested in sponsorship opportunities? Contact here.
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Recommended: I’m late to the Amazon series Good Girls Revolt, but it’s smart and fun.
The 2018 U.S. midterm elections will be here before you know it. Register to voteand/or get the information you need to vote here.
So much news.
POLITICS
Following Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ move to rescind the Cole memo, the government shutdown which began at midnight eastern time has opened a legal window to prosecute state legal MED and REC businesses. DEA field agents are exempt from shutdown-related furloughs.
Before the shutdown, Colorado Congressman and gubernatorial candidate Jared Polis (D) fell short in his attempt to block federal prosecutions against state-legal cannabis businesses. The Rohrabacher-Blumenauer Amendment, which blocks federal prosecutions against state legal MED, expired when the shutdown began.
Roughly nine hours into the shutdown, there did not appear to be any reports of federal anti-cannabis actions.
Leafly looks at the last federal crackdown, between 2011 and 2013.
House Democrats introduced a bill to legalize REC federally and provide “restorative justice” for the war on drugs. It would expunge some minor federal convictions and create a fund to help former convicts enter the industry. It’s a companion to a bill introduced by Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) earlier this year.
A bipartisan group of Senators and Congresspeople urged the Treasury Department’s FinCEN unit to keep existing cannabis banking guidelines in place. For more see here.
The Cannifornian looks at how state lawmakers are fighting Attorney General Sessions. California said the two decade old collective and cooperative system, which prevailed during two decades of legal MED, will end next January.
Massachusetts regulators want to meet with Trump-appointed federal prosecutor Andrew Lelling, who has not committed to respecting state cannabis law. The state also disclosed its REC rollout timeline.
Federal prosecutor for Oregon, Trump-appointee Billy J. Williams, is convening a summit to address his “significant concerns” about Oregon’s industry.
The Colorado Springs Gazette profiles Congressman Doug Lamborn (R), the only member of Colorado’s congressional delegation to support a federal crackdown. Senate Judiciary Chair Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) also backs Sessions.
Colorado attorney general and gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Coffman (R), who opposed the 2012 REC vote, writes, “It is too late to dismantle the marijuana industry.
Some Democratic state lawmakers oppose New Jersey’s REC bill because its social justice provisions are too weak. For more on New Jersey’s REC push, see here.
Tom Angell looks at cannabis and this year’s gubernatorial races.
A report ordered by Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan could facilitate legislation supporting racial minorities’ in the industry. For more see here.
A poll conducted for Kevin Sabet’s anti-legalization group Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM) found 16% of Americans favor the status quo of federal prohibition, 29% favor legalizing MED, 5% back decriminalization and 49% favor full legalization. (Among Republicans, 25% favor the status quo.) For SAM, the silver lining is with more choices, fewer Americans support full legalization than other recent polls suggest.
A Georgia poll found 50% – 46% support for legal REC.
Arizona legalization opponents are brainstorming ideas for anti-pot laws.
Politico reports Trump wants to slash the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), budget by 95%, provoking bipartisan criticism in the middle of opioid epidemic. The president hasn’t appointed a permanent “drug-czar” to run the office. A 24-year old political appointee with no relevant experience serves as the agency’s deputy chief of staff, the Washington Post reported.
To follow federal law, gun owners have to choose between their weapons and cannabis use.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) proposed studying REC legalization. The Democrat & Chronicle (Rochester) asks what legal REC would mean for the state.
Before Monday, Vermont Gov. Phil Scott (R) expects to be the first governor to sign a REC legalization law passed by the state legislature.
If elected, Wisconsin gubernatorial candidate Matt Flynn (D) said he would pardon low-level cannabis offenses.
Oklahoma narcotics officials expect the June MED vote to pass.
In Missouri, Republican lawmakers might try to pre-empt a state MED vote by passing a more restrictive law through the legislature. A Nebraska state senator introduced legislation to allow a MED ballot initiative.
Los Angeles issued its first licenses. Formerly pot-friendly Calaveras County, Calif., banned commercial farms, inviting lawsuits.
Numerous Florida cities have banned dispensaries.
A growing number of congresspeople support legal hemp.
In the Guardian, an economist argues the U.K. should legalize not decriminalize. MED legalization has a support base in Wales.
Greece appears poised to legalize MED.
BUSINESS
Cannabis Business Executive’s Rob Meagher published a letter to the National Cannabis Industry Association from Genifer Murray, who was fired as chief of staff to Executive Director Aaron Smith on Dec. 4, after less than two months on the job. As of early January, Murray said she had not received an explanation. The site previously published a resignation letter from NCIA board member Kayvan Khalatbari.
In her brief stint at NCIA, Murray alleges witnessing: employee favoritism, a legally exposed “personal intimate relationship” between executive director Smith and a current employee, a lack of accountability, poor morale, profligate spending and slow growth relative to the industry.
NCIA referred Meagher to a response to allegations in Khalatbari’s email, which NCIA put out before Murray’s letter came to light. Responding to Khalatbari it stated, “While we acknowledge the opinion published, it was formed based on incomplete information and hearsay.” It also acknowledged “innuendo” about sexual harassment at the organization, and says there are no pending cases and no cases have been filed in the past.
The NCIA site still lists Rob Kampia, the Marijuana Policy Project founder, as a board member. Kampia recently departed MPP amid past sexual harassment allegations, and rumors that more could come to light. For more see MJBizDaily.
Anyone familiar with the situation at NCIA who wants to talk on background can contact me at alex@weedweek.net.
The Western Regional Cannabis Business Alliance, representing businesses in six states, asked Congress for protection from federal prosecution.
Fort Collins, Colo.-based Sunrise Genetics said it has mapped the cannabis genome. Deepening genetic knowledge can lead to improvements in growing and the value of specific chemicals found in the plant.
Washington cannabis prices plummeted on oversupply, with some farmers accepting as little as $1 a gram wholesale. Meanwhile, local rules ban businesses in some parts of the state. Canna Law Blog has more on the oversupply problem.
CNET looks at how dispensaries market themselves since they’re banned from Facebook and Google.
Nevada growers are worried about new permanent REC rules they say favor dispensaries.
MJBiz talks to California growers adjusting to the legal market.
Troubled social app MassRoots was evicted from its Denver headquarters for owing almost $40,000 in rent.
A study in Denver suggests proximity to a dispensary boosts a home’s value.
A 32 year UPS employee is suing the company after it fired him when a drug test showed cannabis and amphetamines. The plaintiff has a MED card and an Adderall prescription.
The Colorado Springs Independent asks why so little is known about cannabis jobs.
Pro-legalization Nevada state Senator Tick Segerblom disclosed his
Cannabisjobs.us
THIS IS WEEDWEEK.
BECAUSE CANNABIS NEWS MATTERS.
DID YOU KNOW? You can list your conferences, festivals and parties for FREE on the site.
Check out those upcoming events here.
Would you appreciate a WeedWeek regional supplement with more news from California and/or Canada? Or more news about the opioid crisis? Sign up at the appropriate link.
If you consider WeedWeek a valuable resource, consider supporting us with a monthly contribution on Patreon.
Swag and discounts start at $2 a month.
For $25 a month you get five (5!) WeedWeek stickers, discounts to all future WeedWeek events, a postcard from Los Angeles, cannabis capital of the world and you get to join a monthly Google hangout with me and other WeedWeek supporters to discuss the latest news…
Brandbuilding opportunities to appear in the newsletter with your links and social media handles start at only $50 a month.
LIKE US.
FOLLOW US:
ALEX HALPERIN
IN OTHER WEEDWEEK NEWS:
WeedWeek has introduced a new feature called WeedWeek Forum, the cannabis world’s Op-Ed page. Many of you are are eager to share your thoughts and expertise. Here’s your chance to publish on the WeedWeek site.
WeedWeek publishes 400-600 word essays, arguments, observations and fact-based criticisms by outside contributors. We do not accept payment for publishing work.
Our latest post comes from , Centuria CEO Michael Brubeck who warns cannabis investors: Get ready to lose everything.
Want to contribute? Check out the writer’s guidelines here.
WeedWeek’s Holiday Gift Guide is still up featuring special offers on some great gear.
Here’s the news.
POLITICS
The world’s largest and most important REC market opens in California on Monday.
The Financial Times surveys some California companies. The AP meets some California edibles players. The Washington Post visits the future cannabis resort of Nipton, Calif.
One small-time Mendocino grower is worried about the future.
The San Francisco Chronicle’s Green State has a REC launch guide including explainers on California’s cannabis lawstaxes and one from me on why it took so long. Mother Jones ran a quick guide on how it’s all supposed to workUSA Today has more.
One prominent L.A. dispensary may be closed Monday, in deference to legal concerns. SoCal Growers are moving out to the suburbs. For Green State, I wrote about the massive grows popping up in the California desert.
Los Angeles City Council President Herb Wesson (D) wrote a blog post on the city’s regulatory approach. S.F. is launching a PSA campaign to warn kids about the risks of cannabis use.
In Leafly, Hayley Fox explains why California packaging rules will hit dispensaries hardest.
The Golden Gate transit authority followed S.F. to ban cannabis ads on buses and ferries.
At Rolling Stone, Amanda Chicago Lewis has industry predictions for 2018 including “the end of ‘indica’ and ‘sativa.” and the first legal consumption lounges.
The L.A. Times looks at how Congressional Republicans’ opposition has created a “wild west” distribution climate in D.C. “Nowhere is more pot sold so openly and publicly without any of the rules and regulations that elsewhere have come with legalization.” Through delivery service Trending Leafs, for example, customers buy an empty glass jar for $50 and it arrives containing “gifts.”
Eight Pennsylvania businesses can start growing MED. The Cleveland Plain Dealer editorialized that Ohio should redo its grow-license application process to correct for flaws and perceived biases.
Las Vegas’ Congresswoman Dina Titus (D) tweeted in favor of cannabis banking reform.
After the previous effort collapsed, Maine lawmakers anticipate an aggressive push to pass a REC law in 2018. New Hampshire lawmakers propose pardoning some with minor pot offenses and allowing MED patients to grow at home.
Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin (R) will soon decide whether the state’s MED vote will be during the June 2018 primary or on election day in November. The Dallas Observer rounds up the Texas situation.
Nebraska Gubernatorial candidate Krystal Gabel (R) will campaign on full decriminalization, plus pardons for non-violent cannabis offenders. Gabel says Nebraska could be home to a multi-billion dollar hemp industry.
Missouri activists say they’ll have the 150,000 signatures they need for a MED initiative. Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb (R) says he’s “not there YET” on legal MED.
West Virginia’s Republican Senate Majority leader doubts legal REC would solve the state’s money woes.
Kevin Sabet’s anti-legalization group Project SAM saw a victory in that “No state legalized marijuana in 2017.” (West Virginia legalized MED in April.)
Tom Angell is offering a legislation tracking tool for cannabis laws in all 50 states. Here’s what’s on the 2018 legislative calendar.
Buzzfeed has a useful piece on everything that could go wrong with REC legalization in Canada.
A Chinese anti-drug official blamed legalization, in part, for climbing U.S. demand for synthetic opioids, many of which are manufactured in China.
BUSINESS
The lawyer for the former Chief Medical Officer of MED company Vireo Health has accused Minnesota law enforcement of evidence manipulation and witness intimidation. His client and another former employee face felony charges for allegedly smuggling $500,000 worth of cannabis oil from Minnesota to New York in an armored vehicle.
Canadian pot stocks soared in anticipation of California. Analyst Alan Brochstein warned investors that the market remains tricky.
Marijuana Policy Project founder Rob Kampia is no longer with the organization. He’s starting a new company called Marijuana Leadership Campaign. In 2010, Kampia took a leave of absence from the organization amid sexual harassment concerns. Tom Angell says a major newspaper story detailing further allegations against Kampia is in the works.
A bank ended its relationship with Sacramento canna-law firm Greenbridge Corporate Counsel after Greenbridge declined to provide information on its clients.
A Florida judge halted the award of a coveted Florida grow license to a black farmer, a provision of state MED law. It’s the latest twist in a complex legal case.
In the N.Y. Times, Julie Weed looks into how cannabis companies raise capital.
FiveThirtyEight says the market increasingly favors larger businesses.
Financial firm Edward Jones says Canadian pot stocks remain risky.
A new cannabis exchange traded fund started trading on NYSE Arca under the symbol MJX. Canadian MED producer Cronos Group is the fund’s largest holding. Seeking Alpha has more.
Operating company and consultancy MJardin raised $20M.
Canna Law Blog has some recommendations for protecting your business from employee malfeasance.
Privateer Holdings, parent company to Leafly, Marley Natural and Canadian MED brand Tilray, acquired Washington edibles brand The Goodship.
The Cannabist looked at 2017 in cannabis search trends on Google.
HEALTH & SCIENCE
More pregnant U.S. teenagers and young adults are smoking cannabis. Existing research suggests cannabis exposure in the womb can impair growth and neurodevelopment. For more see here, and here.
A medical review found several stroke cases in cannabis users who did not display other at-risk symptoms.
Colorado police suspect youth cannabis use has climbed since legalization, despite studies which found it has not. For more see here.
GW Pharmaceuticals has submitted its CBD epilepsy drug Epidiolex to the FDA for approval and expects a response on June 27.
Physician and Weedmaps advisor Dr. Bonni Goldstein writes about how cannabis may prevent serious illnesses.
Cannabisjobs.us

WeedWeek: How Sessions Could Crack Down, PLUS: A Hot Start-Up Collapses

 

THIS IS WEEDWEEK.
BECAUSE CANNABIS NEWS MATTERS.
DID YOU KNOW? You can list your conferences, festivals and parties for FREE on the site.
Check out those upcoming events here.
Would you appreciate a WeedWeek regional supplement with more news from California and/or Canada? Or more news about the opioid crisis? Sign up at the appropriate link.
If you consider WeedWeek a valuable resource, consider supporting us with a monthly contribution on Patreon.
Swag and discounts start at $2 a month.
For $25 a month you get five (5!) WeedWeek stickers, discounts to all future WeedWeek events, a postcard from Los Angeles, cannabis capital of the world and you get to join a monthly Google hangout with me and other WeedWeek supporters to discuss the latest news…
Brandbuilding opportunities to appear in the newsletter with your links and social media handles start at only $50 a month.
LIKE US.
FOLLOW US:
ALEX HALPERIN
IN OTHER WEEDWEEK NEWS:
WeedWeek has introduced a new feature called WeedWeek Forum, the cannabis world’s Op-Ed page. Many of you are are eager to share your thoughts and expertise. Here’s your chance to publish on the WeedWeek site.
WeedWeek publishes 400-600 word essays, arguments, observations and fact-based criticisms by outside contributors. We do not accept payment for publishing work.
Our latest post comes from , Centuria CEO Michael Brubeck who warns cannabis investors: Get ready to lose everything.
Want to contribute? Check out the writer’s guidelines here.
WeedWeek’s Holiday Gift Guide is up featuring special offers on some great gear.
Contact Adrienne Nascimento to add an offer for your product.
Here’s the news.
POLITICS
As part of a spending measure, Congress temporarily extended the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer Amendment, which blocks the Justice Department from prosecuting state-legal MED businesses, until January 19.
Politico reports on U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ sustained attack on the amendment and what a crackdown might look like. Marijuana Policy Project’s (MPP) Morgan Fox “worries less about SWAT team raids than the possibility the Department of Justice would quietly send letters to landlords who rented to legal marijuana businesses to threaten them with asset forfeiture.”
Reason argues that a crackdown remains unlikely. Back in February, I argued something similar in Slate.
Federal pot policy stood still in 2017, Rolling Stone writes.
California lawmakers and craft growers say the state’s new REC rules favor large growers.  New environmental regulations for cannabis grows are coming to California as well. (Grows are damaging NorCal watersheds.)
Here are the stores and cities that will be open January 1. But regulatory controls against pesticides and other contaminants won’t yet be in place.
L. A. will send inspectors to dispensaries, the way it does with restaurants. The city also said it will not start to accept license applications  until January 3.
Los Angeles magazine offers a consumer’s guide for California’s REC system. S.F. could vote on creating a city cannabis agency in June.
Ten years after legalization, Michigan, the country’s second largest MED market,released applications for MED licenses. For more see here.
Alaska regulators warn the potency labels on cannabis products may be inaccurate.
New York lawmakers will hold a hearing on REC legalization in January. The Chicago Tribune discusses why Illinois has been slow to legalize.
The “Marijuana Doomsday Didn’t Come,” an opinion piece in USNews argues.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the REC market would open next summer, not July 1 as previously expected.
Austria’s new right wing government plans to ban the sale of cannabis seeds and plants. It’s currently legal to sell non-flowering plants.
After its experiment in drug decriminalization, Portugal is considering cannabis legalization.
New Zealand released a MED legalization bill. Iceland’s “Pirate Party” proposed legalizing MED.
BUSINESS
Inc. has a juicy story on the collapse of Tradiv, a promising online cannabis marketplace with funding from Poseidon Asset Management, Anslinger Capital, Sand Hill Angels and CanopyBoulder, among others. It involves sexual harassment allegations against co-founder Geoff Doran (he broadly denies them), and another co-founder, Aeron Sullivan, who had a religious awakening while on LSD.
Tripp Keber resigned as CEO of Colorado edibles brand Dixie. Keber will take on a role with BR Brands, an affiliate of private equity firm Rose Capital, which is building a portfolio of cannabis brands. At Dixie, he’ll be replaced by longtime partner Chuck Smith.
There’s been a shake-up at the National Cannabis Industry Association. Denver activist and entrepreneur Kayvan Khalatbari resigned from the board and Genifer Murray, former CEO of defunct start-up CannLabs, was terminated as chief of staff after only two months on the job. The industry’s largest lobby said it’s in stronger shape than ever, but Khalatbari said stay tuned for more info.
Rob Kampia, the former MPP head, who had to take a leave of absence in 2010 for lewd comments, is no longer on the Students for Sensible Drug Policy advisory board. More allegations surfaced about his time at the organization. And his former chief of staff Alison Green called him a “serial sexual harasser.” In a statement Kampia cited the MPP board’s position that no harassment had taken place since 2010.
Founder Isaac Dietrich reclaimed the CEO spot at MassRoots and the troubled company was, as of Thursdayfacing eviction from its Denver office for owing almost $40,000 in rent.
In California, the battle is on between big weed and craft weed.
MJBizDaily is following dispensary Berkeley Patients Group as it transitions into the legal REC market.
Talks are underway between California, the Feds and banks on how to offer financial services to the state’s cannabis industry.
Banks are skeptical about a proposed California plan to bring banks into the industry. Former California Attorney General Bill Lockyer (D) is starting a cannabis distribution business called C4 Distro.
First Green Bank, which offered banking to cannabis businesses in Florida, is exiting the business.
Nevada’s 273 cannabis businesses employ 6,700 workers. Alaska growers don’t like the state’s wholesale tax.
For the cannabis industry, CNBC says, bitcoin is an alternative to banks.
Fast Company asks if cannabis is imitating the tech industry’s lack of diversity.
KQED reports on unionizing workers. The piece focusses on Hugs Alternative Care in Sacramento, where CEO David Spradlin brought in the union in 2011. “My hope has always been that the cannabis industry doesn’t turn into 7-Eleven,” he said.
Insurer Lloyd’s of London rejects a Colorado homeowner’s claim on a house destroyed in a hash manufacturing accident.
Hawaii’s MED program needs more workers.
Snoop Dogg’s media outlet Merry Jane is partnering with Jack in the Box to offer the “Merry Munchie Meal.
Wal-Mart stopped carrying its “marijuana Christmas tree.
HEALTH & SCIENCE
Critics says the available data underestimates youth cannabis use in Colorado. They also say kids get cannabis from their parents and other family members. (Denver launched a campaign to prevent youth cannabis use. It includes a social media game show called “Weeded Out.
In Oregon, the number of teens who went to the ER or called emergency services for marijuana poisoning, climbed from 40 in 2015 to 70 in 2016.
In Texas, more than 345,000 epilepsy patients won’t be able to access MED under the state’s program.
Willamette Week examines a grassroots effort to fight a secretive attempt to patent cannabis genetics.
The VA is denying a story, (first broken by Tom Angell) that it has loosened its guidelines on MED.
Colleges remain dead set against cannabis use by students, for fear of losing federal funding.
Testing cannabis for contaminants remains a challenge for states.
U.S. life expectancy declined for the second straight year in 2016, due largely to a 21 percent jump in fatal opioid overdoses. In hard-hit Pennsylvania, authorities continue to endorse tough criminal penalties
Cannabisjobs.us

WeedWeek, 12/16/17: Peter Thiel’s Magic Mushroom Play to Begin Clinical Trials

THIS IS WEEDWEEK.
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WeedWeek publishes 400-600 word essays, arguments, observations and fact-based criticisms by outside contributors. We do not accept payment for publishing work.
This week, Centuria CEO Michael Brubeck warns cannabis investors: Get ready to lose everything.
Want to contribute? Check out the writer’s guidelines here.
WeedWeek’s Holiday Gift Guide is up featuring special offers on some great gear.
Contact Adrienne Nascimento to add an offer for your product.
Here’s the news.
POLITICS
After Attorney General Jeff Sessions met with legalization opponents, Tom Angell asked Twitter if anyone could expand a photo of the agenda. It revealed “a concerted pitch during the meeting to convince Sessions to launch a federal crackdown on states that have ended cannabis prohibition.”
In an email, I asked attendee and anti-legalization activist Kevin Sabet if he could make a political case for a crackdown. He didn’t respond.
Reminder: The Rohrabacher-Blumenauer Amendment, which blocks Sessions’ Justice Department from prosecuting state-legal MED businesses, expires on Friday.
Doug Jones (D), the former prosecutor who won Sessions’ former Senate seat in Alabama, has far more liberal views on criminal justice reform.
California issued its first batch of cannabis business licenses. Fast Company asks if the market is ready after a year of wildfires.
The state created a digital tool to help grey market businesses go legit. Cheech Marin promoted it in a PSA.
San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee died unexpectedly. As the city’s first Asian-American mayor, he faced criticism from elderly Chinese for his support for cannabis businesses. Acting mayor London Breed also supports legalization.
App looks at the path to legal REC in New JerseyEntrepreneurs are excited about weed in the Garden State.
Vermont could legalize REC within weeks. Hawaii voters oppose legal REC.
Cook County (Chicago) may give voters a chance to legalize REC. Hartford City Council supports REC legalization in Connecticut.
For cannabis, Leafly says the end of net neutrality, “could stifle advocacy efforts, hamper small businesses, and prevent medical patients from accessing vital information.”
City regulated consumption lounges may be coming to Vegas. Massachusetts approved a social use policy. Denver received its first application for social use from a business called The Coffee Joint.
Massachusetts is considering equity provisions to support minority cannabis entrepreneurs.
Maryland released data on diversity in the state’s industry.
An Arizona state senator wants to ban MED billboards. MED patient enrollment is way up in New Mexico.
Ohio defended its license award process against critics. A scorer had ties to a company awarded one of the 12 coveted large grow licenses.
More than 70% of Georgia Republicans support legal MED.
Canadian senators may want to grill Prime Minister Justin Trudeau about legalization. And some conservatives in the body say REC legalization could be delayed past the anticipated July 1 launch. Ontario’s REC law takes effect July 1, 2018.
An opinion piece in iPolitics says it’s not a problem that Canadian legalization violates several international treaties.
Canadian provinces appear settled on a 75-25 revenue split with the federal government on pot taxes after rejecting a proposed 50-50 split. Coming soon, local governments politely ask for their share.
Provincial laws banning home grows could be overturned in court.
REC legalization appears to be working in Uruguay.
BUSINESS
Compass Pathways, a U.K. company investigating psilocybin as a treatment for depression, plans to begin clinical trials next year. Silicon Valley eminence Peter Thiel, whose Founders Fund previously invested in cannabis firm Privateer Holdings, is an investor.
As it tries to hold off a hostile takeover by Aurora, Canadian MED producer CanniMed says Aurora may have violated securities law as part of its bid.
Leafly’s Peter Hecht dives into the leadership struggle at troubled social app MassRoots. Alan Brochstein offers “seven warning signs investors should have heeded.”
Baker, a software platform for dispensaries to retain customers, raised $8M in a round led by Poseidon Asset Management. The company says revenue is up 600% since January.
Canna Law Blog discusses what blockchain financial technology could mean for cannabis.
Bloomberg looks at the racketeering (RICO) lawsuits threatening cannabis businesses. MJBizDaily has more on this “existential threat” to the industry.
The Fort Worth Star-Telegram profiles two Texan executives at Colorado-based Organa Brands (O.Pen Vape.)
After Eugene Antifa activists disclosed ties between Oregon lab OG Analytical and white supremacists, consumers have directed anger against other businesses with OG in their name.
Debit app CanPay will offer cashless payments at some Maryland dispensaries. CanPay CEO Dustin Eide discusses how the service helped Hawaii’s MED program to go cashless.
A company dropped plans for a $20M grow in Michigan.
Canadian cannabis companies raised more than $1.5 billion in 2017. Even if you think it’s a bubble, It’s difficult to short sell Canadian pot stocks.
Lovell’s Drugs became the third Canadian pharmacy chain to sign a deal to sell MED.
An opinion piece at USNews asks how NAFTA will affect marijuana markets.
Quartzy looks at upscale smoking accessories and says, “For some cannabis-curious consumers, good design just might be the ultimate gateway drug.”
Weed and wine tours are increasingly a thing. California winery Rebel Coast released an alcohol-removed, cannabis-infused sauvignon blanc.
Sponsored Content
Introducing incredible Wellness, a line of cannabinoid health products including THC & CBD tinctures, a distillate vaporizer, 500mg THC bath salts and high milligram cannabinoid suppositories. In the wake of a study released this week in the Journal of the American Medical Association stating that a third of CBD products are mislabeled- incredible Wellness is committed to triple testing every single product and mandates the use of the highest-quality ingredients.
“Cannabis has become paramount in my healing process. After an NFL career full of injury to both my brain and body, I use CBD daily as a tool to combat inflammation. Pain can tend to get in the way of everyday activity. CBD can help take the edge off as you get through your day and address your ailments!” – Eugene Monroe, retired NFL player.
*
HEALTH & SCIENCE
A study found THC may reduce the cognitive decline common in HIV patients. Another study found CBD can reduce symptoms in patients with psychosis.
A study found cannabis and vaping are more popular than cigarettes among teenagers. The study found teen cannabis use is largely holding steady while use of other illegal drugs has held steady or declined.
The World Health Organization said CBD doesn’t warrant international scheduling.
Pediatric healthcare workers have
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WeedWeek: MED Protections (Barely) Extended; L.A. Sets Rules

THIS IS WEEDWEEK.
BECAUSE CANNABIS NEWS MATTERS.
DID YOU KNOW? You can list your conferences, festivals and parties for FREE on the site.
Check out those upcoming events here.
Would you appreciate a WeedWeek regional supplement with more news from California and/or Canada? Or more news about the opioid crisis? Sign up at the appropriate link.
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Swag and discounts start at $2 a month.
For $25 a month you get five (5!) WeedWeek stickers, discounts to all future WeedWeek events, a postcard from Los Angeles, cannabis capital of the world and you get to join a monthly Google hangout with me and other WeedWeek supporters to discuss the latest news…
Brandbuilding opportunities to appear in the newsletter with your links and social media handles start at only $50 a month.
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ALEX HALPERIN
IN OTHER WEEDWEEK NEWS:
WeedWeek has introduced a new feature called WeedWeek Forum, the cannabis world’s Op-Ed page. Many of you are are eager to share your thoughts and expertise. Here’s your chance to publish on the WeedWeek site.
WeedWeek publishes 400-600 word essays, arguments, observations and fact-based criticisms by outside contributors. We do not accept payment for publishing work.
Want to contribute? Check out the writer’s guidelines here.
WeedWeek’s Holiday Gift Guide is up featuring special offers on some great gear.
Contact Adrienne Nascimento to add an offer for your product.
Editorial
1. President Trump’s Federal Communications Commission (FCC) wants to end net neutrality. As John Oliver put it, net neutrality prevents internet providers like Comcast, AT&T and Verizon from engaging “in any sort of fuckery that limits or manipulates the choices you make online.
To learn more about preserving net neutrality, go to Battleforthenet.com.
So much news.
POLITICS
Congress extended the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer Amendment, which blocks the Justice Department from prosecuting state-legal MED businesses for two weeks, as part of the budget deal. It’s not clear whether the amendment will be re-extended.
Repeal of industry-despised tax rule 280E didn’t make it into the Senate version of the Republican tax bill, but Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner (R) hopes to get it into the final version. A Colorado dispensary is suing the IRS claiming 280E taxed them twice.
U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions (R), held a closed-door meeting with legalization opponents yesterday. Attendees included Ronald Reagan Attorney General Edwin Meese III; Kevin Sabet, head of Smart Approaches to Marijuana; Harvard Medical School professor and member of President Trump’s drug and opioid abuse commission Bertha Madras; Robert DuPont, former head of the National Institute on Drug Abuse; and David Evans, executive director of the Drug Free Schools Coalition. It’s not clear if Sessions has met with legalization supporters as attorney general.
Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously to regulate California’s largest REC market. The new rules promise extra support to entrepreneurs with past drug convictions and those in areas deemed most affected by the war on drugs. But there are tight zoning restrictions as well. For more see here and here.
Activists say the lack of size caps on commercial grows in California will make it harder for small farmers to survive. For more see here.
After falling short last session, Vermont appears set to legalize REC legislatively in early 2018. Massachusetts is considering social use.
San Francisco voted in favor of a proposed Sunset District dispensary, which has faced opposition from older Chinese residents.
Seattle Weekly looks back at five years of legal REC in Washington.
Maryland named a health system CEO as head of the state’s MED regulator. The previous director, a former state trooper, was the second to resign in two years.
In Michigan, proposed MED rules leaked to the press.
The U.S. Army is issuing more waivers for recruits who have used cannabis in the past.
Anne McLellan, who led Canada’s federal task force on legalization, predicts REC will pass the conservative Senate in time to meet the government’s July implementation deadline.
Canada’s First Nations demand control of the cannabis industry in their territories.
German activists collected 50,000 signatures, forcing the Bundestag to debate REC legalization. An Irish lawmaker said legal REC is inevitable within a few years. For more see here.
The U.K. has a cocaine glut.
A dispensary owner won a city council seat in a conservative Washington town.
Washington cannabis activist JoAnna McKee, died at 74. McKee, opened Seattle’s first dispensary in 1993, five years before Washington legalized MED. McKee was a fixture at cannabis hearings in the state legislature, known for wearing colorful eye patches.
BUSINESS
The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments in Christie vs. NCAA, a case assessing whether New Jersey can partially legalize sports gambling. Christie has implications for whether the federal government can block state efforts to legalize cannabis. The judges appeared sympathetic to the case for federalism (states rights).
Oregon-licensed testing company OG Analytical and its co-owners are mutually severing ties after Eugene Antifa alleged the co-owners have ties to neo-Nazi groups. CEO Bethany Sherman denied being a neo-Nazi and said her only “crime is a thought crime.” At least one grower, HiFi Farms, ended its relationship with the lab.
A pesticide-related lawsuit against Canadian MED producer Organigram, is expanding its scope to claim the company’s product made people ill. The company said it has not received any evidence of sickened patients.
REC demand in Canada could be 40% higher than expected, according to Colorado research firm Marijuana Policy Group.
North American legal cannabis sales will reach about $10 billion this year.
After October wildfires destroyed dozens of NorCal cannabis farms, wildfires in southern California threatened to taint cannabis grown in Los Angeles and San Luis Obispo counties.
Cannabis biotech firm, GW Pharmaceuticals plans to raise more than $250M from American depository shares.
Canna Law Blog discusses how to protect a business from bad-actor employees.
Oregon regulators launched a “Go legal!” campaign to promote the state’s industry.
Bloomberg discusses the partnerships cannabis brands use to expand across state lines.
Reuters finds top business talent going into cannabis. Lawyers are moving in as well, despite risks.
The Economist explains the industry’s cash problem. But more companies and states have figured out workarounds. Dispensaries remain skeptical about cryptocurrency, according to Green Market Report.
The U.S. Justice Department issued a reminder that cannabis businesses, including ancillary businesses, don’t have access to the U.S. bankruptcy system.
Ohio officials called for a freeze on MED licenses after it came out that a Maine cannabis consultant with a 2005 felony drug conviction evaluated license applications in the state. The consultant wouldn’t be eligible to receive an Ohio license.
Also in Ohio, a backer of the state’s failed 2015 legalization bid is threatening to sue the state.
Track and trace and advertising issues are the most common infractions by Washington cannabis businesses.
Aside from lawyer David Welch, the new owners of L.A.Weekly appear not to have ties to the cannabis industry.
OmniEarth, a start-up founded by Brigham Young University student Joseph Walker, has developed an organic fertilizer popular with cannabis growers. It’s made from nightcrawler droppings.
To save their businesses, a number of Oregon MED shops are converting to REC.
Denver’s city auditor says the cannabis regulator has improved but needs to be more transparent on how pot taxes get spent.
Leafly interviewed a cannabis packaging designer.
Canadian provinces are struggling to set cannabis prices. The idea is legal weed should be affordable enough to coax users away from the illegal market but not so cheap that younger people overconsume. Nova Scotia plans to sell REC in government liquor stores.
Colorado cannabis company MJardin has acquired a “major” stake in Ontario-based Grand River Organics, a “late-stage applicant” for a MED license. Terms were not disclosed.
Canadian producer Canopy Growth plans to build Denmark’s first legal MED grow.
New Frontier released a $149 report on the Brazilian market.
The Hemp Industries Association is suing the DEA, for classifying CBD as a controlled substance. Arguments before the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals are scheduled for February.
HEALTH & SCIENCE
Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes for Health, acknowledged a lower rate of opioid overdoses and deaths in legal cannabis states. The data, he cautions, shows correlation, not necessarily causation.
The idea that certain drugs prime users to use more drugs, known as “common liability theory,” has breathed new life into the idea of gateway drugs.
Colorado has new rules for cannabis research. Colorado researchers will study
Cannabisjobs.us
THIS IS WEEDWEEK.
BECAUSE CANNABIS NEWS MATTERS.
DID YOU KNOW? You can list your conferences, festivals and parties for FREE on the site.
Check out those upcoming events here.
Would you appreciate a WeedWeek regional supplement with more news from California and/or Canada? Or more news about the opioid crisis? Sign up at the appropriate link.
Do you consider WeedWeek a valuable resource? Consider supporting WeedWeek with a monthly contribution on Patreon.
Swag and discounts start at $2 a month.
For $25 a month you get five (5!) WeedWeek stickers, discounts to all future WeedWeek events, a postcard from Los Angeles, cannabis capital of the world and you get to join a monthly Google hangout with me and other WeedWeek supporters to discuss the latest news…
Brandbuilding opportunities to appear in the newsletter with your links and social media handles start at only $50 a month.
LIKE US.
FOLLOW US:
ALEX HALPERIN
IN OTHER WEEDWEEK NEWS:
WeedWeek has introduced a new feature called WeedWeek Forum, the cannabis world’s Op-Ed page. Many of you are are eager to share your thoughts and expertise. Here’s your chance to publish on the WeedWeek site.
WeedWeek publishes 400-600 word essays, arguments, observations and fact-based criticisms by outside contributors. We do not accept payment for publishing work.
Want to contribute? Check out the writer’s guidelines here.
WeedWeek’s Holiday Gift Guide is up featuring special offers on some great gear.
Contact Adrienne Nascimento to add an offer for your product.
Editorial
President Trump’s Federal Communications Commission (FCC) wants to end net neutrality. As John Oliver put it, net neutrality prevents internet providers like Comcast, AT&T and Verizon from engaging “in any sort of fuckery that limits or manipulates the choices you make online.
To learn more about net neutrality and what you can do to preserve it, Go to Battleforthenet.com.
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.
Comments Off on WeedWeek, 11/25/17: More Layoffs at Privateer; More Fighting at MassRoots

WeedWeek, 11/25/17: More Layoffs at Privateer; More Fighting at MassRoots

Posted by | November 25, 2017 | Cannabis News, Weed Week News by Alex Halperin

Cannabisjobs.us
THIS IS WEEDWEEK.
BECAUSE CANNABIS NEWS MATTERS.
DID YOU KNOW? You can list your conferences, festivals and parties for FREE on the site.
Check out those upcoming events here.
Would you appreciate a WeedWeek regional supplement with more news from California and/or Canada? Or more news about the opioid crisis? Sign up at the appropriate link.
Do you consider WeedWeek a valuable resource? Consider supporting WeedWeek with a monthly contribution on Patreon.
Swag and discounts start at $2 a month.
For $25 a month you get five (5!) WeedWeek stickers, discounts to all future WeedWeek events, a postcard from Los Angeles, cannabis capital of the world and you get to join a monthly Google hangout with me and other WeedWeek supporters to discuss the latest news…
Brandbuilding opportunities to appear in the newsletter with your links and social media handles start at only $50 a month.
LIKE US.
FOLLOW US:
ALEX HALPERIN
IN OTHER WEEDWEEK NEWS:
WeedWeek has introduced a new feature called WeedWeek Forum, the cannabis world’s Op-Ed page. Many of you are are eager to share your thoughts and expertise. Here’s your chance to publish on the WeedWeek site.
WeedWeek publishes 400-600 word essays, arguments, observations and fact-based criticisms by outside contributors. We do not accept payment for publishing work.
New up, “Navigating the Frontier of Pesticide Analysis” by Caroline Gordon and Joshua Esquivel, analysts at Anresco Laboratories.
Want to contribute? Check out the writer’s guidelines here.
WeedWeek’s Holiday Gift Guide is up featuring special offers on some great gear.
Contact Adrienne Nascimento to add an offer for your product.
Editorial
President Trump’s Federal Communications Commission (FCC) wants to end net neutrality. As John Oliver put it, net neutrality prevents internet providers like Comcast, AT&T and Verizon from engaging “in any sort of fuckery that limits or manipulates the choices you make online.
In an L.A. Times, Op-Ed, net neutrality supporter and FCC member Jessica Rosenworcel (D) writes:
“Net neutrality is the right to go where you want and do what you want on the internet without your broadband provider getting in the way. It means your broadband provider can’t block websites, throttle services or charge you premiums if you want to reach certain online content.”
The end of net neutrality could also make life more difficult for a federally illegal industry like cannabis.
To learn more about net neutrality and what you can do to preserve it, Go to Battleforthenet.com.
Here’s the news.
POLITICS
Rob Kampia, a longtime leader of the legalization movement, is stepping aside as director of Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), which he co-founded in 1995. He will transition into a newly created strategic role.
Leafly’s Bruce Barcott asks whether past sexual harassment allegations explain Kampia’s abrupt move. A 2010 article in Washington (D.C.) City Paper headlined “The Breast Massage Will Happen” enumerated complaints of suggestive behavior several weeks after he had taken a leave of absence for therapy.
I just think I’m hypersexualized,” Kampia told the Washington Post at the time. Since the 2010 City Paper article, “there have been no allegations of inappropriate behavior against Rob or anyone else at MPP that I’m aware of.” a MPP spokesperson wrote to Leafly.
Canada’s Liberal Party government released proposed rules for the cannabis industry. For more see here and here. Legalization still faces opposition from conservative lawmakers.
Massachusetts plans to release a draft of its REC rules by year end.
Colorado’s new rules, including a path to create public-private MED research partnerships, take effect January 1.
A Los Angeles City Council committee approved rules on licensing, operations and other topics. Following industry concerns, the rules would allow provisional licenses for existing growers and manufacturers during the licensing period.
A new appropriations bill would lift the ban on a cannabis industry in D.C., where voters approved REC in 2014. But House Republicans continue to block the national industry from accessing banks.
Caregivers in Maine say new rules aren’t as bad as they expected.
Reuters profiles Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas), a REC supporter who’s challenging Sen. Ted Cruz (R) in 2018. Arizona voters oppose REC, according to a new poll.
In a speech, Tennessee Congressman Steve Cohen (D), said, “When you put DEA agents and justice department officials to work on people who are selling marijuana; you are taking them away from people who are selling meth, crack, cocaine and heroin — opioids,” Cohen also criticized U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions for his hardline stance on cannabis.
Sessions’ Justice Department is ending the Obama administration’s practice of changing policy through “guidance memos.” Associate Attorney General Rachel Brand said the department would “proactively work to rescind existing guidance documents that go too far.” It wasn’t clear what this means for the 2013 “Cole Memo,” which enabled state legal marijuana industries to grow without fear of prosecution.
Dominic Corva, a scholar of cannabis and social policy, discussed equity programswith S.F. Weekly.
A bill in India proposes REC legalization.
BUSINESS
Privateer Holdings, parent company of web site Leafly, cannabis brand Marley Natural and Canadian MED producer Tilray, announced some layoffs, a few weeks after Leafly laid off 13 percent of its staff.
Privateer also called a lawsuit filed against the company by Master P “nonsense.” The suit alleges Privateer backed out of an agreement to distribute the rapper’s cannabis brand.
Ousted MassRoots CEO Isaac Dietrich is waging a proxy fight to remove three of the company’s directors — including Tripp Keber, CEO of edibles company Dixie, and Ean Seeb, co-founder of consulting firm Denver Relief — and the interim CEO. Dietrich, 25, remains the company’s largest shareholder. Dietrich told the Cannabist that he was “extorted based upon false and misleading information into giving up the company.”
LeafLink, an online commerce platform for dispensaries, raised $10M from investors including Nosara Capital, Snoop Dogg’s firm Casa Verde, and tech investor Lerer Hippeau Ventures.
Canada’s Aurora Cannabis launched a hostile takeover bid for fellow MED producer CanniMed.
Canada will calculate legalization’s economic impact using this equation, Bloomberg reports.
The Motley Fool says cannabis stocks are “destroying shareholder value.
Civilized suggests the industry is becoming less friendly to female executives, a phenomenon known as the “grass ceiling.” “Nobody cared when the dispensaries owned by the women in Colorado who started this industry were worth $2 million,” Wanda James, the first black dispensary owner in Colorado said. “But now that they’re 15- or 20-million dollar companies, a lot of the board members – i.e. men – are saying, ‘You can’t handle it from here on in.”
The industry is excited about Michigan, where more than 250,000 patients hold recommendations, second only to California. The state could vote on REC next year. But MED enforcement in the state remains “hazy.”
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette looks at challenges the industry faces in Pennsylvania.
Cannabis is becoming a more important cash crop in the war-torn Democratic Republic of Congo.
All but one of the Florida MED office’s 35 hirees are processing patient ID cards. The state MED czar’s office blamed lawsuits for delays in implementing MED laws.
HEALTH & SCIENCE
A study presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions found heart failure patients who used cannabis were less likely to die in the hospital than abstainers. The researchers had hypothesized the opposite. The study has not yet been peer-reviewed.
The Journal of the American Medical Association calls inadequate blinding of placebo controlled trials “the Achilles Heel of MED research.
The DEA is finalizing schedule II status for a synthetic THC drug called Syndros. The drug was developed by Arizona pharmaceutical firm Insys Therapeutics which opposed REC in the state. Last month, Insys’ billionaire founder John Kapoor was charged with racketeering and fraud related to the company’s marketing of a fentanyl oral spray.
The Conversation explains how science and technology assist with cannabis growing.
GQ calls CBD, “the drug you can do at work.
California’s fish and wildlife department will award $1.3M to four sites cleaning up illegal cannabis grows.
Pennsylvania released a list of doctors eligible to prescribe MED.
Podcast Science Vs. asks whether ecstasy is a “scary drug or promising therapy.
A Swedish court ruled a man paralyzed from the chest down can’t grow his own MED. Ireland issued its first MED license for treating pain.
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Here’s the news.
POLITICS
California released its hotly anticipated regulations for the REC market, while much of the industry was at MJBizCon in Las Vegas. (For more on MJBizCon see here.) The rules total nearly 300 pages and came out of theBureau of Cannabis Control as well as the state Food and Agriculture andPublic Health departments.
The new rules do not follow previous iterations which limited grows to one acre until 2023, as a way to nurture smaller businesses. California Growers Association head Hezekiah Allen, who represents many smaller growers, called the rule a “catastrophe” and has started a petition to oppose it.
Also of note: Delivery businesses will be allowed to apply for licenses; Cannabis can’t be transported by drones and self-driving cars and; Edibles will be limited to 100 mg of THC in 10 mg doses.
Canna Law Blog’s Hilary Bricken weighs in on the rules here. She also discusses what California law means for the existing collective business model.
Canna Law Blog’s Daniel Shortt says President Donald Trump “seems not to care much one way or the other about cannabis legalization.”
Republican state assemblyman and former California Highway Patrolman Tom Lackey has become a “go to Republican” on regulatory issues.
REC won’t be available in San Francisco on January 1 after a vote on regulations was delayed. San Jose will allow REC sales next year.
Boston Mayor Marty Walsh (D), a legalization opponent, wants high pot taxes. The blog’s Daniel
The N.Y. Daily News profiles the politician who could stop REC in New Jersey.
Michigan legalization activists are submitting a petition with 360,000 signatures for a REC vote in 2018. Some Michigan gubernatorial candidatessupport it.
A New Hampshire House committee rejected a REC bill. The Arkansas National Guard warned against MED use.
Ohio Supreme Court Judge and pro-cannabis gubernatorial candidate Bill O’Neill (D) bragged about his sexual history. And told his critics to “lighten up.”
Colorado-neighbor Wyoming moved to tighten its cannabis laws.
While testifying before the House Judiciary Committee Attorney General Jeff Sessions had an opportunity to defend his 2016 comment that “Good people don’t smoke marijuana.” Without apologizing he said it should be understood in the context of 1981. Sessions also clarified his belief that heroin is more dangerous than cannabis. “It’s a little odd when a guy’s anti-weed but seems to forget every conversation he’s ever had,” about Russia, Jimmy Fallon Quipped.
Changing 280E, the provision which over-taxes cannabis businesses relative to federally legal businesses, got nowhere close to the tax billHouse Republicans passed this week.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau criticized Filipino president Rodrigo Duterte on his human rights record. Trump declined to answer whether he brought up human rights with the strongman who has been internationally condemned for extrajudicial killings in his war on drugs.
Canada’s Justice Department calls REC regulation an “ongoing source of uncertainty.”
BUSINESS
Lawsuits!
Master P is suing Leafly-parent company Privateer Holdings for $25M, alleging it backed out of a deal to distribute his cannabis brand, Master P’s Trees. Master P alleges Privateer strung him along to gain insight “into the urban and hip-hop demographic of cannabis users.” Privateer did not respond to TMZ or WeedWeek’s requests for comment.
Two former employees have hit upscale Oregon dispensary chain Serra with a $550,000 lawsuit alleging they were fired after reporting their supervisor for packaging untracked shake, a violation of state rules. Serra declined to comment to Willamette Week.
Baker, the “Salesforce of cannabis,” which helps dispensaries maintain relationships with customers, acquired competitor Grassworks for undisclosed terms. Denver-based Baker is now in 850 dispensaries nationwide.
Cannabis prices are falling, The Economist says.
Software company BioTrackTHC provided a patch as Washington transitions to a new seed to sale system.
Canadian pot stocks have soared since alcohol company Constellation invested in producer Canopy Growth. Canadian pharmacy chain Shoppers Drug Mart is hiring a marijuana brand manager.
Mendocino County, Calif. growers say the “firestorm of capitalism” has been worse for their genetics than the wildfires.
Canopy Growth announced a partnership with O.Pen Vape’s parent company, and Dutch Company Green House Seeds to bring those brands into the Canadian market.
Canadian producer Aurora launched a “potentially hostile” takeover bid for competitor CanniMed. The stock deal would value CanniMed at C$600M a 57% premium on its pre-news close. CanniMed didn’t announce whether it would accept the offer. Instead it said it would acquire Newstrike Resources, a company developing the Up Cannabis brand with the Tragically Hip.
(A recent WeedWeek Forum piece argues Canada has a branding problem.)
Colorado cannabis executive Todd Mitchem dropped his Libertarian Party bid for Congress.
The Verge reports “Big Vape” (e-cigarettes) is following the Big Tobacco playbook and marketing to kids.
Two Canadian former ex-senior cops, one of whom has compared marijuana to murder, are opening a cannabis business.
In Michigan, employers don’t know what to do about MED.
Greece hopes MED will boost the national economy.
Quebec will sell cannabis online through the agency which runs its booze shops.
Business Insiders 19 New York Start-Ups to watch, include indoor agriculture company Bowery.
HEALTH & SCIENCE
A medical school professor criticized New Jersey Gov. and national opioid commission chair Chris Christie (R) for warning Trump about MED. “Some experts say the commission’s fixation on marijuana was bizarre and troubling,” CNN reports.
A University of New Mexico study found access to MED may reduce opioid addiction.
Business Insider runs through the research and decides “alcohol’s effects seem markedly more extreme — and riskier — than marijuana’s.”