Newsletter #184

A lesson in erasing marijuana convictions

Many cities and counties around the U.S. are trying to find ways to expunge low-level cannabis convictions from people’s records. Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez found one innovative way to tackle this. A new program is hosting community-based sessions where those convicted of a misdemeanor marijuana possession offense in Brooklyn will meet with a defense lawyer (for free!) and fill out a motion asking to erase that conviction. Next, the Kings County District Attorney’s Office will consent to those motions and ask a judge to vacate the convictions. Take note, other cities and counties.

2018 Farm Bill moves forward

Congress just passed the 2018 Farm Bill, and it’s now awaiting President Trump’s signature. Cannabis enthusiasts are excited because the Farm Bill removes industrial hemp from the Controlled Substances Act and eliminates many restrictions around growing and selling hemp. Many believe this bill will be a boon to the hemp and hemp-derived CBD industries. Additionally, U.S.-based hemp companies may be able to list on U.S. stock exchanges soon. All in all, this bill’s passage is a pretty big deal.

Africa’s first marijuana expo

Africa recently had its very first cannabis exposition in Pretoria, South Africa. While the expo had a pretty good turnout, one key item was missing: marijuana. Cannabis use and cultivation in private spaces is decriminalized in South Africa, but an expo is definitely not a private space. As a result, exhibitors creatively used other objects in lieu of cannabis. Maybe within the next few years, actual marijuana plants will be permitted.

Cannabis convenience store

If you’re in Portland, Maine, and you need gas, snacks and weed, then you should probably swing by Gas N’ Grass. A group of enterprising individuals recently founded this gas station/convenience store/medical marijuana dispensary hybrid. Impressive!

Marijuana industry boosts Canada’s employment rate

Canada’s unemployment rate dropped to 5.6 percent last month, which is the lowest rate in decades. This is partially attributed to the nation’s fast-growing cannabis industry. Get the details here.

Newsletter #183

Utah legalizes medical marijuana

Governor Gary Herbert of Utah signed the Utah Medical Cannabis Act into law this week, shortly after state legislators made changes to the medical marijuana bill voters approved in November. The legislative tweaks made the law more restrictive, which many cannabis supporters aren’t happy about. For example, the initial bill allowed people to grow their own marijuana, and the revisions removed this right. Some legal cannabis is better than zero legal cannabis, right?

Vaping vs smoking

Vaping has become increasingly popular with cannabis users over the last few years. Many see vaping marijuana as a healthier alternative to smoking it. A recently-published study shows that this might not be entirely true. In fact, researchers found that people vaping cannabis may experience more immediate harmful side effects than those smoking the plant. Read more about the study here.

Duterte cracks jokes about marijuana

President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines recently said that he uses marijuana to stay awake, and then backpedaled and said he was joking. Reminder: Duterte’s war on drugs has killed over 12,000 people. Many of those murdered were using or selling cannabis. It’s probably not a good idea for Duterte to joke about this.

Reporter gives away joints in Lansing

City Pulse, an alternative newspaper in Lansing, Michigan, sent a reporter to the Michigan State Capitol to complete an important mission. What was the mission, you ask? It was to hand out free joints to passerby. Way to celebrate legal recreational marijuana, City Pulse!

Marlboro wants a piece of cannabis action

Altria, the corporation behind Marlboro cigarettes, may be interested in entering the marijuana market. Word on the street is that Altria is looking into investing in a few different Canadian cannabis companies. It seems that tobacco sales aren’t doing so hot.

Newsletter #182

South Korea legalizes medical marijuana

Last week, South Korea’s legislature amended the nation’s Narcotics Control Act to allow for medical cannabis. This makes South Korea the first country in East Asia to legalize medical marijuana. The next step is for the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety to establish regulations for this medicinal market. While the law is very restrictive, its approval in a relatively conservative nation is still seen a big win for cannabis advocates across the globe.

Legal cannabis in Michigan is coming soon

Even though Michigan voters opted to legalize recreational cannabis just last month, the law takes effect this week. Starting December 6th, Michigan residents over the age of 21 will be permitted to grow up to 12 plants in their homes. It will likely be another year before regulations are sorted out and the recreational business licensing process begins. In the meantime, you’ll need to grow your own.

Buggy bud in Ontario

The legal marijuana situation in Canada seems pretty incredible to many of us, but it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. The Ontario Cannabis Store, which is the only legal retailer in the province, hasn’t been doing so hot. Between a major customer privacy breach and bug-contaminated cannabis, some Ontarians are going to back to their former dealers. Learn more about these issues here.

Drug-sniffing dogs are retiring early

As more states legalize cannabis, some law enforcement agencies are retiring their drug-sniffing dogs. Dogs who were trained to sniff out marijuana cannot be retrained to stop smelling for the plant. As a result, these dogs are retiring early. We hope their days are filled with long walks and endless treats.

Massachusetts dispensaries are raking in millions

There are only two recreational cannabis dispensaries open in Massachusetts, and they’re both doing quite well. In fact, in their first five days of recreational sales, customers spent $2.2 million on marijuana products. That’s a lot of cannabis.

Newsletter #181

NASA to investigate pot-smoking Elon Musk

Months ago, famed entrepreneur Elon Musk briefly toked up while being interviewed on a podcast. People made a huge deal out of it, and the fuss hasn’t died down. Now, NASA officials are taking their turn with Musk. Musk’s blunt puff has apparently caused NASA to be concerned with the safety protocols at SpaceX, Musk’s aerospace company. Consequently, NASA will be conducting a rigorous safety inspection of SpaceX starting early next year. Take it easy in 2019, Musk.

Medical marijuana patient sues Trump administration over gun rights

Matthew Roman, a Philadelphia-based doctor, went to a local gun store, where he quickly found out that he is not permitted to purchase a gun due to his status as a medical marijuana patient. Because of this, Roman is suing the Trump administration over the federal statute that prohibits cannabis users from buying or owning firearms. Learn more about this suit here.

Getting high from honey

An Israeli cannabis company worked out a fascinating way to produce cannabinoid-filled honey. The first step is feeding bees a composition that includes cannabinoids. As a result of this feast, bees pass these nutrients into their honey, thereby producing honey that naturally contains THC and CBD. Also, don’t worry about the bees—they aren’t getting high.

Recreational marijuana shops finally open in Massachusetts

Massachusetts voters approved the adult use of recreational cannabis statewide over two years ago. Finally, with the opening of two recreational dispensaries, Massachusetts residents can purchase marijuana without a medical prescription. About time!

Medical cannabis in Greece

Greece recently issued the country’s first licenses for growing medical marijuana. While this new medical cannabis industry is primarily export-focused, marijuana prescriptions will be available to Greek patients. Get the details on this development here.

Newsletter #180

Ohio’s medical marijuana problems

Ohio just began issuing medical cannabis licenses earlier this year, but there’s already a major issue with the nascent program. Three major healthcare providers in the state are prohibiting their doctors from making medical marijuana recommendations. As a result, patients using these providers will likely need to seek out-of-network doctors if they want a medical cannabis recommendation. Not only is it inconvenient, but those out-of-network visits can be prohibitively expensive. Bad call, providers.

Sacramento considering lifting dispensary cap

There’s a diversity issue with Sacramento’s cannabis economy, and city officials are working to address it. The city currently has 30 marijuana dispensaries, which is the cap, and none of the dispensary owners are black. Because of this, Sacramento officials are considering lifting the city’s cap on the number of dispensaries allowed to operate. Learn more about this problem and what the city is doing to tackle it here.

SoCal’s first cannabis lounge

A legal marijuana consumption lounge just opened in Cathedral City, which is a first for Southern California. Customers can hang out, shoot pool, rent various smoking devices and enjoy cannabis in a public setting. Sounds like a good Saturday night to us.

Canada’s stoned driving update

When Canada legalized marijuana one month ago, many were concerned that stoned driving incidents would increase. In fact, early data suggests that there has not been a spike in cannabis-impaired driving. Seems like a safe start!

Selling flower to the feds

The federal government is seeking a business to grow, test and ship thousands of kilograms of cannabis. This is because of the government’s desire to complete research on different types of marijuana. Get the details here.

Newsletter #179

Utah’s confusing medical cannabis situation

Utah voters passed Proposition 2, a midterm ballot measure that will establish a statewide medical marijuana program. Many cannabis activists aren’t sure how to feel about this. While the initiative is set to become law December 1st, it could take years for cannabis to be available for sale. Additionally, many supporters are concerned that lawmakers will completely rewrite much of the measure. Get the details on Utah’s uncertain medical marijuana future here.

Medical marijuana in Missouri

When heading to the polls, Missouri voters had three different medical cannabis initiatives to choose from. Amendment 2 passed. This measure includes a four percent tax on cannabis sales and puts the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services in charge of implementing the medical program. Welcome to the medical marijuana club, Missouri.

Coppola’s cannabis

Renowned director and screenwriter Francis Ford Coppola made his name in the wine world, and now he’s getting involved in the marijuana industry. Coppola is partnering with Humboldt County growers for his “Grower’s Series” of hand-picked cannabis strains. Learn more about this fancy, limited edition collection here.

Recreational marijuana comes to Michigan

Michigan voters passed Proposal 1, which will allow cannabis to be regulated like alcohol. Now that one hard-fought battle is over, marijuana activists in the state are working on how to expunge cannabis-related convictions.

Legal pot possible in Illinois

Governor-elect J.B. Pritzker of Illinois wants to legalize recreational cannabis in the state, and he wants it soon. Could Illinois be the next state to legalize marijuana?