Newsletter #162

Broad City, a bong and a governor’s race

The women behind the hit TV show “Broad City” are giving their support to New York gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon in an unusual way. Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer are offering a signed bong to help raise money for Nixon’s campaign. The three New Yorkers support legalizing cannabis, so there’s some context for the bong. Kind of.

U.S. is banning Canadians in legal cannabis industry

U.S. border agents are reportedly issuing travel bans to those involved in Canada’s marijuana industry. Reminder: Canada recently legalized recreational cannabis. Apparently, U.S. border agents consider Canadians involved, even marginally, with Canada’s legal marijuana industry to be “drug traffickers.” Seriously.

Legal marijuana decreases Medicaid spending

A recently published study shows that over a 21-year period, doctors in medical marijuana states prescribed opioids roughly 30% less than doctors in states without medical marijuana programs. This corresponds to millions of dollars in annual Medicaid savings. Learn more about this study here.

Pot problems in Massachusetts

Recreational cannabis stores in Massachusetts were supposed to open by July 1st. That didn’t happen. One reason is that state law requires all recreational marijuana products to be tested by an independent laboratory, and state regulators have yet to license a single lab. Not good.

Rhode Island to expunge cannabis convictions

Rhode Island lawmakers decriminalized the possession of small amounts of cannabis back in 2013. Just recently, legislation passed to allow Rhode Island residents convicted of low-level marijuana possession to have their records expunged. Good stuff.

Newsletter #161

Destroying $350 million worth of cannabis

Quick recap: California businesses had six months after the start of legal recreational marijuana sales to become fully compliant with the state’s regulations. The recreational market kicked off on January 1st of this year, so July 1st was the big deadline. Dispensaries had massive sales throughout June, attempting to clear out non-compliant products. They weren’t able to sell everything. Now, cannabis businesses have to destroy an estimated $350 million worth of non-compliant marijuana products. Oh, and they have to capture the destruction on video. Seriously.

Senator Schumer’s marijuana bill

If you’ve been waiting for Senator Chuck Schumer’s cool new cannabis bill, here it is. The recently-introduced Marijuana Freedom and Opportunity Act would remove cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act, resulting in decriminalization of the drug. For added street cred, Senator Bernie Sanders is a co-sponsor. Read more about this bill here.

Goop-y ganja

Goop, Gwyneth Paltrow’s New Age-y lifestyle brand, has announced a partnership with dispensary chain MedMen. The two companies will work together to craft a line of Goop-branded cannabis products. I’m going to be disappointed if there’s not at least one item called “goop-y ganja.”

Vermont legalizes recreational cannabis

On July 1st, it became legal for residents of Vermont to possess, grow and use small amounts of recreational cannabis. As of now, there are no plans for a statewide recreational marijuana marketplace. Learn more about Vermont’s cannabis law here.

Nevada’s marijuana millions

Nevada has hit one year of legal recreational marijuana sales, and what a year it has been. Cannabis businesses raked in over $340 million in revenue, which vastly exceeds early predictions. Way to go, Silver State.

Newsletter #160

Oklahomans say yes to medical marijuana

In a recent statewide election, Oklahoma voters approved a medical cannabis initiative. This initiative does not include a list of qualifying conditions, which is unique. Doctors will be able to decide if their patients may benefit from using medical marijuana. Welcome to the medical cannabis club, Oklahoma. We’re happy to have you.

FDA approves first cannabis-derived drug

This week, the FDA approved Epidiolex, a marijuana-derived drug used to treat two severe forms of pediatric epilepsy. This is the first cannabis-derived drug the FDA has approved. For many marijuana advocates, this affirmation that cannabis has medicinal benefits is a big win.

BIG3 and CBD

If you haven’t heard of it, the BIG3 is a professional three-on-three basketball league founded by rapper Ice Cube. The organization has made history by becoming the first professional sports league to allow the use of cannabidiol, or CBD. Learn more about this decision here.

California dispensary sales

Californians, take note. California cannabis dispensaries are having massive sales to clear out products that do not comply with the state regulations that take effect July 1st. Now is the time to stock up.

Lagunitas is branching out

Lauded craft brewery Lagunitas has created a THC-infused, IPA-flavored sparkling water. Get the details on this concoction here.

Newsletter #159

Medical marijuana takes on opioids

Two states are seeking to battle the deadly opioid epidemic by offering medical cannabis as a safer alternative to prescription painkillers. The New York Department of Health will permit anyone with an opioid prescription to use medical marijuana as an alternative treatment. Lawmakers in Illinois recently passed a bill that would allow those with opioid prescriptions to be part of the state’s medical cannabis program. Medical marijuana is being taken seriously as an alternative to opiates, which is welcome news to cannabis advocates nationwide.

Canada legalizes cannabis

Canada legalized recreational cannabis this week, and it’s a huge deal. The recently-passed Cannabis Act regulates how the drug will be grown, distributed and sold. Want the highlights? Here we go! Canadians will be able to purchase marijuana products both at retail locations and online. The minimum age to purchase and use cannabis has been set at 18. It’s expected that Canadians will be able to buy marijuana in just a few months. Bravo, Canada.

Portugal approves marijuana-based medicines

Portugal’s parliament voted to approve the use of cannabis-based medicines, and the bill is now awaiting the signature of President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa. Learn more about this recent development here.

Cannabis stocks react to Canada news

If you thought that Canada legalizing marijuana would impact cannabis stocks, you were right. Marijuana stocks surged the morning after the big news.

A very expensive joint

Want to know what a $24,000 joint looks like? Here you go.

Newsletter #158

California’s marijuana regulations

When recreational cannabis became legal in California on January 1st of this year, regulators provided a six-month grace period for businesses to become compliant with the new laws. That point is now just two weeks away, and many marijuana enterprises aren’t ready for the change. Get more information about how this might impact the California cannabis market here.

Uruguay dealing with cannabis shortage

Uruguay, the first nation to legalize marijuana, is facing cannabis supply troubles. The government has only licensed two cultivators to provide the marijuana sold at pharmacies, and they aren’t producing close to the amount of bud Uruguayans are consuming. Growing pains, amirite?

Mayors supporting marijuana

What do Denver, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Portland, San Francisco, Seattle and West Sacramento have in common? They all have mayors that want the federal government to remove cannabis from the list of illegal drugs. Nice.

Trump might support cannabis legislation

President Donald Trump said he “probably will end up supporting” legislation that would support and protect state-legal marijuana industries. Learn more about this bipartisan legislation and Trump’s uncertain stance here.

St. Louis changes pot policy

St. Louis will no longer prosecute cases of cannabis possession under 100 grams. The city is joining the many other American cities easing their cannabis policies. We’ll take all the good news we can get.

Newsletter #157

Congress’s new cannabis bill

A bipartisan group of lawmakers has introduced a bill that aims to protect state-legal cannabis industries. The Strengthening the Tenth Amendment Through Entrusting States (STATES) Act is sponsored by Senators Elizabeth Warren and Cory Gardner, and Representatives Earl Blumenauer and David Joyce announced a companion bill in the House. If passed, the STATES Act would protect states with legal marijuana from federal interference by amending the Controlled Substances Act. Get the details here.

Canada is getting closer to legal marijuana

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is dedicated to making marijuana legal by this summer. Now, he’s one step closer. The Senate passed the Cannabis Act, and the bill is now heading back to the House of Commons. Members of Parliament will decide if they accept the many amendments the Senate added to the legislation. Canada could be legalizing marijuana very, very soon.

The return of Dennis Rodman, North Korea and PotCoin

Roughly one year ago, Dennis Rodman visited North Korea with sponsorship from PotCoin, a cryptocurrency for cannabis. Now, there’s word that the former NBA star will be heading to Singapore for the summit between North Korea and the United States. Again, he will be sponsored by PotCoin. The weirdness is not over.

Minneapolis stops undercover arrests for small amounts of cannabis

Citing concerns that black men were being disproportionately targeted, the Minneapolis Police Department is ending sting operations focused on low-level marijuana sales. One small step toward justice.

Colorado school nurses can now administer medical marijuana

A newly-passed bill allows school nurses in Colorado to administer medical cannabis to students, as long as parents give consent. Learn more about this trailblazing law here.