Newsletter #146

Legal cannabis and homelessness

Law enforcement and anti-marijuana politicians in Colorado have been claiming that legal marijuana leads to increases in homelessness. A recently published study indicates otherwise. The research did not find evidence that links cannabis legalization to an increase in the homeless population, but concluded that the main causes of homelessness include unemployment and a lack of affordable housing. No surprises there.

Secondhand smoke risks

Many people are aware of the risks of secondhand cigarette smoke, but there hasn’t been much talk about secondhand cannabis smoke. A professor at University of California, San Francisco decided to dig into this subject. His team found found that the effects of inhaling secondhand smoke from marijuana can be severe. Learn more about the research here.

Ricky Williams starts marijuana company

Ex-NFL player Ricky Williams has been an advocate of medical marijuana for many years, but he and the league weren’t on the same page. He failed four drug tests during his professional career. Now, he’s launching his own cannabis brand. Real Wellness by Ricky Williams will be available in California dispensaries.

Utah’s medical cannabis bill

Governor Gary Hubert of Utah recently signed a bill that gives terminally ill individuals the freedom to try medical cannabis. The bill doesn’t specify where these people can receive medical marijuana or if they can grow it themselves. Less than ideal, but it’s a start.

Marijuana scratch and sniff cards

Police in Northern Ireland are concerned that the public doesn’t know what cannabis smells like, so they’re handing out marijuana scratch and sniff cards. The more you know.

Newsletter #145

Weedmaps vs Bureau of Cannabis Control

Weedmaps is a cannabis community website that, among other things, features ads from California marijuana businesses. California’s Bureau of Cannabis Control sent a letter to Weedmaps, explaining that since the website occasionally shows ads for companies that are not licensed by the state, it is in violation of state law. Weedmaps executives countered with their own letter, insisting that Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act protects the company. Section 230 is a federal law that asserts that a website cannot be held liable for the actions of its users. Such drama!

Virginia’s medical marijuana expansion

Until recently, medical cannabis was only available to Virginia residents afflicted with epilepsy. Fortunately, last Friday, Governor Ralph Northam approved the expansion of the state’s medical marijuana program. Doctors will now be able to recommend cannabis for patients as they see fit. Many are hoping this expansion will assist in the fight against Virginia’s opioid crisis. Smart move.

Hemp company to hire workers with cannabis convictions

Hikurangi Hemp, a New Zealand-based hemp company, aims to hire growers with marijuana convictions. The company’s leaders see workers convicted of cannabis-related crimes as assets to the company. Here’s hoping other marijuana businesses follow suit.

Snoop Dogg’s reefer-related venture firm

Rapper Snoop Dogg founded Casa Verde Capital, a venture capital firm, to invest in ancillary marijuana companies. The firm has closed its inaugural fund after landing $45 million from investors. Learn more about Casa Verde’s investments here.

Governor of New Jersey wants legal marijuana by the end of 2018

When Phil Murphy ran for Governor of New Jersey in 2017, he was vocal in his support of legalizing recreational cannabis. Now that he’s in office, Murphy has asked state lawmakers to legalize marijuana by the end of 2018.  It’s go time.

Newsletter #144

Cannabis prices continue to tumble

According to a new report, the price of legal marijuana in the U.S. has been dropping over the last 18 months. The price per pound of cannabis fell 13 percent from 2016 to 2017, and it’s expected to continue to plummet in 2018. Learn more about the report’s findings here.

Senate proposal for marijuana industry banking

A bipartisan group of senators has put forth a proposal that would prevent the federal government from punishing a financial service provider solely because the institution provided services to a cannabis-related business. Stay tuned.

Smoke Sessions

Have you ever wanted to get high with Attorney General Jeff Sessions? No? Well, in case that’s up your alley, you can now purchase rolling papers with Sessions’ face adorning the pack. It’s the closest you’ll get to toking up with the AG.

Health Secretary vs medical marijuana

At a recent press conference, U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said that there is no such thing as medical marijuana. It’s worth noting that Azar is a former Big Pharma executive. Insert eye-roll emoji.

Weddings and weed

If you want to celebrate your love for both cannabis and your significant other, you’re in luck: Marijuana wedding expos are a thing.

Newsletter #143

Lawsuit against Jeff Sessions dismissed

A diverse group of cannabis advocates decided to sue Attorney General Jeff Sessions on the grounds that marijuana’s classification as a Schedule I drug is so absurd that it violates the U.S. Constitution. This week, a federal judge dismissed the lawsuit. He showed sympathy for plaintiffs, but ultimately ruled that the Drug Enforcement Administration has authority in this matter. Learn more about this case here.

California sends warning to unlicensed marijuana businesses

When California’s legal marijuana regulations went into effect on January 1st of this year, many cannabis enterprises did their due diligence and obtained licenses. However, not all marijuana businesses went the legal route, and California’s Bureau of Cannabis Control (BCC) is on the case. The BCC has sent over 500 warning letters to unlicensed businesses. Yikes.

The cannabis candidate

A former FBI employee is running for Congress, and he wants to make his stance on marijuana crystal clear. Benjamin Thomas Wolf is marketing himself as the “Cannabis Candidate,” going so far as to shoot a campaign ad shows him toking up in front of an image of the American flag. Check it out here.

Racial gap in NYPD’s marijuana arrests

Statistics on the New York Police Department’s arrests show that 86 percent of those arrested for marijuana-related offenses are black and Latino. City Council members criticized NYPD cops and officials over this troubling racial disparity, but it remains to be seen what steps will be taken to correct this.

Colorado’s pot laws and college baseball

A high school senior in Colorado reached out to a Texas university’s baseball team, and was told by the head coach that the program isn’t taking Colorado recruits because of their trouble passing drugs tests. Seriously. He also told the student to thank his liberal politicians.

Newsletter #142

Legalization in Canada is behind schedule

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had planned to legalize recreational marijuana nationwide by July 1st, but that didn’t materialize. The government will vote on the recreational cannabis bill July 7th, and it will take eight to 12 weeks after that for Canada’s provinces and territories to prepare for legal pot sales. Hold tight, northerly neighbors.

Cannabis industry projections

If you’re feeling uncertain about the marijuana industry’s future in the U.S., this might make you feel better. According to a new report, the cannabis trade will create 414,000 jobs across the nation by 2021. The industry will also rake in over $4 billion in taxes for state and local governments. Check out more of the report’s findings here.

Licensing troubles in California

A newly released report shows an alarming statistic: Less than one percent of California’s known cannabis growers have been licensed by the state. Clearly, the California government has some work to do to bring black market growers into compliance.

Doobies don’t make boobies

A Canadian police officer offered some questionable advice at a recent drug awareness panel. The officer told attendees that marijuana lowers testosterone and “doobies make boobies.” These statements are, of course, false. Alternative facts.

Indiana’s crazy court ruling

The Indiana Court of Appeals has ruled that police officers can legally perform vehicle searches if drivers admit they have possessed marijuana at any point in their lives. Seriously. Read more about this absurd ruling here.

Newsletter #141

Medical marijuana sales begin in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania’s medical cannabis program was signed into law in April 2016, and after nearly two years of planning, dispensaries finally opened their doors this week. The program is pretty restrictive—patients can’t purchase flowers or edibles—but starting small is better than not starting at all.

Berkeley becomes cannabis sanctuary city

The city of Berkeley has enacted a policy that prohibits city departments, officers and employees from using city funds to enforce federal marijuana laws. This makes Berkeley the first cannabis sanctuary city in the U.S. Check out the details here.

Chelsea Handler announces pot line

Comedian Chelsea Handler is the latest celebrity to announce her foray into the marijuana business world. She used her Instagram page to proclaim this new venture, but has yet to reveal any specifics. Stay tuned.

Elderly patients may benefit from marijuana use

Have you talked to your grandparents about cannabis? According to a recently published study, adults over the age of 65 may benefit greatly from the use of medical marijuana. Learn more about the research here.

Colorado weed sales reach $1.5 billion in 2017

Colorado’s legal marijuana industry reached a new high in 2017: $1.5 billion in sales. The state amassed $247 million in taxes and fees revenue from these sales. Whoa.