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Newsletter #188

Racial disparities in Philadelphia’s marijuana arrests

Even though cannabis possession was decriminalized four years ago in Philadelphia, hundreds of people are still arrested each year for purchasing marijuana. Additionally, as is the unfortunate case in many cities, black residents are much more likely to be arrested for buying cannabis than white residents are. Quick reminder: Data shows that black and white populations consume marijuana at roughly the same rate. The racial disparity in cannabis-related arrests is glaring.

CARERS Act introduced…again

A bipartisan group of lawmakers recently introduced the Compassionate Access, Research Expansion and Respect States (CARERS) Act, a bill that aims to protect states with medical cannabis programs. If the measure sounds familiar, that’s because it is extremely similar to a bill of the same name that stalled in the last Congress. Get more information about the CARERS Act here.

Pro-pot governor uses hemp paper at inauguration

While some politicians talk the marijuana industry talk, not all of them walk the walk. Governor Jared Polis of Colorado, who was just sworn in on Tuesday, does. In addition to being an advocate for cannabis reform, Polis printed his inauguration programs on hemp paper. Finally, a politician who gets us.

420 friendly bill

The Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act is a new bill filed by Oregon Representative Earl Blumenauer. If passed, this bill will remove cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act. Also, it’s very important to note that Blumenauer reserved the number H.R. 420 for this measure. Real smooth.

Redman’s vintage weed

This week, Rapper Redman posted a video of some decades-old dimebags discovered at his mom’s house. After the find, his mom, a true entrepreneur, suggested they sell the bud on eBay. This likely won’t happen, but maybe the dimebags will turn up at an antique store.

Newsletter #187

Marijuana gifts in Michigan

Recreational marijuana became legal in Michigan on December 6th, but legal sales won’t start for at least another year. Enterprising businesses don’t want to wait, so many are using a loophole in the new law that allows people to give cannabis as gifts. These companies are selling overpriced goods and adding in marijuana as a present. For example, you can order a small amount of chocolate and receive a “free” cannabis gift. Sneaky and smart.

THC and CBD take on chronic pain

Researchers seeking to examine how THC and CBD impact chronic pain recently completed a study with some interesting findings. They discovered that strains of cannabis with high levels of THC are effective at increasing pain tolerance. However, a strain that was low in THC but high in CBD had no pain-relieving effects. In fact, CBD seems to counter the analgesic impacts of THC. Learn more about the study here.

Medical cannabis coming soon to Ohio

Ohio’s medical cannabis law passed in 2016, and the state’s medical marijuana program was supposed to be fully operational on September 8th of last year. Unfortunately, things haven’t panned out that way. Now, the latest estimate indicates that the program will be up and running on January 15th. Stay strong, Ohioans. You’re almost there.

Oregon’s pot problem

Cannabis cultivators in Oregon are growing a lot of flower. Actually, that’s an understatement. Cannabis cultivators in Oregon are growing way too much flower. While Oregon consumers smoked about 166,000 pounds of legal marijuana in 2018, the state currently has about 1.3 million pounds of unsold bud. Yikes.

The workforce is getting high

A new report found that more people are testing positive for cannabis in workplace drug tests, particularly in states that recently legalized recreational marijuana. Some are concerned that this impacts public safety. Get the details here.

Newsletter #186

California’s mediocre cannabis industry

When California legalized recreational marijuana at the start of 2018, state officials and cannabis industry enthusiasts had high hopes for the market. With the first year of legal cannabis coming to a close, many are disappointed with the results. Complicated regulations and high taxes have hindered marijuana businesses. Additionally, many cities decided to ban cannabis dispensaries. As a result of these strains, California is raking in much less tax revenue than experts estimated. Overall, it’s not a good look.

The infamous blunt of the Oakland Raiders

The Oakland Raiders may have played their last game at the Oakland Coliseum this past week, and running back Marshawn Lynch honored the stadium in a unique, truly Californian way. Lynch lit the Al Davis Memorial Torch, and then seemingly tried to light a blunt off the torch. So perfect. So Oakland.

Legal cannabis leads to safer borders

A new study found that as more states legalize marijuana, less of the plant is being smuggled across the Mexico–U.S. border. In fact, smuggling fell 78 percent over a five-year period. Get more information about the decline in drug smuggling here.

Thailand legalizes medical marijuana

This week, Thailand’s parliament voted to approve cannabis for medicinal and research purposes. This makes Thailand the first Southeast Asian country to legalize marijuana. Way to go, Thailand.

Hostile takeover coming for Aphria

Word on the street is that U.S. marijuana company Green Growth Brands Ltd. is planning a hostile takeover bid for Aphria Inc., a major Canadian cannabis producer. Get the details here.

Newsletter #185

CBD makes glaucoma worse

Medical marijuana has long been associated with alleviating symptoms of glaucoma, an eye disease that can cause blindness. This is because THC lowers pressure inside the eye. However, a new study found that CBD, another cannabinoid, actually increases pressure in the eye. Since many glaucoma patients are consuming whole plant cannabis containing both CBD and THC, and CBD opposes the ocular benefits of THC, they aren’t receiving the pressure-lowering help they need. This is a shining example of why marijuana research is so important.

Anheuser-Busch’s big marijuana deal

Anheuser-Busch InBev, a massive alcohol company that owns big names like Budweiser, is getting into the marijuana industry. AB InBev is partnering with Canadian cannabis company Tilray to delve into the world of non-alcoholic, marijuana-infused beverages. It’s a $100 million deal, so you know they’re not messing around.

New Zealand will vote on legalizing cannabis in 2020

New Zealand may become the next country to legalize marijuana. This week, the government announced that a binding referendum on cannabis legalization will be held in 2020. If citizens vote to legalize marijuana, New Zealand will be the third nation in the world to do so. Learn more about this big vote here.

Trading marijuana for McDonald’s

The great state of Florida is known for its wacky news stories, and there’s a new one involving cannabis. Recently, a man tried to trade marijuana for some McDonald’s grub. The McDonald’s employee declined. The pot-trading gentleman was arrested shortly thereafter.

Hemp is officially legal

President Trump signed the 2018 Farm Bill into law on Thursday. Now, industrial hemp is legal. Get the details on what this means for hemp and CBD production here.

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.