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Newsletter #166

Those damn teenagers

Teenagers are often at the center of conversations about marijuana legalization. If cannabis is legalized, will every kid become the stereotype of a lazy stoner? Do dispensaries make it too easy for teens to obtain weed? Two recent studies provide more insight into what may influence cannabis consumption among adolescents. One study shows that teenagers who vape are more likely to use marijuana than their non-vaping counterparts. Another study found that the presence of medical cannabis dispensaries does not impact the rate of marijuana use by teens. Put that in your pipe and smoke it.

California’s cannabis shortage

July 1st was the day that marijuana dispensaries in California needed to start following the state’s strict testing regulations. It hasn’t been easy. California has only 31 testing facilities licensed to scrutinize every cannabis product that hits dispensary shelves. This has led to a major backlog, which you can learn more about here.

Cynthia Nixon is down to toke

New York gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon hasn’t tried cannabis since college, but this may change soon. The former “Sex and the City” actress said she would be open to sampling the green goods when marijuana is legalized in the state.

The cost of Epidiolex

Epidiolex made history when it became the first cannabis-derived drug the FDA approved. Now, Epidiolex is making headlines for its price, which will be roughly $32,500 a year. No, that’s not a typo.

Michigan grandma arrested for medical marijuana

Police in Michigan arrested an 80-year-old grandmother for using medical cannabis at home with an expired medical marijuana card. It sounds like the cops have their priorities straight.

Newsletter #165

A new kind of CBD oil

A company has figured out how to derive cannabidiol, or CBD, without using a cannabis or hemp plant. Given the legal gray area of CBD, this is a huge deal. Peak Health Foundation has worked out a process for extracting CBD oil from humulus, a variety of hop that naturally cross-pollinated with wild cannabis. It’s new, it’s fascinating and it’s completely legal.

THC takes on epilepsy

When people talk about marijuana’s medicinal benefits, they’re oftentimes referencing CBD. THC, the cannabinoid primarily responsible for getting you stoned, doesn’t get nearly as much love. This might be changing. Two recent studies show that THC may be effective in the treatment of epilepsy. Go, THC, go! Get the details here.

Cannabis and Coors

While many companies in the alcohol sector aren’t too stoked on the marijuana industry, Molson Coors is leaning in. The beer behemoth’s Canadian division is forging a partnership with a cannabis producer to develop a marijuana-infused, nonalcoholic beverage. Making friends with the competition? Nice move.

Georgia sort of legalizes marijuana

No, not the state. The Eurasian nation of Georgia has done away with punishments for the consumption of cannabis. The ruling by Georgia’s Constitutional Court does not concern the cultivation or selling of marijuana, which remain illegal. Learn more about this noteworthy judgment here.

University-sponsored cannabis competition

Do you have a big, innovative idea related to medical marijuana? If so, you might want to check out Thomas Jefferson University’s competition for marijuana-related businesses. Winners receive money and legal support. Good deal.

Newsletter #164

Cannabis beer in Canada

Canada recently legalized marijuana, and the country’s brewers want in on the party. While quite a few breweries have crafted beers infused with THC and CBD, none have successfully made beer by brewing with the cannabis plant. Province Brands is looking to change that. Get the details about the company’s cannabis beer that supposedly hits you faster than an edible here.

New marijuana bill on data collection

A bipartisan group of lawmakers has introduced the Marijuana Data Collection Act, a bill that would direct government agencies to study the impacts of marijuana programs in the states where the drug is legal. Basically, it’s a bill that fights against marijuana misinformation.

United Kingdom says yes to medical cannabis

The UK government recently announced a relaxation of the country’s medical cannabis laws. Now, doctors will be able to prescribe marijuana-derived medicine to patients. Learn more about this development here.

Sessions still hates legal weed

In a recent press conference, Attorney General Jeff Sessions reiterated his vague threats against state-legal marijuana programs. Thanks for nothing, Sessions.

Americans on marijuana and tobacco

According to a new poll, most Americans believe that tobacco is more harmful than cannabis. The times are certainly changing.

Newsletter #163

Kevin Smith’s weed show

Kevin Smith, filmmaker/actor/comedian, has a new comedy series about cannabis. “Hollyweed” focuses on two potheads managing a Los Angeles dispensary. While the pilot was filmed three years ago, it was just recently released on Rivit TV, a platform that allows viewers to vote on the future of TV shows. Smith is hoping his fans decide to keep “Hollyweed” going. Learn more about this endeavor here.

Cops in cannabis states

A newly published study found that legal cannabis programs in Colorado and Washington have led to more effective police departments. It seems that when police aren’t focusing on marijuana-related offenses, they’re able to reallocate resources and become more successful at solving other crimes. This is worth remembering for your next debate about the impact of legal cannabis on public safety.

Study on stoned driving

While it’s typically a terrible idea to get high and get behind the wheel, there is one exception. UC San Diego is conducting a study to learn more about how marijuana use impacts drivers. Participants in the study will be paid to smoke a joint and take a virtual driving test. Readers in San Diego, note that researchers are still recruiting participants.

Ganja grads

Looking for an official education in the medicinal benefits of cannabis? Starting this fall, Thomas Jefferson University is offering graduate-level certificate programs in medical marijuana. Get the details here.

Tilray makes U.S. stock exchange history

Tilray, a Canadian startup, became the first cannabis company to make its initial public offering on a U.S. stock exchange. As you might expect, investors jumped on this stock.

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.