Newsletter #154

San Francisco gets tech help in righting cannabis wrongs

California’s Proposition 64 is known as the law that legalized recreational marijuana in the Golden State. What many don’t realize is that Prop 64 also authorized a pathway for Californians to have their prior cannabis-related convictions reduced or cleared. San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón decided that his office would automatically apply the new law to all misdemeanor and felony cases from 1975 onward. It’s a mighty undertaking, and the DA’s office needed some help.

Enter Code For America, a tech nonprofit working to develop an app that would help automate the conviction-clearing process. As Gascón said, “When the government uses 20th-century tools to tackle 21st-century problems, it’s the public that pays the price.” Learn more about this dream team here.

Oregon marijuana farmers focus on hemp

The Oregon cannabis market is flooded, and many growers are in search of a more profitable crop. This has led many farmers to apply for state licenses to grow hemp. Hemp-derived cannabidiol, or CBD, is in high demand, and growers can rake in over $100,000 an acre cultivating the crop that produces it. That’s a lot of green.

Manhattan’s district attorney vs minor cannabis cases

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. has vowed to stop prosecuting minor marijuana cases. Vance’s reasoning? People of color are arrested and prosecuted for minor cannabis infractions at disproportionate rates. Learn more about how New York City is tackling this injustice here.

Estonian bud banner

Kanepi, a recently-formed Estonian municipality, voted on a new emblem, and a marijuana leaf was the winner. A cannabis leaf will soon adorn the official regional logo, flag and coat of arms. Well done, people of Kanepi.

Major marijuana merger

Two of Canada’s biggest cannabis companies have agreed to the most massive merger seen thus far in the industry. Aurora Cannabis Inc. is purchasing MedReleaf Corp. for $2.2 billion in stock. Yowza.

Newsletter #153

Oncologists and medical marijuana

A survey of hundreds of oncologists from around the U.S. found that roughly 80 percent discuss marijuana with their patients, but fewer than 30 percent feel knowledgeable enough to counsel them on its medical use. This is largely due to a lack of evidence regarding the efficacy of medical cannabis to treat cancer-related afflictions. As long as marijuana remains a Schedule I drug, it will be extremely difficult to conduct research into its medicinal benefits, and doctors will continue to struggle with providing relevant information to those who need it most.

Dispensaries are giving bad advice to pregnant women

A new study found that 70 percent of Colorado dispensaries suggested cannabis products to pregnant women struggling with nausea. Meanwhile, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists discourages pregnant and breastfeeding women from using marijuana. Reminder: Budtenders are not doctors. Read more about this study’s findings here.

Marijuana will soon outsell liquor in Canada

A new report from one of Canada’s largest banks estimates that legal marijuana will be a $6.5 billion industry by 2020. Compare that with the $5.1 billion Canadians spent on liquor in 2017, and it’s clear that cannabis sales will soon surpass liquor sales. Watch out, whiskey.

Cannabis academy to open in Texas

A new school focused on marijuana science is preparing to open its doors, and it’s not where you’d expect it. The Dallas Ft. Worth Academy of Cannabis Science will commence classes on August 4th. Check it out here.

Marijuana money

Have you ever wondered how much money North Dakota has made from cannabis sales in the past year? It’s $0. If you’re curious about the jazz cabbage sales in other states, here you are.

Newsletter #152

Maine lawmakers override governor’s veto on recreational marijuana

Here’s a quick recap on legal cannabis in Maine: Voters approved a legal recreational marijuana market back in 2016. Lawmakers drafted a bill to regulate the market, which Governor Paul LePage vetoed in November 2017. Lawmakers drafted another, more restrictive bill, which Governor LePage also vetoed. Caught up? Good.

On Wednesday, lawmakers decided to do right by their constituents and override the governor’s veto. Well done.

NFL denies medical cannabis request

Mike James, a current NFL free agent, was prescribed opioid painkillers following a broken ankle. After becoming addicted to the pills, James decided to try medical cannabis, which is not allowed in the NFL. Last month, he became the first player in NFL history to file for a therapeutic use exemption for medical cannabis. He was denied. Clearly, the NFL officials are continuing their streak of being adamantly against marijuana use of any kind.

Pot tasting in Colorado

A bill in Colorado that would permit cannabis “tasting rooms” has made its way to Governor John Hickenlooper’s desk. If signed, adults would be able to consume small amounts of cannabis at dispensaries, similar to how you might order a craft beer flight at a brewery. Learn more about the bill here.

YouTube vs marijuana accounts

YouTube has started shutting down accounts that feature marijuana-related content, leaving many in the community confused and upset. The powers that be at YouTube haven’t provided an official reason for the purge. Not cool.

Canadian cannabis

This week, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that recreational marijuana will be legal by summer. Lucky Canadians.

Newsletter #151

Sessions may have changed his mind on marijuana

Attorney General Jeff Sessions recently told a Senate panel that he believes that marijuana could be used medicinally and further research should be done. Given Sessions’ consistently hateful rhetoric regarding cannabis, these declarations come as a shock. One day before Sessions made these statements, Dr. Sanjay Gupta penned an open letter to him regarding the benefits of medical marijuana. Interesting timing, Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III.

Fifth Avenue dispensary

New York City’s Fifth Avenue is known for its luxury shopping, distinguished museums and upscale apartment buildings. As of last week, the infamous road is also home to one of the few Manhattan medical marijuana dispensaries. Los Angeles-based MedMen is behind this bold (and expensive) venture. Learn more about it here.

FDA panel recommends drug made from cannabis

A Food and Drug Administration panel has unanimously recommended for the FDA to approve Epidiolex, a new drug derived from marijuana. If approved, this anti-epileptic drug would be the U.S.’s first medication made from cannabis. The FDA will likely make a decision this summer.

Music video leads to six arrests

Six friends in Wichita, Kansas made a music video that features cannabis. Sounds pretty unexceptional, right? Unfortunately, marijuana is illegal in Kansas and the local authorities were notified, which led to the arrests of all six participants. Yikes.

Legal marijuana makes the Michigan ballot

A legal cannabis initiative in Michigan has received enough signatures to make it onto the fall ballot. Michigan voters will soon decide whether or not to legalize the sale, possession and use of recreational marijuana. Get the details here.

Newsletter #150

Chuck Schumer to introduce cannabis decriminalization bill

Senator Chuck Schumer has announced legislation that would remove marijuana from the list of scheduled substances, which would essentially legalize cannabis at the federal level. The bill would also provide funding to boost minority- and women-owned businesses. The legislation is expected to be released next week, so stay tuned.

Trump promises no federal crackdown on legal marijuana

Months ago, Senator Cory Gardner of Colorado pledged that he would block all Justice Department nominees until President Donald Trump promised not to mess with Colorado’s legal cannabis industry. Trump just made that promise. Learn more about this pledge here.

Lyft’s 4/20 deal

Lyft, a major ridesharing company, is offering a special April 20th discount to those residing in Denver, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Portland, San Francisco and Seattle. Never toke and drive!

No marijuana at McDonald’s

There have been rumors that McDonald’s is planning to turn play areas into weed-smoking lounges in a handful of Colorado locations. The company says this is fake news.

The FDA wants your opinion on pot

The Food and Drug Administration is asking for citizens’ opinions on cannabis laws. Check out the details here.

Newsletter #149

John Boehner joins cannabis corporation

Former Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner is joining the advisory board of Acreage Holdings, one of the U.S.’s largest marijuana companies. This strikes many as odd, given that Boehner had been vocally opposed to legal cannabis in the past. Boehner said he had a change of heart. Learn more about this surprising development here.

Mormon church vs medical marijuana

In an announcement that was not particularly surprising, the Mormon church stated its opposition to a medical cannabis ballot initiative in Utah. Come November, we’ll see how Utah voters feel.

California’s cannabis sales

Recreational marijuana has been legal in California for over three months. While sales are certainly booming, they aren’t as strong as some analysts predicted. Learn more about the numbers here.

Snoop’s secret

Snoop Dogg recently divulged the identity of the only person who has ever out-smoked him. Click here to find out who! Just kidding, we’ll tell you. It was Willie Nelson.

Millennials and marijuana

If you were ever wondering what millennials think of cannabis, look no further than this poll. Sneak peek: They’re pretty into it.