‘Ominous comments’ on marijuana from the DOJ. Deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein said that while the Justice Department hasn’t made any changes to its marijuana enforcement policy, “we are reviewing it” and studying states that have legalized or decriminalized the drug. “I think there is some pretty significant evidence that marijuana turns out to be more harmful than a lot of people anticipated, and it’s more difficult to regulate than I think was contemplated ideally by some of those states,” he said. He also clarified that the Cole memo doesn’t protect state-legal marijuana activities from future prosecution. Forbes
Colorado credit union says it has banking solution for cannabis industry. The CEO of Partner Colorado Credit Union says it has a solution to the marijuana industry’s banking woes, but marijuana business professionals are skeptical of the plan. The credit union handles about $80 million a month in marijuana money in the state and its CEO is expanding Safe Harbor Services — an independent program. Financial institutions in six states are testing the compliance software. Marijuana Business Daily
Eaze raises $27 million. California cannabis delivery startup Eaze raised $27 million in a Series B round to expand to the state’s lucrative upcoming recreational marijuana market. “The weed delivery startup has come under scrutiny recently for burning through at least $1 million in cash per month. In contrast, other software-based pot delivery startups like Meadow have played it lean, focusing more on improving the software and logistics.” TechCrunch Related: A look at the burgeoning world of California’s cannabis delivery and e-commerce startups. The Cannabist
The problem with pesticide regulations. Strict standards for pesticides in pot are welcomed by consumers in California, where a large majority of commercial marijuana products would fail testing regulations in other legal states. But rampant pesticide use in farmlands means that even cannabis growers who adhere to organic standards may fail pesticide testing. The director of a clean cannabis certification program said the situation will lead to “huge conflicts… We have had farmers who have had their entire year’s crop rejected because they were next to a blueberry field.” Myclobutanil is especially concerning for cannabis growers, which isn’t harmful when eaten but can be dangerous when smoked. GreenState
How a chef got into the cannabis biz. The D.C. chef Jeff Black owns several restaurants in the city. Now, he’s also a part owner of a medical marijuana company with a Maryland license. While he was hesitant about getting professionally involved with cannabis, his kids convinced him otherwise. He told them that there might be stigma against them at school if he got involved in a cannabis company. But his 12-year-old started talking about the data on medical marijuana. “I was like, ‘Where do you know that from?’ He’s like, ‘I want to be a doctor, dad. I know everything…’ He was the one who was like, ‘You need to do this. You should do this. This is important.'” Washingtonian
‘Yes, I’m dependent on weed.’ Andrew Sullivan pens a piece on his cannabis dependency, exploring whether his reliance on the drug is indeed problematic. “Am I in denial about these worries when it comes to myself? A little perhaps.” His discovery of marijuana at 36-years-old was a “revelation” as he struggled with insomnia and nausea from HIV medication. (Smoking weed gave him sleep and a huge appetite.) ” I actually enjoyed my first meal in years. That was enough for me. Disrupting my work? Impeding my productivity? A couple years later, as a daily stoner, I was writing a blog round-the-clock along with a weekly column. In many ways, it helped my productivity by finally ending my insomnia… Weed may shorten my life by hurting my lungs — but endless insomnia might have shortened it more.” New York
NDP party calls for deal with U.S. for pot-smoking Canadians. The Canadian NDP party is pushing for its federal government to negotiate a deal with the U.S. to prevent Canadian cannabis consumers from being turned away at the border for past pot use. “Frankly, I’m baffled that the Liberals have not had the foresight to anticipate this problem and begin dealing with this now… Without such an agreement, Canadians will be put in a terrible position of having to either lie to border officials or risk being denied entry,” said NDP’s health critic. Canadians risk being banned from the U.S. for life when they admit to past cannabis use. National Post
In other international news… Mexico legalized medical marijuana this past summer. While current regulations on THC are strict, here’s what the future of its pot program could look like. “We’re headed in the right direction and the attitude is changing,” said one political analyst. Rolling Stone Sri Lanka is launching its first cannabis farm to export medical marijuana to the U.S. “The 100-acre farm could produce more than 25 tons of marijuana a year in a bid to meet the ‘high demand’ for alternative medicine.” Evening Standard
On the opioid crisis. These moms who lost children to opioids saw a crisis that no one else did. Nobody listened as they tried to warn politicians, regulators, and doctors. The Guardian The FDA approved a mobile app called “reset” for treating substance abuse disorders. CNBC Google started restricting ads for substance abuse treatment, recognizing that many rehab centers are “are unfit to help [those who are addicted] or, in some cases, endangering their lives.” The New York Times Netflix released a short documentary called Heroin(e) in collaboration with the Center for Investigative Reporting. It tracks the work of three women on the front lines of the opioid crisis. Mother Jones
Word on the States
- In Washington, police captured one of two people suspected of kidnapping a pot store employee.
- In Colorado, the governor calls a special session to fix a pot tax drafting error.
- In California, the legislature approves restrictions on edibles and bans smoking or vaping on the beach. San Francisco’s office of cannabis gets a new director. Los Angeles approves a marijuana zoning ordinance as regulators race to meet the January 1 deadline.
- In Massachusetts, Weedmaps is the first marijuana-related company to join the Boston Chamber of Commerce.
- In Pennsylvania, municipal governments pressure licensed cannabis businesses, pushing them to relocate.
- In Alaska, regulators will revisit the issue of onsite cannabis consumption.
- In Arizona, child services says medical marijuana patients or caregivers can’t be foster parents.
- In New Jersey, 59 percent of voters support legalizing recreational marijuana.
- In Arkansas, Little Rock airport proposes banning its staff from using medical marijuana.
- In Florida, medical marijuana facilities were spared by Hurricane Irma.
- In Delaware, veterans celebrate increased access to medical marijuana for PTSD.
- In Washington D.C., the city is prohibited from regulating marijuana by a spending bill passed by the House.
Word for Word
“[Rep. Dana Rohrabacher] is a surreal kind of guy. He’s a hero to weed-lovers for being a Republican at the forefront of the pro-marijuana legalization movement, and a pariah to fellow Republicans for being so pro-Russia that House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy once jokingly said that ‘Putin pays’ him. He wants to cut a deal with Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, and thinks the Charlottesville riots were staged by liberals and were ‘a total hoax.’ He’s both a puka-shell-necklace-wearing surfer and a fierce anti-Communist who bragged about battling with Afghan mujahedeen during a fact-finding trip shortly before being sworn into Congress… Call him fringe-y, but he’s conservative OC kind of fringe-y.” – Joe Garofoli for The San Francisco Chronicle
“If the last 20 years of largely unregulated medical marijuana is any indication of what’s to come, we should be greatly concerned. I say all of this not as some sort of ‘Just Say No’ finger-wagger. I voted for Prop. 64 and see myriad virtues in allowing recreational marijuana use… The trouble is that many of the pot-based products ready to roll out in January will invariably be snapped up by millions of new consumers, many of whom are likely to have little idea of what they’re getting into.” – Brad Rowe for The Sacramento Bee