Sessions reiterates his stance on federal enforcement, the cannabis industry is creating both private- and public-sector jobs, and an obscure FAA rule seems to unwittingly create an exemption for state-legal marijuana. Meanwhile, the SEC details an insider-trading scheme that involved a 10-pound marijuana kickback in a complaint filed in federal court.
Washington officials met with DOJ to talk cannabis. Officials from the offices of the governor, state attorney general, finance department, and cannabis board, met with officials at the Justice Department to talk marijuana policy. State officials asked the DOJ for a reaffirmation of the DOJ’s enforcement priorities. “We look forward to continued discussions about a mutually agreeable path forward,” the governor and attorney general said in a statement. Kent Reporter “If the Justice Department is considering a new enforcement posture, the head of the DEA is likely going to have a strong voice in how that is designed,” said the former director of Colorado’s marijuana enforcement division after acting DEA head Chuck Rosenberg resigned. Washington Examiner At a roundtable with state and local law enforcement officers, attorney general Jeff Sessions said the feds would continue to enforce prohibition on cannabis operations that don’t follow state law. He did not discuss how the DOJ would treat state-legal operations. Boston Globe Related: Much of the cannabis produced in California heads to illicit markets out-of-state. Now, regulators are trying to figure out how to stem the flow ahead of the new adult-use market. Los Angeles Times
Weed-related jobs on the rise. Ahead of the new recreational marijuana market in California, the government is staffing up. The state is on a hiring binge to fill hundreds of job openings that deal with regulating the cannabis industry. The Associated Press Canada could add 150,000 jobs in the medical marijuana sector as it continues growing at a blistering pace. Hiring is picking up as the industry tries to ready itself for the launch of the adult-use market next year. Marijuana Business Daily
Tribal leaders consider marijuana revenue. Tribal leaders discussed the economic potential of the cannabis industry. The Iipay Nation of Southern California leases tribal land to marijuana operations and is home to six cultivators, one testing lab, and one distillation facility. The chairman of a gaming commission said that marijuana could be more lucrative than gaming. The chairman of the Puyallup Tribe of Indians in Washington said its involvement with the legal cannabis industry “improved the economic circumstances and health of its tribal members.” The Associated Press
An obscure FAA rule exempts state-legal marijuana. A 1972 regulation from the Federal Aviation Administration that banned pilots from carrying illicit substances seems to unwittingly carve out an exemption for cannabis that is legal under state law. The rule was instituted more than two decades before California became the first state to pass a comprehensive medical marijuana law. “It is possible that FAA didn’t actually mean in 1972 to protect consumers carrying future-legal cannabis in the sky — and may have just meant to make sure law enforcement could legally transport seized contraband.” Marijuana Moment
Westfield rejects cannabis chocolate tenant. It would’ve been a first for the industry: a mainstream shopping mall with a cannabis-infused chocolate store. But four months after submitting an application for the proposed shop, Westfield San Francisco Centre said it is no longer interested in having the cannabis tenant. Westfield requested that a hearing on the store be canceled and informed the city that negotiations with the chocolate brand had ended. The company pointed to federal prohibition as the reason for not leasing to the prospective tenant. The mall previously signed a letter of intent to lease space to Défoncé, a San Jose cannabis-infused chocolate brand. San Francisco Chronicle
An insider-trading scheme with marijuana kickbacks. A former executive at Life Time Fitness Inc. orchestrated an “elaborate insider-trading scheme,” alleges the SEC. The scheme involved kickbacks of cash and at least 10 pounds of marijuana. Shane P. Fleming was charged by the SEC in a complaint filed in the U.S. District Court in the Northern District of Illinois. Business Insider
Son of Trump cabinet member ‘invested heavily’ in cannabis. Shane McMahon, the son of Small Business Administration head Linda McMahon, has invested $500,000 in a company that manufactures pre-fabricated, pot-growing modules. Last year, Shane filed a lawsuit alleging that the company’s owner misled him about the state of the company and he demanded his money back. “A spokeswoman for the SBA did not respond to requests for comment about Linda McMahon’s view of her son’s investment or the legalization of marijuana in general.” New York Daily News
Colombia’s defense minister on drug policy. The country’s defense minister said that crop eradication and substitution must be maintained throughout new governments in order to defeat drug trafficking. The U.S. has pressured the country to resume aerial fumigation of crops, but Luis Carlos Villegas said it was off the table. Previously, aerial spraying efforts used a chemical that has been linked to cancer. Reuters
The U.K.’s underground weed cafes. Illicit cannabis cafes are popping up as enterprising entreprenuers try to take advantage of the changing attitudes surrounding marijuana. “Many cannabis clubs openly advertise the fact that they sell weed over-the-counter but because they do not attract any trouble, they’re often left alone by the law.” Customers of an unnamed cannabis cafe said that it was safer to purchase cannabis there than on the street, and that the quality is more reliable. The Independent
Word on the States
- In California, Los Angeles might block certain people from appealing licensing decisions.
- In Nevada, first-month pot sales significantly outpaced other states. Police busted a non-licensed marijuana dispensary.
- In Maine, recreational marijuana legislation faces an uncertain future. The governor wants to call a special session to address marijuana regulation (among other bills).
- In Colorado, GOP leaders are pushing back against the governor’s special session to fix a pot tax drafting error.
- In Alaska, three years after legalization, communities consider banning marijuana.
- In Massachusetts, advocates are pushing the legislature to block towns with pot bans from receiving marijuana tax revenue. Racial disparities in marijuana arrests remain.
- In Indiana, MMJ advocates hold a rally to encourage patients to support medical marijuana legalization.
- In Washington, why some cannabis businesses don’t feel threatened by the possibility of home-grow.
- In New York, high prices of medical marijuana are pushing patients to turn to the black market.
- In Oregon, a Portland food-delivery service includes free weed.
- In Florida, health officials will miss a Tuesday deadline for licensing new MMJ operations.
- In Maryland, the Black Caucus pushes for legislation to include African-American-owned firms.
- In Pennsylvania, the state is trying to block a request to release the names of those who scored MMJ license applications.
- In Iowa, a look at how regulators are implementing the state’s MMJ law.
- In Ohio, the state releases MMJ cultivation applicants.
- In Hawaii, Oahu’s second dispensary is set to open soon.
Word for Word
“One of the Marley family’s major initiatives is legalization, and [Rohan] Marley, who gets considerably more long-winded as we smoke, launches into a rambling, semi-hilarious ten-minute speech on marijuana’s myriad benefits. ‘It’s about awakening ourselves to a plant that has tremendous value, and so many positive things it can do,’ he tells me during one of the more cogent parts, before taking a hit off his perfectly rolled joint.” – Marlow Stern for The Daily Beast
“Recently, [designer Kim] Gordon turned to marijuana growers when she designed an island fitted with a hydroponic garden. ‘I had to go to the pot guys to figure out a cute, little baby drip and lighting system,’ she said.” – Penelope Green for The New York Times
“I stand for pot. I go for it everywhere that I’m at… We need it here in Pittsburgh for sure. There are a lot of people in Pittsburgh who agree with that message.” – Rapper Wiz Khalifa on his MLB cannabis kerfuffle, WTAE