The feds are getting involved in Oregon after local prosecutors decline to go after an unlicensed pot grow. Ohio hired a convicted drug felon to score medical marijuana applications. California lawmakers urge state regulators to protect small cannabis farmers. Also: a psychologist made a Spotify playlist for your psychedelic trip. 🌳
The feds get involved in Oregon pot biz. Local prosecutors decided not to pursue a case against an illicit cannabis operation. Now, the DEA is investigating the facility in a “fairly rare instance in which U.S. officials are looking into a marijuana case in a state where pot is legal.” The authorities first caught wind of the operation after an explosion — caused by marijuana extraction materials — led police to hundreds of marijuana plants in a facility that did not have a state license. The Associated Press Related: Business for the medical marijuana industry has plummeted after the state legalized recreational sales. Now, many MMJ dispensaries are converting to recreational ones. The Associated Press
Ohio MMJ licensing process under fire. The state Department of Commerce hired a consultant who had felony drug convictions to help award state medical marijuana licenses. The conviction would have disqualified the consultant from receiving the very licenses that he was helping to give out. “The integrity of the process has been called into question,” said the lieutenant governor. cleveland.com “The state of Ohio has a lot of explaining to do… they hired a convicted drug dealer for $150,000 to score applications,” said the chairman of an aspiring cultivator that lost out on a license. The Columbus Dispatch
The prospect of Big Weed in California. The state’s emergency cannabis regulations leave it up to cities and counties to set regulations on the size of marijuana facilities. But without a state cap on acreage and licenses, the rules could “create an uneven playing field between existing, smaller-scale growers and larger competitors.” Capital Public Radio Two state lawmakers are calling for changes that would protect small family cannabis farmers from corporate cultivators. “This last minute revision rolls out the red carpet for large corporations to crush the livelihood of small family farmers who should be given a fair chance to succeed in a regulated market,” they wrote. The Los Angeles Times
Missouri man loses pot-growing case. Mark Shanklin challenged his pot conviction all the way up to the state Supreme Court — and lost. Shanklin argued that the state’s right-to-farm law gave him the right to grow marijuana. The court ruled against him, sending him to prison for 120 days. KSDK
How cannabis brands expand in the U.S. Federal prohibition and state-level legal markets have made it difficult for marijuana businesses to expand to other states. Entrepreneurs rely on licensing and franchising agreements, creating a “tricky scenario.” Among the key challenges: adapting to the different regulatory regimes in each state — different packaging, dosing, and advertising rules. Bloomberg
The cannabis business is luring top talent from other industries. The marijuana business is attracting workers from other industries and investment dollars from Wall Street. While executives like Alan Gertner (formerly of Google) and Eric Eslao (formerly of Apple) encountered stigma surrounding their career changes — the opportunities were still too good to pass up. Reuters
DOJ reminds cannabis businesses that they don’t get bankruptcy aid. Two Justice Department officials penned a piece saying that marijuana businesses cannot use the bankruptcy system due to the product’s federal illegality. Their position extends to ancillary businesses, not just ones that touch the plant. Forbes
Cannabis in Canada. The Canadian Senate is moving very slowly on legislation to legalize adult-use of marijuana. Lift A research firm predicts that demand for recreational marijuana will be higher than anticipated — by 40 percent. Marijuana Business Daily
In other international news… Paraguay’s Congress legalized the production of medical marijuana in the country. The new law will allow a state-sponsored system to import cannabis seeds. Reuters An Irish lawmaker believes that the country could legalize recreational cannabis within the next few years. Dublin Live A Canadian licensed producer is partnering with a Danish hemp producer to build Denmark’s first medical marijuana production facility. Marijuana Business Daily Manitoba says no to home grow. Winnipeg Free Press British Columbia sets minimum age to purchase legal pot at 19. Global News
A Spotify playlist for your trip. A psychologist who has worked on psychedelic research at Johns Hopkins University has made a Spotify playlist designed for tripping. “I make the best musical choices I can, trying to separate the ‘very good’ and the ‘excellent’ on the basis of years of experience with many different people,” he said. The playlist is heavy on orchestral music, which he says is “less likely to give room for a person to fall back on normal patterns of thinking.” Inverse
Word on the States
- In California, San Francisco recreational pot rules reach their last hurdle. Los Angeles considers marijuana regulations.
- In Oregon, a couple is working on a ballot initiative to legalize supervised psilocybin use.
- In New York, a look at the state’s small but growing medical marijuana program. MMJ patients with epilepsy reported improvements in health. Defense attorneys for former police officers accused of rape use marijuana charges to attack woman’s credibility.
- In Washington, regulators stopped issuing hemp licenses, citing a budget deficit.
- In Massachusetts, regulators consider social consumption.
- In Hawaii, a state senator predicts recreational legalization in three to five years.
- In Arkansas, an Illinois dispensary owner hopes to snag a state license.
- In Utah, a Brigham Young University student’s fertilizer startup is attracting the business of commercial cannabis growers.
- In Indiana, Republican lawmakers are working on industrial hemp and CBD legislation.
- In Illinois, a Republican state senator calls on the governor to re-evaluate his anti-marijuana stance.
Word for Word
“Today, the [New York City] police still stop and search people, but the number of such encounters has dropped by more than 98 percent since its peak in 2011 — down to 12,404 in 2016, and about the same pace this year. Six years ago, 685,724 were stopped and searched — 605,328 of whom had done nothing wrong, and many thousands who had done nothing worse than carry marijuana… further curtailing this approach did not make the city more dangerous. In fact, the opposite happened. That is unambiguously great news.” – Jim Dwyer for The New York Times
“One problem for us the way in which Schedule I has been applied to marijuana, which means that doing research in that and in other Schedule I drugs can be extremely onerous for researchers. The approvals take as long as a year to happen. One of the asks, I guess, if we had one in terms of a policy change, would be to provide special exemptions to allow more research to be done on Schedule I drugs.” – National Institutes of Health director Francis S. Collins, Marijuana Moment
“I am a physician practicing in a state where marijuana is legal, both medicinally and recreationally. I will occasionally receive a bottle of wine from a patient as a token of gratitude. Recently, I was offered some marijuana by a patient for this reason. I did not accept, but would it have been wrong if I had?” – Anonymous in a letter to The Ethicist, The New York Times