Seattle is the latest city to expunge marijuana convictions. Israel’s prime minister is blocking medical marijuana exports, reportedly due to pressure from Trump. The story of the Anna, who says she was raped by two NYPD narcotics detectives after they found a bit of weed in the car she was riding in. Also: Why cannabis advocates in Maine are donating money to a leading opponent of marijuana reform. 🌳
The trend of expungement. Former New Mexico governor and Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson penned an op-ed praising San Francisco for moving to expunge thousands of pot convictions. “Let’s hope this is the beginning of a trend,” he wrote. The Hill It seems that it is! Seattle’s mayor is announcing that the city will vacate marijuana misdemeanors that it prosecuted before the state legalized cannabis. KING 5 Meanwhile, after legalizing adult-use earlier this year, Vermont lawmakers are considering an “expungement fast-track” for cannabis crimes. (Currently, those convicted of marijuana misdemeanors must wait five years to be eligible for expungement.) VPR
Israeli prime minister blocks MMJ exports. Benjamin Netanyahu is blocking the export of medical marijuana by cannabis producers in the country. He ordered more studies on the issue from the National Economic Council and Health Ministry. Various government agencies have all supported reforms allowing the exports and a government report last year recommended allowing exports. Haaretz Some outlets are reporting that Netanyahu’s decision was a result from pressure from the U.S. President Trump reportedly called Netanyahu to express his “general attitude against marijuana exports.” The Jerusalem Post
On the opioid crisis. Despite paying lip service to substance abuse treatment during the opioid crisis, president Trump now says he’s focused on enforcement, not treatment. Here’s a look at how his administration’s actions haven’t lined up with its rhetoric. NPR A psychiatry professor and director of the psychopharmacology clinic at the Weill Cornell Medical College argues that access to cannabis may actually reduce opioid use. “Mr. Sessions’s vow to crack down on marijuana will only make the opioid epidemic worse.” The New York Times UCLA’s Cannabis Research Initiative will look into whether marijuana can help combat the opioid crisis. The Cannifornian Meanwhile, the FDA is warning of the deadly risks of kratom, describing 44 deaths as a result of the drug. “Almost all of the FDA’s cases involve subjects who were found to be on multiple substances at the time of their death.” HuffPost
Gun rights for medical marijuana patients. David Keene, editor-at-large for The Washington Times and former president of the NRA penned a piece arguing that marijuana users in states where it’s legal should also have the right to own firearms. “The refusal of the federal government to accede to the judgment of the states on the issue has created problems for tens or even hundreds of thousands of gun owners who are being forced to either trade their Second Amendment rights for a chance to live pain-free or risk prosecution and imprisonment.” The Washington Post
‘Police aren’t supposed to be doing this.’ Anna says she was with two friends when they were pulled over by two NYPD detectives. There was a small amount of weed in the car, and the officers handcuffed her and let her friends go. Then, they took turns raping her in the back of a police van and let her go without issuing an arrest, citation, or filing a report about the stop. Both narcotics detectives have resigned and have been charged with rape. But in New York, (and 34 other states) there are no laws that bar cops from having sex with someone in their custody. The laws allow officers to claim that the sex was consensual, and Anna’s case has brought new attention to this legal loophole. Two weeks after she reported the rape, she was ticketed for possessing marijuana. BuzzFeed News
Yale Business of Legal Cannabis Conference. I’m excited to share the stage with such eminent folks as Ebele Ifedigbo, co-founder of the Hood Incubator, and Jesce Horton, co-founder of the Minority Cannabis Business Association, at Yale School of Management’s Business of Legal Cannabis Conference. On February 16, Yale will host the first-ever cannabis conference held at a U.S. business school. Tickets and more details here: Yale
State-level cannabis reform. Confusion over the legality of CBD have spawned a raft of CBD-related legislation in conservative states. Kansas, Indiana, and Virginia are all moving forward to CBD legislation. Meanwhile, a lawsuit against the DEA concerning the cannabinoid’s legal status, is winding its way through the courts. Marijuana Business Daily An increasing number of state legislatures are pushing legislation that would put the issue of marijuana before voters — a hybrid approach to the usual ballot petition. Marijuana Moment
The struggle for social use. As cities are increasingly moving to approve safe injection facilities to help the opioid crisis. Meanwhile, there’s still no place for cannabis consumers to go. Cannabis Now That may not be true for long. The owners of a spa in Denver have filed an application for the city’s social-use pilot program. Utopia All Natural Wellness Spa and Lounge hope to become the first legal cannabis spa, featuring ganja yoga, marijuana massages, and “other cannabis-friendly activities.” Mashable
In other cannabis business news… “I think [cannabis] is going to be way, way, way, way bigger [than craft beer],” said the founder of Lagunitas at a marijuana industry event. He outlined how the cannabis industry could learn from craft beer’s boom and busts. The Cannabist Cannabis industry analytics firm New Frontier Data acquired the Denver-based Hemp Business Journal. The publication was backed by accelerator Canopy Boulder, which said the acquisition was the first “exit” for a Canopy-backed company. The Cannabist
In International news… Antigua’s parliament approved legislation to decriminalize up to 15 grams of cannabis. Jamaica Observer Lesotho has become the first African country to legalize cannabis cultivation. Its production has been restricted to two companies: one based in the U.S. and one in South Africa. Talking Drugs Greece is fast-tracking legislation to legalize medical marijuana, following about a dozen EU countries that have done so already. Greek Reporter The international criminal court has launched in inquiry into human rights abuses by Philippine president Duterte’s war on drugs. A report submitted to the ICC last year found Duterte responsible for “extrajudicial executions and mass murder.” The Guardian
Cannabis in Canada. Tensions are flaring in the Senate over the Liberal government’s legalization bill. An independent senator who is sponsoring the legislation said that conservatives “are holding up the process for partisan purposes.” He said it was increasingly likely that the government would use something called time allocation (or closure) to speed up the process. The Globe and Mail It’s a procedural tool that would shut down debate on the measure and move it to a vote. CBC News Licensed producer Tilray says it has raised $47 million to ramp up production. Marijuana Business Daily
Word on the States
- In Maine, why marijuana advocate are donating money to a leading opponent of cannabis.
- In Oregon, auditors warned of a lack of proper safeguards with the marijuana tracking system. Portland’s first cannabis bodega mixes weed and groceries.
- In Nevada, hemp farmers are enjoying sky-high prices thanks to CBD demand.
- In California, how new regulations hurt cannabis events and small cultivators.
- In Colorado, Aspen marijuana shops topped liquor sales for the first time. A look at the last of the weed dealers.
- In Washington, regulators canceled the license of a marijuana retailer for a $1.4 million delinquent tax bill.
- In Florida, a powerful senator blasts the health department over medical marijuana implementation. Projections for the state’s medical marijuana program are built on overly optimistic assumptions.
- In Pennsylvania, a state court grilled a company suing over losing out on a permit. 🔒
- In New Mexico, regulators are moving to revoke the license of a medical marijuana producer over falsified reports.
- In Ohio, African-Americans are being left out of legal medical marijuana. A member of the state’s medical marijuana advisory committee quit in protest.
- In Missouri, a medical marijuana bill would limit access to those with terminal illness.
- In Tennessee, the house speaker plans to endorse medical marijuana legislation.
- In Illinois, a Senate committee approved a bill that would extend medical marijuana to opioid users.
- In New York, racial disparities persist in NYC pot arrests.
- In Oklahoma, a bill would create an industrial hemp program.
- In Texas, a medical cannabis dispensary opened its doors, but can only sell CBD oil to those with intractable epilepsy.
Word for Word
“Almost immediately, [Jagger’s parents] knew they had made the right decision. Within a few days of getting Jagger on a cannabis tincture regime, his seizures dropped from 10 or 12 to fewer than three or four per day; his pain decreased so significantly, he went off oxycodone altogether and his morphine intake went down by 90 percent… The only thing which didn’t improve was Jagger’s breathing, which was getting dangerously worse at the high altitude in Colorado. So after 13 months in the promised land of medical cannabis, the Cottes had no choice but to return home to Georgia, where Jagger could breathe more easily. And Sebastien, like other parents in conservative states, was forced to start breaking the law.” – Madison Margolin for Herb
“In a rare but not surprising move, a federal judge in Brooklyn has ruled that when Joaquín Guzmán Loera, the Mexican drug lord known as El Chapo, goes on trial in September, the case will be heard by an anonymous and partly sequestered jury… The use of anonymous juries has long been controversial because it can erode the presumption of innocence and prejudice jurors against a defendant before they have a chance to consider any evidence.” – Alan Feuer for The New York Times
“Last year, retail sales of whiskey reached $3.4 billion. By comparison, total marijuana sales across the U.S. hit nearly $9 billion in 2017 with estimates projecting sales will continue to rise to $11 billion in 2018 and $21 billion in 2021. Like whiskey, the marijuana industry in the U.S. is a multi-billion dollar industry, employs hundreds of thousands of people, and provides a significant revenue stream for communities across the country. But whiskey manufacturers, sellers, and consumers can access one tool that remains elusive to the marijuana industry: the banking system. ” – U.S. reps. Ed Perlmutter (D-Colo.) and Denny Heck (D-Wash.) for The Hill