A bipartisan duo of senators is calling on Jeff Sessions to stop blocking marijuana research efforts. After many delays, Maine’s legislature finally passed a recreational marijuana bill with a veto-proof majority. Two investors are suing a Colorado-based CBD company for fraud. Also: A cannabis entrepreneur has raised $100,000 to challenge Denver’s mayor. 🌳
Bipartisan senators calling out Sessions. Senators Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) sent a letter to attorney general Jeff Sessions expressing concern that the Justice Department is blocking efforts to expand marijuana research by the DEA. At least 25 applicants are seeking a license from the DEA to grow research cannabis, and the senators are concerned that the DOJ is blocking the applications from moving forward. The pair asked Sessions to commit to resolving the applications by August 11. The Hill
Maine finally passes recreational marijuana bill. The state legislature finally passed a bill to regulate marijuana sales. Voters in Maine and Massachusetts approved adult-use ballot measures in November 2016. While Massachusetts has already started licensing businesses for commercial sales, Maine’s efforts have been beset by delays and opposition from its anti-marijuana governor. This latest legislation was passed by both the House and Senate with veto-proof majorities. The bill cuts the home-grow plant count from six to three, raises the tax rate from 10 to 20 percent, and does not allow deliveries, internet sales, or social-use. The Portland Press Herald
More on Boehner’s new gig. A spokesperson for the former House speaker said that John Boehner’s “evolving position [on marijuana] has been the result of close study after leaving office.” Boehner recently announced that was joining the advisory board of cannabis producer Acreage Holdings, alongside former Massachusetts governor Bill Weld. A spokesperson for the company declined to discuss whether the two new advisers are being paid. The Washington Post Boehner said that members of Congress will “see the light” when it comes to cannabis reform. He also speculated that Sessions’ decision to rescind the Cole memo was an attempt to “force the Congress to act.” Bloomberg
Weedmaps comes under more criticism. The cannabis advertising platform has come under fire from state regulators recently for refusing to remove listings of unlicensed cannabis businesses from its platform. Weedmaps’ CEO and COO are spearheading a new company, DICA Distribution, which received conditional approval for a marijuana distribution license. “If they’re going to be a part of the supply chain and enter the legal market, do it with both feet. Don’t have one foot in the illegal or unregulated market and one in the regulated market. It really just shows bad faith,” said the president of a cannabis business association. Marijuana Business Daily
Investors sue CBD company for fraud. Two Florida doctors are suing Colorado Springs-based Full Spectrum Nutrition for fraud, claiming that their $1.1 million investment in the cannabinoid-extract producer went to a Costa Rica wildlife refuge instead. Their attorney described the CEO of the company as a “classic con artist” who preys on people hoping to cash in on the green rush. The doctors want their money back, plus three times the amount in damages. The Denver Post
🚨 Shameless Promotion 🚨
Unladylike. Our editor was featured on the latest episode of Unladylike as the “joint-loving journalist,” alongside Wanda James, the co-founder of Simply Pure dispensary in Colorado, and Maya Elisabeth, one half of the Whoopi & Maya brand of cannabis products for women. “Legal cannabis is America’s fastest-growing industry and reportedly one of its women-friendliest. Cristen and Caroline sort the hype from the hangups around women and cannabis.” Unladylike
Cannabis Law Summit. The first annual Cannabis Law Summit is coming to New York City this May. Hear from such eminent speakers including Shaleen Title, Commissioner of the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission, Cristina Buccola, a cannabis attorney, advocate, and business developer, Senator Liz Krueger, an advocate of marijuana reform in the New York state legislature, and Maria McFarland Sánchez-Moreno, the Executive Director of the Drug Policy Alliance. Word on the Tree readers get $50 off with the discount code: WORDT50. Cannabis Law Summit
Who smokes the most weed? Restaurant and hotel workers are the most avid marijuana consumers, according to Colorado health officials. A survey found that 30 percent of people in those industries consume cannabis. Those in the arts and entertainment industries came in at a close second — 28 percent reported using pot. Meanwhile, people in the education, public administration, and mining, oil and gas industries were the least likely to smoke up. NBC News
Fact-checking bad headlines. A December announcement from the World Health Organization spawned a myriad of headlines along the lines of: “Medical marijuana has no health risks: WHO.” But the claim is mostly false. WHO declared that CBD could have some therapeutic value, is not likely to be abused, and shouldn’t be scheduled as a controlled substance. The agency did not say anything about medical marijuana, or the hundreds of other compounds found in the plant. Snopes
Marijuana’s impact on the alcohol industry. It’s going to take five to 10 years to see the impact of the marijuana market on the alcohol industry. But preliminary data indicate that legal weed could be cutting into alcohol sales. Cannabis delivery company Eaze said 82 percent of its customers reported drinking less due to cannabis consumption, while 11 percent reported quitting drinking entirely. Meanwhile, the chief economist for the Brewer’s Association said that there was a 4 percent drop in California beer shipments in February: “I think it’s certainly too early to say whether cannabis has had a direct effect on not just beer, but all alcohol sales, which are certainly related.” CBS SF
Vice’s weed programming brought its highest ratings. Vice’s TV channel is kicking off its second annual Weed Week — a week of cannabis-related programming that brought the channel’s best ratings last year. Here’s a look at its promotional campaign, which used 20 pounds of pot. Ad Age Related: Fellow cannabis newsletter WeedWeek has applied for trademarks “to avoid conflicts like this.” But Vice declined a request to pay a $2,500 license fee to use the name last year. “I believe Vice’s response to me carries… [a] whiff of contempt for the little guy. This is not an attractive pose for a media company that considers calling out bad behavior part of its mission,” wrote its editor Alex Halperin in a newsletter last year.
Elsewhere around the world… Strict rules on marketing and advertising cannabis in Canada means that marijuana companies must get creative when it comes to promoting their brands. Those tactics include “branded mindfulness sessions, mobile promotional campaigns and cannabis-flavored products.” The Globe and Mail Echoing previous comments on the matter, Mexico‘s tourism minister said that the country should start allowing states to legalize marijuana. Reuters Japan‘s national police agency reported that the number of marijuana users caught by police has risen to an all-time high. The Japan News
From Centre to Wave. Whether you call it psychedelia, psych rock, or even just ‘stoner music,’ a genre defined by lengthy tracks, flanged-out guitars, and groovy rhythm sections has gone hand-in-hand with cannabis culture since the first Summer of Love. This week, we’re turning our attention to space rock – psychedelia’s heavier, weirder offshoot. Word on the Tree
Word on the States
- In Colorado, a marijuana entrepreneur has raised more than $100,000 to challenge Denver’s mayor.
- In California, the Central Coast is becoming a cannabis hotspot.
- In Massachusetts, a look at zoning rules for marijuana businesses in Boston.
- In New York, the governor defended his record on cannabis, saying that the state is “actually ahead” on the issue.
- In New Jersey, nearly 100 more dispensaries could be coming to the medical marijuana program.
- In Nevada, a cannabis museum will open its doors in downtown Las Vegas in July. MedMen is opening a cannabis factory near Reno.
- In Pennsylvania, a Philadelphia lawmaker is trying to end the practice of testing parolees for marijuana.
- In Louisiana, the House approved a medical marijuana bill.
Word for Word
“Peter Volkmann, the police chief of the small upstate New York town of Chatham, has a radical strategy for policing the American opioid epidemic: He doesn’t. Instead, he invites addicts to come to his office, turn over their drugs, and ask for help. He then makes sure they get the medical assistance they need to detox, and enroll in rehab programs so they can eventually stop using all together.” – Alastair Boone for CityLab
“Legalization is the future for America. It’s funny, though, because our country has a religious hold over cannabis use and legalization. People are like, ‘No, marijuana is bad because God didn’t mention it in the Bible.’ Except that he did mention it in the Bible. Have you ever heard of the burning bush? ‘And then God spoke to Moses out of the burning bush.’ Anyone who’s ever smoked weed and gotten really high understands what happened there.” – Cheech Marin, OC Weekly