More marijuana money, more marijuana lobbying. Manhattan’s D.A. says he’ll no longer prosecute marijuana smoking. A judge dismissed all charges in a Detroit marijuana raid. Also: Arizona regulators are investigating a medical marijuana cultivator after employees complained of breathing problems. 🌳
Opening up marijuana markets in the US and beyond. Organizations in the U.S. spent $20 million lobbying on marijuana issues in the first half of this year — more than triple the amount spent during the same time period last year. The number of groups lobbying on marijuana issues has grown as well. nj.com While some are skeptical about the economic potential of marijuana legalization, advocates point to the billion-plus dollars in tax revenue the industry has generated over the past few years in cannabis-legal states. US News With Canada set to legalize in October and Mexico moving towards cannabis reforms, a majority of North Americans could soon have access to marijuana from regulated markets. “In the course of the next decade, I think there will be a North American cannabis market,” said U.S. congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.). Newsweek
Manhattan DA will no longer prosecute cannabis smoking. Manhattan district attorney Cyrus Vance said he would no longer prosecute marijuana possession and smoking. His office will continue to go after cannabis offenders for selling the drug or if someone “poses a significant threat to public safety.” “Our research has found virtually no public safety rationale for the ongoing arrest and prosecution of marijuana smoking, and no moral justification for the intolerable racial disparities that underlie enforcement,” he said in a statement. The Hill Similar policies at the Brooklyn D.A.’s office resulted in a 91 percent decline in low-level marijuana prosecutions. Marijuana Moment
The case of Detroit’s $1 million marijuana raid. After police seized about $1 million worth of cannabis plants from a medical marijuana facility, prosecutors charged six people involved with the operation with various felony offenses. Prosecutors allege that the facility wasn’t licensed to grow marijuana. But a defense attorney pointed out that the business had temporary operation’s certification, which allowed for 1,500 plants while the business waited for final approval. Prosecutors argued that the facility was only allowed to sell (but not grow) cannabis. The defense attorney described the argument as “absurd” — “everyone would understand that if they’ve been given permission to sell it, of course a medical marijuana caregivers center includes growing and cultivating marijuana.” The judge dismissed all of the charges: “If you’re able to dispense but you can’t grow it, how are you supposed to get it? Where are you supposed to get it from?” The Detroit News
Medical marijuana businesses head to federal court in patent dispute. A Colorado medical cannabis company is taking a rival to court in a patent-infringement lawsuit. The United Cannabis Corporation (UCANN) alleges that Pure Hemp Collective Inc. willfully copied its cannabinoid formulations that it had patented. The lawsuit is seeking an injunction and also triple damages. UCANN bought and tested Pure Hemp’s products to determine that they were infringing on its patent, according to the lawsuit. The Denver Post
Cannabis testing in California. Lowell Herb Co. has issued a voluntary recall after a testing lab reversed its earlier finding that cleared a batch of flower for sale. One out of three labs that tested the product found that it failed testing standards, prompting the company to issue the recall out of an abundance of caution. It’s the second recall since the state rolled out its new testing regulations. Marijuana Business Daily Dispensaries in Southern California are facing shortages of certain cannabis brands due to difficulties meeting the new testing standards. “It’s not that a lot of these companies are failing their tests. Many of them haven’t submitted product for testing because they knew they wouldn’t pass,” said the CEO of one testing lab. San Diego Union-Tribune
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Complaints spark investigation into marijuana facility. Regulators in Arizona are investigating the state’s largest medical cannabis cultivation facility after employee complaints. Current and former employees of Copperstate Farms raised concerns about a chemical spill that sent 16 people to the emergency room for evaluation. Multiple employees have said they experienced breathing problems when working in the greenhouse, and the company has acknowledged that it uses pesticides and fungicides in the grow. “The three former employees who spoke on the record say the spill and other health problems stem from a lack of adequate safety training and equipment; things like respirators, spill stations, gloves and eye protection.” KTVK
The benefits of THC. A new study out of Canada found that cannabis oil with both CBD and THC appears to be effective at treating severe epilepsy in children with Dravet Syndrome. While much attention has been paid to CBD oil for epileptic patients, “recent research has suggested that THC-containing cannabis oil might be superior to CBD-only preparations in reducing seizures.” The study was small and only included 20 participants, but the researchers hope to conduct a larger study. CTV News
Today in cannabis business news… Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia is launching a competition for cannabis-related businesses. The competition will award entrepreneurs with cash and legal consulting services. “We want to see creative and different approaches to the industry, especially in ancillary businesses,” said one university official. The Philadelphia Inquirer Sustainability makes for good business as cannabis cultivators look towards the future. “These practices are not always easy but are critical to ensure the future availability of natural resources, lower our bottom line and remain competitive,” said one director of cultivation at a company switching from HPS to LED lights. Marijuana Business Daily
Cannabis in Canada. Veterans Affairs said it has no plans to lift a cap on medical marijuana reimbursements for vets. After rapid growth of the program, the agency capped medical marijuana spending to three grams per day. CBC News Molson Coors Canada is partnering with the Quebec-based Hydropothecary to develop cannabis-infused beverages for the Canadian market. Both companies’ stocks rose on the news. Bloomberg The first cannabis stores got approval from Calgary, Alberta. The Toronto Star Insurance company Manulife is partnering with pharmacy chain Shoppers Drug Mart for a new program that aims to treat medical marijuana like other medicines. The Globe and Mail
Italy to expand medical marijuana program. The country’s health minister said she supported an effort to expand the country’s medical marijuana program. The plan would make cannabis available in pharmacies and allow private companies to cultivate the drug, which only the military is allowed to do right now. The military’s cannabis grow has not been enough to keep up with demand and imported medical cannabis has proven to be expensive for patients. Marijuana Moment
Word on the States
- In California, San Francisco banned marijuana businesses from Chinatown. Los Angeles pulled a cannabis tax ballot initiative. The case for medical marijuana cards after legalization. Regulators are finalizing marijuana regulations.
- In Oklahoma, a look at the volunteers for the marijuana legalization initiative. An attorney suing the Board of Health says draft regulations are impossible to comply with. Insurance coverage for medical marijuana crops stirs up debate over regulations.
- In Michigan, the Detroit city council approved a cap on medical marijuana dispensaries.
- In Alaska, a cannabis business owner accuses two marijuana regulators of bias, conflict of interest, and favoritism.
- In Pennsylvania, regulators announced 13 more cannabis business licenses.
- In Utah, state agriculture officials are concerned about the timeline of a medical cannabis initiative.
- In New Mexico, regulators move to revoke a medical cannabis license due to falsified audits.
- In the Northern Marianas, the House will reintroduce a marijuana bill.
Word for Word
“Cannabis is legal under state law, and authorities have said they won’t be interested in enforcing federal laws still on the books. But many employers still have strict rules about weed. And since marijuana can still show up in drug tests weeks after use, someone like Coughlin — whose fall at the end of her shift plainly had nothing to do with off-hours marijuana use — can easily end up jobless for something akin to a post-work glass of wine at any point in the last month… A workplace that drew such a hard line on alcohol might have a hard time finding employees, because the idea of a glass of wine or a beer after work is enshrined not in our laws but in our culture. Marijuana use will almost certainly be afforded the same implicit protections one day, but it would likely take a lot more Bernadette Coughlins losing their jobs before we got there.” – Nestor Ramos for The Boston Globe