Canadians in the cannabis industry had some trouble trying to go to a marijuana business conference in Las Vegas. New leadership in the U.S. House bodes well for federal marijuana reform. Nevada lawmakers toured cannabis consumption lounges in San Francisco. Also: We’ll be off for the rest of the week. Hope you all have a restful holiday! 🦃🌳
At least a dozen Canadians were detained on their way Vegas cannabis conference. Las Vegas, Nevada has played host to one of the largest cannabis conferences in the world — this year drawing about 25,000 attendees. But at least a dozen Canadians were detained on their way to the conference by U.S. border officials in Toronto. Meanwhile, one investor traveling from Vancouver to Las Vegas received a lifetime ban due to his stake in a Nevada-based cannabis company. Other high-profile cannabis executives avoided issues by flying to Los Angeles and San Diego first before driving to Las Vegas. Financial Post
The promise for federal marijuana reform. Three Democratic House representatives who are expected to chair House committees have all spoken in favor of reforming federal marijuana laws. The judiciary, financial services, and rules committees will be helmed by reform-minded lawmakers, who have said that the issue is “on the agenda in the next Congress when they and fellow party members take control of the gavels.” Marijuana Moment
Social use is still a struggle. Despite widespread progress on marijuana legalization across the country, one issue is still a sticking point: social use. Nowhere else is the problem more acute than Las Vegas, Nevada, which welcomed more than 42 million visitors last year. Tourists in the city can purchase pot from dispensaries, but lack places to actually consume the stuff. Seven Nevada lawmakers traveled to San Francisco this week to tour cannabis consumption lounges and learn how local regulators handle such businesses. Nevada state senator Tick Segerblom says that a new ordinance is “in the works” and hopes to bring lounges to Nevada as soon as January. Las Vegas Sun
A marijuana business dispute roils industry in San Diego. Federal authorities arrested a prominent San Diego marijuana investor for plotting to kidnap and murder his business partner. In a criminal complaint, prosecutors accused Salam Razuki and two of his associates of planning to get Ninus Malan to Mexico, “where he’d disappear for good.” Many fear that the charges will reflect poorly on the rest of the industry, which has been trying to shed its lawless image. One industry insider said the whole ordeal could harm prospects for further reforms. Voice of San Diego
Legal cannabis sales in Massachusetts. Cannabis consumers bared the cold to wait in long lines to purchase state-legal marijuana. “There were no immediate reports of product shortages at the stores, something that has plagued the initial start of recreational pot sales in some other states. Massachusetts’ top marijuana regulator said the crowds appeared orderly and praised operators for doing a thorough job of preparing for the first sales.” The Associated Press Northampton’s mayor was the first customer of a local dispensary that opened its doors for the first time. The mayor said he would hold onto his purchase rather than consume it “because it is historically significant.” CBS News Here’s a look at the happy consumers Leafly
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Where you can study cannabis in college. While many institutions of higher education are shying away from the subject of marijuana, here’s a look at where students can prepare themselves to enter the industry. From majoring in medicinal plant chemistry in Michigan to minoring in cannabis studies in California, schools are hoping to prepare students for joining the fast-growing industry. A professor in marijuana law at the University of Denver says student interest is what drove the school to offer his course, which has been full for the three years it has been offered so far. Marketwatch
What the science says. Teens are more likely to try marijuana before alcohol or tobacco, a reversal of youth drug use patterns of the past. But it’s not because teens are smoking more weed, they’re just using alcohol and tobacco less. The Verge Two new studies that look into marijuana’s effects on pain offer promise that the drug could be helpful for pain patients and even possibly offer benefits to those experiencing surgery-related nausea. Marijuana Moment
Today in cannabis business news… Corporate law firms that were once reluctant to work in cannabis are now seeing booming business thanks to the sector. Bloomberg How Constellations Brands is getting ready for legalization in the U.S. Democrat & Chronicle A cannabis banker talked about the increased costs of doing business with the U.S. marijuana industry. Her credit union had to file more than 7,000 reports with regulators for the 220 cannabis-related businesses it serves. The Associated Press MedMen is slashing its funding round by nearly $34 million as its stock tumbled and its CFO resigned. Its stock has fallen more than 20 percent since the firm announced its financing plan earlier this month. Marijuana Business Daily
Elsewhere around the world… Mexico‘s president elect is facing criticism after his party “proposed to keep soldiers on the frontlines for the foreseeable future with the creation of a national guard.” Critics say the plan repeats the short-term thinking of his predecessors. The Guardian The Parliament of St Vincent and the Grenadines is expected to approve medical marijuana laws on Thursday. Local cannabis growers are worried that the industry will become flooded by foreign companies and investors. St. Lucia Times
On MDMA. A new study found that MDMA made people more cooperative, but doesn’t necessarily make people more trusting of others. Playing Prisoner’s Dilemma, “participants who took MDMA were more likely to cooperate with trustworthy players, compared with participants who took a placebo. But MDMA did not have an effect on their cooperation with untrustworthy players — both those on MDMA and the placebo cooperated with untrustworthy players at the same rate.” Live Science David Nutt, a professor of neuropsychopharmacology at Imperial College, pens a piece calling for the decriminalization of MDMA, pointing to its therapeutic benefits for treating alcoholism and PTSD. The Independent
Word on the States
- In New Jersey, a state senator thinks legalization could come as soon as January.
- In California, the latest election in Calaveras County could impact hundreds of marijuana growers.
- In Oregon, a report recommends that one independent agency should regulate marijuana instead of three disparate agencies. An appeals court rejected a $65,000 penalty imposed on a marijuana legalization petitioner.
- In Indiana, a look at medical marijuana legalization in the state.
- In New York, the governor expects marijuana legalization to be introduced next year. What people said at a public hearing on marijuana legalization.
- In Connecticut, the chances of recreational legalization have increased dramatically.
- In Rhode Island, the governor says she remains open to legalization in the state.
- In Vermont, the Senate is preparing a cannabis regulation bill.
- In Alabama, the state attorney general issued guidance on CBD.
- In Oklahoma, a transparency advocacy group threatens to sue the state for removing the addresses of MMJ licensees over privacy concerns. A look at how many licenses they have approved.
- In Utah, the state is reviewing labels for hemp-derived CBD products.
- In Wisconsin, the agriculture department extended a deadline for industrial hemp applications.
Word for Word
“You hear this prophecy when it comes to fears about opening up the industry or from cannabis startups saying they want to be ‘the Starbucks of weed.’ But something different is possible. I’m not trying to say that Big Marijuana will never come to pass or there won’t be corporate involvement in the cannabis industry. Corporate involvement in cannabis is inevitable. I just don’t think it has to be a complete and total takeover. Just like in the beer market, you have the microbrews living alongside a thriving and growing craft beer market. There are a few big-picture reasons why I think that might be the case.” – Concordia University law professor Ryan Stoa, The Verge
“Every year, many families are devastated due to two parallel, preventable crises stemming from the War on Drugs: one of overdose, one of incarceration. In 2017, over 1.6 million people were arrested in the US due to draconian drug laws; in the same year, there were 72,000 fatal drug overdoses—many of which would have been prevented by policies allowing expanded access to harm reduction services. The pain of all these missing people takes on a life beyond the individuals impacted. Families and communities face the emotional and social trauma produced by such needless harm. And with the emphasis on home and family during the holidays, a family member’s entanglement with the drug war can be particularly painful this time of year.” – Sessi Kuwabara Blanchard for Filter