A state audit found numerous problems with Oregon’s marijuana program. Feds and local police team up to crack down on unlicensed Colorado marijuana grows. South Carolina cops seized $1,800 in cash from an assault victim’s home because he had an ounce of weed. Also: The largest pot lounge in San Francisco opens its doors. 🌳
Oregon audit criticizes marijuana regulators. An audit on Oregon’s marijuana program conducted by the Secretary of State criticized marijuana regulators for failing to keep up with mandatory inspections. It also called out a weak lab testing system that could expose consumers to contaminants. “Auditors concluded that regulators have failed to meet even basic promises. It found, for instance, that just 3 percent of recreational marijuana retailers had been inspected and only about a third of growers.” While the state had previously imposed stricter testing regulations, the audit found that it had no way of confirming the accuracy of testing results. Oregon also lacks the heavy metal and microbiological testing found in other states. The Oregonian
Feds and local police team up in Colorado. Federal law enforcement agents and officers from local police agencies have launched a coordinated raid on up to 50 unlicensed marijuana grow operations in the Denver, Colo. area. It’s the third such raid in five months, said a spokesperson for the DEA’s Denver office. “Colorado is a prime location for the grow houses because, unlike other states that have legalized marijuana, it allows people to grow marijuana inside residential homes,” said the spokesperson. But the statement is false: All other states that have legalized marijuana allow adults to cultivate cannabis at home. The one exception is Nevada, which allows home grow but only for those who live more than 25 miles away from a dispensary. The Denver Post Related: The top cannabis regulator in California said that 80 percent of complaints her office receives concerns unlicensed business activity. Cannabis Wire
A deep dive into civil asset forfeiture. A look into civil asset forfeiture in South Carolina is the first comprehensive investigation of its kind. Police across the state “are systematically seizing cash and property — many times from people who aren’t guilty of a crime — netting millions of dollars each year.” Here’s just one egregious example: “When a man barged into Isiah Kinloch’s apartment and broke a bottle over his head, the North Charleston resident called 911. After cops arrived on that day in 2015, they searched the injured man’s home and found an ounce of marijuana. So they took $1,800 in cash from his apartment and kept it.” Black men are most often the target for these kinds of seizures. Meanwhile, law enforcement agencies raked in more than $17 million in seized assets over three years. The Greenville News
NFL wrestles with marijuana policy. Former NFL player Jamie Brown talks about the “ugly cycle” of using opioid painkillers to “feel like a human being.” Meanwhile, the NFL Player’s Association is hearing from more players who want to use cannabis to help treat pain. “There are 32 NFL teams in 23 states. About half of those states allow medical marijuana and another five, including Massachusetts, also permit recreational marijuana.” Still, federal prohibition is one obstacle for the player’s union and the league to changing their drug policies. WGBH
After spreading opioids, Purdue sought profits in addiction treatment. A look at court filings in Massachusetts’ lawsuit against Purdue Pharma reveals how the company sought to expand into the “attractive market” of treating opioid addiction. Purdue is under scrutiny for going to “extreme lengths to boost OxyContin sales.” Newly released correspondence show Purdue execs talking about how selling opioids and selling opioid addiction treatment medication are “naturally linked.” Stat / ProPublica Related: A former sales rep for Insys Therapeutics testified that the pharma company set up lucrative speaking engagements for doctors who prescribed Subsys, a fentanyl spray manufactured by Insys. The Boston Globe Complex opioid lawsuits are ballooning across the country. The New York Times
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Nature’s magic molecule? While CBD has seen a surge of popularity, there’s still a lot we don’t know about the cannabinoid. Two pharmacology scientists look at the evidence for CBD’s efficacy (strong for treating epilepsy, limited for treating pain). While it doesn’t bind to the same receptors as THC, research indicates that it does act on several other types of receptors, including a serotonin receptor that regulates sleep, mood, and anxiety. The Conversation Most producers “are extracting CBD from hemp,” explains the director of the Cannabis Research Initiative at UCLA. “So hemp, marijuana, cannabis, they’re all referring to the same species of plant. We come up with these arbitrary terms depending on the level of THC in there.” WBUR
Researching cannabis. The University of California at Berkeley announced the launch of the Cannabis Research Center. Its research will focus on: “policy and regulation, environmental impacts, and cannabis-producing communities.” Two researchers in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management will lead the multidisciplinary team. KPIX A survey found that 83 percent of veterans support medical marijuana legalization and 55 percent support recreational legalization. Marijuana Moment A Turkish company used a cannabis-based composite to block radiation emissions in an airport x-ray scanner. Anadolu Post
Today in cannabis business news… A new cannabis lounge opened its doors last week, becoming the largest pot lounge in San Francisco. Spread out over 4,200 square feet, the location boasts a dispensary and three different consumption areas dedicated to vaping, smoking, and dabbing. Eater A financial services firm says that cannabis stocks are poised to flourish thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill that legalized industrial hemp. CNBC Two Tilray executives sold its stock last week, which were the first insider sales since the company went public last July. The average sales price of the shares were more than four times the IPO price. Barron’s
Cannabis in Canada. Two international cannabis conferences are dropping Marc Emery in the wake of sexual misconduct allegations against the prominent Canadian cannabis advocate. Emery was up for a lifetime achievement award at the upcoming Legalized Summit in Vancouver. “No way I would want to have him be put up for a lifetime achievement award,” said the event’s founder. Vice Canada’s pot czar said that there is “sufficient supply” for the cannabis market, despite retailers alleging otherwise. BNN Bloomberg He also said that the launch of edibles sales could miss the government’s October target because “provinces will need time to prepare for sales.” BNN Bloomberg
Elsewhere around the world… While focus on the cannabis industry has largely been on North America, CBD and medical cannabis in Europe is larger than expected. Bloomberg A spokesperson for Philippines president Rodrigo Duterte praised the House for passing a medical marijuana legalization bill. He said that the president needn’t urge the Senate to pass it “because they are also bent on passing that [bill].” The Philippine Star A Jamaican agriculture official is urging farmers to cultivate high-CBD, low-THC cannabis “as a means of overcoming the contentious hurdle of de-risking” by American financial institutions. Jamaica Observer
Word on the States
- In New Jersey, mayors demand automatic expungements of marijuana offenses in legalization legislation.
- In Illinois, the state starts allowing some patients to substitute medical marijuana for opioids.
- In Vermont, the health commissioner warned lawmakers that cannabis causes psychosis while asking for millions to fund prevention programs.
- In Nevada, the governor announced additional members to the Cannabis Compliance advisory panel.
- In Michigan, a marijuana gray market grows in the state, taking advantage of a ‘gifting’ loophole.
- In Ohio, patients spent nearly $333,600 on medical marijuana since sales started on January 16.
- In Florida, an appeals court put on hold a case challenging the ban on smokable medical marijuana. Debate over allowing it sparked disagreement in the legislature.
- In Minnesota, what the state could learn from others about marijuana legalization.
- In New Hampshire, a look at the marijuana bills in the legislature this session.
- In New York, advocates say unconstitutional stop-and-frisks are underreported. A look inside Brooklyn’s first medical marijuana dispensary.
- In Rhode Island, police are turning to drug recognition experts to identify stoned driving.
- In Wyoming, a bill to legalize medical marijuana faces stiff opposition in the legislature.
- In Oregon, a look at the effort to legalize psilocybin in the state.
- In Guam, a bill to legalize recreational marijuana has strong bipartisan support in the legislature.
Word for Word
“The POT stock ticker has been allocated by random lottery to a publicly listed company, but Canada’s largest stock exchange operator is not naming the company or the industry of the winner of the coveted symbol.” – The Canadian Press
“Yandell is not alone in languishing in jail or the mental institution despite never having been convicted of a crime. In Oregon, it is not uncommon for mentally ill defendants to spend more time confined for being ill than they would ever serve behind bars for the crimes they are accused of. That system is costly and largely ineffective… In Oregon, taxpayers spend as much as $35 million a year to provide institutionalized care to mentally ill people charged with misdemeanors, many of whom are homeless, a first-of-its-kind analysis by The Oregonian/OregonLive found. Nearly all those patients eventually find themselves dumped back out on the street with little to no support. Almost one in five are readmitted to the mental hospital within a year under new charges.” – Gordon R. Friedman for The Oregonian