The FBI is investigating corruption tied to the cannabis industry. A judge tossed out a lawsuit from a cop who was suspended for being a medical marijuana patient. Facebook is suspending medical marijuana forums where patients go to learn about products. Also: The CDC is investigating dozens of illnesses linked to vaping. 🌳
FBI investigating cannabis corruption.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation is seeking tips about public corruption and the cannabis industry, especially in Western states. “States require licenses to grow and sell the drug – opening the possibility for public officials to become susceptible to bribes in exchange for those licenses,” said a spokesperson for the agency in an FBI podcast. One agent learned about some cannabis business licenses that were being sold for as much as $500,000 — “an indicator of how much of a corrupting influence license caps can have for the new market.” Marijuana Business Daily
Guns complicate cop’s medical marijuana suspension.
A U.S. District Court judge has thrown out a lawsuit brought by a Bridgeport, Conn. police officer over his suspension. Sgt. Donald Bensey was suspended from his job after testing positive for marijuana, despite that he is a registered medical marijuana patient in the state. The judge recognized that employers aren’t allowed to discriminate against medical marijuana patients. But because federal law bars marijuana users from owning firearms, “they cannot serve as active duty police officers in Bridgeport,” wrote the judge. CT Post
Facebook suspending medical marijuana forums.
The Ohio Medical Cannabis Review page, a popular destination for the state’s medical marijuana patients to learn about products and dispensaries, was deleted last week. The social platform told the page’s administrators that it was taken down for “encouraging drug use” and “six administrators were given warnings or temporarily suspended from Facebook.” The administrators say that no one was selling marijuana in the page — it was merely a place where patients could learn about product quality. One administrator believes cannabis businesses are behind the flagged posts, as his own personal Facebook page was suspended after he posted a photo of moldy marijuana from a local dispensary. The Columbus Dispatch
Disgraced lawyer must pay compensate his former clients.
A federal judge in Jacksonville, Fla. has ordered Ian Christensen to pay $370,000 to his former clients for giving them bad legal advice. Christensen advised Scott and Marsha Yandell that medical marijuana was legal, which led to the couple eventually facing felony drug charges. The $370,000 is for the couple’s lost wages as a result of the convictions — Marsha lost her nursing license as a result of the ordeal. The Florida Times-Union
How hemp legalization help those accused of pot offenses.
“I feel lucky, for real,” said a Houston man who was facing drug charges for possessing two grams of marijuana. Donte Chazz Williams is one of the many people across the country who saw their marijuana charges dismissed after state hemp laws changed. “There is no way to determine how many cases have been imperiled by the new laws, but they number in the hundreds, perhaps thousands, law enforcement officials say.” Now, state crime labs are scrambling to acquire new lab testing technology that can differentiate between marijuana and hemp. NBC News
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Health and science.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is investigating dozens of lung illnesses that could be linked to vaping. State health departments have reported at least 94 cases of lung illnesses tied to vaping nicotine and marijuana. Reuters Officials in Hanford, Calif. warned the public about unregulated cannabis vaporizer cartridges that landed seven in the hospital. “If you’re going to vape THC, get it from a licensed dispensary,” said a county health official. Leafly Researchers found that a drug derived from a cannabis flavonoid showed promise in treating pancreatic cancer in mice. Observer
In cannabis business news…
Non-profit The Possible Plan, dedicated to equity and social justice in the cannabis industry, is running a national ad in The New York Times Magazine‘s special 1619 Issue on slavery. Possible Plan is led by executives at California cannabis company Select. “We’re using the resources that we have internally that we have as a company to make it successful,” said Select’s CMO. Adweek Marijuana tax revenue projections are hazy at best, thanks to a lack of historical data on the market. Pew Wholesale marijuana prices are remaining steady on the East Coast, according to a survey of the industry. Marijuana Business Daily Luxury lifestyle brands are increasingly getting into the cannabis industry. Bloomberg
Cannabis in Canada.
The Canadian government is scrambling to deal with the influx of marijuana research applications. Hundreds of scientists are waiting to be able to research cannabis and are frustrated with the growing delays. Science Cannabis producer Sundial Growers sold half a ton of marijuana that was then returned because “it contained visible mold, parts of rubber gloves and other non-cannabis material.” MarketWatch Hundreds of companies are licensed by the government to grow and sell marijuana. For the first time, federal regulators have licensed an individual to sell medical marijuana. Leafly Waterloo Brewing has received a research license to develop a cannabis-infused beverage. CTV News
Elsewhere around the world…
Support for marijuana legalization is plummeting in New Zealand, according to a recent poll. Only 39 percent of respondents said they planned to vote “yes” on a marijuana legalization referendum. The same survey found 60 percent of respondents supportive of legalization last November. New Zealand Herald A proposal to allow medical marijuana coverage by public health insurance would make a huge difference in the Czech Republic‘s medical marijuana program. Marijuana Business Daily The medical marijuana program in Germany is getting a new supplier. Marijuana Business Daily The prime minister of Uganda said the government plans to license medical marijuana cultivators. Independent
Psilocybin and mindfulness.
Researchers in Switzerland found that “psilocybin-assisted mindfulness meditation is associated with changes in functional brain connectivity — and these changes are related to an altered state of consciousness known as ego dissolution.” Researchers looked at experienced meditators in a randomized, double-blind study. The meditators either took a dose of psilocybin or a placebo. “Compared to those who received a placebo, those who received psilocybin were more likely to feel like the boundary that separates them from the rest of the world had been dissolved.” PsyPost
🗣 Shout Outs 🗣
Weed + Grub
Weed + Grub is a podcast about cooking, cannabis, comedy, and pop culture — hosted by Mary Jane Gibson and Mike Glazer. Their SXSW panel — Art, Entertainment & Social Justice Awareness — will feature Open Mike Eagle, Ron Funches and Laganja Estranja for a discussion about the role of art in cannabis advocacy. Vote for their panel here: SXSW Panel Picker
Word on the States
- In Michigan, the state suspended a marijuana testing lab’s license over faking test results. Grand Rapids considers medical marijuana waivers.
- In Nevada, the court hearing over marijuana licensing finally concluded on Friday.
- In Florida, a look at marijuana legalization’s chances for 2020.
- In Colorado, Boulder approved a new marijuana licensing body. The governor outlined his administration’s plan for hemp.
- In Illinois, Naperville officials are set to review a ban on marijuana sales.
- In Idaho, anti-marijuana advocates formed a group to fight a proposed medical marijuana legalization ballot initiative.
- In Utah, the LDS church issued guidance about substances, including marijuana.
- In Louisiana, marijuana has become a central issue in the state agriculture commissioner’s race.
- In Pennsylvania, anti-marijuana advocates are circulating a petition against marijuana legalization. Plans for a medical marijuana dispensary were canceled in New Castle.
- In Arkansas, a Fayetteville medical marijuana dispensary requested a final inspection from the state.
- In South Dakota, a proposed marijuana legalization ballot measure took a step forward.
- In Montana, the lieutenant governor toured a medical marijuana testing lab.
- In Maryland, the state attorney general urged local prosecutors to consider manslaughter charges for dealers whose drugs lead to fatal overdoses.
- In Indiana, the drug czar praised the state’s drug policy.
Word for Word
“When the discussion turns to politics, we pivot to justice, science, and economics. Somehow it’s okay to talk about cannabis offering patients medical relief, but god forbid we should legalize it because it offers a healthy person pleasure: No. You go too far. This pleasure-phobic principle is embedded in public banter and jokes… The pursuit of pleasure drives the consumption of all sorts of substances. It’s the foundation of the global food and beverage economy. When it comes to drugs, though, discussion of pleasure as a morally righteous pursuit remains taboo in the realm of scientific research and public policy.” – Bruce Barcott for Leafly