A federal prosecutor clarified his cannabis enforcement priorities after saying he would help out local agencies with marijuana offenses. Youth marijuana use is declining and adult use is increasing. North Carolina’s House votes to ban smokable hemp. Also: The boards of top marijuana companies are less diverse than the boards of Fortune 100 companies. 🌳
US Attorney clarifies pot enforcement priorities.
U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Florida Lawrence Keefe clarified his office’s cannabis enforcement priorities after making comments last week offering to help local and state prosecutors with marijuana prosecutions. Keefe made the comments as local authorities are moving away from marijuana prosecutions due to a lack of testing that can tell the difference between marijuana and hemp. Keefe clarified that he doesn’t intend to go after medical marijuana patients, state-legal marijuana businesses, or even small-time recreational users. His office will “pursue those cases that involve violent felons who commit gun violence while trafficking in marijuana.” Tallahassee Democrat
Youth marijuana use declining.
The National Survey on Drug Use and Health found that youth marijuana use in the U.S. is declining as adult use is on the upswing. Historically, young adults made up the bulk of cannabis consumers, with teenagers following close behind. But in the past few years, adults over 26 have surpassed teenagers in cannabis consumption. “While teen use of marijuana started declining rapidly since 2012, adult use of marijuana has been steadily increasing at the same time.” Shepherd Express Related: A report from the RAND Corporation found that Americans spend nearly as much on illicit drugs than they do on alcohol. “The fact that the illegal drug market and the alcohol market are in the same ballpark is pretty remarkable, given that drinkers outnumber illegal drug users by more than 4 to 1.” Reason
North Carolina House votes to ban smokable hemp.
Lawmakers passed the North Carolina Farm Act, which would revise the state’s definition of hemp to exclude smokable hemp. The bill now heads to the state Senate for consideration. Law enforcement officials advocated for the ban because they lack the tools to distinguish between hemp and marijuana. But hemp farmers and others in the industry are opposed to the classification. “It’s helping people, nobody’s dying, jobs are being created — why are we doing this?” said the owner of a CBD store. The Herald Sun
Ohio cannabis patients still butting heads with Facebook.
The creators of a medical marijuana Facebook page that was shut down last week have created two new Facebook pages in hopes of replacing the old one. One of the pages was taken down over the weekend due to similarities with the original page. The third page is still up (for now) but the page administrators are working on creating their own website in case they can’t stay on Facebook. While Facebook says that the pages violate its policy against promoting illicit drugs, the page admins say that their forums are the only place where patients can find out information about cannabis products. The Columbus Dispatch
California Supreme Court rules on local marijuana rules.
The highest court in California ruled that the city of San Diego “failed to adequately analyze the potential impacts of its 2014 marijuana dispensary law.” The unanimous ruling said that local governments must analyze the potential environmental impacts of new laws and regulations, however indirect. The attorney who filed the lawsuit “said the ruling would force the two-thirds of California cities that don’t allow marijuana businesses to conduct more rigorous environmental reviews if they eventually decide to allow such businesses.” San Diego Union-Tribune
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The cannabis industry has a diversity problem.
Different states are approaching cannabis social equity in different ways. While Massachusetts has a robust social equity program, only 1.2 percent of cannabis businesses are owned by minorities. Meanwhile, 16 percent of cannabis licenses in Ohio are held by minorities — thanks to a law that was eventually found unconstitutional. Marijuana Business Daily The boards of marijuana companies are less diverse than the boards of Fortune 100 companies. Only 3.1 percent of board seats at the top 10 cannabis companies are filled by minorities, compared to 20 percent among Fortune 100 companies. Yahoo Finance
Cannabis science and medicine.
One of the Harvard researchers involved in a recent study on pancreatic cancer says that the results have “major significance” because it’s the first to demonstrate a potential new treatment for the particularly deadly form of cancer. On top of attacking pancreatic cancer cells, the scientists were “quite surprised” to find that the cannabis derivative inhibited the growth of other types of cancer. Yahoo An anesthesiologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital said that the riskiest time for patients undergoing anesthesia is within an hour or two after consuming cannabis. The Boston Globe Massachusetts poison control centers saw a spike in cannabis-related calls after the state legalized medical marijuana in 2012, according to a recent study. Medscape
Today in cannabis business news…
An elusive, underground cannabis brand called Dank Vapes has been tied to the hospitalizations of those who used their vapes. Inverse Cannabis multi-state operator Terra Tech is selling its Blüm Reno dispensary for $15 million. Reno Gazette Journal Some cannabis dispensaries in Arizona are skeptical of a digital token system. KVOA E-commerce platform BigCommerce hopes to make life easier for CBD businesses. Adweek BDS Analytics closed on a $7 million round of financing. Green Market Report The story of one entrepreneur’s journey to making whisky out of hemp seeds. Salon
Cannabis in Canada.
Ontario has announced the winners of its second cannabis license lottery. Forty-two operators have been selected out of nearly 5,000 who expressed interest. The winners now have until next week to complete their applications for retail outlets to be vetted by the province’s Alcohol and Gaming Commission. CBC News Canadian regulators are trying to figure out the best warning message on edibles’ packaging to deter consumers from combining edible marijuana products with alcohol. iPolitics Licensed producer Tilray has inked a deal to export $3.3 million in cannabis products to Germany’s medical marijuana program. The products will come from the company’s production facility in Portugal. MarketWatch
Elsewhere around the world…
A medical cannabis grower in Israel is up for sale. Tikun Olam is reportedly in talks to sell off its Israeli operations for $100 million, but not its assets in other countries. Times of Israel People are divided over the medical cannabis bill that the Barbados government is considering. The bill has a “high chance” of passing in Parliament. Cannabis Wire Cannabis regulators in Jamaica have granted 54 licenses and is now seeking bids of a seed-to-sale tracking software. Marijuana Business Daily A Mexico judge has ruled that two people can “possess, transport and use cocaine.” It’s the first ruling of its kind. DW
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Word on the States
- In California, what the cannabis industry thinks of governor Gavin Newsom. The L.A. cannabis brand Stiiizy is opening its flagship “art gallery/cannabis emporium.”
- In Illinois, Naperville considers banning recreational marijuana sales. Rolling Meadows officials are open to allowing adult-use sales. East Peoria is divided on whether to allow recreational marijuana.
- In South Dakota, lawmakers move forward on hemp legalization, despite opposition from the governor.
- In Louisiana, a New Orleans pharmacy that dispenses medical marijuana says business is off to a good start.
- In Florida, a bill to decriminalize cannabis in Jacksonville was defeated in two committees.
- In Indiana, a pro-marijuana state senator is running for attorney general.
- In Missouri, the Livingston County attorney will stop prosecuting misdemeanor marijuana possession.
- In Arkansas, Little Rock’s Board of Directors voted down a proposal to make marijuana the lowest enforcement priority for police.
- In the Northern Marianas, the governor signed a bill to amend the cannabis law.
Word for Word
“We both grew up in the inner city, with the first-hand experiences of over-policing and the damage of the War on Drugs in our communities. But then we saw legalization of cannabis and how people started making billions of dollars. And of course we had the ballot measure here in Massachusetts that set out to provide the opportunity for people like us to get involved in this business… This is an industry where no one gets loans from banks. All of the funding comes from investors. But most investors shy away from economic empowerment applicants because so few of us get approved, and the law doesn’t create an easy exit strategy for us.” – Co-founder of Boston dispensary Pure Oasis Kobie Evans, Filter
“Marijuana would be decriminalized, mass incarceration would be reversed and the death penalty would be eliminated as part of sweeping changes that leading Democratic presidential candidates have proposed to make to the criminal justice system, which has become a dependable political foil for its inefficiency and excesses but has also proved resistant to change… Until recently, such ideas were considered so radical in the United States that they would have been immediately dismissed even among reform-minded lawmakers. But they are now being instituted or seriously considered in cities and states across the nation.” – Timothy Williams and Thomas Kaplan for The New York Times