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Weed Week: Your Roundup of Cannabis News – March 12th, 2016

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Now the news:

Massachusetts Republican Governor Charlie Baker and Boston Democratic Mayor, co-wrote an op-ed in the Boston Globe arguing against the REC initiative that will come before Bay State voters in November.

“The financial backers of legalization are not neighborhood leaders, medical professionals, or grass-roots activists. They’re big businesses and investors, who are spending millions on campaigns across the country because they will profit from the legalization of marijuana,” the piece says. “Proponents know it’s not in their best interest to disclose or address the serious threats to public health and safety, nor to represent accurately the experiences of Colorado and other states.” The co-signers are Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh and Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, both Democrats.

Meanwhile, the state Senate produced a report that recommends tight restrictions, if voters do choose to legalize. At Reason, Jacob Sullum writes, “From the perspective of consumers and entrepreneurs, all of these purported improvements are worse than the rules preferred by the ballot initiative’s backers.” (Read the report here.)

In California, activist and businessman Steve Kubby donated $1 million to a REC initiative, a rival to the one supported by Napster-founder Sean Parker.

The U.S. Supreme Court did not decide if it would hear Oklahoma and Nebraska’s suit against Colorado.

Vice speaks to Dr. Sue Sisley who designed a study to test MED on veterans with PTSD. Dr. Sisley, a psychiatrist, first proposed the study to the FDA in 2010. It has secured $2.1 million in backing from Colorado marijuana taxes.The hold up is that an FDA-sanctioned study must use plants grown at the only federal cultivation facility and so far the DEA has denied her access. Sisley was fired from her teaching position at the University of Arizona in 2014 after her research raised a furor.

Activists in Maine are suing after the state disqualified 17,000 signatures from a petition to get REC on the 2016 ballot. Utah lawmakers killed two MED bills. Los Angeles City Council will stop issuing new tax certificates to dispensaries, part of an ongoing effort to reduce the number of operators in the city.

Someone wants to open a dispensary in Texas. It won’t be easy. An expanded MED bill awaits Florida Republican Governor Rick Scott. Virginia legalized industrial hemp. Alabama Republican Senator Jeff Sessions called legalization a “disturbance.” Not in a good way.

Bloomberg profiles Amercanex, an online marketplace for wholesale weed. Operating in Colorado and California, but not between them, it matches buyers and sellers for more than 100 pounds per week.

Washington state’s Democratic Governor Jay Inslee vetoed an industrial hemp bill, one of more than two dozen vetoes he issued in response to the state legislature’s failure to produce a balanced budget. Testing Technologies, a lab in Washington state, suspended operations and fired science director, Dustin Newman, who it accuses of falsifying results. Newman says an equity dispute led to his departure.

Oregon Democratic Governor Kate Brown signed a bill that removes the two-year residency requirement for licensees and another that wants to bring small-time MED growers into the legal system. Bills addressing edibles and access to banks wait on her desk.

Portland dispensaries can’t have drive-thrus.

The activist known as NJ Weedman says his rights were violated when police closed the “cannabis church” attached to his Trenton, N.J. restaurant for operating too late at night. Many of his 600 congregants like to visit the church to smoke after 11 p.m. “I call it a midnight mass,” he said. “I grew up in the Baptist church and have been to plenty of midnight services and midnight revivals. I should have the same rights as the Shiloh Baptist Church.” NJ Weedman, a.k.a. Ed Forchion, has also filed with the U.S. Supreme Court to get his 2010 possession conviction overturned.

A Massachusetts judge ordered the return of more than a pound of weed and growing equipment that was seized from a home last year.
 
Colorado dispensaries sold $88 million of cannabis in January, down about 15 percent from record-setting December. Colorado recalled REC grown by The Farm and Headquarters Cannabis, two Boulder-area companies.  For similar reasons, The state also recalled MED strains grown by Artisanal Medicinals.

Colorado Springs’ City Council voted to phase out pot cafes over the next eight years. Sales tax from dispensaries in Colorado are sustaining some small towns. In Aspen, pot sales surpassed alcohol during two months last year.

At The Kind, Sam Stecklow has a two-part dispatch on the “intentional failure” of MED in Illinois. (Part 1, Part 2)

NFL players want access to MED. The league says no, for now.

Most applications for Alaska licenses contain potentially disqualifying errors. The New Hampshire House voted to decriminalize possession of less than half an ounce. (This week, the same government body also voted this week to criminalize bestiality.)

Online strain guide Leafly closed its API to developers, cutting them off from its data. The site Cannabis Reports wants to provide an alternative.

Christopher Ingraham at the Washington Post asks why state legislators are more cautious than voters on legalization. Earlier this month he called Donald Trump’s drug policy “an alarming throwback to the 1980s.

Bernie Sanders told a Michigan audience about his limited experience smoking pot. “I’ve done marijuana twice in my life, when I was very young,” he said. “And what it did for me, is it made me cough a lot — that was my response, but I gather other people have had different experiences.”

Employees at an Orange County, California, dispensary voted to join the United Food and Commercial Workers Union. The always excellent Canna Law Blog has a post on the lack of labor laws in the industry. The blog also features a dispatch from Spain, which has some of the most liberal marijuana laws in Europe.

The high-level UN meeting next month on illegal drugs has a strong pro-legalization agenda.

The Cannabist interviewed Dr. David Casarett, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania medical school and author of “Stoned: A doctor’s case for medical marijuana.”

Grub Street gets into New York City’s gourmet cannabis dining scene. “While sourcing transparency is usually paramount for high-end, ingredient-worshipping chefs, nobody will say where tonight’s supply of Hawaiian comes from, for obvious reasons,” the piece says. “Nothing on the menu is like the weed-infused food people “cook” in their apartments or dorm rooms. The point isn’t (only) to get stoned.” 

April’s High Times Cannabis Cup is leaving Colorado for San Bernadino, Calif. Eater visits Harvest, an upscale edibles shop in San Francisco. There will be cannabis industry “mentor sessions” at South by Southwest.

Designer Amarpal Dhillon has a Kickstarter to fund an “Epic Weed Poster.” Civilized profiles Cannabist critic Sohum Shah. (Read Shah’s oeuvre here.)

At The Influence, Anna Pulley has some stoned sex.

Plants know when they’re being eaten. Asked if they know if they’re being smoked, plants did not respond to requests for comment.

Former first lady Nancy Reagan died.  “Mr. T — a stalwart ally in Mrs. Reagan’s “Just Say No” anti-drug campaign (she famously sat on his lap at a Christmas event) arrived [at her funeral] dressed in full camouflage attire, combat boots and an American flag wrapped around his head.”

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Alex

@alexhalperin
Facebook.com/WeedWeekNews
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