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WeedWeek recommends Donald Trump vs. the United States of America, by New York Times opinion columnist David Leonhardt.


FDA Launches Criminal Probe as Vape Crisis Spreads

The FDA launched a criminal probe into the vaping supply chain, a move likely to affect licensed cannabis businesses, as the total reported cases of vape-related lung disease climbed above 500.

  • “We’re very alarmed about products containing THC,” Mitch Zeller, director of the FDA's Center for Tobacco Products, said. He said the investigation will focus on the supply chain, not users of illegal vape products. Many medical groups have called on people to avoid vaping until the cause is determined.
  • “The industry should be worried,” D.C. cannabis lawyer Emily Leongini said.
  • As far as I'm aware, no licensed cannabis manufacturer has been publicly tied to the crisis.
  • On Tuesday, a congressional sub-committee will hold a hearing on vaping.
  • David Downs reports an overall 15% drop in legal cannabis vape sales.

The death toll reached eight. While some cases have been tied to vitamin E acetate oil, a diluent sometimes found in street vapes, the cause of the disease continues to stump doctors. Further complicating the situation, patients often present different symptoms.

Crack downs on vaping gained momentum:

The vape panic came up on the panels at WeedWeek Recharge, our event Friday at the London Hotel in West Hollywood:

  • Avis Bulbulyan, CEO of consultancy Siva Enterprises, called on responsible manufacturers to come out and tell their stories publicly. Bulbulyan said similar crises are likely in store for edibles and other product categories.
  • Despite the unfortunate circumstances, Julia Jacobson, CEO of Aster Farms, said the crisis was an opportunity and validation for her sungrown flower company.
  • 📼We'll have video soon!


House Likely to Vote on Cannabis Banking This Month

Following some amendments to please Republicans, the U.S. House of Representatives appears likely to vote on cannabis banking this month. In the Senate, where passage may be more difficult, banking committee Chair Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) has said he wants to hold a committee vote by the end of this year, potentially on a different bill than the House's.
Marijuana Moment

Quick Hits

  1. The VA is beginning a strict cigarette ban at agency facilities.
    Boston Globe
  2. Some policy experts studied how states can maximize pot taxes, since consumers are wont to avoid paying.
    The Conversation
  3. Former FDA Chief Scott Gottlieb called on the FDA to regulate cannabis for MED purposes.

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Beto Goes All in on Equity

Joshua Lott Getty Images

Texas Democrat and presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke released the most comprehensive REC legalization plan yet from a candidate.

The plan put a heavy emphasis on equity:

At WeedWeek Recharge, entrepreneur and activist Amber Senter recounted her conversation with Beto.


Out of the Loop: Chicago May Ban Pot Shops in Central Business District

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot proposed banning dispensaries from the city's central business district. The Chicago Tribune's editorial board wonders why she "wants to exclude the center of the city and visitor trade from what is, at heart, a revenue generator."
Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago Tribune

Quick Hit

  1. Chicago-based MSO Cresco Labs said it's acquiring vertically integrated Tryke, for $282.5M to increase its footprint in Arizona and Nevada.
  2. Cannabis use an other unconventional executive behavior could cost WeWork CEO Adam Neumann his job.
    Business Insider


CEO Bharat Vasan Out at Pax

The board of vaporizer player Pax Labs voted to fire CEO Bharat Vasan. Vasan joined the company in February 2018 from consumer tech company August Home and led Pax as it raised $420M at a post-money valuation of $1.7B

  • Pax declined to say what led to Vasan's firing. General counsel Lisa Sergi will serve as interim CEO.
  • The company sells loose leaf and extract vaporizers as well as Pax Era, a vaporizer which pairs with branded cartridges.
  • See the company's statement on product safety.


  1. Patrick Vo stepped down as CEO of seed-to-sale software company BiotrackTHC and from the board of parent company Helix TCS.
  2. While stocks have slumped, Bloomberg makes the case for optimism about the cannabis industry.
  3. The American Association of Retired Persons has published several pieces recently on cannabis use by oldsters.

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Bruce Linton Is Keeping Busy

Noam Galai, Getty Images

Bruce Linton, co-founder and former CEO of Canopy Growth Corp. is taking positions at CBD pet food and psychedelic medicine companies. He has also become executive chairman of Michigan-based Gage Cannabis since Canopy fired him him at the beginning of July.

Linton grew Canopy to become one of Canada's biggest licensed producers.
Business Insider

  • He is becoming an activist investor -- "the good kind" he says -- in pot companies Slang Worldwide and DNA Genetics.
  • He says he chose this group of companies to be diversified geographically and by category.
  • Linton gave an exit interview to the WeedWeek podcast this summer.
  • He liked the Canadian psychedelic company, Mind Medicine because it is developing drugs for FDA approval. He predicts intellectual property in the nascent space will focus on dose control. It is developing a product to treat opioid addiction.

Separately, Business Insider looks at the deck that helped upscale California brand Canndescent raise $27.5M.

And Cannabis Wire has the scoop on what Canopy Growth told the Trump administration on hemp regulations.


Cannabis Media Brands Struggle

Cannabis lifestyle media brands High Times and Civilized are struggling to gain traction in the current media environment, the N.Y. Post reports.

  • Sources say Civilized laid off most of its editorial staff in recent weeks to focus on its creative agency and events.
  • High Times continues continues to try and raise money through a crowdsourced IPO which it hopes will lead to it trading on a public market.
  • The more business-focussed Cannabis Business Times is apparently having more success.


Study: Pot Grows Worsen Air Quality

A study found the volatile organic compounds which give weed its smell, detract from air quality near grow sites. The compounds, which likely include terpenes, can contribute to ground-level ozone and may be harmful to workers inside the facilities.
Science Daily

  • As with virtually all cannabis research, more research is needed.


Cali Track and Trace Makes Rapid Gains

California says it's track and trace system will be in place for all licensed businesses by the end of October. The announcement comes almost two years after the world's largest REC market opened.
Capital Public Radio

  • It marks big progress since May when only about 10% of businesses were enrolled. However, unlicensed product remains a major presence in the state, especially in the many cities and counties which do not allow cannabis businesses.


Which Star Hawks the Best Weed? Variety Investigates

Variety assembled a panel of judges to rate celebrity pot brands.

A few findings:

Also look out for a brand associated with deceased actor and counterculture icon Dennis Hopper. It was apparently his dying wish.

Quick Hits

  1. The New Yorker dedicated a podcast episode to the Green Rush.
  2. "Shitty Weed for Everyone," Vanity Fair discusses the legalization backlash.

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