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Biden Plan Could Crush Weed Industry

Chip Somodevilla /Getty
The candidate, looking his narc-iest

Joe Biden, frontrunner for the Democrats' 2020 presidential nomination, wants to make cannabis a Schedule II drug, a policy critics say could destroy much of the existing industry, Vice reports. There is no precedent for an open REC market for a schedule II drug.

  • If enforced, it would end "almost all current state-legal activities," Rand Corporation and Carnegie Mellon Scholar Jonathan Caulkins said.
  • To continue operation REC businesses would need the same "explicit exemption" held by alcohol and tobacco, and winning it isn't a sure thing. "It could all come crashing down," Caulkin
  • "I view Biden's plan as a ham-fisted handing over of cannabis to the pharmaceutical industry," Gavin Kogan, chairman of vertically integrated California business Grupo Flor said.

Speaking on Joe Rogan's podcast, Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.) said as president he would legalize REC by executive order.

Quick Hits

  1. A venture capital firm controlled by Josh Kushner, brother of President Trump's son-in-law and advisor Jared Kushner, is leading a $35M investment in online cannabis marketplace LeafLink.
  1. LeafLink CEO Ryan Smith is a confirmed speaker at WeedWeek Recharge on September 20. ⬇️⬇️⬇️

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Massachusetts Fines Curaleaf $250k

John Adams is judging you

MSO Curaleaf will pay Massachusetts a $250,000 fine for failing to promptly disclose a change in ownership and get regulators permission to close the transaction.

  • The transaction in question involved merging with a Canadian company to list on a Canadian stock exchange.
  • Massachusetts regulators called it a "good faith" mistake since no channel or form existed to make the required disclosures.
  • Curaleaf recently attracted a slapdown from the FDA for making "over the line" health claims about CBD. Canna Law Blog discusses the case.

Also in Massachusetts:

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States to Collect $1.6B in Pot Taxes

Death is coming too

State and local pot taxes are on pace to reach $1.6B this year, according to an analysis by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy. The total represents a 15% jump over 2018.

  • In general, states see a substantial gain in taxes between their first and second year of sales, with revenues slowing thereafter.
  • Though substantial, the institute calls cannabis taxes "far from a budgetary panacea."
  • The group suggests that as cannabis prices decline, as they tend to do in more mature markets, pot taxes could decline as well. States such as California which tax partly on the weight of cannabis sold, appear more likely to generate the best tax rates.

Correction: Last week we said California has allocated $10M to support equity programs. It has allocated $40M.

Quick Hits

  1. Cannabis job postings on Indeed have quadrupled since 2016, and interest in cannabis jobs has climbed even faster.
    Indeed Hiring Lab
  1. A study found cannabis is a $458M bonanza for Santa Barbara County. 🌴WW California has more.
    Coastal Vie
  1. L.A.-based retailer MedMen hired and quickly fired PR firm MWWPR in what the PR firm's CEO called "one of the more dishonest and odd processes we have experienced." MedMen declined to comment. 🌴WW California has more.


Cannabis Lobbying Catches Fire

That's some lobby!

Cannabis lobbying continues to heat up:

Quick Hits

  1. Congress may finally be coming around to the industry's view on bank access.
  2. Business Insider asks how big venture capital firms are thinking about cannabis.
  3. Ohio state rep. Candice Keller (R) brushed off calls to resign after she posted on Facebook that REC, gay marriage, "drag queen advocates" and other conservative bug-bears are to blame for mass shootings.
    N.Y. Times


Small State Roundup

MED is now available in the Pelican State

Here's the latest from some of the country's smaller markets:

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Gallup: 14% of Americans Use CBD

A Gallup poll found 14% of Americans use CBD products.

  • NASA and the U.S. Navy will continue to ban CBD.
    Forbes, U.S. News

Quick Hits

  1. Cannabis use can affect how patients respond to anaesthesia and recover from surgery, Kaiser Health News learns.
  2. The FDA is investigating 127 cases of people who experienced seizures after vaping e-cigarettes.
  3. A controvertial study in Washington state is enrolling pregnant women who use cannabis to study what it means for their children's brain development.


Dispensaries Adopt Facial Recognition Tech

Do you know this man?

Some cannabis companies are controvertially embracing facial recognition technology to prevent burglaries, control access to stores and better understand customers.

  • A company called 420 Cyber has developed budtender kiosks which can use facial recognition to measure customer's emotional response to products.
  • "It is hard, if not impossible, to find an example of a surveillance technology that has not been turned against groups that are already vulnerable in our structurally inequitable system," said Shankar Narayan, Director of the Technology and Liberty Project at the ACLU of Washington.


Forget About Woodstock-branded Weed

More fun than it looks

Plans for a Woodstock 50th anniversary contest went pfft, and now Green Market Report has the story on why there's not (yet?) any Woodstock-branded weed.

  • A judge ruled a company called Woodstock Ventures, which has been developing Woodstock branded cannabis in partnership with MedMen is the only company with the rights to the name.
  • Jared Mirsky, of cannabis branding agency Wick & Mortar says the case illustrates the value of picking an original name for your brand. “There seems to be a big misunderstanding in terms of what you can and can’t do in terms of naming,” he said.
  • Canna Law Blog parent firm Harris Bricken is having a webinar on alternative dispute resolution for cannabis companies who want to stay out of court.



Tiny Luxembourg could be the first E.U. country to legalize REC. Supporters of the law would create fully licensed markets in the Duchy similar to what exists in legal U.S. states.

  • “This drug policy we had over the last 50 years did not work,” Health Minister Etienne Schneider said. "Forbidding everything made it just more interesting to young people.”
  • The move, which could happen in as soon as two years, would step up pressure on other European countries to legalize.

Quick Hit


America's Dankest Colleges

Dude, I bet they're all super high

The Princeton Review surveyed of 140,000 students to find the 20 stoniest college campuses.
Business Insider

Also, more major universities, including Cornell, McGill and the University of Maryland, are creating cannabis curricula.

Quick Hits

  1. This weekend's Outside Lands festival in San Francisco became the first major California music festival to allow REC sales and consumption. 🌴WW California has more.
    S.F. Chronicl
  2. Leafly investigates the practice of companies lab shopping for the best test results.

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