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NH & VT cannabis legalization votes this week (Newsletter: Jan. 9, 2018)

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KS lawmaker’s racist marijuana comments; More congressional Sessions reaction; NV gov wants Sessions to explain

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

I’ve continued to add congressional pushback to U.S Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s marijuana policy change to my compilation post on Marijuana Moment. There are…a lot…of lawmakers from both parties who are speaking out against the move.

A Kansas representative justified marijuana prohibition by saying these racist comments:

  • “One of the reasons why, I hate to say it, was that the African Americans, they were basically users and they basically responded the worst off to those drugs just because of their character makeup, their genetics and that. And so basically what we’re trying to do is we’re trying to do a complete reverse with people not remembering what has happened in the past.”

The New Hampshire House of Representatives is scheduled to vote on a marijuana legalization bill on Tuesday.

The Vermont Senate is expected to vote on a House-passed marijuana legalization bill on Wednesday.

/ FEDERAL

U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) will lead a meeting of a bipartisan group of senators on Tuesday to push back on the Trump administration’s marijuana policy reversal.

U.S. Sen. James Lankford (R-OK) said he supports Sessions’s anti-cannabis move. Meanwhile, the U.S. attorney for Oklahoma’s Western District said the office’s “primary focus is going to be on multi-state drug trafficking organizations and I don’t anticipate that [federal marijuana]  memo will change what have been our practices here in this district.” But the state’s Eastern District U.S. attorney said  the move “opens up” marijuana laws, allowing his office to further “protect the citizens of the eastern district.” And the Northern District’s U.S. Attorney said his office is committed to “turning back the tide of the drug crisis.”

The Massachusetts U.S. attorney, in response to requests for more information about his cannabis enforcement plans, said he cannot “provide assurances that certain categories of participants in the state-level marijuana trade will be immune from federal prosecution.”

Delaware’s U.S. attorney said his office has “limited resources and [we] have got to be smart with how we utilize the. The public safety of the citizens of Delaware is our overarching priority, as far as I’m concerned, and that starts with violent crime.”

The U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Washington said he would apply “principles [that] have always been at the core” of his office’s work in determining marijuana enforcement and will “focus on those who pose the greatest safety risk.”

Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) reiterated that Congress should consider extending existing state medical cannabis protections in a budget rider to cover broader recreational marijuana laws too.

U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)  said the federal marijuana change is “an incredibly destructive thing to do.”

Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) tweeted that he sides with the New York Times editorial board over U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions on marijuana.

Congressman Morgan Griffith (R-VA) said Sessions was within his right to rescind the Obama-era guidance, but he wants Congress to pass a law exempting medical cannabis from federal marijuana prohibition.

Congressman Doug Lamborn (R-CO) is siding with Sessions.

Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) is calling on his colleagues to change federal marijuana laws.

Congressman Ro Khanna (D-CA) tweeted, “”Even with all of the progress we’ve made, the ‘war on drugs’ continues to criminalize communities of color. There won’t be justice until we end this double standard which has ruined so many lives.”

Texas Democratic congressional candidate Lillian Salerno, who is challenging anti-marijuana Congressman Pete Sessions (R-TX), says she supports legalization.

Two of the top ten most-viewed bills on Congress.gov over the past week concern marijuana.

/ STATES

Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval (R) said he thinks legalization has gone “extremely well” in his state and will be reaching out to U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions about federal marijuana enforcement soon.

Virginia’s Senate majority leader discussed details of a limited marijuana decriminalization bill he plans to file soon.

Connecticut’s Senate president and other lawmakers will continue pushing marijuana legalization this year.

Oklahoma’s acting commissioner of health says that if voters approve a medical cannabis ballot measure, another agency should be in charge of regulations.

An Indiana senator introduced a medical cannabis bill. Separately, state officials are apologizing to businesses after erroneously citing them for selling CBD products.

A Virginia delegate introduced a bill to allow doctors to recommend CBD and THC-A oil for any condition.

Kentucky representatives filed resolutions urging Congress to remove hemp from the definition of marijuana and to incorporate safety and efficacy standards for medical cannabis.

A Pennsylvania senator is introducing a resolution calling on Congress to allow medical cannabis patients to purchase guns.

New Hampshire’s marijuana study commission met Monday. Also, the state’s medical cannabis patient count has more than doubled in the past year.

California’s Cannabis Advisory Committee will meet on January 18.

Rhode Island regulators are preparing to approve delivery plans from medical cannabis dispensaries.

Colorado regulators are asking people to submit “topics to study related to the potential adverse effects or public health impacts of marijuana use.”

An Ohio company that failed to win a medical cannabis business license is suing the state over an alleged “unconstitutional racial quota.”

/ LOCAL

Las Vegas, Nevada officials put plans for marijuana social use areas on hold after news of the federal cannabis policy change.

Former Baltimore, Maryland Mayor Kurt Schmoke (D) criticized the Trump administration’s anti-marijuana move.

/ INTERNATIONAL

The Government of Canada’s Cannabis Legalization and Regulation Secretariat hired a staffer from marijuana website Lift. (Lift is now hiring a new editor and news writer.)

/ ADVOCACY

The Democratic Attorneys General Association said that “Dem AGs are vowing to push back on the [Trump administration’s new marijuana] directive.”

The American Civil Liberties Union is pressuring New Jersey prisons to stop banning incarcerated people from reading drug policy book “The New Jim Crow.”

The Minority Cannabis Business Association announced a new president and Board of Directors.

A fellow from the conservative Heritage Foundation says the federal anti-marijuana move is a good thing.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study concluded that state medical cannabis policies “decrease high school graduation rates by 0.36 percentage points, indicating that nearly 13,000 students will not graduate as a result of the [medical marijuana law]  implementation.”

A study found “a high degree of association between Cannabis use and the occurrence of traffic accidents with injuries of the driver.”

A study found that medical cannabis “dispensary users do not necessarily reside in the same area in which dispensaries are located and do not necessarily reflect the local population.” (Some readers reported trouble with the link to this study in Monday’s newsletter, so I’m trying again.)

/ OPINION & ANALYSIS

The Denver Post editorial board slammed U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s anti-marijuana move.

The San Diego Union-Tribune editorial board isn’t happy either.

Neither is the Seattle Times editorial board.

Nor the the Las Vegas Sun editorial board.

The Colorado Springs Gazette editorial board says nothing much will change without the Cole memo.

The New Hampshire Union Leader editorial board is criticizing U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) for slamming the Sessions marijuana move without sponsoring any cannabis reform legislation.

/ BUSINESS

The Canadian Securities Exchange is asking listed marijuana companies with U.S. operations to publicly detail any risks they face in light of federal enforcement policy changes.

A debit card processor has stopped working with Massachusetts medical cannabis dispensaries in light of the federal move.

Significant percentages of marijuana professionals reported witnessing or personally experiencing sexual harassment “specifically in the cannabis industry” in a survey.

Stateline looks at how the Justice Department’s marijuana policy change could further imperil marijuana businesses’ access to banks.

EdSource looks at how California universities are continuing to ban marijuana even in light of state legalization.

/ CULTURE     

Actress Meryl Streep says her son gave her marijuana-infused foot cream for Christmas.

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Tom Angell is the editor of Marijuana Moment. A 15-year veteran in the cannabis law reform movement, he covers the policy and politics of marijuana. Separately, he founded the nonprofit Marijuana Majority. Previously he reported for Marijuana.com and MassRoots, and handled media relations and campaigns for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition and Students for Sensible Drug Policy. (Organization citations are for identification only and do not constitute an endorsement or partnership.)

Newsletter

Anti-cannabis Pete Sessions at risk of losing seat, polls show (Newsletter: Sep. 26, 2018)

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Feds confirm border ban on marijuana workers; 55 study review: Legalization doesn’t up youth use; Kavanaugh cites “troubling disparity” in enforcement

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

U.S. Customs and Border Protection released an official statement about the federal government’s policy of banning Canadians who work or invest in the marijuana industry from entering the country.

Congressman Pete Sessions (R-TX), who has blocked every marijuana amendment this Congress from reaching the floor for a vote, is in danger of losing his seat to a cannabis reform supporter, according to two new polls this week.

A meta-analysis involving 55 separate studies confirmed that youth marijuana consumption does not rise after states legalize cannabis.

/ FEDERAL

The U.S. State Department boasted that 130 countries signed a drug war declaration circulated by the Trump administration ahead of the United Nations General Assembly.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s website appeared to get hacked with hemp and marijuana-related spam and

U.S. Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), via written questions, got Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh to acknowledge the “troubling disparity” in drug enforcement against people of color.

U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) tweeted, “Congratulations to Seattle for clearing past misdemeanor convictions for marijuana possession that were prosecuted before marijuana was legalized. We must decriminalize marijuana nationally and expunge federal marijuana use and possession crimes.”

U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) spoke about the marijuana industry’s banking access issues.

Congressman Charlie Crist (D-FL) and Congressman Darren Soto (D-FL) are co-sponsoring a medical cannabis conference.

Congressman Lou Correa (D-CA) spoke about his efforts to push back against the U.S.’s border ban on Canadians who work in the marijuana industry.

Tennessee U.S. Senate candidates dodged a question about medical cannabis during a debate.

California Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Kevin de Leon spoke at a marijuana event.

/ STATES

Activists behind Utah’s medical cannabis ballot measure met with Mormon Church officials and other interested parties about possible compromise legislation that would address some concerns with the proposal. Meanwhile, the state’s lieutenant governor asked a federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit seeking to remove the medical marijuana initiative from the ballot.

Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin (R) said it would be “fantastic” if Congress legalized hemp.

New Hampshire regulators estimated that legalizing marijuana could generate as much as $58 million a year in tax revenue for the state.

Virginia regulators gave initial approval to five CBD/THC-A  medical cannabis companies.

/ LOCAL

The Oklahoma City, Oklahoma City Council approved an ordinance to avoid jail time for marijuana possession.

The Lancaster, Pennsylvania City Council approved a proposal to decriminalize marijuana.

Medical cannabis businesses are suing Broken Arrow, Oklahoma over restrictive regulations.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Malaysia’s cabinet is considering legalizing medical cannabis.

Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak is signing on as chairman of medical cannabis company InterCure.

/ ADVOCACY

Americans for Prosperity – New Jersey, a Koch-funded group, endorsed a set of principles for marijuana legalization in the state.

Former Marijuana Policy Project head Rob Kampia, who pledged to raise at least $500,000 to oust anti-cannabis Congressman Pete Sessions (R-TX), has only collected $1,000.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A drug testing company found that the rate of workers testing positive for drugs has increased in marijuana legalization states at about the same amount as the national rate.

/ OPINION & ANALYSIS

A poll found that  36% of American adults say the words “pot” and “stoner” have a negative connotation.

A poll found that 62% of Canadians support marijuana legalization but also showed that many are skeptical of the government’s ability to implement it successfully.

A FiveThirtyEight analysis suggests that “the marketing has gotten way ahead of the science” on CBD.

/ BUSINESS

High Times acquired DOPE Media, Inc.

/ CULTURE

Rapper Wyclef Jean spoke about his involvement in the marijuana industry.

Travel writer Rick Steves will campaign for Michigan’s marijuana legalization ballot measure next week.

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Cannabis arrests are rising even as more states legalize (Newsletter: Sep. 25, 2018)

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Trump wants to ban chocolate?; Police use official resources to oppose legal marijuana; Idaho gubernatorial candidates on cannabis

Subscribe to receive Marijuana Moment’s newsletter in your inbox every weekday morning. It’s the best way to make sure you know which cannabis stories are shaping the day.

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Marijuana arrests rose in the U.S. in 2017 despite the fact that more states are legalizing cannabis, new FBI data shows. The increase is driven by a rise in possession busts, while arrests for sales and manufacturing were down.

President Trump hosted an anti-drug event at the United Nations and called for an end to “cocoa production,” but he probably meant coca…

Police in two states are being accused of illegally using official social media accounts to campaign against marijuana ballot measures.

Idaho gubernatorial candidates are taking opposite positions on marijuana legalization, with Democrat Paulette Jordan in support and Republican Brad Little opposed.

/ FEDERAL

The U.S, Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit denied a petition to review the Drug Enforcement Administration’s rejection of marijuana rescheduling.

A former U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration official is calling on Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s to investigate Elon Musk’s marijuana consumption.

U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) criticized marijuana’s Schedule I status. (Roughly 11 minutes into the linked audio.)

U.S. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) is refusing to answer questions about her stance on North Dakota’s marijuana legalization ballot measure.

Congressman Carlos Curbelo (R-FL) sent a press release criticizing the federal government’s decision to allow importation of marijuana products from Canada:

  • “Allowing a Canadian company to do what American companies are still waiting on the Department of Justice to grant them permission to do is incomprehensible. The United States has countless companies, including several in my home state of Florida, that are well-equipped to provide high quality cannabis extracts, but they are being roadblocked by Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ senseless witch hunt against an entire industry of legal, state-regulated small businesses. With this announcement, the Attorney General and the Department of Justice’s arcane prohibition on researching the effects of cannabis are now complicit in shipping American jobs and dollars abroad.”

Congressman Jared Polis (D-CO) tweeted, “Legalizing #marijuana has no impact on crime rates, in some cases decreases crime.”

Congressman Andy Barr (R-KY) tweeted a photo of himself meeting with hemp business owners.

Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) tweeted, “I’m very proud of our city for leading the way on decriminalization. The War on Drugs has been a terrible failure.”

Congressman Matt Gaetz (R-FL) tweeted, “#Cannabis has the potential to mitigate opioid abuse and addiction, and early studies indicate that it may even help veterans who suffer from PTSD. We must push for more research access to #UnlockCures.”

Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler (R-MO) tweeted, “Since legalized recreational marijuana use, in 2016 alone, law enforcement officers in Colorado confiscated 7,116 pounds of marijuana, carried out 252 felony arrests, and made 346 highway interdictions of marijuana headed to 36 different states.”

Utah U.S. Senate candidates agree that marijuana should be rescheduled and both oppose recreational legalization, but are split on the state’s medical cannabis ballot measure.

Georgia Democratic congressional candidate Josh McCall tweeted, “And we can work at the federal level to remove #cannabis from Schedule 1.”

New Mexico Democratic congressional candidate Deb Haaland tweeted, “I am in full favor of the legalization of marijuana. In doing so, we can we can create a major funding source for our public schools and put an end to the disproportionately high sentencing of people of color for marijuana-related offenses. NM is ready.”

/ STATES

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) signed a bill adding acute pain management to the list of conditions for which medical cannabis can be recommended as an alternative to opioid use. Separately, he tweeted about the marijuana legalization listening sessions his administration is holding across the state.

A Pennsylvania representative filed a marijuana legalization bill, and advocates held a rally.

Oklahoma regulators announced they have received more than 7,000 medical cannabis license applications, and have approved nearly 5,000.

New Hampshire’s marijuana legalization study commission is nearing the end of its review.

Arizona officials added marijuana questions to the state’s car accident reporting form.

North Dakota regulators approved two companies to move ahead in the medical cannabis dispensary licensing process.

Arkansas regulators are expected to finalize a contract this week with a consulting company that will help score medical cannabis dispensary license applications.

/ LOCAL

Seattle, Washington municipal court judges have agreed to vacate convictions and dismiss charges for misdemeanor marijuana possession stemming from before legalization.

  • Mayor Jenny Durkan (D) tweeted, “Great news! This is the next step in tearing down barriers created by a misdemeanor marijuana conviction that has prevented too many Seattle residents from accessing good jobs, housing, loans or education.”

San Francisco, California regulators still haven’t approved any cannabis equity program permits.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Thai officials are considering using a procedural move to expedite consideration of a medical cannabis bill.

Colombian President Ivan Duque said he will sign a decree allowing police to confiscate small amounts of drugs, despite warnings that the move would be in violation of the country’s Constitution.

A group led by the former presidents and prime ministers of Colombia, Mexico, New Zealand, Switzerland and other countries released a report calling for the legalization and regulation of drugs.

Canada is being criticized for signing onto a U.S.-led drug war declaration.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

The Journal of Adolescent Health published a series of letters about whether marijuana legalization increases emergency room visits by youth.

/ BUSINESS

Leafly removed its CEO.

CNBC analyst Jim Cramer tweeted, “I don’t think people realize how beneficial cannabis is versus the typical western world pill.”

Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss lost a defamation suit over comments related to their consideration of investing in Eaze.

Model Kathy Ireland tweeted about her company’s CBD products.

/ CULTURE

Take a look at these photos of marijuana under an electron microscope.

Comedian Pete Davidson spoke about his decision to consume cannabis again.

Actor Timothée Chalamet said he supports marijuana legalization, citing racial disparities in enforcement.

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O’Rourke And Cruz clash on cannabis at debate (Newsletter: Sep. 24, 2018)

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Kenyan lawmaker files marijuana legalization bill; Willie Nelson want to smoke weed with Trump & Putin; Trump to talk drugs at UN

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Congressman Beto O’Rourke (D-TX) clashed on marijuana and drug policy in a heated exchange during their first debate.

A Kenyan member of Parliament is filing a marijuana legalization bill.

/ FEDERAL

President Trump will host an event on the “World Drug Problem” at the United Nations on Monday.

The U.S. Department of Justice is moving to dismiss a landlord’s chapter 11 bankruptcy case because he leased space to a marijuana producer.

U.S. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein reportedly considered naming James Cole, author of the famous cannabis Cole Memo, as special counsel before he settled on Robert Mueller.

A federal judge ruled that the Ohio municipalities of Garrettsville and Windham must place marijuana decriminalization measures on their November ballots after local officials initially rejected them.

Former White House Drug Czar Barry McCaffrey, citing the fact that it took a court ruling for a California girl to be able to use medical cannabis at school, said, “We are turning into a nation of rule bound nincompoops.”

Congressman Ro Khanna (D-CA) tweeted, “The fact that #BothamJean was murdered by a police officer who entered his apartment thinking it was hers, and then police only searched his apartment and revealed that he was in possession of marijuana, highlights what is wrong with our criminal justice system.”

Congresswoman Yvette Clarke (D-NY) tweeted about events to help people expunge low-level marijuana convictions and outstanding summons warrants.

Congressman Darren Soto (D-FL) tweeted, “Apparently US will import #MedicalMarijuana from Canada because ⁦AG Sessions and @TheJusticeDept⁩ won’t approve US grower applications. This is peak of absurdity!”

The U.S. House bill to require the federal government to study the impact of state marijuana legalization got one new cosponsor, for a total of 28.

Texas Democratic congressional candidate Colin Allred criticized incumbent Congressman Pete Sessions (R-TX):

  • His outdated views on the war on drugs are frozen in the 1980s. There are veterans who are suffering from PTSD and other combat injuries and could benefit from medical marijuana right now. They want it, their doctors want to prescribe it, and Congressman Sessions is standing in the way.”

/ STATES

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) announced two new marijuana legalization listening sessions in addition to the 15 that had already been scheduled.

California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) vetoed a bill to expand marijuana research. He also signed a bill to define cannabis microbusinesses and make changes to fingerprint requirements. Separately, a judge ruled that a kindergartener can bring her cannabis medicine to school.

Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) announced that some arrests for public use of marijuana will result in citations, rather than people being taken into custody.

Florida Democratic attorney general candidate Sean Shaw announced that if elected he would drop appeals the state is mounting against challenges to medical cannabis restrictions. Separately, a newspaper investigation found that at least 80 candidates for public office are at risk of having their bank accounts closed due to marijuana industry donations.

The sponsor of New Jersey’s marijuana legalization bill expects a vote next month.

A Pennsylvania representative will file a marijuana legalization bill on Monday.

Maine regulators are investigating a restaurant’s practice of blowing marijuana smoke onto lobsters before boiling them to death.

Colorado regulators sent a bulletin about the testing of hemp products by marijuana testing facility licensees.

Oregon regulators upheld the license suspension of marijuana business after it became the subject of a federal criminal investigation.

Questions are being raised about marijuana industry donations to the campaign of Ohio Republican attorney general candidate Dave Yost that came in while he was reviewing the medical cannabis program as state auditor.

Pennsylvania regulators certified eight medical schools as medical cannabis research centers.

Michigan regulators are allowing medical cannabis patients and their doctors to register online.

A Nebraska senator said she will file a medical cannabis bill next year.

/ LOCAL

The Bergen County, New Jersey sheriff caught on tape making racist comments about marijuana legalization has resigned.

/ INTERNATIONAL

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said her country will not be signing onto a Trump administration anti-drug proposal for the United Nations.

A Uruguayan ambassador criticized the U.S. drug war document.

UK regulators released guidance on the definition of medical cannabis products that will be available for prescription. Separately, a former justice secretary is calling for the legalization of all drugs.

Thailand’s Narcotics Control Board is pushing the government to legalize medical cannabis.

Russia and the European Union held consultations on drug policy.

/ ADVOCACY

The Maryland Democratic Party tweeted about Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ben Jealous’s support for legalizing marijuana.

The Idaho Republican Party tweeted about Democratic gubernatorial candidate Paulette Jordan’s support for legalizing marijuana.

Progressive group Our Revolution endorsed Michigan’s marijuana legalization ballot measure.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study concluded that “among people who use illicit drugs initiating opioid agonist treatment in Vancouver, at least daily cannabis use was associated with approximately 21% greater odds of retention in treatment compared with less than daily consumption.”

A review found that “marijuana use did not increase the prevalence or progression of hepatic fibrosis in [hepatitis C virus] and HCV–HIV-coinfected patient” and that “on the contrary, we noted a reduction in the prevalence of [nonalcoholic fatty liver disease] in marijuana users.

A study concluded that “cannabinoid agonists (THC/CBD) can have remarkable analgesic capabilities, as adjuvant of [spinal cord stimulation], for the treatment of chronic refractory pain of [failed back surgery syndrome] patients.”

A study found that “maternal cannabis use may be a risk factor for early initiation among their offspring.”

/ OPINION & ANALYSIS

The Detroit Free Press editorial board endorsed Michigan’s marijuana legalization ballot measure.

/ BUSINESS

Acreage Holdings plans to go public in a reverse takeover.

TD Ameritrade said men account for 75% of all marijuana-related securities trades.

Canadian newspapers are creating marijuana-focused beats.

/ CULTURE

Comedy Central’s Jim Jefferies discovered that Amsterdam’s marijuana tolerance means police have basically nothing to do. Two cops even waited outside a coffeeshop while he smoked a joint before joining them on a tour of the city.

The Onion asks, “Can A Serial Marijuana User Like Josh Gordon Fit In With The Patriots’ Cocaine-Based Culture?”

The TV show Snowfall featured a discussion among characters about the racist motivations for and failure of the war on drugs.

Musician Willie Nelson says he’d like to consume cannabis with Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin and Barack Obama.

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