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Trump plans to push cannabis reform after election, GOP congressman says (Newsletter: Oct. 12, 2018)

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Death penalty ruling would seem to apply to drug war; Congressional Budget Offices scores marijuana bill; Trump looks at replacements for Sessions

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) says he’s spoken to White House officials about pushing marijuana reform after the midterm elections.

  • “It could be as early as spring of 2019, but definitely in the next legislative session.”

The Congressional Budget Office released a score for a marijuana research expansion bill approved last month by the House Judiciary Committee, a reminder that it is being more seriously considered than hundreds of other cannabis proposals filed in Congress in recent years.

The Washington State Supreme Court’s ruling striking down the death penalty due to its racially disproportionate enforcement and lack of deterrent effect reads just like an indictment of the war on drugs. You only have to swap just a few words:

  • “Under article I, section 14, we hold that Washington’s death penalty is unconstitutional, as administered, because it is imposed in an arbitrary and racially biased manner. Given the manner in which it is imposed, the death penalty also fails to serve any legitimate penological goals.”

/ FEDERAL

President Trump is reportedly weighing candidates to potentially replace U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, including Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, Transportation Department general counsel Steven Bradbury, former Attorney General Bill Barr, Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan and Janice Rogers Brown, a retired appeals court judge from the District of Columbia Circuit.

Separately, President Trump that he would overrule Sessions if he tries to undermine criminal justice reform efforts, but he added that “some categories” of drug offenses should see tougher punishments.

President Trump and Kanye West spoke about criminal justice issues during a televised Oval Office meeting, with the president seeming to say he was “open to” rescinding his previous support for stop and frisk policing policies.

U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration Acting Administrator Uttam Dhillon refused to rule out actions against doctors who recommend and pharmacists dole out medical cannabis in Utah.

The dean of academics for the U.S. Air Force Special Operations School was fired for using CBD to treat prostate cancer.

Federal drug trafficking prosecutions along the Mexican border dipped to their lowest level in nearly two decades as the Trump administration focused on launching a “zero tolerance” immigration crackdown that separated thousands of children from their parents.

The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in a case concerning detention of immigrants after they’ve served criminal sentences in which one of the plaintiffs has two marijuana possession convictions.

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and his Republican challenger Robert Flanders both said they oppose ending federal marijuana prohibition during a debate.

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) is applying pressure on trade negotiations with the Philippines due to the nation’s bloody “drug war.”

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) tweeted, “Another way that we can support veterans’ care: ending the federal marijuana prohibition. In 2017, more than 80% of veterans in the American Legion voted in favor of a resolution legalizing medical marijuana at the federal level.”

/ STATES

There’s disagreement among both supporters and opponents of Utah’s medical cannabis ballot measure about whether campaign activities should be suspended in light of a deal on compromise legislation.

Wyoming gubernatorial candidates debated marijuana policy, with each saying they are open to medical cannabis but opposed to recreational legalization.

An independent campaign committee supporting California Republican gubernatorial candidate John Cox for California released an ad attacking his opponent, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom (D), for a San Francisco policy providing free syringes to injection drug consumers. Separately, regulators released a short video about the state’s marijuana appellations program.

Washington State regulators said they will pause their move to crack down on marijuana edibles that could appeal to children for 30 days to hear public comment, and issued a clarification about the policy.

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court dismissed thousands more drug cases due to misconduct by a testing lab chemist. Separately, the state’s top marijuana regulator spoke about ongoing efforts to bring the recreational market online.

New Jersey’s health commissioner criticized marijuana’s Schedule I status.

The Vermont marijuana legalization study commission’s taxation and regulation subcommittee met.

More than 20% of Hawaii medical cannabis products are rejected for sale by a testing lab.

Kentucky’s agriculture commissioner tweeted that the state “continues to lead on industrial hemp.”

Ohio regulators released responses to frequently asked questions about the medical cannabis processor licensing approval process.

Here’s a look at efforts to legalize marijuana in New Mexico.

/ LOCAL

Denver, Colorado regulators released guidance about terminating marijuana businesses and associated licenses.

/ INTERNATIONAL

The UK home secretary said that prescriptions for cannabis medications will be allowed starting on November 1.

Lithuania’s parliament voted 90-0 to approve to bill allowing doctors to prescribe marijuana-based medicines.

Public outrage over a Malaysian death sentence for a man convicted of selling medical cannabis oil to cancer patients has moved the government to eliminate the country’s use of capital punishment altogether.

/ OPINION & ANALYSIS

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch editorial board endorsed one of Missouri’s medical cannabis ballot measures.

/ BUSINESS

MedMen Enterprises Inc. is acquiring PharmaCann LLC in a stock deal valued at $682 million.

MJ Freeway is merging with MTech, and the two will become subsidiaries of a newly formed holding company, Pubco, to be listed on The Nasdaq.

Facebook is removing a block on searching for pages with marijuana-related terms in their names, but only for those who have been verified for authenticity.

Colorado retailers sold $141.3 million worth of legal marijuana products in August, a new monthly record.

The Wall Street Journal looks at the risks for mainstream brands in entering the marijuana industry.

/ CULTURE

Snoop Dogg spoke in support of Michigan’s marijuana legalization ballot measure.

Rapper Wiz Khalifa brought a giant jar of marijuana to a nightclub.

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Photo courtesy of Chris Wallis // Side Pocket Images.

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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

Mexican officials visit Canada to learn about legal cannabis (Newsletter: Oct. 22, 2018)

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Poll: ND legal marijuana measure up 15 points; Canadian lawmaker vapes cannabis; Late-nite TV hosts talk marijuana

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.

Your support makes Marijuana Moment possible…

This issue of Marijuana Moment, and our original reporting that is featured in it, are made possible by the generous support of 338 Patreon sponsors. Cannabis industry professionals receive valuable rewards for pledges of $25 and up.

Check out the perks of being a sponsor on our Patreon page.
https://www.patreon.com/marijuanamoment

/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Seven top officials from Mexico’s incoming new government will travel to Canada this week to discuss marijuana legalization, among other issues.

A poll found that North Dakota likely voters support the state’s marijuana legalization ballot measure, 51%-36%.

A Canadian member of Parliament openly spoke about his marijuana consumption and said that soon no one will care whether public officials use cannabis.

  • “Just as someone might have a glass of wine or a scotch on a Friday night, I would turn to my vaporizer.”

Here’s a look at  the latest in late-night TV marijuana humor. Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Kimmel, South Park and The Daily Show all weighed in with cannabis quips last week.

/ FEDERAL

The U.S. attorney for the Southern District of West Virginia tweeted, “Legalized marijuana linked to a sharp rise in car crashes. A study is not proof but it should be a cautionary sign. Public safety too important for guess work.” He also tweeted about cannabis potency.

Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) tweeted, “I’ve drafted, but haven’t yet introduced, a bill to remove the marijuana question from ATF form 4473 — the question that requires anyone who uses marijuana (crime) to lie (crime) in order to purchase a gun (crime) from a gun dealer. Any Democrats who would support such a bill?”

Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Republican challenger Susan Hutchison debated medical cannabis.

Sen. ELizabeth Warren (D-MA) and her Republican opponent Geoff DIehl agreed on letting states set their own marijuana laws during a debate.

Sen. Tom Carper (D-DE) and his challengers answered a question about marijuana legalization.

Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) recorded a video message to be played at a cannabis conference.

Sen. Gary Peters (D-MI) said he supports Michigan’s marijuana legalization ballot measure.

Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT) and Republican challenger Anya Tynio agreed during a debate that states should be able to set their own marijuana laws. (About 51 minutes into the video.)

Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA) said he hasn’t smoked marijuana since Washington State legalized it.

The U.S House bill to require the licensing of more cultivators of marijuana for research got one new cosponsor, for a total of 44.

/ STATES

Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) is appealing a judge’s ruling that struck down portions of the state’s medical cannabis law as unconstitutional.

Arizona’s attorney general is asking the state Supreme Court to declare medical cannabis extracts and edibles illegal.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) and Democratic challenger Tony Evers clashed on marijuana policy during a debate.

Colorado Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jared Polis tweeted about the state’s record-breaking marijuana tax revenues. Separately, regulators sent a letter to Denver officials warning them against allowing indoor marijuana consumption. Also,regulators are proposing to loosen restrictions on hemp products and streamline marijuana license renewals.

New Jersey lawmakers are concerned that an investigation into sexual assault allegations into a member of Gov. Phil Murphy’s (D) staff could cause a delay on considering marijuana legalization legislation.

California regulators announced changes to proposed marijuana rules.

Oklahoma regulators are being sued over medical cannabis licensing fees and taxes.

Illinois lawmakers plan to reintroduce a marijuana legalization bill in January.

The chairman of the New York Senate Health Committee said he looks at marijuana legalization “with a very suspicious, not approving view.”

A member of Michigan’s Medical Marihuana Licensing Board was reappointed by Gov. Rick Snyder (R)

/ LOCAL

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania’s mayor spoke in support of legalization at a marijuana event.

The Phoenix, Arizona mayor’s chief of staff resigned after unsuccessfully pushing a plan to heavily tax medical cannabis.

The San Diego, California City Council is considering a proposal to crack down on marijuana advertising.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Following a visit to Colorado, the former commissioner of London’s Metropolitan Police is calling for the UK government to undertake an urgent review of whether marijuana should be legalized.

A Georgian presidential candidate was detained by police after handing out joints.

/ ADVOCACY

The International Drug Policy Consortium released a report detailing the failure of the war on drugs.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study concluded that “low concentrations of CBD and CBDV cause damage of the genetic material in human-derived cells” and that “currently available data are indicative for potential carcinogenic properties of the cannabinoids.”

A survey found that “1 in 3 medical students has used cannabis, whereas 8.8% were current users.”

/ OPINION & ANALYSIS

A poll of Missouri likely voters shows one of three medical cannabis ballot measures winning and the other two falling short.

A poll of Utah voters found that the state’s medical cannabis ballot measure is a key motivating factor to show up at the polls this year.

The Globe and Mail editorial board is calling on Canada’s government to expunge marijuana convictions instead of just offering pardons.

/ BUSINESS

Aphria filed for listing on the New York Stock Exchange.

Payment processor Square said it won’t “support sales of CBD at this time.”

Slate’s Working podcast looks at what it’s like to be a marijuana lawyer.

/ CULTURE

Colorado nonprofit ECS Therapy Center is working to create new cannabis-related signs for the deaf community.

Songify the News did a riff on drug policy debates between Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX).

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Photo courtesy of Chris Wallis // Side Pocket Images.

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Senator does impression of McConnell talking cannabis (Newsletter: Oct. 19, 2018)

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Study: CBD reduces public speaking anxiety; Missouri medical marijuana campaign finance reports; SXSW announces 2019 cannabis panels

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.

Your support makes Marijuana Moment possible…

This issue of Marijuana Moment, and our original reporting that is featured in it, are made possible by the generous support of 338 Patreon sponsors. Cannabis industry professionals receive valuable rewards for pledges of $25 and up.

Check out the perks of being a sponsor on our Patreon page.
https://www.patreon.com/marijuanamoment

/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) recounted a funny marijuana conversation he had with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) on the Senate floor. In the video, the Colorado senator has a spot-on impression of the majority leader acting shocked that Utah is about to legalize medical cannabis.

South by Southwest announced that a slew of marijuana-focused panels will be featured at its 2019 event. Everything from CBD to technology, sex to aging and race issues to feminism will be covered through the lens of cannabis at SXSW2019.

A study concluded that CBD reduces anxiety during public speaking.

Marijuana Moment analyzed recently filed Missouri medical cannabis campaign finance reports. Take a look at how the various committees stack up.

/ FEDERAL

Conference committee negotiations on the Farm Bill, to which advocates are hoping to attach hemp legalization language, may slide into 2019 as a result of a potential need for lawmakers to spend time considering emergency hurricane relief legislation.

Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX), a U.S. Senate candidate, spoke about his support for marijuana legalization at a CNN town hall.

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) said, “If Missouri is willing to resoundingly support medical marijuana, I think the tide changes nationally, and I think we’re in the home stretch.”

Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-FL) tweeted, “Modernized federal #Marijuana policy that respects states’ rights would be welcome news!”

Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA) tweeted, “Ending marijuana prohibition isn’t a radical idea. It’s common sense. Let’s expand legalization nationwide and create good jobs, generate tax revenue, expunge prior offenses and bring restorative justice to the communities that were harmed by the failed ‘war on drugs.'”

Competing New Hampshire congressional candidates agreed that states should be able to set their own marijuana policies.

South Carolina congressional candidates debated marijuana policy.

Louisiana Democratic congressional candidate Jim Francis tweeted, “I am 100% in support of legalizing marijuana.”

/ STATES

Iowa gubernatorial candidates debated medical cannabis expansion.

Connecticut Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ned Lamont spoke about racial disparities in marijuana enforcement during a debate.

Massachusetts regulators approved a final license for a marijuana testing lab, a key step toward getting recreational sales online. And a commissioner proposed allowing microbusinesses to conduct cannabis home deliveries.

An Oklahoma judge ruled that municipalities cannot place greater restrictions on medical cannabis businesses than are allowed under state law.

Colorado regulators are accepting public feedback on proposed changes to the process for adding new medical cannabis qualifying conditions.

Florida Republican lawmakers are uring Gov Rick Scott (R) to seek a temporary injunction on a court ruling invalidating portions of the state’s medical cannabis law.

Washington State regulators arrested marijuana business licensee for illegal possession and distribution.

Indiana lawmakers held a study committee meeting on medical cannabis, but did not muster enough votes to pass a resolution in support of legislative changes.

California employment regulators tweeted about their presence at an upcoming marijuana industry conference.

Kentucky’s agriculture commissioner visited a hemp farm.

Oregon regulators will meet next week to consider proposed marijuana rule changes.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted, “The old approach to #cannabis didn’t work. It was too easy for our kids to get it and gangs & drug dealers were reaping the profits. That changes from now on. #promisekept” Meanwhile, the leader of the Conservatives won’t commit to not repealing legalization if his party takes over the government.

/ ADVOCACY

A staffer for prohibitionist group Smart Approaches to Marijuana appeared to be  wildly off-message in an interview, admitting, “The industry’s not targeting necessarily 12- or 13-year olds.” That seems to run counter to the group’s repeated claims that cannabis businesses are making gummy bears and “pot tarts” to appeal to kids.

The Southern Poverty Law Center released a report detailing racial disparities in Alabama marijuana enforcement.

The Missouri Catholic Conference said it opposes one of the state’s medical cannabis ballot measures because it would “create a tax-funded stream of revenue for potentially unethical biomedical research.”

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

An analysis suggests that car crashes are up as much as 6% in states with legal marijuana, as compared with neighboring states that maintain prohibition.

A study concluded that marijuana “has a potential link to stroke owing to cerebrovascular effects of cannabinoids.”

/ OPINION & ANALYSIS

A poll found that 61% of Delawareans support legalizing marijuana.

/ BUSINESS

Aurora Cannabis will begin trading on the New York Stock Exchange on October 23.

As of August, Colorado retailers had sold more than $1 billion worth of marijuana products this year, generating $200 million in tax revenue.

The Securities and Exchange Commission obtained a final judgement against a founder of a medical cannabis company and twenty affiliated entities for allegedly seeking investments without having a registration statement on file.

/ CULTURE

Musician David Crosby joined NORML’s advisory board.

Former NBA player Charles Barkley said that basketball players who claim to use marijuana medicinally are “full of shit.”

Comedian Conan O’Brien tweeted, “Now that Canada has legalized marijuana, maybe Canadians will finally mellow out.”

A South Dakota judge denied a motion to dismiss a marijuana case against rapper Chief Keef.

The Onion poked fun at Canada’s legalization of marijuana.

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Photo courtesy of Kyle Jaeger.

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US government’s tame response to Canadian legalization (Newsletter: Oct. 18, 2018)

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Likely next House Judic chair suggests legalizing drugs; Bizarre legal strategy sent marijuana to DOJ & courts; Canadian pardon process announced

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.

Your support makes Marijuana Moment possible…

This issue of Marijuana Moment, and our original reporting that is featured in it, are made possible by the generous support of 338 Patreon sponsors. Cannabis industry professionals receive valuable rewards for pledges of $25 and up.

Check out the perks of being a sponsor on our Patreon page.
https://www.patreon.com/marijuanamoment

/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

So far the U.S. government’s official response to Canadian marijuana legalization seems very calm and consists of just a few polite videos reminding people not to bring cannabis over the border and a FAQ explaining how use affects entry and visas.

Does the next chairman of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee want to legalize LSD, psilocybin, MDMA or other drugs in addition to marijuana? That’s what Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) seemed to imply in a radio interview.

  • “From everything we have learned, people are going to do drugs. And certainly the softer drugs like marijuana, there’s no good reason at all that they cannot be legalized and regulated properly.”

One man’s bizarre legal strategy involved sending marijuana samples to the Department of Justice and the federal courts. Spoiler alert: It didn’t work, and now the U.S. Marshals have been informed.

/ FEDERAL

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) continues to express optimism about industrial hemp.

Sen. Tom Carper (D-DE) and Republican challenger Rob Arlett debated marijuana policy.

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) tweeted, “Today, Canada is recognizing what Oregonians and Americans across the country already understand: marijuana prohibition is an outdated, dangerous policy. It’s time to bring America’s marijuana policy into the 21st century.”

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) tweeted, “It’s time for the United States to follow suit. Legalizing marijuana at the federal level would make our justice system more fair—it’s the smart thing to do and it’s the right thing to do.”

Assistant House Democratic Leader James Clyburn (D-SC) said that marijuana reform is “not important to me.”

Rep. John Yarmuth (D-KY) and Republican challenger Vickie Yates Brown Glisson debated marijuana policy.

Rep. Kevin Cramer (R-ND), currently a U.S. Senate candidate, is pushing the federal government to let marijuana businesses access banks.

  • “I think it frankly cries out for a federal solution. And this is tough stuff — this is hard stuff to talk about — because I’m a law-and-order congressman, but it’s impossible to ignore what’s going on… If the federal government itself doesn’t do something to sort of at least provide the banking system that allows for greater oversight and regulation, I think we’re just setting ourselves up for a bit of a rogue industry rather than a highly regulated one.”

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and other elected officials will speak in support of a Missouri medical cannabis ballot measure at an event on Saturday.

Rep. Dina Titus (D-NV) tweeted, “Proud to be endorsed by @NORML. As a member of the House Cannabis Caucus, I will continue my work to increase MJ research, change banking regs, and give vets access to MMJ.”

Several members of Congress expressed concern about border issues stemming from conflicting U.S. and Canadian marijuana laws.

/ STATES

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) said he hopes the legislature’s investigation into sexual assault allegations against an administration official won’t prevent lawmakers from being able to legalize marijuana. Separately, lawmakers filed bills to establish a state bank to serve the marijuana industry and to exempt medical cannabis from sales and use taxes. A separate resolution calling on Congress to pass legislation increasing cannabis businesses’ access to banks was also introduced.

Guam Gov. Eddie Calvo (R) vetoed a bill that would have given him waiver authority over certain requirements for medical cannabis program.

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) said he opposes legalizing marijuana but supports medical cannabis.

Pennsylvania Republican gubernatorial candidate Scott Wagner implied that marijuana is a gateway drug.

Utah lawmakers began considering a medical cannabis compromise bill, with Republicans mostly on board with the proposal.

North Dakota regulators will begin accepting medical cannabis patient and caregiver applications on October 29.

Michigan regulators will meet on Thursday to consider medical cannabis license applications.

Here’s a look at activists’ efforts to qualify a medical cannabis measure for Mississippi’s 2020 ballot.

Iowa’s first medical cannabis facility is preparing to open.

/ LOCAL

A draft Seattle, Washington 2019 legislative agenda says the city supports state legislation to allow marijuana delivery services and cannabis vaping lounges, as well as expunging misdemeanor convictions.

The San Francisco, California Board of Supervisors voted to establish a Cannabis Oversight Committee.

Weatherford, Oklahoma is the target of the fifth lawsuit against local medical cannabis ordinances in the state.

The Adair County, Oklahoma district attorney is dismissing a case against a registered medical cannabis patient who was charged with possession due to apparent confusion over which drug crime statute should apply.

/ INTERNATIONAL

The Canadian government implemented marijuana legalization and also announced a process to expedite the process of pardoning people with past cannabis possession convictions. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau commented on legalization going into effect.

  • “Promise Made, Promise Kept.”

Former Mexican President Vicente Fox tweeted, “Congratulations to the Canadian government on its remarkable leadership in today legalizing the sale and use of recreational cannabis. The first country in the G7 and and an important step in the global adoption of legalized cannabis for medical and recreational use.”

/ ADVOCACY

Prohibitionist organization Smart Approaches to Marijuana launched a new microsite it says it will use to track violations of Canada’s marijuana legalization laws.

Republican operative Roger Stone says Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) was “dealing marijuana to other staffers” on Ronald Reagan’s 1976 presidential campaign and is now messing up medical cannabis implementation in his state.

The Marijuana Policy Project’s Mason Tvert clashed with Fox News’s Tucker Carlson in a testy interview.

/ BUSINESS

Marijuana stocks dipped as Canada’s legalization went into effect, and by the end of the day a few had risen.

The New York Stock Exchange approved Aurora Cannabis for listing and registration.

The former owner of OG Analytics filed a defamation lawsuit against activists who exposed her ties to white nationalists.

/ CULTURE

Actor Seth Rogen tweeted, “Few moments in my life have brought me pride like I feel today. Canada, I love you.  – one of your smiling citizens.”

The Daily Show’s Trevor Noah expressed frustration that Canada legalized marijuana before the U.S.

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Photo courtesy of Chris Wallis // Side Pocket Images.

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