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Is smoking pot a guaranteed religious freedom?

Excerpted from the newsletter WeedWeek. Get your free and confidential subscription at WeedWeek.net.

The activist known as New Jersey Weedman will be able to argue in court that raids on his Trenton, N.J. “cannabis temple” violate his religious freedom.

Kayvan Khalatbari, a prominent activist and businessman in Denver, discussed the industry’s lack of diversity with Vice.

Sports Illustrated travels to Humboldt to ask about the industry’s impact on high school and college sports there. “There are probably no other public schools in the world that have ever offered clipping trays — trays for clipping marijuana on — as part of their auction for the PTA fair,” local journalist Kym Kemp says.

NFL running back turned cannabis investor Ricky Williams is the subject of a new Sports Illustrated documentary. He estimates that 70 percent of NFL players smoke marijuana.

Harper’s Bazaar visits the annual Spirit Weavers Gathering, a getaway for New Age-inclined women, that the article calls “the world’s chicest cult.” There, author Marisa Meltzer hears of a California pot farm that has fertilized the plant with menstrual blood for two generations.

A Canadian known as Marijuana Man makes $78,000 a year getting high on Youtube. He told an interviewer that he’s had internet “since 1984.”

There’s a crowdfunding campaign to bring “industrial hemp building and farming ambassador” Klara Marosszeky to California for a visit. She’s based in Australia.

Wired visits high-end edibles maker Défoncé Chocolatier. (Défoncé means ‘wasted’.)

“The Summer Fair,” a festival in Portland this month, will have free pot giveaways.

Netflix will make “Disjointed,” a weed sitcom starring Kathy Bates.

The Reductress recommends “ Healthy Snacks To Balance Out All The Junk You’ll Devour When You’re High Tonight.”

Legalization troubles some cops.

Excerpted from the newsletter WeedWeek. Get your free and confidential subscription at WeedWeek.net.

LA Weekly asked cops why they oppose the Adult Use Marijuana Act (AUMA) California’s REC ballot initiative. “This is not a law-enforcement jihad or Reefer Madness,” Ken Corney, Ventura’s police chief and president of the California Police Chiefs Association said. “Proposition 64 isn’t about green, leafy marijuana that people smoke at home or pass across the aisle at a concert. It’s a for-profit play to bring the commercialization of marijuana to California.”

The piece continues: “[Corney] subscribes to the theory, so far unproven, that the proposition’s biggest financial backer, Holmby Hills tech billionaire Sean Parker, is in it to open the door to Big Marijuana profits for rich folks like himself.”

The group Law Enforcement Against Prohibition endorsed AUMA.

Three Santa Ana, Calif. cops who were caught on video last year snacking and mocking an amputee (“I was about to kick her in her fucking nub”) during a dispensary raid are no longer with the department. The Orange County District Attorney’s Office has filed petty theft charges against the three officers.

The three had argued that they believed police had already disabled all of the cameras and therefore “had a reasonable expectation that their conversations and actions were no longer being recorded.”

Art Way, Colorado state director for Drug Policy Alliance writes:

Those with vested interest in the devaluation of black life and the criminalization of black                            communities need the drug war for political cover. Those who want to end state sanctioned                        murders should consider joining forces to end the drug war. 

This is a war waged to keep the black, brown and poor disenfranchised all while using their bodies as commodities for a prison industrial complex similar to the human commodification witnessed during slavery. ( H/T Word on the Tree )

A small but growing number of Canadian RCMP officers (the equivalent of FBI agents) are getting their MED reimbursed by the government.

In the Philippines, imprisoned drug lords have raised a $21 million reward for whoever kills the country’s new president Rodrigo Duterte. For his part, Duterte offers bounties of $1 million for drug lords killed and $600,000 for drug lords captured. According to his administration, 75 percent of the drugs in the country were manufactured inside its largest prison.

Industry hub Pueblo, Colo. has seen quite a few drug busts.

A Pennsylvania man has been charged with abuse of a corpse after blending weed with brain embalming fluid.

The question of use by women who are expecting heats up.

Excerpted from the newsletter WeedWeek. Get your free and confidential subscription at WeedWeek.net.

A study suggests that cannabis use during pregnancy affects brain development. More Colorado newborns are testing positive for THC.

Thirty-three were hospitalized in Brooklyn, for suspected synthetic cannabis (“K2”) overdoses in the area around a subway stop.

The National Institutes of Health sent out a request for information about varieties of marijuana and their possible research value.

Check out this chart which illustrates last week’s remarkable finding that drug prescriptions are falling in MED states.

Project CBD published a CBD Users Manual. It’s one of the better ones I’ve seen.

Cannabis allergies are climbing.

The big move by Scotts Miracle-Grow into cannabis is dividing the industry.

Buzzfeed makes the case that Facebook and Google’s cannabis policy enforcement is a mess.

The U.K.’s GW Pharmaceuticals which has seen its stock soar on data from its cannabis-based drug Epidiolex, plans to raise $252 million on the Nasdaq exchange with Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and Bank of America Merrill Lynch shepherding the deal.

Business attorney Hilary Bricken lays out  six weed scams  for investors and others to watch out for.

Compliance at Millennium Bank, a community bank in Des Plaines, Ill. is reportedly under scrutiny from state and federal authorities for working with marijuana companies.

Whitney Hobbs, a founder of Oregon distributor Highly Distributed, has sued CEO Christopher Mallott for sexual harassment that led to her departure from the company. She says he groped and smelled her. The company declined to comment but an employee refuted Hobbs’ claims.

Cannabis sales continue to climb in Colorado and support the state’s economy. See here for more.

A glimpse of the future? A group of Colorado’s largest craft breweries, led a break-up of the Colorado Brewers Guild to form a new group called Craft Beer Colorado. The split follows an overhaul of state alcohol laws.

Analyst Alan Brochstein writes that Canada’s pot policies make more sense than America’s.

Former NORML head Allen St. Pierre joined a publicly-traded consultancy called Freedom Leaf.

DNC tokeLindsey Bartlett

Democrats have adopted a platform that their members are trumpeting as the “most progressive platform in party history” — and when it comes to marijuana, Dems aren’t just blowing smoke. The Party of the Donkey has taken a position on marijuana that no major political party in the United States has taken before.

The preliminary draft of the platform, released on July 1 by theDemocratic National Convention Committee, asserts that states should be “laboratories of democracy on the issue of marijuana.”

It goes on to say states that wish to decriminalize marijuana should be allowed to do so.

Voters will have a clear choice in November.

The following is excerpted from the newsletter WeedWeek. Get your free and confidential subscription at WeedWeek.net.

The Democratic Party Platform states “We encourage the federal government to remove marijuana from its list as a Class 1 Federal Controlled Substance, providing a reasoned pathway for future legalization.” The Washington Post describes the language as a nod to Bernie Sanders.

For its platform, the Republican Party rejected language supporting MED. It was proposed by Dale Jackson, a GOP delegate from Georgia with an autistic son. Another delegate said mass-shooters are, “young boys from divorced families, and they’re all smoking pot.”

Donald Trump’s vice presidential pick, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (R) opposed reducing marijuana penalties in 2013.

The Cannabist released its 2016 election guide.

The industry-loathed “ potency amendment” will not be on the Colorado ballot. Frank McNulty (R), a former speaker of the Colorado House and supporter of the measure said the industry paid signature gathering firms to not gather signatures. “Without [signature gathering companies]we didn’t have the ability to get it to the ballot,”McNulty said.

An industry spokesman denied the accusation andThe Denver Post editorial page finds it “dubious.” “ Big marijuana trashes democratic process,” the Colorado Springs Gazette editorializes.

Campaign filings released on August 1 will clarify what happened. (An email query from WeedWeek was not returned.)

The Amendment would have banned products with higher than 16% THC, which account for 80% of cannabis products in Colorado. “Make no mistake,” the Post writes, “139 was an anti-pot measure designed to gut the industry. And it’ll be back.”

With industry support, California plans to regulate water use by growers.

Hezekiah Allen, executive director of the California Growers Association, explains his ambivalence about California’s upcoming Adult Use of Marijuana Act vote: “The initiative is decidedly more friendly to big business and will lead to rapid consolidation of the industry. This is an avoidable and undesirable outcome.” (See the initiative’s exact language here.)

Montanans will vote on a measure to expand the state’s MED program. L.A. County voters will decide on a marijuana business tax to benefit the homeless. The L.A. Times tells government officials, “Legal marijuana should not be seen as the solution to your revenue problems.”

A federal judge rejected the claim that current federal laws are “so arbitrary and irrational as to be unconstitutional.” The complaint was brought by Charles and Alexander Green, two Californian brothers accused of trafficking.

A proposed MED measure in North Dakota would be too expensive, the state health department said. The Pennsylvania legislature approved growing hemp for research.

Home gardening in Washington D.C. just got a lot more fun.

The following is excerpted from the newsletter WeedWeek. Get your free and confidential subscription at WeedWeek.net.

Washington D.C. consultant Natalie Carver has started a business assisting home growers. “She rolls her joints with rosemary, lavender, and mullein, a bronchial dilator used by Native Americans in spiritual ceremonies.”

A rabbi and an African-American pastor are among the parties competing for grow licenses in Maryland.

The German bestseller “ High Hitler: Drugs in the Third Reich,” is being translated into English.

Product Earth Expo, the U.K.’s largest cannabis convention, took place for the second time. An Australian man called the cops on his father for burning his crop.

There has been a resurgence of the red cannabis associated with Calabria, the rugged “toe” of Italy. In another piece, Leafly’s Enrico Fletzer asks if legalization is coming to Naples, where organized crime controls the market. Fletzer also calls Bologna the “ Hemp capital of Europe.

Rival pro-legalization groups had an altercation outside the Vancouver Art Gallery. An organizer with Cannabis Culture said he was attacked by someone wielding a yoga mat. I’m just juvenile enough to mention that western Canada’s premiere art museum is known as “ the VAG.”

Washington D.C. consultant Natalie Carver has started a business assisting home growers. “She rolls her joints with rosemary, lavender, and mullein, a bronchial dilator used by Native Americans in spiritual ceremonies.”

Contrary to internet rumors, doughnut chain Tim Hortons will not start selling pot next year.

The video game Hemp Inc. resembles Farmville, with one predictable difference. Vice also interviews some female dealers.

The new 419.99 mile markers on Interstate 70 in Colorado, do not get stolen as often as their 420 mile predecessors.

Olympics-branded weed is available in Rio.

 

Just your average, .32-gram joint here.

The following is excerpted from the newsletter WeedWeek. Get your free and confidential subscription at WeedWeek.net.

A ProPublica investigation finds that field drug tests widely-used by police are unreliable and can turn up false positives.

A study in JAMA Psychiatry found that cannabis use disrupts the reward processing mechanism in the brain. The journal editorializes that more research into the plant’s effects on the brain is urgently needed.

Smoking cannabis and tobacco together, a practice more common in Europe than the U.S., may contribute to dependency on both, a study found. See the study here.

In Canada, border authorities have cracked down on shipments of CBD oil. In Australia, some children with epilepsy will have access to the CBD-based drug Epidiolex before trials are complete.

The average joint contains .32 grams of marijuana, researchers have learned. This is an important figure for tax assessments and public health studies, the Washington Post says.

The .32 number was obtained by a statistical analysis of arrest data. In the past, researchers have tried to learn it by asking subjects to compare joint-size to common objects or having subjects roll joints with oregano.

Uruguay’s law allows pharmacists to sell weed, but most don’t want to. A small political party in Japan wants to lift the national ban on MED research.

Synthetic cannabis is still very dangerous.

President Obama’s clemency initiative has commuted the sentences of more than 300 offenders with a focus on non-violent drug offenders. The New Yorker asks why nearly 12,000 prisoner petitions remain undecided.

A case in South Dakota highlights the practice of urine tests obtained by force, with a catheter. State Attorney General Marty Jackley (R) defended the practice on legal grounds, but said “I don’t think anyone wants to go through that methodology.”

The Texas Tribune tells the story of a U.S. Border Patrol agent who got romantically involved with a marijuana smuggler.

The Kind profiles Jeff Mizanskey, who until his release last year was the only man in Missouri serving life for a non-violent marijuana offense. He spent 21 years in prison.

Big-money investors are starting to see the upside in going “green.”elbud / Shutterstock.com

Big-money investors are starting to see the upside in going “green.”

Following Microsoft’s recent partnership with Kind Financial, Google may want to go green as well. John Lord, CEO of LivWell, a large vertically-integrated producer in Colorado, said the search giant had reached out to him. (On The Cannabist Show, Lord discusses the implications of industry-hated tax provision 280E.)

Venture capitalists are shaking off the stigma. The Bloomberg article contains the tidbit that New York’s health department uses Oracle software to monitor its MED program.

Jim Hagedorn, CEO of publicly-traded Scotts Miracle-Gro, said he want’s to “Invest, like, half a billion in the pot business…It is the biggest thing I’ve ever seen in lawn and garden.” Since 2015, Scotts has spent $255M acquiring companies that make soil, fertilizers, lighting and hydroponics. He pledges to invest $150M more this year.

Ohio is considering a cashless system — think pre-paid debit cards — for its newly legalized MED industry.

Colorado company Helix TCS acquired online wholesale platform Cannabase for an undisclosed sum. Wholesale prices are falling fast in Colorado.

Stock in Insys Therapeutics jumped after the FDA approved its cannabis-derived drug.

According to the Tampa Tribune, there are  15,000 businesses nationwide  providing ancillary products and services to the cannabis industry.
The Verdes Foundation is the  highest-grossing producer  in New Mexico. (The state’s MED industry is non-profit.) MED dispensaries in Hawaii can open next week but  most aren’t ready .
NORML executive director Allen St. Pierre reportedly resigned after 24 years. He will remain on the organization’s board. His interim replacement is treasurer Randy Quast.
Excerpted from the newsletter WeedWeek. Get your free and confidential subscription at WeedWeek.net.

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock (D)  blames legal weed for the “urban travelers” who have caused violent episodes on Denver’s 16th Street Mall, the city’s main pedestrian thoroughfare. Recently, a 32-year old Indiana man was arrested after video showed him attacking pedestrians with lengths of PVC pipe. It’s not clear whether he was high at the time.

Other recent incidents, also caught on video, have seen arrests after attacks and aggressive panhandling. New research shows that legal states have seen a drop in Medicare prescriptions for anti-depressants and opiods, and a corresponding reduction in Medicare costs.

Prescriptions did not drop for drugs like blood-thinners that can’t plausibly be replaced with MED. (Read that study here.) If California legalizes REC in November, it could influence federal policy on banking and other issues. Regulators in the state said they will start inspecting dispensary scales  to ensure that customers are getting their money’s worth.

Massachusetts’ REC initiative will be on the ballot in November. Gov. Charlie Baker (R), Boston Mayor Marty Walsh (D) and Speaker of the House Robert DeLeo (D) have banded together to oppose it. Arkansas voters will decide on a MED initiative. Fortune sees signs of a backlash in Colorado. Murders in California’s Lake County, a center of growing, reached a 10-year high of eight last year. Donna Weinholtz, wife of Utah gubernatorial candidate Mike Weinholtz (D), is under federal investigation related to her MED use.

The rules for Alaska’s pot café’s are under review. Voters in the state’s Matanuska-Susitna Borough will decide on a commercial ban in the fall. Former Liberal Party deputy prime minister Anne McLellan will lead Canada’s nine-member legalization task force. McLellan is a former law professor at the University of Alberta. Canada’s legal purchasing age may vary across provinces, but the government wants a consistent national law on DUI. Both LSU and Southern University are exercising their option to grow Louisiana’s MED supply.

This article also appeared in the the pot-focused weekly newsletter WeedWeek. Get your free and confidential subscription at WeedWeek.net.

David Schubert, the senior author of the Salk Institute study on THC and Alzheimer's disease.Courtesy of the Salk Institute

David Schubert, the senior author of the Salk Institute study on THC and Alzheimer’s disease.

A new study suggests that marijuana may have potential for protecting brain cells against Alzheimer’s disease.

Published in the June 2016 issue of Nature, the study found that tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main psychoactive compound in marijuana, and other active cannabis compounds could block the progression of the disease.

Lab tests by the Salk Institute, a Southern California, non-profit research organization, showed that marijuana compounds could remove harmful amyloid beta proteins, the plaque that accumulates on brain cells, which is a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease. The compounds in the study also significantly reduced cellular inflammation, a major contributor to the onset of the disease.

For more on the study, read L.A. Weekly‘s article on the effect of marijuana on Alzheimer’s disease.

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