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The new company will be a major player in seeds and pharmaceuticals, two cannabis sweet spots.

Here’s your daily round-up of pot-news, excerpted from the newsletter WeedWeek. Download WeedWeek’s free 2016 election guide here.

In one of the largest mergers ever, the German chemical and pharamaceutical giant Bayer will buy seed company Monsanto for $66 billion. Mainstream reports did not bring it up, but both companies have long been seen as interested in the plant. (Bayer has a partnership with GW Pharmaceuticals.) In July, the far-left site Counterpunch published a piece called “ Monsanto, Bayer and the Push for Corporate Cannabis.”

Cannabis Reports CEO David Drake publicly shamed Leafly and Weedmaps for poor cybersecurity. Social network MassRoots and data firm Headset announced a strategic partnership.

At an L.A. conference, Viridian Capital Advisors president Scott Greiper said legalization will bring about the next industrial revolution.

Canna Law Blog discusses what makes for a weak brand mark? New cannabis business lawyer Daniel Shortt explains why he’s chosen the specialty.

 

Business school student Cameron Lehman writes about opening a dispensary with his plastic surgeon mom. U.C. Berkeley’s Haas business school is starting a speaker and case study series on the green rush.

Medical testing company Quest Diagnostics says the number of Americans testing positive for illegal drugs reached a decade high of 4%. Among “safety-sensitive” workers it was 1.8 %, a slight increase.

A new study found that states with legal, accessible MED saw decreases in opioid use in adults 21-40.

Reason asks “ What will control freaks ban next?” The answer appears to be the southeast Asian plant Kratom, which the DEA is adding to the list of schedule I drugs. Wired calls Kratom a promising treatmentfor opiate addition.

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute blogged on whether MED benefits cancer patients.

Food Safety News picked up a Leafly story about how to know if weed is past its sell-by date.

water-bottle-THC-in-waterSource images via Shutterstock.com

The situation appears under control.

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

An investigation in Hugo, Colo. found THC in the drinking water. Authorities found signs of tampering on a well and initiated a criminal investigation. Additional tests are underway to confirm the finding. Initially, the cannabis community said contamination is unlikely since THC is not soluble in water.

Screening stations have been set up for residents and water is being trucked in. Hugo, a town of about 750 on the state’s eastern plains, does not have any marijuana businesses.

LA Weekly looks at how legalization  could change employer drug testing  policies. The California Supreme Court has ruled that a MED card does not allow employees to be high on the job, or overrule company drug testing policies. In the future, the piece notes, this stance may lead to disability suits.

In California, concentrates remain a “ legal gray area.”

A random controlled study out of Holland proved that alcohol makes users more aggressive and cannabis makes them less aggressive. (Read the study here.)

Vancouver activist Dana Larsen said customers don’t need prescriptions at his MED pharmacies.

Colorado has released a PSA on cannabis and pregnancy. Chronic and/or severe pain is by far the most common qualifying condition for MED.

Washington state hopes new labelling will keep kids away from edibles.

Between 2002 and 2013, it’s estimated that Massachusetts crime lab chemist Annie Dookhan, who was later convicted of perjury and evidence tampering, corrupted more than 24,000 cases. Those convicted based on her work can now seek new trials. Dookhan served three years in prison.

An audit in Houston found 298 wrongful drug convictions. A researcher at the libertarian Cato Institute argues that the drug war has made policing more violent.

Operation Sabot, Canada’s annual sweep for illegal outdoor grows, takes place at the end of summer. Each year it targets a different region right before the harvest.

Maryland withdrew a proposal to ban letters to prisoners (except legal correspondence). The state’s prisons have been overwhelmed by Suboxone, an opioid available in sublingual strips that prisoners receive in envelopes.

If California legalizes, what will happen to people in prison for marijuana offenses? Missouri governor Jay Nixon (D), signed a law that will make it easier for marijuana offenders to get their records expunged.

A bill in the U.S. Senate would protect the families of children with epilepsy from prosecution if they obtain CBD treatments.

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Positive tests for pot have increased by about 20 percent in Colorado from 2012 to 2013, according to Quest Diagnostics, a company responsible for a huge number of work-related drug testing across the country.
But the director of the drug testing branch of Quest says it’s too early to draw any conclusions from the data, though it’s easy to draw a parallel between the increase in positive pot tests and the legalization limited amounts of pot to adults 21 and up. Sales of cannabis to adults didn’t start until January of 2014, so that would not factor into the data.

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Colorado Supreme Court courtroom.


A group of Colorado activists have filed a request with the Colorado Supreme Court to consider the rights of patients when they review — once-and-for-all — whether or not medical marijuana patients have a right to use cannabis and whether or not the federal controlled substances act supersedes state medical marijuana laws.
It’s a complicated matter that has arisen several times, though most recently it stems from the 2012 drug-test-failure firing of a paraplegic DISH Network employee who was licensed by the state of Colorado to use medical cannabis.

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The South Carolina legislature has cannabis on their minds and seem to be okay with industrial hemp, but don’t think they are coming close to actually legalizing pot anytime soon.
A bill allowing South Carolina farmers to grow industrial hemp moved through a state Senate agriculture panel Thursday with little opposition and a lot of support. Meanwhile, state Sen. Tom Davis filed a bill that would allow doctors to recommend CBD-rich oil to patients with seizure disorders.

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State of New Jersey Department of Health

New Jersey’s Health Department has apologized after an email from the department included the visible email addresses of all recipients — revealing the email addresses of medical marijuana patient in the state. The department claimed it was taking steps to prevent the error from happening again.

Toke of the Town originally broke the story on Tuesday after registered New Jersey medical marijuana patient Susan Sturner let us know about the email which violated the privacy of patients.

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Union of Medical Marijuana Patients

The Los Angeles Times, in a September 24 editorial, called on the L.A. City Council to come up with a new medical marijuana ordinance that would provide safe access through regulation that would avoid legal challenges. The Union for Medical Cannabis Patients says it is providing the Council and Planning Commission with a formula for exactly this type of legislation.
James Shaw, director of the Union, has presented to the City Council two draft ordinances which represent parts to a whole. “These Ordinances should enable the City to finally get a handle on regulating medical marijuana patient associations in Los Angeles, while providing the added benefit of avoiding litigation or having the law overturned by courts,” Shaw said. 

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Personal Liberty Digest

Should health care facilities have the power to make lifestyle decisions for you — and punish you when your choices don’t measure up to their ideals? More and more hospitals are making exactly those kinds of decisions when it comes to people who choose to use marijuana — even legal patients in medical marijuana states. Apparently, these places don’t mind looking exactly as if they have more loyalty to their Big Pharma benefactors than they do to their own patients.

A new policy at one Alaska clinic — requiring patients taking painkilling medications to be marijuana free — serves to highlight the hypocrisy and cruelty of such rules, which are used at more and more health care facilities, particularly the big corporate chains (the clinic in question is a member of the Banner Health chain).

Tanana Valley Clinic, in Fairbanks, started handing out prepared statements to all chronic pain patients on Monday, said Corinne Leistikow, assistant medical director for family practice at TVC, reports Dorothy Chomicz at the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner.

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The Weed Blog
U.S. federal government joints come ready-rolled in tins of 300, as pictured above.

Despite the continued denials from the U.S. federal government — and its absurdly erroneous classification of cannabis as a Schedule I substance, meaning it by definition has a high potential for abuse and no accepted medical uses — the feds themselves have been giving out free marijuana to a limited group of patients for 30 years.
The program had grown to close to 30 patients at its height, but in 1992 stopped accepting any new participants, during the George H.W. Bush Administration.
Activists speculated that happened because of the advent of the HIV/AIDS crisis; with the widespread need of such patients for medicinal cannabis, pot’s medical usefulness could have become uncomfortably obvious to the public at large once hundreds or thousands of people had permission to use it.
Despite the program not having accepted any new patients for more than 20 years, the four surviving federal medical marijuana patients still get their 300 (stale, low-quality) joints a month, and will until they die. Never mind that it’s only 3.5 percent THC (maybe that’s why the federal government recommends its patients use 10 “marijuana cigarettes” a day!) plus being 10 years old and stale as shit by the time the patients receive it.

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Medical Marijuana Hut

​The U.S. federal government’s Department of Health and Human Services seems about ready to award exclusive rights to apply marijuana as a medical therapeutic. You read that correctly: “exclusive rights.”

Now, I don’t think of myself as a conspiracy theorist. But when the federal government keeps taking actions that, even when considered separately but especially when viewed together, all seem to be part of a bigger plan to pave the way for the pharmaceutical industry to bulldoze the cottage medical marijuana industry, I start getting antsy.
“We find it hypocritical and incredible that on the one hand, the U.S. Department of Justice is persecuting cannabis patient associations, asserting that the federal government regards marijuana as having absolutely no medical value, despite overwhelming clinical evidence,” said Union of Medical Marijuana Patients director James Shaw. “On the other hand, the Department of Health and Human Services is planning to grant patent rights with possible worldwide application to develop medicine based on cannabis.”
“Though UMMP welcomes any potential new research that could come from KannaLife Sciences’ federal endorsement, it is highly disconcerting that the contemplated grant is an exclusive one,” the organization posted on its website.
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