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Here’s your daily dose of cannabis news from the newsletter WeedWeek:

On a conference call with reporters this week, Bill Piper, the Drug Policy Alliance’s Senior Director of National Affairs, discussed the nomination of Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions (R) for U.S. Attorney General:

“Civil rights groups point out that Sen. Sessions has been one of the Senate’s most extreme voices on issues affecting immigrants, Muslims, African-Americans, Latinos, Women and the LGBT community. He has a long record of obstructing civil rights.

“In the area of drug policy reform, Sen. Sessions is a drug war dinosaur. His has nearly singlehandedly blocked bipartisan sentencing reform in the Senate. Sessions has been critical of the Obama Justice Department’s guidelines around sentencing that were designed to limit harsh sentences, and he has criticized the Justice Department’s use of consent decrees that force local police departments to address police brutality, racial profiling and other civil rights issues. He opposes giving formerly incarcerated individuals the right to vote. 
“He recently described marijuana as a dangerous drug and said that, “Good people don’t smoke marijuana.” He has criticized the Obama administration for respecting state marijuana laws. 
“If confirmed as U.S. Attorney General, Jeff Sessions could escalate the failed war on drugs. He will likely use his position to oppose any kind of sentencing or criminal justice reform…He could also undo the Cole Memo which provided guidance to U.S. attorneys instructing them to generally not raid marijuana dispensaries in states where it is legal.
“The war on drugs could also be a weapon that Sessions and the Trump administration use to spy on, investigate incarcerate or deport immigrants and other targeted groups. Already, President-elect Trump has said he wants to aggressively deport any immigrant who commits any offense, no matter how minor, including drug offenses…Senator Sessions could not only escalate the war on immigration and the war on drugs, he could combine them.

“He was deemed unfit to be a Federal judge in 1986 and I believe he will be deemed unfit to be U.S. Attorney General when the Senate looks at his history and record during confirmation hearings next year.”

Following Piper, representatives from LatinoJustice PRLDEF, the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, theCouncil on American-Islamic Relations, and the Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference, and the Cato Institute—“massive, massive privacy concerns” – each discussed what Attorney General Sessions could mean for criminal justice and civil liberties.

As Piper writes in a blog post, it isn’t clear how state-legal marijuana businesses would be affected if Sessions wins confirmation:

“No one knows for sure what exactly to expect, but we should assume the worst. His administration, which looks set to be staffed by drug-war extremists, could go after state marijuana laws. Instead of just opposing sentencing reform, they could push for new mandatory minimums. They might demonize drugs and drug sellers to build support for mass deportations and a wall. Trump’s law-and-order rhetoric could fundamentally alter the political environment, nationally and locally.”
Piper adds:
“We need to pace ourselves, choose our battles carefully, be strategic, and perhaps most importantly, keep our morale up. We need to find ways of supporting each other…
“It’s especially important that we find ways to create division among Republicans, who now hold Congress and the White House. The more they disagree, the less they can get done. Two areas that stand out for us are marijuana and sentencing reform. We have enough Republican support on both these issues that we might be able to create dissent within the GOP if Trump tries to do something bad in these areas…
The rise of Trump and Trumpism has put a national spotlight on white supremacy and misogyny. Everywhere, people are now organizing against hate. Drug policy reformers should be part of that fight.

We can start by taking a hard look at our movement and the marijuana industry we have created. If groups draft legalization laws that  ignore racial justice, we need to call them out. If dispensaries, marijuana magazines or other marijuana businesses objectify and demean women to sell their products, or if they exclude people of color, we need to call them out. It is long past time to clean up our own house.”

The Christian Science Monitor tries to parse how or if AG Sessions will go after the industry. So does The Hill. “Pot policy in the U.S. is up in the air,” Brookings Institution scholar John Hudak tells the NYTimes.

Cannabis business lawyer Hilary Bricken shares her views at Above the Law. More from LAist, andMarijuana.com.

Pro-pot activist and journalist Tom Angell told Buzzfeed, “From a political lens, I think reversing course on [marijuana]and trying to shut down broadly popular state laws, that’s going to be a huge distraction from all the other things they care a lot more about,” Angell said. “It’s a fight that they don’t want to pick.”

To put this differently, unlike going after undocumented immigrants or Muslims, an attempt to crush the legal marijuana industry would likely have political consequences for a Republican administration.

If Sessions doesn’t realize it already, he’ll soon learn that gutting the REC and MED industry would require opposing state Legislatures in Ohio, Pennsylvania and elsewhere, and going against the will of voters in states including Florida, Arkansas, Nevada, Colorado, Montana and North Dakota. It would mean killing tens of thousands of jobs, and perhaps prosecuting White, media-savvy, cannabis executives, who can afford good lawyers.

Trump did not make a return to prohibition central to his campaign — his support for MED has beenrelatively consistent – and for a president who wants to win re-election, it’s hard to see much if any upside for him in a widespread crackdown. Given these uncertainties, there is a case for the industry to keep its head-down and hope President Trump has other priorities.

There is also a case for action.

In important respects, the marijuana industry is a marginalized community. But unlike other marginalized groups, marijuana is also a thriving industry, one expected to generate more than $6 billion in revenue this year.

During the Obama years, the marijuana industry has obtained the resources and geographic scope to make the Sessions confirmation a fiercely contested battle, and perhaps even defeat him. To do so, Republican Senators, especially those from legal states, need to understand that a vote for Sessions will cast a long shadow over their political futures.

For more than two years, cannabis executives have been telling me that this industry isn’t just about getting high and getting rich, that it’s rooted in struggles for health and justice. The Sessions nomination is the test of that commitment. If industry leaders don’t fight when other groups –including those that include colleagues, friends and customers — appear far more vulnerable, it’s hard to see how this industry stands for anything except its own enrichment. If the industry doesn’t fight now, who will stand up for it if political realities shift and legal cannabis emerges as a primary target?

The cannabis industry is indebted to countless Americans whose lives have been ruined by the war on drugs. Honoring their sacrifice demands a full-throated, and generously-funded, campaign against the Sessions nomination.

Have you ever heard of a legendary strain on the street but never found it? Like that urban legend about catfish the size of a Volkswagen at the bottom of the lake, some tales are too good to be true. For me, L.A. Confidential was that car-sized catfish for the longest time — until I caught the sonofabitch on a college trip to San Diego. But now, thanks to legalization, you don’t have to travel that far to find this beast.

Some of you might know L.A. Confidential as an underrated neo-noir crime movie from the mid-’90s starring Kevin Spacey, but potheads, especially those on the West Coast, know it as a classic indica strain that is not to be taken lightly. As the name suggests, the strain was born in Southern California, gaining prominence in the early 2000s and winning third and second place in the 2004 and 2005High Times Cannabis Cups for best indica. Bred by DNA Genetics, L.A. Confidential is an artistic mixture of an Afghani phenotype and landrace indica, OG LA Affie. The combination creates beautiful, bright-green nugs with vibrant mauve streaks, like Palo Verde trees in a Mojave desert sunset, and the high is just as relaxing.

The state’s growing regions can be dangerous.

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

Two women were arrested for detaining four brothers on a California pot farm and forcing them to work for six months. In Colorado, 14 Chinese nationals were arrested at an illegal grow. Authorities are investigating whether they were “labor trafficked.”

In SFWeekly, I recommended that the industry adopt an abuse-free product certification to curtail worker exploitation.

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.

BlueKudu founder and CEO Andrew Schrot (right) discusses a rebranding by his edibles company.

Denver Startup Week began in September 2012 as a chance for entrepreneurs to meet and trade ideas. Over the past five years, it’s evolved into an expansive event where anyone hoping to start a business can choose from hundreds of panel presentations featuring people who’ve been there, done that. And this year, ganjapreneurs are among the industry leaders sharing experiences and expertise.

At a September 13 panel titled “From Kitchen to ‘Shelf:’ Smart Growth Tips for Packaged Food Startups” at the Infinite Monkey Theorem Urban Winery, Andrew Schrot, founder and CEO of BlueKudu, a prominent edibles company, joined food-industry reps from 34 Degrees, Saso Pepper Co. and Capello’s Gluten Free; BrandJuice creative director John Bellina moderated a discussion that focused on the ever-growing food market in Colorado.

Dear Stoner: I just got some pot brownies, and I’m not planning to ingest them for two weeks. Do you think the potency will still be the same, and if they’ll be okay to eat? Can I heat them up if they go hard?Tasnim

Dear Tasnim: We’ve talked to multiple cannabis bakeries and kitchens about the shelf life of edibles, and all of them have said that edibles are pretty hard to tarnish in terms of potency, so two weeks definitely wouldn’t be long enough to harm your brownies. The “normal” ingredients in them are what you need to worry about, because they’ll decay much faster on your kitchen counter than THC would. Throw the brownies in the freezer if you’re scared of spoilage, but that’s just to fend off mold, not THC degradation. Freezing definitely beats food poisoning — and what a waste of pot that would be!

Take care when heating up frozen edibles — which usually have the texture of cold turds — as THC will slowly start to fade at temperatures over 200 degrees Fahrenheit (and die altogether at 392 degrees Fahrenheit). But most microwaves don’t take food above 212 degrees, so there shouldn’t be any noticeable difference in potency after the short fifteen seconds it takes to warm your brownie. Throw a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top or wash it down with a fatty glass of whole milk to increase the effects.

It was impossible for Balboa Peninsula motorists to notice anything unusual when they passed Newport Beach City Hall on the afternoon of March 10, 2011. The warm sun hovering above steady beach traffic and palm trees swaying from a periodic, lazy breeze revealed just a typical, Southern California day.
But not far from Pacific Coast Highway, on a sidewalk adjacent to 32nd Street–a road flanking local government offices until last year’s relocation–high-ranking police officers were teaching a lesson to one of Orange County’s most heroic whistleblowers and his wife: Mess with us, and you’ll pay dearly.
OC Weekly has more on how bad cops work to keep the good ones from improving the state of our wrecked system.

Gene Maddaus.
L.A. City Attorney Mike Feuer.

L.A. City Attorney Mike Feuer announced this morning that he is cracking down on on Nestdrop, the “Uber for weed” app that delivers medical marijuana to your door. At a press conference this morning, Feuer said the app violates Measure D, the city’s medical marijuana initiative, which limits delivery of medical pot to patients’ primary caregivers.
“There is no lawful delivery service under Prop. D,” Feuer said. “We’re hoping that a court agrees with us.”

San Diego Police Department
Evidence photo from an October 15th raid on Market Greens marijuana dispensary in San Diego, CA


Another week means another horrible round of cannabis-related headlines coming out of sunny San Diego, California. In an attempt to turn America’s Finest City into the nation’s Ground Zero in the War on Weed, San Diego city officials, backed by a militant branch of the DEA and weed-hating local law enforcement, have almost totally shut down any idea of safe access to medical marijuana.
San Diego’s scene has been slashed from over 300 storefront medical marijuana dispensaries in 2011, to less than 40 in operation today – and not one of those 40 is operating with the consent of the city.

Back in June of 2013, local law enforcement officers in Junction City, Kansas stopped a 2002 GMC Sierra pickup truck for speeding.
Approaching the vehicle, the officers noted that the bed of the truck was full of junk and debris, including an old fridge. But once they identified the elderly driver behind the wheel, they quickly realized that there might be more to the old rambling man than meets the eye.

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