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Inside Cannabis (Dec 5th, 2017)

A top Republican said that a crackdown from Attorney General Jeff Sessions could be a blessing in disguise for the cannabis industry. Sessions has repeatedly hinted that he might crack down on states that have legalized medical and recreational cannabis, causing some in the industry to panic. But former Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele said he welcomes the crackdown because he thinks it will backfire almost immediately. "In one sense, I'm like, 'Go ahead, Jeff. Do your thing, baby. Bring it. Because you'll have 18 states lining up to bring an immediate lawsuit pushing back on your crackdown,'" he said. "And that really blows up the conversation at the federal level." – CIVILIZED

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The sweeping GOP tax reform bill could have offered breaks to cannabis businesses, but one senator pulled back before the vote. Under current federal law, a 1980s provision—known as 280E—effectively forces cannabis businesses to pay a much higher tax rate than other companies. Republican Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado wanted to change that by adding amendments to the GOP tax bill. But at the last minute, he pulled them out. – MARIJUANA MOMENT

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Canada's recreational marijuana market could range between $2.3 billion and $4.5 billion by 2021. This estimate from Marijuana Business Daily says that the Canadian market will not top the U.S. market, which is poised to pull in between $7.1 billion and $10.3 billion by 2021, but it will provide a big boost to Canada's economy when it is officially legalized July 2018. – CNN MONEY

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Three cannabis heavyweights are coming together to become the "Proctor & Gamble of pot." Green House Brands North America, Canopy Growth and Organa Brands are joining forces to "set up a home for different brands, nurture them, help them grow and maximize their value," according to Bill Levy, managing partner of Green House Brands, operating under the belief that the future of cannabis is brands. The company will function like other consumer packaged goods conglomerates and will invest in, acquire and develop American cannabis brands. – ADWEEK

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The first U.S. exchange-traded fund to focus on cannabis stocks is launching Dec. 26. “I see this as something like the early days of the internet where many companies failed, and a few grew into massive success stories,” says Anthony Welch, president of Sarasota Capital Strategies in Osprey, Fla. “As with the internet, the makeup of a cannabis fund today will look much different than the same fund 20 years from now.” – FORBES

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The Army has relaxed its rules about enlisting people who used cannabis in their youth. The Army is carrying out this change in policy by granting waivers to enlistees, so long as they understand that they're not allowed to use cannabis in the military. The Army will issue 500 waivers this year, up from 191 in 2016. Three years ago, such a waiver did not exist. – AP

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Canada approved a supply deal between a major cannabis producer and a massive pharmacy chain. Aphria Inc. will now stock 12 medical cannabis products in Shoppers Drug Mart's online store, and eventually perhaps in its brick and mortar locations. As of now, the federal government only allows the sale of medical cannabis by mail, but if it changes the rules to allow pharmacies to dispense medical marijuana in stores, Aphria CEO Vic Neufeld said, "the home run turns into a grand slam." – CDC NEWS

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U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams said medical marijuana should be studied and treated like other pain relief drugs. "Under medical marijuana, I believe it should be like any other drug," Adams said last week. "We need to let the FDA vet it, study it, vet it." Adams said he also recently met with Scott Gottlieb, commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, to discuss non-opioid treatments for pain management such as medical marijuana. – NEWS AND TRIBUNE

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