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Inside Cannabis

Inside Cannabis (Feb 6th, 2018)

Dear readers:

I'll be away on vacation next week, so you will not receive a newsletter next Tuesday. We will be back in action on Feb. 20.

Best, Tessa Love Editor, Inside Cannabis

Democrats are demanding a hearing into Attorney General Jeff Sessions' decision to rescind cannabis protections. In a letter signed by 11 members of the House Judiciary Committee, the Democrats call for Chairman Rep. Bob Goodlatte, a Republican from Virginia, to hold a hearing of the full House Judiciary Committee to discuss the recent move by Sessions, which gives federal prosecutors the power to bring action against state-legal cannabis businesses. The Democrats said they fear the new Justice Department policy “will promote an inefficient use of limited taxpayer resources and subvert the will of voters who have clearly indicated a preference for legalized marijuana in their states.” – VICE

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A powerful Republican Senator has hinted that Congress may discuss nationwide cannabis legalization this year. In a letter obtained by Business Insider, Republican Sen. Thom Tillis suggested that Congress will open the issue for debate, but isn't promising any specific floor action. Tillis isn't a proponent of legalization, but last year he did co-sponsor a bill to facilitate research into the potential medical benefits of cannabis. – BUSINESS INSIDER

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The Virginia Senate unanimously voted to legalize medical cannabis in the state. The bill allows Virginia doctors to recommend the use of CBD or THC-A oil for the treatment of any diagnosed condition or disease. “I finally decided that I needed to advocate for the physicians being the decision makers,” said Senator Siobhan Dunnavant, the chief patron of the Senate bill. “The literature on medical cannabis is going to be evolving rapidly now, and because of this, it is not a decision that should be in the hands of the legislature. Instead, it should be with physicians.”​​​​​​​

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The federal legality of growing hemp for the extraction of CBD is unclear. The 2014 federal farm bill says cannabis becomes hemp—and legal to grow and market—when its psychoactive potential drops below a certain level. But the 1970 Controlled Substances Act says only certain parts of the cannabis plant can be legally sold as hemp. That definition excludes the cannabis flowers, which are usually harvested for CBD. – STATELINE

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A German police group has called for complete cannabis decriminalization. The head of the Association of German Criminal Officers, Andre Schulz, said that the current system prohibiting cannabis use stigmatizes people and creates criminal careers. “In the history of mankind there has never been a society without the use of drugs," he said. "This is something that has to be accepted. My prediction is cannabis will not be banned for long in Germany.‎” – INDEPENDENT

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The cannabis industry has produced its first unicorn. California based MedMen, a cannabis management firm that oversees grow operations and retail locations, received a $30 million investment from Captor Capital, placing the valuation of the currently private cannabis company at $1 billion. CEO Adam Bierman said the company is expecting an additional private investment in February that will make the valuation even higher. – GREEN MARKET REPORT

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The Hood Incubator is fighting for social and racial equity in the cannabis industry. Founded in 2016, the Oakland-based cannabis business incubator for entrepreneurs of color is working to build diversity into the cannabis industry at a time when it is growing exponentially. The San Francisco-based cannabis delivery service, Eaze, recently partnered with the incubator to create an investment funded targeted specifically toward entrepreneurs of color. – FAST CO

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Cannabis has had a rocky relationship with the Olympics, and many are questioning whether it should still be banned. Cannabis was added to the list of banned substances in 1999, but the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has been loosening its cannabis restrictions in recent years. In 2013, the committee upped the allowable limit of marijuana to 150 nanograms of THC per milliliter of blood, taking a “smoke all you want, just not during competition" attitude. – THE BIG THINK

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The federal government is profiting off the illegal cannabis industry. Because of the discrepancy between state and federal law, legal marijuana businesses are often stuck paying twice as much as normal businesses – effective rates of up to 70 percent – in federal taxes. Exactly how much extra tax revenue makes it to the feds because of cannabis's illegality is not entirely clear. But last December, the Congressional Joint Committee on Taxation responded to a request from Colorado Senator Cory Gardner with the projected additional amount that will be collected from legal cannabis businesses between 2018 and 2027 if the drug remains federally illegal: $5 billion. – ROLLING STONE

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The U.S. Army admits that CBD isn't harmful, but is prohibiting soldiers from using it anyway. Cannabis-derived CBD is used as a medicine for a variety of illnesses and ailments. But in light of the Army's ban, soldiers have been using synthetic CBD, which is reportedly making them sick. The Army issued a public health alert in response to the illnesses but reiterated that CBD is still not allowed. – MARIJUANA MOMENT

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California is still fighting its dirty weed problems. While the California cannabis industry still supports a black market, illegal growers will continue to farm on public lands with the use of pesticides and chemicals. These farms ravage the environment—polluting waterways and killing owls—and cost taxpayers millions of dollars in clean up. — WIRED

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