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Inside Cannabis

Inside Cannabis (Apr 3rd, 2019)

1. The Food and Drug Administration and the Federal Trade Commission have sent warning letters to three CBD companies for false advertising. The agencies claim that Nutra Pure, PotNetwork Holdings, and Advanced Spine and Pain, are making false claims about the medical benefits of CBD, which the companies advertise as treating the likes of Alzheimer's and cancer. The letters instruct the companies to tell the FTC what actions they've taken to address the concerns within 15 days. – NBC NEWS

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2. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) are pushing federal financial regulators to provide guidance to banks for how to handle doing business with the hemp industry. The letters stress the need to provide access to “capital and traditional lending services” to the burgeoning hemp industry, which the two senators were helped make legal through the 2018 Farm Bill. The senators said hemp farmers “have faced difficulty securing financing and credit products to start or expand their businesses, and difficulty establishing accounts to manage cash flow and business expenses.” – MARIJUANA MOMENT

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Jargon Watch: "Touching the plant"
by Tessa Love

As the cannabis industry continues to go mainstream, startups in the space are cropping up left and right. That means investment in the space is, too. But despite widespread acceptance of the industry, not all investors are keen on working with companies that actually grow, process, and distribute cannabis—in other words, companies that "touch the plant." You may hear this term a lot these days (like in this headline from Marijuana Business Daily: "Canopy Growth becomes first plant-touching cannabis company on NYSE") and it means exactly what it sounds like—companies that work directly with the drug to create their product. To some, working with "plant-touching" companies is still risky, so they prefer to make deals with those working in the ancillary world. Think cannabis tracking software, a point of sale systems for dispensaries, or even fertilizer makers. 

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3. Cannabis legalization is emerging as a top issue for weeding out the glut of Democratic presidential candidates. Nearly every Democratic candidate has embraced some form of legalization, and the rise of support for the issue is in stark contrast to elections of the past. But as Democratic strategist Joe Trippi put it, "In these early stages where you're at 18 [candidates] and you're trying to get a little bit of an edge over the rest … maybe this is the differentiator." – POLITICO

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4. Lawmakers in Colorado and Washington are moving to ease regulations that cannabis business owners say are stifling the growth of the industry. Both states imposed strict rules in hopes of keeping the U.S. Justice Department at bay. But as more states are legalizing and the end of federal prohibition is inching closer to reality, lawmakers in both states are hoping to bolster their industries by loosening rules. – AP

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5. The director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse said that the Schedule I status of cannabis makes it “very difficult” to research the benefits and risks of the drug. During a House Appropriations subcommittee hearing, Nora Volkow made it clear that having only one federally authorized manufacturer of cannabis for research purposes is frustrating to the agency. – MARIJUANA MOMENT

6. Despite Massachusetts' efforts to build equity into the cannabis industry, a top Boston prosecutor said the owners and employees in the legal market are still predominantly white. “These are convictions black and brown people (had) years ago. And now everyone making money from cannabis is white," said Rachael Rollins, the Suffolk County district attorney. "It is a racial disparity, it is disgusting, and we need to speak out loudly about it.” – BOSTON BUSINESS JOURNAL

7. Black chefs are making cooking political by infusing their foods with cannabis. Edibles are becoming increasingly mainstream and widely accepted, but the majority of chefs working with cannabis are white. Black entrepreneurs are hoping to change that. – EATER

8. A recent study found that the one federally authorized cannabis cultivator is producing weed that has so little THC; it's more closely related to hemp. The findings are further proof that federally funded cannabis research is severely lacking. – WEEDMAPS

9. The legalization of recreational cannabis has taken center stage in Israel's elections. Medical cannabis has been legal in Israel for 20 years now, but in the run-up to the nation's upcoming elections, politicians are using full legalization as a campaigning tool. – THE INDEPENDENT

10. The National Institute on Drug Abuse is looking to hire someone to roll joints for research purposes. The agency issued a letter saying they will accept applications for facilities that can “manufacture standardized marijuana cigarettes" and "analyze [the] strength and stability of them at various intervals." – MARIJUANA MOMENT

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Tessa Love is a Berlin-based freelance writer hailing from California's weed country. In addition to writing and curating Inside Cannabis, Tessa has written about cannabis, culture, and tech for the BBC, The Outline, Racked, Slate, The Establishment and more. Find her on twitter at @tessamlove.

Editing team: Kim Lyons (Pittsburgh-based journalist and managing editor at Inside); Susmita Baral (senior editor at Inside, who runs the biggest mac and cheese account on Instagram); and David Stegon (senior editor at Inside, whose reporting experience includes cryptocurrency and technology).

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