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Inside Cannabis (Aug 13th, 2019)

1. Three years ago, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) announced it would accept applications from additional manufacturers to produce research-grade cannabis, but the agency still hasn’t approved a single application. There’s only one federally authorized source of cannabis for research — located at the University of Mississippi — and the quality of cannabis the facility produces has been criticized for lacking the chemical diversity and potency of products available on the commercial market, making it not useful for research. More than two dozen research institutions have submitted applications to become federal cannabis manufacturers since the DEA opened the applicant pool. – MARIJUANA MOMENT

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2. Mexican lawmakers this week are beginning a series of roundtable discussions to hammer out details on legalizing recreational cannabis nationwide. The discussions follow two Supreme Court decisions that ruled the prohibition of cannabis for recreational purposes is unconstitutional and aids in the deadly War on Drugs, which has plagued the nation for decades. Over the next few weeks, the Senate will hear testimony from citizens and lay the groundwork for federal regulation. – CANNABIS WIRE

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3. With legal hemp laws making their way across the U.S., lawmakers are dropping prosecutions for small-scale cannabis-related crimes until labs are able to differentiate between hemp and cannabis. Florida's Eighth Circuit State Attorney has ordered prosecutors to drop pending cannabis cases and is instructing local law enforcement agencies to cease the practice of using odor to determine if a person is carrying cannabis during a routine traffic stop. At the same time, the District Attorney for two counties in Georgia is postponing misdemeanor cannabis cases until the state's crime lab is equipped for testing the difference between hemp and cannabis. – THE GAINESVILLE SUN

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4. Sen. Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York) is urging federal financial regulators to issue updated guidance to ensure that hemp businesses have access to banking services. While hemp was federally legalized under the 2018 Farm Bill, companies that manufacture and sell hemp are still being denied credit lines and bank accounts due to ongoing uncertainty within the financial sector about the legality of serving businesses connected to cannabis. Schumer sent a letter to heads of the Federal Reserve, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency stating that if they don't clarify their regulations, hemp businesses "will continue being tightly bound, prevented from growing and creating the good-paying jobs they’d otherwise be able to." – MARIJUANA MOMENT

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5. Colorado's cannabis industry hit another monthly sales record. Colorado dispensaries pulled in over $152 million in June. That's up over $9 million from the previous monthly record set in May, and nearly $10 million more than the record set just before that in March. Recreational sales accounted for around $122.4 million of June's take. – WESTWORD

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6. Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker has approved legislation to make the state’s medical cannabis program permanent. The legislation expands the list of qualifying conditions for medical cannabis access and gives nurse practitioners and physician’s assistants the ability to certify prospective patients for the program, as opposed to only doctors. Pritzker signed another bill Monday that allows school nurses or administrators to give cannabis products to students who are registered medical patients and lets students medicate under the supervision of those officials. – CHICAGO SUN-TIMES

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7. American farmers suffering under the weight of the U.S.-China trade war are turning to hemp to mitigate losses. The trade dispute saw China cut its purchase of American agriculture imports by more than half in 2018, and purchases have continued to drop in 2019. In response, many farmers are trying their hand at growing the newly legalized hemp, though it's a risky move. – BLOOMBERG

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8. Though Philadelphia decriminalized cannabis possession in 2014, racial bias still persists in cannabis enforcement, data suggets. Philadelphia police officers wrote nearly 12,000 citations for possession and public smoking of cannabis between 2014 and 2018. But 25 percent of these citations were issued in one West Philadelphia district known to be home to the city's communities of color. – BILLY PENN

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9. People who take prescription opioids for severe pain are more likely to have increased anxiety and depression if they also use cannabis, according to a recent study. The study also found a higher rate of tobacco, alcohol, cocaine and sedative use among those who added the cannabis, compared with those who used opioids alone. It also showed no increased pain reduction by combining cannabis and opioids. – SCIENCE DAILY

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10. A New Mexico state senator estimates taxpayers are spending at least $4 million a year to keep people incarcerated when the offenses involve cannabis. After spending years attempting to figure out how many New Mexicans are incarcerated for cannabis offenses, Sen. Jacob Candelaria finally received data that shows that 108 inmates in the state have at least one cannabis-related offense. Candelaria hopes that legislation to legalize recreational cannabis will lead to their expungement. – KOB 4

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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.

Editor: Bobby Cherry (senior editor at Inside, who’s always on social media).

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