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Inside Cannabis (Aug 19th, 2019)

1. The influential conservative nonprofit American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is floating two cannabis-related resolutions that could be used as models for future state legislation. ALEC brings together conservative lawmakers and private sector stakeholders to draft and distribute model policies, and they've set their sights on cannabis banking and CBD legalization. The draft resolution urges Congress to “enact common-sense federal laws that respect state law and promote public safety without compromising federal enforcement of anti-money laundering laws against criminal enterprises.” The policy targets a limited number of states that still have hemp prohibition on the books. – MARIJUANA MOMENT

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2. The FBI is looking into potential corruption in the cannabis industry, particularly in Western markets, and is seeking tips to investigate. “As an increasing number of states change their marijuana legislation, the FBI is seeing a public corruption threat emerge in the expanding cannabis industry,” said FBI spokeswoman Mollie Halpern. According to Halpern, public officials are opening themselves to bribes in exchange for state licenses, which are pricey and difficult to obtain. This has already been a major problem in California. The FBI is asking citizens to report any dispensary that could be operating illegally or any possible public corruption in the industry. – MJ BIZ DAILY

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3. Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people accused of cannabis possession across the country have seen their cases dismissed or put on hold thanks to new hemp laws. With the passage of new hemp-legalization laws over the past eight months, crime labs across the country have found themselves unable to prove that a leafy green plant taken from someone’s car is cannabis instead of hemp. That means labs can’t provide scientific evidence for use in court, which has caused many prosecutors in Texas, Florida, Ohio and more to halt cannabis-related cases, or even permanently throw them out. “I feel lucky, for real,” said one man whose arrest was tossed out. – NBC NEWS

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4. Though states are pulling in millions in tax revenue from the legal cannabis industry, the growth across the nation has fluctuated wildly, according to report. Supports of legal cannabis often cite tax revenue as a top reason to introduce markets, saying the cash can be used to plug budget gaps, fund schools and health care, or even fight the opioid crisis. But sin taxes are volatile revenue streams, and revenue on a new product like cannabis is difficult to predict. "The market is new, and there is little data that forecasters can rely on," said Alexandra Zhang, a co-author of the Pew Charitable Trusts report on cannabis tax revenues. In Nevada, for example, tax revenue came in 40 percent over expectations. in the first six months. In California's first six months, tax revenues were 45 percent below projections. – THE HILL

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5. Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang has promised a "mass pardon" to those imprisoned for nonviolent cannabis convictions. “Americans now recognize just how broken our mass incarceration system is and how much progress we need to make," Yang said. The candidate has voiced his support for federal legalization in the past and joins a number of other 2020 hopefuls in expressing his support for undoing the damage of the War on Drugs. – THE HILL

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6. While Big Weed companies are struggling to reach profitability, smaller players are seeing success in the legal cannabis industry. Canopy Growth Corp. and Tilray Inc. both reported disappointing results last week, sending their stocks to double-digit declines. Meanwhile, less-familiar companies such as Supreme Cannabis Co., MediPharm Labs Corp., and Pure Sunfarms Corp. are surprising investors and defying expectation with positive earnings. – BLOOMBERG

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7. The CEO of Acreage Holdings is predicting that Congress will soon give legal cannabis companies access to banking services. The House and Senate have conducted hearings this year on the Safe Banking Act, which would let companies deposit their cash and take out loans, leading Kevin Murphy to say he thinks it's just a matter of time. “Safe banking is what we believe to be the first bill that will be passed,” he said on the company’s earnings call. – BARRONS
 

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8. Nearly half of Canadian cannabis consumers still purchase their cannabis from the black market, according to a new survey. Ten months after the country legalized recreational cannabis nationwide, Statistics Canada found that 42 percent of those who partake admitted to buying at least some of their pot from an illegal source. However, it is an improvement. In the last quarter of 2018, 79 percent of transactions were done on the black market. – QUARTZ

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9. Barbados has introduced legislation to legalize medical cannabis, making it the latest Caribbean country to consider cannabis reform. The proposed bill calls for the creation of the Medicinal Cannabis Licensing Authority and Medicinal Cannabis Licensing Board, which would be responsible for developing guidelines to establish the industry. If the law is adopted, Barbados will join other Caribbean countries Jamaica, St. Vincent and the Grenadines as well as Antigua and Barbuda in approving cannabis cultivation. – MJ BIZ DAILY

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10. The Canadian government is scrambling to respond to a glut of license applications for cannabis research. The list of applicants was 251 long as of late July, leaving scientists frustrated that they are unable to research the basic biology and therapeutic possibilities of cannabis. “Everybody is growing, consuming, and buying it, but the labs are still: ‘How do we get these projects going?’” said one scientist. – SCIENCE

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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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