Inside Cannabis - September 4th, 2019

Inside Cannabis (Sep 4th, 2019)

Weedmaps Waffles on Promise / Quebec OK’s Homegrown / Union Opposes Cafes

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1. Weedmaps is declining to give specifics on the removal of illegal ads from their site. The ‘Yelp for pot’ platform announced with fanfare in August that it had finally stopped running ads for illicit, black market businesses. But when the Southern California News Group pressed the company for a timeline this week, Weedmaps executives merely said the policy would be implemented “in the near future” and the company would “have more to share in the weeks ahead.” The site continues to promote and profit from illegal ads, having previously ignored regulatory warnings with the "we’re just a platform" excuse, but that seems likely to change. Late last week, news broke that a Weedmaps subsidiary was trying to open a Sacramento cannabis distribution company, which would require regulatory approval and oversight. — ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER

2. A Quebec judge has overturned the province’s ban on home cultivation. As Canada approaches the one-year anniversary of recreational cannabis, individual provinces are still sorting out their own unique rules. A Quebec Superior Court judge tossed out a ban on home cultivation Tuesday, allowing Quebecers to grow as many as four plants. The ruling could be appealed again, and the province is also considering a change to raise the legal consumption age from 18 to 21. — CBC

3. A Spokane city councilperson has been denied bankruptcy protection for owning a marijuana farm. The federal illegality of cannabis prohibits businesses in the sector from receiving bankruptcy protections, and judges nationwide have been increasingly denying bankruptcy filings from anyone with any ties to the industry. Spokane City Councilperson Karen Stratton learned that the hard way, as her bankruptcy case has been denied because she and her husband have a stake in a cannabis farm. The couple claims their debts are unrelated to the farm, but it’s a bad look for someone up for re-election in November. — THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW

4. A powerful labor union is opposing West Hollywood’s new cannabis cafes. There’s currently one cannabis cafe in West Hollywood (and the entire U.S.), but the city is considering as many as 16 more in the months to come. The UFCW Local 770, which represents cannabis industry employees, opposes these operations, as well as state-level legislation that would allow these cafes across California. But the union may be motivated by their affiliation with dispensary chain MedMen, who were denied a West Hollywood permit. — WEHOVILLE 

5. Cannabis may not always be helpful for cancer. Marijuana’s pain relief qualities are widely praised, but recent research shows the drug to be harmful to immunotherapy patients. — LEAFLY

6. Illinois has set strict limits on growers’ electricity and water use. Indoor cannabis cultivation is notoriously wasteful, but Illinois’ upcoming legal growers will be required to reuse their wastewater and employ energy-efficient lighting. — BELLEVILLE NEWS DEMOCRAT

7. Sonoma County sees its largest illegal farm bust ever. A northern California raid netted a record 63,000 plants, the most ever seized in Sonoma, as Gov. Gavin Newsom continues to crack down on the illegal market. — KPIX 

9. Los Angeles has opened the application process for equity applicants. The world’s largest single-city cannabis market will grant 100 ‘equity’ licenses to drug war victims, and 1,600 applicants have already submitted for permits. — MJ BIZ DAILY

10. A New York Times op-ed assails the notion of cannabis banking rights. The Times Opinion page ran an editorial against the popular, bipartisan Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act, a piece authored by the guy whose last article was an attack on 16-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg. He says that marijuana banking rights could create a “Microsoft of Marijuana,” an analogy referring to a period 15 years ago when Microsoft was a dominant company. — NEW YORK TIMES 

Joe Kukura has been the cannabis writer for SF Weekly since 2016, and his work has appeared in Thrillist, the Daily Dot, and NBC Bay Area. You can follow him on Twitter at @ExercisingDrunk.

Edited by: Kim Lyons (Pittsburgh-based journalist and managing editor at Inside).

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