Inside Cannabis - September 11th, 2019

Inside Cannabis (Sep 11th, 2019)

Sixth Vape Death / Another CannTrust Scandal / Germany Imports

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1. A sixth person has died from the mysterious vaping illness, though it is unclear if they were vaping cannabis. The Kansas Department of Health said in a statement only that the victim was over the age of 50, and already had a history of health issues. Kansas is not a legal state on any level, so if it were THC, it would have been obtained  from the black market. The department noted that some of the six victims nationwide did vape THC, though said that it “does not have detailed information on what types of products were used by the deceased” in this case. The Centers for Disease Control estimates that more 450 people in 33 states have contracted the illness, and that some used nicotine vapes, others used THC vapes, and some had used both. While investigators suspect the culprit may be a vitamin E-based oil thickening agent, Buzzfeed spoke to several doctors who wonder if different illicit, “homebrew” vape oil ingredients could be to blame. — USA TODAY

2. Scandal-plagued Canadian mega-grower CannTrust has reportedly been caught using black market seeds. A former darling among cannabis investors, CannTrust was rocked by a July scandal that revealed it was using illegal, unlicensed grow operations. Now Bloomberg has obtained documents showing that senior staff had knowingly introduced black market seeds into its operations, producing “more than one thousand” illegal plants whose pot may have been packaged and sold publicly. CannTrust stock, which peaked at $11.97 (USD) earlier this year, is now trading at $1.65, and word among analysts is the stock could be dropped from the Canadian Stock Exchange as early as this month. — BLOOMBERG  

3. A Vice investigation has found that people buying one-way airline tickets from Florida to California are being arrested on cannabis charges. There have been 16 people arrested in Broward County for “smelling like cannabis” shortly before getting on one-way flights to California, but only three actually possessed cannabis at the time. Still, all 16 had their cash and property seized in civil asset forfeiture on suspicion of trafficking drugs. — VICE

4. Germany is now importing medical cannabis from Australia and Portugal. The country has legalized medical marijuana but only started issuing grow licenses in May. So they’re turning to imports from other legal nations, and Frankfurt-based Cansativa just imported oil from Australia, while Cologne’s Cannamedical Pharma has received its first shipment of flower from an unidentified Portuguese company believed to be Tilray Portugal. — MJ BIZ DAILY  

5. California’s marijuana banking bill has died in legislative committee. State senator Bob Hertzberg’s bill to provide safe banking in the nation’s largest legal market did not even get a vote on the senate floor, but he vows to revive it next year. — ASSOCIATED PRESS 

6. One cannabis company is dominating nearly half of Florida’s medical marijuana sales. Grower, oil processor, and dispensary chain Trulieve has captured nearly half of all flower and oil sales in the Sunshine State and is tied with Surterra for the most dispensaries at 31. — MJ BIZ DAILY 

7. Monterey wants to use marijuana revenue to help fund the 2020 Census. The Monterey City Council is considering a measure to divert $300,000 in cannabis tax revenue to the county’s Census effort, feeling they’re traditionally undercounted and that changes to next year’s Census have the potential to undercount them even more drastically. — MONTEREY HERALD 

8. A Michigan dispensary is letting customers trade nicotine vape pens for free cannabis vape pens. The Wolverine State is the first in the nation to ban flavored e-cigarettes, so Walled Lake dispensary Greenhouse has a clever gimmick where they’re letting customers trade in their nicotine pens and cartridges for a free cannabis equivalent. — HOMETOWN LIFE 

9. Santa Barbara school officials are in hot water after posing for a promotional picture at a marijuana grow. The supposedly incriminating photo was merely for a local news story after the grow donated $189,000 to the district, but furious locals let the school board have it for sending kids “a really bad message.” — KEYT 

10. An English man was busted for growing 700 plants in a single shed. The man claimed he was growing that much pot for personal use to treat chronic pain, but got “carried away.” The skeptical judge gave him a suspended two-year jail sentence. — NEWSWEEK

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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