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Inside Cannabis (Sep 12th, 2019)

1. President Trump’s e-cigarette ban has the cannabis vaping sector worried about a broader crackdown. The ban on flavored e-cigarettes Trump announced Wednesday technically does not affect the cannabis industry, because marijuana is already federally illegal. But top industry trade groups certainly see the potential for this to have a negative impact on any future discussion of federal legalization, and the National Cannabis Industry Association urged THC vape cartridge producers to immediately halt the addition of the widely blamed (though not proven to be toxic) vitamin E acetate. That substance is a possible culprit in the mystery lung illness that has killed six people and sickened 450 more nationwide. — MJ BIZ DAILY

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2. Weedmaps has committed to a timeline to stop posting illegal ads. The ‘Yelp for pot’ online platform Weedmaps has been notorious for listing thousands of illegal dispensaries across California, and its August announcement that it would stop listing lawbreakers drew some skepticism on whether it would follow through. But the company announced Wednesday that it would require legal license numbers in ads “by the end of the year.” That’s not soon enough for industry groups who think Weedmaps has purposely flouted the law for years; they argue Weedmaps should be fined $30,000 a day for illegal listings, with the fines levied retroactively. — POLITICO

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3. Throwback Thursday: David Bowie’s 4/20 Marijuana Court Date

Plenty of pop stars got arrested for pot back in the 1970s, but only one got his charges dropped on the magical marijuana date of 4/20. That would be David Bowie, arrested in Rochester, New York, in March 1976 while touring to promote the album Station to Station. The Rochester Democrat & Chronicle’s reprint of all their Bowie arrest articles notes that among those arrested with Bowie was a “James J. Osterberg, 28 of Ypsilanti, Mich.” — whom you might know better as Iggy Pop.

Bowie’s dapper mugshot for “fifth-degree criminal possession of marijuana” is seen below. He paid bail and pled not guilty four days later. His preliminary hearing was on April 20, 1976, that date we now consider the marijuana holiday 4/20. He was not present in court that day, but his attorney got all the charges cleared. Perhaps not coincidentally, Bowie would never perform in Rochester again. 

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4. Forbes analyzed the finances of the world’s "only pot billionaire." Forbes Russia lists Boris Jordan as a billionaire (and yes, the site is in Cyrillic). Boris Jordan is the chairman of Curaleaf, a dispensary chain and vape product company valued at nearly $3 billion. Curaleaf was one of the companies suffering a scandal this summer when the FDA sent it a warning letter for “unsubstantiated” CBD claims, but Jordan’s involvement in other private equity firms has kept him in billionaire territory. — FORBES

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5. Aurora Cannabis has reported good quarterly earnings, but its stock still nosedived. A Wednesday earnings call showed Canadian giant Aurora Cannabis pulled in $99 million in revenue (US $75 million), one of the largest totals ever for a cannabis company. But that wasn’t enough to make the company profitable, as investors had expected, and the stock fell nearly 10 percent in after hours trading Wednesday. — MARKETWATCH

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6. A string of robberies has been reported at Los Angeles dispensaries. L.A. police report 77 property crimes and 50 violent crimes at dispensaries across the city, though that total includes both legal and illegal dispensaries. — LA WEEKLY 

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8. The Massachusetts mayor accused of taking dispensary bribes refuses to step down. Despite his city council voting 8-1 for him to step down, Fall River, Mayor Jasiel Correia refuses to leave office after being arrested for allegedly taking $600,000 in bribes to approve dispensary licenses. — ASSOCIATED PRESS 

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9. Illinois has named vendors to provide ‘pot safety’ training. State officials authorized 26 businesses to provide health and safety training, such as checking IDs or identifying impaired individuals, for the upcoming recreational marijuana era. — NBC CHICAGO

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10. A Berkeley lawmaker bought cannabis with cryptocurrency at a press event. In the first known incident of elected officials purchasing marijuana with cryptocurrency, a Berkeley city councilperson bought a CBD pet tincture with a currency called stablecoin in an attempt to promote blockchain transactions. — MARIJUANA MOMENT 

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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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