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Inside Cannabis

Inside Cannabis (Sep 13th, 2019)

1. The CDC lowers the number of mystery lung illness cases, but vape sales are taking a hit. A Thursday night press release from the Centers for Disease Control revised the number of vape-related lung disease cases down to 380 nationwide, a much lower total than the 450 they’d been reporting earlier in the week. The agency says its now counting only cases that can be proven to be connected with vaping or e-cigarettes, and it is still unknown how many cases involve cannabis vaping as opposed to just nicotine vaping. But an analysis of vape sales figures show the health scare is taking a toll on the marijuana vaping sector, with product sales down 5 percent or more in California, Colorado, Nevada, and Washington since the day the first of six deaths were reported. — CBS NEWS

2. Marijuana was mentioned during Thursday’s Democratic Debate, with frontrunner Joe Biden still opposing full legalization. Cannabis came up at the debate when Sen. Kamala Harris was asked about her previous opposition to legalization. “There have been many distortions of my record,” she replied, sort of sidestepping the marijuana issue, but claiming that she’s fought to overhaul a justice system that “has been informed by racial bias.” Current frontrunner Joe Biden reminded viewers that he’s called for decriminalization, though not full legalization, saying, “Nobody who got in prison for marijuana… they shouldn’t be in there.” Former HUD secretary Julián Castro did not mention cannabis on stage, but did call for legalization in a tweet last night. — MARIJUANA MOMENT

3. Follow Friday: MarketWatch cannabis reporter Max Cherney

With the Twitter handle @chernandburn, Max Cherney makes sense of the massively confusing multinational marijuana market for those of us who do not have a strong grasp of finance. Cherney has the distinction of scoring a jailhouse interview with famed San Francisco gangster Raymond “Shrimp Boy” Chow, he extensively covered white-collar cannabis crime for Vice, and now uncovers and unpacks the latest marijuana financial news for MarketWatch.

Cherney’s latest is a fascinating look at pot companies’ secret formulas for determining which states will legalize next. His tweets also expose the baloney of top industry executives’ financial claims, hold scandal-plagued companies’ feet to the fire, and provide juicy, long threads that explain the details of how cannabis is evolving into a multibillion-dollar global industry.    

4. Amazon has quietly pulled vape cartridge products from its website. After a Minnesota victim died from an underground, illicit vape cartridge, Minnesota Public Radio found that Amazon was selling fake packaging and fake “California compliant” labels used to make the black market products. When the station reached out for comment, Amazon pulled the products off the site but did not respond with any statement. — MINNESOTA PUBLIC RADIO 

5. The Republican Senate Banking committee chair says there will be a vote for cannabis bank accounts. Idaho senator Mike Crapo insists the senate will vote on allowing marijuna companies to get bank accounts, but stopped short of supporting the two bills currently in committee. — POLITICO 

6. MedMen and Sutrerra have kicked down $1 million toward Florida legalization. The two dispensary chains both donated $545,000 apiece to the 2020 recreational-use measure that is still collecting signatures. — MJ BIZ DAILY

7. Black market Wisconsin vape cartridges found to have 200 times more THC than labeled. An underground operation was labeling cartridges as having 5 mg of THC oil when they actually had 1,000 mg each. — LEAFLY 

8. Ohio has rejected autism and anxiety as conditions that qualify for medical marijuana. The state’s medical board felt that cannabis could make those two conditions worse, by causing panic attacks or hurting brain development. — ASSOCIATED PRESS 

9. Maryland’s Medical Cannabis Commission director is stepping down. There does not appear to be any scandal behind the just-announced resignation of Joy Strand, who will leave a legacy of promoting diversity in the state’s market. — BALTIMORE SUN 

10. A former congressman’s building has been raided as an illegal pot grow. One-time Repulican representative Jeff Denham is part-owner of a Turlock, CA building where a Wednesday raid turned up cocaine, guns, and 4,000 marijuana plants. — CBS 13 Sacramento 

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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