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Inside Cannabis (Sep 26th, 2019)

1. The House of Representatives has passed a historic cannabis banking bill by a landslide margin. The Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act would allow banks and insurance companies to do business with legal state-level marijuana businesses without fear of federal prosecution, and it cruised through the House by a 321-103 vote Wednesday. The bill is the first piece of standalone cannabis legislation ever to pass either house of Congress, and gives the $11 billion cannabis industry hope it can soon shake its cash-only shackles. Ninety-one House Republicans voted for the bill, but it still faces long odds in the Republican-controlled Senate (where majority leader Mitch McConnell refers to cannabis as hemp’s “illicit cousin which I choose not to embrace.”) The big Canadian pot stocks were all up following the news. — THE HILL

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2. Two more people have died, one in Florida and one in Georgia  victims of the still-unexplained vaping lung disease that has sickened more than 500 people nationwide. In a significant revelation, the Georgia victim’s doctors confirmed that person was a heavy nicotine vaper who did not vape THC. But the scare’s biggest shockwaves Wednesday may have come from California, where the state’s Department of Public Health officially urged residents to stop vaping altogether, whether it be cannabis or nicotine. — CNBC

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3. Throwback Thursday: The Simpsons’ Best Marijuana Jokes 

The Simpsons has its staggering 31st season premiere Sunday night, and a longtime writer for the eternally running animated show recently dropped some gossip about a pot joke from the epic 1994 episode Who Shot Mr. Burns? According to the original script, TV reporter Kent Brockman is interviewing Chief Wiggum over the scandalous Mr. Burns shooting. Wiggum’s drug dogs (hounds?) begin barking and howling at Brockman, so he immediately swallows a bag of herb that was hidden in his pocket. 

The gag was cut because there were already way too many gags in the episode.

But so many great Simpsons marijuana jokes did actually air! Who can forget the Homer Gets a Medical Marijuana Card episode from 2002 that featured a musical cameo from Phish? (The episode’s actual name was Weekend at Burnsie’s.) There was also the Canadian Ned Flanders gag from 2005 where a Flanders-like “neighbor-ino to the north” tried push a joint onto Homer, Ned, and Apu. And Homer once got the entire town of Springfield high in 1998’s D'oh-in' in the Wind, in a hilarious trippy segment that presciently predicted the existence of the marijuana-infused beverage industry.

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4. Amid a rash of state-level e-cigarette bans, Massachusetts is the first to outlaw both THC and nicotine vaping products. Gov. Charlie Baker’s ban was declared Tuesday and went into effect immediately, and all dispensaries and smoke shop had to clear their shelves of vaping products at once. The ban is only a temporary four-month moratorium that lasts until Jan. 25, 2020, at which point the state hopes the vaping illness cause is identified. — BOSTON GLOBE

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5. Massachusetts lawmakers have approved home delivery and cannabis cafes. There was some good news for the Massachusetts recreational marijuana market after the state’s vape ban was announced, as the Cannabis Control Commission approved on-site consumption and home delivery that one commissioner said could begin in “a couple of months.” — THE REPUBLICAN 

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6. The capital of Australia has legalized marijuana. Canberra will allow possession of up to 50 grams, and four plants in one’s home. The new laws take effect on January 31, 2020. — THE ABC

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7. Utah dispensaries licenses could cost as much as $69,000 annually. As the Beehive State hashes out its coming medical marijuana laws, its Department of Health considers charging between $50,000 and $69,500 each year for a “cannabis pharmacy” license. — SALT LAKE TRIBUNE 

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8. The New Jersey Cannabis Industry Association has opened a corruption investigation into itself. New Jersey’s state-level chapter of the leading national trade group National Cannabis Industry Association has hired an independent consultant to investigate its own leadership for “insider dealings, inappropriate disclosures and possible sexual indiscretions.”  — THE STAR-LEDGER 

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9. New York and Connecticut governors met to establish their multi-state regional cannabis plan. As both states consider adopting recreational marijuana laws, governors Andrew Cuomo and Ned Lamont met to discuss a uniform, regional approach. Cuomo has expressed a desire to include New Jersey in this regional effort as well. — HARTFORD COURANT

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10. Leafly has published a fascinating investigation into the "journey of a tainted vape cartridge." A lengthy must-read on how illegal vape cartridges are made from cheap hardware in China, ship to underground Los Angeles wholesalers, make their way to regional pen factories and eventually get sold on the black market. — LEAFLY 

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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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