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Inside Cannabis (Sep 27th, 2019)

1. A 13th person has died from the vaping lung illness, and more cities and states are enacting vape bans. Updated numbers from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) today estimate that more than 800 people are now sick from the mystery lung illness affecting vape users, and a 13th death has been confirmed in North Carolina. The CDC also adds that 77 percent of the victims had used THC vape products. Now a slew of complete vaping bans are being enacted, as Washington Governor Jay Inslee will announce a ban on all vape products today. The Los Angeles City Council is considering a one-year ban on cannabis vaping sales,  while Long Beach City Council will also vote on a vaping ban that would not extend to cannabis vaping.  — FORBES 

2. The SAFE Banking Act has arrived in the Senate after passing the House of Representatives. Early Friday morning, the bill to legalize banking for the cannabis industry was received by the Senate, read twice, and referred to the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. That Senate version already has 33 cosponsors, many of whom feel they can sway majority leader Mitch McConnell with hemp provisions that would benefit his state of Kentucky. Meanwhile in the House, Democratic leaders want to follow up on their banking win with decriminalization and de-scheduling measures, though not full legalization. — POLITICO 

3. Follow Friday — South Park’s @tegridyfarms

Since @TegridyFarms is a South Park joke, there is of course rampant profanity in its tweets and videos. The running gag of Tegridy Farms was introduced in a South Park episode from last October, featuring an elaborate scheme wherein Stan’s dad starts a marijuana farm with the assistance of anthropomorphic towel Towellie. Tegridy Farms was widely seen as a parody of dispensary chain MedMen, and Marijuna Moment reports that a new South Park episode revives the gag and calls out MedMen by name.   

Tegridy Farms has both a website and a Twitter account, and it’s 2018 tweets rather presciently predicted the current vaping crisis. The tweets show other South Park episodes where the Tegridy Farms gag made a cameo, quality animated GIFs, and great fake polls. There’s also a fabulous tweet illustrating how you can make a Towellie costume for Halloween.

4. Cresco Labs has sold off $43 million in real estate, just to lease it all back. Bracing for a “significant increase in demand” once Illinois legalizes recreational marijuana next year, multi-state operator Cresco Labs sold properties in Joliet and Kankakee, with intent to lease the very same properties going forward. The burst of cash is intended for the expansion of retail shops and cultivation facilities. — MJ BIZ DAILY 

5. Sen. Mitch McConnell has demanded the DEA find ways to distinguish hemp from cannabis. The Senate majority leader added language to an unrelated bill instructing the DEA to “develop on-the-spot field testing technologies” so police can tell hemp from the similar-looking cannabis. — MARIJUANA MOMENT  

6. A judge has barred Maryland from issuing any more cultivation licenses. The state’s Legislative Black Caucus argues that not enough minority applicants were being considered, and the approval process is on hold until that’s addressed. Some 200 applications were submitted for just 14 available licenses.— BALTIMORE SUN 

7. The California Water Board sent warnings to farmers that they lack proper permits. The 270 warning letters were to legal operators. Those farmers also need to have a State Water Board Cannabis Cultivation Program enrollment in addition to their license to grow. — CA WATER BOARDS 

8. CannTrust is on the verge of becoming the first cannabis stock to be delisted. The scandal-plagued Canadian giant, whose CEO was fired after it was revealed he knew about illegal grows is listed on the New York Stock Exchange, but has had trouble staying above the $1 share price minimum for that exchange. — MOTLEY FOOL 

9. Florida’s legalization effort draws criticism for being too corporate. The Florida initiative to legalize recreational marijuana has more than $1 million in donations from MedMen and Surterra. Critics say that’s why the bill won’t allow home cultivation. — MIAMI NEW 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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