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Inside Cannabis (Oct 1st, 2019)

2. Ontario is reconsidering its government-run cannabis distribution model after an embarrassing $42 million loss. Each Canadian province has its own set of recreational marijuana laws and business models, and in Ontario, the government operates the Ontario Cannabis Store as the only legal online retailer and wholesale distributor. But that organization has lost $42 million in its first fiscal year, and province officials say they’re launching a “consultation process” to explore new models. This comes as Ontario plans to triple its number of dispensaries and legalize edibles, vape products, and tinctures later this year. — GLOBAL NEWS      

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3. Seven more Illinois recreational cultivators have received their permits and have permission to begin growing. Multistate operators Cresco Labs, PharmaCann, and Columbia Care were among the winners when Illinois awarded more cultivation licenses Monday, though smaller in-state grower Ascend Illinois got a permit too. They can begin growing right away as the state prepares for recreational marijuana on January 1, 2020. The state also released its social equity map on Monday, which will determine equity qualifications geographically, based on Census tracts seen as “disproportionately impacted” by past cannabis law enforcement. — CHICAGO TRIBUNE

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4. An Italian celebrity chef has been arrested for drug dealing, though he was researching infused gourmet foods. Carmelo Chiaramonte is a chef at the Katane Palace Hotel and once hosted an Italian TV show called “Immoral Recipes and Aphrodisiac Foods.” But Italian police raided his home and found marijuana-infused wine, olives, coffee and tuna, along with two mature plants. The chef insisted he was researching new flavors, and was released while he awaits trial. Medical marijuana is legal in Italy, though recreational cannabis is not. — BBC

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5. More than two dozen California elected officials and their top aides have jumped into the cannabis industry after leaving office. A Los Angeles Times analysis found that former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, former Republican congressman Dana Rohrabacher, and former state attorney general Bill Lockyer are among those now lobbying on behalf of legal marijuana. The trend reflects a similar national pattern where figures like former House speaker John Boehner and ex-Senate majority leader Tom Daschle are also cashing in on pot lobbying. California has attempted to enact a five-year cooling period for former elected officials lobbying the legislature, but that measure died in committee. — LA TIMES

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6. An Oklahoma credit union has backed off from handling cannabis business’ bank accounts. A handful of small U.S. banks and credit unions will do business with marijuana companies, but there is one fewer, as the Tulsa-based Encentus Federal Credit Union is cutting off the cannabis accounts it handles. Banks that do take cannabis dollars have arduous reporting requirements to the federal Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, and smaller institutions say they have a hard time with all the extra work. — TULSA WORLD 

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7. New Mexico growers are suing the state over a 1,750-plant limit. Three medical marijuana cultivation companies sued New Mexico last week, saying the 1,750-plant limit violates previous court orders to ensure the state has enough supply. New Mexico has 34 licensed growers, and 77,000 licensed patients. — SANTA FE NEW MEXICAN 

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8. A new poll has found that 61 percent of Virginia residents support recreational marijuana. The University of Mary Washington poll found 61 percent support and only 34 percent opposition to legal adult use, a significant shift from a 2017 poll that showed only 39 percent support for recreational weed. Lawmakers see some urgency for a policy change, as the state’s possession arrests are increasing sharply. — NBC 12

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9. Mike Tyson has announced plans for cannabis farms and resorts in the Caribbean. The former heavyweight champ is targeting Antigua and Barbuda, both popular spots with British tourists, to build cannabis farms with built-in leisure attractions. Antigua officials say the resort would also host a “Davos of cannabis”-style conference, but Tyson’s cannabis events have been something of a mixed bag. — THE SUN

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10. 'Saturday Night Live' has roasted Sen. Kamala Harris over her past cannabis stances. Larry David’s Bernie Sanders impersonation got big laughs, but Maya Rudolph's turn as Kamala Harris was also sterling in this weekend’s “Saturday Night Live” DNC town hall sketch. “I’m also America’s cool aunt. A fun aunt,” Rudolph says, in character as Sen. Harris. “I call that a ‘funt’—the kind of funt that will give you weed but then arrest you for having weed.” For her part, Harris took the joke well and retweeted a GIF of the clip. — 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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