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Inside Cannabis (Oct 2nd, 2019)

1. Three more people have died from the vaping lung illness, bringing the nationwide total to 17. Officials in New Jersey and Virginia announced deaths on Tuesday, while the Alabama Department of Public Health confirmed another death early Wednesday morning. None of these three cases have been tied to either cannabis or nicotine vaping. (Though the Centers for Disease Control said last week that 77 percent of victims nationwide had vaped THC.) New Jersey confirmed that no cases in that state - 14 people have reported getting sick, along with the recent decent - have been associated with products bought at legal dispensaries. The outbreak has led to various vape bans, with Michigan’s taking effect today, though a USA Today poll says that nearly 60 percent of Americans feel that vape bans will simply drive people to black market products. — CNN

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2. A top lawmaker in Mexico has proposed a marijuana legalization bill with government-run dispensaries. Mexican officials are scrambling for a recreational cannabis legalization plan after an April Supreme Court ruling mandated such laws be written and on the books by the end of October. To meet that obligation, lower house majority leader Mario Delgado proposed a consensus bill that would require growers to get a permit, and leave all sales to a government-run organization called Cannsalud. Citizens could grow six of their own plants under the bill. Delgado’s Morena party controls both houses of Mexican congress, though President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has not commented on the bill. — YAHOO FINANCE

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3. Cannabis arrests continue to rise across the U.S., despite increased legalization. An American was arrested for a cannabis charge every 48 seconds in 2018, according to data released Tuesday by the FBI's Uniform Crime Report. In raw numbers, 663,367 people were arrested in the U.S. on cannabis charges, roughly 4,000 more than in 2017, and nearly 10,000 more than in 2016. Even though legalization is sweeping the country, more people were arrested last year for cannabis than for aggravated assault, arson, burglary, or fraud. — FORBES  

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4. The first cannabis cafe in the U.S. opened Tuesday in California, and the reviews are coming in. Long lines greeted the opening of West Hollywood’s Lowell Cafe, the first cannabis consumption lounge in America that also serves food. ABC 7 was impressed with the with the dedicated cannabis server “akin to a sommelier” to help with marijuana recommendations. The Hollywood Review noted the effectiveness of the $200,000 ventilation system and “natural aromatherapy oil” scent of the place, but seemed disappointed in the basic, comfort food menu. Forbes called it “a dream come true,” though also pointed out that “guests who don’t finish their cannabis are not permitted to take it home.” Lowell Cafe is the first of eight licensed cannabis cafes scheduled to open in West Hollywood. — CBS NEWS 

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5. The big Canadian cannabis stocks are all down the same time an analyst report says none of them will be profitable soon. MKM Partners analyst Bill Kirk was something of a one-man wrecking ball toward Canadian marijuana stocks, saying none would be profitable until mid-2020 at the earliest. The “big five” of Aurora, Canopy, Cronos, Hexo, and Tilray were all down three to five percent on his bearish prediction. Motley Fool was particularly dire toward Aurora Cannabis, predicting the once-$10 stock could dip below $3 per share. — MARKETWATCH

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6. Nevada has named a new regulatory "pot czar" after the last one left in scandal. There’s a new sheriff in charge of Nevada’s $640 million cannabis industry, as Gov. Steve Sisolak named Tyler Klimas as the new executive director of the state’s Cannabis Compliance Board. Former director Jorge Pupa is still on administrative leave over allegations of kickbacks. — MJ BIZ DAILY 

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7. Marijuana added more than $8 billion to Canada’s gross domestic product in the first ten months of legalization. Canada's national statistical agency Stats Canada gave an overall GDP update Tuesday, but deep in its weeds is news that the cannabis industry generated $8.25 billion overall from last October to this past July. They also estimate the black market has fallen by 21 percent. — BNN BLOOMBERG 

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8. Pennsylvania’s attorney general has come out in favor of legalization as the state mulls a recreational cannabis bill. Gov. Tom Wolf announced support for recreational use last week, and Democratic attorney general Josh Shapiro has followed suit. On the heels of that news, state Rep. David Delloso introduced an adult-use bill wherein the state’s Liquor Control Board would operate dispensaries. — ASSOCIATED PRESS 

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9. A poll has found that 63 percent of Californians want more dispensaries. A UC Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies poll finds that support for legal marijuana has actually grown since the Golden State adopted recreational marijuana in 2016. Though many California cities have outlawed dispensaries, solid majorities in many municipalities say they’d like to see more shops. — LA TIMES  

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10. The Netherlands upcoming marijuana sales will require pot to be sold in “unattractive" packaging. The Netherlands is home to notorious Amsterdam cafes, which have technically never been legal. When legal Dutch cannabis arrives next year, labeling can only use the Helvetica font in black ink, must contain health warnings, and cannot change for a four-year period. — NL TIMES 

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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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