Inside Cannabis - October 9th, 2019

Inside Cannabis (Oct 9th, 2019)

23rd Vape Death / First East Coast Crop / Kushy Punch Fights Scandal

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1. A 17-year-old Bronx boy is the 23rd vaping lung illness death, and the U.S. Army is now treating two soldiers for the illness. The youngest victim of the ongoing vaping lung disease died Friday. As with most of the fatalities, authorities did not distinguish whether the victim had used THC or nicotine vaping products. Two active-duty soldiers are also being treated for the vape illness, but the Army did not provide any further details. The crisis is not affecting THC vape sales significantly, as analytics firm LeafLink reports that vape products have only lost about two percent of market share during the six weeks since the first death was reported. — NEW YORK TIMES

2. Legal manufacturer Kushy Punch hits back against reports it was distributing underground, illegal vape cartridges and edibles. In the wake of Leafly’s bombshell report that legal California brand Kushy Punch was raided by state authorities for operating an illegal black market warehouse, the company claims it was just about to destroy the contraband. Company attorney Eric Shevin said in an email to MJ Biz Daily that the offending cartridges “were located in a single box labeled for destruction following their discovery.” This excuse stretches the imagination, as the state says it confiscated 7,200 illegal vape cartridges and $21 million overall in illegal product. — MJ BIZ DAILY

3. A leading senator has called for more extensive federal regulation of CBD products. The non-psychoactive compound CBD has no federal guidelines, and states’ policies differ wildly and even allow for completely unregulated gas station CBD. Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) urged the FDA to adopt consistent, national regulations and sent the agency a letter to that effect. Five other Democratic senators have signed on to Blumenthal’s letter. — MARIJUANA MOMENT

4. The east coast of the U.S. is harvesting its first-ever legal outdoor cannabis crop. There had been indoor grow facilities in legal states along the east coast, but Maryland has about 12 legal outdoor cultivators currently harvesting their first yield. Massachusetts has also approved outdoor growers, but none of the four licensed companies there has started operations. Outdoor growers on the east coast are not expected to be a significant trend, though, as weather conditions are less ideal than in states like California and Oregon. — BALTIMORE SUN

5. New Mexico has ordered warning labels to be placed on all vape products. Several states have banned vape products outright in the midst of the lung illness crisis, but the New Mexico Department of Health will instead add warning labels to vape cartridge packaging. The advisory will read, “WARNING: Vaping cannabis-derived products containing THC has been associated with cases of severe lung injury, leading to difficulty breathing, hospitalization and even death.” — DURANGO HERALD

6. Oklahoma has passed the 200,000 medical marijuana patient mark. The Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority says that in its first year of operation, it has approved about 3,500 patients’ cards per week. Patients in Oklahoma need a letter from their doctor, and are required to pay $100 to get the card. — KFOR

7. Analytics firm New Frontier Data has acquired Colorado’s Zefyr for a reported $10 million. Zefyr describes itself as a “data discovery and profiling platform,” but its real value to Washington, D.C.-based New Frontier is that it provides a foothold in a major legal market. The transaction is a combination of cash and stock. — MJ BIZ DAILY

8. The ACLU has filed a lawsuit so Pennsylvania probationers can have medical marijuana. More than 60 patients with medical conditions in Lebanon County, Pennsylvania are denied medical marijuana rights because of their past convictions, and three of them are plaintiffs in this ACLU suit. The plaintiffs claim this violates the 2016 state’s medical marijuana law, and are asking for a temporary halt on their ability to get medical marijuana recommendations. — ASSOCIATED PRESS

9. Fresno County thieves have been mistaking hemp for marijuana and stealing it. The hemp plant looks exactly like marijuana, though it does not get you high, and Fresno police say thieves have stolen hemp thinking it was pot on three occasions in the last two weeks. Farmers are now posting signs that say “Industrial hemp - NOT marijuana - NO THC.”FRESNO BUSINESS JOURNAL 

10. MedMen thinks it’s great that ‘South Park’ is parodying the company because it makes them ‘the most culturally relevant cannabis brand’. Forbes asked MedMen CEO Adam Bierman about the ongoing “South Park” Tegridy Farms gag, and he said he was “humbled by South Park’s parody." He may also consider it a welcome relief from ongoing bad financial news and racism scandals. — FORBES 

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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