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Inside Cannabis

Inside Cannabis (Oct 11th, 2019)

1. Two key figures in the ongoing Ukraine scandal have marijuana dispensary bribe charges in their indictments. In a televised press conference on the arrest of two Rudy Guiliani associates on campaign finance violations, U.S. attorney Geoffrey Berman announced the two fellows were also being indicted for attempts to bribe elected officials in Nevada for a cannabis dispensary license. The two made $10,000 payments to the campaigns of Nevada candidates Adam Paul Laxalt and Wesley Karl Duncan in November 2018, hoping to grease the skids for a dispensary permit. Hilariously, though, the bribers had already missed the application deadline by two months. In response, Nevada governor Steve Sisolak put out a statement that he was “outraged at yesterday’s news” and was forming a special task force to root out cannabis corruption. — TALKING POINTS MEMO

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2. Cannabis news and reviews website Leafly has suffered a data breach. The popular website is in the process of sending emails to its registered users acknowledging that “a set of Leafly user records” containing emails, usernames, and passwords had been breached. The company added that it “does not collect credit card information or national identification numbers,” but did not say how many customers had been affected. Leafly averages 15 million unique visitors and 40 million page views monthly. — MOBILE SYRUP

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3.  Follow Friday: @oaksterdam

Oaksterdam University, whose name is a portmanteau of “Oakland” and “Amsterdam,” was America’s first cannabis university, and is still going strong 12 years after its founding. Though it was famously raided by the feds and shut down in 2012, it beat the charges and continues to deliver its curriculum of cannabis horticulture, legal issues, politics, economics, and extraction science.

While @Oaksterdam’s announcements on courses and seminars would mostly only benefit people near Oakland or California’s Bay Area, its Twitter feed is also a great source of national and international news. Oaksterdam also keeps tabs on pot cultural developments, the best sources for advice, and health matters.

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4. Details have emerged from Sen. Mitch McConnell’s private meetings with California cannabis executives. The industry was surprised at yesterday’s news that the Republican Senate majority leader was secretly meeting with marijuana industry business leaders, and Marijuana Moment got a comment from one attendee who declined to be identified. The 90-minute meeting was apparently at the Newport Beach Country Club in southern California, and McConnell reportedly “mostly listened as others spoke” on the topic of cannabis banking. — MARIJUANA MOMENT 

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5. California has approved allowing medicinal cannabis products for sick children at public schools. Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill Thursday allowing parents to administer medical cannabis products to children with qualifying conditions onsite at K-12 schools, but smoking and vaping products are specifically banned. Then-governor Jerry Brown vetoed the exact same legislation last year. — KTLA

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6. Another anti-marijuana Republican legislator has joined the cannabis industry. Former Rep. Steve Buyer (R-IN) voted against cannabis eight times while in Congress, but just joined the board of directors for Canadian cannabinoid treatment firm FSD Pharma. When reached for comment on the hire, FSD Pharma bizarrely replied, “3M options as all other Directors and $40k cash comp.” — PROACTIVE INVESTORS 

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7. Canadian cannabis stocks across the board fell as Hexo backed off its prior financial projections. The manufacturer and distributor signaled certain bad news Thursday with their annoucement that it was “withdrawing its previously issued financial outlook.” Their stock fell a whopping 24 percent immediately afterward, and the Canadian “Big Four” stocks also declined by between five and ten percent. — BUSINESS INSIDER

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8. Texas has halted permitting for all new medical marijuana dispensaries. Just one week into the process, the Texas Department of Public Safety stopped accepting applications with absolutely no explanation. Lawmakers theorized that the stoppage is temporary, and possibly related to expanding the list of qualifying conditions for a medical marijuana card. — TEXAS TRIBUNE 

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9. Arkansas has sold $12 million in medical cannabis in the first five months of legalization. The state’s nine licensed dispensaries are on pace to sell more than $20 million worth of product in their first year. The state has issued 23 more dispensary permits to storefronts that have not yet opened. — MJ BIZ DAILY 

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10. A Mexican lawmaker handed out a joint while addressing legalization before the Chamber of Deputies on Wednesday. Even if you don’t understand Spanish, you’ll get a smile from this video of Deputy Ana Lucía Riojas Martínez handing a big old joint to Secretary of the Interior Olga Sánchez Cordero as the chamber debated marijuana legalization. According to Google-translated accounts, she said, “I bring you a gift as a reminder of that proposal you made at the beginning, because that goes to the way to help us build peace. Let’s regulate the use of drugs.” — CALLEMEXICO VIA TWITTER 

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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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