Inside Cannabis - October 20th, 2019

Inside Cannabis (Oct 20th, 2019)

Weekly roundup: Weedmaps layoffs/ Vaping deaths/ Seeking new Inside Cannabis writer

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We're seeking a new writer for this newsletter, one of our hottest and fastest-growing. Do you know the difference between indica and sativa? Are you up to speed on which states have legal medical pot and which have legalized it for recreational use? Do you have insight into the challenges of running a state-level cannabis business while it's still outlawed at the federal level? If you have strong writing chops and an engaged social media following, this may be the gig for you. Apply here.

Washington, D.C.-based cannabis firm Holistic Industries has raised $55 million in fresh capital. Among the investors in the latest round are Los Angeles-based Bengal Capital and Entourage Effect Capital, based in Dallas. Holistic founder and CEO Josh Genderson said the company will use the funds to continue its expansion plans. Holistic already has licenses in California, Massachusetts, Maryland and Michigan, and licenses pending in several other states. --WASHINGTON BIZ JOURNAL

The number of deaths from the mysterious lung illness linked to vaping continues to rise, with 33 cases confirmed so far. The Centers for Disease Control says more than 1,400 lung injuries related to the use of electronic cigarettes have been reported over the past several months. The CDC says THC-containing products may be a cause of the illness, but advised people to cease using all vaping products while the agency investigates. Leafly has an in-depth piece arguing that mainstream media have mishandled reporting on the vaping illness, or VAPI (vaping-associated pulmonary injury), noting that counterfeit, unregulated products were largely to blame for the illness spreading. -- WAPO

Weedmaps announced it was laying off 25 percent of its workers, citing a lack of funding and the slow rollout of recreational marijuana markets in Massachusetts and California. CEO Chris Beals said in a post on Medium that the cuts affected about 100 people, and MJ Biz Daily reported the cuts were not related to the company's recent removal of unlicensed marijuana shops from its directory. "Today was my toughest day during my tenure as CEO," Beals said, but added he was "bullish" on the company's future. -- MJ BIZ DAILY

Massachusetts' Cannabis Control Commission has reinstated six marijuana licenses for Nova Farms. The company had licenses to operate cultivation facilities, a manufacturing facility, a retail store and a medical dispensary, but had not begun operations when its owner was charged with marijuana trafficking. Those charges were dropped Sept. 27. Nova Farms COO Blair Fish said this week the company was "delighted with the release and withdrawal of our suspension order. It’s a relief." -- MILFORD DAILY NEWS

Governors from New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania and New Jersey said they plan to work together to regulate cannabis and vaping products. "The patchwork quilt of marijuana regulations makes no sense at all," said Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont. While the governors aren't necessarily planning to coordinate cannabis laws to take effect within a particular time frame, they came up with some "preliminary" ideas for regulating legalized recreational cannabis. The governors also discussed how to regulate vaping products linked to a lung-related illness. --AP

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