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No hangovers of beer bellies: Cannabis firms try to woo booze drinkers

8/3/21--Some of the largest cannabis companies in North America see a multibillion-dollar marijuana beverage industry waiting to be tapped as states increasingly embrace legal weed, but it’s struggling to boost a potentially lucrative market that centers on persuading Americans to drink their weed. Read

Republicans are watching their states back – and they’re not sold

6/27/21--A growing number of Republican senators represent states that have legalized recreational or medical cannabis — six approved or expanded marijuana in some form just since November. But without their support in Congress to make up for likely Democratic defectors, weed falls critically short of the 60 votes needed to advance legislation. Read

The cannabis industry’s next war: How strong should its weed be?

4/29/21--As more and more states legalize marijuana, companies are facing new pressure from lawmakers across the country — and Capitol Hill — to limit the strength of their products. It’s a level of scrutiny that comes with being allowed to operate in the open after decades in the shadows. Read

Californina’s cannabis culture wars converge on billboards

3/31/21--An increasing debate is occurring in the California Legislature over cannabis-related billboards that have sprung up around the state, advertising tools the industry says are necessary to support the struggling legal market, but that opponents argue expose children to a potentially harmful substance. This debate could have a major impact on California's legal cannabis market, because the industry relies on outdoor advertising since major tech companies like Google, YouTube, and Facebook largely bar them from marketing to consumers online. Read

Virginia joins 15 other states in legalizing marijuana

2/28/21--The Virginia Legislature approved adult-use marijuana legalization Saturday marking the first state in the Old South to embrace full legalization. The House passed the measure in a 48-43 vote, and the Senate approved it in a 20-19 vote. Not a single Republican voted for the bill in either chamber. Read

How state marijuana legalization became a boon for corruption

12/27/20--In the past decade, 15 states have legalized a regulated marijuana market for adults over 21, and another 17 have legalized medical marijuana. But in their rush to limit the numbers of licensed vendors and give local municipalities control of where to locate dispensaries, they created something else: A market for local corruption. Read

Celebrities, cash and questions: A new force roils the cannabis prisoner-release movement

12/30/20--The star-studded group known as the Last Prisoner Project is calling on cannabis enthusiasts to help secure the release of people convicted of marijuana-related crimes. However, many have claimed that the organization failed to follow through on commitments to support preexisting groups while doing relatively little on its own to reduce the level of incarceration.  Read

How legal weed destroyed a counterculture icon

9/4/20--Constantly running afoul of authorities, High Times magazine became an icon of the counterculture and an indispensable guide to the underground world of cannabis. It also survived the suicide of its outlaw founder, the war on drugs, and three federal grand jury investigations, as reported in a Politico article. But now that cannabis has become legal across much of the country, High Times finds itself in a different kind of trouble. Read

Florida’s top Democrat purges ‘inner circle’ after police escort her fiancé from hotel

6/18/20--Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried dismissed three top aides just before midnight Thursday, citing their complaints that her fiancé, a medical marijuana entrepreneur Robert “Jake” Bergmann, was “abusive” to her during a weekend argument at a Fort Lauderdale resort where police escorted him off the property. Fried, the state’s top elected Democrat, told aides by text message late Wednesday that they could no longer be in her “inner circle” but offered to find them “other roles." Read

Lavish parties, greedy pols and panic rooms: How the ‘Apple of Pot’ collapsed

5/24/20--In early June, 2018, MedMen looked to become the Apple of pot, the first mainstream, nationwide consumer brand for the product. Then, just a few months after its Abbot Kinney opening, it all began to unravel. The company’s stock now trades for a fraction of what it did just months earlier, and it has lost more than 95 percent of its market value. As stated in a Politico article, "MedMen stands as a cautionary tale of American Wild West capitalism." Read

Indicted Parnas associate was set to partner with VA on cannabis research

2/3/20--Ukraine-born cannabis investor Andrey Kukushkin, who was working on a medical cannabis research deal with the Department of Veterans Affairs, is facing federal charges over an alleged plot to trade political donations for help obtaining marijuana licenses around the country. Kukushkin was indicted alongside the businessmen Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman and their associate David Correa. All four men have pleaded not guilty. Read

The Great Seattle Pot Heist

8/22/19--Growers fear that the system put in place to ensure transparency and accountability in the newly legalized industry may also leave a data trail that leads thieves straight to their doors, right when the pickings are fattest. They complain that while Washington is busy policing them, state officials aren’t paying nearly enough attention to catching the actual criminals, or tracking the marijuana that is being diverted to illegal markets out of state. Read

Marijuana skeptics fear ‘de facto legalization’ in states

10/6/18--With nine states, and the District of Columbia, now allowing the recreational use of cannabis — and more in the pipeline — advocates on both sides of the issue say that medical cannabis programs are increasingly functioning as a Trojan horse for de facto legalization in the 40 states where the politics of legalization aren’t quite ripe yet. And that’s rapidly changing the political and policy dynamics surrounding the emerging industry. Read

American Legion to Trump: Allow marijuana research for vets

5/20/17--The American Legion, one of the nation’s most conservative veterans’ groups, is appealing to President Trump to reclassify marijuana to allow large-scale research into whether cannabis can help troops suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. Under current rules, doctors with the Department of Veterans Affairs cannot even discuss marijuana as an option with patients. Read