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With alcohol consumption down among millennials, big businesses see opportunities for THC-infused beverages

1/14/20--Cannabis-infused beverages are a relatively small slice of the $11.3 billion in U.S. cannabis sales in 2018. Fortune Business Insights estimated global sales of cannabis-infused beverages totaled $174 million in 2018. The continuing federal prohibition of cannabis has kept risk-averse global brands from investing in the U.S. market. However, brewers that have already developed zero-alcohol alternatives to their traditional offerings are now preparing cannabis-infused versions of those products. Read

Major Canadian pot companies facing proposed class-action lawsuits in the U.S.

1/19/20--Some of Canada's biggest cannabis producers are facing proposed class-action lawsuits in the United States after investors were hit with steep financial losses in the stock market. Although the allegations vary, each pot producer is accused of misleading investors or failing to disclose certain problems with their businesses. When those problems became publicly known, the lawsuits claim, share prices plunged and investors were stuck with losses. Read

Hemp states running pilot programs in 2020 starting to ask for deadline extensions

1/16/20--Six state agriculture departments have opted to run their 2020 hemp production programs under the existing rules; however, state agriculture officials in several of those states say their pilot programs’ expiration dates could lead to serious problems. Recommendations to the USDA have been made to extend the agency grant deadline to state pilot programs through the end of the 2020 calendar year. Read

Large-scale marijuana operation with Mass. ties shipped drugs in golf cart boxes, Feds say

1/19/20--William P. Murphy and Claudio Cardaropoli, co-conspirators in a $20 million nationwide marijuana trafficking ring, often shipped drugs in boxes purporting to contain golf carts, according to an FBI agent who testified at a hearing in U.S. District Court. Both have been charged with marijuana trafficking conspiracy, money laundering, and drug distribution. Read

Study: College binge drinking down, pot use up in legalized states

1/19/20--A recently published study shows students are turning to marijuana over alcohol in states where weed is legal. Conducted by Oregon State University, the study concludes that states where marijuana was legalized by 2018, including Colorado, had a rise in occasional and frequent pot use by college students, who were 18 percent more likely to have used marijuana in the past thirty days than in states where marijuana is still illegal. Read

Newborn’s death linked to acute marijuana toxicity

1/15/20--A recently published report describes the case of an 11-day-old female neonate who died due to acute marijuana toxicity and highlights the need for more research on the impact of marijuana use on pregnancy outcomes. The cause of death was specifically declared to be “extensive necrosis and hemorrhage of the liver and adrenals”, which was deemed to be caused by maternal use of marijuana. Read

‘High Times’ will open two cannabis dispensaries

1/21/20--High Times is getting into the retail game by opening two cannabis dispensaries in Las Vegas and Los Angeles. These flagship dispensaries will carry a variety of High Times-branded merchandise alongside locally sourced cannabis products that have previously won awards at Cannabis Cup events. Read

Appeals Court rules that New Jersey company must cover employee’s medical cannabis costs

1/17/20--An appeals court in New Jersey has ruled that an employer must reimburse a former employee for the cost of medical cannabis in a move that could have far-reaching effects for the industry. Steve Schain, senior attorney at Hoban Law Group, views the New Jersey ruling as a monumental moment for the medical cannabis industry and its patients for other reasons, too; namely, that it may encourage private insurance companies—and perhaps even government insurance—to also cover medical cannabis. Read

Philip Morris steps up vaping plan, keeps close ties with Altria

1/20/20--Philip Morris Chief Executive Officer Andre Calantzopoulos announced that the company is getting ready to launch a new vaping device, IQOS Mesh, early this year. Calantzopoulos states there “will be consolidation in the market for e-cigarettes” and Philip Morris wants to be on the forefront with its IQOS brand. Although Philip Morris’s merger talks with Altria failed last year amid mounting controversy over the health effects of Juul, it hasn’t given up on a potential reunion with sister company Altria Group Inc. at some point in the future. Read

2 million people with heart disease report using marijuana, Brigham and Women’s doctors find in new study

1/20/20--More than 2 million people with heart disease in the United States have used or are using marijuana, researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital found in a new study that called for more research about the drug’s potential cardiovascular risks. Although the researchers did not conclude that marijuana causes heart disease, “observational studies have linked marijuana use to a range of cardiovascular risks, including stroke, arrhythmia and diseases that make it hard for the heart muscle to pump properly,” the hospital in a statement. Read

New York Times editorial board: Joe Biden

1/14/20--The editorial board of The New York Times conducted an interview with former vice president Joe Biden. He candidly discussed several matters, including policy issues, as well as what he considers mistakes of the 2016 Clinton campaign, and his current opposition to the federal legalization of marijuana. Read

More dogs falling prey to THC poisoning. Vets say legal marijuana is a key factor.

1/10/20--Dog poisoning from ingesting cannabis is sharply on the rise. The Schaumburg-based American Veterinary Medical Association reports that cannabis-related calls to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals’ pet poison-control hotline rose 765% during the same period from 2018 to 2019. Also, the Pet Poison Helpline has reported an increase of more than 400% in cannabis poisoning calls over the past six years. Read

Cannabis confusion pushes states to ban smokable hemp

1/9/20--The rise of hemp products so similar to marijuana has caught some lawmakers by surprise, and some state lawmakers, alarmed by how difficult it is for law enforcement officers to tell the difference between hemp bud or joints and illegal pot products, are cracking down on smokable hemp. Read

Marijuana detected in homicide victims nearly doubles

1/8/20--Researchers at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health assessed the time trends in alcohol and marijuana detected in homicide victims and found that the prevalence of marijuana almost doubled, increasing from 22 percent in 2004 to 42 percent in 2016. The findings are published in Injury Epidemiology. Read

Newfound cannabis compound may be 30 times more potent than THC

1/10/20--Two newfound cannabinoids have been discovered in the glands of the Cannabis plant, and one of them may be at least 30 times as potent as the high-inducing compound THC. However, it's still unknown if it causes a high or has medical benefits. Read

Birth and early developmental screening outcomes associated with cannabis exposure during pregnancy

1/7/20--According to a study comparing birth and early developmental screening outcomes for infants with and without in utero cannabis exposures, exposure to cannabis during pregnancy may adversely impact fetal growth. Read

Driving under the influence of marijuana and illicit drugs among persons aged ≥16 Years — United States, 2018

12/20/19--According to a report published by the CDC, during 2018 approximately 12 million (4.7%) U.S. residents aged ≥16 years reported driving under the influence of marijuana, and 2.3 million (0.9%) reported driving under the influence of illicit drugs other than marijuana during the past 12 months. Thus, further indicating that the use and co-use of alcohol and drugs has been associated with impairment of psychomotor and cognitive functions while driving. Read

FDA to ban all e-cigarette pod flavors except tobacco and menthol

1/1/19--The Food and Drug Administration plans to ban the sale of fruity flavors in cartridge-based e-cigarettes, but the restriction won’t apply to tank vaping systems commonly found at vape shops, according to people familiar with the matter. Read

Vitamin E Acetate in bronchoalveolar-lavage fluid associated with EVALI

12/20/19--The causative agents for the current national outbreak of electronic-cigarette, or vaping, product use–associated lung injury (EVALI) have not been established. Detection of toxicants in bronchoalveolar-lavage (BAL) fluid from patients with EVALI can provide direct information on exposure within the lung. Results from the performed study indicate that Vitamin E acetate was associated with EVALI in a convenience sample of 51 patients in 16 states across the United States. Read

Adolescent addiction expert weighs in on proposed ban on flavored e-cigarette pods

1/1/20--NPR's Mary Louise Kelly talks with Dr. Sharon Levy, a pediatrician and an adolescent addiction expert with Boston Children's Hospital, about the FDA's proposed ban on most flavored e-cigarette pods. Read

These states now have legal weed, and which states could follow suit in 2020

1/1/20--Recreational marijuana use became legal in just one more state, Illinois, with the start of the New Year on Wednesday. More states could follow suit in 2020, with several states set to put recreational marijuana on the ballot. On January, 1, 2020, Illinois became the 11th state to legalize recreational marijuana, and several states are expected to vote on recreational marijuana use measures in 2020. Read

The true cost of cannabis: Why don’t its illnesses, deaths command media headlines?

1/3/20--USA Today health policy writer Jayne O'Donnell started covering vaping lung injuries from high-potency THC in August, then added the link between cannabis and mental illness, as well as marijuana, psychosis, and other mental illness. O'Donnell indicates that this type of coverage presents a pretty solitary place to be. According to former Food and Drug Administration chief Scott Gottlieb, the news media seemed to lose interest once it became clear that the culprit to vaping lung illnesses was THC and not nicotine. Former New York Times business reporter Alex Berenson adds that the human cost of cannabis is too high — and that the press is too pro-pot. Read

Content analysis of online product descriptions from cannabis retailers in six US states

1/1/20--A current study published in the International Journal of Drug Policy examining how cannabis products are described on US cannabis retailer websites concludes that online cannabis retailers are making potentially unsubstantiated product claims. Future work should examine the potential for these claims to inform consumer behavior. Regulations should ensure that cannabis labeling does not mislead consumers or promote unsafe use. Read

CCC and DPH enter ‘data-sharing agreement,’ but withhold names of pot dispensaries linked to potential vaping illnesses

12/10/19--The Cannabis Control Commission and the Department of Public Health have agreed to share data with each other to investigate whether six probable cases of vaping-related lung illnesses are linked to state-licensed marijuana retailers, as health officials had suggested last week. Read

Commission amends quarantine order to permit sale of marijuana vaporizer devices and newly manufactured marijuana vaping products

12/12/19--The Cannabis Control Commission has issued an amended quarantine order for vaporizer devices and products manufactured by Marijuana Establishments and Medical Marijuana Treatment Centers in Massachusetts. The order permits the sale of devices used to vaporize flower for adult and medical use of marijuana, devices designed to vaporize concentrate that do not contain usable marijuana, and regulated vaporizer products that are manufactured starting Thursday which pass screens for vitamin E acetate as well as other contaminants required under the Commission’s testing protocols. Read

Surface detection of THC attributable to vaporizer use in the indoor environment

12/9/19--The goal of this study was to determine whether cannabinoids can be quantitatively detected on room surfaces exposed to side-stream cannabis vapor, making these surfaces possible sources for third-hand exposure. Study results show that in a room in which cannabis was administered by vaporization, surfaces tested positive for THC at quantifiable levels. This study represents a first step in understanding how side-stream cannabis vapor deposits in the environment and may result in tertiary exposure to users and bystanders. Read

Scientists discover key neural circuit regulating alcohol consumption

12/12/19--New research gathered by UNC School of Medicine scientists, and published in the Journal of Neuroscience, pinpoints a specific neural circuit that when altered caused animal models to drink less alcohol. Read

Association between adolescent blunt use and the uptake of cigars

12/6/19--In this cohort study of 1825 US adolescents, ever vs never blunt use at age 14 years was significantly associated with progression to current cigar use across the following 24 months. Blunt use was not significantly associated with the number of days of cigar use across follow-up. These findings highlight the risk that blunt use may pose for subsequent cigar use among adolescents. Read

Study outlines concerns around natural psychoactive substances

12/3/19--New research finds that over a period of 17 years, people in the United States increased their use of natural psychoactive substances, believing them to be safe. This has led to many reports of adverse symptoms in adults and children alike. Read

Six with lung illness linked to regulated marijuana vapes, state says

12/5/19--Six Massachusetts patients with probable — but not confirmed — cases of vaping-related lung illnesses reported using regulated products from state-licensed marijuana companies, state health officials revealed Thursday night. The patients represent a small fraction of the 90 probable and confirmed cases of vaping-related lung illnesses flagged so far by the state Department of Public Health, but mark the first time state authorities have explicitly linked the lung illnesses to cannabis vapes purchased at legal stores and dispensaries. Read

Cannabis (marijuana) and cannabinoids: What you need to know

12/5/19--People often use the words “cannabis” and “marijuana” interchangeably, but they don’t mean exactly the same thing. As reported in a fact sheet produced by the NIH - National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, the word “cannabis” refers to all products derived from the plant Cannabis sativa. Whereas, the word “marijuana” refers to parts of or products from the plant Cannabis sativa that contain substantial amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Read

Congressional briefing calls for improved regulation of CBD

12/6/19--On Dec. 5, the National Association of County Behavioral Health & Developmental Disability Directors (NACBHDD), together with the National Association for Rural Mental Health (NARMH) and the National Association of Social Workers (NASW), hosted a Congressional briefing for Hill staff on the need for improved regulation of cannabidiol (CBD) products by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Read

Mass. health officials concede lung patients may have used illicit vapes, too

12/6/19--State health officials conceded Friday night that six Massachusetts patients suffering from probable cases of vaping-related lung illnesses may have used illicit marijuana vapes in addition to legal ones, a surprising revision from the day before when officials suggested products sold at licensed cannabis retailers were to blame for the ailments. Read

Flavors of e-cigarettes used by youths in the United States

11/5/19--Adolescent e-cigarette use has increased substantially since 2016.1 To counteract such trends, public health agencies are considering regulatory restrictions of e-cigarettes in flavors popular among youths.2,3 Whether certain flavors warrant inclusion or exemption from regulatory policies is unclear because recent estimates of the specific e-cigarette flavors adolescents use are lacking. Read

e-Cigarette use among youth in the United States, 2019

11/5/19--In a cross-sectional survey conducted in 2019 that included 19,018 participants to examine the estimated frequency of the current (past 30-day) use of e-cigarettes among US high school and middle school students in 2019, the findings indicate that the prevalence of self-reported current e-cigarette use was high among US high school and middle school students. Read

Association between adolescent blunt use and the uptake of cigars

12/6/19--In a cohort study of 1825 US adolescents, ever vs never blunt use at age 14 years was significantly associated with progression to current cigar use across the following 24 months. Blunt use was not significantly associated with the number of days of cigar use across follow-up. Meaning These findings highlight the risk that blunt use may pose for subsequent cigar use among adolescents. Read

Not just counterfeit: Legal THC vaping products linked to lung illnesses

12/6/19--New evidence shows that legitimate THC vaping products are also making people sick, meaning that illegal, off-brand vapes aren't the only products to blame for the current outbreak of vaping-related illnesses. The Massachusetts Department of Public Health reports that at least six patients suspected of having the vaping lung illness purchased THC products at licensed marijuana dispensaries in that state. Read

Juice WRLD allegedly popped pills on private jet, 70 lbs. marijuana seized

12/9/19--TMZ reports that the private jet Juice WRLD flew on to Chicago was loaded down with 70 pounds of marijuana ... and cops say people on the plane told them the rapper had popped several pills prior to suffering seizures. Several members of Juice's team aboard the flight told them Juice had taken "several unknown pills" prior to the seizures which led to him getting rushed to a hospital. Read

Men who regularly smoke cannabis have increased risk of developing testicular cancer, study claims

12/1/19--A new study has found that men who regularly smoke cannabis have an increased risk of developing testicular cancer. Research by a team of US-based scientists linked long-term use of the drug with higher rates of the disease - which is diagnosed in 2,400 in the UK each year. Read

Study outlines concerns around natural psychoactive substances

12/3/19--New research finds that over a period of 17 years, people in the United States increased their use of natural psychoactive substances, believing them to be safe. This has led to many reports of adverse symptoms in adults and children alike. Read

What you need to know (and what we’re working to find out) about products containing cannabis or cannabis-derived compounds, including CBD

11/25/19--The FDA is working to answer questions about the science, safety, and quality of products containing cannabis and cannabis-derived compounds, particularly CBD, through ongoing efforts including feedback from a recent FDA hearing and information and data gathering through a public docket. Read

In states where recreational marijuana is legal, problematic use increased among adults and teens

11/13/19--Problematic use of marijuana among adolescents and adults increased after legalization of recreational marijuana use, according to a new study from NYU Grossman School of Medicine and Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health. Read

Study reveals urban hotspots of high-schoolers’ opioid abuse

11/14/19--A new study has found that in several cities and counties the proportion of high-schoolers who have ever used heroin or misused prescription opioids is much higher than the national average. Read

Vote to federally legalize marijuana planned in congress

11/16/19--A key congressional committee plans to hold a historic vote on a bill to end the federal prohibition of marijuana next week. The legislation, sponsored by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), would remove cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) and set aside funding to begin repairing the damage of the war on drugs, which has been disproportionately waged against communities of color. Read

Cannabis use during methadone maintenance treatment for opioid use disorder

11/20/19--Rates of cannabis use among patients receiving methadone maintenance therapy are high, and cannabis use may be associated with outcomes of methadone maintenance therapy. Study results indicates no consensus among cannabis use associated with reduced opioid use or longer treatment retention when used during methadone maintenance therapy in patients with opioid use disorder. Read

Trump retreats from flavor ban for e-cigarettes

11/17/19--In September, President Trump said he was moving to ban the sale of most flavored e-cigarettes as vaping among young people continued to rise. However, advisers say the president pulled back from proposed restrictions intended to curb teenage vaping after he was warned of the political fallout among voters. Read

Study finds link between male marijuana use and miscarriage risk

11/17/19--According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 1 in 20 women in the U.S. report using marijuana while pregnant. The CDC says the THC ingested could cause the baby to develop health problems. Additionally, some studies have suggested a link between marijuana use and lower sperm quality, indicating that a father's use could also play a role in a baby's development. Read

Car crashes in pot-legal states have soared

11/13/19--Car crashes in the first three states to legalize recreational marijuana have soared as law enforcement and regulators struggle to define driving high, let alone determine how to fight it. Colorado, Oregon, and Washington saw a combined 5.2% increase in the rate of police-reported crashes after legalizing recreational marijuana, compared with neighboring states where such sales are illegal, according to data compiled and analyzed by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Researchers tallied crash rates between 2012 and 2016. Read

SAFE Banking Act shouldn’t harm children

11/8/19--The marijuana industry is lobbying hard for the Secure and Fair Enforcement Banking Act (SAFE) of 2019. Its stated purpose is “to increase public safety by ensuring access to financial services to cannabis-related legitimate businesses.” What’s been lost in the congressional debate over the bill, so far, is the safety of children. Congress can demand key safeguards for children that the industry has so far resisted. Read

Money spent on beer ads linked to underage drinking

11/18/19--Advertising budgets and strategies used by beer companies appear to influence underage drinking, according to new research. The findings show that the amount of money spent on advertising strongly predicted the percentage of teens who had heard of, preferred and tried different beer brands. Read

Juul disregarded early evidence it was hooking teens

11/5/19--Juul executives knew young people were flocking to its breakthrough e-cigarette shortly after it went on sale in 2015, a former manager tells Reuters. Its nicotine blend was so potent, engineers devised a kill switch to limit the dosage – but the idea was shelved. Following the product’s launch, it took nearly three years – and pressure from regulators and U.S. senators – before Juul in April 2018 announced what it called a “comprehensive strategy” of measures to curb youth sales. Read

MAPS to open psychedelic clinics? Let’s hope so

11/20/19--MAPS has taken the reign on the number of trained therapists, in addition to steering the research, regulatory, and public education for the past 30+ years. MAPS is considering whether to get involved in creating a network of psychedelic psychotherapy clinics, initially with MDMA and adding ketamine and cannabis and one day psilocybin, etc. Read

Curaleaf reports third quarter 2019 financial and operational results

11/19/19--Curaleaf, a leading vertically integrated cannabis operator in the U.S., today reported its financial and operating results for the third quarter ended September 30, 2019. Read

Specialists call for ‘aggressive’ measures against e-cigarettes

11/14/19--After uncovering a key mechanism that could explain how e-cigarettes harm the lungs, brain, and cardiovascular system, a team of researchers now calls for much stricter regulation of these electronic devices. evidence has increasingly come to light that the liquid that goes into an e-cigarette and the materials of the devices themselves contain dangerous levels of toxic substances that can harm health. Read

Cannabidiol products are everywhere, but should people be using them?

11/20/19--Although the CBD market has exploded in recent months, with products ranging from bath salts to coffee and tea to maple bacon–flavored dog biscuits, research suggests that many actually do not contain CBD. And the compound’s murky status raises a host of questions: Is it safe? Is it effective? Is it legal? Is it a dietary supplement or a drug? Read

Co-founder of Steamboat pot shop promoted to COO of international cannabis company

11/13/19--Kevin Fisher, the co-founder of Steamboat Springs’ first marijuana dispensary, has been appointed second in command as the chief operating officer for Parallel, a global company with headquarters in Georgia. His goal as COO is to expand markets across the world and develop new ways for customers to consume marijuana. Read

Using weed regularly raises the risk of heart problems for young people, studies find

11/14/19--Younger people with cannabis use disorder are at an increased risk of heart rhythm problems, according to a new presentation at the American Heart Association Scientific Sessions. A second presentation says that young people who use weed frequently are at a higher risk for stroke. Read

Marijuana use potentially linked to increased risk of stroke and heart arrhythmia

11/12/19--People who frequently use marijuana are at an increased risk of stroke, and individuals diagnosed with cannabis use disorder are more likely to be hospitalized for heart arrhythmia, according to two preliminary studies that will be presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2019. Read

From ‘Veronica Mars’ to toxic vapes: The rise and fall of Honey Cut

11/8/19--By creating a new category of “thickening” vape cartridge additives, Honey Cut became a nationwide phenomenon. Its formula—and copycat products just like it—suddenly turned up last year in illicit THC vape cartridges nationwide. The company itself appeared to be a kind of corporate ghost ship. Its name was attached only to a website and a P.O. box. Nobody knew who founded Honey Cut, who ran it, or who profited from it... until now. Read

High numbers of youth report using prescription opioids in the past year

11/8/19--A new analysis of US data finds an unexpectedly high prevalence of prescription opioid use among youth. As recently as 2015-2016, 21% of adolescents and 32% of young adults said they had used these drugs in the past year. Nearly 4 percent and 8 percent, respectively, reported misusing opioids. Read