Cannabis News Round-Up

Two corporate weed giants are entering New Jersey market. What will that mean for mom-and-pop sellers after legalization? NAACP, Catholic Conference warn of commercialization of marijuana in Illinois. Pot opponents express concerns over safety, commercialization. Support builds for bill to allow banks to assist pot businesses. Without banking bill, federal pot legalization is a three-legged horse until 2021. Wall Street chokes on cannabis bank bill. Michigan Attorney General joins coalition for change to marijuana banking law. Joe Biden supports decriminalization, not legalization. In 1989, Joe Biden believed the difference between marijuana and alcohol is that one can be used responsibly. Cannabis stocks can be a lucrative—but risky—bet.

Efforts to legalize marijuana in New York are at an impasse. Cuomo retreats from legal marijuana promises. New York marijuana: What to know about cannabis jobs, pot college and immigrant weed workers. With recreational pot unlikely, New York medical marijuana program may grow. Columbia County, New York officials to block pot sales if legalized.

Weed smuggling arrests at LAX have surged 166% since marijuana legalization. Illegal marijuana grows in Pacific Northwest declined after legalization. Pot tax revenue welcome in Boulder. Cannabis lounges are coming to Las Vegas.

Vermont legal pot sales doomed this session. New Hampshire Senate committee votes to delay marijuana legalization bill to 2020. Legal pot hearing sure to draw huge crowd in Maine. Maine pot rules must protect kids, problem users. What will marijuana cafes and concerts look like if they become legal in Massachusetts?

Delaware legalization bill announced. Pennsylvania Lieutenant Governor finally brought his listening tour to Pittsburgh—and most want legal weed. New Jersey lawmakers kill the bill, say voters should decide. Despite the doom-and-gloom around New Jersey legal weed efforts, some lobbyists still hold out hope. Booker bill would protect students with drug convictions from losing federal college aid.

Michigan to accelerate decisions on unlicensed pot shops, recreational market. Support for Illinois legal pot thinning. Illinois survey that supposedly shows support for legalization is dwindling actually shows it is rising. Marijuana bill may violate Illinois Constitution, prosecutors say. Growing at home might not be allowed after all under Illinois legalization proposal.

Hundreds march in Fort Worth for Texas legalization of marijuana. Why Kansas cops don’t want to legalize marijuana—medical or otherwise.

Women who love weed: can the industry free itself from stoner-bro culture? Retired NBA player Caron Butler to release documentary on pot industry. State-by-state legalization is a mess.

Canada black market is thriving—even after legalization.St. Kitts and Nevis court rules adults can legally use marijuana in private.

Illicit Tobacco and Nicotine Markets

Man who ran one of the largest cigarette smuggling operations in Virginia pleads guilty, will serve 3 1/2 years of 85-year sentence.

Philip Morris suspends social media campaign after Reuters exposes young influencers. Are heat-not-burn products a safer alternative to cigarettes? Reynolds Tobacco blames teen vaping crisis on Juul in fighting FDA plan to rein in e-cigarettes.

Opinion: Progressives blow smoke on sensible solutions.

435,000,000 illegal cigarettes smoked in Ireland last year.

Cannabis News Round-Up

Oregon Senate puts temporary freeze on marijuana production. Oregon marijuana surplus spurs senators to block new grower licenses. As legal marijuana booms, Denver votes on decriminalizing hallucinogenic mushrooms. Colorado senators lead way on national legalization of marijuana. Colorado pot czar: Legal marijuana not a “cash windfall.” San Fransciso’s Haight Street gets a new, legal king of weed.

Massachusetts makes history as first legal marijuana shops on East Coast open. Uxbridge, Massachusetts entrepreneur dreams of selling legal marijuana at a drive-through pot shop. Vermont House committee approves legal marijuana market. Follow-up on the legalization of marijuana in Connecticut.

New York Senator says fate of marijuana legalization depends on Cuomo’s willingness to use political capital. Is New Jersey legal weed fight being hurt by governor’s squabble with top Democrats over corporate tax breaks? Prospects for New Jersey legal weed bill looking grim, insiders say. Want cannabis jobs? Advocate for legalization, says New Jersey panel.

D.C. mayor wants Council to make marijuana sales legal in nation’s capital.

Illinois Governor introduces bill to legalize recreational marijuana. Illinois Representative on recreational marijuana: Not so fast. Opposition to recreational marijuana in Illinois mounts. Illinois legal pot opponents reject Pritzker’s social equity arguments. Police oppose marijuana legalization in Illinois, but want a bigger cut of the proceeds if law passes. Illinois marijuana legalization efforts leave questions for employers. Would Illinois legal marijuana bring dispensaries to DeKalb and Sycamore? Mayors weigh in.

The arc of legal weed bends toward injustice. Merger madness reshapes marijuana business. Attorneys General from thirty-three states urge pot banking reform.Republican congressman tells Democrats to end Trump obsession and focus on marijuana. Why Cory Booker cares so much about legal weed. TSA: “We’re cool,” and we’re not looking for your weed. Breaking the news to mom and dad: I’m selling weed (legally).

New Zealand Cabinet set to consider cannabis referendum. New Zealand government releases details of marijuana legalization referendum. Legalizing cannabis in Australia could create $1 billion in tax revenue.

Illicit Tobacco and Nicotine Markets

Ashes to ashes: How British American Tobacco avoids taxes in low and middle income countries. New head of South African Revenue Service to investigate reports of $140 million in cigarette tax evasion.

Rome, New York police seize over 200 cartons of untaxed cigarettes. After a months-long investigation of the alleged possession, transportation and sale of unstamped cigarettes the Rome Police Department and state Department of Tax and Finance have arrested a local man.

Eight Chinese nationals denied entry to Australia after discovery of 177,000 undeclared cigarettes. Illegal cigs worth $160,000 seized in Malaysia.

Around sixteen percent of all cigarettes smoked in Islamabad, Pakistan are illicit. Tobacco companies play faulty with illegal smokes in Pakistan.

Castleford, UK booze store boss gives up license after 6,000 illicit cigarettes found in toilet.

How to legalize cannabis: the case of Maine

There’s more to legalizing cannabis than setting up a market. The extent of post-prohibition public-health and public-safety problems depends on the details, and especially on price.

One reason I distrust the state-by-state process of legalizing cannabis and prefer a national approach is that the people drafting the laws and writing the regulations tend to reason more or less along these lines:

“Cannabis and alcohol are both intoxicants. We know how to regulate alcohol, so we should handle cannabis the same way.”

There are two things wrong with that.

First, cannabis is like alcohol in some ways but unlike it in others, so it needs a different control regime. (E.g., it’s not clear that we should criminalize cannabis use in public, use by minors, or stoned driving; doing so risks a kind of “backdoor re-criminalization.” In each case the link to aggression and violence that is so marked with alcohol is weaker, or may not even exist, with cannabis.)

Second, the current alcohol control regime leads to an estimated 88,000 excess deaths per year, and incredible amounts of disease and misery. That doesn’t look like a successful policy to me, and applying that policy to cannabis would be a clear case of “Doing the same thing and expecting a different result.” If you were to ask a state alcohol regulator about the prevalence of Alcohol Use Disorder among high-school students, or the number of alcohol-involved murders or suicides, you’d mostly get a blank look. A liquor board usually understands its job as making sure the taxes are paid, that the premises are orderly, and that licensees don’t sell directly to minors. The impact of alcohol on public health is the province of the health department, while its impact on public safety is a problem for the police and the prosecutors.

So with cannabis. Most state regulators are more interested in creating an orderly legal market that can displace the illicit market than in serving a broader policy vision that includes minimizing the predictable bad side-effects of commercial legalization.

BOTEC Analysis was hired by Maine’s Office of Marijuana Policy to review a draft set of regulations, which were pretty much as we expected. 

The introduction to our comments, explaining what we were trying to do, is pasted in below the fold.  While the comments are linked to specific sections of the Maine regulations, some of the ideas might be of interest to regulators elsewhere, and to legislators and advocates drafting new legalization statutes. 

Continue reading “How to legalize cannabis: the case of Maine”

Illicit Tobacco and Nicotine Markets

FDA authorizes Philip Morris to sell heat-not-burn cigarettes in the US. Philip Morris CEO: Smokeless “transformation” for the company is like no other. FDA authorizes smokeless IQOS cigarettes, restricts digital marketing to prevent youth exposure. IQOS exposure impairs human airway cell homeostasis: direct comparison with traditional cigarette and e-cigarette. FDA deals blow to IQOS. This should change everything: using the toxic profile of HNBs as a performance standard to phase out combustible cigarettes. Philip Morris shifts focus to heat-not-burn. Philip Morris rebuffed by World Health Organization as it tries to rewrite narrative. Philip Morris obtains a pan-EU injunction against an IQOS copycat from China. Philip Morris CEO lashes out at Hong Kong e-cigarette ban. Philip Morris CEO ridiculed for ‘staggeringly hypocritical’ campaign to ‘end smoking’—despite still selling cigarettes.

Big Tobacco is morphing into Big Vape. FDA chief accuses Juul, Altria of reneging on promise to combat teen vaping. A tale of two Juul pods: China‘s counterfeits pose a threat to US. Over 1,000 counterfeit Juul pods seized by border protection; there’s big profit in the fakes. Altria is paying a desperate price for Juul. Juul looks to Altria for more sway in DC. Altria-Juul deal worries anti-tobacco groups.

Strategies for eliminating smoked tobacco. Why tobacco product regulation is no magic bullet. UK tobacco companies are using e-cigs as a Trojan Horse, experts warn.

Analysis of tobacco industry pricing strategies in 23 European countries. Smoke Signals: Monitoring illicit cigarettes and smoking behavior in Colorado to support tobacco taxes. Decrease in the proportion of illicit cigarette use in Brazil: What does it really mean?

Illicit Tobacco and Nicotine Markets

UK and Dubai Customs seize 450 metric tons of illicit tobacco. Criminal gangs supplying illegal tobacco in Norfolk, UK. More than 1 million euros of smuggled cigarettes seized by Irish Revenue officials. Danish police arrest seven in raid on smuggling network. UK fake cigarettes: how to tell what’s real.

Malaysia is world’s largest consumer of illegal cigarettes. Malaysian man jailed for trying to smuggle millions of cigarettes into Australia. Australian authorities stub out illegal cigarette market. Policing the illicit trade of tobacco in Australia. Super big data and multi-stage information spatial system estimates of coastal tobacco smuggling in Taiwan. Philippines government cracks down on cigarette smuggling, counterfeiting.

The Western Balkan region is notorious for tobacco smuggling. Time to Quit: Tobacco tax increase and household welfare in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

South African Revenue Service seeks to track illegal cigarettes to their source. Tackling South Africa illegal tobacco trade could bring in 55% of recent tax shortfall.

A decade of cigarette taxation in Bangladesh: Lessons learnt for tobacco control. The myth of Pakistan‘s illicit cigarette trade. Philip Morris Pakistan closes factory due to rising illicit trade.

Menthol cigarette smokers react to Ontario‘s menthol cigarette ban. Ontario is finally ready to bust contraband tobacco. Here’s how Quebec did it. Japan Tobacco wins court protection in Canada over $1.32 billion smoking suit.

Economic determinants of smoking prevalence and regulation in high- to low-income countries: is corporate power the smoking gun?

Hong Kong Customs haul of illicit electronic smoking devices jumps 32% after announcement of ban.

Jordan charges 29 in fake smokes scandal.


Cannabis News Round-Up 5/3/19

Helping banks play SAFE while serving the cannabis industry. Congress can open banks to legal cannabis industry with SAFE Act. D.C. mayor Muriel Bowser unveils bill to legalize recreational marijuana sales.

Jackson County, Oregon black market bust: $15M in pot & stockpile of firearms. Seattle mayor Jenny Durkan calls for nationwide evaluation on marijuana legalization.

Connecticut pot tax clears committee, setting the stage for final legalization bill. Pot tax proposal in Connecticut similar to Massachusetts model. Contentious hearing in Hartford on Connecticut marijuana legalization. Connecticut Republican lawmakers to discuss implications of legal recreational marijuana. With time running short, Vermont House struggles with full legalization. Vermont governor Phil Scott‘s three wishes. Recreational marijuana delivery could soon become the norm in Massachusetts.

No one’s in a hurry to legalize recreational marijuana in New York. New York marijuana: What to know about minority ownership, social equity and pot arrests. Advocates oversell how New York legal weed will eliminate the black market. Will New Jersey legalize marijuana in May? Top Democrat says it’s fifty-fifty. New Jersey medical marijuana could move on without recreational legal weed, expungement plan.

Illinois is prioritizing legalization. Full, 300-page pot legalization bill could be introduced in Illinois within days. Legalizing marijuana in Illinois: A good or bad idea? Small Illinois towns hope legalized marijuana bring more jobs.

Twin Cities business leaders to discuss potential impact of recreational marijuana legalization in Minnesota. Las Vegas ordinance on weed lounges could overstep authority.

A marijuana brand with loads of street cred. Winners and losers of American pot stocks so far this year. A small marijuana company wants to sell spliffs. It won’t be easy. Scalia Law Schools symposium on the law & economics of legalization. How living near a marijuana dispensary affects your home’s price.

Taiwan resists as activists launch campaign to legalize marijuana. Canada pot exchange gets some competition.

Cannabis News Round-Up

Louisiana bills seek to legalize marijuana. Trump administration says immigrants working in legal marijuana industry lack “moral character” for citizenship. Kevin Sabet says marijuana legalization push is “about a small number of people who want to get rich.”

Illegal pot market booming in California despite legalization. Federal marijuana legalization must learn from California. Number, type of Washington marijuana bills grow with the new industry. Governor John Hickenlooper on Colorado marijuana legalization and how he talks to his son about pot.

Marijuana is legal in Massachusetts, but your boss doesn’t have to allow it—yet. Massachusetts panel okays plan for home delivery of marijuana. Marijuana legalization bill debated in New Hampshire senate committee. Opponents to New Hampshire marijuana legalization show up in force at hearing. Cannabis is legal in states around New Hampshire, but it’s not easy to actually get some and consume it legally.

Legalizing pot may provide fiscal relief to Pennsylvania. Could Pennsylvania recreational marijuana impact the medical marijuana industry? Criminal justice impacts of Pennsylvania marijuana legalization, decriminalization examined. Pennsylvania marijuana entrepreneurs hoping for clarity amid banking haze. Monuments, museums, marijuana: Take a whiff of DC new pot-infused tourism. New York marijuana: What to know about pot-pricing cliffs, banking wars and drug dealers.

Illinois marijuana bill likely to come up early when lawmakers return. As Illinois lawmakers prepare to debate recreational marijuana, opponents raise concerns. Illinois wants to set aside $8M to regulate recreational weed. Democrat Marty Moylan leads effort to slow Illinois recreational marijuana legalization. Patrick Kennedy (son of Ted) asks Illinois lawmakers to oppose marijuana legalization.

Would legalizing and taxing marijuana boost the Texas economy? Why Arizona lawmakers—not the industry—should legalize marijuana. Advocates hope to legalize marijuana in Red Lake Nation.

Why weed advocates aren’t happy about Joe Biden’s candidacy. Most 2020 Democratic presidential candidates agree on recreational marijuana: Legalize it. Elizabeth Warren reiterates support for marijuana legalization.

Cannabis, marijuana, weed, pot? Just call it a job machine. In the age of legal marijuana, many employers drop zero tolerance drug tests. Why the 1970s effort to decriminalize marijuana failed. Beer and cigarette makers join the pot lobbying parade. Can artisanal weed compete with Big Marijuana?

Marijuana legalization looks promising, but plenty of questions remain.
A national conversation about pot. Marijuana legalization and road safety: A panel study of US states. High Time for Criminal Justice Reform: Marijuana Expungement Statutes in States with Legalized or Decriminalized Marijuana Laws. The Onion endorses legal marijuana.

Following Canada example to see how brands advertise marijuana. Marijuana sales in Canada are going nowhere fast. Mexico lawmakers plan to tackle marijuana legalization this summer. What will the marijuana economy give to Georgia?

4/20 Cannabis News Round-Up

Corporations embracing 4/20 as weed holiday goes mainstream.

Alabama lawmakers unanimously approve marijuana decriminalization in committee vote. Vermont bank prepares to lend to pot businesses. Howard Dean, once anti-pot, joins cannabis company board. How even legal marijuana use can land you in jail. Weed was legal for less than a month in 1972 in Michiganor was it?

Could this California environmental law be the cannabis industry’s silent killer? Two years on, California marijuana legalization isn’t delivering. Cop fired, town hall searched as Colorado border town reckons with new pot money, old problems. Nevada may be forced to reveal marijuana license criteria. The untold story of Washington marijuana legalization.

Why the road to New York pot legalization is proving so rocky. Reefer, managed: Putting cannabis taxes to work in New York. After recent setbacks, will New York and New Jersey legalize pot? Legal weed remains stalled in New Jersey as politicians don’t know how to solve this big issue.

Pennsylvania state reps call Lieutenant Governor‘s marijuana listening tour a “sham.” Legalizing Pennsylvania adult recreational marijuana faces uphill battle. Stop blocking DC from regulating its marijuana. market.

Connecticut legal recreational pot a potential conundrum for the workforce. The real story—legalizing Connecticut marijuana. Pot tax rate key to driving down illegal market in Connecticut.

It is time to legalize Illinois recreational marijuana. Illinois governor aims to legalize recreational marijuana by end of spring session.Opponents of legal marijuana in Illinois: “This is not a done deal.”

Democratic representative to reintroduce legislation to fully legalize marijuana in Wisconsin. Marijuana advocates face hurdles as Wisconsin eyes legalization.

Just how popular is pot legalization? Analyst says calls for legalizing marijuana are part of societal trend. Is nationwide legalization just around the corner? Marijuana legalization—a rare issue where women are more conservative than men. Don’t buy all those phony myths about legalizing pot.

All the top Democrats running for president favor legalizing. How Trump could take pot legalization away from Democrats in 2020.

Fund levelheaded research into cannabis legalization. US workers are failing drug tests at an incredible rate—but legal weed has the future of these screenings in doubt. Think pot policy is settled? Think again. The army has a message for soldiers: Even where marijuana is legal, don’t use it. How legalizing recreational marijuana impacts home values. The $3.4 billion as-soon-as-it’s-legal marijuana merger.

America’s boom in illegal weed. These are the countries most likely to legalize weed next.

Canada has made pot super boring. Canada legal weed struggles to light up as smokers stick to black market.Trudeau isn’t talking about it, but Canada  legal pot is going well.