In this week's edition...

  • Dick Durbin supports decriminalizing cannabis
  • Massachusetts amends its vaping ban to allow some sales
  • Leafly opens its own online CBD marketplace
  • Canada reports more than $900 million legal cannabis sales
  • MLB removes cannabis from its list of banned "drugs of abuse."
  • And more...

Wishing everyone happy holidays! We look forward to resuming distribution of the Weekly Cannabis Alert following a toast to 2020.


Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) said he supports decriminalizing cannabis, but has concerns about children accessing it, and about how to measure impairment.

Former Senate Majority Leader Thom Daschle (D-SD) spoke at MJBizCon about the issues facing the cannabis industry.


California's Developmental and Reproductive Toxicant Identification Committee declared THC to be a risk to pregnant women and developing fetuses, which means cannabis products will have to include a warning label to that effect in accordance with Proposition 65. The panel of nine scientists considered studies of smoked (rather than vaped, topically absorbed or other delivery systems) cannabis, and decided that, although the evidence was mixed, it was sufficient. Failure to provide these warnings could expose companies to suits by advocacy groups on behalf of the state. State law already requires cannabis packaging to carry a warning that cannabis use during pregnancy or breast feeding "may be harmful."

Los Angeles, California, cracked down on dozens of unlicensed cannabis shops that sell cannabis products without the required taxes and testing, serving 24 search warrants and seizing $8.8 million in cannabis products and $129,000 in cash.

Illinois released guidance for municipal and county governments to enact cannabis taxes. The government also announced a tiebreaking process, under emergency rules, for applications for adult-use dispensary licenses.

In Chicago, Illinois, the City Council's Black Caucus chair, Jason Ervin, failed to achieve a proposed six-month delay in the date to start selling legal cannabis in the city, setting the stage for moving forward with a January 1 launch. Negotiations over the proposed delay were an effort to address the lack of black ownership of existing medical cannabis dispensaries in the state.

Kansas residents polled indicated 63 percent support for legalizing cannabis.

Massachusetts amended a vaping quarantine order (effective on December 12) to allow the sale of certain vaping devices, such as certain new products that pass screens for vitamin E acetate, as well as devices to vaporize cannabis flower.

Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts (R) stated that cannabis is a dangerous drug, pushed by a big industry, and that legalization will cause problems such as car crashes, mental health issues and infant health problems.

New Jersey issued the first medical cannabis license from its December 2018 round of applications.

New York's Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul (D) said the administration will work with the state legislature to legalize cannabis in 2020. Noting the potential for jobs and revenue, she said, "We have to get this done, it is overdue."


New York's Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) signed a law allowing the production and sale of industrial hemp and certain CBD products. The law sets up a permit system regulating growers, processors and sellers, and lays the groundwork for labeling standards.

Leafly announced its launch of Leafly Market, an online CBD store where customers can shop the largest selection of independently tested CBD products from brands vetted by the company.


Ontario, Canada, is removing the cap on the number of cannabis stores and issuing approximately 20 new cannabis store authorizations. It is also eliminating cumbersome qualification requirements.

The Canadian government reported that in the first year following legalization of non-medical cannabis, retailers established more than 400 stores and sold $908 million in cannabis products.

The General Court of the European Union upheld a decision by the European Union Intellectual Property Office that an Italian woman could not register a sign containing the words "Cannabis Store Amsterdam" and depicting cannabis leaves as a trademark for hemp products.

Thailand's Prime Minister demonstrated various cannabis products and announced his plans to purchase cannabis oils at an event launching the country's new medical cannabis education website.

Lawmakers in Trinidad and Tobago's House of Representatives approved a bill to decriminalize low-level cannabis possession, removing criminal penalties for possession of up to 30 grams of cannabis. A House committee is considering another bill that would legalize cannabis for medical, research and religious purposes.

A report by New Zealand's Safe and Effective Justice Advisory Group recommends legalizing the personal use of cannabis to transform the criminal justice system.


Anheuser-Busch InBev Labatt, the world's largest brewer, will begin selling flavored teas containing 98 percent pure cannabidiol in Canada this week. AB InBev does not plan to sell CBD drinks in the United States.

Major League Baseball and its players union have agreed to remove cannabis from the list of banned "drugs of abuse." Moving forward, the league will treat players' consumption of cannabis the same way it currently treats alcohol use.

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones indicated that the NFL's cannabis policy would change in the next collective bargaining agreement.


In a recent survey published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology 47 percent of oncologists reported that medical cannabis offers "at least some benefit" for elderly cancer patients. The remaining 53 percent responded that medical cannabis was rarely or never beneficial (28 percent) or reported not knowing (25 percent).

The impact and influence of cannabinoids (and CBD in particular) on specific brain mechanisms and digestive, immune and central nervous systems may be beneficial for alcohol use disorders, according to an article accepted for publication in the scientific journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research.

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