June 2019

Pot Website Offers Free Cannabis To Federal Workers Suffering Through Shutdown

It’s unknown when federal workers affected by the shutdown will be back at work, but there is one bit of good news: At least they can get some free pot.

A website called BudTrader.com, which bills itself as “the largest cannabis social media platform,” is offering to donate up to an ounce of the wacky weed to federal employees who are “unable to pay for their medical cannabis due to the Government shutdown,” according to a press release.

“I don’t think Federal employees are getting enough love and support, in these tough times, we want to extend the offer of a donation of medical cannabis to any Federal worker affected by the shutdown,” BudTrader CEO Brad McLaughlin said in the release. “We only hope our actions inspire larger companies to also try and help Federal employees affected by the shutdown.”

People who might qualify for the donations of dank should email support@budtrader.com.

A company spokesperson told HuffPost that federal employees need to show proof they have indeed been furloughed, and said BudTrader staffers are looking at social media pages for verification as well.

The website expects to fulfill any requests with the help of network of dispensaries all over North America.

In addition, the spokesperson said at least five cannabis doctors have offered to consult with furloughed federal employees who might need a medical marijuana prescription.

So far, federal employees aren’t exactly coming out of the weeds looking for free pot.

The spokesperson said only two federal employees have shown up at the company’s San Diego-area headquarters since the announcement was made on Tuesday.

One of those visitors got a vape pen while the other, a woman with a rescue dog currently on Prozac, received CBD doggy treats in lieu of the prescription medicine she can’t afford for the pooch.

Of course, there may be a good reason why the federal workers may not be attempting to score the free sensimilla.

Federal law currently prohibits government employees from using marijuana, even in states that have legalized the drug. A bill last year that would have changed the law did not make it to a vote.

Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/

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Utah Voters Approved Medicaid Expansion At The Ballot Box. The GOP Is Trying To Undo It.

On Election Day, a majority of Utah voters approved a ballot initiative to expand Medicaid coverage to an estimated 150,000 low-income adults. The Republican-led state Legislature has other ideas.

The Utah Senate approved a bill Wednesday that would toss out a grassroots-driven, voter-backed ballot initiative to offer Medicaid benefits to any Utahn earning up to 133 percent of the federal poverty level (about $16,000 a year for a single person), paid for by raising the sales tax on certain goods from 4.7 percent to 4.85 percent.

The legislation instead would expand Medicaid to fewer people, enable Utah to receive less federal money for the program and impose limitations on benefits, including work requirements. And the entire plan hinges on a dubious promise of federal approval for aspects of the state Senate bill.

The Utah GOP clearly is prioritizing overturning the voters, considering the Legislature has been in session since just Monday and the bill made it out its Senate committee Tuesday and to the floor Wednesday. The fact that 53 percent of voters spoke in favor of a full Medicaid expansion at the ballot box in November is not swaying Utah Republican legislators, who have resisted the expansion since it became available in 2014 under the Affordable Care Act.

The Utah ballot initiative, known as Proposition 3, not only received majority support statewide but also in most state Senate districts, the Utah Health Policy Project reported. According to a Salt Lake Tribune analysis of the vote Wednesday, 10 Republican senators representing districts where a majority voted in favor of the expansion are supporting the bill to modify it, including the legislation’s main sponsor, Sen. Allen Christensen. A plurality of Utahns opposes changing the voter-backed policy, according to a UtahPolicy.com poll conducted by Dan Jones & Associates.

“You’ve got to defer to the will of the people at some point,” said state Rep. Brian Frank, the minority leader of the Utah House of Representatives and one of 16 Democrats in the 75-member lower chamber of the Utah State Legislature. “We should not be doing anything to substantively alter that Proposition 3 in a way that delays the implementation one more day.”

The GOP bill sends a message to voters, King said: “We don’t really care what the people of the state of Utah want to do or say they want us to do at the Legislature. We’re going to do what we want to do. That’s very troubling to me.”

These actions by Utah Republican lawmakers are reminiscent of how then-Gov. Paul LePage (R) defied Maine voters last year by refusing to carry out a Medicaid expansion they approved in 2017. LePage’s successor, Gov. Janet Mills (D), has already begun the process of implementing the expansion. In Idaho, where voters also passed a ballot initiative to expand Medicaid, a conservative organization is challenging it before the state Supreme Court.

Efforts by Republicans at the state level to undo or limit the Medicaid expansion, including the seven states that received federal approval for work requirements and the eight more seeking it, mirror the national Republican strategy on health care.

The GOP-led Congress devoted most of 2017 to attempting and failing to repeal the Affordable Care Act and replace it with plans that would have left millions without health coverage. And in December, a federal judge ruled in favor of 20 GOP state officials who argued the Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional in a lawsuit supported by President Donald Trump’s Justice Department.

Tiffiny Malo, left, and Pam Harrison, supporters of a voter-approved measure to fully expand Medicaid, at a rally to ask lawmakers not to change the law during the first day of the Utah Legislature on Monday.

The Utah Senate must vote again on the bill to significantly alter the Medicaid expansion enacted by voters, which it approved once this week against the opposition of all six Democratic senators and one of the chamber’s 23 Republicans. The state House is poised to act quickly on the legislation after the Senate is finished.

“It’s moving very quickly,” said King, who expects the Utah House will pass the Senate bill by the end of next week.

Republican Gov. Gary Herbert has not taken a public position on the Medicaid bill. In response to questions from HuffPost, Herbert’s office provided a statement from a spokesman. 

“Gov. Herbert has long supported the kind of common-sense guardrails for Medicaid expansion that are being discussed in the legislature. Many were components of his proposed Healthy Utah Medicaid expansion in 2015; most of these were part of legislation that he signed into law last general session. His primary concerns are that the state honor the will of the voters to fill the hole in the social safety net by helping those under the poverty line without health insurance and to implement without delay,” Paul Edwards said in the statement. 

Last week, Herbert said he believed the state should allow the expansion to move forward as approved by voters and then be revisited at a later date. During his State of the State address Thursday, Herbert said only that “the much-needed Medicaid expansion passed by the voters needs to be implemented in a fiscally sustainable way. And with some common-sense adjustments, I know that we can implement this program without delay.”

Because Republicans have supermajorities in the Utah House and Senate, however, the GOP would have the votes to override a veto even if Herbert decided to oppose the Medicaid legislation.

The Affordable Care Act calls for Medicaid benefits to be available to anyone earning up to 133 percent of the federal poverty level, and the federal government finances at least 90 percent of the cost. This expansion was meant to be in place nationwide, but a 2012 Supreme Court ruling allowed states to refuse to participate. To date, 14 states have declined it. Utah, Idaho and Nebraska voters all approved expansion via ballot initiative last year, but the program is not yet in place in those states. Under the terms of the Utah initiative, benefits are supposed to become available April 1.

The Utah ballot initiative was straightforward in its approach by simply instructing the state to join the Medicaid expansion without any changes to the state’s existing program or the need for federal approval. The Utah Governor’s Office of Management and Budget assessed that the sales tax increase would raise more than enough money to finance the state’s 10 percent share of the expansion’s cost, although it noted that the revenue and costs in future years may not match up.

By contrast, the Utah Senate bill would trigger a complicated and uncertain process that would cover fewer people under Medicaid. The Senate began action on the measure before the Legislature’s budget scorekeepers could analyze the legislation’s effects, but it is designed to limit the Medicaid expansion’s reach. That’s despite the fact that the measure would leave the sales tax increase in place while also imposing a tax on hospitals that alone is intended to be large enough to cover the state’s entire share of the expense of Medicaid expansion.

Under the Senate legislation, Medicaid benefits would be available only to those with incomes below the poverty level, which is about $12,000 for a single person. Utahns with incomes higher than that would continue to have access to subsidized private coverage via the health insurance exchange in the state. Unlike the Medicaid expansion voters approved, the state would receive about 70 percent of the funding for the partial Medicaid expansion from the federal government instead of the 90 percent offered by a full expansion.

The bill lacks detail on many key elements of the modified expansion, leaving those to the state’s executive branch and federal officials to hash out. In order to maintain April 1 as the day benefits would come online, legislative Republicans are counting on all of that happening on an extraordinarily expedited basis.

“This entire thing is being rammed through the Senate and the House as quickly as possible. It is a sloppy piece of legislation that couldn’t be further from what voters wanted, and they’re rushing it because they know that they’re going against the will of voters, that they’re disrespecting voters by doing so,” said Jonathan Schleifer, executive director of the Fairness Project, a Washington-based organization that supported Medicaid ballot initiatives in Utah, Idaho, Maine, Montana and Nebraska over the past two years.

It is a sloppy piece of legislation that couldn’t be further from what voters wanted, and they’re rushing it because they know that they’re going against the will of voters. Jonathan Schleifer, executive director of the Fairness Project

The Herbert administration would have to resolve all the outstanding questions the bill poses and the federal government would have to approve waivers for standard Medicaid rules in less than two months, which is much more quickly than it typically acts.

“Nothing about how the federal government moves and operates gives me much hope or assurance that you’re going to get a waiver at all, much less one in a time frame that is going to be less than 60 days,” King said.

The biggest uncertainty pertains to the funding. Under the legislation, Utah would ask the federal government to break precedent by providing the full 90 percent funding for a partial expansion. The Trump administration last year rejected such requests from Arkansas and Massachusetts, following the Obama administration’s policy against partial expansions.

Utah has even tried this before. Herbert signed legislation last year approving a partial expansion and submitted a request for approval to federal authorities. That would have covered about half as many people as a full Medicaid expansion. The state withdrew its application after the ballot initiative passed.

The new bill also calls for work requirements and for locking out enrollees who fail to meet them, but it does not specify what they would be and how they would be enforced. It also would cap enrollment for otherwise eligible Utahns if cost projections for the expansion exceed the amount of money appropriated for the year.

The attempt to overturn voters on Medicaid expansion comes a month after Herbert signed legislation to replace a medical marijuana initiative voters approved last year with a new law. In the aftermath of voters passing the marijuana and Medicaid measures, Utah lawmakers also are eying changes to the ballot initiative process to let the Legislature alter voter-backed policies before they take effect.

This article has been updated with a statement from a spokesman for Utah Gov. Gary Herbert.

Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/

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Louisiana coroner claims first THC-related death, but some experts are skeptical

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/

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‘A bleak prospect’: why legal weed in Britain may be a pipe dream

While public interest is growing, experts say a mix of political and social factors is holding back change

The legalization of cannabis in the US shows no signs of slowing down but the prospect of a green rush in the UK, experts say, is bleak.

The consultancy Hanway Associates aims to bring North American-style cannabis capitalism to the UK and Europe. This month, the group is hosting the Cannabis Europa conference in London, but its CEO, George McBride, does not expect drastic change anytime soon.

According to a 2018 survey commissioned by the drug policy thinktank Volteface, which has ties to Hanway, 59% of the British public supports cannabis legalization. But the political dynamics that have made legal marijuana all but inevitable in the US are absent in the UK.

In both countries, there are racial discrepancies in drug enforcement. However, the aggressive and widely despised police tactics associated with Americas war on drugs never took hold in Britain, nor did they contribute to mass incarceration and other life-ruining consequences for perpetrators.

Second, as McBride and his colleague Alastair Moore note, the UK hasnt experienced an opioid crisis, or the subsequent disillusionment with mainstream pharmaceuticals and the medical field. Nor is there an entrenched constituency of veterans suffering from PTSD, concussive brain injuries and other ailments, which have led to a desperate search for alternatives.

While the British public is interested in medical marijuana, and CBD is advertised on many high streets in particular, there does not seem to be any significant constituency eager to implement a for-profit industry on a large scale. And there is not an industry-funded medical marijuana lobby insisting on the issues urgency.

Last year, Charlotte Caldwell, a Northern Irish mother, arrived at Heathrow from Canada with her son Billy, a 12 year-old who has a severe seizure disorder, and cannabis oil she acquired to treat him. When authorities confiscated the medicine, it led to a public outcry, and within weeks the UK had legalized medical marijuana for a very limited number of patients. It was the biggest cannabis story in Britain since the scare about high potency skunk weed in the 1990s. But it hardly galvanized the country to legalize it for everyone.

Experts say the prospect of a green rush in the UK is bleak. Illustration: George Wylesol/THE GUARDIAN

Public support for legalization in the UK is broad but not deep, McBride said. In other words, its not an issue that decides how people vote. The same can largely be said for the Trump-era US, but the political levers American legalization supporters have wielded so effectively dont really exist in the UK. In particular, theres no equivalent of the state referendums which have been crucial to legalizing in many of the states that have legalized medical marijuana and almost all of those that have legalized the drug for recreational use.

Finally, one of the most effective arguments for legalizing in the US is that it makes more sense to regulate and tax the drug, rather than allow lawless cartels to control it. Thus far, US marijuana taxes have not brought much money into state coffers, but the argument appeals to the American mind.

In the UK, however, legalization actually polls lower when you ask about taxing it. McBride and Moore attributed it to skepticism towards business, coming both from the left and the protectionist right. The specter of violent drug traffickers doesnt loom as large in the British imagination.

Still, major social developments in the US usually reach Britain somehow. I suspect a combination of social and corporate pressure could eventually change minds. Within two or three years, as attractive cannabis cafes become more familiar in Chicago, Boston and California, and more professional Americans incorporate cannabis into their lives, more Brits will become curious, not to say envious. As that happens, growing cannabis companies will start looking for effective arguments to persuade the public in Britain and other countries. Until then, theyve got their hands full trying to turn a profit in North America.

Read more: http://www.theguardian.com/us

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Thailand approves medical marijuana

(CNN)Thailand’s interim parliament voted to allow the use of medical cannabis, one of the senators who worked on the bill told CNN on Tuesday. Recreational use of the drug remains illegal.

Lawmaker Somchai Sawangkarn said the passing of an amendment to allow medical marijuana in the country “could be considered as a New Year gift to Thais.” “The amendment (on the Narcotics Bill) was passed the second and third readings today. And will become effective once it is published on the Royal Gazette,” he said.”
The National Legislative Assembly’s 166 members voted in favor of the change and there were no votes objecting to the motion. There were 13 members who abstained from the vote.
    This makes Thailand the first country in Southeast Asia to allow the use of medical marijuana. The region is notorious for its hardline approach to drugs and strict penalties for drug-related crimes.

    Sign up here to get The Results Are In with Dr. Sanjay Gupta every Tuesday from the CNN Health team.

    The British government approved medical marijuana earlier this year, and it became available on November 1 from the National Health System to patients with a prescription.
      Medications derived from cannabis became legal in Germany last year. Medical marijuana is also legal in Australia and Ireland.
      In the Unites States, medical marijuana is legal in 30 states, though the laws governing what’s permitted vary from state to state, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

      Read more: http://edition.cnn.com/

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      Thailand Approves Medical Marijuana In Regional First

      In a regional first, Thailand’s junta-appointed parliament voted Tuesday to approve marijuana for medical use. A top lawmaker described the vote as a holiday gift to the country.

      “This is a New Year’s gift from the National Legislative Assembly to the government and the Thai people,” said Somchai Sawangkarn, chairman of the drafting committee, according to Reuters.

      Lawmakers voted to amend the Narcotic Act of 1979 to legalize the production, import, export, possession and use of cannabis for medical and research purposes, Bangkok Post reported. Recreational marijuana remains illegal in the country.

      Sawangkarn noted that the amendment will come into effect once it’s published in the Government Gazette, the country’s public journal. 

      Thailand is the first country in Southeast Asia to legalize medical marijuana. The region has some of the world’s toughest penalties for drug law violations, with marijuana traffickers potentially facing the death penalty in nearby countries like Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia. 

      In an apparent response to news of Thailand’s impending medical marijuana vote, Singapore’s government issued a stern warning earlier this year that it would duly punish any citizen or permanent resident found to have consumed marijuana abroad. Singapore’s Central Narcotics Bureau reminded people that it conducts enforcement checks at immigration checkpoints and that “any Singapore Citizen or Permanent Resident found to have abused controlled drugs overseas will be treated as if [they] had abused drugs in Singapore.” 

      Thailand has a long tradition of marijuana use for medical relief. As Reuters noted, the drug was traditionally used to relieve pain and fatigue until the 1930s when it was banned. 

      Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/

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      Best Valentine’s Day gifts for her: Thoughtful items to up the romance and leave the clichs behind

      She'll love this stuff.
      Image: mashable photo composite

      Happy Valentine’s Day season, lovebirds. Here’s how to impress your wife, fiancé, girlfriend, or that cute girl at work that you always flirt with in one step:

      1. Don’t get her a cheap teddy bear or the on-sale necklace that Kay Jewelers is shoving down your throat.

      That’s it, that’s the whole gift guide.

      Okay, we’re not done yet, but you get the gist. While she’ll appreciate anything you get her (and a bouquet of roses is totally an acceptable add-on), we’re picking the bar up off the floor and giving you some legit suggestions this year. Why give jewelry every year when she’s been complaining about how crappy her laptop is?

      Real romance isn’t about the amount of money you spend or picking out an obnoxious stuffed animal. It’s about showing that you pay attention to her complaints, hone in on her gushing about stuff she likes, and showing how much you appreciate what she does for you by doing something for her. You know, that deep stuff.

      From wine and beauty subscriptions to smart tech to thoughtful personalized items, there’s an option for whatever type of lady you’ve got on your hands — even if that type is Picky as Hell.

      Here are the best gift ideas for her this Valentine’s Day:

      Read more: http://mashable.com/

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      This longtime cannabis investor has funded Pax and Juul, among others; heres her approach

      If you’re a cannabis investor or a founder working on a cannabis-related startup, you’ve probably heard of Poseidon Asset Management.

      The San Francisco-based investment firm is one of very few that is focused narrowly on the industry, which remains fairly insular for now. Poseidon has also been at it longer than most outfits, having begun making bets on cannabis-related companies six years ago. More, Poseidon has managed to stuff checks into some of the fastest growing companies in the sector, including the cannabis vaporizer company Pax Labs and the e-cigarette company Juul, whose founders created the Pax vaporizer before peeling off to win over smokers. Indeed, because Poseidon has largely invested the money of high-net worth individuals and family offices, it hasn’t been constrained by the same vice clauses — or restrictions by backers like pension funds and other institutions —  that can often hamper where venture capitalists invest.

      Poseidon is notable for yet another reason, too. It was founded by siblings Emily and Morgan Paxhia, whose parents both died of different cancers at the ages of 46 and 52, respectively. In fact, despite — or because of — being a young teenager at the time, Emily Paxhia says she can still very much remember the hospice nurse who recommended to her father that he smoke pot to ease his pain. Little did Paxhia know then that the cannabis — then a surprising and exotic concept — would later inform the career she now enjoys.

      We talked about it earlier this week, as well as how Paxhia and her brother decided back in 2013 that cannabis was going to be the next big thing. If you’re curious about their path, and where they’re shopping now, read on.

      TC: You grew up in Buffalo and you say your parents were entrepreneurial.

      EP: Our dad restored homes in an economically depressed part of Buffalo, and our mom worked for a real estate agency. When began running his books, voila, we had a family business.

      TC: Then he became sick when you and your siblings were young. How did that impact you?

      EP: He was a dyed-in-the-wool hippy. We had Woodstock tickets in our home. He never really accepted the status quo, which I think informs the way we view the world. But yes, he became aggressively sick with cancer in 1994 and passed away in 1996, and it was this non-virtuous cycle, where they would put him on this or that medication and each had its own terrible side effects. Finally, a hospice nurse who came to our home said, ‘John, maybe you some smoke some pot.’ She told us it would help with his appetite and reduce his anxiety and help him sleep. It was this palliative care thing that had been stigmatized but she believed was useful. I don’t know if he tried it or not, but then he passed away, and five years later, our mother, who was very healthy and ran and took care of herself, also died of cancer.

      I’ve often looked back and thought that if my parents had [used cannabis at the end of their lives], they would not have suffered so greatly.

      TC: How did you get from Buffalo to starting a fund in San Francisco, seemingly out of the blue?

      EP: After college, I was spending time in New York and in San Francisco, working in market research, including on behalf of Amex and Viacom and Comedy Central — all companies competing in markets that were very saturated. It was hard to find white space. When I moved to California [full time], I started to see people lining up outside the doors of dispensaries and I thought, ‘Here are people who ordinarily wouldn’t break a law, but they’re doing something that’s federally illegal because they want cannabis. Brick-and-mortar is dying elsewhere and it’s thriving here. This is what product-market fit looks like.’

      TC: At what point did you decide to partner with your brother and why?

      EP: He worked for UBS during the downturn [of 2008] and then he landed in Rhode Island, working for a private registered investment advisor. And I called him, and I said, “Dude. I think the ‘thing’ of our generation is cannabis.” I actually remember where I was standing in San Francisco. We’d always though we’d be in business together, and he took me 100 percent seriously, and then we couldn’t turn it off. From that point on, we were figuring out how do we participate in this.

      It was Morgan who identified that a fund made the most sense, that the industry was happening and it was very underserved from a tech and investor perspective. He knew the industry was going to need funding and that investors would need an actively managed strategy.

      TC: How did you get started?

      EP: It was hard. It was very hard to find attorneys to work with us, but we did. The same was true of auditors and back office administration. Everything that’s normally a check-the-box type of process was hard.

      TC: What about investors? How did you begin lining these up with out a track record?

      EP:  I had that qualitative consulting experience, working with brands and helping them scale; Morgan had traditional investment experience. But there were no data sets at the time. All we could do was be ‘in market’ all the time. We traveled to be with companies. We traveled to different geographies because each has such complicated regulatory nuances to it.

      Raising money was really difficult. We got laughed at quite a bit. It’s funny, many of our earliest investors were lawyers because I think they understood the real, versus the perceived, risk involved in what we were doing.

      TC: Eventually, you began to assemble this evergreen-type fund and you began investing while fundraising. Where you shopping at at the outset?

      EP: We focused initially on the tech aspect of the industry. To us, that was where we saw the biggest gap and the biggest opportunity to potentially scale quickly. Also, those companies tended to be started by tech founders who were [secondarily] interested in cannabis.

      TC: How were you drumming up deal flow?

      EP:  It was going into stores, seeing what they were using in terms of tech, talking with retail associates about what people were buying, going to industry events and to cannabis job fairs to see was hiring, then starting to build relationships with those companies. We knew as entrepreneurs ourselves that being as founder friendly as possible would be the key to our deal flow. And we start having founders bringing us other founders. We’ve now led 20 rounds at this point, and our best deal flow has come from the founders themselves.

      But it’s also been a matter of getting out there and walking up to people and saying, “Have you thought about raising capital? If so, let’s keep talking.”

      TC: Do you feel like you now recognize founders who you shouldn’t back?

      EP: What 100 percent does not work in this industry is hubris. In other areas of business, a certain level of confidence bodes well for founders. But this is not a move-fast-and-break-things industry. There are so many regulatory challenges that you really need to know the lay of the land. I’ve seen people come in and bounce right out again because of their attitude.

      Founders also need to understand the extra costs in time and money that come with running these business and to model accordingly; otherwise, projections are off and valuations are off and you’re facing a potentially down round later in time.

      TC: You were able to return money to investors in January, after Juul distributed a special dividend. Is that your biggest exit to date?

      EP: That was a big one, but we’ve had other big exits out of [an earlier] pair of funds through [several investments in Canadian companies], including [medical marijuana company] Aphria [which went public last October] and Canopy Growth [which went public in 2014, is Canada’s second-largest grower, and is currently valued at roughly $15 billion]. Canada is a very different market. You can order cannabis from the government and it will arrive in the postal mail. It’s very top-down unlike in the U.S., where the market is very bottom-up and state by state.

      There’s a lot of investment going on [across U.S. and Canada]. It’s very permeable at this point. I was in Toronto last week, and licensed producers there want to invest more in California. We’re meanwhile looking at Latin America and Europe–

      TC: That’s interesting. Where in Latin America and why?

      EP: The cost to produce cannabis in Colombia is extremely low. Cannabis grows on a 12-hour cycle very well and the equator runs through the country’s southern sector [making its warm climate conducive to the plant’s growth]. Local companies can export the products at a lower cost than in Canada and Europe. [Operators there] also have distribution relationships with European markets [that are buying medical marijuana].

      Mexico is also expected to roll out its medical program in the fourth quarter of this year, which is exciting.

      TC: Obviously these places have been home to drug cartels for years. Do you worry that these same organizations will take an interest in what’s being built legally in their backyards?

      EP: We’ve gotten comfortable with both places. I think the cartels have begun to pivot to other places, like meth. I also don’t think it’s worth it to the cartels to get involved with legal government channels. And the groups that we focus on are themselves focused on medical cannabis and distribution to other medical touch points globally [and not the same places into which cartels are trying to move goods].

      TC: I’ve read that Poseidon is trying to raise a new, $75 fund. How far along are you?

      EP: We have capital commitments for half the fund and hope to close it this summer. We want to be able to deploy [more capital] before legalization is [more widespread] and we have to compete with bigger funds.

      TC: What is your pacing like? Relatedly, how fast do you have to move on this investments, or do you have all the time in the world right now?

      EP: We expect to invest this new fund in 15 companies over two years. We’ve funded five startups with it since November, but we were in diligence on one of those for months. I’d say the average deal takes 60 to 90 days to pull together right now. We start our own diligence before the company is considering a Series A, which is where we invest. We want to help structure the round, to lead it, to have a board seat — to demonstrate our value add.

      TC: Are you seeing many, or any, particularly frothy deals?

      EP: Valuations are not going crazy but the more popular a deal gets, the harder it becomes, as with any investment. We’re wrestling over a term sheet right now, because other groups got a look at it and want us to lead it, but we’re also getting negotiated against a little bit.

      TC: Any parting words for investors who want to jump into the industry? Any advice?

      EP: I’d say to go to events and walk the floor to see who and what stands out.

      I went to MJBizCon [the Marijuana Business Conference and Expo] that happens annually every winter. The first few years that we went, there were a few hundred schlubby guys walking the floor. The year before last, there were 3,000 people in attendance, looking a lot less schlubby. Last year, I think there were 27,000 people, which I took as an indicator that there’s some interest in this space. [Laughs.]

      Read more: https://techcrunch.com

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      TSA Updates Policy To Address Flying With Medical Marijuana

      The Transportation Security Administration has updated its guidance regarding medical marijuana and air travel, clarifying that medications containing hemp-derived CBD are legal to fly with ― mostly.

      The update, made quietly to the TSA website over Memorial Day weekend, formally permits products containing hemp-derived CBD, and FDA-approved medications containing CBD, in both carry-on and checked luggage.

      Confusion regarding the status of Epidiolex, an FDA-approved pediatric epilepsy drug that contains CBD, prompted the change.

      The TSA didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment, but a spokesperson told CNN the agency “immediately updated” its written guidelines “once we became aware of the issue.”

      CBD, or cannabidiol, is a non-psychoactive compound found in cannabis plants. In the 2018 farm bill, the federal government legalized hemp ― a non-intoxicating form of cannabis ― and CBD that’s derived from hemp plants.

      As long as travelers have CBD in forms that adhere to the regulations in the farm bill, the TSA will now permit it on an airplane.

      But that doesn’t mean marijuana can fly. Unlike hemp, marijuana remains federally illegal, and the TSA wants to make sure you know it.

      “Possession of marijuana and certain cannabis infused products, including some Cannabidiol (CBD) oil, remain illegal under federal law,” the TSA’s updated language warns. “TSA officers are required to report any suspected violations of law, including possession of marijuana and certain cannabis infused products.”

      Marijuana Moment, a marijuana policy and advocacy blog, first reported the updated language.

      Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/

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      You Can Help Ben & Jerrys CBD-Infused Ice Cream Become A Reality

      When Will Ben & Jerry’s Release CBD-Infused Ice Cream? You Can Help Make It Happen

      At this point, you have most likely heard a thing or two about cannabidiol, also known as CBD. If you know absolutely nothing about the natural chemical compound, it’s the “non-psychoactive” compound derived from the cannabis plant, and it’s praised for an endless list of health benefits. Most importantly, it can seamlessly be infused with a variety of foods… including ice cream. So, you might be wondering, ” When will Ben & Jerry’s release CBD-infused ice cream?” You’ll be happy to know that it could actually happen soon.

      If you’ve ever had popular Vermont-based Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, you know the brand has a “good vibes only” attitude. Between creative flavors like Phish Food and Half Baked, it’s somewhat surprising they don’t already have any CBD-infused ice cream flavors. But, according to a May 30 press release, they have tentative plans to start making some.

      Yes, you heard that correctly — as long as CBD officially becomes legalized at the federal level, according to the press release, they intend to start using it. Apparently, the FDA currently prohibits adding CBD to food and beverages. However, on May 31, 2019, the FDA set a public hearing on legalizing CBD in food and beverages, and the ice cream brand has commented on the issue, in favor of it happening. So, it definitely sounds like they really hope to get started on that.

      Ben & Jerry’s

      In the press release, Ben & Jerry’s CEO Matthew McCarthy said the brand wants to create CBD-infused ice cream for fans of the brand. Just like how they created dairy-free options and pint slices in response to requests, this is something that would cater to the public in Ben & Jerry’s fashion.

      According to the press release, McCarthy said:

      We’re doing this for our fans. We’ve listened and brought them everything from Non-Dairy indulgences to on-the-go portions with our Pint Slices. We aspire to love our fans more than they love us and we want to give them what they’re looking for in a fun, Ben & Jerry’s way.

      In hopes that CBD is legalized on a federal level, Ben & Jerry’s has already started researching sustainable CBD brands from Vermont (where the ice cream is made). According to the press release, sourcing locally is very important to Ben & Jerry’s, in terms of product development.


      Now, let’s get to how can help this become a reality. If you want to be updated on all the latest in regards to the brand’s dedication to legalizing CBD for consumption (and making CBD-infused ice cream), Ben & Jerry’s recommends signing up for updates via the Ben & Jerry’s website. If you want to help voice for support for CBD to be legalized for consumption, you can also contact the FDA during the open comment window through July 2, 2019, according to the press release.


      If you still aren’t entirely sure what CBD is, it’s a compound in the cannabis plant that has psychoactive effects on you when you ingest it, unlike THC, which is the compound in cannabis that has those psychoactive properties. However, according to Dr. Stuart Titus, CEO of Medical Marijuana, Inc., CBD, can help you manage your stress, especially on a physiological level. The cannabis compound interacts with something in your body known as the endogenous cannabinoid system, which regulates your central nervous system development and your body’s responses to internal and external stress. So, CBD has the potential to help you cope with stress, and it can also stabilize your mood.


      If you’re interested in getting the effects of CBD through your fave ice cream flavors, you should definitely get cross your fingers that it will become legal at the federal level. However, it is totally up to you to contact the FDA and voice your support. I know I’ll be adding in my two cents during the comment period — my future ice cream sessions depend on it, TBH.

      Read more: http://www.elitedaily.com

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