To reschedule or not to reschedule? The DEA will decide by mid-2016. The Drug Enforcement Administration has promised to decide later this year whether to remove cannabis from the list of Schedule I controlled substances. The pledge comes in response to a letter sent last December by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and seven other politicians, including outspoken cannabis advocates Sens. Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY). The lawmakers' letter, addressed to leadership at the Department of Health and Human Services, the Office of National Drug Control, and the DEA, includes many common concerns regarding obstacles to medical cannabis research due to the substance's current Schedule I classification. In their response, the agencies say they'll provide a rescheduling recommendation and other requested information by mid-year. The agencies haven't said which way they're leaning, only that they may or may not reschedule. We'll see.
Investors from Facebook and Reddit dive into the cannabis industry. Meadow, a San Francisco-based cannabis start-up, announced it has received $2.1 million from a notable group of investors, including Reddit CEO and Founder Steve Huffman, former Facebookers now at Slow Ventures, Joe Montana’s investment fund, Liquid 2 Ventures, and Twitch creator Justin Kan. Based in SoMa, Meadow focuses on powering online delivery services and dispatch for dispensaries, but it is likely they’ll be expanding to include other areas of the industry, including supply, medical marijuana clinics, and dispensary software. Meadow co-founder and CEO David Hua, said the company was “choosy” in its funding round, adding that he’s known Kan, of Twitch, for years. The two went to the same Burning Man group, Hua said. “He’s a brother from another mother.”
Prominent cannabis businessman denies he inspired a California bill that significantly helps him. Assemblymember Rob Bonta introduced Assembly Bill 2613 with three very specific criteria convicted drug felons must meet in order to qualify for a business license under new state regulations: the conviction must have occurred in another state, resulted in no jail time, and the felon must be approved by a local licensing body. All three apply to Steve DeAngelo, the outspoken cannabis supporter who operates the massive Harborside Health Center. DeAngelo, who also helped launch cannabis testing laboratory Steep Hill Labs, and investor consulting service the ArcView Group, is adamant that the bill wasn't drafted as a favor to him, but a Northern California grower tells BuzzFeed otherwise: “It’s like a running joke in the industry at this point," said Casey O’Neill of Happy Day Farms. "Steve got a bill written for himself.”
- New research suggests that cannabis use before a heart attack may help improve chances for survival. The odds of surviving a myocardial infarction were higher among patients who had used cannabis, according to a new study from the American College of Cardiology. Researchers analyzed 3,800 heart-attack patients who reported recent cannabis use. Doctors insist further research is needed.
- How do you know a Senate hearing on cannabis is a sham? When the guy who called it says “good people don’t smoke marijuana.” Thanks for your intellectual honesty (yet again), Sen. Chuck Grassley!
- Washington cannabis regulators review application process after convicted murderer wins retail license. State officials are reviewing the licensing process after George Garrett, who pleaded guilty to second-degree murder for killing his wife and dumping her body in 1993, was awarded a license for his retail cannabis shop. He disclosed the murder conviction on the application, but because it was more than 10 years old, it did not disqualify him.
- Cannabis businesses form "Green Team" to clean up trash around town. The group, dubbed the SoDo Green Team, consists of industry volunteers who gather cannabis-related trash that accumulates around Seattle's South Downtown dispensaries.
- A Michigan ex-lawmaker faces jail time after being found with 71 plants and 3 pounds of cannabis. Former Rep. Roy Schmidt pleaded no contest to the charges and maintained that he grew the extra amount after undergoing painful and extensive back surgery. It's enough to make you wonder whether physicians should be able to recommend greater amounts of cannabis based on the severity of a patient’s medical condition.
- Roll one up with Panama Papers! On the heels of a major release of top-secret files about world leaders and their sneaky attempts at tax evasion comes one of the greatest tongue-in-cheek fake products to evert troll the world’s leadership: “Introducing Panama Papers for world leaders with green to burn…”
- And finally, a Florida suspect carrying cannabis attempted to flee police on a hoverboard.Welcome to the future.