Alaska’s budtender education requirement is a step toward legitimizing marijuana lounges.

Last week, I talked to a bunch of marijuana professionals about their predictions for the weed industry in 2016. Patrick Devlin of Zoots Premium Cannabis Infusions said he thought we'll see more national celebrity brands in the market. Well, that day may come sooner than expected.

The Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board just announced a few amendments to the proposed new rules for the marijuana industry. One of the most significant changes eliminates the requirement that investors reside in Washington State, opening the door to the Doggfather and other out-of-town investors. (Financiers will still be required to pass criminal background checks.) If approved, the new rules will become effective in March.

Given that there aren't many licensees who couldn't use some capital right now, the environment seems ripe for some weed-loving fat cats to cash in. Fire up your blogs, conspiracy theorists, because corporate weed is coming!

Washington, DC, Almost Allows Pot Lounges

The council of the District of Columbia, where the possession and growing of marijuana is legal, voted recently to remove its ban on public consumption in areas where cigarette smoking is already allowed, making it legal to smoke marijuana at some rooftop bars, sidewalk cafes, and private clubs. But then the council members immediately changed their minds and voted to keep the ban for another 90 days.

As NORML's general counsel, Keith Stroup pointed out on his blog, "The council approved the ban, thinking it would be judicious to refrain from (literally) blowing smoke in the face of members of Congress who oppose legalization."

The ban on public consumption has been in place since the city's legalization measure passed in November 2014. DC currently has no legal retail outlets, due to congressional hand-tying. (Congress has control over DC's budget and also banned the city from any spending related to enacting or enforcing its legalization law.) So people who want to obtain pot have to grow their own. However, people who live in federally subsidized housing are under federal law and thus cannot grow or consume pot, meaning that low-income people are forced to buy weed off the black market.

Colorado Recalls Another Product Due to Pesticides

Since legalization in Colorado, there have been 14 product recalls due to pesticides. On December 30, Denver announced the state's 15th pesticide-related recall, this time of nearly 100,000 edibles manufactured by Mountain High Suckers. According to the Cannabist, the suckers and lozenges in question were made with pot that had been sprayed with two banned pesticides, including Eagle 20.

In a statement on Mountain High Suckers' Facebook page, the company says, "A couple of weeks ago it was brought to our attention that our products may contain pesticides that have been deemed unusable on cannabis. We decided to take a proactive step and submit samples of all of our products for pesticide testing so we can help make sure that our products are safe. Going forward, we will be voluntarily submitting every concentrate batch we make for full pesticide screening before we make products."

While it's nice that the company will now fully test its products, it would have been better if they hadn't sprayed the pesticides in the first place. The fact that pesticide screening isn't required for all pot products before they hit market in Colorado—and Washington as well—is baffling. recommended