Happy holidays everyone! Here’s hoping you all had at least a few days away from work and some extra time to enjoy god’s greatest herb. Here’s what happened in the world of weed while you were busy arguing with your family about which aspect of the Trump presidency is truly the most frightening...
You Can Buy Weed in Washington Named After Monica Lewinsky
Sugarleaf, a Washington-based pot farm released a new strain of pot named Monica Lewinsky and the former White House intern appeared to be pretty happy about it. Lewinsky tweeted an emoji-filled picture of the strain last week and said that she might “need to have [a] party just for the party favors!”
Sugarleaf’s CEO told the Huffington Post that he would love to give Lewinsky a tour of his Sedro-Wooley farm, but didn’t give any indication about why that strain earned the Lewinsky moniker.
Inslee Won’t Fund State Hemp Program
Washington’s brand-new industrial hemp program appears to be headed to a quick demise after Gov. Jay Inslee declined to include additional funding in his 2018 budget proposal. The Washington State Department of Agriculture gave out the state’s first hemp permits this year but fees collected from hemp farmers have been unable to offset the costs of running the program.
Hemp, which is any type of cannabis that has a minimal amount of THC, can be made into a wide variety of products, from building materials and clothes, to food and livestock feed. Washington is one of 30 states with an industrial hemp program. The WSDA program came under fire after several farmers accused the agency of playing favorites during the application process.
The State’s Pot Tracking Software Has Been Delayed, Again
Washington’s legal pot market will go without a functioning pot tracking database for an additional month after the state continues to have problems with its new software contractor. The Liquor and Cannabis Board originally planned to roll out the new database—which is considered a cornerstone of regulating weed in the state—on Nov. 1, but then delayed the rollout till Jan. 1, 2018. On Thursday, the LCB announced they'd have to delay the new database again, this time until Feb. 1, 2018.
Seattle’s Goodship Edibles Sells to Privateer Holdings
Seattle’s own Goodship brand of edibles announced on Wednesday that they were sold to Privateer Holdings, the private equity firm that also owns the Leafly website and the Marley Natural brand of pot products. Jody Hall, the founder of Goodship, said in a press release that joining Privateer would give the company the “resources, capital and expertise” to create new products and expand to new markets.
This merger makes a lot of sense on paper. In an era when legal weed is expanding into new states and countries every year, weed businesses are clamoring to be the first to establish nationally-recognized brands. And Goodship’s line up of cookies and candies is naturally appealing to novice weed consumers. When I wanted to buy a weed product for my grandmother, I got her some of Goodship’s Pastille candies, loaded with just a microdose of 2.5 MG of THC and packaged in a container that looks like it could be sold at Whole Foods. It was the least shocking way to introduce a new consumer to cannabis.
Neither company released details about the acquisition; Privateer is based in Seattle and claims to have raised over $150 million in funding. Check out our profile of Hall, the trailblazing Seattleite who, in addition to creating Goodship, was one of Starbuck’s earliest marketing employees and the founder of Cupcake Royale.
Sessions Rescinds 25 Guidance Memos—But Not THAT One
States that have legalized cannabis are in complete legal conflict with federal pot laws, which still consider the plant to be wholly illegal. The only legal document stopping the federal government from shutting down the billion-dollar legal weed industry is one guidance document, The Cole Memo, which was written during the Obama administration and tells states that they can experiment with legalization if they meet a number of priorities.
This document does not change federal law and can be rescinded at any moment by Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Given Sessions' status as one of our country’s most vocal opponents to pot reform, this situation makes the legal weed industry and our state government very nervous.
But the Cole Memo was notably absent from a list of 25 guidance memos rescinded last week by Sessions.
Maybe Sessions wanted to give the legal weed industry an early Christmas gift?
A Week of Congressional Weed Tweets
Pro-pot members of Congress took to the Twitter machine this week to advocate for common sense weed reform. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii called for federal decriminalization and said federal policies are “tearing apart families, and wasting huge amounts of taxpayer dollars.” Rep. Dina Titus of Nevada said Congress should pass laws that give pot businesses access to banking, and Rep. Ro Khanna of California tweeted that expunging past marijuana convictions was an “important step” in repairing the past damages of pot criminalization.
While these little tweets are merely a drop in the mind-numbing comments section that is Twitter, they also show how effective state-level weed reform is in converting powerful people into weed reform advocates. Politicians and business people quickly become weed reform allies when they see medical or recreational markets operating in person. It’s easy to hate weed when it’s hidden away on the black market, it’s hard to hate pot when you see it creating good jobs, paying huge amounts of taxes, and providing medical therapy to thousands of people.
Every additional member of Congress—our country’s strongest political body—converted to weed reform is another step towards actually changing this country’s laws on pot (which, btw, are still horribly draconian).
Bill Nye Says Federal Policy On Weed Was Made To “Suppress Poor People”
The second season of Bill Nye's Netflix series, Bill Nye Saves The World, opened with an episode about the science of cannabis, featuring a visit to a California weed dispensary and an interview with a Washington weed regulator. Nye, whose first job out of college was at Boeing’s Everett plant and who first gained attention on the Seattle sketch comedy show Almost Live!, sat down with the San Francisco Chronicle’s Greenstate website to talk pot.
Nye told Greenstate that pot’s status as a highly illegal Schedule I substance under federal law has been a tool “to oppress or suppress poor people. That’s pretty well-documented.” Nye, ever the skeptical scientists, also said that “if anybody tells you he knows all about marijuana and how it works he really doesn’t.”
Read the full interview here.
STUDY: Pot Might Not Reduce Motivation in Young People
A study published in the journal Substance Use & Misuse found that there was no link between reduced motivation and cannabis use among adolescents. The study examined 79 young people between the ages of 14 and 18 and found that after controlling for other factors, cannabis users did not appear to be less motivated.