❝ …Morning is a sacred time for the 46-year-old CEO, who has two rules for starting the day: Always eat breakfast. Don’t eat with anybody but your kids. Though abiding by rule No. 2 means eating alone, if he’s on the road—which is a lot these days, particularly since Kennedy’s company, Tilray, went public in July. In a couple of hours he’ll board his 135th flight of the year—a stat he can tell you because his assistant, knowing how he relishes data, sends him monthly analytics on his own travel (in 2018, he flew 23% more miles than he did the year before). At the moment, though, his 4-year-old daughter, in a pink tutu, is stirring the batter skeptically from her perch atop the kitchen island. “Papa, I think you forgot the flour,” she chides. Kennedy’s family moved into the new house a few weeks after Tilray went public, and he still struggles to find things in his own kitchen. He shrugs as he begins scrambling eggs and frying bacon in another pan: “My kids say pancakes are the only thing I’m good at.”
❝ Of course, his children are too young to know that what their dad is really good at is—at least for the moment—illegal in much of the U.S. and the world. Tilray sells cannabis, a.k.a. pot, weed, and more than 1,000 other colorful nicknames, for the medical-marijuana market and, more recently, the recreational one. It wears the crown as the hottest IPO of 2018, returning 315% for the year and valuing the Canada-based but American-run company at $9 billion today. The kids don’t know that the IPO—his daughter got to help ring the bell at the Nasdaq—made Kennedy not only a billionaire but the richest man in the legal marijuana business, and maybe the face of its future. Or that after pancakes today, he’ll shake hands with officials at Anheuser-Busch InBev, the behemoth behind Budweiser, to form a $100 million partnership aimed at creating a cannabis-infused substitute for beer.
RTFA. Enjoyable, worthwhile. I have a tiny portion of my retirement account invested in Canadian cannabis. Not Tilray; but, as you’ll learn from this article, they’re one of the best. And, sooner or later, the United States will be pressed into joining the 21st Century and the more advanced capitalist democracies.
❝ The scion of a family that made a fortune in chewing gum is moving into pot…William Wrigley Jr. II, who helped orchestrate the sale of his family’s business to Mars Inc. in 2008, led a $65 million investment round for Surterra Wellness, a medical cannabis startup in Georgia with licenses to operate in Florida and Texas. The funding brings the total raised so far to $100 million, according to Surterra.
Wrigley, 54, who left the gum and candy business after the sale, backs companies through a personal investment arm based in West Palm Beach, Florida. After an initial investment in Surterra in September, Wrigley is boosting his stake and assuming the role of chairman…
❝ Wrigley…said he got into the industry mainly because of marijuana’s medical benefits. He said he’s tapping his experience with product distribution and brand-building to drive growth at Surterra. The cannabis company operates 10 medical dispensaries in Florida, including one in Miami Beach, and has a license to operate in the nascent Texas market.
Too bad there aren’t more than a handful of folks in that intellectual desert known as Congress who might support businesses like this nationwide. Much less lose the archaic regulation of personal cannabis consumption as if it was the Devil’s own candy.
Someone tell Congress. If you can find someone there who understands more than 6th-grade-schoolyard-politics.
Thanks, Barry Ritholtz
❝ Attorney General Jeff Sessions is clearly fired up to fight state marijuana laws. Unfortunately for him, Congress just doused his chances.
The new 1,665-page spending bill maintains a provision that prevents the Department of Justice from using any of its funds to hamper state laws related to medical marijuana. The department cannot “prevent any of them from implementing their own laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession, or cultivation of medical marijuana,”…
❝ The section that ties the hands of the Department of Justice on medical marijuana enforcement is not new. It has been around since 2015. But it received little fanfare amid the Obama Administration, which took a lenient stance on enforcing federal marijuana laws in states that legalized use…
…Sessions can still go after recreational use of marijuana in the eight states that have passed such laws. But without funding, Sessions has little ability to fight the medical marijuana laws in 29 states and the District of Columbia.
❝ Congress appears to be growing increasingly comfortable with states adopting their own marijuana policies. Unfortunately, spending prohibitions like these expire at the end of the fiscal year, so there is still a need for a long-term solution.
Another good reason to support independent-minded politicians of any identity. Yes, it’s important to fight and win battles to get for-real change into legislation. But, when we’re stuck with a swamp full of bought-and-paid-for right-wing pimps and ass-backwards 19th Century moralists – even getting the occasional beginner into office who doesn’t think progress is a dirty word is worth supporting.
❝ …Indeed, the marijuana industry seems set to explode. This week, Arcview Market Research announced that in 2016, the legal weed market in North America generated $6.7 billion, up 30% from 2015, when marijuana was the second-biggest growth industry in the US (after peer-to-peer lending platforms).
❝ Washington DC, and 28 states have passed laws, with various caveats, allowing medical marijuana use. As of this month, recreational cannabis is legal in Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, and DC. Possession has been decriminalized in 13 states. Overall, more than 20% of adult Americans now have access to weed, medically or recreationally.
❝ …“Canadians have had a medical marijuana program since the 1990s. I grew up knowing adults who smoked weed,” Lisa Harun, co-founder of Vapium, explains. “It’s medically recommended for 200 conditions, and it could help a lot of people who are popping pills right now.”
After more than a year of research and development, in early 2014, Vapium released its first device and there’s no going back for Harun or the company. She was a little nervous to talk to her “elders” about the new manufacturing plans at first, explaining, “I do a pulse check before launching any conversation.” But everyone’s been surprisingly receptive, from her 12-year-old nephew…to her 85-year-old great aunt, who expressed hope that the cannabis vaporizers find use in every home.
❝ Harun believes the increasing recognition of weed as therapy makes it ever-easier to get into the industry. She suggests that anyone who is interested consider either applying an existent passion to the developing marijuana market — like law or baking, say — or for those who don’t know what they love yet, use this trick to figure out a way in: “Think of a problem you want to solve and the people who suffer from it — even something simple like stress, or menstrual pain — and consider how cannabis could be or is being used to address it.”
I guess I should look at the baking side of the equation. It’s been almost 60 years since I quit smoking and even a half-legit rationale for vaping couldn’t tempt me. OTOH, if I get to where I need chemical/pharmaceutical management techniques for pain management – I’d probably try working some weed into my weekly batch of bran/blueberry muffins.
❝ The case of a Canadian man barred from US travel because he admitted to having smoked pot recreationally has sparked a debate about US border agents using a federal law against marijuana use, even though pot use is legal in several states and soon to be legal in Canada.
“We obviously need to intensify our discussions with our border authorities in the United States, including the Department of Homeland Security,” the public safety minister, Ralph Goodale, said in an interview with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation…
“This does seem to be a ludicrous situation,” he said, noting that marijuana is legal in Washington state as well as “three or four other jurisdictions in the United States”.
❝ …British Columbia resident Matthew Harvey was stopped at a US border crossing in Washington state in 2014 and asked about recreational marijuana use. When Harvey, who had a permit to use medical marijuana, said he had smoked pot recreationally, he was denied entry and banned from future entry. While he can apply for a travel waiver to be admitted temporarily, it is costly and discretionary.
❝ The Liberal prime minister, Justin Trudeau, campaigned on a promise to legalize recreational marijuana and the government has said it would introduce legislation by the spring of 2017.
What will it take to enlighten the government of a nation with the largest, wealthiest economy on the planet to crawl out of the political swamp and into the light of the 21st Century?
Our politicians do everything possible to guarantee every American an opportunity to shoot whoever we wish to, drive drunk until we kill a minimum number of strangers, and – by the way – ensure every opportunity for corporate pimps of every stripe to buy as many politicians as needed to pervert the collection of taxes which could pay for a modern, competent education.
But, don’t cross that border and stand on our sacred soil if you ever smoked a joint.
❝ A federal appeals court has banned the Justice Department from prosecuting medical marijuana cases if no state laws were broken.
A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco ordered the federal agency to show that 10 pending cases in California and Washington state violated medical marijuana laws in those states before continuing with prosecutions…
❝ Marijuana remains illegal under federal law, but Congress has barred the Justice Department from spending money to prevent states from regulating the use or sale of medical pot.
Federal prosecutors argued unsuccessfully that Congress meant only to bar the department from taking legal action against states and that it could still prosecute individuals who violate federal marijuana laws. The court rejected that, saying that medical marijuana-based prosecutions prevent the states from giving full effect to their own measures…
❝ Federal prosecutors could ask the 9th Circuit to reconsider the case or petition the U.S. Supreme Court to take up the issue. Justice Department spokesman Peter Carr said officials are still reviewing the decision.
Marijuana activists and lawyers representing medical pot suppliers say the ruling is a significant addition to the growing support for broad legalization of the drug. Marijuana is legal for medicinal or recreational use in 25 states and the District of Columbia. In addition, ten states have marijuana legalizations measures on the November ballot…
Hey, it’s a HUGE election year. So, we have at least four choices among the two old parties: Liberals who support freedom to choose to partake of Freedom Weed; Liberals who fear the religious conservatives in their district and will cop out as usual; Conservatives enlightened sufficiently to consult scientists and physicians on matters of the Demon Weed; Conservatives in bed with every demented religious fundamentalist who promises to deliver a churchload of votes – and forgiveness for decades of corruption and fraud.
❝ There’s a body of research showing that painkiller abuse and overdose are lower in states with medical marijuana laws. These studies have generally assumed that when medical marijuana is available, pain patients are increasingly choosing pot over powerful and deadly prescription narcotics. But that’s always been just an assumption.
Now a new study, released in the journal Health Affairs, validates these findings by providing clear evidence of a missing link in the causal chain running from medical marijuana to falling overdoses. Ashley and W. David Bradford, a daughter-father pair of researchers at the University of Georgia, scoured the database of all prescription drugs paid for under Medicare Part D from 2010 to 2013.
❝ They found that, in the 17 states with a medical-marijuana law in place by 2013, prescriptions for painkillers and other classes of drugs fell sharply compared with states that did not have a medical-marijuana law. The drops were quite significant: In medical-marijuana states, the average doctor prescribed 265 fewer doses of antidepressants each year, 486 fewer doses of seizure medication, 541 fewer anti-nausea doses and 562 fewer doses of anti-anxiety medication.
But most strikingly, the typical physician in a medical-marijuana state prescribed 1,826 fewer doses of painkillers in a given year.
The hypocritical oath of our pharmaceutical industry is “Do nothing without being assured a profit!”
❝Colombia’s President Juan Manuel Santos has signed a decree legalizing the growing and sale of marijuana for medical purposes, a dramatic shift in a country long identified with US-backed policies to stamp out drug crops.
Santos said the new regulatory framework was long overdue given that Colombians had been consuming marijuana and marijuana-based products in a legal void for years…
With the new rules, Colombia joins countries from Mexico to Chile that have experimented with legalization or decriminalization as part of a wave of changing attitudes toward drug use and policies to combat it in Latin America…
❝Proponents of the new approach say as many as 400,000 Colombians suffering from epilepsy and other ailments could benefit from the clearer regulatory framework.
Colombians for two decades have been allowed to possess small quantities of any narcotic for personal use due to a series of constitutional court rulings guaranteeing the “free development of one’s personality”.
But the congress and the executive branch have been loath to endorse such views, in part because of officials’ skittishness about showing any weakness in a country that is the biggest supplier of cocaine to the US…
❝President Santos, who has acknowledged smoking pot as a journalism student in the 1970s at the University of Kansas, repeated his commitment that the new rules only apply for medical and scientific purposes, not recreational use.
Well, that’s his position this week. Maybe – when Obama isn’t looking – he’ll let a little more reality sneak into law in Colombia, eh?