7 Notable Cannabis Headlines – 10/22 Weekly Recap

by | Oct 29, 2018

Utah Senator Tries Cannabis Edible, Releases Video of His Experience

Recreational and medical cannabis legalization has become a hot topic ahead of the upcoming Midterm Elections in Utah. Proposition 2, the state’s medical marijuana initiative, will be on the ballot on November 6 and will determine the legalization of cannabis for patients with qualifying conditions.

On Saturday, and amidst serious backlash by the Mormon Church and state capitol lawmakers, Senator Jim Dabakis (D), decided to upload a video of himself consuming an edible gummy bear outside a dispensary in Las Vegas. Dabakis claimed “at least one Utah state senator” should have tried cannabis before imposing regulations on the subject. In the video, the Senator explained his move was a “sacrifice for you, the taxpayers.”

“I felt a little high, a little okay, but it didn’t change my life,” he added after eating a whole gummy bear. “Everybody, mellow out. Recognize that this is nothing to be afraid of. The people that are terrified by it seem to be the people who never tried it.”

Aurora Cannabis Now Trading On NYSE, Experiencing Losses

One of the most significant players in the Canadian marijuana industry, Aurora Cannabis went public on the New York Stock Exchange on Tuesday morning. The company is one of the few Canadian cannabis producers to go public on US-based exchanges (joining a list of companies such as Canopy Growth, Tilray and Cronos Group).

In an interview with Business Insider, Jon Trauben, a managing partner of Altitude Investment said: “We believe that the legalization in Canada offers a roadmap to invest in the companies that will form the basis of the legal cannabis industry in the coming years.” However, Aurora didn’t experience the best of starts, seeing their stocks drop 4%, after an initial gain on Thursday.

(Editor's Update: As of 10/29 – Aurora continues to fall another 12.75% on the NYSE.)

Medical Marijuana Research to Begin in Pennsylvania

One of the sectors suffering the most under the prohibition of cannabis is research. On Tuesday, the state of Pennsylvania approved the study of medical marijuana by eight universities in the greater Philadelphia area. The institutions will now have permission to study a number of conditions such as PTSD, AIDS, Crohn’s disease, opioid use and more, in relation to cannabis.

With the federal government still indecisive about its policy regarding cannabis research, Pennsylvania joins a list of states actively promoting it. Further examples include the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and UCLA, who have supported cannabis research projects despite federal limitations.

New Poll Finds 66% Of Americans Want Marijuana Legal

According to a national survey conducted by Gallup, 66% of Americans now believe cannabis should be legalized. This is the highest ever reported percentage reported by Gallup, who has been monitoring the topic for more than 45 years.

Data reveals millennials and Democrats were amongst the strongest advocates for legalization (78% and 75% respectively), with Independents following close (71%). Even the majority of the historical opponents of cannabis legalization, such as senior citizens and Republicans are now supporting it, albeit in much lower percentages (59% and 53%).

Stanford Researchers Launched a Cannabis-focused Medical Company

Jonathan Rothbard and Lawrence Steinman, two experienced Stanford Researchers, launched a medical company aiming to develop CBD-based therapies for chronic conditions like multiple sclerosis, arthritis, and Crohn’s disease. The company, called Katexco Pharmaceuticals will be based in Toronto, Canada but will have representation in California through a subsidiary.

Although CBD has been linked with a host of health benefits (from pain relief to anxiety control), science has yet to understand exactly how this compound works. CBD has shown promise in treating some forms of epilepsy, leading to the approval of Epidiolex, the first cannabidiol-based drug in the US. However, there is still a lot of research needed to reach conclusive evidence about its benefits to patients with inflammatory diseases. “You're not necessarily going to change the world the first time you try,” Rothbard said in an interview with Business Insider.

Oregon’s Marijuana Industry a Bigger Employer Than Tech Industry

According to Oregon’s Office of Economic Analysis, the alcohol and marijuana industry have collectively added more jobs to the local economy than its booming technology sector since 2007.

Although there is a significant wage gap between workers in the cannabis and tech industry (tech employees earn three times more than alcohol and cannabis employees), the data goes a long way to show how the nascent cannabis sector can contribute to the economy. “ When a new brewery opens up elsewhere in the country, there is a good probability they are buying and using Oregon-made equipment,” said OEA’s Josh Lehner.

California Expands Marijuana Deliveries Regulations

On Friday, California voted to allow marijuana deliveries in communities which have initially banned retail sales. Although communities retain the right to prohibit sales, the state deemed preventing shipments on public roads can lead to unpredictable and far-reaching adverse effects.