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The Shake: Cool Companies, Woody Wants In

February 8, 2016

Five Illinois companies have pledged to support — rather than drug test and fire — employees in the state’s emerging medical marijuana system. We wish this weren’t newsworthy, but going public with this policy counts as a bold, pioneering step. A law firm, a real estate company, two health care organizations and a night club have vowed to “support reasonable HR policies that are inclusive of these patients.” The Chicago Tribune has the story of a move that may give other employers an alternative to policies that led to infamous court clashes like last year’s Dish Network case in Colorado.

Woody Harrelson wants to run a Hawaiian dispensary, and exactly nobody is surprised. The Hollywood Reporter has the story on the actor and cannabis advocate’s application, under his company Simple Organic Living, for one of the state’s eight medical marijuana licenses. Also applying: video game entrepreneur Henk Rogers, who made his fortune with Tetris and lives in Hawaii in a solar-powered home. The state will allow the eight licensees to open two dispensaries each, with a total of six on Oahu, four on the Big Island, four on Maui, and two on Kauai.

Rhode Island lawmakers plan to introduce an adult-use legalization bill in the General Assembly this week. The move comes after Gov. Gina Raimondo last week announced a proposal to raise $8 million by charging medical marijuana patients $150 per year and taxing MMJ caregivers $350 per plant.

Foria’s little helper goes nationwide. After a flurry of reports and reviews of Foria Relief in the cannabis media last month (including Leafly’s own in-house test), People picks up the vajayjay suppository story and breaks it on a Kardashian scale. After posting a short announcement piece last week, reporter Gabrielle Olya followed up today with a story packed with cautionary, it’s-not-proven-safe quotes — without noting that federal prohibition prevents peer-reviewed testing and FDA approval of any product in the cannabis space.

Arizona legalization is raising big bucks. Phoenix New Times reporter Ray Stern has a solid piece up today comparing the war chests of pro- and anti-legalization camps as they prepare for a November ballot measure. The pro-cannabis Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol has raised nearly $900,000 since 2014, and it has about $500,000 on hand as of the end of 2015. Anti-cannabis forces, led by Yavapai County Attorney Sheila Polk, had about $70,000 on hand at year’s end. Polk herself is one of her campaign’s biggest donors, while most of the legalization money came from the national Marijuana Policy Project and various Arizona-based medical marijuana dispensaries.


  • The Oklevueha Native American Church, in Costa Mesa, Calif., continues its fight to use cannabis in ceremonies. The church’s dispensary was raided by police late last month.
  • CATO Institute senior fellow Ilya Shapiro, a conservative critic of President Obama, calls on the president to deschedule cannabis through executive action.
  • Some local charities in Colorado are troubled by donations from cannabis-related businesses. Many growers and retailers “want to leverage their success by giving back to the community,” reports, but 30 percent of charities aren’t sure they can or want to accept their donations. Some say they don’t know how. Here’s your Leafly tip of the day, nonprofits: Accept, say “Thank you,” and move on.

Emerging Markets Update: New York Might Double Dispensaries