Jim Beam Heir Turns to Pot With Plan for a Cannabis Empire

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Shortly after Prohibition ended, one of Ben Kovler’s ancestors invested $5,000 in a family of distillers led by James Beauregard Beam.

Kovler, 39, sees similarities between the liquor industry of the 1930s, when his great-grandfather Harry Blum helped build Jim Beam into one of the most recognizable bourbon brands, and today’s market for cannabis. With the end of what he calls “Prohibition 2.0,” Kovler is preparing to take Green Thumb Industries public in Canada.

 GTI, a cultivator, processor and dispensary owner that operates in six U.S. states, plans to go public next month through a reverse merger with an already-listed Canadian company, Kovler, the firm’s founder and chairman, said in an interview. He’s also the biggest shareholder.
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Pro-Marijuana Super PAC Targets Pete Sessions’ House Seat

 | MAY 14, 2018

U.S. Rep. Pete Sessions’ 32nd Congressional District seat is one the Democratic Party hopes to flip in November, and it’s not alone. A pro-marijuana political action committee also wants Sessions out of his seat.

Sessions possesses a considerable amount of power in the House as an 11-term representative and the chairman of the House Committee on Rules, which sets the rules and original jurisdiction on legislative measures and can “do virtually anything during the course of consideration of a measure,” according to the committee’s website.

Sessions has used his position to take a hard stance against marijuana reform legislation. Sessions’ most recent move as committee chairman blocked reform amendments that would allow cannabis businesses operating in legal states to access banks and file business expense tax deductions. He’s also sponsored and co-sponsored several bills expressing his hard line on the subject, including the self-explanatory No Welfare for Weed Act of 2015. The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws gives Sessions an “F” rating.

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Illinois Senate & House Agriculture Committee Unanimously Approve Industrial Hemp Bill

By TG Branfalt

The Illinois Senate has unanimously approved a bill to allow the state Agricultural Department to license farmers to grow hemp, according to a WAND report. Currently, only universities can get licensed to grow hemp for research purposes in Illinois. The measure was subsequently approved by the House Agriculture & Conservation Committee and just needs to be approved by the full House before moving to the governor.

The bill includes language to ensure that the “research” requirement of federal law does not limit the commercial sale of industrial hemp products in the state. Industrial hemp is defined under the state law as cannabis plants containing 0.3 percent of THC or less – only West Virginia’s hemp law uses a higher threshold of 1 percent. The state Department of Agriculture is tasked with developing other program rules within 120 days of the bill being signed by the governor.

The House committee vote was also unanimous. The measure currently carries three House sponsors – all Democrats – and the measure was stalled in the chamber last year, according to Chicago Tonight; however, with the overwhelming support in the Senate and the committee, Illinois appears posed to become the 36th state to legalize industrial hemp cultivation.

New York’s mayor to overhaul NYPD policing on marijuana to end discrimination

By Dina Ibrahim – May 15, 2018

New York’s Mayor Bill de Blasio on Tuesday vowed to “overhaul” NYPD’s marijuana enforcement policies in the next 30 days in an apparent response to a New York Times finding published Sunday.

The daily’s finding showed the glaring disparity between blacks and whites in terms of incarceration rates over low-level marijuana charges in the Big Apple. In its report, black people were arrested on low-level marijuana charges at eight times the rate of white.

In Manhattan, where the gap is the worst, black people were arrested at 15 times the rate of white people.

In his tweet, de Blasio said: “We must end unnecessary arrests and end disparity in enforcement.”

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