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Joshua Lee is a news and science reporter. He has been one of the leading cannabis reporters in New Mexico for the last five years, and his work has appeared in Weekly Alibi, Right Where You Are Sitting Now and the Disinformation Company.

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Last month Canadian cannabis company Canopy Growth filed a suit against GW Pharmaceuticals, the U.K. company that manufactures Epidiolex—the only FDA-approved CBD-based pharmaceutical on the market. The suit alleges that GW is knowingly and deliberately using a patent-protected method to extract CBD from cannabis. The suit was filed the same day that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office issued a new patent that gives Canopy exclusive rights to a CO2 extraction process in the U.S. According to Marijuana Moment, an earlier version of the patent that was originally filed in 2001 was much more lenient, but the new version has given the company broader rights.

It appears likely that the results of this lawsuit could have devastating effects on an already unstable CBD market. The extraction process itself is already commonly used across the industry by a number of companies that produce CBD products. If a court rules in favor of Canopy, the company would be in a position to file lawsuits against any of these companies.

Los Angeles-based cannabis consultant and regulatory adviser Avis Bulbulyan told HempToday that the lawsuit could be a sign that Canopy is looking to enter the marijuana-based pharmaceutical market.

The patent that makes the lawsuit possible is set to expire in 2022.

Cannabis Can Increase Property Values

A new report found that demands for commercial properties spike in areas near cannabis dispensaries. Many residential properties see a higher demand in these areas as well.

According to a report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), states that have had some form of legalized marijuana for more than three years have seen increases in demand for commercial properties—42 percent saw an increase in demand for warehouses, 27 percent saw an increase for storefronts and 21 percent saw an increase for land. These states also saw significant increases in the number of commercial lease addendums for growing and selling cannabis.

While this might not sound surprising, since an entirely new market can be expected to increase demand for commercial space, cannabis’ boost to the residential housing market could seem more counterintuitive. When this was still a new experiment over a decade ago, some argued that the opening of dispensaries was likely to affect the housing market negatively—the rationale being that upstanding citizens looking to buy homes would avoid living near cannabis sellers.

But it seems to have had the opposite effect in some areas. As communities and careers rise around the sites of cannabis production and sales, more and more professionals are looking for homes in these areas. A pre-published study in SSRN from researchers at the University of Oklahoma found that neighborhoods in Colorado and Washington experienced a 7 percent increase in home price appreciation. This increase was focused around areas where dispensaries had recently opened, suggesting that new homeowners are purposefully seeking to be near these stores for convenience.

Arizona Opens Weed Sales Only Weeks After Legalizing

Arizona made up for lost time by officially opening recreational dispensaries last week—despite having only legalized cannabis by a voter initiative last November.

Part of the law required state regulators to hasten the process of setting up rules for the market. According to KTAR News in Arizona, the state Department of Health Services approved 73 recreational cannabis business licenses last Friday, only two days after the state began accepting applications. To speed up the process, it approved companies who already sell medical cannabis first, meaning the dispensaries were already stocked and ready to open their doors immediately. Applicants had to pay a $25,000 fee to ADHS to apply.

The state law allows adults over the age of 21 to possess up to an ounce of cannabis. Those with prior convictions for possessing less than an ounce of cannabis can appeal to have the crime expunged from their record.

Marijuana advocates have been congratulating ADHS for coming through on their promise of a quick turnaround. States planning to regulate a recreational weed market in the future will likely be looking to Arizona’s implementation for guidance.

Toxic Chemicals Detected in Weed Smokers

A new study found that toxic chemicals associated with tobacco smoke have also been found in the blood and urine of cannabis smokers.

The study was published earlier this month in the journal EClinical Medicine. It analyzed data taken from three HIV studies. The study’s authors said these studies were chosen because of the prevalence of cannabis and tobacco use among the HIV-infected population.

The medical records of 245 participants were compared, and researchers found that cannabis smokers had measurable levels of naphthalene—a toxic chemical associated with anemia, liver and neurological damage—and acrylamide and acrylonitrile—chemicals associated with cancer. These chemicals are known to be found in the blood and urine of tobacco users who have never smoked marijuana. But the amount of these chemicals found in marijuana smokers was much lower.

Researchers also found that tobacco smokers had high levels of acrolein—known to contribute to cardiovascular disease—but cannabis smokers did not.

“Marijuana use is on the rise in the United States with a growing number of states legalizing it for medical and nonmedical purposes—including five additional states in the 2020 election. The increase has renewed concerns about the potential health effects of marijuana smoke, which is known to contain some of the same toxic combustion products found in tobacco smoke,” wrote lead researcher Dana Gabuzda in a statement.

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