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California's legal marijuana market has begun
 
California began its first sales of legal recreational marijuana on Monday, New Year's Day. While San Francisco and Los Angeles lacked any licensed shops, San Jose and Berkeley shops with licenses sold their first recreational cannabis to pioneering marijuana attorney Henry Wykowski and the first family of California marijuana activism, Chris Conrad and Mikki Norris. The state began issuing temporary licenses ahead of its January 1 mandate, according to the California Cannabis Bureau. In addition to the more than 400 licenses issued by the Bureau, over 4,400 users have registered with the Bureau's online system and more than 1,800 applications have been submitted. Meanwhile, the US Border Patrol, which operates within 100 miles of the US borders with Mexico and the Pacific Ocean, says "nothing changed on our end," and will continue to prosecute and confiscate marijuana at its eight California checkpoints.

Marijuana Policy Project founder Rob Kampia is no longer employed by or serves on the board of the organization. He is starting a new cannabis policy group called Marijuana Leadership Campaign (MLC), structured as a for-profit LLC consulting firm. The new company "will focus almost exclusively on changing U.S. laws," Kampia said in a relatively unusual memo shared with Marijuana Moment late Saturday night, which also says that the firm has lined up "nearly $500,000 in seed money" from "a marijuana investment firm in Los Angeles, a major marijuana dispensary in Colorado, Kampia's wealthy friends in Texas (where he lives half-time) and a coalition of new donors in South Carolina." The split with MPP is occurring as greater attention is being paid to past allegations of sexual misconduct by Kampia amidst a national backlash against workplace sexual harassment and abuse. The memo appears to lay out the case that Kampia's departure from MPP has nothing to do with any old or new allegations of sexual misconduct, or with rumors of a new sexual misconduct story coming out soon in a major newspaper. Kampia acknowledged in the interview that he "did know that there was a story in the works somewhere."

A son of Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson is among those with ties to the state's burgeoning medical marijuana industry, according to documents unveiled this week. Asa Hutchinson III is the listed agent for DB Science LLC on an application for a cultivation facility in Washington County. The younger Hutchinson is an attorney in that county and a son of the governor. The younger Hutchinson also is listed as the incorporator/organizer of DB Science LLC under its business listing with the secretary of state's office. Gov. Hutchinson, a Republican who formerly headed the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, publicly opposed Issue 6, the ballot initiative that Arkansas voters approved in November 2016 to legalize medical marijuana.

A handful of lawmakers are proposing changes to some of New Hampshire's policies on marijuana in 2018. In September, possessing three-fourths of an ounce of marijuana became a violation rather than a crime. Those caught get a $100 fine and no jail time. But before the law changed, people were arrested for having this amount and that arrest remains on their records. Senate Minority Leader Jeff Woodburn, D-Whitefield, and 12 other lawmakers from both parties want to change that. There's also a bill allowing qualified patients under the state's medical marijuana law to grow their own cannabis. Meanwhile, in neighboring Vermont, the House Judiciary Committee will discuss a pending Senate-passed marijuana legalization bill on Wednesday. The full body is expected to vote later in the week on sending the measure to Gov. Phil Scott (R), who has pledged to sign it.

Organizers of the two primary efforts to get marijuana legalization on the Florida 2018 ballot say they won't come close to collecting the required 766,000 petition signatures by the Feb. 1 deadline. The groups now hope that 2020 will be their year. "We're going to continue on," said Michael Minardi, a Tampa attorney who leads Regulate Florida, which is proposing a constitutional amendment that would allow Floridians over the age of 21 to use, cultivate and sell marijuana. A separate pro-legalization group, Floridians for Freedom, wants to make cannabis cultivation, possession and use a basic right for adults over 21 under Article 1 of the Florida Constitution. Florida would likely join Michigan as states looking to legalize through voter initiative in 2020.