Last Week in Weed (Issue 4)

Last Week in Weed: A weekly blog from The Simpa Life

Israel launches a cannabis index on the TASE

Israel announces new cannabis index on TASE

Israel has been at the forefront of cannabis research for decades after all it was Raphael Mechoulam – an Israeli scientist that first synthesized the cannabinoid Delta 9 THC and the endogenous cannabinoid Anandamine back in 1964.

A few years before making this discovery Mechoulam completed his post-doctoral studies at The Rockefeller Institute in New York – which is rather ironic when you consider that J.D Rockefeller was instrumental in suppressing and demonising cannabis in the early twentieth century to protect his petroleum interests.

This week saw the announcement of a new cannabis index set to launch on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE) in February. The index is made up of nine individual Israeli medical cannabis companies that are engaged in research, cultivation, or production and sale of “medical cannabis” in Israel.

The countries cannabis index has been given a rather low market cap of 1.7 billion Shekels ($529 million) but this is likely to change as the countries industry evolves and matures. I suspect that the impending creation of a “recreational” industry will be added to this index and the cap raised much higher over the coming year.

This news comes off the back of an announcement made in November 2020 that the country was to “legalise” cannabis within nine months of receiving the interministerial recommendations. The nine-month window is for the government to figure out the nuisances of “legalising” cannabis.

The Israeli model will closely resemble Canada’s but with a few exceptions. There would be a ban on sales of edibles that “look like candy” there will be no unlicensed home growing, and public consumption would remain illegal.

The proposed legislation would also reform their “medical cannabis” program and increase possession limits for consumers. Only time will tell if they can make the August 2021 deadline.

Illinois expunges half a million cannabis convictions

Illinois expunges just under 500,000 cannabis arrests 4 years early

The Midwestern state “legalised” “recreational” cannabis back in 2019 with the passing of The Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act. Notice the correct usage of cannabis and not “marijuana” this is because Illinois is one of the first states to use the botanical name and not the regional cultural colloquialism – marijuana. 

The legislation passed in May 2019 and became active on January 1st, 2020 – marking the first time a state legislator created a legal cannabis access system – opposed to a voter-led initiative overturning a state’s prohibition of cannabis.

The legislation means that residents over 21 can carry up to 30 grams of flower or equivalent weight of edibles and extracts but DOESN’T allow residents to grow their own weed. Although, doing so is only a civil offense resulting in a $200 fine. 

Predictions made when the bill came into effect in January 2020 suggested the state could generate 57 million dollars. This estimate was smashed by October when it was announced that tax and fee revenue had generated 100 million dollars so far in 2020. Making it one of the most profitable so-called “recreational states” of last year.

The Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act was supposed to provide $12,000,000 in funding for social equity programs to ensure diversity in who owns and operates the state’s dispensaries but in reality, most of the license holders and dispensary owners remain predominantly middle class, wealthy, and white.

Illinois was the first state to ratify the 13th amendment to abolish slavery back in 1835 and in keeping with this tradition they’ve just announced that 490,000 records will be expunged and 9,200 pardons granted by the governor.

“We will never be able to fully remedy the depth of that damage. But we can govern with the courage to admit the mistakes of our past-and the decency to set a better path forward. I applaud the Prisoner Review Board, the Illinois State Police, and our partners across the state for their extraordinary efforts that allowed these pardons and expungements to become a reality.” – Gov Jay Robert “J. B.” Pritzker

This announcement and implementation of these pardons and expungements are some four years ahead of the 2025 deadline set forth by the act. There remain many individuals whose lives have been destroyed by prohibition and the culture it created who will never see their slate wiped clean or their deep emotional wounds and psychological scars healed.

Killer Mike: Rapper, Activist, and cannabis advocate

Killer Mike calls for black people to have a “big stake” in the US legal cannabis industry

The final story we will look at this week is Run The Jewels’ Killer Mike’s call for black Americans to have a “big stake” in the countries legal cannabis industry as it has basically been built on their backs. 

And I’m gone be frank and say Black folks deserve a big stake. We deserve at least 25% of the marijuana industry because it has truly been built on our backs. And we need more med men that are owned by men that look like me.”- Killer Mike

The rapper, actor, and activist was speaking to TMZ Live last week when he made the comments. He was discussing how black Americans that have cannabis convictions are restricted from the industry that they have effectively created and nurtured through the darkest days of prohibition. 

The Atlanta rapper and social justice activist also called on president-elect Joe Biden to do what Bernie Sanders said he would do on the campaign trail – deschedule cannabis on day one of his presidency. 

You have the power in that pen to invoke things like gun laws. You should have the power of that pen to take it off the schedule one list, so that if nothing else, it gets decriminalized enough so kids’ lives aren’t ruined forever for that.”- Killer Mike

Killer Mike and the other half of Run The Jewels El P recently announced a collaboration with Cookies founder Burner to create a custom hybrid cannabis cultivar. The cultivar named, Ohh La La after a song from their fourth album RTJ4 has been breed by Lemonnade, the sister-company to Cookies responsible for breeding Lemonchello. 

That is all for another week folks. Thanks for reading this blog, if you enjoyed it then please give it a share! 

Written by Simpa for


Simpa Carter
Simpa Carter

Simpa is a passionate drug law reform activist, mental health advocate, blogger, freelance writer, and host of The Simpa Life podcast.