Nevada‘s first six months of recreational marijuana sales have brought in $195.5 million in consumer sales, setting up a rough 2018 projection for sales surpassing $500 million in the Silver State.

For December, cannabis sales topped $35.7 million, ending six months of excise and sales taxes surpassing $30.4 million, most of which is earmarked for public schools. State officials released the final RMJ emergency rules which set the process for granting of the next wave of licenses to be awarded by the Nevada department of taxation. Among the newly minted rules will be a preference for additional recreational marijuana awards going to the 75-90 existing dispensary license holders. That decision put a damper on hopes of stand-alone cultivation licensees who said they might be driven out of business without access to a similar preference to apply for expanded retail permits, and no assurance that they will continue to sell against vertically-integrated companies.

Both California and Alaska have ramped up action to create a state-bank charter for new financial entities which would be able to bank cannabis firms. The Bank of Los Angeles is a concept being pushed by City Council President Herb Wesson, who also wants the charter to be useful to small business, to affordable housing support and other social justice impacted depositors. In Alaska, a new bill at the statehouse will explore how a state bank may operate to serve the cannabis industry. See the bill here.

A New York federal judge has dismissed the Washington-Bortell-Belen lawsuit filed seeking a court directed end of the schedule 1 designation for the plaintiffs. Judge Alvin Hellerstein said the plaintiffs had not exhausted “administrative remedies” with the federal government and Congress as it was seeking the court to order a CSA change. Saying his team might appeal or seek reconsideration, attorney Joseph Bondy was disappointed with the dismissal without the court even considering his 14th amendment “equal protection argument.”

Appearing before a Congressional committee this week, the American Legion has again asked Congress to change the cannabis on schedule 1 designation. Representing more than 2.4 million vets, the organization’s National Commander Denise Rohan told the joint Senate/House committee, “By continuing to [ignore] consider accumulating evidence of the efficacy of cannabis-based medicines, the federal schedule fails patients fighting debilitating conditions, including PTSD and potentially lethal opioid addiction.”

The first African nation to actively participate in medical marijuana will be Lesotho, in a deal to grow and sell cannabis to Canadian licensed producer, Nuuvera. Lesotho-based Verve Dynamics said it will sell 6600 pounds of purified THC/CBD extract to Nuuvera, which was acquired earlier this year by Canadian MMJ giant Aphria.

Are you heading to Russia for the soccers’ FIFA World Cup, June 15-July 15 this summer? Russian officials have confirmed that fans bringing medical cannabis into the country will be allowed to possess and use their medical marijuana as long as they have filled out their declaration form and shown Russian officials their home-country authorization.