The Street // 12.5.18
CBD popularity has grown recently, but where is it legal? The Street’s Steve Fiorillo dives into the legality, exceptions, and the future of CBD. In a state-by-state look at CBD laws, Fiorillo explores medical CBD laws and the requirements for medical licenses.
The Inquirer // 12.5.18
Wednesday Pennsylvania’s Department of Health rejected all eight research applications of marijuana growers who were set to partner with the state’s medical schools. According to regulators, the applications were riddled with mistakes and missing information. Some of the nation’s most successful cultivators failed to meet the rigorous requirements of the competitive review process.
Ganjapreneur // 12.5.18
Rhode Island lawmaker Rep. Scott Slater, who has sponsored several failed cannabis initiatives, announced his optimism for legalization in 2019. Gov. Gina Raimondo says she is open to the legalization and regulation of cannabis if there are safeguards to prevent child consumption
Las Vegas Now // 12.5.18
Politics Now Co-host Patrick Walker interviewed Governor-elect Steve Sisolsk in his first sit-down exclusive since winning the election. Insisting that business requires consistency and constancy in rulemaking, Sisolak is proposing a new cannabis regulatory structure for Nevada.
New Cannabis Ventures // 12.6.18
The Nevada Department of Taxation awarded Green Growth Brands (CSE: GGB) seven retail cannabis dispensary licenses to operate in Nevada, bringing the total number of dispensaries Green Growth operates to eight.
Oklahoma News 4 // 12.4.18
In under three months, the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority has collected nearly $8M in business and patient application fees. Initial startup costs for the support and implementation of the medical marijuana program are estimated at $7.8M to be reduced to $2M-$3M annually for operational costs.
Forbes // 12.5.18
States that have legalized and begun taxing cannabis are optimistic about the potential for marijuana taxes to pay for their schools, roads, and local governments. State after state, cannabis tax revenues exceed expectations. For example, the University of Illinois found that taxing and regulating cannabis would create 24,000 jobs and over $500M in revenue for the state. The reason for most of this revenue comes from tax code 280E preventing cannabis businesses from taking tax deductions. As a result of section 280E some cannabis firms are paying a 90% tax rate.
US News // 12.4.18
The 2018 Farm Bill includes language that will allow farmers to grow industrial hemp. Hopeful marijuana advocates believe the acceptance of industrial hemp may reduce the stigma around marijuana. With Democratic control over the House, and the departure of Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Texas), cannabis legalization proponents are optimistic that Congress will move on reform.
KUTV // 12.4.18
Attorney Rocky Anderson announced he is working on a lawsuit against Utah’s medical cannabis compromise bill that Governor Gary Herbert signed into law Tuesday night. Anderson aims to reverse the compromise bill and reinstate Prop. 2.
ABC // 12.4.18
Tuesday Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock announced a citywide effort to promote inclusion for people and communities disproportionately impacted by the war on drugs. Hancock’s policy will vacate low-level marijuana convictions that occurred before legalization. More than 10,000 people were convicted of misdemeanor marijuana infractions between 2010 to 2013 that are now eligible for expungement.
WXYZ Detroit // 12.5.18
Wednesday the Cannabis Law Group filed a federal lawsuit against the Wayne County Sheriff’s Department to overturn marijuana convictions. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Detroit resident Chrystal Sisson who was ticketed and arrested for a $10 worth of weed. The Wayne County Sheriff’s Office then seized Sisson’s vehicle under forfeiture. Sisson was forced to pay $1,200 to get her car back. Cannabis Legal Group argues that Sisson’s rights were violated.
Real Money // 12.5.18
After a two-and-a-half-year court battle, Harborside, a California based dispensary company, was told that there would be no end to the tax code regulating the cannabis industry’s profits. Section 280E, which prevents marijuana companies from deducting business expenses from their total income, is one of the biggest obstacles facing cannabis entrepreneurs. Harborside plans to appeal this decision and take further action to come to an agreement with the courts.
Press of Atlantic City // 12.5.18
The New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory and Expungement Aid Modernization Act is being discussed by voters in the state. The bill would allow companies and government to view marijuana and marijuana intoxication like that of alcohol. The bill could be considered as early as next week.
Wikileaf // 12.4.18
With over 2.2M of sales in the first week, Massachusetts has set the record for most sales following recreational cannabis legalization. In 2019 as more shops open their doors, the sales in the state are expected to skyrocket.
Forbes // 12.4.18
Some speculate the increased outcome of younger voters is one of the driving factors ruling in favor of pro-cannabis legislations. Democrats fear that a failure to end the national prohibition before the end of Trump’s presidency will lead to the success of the Republican party. It is speculated that Trump will switch sides and back legalization when the time comes in 2020, in order to boost his popularity amongst young voters.
Pantagraph // 12.5.18
Illinois Republican Senator is working to create strong legislature surrounding the legalization of cannabis in the state. His support is based on the potential tax revenue following legalization, and the dollars saved by not attempting to prohibit marijuana use. He works to create a strong, detailed law that will abolish the black market in Illinois.
Analytical Cannabis // 12.3.18
In a recent appearance on CNBC the Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb hinted that cannabis reform was inevitable. Gottlieb indicated that there was going to be a policy reckoning around the cannabis industry in the future.
Business Insider // 12.4.18
With the rapid spread of marijuana legalization across the US, law firms are profiting from guiding cannabis businesses through the tangled web of regulations surrounding the growing industry. As companies grow, merge, and gain attention as acquisition targets, they will need sophisticated advice tailored to their needs.
NBC // 12.3.18
Recreational adult use cannabis will be legal in Michigan state on Thursday, December 6. Local cannabid defense attorney Bruce Leach reminds everyone to consume cannabis responsibly and lays out the laws outlined in Proposition 1.
WZZM13 // 12.3.18
A bill introduced to Michigan legislature seeks to release prisoners who are serving sentences relating to the use, possession, or distribution of marijuana. In the last five years 49,928 people in Michigan have been convicted of misdemeanor marijuana offenses. The bill proposes people incarcerated for cannabis offenses could petition the parole board for immediate release.
Fox // 12.3.18
Medical marijuana advocates plan to sue the City of Ada Oklahoma for passing zoning ordinances intended to keep cannabis businesses away from churches. Using a legal provision set aside for schools, the city hopes to keep cannabis businesses a minimum distance of 300 feet away from churches. Medical marijuana advocates argue that the restriction is unfair to businesses and a violation of the law set out by State Question 788 which only addresses schools.
TRIB Live // 12.3.18
Nate Wardle, the spokesman of the Pennsylvania Department of Health announced the state Medical Marijuana Advisory Board approved a new process for amending and expanding the states list of 21 medical conditions treatable with medicinal cannabis. In the coming weeks the board will begin accepting research-based petitions to add qualifying conditions to the list.
KUTV // 12.3.18
Governor Gary Herbert signed Utah’s medical marijuana compromise bill Monday. Critics of the bill have called the compromise a usurpation of the voters will. The measure requires patients to carry a medical card and card will only be issued to patients who suffer from a list of approved medical diagnoses.
Residents weighed in on recreational marijuana in New York on Monday, in a public hearing at Babylon Town Hall in Lindenhurst. Members of the state Assembly gathered input on legalization and how it has worked for other states.
Recreational marijuana will be legal in Michigan on Thursday. The Michigan Municipal League issued a document detailing issues with the language in the state’s recreational cannabis initiative. The report also highlights problems with the licensing and regulatory body of the recreational cannabis industry. The article also notes zoning restrictions, rules for prior marijuana convictions, and more.
Monday the Utah Legislature passed a bill in both the House and the Senate to replace the ballot initiative voters approved on Nov. 6. Governor Gary Herbert is expected to sign the bill. Critics of the bill have called the replacement measure an usurpation of the voters’ will. The bill also makes patient access to medical marijuana significantly more difficult.
Ohio’s wait for medical marijuana is coming to an end. Monday the state medical board authorized physicians to register patients and their care givers through the state’s online registration system. To qualify for the medical marijuana program patients must suffer from at least one of the 21 qualifying medical conditions recognized by the state. Dispensaries will be set to open in the coming weeks, however supply will be limited.
In a ruling Thursday by the US Tax Court, Harborside Health Center of Oakland must pay potentially millions of dollars in taxes on disallowed business deductions. Harborside attempted to take ordinary business deductions from 2007 to 2012. The court rejected the company’s arguments about why they took business deductions and enforced section 280E of the tax code. Until Congress amends the Code or the Controlled Substances Act, the IRS will enforce 280E.
Texas has one of the most restrictive medical marijuana programs in the nation. Out of the 150,000 people who suffer from uncontrollable epileptic seizures that the medicine is intended to help, only 574 people have been issued prescriptions. Patients require sign off from two doctors to use cannabis oil and requires a prescription rather than a recommendation.
Ian Stewart, a partner at Wilson Elser, estimates there are nearly 30 surplus lines carriers and a few admitted carriers serving the cannabis industry across the US. While access to insurance is likely to grow, the cannabis sector is drastically underserved.
PLUS Expert Talks About Insurance Needs for Cannabis Industry
In 2017 Iowa Legislature and the governor approved a provision of cannabis products for people with specific medical conditions. More than a dozen people lined up before the opening of MedPharm Iowa Saturday. MedPharm will offer three products with ranging levels of CBD and THC.
Ceres Natural Remedies opened the first CBD drive-thru earlier this month in Brattleboro Vermont. The drive-thru will make the experience more convenient for customers with mobility issues. Medical marijuana will be offered at the location beginning December 15.
The Tompkins County Legislature recently voiced its support for recreational marijuana legalization in New York. In a 13 to 1 vote Tompkins County approved a resolution to inform New York state officials in Albany that Tompkins County supports the legislation to legalize recreational cannabis on a state level.
A growing number of struggling farmers are turning to hemp as an entirely new cash crop. After decades of federal restriction, Congress is on the verge of fully legalizing hemp under the new Farm Bill agreement struck on Thursday.
Still in its infancy, experts believe the cannabis industry is ill prepared for patent litigation. Colorado based United Cannabis Corp. has the cannabis industry up in arms over a lawsuit against Pure Hemp Collective Inc. for infringing on its patent of high concentrate CBD. A patent that could challenge nearly all CBD products on the market. Experts believe United Cannabis will face difficulties in litigation due to the industries lack of “prior art,” documentation as a result of prohibition. A major problem the cannabis industry faces is information that is clear to the industry may not be seen or considered by the patent office.
Cannabis strategic industry advisor Kristen Yoder is helping guide cannabis entrepreneurs entering the sector. Yoder hopes to save investors from becoming victims to get rich schemes plaguing the green-rush, by offering real advice based on what is possible in the industry.
California cannabis delivery service Eaze is branching out of California into 41 states with its new online platform Eaze Wellness. Eaze delivers cannabis, pre-rolls, and vaporizers to the California market, however with the new online marketplace, Eaze will be able to deliver hemp derived CBD across the US.
With the sponsorship from 82 Democrats and 13 Republicans, Rep. Ed Perlmutter is drafting new legislation that would align federal and state marijuana laws for banking and credit institutions. The bill is expected to gain traction with the “blue wave” that took back the house, ousted Pete Sessions and replaced Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) with Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) as chairman of the House Financial Services Committee. To sweeten the pot, Attorney General Jeff Sessions also resigned.
In the first five days of legal pot sales in Massachusetts, the only two dispensaries in the state generated over $2.2M in sales, according to the Cannabis Control Commission. In that time New England Treatment Access in Northampton and Cultivate of Leicester sold 56,380 separate cannabis products.
Wednesday Kyber Data Science LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Cowen Inc. (NASDAQ: COWN), announced an agreement with Seattle based Headset. Headset is a retail analytics firm focused on cannabis-related businesses. According to the agreement Kyber will sell and distribute Headset’s cannabis POS data to the financial services industry.
The long wait is nearing its end. Michigan will begin selling recreational cannabis on December 6, 2018. But even though the law hasn’t gone into effect, prosecutors have begun dismissing low-level cannabis criminal charges.
Under an agreement reached on Tuesday, Michigan medical cannabis dispensaries will be permitted to remain open until at least December 31st. The state has been trying to shut down dispensaries since September however a combination of court rulings and a desire to make sure enough dispensaries were available to serve Michigan’s 300K medical patients kept them open.
North Carolina state representative Kelly Alexander is meeting with other lawmakers in Raleigh to discuss potential bills for 2019 focusing on cannabis reform. A possible solution Alexander proposed would allow counties to decide whether cannabis would be available in their jurisdictions.
As Ohio’s fledgling medical cannabis industry struggles to get off the ground, many cannabis firms, like Ohio Grown Therapies, are forced to rely on experience from out-of-state workers due to a lack of experienced cannabis workers in the region.
Frustrated that Utah State Legislature may gut Proposition 2 next week, medical cannabis advocates warn that patients may resort to Nevada to find relief. Voters approved Proposition 2 earlier this month however the legislature is preparing a compromise bill to replace it. The bill that would swap out Prop. 2 has removed sections allowing patients to grow their own cannabis, creating a state-run dispensary model. Critics of the compromise bill worry that dispensaries will be limited in location, availability, and supply.
The New Revenue Coalition is drafting the Common Consumption Bill that would license and regulate establishments for adult-use cannabis consumption. Currently, changes would need to be made to Oregon’s Indoor Clean Air Act which prohibits smoking in workplaces and public enclosed spaces.
Because marijuana is considered a federally illegal substance, the world’s largest asset managers and custodians, such as BlackRock, are patiently waiting to invest in the $75B US cannabis industry. This could change however, if the States Act is passed. If approved, the Act should grant institutions clarity on how the federal government will treat banks and asset managers conducting business with cannabis firms.
Oregon has three agencies regulating cannabis: The Oregon Liquor Control Commission, The Oregon Health Authority, and the Oregon Department of Agriculture. The Oregon Cannabis Commission drafted recommendations asking the state to provide a unified and consistent vision on cannabis regulation by creating a new state agency to regulate cannabis.
Washington cannabis retailer Have A Heart, recently rated one of the best in the US, opened its first store in Salem Oregon Monday. Chief Executive Officer Ryan Kunkel performed the store’s green ribbon cutting ceremony.
Monday New Jersey lawmakers advanced a measure to legalize recreational adult-use cannabis. If approved the legislation would move to the floor of each chamber to be voted on. The legislation would legalize the possession of an ounce of cannabis, establish a five-person cannabis commission, and tax cannabis 12%.
The Morning Blunt
Volume 3|Issue 26
November 26, 2018
“The best way to predict the future is to create it.”
New York Introduces Bill Requiring Government Insurance Programs to Cover Medical Marijuana
Sen. Diane Savino (D-SI/Brooklyn) and Assemblyman Richard Gottfried (D-Manhattan) have introduced a bill that would require government health insurance programs such as Medicaid, Child Health Plus, and Workers Compensation to cover medical marijuana as they would any other prescription.
First Weekend of Recreational Adult Use Cannabis Sales in Massachusetts Exceeds Expectations
Leicester’s Cultivate and Northampton’s New England Treatment Access, Massachusetts’ first recreational adult use cannabis stores, opened for business last Tuesday. Both stores had a busy weekend with New England Treatment Access seeing over 2,000 customers daily.
CCC Commissioner Shaleen Title Wants to Regulate and Legalize All Drugs
Shaleen Title, a commissioner of the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission recently voiced her position on drug policy reform, calling for the legalization and regulation of all drugs. Title argues that prevention, treatment, and regulation are better for public health and safety than prohibition and criminalization.
Oregon Cannabis Prices Drop While Sales and Tax Revenues Soar
With the price per gram of cannabis dropping in Oregon from $10 to $4 at the retail level, tax revenues might be expected to drop with the price, however economists say consumers are taking advantage of the lower prices and the state is seeing an increase in sales and tax revenues. During the current budget cycle which ends mid-2019, consumers are expected to pay $176M in state marijuana taxes.
Marijuana Access Could Grow in Colorado
2019 will be a defining moment for the Colorado cannabis industry, as lawmakers will review the current regulations for the industry to weed out ineffective legislation as the industry grows. Governor-elect Jared Polis is notably friendly toward the cannabis industry and is likely to continue supporting the state cannabis economy.
The US government collected roughly $4.7B in taxes last year on nearly $13B in revenue from legal cannabis firms. Most cannabis firms have no access to banking solutions because of federal regulations, leaving cannabis firms to pay their taxes in cash. The IRS is paying $1.7M to a Virginia based company to handle large cash payments for processing cannabis federal taxes.
The National League of Cities, an organization empowering local governments and representing over 19,000 cities and towns across the US, passed two resolutions relating to cannabis. The first calls to action President Donald Trump to resolve the conflict between the federal government and financial institutions in a way that results in the cannabis industry having access to banking systems. The second, calls for the removal of cannabis from the list of Schedule 1 Drugs, asking that the power be given to the states to determine legality and regulation.
The California Department of Tax and Fee Administration announced $93.1M of tax revenue, including state cultivation, excise, and sales tax, for the third quarter was a result of cannabis sales which it received through October 31, 2018. Tax revenues collected by each jurisdiction were not included.
Out of the hundreds of medicinal cannabis delivery services in San Luis Obispo County less than a handful are licensed by the state of California. Currently there are three state-licensed cannabis businesses in SLO: one medicinal delivery service and two recreational storefronts.
Tuesday republican voters in Fresno California approved Measure A, the city’s cannabis business tax, with 70% of the vote, a move that is completely out of character for a conservative voting bloc. The approval of Measure A is an indication that attitudes toward cannabis are changing.