Legal Archives - Page 2 of 5 - Green Market Report

Sean HockingSean HockingJanuary 12, 2019
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4min930

Here’s their press release in full

The moment for U.S. hemp farming has arrived.

Hemp once served as the fabric of the American imagination. Grown by iconic U.S. gentlemen farmers such as George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, hemp was one of the nation’s leading cash crops until a misguided prohibition emerged in the early 20th century. Thanks to the 2014 Farm Bill, pilot programs in dozens of states have demonstrated the crop’s durability and its extraordinary economic opportunity. And now that the 2018 Farm Bill has be signed into law — hemp is completely removed from the purview of the Controlled Substances Act, recognized formally once again as a promising agricultural commodity.

A renewed multi-billion-dollar American hemp industry has been unleashed. It’s therefore critical that the interests of U.S. hemp farmers are protected.

That’s why we’ve established the U.S. Hemp Farming Alliance (“USHFA”). There are plenty of organizations across the country advocating for various elements of the hemp industry. But U.S. hemp farmers need an organization that advocates solely for their interests – before federal officials, state regulators, consumer groups and various other companies and organizations further down the hemp food chain.

While developments in the hemp industry are expected to move at a rapid pace, and the USHFA will be flexible in addressing the varying needs of the hemp farming community, the organization’s primary mission will include:

  • Advocacy on behalf of hemp farmers before law enforcement, state regulators and federal agencies;
  • Education for hemp farmers on the evolving legal and regulatory frameworks, including a forthcoming “Hemp School”;
  • Service as a central clearinghouse for hemp industry resources, facilitating information and data exchange;
  • Monthly conference call updates and annual in-person conventions;
  • Interaction with the U.S Hemp Authority in its development of standards and best practices;
  • Marketing of the industry to consumers and end-users; and
  • Collaboration on programs such as crop and health insurance, state check-off programs, and banking programs.

Information on membership levels and opportunities will be available in late January. But for now, please go to www.ushempfarmingalliance.com to sign up for free to receive regular email updates on our progress.
Best,
Brooke Parker Robertson,
Incorporator


Sean HockingSean HockingJanuary 12, 2019
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3min590

Here’s the Bill

232

Here’s a bit more background from CBT

Since legalizing medical marijuana at the ballot box in 2016, Florida voters have watched an ongoing saga of political and legal battles over the implementation of their vote. The state legislature approved a bill in 2017 that enacted the successful ballot measure, but a river of lawsuits quickly followed—including litigation over the ban on smoking medical marijuana flower products and a series of questions over the cap on business licenses.

The latter came to a head again, starting 2019 with a bang in the Second Circuit Court in Tallahassee. Judge Karen Gievers ruled that the limit on the number of dispensary retail locations allowed per medical marijuana business licenses is unconstitutional. Her order went further, in fact, striking down the entirety of the 48-page law.

“Voters made clear in 2016 that the legislature was to have no role in implementing access to and availability of medical marijuana,” Gievers wrote.

The ruling comes via Trulieve v. Florida Department of Health. Trulieve is one of the state’s largest medical marijuana companies, with 23 dispensaries currently open for business. In the initial civil complaint, filed in the summer of 2017, Trulieve attorneys called the cap on dispensary locations “arbitrary.”

Full article at https://www.cannabisbusinesstimes.com/article/florida-lawsuit-limit-cap-medical-marijuana-dispensaries-trulieve/


Sean HockingSean HockingJanuary 12, 2019
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23min1210

Authors

Jonathan Miller, General Counsel to the U.S. Hemp Roundtable, Frost Brown Todd, Lexington, KY

Rend Al-Mondhiry, FDA Counsel to the U.S. Hemp Roundtable, Amin Talati Upadhye, Washington, DC


 
Upon the December 20, 2018 signing of the 2018 Farm Bill, the era of hemp prohibition is over. Questions continue to be raised, however, about the legality of one of the country’s most popular hemp products, hemp-derived cannabidiol (CBD).  The U.S. Hemp Roundtable, the industry’s leading business advocate for the full and permanent legalization of hemp and hemp products, strongly believes that U.S. federal law protects the retail sale of hemp-derived CBD.  

Our analysis follows:

Hemp-derived CBD is no longer a controlled substance under federal law.

As a consequence of the 2018 Farm Bill, hemp is now permanently removed from the Controlled Substances Act (CSA).  It is now deemed an agricultural commodity, no longer able to be classified as a controlled substance, like marijuana.

Furthermore, by redefining hemp to include its “extracts, cannabinoids and derivatives,” Congress explicitly removed popular hemp products – such as hemp-derived CBD — from the purview of the CSA.  Accordingly, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) no longer has any claim to interfere with the interstate commerce of hemp products, so as long as the THC level is at or below 0.3%. This should give comfort to federally regulated institutions – pharmacies, banks, merchant services, credit card companies, e-commerce sites and advertising platforms — to conduct commerce with the hemp and hemp CBD industry. 

State and Tribal governments may impose separate restrictions or requirements on hemp growth and the sale of hemp products – however, they cannot interfere with the interstate transport of hemp or hemp products.  

The FDA’s position on CBD is unsettled and unsupported by law.

While the DEA is now officially out of the hemp regulation business, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) retains its authority to regulate ingestible and topical products, including those that contain hemp and hemp extracts such as CBD.  Much public attention has focused on a non-binding Q&A posted on the FDA web site starting about three years ago[1] — reiterated in a December 20, 2018 statement by the FDA Commissioner[2]— which suggests that CBD products cannot be marketed as foods or dietary supplements.
 
This position, however, is unsettled and rests on questionable legal grounds.  More importantly, the agency’s current position is nota final determination and should not be interpreted as the law.
 
As background, the Food, Drug & Cosmetics Act, as amended by the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 (DSHEA),[3]defines a “dietary supplement” as a product intended to supplement the diet that contains one or more of the following: (a) a vitamin; (b) a mineral; (c) an herb or other botanical; (d) an amino acid; (e) a dietary substance for use by man to supplement the diet by increasing the total dietary intake; or (f) a concentrate, metabolite, constituent, extract, or combination of any ingredient described in clause (a) through (e).[4]

Thus, the law permits a wide range of dietary ingredients in dietary supplements, including CBDwhich is an extract of a botanical (Cannabis sativa L.plant). CBD also falls under clause (e) as it is a dietary substance for use by man to supplement the diet by increasing the total dietary intake.

The FDA has taken the position – via Warning Letters sent to hemp-CBD companies,[5]as well as the FDA Q&A posting – that because a product containing CBD was approved as a drug and substantial clinical trials studying CBD as a new drug were made public prior to the marketing of any food or dietary supplements containing CBD, dietary supplements or food are therefore precluded from containing this ingredient ( referred to as the “IND Preclusion”).[6]

However, we firmly disagree that the referenced clinical trials are in fact “substantial,” as the trials were extremely limited in scope, and funding and the publication of these trials were limited. The FDA also seems to misinterpret the IND Preclusion in that it believes the preclusion date is simply the date in which it authorized CBD as an IND, without giving deference to the remaining portion of the statute, which requires that substantial clinical investigation be commenced and that such substantial clinical investigation be made public. In addition, the FDA Q&A document does not have the effect of law but instead reflects FDA’s opinion, which the agency suggests may change as evidenced from the FDA’s own request for further input on the topic. 

Rather, we believe that hemp-CBD products were marketed as dietary supplements and/or foods prior to any substantial drug investigations being undertaken, or made public, and that based on the definition of “dietary supplement” under DSHEA, CBD is in fact a permissible dietary ingredient. Moreover, Warning Letters and agency Q&A documentsare by no means final agency determinations.
 
It is of significant import that, to date, the FDA has not prohibited the sale of hemp-derived CBD products or ordered a product recall. Further, the primary motivation for the Warning Letters issued in 2015, 2016, and 2017 concerned the improper use of disease-remediation claims by supplement/food companies. No Warning Letter has been issued to a company that merely sold legitimate hemp-derived CBD products without making inappropriate disease-remediation claims.

Scientists, even FDA’s own, have concluded that CBD is safe as an ingestible product.

Current scientific research confirms that hemp-derived CBD is safe in food, supplements, and beverages and has provided general health and wellness benefits to millions of Americans. Because hemp contains only a negligible amount of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive component of cannabis, hemp-derived CBD products are non-psychoactive and do not cause a “high” in users. Further, hemp-derived CBD does not have the potential for abuse or addiction, and there is no potential for diversion. 

Food and supplements that contain hemp-derived CBD are subject to a comprehensive regulatory framework that addresses both the safety and quality of these products. In fact, the current Good Manufacturing Practices for food and supplements (21 CFR Part 117 and Part 111, respectively) are equally if not more robust than the regulations governing the manufacture and production of cannabis products in most states. 

Indeed, the World Health Organization (WHO)Expert Committee on Drug Dependence recommended in August 2018 that “preparations considered to be pure CBD should not be scheduled within the International Drug Control Conventions.” Some key findings from the WHO:

  • “There are no case reports of abuse or dependence relating to the use of pure CBD.”
  • “No public health problems have been associated with CBD use.”
  • “CBD has been found to be generally well tolerated with a good safety profile.”
  • “There is no evidence that CBD is liable to similar abuse and similar ill-effects as substances…such as cannabis or THC.”[7]

Perhaps more significantly, a May 2018 memorandum from FDA Assistant Secretary Brett Giroir concludes that “CBD and its salts…could be removed from control under the CSA.” After a thorough scientific review and analysis, the FDA opined:

  • “There is little indication that CBD has abuse potential or presents a significant risk to the public health.”
  • “No evidence for a classic drug withdrawal syndrome for CBD, and no evidence that CBD causes physical or psychic dependence.”
  • “CBD does not appear to have abuse potential under the CSA.”
  • “There is no signal for the development of substance use disorder in individuals consuming CBD-containing products.”
  • “It is unlikely that CBD would act as an immediate precursor to THC for abuse purposes.”[8]

The FDA foresees a path toward full recognition of hemp-derived CBD as a dietary supplement and food additive.

Shortly after the Farm Bill signing, a letter was released by FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb that restated FDA’s current position, opining that it’s a violation of federal law to introduce CBD ingredients “into the food supply or market them as dietary supplements.”[9] While that portion of the statement provoked a few breathless media reports, it was old news.

The real news provided by the Gottlieb letter was that it also contained, for the very first time, a clear new path toward FDA’s permanent and formal acceptance of hemp-derived CBD as a food additive or nutritional supplement.  For the very first time, the FDA is seriously considering using its authority to issue a regulation that will specifically allow hemp-derived ingredients in foods and supplements:

[P]athways remain available for the FDA to consider whether there are circumstances in which certain cannabis-derived compounds might be permitted in a food or dietary supplement. Although such products are generally prohibited to be introduced in interstate commerce, the FDA has authority to issue a regulation allowing the use of a pharmaceutical ingredient in a food or dietary supplement. We are taking new steps to evaluate whether we should pursue such a process. 

This is unprecedented; the FDA has never used this authority for any ingredient determined to only be permissible in pharmaceutical drugs per the IND Preclusion. As it makes this decision, the FDA is reaching out to the industry and the public:

Given the substantial public interest in this topic and the clear interest of Congress in fostering the development of appropriate hemp products, we intend to hold a public meeting in the near future for stakeholders to share their experiences and challenges with these products, including information and views related to the safety of such products. We’ll use this meeting to gather additional input relevant to the lawful pathways by which products containing cannabis or cannabis-derived compounds can be marketed, and how we can make these legal pathways more predictable and efficient. We’ll also solicit input relevant to our regulatory strategy related to existing products, while we continue to evaluate and take action against products that are being unlawfully marketed and create risks for consumers. At the same time, we recognize the potential opportunities that cannabis or cannabis-derived compounds could offer and acknowledge the significant interest in these possibilities. We’re committed to pursuing an efficient regulatory framework for allowing product developers that meet the requirements under our authorities to lawfully market these types of products.

We can assure that the Roundtable will be in the room where it happens.  With the partnership of other industry organizations such as the American Herbal Products Association and the Hemp Industries Association, the pursuit of this approval path will be one of our top priorities for 2019.

There was also more good news from the FDA on December 20.  That same day, FDA issued a statement opining that the “agency has no questions” about the conclusion that hulled hemp seed, hemp seed protein powder and hemp seed oil are generally recognized as safe (GRAS) under their intended conditions of use.[10]  While the GRAS evaluation was made at the request of a specific company, Fresh Hemp Foods, “the GRAS conclusions can apply to ingredients from other companies, if they are manufactured in a way that is consistent with the notices and they meet the listed specifications. Some of the intended uses for these ingredients include adding them as source of protein, carbohydrates, oil, and other nutrients to beverages (juices, smoothies, protein drinks, plant-based alternatives to dairy products), soups, dips, spreads, sauces, dressings, plant-based alternatives to meat products, desserts, baked goods, cereals, snacks and nutrition bars.”

===

There is still work to be done. But incautious media reports that broadly suggest that hemp-derived CBD is now federally illegal must be rejected.  With the backing of consensus scientific research, and the evolving viewpoints of the FDA, the clear and permanent recognition of the legality of hemp-derived CBD as a food and dietary supplement ingredient is within our sites.
 
Sincerely,
 
Jonathan Miller, General Counsel to the U.S. Hemp Roundtable, Frost Brown Todd, Lexington, KY

Rend Al-Mondhiry, FDA Counsel to the U.S. Hemp Roundtable, Amin Talati Upadhye, Washington, DC


[3]Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994, Pub. L. No. 104-417.
[4]21 U.S.C. § 321(ff).
[6]21 U.S.C. § 321(ff)(3)(B)(i) and (ii).

Sean HockingSean HockingJanuary 10, 2019
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41min150

CCT CET – Responsible Persons – we see a constant barrage of complaints about how oppressive the cannabis regulatory structure in California has been. Well, we work with that structure every day, and that includes regular contact with analysts and attorneys who are involved in both writing the regulations and attempting to implement them. We will pause for a moment to commend their efforts; most of them are working quite hard to make the system work.

 

Author – aBIZinaBOX Inc: Jordan S. Zoot, CPA

https://abizinaboxcannabis.com

 

Today we turn our focus to what we believe is a weak spot in the regulatory process. The weakness relates to the collection and remittance of Cannabis Excise Tax [“CET”] and Cannabis Cultivation Tax [“CCT”]. Before we dive into the problem, a bit of background is required.

When the Distributor role was created, the California Legislature decided to place the majority of the collection and remittance responsibility on it[1]. The Bureau of Cannabis Control [“BCC”] has further refined the Distributor[2] role.

The Distributor is the “choke” point in the supply chain. The California Dept. of Tax and Fee Administration [“CDTFA”] defines a Distributor as

“A cannabis distributor is a person who procures, sells, and/or transports cannabis between licensed cannabis businesses, such as a cultivator, manufacturer, or retailer. A microbusiness licensed to act as a distributor must comply with all the same requirements as a distributor”

CDTFA has defined the responsibilities for the Distributor role[3]. CDTFA has provided detailed guidance with respect to the collection of CCT which follows:

“As a cannabis distributor, excluding a transport-only distributor, you are responsible for collecting the cultivation tax from cultivators and manufacturers from whom you receive cannabis and/or cannabis products.

You must collect the cultivation tax from cultivators when the cannabis enters the commercial market based on weight and category of the cannabis. The flower category includes all dried flowers of the cannabis plant, whether trimmed or untrimmed. The leaves category includes all other parts of the cannabis plant other than flowers that are consumed or sold. The fresh cannabis plant category includes flowers, leaves, or a combination of adjoined flowers, leaves, stems, and stalk of the fresh cannabis plant that is weighed within two hours of being harvested, and the cannabis is invoiced as such. Cannabis “enters the commercial market” when the cannabis or cannabis products, except for immature cannabis plants, clones and seeds, have completed and comply with both the quality assurance review and testing as required in the Medicinal and Adult-Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act.

You must also collect the cultivation tax from manufacturers when cannabis product is sold or transferred to you for quality assurance review and testing. You will need to know information on the category and weight of the cannabis that was used to manufacture cannabis product to properly complete the cannabis tax return. The manufacturer will need to calculate the amount of cultivation tax associated to each individual product item or batch that is transferred or sold to you based on weight and category of the cannabis that was used to produce the cannabis product.

If the cannabis or cannabis product is sold or transferred to one or more manufacturer(s) prior to being sold or transferred to the distributor who arranges for testing and performs the quality assurance review, the cultivation tax must be collected based on the category and weight of the cannabis used to make cannabis product and passed to the next manufacturer who takes possession of the cannabis or cannabis product until the tax is remitted to the distributor who is responsible for remitting the tax to the CDTFA.

The distributor who performs the quality assurance review after the cannabis or cannabis product passes the required testing is the distributor who is responsible for remitting the cultivation tax to the CDTFA.

When collecting the cultivation tax, you must provide an invoice, receipt, or other similar document to the cultivator or manufacturer that includes and identifies the following:

  • Your name, as the licensee receiving the product.
  • The cultivator from which the product originates.
  • The associated unique identifier for the cannabis or cannabis product.
  • The amount of cultivation tax.
  • The date of sale or transfer.”

CDTFA then continues by describing CET and states

  • “As a cannabis distributor, you are responsible for collecting the cannabis excise tax from the cannabis retailers that you supply (sell and/or transport) with cannabis and/or cannabis products.
  • You must provide an invoice, receipt, or other similar document to the cannabis retailer that identifies:
  • The retailer’s name, as the licensee receiving the product.
  • Your name.
  • The associated unique identifier for the cannabis or cannabis product.
  • The amount of cannabis excise tax.
  • The date of sale or transfer.”

CDTFA continues with an explanation of the mechanics of reporting and paying cannabis taxes.

  • “As a distributor (or microbusiness operating as a distributor), you must report the cultivation tax and cannabis excise tax on your cannabis tax return and pay the amount due.
  • You must report the cultivation tax due for any cannabis or cannabis product that entered the commercial market during your reporting period and pay the amount due. You must separately report the total weight in ounces of medicinal and adult-use harvested cannabis that entered the commercial market by category (i.e. flowers, leaves, or fresh cannabis plant) on your cannabis tax return.
  • Additionally, you must report the cannabis excise tax due for any cannabis or cannabis products sold or transferred to a cannabis retailer during your reporting period and pay the amount due. This is required whether or not the retailer has already sold the cannabis or cannabis products, or whether or not you have collected full payment from the retailer. You must separately report the total average market price of medicinal and adult-use sales or transfers of cannabis to a retailer on your cannabis tax return.
  • The cannabis excise tax that you collected from retailers for the inventory the retailers purchased prior to January 1, 2018, and sold at retail on or after January 1, 2018, should be reported on your electronic cannabis tax return in the box available to report any excess excise tax collected and the amount due paid to the CDTFA. For these types of transactions, retailers will collect the excise tax from their customers based on the average market price. The average market price will not be available to you and it is not required to be stated on the invoice you provide to the retailer. For the specific invoice requirements related to these types of transactions.”

The preceding unequivocally imposes on Distributors responsibility for collecting CCT and CET from Retailers, Manufacturers, and Cultivators. A cannabis Distributor will quickly accumulate a substantial amount of money because CCT and CET will usually be 24%-30% of the amount at which a Distributor transfers a cannabis product to a Dispensary. This money is not the Distributor’s money. This money is money that is owed to the State of California that the Distributor collected from third-parties. The Distributor, as the holder of these funds, is a fiduciary for CDTFA. It is easy to see that CDTFA is vitally interested in being certain all CCT and CET collected by Distributors is timely remitted to CDTFA.

Employment Tax provisions as well as California Sales Tax statute recognize such critical points in tax collection. These other tax regimes address this issue by defining and imposing ultimate responsibility for tax collection and remission on “responsible persons.”[4] The adoption of a responsible person regulation relating to CET and CCT under the broad powers of CDTFA will create personal liability and establish the authority of CDTFA to pursue those individuals who failed to see that the funds were duly paid over. Pursuant to duly adopted regulations, CDTFA will have the ability to collect any funds wrongfully diverted by the individuals responsible for remitting funds owed to the State of California. Generally, such regulations include broad and draconian powers to pierce any legal entities and reach the personal assets of the responsible person[5].

Responsible person penalties and procedures will provide a very effective tool for encouraging the proper collection, reporting and remittance of CCT and CET. We were, shall we say ‘SHOCKED,” to learn that the statute which enacted CCT and CET did not provide for a similar provision. We are not certain CDTFA has sufficient authority to adopt “responsible officer” regulations without legislative action. However, we have a temporary solution that we will suggest before discussing the long-term solution that we believe requires legislative action. Given the potential magnitude of the CCT and CET that is not being remitted to CDTFA, we suggest Governor Gavin Newsom borrow from POTUS’ playbook and declare a California emergency in its cannabis industry and instruct CDTFA to publish “responsible person” emergency regulations comparable to those existing in California’s Sales tax regime pending the adoption of legislation. There are a number of reasons California’s revenue 2018 projections from its cannabis industry did not meet expectation. Slippage at the Distributor is one reason why.

As a long-term solution CDTFA should pursue the following course of action in order to protect both the agency and the individuals and business entities that are paying over CCT and CET to Distributors:

CDTFA needs to persuade the California Legislature to enact legislation that creates “responsible person” mechanism in the statute the governs CCT and CET. There is no reason for CDTFA not to have this powerful tool available to enforce the collection, reporting and remittance of CCT and CET by a Distributor [or any other cannabis business that collects the tax on behalf of CDTFA]. Such a tool should have been included in the legislation.

CDTFA should enact a regulation that creates a reporting mechanism which requires that:

  • The receipts issued by a Distributor that collects CCT or CET should be required to include a unique receipt number, the name, employer identification number, cannabis permit number from CDTFA, and license number of the Distributor as well as the description of cannabis product transferred, its unique identifier, and a specific separate statement of the amount of CCT or CET attributable to the cannabis product transferred in addition to all other information included in the invoice or receipt. In instances in which a Distributor fails to have secured from a cultivator a signed and dated acknowledgement by the cultivator that CCT has been paid by the cultivator, the distributor shall be deemed to have expressly assumed the CCT liability from the cultivator and the obligation to pay-over the CCT to CDTFA.
  • The quarterly Cannabis Tax Return should be modified to require that any taxpayer that claims to have paid CCT or CET declare under penalty of perjury that it has prepared and maintains a detailed schedule that identifies each unique receipt issued for CCT or CET tax paid, together with the name and Cannabis License Identification and cannabis agency license number for every payment for which filer claims credit. The taxpayer further must expressly represent that the detailed schedule has been reconciled to the total amount of credit for CCT and CET paid on the quarterly return.
  • The payors of CCT and CET should be required at the end of each year to complete a reporting form similar to the Federal Form 1098 that indicates the total amount of CCT and CET paid to each distributor during the year. The completed form should be provided both to the payees and CDTFA.

We have no doubt that someone is going to “bitch” about a tax professional that would make a suggestion that would increase the reporting burden and create personal liability for taxpayer in the cannabis industry. As to the reporting burden, a legalized and regulated cannabis industry was sold to the public based in part on the tax revenue such an industry would generate. Verifiable record-keeping and reporting is required in order to be certain these tax revenues are collected. With respect to personal liability for trust fund taxes exists in most tax regimes, employment taxes, Sales Tax, and other taxes, where taxes that are the property of a taxing agency are collected by a third-party as a trustee for the tax agency. Both the federal government and the State of California have “responsible person” laws that create personal liability for failure to collect and pay-over. Of significance, it is only those who have not properly collected, reported and paid-over who need be concerned.

In the case of the Distributors operating in California’s cannabis industry, the issue is acute because of the amount of CCT and CET a Distributor will collect in a short period of time.   This rapid accumulation of money, of course occurs because CCT and CET are a substantial portion of the value of the cannabis product that passes through the hands of a Distributor.

The procedures which we have suggested will go a long way towards protecting both CDTFA as well as the businesses that remit CCT and CET to distributors. We welcome comments for our readers.

 

[1] Division 10, Chapter 7, Section 26070(a)(2) states ““Distributor,” for the distribution of cannabis and cannabis products. A distributor licensee shall be bonded and insured at a minimum level established by the licensing authority”.

[2] § 5300. Distribution Activities A licensed distributor shall distribute only cannabis goods, cannabis accessories, and licensees’ branded merchandise or promotional materials.

 

  • 5301. Storage-Only Services
  • A distributor may provide storage services, including cannabis goods storage-only services that are unrelated to the quality assurance and laboratory testing processes, to a licensed Bureau of Cannabis Control to a cultivator, licensed manufacturer, licensed microbusiness, licensed retailer non-profit, or another licensed distributor.
  • A licensed distributor may provide storage services to other licensees for only cannabis goods packaged as they will be sold at retail, cannabis accessories, and licensees’ branded merchandise or promotional materials.
  • A licensed distributor shall ensure that each batch of cannabis goods that are stored for another licensee are stored in accordance with section 5302 of this division.
  • Notwithstanding subsection (b) of this section, a licensed distributor shall not store live plants, except for seeds, on the licensed premises.
  • 5303. Packaging, and Labeling, and Rolling

 

(a) A licensed distributor may package, re-package, label, and re-label cannabis, including pre-rolls, for retail sale. All packages of cannabis, including pre-rolls, shall comply with the following:

 

(1) Until January 1, 2020 all packages shall meet the following requirements:

 

  • The package shall protect the cannabis, including pre-rolls, from contamination and shall not expose the cannabis or pre-rolls to any harmful substance.
  • The package shall be tamper-evident.
  • If the package of cannabis or pre-rolls contains more than one serving, then the packaging shall be resealable.
  • The package shall not imitate any package used for goods that are typically marketed to children.

 

(2) Beginning January 1, 2020 all packages shall meet the requirements of subsection (a)(1) of this section and shall also meet the following requirements:

 

  • The package shall be child-resistant until the package is first opened. For purposes of this division, the following packages are considered child-resistant:
  • Any package that has been certified as child-resistant under the requirements of the Poison Prevention Packaging Act of 1970 Regulations (16 C.F.R. §1700.15(b)(1)) (Rev. July 1995), which is hereby incorporated by reference.
  • Plastic packaging that is at least 4 mils thick and heat-sealed without an easy-open tab, dimple, corner, or flap. (B) The package shall be labeled with the statement “This package is not child-resistant after opening.”

 

(3) Notwithstanding subsection (a)(1)-(a)(2) of this section, immature plants and seeds shall not be required to be packaged in child-resistant, tamper-evident, and resealable packaging.

 

(b) A licensed distributor shall not process cannabis, but may roll pre-rolls that consist exclusively of any combination of flower, shake, leaf, or kief. Pre-rolls shall be rolled prior to regulatory compliance testing.

 

(c) Licensed distributors may, label or re-label a package containing manufactured cannabis goods with the amount of cannabinoids and terpenoids based on regulatory compliance testing results.

 

  • 5307.2. Licensed Distributor to Licensed Distributor Transfers Cannabis goods, packaged as they will be sold at retail, that have undergone and passed regulatory compliance testing and have an accompanying certificate of analysis may be transferred to one or more licensed distributors. However, cannabis goods that have not been transported to retail within 12 months of the date on the certificate of analysis must be destroyed or retested by the licensed distributor in possession of the cannabis goods.
  • 5310. Records

 

In addition to the records required by section 5037 of this division, a licensed distributor shall maintain the following records:

  • Records relating to branding, packaging and labeling;
  • Inventory logs and records;
  • Transportation bills of lading and shipping manifests for completed transports and for cannabis goods in transit;
  • Vehicle and trailer ownership records;

 

(e) Quality-assurance records;

  • Records relating to destruction and disposal of cannabis goods;

(g) Laboratory-testing records

(h) Warehouse receipts; and

(i) Records relating to tax payments collected and paid under Sections 34011 and 34012 of the Revenue and Taxation Code sections 34011 and 34012.

 

[3]The responsibilities of a Distributor include

  • Registerwith the CDTFA for a seller’s permit, if you make sales of cannabis, cannabis products, or tangible personal property in California.
  • Register with the CDTFA for a cannabis tax permit (this is separate from your seller’s permit).
  • Collect the cannabis cultivation tax from cultivators and manufacturers from which you receive cannabis and/or cannabis products.
  • Collect the cannabis excise tax from cannabis retailers you supply (sell and/or transport) with cannabis and/or cannabis products.
  • Provide an invoice or receipt to the businesses from which you collect the cultivation tax and the cannabis excise tax.
  • Electronically file bothyour sales and use tax and cannabis tax returns and pay the amounts due to the CDTFA.

 

In addition, you must also:

  • Obtain a distributor license issued by the Bureau of Cannabis Controlwithin the California Department of Consumer Affairs.
  • Contact your city and/or county government office for information on local licenses you may be required to obtain.

 

[4] Regulation 1702.5. RESPONSIBLE PERSON LIABILITY.

Reference: Section 6829, Revenue and Taxation Code.

(a) GENERAL. Any responsible person who willfully fails to pay or to cause to be paid, under circumstances set forth below, any taxes due from a corporation, partnership, limited partnership, limited liability partnership, or limited liability company pursuant to Part 1, Division 2, of the Revenue and Taxation Code shall be personally liable for any unpaid taxes and interest and penalties on those taxes not so paid upon termination, dissolution, or abandonment of the business of the corporation, partnership, limited partnership, limited liability partnership, or limited liability company.

Personal liability shall only apply if the Board establishes that while the person was a responsible person, as defined in subdivision (b)(1), the corporation, partnership, limited partnership, limited liability partnership, or limited liability company:

  1. sold tangible personal property in the conduct of its business and collected sales tax reimbursement on the selling price (whether separately itemized or included in the selling price) and failed to remit such tax when due; or
  2. consumed tangible personal property and failed to pay the applicable tax to the seller or the Board; or
  3. issued a receipt for use tax and failed to report and pay the tax.

(b) DEFINITION OF TERMS.

(1) RESPONSIBLE PERSON. As used herein, the term “responsible person” means any officer, member, manager, employee, director, shareholder, partner, or other person having control or supervision of, or who is charged with the responsibility for, the filing of returns or the payment of tax or who has a duty to act for the corporation, partnership, limited partnership, limited liability partnership, or limited liability company in complying with any provision of the Sales and Use Tax Law. The fact that a person possesses any of the aforementioned titles, in and of itself, is not sufficient to establish that the person is a “responsible person.” The term “responsible person” does not include any person who would otherwise qualify but is serving in that capacity as an unpaid volunteer for a non-profit organization.

(2) WILLFULLY FAILS TO PAY OR TO CAUSE TO BE PAID. As used herein, the term “willfully fails to pay or to cause to be paid” means that the failure was the result of a voluntary, conscious and intentional course of action. A failure to pay or to cause to be paid may be willful even though such failure was not done with a bad purpose or motive. A person has willfully failed to pay the taxes, or to cause them to be paid, only when the Board establishes all of the following:

(A) On or after the date that the taxes came due, the responsible person had actual knowledge that the taxes were due, but not being paid.

(B) The responsible person had the authority to pay the taxes or to cause them to be paid (i) on the date that the taxes came due and (ii) when the responsible person had actual knowledge as defined in (A). A responsible person who was required to obtain approval from another person prior to paying the taxes at issue and was unable to act on his or her own in making the decision to pay the taxes does not have the authority to pay the taxes or to cause them to be paid.

(C) When the responsible person had actual knowledge as defined in (A), the responsible person had the ability to pay the taxes but chose not to do so.

(3) TERMINATION. As used herein, “termination” of the business of a corporation, partnership, limited partnership, limited liability partnership, or limited liability company includes discontinuance or cessation of all business activities for which the corporation, partnership, limited partnership, limited liability partnership, or limited liability company was required to hold a seller’s permit or certificate of registration for the collection of use tax.

(c) COLLECTION.

(1) Once the Board has established the requirements of personal liability in subdivision (a), and further defined in subdivision (b), the Board may issue a Notice of Determination, in the manner provided in Chapter 5 of the Sales and Use Tax Law, for the amount of the personal liability of the responsible person, and penalties and interest shall be added to the amount due as applicable. The Board may collect the amounts due from the responsible person in the manner provided by Chapter 6 of the Sales and Use Tax Law for the collection of sales and use taxes.

(2) On or after January 1, 2009, a Notice of Determination shall be mailed within whichever of the following periods expires earlier:

(A) Three years after the last day of the calendar month following the quarterly period in which the Board obtains actual knowledge, through its audit or compliance activities, or by written communication by the business or its representative, of the termination, dissolution, or abandonment of the business of the corporation, partnership, limited partnership, limited liability partnership, or limited liability company; or

(B) Eight years after the last day of the calendar month following the quarterly period in which the business of the corporation, partnership, limited partnership, limited liability partnership, or limited liability company was terminated, dissolved, or abandoned.

(3) If a business or its representative files a notice of termination, dissolution, or abandonment of its business with a state or local agency other than the Board, this filing shall not constitute actual knowledge by the Board under this regulation.

(d) BURDEN OF PROOF AND STANDARD OF PROOF. In order for a person to be personally liable, the Board has the burden to prove that the requirements of personal liability in subdivision (a), and further defined in subdivision (b), have been satisfied under the preponderance of the evidence standard of proof.

(e) PRESUMPTION. If the person is not an officer or a member or a partner or a manager with an ownership interest in the entity, the person is presumed to not be personally liable under subdivision (a), unless the Board rebuts this presumption with clear and convincing evidence.

History: Adopted February 22, 1996, effective February 8, 1997.

Amended September 17, 2008, effective January 2, 2009. Amendments in subdivision (a) and (b) clarify that a partner in a partnership, limited partnership, or limited liability partnership may have liability as a responsible person. Amendments in subdivision (c) incorporate a specific statute of limitations for issuing deficiency determinations to corporate officers or other responsible persons.

 

Amended August 30, 2016, effective April 1, 2017. Amended the first sentence of the second paragraph of subdivision (a) to add “only” after “shall” and added “as defined in subdivision (b)(1),” after “responsible person”. In subdivision (b)(1) added “The fact that a person possesses any of the aforementioned titles, in and of itself, is not sufficient to establish that the person is a ‘responsible person.’”. In subdivision (b)(2) replaced “Willful” with “Willfully Fails to Pay or to Cause to be Paid” in the heading; replaced “‘willful’” with “‘willfully fails to pay or to cause to be paid’” in the first sentence; added “that the failure was the result of a” after “means” and added “course of action” after “intentional” to the first sentence, and deleted “evil” from before “motive” in the second sentence; also added “A person has willfully failed to pay the taxes, or to cause them to be paid, only when the Board establishes all of the following:” to subdivision (b)(2). Added new subdivisions (b)(2)(A), (B), and (C); added “all” after “cessation of” and added “for which the corporation, partnership, limited partnership, limited liability partnership, or limited liability company was required to hold a seller’s permit or certificate of registration for the collection of use tax” after “activities” to subdivision (b)(3); added “Once the Board has established the requirements of personal liability in subdivision (a), and further defined in subdivision (b),” to the beginning of the first sentence of subdivision (c)(1); and added new subdivisions (d) and (e).

 

[5] There were a number of clarifications made to the responsible person regulation in 2017 which included

The definition of “responsible person” has been clarified. The definition now provides that simply because someone was an officer, member, manager, employee, director, shareholder or partner of a defunct business is not in and of itself proof that such a titleholder is responsible for the taxes.

The definition of “willfully fails to pay or to cause to be paid” has been clarified. The new law provides that this phrase is defined as a failure that was “the result of a voluntary, conscious and intentional course of action.” The amendment provides that the BOE must prove that the person being held responsible had “actual knowledge” that the taxes were due and had the responsibility to pay on the day the taxes became due. This person must also have the authority within the business to pay the taxes.

The BOE’s burden of proof has been clarified. The BOE must prove the elements set forth in the regulation by a preponderance of the evidence.

A rebuttable presumption of no personal liability will now apply if the person being held responsible is not an officer, member, partner or manager.

 


Sean HockingSean HockingJanuary 9, 2019
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3min70

The hemp industry experienced a seismic shift with the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill: Cultivation of hemp is now federally legal, and so is hemp-derived CBD. But, what does this mean for the industry? Where are the new business opportunities? How will federal oversight by the FDA and USDA impact growers and manufacturers?Hemp Industry Daily breaks down the new rules for you in our SPECIAL REPORT on the future state of the industry, 2018 Farm Bill: What’s Next for Hemp?

 

Access Now »

This is the expert analysis for the hemp & CBD markets you need to quickly – and wisely – take advantage of the new landscape.

This special report breaks down:

  • What’s allowed now vs. pre-Farm Bill
  • What to expect from the FDA and the USDA
  • The state of retail – including the mainstream corporations eyeing hemp & CBD
  • How to decide if investors should pull the trigger now – or wait for the shakeout
  • PLUS: How the change in U.S. policy will affect the global landscape

Verified analysis has been hard to come by in the hemp industry, but the researchers and journalists of Hemp Industry Daily makes our unique industry access available to you through exclusive interviews, trusted data, and proprietary market projections.

Don’t get left behind in a haze of understanding policy – access this FREE report and start making informed, data-driven decisions for your hemp business now.

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Trusted by cannabis experts, media groups, decision-makers and professionals around the world, MJBizDaily provides timely and accurate resources for sales information, market analysis and employment trends in cannabis.


Mark TaylorJanuary 9, 2019
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15min250

A skeptic all his life, it was not until Martin Tindall walked around a Colorado dispensary and saw firsthand how cannabis could lengthen and save lives did he become a believer.

Now the former finance executive is on a mission to stamp out diabetes in some of the world’s worst-hit areas with a revolutionary marijuana treatment engineered by his firm, Phoenix Life Sciences International.

Tindall was helping turnaround a business using his decades of experience in financial services, and also coming to terms with the death of his own father, when he had an awakening as to what medicinal cannabis was capable of.

“I would never have thought to get into the medical cannabis industry, it always just seemed like an excuse for people to get high,” he told Cannabis Law Report. “Then I saw someone with Stage 4 breast cancer end up in remission from cannabis-based therapy, someone else with skin cancer; kid after kid with seizures all being treated. There seemed so much more to it.”

Phoenix, headquartered in Denver, distributes medicinal cannabis products around the globe to treat seven major categories of medical conditions including pain, cancer, autoimmune, metabolic, neurological, psychological and sleep disorders.

A standout project is its partnership with governments on the South Pacific islands to put cannabis-based products at the centre of their national healthcare programmes, and tapping into Tindall’s visionary spirit, the team hopes to turnaround soaring diabetes rates, which are the highest anywhere in the world.

The South Pacific epidemic is staggering, as during the past 20 years, diabetes and other non-communicable diseases (NCDs) have overtaken infectious diseases such as tuberculosis, pneumonia and malaria as the greatest causes of mortality in the region.

In at least 10 Pacific island countries, more than 50 percent (and in some, up to 90 percent) of the population is overweight according to World Health Organization surveys.

Obesity prevalence ranges from more than 30 percent in Fiji to an eye-opening 80 percent among women in American Samoa, a territory of the United States.

Almost 50 percent of the Pacific island region’s population of 10 million has been diagnosed with a noncommunicable disease, notably cardiovascular disease, diabetes and hypertension. These diseases account for 75 percent of all deaths across the Pacific archipelago and 40–60 percent of total healthcare expenditure.

“We have countries that cannot afford insulin, so the treatment for diabetes is amputation of lower limbs,” said Tindall, a member of the board of directors of the National Cannabis Chamber of Commerce.

The largest cause of death in South Pacific females is cervical cancer; as there is little or no access to chemotherapy or radiotherapy. “It’s hysterectomy or death,” said Tindall.

“The US Food and Drug Administration doesn’t care someone in Vanuatu loses a foot,” he said. “Their amputation rate is a literally foot a day. We were motivated by the passion to provide healthcare services, knowing we could manufacture down there and achieve global capacity and service so many more countries.”

Research has found cannabis can help those diagnosed with either type 1 or 2 diabetes, and those who suffer complications, and a landmark study published in the American Journal of Medicine in 2013 said marijuana compounds can also help control blood sugar.

Armed with their mission, in June 2018, Phoenix merged many of its partnership organisations together under the name Phoenix Life Sciences International Limited, placing expert botanists, biologists, industrial and organic chemists, medical doctors, researchers, packagers and distributors together under one roof.

From the outset, the firm targeted accurate dosing and delivery systems, with a botanist crafting many different formulas for treatments through varying strains.

“Government agencies want to see this consistency, that they won’t have fluctuations in botanicals,” said Tindall. “That is something that scares them. “It showed us there were ways to have formulas that were more effective for diabetes, and others for the treatment of cancers.”

The South Pacific region also has large tracts of real estate allowing Phoenix to expand and scale production. From January, the build-out of the Republic of Vanuatu is top of the Phoenix list, at an expansion of 50 acres per quarter. Tindall also hope to commence the clinical trials with Vanuatu for diabetes treatment.

The tiny Pacific island has a population of 270,000, but a diabetes rate of around 13 percent, making it a major issue for the government.

Photo: Google Maps

Phoenix are conducting short-term CBD oil studies with local patients at the country’s general hospital. Phoenix will import the cannabis from the US at first while it constructs its plant on the site of a former military base in Vanuatu, currently occupied by goats.

“It’s important to us to run local trials, so we are not relying on evidence from elsewhere,” Tindall said. “It also gives us a fast-track program. We are working with governments on single-payer healthcare systems as they are the ones who save the money, and the patients get the great end result.”

For the communities, Phoenix can roll out much faster when part of a national healthcare system with clinics and infrastructure, said Tindall.  “We want to replicate that in the South Pacific, where they have 46 countries,” he said.

Tindall cites the positive strides GW Pharmaceuticals have made on overseas markets as the regulatory playbook to follow.

GW, the world’s biggest medicinal cannabis firm, have blazed a trail in taking new drugs derived from plant extract to market, enabling them to be circumvent the scheduling as general CBD or THC and become subject to stricter enforcement.

It is Tindall’s hope Phoenix can replicate this success in the South Pacific, and other areas where some of the larger cannabis firms are not as active; if countries cannot afford to import and sell, there is little incentive for Big Pharma to get involved.

“We are positioned to pick up a good part of the global market while also preparing for bringing products back into the US, and even the UK,” he said.

Martin Tindall, CEO of Phoenix Life Sciences International.

The firm is expected to engage in M&A activity throughout 2019, and Tindall confirms he is looking at other companies to acquire that will allow Phoenix to leapfrog. “Whether a licensee in another country or securing another location for plantation sites,” he said. “We’re looking at companies with Drug Enforcement Administration licensing, so we can move the studies along.”

Also on the list of targets for 2019 is an FDA study license, which would allow Phoenix to serve universities and other clinical organisations. Tindall sees education of doctors and medical professionals as the number one aim, not just for Phoenix but the wider industry.

“No doctor is going to say to a patient ‘smoke two joints and call me in the morning’,” he said. “They want to know it’s accurate, medically delivered, and there is substantial research for them to point to. The more doctors will become aware of the treatments, the faster the market will grow, with more and more drug studies being held.”

The biggest pushback Phoenix has received until now has been the lack of data, Tindall said. The company sponsored a non-profit to build a database of medical cannabis data, putting up information on anxiety disorders and how the cannabinoids are being used in clinical trials.

“It’s all about access and education,” said Tindall. “If you have access, great, but you won’t get the programme without physicians prescribing.”

Each time the company enters a new market or country it has introduced a training programme for doctors, forming part of a strategy seeking to mature the industry and move away from the stereotypes Tindall believes hinder growth.

“By being able to provide video communications, presentations, there has to be a plethora of data pushed to the doctors, presented in a structured format so they can accept it,” he said. “It’s no good having Snoop Dogg on the front puffing a leaf.”

As the cannabis industry continues its stratospheric rise, Tindall warns firms who play up to old habits in order to gain attention they are only hurting themselves.

“At conferences, you still see the legacy of the weed industry,” he said. “It doesn’t really help. If you have a doctor in there, and the first thing he sees is potheads, it’s not going to work.”

Phoenix is strict on branding; it doesn’t use pictures of cannabis plants, and it is deliberately positioning itself as a pharmaceutical firm that happens to use marijuana in its products “If we can get a better result in the treatment of diabetes out of a fennel plant, that is what we are going to do, we’d be just as happy,” said Tindall. “It’s about finding the end solution for the patient.”


Debra BorchardtDebra BorchardtDecember 18, 2018
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6min3870

The war between Terra Tech Corp. (OTC: TRTC) and its investor Heidi Loeb Hegerich is heating up. The first attack began with a lawsuit filed last week by the Reno, Nevada woman claiming fraud. Loeb Hegerich entered into a partnership with Terra Tech and became a co-owner of a Blum dispensary in midtown Reno. Loeb made some 50 different claims in the case and ultimately is unhappy that she hasn’t received any money back from her investment.

Among the claims, she says she contributed $633,156, and Terra Tech has only contributed $513,706, which was not as much as they had originally agreed to invest. Loeb also claims that Terra Tech’s financials weren’t audited properly as the company claimed and that funds were commingled with other joint ventures. The lawsuit notes that in March 2018, Terra Tech’s accounting firm Macias Gini & O’Connell issued an Adverse Opinion on Terra Tech’s internal financial controls.

The 80-page lawsuit goes on to describes various financial mishaps by CEO Derek Peterson and claims that the CFO Michael James has been involved in three companies that resulted in total shareholder wipeouts.

The lawsuit also details numerous bankruptcies by Terra Tech executives, which Loeb claims wasn’t disclosed to her prior to becoming partners. Loeb also claims that Terra Tech has tried to oust her from the company.

Terra  Tech issued a statement on Tuesday after the market closed refuting her claims.

Terra Tech said it will defend itself vigorously against the meritless claims filed in the State of Nevada. The company strongly denies these allegations and would like to highlight that these are only allegations by a business partner which have not been proven. Terra Tech also intends to pursue numerous counter-claims against Ms. Hegerich.

Terra Tech Chairman and CEO, Derek Peterson said, “Far from the image portrayed in recent interviews, Heidi Loeb Hegerich is, in fact, a wealthy, sophisticated investor with a history of disputes with business partners. We reaffirm our commitment to our shareholders to correct any misleading and inaccurate reports and remain committed to providing accurate information to our investors.”

The statement went on to say, “Ms. Hegerich’s lawsuit and recent interviews are an attempt to manipulate Terra Tech into paying money she is not owed. As Ms. Hegerich is well-aware, her allegations ignore the significant investment and expertise required to obtain a license and build out a retail facility. In fact, Terra Tech actually funded over 2.9 times the amount invested by Ms. Hegerich, including buying all of the product inventory to open the location and carrying operating losses until the opening of recreational sales.”

Ms. Hegerich believes the company tried to push her out of the company, but Terra Tech’s point of view is that it offered to purchase her share of the business at a greater than eight times return on her investment within two years.

With regards to the auditing of the company’s financials, Terra Tech said it “Is a publicly traded company audited by one of the largest accounting firms in the US. Additionally, MediFarm I has engaged an independent third-party accounting firm to review the books and records for the Reno business. Any allegations against the Company’s accounting practices are completely baseless in fact or evidence.” Terra Tech also claims that the accounting firm didn’t actually file an Adverse Opinion.

Golden Leaf 

In the middle of this battle of words, Golden Leaf decided against pursuing a potential transaction with Terra Tech as it announced on November 5. Lucky for them it was a nonbinding agreement.

Terra Tech reported that for the last nine months ending September 30, the company reported a net loss of $34 million. The company had revenues of $24 million, but expenses of $25 million.

The company is currently involved in a lawsuit with regards to its subsidiary Edible Gardens and former partners. No doubt expenses will rise for Terra Tech as it fights multiple lawsuits.

 

 


Debra BorchardtDebra BorchardtDecember 12, 2018
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8min781116

This story was updated on December 11, 2018.

The 2018 Farm Bill has passed in the U.S. Senate with a vote of 87-13. The legislation goes to the House next for a vote and if it passes there, it will head to the President’s desk to be signed. Hemp will be switched for review to the Department of Agriculture and away from the Justice Department.

Language that would ban people with felony convictions from working in the hemp industry was amended so that the ban would end 10 years after this legislation is passed.

Hemp farmers and CBD-related companies will benefit the most from the passage of the Farm Bill. CBD or cannabidiol is derived from the cannabis plant but has none of the psychotropic effects of THC. In The Farm Bill, there is language that amends the Controlled Substances Act and legalizes CBD. The passage reads as follows:

‘(B) The term ‘marihuana’ does not include— 10 ‘‘(i) hemp, as defined in section 297A of the 11 Agricultural Marketing Act of 1946; or 12 ‘‘(ii) the’’. 13 (b) TETRAHYDROCANNABINOL.—Schedule I, as set 14 forth in section 202(c) of the Controlled Substances Act 15 (21 U.S.C. 812(c)), is amended in subsection (c)(17) by 16 inserting after ‘‘Tetrahydrocannabinols’’ the following: ‘‘, 17 except for tetrahydrocannabinols in hemp (as defined 18 under section 297A of the Agricultural Marketing Act of 19 1946)’’.

It is expected to be removed from the DEA’s schedule 1 list to schedule 5, which is the lowest level and would lift the DEA’s restrictions. CBD products have already begun to explode in the marketplace in anticipation of these changes.

“The cannabis industry is closely watching the outcome of the Farm Bill. And while we are seeing a lot of startups try to move in, nobody is better suited to operate in this market than experienced licensed cannabis manufacturers,” said Nancy Whiteman, founder, and CEO of Wana Brands, makers of cannabis-infused products.” Marijuana-infused producers have been perfecting precise dosing, testing, and supply chains for the past decade, and these companies will lead the way in the next generation of CBD products.”  Wana Brands has the leading THC gummy in Colorado, but it will be producing a CBD only version in 2019.

GW Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: GWPH) had its drug Epidiolex approved by the FDA earlier this year and removed from the schedule 1 category. This medicine though has a very high level of CBD, unlike the mass-market versions which have fairly low levels of CBD. Plus, patients know exactly what they are getting with the prescription drug. Consumers purchasing mass market CBD products generally have no idea how much CBD is in the product or how it was manufactured.

“What is known about CBD is only the tip of the iceberg,” said Lisa Richards, co-CEO, L’eela CBD Body Care:  Consumers are just starting to understand the benefits of CBD, and when the floodgates open, they are going to need to be educated and be their own advocates. Hemp may be federally legal with the passage of the Farm Bill. However, more importantly, where is it sourced? How is it processed? The passage of the Farm Bill is only the first chapter.” All L’eela products are made with hemp that is grown and processed in the United States.

Many companies use CBD oil that is made from Chinese hemp. In 2017, the FDA issued warning letters to several CBD companies. The products didn’t contain the level of CBD that they claimed or the companies made marketing claims about health conditions for which there was no scientific proof. With these new changes, the industry has a better chance of creating standards so that consumers can make educated choices.

The Farmers

In addition to boosting the product sales of CBD brands, the Farm Bill will benefit hemp farmers. Chase Terwilliger, CEO of CBDistillery, a Balanced Health Botanicals brand said that the biggest benefit to hemp farmers is that they will be able to buy crop insurance. Most farmers have this type of insurance to protect them from weather or anything else that could hurt a harvest. Hemp has only been approved from a research standpoint and so it wasn’t eligible for crop insurance.

There is a big desire to shift some of the Chinese production of hemp back to the United States. One reason Senator McConnell has been supporting the inclusion of hemp in the Farm Bill is that it gives tobacco farmers in Kentucky a way to keep their farms productive.

“Hemp is fairly inexpensive to grow and maintain,” he said. “But we hear from farmers that harvesting is a big challenge because the farm equipment isn’t designed to handle the product which is extremely fibrous.” Terwilliger also noted that hemp is a very absorbent plant and with China’s pollution, their hemp plants tend to have heavy metal exposure. “Consumers deserve a high-quality hemp plant,” he said.

Farmers have already begun carving out small sections of their farms to begin testing hemp. 100 acres was seen as a little risk. Now, it is expected that many farmers will quickly make the switch if the plant is legal.

Options

Terwilliger also noted that like traditional agriculture, there could soon be hemp futures. Farmers like futures contracts on their crops as it locks in a price. Options traders will buy and sell these instruments like any other agricultural product. “It will turn into a commodity that futures can trade on,” he said.


StaffStaffNovember 27, 2018
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5min4450

On Monday, the New Jersey Legislature advanced a proposal to legalize and regulate marijuana for adults 21 and older. The Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee approved S2703, sponsored by Senator Nicholas Scutari, (7-2-4), and the Assembly Appropriations Committee approved A4497, sponsored by Assemblywoman Annette Quijano, (6-1-2).

The next step is to send the legislation to the full chambers for a vote. The state’s Governor Phil Murphy has been a big supporter of legalizing and regulating adult use cannabis. Readers can follow the latest in legislative moves on the Green Market Reports Legislation section.

A recent study, conducted by New Jersey Policy Perspective and the ACLU of New Jersey concluded that a fully implemented regulated marijuana marketplace for adults in New Jersey could generate at least over $300 million in additional tax revenue for the state. New Jerseyans currently spend up to an estimated $869 million on marijuana in the illegal marketplace every year.

“New Jersey is one step closer to replacing marijuana prohibition with sensible regulation. Arresting adult cannabis consumers is a massive waste of law enforcement officials’ time and resources, and it does nothing to improve public health or safety,” said Kate M. Bell, general counsel for the Marijuana Policy Project. “Prohibition forces marijuana sales into the underground market, where it is impossible to control them. Under the proposed regulated system, businesses will be governed by strict rules, and authorities will be empowered to make sure those rules are being followed.”

MPP stated that if the bill passes this year, New Jersey will be the first state to legalize, tax, and regulate cannabis via the legislature. Such laws have been adopted by voters via ballot initiatives in nine states: Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington. Lawmakers in Vermont and voters in Washington, D.C. have adopted laws making marijuana possession and cultivation legal for adults, but they do not authorize commercial production or sales for adult use.

“We could not be more enthusiastic for our neighbors in New Jersey,” said Ryan Smith of LeafLink. “The vote today for an extended medical and adult use program continues the momentum we are seeing on the East Coast for greater cannabis legalization.  We saw Massachusetts open their adult use program and Pennsylvania and New York are not far behind. The past year we’ve seen California’s adult use market aggressively expand since going live in January, and just last month we saw Michigan become the first Midwest state to adopt an adult use program.”

MPP noted that the amended version of the legislation included the following:

    • allows adults 21 and older to possess limited amounts of marijuana (one ounce), marijuana-infused products (16 ounces in solid form, 72 ounces in liquid form), and marijuana extracts (seven grams), although, unlike most other states to have adopted legalization, the cultivation of any amount of cannabis by adults in their own homes would remain a crime;
    • sets a tax rate of 12 percent of the retail price (including the sales tax), plus an optional local tax of up to 2 percent;
    • provides for five types of regulated marijuana businesses: growers, product manufacturers, wholesalers, testing facilities, and retailers, who can deliver marijuana and some of which may include consumption areas;
    • allows local jurisdictions extensive control over the number and types of businesses in their borders, including the ability to impose local licensing requirements; and
    • establishes a five-member appointed Cannabis Regulatory Commission, which would serve as the regulatory agency overseeing both the new adult-use and the existing medical cannabis programs.

 

 


William SumnerWilliam SumnerNovember 20, 2018
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4min1720

Is the cost of legalized cannabis too high? According to one study commissioned by the Centennial Institute at Colorado Christian University, the answer is yes. Hoping to understand the impact of cannabis legalization fully, the study examined publicly available data in the state of Colorado, highlighting nine areas of interest. Those areas include health, productivity, traffic, crime, housing, environmental impact, cannabis tourism, homelessness, and pets.

According to the study, for $1.00 generated by Colorado’s cannabis industry, state residents spent approximately $4.50 to mitigate the costs of legalization. The most significant contributors to costs were related to the healthcare system and high-school dropout rates.

The study also highlights the dramatic rise in cannabis-related calls to the state Poison Control center, the correlation between cannabis use and those without a college degree, and the yearly estimated costs for cannabis users ($2,200 for heavy users, $1,250 for moderate users, and $650 for light users).

“Studies such as this show that the only people making money off the commercialization of marijuana are those in the industry who profit at the expense of public health and safety,” said Kevin Sabet, an ardent cannabis critic and president of the anti-legalization group Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM), in a statement.

While the study presents a damning portrait of cannabis legalization in Colorado, the study also relies on flawed estimates and simple correlations to arrive at many of its conclusions.

For example, when addressing the issue of cannabis addiction, researchers are keen on pointing out that the costs of treatment for cannabis addiction are approximately $31.4 million. However, what is not mentioned, although it is clearly presented in the study’s chart, is that the number of individuals admitted for treatment is the lowest it has been in 10 years.

Researchers also note that fewer cannabis users have a college degree (19%) when compared to non-users (27%). However, according to the study itself, on average recreational cannabis users have a slightly above average income ($60,000).

Furthermore, when calculating the potential cost of cannabis use among students, researchers take a specious approach. To come to their conclusion, researchers multiply the number of students who dropped out of high school and multiply it by the number of high school students who use marijuana and the cost of not earning a high school diploma. The study assumes that students who use cannabis will drop out of high school, ignoring all other mitigating factors or the fact that Colorado’s high school graduation rates are at an eight year high.

In the absence of long-term data, studies like the one commissioned by the Centennial Institute will remain inherently flawed; highlighting the need for extensive, peer-reviewed studies into the actual effects of legalizing adult-use cannabis in the United States.



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