Leadership projected confidence for 2023.
Leadership projected confidence for 2023.
The Daily Hit is a recap of cannabis business news for Oct. 11, 2022.
More MSOs Move Into West Virginia’s Medical Marijuana Market
As the medical cannabis industry in West Virginia begins to bear fruit, the state is finding more multistate tenants vying for a slice of the pie. Canadian-based Heritage Cannabis Holdings (OTCQX: HERTF) said that has officially begun operations in the state alongside its production partner, Harvest Care Medical, joining the likes of Trulieve (OTC: TCNNF), Verano Holdings (OTC: VRNOF) and Columbia Care, which is now owned by Cresco Labs (CSE: CL). Read more here.
Michigander Sues New York Over Residency for Cannabis Licenses
Variscite NY One, an LLC owned by Kenneth Gay, is suing the state of New York, the New York State Office of Cannabis Management, and its executive director, Christopher Alexander, over the state’s decision to award its first cannabis licenses to New Yorkers who have been incarcerated or arrested for the plant. Read more here.
Vermont Launches Adult-Use Sales, Dozens More Retailers Yet to Open
Vermont launched recreational cannabis sales the first day of October, and though the operators who did open their doors were delighted by the customer turnout, they also know more competition is right around the corner as additional stores continue to open. Read more here.
Court Ruling Could Pave Way for Cannabis Paraphernalia Imports, Exports
According to Above the Law, Canada-based Eteros Technologies was stopped by Customs and Border Protection while importing automated trimming machinery to Washington state last year. Eteros sued, arguing that there’s an exemption written into the Controlled Substances Act for localities that have legalized cannabis where paraphernalia is concerned. Read more here.
Cansortium (CSE: TIUM.U) (OTCQX: CNTMF), a vertically integrated cannabis company operating under the Fluent brand, announced that Patricia Fonseca will resign as chief financial officer of the company, effective Nov. 21. Fonseca has been with the company since March 2021. Read more here.
Fire & Flower Holdings Corp.
Fire & Flower Holdings Corp. (TSX: FAF) (OTCQX: FFLWF), a cannabis consumer retail and technology platform, entered into an amended and rested option agreement with an option to acquire Fire & Flower U.S. and an amended licensing agreement to deploy the Hifyre technology platform in the United States. Fire & Flower U.S. is also in the final stages of submitting applications for five cannabis retail store locations in the state of New Mexico. Read more here.
Only three retailers were ready to open Oct. 1, but that edge will be short-lived.
The Daily Hit is a recap of cannabis business news for Oct. 10, 2022.
More on the Exodus From the Top at Green Thumb Industries
Board members weren’t the only ones who resigned last week from marijuana company Green Thumb Industries (OTC: GTBIF). The company’s general counsel, Beth Burk, also departed, according to a U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission filing made Oct. 7. Burk resigned Oct. 4, along with three of GTI’s four independent directors. Read more here.
Michigan Fines Retailer, Suspends License Over Untracked Cannabis
Michigan authorities on Monday announced that The House of Mary Jane, a Detroit cannabis retailer, will have its license suspended for 30 days and be fined $75,000 after the company pleaded no contest to having cannabis products on-site that weren’t registered with the state marijuana product tracking system. Read more here.
Smoke Shops Popping Up Like Weeds in NYC in Anticipation of Legal Cannabis
All around New York City, smoke shops have been popping up like weeds, but not always just to sell tobacco, bongs and other paraphernalia. Some retailers hope to procure a coveted retail license to sell cannabis legally once they become widely available. Read more here.
Indigenous Communities Create Their Space in Cannabis Industry
While states continue to struggle to find the right formula around social equity, Indigenous communities have decided to stop waiting and forge a path for themselves in cannabis. New York state is a perfect example. To date, the only legal adult-use retailers operating in the state are on the Mohawk Indian tribal lands upstate. Other tribes, such as the Cayuga in central New York, have permitted sales through other businesses, such as gas stations. Read more here.
New Biden Push Could Have Major Financial Ramifications for Cannabis Industry
The news on Thursday that President Joe Biden had launched a formal review of cannabis’ status as a Schedule 1 controlled narcotic sent a shiver of joy down the industry’s collective spine, in part because of what it could mean on the financial front. Longer term, if the Biden administration moves cannabis lower on the list of controlled substances or yanks it off altogether, that will almost certainly resolve major financial hurdles such as the 280E provision of the federal tax code, which prohibits standard business deductions. Read more here.
Could Interstate Cannabis Commerce Become a Reality?
The possibility of legal cannabis companies shipping goods across state lines to other markets within the United States has been an industry talking point for years. Oregon activists even got a law approved in 2019 to prime the state for just such a development. A new bill introduced in New Jersey might move the idea from pipe dream to reality. Read more here.
New York Harvest
Cannabis farmers in New York state are starting their first harvest to supply the adult-use market. Edward Kirkham, chief operating officer of HPI Canna, one of more than 200 hemp farmers in New York licensed to grow the state’s first crop of adult-use cannabis, said they will be harvesting one acre of flowering canopy this week. Read more here.
Many marijuana business leaders in Michigan say they’re ready for increased enforcement on illicit marijuana that’s sneaking into an already saturated market now that Brian Hanna, who previously worked for the Michigan state police, has been named acting director of the Cannabis Regulatory Agency. Black market marijuana potentially damages the integrity and safety of the market, resulting in plummeting marijuana prices and stiff competition, the legal operators argue. Read more here.
A little over a week after the rollout date, the Vermont Cannabis Control Board is working on processing over 30 more applications from businesses that want to sell adult-use pot, and more retailers are getting ready to open their doors. Read more here.
SLANG Worldwide's subsidiary CeresMED will open in Burlington on Saturday.
Adult-use sales in the state could begin as early as Oct. 1.
Massachusetts lawmakers are moving forward to decriminalize psychedelic drugs. The effort began at the city level when Somerville and Cambridge adopted measures that would make possession of psychedelics a low law enforcement priority. Now it has moved to a state-wide initiative.
Cambridge’s city order read, “Drug policy in the United States and the so-called “War on Drugs” has historically led to unnecessary penalization, arrest, and incarceration of vulnerable people, particularly people of color and of limited financial means, instead of prioritizing harm-reduction policies that treat drug abuse as an issue of public health. Entheogenic plants, which include a spectrum of natural plants, fungi, and natural materials, have been used for centuries by people in different cultures to address conditions including substance abuse, addiction, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), elements of Persistent Traumatic Stress Environment (PTSE) conditions, chronic depression, end-of-life anxiety, grief, cluster headaches, and tendencies toward recidivism, as well as to improve mental and socio-emotional health.”
The city resolved that the Middlesex County District Attorney should “Cease the prosecution of persons involved in the use, possession, or distribution of entheogenic plants and the use or possession without the intent to distribute of any controlled substance.” It went on to say that the use and possession of all controlled substances should be understood first and primarily as an issue of public health by city departments, agencies, boards, commissions, and all employees of the city and that it should be the policy of the City of Cambridge that the arrest of adult persons for using or possessing controlled substances shall be amongst the lowest law enforcement priority for the City of Cambridge.
Marijuana Moment reported that the state Senate version of the legislation, SD 2248, was introduced Friday by Sen. Julian Cyr (D) and was virtually identical to the House bill. Both measures are titled “An Act Relative to Harm Reduction and Racial Justice.” This bill stated, “No person knowingly or intentionally shall possess a controlled substance unless such substance was obtained directly, or pursuant to a valid prescription or order, from a practitioner while acting in the course of his professional practice, or except as otherwise authorized by the provisions of this chapter.” It also limits any fines to $50.
A separate House bill introduced by Mike Connolly (D) on Friday would move even further than decriminalization and would set the stage for regulated sales of certain drugs. The House bill, HD 3829 language states that an interagency task force would be created to study the public health and social justice implications of legalizing the possession, consumption, transportation, and distribution of naturally cultivated entheogenic plants and fungi. The task force will be made up of 21 members.
“The task force shall: (i) compile and review research regarding the physiological and psychological effects of entheogenic plants and fungi; (ii) compile testimony and data on the experiences of communities across the United States—including Somerville (MA), Cambridge (MA), Denver (CO), Oakland (CA), Santa Cruz (CA), Ann Arbor (MI), sovereign native lands, Washington D.C. and Oregon. The task force shall file a report of its findings and recommendations, together with drafts of legislation necessary to carry those recommendations into effect, by filing the same with the clerks of the senate and the house of representatives, the chairs of the senate and house committees on ways and means, the senate and house chairs of the joint committee on public health, the senate and house chairs of the joint committee on the judiciary, the senate and house chairs of the joint committee on public safety and homeland security not later than June 2022.”
“Our coalition owes these bills to our volunteers across the Commonwealth,” the group Bay Staters for Natural Medicine, which was behind the successful local decriminalization efforts in Somerville and Cambridge, told Marijuana Moment in a statement. “From the vicious pain of opioid addiction and cluster headaches to the exclusion of people of color from the mental health care system, it’s your stories of redemption and hope that have created this movement.”
“I’m looking forward to a dialogue in Massachusetts to identify the most effective and evidence-based public health and harm reduction strategies that should replace the failed drug war,” Shaleen Title, a former Massachusetts cannabis regulator and longtime drug policy activist, told Marijuana Moment.
Vermont, which borders Massachusetts is also laying the groundwork for some sort of decriminalization. The Vermont Digger reported that Chittenden County State’s Attorney Sarah George was suggesting laws to that effect as a means to combat addiction issues. Rep. Selene Colburn, P/D-Burlington said, “a bill to decriminalize drugs across the board was still being drafted but would be introduced in the Legislature later this session at a press conference.”
This week Vermont’s House and Senate negotiators reached a final agreement on S. 54, which is legislation that would legalize, regulate, and tax cannabis sales. The state had initially legalized cannabis but didn’t make sales of the product legal. This had the effect of decriminalization but also left the market in a grey zone of uncertainty. Only two states took the route of legalizing cannabis but making sales illegal.
The next step is for the legislation to get a final vote from both the House and Senate and then if it passes, which is expected, it will go to Governor Phil Scott to sign. The Governor has not expressed whether he will sign it or not. However, a recent poll conducted by Public Policy Polling and commissioned by the Marijuana Policy Project showed that 76% of voters in the state approve of creating a legal cannabis market.
Matt Simon, New England political director at the Marijuana Policy Project said, “This final agreement has been a long time coming. Legislators should be applauded for their patience and their persistence. Vermont urgently needs the jobs, business opportunities, and tax revenue that S. 54 will provide. We hope Gov. Scott will see the wisdom in signing this bill into law.”
Another reason the state could be prompted to move quickly is the devastation the pandemic has had on Vermont’s economy. The state relies heavily on tourism but has imposed an extremely restrictive map of the places where visitors can come from. Even owners of second homes in the state are told they can’t visit their own property if they reside in a county that has too many COVID-19 cases. Luckily for the state, the pandemic hit just as last year’s ski season was winding down, but then summer tourism was lackluster as the state put more restrictions on lodging. Now business owners are getting nervous about the upcoming leaf-peeping season and then the new ski season. In short, the state will need revenue since tax collections are down.
Key provisions of the bill include:
MPP also noted that the legislature also appears poised to pass S. 234, a bill that would require the automatic expungement of all criminal records for past low-level cannabis possession offenses. The bill would also decriminalize possession of cannabis in amounts that are up to twice the legal limit for adults and reduce some cannabis penalties. You can read a full summary of the bill here.
Laura Subin, director of the Vermont Coalition to Regulate Marijuana said, “Automatic, cost-free expungement of minor cannabis convictions is the right policy and now is the right time for it. This bill recognizes and takes a step towards repairing the horrific legacy of racism in the enforcement of cannabis prohibition laws. It is also fair, commonsense legislation that will help break cycles of poverty and criminality.”
Vermont has taken another step on its road towards the legalization of adult-use cannabis. The state had already legalized medical marijuana, but the residents quickly decided they wanted more. While some cannabis possession was legalized, the sale and taxation of the product weren’t.
On Wednesday, the House of Representatives voted in favor (90-54) of a bill that would legalize, regulate, and tax cannabis sales for adults 21 and older. This is the first time the Vermont House has passed a bill to legalize cannabis sales.
Statement from Matt Simon, New England political director at the Marijuana Policy Project said, “Vermonters are overwhelmingly ready for regulated sales of cannabis to begin. The House should be applauded for advancing this important legislation, but the legislature’s work remains far from complete. The House and Senate will have to cooperate in the coming weeks to agree on a final bill to send to Gov. Phil Scott. This process presents a great opportunity for the governor and legislature to work together and move Vermont forward on cannabis policy.”
According to the Marijuana Policy Project, S. 54 will now be scheduled for a final House vote, which is expected tomorrow. If it passes there, it will return to the Senate, which has already approved a different version of the bill in a 23-5 vote. The House and Senate will have to agree on a final version of the bill before it can proceed to Gov. Phil Scott’s desk.
A summary of the bill can be found here.
If the bill is enacted, Vermont would join the 10 states that have laws regulating and taxing cannabis for adult use.
An overwhelming 76% of Vermont residents support allowing adults 21 and over to purchase cannabis from regulated, tax-paying small businesses according to a recent poll conducted by Public Policy Polling and commissioned by the Marijuana Policy Project. The complete results are available here.
Back in January, Vermont became the first state to legalize adult-use cannabis through legislative action versus the ballot box. That law, H. 511 will take effect on Sunday, July 1.
“Vermonters are ready to end marijuana prohibition,” said Matt Simon, New England political director for the Marijuana Policy Project, which has been lobbying in Vermont since 2003. “Gov. Scott and the Legislature deserve a great deal of credit for listening to their constituents and moving forward with this first phase of legalization. Adults shouldn’t be punished for using a substance less harmful than alcohol, and starting July 1 they no longer will be in the Green Mountain State.
The new law will make it legal for adults to possess and grow small amounts of marijuana. Retail sales and commercial growing will not take place at this tie. Instead, a governor-appointed task force is going to make recommendations about retail sales and commercial cultivation. A final report is expected by November 15. A newly elected legislature will consider that proposal when it convenes in January. There will be separate legislation in order to set some rules around regulating marijuana like alcohol.
“A regulated market will create jobs and spur economic development, giving young adults a reason to stay in Vermont rather than seeking opportunities in other states,” Simon said. “It will also produce much-needed tax revenue that can be used for substance abuse treatment and prevention. Most Vermonters understand that eliminating penalties is only the first step in ending marijuana prohibition, and they expect legislators to finish the job in 2019.”
According to MPP, H. 511 reads as follows:
Allow Adults to Possess and Cultivate Limited Amounts of Cannabis
Adults 21 and older will be allowed to:
Send Younger People to Diversion for Growing a Small Number of Plants
The new law does not keep cities from creating additional penalties for public consumption or change the law on driving under the influence. It also won’t limit schools from creating additional penalties and it won’t prevent landlords from prohibiting cannabis in a lease.
“Now that marijuana is legal for adults, it’s time for the state to get serious about regulating it and ensuring it is being produced and sold safely and legally.”
Subscribe to the Green Market Report newsletter that gives you original content delivered straight to your inbox.
Body and Mind Reports Slumping Sales as New Dispensaries Come Online https://t.co/h7TQOZL5qF
Planet 13’s Financial Numbers Down Across the Board for 2022, Losses Jump 152% https://t.co/cFT1s22ioq
Atai Life Sciences Losses Shrunk in 2022 Amid Restructuring Bid https://t.co/jhSfCBdJ9N
Subscribe to the Green Market Report newsletter that gives you original content delivered straight to your inbox.