Congressional Democrats Release Report on Marijuana Legalization’s Economic Benefits:
Democrats on the congressional Joint Economic Committee published a report titled, “The National Cannabis Economy,” on Tuesday highlighting the “economic benefits of legalized cannabis at the state and national levels.” The report finds that the marijuana industry brought in more than $8 billion in sales in 2017, with sales estimated to reach $11 billion this year and expected to soar to $23 billion by 2022. The document also attempts to tabulate the number of cannabis businesses in legalized states and the amount of tax revenue they are generating. www.marijuanamoment.net
Are Cannabis Taxes Too Low? Some Economists Think So: A new report by New York University, suggests that legalization in New York State could “generate a new revenue stream dedicated to mass transit”—and help revive New York’s City’s crumbling subway system. At the same time there’s a lot of discussion among economists searching for the “Goldilocks” model when it comes to taxing cannabis. In other words, if a tax rate is set too low it won’t help the state coffers—and leaves money on the table. If it’s too high, it might drive consumers back to the untaxed illicit market. Their conclusion: States could significantly raise taxes on cannabis and not see a dip in overall revenue. www.leafly.com
GOP Lawmaker Calls for Marijuana Reform in Fiery Senate Floor Speech: Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) sought unanimous consent of the body to amend the prison and sentencing reform bill being considered by Congress this week by adding provisions to protect people who are acting in compliance with state cannabis laws from federal criminalization. But Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) objected, stopping the measure dead in its tracks without a formal roll call vote. Following the procedural defeat, Gardner took to the floor for a roughly 10-minute speech in which he pointed to problems caused by the gulf between ongoing federal marijuana prohibition and the growing number of states that allow cannabis for medical or recreational use. Grassley, for his part, said Gardner’s amendment amounted to a “backdoor to legalization” and is “inconsistent with current federal law and allows states the right to break existing law.” The amendment Gardner sought to attach to the criminal justice reform bill, which mirrors a standalone bill he and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) filed earlier this year, would have exempted state-legal marijuana activity from the Federal Controlled Substances Act. President Trump gave his verbal support for the Gardner-Warren standalone bill, titled the Strengthening the Tenth Amendment Through Entrusting States (STATES) Act, in June. www.marijuanamoment.net
Nevada – Most New Marijuana Dispensary Licenses go to a Handful of Companies: Marijuana companies in Nevada submitted more than 450 applications for five dozen new dispensary licenses. More than half of the licenses went out to just a small handful of companies creating some discontent among businesses who say they were left out. The brewing controversy has spawned a lawsuit. There are 63 licensed dispensaries in the Silver State and state regulators have issued 61 more conditional licenses to open up more dispensaries in the next year. One thing noticed — just five businesses were awarded a total of 34 dispensary licenses. The state, citing a privacy clause in a set of marijuana regulations, says the information on who applied and how they scored is confidential — until an applicant is granted its final license. 420intel.com
Canada Cannabis Spot Index (CCSI): Cannabis Benchmarks launched the first benchmark price to track wholesale adult-use cannabis prices in Canada, as governed by the The Cannabis Act. Sales to consumers began on October 17, 2018. The Canada Cannabis Spot Index (CCSI) is the assessed price paid by retailers to the Provincial body controlling supplies. The CCSI was launched to assess prices at the national level. For the week ending December 14th, the CCSI was up 0.8% to C$7.79/gram, equating to US$2,678/pound. The CCSI has been quite volatile over the past nine weeks since legalization. Cannabis Benchmarks has recorded wholesale prices averaging C$7.50/gram or US$2,576/pound* over this time frame. The price range was C$6.66/gram to C$8.23/gram. cannabisbenchmarks.com
N.L. Bought $6M of Pot in First 6 Weeks of Legalization:Newfoundlanders and Labradorians are collectively spending more than one million dollars on cannabis every week, according to sales figures released by Cannabis NL. The grand total, up to the last week of November, is $6,061,300.44 in retail sales from licensed producers. That’s 698.44 kilograms, enough for every person in the province to roll at least a couple of joints each. www.cbc.ca
Teen Marijuana Use Remains Lower Than Pre-Legalization Levels, Federally Funded Survey Finds: Fewer young people are using marijuana now as compared to 2012, when the first states moved to legalize cannabis, according to a federally funded study that was released on Monday. The 2018 Monitoring the Future survey found that annual, monthly and daily marijuana use remained lower among the nation’s 8th, 10th and 12th grade students compared to pre-legalization levels. Teens’ perceived availability of cannabis continued to decline in 2018 as well. “Rates of marijuana use by teens have been of great interest to researchers over the past decade, given major social and legislative shifts around the drug; it is now legal for adult recreational use in 10 states plus the District of Columbia, and it is available medicinally in many more,” reads a press release from the National Institute on Drug Abuse. “Fortunately, even as teens’ attitudes toward marijuana’s harms continue to relax, they are not showing corresponding increases in marijuana use.” While opponents of legalization have raised concerns that loosening cannabis laws will inevitably lead more young people to seek out marijuana, the survey data seems to reinforce the idea that regulated legal access for adults is more effective than blanket prohibition. www.marijuanamoment.net
New York Gov. Cuomo Says Cannabis Legalization is a 2019 Priority: Reversing his long-held opposition to medical and recreational cannabis, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo called today for the legalization of adult-use cannabis during an address outlining the top priorities of his 2019 agenda. “We must end the needless and unjust criminal convictions and the debilitating criminal stigma and let’s legalize the adult use of recreational marijuana once and for all,” Cuomo said, to raucous applause at the New York Bar Association. For now, Cuomo’s proposal is just that—a proposal. Senate Bill S3040C, the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act, sponsored by state Sen. Liz Krueger (D-Manhattan), is the leading bill to legalize and regulate with progressive equity provisions. In a separate report filed this May, the Comptroller’s Office argued that New York City—whose residents, combined, smoke more marijuana than any city in the world—could likely pull in $336 million in annual tax revenue for the city alone, and an additional $436 million for the state. www.leafly.com
NJ Department of Health Selects Six Businesses to Apply for Permits to Grow Medical Marijuana, Open Dispensaries: The New Jersey Department of Health (DOH) announced that six businesses have been selected to apply for permits to open new medical marijuana dispensaries. Two applicants were chosen for the north, central and southern parts of the state, ensuring patients have better access to pain-relieving medicine. DOH will make all 146 applications available for public review on our webpage next year. The winning applications will be posted first. There are now 38,000 patients participating, an expansion of more than 20,000 patients since Governor Phil Murphy took office.
- NETA NJ, LLC – Phillipsburg – TerrAscend (CSE: TER)
- GTI New Jersey, LLC – Paterson – Green Thumb Industries (CSE: GTII)
- Verano NJ LLC – Elizabeth (Dispensary), Rahway (Cultivation Site)
- Justice Grown – Ewing
- MPX New Jersey – Atlantic City (Dispensary), Galloway (Cultivation) – MPX Bioceutical Corp. (soon to be CSE: IAN)
- Columbia Care New Jersey – Vineland
Washington State gets Cannabis Candy and Gummies Back, but with New Regulations: A few months ago it appeared the state of Washington was getting ready to ban a large number of marijuana candies and edibles, but a new decision will protect those products with new regulations, writes Joseph Misulonas. The Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board finalized a new set of policies surrounding cannabis candies and gummies. The new regulations will ban brightly colored candies and gummies, and created a new range of colors that cannabis companies will be allowed to use to for their edibles products. There will also be a limit on what shapes the candies and gummies can be, presumably to avoid any fun shapes that could possibly attract them to children. 420intel.com
Pesticides Spur Massachusetts Medical Marijuana Retail Closures; 700 Batches Failed CA Testing: Cannabis cultivators, product manufacturers, retailers and laboratories coast-to-coast are facing closure, failed mandatory tests and increased scrutiny from regulators over pesticide concerns. In Massachusetts, the state’s health department ordered medical marijuana dispensaries in Mashpee and Plymouth to shut because of concerns a cultivation facility used pesticides, which is prohibited for MMJ cultivation under state regulations. Meanwhile, in California, more than 700 batches of marijuana or cannabis-manufactured goods failed pesticide testing, according to new state data. The integrity of California’s testing program was shaken last month when Sacramento-based Sequoia Analytical Labs surrendered its license after state regulators found the facility was conducting faulty tests for pesticides. In a statement posted on its website, the company blamed the flawed tests on a faulty instrument that failed to check for 22 of 66 required pesticides. mjbizdaily.com
New Zealand to Hold Cannabis Referendum in 2020: New Zealanders will vote on legalising recreational cannabis in a referendum during the 2020 general election, the country’s justice minister said. A vote was promised by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s Labour Party last year during cross-party talks, which helped to form a coalition government. It comes a week after lawmakers gave medicinal cannabis the green light. An opinion poll last year suggested two thirds of New Zealanders favoured legalisation. www.bbc.com
The Largest U.S. Pension Fund Just Bought 2 Marijuana Stocks: When big institutional investors pour money into marijuana stocks, you know the cannabis industry has hit the big time. And that’s what has happened. The California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) filed its report of holdings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) a few weeks ago For the first time ever, CalPERS bought stakes in marijuana stocks. CalPERS scooped up shares of beaten-down cannabis-focused biotech Insys Therapeutics (NASDAQ: INSY) and highly volatile Canadian marijuana producer Tilray (NASDAQ: TLRY). www.fool.com
N.J. Lawmakers Won’t Vote on Legal Weed This Year: State lawmakers won’t vote on a proposal to legalize recreational marijuana in New Jersey before the end of the year, the state’s top legislator confirmed on Thursday. That means the issue — one of the most-watched and most-debated in New Jersey — will stretch into next year, even though Murphy had called on lawmakers to vote by the end of 2018. One of the biggest holdups is how much the state would tax legal pot. Murphy and lawmakers remained far apart on what the rate should be after Thursday’s meeting. www.nj.com
2018 Farm Bill Addresses Major Pain Points for Hemp Industry: Several major hurdles undermining hemp cultivators’ ability to run successful, profitable businesses are set to crumble once President Donald Trump signs the 2018 Farm Bill. The report showed that the top challenge – by a wide margin – was finding processors, largely a function of the inability to look outside their home states.
- But once the 2018 Farm Bill is signed, growers will be free to ship their products to processors across the nation.
- The 2018 Farm Bill will also directly alleviate hemp cultivators’ lack of banking services, opening the door to increased access to investment capital and low-interest loans – financial vehicles businesses in the mainstream economy can readily employ.
- While concerns around federal laws and intervention are directly addressed in the Farm Bill, uncertainty around the legality of CBD remains.
- The Farm Bill removes hemp and its derivatives from the Controlled Substances Act, though CBD will still be regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). com
Hemp and CBD Companies Have Entered Israel as Israel’s Super-Pharm Chain Begins Selling Medical Cannabis: Israeli pharmacy chain Super-Pharm just recently began selling medical cannabis at 25 branches. Up until now, medical cannabis was available only at the Abarbanel Mental Health Center and special stores belonging to the Tikun Olam supplier in Tel Aviv. According to a recent release, “under new regulations, medical cannabis will be issued only by prescription in a medically prescribed dosage. In contrast to the situation up until now, however, in which products were sold at a uniform price per prescription, regardless of dosage, the price will now be determined according to dosage and the concentration of active ingredients THC and CBD in the product.” A US based Cannabis company, Profile Solutions Inc — owner of Cheech and Chong line —is the first major US cannabis company to successfully enter Israel. medium.com
The Number of Patients Enrolled in Canada’s Medical Marijuana Program is Increasing Despite Cannabis Legalization: “Recreational cannabis will lead to the demise of medical cannabis? It’s actually been the opposite,” Dr. Hance Clarke—Director of Pain Services at Toronto General Hospital and a University of Toronto professor—told the National Post. Demand is also increasing for information about medicinal cannabis. He also said that despite the fact that cannabis is now freely accessible to adults in Ontario, nearly three-quarters of all the patients he sees at his pain clinic seek medical marijuana treatments. He believes that the legalization of recreational cannabis has actually led to increased curiosity about the substance for medical purposes. Many patients are uncomfortable using any medication without the advice of a healthcare professional. This is especially the case for those who have multiple prescriptions and are concerned about the way their drugs will interact. 420intel.com
New Legislation for Marijuana Edibles Heads to Oklahoma Governor: The guidelines were approved by the Oklahoma Board of Health Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2018. Among the proposed requirements are the need for processors to clearly note the amount of THC present in all edible products, as well as conducting quarterly tests to find any sign of bacteria, mould, chemical residue, or metals. The Health Department, which released a set of marijuana guidelines over the summer that were not favourably received, worked with the attorney general’s office to ensure these guidelines remain within the purview of the office. The initial set of rules prohibited smoking marijuana and also had guidelines for hiring a pharmacist to work in all dispensaries, leading to lawsuits from concerned citizens that felt those rules were drastically overstepping the reach of the office. Meanwhile, the current proposed legislation will help producers in Oklahoma who have been creating edibles for the market and working on their own perception of the best way to test and label the products. grizzle.com
Nebraska Lawmakers Launch Push for Medical Marijuana: Two Nebraska state senators will lead a newly formed campaign committee, Nebraskans for Sensible Marijuana Laws, for the purpose of running a 2020 ballot initiative to reform marijuana laws in Nebraska. The committee, lead by Anna Wishart and Adam Morfeld, both of Lincoln, filed its initial paperwork with the Nebraska Accountability and Disclosure Commission on Thursday morning. According to a release, the hope of the committee is to “prioritize the right for Nebraskans to use marijuana for medical purposes.” 420intel.com
Final California Marijuana Regulations: ‘Wins, losses, and more ambiguity’: California regulators have wrapped up their third and final version of new regulations governing the state’s multibillion-dollar cannabis market, drawing mixed reviews from industry experts who’ve been closely watching the rulemaking process since it began over the summer. Here are four key takeaways from the final regulations:
- Delivery is the big winner.
- White labeling is permitted.Another significant win for the marijuana industry is that contract manufacturing, also known as white labeling, may be allowed. Contract manufacturing allows a licensed maker of edibles or concentrates to produce and package products on behalf of an unlicensed business, such as a celebrity brand or out-of-state company. However, the process can be tricky to navigate.
- Packaging regulations changed – again.Epstein said there’s going to be more “regulatory whiplash” as well with packaging, because the regulations again switched who is responsible for child-resistant packaging. That will likely be a huge money-saver for manufacturers and growers, who have been spending enormous sums on child-resistant packaging and now won’t necessarily have to do so, at least until the end of next year.
- Track-and-trace, ownership disclosures and MJ sample collection challenges exist. com
Michigan Approves 24 More Medical Marijuana Licenses: Michigan regulators approved 24 more medical cannabis operating licenses under a new regulatory framework, according to an email sent by state regulators to the media. That now brings the statewide total of licenses issued to 91. Here’s the breakdown of the newly approved licenses:
- 45 dispensaries
- 28 growers
- 10 processors
- 4 transporters
- 4 testing facilities com
New York State Bans CBD Foods, Vape Products: New York state is banning CBD vape and food manufacturing and asking 2019 hemp licensees to sign a waiver acknowledging the “inherent risk” of making a dietary supplement considered off-limits by federal health authorities. The New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets also will require hemp-derived CBD supplements to go through the same testing as medical marijuana products. The rules were posted as the state announced a new license category for processing hemp for CBD. CBD products can’t go in food. Infused chocolate can be sold, but as a dietary supplement rather than as a food, a distinction that relates to production standards. CBD beverages must also be sold as dietary supplements. New York bans any “vaping product or product introducing CBD through inhalation.” Suppositories are banned, too. Production of “ready-to-eat food with additional CBD infusions or CBD extracts, such as CBD chocolate syrup or CBD soda or CBD-infused frosting-drizzled cookies” will not be allowed. New York’s new rules are giving the state’s young CBD industry a scare. The state’s changes put it alongside Oregon, California and Ohio in requiring that CBD products be produced according to regulations governing MMJ products. hempindustrydaily.com
PA Issues 23 Dispensary Permits
The Pennsylvania Department of Health today issued 23 dispensary permits for Phase II of the medical marijuana program. The permittees will now have six months in which to become operational before they can begin dispensing medical marijuana.
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