Here on the Marijuana Minute, you will find the top stories from around the industry in this week’s Cannabis Industry News Recap for the week of May 13th – 19th, 2019.
In Canada, the legal production and sale of marijuana is regulated under The Cannabis Act. To comply with the law, cannabis producers must receive regulatory approval for commercial growing and production operations from Health Canada, the national health department. The way Health Canada approves companies to pursue the cannabis market is changing, and the implications for investors are huge.
At first glance, cannabis and professional football seem like unlikely bed partners. You might associate the imposing and oft-injured athletes with steroids, heavy-duty painkillers, or performance-enhancing drugs. But cannabis? Probably not.
Two former Detroit Lions players, Calvin Johnson and Robert Sims, are on a mission to change that.
Even as the Senate stonewalls a handful of bills aimed at lessening criminal penalties for possession of marijuana, an upper chamber committee on Friday advanced legislation that aims to vastly expand who has access to medical cannabis in the state.
As filed, state Rep. Stephanie Klick’s House Bill 3703 would add multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, and spasticity to the list of debilitating medical conditions that qualify for cannabis oil. The progress on her bill comes four years after Klick authored legislation that narrowly opened up the state to the sale of the medicine.
More than 750 kilograms of medical cannabis flower was imported to Germany in the first quarter of this year, putting the country on pace to import about the same amount in 2019 as it did last year – 3,000 kilograms.
This is according to new data from the government, providing clarity on the actual size of a market that is a linchpin for many international marijuana companies.
Medical marijuana states and industrial hemp programs would continue to be protected from federal interference under a wide-ranging congressional spending bill that was released by a House subcommittee on Thursday.
This marks the first time that the medical cannabis rider has been included in a base House appropriations bill as introduced, signaling that the chamber’s new Democratic majority is paying closer attention to the issue as standalone marijuana legislation separately makes its way through Congress. Last year, the rider, which has been federal law since 2014, was added during a full Appropriations Committee hearing. Prior to that, it had been inserted through floor amendments.
Canada is wrongly treating hemp extracts like marijuana, limiting opportunities for farmers and creating a black market for CBD, according to a trade group that wants the nation’s health authorities to reclassify hemp-derived CBD.
The Canadian Hemp Trade Alliance (CHTA), along with the Canadian Health Food Association, wrote to Health Canada, the country’s main cannabis-regulatory agency, to protest how hemp-derived CBD is classified.
Using marijuana in compliance with state or foreign law, or working in the legal industry, wouldn’t disqualify people from entering the U.S. under a bill that was introduced on Tuesday.
The legislation, titled the Maintaining Appropriate Protections for Legal Entry (MAPLE) Act, would create exceptions in U.S. immigration code to ensure that non-citizens aren’t penalized under federal law for engaging in cannabis-related activity made lawful in the state, Indian territory or foreign country in which the conduct occurred.
State lawmakers have approved a bill to legalize industrial hemp production and clear up confusion about what CBD products can be sold in Texas.
The Senate on Wednesday voted unanimously in favor of House Bill 1325. Now, House lawmakers must decide whether they agree with the Senate’s amendments to the bill. If the House agrees, or the two chambers name negotiators to hash out the differences and sign off on their deal, the bill would head to Gov. Greg Abbott’s desk for his signature or veto.
Former Vice President Joe Biden remains opposed to legalizing marijuana but said through a spokesperson on Thursday that he supports decriminalizing cannabis, expunging the records of individuals with prior possession convictions and letting states set their own policies.
He also would move to reclassify marijuana under federal law to Schedule II—a slightly less restrictive designation than its current Schedule I status—a move that would remove some roadblocks to research on the drug.
Denmark’s medical cannabis pilot program continues to show steady improvement, with the number of patients exceeding the 2,000 mark.
The country’s business-friendly, patient-centric medical cannabis scheme is one of the most ironed-out systems in Europe.
Through the end of April, just over 2,100 individual patients had been prescribed medical cannabis via the four-year pilot program, which was launched in January 2018, according to fresh data presented by Danish Health Minister Ellen Trane Nørby at the European Cannabis Symposium in Copenhagen.
Hemp might have been federally legalized, but businesses that market the crop and its derivatives are still struggling to maintain access to credit at financial institutions, Rep. Andy Barr (R-KY) said on Thursday.
At a House Financial Services Committee hearing, Barr told the country’s top financial regulators that credit card providers have “stopped offering payment services to businesses designated as CBD and hemp-derived product merchants.”
Health food and hemp industry groups are calling on Ottawa to change the regulations for CBD to treat the cannabinoid as a natural health product rather than a drug.
The Canadian Health Food Association and the Canadian Hemp Trade Alliance say CBD, a non-intoxicating compound which can be derived from cannabis and hemp, should be removed from the prescription drug list.
Provinces and territories have the authority to approve on-site retail sales of cannabis plants and seeds to consumers by federal nursery license holders, Health Canada has confirmed.
Such a move would unlock commercial opportunities for regulated businesses to compete with the thriving illicit home-grow market – but, so far, no province has been willing to take that step.
The Oregon Senate passed a landmark bill on Wednesday that would let the governor make agreements with other states to provide for the exportation and importation of marijuana products across state lines—but it will only go into effect if the federal government changes its own policies to allow such activity.
Oregon senators approved the legislation in a 19 to 9 vote, and it now heads to the House.
Albany, New York –After the failure to include legalized adult use cannabis in the New York State budget earlier this year, sponsors of the legislation say they are introducing a new bill that they hope stands a better chance at becoming law.
Democratic Manhattan Senator Liz Krueger, who is a longtime supporter of legalizing marijuana, says “the new bill incorporates some of the ideas the governor and legislature came up with when they talked about the issue during the budget talks,” according to Karen DeWitt of WAMC radio.
Following months of debate and negotiations in the legislature, New Jersey lawmakers announced on Wednesday that they were unable to work out their differences on a marijuana legalization bill and will instead be giving voters the opportunity to enact reform through a measure on the state’s 2020 ballot.
Senate President Steve Sweeney (D) said that his chamber will move forward with expanding New Jersey’s medical cannabis program and passing social justice legislation to expunge records, but that it won’t “pursue the legalization of adult use marijuana at this time.”
Burdensome and irksome, arbitrary and protectionist, the many webbed network of laws governing commercial cannabis in California are there for at least one reason even hardcore libertarians should grudgingly appreciate: They are meant to prevent consumers from purchasing knock-off products that have the potential to do them harm. This is noble and good.
There is absolutely an argument to be made in favor of unlicensed cannabis dispensaries, of the kind proliferating like wildflowers in Southern California, sometimes it’s too expensive or too onerous to obtain a license; sometimes licensing requirements lock out people of color or working-class people from the cannabis industry. But selling knock-off cannabis products rife with pesticides or lead, as some unlicensed cannabis dispensaries were recently caught doing, makes that case much more difficult to build.
More than 8 in 10 respondents to a recent deep-dive survey of bankers nationwide by Promontory Interfinancial Network said that the federal government should allow banks to serve businesses that sell marijuana commercially.
Thirty-three states and the District of Columbia have enacted laws that broadly legalize marijuana in some form, but federal law still treats marijuana as an illegal substance. Eighty-two percent of the executives surveyed at 453 unique banks said they want to be able to serve businesses that commercially sell marijuana. Support was highest in the West (89%) and the Midwest (85%).
Three dispensaries received licenses to deliver medical cannabis to homes in Michigan – a move that signals the beginning of a new business opportunity for marijuana entrepreneurs in the state.
BotaniQ and Utopia Gardens, both of Detroit, and Lake Effect of Portage in southwestern Michigan were the first three delivery services licensed by the state’s new Marijuana Regulatory Agency.
Delivery is allowed not only in municipalities that have retail stores but also in jurisdictions that banned dispensaries, MLive.com reported.
When Proposition 64 made adult use cannabis sales legal throughout California, officials were expecting to see the state’s thriving pot black market become a relic of the past. Unfortunately, the exact opposite has occurred, and authorities and industry insiders are now reporting that black market dealers are actually outselling licensed pot establishments.
While Prop. 64 set forth commercial cannabis regulation, it also gave individual municipal governments the power to “opt out” of allowing legal weed shops to open on their turf. Roughly 80 percent of all California municipalities have chosen to do so.
State Representatives Yousef Rabhi (D-Ann Arbor) and Jim Lilley (R-Park Lake) introduced a resolution in the Michigan House urging passage of the federal Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act of 2019 by Congress.
Senator Curtis Hertel Jr. (D-East Lansing) introduced a concurrent resolution in the Michigan Senate.
Most banks refuse to do business with licensed cannabis companies due to marijuana’s federal status as a Schedule I substance, which results in the industry relying heavily on cash transactions.
The first two medical cannabis dispensaries in Arkansas sold more than $93,000 in product in the program’s first three days.
The state’s long-awaited medical marijuana program kicked off last weekend, and state officials said they expect to approve more dispensaries over the next week, The Sentinel-Record reported.
The value (and fun) in data analysis is its capacity to help divine the future and ascertain where best to invest time, energy and money. A new year hints at what’s coming—giving a clearer view of things ahead.
For a decade, overall rates of cannabis use in the United States have significantly increased. Since 2009, the reported past-month usage of adults 18 years and older increased 38 percent, from 6.6 to 9.1 percent, representing 7.45 million more Americans regularly partaking. With nearly two-thirds of Americans supporting some form of legal cannabis, expect to see increased acceptance across all demographic groups. Those with the traditionally highest consumption rates (e.g., males, college students, the unemployed) will maintain them, but those with lower rates (females, Asians, full-time workers) will pick up some of the slack.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) wants to make extra certain that industrial hemp farmers qualify for federal crop insurance, so he’s working to insert language into a disaster spending bill to clear up the issue.
A similar provision was already included in the 2018 Farm Bill, which federally legalized hemp and was signed into law by the president in December. But with some farmers still uncertain about whether they will qualify for the benefit, McConnell is reportedly planning to take the added precaution of adding similar language to spending legislation meant to allocate funds for areas of the country that have experienced disasters like California’s 2018 wildfires.
Canada, the second nation to legalize recreational marijuana after Uruguay, appears to have had a global impact as more nations come on board.
New Zealand plans a referendum on legalization during next year’s election and Mexico also appears headed that way.
Luxembourg is poised to become the first European country to legalize recreational marijuana, and South Africa is moving in that direction. Israel’s Parliament approved a law allowing exports of medical marijuana. Thailand legalized medicinal use of marijuana, and other Southeastern Asian countries may follow South Korea’s lead in legalizing cannabidiol, or CBD.
Marijuana sales keep breaking records in Colorado, where dispensaries collected more money in March 2019 than in any other month since recreational pot sales started in January 2014.
According to the state Department of Revenue, legal marijuana products totaling over $142.4 million were sold in March, with recreational pot responsible for the bulk of that. Both recreational and overall sales set records for a single month, beating out the next-highest month, August 2018, by a little over $1 million.
Alabama’s Department of Agriculture and Industries recently approved 180 applications to grow hemp in Alabama.
On Thursday the ADAI released information on those applicants.
- 152 growers
- 59 processors
- 5 universities
All are licensed to legally grow, cultivate, process, and research industrial hemp in 2019.
“We have had a significant interest in the Alabama Industrial Hemp Pilot Program from potential growers and processors since the availability of applications was announced in January,” Commissioner Rick Pate said.
Maryland has legalized the sale of edible medical marijuana products, which likely will provide a substantial revenue boost to MMJ businesses in the fast-growing market.
It would also open new business opportunities for edibles manufacturers.
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican, signed the provision into law on Monday, along with a marijuana-related, antitrust bill. State lawmakers had passed both bills in April.
It’s still unlawful in Greece – apart from medical use – but the marijuana industry is set to take off after the ruling Radical Left SYRIZA government authorized six licenses for companies to cultivate the product.
Some 50 applications for licenses have been submitted, three of which are in the final stages of approval said the business newspaper Naftemporiki, adding that the 56 total potential operations could bring in 590 million euros ($663.10 million) in revenues.