WeedWeek edition / September 13, 2020
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1 “ABSOLUTE CONFUSION:” CBD RULE FREAKS OUT INDUSTRY

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The DEA's new CBD rule has created a state of "absolute confusion" in the CBD/hemp industry.
WeedWeek

  • The rule determines that any extract or substance produced during hemp processing which contains more than 0.3% THC is an illegal drug, even if it derives from legal plants and is diluted or refined to legal limits before it reaches consumers.
  • In this video chat, I discussed the rule with Marc Hauser, a cannabis attorney at law firm Reed Smith, and Ben Gonzales, an executive at Premium CBD Labs.
    WeedWeek
  • The short version is there are a lot of unanswered questions and the DEA isn’t being especially helpful about answering them.
  • Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Agriculture is reopening the comment period for its hemp rules for a 30-day window.
    Canna Law Blog

Separately, the FDA is teaching cannabis businesses how to protect proprietary information from competitors.
Marijuana Moment

Quick Hit

  1. Martha Stewart is the latest celebrity to start a CBD brand.
    CNN
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2 FIRES RAVAGE WEST COAST INDUSTRY

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Thick orange haze above San Francisco Bay on September 9 2020 from record wildfires in Californa, daytime view of ash and smoke over the Bay Area

The record breaking fires which have destroyed millions of acres in California, Oregon and Washington, including many cannabis farms, are forcing the industry to think about whether this represents a "new normal" for the industry.
MJBiz

  • “We’ve already broken the record for most acres burned in history, and we haven’t even gotten to the worst part of the season. So I think this is the new norm. Fires are just a way of life at this point,” said David Najera, a marijuana cultivation consultant and farmer in Mendocino County, California.
  • One solution he suggested is for farms to keep livestock to minimize kindling on their property.
  • In Oregon, roughly 20% of cannabis businesses required evacuating.
    Oregonian
  • Canna Law Blog looked at the situation in California and Oregon.
  • 🌴WW California has more.

 

3 COLUMBIA CARE CONTINUES ACQUISITION SPREE

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Fresh off its acquisition of Colorado-based The Green Solution, New York-based Columbia Care said it would acquire  vertically integrated California player Project Cannabis for $69M in a cash and stock deal.
Benzinga

  • Project Cannabis' brands include Triple Seven and Classix. The company also runs retail and delivery operations in southern California.

Separately, a New York state judge 🔒refused to dismiss a lawsuit against Columbia Care accusing it of stealing trade secrets in a dispute over a Florida MED license. Read more about the case here.
Law360, WeedWeek

Quick Hits

  1. The founding of MSO Green Thumb Industries is the subject of a lawsuit.
    Monterey County Weekly
  2. Business Insider learned many of Wall Street's biggest banks 🔒no longer test applicants for cannabis.
  3. New Cannabis Ventures says the industry's rising tide won't lift all boats.

4 HYPUR’S TYLER BEUERLEIN ON THE INDUSTRY’S LEADERSHIP VACUUM

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For this week’s Power Player interview we caught up with Tyler Beuerlein, Chief Revenue Officer at regulatory-tech and fin-tech company Hypur. In a wide ranging conversation we discussed Hypur’s regulatory offerings, its expanding payments business and why the cannabis industry needs better leadership. 
WeedWeek

"Money was flowing and these companies were going public and they were taking that monopoly money, so to speak, from the public markets. They were going hog-wild without a real clear one understanding of each individual market. I think that they maybe fell in love the limelight a little bit and lost track of really where they should be focusing."

Read the whole thing.

5 MED RESEARCH BILL “BETTER THAN NOTHING”

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WeedWeek columnist Dan Mitchell discusses the Medical Marijuana Research Act (MMRA) a bill which would lift some of the restrictions on MED research.

  • Among other things, the bill would allow the use of state-licensed product for research purposes, as opposes to the notoriously poor product grown at the federally permitted facility at the University of Mississippi.
  • The bill is expected to pass the full House of Representatives, but its prospects in the GOP controlled Senate are bleak.
  • Bob Solomon of the University of California - Irvine's Center for the Study of Cannabis, called the bill "better than nothing, but not much better."
  • The MMRA has support from some prohibitionists, such as Kevin Sabet-led group Smart Approaches to Marijuana. They may suspect more research would show that MED isn't as beneficial as many supporters believe.

6 NEBRASKA NIXES MED VOTE, OTHER STATES FORGE AHEAD

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Nebraska's Supreme Court cancelled a MED vote slated for the November ballot.
Lincoln Journal-Star

  • The court ruled the initiative violated the state's single subject rule because subsections of the act, which addressed how MED would be produced and sold, lacked a strong enough connection to each other.
  • Activists who gathered signatures for the measure 🔒 vowed to keep fighting.
    Law360
  • However, November REC initiatives in Arizona, New Jersey, South Dakota and Montana could mean that one-third of Americans have access to legal REC. Mississippi will vote on MED.
    Politico
  • Business Insider discusses which 🔒pot stocks could get a boost if the initiatives pass.
  • Meanwhile in Washington D.C., some wonder whether now -- in the midst of a pandemic and right before the election -- is the right time to go forward with a vote on the MORE Act to legalize cannabis, which has little chance of passing the GOP-controlled Senate.
    Politico

Quick Hit

  1. A survey found Ohioans are largely dissatisfied with the state's MED program.
    WeedWeek

7 ILLINOIS’ GOV. OPEN TO LICENSING “CHANGES AND FIXES”

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Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker said he's open to tweaks in a lottery process to award 75 dispensary licenses, but said he would not suspend the process.
CBS

  • The state legislature's Black and Latino caucuses have called on Pritzker to halt the license process to learn more about how the 21 finalists, out of 700 applicants were chosen. (Applicants can seek up to 10 licenses each.)
  • Pritzker said two-thirds of the finalists are owned by people of color and all are equity applicants.
  • “When we’re done with this process, we will have the largest percentage ownership by people of color anywhere in the nation,” Pritzker said.

The Chicago Sun-Times learned that a KPMG risk management consultant is a finalist. The firm received a $4.2M no-bid contract to evaluate applications. It said the consultant was not involved in the selection process.

8 WASH. STATE ODOR TASK FORCE OFF TO A ROCKY START

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Washington state is apparently among the first jurisdictions to create a task force focused on unwanted cannabis odors permeating the area near businesses.
MJBiz Daily

  • The state has put out a request for proposals to vendors who can detect and report on odors. The lowest-priced proposal was for more than twice the budget allotment.
  • Unwanted odors have been the subject of racketeering (RICO) lawsuits against cannabis companies, which are often motivated by opponents of the industry.
  • The industry is wary of the state imposing new regulatory fees associated with odor mitigation.
  • It's not clear if other states will follow Washington's lead.

Quick Hit

  1. In her CannaBitch newsletter, Jackie Bryant discusses how the legal market supports the illegal market.

9 YOUTH VAPING ON THE DECLINE

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Federal age restrictions on tobacco purchases and a ban on fruity flavored vapes are among the factors contributing to a 🔒 decline in youth vaping.
WSJ

  • A survey from early this year found about 20% of U.S high school students had used an e-cigarette in the past month. That's down from 28% the previous year.
  • It's likely that last years vaping crisis also contributed to the decline.
  • The survey was completed just as the pandemic set in.

10 HOW TO TALK TO YOUR KIDS ABOUT WEED

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Ngaio Bealum talked to Susan Soares about her book "What's Growing in Grandma's Garden," which aims to help parents talk to their kids about cannabis.
WeedWeek

Bealum writes that Soares "got the idea after attending some city council meetings about legalization. People kept asking “BUT WHAT ABOUT THE CHILDREN?!!”

"Her answer: “What about terrorism? What about pharmaceutical drugs? Fucking talk to your kids about it. That’s it.” She told me the book is based on the time her grandkids came to visit and saw her throw a few cannabis leaves into her blender while making a smoothie. “He wanted to know what I was doing so I told him. He wanted to know why some things are only for grown ups.”

Read the whole thing.

Quick Hit

  1. Jimmy Carter discussed an episode during his presidency when his son Chip smoked a joint with Willie Nelson on the White House roof.
    N.Y.Post