All three of the California agencies charged with implementation of the Medical Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act released their initial draft of new cannabis rules on April 28, 2017. This long-awaited event puts some meat on the ‘til-now skeletal ideas of what is going to happen in California as the expansion of the state-legal cannabis industry into adult recreational use moves forward.
On May 19, 2017, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission announced the temporary suspension of two marijuana stocks that trade on the OTC Markets, with both orders of suspension related to the companies neglecting to provide accurate and up-to-date information.
A South Dakota marijuana legalization petition has been approved by Attorney General Marty Jackley. On May 17, 2017, Jackley issued an Attorney General Explanation for the legalization initiative that aims to legalize all quantities of marijuana and have the South Dakota Department of Agriculture establish a regulatory system for recreational marijuana.
On May 16, 2017, Aloha Green Holdings, a licensed dispensary based in Oahu and one of the first two dispensaries approved to grow medical marijuana in the state of Hawaii, announced that it had harvested its first crop of Hawaiian medical marijuana.
On May 18, 2017, Colorado Reps. Diana DeGette and Mike Coffman introduced legislation to protect state marijuana laws from federal interference. If passed, the bill, “Respect States’ and Citizens’ Rights Act of 2017,” would amend the Controlled Substances Act so that the federal government could not use the CSA to preempt state marijuana laws.
Pasadena, Calif., is considering an ordinance that would shut off the utilities of illegal marijuana dispensaries operating within the city. On May 15, 2017, the city council voted unanimously in favor of the ordinance’s first reading; if approved at its second reading, the ordinance could go into effect as soon as June of this year.
While there’s nothing quite like enjoying the fruits of a marijuana farmer’s labor, that labor doesn’t come without potential hazards to those who work the land.
On May 16, 2017, the Oregon Office of Economic Analysis issued its quarterly Oregon Economic and Revenue Forecast, with the forecast giving a recreational marijuana outlook for the first time in the forecast’s history.
On May 16, 2017, the Minnesota Department of Health announced that a recent study shows a majority of patients enrolled in the Minnesota Medical Cannabis Program have reported medical cannabis benefitting their conditions.
When it comes to marijuana enforcement, it’s no secret that racial disparities persist even though black and white communities use marijuana at similar rates. The most recent reminder of this comes from the Old Dominion State, where Virginia marijuana arrests continue to disproportionately affect black communities.
Canada’s Finance Minister Bill Morneau is ready to talk Canadian cannabis taxes with the country’s provinces. On May 15, 2017, during a House of Commons meeting for the Standing Committee on Finance, Morneau addressed the Budget Measure Implementation Act and closed his opening remarks with a note on cannabis taxes.
After eight years of banishment from NASCAR due to unpaid fines, race car driver Carl Long was poised to make his triumphant return to the sport at a race in Kansas on May 12, 2017, but that return was quickly overshadowed after news emerged that NASCAR had forced Long to remove a decal from his car that was advertising a marijuana company.
On April 21, 2017, the Maine Department of Health and Human Services issued its 2016 annual report on the state’s medical marijuana program, noting that the number of caregivers rose from 2,258 in 2015 to 3,258 in 2016, an increase of 44%.
From fiber to clothes to biomedicine, industrial hemp is fueling new opportunities across the United States, and a newly signed South Carolina hemp bill is going to give South Carolinians the opportunity to enter the re-emerging market of hemp.
While the the Pennsylvania Department of Health has already processed hundreds of applications for cultivators, processors and dispensaries, laboratory hopefuls can now get in on the action. On May 11, 2017, the PADOH released the application to become an approved Pennsylvania medical marijuana laboratory.
On May 10, 2017, Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran joined a growing number of voices calling for the state legislature to convene a special session on medical marijuana so it can pass legislation regarding the program’s implementation and regulation.
On May 10, 2017, California Assemblyman Jim Wood, D-Healdsburg, announced that California Gov. Jerry Brown will allot $1.5 million from California’s state budget to cover an Emerald Triangle cannabis cleanup of illegal grow sites in Humboldt, Trinity and Mendocino Counties.
On May 9, 2017, the New York Senate Health Committee passed Senate Bill 5629, which would consider post-traumatic stress disorder an eligible condition for the state’s medical marijuana program.
On May 9, 2017, Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal signed Senate Bill 16, a medical cannabis expansion bill that adds six new conditions to the list of conditions that qualify for low-thc oil in the state.
On May 5, 2017, San Diego County Superior Court Judge Tamila E. Ipema ordered local District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis to return the $100,693.85 in personal savings seized from James Slatic, former owner of MedWest Distribution, and his family. The money was originally seized on Feb. 2, 2016, following a raid on Slatic’s medical marijuana business on Jan. 28.
On May 5, 2017, President Donald Trump signed the 2017 omnibus funding bill, covering the federal government’s funding through Sept. 30. The bill contains a provision that bans the Department of Justice from using funds to enforce federal marijuana laws in states that have legalized medical marijuana; however, Trump issued a signing statement that has clouded the future of medical marijuana.
Canada’s licensed producers will have to expand their testing checklists. On May 5, 2017, Health Canada announced that mandatory cannabis testing now includes testing for unauthorized pesticides.
On May 5, 2017, the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol announced that it had submitted its ballot language to state officials and is ready to launch its recreational marijuana petition drive as soon as it earns the approval of the State Board of Canvassers.
On May 5, 2017, the New York State Department of Health gave additional transparency to its program by adding registration statistics and a public list of consenting medical marijuana doctors to the program’s website.
On May 3, 2017, the executive subcommittee of the Arkansas Legislative Council approved emergency medical marijuana rules for the state, governing the implementation of regulatory oversight, the application process and medical marijuana registration, testing and labeling.
On May 3, 2017, the Maryland Office of Legislative Audits released a fiscal compliance audit of the state’s regulatory services, including an examination of the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission’s contracting of Towson University’s Regional Economic Studies Institute to process and evaluate applications for cultivation, processing and dispensing.
The North American Marijuana Index, a stock index that tracks the top performing cannabis stocks in the United States and Canada, decreased 9% in April due primarily to heavy losses in the United States.
According to a recent poll published by Elon University, North Carolina marijuana legalization is gaining momentum, with more than half of the state’s citizens ready to legalize the plant for medicinal purposes.
On May 2, 2017, Uruguay’s National Drug Board announced that it had opened its cannabis registry system, commencing the process of Uruguay registering adults for its recreational cannabis program and making the country the first in the world to have a government-run recreational program.
Rep. Jared Polis, D-Colo., co-sponsor of a bill to end federal prohibition of marijuana, is preparing to educate lawmakers on Capitol Hill about marijuana policy, on May 3, 2017, and it seems the event may have another major talking point to address: bankruptcy protection for marijuana businesses.
With top members of Congress agreeing to a funding bill on April 30, 2017, the federal government should be able to avoid a shutdown and state-legal medical marijuana programs should have extended protection from federal enforcement actions.
On April 27, 2017, a bipartisan group of congressmen in the United States House of Representatives announced that they would be launching legislation to allow state-legal marijuana businesses access to banking services.
On April 27, 2017, in an interview with Chuck Todd, host of NBC’s Meet the Press, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper recounted a recent talk he had with Attorney General Jeff Sessions and indicated that he doesn’t foresee Sessions cracking down on state-legal marijuana.
On April 27, 2017, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan announced that he had ordered the Governor’s Office of Minority Affairs to launch a disparity study on the state’s medical marijuana program.
On April 26, 2017, New Frontier Data, an analytics firm, announced that it had released The Cannabis Industry Annual Report: 2017 Legal Marijuana Outlook, revealing some compelling data on the market habits of medical cannabis patients and recreational cannabis consumers across the country.
On April 27, 2017, the Pennsylvania Department of Health provided an update on its medical marijuana program, announcing that it has currently received over 500 medical marijuana applications from prospective growers, processors and dispensaries.
On April 25, 2017, ASTM International, an international voluntary consensus standards organization, announced that its board of directors had approved the formation of a cannabis committee, signaling the professional development of global standards for the legal cannabis industry.
When it comes to the cannabis industry, it’s difficult to even find an accurate comparison in business. Every business in this industry is effectively a startup in addition to the fact that we’re in one of the newest and fastest growing industries in the world; that makes it like a startup on steroids. To say it’s unpredictable and risky is an understatement.
On April 20, 2017, the National District Attorneys Association announced that it had released “Marijuana Policy: The State and Local Prosecutors’ Perspective,” a white paper that argues federal drug policy should be enforced in state-legal marijuana markets in the United States.
On April 19, 2017, the California Supreme Court Committee on Judicial Ethics Opinions advised judges in California that holding a financial interest in any marijuana-related venture, whether medical or recreational, would violate the California Code of Judicial Ethics.
On April 20, 2017, Quinnipiac University announced the results of its latest national poll and found that 60% of American voters believe marijuana use should be legalized in the United States, the greatest level of federal legalization support ever recorded by Quinnipiac.
On April 20, 2017, Cowen and Company, a leading Wall Street investment bank, issued a report that shows the accelerated adoption of cannabis pressuring alcohol volumes, with beer most at risk.
On April 19, 2017, the Florida Department of Health announced that state residents should be cognizant of medical cannabis scams as the DOH has received reports of fraudulent advertisements for free or cheap medical cannabis.
On April 19, 2017, West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice signed Senate Bill 386, also known as the West Virginia Medical Cannabis Act, legalizing medical cannabis as a treatment option for patients suffering from one of several qualifying conditions.
It only took Homeland Security Secretary John F. Kelly two days to change his tune on marijuana. On April 16, 2017, in an interview with Chuck Todd, host of NBC’s Meet the Press, Kelly said, “Marijuana is not a factor in the drug war.” Fast forward to two days later and Kelly is singing a different song.
On April 17, 2017, the Ohio legislature’s Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review voted to finalize the rules and regulations for the state’s medical marijuana cultivators.
On April 17, 2017, “Weed & the American Family,” a poll conducted by The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion and Yahoo News, revealed data points on Americans’ perspectives regarding legalization, the evolution of social norms and how marijuana affects relationships.
If you’re looking for an educational 420 event in Southern California this year, the University of California, Los Angeles, has a light to shine on cannabis science.
On April 13, 2017, the state of Michigan announced that it has organized all medical marijuana regulations under the newly created Bureau of Medical Marihuana Regulation within the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, centralizing the medical marijuana program’s licensing, compliance, enforcement and registry under one roof.
On Thursday, April 13, 2017, Canada made headlines with its official introduction of legislation to legalize recreational cannabis in the country by July 2018. While the country’s announcement has major national and international implications, cannabis stocks in Canada took a downturn upon hearing the news.