Denver unveiled a system to help clear cannabis convictions. The Arizona Supreme Court will decide whether medical cannabis extracts are legal. MedMen gets sued by one of its largest shareholders. Also: Tumblr is down so there will be no trippy gif today. Instead, we are showing off some new kicks by the creator of our logo, Panda McFan. (He takes commissions!) 🌳
Denver unveils new system to help clear cannabis convictions. More than five years after Colorado launched its adult-use marijuana market, officials announced a simplified process for clearing past cannabis convictions. Other cities and states have sought to automatically expunge or vacate cannabis offenses that became legal under state legalization laws. Denver officials estimate that some 10,000 convictions could be eligible. “Denver officials said Colorado law doesn’t allow them to take the kind of sweeping action used in other cities. So they said they decided to make the state’s process of petitioning courts easier for people who want to eliminate convictions.” Meanwhile, the Marijuana Industry Group is helping to cover court fees, so most applications will be free. The Associated Press
The end of an era. In 1996, California became the first state in the U.S. to reform its marijuana laws, introducing a medical marijuana program that allowed cannabis collectives and cooperatives to flourish. That law is ending today, meaning that all such collectives and co-ops will need to close up shop or get licensed — “an impossible task in regions that have either chosen to ban cannabis sales, or haven’t yet issued licenses.” It’s unclear how many patients will be impacted by the closures. Operators who previously donated medical cannabis to needy patients or veterans also were forced to end the practice due to the new regulations under the legalization law. Cannabis Wire
Arizona Supreme Court will hear cannabis extracts case. The highest court in Arizona will hear a case to decide whether marijuana extracts are legal under the state’s medical marijuana program. Medical marijuana patient Rodney Jones was convicted in 2013 of possessing illegal drugs and sentenced to 2.5 years in prison for possessing hash that he purchased from a medical cannabis dispensary. A lower court ruled that the law only allowed patients to possess the flower form of the cannabis plant. Jones’ attorneys are arguing that state regulators are regulating other forms of the product, including edibles and extracts. Meanwhile, the former state health director has written to the court, explaining that the cannabis regulations “always considered that the statute allowed for alternate forms of the drug.” Arizona Capitol Times
So much for decrim. Despite massive drops in marijuana arrests last year, nearly 90 percent of all cannabis arrests last year were of black and Hispanic New Yorkers. White people accounted for 7 percent of arrests. A spokesperson for Mayor Bill de Blasio predicted that the problem would persist for years due to the complexity of the issue. “We are policing marijuana use in communities of color more aggressively than we are in white communities,” said one city councilman. “That has not changed.” New York Daily News
Greedy politicians are hurting the cannabis industry. A look at California’s lackluster marijuana market by a libertarian think tank finds that the cannabis industry is being “taxed and regulated to death.” The excessive taxes and regulations for the industry has resulted in lower sales and tax revenue for the state. Meanwhile, the black market is still thriving in part thanks to the cost to become compliant. “It’s actually rather shocking that California hasn’t been leading the way in the cannabis industry, considering how it has led the nation in ending prohibition… as California is learning the hard way, if legalization is just an excuse to increase regulatory burdens for entrepreneurs and excessively tax consumers, then no one stands to make any money at all.” Foundation for Economic Education
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MedMen gets sued by one of its largest shareholders. Brent Cox, a former MedMen board member, and MMMG-MC, Inc, which has a 10 percent stake in MedMen, alleged that the marijuana company breached its fiduciary duties in a lawsuit filed on Tuesday. They argue that “CEO Adam Bierman and President Andrew Modlin have been making decisions on behalf of MedMed than serve their own personal interests rather than the best interests of the company’s investors.” The lawsuit describes a company as a veneer for “a complex web of interconnected subsidiary entities” all controlled by Bierman and Modlin. “These are frivolous claims, and it appears the judge agrees,” said a company spokesperson in a statement. Benzinga Related: Meanwhile, the company just completed a $133 million raise in partnership with an investment firm to spin off its real estate holdings. Marijuana Business Daily
In cannabis business news… Barred from traditional avenues of advertising, marketing is notoriously difficult for cannabis brands. A collaboration between two cannabis brands and a novelist is “a chance to innovate in an industry with tight advertising restrictions.” Leafly Hemp farming is legal. But there’s a lot to learn before the crop truly flourishes on American farms. Undark A Wall Street cannabis analyst believes marijuana sales in the U.S. will increase more than she expected. CNBC The price of marijuana flower is dropping in Colorado. So why are the prices for edibles rising? Westword
Cannabis in Canada. Industry executives say that Canada’s pot supply shortage could last for another three years. The adult-use market is struggling due to a lack of product, which has proven to be a boon for the black market. Bloomberg Alberta’s moratorium on new cannabis stores — driven by the supply shortage — puts 1,800 jobs in doubt and could cost up to $13 million in wasted leases. Calgary Herald Shoppers Drug Mart launched its e-commerce platform for medical marijuana. Global News
Greece’s cannabis market is on its way. “Much of Greek society is traditionally conservative and suspicious of cannabis.” A pair of entrepreneurs who started a hemp store in 2002 spent nearly a decade fighting drug trafficking charges (despite selling only hemp products). Police actually seized a pair of hemp boxer shorts to test them for drugs. (They were eventually acquitted.) Now, the country has awarded two medical cannabis licenses and is slated to grant a dozen more this month. Its climate is attractive to cultivators and it’s in a prime location for large cannabis companies (mostly from Canada and Israel) to produce and export products to other medical marijuana markets in Europe. The Wall Street Journal
Word on the States
- In Florida, 1.4 million former felons had their voting rights restored on Tuesday.
- In Connecticut, the medical marijuana industry is fighting to be allowed to make political contributions.
- In Maryland, regulators say the General Assembly will have to clarify marijuana business ownership rules.
- In Massachusetts, regulators will meet to discuss social marijuana use and delivery. Two more recreational retailers will open up shop (in Hudson and Pittsfield).
- In New Mexico, lawmakers are considering a bill to protect medical marijuana patients from getting fired.
- In North Dakota, a new bill would set limits on medical marijuana.
- In New Hampshire, lawmakers filed three marijuana bills.
- In Arkansas, a pediatric nurse was appointed to the medical marijuana commission.
- In Virginia, a state delegate introduced a bill to legalize marijuana.
- In Illinois, the state is accepting public comment for its industrial hemp program.
- In Texas, a state rep. filed a bill to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana.
- In Washington D.C., a councilmember re-introduced a measure to tax and regulate marijuana. A fire at a medical marijuana facility resulted from a mechanical failure in growing equipment.
Word for Word
“Everybody’s trying to rebuild the sun. The [grow lights] that are exciting are the ones who are trying to complement the sun. All we can do is try to complement Mother Nature. We can’t try to beat her. And so the best innovations that I’ve seen are ones that are having more pink, yellow, orange and red rays and less blue rays.” – Cannabis cultivator Joshua Haupt, Marijuana Business Daily
“I don’t know exactly why it happened. I definitely think that I was specifically targeted [by Wells Fargo] because I was making cannabis and medical marijuana and expansion of patient access such a pivotal part of my campaign. I think that I just brought attention to somebody who — whether it was an opponent, whether it was the opposition party, but somebody — definitely came in there and made it make noise inside of Wells Fargo for them to bring to light this issue. What it did when they closed down my account it made me fight harder. Realizing what our patients and our doctors and our license holders across the country deal with and that we are still not a normalized industry, and the impact that has on the patients is tremendous. Until we can be regulated like every other business, we’re never going to be normalized and it’s still going to be looked at as a criminal enterprise, which it’s not.” – Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Nikki Fried, Cannabis Wire