A bipartisan group of lawmakers re-introduced a marijuana bill to Congress. A businessman is challenging Guam’s new marijuana law in federal court. Two dozen California cities are suing the state to stop cannabis deliveries. Also, the first publicly traded cannabis company’s stock is up 2,139 percent since its debut. 🌳
Lawmakers reintroduce marijuana bill. A bipartisan group of lawmakers reintroduced a bill Thursday that would exempt state marijuana programs from federal prohibition. The legislation, known as the STATES Act, is co-sponsored by senators Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) in the Senate and reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) and David Joyce (R-Ohio) in the House. Roll Call Gardner said that president Donald Trump told him he would sign the bill, but “that Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell needs some more convincing.” Politico Lawmakers are optimistic about the bill. “If this gets moving, I think you will see the Senate get on board,” said Blumenauer. Rolling Stone The American Bankers Association sent letters to both chambers in support of the bill. Cannabis stocks have been mixed as investors wait to see how the legislation fares. MarketWatch
Federal lawsuit seeks to stop marijuana legalization in Guam. Well, that was fast. The same day that the governor of Guam signed a marijuana legalization law, a businessman and former legislative candidate is suing to stop it. Sedfrey M. Linsangan’s lawsuit is asking a federal court to declare the law null and void because it violates federal law. Linsangan is representing himself in the lawsuit and asked the court to “enjoin the defendants from engaging in policymaking regarding the sale and distribution of marijuana.” He argued that the legalization law would “destroy families, children, economy, businesses and the island of Guam.” Pacific Daily News
California cities sue state over cannabis delivery. Two dozen California cities filed a lawsuit Thursday against the state over marijuana home deliveries. The 24 municipalities are seeking to challenge the California Bureau of Cannabis Control for allowing marijuana deliveries in cities that have banned marijuana sales. “The cities behind the suit contend that the bureau lacks legal authority to allow deliveries in conflict with local ordinances because Proposition 64 and a law signed by then-Gov. Jerry Brown guarantee local governments veto power over pot sales in their jurisdictions.” About 80 percent of municipalities in the state have banned recreational marijuana dispensaries. The Los Angeles Times
Mass. marijuana regulators to scrutinize M&A activity. Massachusetts marijuana regulators vowed to scrutinize consolidation in the cannabis industry after reports of large cannabis companies testing state caps on licenses. Regulators are working out a procedure to review contracts “for companies seeking a transfer of a license or other large-scale change in ownership or control.” Meanwhile, the businesses themselves insist “their operations will comply with state law, despite revelations that they have close ties to numerous license-holding entities.” The Boston Globe Regulators warned dispensaries to stop allowing the spouses and caregivers of medical marijuana patients to enter the their premises. But after the wife of a medical marijuana patient was denied entrance to a dispensary, the commission revised its guidance. The Boston Globe
Georgia medical cannabis legalization faces hurdles. Georgia governor Brian Kemp has said he will sign a bill to allow medical marijuana production in the state. Jurist But it could be years before patients have access to a state-legal supply of medical cannabis oil. “Six private companies can grow medical marijuana, but no dispensaries will be allowed until a state board licenses them. Pharmacies can provide medical marijuana oil to patients, but few pharmacies are likely to participate because doing so could jeopardize their federal permission to sell other drugs. And two proposed university-run marijuana programs will be dependent on federal approvals.” The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
🚨 Shameless Promotions 🚨
Word on the Tree is supported by GeekTek, the information technology and security service partner for companies in growth mode throughout US and Canada. Scale with GeekTek
The Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists presents The Color of Cannabis — Philly’s first cannabis media event. Join Word on the Tree’s editor on April 6 to learn about what legalization in Pennsylvania could look like and how communities of color could be impacted. Tickets here: Eventbrite / PABJ
Getting a license is one of the most difficult early steps in doing business in the evolving cannabis industry. As New York prepares to legalize marijuana, join these experts on April 9 in NYC to learn about how to make your application stand out. Word on the Tree readers get 30% off tickets with the code: WOTT30: Eventbrite / REVEL
Library collection chronicles the history of marijuana as medicine. An exhibit at the Lloyd Library and Museum in Cincinnati, Ohio, chronicles more than 360 years of cannabis industry. The earliest book from 1588 features cannabis in a guidebook for plants. The last — from 1951 — is a pulp novel about a “a young girl enslaved by the dope habit.” “The examples punctuate how attitudes toward the cannabis plant, itself, and cannabis, the psychoactive drug extracted from the plant, has changed through the centuries. And how this history continues to shape policy toward this plant today.” cincinnati.com
Berkeley moves to establish cannabis nursery licenses. Masao Yabusaki’s family ran a plant nursery for generations, until it was forced to shutter after his aunt was diagnosed with leukemia. Yabusaki has been petitioning local officials for years to allow nurseries to sell cannabis plants to the public in hopes of reviving the family business. Now, Berkeley is poised to become the first California city to establish licenses for retail nursery microbusinesses. “At first it was, like, ‘Grandson is growing weed in the closet’ — because that’s how it started — and later, (my grandmother) decided to let me use the land and make history,” said Yabusaki, who hopes he can open up for business by the summer. The Daily Californian
Today in cannabis business news… Canopy Growth Corp. became the first publicly traded cannabis company in 2014. Since then, its stock is up 2,139 percent and the company is worth nearly $15 billion. Bloomberg The growth of the U.S. cannabis industry is bleeding into adjacent industries like energy, packaging, and tech. “As investors circle the cannabis space, supply-chain companies are showing a new willingness to associate themselves with an industry that remained largely illegal a decade ago.” Reuters Debt capital raises are increasing among publicly traded cannabis companies. Marijuana Business Daily Former execs from British American Tobacco, Monsanto, and Hewlett Packard have joined the leadership ranks of a Canadian cannabis company. Marijuana Business Daily
Elsewhere around the world… Regulators in Germany selected three companies to cultivate medical cannabis in the country. The contracts are the result of “a long-delayed application process to provide product for one of the largest medical cannabis markets in the world.” Marijuana Business Daily China grows nearly half of the world’s hemp. Global demand for the crop is surging and hemp stocks have reached an all-time high. The Economist In Australia Queensland patients will be able to get medical cannabis from a doctor without state approval. The changes mean cannabis will be treated like any other prescription drug. The Mercury A regulatory agency in South Africa has awarded the first cannabis cultivation license. Cape Business News
Mental health care must change as psychedelic drugs gain approval. The FDA has approved a ketamine derivative for depression and given breakthrough therapy status to MDMA and psilocybin. But these drugs are unlike current drugs used in psychiatry that patients can just take themselves at home. Instead, they require longer therapy sessions and supervision. “Such drugs require a fundamental shift in how psychiatric care is delivered and the amount of time each patient may require with a health provider for a given session. Doctors will need to rethink the role of longer, and more in-depth patient encounters in a system that places a premium on the revolving door of mental health care.” Stat News
Word on the States
- In New Hampshire, the House passed a marijuana legalization bill, but it’s expected to be vetoed.
- In New Jersey, Democrats in the legislature are worried about the governor’s bid to expand medical marijuana.
- In California, the Senate approved a bill to extend temporary cannabis licenses. Lawmakers are searching for short-term solutions to marijuana banking problems. Berkeley’s city council moves to establish cannabis nursery licenses.
- In New Mexico, the governor signed a bill to allow medical marijuana on school grounds.
- In Massachusetts, regulators awarded a final licenses to a Newton marijuana dispensary.
- In Colorado, a House committee advanced a bill that would reduce penalties for drug possession offenses.
- In Illinois, a Senate committee passed a marijuana legalization shell bill that will be amended in the future. The Senate unanimously passed a marijuana banking bill.
- In Michigan, edibles manufacturer are preparing for the recreational market.
- In Georgia, the governor said he will sign a bill to legalize medical marijuana production.
- In North Dakota, regulators chose four more medical marijuana dispensaries.
- In Missouri, a House committee debated a bill that would reduce penalties for marijuana possession. Employers are reviewing their drug policies after medical marijuana legalization.
- In Arkansas, medical marijuana patient counts jumped 25 percent in a month. A bill to lower marijuana penalties failed in committee and will require further study.
- In Ohio, the first infused medical marijuana products hit the shelves.
- In Wisconsin, Racine sets a $75 municipal fine for marijuana possession.
- In Montana, the Senate approved using marijuana tax revenue for mental illness support services.
- In South Carolina, businesses are preparing for hemp and medical marijuana markets.
Word for Word
“The push to include adult-use cannabis legalization in the New York Legislature’s 2019 state budget package officially died on Monday… [Its] death resulted from multiple causes—bickering over taxes, conservative lawmakers catching a case of cold feet, law enforcement pushback, even a corporate-backed plot to ban homegrow. But in the end, even the most ardent legalization advocates couldn’t defend the package’s weak tea equity measures… [Markets] may remain closed as long as the cannabis industry refuses to take into consideration anything other than its own pockets.” – Deputy editor Bruce Barcott for Leafly
“‘These drugs are a way to program your mind,’ he says with the unabashed brio of a successful software engineer. ‘Our brain is like an operating system. Most people are burdened with shit code. I figure out how to reprogram your subconscious brain.’ Years ago it would’ve been easy to dismiss this as the drug-induced ramblings of a guy up in the sky with Lucy and her diamonds. But these days taking miniscule amounts of psychedelics first thing in the morning—a practice known as ‘microdosing’—has become the rage in Hollywood and Silicon Beach boardrooms and executive suites.” – Susan Campos for Los Angeles