Lobbying firms are increasingly cashing in on cannabis. Hemp legalization sows confusion for prosecutors all over the country. A cannabis business owner was appointed to Colorado’s tourism board. Also: American farmers are planting hemp in an effort to offset losses from the US-China trade war. 🌳
Lobbying firms cash in on cannabis.
Lobbying firms are setting up cannabis practices as the marijuana industry grows. “New farmers coming into this field don’t really realize they’re entering what’s really a compliance industry because it’s so highly regulated,” said the co-chair of Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck’s new cannabis hemp practice. An anti-marijuana advocate drew comparisons between the cannabis lobby and Big Tobacco or Big Pharma. “Combining one of the biggest D.C. lobbying firms with the addiction business never ends well in this country,” said the president of SAM. The Hill
Hemp vs. marijuana prosecution confusion.
Prosecutors across the country are moving away from marijuana prosecutions in the wake of hemp legalization laws. The Eighth Circuit State Attorney of Florida has dropped minor marijuana cases and wrote a memo to law enforcement agencies on how to handle marijuana cases going forward. The Gainesville Sun Hamilton County, Ohio‘s prosecutor said police can still investigate and confiscate suspected marijuana, but testing and charging will have to wait until state crime labs are able to tell the difference between the hemp and weed. WLWT The District Attorney for Murrah and Whitfield counties in Georgia is postponing misdemeanor marijuana cases. He says that the state crime lab is “very close” to creating a test to distinguish between marijuana and hemp. WTVC
Cannabis business owner appointed to Colorado tourism board.
Wanda James, a Denver-based cannabis dispensary owner and marijuana activist, has been appointed to the Colorado Tourism Board. She plans to push for more cannabis social consumption areas and for the board to recognize cannabis as a tourism opportunity. “We do around 65 to 70 percent of our business with tourists in our dispensary. Social consumption, equity — these are things we’ve been talking about for years,” said James. “What we’re looking at now, from my perspective, is how do we include tourism in the cannabis and hemp conversation?” Westword
New Mexico senator gets marijuana incarceration data.
As New Mexico considers legalizing recreational marijuana, state senator Jacob Candelaria has been trying to obtain marijuana incarceration data for years. “Finally, after years of asking, this administration, you know, did the right thing and is acting in a transparent fashion and gave me that data,” he said. At least 108 people currently incarcerated in New Mexico prisons have at least one marijuana-related offense. More information is needed as the majority of those incarcerated for marijuana also have other unknown charges. KOB Related: The state is planning to overhaul its medical marijuana market. The Associated Press
The perils of drug testing kits.
Drug charges have been dropped against Shai Werts, a quarterback for Georgia Southern University. Werts, who was pulled over for speeding, was charged with cocaine possession after a substance on the hood of his car tested positive for cocaine. Savannah Now Werts was suspended from the football team for two days before the school lifted the suspension after the charge was dropped. His case highlights the unreliability of drug field tests, which have yielded false positives for substances as varied as tortilla dough and doughnut glaze. The Washington Post
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The medical marijuana boom in Oklahoma.
The medical marijuana program in Oklahoma is growing faster than expected as the cannabis industry starts to create economic ripples in other sectors. State regulators predicted that 80,000 people would sign up as patients during the first year. This July, about a year after the legalization law was passed, more than 162,000 patients had signed up for the program. “There are some signs the state is nearing an equilibrium. Patient license applications and business license applications are slowing.” Meanwhile, the state collected nearly $2.2 million in medical marijuana tax revenue in June, nearing the amount it collected from beer taxes. The Oklahoman
Conflict of interest?
Wise Health Solutions, a Nevada-based joint venture between cannabis consulting firm Veracious Investigative and Compliance Solutions and Oaksterdam University, has won a contract from the state of Missouri to score its medical marijuana business applications. The contract is worth more than half a million dollars and the project’s lead is a former Nevada state health official who helped set up the state’s medical marijuana regulations. KMIZ While the scoring process is blind, the fact that Veracious and Oaksterdam have deep ties to the industry is raising some eyebrows. How should states “obtain help for the task of scoring from those with knowledge of the industry while maintaining a conflict-of-interest-free process”? Cannabis Wire / Newsletter
Today in cannabis business news…
American farmers struggling amid a U.S.-China trade war are turning to hemp in hopes of mitigating their losses. Bloomberg Cannabis brand Kush Queen is launching a cannabinoid makeup line. The CBD products will be available to purchase online, while THC products will be sold in states that have legalized marijuana. The CEO and founder of the brand said that the THC-infused foundation “really does get you high.” Allure Cannabis stole the show at San Francisco’s Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival — the first of its kind to offer legal marijuana sales and consumption onsite. Mercury News
Cannabis in Canada.
CannTrust’s independent auditor withdrew its reports on the company’s financial statements due to “newly uncovered information” in the wake of its compliance controversy. BNN Bloomberg Alberta, the nation’s 4th-most populous province, is home to 254 licensed cannabis dispensaries. Meanwhile, the most populous province of Ontario has only licensed 24 dispensaries so far. Leafly A PSA campaign by the government of Ontario warns against stoned driving. Adweek Cannabis producer Canopy Growth is acquiring Beckley Canopy Therapeutics, a joint venture between Canopy and Beckley Research & Innovations. MarketWatch
Elsewhere around the world…
Mexico is considering how to legalize marijuana as its Senate kicks off a series of discussions this week on cannabis regulations. Here’s a look at legislative proposals on how to regulate the industry. Cannabis Wire Supply issues are hindering the growth of Uruguay‘s marijuana market. Thanks to a shortfall from government producers, only 2 kilograms of cannabis a week are being delivered to the 17 pharmacies licensed to sell the stuff. Marijuana Business Daily The government of Greece has licensed 26 medical marijuana growers so far. The National Herald Jersey granted a license to hemp farmers to harvest the crop for CBD extraction. The Guardian A video game was banned in Australia because players could acquire a marijuana joint in the game. Game developers have since announced that they would change the game worldwide to comply. Kotaku
🗣 Shout Outs 🗣
Weed + Grub
Weed + Grub is a podcast about cooking, cannabis, comedy, and pop culture — hosted by Mary Jane Gibson and Mike Glazer. Their SXSW panel — Art, Entertainment & Social Justice Awareness — will feature Open Mike Eagle, Ron Funches and Laganja Estranja for a discussion about the role of art in cannabis advocacy. Vote for their panel here: SXSW Panel Picker
Word on the States
- In Arizona, a campaign filed an initiative to legalize marijuana with the Secretary of State.
- In Idaho, medical marijuana advocates can start collecting signatures for a 2020 legalization ballot initiative.
- In New York, about 350 people with marijuana convictions in Manhattan will get their records expunged under a class-action settlement. Border agents seized hundreds of pounds of marijuana in Buffalo.
- In Massachusetts, how a dispute over marijuana zoning is bubbling over in Boston.
- In Utah, three rejected medical marijuana companies are pushing appeals to the state’s licensing decisions.
- In Michigan, a work group considers fixes for the new legal marijuana law.
- In Illinois, municipalities are seeking clarification on marijuana legalization.
- In Florida, an increasing number of dispensaries are opening up in South Florida. Two hemp advisory boards are at odds over rulemaking for the hemp industry.
- In Hawaii, Kailua-Kona will soon have two medical marijuana dispensaries.
- In New Jersey, an Atlantic City councilman is under fire for posting about eating marijuana edibles.
- In California, Fairfax officials approved rules to allow two cannabis retailers in town.
- In Pennsylvania, the governor and agriculture secretary talked up the hemp industry during a visit to a Blair County hemp farm.
- In Oregon, activists are one step closer to getting psilocybin legalization on the 2020 ballot.
- In Maine, Poland will hold a marijuana licensing lottery.
Word for Word
“Nearly three years after the Ghost Ship fire, the scruffy, low-rent art spaces that helped give Oakland its edge are disappearing. Building inspectors shut some of them down after the blaze that engulfed the Fruitvale warehouse in December 2016, killing 36 people and prompting the trial of two men who now await a jury’s decision on whether they were criminally negligent. But other artist colonies have succumbed to a new, more persistent threat: marijuana.” – Rachel Swan and Sarah Ravani for San Francisco Chronicle
“According to the town’s complaint filed in Land Court, ‘approximately 10 inches of [Massachusetts Green Retail’s] building,’ plus part of the deck, a dumpster, and some parking, spills over the Lynn line into Saugus. The actual amount may be as few as two inches, says James Lamanna, assistant city solicitor for the city of Lynn. No one can be certain until a surveyor makes a determination. Those few inches demonstrate how, despite voters continuing to sign off on legalization, America remains balkanized, even at a hyper-local level.” – Dave Howard for Leafly