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Michigan Will Start Accepting Adult-Use Cannabis License Applications Nov. 1
Regulators are expected to grant the first adult-use licenses in the coming weeks. Mon, 28 Oct 2019 19:16:00 GMT <![CDATA[<div><p>Michigan will start accepting adult-use cannabis business license applications Nov. 1 and will award the first licenses in the coming weeks, according to a <a href=”” target=”_blank”>Michigan Radio report</a>.</p><p>Michigan&#8217;s Marijuana Regulatory Agency (MRA) <a href=””>released instructions</a> on how to apply for adult-use cannabis business licenses earlier this month. License types include cultivators, retailers, &#8220;consumption establishments,&#8221; &#8220;marijuana event organizers&#8221; and &#8220;temporary marijuana events.&#8221;</p><p>Starting Nov. 1, applicants can apply online or submit paper applications, although the MRA recommends the online system for faster processing. The application process consists of two steps: prequalification and establishment licensing. The prequalification stage includes background checks and a $6,000 nonrefundable application fee, and once an applicant secures prequalification status, he or she will be vetted by the MRA and will be required to submit business specifications, proof of financial responsibility, information on local regulations and employee information, and each applicant must also undergo an inspection of the facility.</p><p>A supply shortage in the state&#8217;s medical market could cast a shadow on adult-use licensing and the rollout of retail sales, however, according to Michigan Radio.</p><p>Michigan Cannabis Industry Association Executive Director Robin Schneider told Michigan Radio that she is not expecting many applications to be submitted on the first day.</p><p>&#8220;I just don&#8217;t believe that we&#8217;re going to see a Green Rush of businesses running out to get those rec licenses on the first day because of the lack of supply,&#8221; she told the news outlet.</p><p>The launch of the adult-use market will likely make the supply shortage worse, Michigan Radio reported, and retailers may have to wait until March or April for their first supply of adult-use products to allow time for businesses to become operational and grow and test their cannabis.</p></div><div></div>]]>

Utah Department of Health Accepting Medical Cannabis Pharmacy License Applications Ahead of Dec. 2 Deadline
The department plans to issue 14 licenses. Mon, 28 Oct 2019 19:04:00 GMT <![CDATA[<div><p>The Utah Department of Health is accepting medical cannabis pharmacy license applications from those interested in operating the state&#8217;s first medical cannabis retail outlets.</p><p>Rich Oborn, director of the Utah Department of Health&#8217;s Center for Medical Cannabis, expects &#8220;dozens of interested applicants&#8221; to submit proposals to win one of the 14 licenses ahead of the Dec. 2 application deadline, according to a <a href=”” target=”_blank”> report</a>.</p><p>The first phase of pharmacies could open as early as March 1, the news outlet reported, when the state&#8217;s medical cannabis program is scheduled to become operational.</p><p>&#8220;This is another significant milestone for Utah&#8217;s medical cannabis program,&#8221; Oborn said in a public statement. &#8220;We have been working closely with potential applicants over the past several months to develop the framework of this RFP.&#8221;</p><p>Each applicant must pay a $2,500 application fee, reported, and if approved, licensees must pay an annual fee between $50,000 and $60,000, depending on the license type and the pharmacy&#8217;s location. Licenses will be divided among four geographic regions to ensure adequate patient access throughout the state, according to the news outlet, and applicants can operate a maximum of two pharmacies each.</p><p>The licenses are expected to be awarded in late December, reported.</p><p>Utah voters approved Proposition 2 to legalize medical cannabis in the November 2018 election, and last month, Gov. Gary Herbert <a href=””>signed the final version</a> of the state&#8217;s revised medical cannabis law, which lawmakers approved Sept. 16 during a special session of the legislature. Amendments to the law eliminated Utah&#8217;s original plan for state-run dispensaries and allowed the licensing of private businesses for cannabis sales.</p><p>The state <a href=””>awarded eight cultivation licenses</a> in July, although the process has raised concerns among industry stakeholders. Some have argued that the state&#8217;s decision to license a smaller number of cultivators (Utah could have awarded up to 10 cultivation licenses by law) could <a href=””>create a cannabis shortage for patients</a>, while <a href=””>others claim</a> the state granted licenses to unqualified growers and had inappropriate interactions with some of the applicants.</p></div><div></div>]]>

Massachusetts Governor Pursues Emergency Regulation for Temporary Vape Ban
The Public Health Council approved Gov. Charlie Baker’s emergency regulation after a state judge ruled that the state must treat the ban like an emergency rule for public health reasons. Mon, 28 Oct 2019 18:54:00 GMT <![CDATA[<div><p>Gov. Charlie Baker&#8217;s administration has received approval from the Public Health Council on an emergency regulation that would maintain its temporary ban on all vaping products in Massachusetts.</p><p>The Public Health Council unanimously approved the emergency regulation at an Oct. 25 meeting, and the regulation will be formally filed Oct. 28 with Secretary of State William Galvin&#8217;s office, according to a <a href=”” target=”_blank”>WBUR report</a>.</p><p>On Oct. 23, a judge <a href=””>rejected Baker&#8217;s appeal</a> of an earlier ruling that would halt his administration&#8217;s four-month ban on vape sales, which was originally <a href=””>set in motion</a> Sept. 24 in response to the nationwide outbreak of vape-related lung illness. Suffolk Superior Court Judge Douglas Wilkins gave Baker&#8217;s office until Oct. 28 to appeal the ruling or go through the process of treating the ban like an emergency rule for public health reasons, the latter of which Baker has now pursued.</p><p>The Baker administration said the emergency rule is in compliance with Wilkins&#8217; order, and should be sufficient to prevent the ban from lifting, WBUR reported. In pursuing the emergency regulation, Baker&#8217;s office must now to hold a public hearing by Dec. 24 to allow businesses and other stakeholders to offer feedback and perspectives on the policy. And while Baker&#8217;s initial ban spanned four months, the regulatory process will shorten the ban to three months, according to WBUR.</p></div><div></div>]]>

In North Carolina, Lawmakers and Industry Stakeholders Fight Over Banning Smokable Hemp
S.B. 315 is a wide-ranging agricultural bill that includes a ban on the sale of hemp flower. Mon, 28 Oct 2019 14:57:00 GMT <![CDATA[<p>North Carolina legislators have agreed to continue allowing the sale of smokable hemp until June 1, 2020, but it&#8217;s unclear whether that temporary measure will remain in effect any longer than that. The debate over smokable hemp flower&#8212;sold outside the purview of licensed medical cannabis dispensaries&#8212;is still a major discussion in the state.</p><p>Part of this hand wringing comes from the regulatory uncertainty over what hemp <em>is</em>. While it&#8217;s legally defined as the cannabis plant containing 0.3% THC or less, that ratio means very little to law enforcement. By allowing hemp flower to be sold in retail storefronts around the state, the thinking goes, police officers will be left with no way to discern what&#8217;s legal (hemp) vs. what&#8217;s still illegal in the state (cannabis with more than 0.3% THC content). </p><p>The net effect is the <em>de facto</em> legalization of cannabis, a point that law enforcement officials in other states <a href=””>have brought up in public hearings</a>.&nbsp;</p><p>The ban on smokable hemp flower is seen as one way to ameliorate that distinction. If there&#8217;s no legal hemp flower on the market, then all that remains is illicit product that law enforcement can pursue with vested authority. But hemp business owners are caught in the middle of this tension.</p><p>&quot;From seed to sale, a lot of people have their lives staked in this, and I just don’t think everyone’s going to go out silently, if that’s the way it does go,&quot; Henderson County Sheriff Lowell Griffin <a href=”” target=”_blank”>told WLOS</a>.&nbsp;</p><p>Brian Bullman, founder of Carolina Hemp Company, <a href=”” target=”_blank”>told </a><em><a href=”” target=”_blank”>The News &amp; Observer</a> </em>earlier this year that a ban would have far-reaching effects for the quickly expanding hemp industry. North Carolina has licensed 16,924 acres of industrial hemp in 2019.&nbsp;</p><p>&#8220;Anything that happens in this state without significant foresight is going to continue to ripple through our economy, our hemp economy,&#8221; Bullman told the paper. </p><p>In July, the North Carolina Industrial Hemp Commission <a href=”” target=”_blank”>voted 5-2 to oppose the ban</a>, writing to lawmakers that &#8220;The 2019 hemp crop in North Carolina was planted under a statutory and regulatory framework in which all products of hemp legally cultivated in the program have never been previously questioned to be illegal by federal or state law enforcement. &#8230; A shift in the law now by criminalizing smokable hemp will create market instability and leave North Carolina farmers insufficient time to find new markets for their crops.&#8221;&nbsp;</p><p>S.B. 315 is expected to earn Gov. Roy Cooper&#8217;s signature with ease. &nbsp;<br></p> ]]>

Georgia’s Medical Cannabis Problems, Major Growth in Illinois: Week in Review
Six months after it was signed into law, Georgia’s medical cannabis program is going nowhere fast. Sat, 26 Oct 2019 11:00:00 GMT <![CDATA[<p>We&#8217;re back at it this week with another set of headlines from another busy week in the cannabis business. In the U.S., bans on vape sales continue to lead the headlines in one way or another (Massachusetts is having a difficult time of it lately). And in Mexico, lawmakers seem to be getting very close to finding a pathway to a regulated marketplace after the country&#8217;s Supreme Court <em>de facto</em> legalized cannabis consumption last year.</p><p>Here, we&#8217;ve rounded up the 10 headlines you need to know before this week is over.<br></p><p><strong>Federal: </strong>As cannabis reform maintains its place in (or at least&nbsp;<em>near</em>) the spotlight of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary race, candidates are beginning to narrow the focus of what they mean when they stake claims to these platforms. This week, Bernie Sanders&nbsp;unveiled a comprehensive plan&nbsp;to legalize cannabis at the federal level and institute guardrails to keep Big Tobacco on the sidelines. <a href=”” target=”_blank”>Read more</a>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>International: </strong>Mexico Senate committees released legislation Oct. 17 that would legalize adult-use cannabis, and the bill needs to be approved by the end of the month to meet a Supreme Court deadline. The bill,&nbsp;first reported by&nbsp;<em><a href=”” target=”_blank”>Marijuana Moment</a></em>, follows last year&#8217;s Supreme Court&nbsp;ruling&nbsp;that Mexico&#8217;s ban on adult-use cannabis is unconstitutional, which&nbsp;<em>de facto</em>&nbsp;legalized consumption. Now, lawmakers are working toward a plan to regulate a marketplace for cannabis sales. The legislation is similar to a bill introduced by Interior Secretary Olga Sanchez Cordero&nbsp;last year&nbsp;when he was serving as a senator. <a href=””>Read more</a>&nbsp;<br></p><p><strong>Georgia:</strong> Gov. Brian Kemp signed a bill in April that established a regulated system for the production, processing and sale of medical cannabis oil, but now, six months later, this medical cannabis expansion plan is on hold until Kemp and other top state officials appoint members to a commission to oversee the program. House Bill 324, the legislation that legalized the production and sale of medical cannabis oil in the state, created the Georgia Access to Medical Cannabis Commission, a seven-member group charged, in part, with choosing which businesses can grow cannabis and developing licensing requirements for retailers. <a href=””>Read more</a>&nbsp;<br></p><p><strong>California:</strong> Harborside Inc. has announced that the U.S. Tax Court has issued a final decision under Tax Court Rule 155 on the income tax deficiency for Patients Mutual Assistance Collective Corporation (PMACC), the company&#8217;s 100-percent owned subsidiary and owner of the iconic Harborside Oakland cannabis dispensary. The U.S. Tax Court has ruled that PMACC owes an aggregate tax deficiency of approximately $11 million for the fiscal years 2007 through 2012. <a href=””>Read more</a>&nbsp;<br></p><p>Eaze Technologies, Inc. has announced that it obtained a complete dismissal of Williams v. Eaze, Inc., a putative nationwide class action lawsuit brought under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), by successfully enforcing the arbitration agreement in its Terms of Service. In her lawsuit, Plaintiff Farrah Williams attempted to circumvent the arbitration agreement in Eaze&#8217;s Terms of Service by arguing that cannabis contracts cannot be &#8220;formed&#8221; because cannabis is illegal under federal law. The court rejected this claim. <a href=””>Read more</a>&nbsp;<br></p><p><strong>Illinois:</strong> The state&#8217;s medical cannabis program has experienced record growth since changes to the law expanded patient access. More than 87,000 patients have qualified for the program since medical cannabis dispensaries opened in November 2015, and 37,000 new patients registered in the fiscal year ending June 30, which is a 93-percent increase and exceeds the number of patients who signed up in any other fiscal year. <a href=””>Read more</a>&nbsp;<br></p><p>Although Cresco Labs’ stock has fallen&nbsp;since announcing its acquisition deal with Origin House in April, the two parties are moving toward closing. This week,&nbsp;the waiting period under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976 (the HSR Act, which mandates an antitrust regulatory oversight period) expired. <a href=””>Read more</a>&nbsp;&nbsp;<br></p><p><strong>Massachusetts:</strong> A state judge in Massachusetts has upheld Gov. Charlie Baker&#8217;s four-month ban on all vaping sales, originally set in motion Sept. 24, but he&#8217;s also given the administration just a few days to remedy its handling of the sudden policy. The state appealed the ruling, but a judge then rejected that appeal. It would seem that the remaining option left for the state is to go through the process of treating the ban like an emergency rule and set up public hearings to vet the policy. <a href=””>Read more</a><br></p><p><strong>Rhode Island:</strong> Gov. Gina Raimondo filed a lawsuit against the state&#8217;s General Assembly this week to take exclusive control of medical cannabis and hemp regulation. Raimondo is asking a Superior Court judge to rule unconstitutional new powers that lawmakers awarded themselves over the industry earlier this year in the state budget, which mandate that all new cannabis regulations be approved by the General Assembly. <a href=””>Read more</a>&nbsp;<br></p><p><strong>Maryland:</strong> Maryland&#8217;s Medical Cannabis Commission is planning two independent investigations into its most recent medical cannabis licensing process, which has been halted amid complaints and litigation. One investigation will evaluate whether the licensing review process was fair, while the other will verify the accuracy of information included in the highest ranking applications. <a href=””>Read more</a>&nbsp;</p>]]>

Senate Committee Hearing Emphasizes the Need for Policy Change to Increase Cannabis Research Access
This week, Senators Feinstein and Cornyn convened a panel of leading health experts to uncover the health impact of cannabis on consumers. Instead, they were hit with the realization that the only way to determine those impacts is through increased research access. Fri, 25 Oct 2019 21:00:00 GMT <![CDATA[<p><span>&#8220;We don&#8217;t know what we don&#8217;t know,&#8221; U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams said during his testimony at Wednesday&#8217;s Senate hearing titled &#8220;Marijuana and America&#8217;s Health: Questions and Issues for Policy Makers.&#8221;</span><br></p><p>This was a curious statement coming from someone who, during the same session, continued to reference research data on synthetic cannabinoids and isolated compounds as a reliable predictor of full-spectrum product effects on brain development.</p><p>&#8220;I&#8217;ll be the first to admit we need to know more,&#8221; Adams said as he quoted his <a href=””>recent advisory</a> nearly verbatim. &#8220;But I want you to hear this: We know enough now to deliver sound guidance to protect the future of our nation&#8217;s youth.&#8221;</p><p>But do we?</p><p>The hearing, convened by the Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control, was led by Senators John Cornyn (R-TX) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and included testimony from the director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, Dr. Nora Volkow, as well as a panel of renowned university researchers. </p><p>While Feinstein acknowledged the complexity of the plant in her opening remarks and noted that she has personally witnessed the medical benefits of cannabis in the lives of family members, the underlying tone of the conversation remained one of consequence, not benefit. </p><p>Senator Cornyn went so far as to compare the implications of cannabis advocacy to the mid-century health claims of tobacco both during the hearing and in a <a href=””>Senate floor speech on Tuesday</a> preceding the caucus session:</p><p>&#8220;There&#8217;s no shortage of people who claim that marijuana has endless health benefits and can help patients struggling from everything from epilepsy to anxiety to cancer treatments,&#8221; he said. &#8220;This reminds me of some of the advertising we saw from the tobacco industry years ago where they actually claimed public health benefits from smoking tobacco, which we know as a matter of fact were false and that tobacco contains nicotine, an addictive drug, and is implicated with cancers of different kinds.&#8221;</p><p>Regardless of the prohibitory emphasis on negative outcomes throughout the committee hearing, the consensus was one of hope: that the Schedule-I status of cannabis must be lifted if we are to more fully understand how purchasable products and realistic dosing affect consumer health outcomes.</p><p>This message comes on top of <a href=””>recent legislation introduced by Senator Feinstein to expand cannabis research</a> as well as an increase in funding from the National Institute of Health for <a href=””>nine new studies on minor cannabinoids and terpenes</a>.</p><p>The irony, of course, is that legislators are demanding more research be completed before policy changes can be made while, at the same time, limiting that needed research through the continuation of Schedule 1 status.</p><p>&#8220;Policymakers [need] to understand the public safety implications of increased marijuana use before we dive in to the admittedly complex and difficult job of changing federal policy,&#8221; Sen. Cornyn said, adding, &#8220;It seems like we&#8217;re putting the cart ahead of the horse.&#8221;</p><p>The most persuasive and thoughtful testimony came from Dr. Staci Gruber, director of the Cognitive and Clinical Neuroimaging Core at McLean Hospital&#8217;s Brain Imaging Center and an associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Gruber&#8217;s testimony pushed back at the idea that this conversation is solely one of THC intoxication and harm reduction for chronic, heavy users. She made the point that not all cannabis use looks the same and reminded the caucus of the plant&#8217;s incredible complexity and therapeutic potential that goes far beyond the scope of a THC vs. CBD discussion. &nbsp;</p><p>&#8220;When it comes to marijuana, one size does not fit all. We have a single term: marijuana, and we often hear it used to refer to anything like the whole plant or individual compounds from the plant, intoxicating or not.&#8221; Dr. Gruber went on to say, &#8220;The plant is incredibly complex. Other compounds may yield therapeutic potential but we don&#8217;t have much in the way of long term studies and, unfortunately, it&#8217;s very difficult to study these compounds using clinical trial models, sort of the gold standard for deriving empirical sound data, given our current restrictions.&#8221;</p><p>When asked by Sen. Cornyn whether Congress could set forth legislation that classifies THC independently of other non-intoxicating cannabinoids and compounds, Dr. Gruber was quick to point out that the 2018 Farm Bill which asserts hemp production (cannabis containing 0.3% THC or less by law) already makes allowances for this. She also emphasized that, in addition to the recreational market’s interest in THC potency, many medical patients also seek out THC-rich products for relief. </p><p>&quot;Why hurt one because of another?&quot; Gruber asked, &quot;Regardless of how you feel about marijuana, science, and not emotion or rhetoric, must be our guide. We have a responsibility to provide the best and most accurate data to medical marijuana patients, our recreational consumers, our healthcare providers and the general public so they can make the best and most informed decisions about marijuana use.&quot;</p><p>Whether looking at rescheduling through a lens of consequence or benefit, the takeaway from the committee hearing was clear: legalization has outpaced science and legislators must work toward dropping the Schedule 1 status of cannabis in order to ensure access to good data for consumers and healthcare professionals alike. Basing policy on incomplete research does everyone a disservice and promotes the continuation of alarmist rhetoric stemming from an outdated and misinformed mindset.</p><p>The committee hearing on Marijuana and America&#8217;s Health: Questions and Issues for Policy Makers can be found in its entirety <a href=””>here</a>.</p>]]>

Bernie Sanders Shares Plan to Legalize Cannabis
If elected president, Sanders would keep the focus in the cannabis industry on small business development and social equity. Fri, 25 Oct 2019 14:31:00 GMT <![CDATA[<p>As cannabis reform maintains its place in (or at least <em>near</em>) the spotlight of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary race, candidates are beginning to narrow the focus of what they mean when they stake claims to these platforms.</p> <p>This week, Bernie Sanders <a href=”” target=”_blank”>unveiled a comprehensive plan</a> to legalize cannabis at the federal level and institute guardrails to keep Big Tobacco on the sidelines. Sanders has been a cannabis reform supporter for years; here, he&#8217;s wrapping his small business development and social equity policy goals into that broader picture.&nbsp;</p><p>&#8220;We’re going to legalize marijuana and end the horrifically destructive war on drugs,&#8221; Sanders said. &#8220;It has disproportionately targeted people of color and ruined the lives of millions of Americans. When we&#8217;re in the White House, we&#8217;re going to end the greed and corruption of the big corporations and make sure that Americans hit hardest by the war on drugs will be the first to benefit from legalization.&#8221;</p><p>According to CNN polling, Sanders remains among the top three candidates in the horse race&#8212;just behind Elizabeth Warren and Joe Biden. Warren has pledged to deschedule cannabis through executive order, but she has not issued a plan on the scale of Sanders&#8217; latest announcement. Biden has not signaled any support for cannabis legalization. </p><p>Here’s the plan Sanders outlined this week:</p><ul type=”disc”><li data-list=”0″ data-level=”1″>Ensure that revenue from legal marijuana is reinvested in communities hit hardest by the War on Drugs;</li><li data-list=”0″ data-level=”1″>Use taxes on legal marijuana sales to fund a $20 billion grant program within the Minority Business Development Agency to:&nbsp;</li><ul type=”circle”><li data-list=”0″ data-level=”2″>provide grants to entrepreneurs of color who face discrimination in access to capital;</li><li data-list=”0″ data-level=”2″>provide grants to individuals who have been arrested for or convicted of marijuana-related offenses;</li><li data-list=”0″ data-level=”2″>promote businesses in disproportionately impacted areas;</li><li data-list=”0″ data-level=”2″>provide job training and guarantee jobs for formerly incarcerated individuals;&nbsp;</li></ul><li data-list=”0″ data-level=”1″>Eliminate drug testing requirements from public benefits and ensure people cannot be removed from public housing for marijuana use;&nbsp;</li><li data-list=”0″ data-level=”1″>Eliminate the consequences of a marijuana record related to immigration;</li><li data-list=”0″ data-level=”1″>Encourage cooperatives and collective nonprofits businesses to create local economic growth;</li><li data-list=”0″ data-level=”1″>Institute market share and franchise caps to prevent consolidation and profiteering;<br></li></ul>]]>

Will Mexico Legalize Cannabis This Week? There’s Certainly an Opportunity
Mexico Senate committees released legislation Oct. 17 that would legalize adult-use cannabis, and the bill needs to be approved by the end of the month to meet a Supreme Court deadline. Thu, 24 Oct 2019 15:58:00 GMT <![CDATA[<p>Mexico Senate committees released legislation Oct. 17 that would legalize adult-use cannabis, and the bill needs to be approved by the end of the month to meet a Supreme Court deadline.</p><p>The bill, <a href=”” target=”_blank”>first reported by </a><em><a href=”” target=”_blank”>Marijuana Moment</a></em>, follows last year&#8217;s Supreme Court <a href=””>ruling</a> that Mexico&#8217;s ban on adult-use cannabis is unconstitutional, which <em>de facto</em> legalized consumption. Now, lawmakers are working toward a plan to regulate a marketplace for cannabis sales. The legislation is similar to a bill introduced by Interior Secretary Olga Sanchez Cordero <a href=””>last year</a> when he was serving as a senator.</p><p>Mexico would be the third country worldwide to federally legalize adult-use cannabis, following in the footsteps of Uruguay and Canada.</p><p>The legislation sets the legal age to purchase and possess cannabis at 18, and mandates that consumption take place only in private spaces, <em><a href=”(” target=”_blank”>The Motley Fool </a></em><a href=”(” target=”_blank”>reported</a>.</p><p>The bill also outlines strict packaging regulations, according to the news outlet. Cannabis packaging must be nondescript, and the law prohibits real people or fictional characters from being used on packaging.</p><p>In addition, the legislation prohibits edibles and cannabis-infused beverages in the adult-use marketplace&#8212;medical cannabis patients could still access these products, however, according to <em>The Motley Fool</em>.<br></p><p>A central agency called the Cannabis Institute would oversee the industry under the bill, and would be responsible for setting potency limits, implementing any legislation that is passed and issuing business licenses. Big businesses will not be given priority in the licensing process, according to <em>The Motley Fool</em>, and instead, low-income applicants, small farmers and indigenous peoples will be prioritized under the law.</p>]]>

Cresco Labs and Origin House Inch Closer to Closing Deal
Although Cresco Labs&#39; stock has fallen since announcing its acquisition deal with Origin House in April, the two parties are moving toward closing. Thu, 24 Oct 2019 15:00:00 GMT <![CDATA[<p>Although Cresco Labs’ stock has fallen <a href=””>since announcing its acquisition deal with Origin House in April</a>, the two parties are moving toward closing. This week,&nbsp;the waiting period under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976 (the HSR Act) expired. </p><p>According to a Cresco press release, &quot;the expiration of the waiting period under the HSR Act satisfies one of the remaining conditions to completing the transaction. With the waiting period passed, the parties are now working towards closing the transaction on terms that will be mutually agreeable to both parties.&quot;</p><p>But because Cresco Labs’ stock price has fallen, the overall transaction value is falling too. &quot;Under the terms of the agreement, holders of common shares of Origin House will receive 0.8428 subordinate voting shares of Cresco Labs for each Origin House Share,&quot; according to the announcement in April.<br></p><p><img src=”” alt=”cresco labs stock price”></p><p>Getting past the HSR Act waiting period (an antitrust regulatory oversight period) is a positive sign amidst a slower M&amp;A season <a href=””>and in the wake of the similarly-sized blockbuster MedMen/PharmaCann deal falling apart</a>.</p><p>&quot;We look forward to working through the remaining steps required to close the transaction,&quot; said Charlie Bachtell, CEO and Co-founder of Cresco Labs, in a public statement.</p><p>Marc Lustig, Chairman and CEO of Origin House, added: &#8220;the expiration of the HSR Act waiting period is a significant milestone for this transaction and for the entire cannabis industry.&#8221;&nbsp;</p>]]>

U.S. District Court Dismisses TCPA Lawsuit Against Eaze, Upholding the Ability of Legal Cannabis Industry to Enter Binding Contracts
The ruling sets an important precedent for both California&#39;s legal cannabis market and the legal cannabis industry in America. Wed, 23 Oct 2019 20:50:00 GMT <![CDATA[<div><p>SAN FRANCISCO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–PRESS RELEASE–Eaze Technologies, Inc. has announced that it obtained a complete dismissal of Williams v. Eaze, Inc., a putative nationwide class action lawsuit brought under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), by successfully enforcing the arbitration agreement in its Terms of Service. </p><p>In her lawsuit, Plaintiff Farrah Williams attempted to circumvent the arbitration agreement in Eaze&#8217;s Terms of Service by arguing that cannabis contracts cannot be &#8220;formed&#8221; because cannabis is illegal under federal law. The court rejected this claim, thus preserving the ability of cannabis businesses, operating where cannabis is legal under state law, to enter into and enforce basic contracts with customers, individuals and other businesses. </p><p>&#8220;This ruling is enormously important for the entire industry, as contracts across California and nationally could have been invalidated had the court found for the plaintiff,&#8221; said Andrea Lobato, chief risk officer at Eaze. &#8220;We are pleased to have successfully defended the basic right of legal cannabis companies to enter into contracts.&#8221; </p><p>After substantial briefing and argument led by Boies Schiller Flexner partners, Albert Giang and Michael Roth, the district court concluded that a proper contract had been formed, delegated other disputes to the arbitrator and dismissed Plaintiff&#8217;s nationwide class action. Specifically, while noting that the case raises interesting issues about &#8220;ganjapreneurship,&#8221; the court concluded that Eaze&#8217;s business &#8220;is legal under California state law&#8221; and arbitration was required under the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA). </p><p>&#8220;The court correctly found that cannabis companies are not barred from forming and enforcing basic contracts, and that Eaze&#8217;s business is legal under California state law,&#8221; said Giang. This ruling sets an important precedent for California&#8217;s legal cannabis market, and more broadly for the legal cannabis industry in America.</p></div><div></div>]]>

Tantalus Labs Announces Definitive Agreement for Contract Growing Agreement with Zenabis Global Inc. at Langley Greenhouse
The agreement is set to expand the supply chain for Tantalus Labs&#39; exclusive phenotypes, the &quot;Tantalus Range,&quot; with the British Columbian agricultural team. Wed, 23 Oct 2019 20:43:00 GMT <![CDATA[<div><p>VANCOUVER, Oct. 22, 2019 /CNW/ – PRESS RELEASE – <a href=”” target=”_blank”>Tantalus Labs Ltd.</a>, a B.C.-based cannabis producer, has announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement associated with contract growing with Zenabis Global Inc. Under the terms of this agreement, Zenabis intends to receive genetic material from Tantalus Labs in the form of Quality Assured cuttings for use as production plants. The plants will be cultivated to harvest, then harvested material returned to Tantalus for finishing under their unique cold cure process.</p><p>The agreement encompasses thousands of kilograms over an initial two year term, and will substantially augment Tantalus’ ability to satisfy the demand for their sungrown BC products across Canada. This new supply allows Tantalus to expand distribution rapidly across Canada, and enter additional provinces to service the pent up demand of new customers.</p><p>Tantalus Labs intends to have select strains from their product lineup produced at the 48-acre Zenabis Langley (formerly BEVO Agro) facility, located in the Fraser Valley of British Columbia. Cultivation is to be carried out by the respected British Columbian agricultural leader, and methods will stay true to the Tantalus sungrown mission, benefitting from a low cost of production due to economies of scale and increased energy savings.</p><p>&quot;Tantalus has been refining our genetics for production by greenhouse contract growing partners for over two years. We aspire to collaborate with cultivators who can enhance our quality promise and reputation with a discerning user base. Zenabis and Zenabis Langley have the team, infrastructure and regionality to be able to deliver quality sungrown cannabis to the high standard that our SunLab facility has set with our customers,&quot; says Dan Sutton, CEO of Tantalus Labs.</p><p>&quot;I am excited to enter into this cultivation partnership with the team at Tantalus Labs,&quot; said Andrew Grieve, chief executive officer of Zenabis. &quot;We are extremely pleased to have been selected as a contract cultivator for an organization that has a strong reputation as a producer of high quality, consistent, sungrown cannabis products.&quot;</p><p>&quot;I have known Dan Sutton, chief executive officer of Tantalus Labs, for a long time and have always appreciated Dan’s commitment to quality,&quot; said Leo Benne, chief growing officer of Zenabis. &quot;I look forward to building a strong relationship with Tantalus Labs, an organization whose values and approach are consistent with the values and approach of Zenabis.&quot;</p></div><div></div>]]>

Gallup: Super-Majority of Americans Support Legalizing Marijuana
Sixty-six percent of respondents endorse legalization. Wed, 23 Oct 2019 20:29:00 GMT <![CDATA[<div><p>PRESS RELEASE – A super-majority of Americans, including majorities of Democrats, Republicans and Independents, support making marijuana use legal in the United States, according to nationwide <a href=”” target=”_blank”>polling data</a> compiled by Gallup, first reported by <a href=”″ target=”_blank”>Forbes</a>. </p><p>Sixty-six percent of respondents endorse legalization, a total that is <a href=”” target=”_blank”>consistent</a> with other recent polls and that is nearly 30 percent higher than 2012 totals–when Colorado and Washington became the first two states to legalize adult marijuana use. A separate <a href=”” target=”_blank”>nationwide poll</a> released yesterday by PPRI (the Public Religion Research Institute) similarly reported that two in three Americans support legalizing and regulating adults’ marijuana use. </p><p>Commenting on the poll results, NORML Political Director Justin Strekal said: &quot;There is no buyers remorse on the part of the American people. In recent years, Americans support for legalization has only grown stronger. At the end of the day, every age demographic below 65, representing the overwhelming majority of the taxpaying public, would rather their dollars be spent regulate cannabis, not incarcerate it&#8217;s consumers.&quot;</p></div><div></div>]]>

Innovative Industrial Properties Acquires Illinois Properties, Enters Into Long-Term Leases with Cresco Labs
IIP has closed on the acquisitions of two properties in Joliet and Kankakee, Ill., which comprise approximately 90,000 square feet of industrial space. Wed, 23 Oct 2019 20:18:00 GMT <![CDATA[<div><p>SAN DIEGO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–PRESS RELEASE–<a href=”” target=”_blank”>Innovative Industrial Properties, Inc. (IIP)</a>, a real estate company on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: IIPR) focused on the regulated U.S. cannabis industry, has announced that it closed on the acquisitions of two properties in Joliet and Kankakee, Ill., which comprise approximately 90,000 square feet of industrial space in the aggregate. </p><p>The purchase prices for the properties were $32.8 million in total (excluding transaction costs). Concurrent with the closing of the purchases, IIP entered into a long-term, triple-net lease agreement for each property with a wholly owned subsidiary of Cresco Labs Inc., which intends to continue to operate the properties as regulated cannabis cultivation and processing facilities. Cresco is expected to complete additional tenant improvements for the properties, for which IIP has agreed to provide reimbursement of up to approximately $13.8 million. Assuming full reimbursement for the tenant improvements, IIP&#8217;s total investment in the two properties will be approximately $46.6 million. </p><p>As a real estate investment trust (REIT) for the medical-use cannabis industry, IIP partners with experienced medical-use cannabis operators and serves as a source of capital by acquiring and leasing back their real estate assets, in addition to offering other creative real estate-based capital solutions. </p><p>&#8220;We are very pleased to introduce Cresco to our premier tenant roster,&#8221; said Paul Smithers, president and chief executive officer of Innovative Industrial Properties, Inc. &#8220;Cresco has created a tremendously valuable footprint in the cannabis industry throughout their states of operation. We look forward to our long-term real estate partnership, and continuing to support them in their strategic growth for many years to come.&#8221; </p><p>Founded in 2013, Cresco is one of the largest vertically-integrated cannabis companies in the United States, with licensed operations in Arizona, California, Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Nevada, Michigan, Maryland and New York, and pending transactions in Florida, Utah and Massachusetts. With its pending acquisitions, Cresco has 23 licensed cannabis production facilities, 66 retail cannabis licenses and 34 operational cannabis dispensaries. Employing a consumer-packaged goods (CPG) approach to cannabis, Cresco&#8217;s house of brands is designed to meet the needs of all consumer segments and includes some of the most recognized and trusted national brands including Cresco, Remedi and Mindy&#8217;s, a line of edibles created by James Beard Award-winning chef Mindy Segal. Sunnyside*, Cresco&#8217;s national dispensary brand, is a wellness-focused retailer designed to build trust, education and convenience for both existing and new cannabis consumers. Cresco is well-positioned for the Illinois recreational market, having recently received the first adult-use cannabis dispensary and cultivation approvals in Illinois, which includes the properties in Joliet and Kankakee. </p><p>&#8220;We look forward to beginning our long-term real estate partnership with IIP, and working closely with them to address our future real estate capital needs as we continue to execute on our strategic initiatives,&#8221; said Joe Caltabiano, president and co-founder of Cresco. &#8220;With the continued expansion of Illinois&#8217; medical-use cannabis program and the introduction of the regulated adult-use cannabis program next year, we are very well-positioned, with state-of-the-art cultivation and processing facilities and support from IIP to continue to enhance productive capacity of these facilities, to play a key role in the continued strong growth of the Illinois regulated cannabis industry.&#8221; </p><p>As of Oct. 22, 2019, IIP owned 34 properties located in Arizona, California, Colorado, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Nevada, Ohio and Pennsylvania, totaling approximately 2.5 million rentable square feet (including approximately 832,000 rentable square feet under development/redevelopment), which were 100-percent leased with a weighted-average remaining lease term of approximately 15.8 years. As of Oct. 22, 2019, IIP had invested approximately $354.6 million in the aggregate (excluding transaction costs) and had committed an additional approximately $133.0 million to reimburse certain tenants and sellers for completion of construction and tenant improvements at IIP&#8217;s properties. IIP&#8217;s average current yield on invested capital is approximately 13.9 percent for these 34 properties, calculated as (a) the sum of the current base rents, supplemental rent (with respect to the lease with a tenant at one of IIP&#8217;s New York properties) and property management fees (after the expiration of applicable base rent abatement or deferral periods), divided by (b) IIP&#8217;s aggregate investment in these properties (excluding transaction costs and including aggregate potential development/redevelopment funding and tenant reimbursements of approximately $133.0 million). These statistics do not include up to $40.0 million that may be funded in the future pursuant to IIP&#8217;s lease with a tenant at one of IIP&#8217;s Massachusetts properties, the additional $4.0 million which may be requested by a tenant at one of IIP&#8217;s Pennsylvania properties or $2.0 million that may be funded in the future pursuant to IIP&#8217;s lease with a tenant at one of IIP&#8217;s Massachusetts properties, as the tenants at those properties may not elect to have IIP disburse those funds to them and pay IIP the corresponding base rent on those funds.</p></div><div></div>]]>

Core One Labs Inc. Signs Letter of Intent to Acquire Cultivation Facility in Canada
The company will acquire all of the outstanding shares of 1210950 B.C. Ltd. dba Rainy Daze Cannabis Corp. Wed, 23 Oct 2019 20:08:00 GMT <![CDATA[<div><p>VANCOUVER, Oct. 23, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — PRESS RELEASE — Core One Labs Inc. has announced it has signed a non-binding letter of intent (LOI) to acquire all of the outstanding shares of 1210950 B.C. Ltd. dba Rainy Daze Cannabis Corp. in exchange for a cash payment of CAD$100,000 and 3,500,000 shares of the company’s common stock.</p><p>Rainy Daze was organized by the CEO of a fully-licensed Canadian LP with current Cultivation and Medical Sales licenses. Rainy Daze facility has a license application in process. The facility used by Rainy Daze is held under a long-term lease and is currently under construction and is scheduled to be completed in the second quarter of 2020. Once completed, the facility will include 22,510 square feet of canopy space and 3,500 square feet of operational purpose-built building.</p><p>The facility will be operated by experienced staff with LP credentials, and will include 15 top proprietary genetics, together with the farming resources and SOPs to ensure compliance and maximum yield, seed to sale software, and secured distribution agreements that guarantee shelf space with a group of over 12 licensed locations in western Canada. With extraction capabilities onsite, the acquisition will provide Core One Labs an opportunity to enter the edibles and extracts markets and independently brand all of the company’s products in the Canadian market.</p><p>The completion of the transaction is subject to a satisfactory due-diligence process, which is expected to be completed by Nov. 30, 2019.</p><p>The CEO of Core One Labs Inc., Brad Eckenweiler, commented, &quot;With completion of this proposed transaction, Core One Labs will have a clear and defined path to the Canadian market and ultimately the ability to export CannaStrips internationally.&nbsp; The location and extensive capabilities of the Rainy Daze facility is uniquely suited to meet the goals and aspirations of the Core One Labs team.&quot; </p><p>The company will continue to update the market on the progress of this transaction as it proceeds to the completion of the acquisition.</p></div><div></div>]]>

Safety Group to Employers: Prohibit Cannabis Use for Jobs that Pose Physical Risks
Organization says even legal cannabis use is dangerous for workers in safety-sensitive positions. Wed, 23 Oct 2019 18:23:00 GMT <![CDATA[<p>The National Safety Council has called on employers to prohibit cannabis consumption for workers in safety-sensitive positions, even if it&#8217;s legal in their respective state. </p><p>The nonprofit health and safety organization issued a policy position on Oct. 21 that stated &nbsp;&#8220;there is no level of cannabis use that is safe or acceptable for employees who work in safety sensitive positions.&#8221; The organization recommended that employers relocate workers who use cannabis medicinally to non-safety sensitive operational positions.</p><p>The National Safety Council cited figures from a study by the National Institute on Drug Abuse that concluded employees who tested positive for cannabis had 55% more industrial incidents, 85% more injuries and 75% greater absenteeism than workers who tested negative for cannabis use.</p><p>The organization also cited its own survey findings in a news release that indicated employers are concerned about cannabis use in the workplace. According to the 2019 survey, 81% of employers &#8220;were concerned about the drug having a negative impact on their workforce.&#8221; In addition, 24% of respondents said they would fire an employee who was &#8220;misusing legal cannabis, such as being under the influence while on the job.&#8221; A smaller number of employers, 7%, said they would relocate an employee who misused legal cannabis to a position of lesser responsibility.</p><p>&#8220;Research clearly shows that cannabis impacts a person’s psychomotor skills and cognitive ability,&quot; said&nbsp;Lorraine M. Martin, president and CEO of the National Safety Council. &quot;In order to protect our employees and those around them, we need to acknowledge the impairing effects of cannabis. We urge employers to implement policies stating no amount of cannabis consumption is acceptable for those who work in safety sensitive positions.&quot;</p><p>The safety council added that it expects the American Industrial Hygienists Association to support its position while &#8220;companies supporting cannabis decriminalization will oppose the position.&#8221;</p><p>&nbsp;</p>]]>

Maryland Regulators Plan Two Investigations of Medical Cannabis Licensing Process
The Medical Cannabis Commission is planning two independent investigations after halting the licensing process amid complaints and litigation.

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