Medical marijuana protections under Rohrabacher-Blumenauer have been extended to March 23, the new deadline for Congress to pass an omnibus spending bill. Industry lobbyists are still hoping to extend state-legal prohibitions on federal enforcement to adult-use states as well.

Colorado Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) has stopped Senate consideration of 11 high-level Justice Department nominees, placing a hold on several marshals and US attorney candidates. Gardner told AG Jeff Sessions he would place a hold on DOJ nominees until such time as Sessions reconsidered his Cole Memo recission, or negotiated with Sen. Gardner on new guidance language. Both sides have dug in, said DC sources, and the Washington Post says another 20 DOJ nominees may also come under Gardner’s Senatorial “hold”.

Tobacco company Alliance One International, (NYSE: AOI) acquired a 75% equity position in Canada licensed producer Island Garden and an 80% stake in LP Goldleaf Pharm. The first tobacco public entry into the industry also includes a major investor in a North Carolina hemp producer.

The 2nd SeedToSale conference kicked off in Denver on Jan. 7th with a smaller than expected attendance of 1200 (versus 2017 at 3500). Canopy Boulder’s Patrick Reay told conferees that total investor dollars have increased, but they seem to be funding “only the best deals.” And Harborside chief counsel Henry Wykowski said the IRS‘ adverse 280E rules will not change without a new Tax Court ruling. Greenbridge attorney Khurshid Khoja joined other California industry members frustrated by the state’s high initial recreational marijuana taxes, while VS law cofounder Brian Vicente urged license holders to work on building “an actual face-to-face relationship” with regulators. Visit selected Seed2Sale presentations at http://bit.ly/STSS_DEN_18

NCIA‘s annual awards for excellence were also presented at Seed2Sale. Cited for industry excellence (advocacy, education and community engagement) were Cannabis Advisors co-founders Diane and Jay Czarkowski.

  • The Excellence in Innovation Award went to:
  • Cultivation — L’Eagle Services
  • Infused Products and Extractions — Wana Brands
  • Business Innovations and Strategy — Cannabis Trainers
  • NCIA’s Excellence in Technology Award
  • Cultivation — urban-gro
  • Infused Products and Extractions — Kin Slips
  • Business Innovations and Strategy — New Frontier Data

(More coverage from Seed2Sale, and the 3rd annual WomenGrow conference next week).

Its second-year program to fund incoming college freshman entering local colleges now may be able to support more than 600 Pueblo, CO area students. The Fall 2018 scholarship will have $700,000 in marijuana tax revenue to hand out, with typical scholarships delivering an average $2000 per recipient.

The riches from sold-out trade shows have been shared by one of the industries richest private firms. MJBusiness has donated $250,000 to 13 cannabis advocate non-profits as part of its Giveback Program. Joining last year’s group splitting $100K in 2016 (NORML, MPP, NCIA, ASA, SSDP, and Drug Policy Alliance) were newly funded non-profit/advocacy groups. They include Organic Growers Association, Hemp Industries Association, National Hemp Association, Minority Cannabis Business Alliance, Puerto Rico Medical Cannabis Association, and the Resource Innovation Institute. “As the size of the industry grows and the participation in things like MJBizCon continue to increase, our ability to support a variety of needs has also increased,” said MJBiz CEO Cassandra Farrington.

Oregon‘s legal access regime is under stress. First, the state was busted for excessive under-21 access into dispensaries. Second, the Oregon US attorney, Billy Williams, convened a summit with attorneys and law enforcement to discuss diversion issues which claim a grower-to-consumer oversupply of 3:1. Now the Oregon Secretary of State has also chimed in, issuing an audit of marijuana procedures needing attention. The report said while the seed-to-sale software remains reliable, issues with monitoring and security remain problematic. It said too much data on the industry is generated by the licensees themselves, and that Oregon has too few inspectors overseeing the cannabis marketplace. More than 900 cultivation licenses have been issued, with many more pending.

Link of the week: Politico reports on how awareness of cannabis reform issues might actually help some red-state candidates. Go to: https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2018/02/06/legal-marijuana-red-state-democrats-216941

Jobs for the national cannabis sector may be as high as 230,000 according to a new study of marijuana job growth, pegged at rising 445 percent. In the prior year for growth through 2016, there was only an 18 percent increase. A separate BDS Analytics study says total US jobs in legal cannabis will grow to 414,000.

Showing up with her father off camera, an unidentified San Diego Girl Scout got national attention for showing up to sell cookies in front of the Urbn Leaf dispensary. The young Girl Scout reportedly sold 312 boxes of cookies in a 3 hour period, and, according to officials, broke no California Girl Scout rules since she did not set up a table, but walked up and down on the dispensary’s front sidewalk. In a CBS This Morning Twitter poll, 89 percent of comments were in support of her effort.