As the February 9th deadline nears for the US budget to be passed in Congress, industry planners are asking for help in persuading Senate members to support Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy‘s push to include the medical marijuana protections provided by Rohrabacher-Blumenauer.
A past lobby plan to expand language for adding recreational protections has apparently been put on hold, according to Washington sources. Leading Republicans have indicated that they oppose including the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer language. The NCIA is urging industry members to call U.S. Senators and request they include the Leahey Amendment in the upcoming Omnibus Appropriations Bill.
Also at NCIA, as West420 News reported last week, board member Rob Kampia has been removed. Whether the two-third removal vote was taken for financial or alleged sexual issues, Kampia is the 3rd board member to quit in the past 5 weeks (after Kayvan Khalatbari and Neal Levine). NCIA tweeted, “NCIA board removed Rob in accordance with our bylaws after an ethics committee review surfaced a pattern of behavior unbecoming of a board member.”
After three months of growth, Nevada‘s November cannabis gross sales fell to $33.4 million, down from the October total of $38.1 million. Taxes on wholesale grows were up to $2.2Mil, a ten percent gain from October, and an indication that growers have ramped up production to meet Nevada demand.
Meanwhile, Nevada‘s key state regulator overseeing the cannabis industry, taxation director Deonne Contine is leaving her post to enter the private sector. Contine was instrumental in driving early regulations that allowed recreational sales to commence July 1st of last year. Contine was the conduit from Gov. Brian Sandoval who remained laser-focused on commencing RMJ sales with a goal of pushing $100 million in MJ taxes into Nevada’s public education system by fiscal year-end.
California‘s first month of recreational marijuana sales probably increased business by 150%, at least in the view of one former medical-only store. Tax officials say all licensees will report newly-legal recreational revenues once per quarter, making the first report expected in early May. Paul Cambra of California’s Department of Taxes and Fees Administration told West420, “We generally have our reports for the quarter complete by the 10th of the following month. So by May 10 we will have total sales and tax revenue numbers for first quarter 2018.”
As provided by California‘s Amendment 64, San Francisco has expunged the records of over 3000 marijuana offenders and is reportedly also reviewing another 5000 cases.
A new analysis by Los Angeles cannabis attorney Hilary Bricken lists leading questions being fielded from cannabis licensees in California. Among the concerns are transition rules as the state moves from collectives to for-profit retailers, product tracking issues, taxes, and other investor/employee issues. See the summary here.
Overstock.com CEO Patrick Byrne says he will work for passage of the medical marijuana ballot question set for his home state of Utah. Byrne says medical cannabis has greatly enhanced his quality of life after he faced recovery from three bouts of cancer.
In Massachusetts, the governor has allocated an estimated budget of $7.6 million to implement that state’s initial legal RMJ structure, set to commence in the second half of 2018.
Nearby neighbor Maine, which also passed a recreational legalization in November 2016, is witnessing a concerted effort by state House leaders and the governor to stall all rulemaking and delay any legal recreational marijuana sales from the beginning until perhaps 2019.
Colorado traffic fatalities are up 24% since 2014 according to a preliminary report counting 605 deaths in 2017. The last time fatalities registered over 600 was in 2005 when 606 deaths were recorded. With 3.8 million licensed drivers in Colorado, one in every 33 Colorado drivers will be in a crash this year. The department of transportation says most collision fatalities were due to no seatbelt being worn, speeding, driving impaired, or driving distracted.
Despite AG Jeff Sessions‘ scrapping of the Cole Memo, international investor funding for cannabis firms continues at a brisk clip. Willie Nelson‘s GHM reports raising $12 million in a Series B round, bringing total raised since inception to $30 million. GHC says it will expand its edible line and increase sun-grown cultivation.
Colorado-based Canopy has formed a $50 million fund to invest in non-touching startups in the cannabis arena. Last year, affiliate Canopy Boulder raised $2 million to fund new startups, and in 2016 raised $1.2 million.
Canada’s latest acquisition reports Aphria Inc. buying licensed producer Nuuvera for $670 million, which will help continue supply expansion into Germany, Italy, and Israel.
A Toronto cop ended up in a tree as his partner called an off-duty officer for help after the two experienced extreme reactions and hallucinations. The two cops had been put in charge of watching cannabis just seized in a dispensary raid, and decided to sample some of the center’s edible product. The two were suspended with pay, pending a full investigation according to The Toronto Sun.
Joining with more than 60 members in the Senate and House, Massachusetts‘ Senator Elizabeth Warren called on President Trump to “follow the will of the voters and provide common sense, responsible regulations for marijuana that balance public health and safety needs.” Signing on to the January 25th letter were new supporters to the cannabis cause, including Senators Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.). From the House, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Cali), and ranking member of the House committee on Russian meddling probe joined Rep. Peter Defazio (D-Ore.) and Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-Fla.). “The 10th amendment… constrains the role the federal government has in intrastate policy,” wrote the lawmakers, adding rescinding Cole “upends the careful balance struck between the federal and state governments on marijuana enforcement.”
A separate January 30th letter from local officials in legal states was sent to Jeff Sessions asking for a Cole Memo reinstatement. “Your decision also created uncertainty for our local governments by leaving federal enforcement decisions up to each individual U.S. Attorney, resulting in what could be selective and unfair enforcement. Of greatest concern, however, is the sheer confusion felt by local officials who now face governing in a chaotic environment,” said the letter. More than 50 officials from Florida, Vermont, California, Oregon, and Colorado signed the letter.