Welcome back to The Week in Weed, your Friday look at what’s happening in the world of legalized marijuana.

Ohio’s medical marijuana market was set to open in September, but there’s been a delay.

Ohio had set a Sept. 8 deadline to have a fully operational medical marijuana market. But the state confirmed this week what industry observers have predicted for a while: It’s not going to happen.

In fact, it could take weeks more before medicinal weed is available for patients. Even then, it’s likely to be available only in limited quantities.

More politicians express support for marijuana; the latest legislation seeks to prevent the federal government from interfering in states where it is legal.

The Senators’ Strengthening the Tenth Amendment Through Entrusting States Act isn’t a legalization bill, but it would let states chart their own course on cannabis without fear of federal interference.

President Donald Trump said Friday that he was inclined to support a bipartisan effort in Congress to ease the U.S. ban on marijuana, a proposal that would dramatically reshape the nation’s legal landscape for pot users and businesses.

Industrial hemp may be on its way to full legalization.

The farm bill includes hemp legalization legislation that is backed by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.  McConnell made a case during Wednesday’s agriculture panel meeting for supporting the hemp legalization.

In our June 12 blog post, we reported on a potential acquisition in the cannabis industry:

As an illustration of the potential difficulties in an acquisition by a SPAC, in July 2017 it was announced that the publisher of High Times was going to be acquired by a SPAC, Origo Acquisition Corp. The merger has yet to be consummated, and Origo has scheduled a stockholder meeting for June 12 looking for approval to extend the time that Origo has to close a transaction before having to dissolve.

On June 12, 2018, Origo Acquisition Corporation obtained stockholder approval to amend its corporate charter to extend its deadline to consummate an acquisition from June 12, 2018 to September 12, 2018.  Origo had previously entered into a merger agreement with Hightimes Holding Corp., the publisher of High Times Magazine.  The amendment gives Origo an additional 3 months to consummate the merger.  As a special purpose acquisition company, if Origo does not consummate the merger with Hightimes, or another qualifying acquisition by September 12, 2018, it will be forced to liquidate.

A developing market for owners of cannabis businesses looking for a potential buyer are SPACs, special purpose acquisition companies.  SPACs raise money in public offerings with the purpose of acquiring companies, usually in a specified range of industries or located in a particular geographic area. The SPACs cannot have a particular target in mind at the time of the public offering.  Among some of the more recent SPACs with a cannabis industry focus, MTech Acquisition Corp. closed a public offering for $57.5 million in February 2018, and Cannabis Strategies Acquisition Corp. closed a CDN $134.75 million (approximately US $103.78 million) public offering in Canada in December 2017. This post looks at some of the issues involved that are unique to being acquired by a SPAC. Continue Reading SPACs as an Exit Strategy for Cannabis Businesses

Welcome back to The Week in Weed, your Friday look at what’s happening in the world of legalized marijuana.

Marijuana businesses have had real problems finding banking services, but that task may get easier in California.

In order to keep up with the state’s marijuana industry, the California State Senate approves of a measure that would create a bank for the newly legal economy.

The California Senate has advanced Senate Bill 930 — a.k.a. the Cannabis Limited Charter Banking and Credit Union Law — which seeks to establish new rules allowing California banks to serve businesses who are denied banking services due to their involvement in the still federally prohibited cannabis industry.

In other California news, finding insurance coverage may get easier as well.

California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones unveiled a program to provide property and liability coverage for marijuana dispensaries, storage facilities, processors, manufacturers, distributors, and other cannabis-related businesses operating in California.

Could North Carolina be the next state to legalize recreational marijuana?

North Carolina’s legislature is considering a pair of bills that would make it legal to possess up to four ounces of marijuana for personal use.

A Forsyth County legislator is sponsoring a Senate bill that would make it legal to possess up to four ounces of marijuana for personal use.

 

California’s AB 2069, a bill to require employers to accommodate medical cannabis users, recently failed to advance past committee.

We previously reported that the California legislature was considering AB 2069, the “Medical Cannabis Worker Protections Act,” a bill to amend the Fair Employment and Housing Act to require most employers to engage in the interactive process with and consider reasonable accommodations for cannabis users.

Yet, on May 25, 2018, the bill failed to advance past the Appropriations Committee. Instead, the bill was “held under submission,” which, according to the legislature’s website, means “there is an indication that the author and the committee members want to work on or discuss the bill further, but there is no motion for the bill to progress out of committee.” Whether the bill will be set for another hearing remains to be seen.

Marijuana remains a Schedule I drug under the federal Controlled Substances Act. As a result, and consistent with the California Supreme Court’s decision in Ross v. RagingWire Telecomm., Inc., which upheld the right of an employer not to hire an applicant who tested positive for marijuana recommended by his physician, employers can continue to rely on federal law and enforce their workplace substance abuse policies. That said, given the growing popularity of medical and recreational marijuana laws, which are being enacted from coast-to-coast, and the willingness of courts to hold that employers may have a duty to reasonably accommodate medical marijuana use, we do not expect the saga in California to end here.

In the meantime, given the recent passage of California’s recreational marijuana law, employers may want to consider reviewing and updating their substance abuse policies, including their drug-testing policies, to ensure they are clear as to their expectations of employee marijuana use. Employers also should continue to monitor developments in this evolving area of the law.

Welcome back to The Week in Weed, your Friday look at what’s happening in the world of legalized marijuana.

We’re about six weeks away from the legalization of marijuana in Canada, but Canadian marijuana stocks are already on the New York Stock Exchange.

Canopy Growth late Wednesday said it expects to begin trading on the NYSE tomorrow, making it one of two Canadian pure-play marijuana stocks to list on a major U.S. exchange.

The only pureplay marijuana stock with any shot at being added to the S&P 500 anytime soon is Canadian-based Canopy Growth Corp.

In Florida, a circuit court judge has ruled a medical marijuana smoking ban unconstitutional.

A Florida judge has ruled the state’s ban on smoking medical cannabis unconstitutional, calling the Legislature-approved ban “invalid and unenforceable.”

In a move that could potentially provide an even bigger boost to growers and retailers in one of the country’s fastest-growing markets, a Florida judge ruled the state’s ban on smokable medical marijuana is unconstitutional.

Cannabis is apparently not immune from the laws of supply and demand, as proven by the situation in Oregon.

When Oregon lawmakers created the state’s legal marijuana program, they had one goal in mind above all else: to convince illicit pot growers to leave the black market.

State regulators say Oregon produced enough recreational cannabis last year to supply every adult resident with more than 5 ounces (140 grams) of legal marijuana.

And finally, birthday greetings to Tommy Chong, who, believe it or not, recently turned 80.

Yeah man, Tommy Chong says he always knew he’d live to see the day marijuana legalization would be sweeping the country.

Welcome back to The Week in Weed, your Friday look at what’s happening in the world of legalized marijuana.

The Acting Administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration, Robert Patterson, testified to Congress about legalizing marijuana recently.

The nation’s top drug enforcement officer was unflinching in his opposition to legalizing marijuana and apparently not embarrassed by his complete ignorance of the relevant science.

Is state-level medical cannabis access mitigating or fueling America’s opioid crisis? Testifying before Congress last week, Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) acting administrator Robert Patterson claimed the latter. But when he prompted to provide evidence in support of the agency’s position, he acknowledged that he could not.

California released new rules for its marijuana industry, but it didn’t get the attention you might expect.

When California released its latest marijuana industry regulations on Friday, the state industry’s response was, by and large, muted.

With little fanfare, the state of California released its revised cannabis industry regulations last week.

Finally, the only thing better than a marijuana dispensary is a marijuana dispensary with slot machines.

Marijuana stores with slot machines? Casinos with gamblers drawing on vape-pens? Not yet. But early inroads are perhaps being made.

On November 8, 2016, Maine voters approved “Question 1 – An Act to Legalize Marijuana,” and joined a handful of other states, including California, to have legalized the recreational use, retail sale and taxation of marijuana. The voter-approved law would have allowed persons 21 years of age or older to use or possess up to 2½ ounces of marijuana, consume marijuana in nonpublic places (including a private residence), and grow, at the person’s residence, up to 6 flowering marijuana plants (and up to 12 immature plants). It also would have legalized the purchase of marijuana or marijuana seedlings or plants from retail marijuana stores and cultivation facilities.

The law was to become fully effective on January 30, 2017. However, on January 27, 2017, the legislature approved a moratorium on implementing parts of the law regarding retail sales and taxation until at least February 2018, giving time to resolve issues and promulgate rules. However, on November 3, 2017, Governor Paul R. LePage vetoed legislation designed to set up a retail market for cannabis. On November 6, 2017, the Maine legislature sustained the Governor’s veto. Continue Reading Not So Fast: Maine Legislature Overrides Governor’s Veto of Recreational Marijuana Law

Welcome back to The Weed in Weed, your Friday look at what’s happening in the world of legalized marijuana.

In what’s become a regular feature, we have more politicians who are coming out in favor of legalized marijuana, or at least, backing away from their previous opposition.

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), a potential 2020 White House contender, is joining Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), who is also speculated to be a possible presidential candidate, in the fight to legalize marijuana under federal law.

After years of halting steps, top prosecutors and elected officials in New York City on Tuesday made a sudden dash toward ending many of the marijuana arrests that for decades have entangled mostly black and Hispanic people.

More states are putting marijuana on the ballot.  Ohio is making a move in that direction.

A proposed constitutional amendment to legalize adult-use marijuana in Ohio has cleared an initial hurdle after winning approval from the state’s top attorney.

A proposed constitutional amendment to legalize recreational marijuana in Ohio completed the first step Thursday in qualifying the measure for a statewide ballot.

So what do you do when marijuana prices tumble?  Start growing hemp.

SPRINGFIELD, Ore. (AP) — A glut of legal marijuana has driven Oregon pot prices to rock-bottom levels, prompting some nervous growers to start pivoting to another type of cannabis to make ends meet — one that doesn’t come with a high.

 

Welcome back to The Week in Weed, your Friday look at what’s happening in the world of legalized marijuana.

Colorado was among the first states in the nation to legalize recreational marijuana.  Now, it’s the first state to move on marijuana tasting rooms.

Licensed marijuana “tasting rooms” could be operating in Colorado this time next year if Gov. John Hickenlooper signs a first-of-its-kind bill that state lawmakers sent to his desk Thursday.

Colorado lawmakers on Thursday approved pioneering legislation allowing marijuana retailers to establish tasting rooms for customers to consume select products – much like a brewery…

One of the selling point of legal cannabis is that it raises government revenue.  Is that actually true?

A new report finds that legalizing and taxing marijuana boosts revenue for state and local governments, but not by much.

Tax revenue from recreational marijuana makes up a small percentage of annual general fund revenues in states with the most established retail markets, such as Colorado, Washington and Oregon, Moody’s Investors Service said on Tuesday.

But what about government spending on marijuana?  Specifically on beer and marijuana?

The Ontario government has contributed $300,000 to help a Toronto company work with Loyalist College in Belleville to develop what it says will be the world’s first beer brewed from cannabis.