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

We’re starting out this week with state news.  We’ll visit Montana, Illinois, California and Massachusetts.  On the federal level, there’s some support for cannabis to be part of the next stimulus bill.  And there’s an issue with marijuana research.  Our friends at Weedmaps have a new interactive map of state cannabis laws.  Finally, we look at New Zealand’s move to legalize marijuana.

State news

Let’s begin in Big Sky Country.  You’ll recall that there was a controversy over electronic signatures, and whether they should count for purposes of putting legalization on the ballot.  A state judge ruled against New Approach Montana, saying that only in-person signatures will count.

On to the Land of Lincoln, where 75 new cannabis dispensary licenses were due to be awarded on May 1.  Sadly for the applicants, the state announced that it will delay issuing the licences until the governor’s disaster proclamation expires.  Governor Pritzker recently extended the order until May 30.

Meanwhile, in the Golden State, the Department of Food and Agriculture released proposed rules for organic cannabis certification.  Comments are due July 7.

Which brings us back to the Bay State, the source of so much marijuana news.  As you all know, marijuana businesses are ineligible for federal stimulus funds.  Now the hope is that Massachusetts will enact a state-level equivalent of the PPP that will extend loans to the cannabis industry.  The state allows medical marijuana dispensaries to conduct business, but closed all recreational stores, due to COVID-19.

federal stimulus

Speaking of the federal stimulus plans, Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO) is still optimistic that cannabis can get some help from the federal government.  The bill that would allow the industry to receive funds has had no action taken since it was introduced on April 23.

research news

The Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel released a memo finding that the Drug Enforcement Administration’s cannabis research program is non-compliant with international drug laws.  Oops.  This may provide some context for the DEA’s recent proposed rules overhauling its research program.

handy dandy chart

There’s nothing we like better at The Blunt Truth than compilations of state marijuana laws.  Now Weedmaps has added a new map to our list of go-to sites.  Many thanks!

International news

New Zealand released a final version of legislation that would legalize recreational cannabis.  It will be voted on in a national referendum in September.  If it is passed, the incoming government will be able to introduce the legislation to Parliament.

and finally

Staying in New Zealand, not everyone is happy about the prospect of legalization.  One MP used oregano to voice her displeasure.

Stay safe and be well everyone – we’ll see you next week!

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

Our top story this week is a bill that would allow cannabis companies to receive federal stimulus money, and the support it has attracted.  Ballot issues continue in Florida and Montana.  The FDA is cracking down on CBD companies making wild claims about their products.  We’ll give you the latest from Massachusetts, and Tommy Chong is doing his part to help out those in need.

federal legislation

As we reported last week, Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Ed Perlmutter (D-CO) introduced the Emergency Cannabis Small Business Health and Safety Act (H.R. 6602) in the House of Representatives.  So far, the bill has been referred to the Committee on Small Business, but no other action has been taken.  Rep. Perlmutter has indicated that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi supports the bill, which currently has 16 co-sponsors.

legalization efforts

Florida‘s ballot initiative to make adult-use cannabis legal is now before the state’s Supreme Court.  A new law makes it more difficult for initiatives to appear on the ballot, and supporters of legal marijuana are arguing that it should not be applied retroactively to their initiative.

Things look brighter in New Jersey, where a new poll indicates that voters are likely to approve adult-use cannabis in November.  61% of voters surveyed in a Monmouth University poll said they supported legalization.

As promised last week, we have an update on the Montana situation.  Advocates for a ballot initiative allowing recreational marijuana pleaded their case that electronic signatures should count in establishing support for their cause.  State officials argued that there is not enough evidence that the signature gathering could be done securely.

massachusetts

What’s the latest from the Bay State?  Recreational pot shops will be closed until May 18, under a new order from Governor Charles Baker.  One solution for shuttered stores is to apply for a medical marijuana license.  Applications for medical marijuana cards have risen quite sharply since the shutdown.

fda crackdown

The Food and Drug Administration issued official warnings to several CBD companies over their claims that the product can cure opioid addiction or replace opioids.  The agency also sent a letter to a UK company about claims that CBD can treat the coronavirus.

and finally

Among those stepping up in this time of crisis, add Tommy Chong‘s name to the list.  The 81-year-old stoner icon is giving away medical marijuana to those in need.

Stay safe and be well everyone – we’ll see you next week!

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

Yet again,COVID-19 dominated the news, in the marijuana industry and in every other aspect of life.  The lack of funding for marijuana businesses in the stimulus packages, the halt to state legalization efforts, the issues surrounding Massachusetts (yes, those continue), even Mexico’s decision to legalize cannabis – all are caused or colored by the coronavirus. But let’s start with an issue that got a lot of attention without being directly related to the pandemic – social equity in the cannabis industry, specifically in California.

LOS ANGELES LICENSING ISSUES

Last September, the city launched a new round of cannabis licensing to provide 100 retail licenses to social equity applicants.  Some applicants may have been able to access the system early, which is a problem in a first-come, first-served process.  Now, The Social Equity Owners and Workers Association has filed suit against the city, asking that all applications be vetted, or alternatively, that the city start over, with an entirely new process to ensure fairness.

CALIFORNIA SOCIAL EQUITY GRANTS

On the plus side, the state of California recently allocated $30 million to local governments.  This money will allow them to provide low and no-interest loans to social equity cannabis operators.  Funds will be available starting July 1.

ACLU REPORT

Problems with social equity are everywhere.  The ACLU released a report on Monday that highlights the racial disparities in enforcement of cannabis laws, both in states were marijuana is legal and in states where it is not.  Among the findings of the report: in some states where cannabis is still illegal, African-Americans are ten times more likely to be arrested than whites, even though consumption rates are practically identical.

For more on social equity issues, see our post from February that examines programs around the country.

(LACK OF) FEDERAL ASSISTANCE

The marijuana industry has received on relief from federal relief programs.  As we detailed last week, various business groups and lawmakers are writing letters decrying this situation.  The letter writing continues, as a bipartisan group of Representatives wrote to House leadership asking that marijuana businesses receive funding in the next stimulus bill.  A group of 10 Senators have also put pen to paper, asking their leadership to include the cannabis industry in the SBA loan program.

***breaking news***

Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Ed Perlmutter (D-CO) just introduced the Emergency Cannabis Small Business Health and Safety Act in the House of Representatives.  See text of bill here.

marijuana banking

The industry needs not just financial aid, but financial services as well.  Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO) is optimistic that cannabis banking could make its way into one of the next two relief packages.  Because it’s hard to get money from the federal government if you have no bank account to receive it.

STATE ISSUES

What would The Week in Weed be without a look at what’s happening on the state level?  We’ll start with Montana, where legalization activists are facing the same dilemma all other ballot initiative backers are facing: the danger of collecting in-person signatures during a pandemic.  Advocates in some states are asking to substitute e-signatures; New Approach Montana has taken the matter to court.  Further bulletins as events warrant.

As for Massachusetts, the courts have not been kind to adult-use dispensary owners seeking to overturn the Governor’s order that they close, as non-essential businesses.  In deciding against the owners, the judge wrote: “The governor’s decision to treat medical marijuana facilities and liquor stores differently than adult-use marijuana establishments has a rational basis and therefore is constitutional.”

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

Turning our attention abroad, Mexico has extended its deadline to legalize cannabis to December 15.  Lawmakers were expected to enact legislation in the current legislative session, but coronavirus had other plans.

AND FINALLY

If you’re looking for a new beverage, Molson Coors and Hexo Corporation are working on a concoction you might want to check out.  The non-alcoholic CBD drink will only be available in Colorado, which has a regulatory framework for selling CBD products.  No date has been set for the product’s launch.

Stay safe and be well everyone – we’ll see you next week!

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

No surprise, coronavirus continues to dominate the news in cannabis, just as it does in every other realm.  It has put state legalization campaigns on hold, delayed sales roll-outs, and the problems in Massachusetts could fill this blog post all by themselves.  And there is endless news about the (lack of) relief for marijuana businesses.  But let’s start with what would have been the big headline this week, if we weren’t all social distancing.

VIRGINIA DECRIMINALIZATION

Governor Ralph Northam (D) signed a bill decriminalizing cannabis possession earlier this week.  The law also seals criminal records for simple possession.  The penalty for possession of up to a half-ounce of marijuana is now $25; the penalty previously was up to a $500 fine and 30 days in jail.

OTHER STATE NEWS

We’ve reported before on the problems facing Missouri’s legalization campaign, due to COVID-19.  Now the efforts have formally ceased.  Gathering electronic signatures was not an option, and the virus has made traditional methods impossible.  The state does hope to have medical marijuana available in the coming months.

Meanwhile, the virus is wreaking havoc, even in states where cannabis is legal.  Maine voted to legalize marijuana in 2016, with sales scheduled to start in June.  This week, the state’s Office of Marijuana Policy postponed sales indefinitely due to the pandemic.

Our friends at Marijuana Business Daily have a status report on legalization efforts nation wide available here.

MASSACHUSETTS

Regular readers will doubtless recall that Massachusetts has classified medical marijuana dispensaries as essential businesses, but has mandated that recreational shops close.  This has led to unhappiness and litigation.  Now, a member of the Cannabis Control Commission, Kay Doyle, is stepping down, as of May 8.  The cost to marijuana business owners as a result of the shutdown is estimated to be $2 million per day.

FEDERAL RELIEF EFFORTS

As we all know, the cannabis industry was shut out of the federal stimulus packages passed to date.  The International Cannabis Bar Association is concerned about the damage to those businesses serving the industry.  The Small Business Administration has mandated that even “indirect marijuana businesses” are ineligible for aid under the CARES Act.  In a letter sent to Congressional leaders on April 13, the group urged them to direct the SBA to repeal any active guidance that references the term “Indirect Marijuana Businesses.”

Letter writing was not confined to industry groups, however.  The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) made their case in a letter (subscription required) to the SBA late last week.  The union urged Congress to allow the agency to make funds available to cannabis businesses in states where they are legal.

Governors received some correspondence on this issue as well.  Realizing that federal assistance is unlikely to appear, business leaders sent two letters asking for state-based loans for the industry and for continuing access to medical marijuana for patients.

And we also have politicians writing letters to each other on this matter.  Governor Jared Polis (D-CO) wrote a letter to Representative Jason Crow (D), a member of the Small Business Committee, asking for his assistance.

And in case you thought hemp farmers were in the clear on funding, thanks to the Farm Bill, think again.  They’re having problems getting money too.

AND FINALLY

If you’re looking for something to watch while social distancing, check out the new Netflix show, “Cooked with Cannabis.”  It’s a competition program where the secret ingredient is always weed.  It debuts on April 20, obviously.

Stay safe and be well everyone – we’ll see you next week!

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

COVID-19 continues to dominate the news – no surprise there.  Whether it’s federal relief or state legalization roadblocks, the virus is everywhere.  But there is some other news: the IRS seems likely to increase auditing of marijuana businesses, and Epidiolex has been removed from the controlled substances list.

FEDERAL ASSISTANCE

All eyes are on the next stimulus bill, as the cannabis industry hopes it will get some relief.  Industry groups are advocating that marijuana businesses be included in that legislation.  Small Business Administration loans would be most welcome and some Senate Democrats are pushing to include the industry in that program.

IRS AUDITS

Aid or no aid, the Internal Revenue Service is looking to ramp up investigations of marijuana businesses.  A recent report details the agency’s plans to take a much closer look at possible violations of Section 280E, which prohibits business deductions by companies dealing in illegal drugs.  For our most recent take on this particular section, see here.

EPIDIOLEX

The Drug Enforcement Administration has removed Epidiolex from the Controlled Substances list.  It had been on Schedule V, the least-restrictive list, but its removal entirely will make it easier for patients to access it.  Note that this decision applies only to Epidiolex, and not to any other CBD product.

STATE NEWS

Legalization efforts across the country continue to fall victim to the coronavirus.  This week, North Dakota joins the ranks of those states that seem unlikely to see cannabis on the ballot.  As does Idaho, where social distancing measures have made signature collection all but impossible.

Even in states where cannabis is legal, the virus is causing problems.  Massachusetts is a prime example.  Although the state’s medical dispensaries are open, recreational shops are closed.  Owners of those shops filed a lawsuit against Governor Charlie Baker (R) this week.

international news

In Canada, cannabis businesses are eligible for federal government relief.  Although originally excluded from assistance, industry groups appealed for help from government ministers, resulting in their inclusion in the program.

In New Zealand, the Medicinal Cannabis Agency is now prepared to accept applications for business licenses.  COVID-19 is not expected to interfere with the application process.

handy dandy chart

Nothing’s harder than keeping up with the changes in state laws as a result of the virus.  See the Marijuana Policy Project’s chart to keep up-to-date on what’s happening where.

and finally

It’s not often that the worlds of Antiques Roadshow and cannabis collide, but it’s happened at least once.  The moral of this story: keep your siblings out of your antique medical cabinets.

Stay safe and be well everyone – we’ll see you next week!

Marijuana (cannabis) remains a Schedule I drug under the federal Controlled Substances Act. And, more than a decade ago, the California Supreme Court held in Ross v. RagingWire Telecomm., Inc., that employers have the right to reject an applicant who tests positive for medical cannabis. Since that time, California employers have enjoyed some comfort in the ability to enforce their workplace substance abuse policies. However, we never expected this to be the end of the saga in California.

To start, in February 2018, a California assembly member introduced AB 2069 (“Medical Cannabis Worker Protections Act”), a bill that would have amended the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) to require most employers to engage in the interactive process with and consider reasonable accommodations for medical cannabis users. That bill, however, failed to advance past the Appropriations Committee.

Not surprisingly, another, far more comprehensive, bill has started its own journey. On February 18, 2020, Assembly Member Rob Bonta (D) introduced AB 2355, which, if passed, will amend the FEHA to provide express employment protections to medical cannabis users. Specifically, subject to certain exceptions, the bill would make it unlawful for an employer to discriminate or take adverse action against an applicant or employee “because of the employee’s status as a qualified patient, as defined in Section 11362.7 of the Health and Safety Code, for purposes of medical cannabis or as a person with an identification card, as defined in Section 11362.7 of the Health and Safety Code …” According to the proposed bill, a qualified patient or cardholder will be entitled to the same rights to reasonable accommodation and the interactive process as are provided to workers prescribed other legal drugs under the FEHA so long as a variety of conditions set out in the bill are satisfied.

The bill includes several employer-friendly provisions. Specifically:

  • It will not be interpreted as preventing employers from refusing to hire an individual, or from discharging or reasonably accommodating a qualified patient or cardholder, if doing so could reasonably cause the employer to violate, lose a monetary or licensing-related benefit, or incur damages under federal law or regulations, including Department of Transportation drug and alcohol testing regulations and the Drug-Free Workplace Act.
  • Employers will not be subject to the law, including providing a reasonable accommodation, if the employer requires all employees and job applicants to be drug and alcohol free for legitimate safety reasons as required by federal or state laws and who are required to conduct applicant and ongoing testing of employees by those laws and regulations.
  • It will not be construed as diminishing an employer’s ability to take action against an employee if the employer discovers the employee is using or impaired by medical cannabis on the property or premises of the place of employment or during the hours of employment.
  • An employer may utilize impairment testing before or during work, in addition to other measures, to determine if an employee is impaired. The information provided by the test may be considered in conjunction with other considerations in determining a reasonable accommodation.

This proposed bill has more meat to it than most medical cannabis statutes that, as written or as construed by the courts, provide employment protections to applicants and employees. For example, if enacted, the law will expressly allow an employer to obtain from the applicant or employee information necessary to conduct a meaningful assessment of what, if any, reasonable accommodation is available to the individual. That said, current hearings on the bill have been postponed and, thus, it remains to be seen whether this bill will see any movement given the COVID-19 pandemic.

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

Of course, what’s happening in the cannabis world is what’s happening everywhere else: the coronavirus.  We’ve got lots to report on how the pandemic is affecting marijuana, but let’s start with other news first.

SOUTH DAKOTA

We’ve talked quite a bit about South Dakota over the years; most recently, we’ve been watching the progress of their hemp legalization legislation.  Well, it’s finally happened.  Governor Kristi Noem has overcome her reluctance to allow any form of cannabis in her state, and signed a bill allowing the growth, production and transportation of hemp.  So now Idaho stands alone as the only state where no form of cannabis is legal.

DEA GUIDANCE

In other non-COVID news, the Drug Enforcement Administration released new guidance on expanding marijuana research, as we reported last week.  That guidance has prompted some commentary, and it’s been less than laudatory.  NORML calls the rules “unduly onerous, expensive and impractical.”  Ouch.  But that’s not all.  Scientists at the Scottsdale Research Institute have filed suit against the agency, claiming that the DEA has changed its interpretation of federal statutes and treaty obligations, without detailing how it arrived at its new view of the law.

CORONAVIRUS LAWS

Moving on to coronavirus news, the hemp industry was included in the recent stimulus package.  Our friends at “Hemp Industry Daily” have a nice roundup of what assistance is available here.  The rest of the cannabis industry was not so lucky.  The Small Business Administration has confirmed that marijuana business are NOT eligible for disaster relief, as the use of marijuana is illegal under federal law.  NORML (which has maintained a robust correspondence with federal entities this week) released a policy memo detailing ways in which the industry could be helped during the pandemic.

Many states have declared cannabis dispensaries and shops to be essential businesses.  Massachusetts has carved out a unique policy that allows medical marijuana dispensaries to remain open, but mandates that recreational shops close, although cannabis is legal for recreational use in the state.  The governor has declared the idea of designating recreational outlets as essential a “non-starter,” due to the out-of-state customers they would attract.  A member of the state’s Cannabis Control Commission has joined industry advocates in opposing this plan.

LEGALIZATION EFFORTS

Meanwhile, in New York, it seems highly unlikely that legalization will pass as part of this year’s budget bill, but supporters hope it may reappear later in the session.  Obviously, the state has much bigger problems to deal with right now.

It’s not just New York that has seen legalization take a back seat to the virus.  In addition to the states we reported on last week, COVID-19 is making it much harder to gather signatures for a Missouri ballot initiative. In Oklahoma, the state shut down signature gathering as part of a 30-day statewide emergency declaration.  All is not lost for legalization supporters, however, as Rep. Scott Fetgatter (R-Okmulgee) has indicated he will introduce a bill to legalize recreational cannabis in the state, in an effort to raise revenue.  In Arizona, however, advocates of adult-use marijuana indicate they have enough signatures to put their measure on the November ballot.

PITCHING IN

There’s been a lot of news surrounding distilleries producing hand sanitizer.  The cannabis industry is doing so as well.  Companies are making their own sanitizer to give away to their own employees and patients.  They’re donating supplies to health care workers in need.  And in Canada, cannabis labs have offered to assist in COVID-19 testing.

Stay safe and be well everyone – we’ll see you next week!

As you might recall from previous blog posts, more and more states are requiring cannabis companies to enter into labor peace agreements with unions in order to obtain their licenses, but could that soon go up in smoke?

The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation (“NRTWF”) asked the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) for help when New Jersey took one toke over the line by requiring cannabis companies to not only enter into a labor peace agreement but also enter into a collective bargaining agreement within 200 days of commencing operations. If companies fail to adhere to New Jersey’s requirement, then their permit will either be suspended or forfeited.

The NRTWF argues that under section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”), employees have the right to choose to be represented by a union or to refrain from union representation. However, by forcing companies to enter into collective bargaining agreements, the State is taking that right away from employees. At the end of the day, having a labor peace agreement with a union does not mean employees will choose to unionize. A labor peace agreement is simply an agreement between a company and a union whereby the company agrees to give the union access to its employees and, in exchange, the union agrees not to disrupt business operations–that’s it.

But by imposing such requirements in the first place, certain unions are in effect indirectly forcing employees to choose them over others (or none at all), which could violate section 9(a) of the NLRA. Section 9(a) provides that employees have the right to elect a union of their choosing, not the other way around.

So can the NLRB take action? It seems like it. First, NRTWF argues that federal law preempts state interference in the labor field. In particular, courts, when faced with state interference, have often ruled that such state action is preempted by the NLRA.

Second, as noted above, labor peace requirements and collective bargaining agreements take away an employee’s right to choose to be represented by a union and, takes away their right to choose which union. And the requirements contradict the NLRA because they “destroy[] the right to free negotiation.”

Among other things, the NRTWF argued that the Board has implied power to challenge state regulation when “federal law preempts the field.” This includes the power to sue for declaratory relief. And importantly, the Board has sued in the past for similar issues. Previously, a state agency tried to force employers to sign collective bargaining agreements. The Board in that matter sued to restrain the state agency’s order. The injunction was granted. On appeal, the court found that the order was preempted by the NLRA, thereby solidifying that the Board can bring claims such as the one at issue here.

The Board has yet to respond to the inquiry, so it’s unclear if the labor peace agreement and collective bargaining agreement requirements will go up in smoke. Stay tuned for further updates.

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

Let’s start off with the DEA.  On Monday, they released a proposed rule to expand marijuana research.  For the first time, more than one institution would be permitted to register with the agency and grow cannabis.  The comment period runs until May 22, 2020, and then final rules will appear – no timeline for those.  So this isn’t happening in the near future.

And we might also be waiting a while for state voting on cannabis use.  In Ohio, a ballot initiative was rejected because it had too few valid signatures.  A Nebraska campaign to put medical marijuana on the ballot has suspended operations due to the coronavirus.  In Florida, the issue won’t come before the voters in 2020, but may go before the state’s Supreme Court.  New Approach South Dakota, a group supporting legalization in that sate, is urging state residents to use absentee ballots, fearing that coronavirus may keep voters from the polls.

In international news, Mexico is expected to delay its vote on marijuana and hemp legalization.  Although the delay is not expected to be lengthy, even once cannabis is legalized, regulations will need to be put into place, so don’t hold your breath.

And now on to the coronavirus news.  As we detailed last week, cannabis companies are not eligible for the relief provided other industries.  Industry leaders wrote a joint letter (no pun intended) to Congress, asking to be included in the stimulus measures, but to no avail.  Politico (subscription required) is reporting that aid may make its way into future legislation; guess that’s another thing we need to wait and see.

One piece of good news for marijuana dispensaries and retailers is that some states are classifying them as essential businesses.  This means they are permitted to remain open for business, even in areas where most shops are closed.  Marijuana Business Daily has a map that shows which states grant recreational and medical cannabis suppliers this status.  Massachusetts has decided that medical dispensaries can remain open, but recreational shops must close.

Even if shops can remain open, they don’t necessarily want to do business the old-fashioned way.  Drive-thru and curbside pick-up are the new ways to shop.  Home delivery is another attractive option.

And finally, you know you’ve truly entered the mainstream when you get skewered on “The Simpsons.”  In last Sunday’s episode, Highway to Well, both Marge and Homer enter the world of cannabis sales, and hijinks ensue.

See you next week!

In response to the drastic economic impact COVID-19 has had on small businesses in recent weeks, President Trump announced that the Small Business Administration (SBA) was authorized to provide $50 billion in low-interest loans – more than double the amount of loans provided by the SBA in 2019 – to keep them operating during the pandemic. After the announcement, the SBA established a disaster assistance loan program for small businesses, which could potentially provide up to $2 million dollars in assistance for an applicant. The cannabis industry, however, has been excluded from this relief, along with agricultural enterprises, casinos, racetracks, and religious and charitable organizations. With respect to cannabis specifically, SBA public affairs specialist Carol Chastang told Cannabis Business Times that “the SBA does not provide financial assistance to businesses that are illegal under federal law… even if the business is legal under local or state law.”

Although cannabis use is legal in Canada, Canadian businesses in the cannabis industry are finding themselves excluded from country-wide aid packages as well. The Export Development Canada (EDC) and the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) announced a plan to increase loans issued on commercial terms by $10 billion. Dan Sutton, CEO of Canadian-based Tantalus Labs, stated that a BDC account manager said they aren’t doing business with cannabis firm at this time. CEO of the Cannabis Council of Canada, George Smitherman, confirmed that this response “fits with what the industry has been told to date.” Participants in Canada’s cannabis industry have shared potential challenges with a disruption in cashflow, such as crop loss and dispensary shut downs. Canada’s largest cannabis company, Canopy Growth, shut down 23 of its retail stores on March 17th, and other cannabis companies announced temporary closures of their flagship stores.

It appears that businesses in the cannabis industry that survive the financial burdens related to the COVID-19 outbreak will have to do so without government intervention and assistance.

With the COVID-19 landscape continuing to change rapidly, companies can stay up-to-date on COVID-19 developments by clicking here to sign up for Seyfarth’s daily digest.