The cannabis industry just keeps rolling along for now. 

Michigan became the 10th state with adult use, recreational cannabis legalization a few weeks ago.   The Farm Bill was signed into law and hemp is practically legal across the United States, no matter what the FDA says about it.  Massachusetts finally opened some rec use dispensaries, even though it took two years to get the doors open and the cash registers ringing.  These are just a couple of the high points in the industry recap for right now.  

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So there’s a lot of good news in the cannabis industry for 2019, or rather for the first couple of days of the year.  Looking back at last year, it was the 5th of January 2018 when then Attorney General Jeff Sessions pulled the rug out from under the Cole Memo…  which turned out to be a big nothing burger when it all came down to it.  So far it looks like the new guy is going with a hands off approach, and it also looks as if the incoming Democrats in the House are going to be more worried about the presidents finances than doing much in either direction.   Good things, bad things, you could say, but the status quo really isn’t that bad if you think about it. 

Hemp hemp hooray, now go away FDA!

While I suppose we can thank Mitch McConnell for getting the Senate votes to push the Farm Bill through, giving hemp production and sales a get out of jail free card, he did refuse to allow a vote on Senator Gardner’s attempt to put the States Act onto the back of a crime bill that had huge amounts of bipartisan support at the end of the year.  The FDA promptly announced that hemp and CBD are illegal, although they did it in a way that doesn’t really seem to make it illegal if you ask us.  We’re not lawyers or preachers so I wouldn’t take anything we say as gospel. 

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California’s got another round of problems with their licensing situation as well.  They still – a year after ringing in adult use statewide – have an actual licensing process that rewards qualified license holders with anything more than a temporary license in nearly all cases.  It’s almost like southern California is simply not going to get their act together, ever, and perhaps the bloom has worn off the rose called Cat Packer.  

You can bank on it?

California’s outgoing treasurer Chiang and his working group met one last time to digest the report about the chances of California being able to found and fund a public bank; as expected, the report only confirmed our position that a public bank would be too expensive and too slow to come to fruition to be of much use to anyone at the moment.  

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The RICO Act – the set of statutes that is more often associated with gang bangers, drug lords and mobsters – is being (mostly unsuccessfully) used by individuals in a few states to attempt to bring state licensed cannabis growers and producers into court using claims of devalued property and land.  Most of these are still wending their way through the courts but the initial responses have been overwhelmingly in favor of the cannabis industry.  This is quite important when it comes to setting precedent that can be leveraged in other courts, so there are any number of folks breathing a sign of relief at these cases and their disposition. 

It looks like medical marijuana is potentially going to get new protections in the bill that’s possibly going to end the government shutdown this week; but the adult use dispensaries and delivery services are still on their own, as they’ll see no relief in the language being attached to the appropriations bill. 

Vice that, bishes…  

Oregon is still crying the blues, so much so that a Vice News special report was done about the ruination of the state legal cannabis industry there – but that’s what happens when you hand out permits to grow, sell, produce, extract, and everything else cannabis related with complete and total abandon (yeah, we’re looking at you next, Oklahoma) and zero regard for how all these newly licensed folks are going to find enough customers to buy their products to actually make any money at it. 

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Marijuana stocks are still riding high for the moment, but they are not immune to the overall craziness in the markets, and while we are not stock brokers, accountants or in any way qualified to tell you what to do with your money, putting it into stocks right now, including marijuana stocks, is not the way we’d recommend you go.  But hey, it’s your money, if you still think Bitcoin is a go, then we’re done talking here. 


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