Oh yay!  It’s that time again…  cannabis updates for this quarter.

Wow, it seems that time just flies by, whether or not you want to see it go.  It’s time for the quarterly cannabis updates blog – which is by no means indicative of everything that’s happening in the industry, just the highlights – or lowlights – that we found to be super interesting and might bear a closer look. 

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There is a lot happening, literally all over the place, and by the time this goes live tomorrow, it’s entirely possible that half of the information – especially the California bits – will be out of date again, already.  Although it’s highly doubtful that too many people in the state will care.  With that said… 

First up, what in the hell is going on in California?

By the time you wake up and read this, it’s very likely that a whole other set of California licensees will be holding invalid or expired temporary licenses, and may or may not have filed for an extension of that temporary license. 

Food & Ag, Public Health and Cannabis Control have all been sending out reminders to those who did get a temp license that they will either need to renew the temps for another 90 days or become unlicensed.  And given that any number of unsuspecting non business people who have been weed dealers on the sly for years are finding out just how expensive it is to become a properly licensed and compliant drug dealer, it’s likely that a decent number of these licensees will fall out of the process on the renewals, if you want to know what we think. 

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Yep, if you do not live in CA, you may be wondering what in the actual hell is going on there and how people get away with selling all this marijuana without properly being licensed.  We kind of sit around and wonder as well, since the whole situation is such a freaking mess right now, we are beginning to wonder if banks are going to simply say the hell with it there.  

Of course, the state legislature, who has practically zero experience in banking, is pushing ahead with a bill to make banking legal in the state, or maybe to make special legal banks, or to just get reelected, it’s hard to tell at the moment.  Robert Hertzberg, from Van Nuys, is leading the push for this thing.

 

Next in our roundup of cannabis updates, what the hell is going on in Canada? 

Canada is also missing the mark with getting their legalization situation sorted out in time for a summer launch of adult use cannabis on the national level.  

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After a walkback in December by PM Trudeau on the actual arrival date of a legalization bill, you may recall, “I said summer, not July 1″, it’s pretty funny that now we’re not even looking at summer, unless you consider September (at the earliest) as indian summer and move on with it from there.  

BC, the always reliable and always industry friendly province on Canada’s west coast, only announced their ideas of implementation last week – but hey, they are way better than some of the other provinces, err, we are looking at you, Ontario – and the overall schemes got moved forward by a slim margin when the Senate voted on the second hearing of C-45 recently.  

Michigan, we can’t really figure you out either… 

And wow, Michigan, cannabis updates from the state are all over the map.  Rec use marijuana is going to the peoples’ vote this fall as a ballot initiative, unless the prohibition group that’s going to sue to keep it off the ballot is successful, but the medical marijuana licenses still haven’t been issued and 16 months after the Michigan Legislature passed bills to regulate and tax the medical marijuana industry and four months after the state started accepting applications for licenses, not a single business has been awarded a license to begin operating in what has been estimated will be at least a $700-million business in the state.

Maybe making the jump straight into rec use on a voter mandate will clear up the problems, but it’s hard to see it going quite so easily. 

National news is just as crazy when it comes to cannabis updates. 

Yep, you know it.  That s**t is all over the map.  And with all the craziness in DC, who knows where it will end.  On the list of actual WTF, here goes – 

#1 – Water.  The Bureau of Reclamation will not ante up the water for hemp growers and that could become a big problem.   Jared Polis introduced a House bill last fall, and McConnell has one in the Senate currently that deschedules hemp and provides for water.  Given the HIA vs DEA lawsuit that’s in deliberations by the circuit court, resolving the scheduling legislatively might be the best idea. 

#2 – Everybody’s on the MJ train these days.  Boehner and Schumer are now pro-cannabis, so much so that Schumer’s got a bill to decriminalize.  Pelosi thinks that cannabis and yoga could help cure the opioid crisis.  Paul Ryan’s telling weed jokes at the WHCA dinner the other night. 

#3 – Except for Sessions.  Lucky for him, he’s got enough on his plate with his boss flying into insane tantrums that generally lead back to blaming the gremlin for recusing himself from the Russia investigation.  Last week Sessions refused to tell Congress that he would not attempt to prosecute state legal and compliant cannabis industry businesses.  Again.  

#4 – FDA slaps those (alleged) criminals at Insys down.  Not only did these clowns commit a half million to the anti adult-use proponents in AZ on the last ballot, they have the nerve to go to the FDA and ask that other companies not be allowed to produce generic versions of their synthetic THC product.  Crazy, eh?  The FDA didn’t like the idea much either. 

#5 – So many bills in Congress to legalize, decriminalize, it’s crazy.  Seriously, why can’t we just get behind a single set of bills – one for the Senate and one for the House, in regards to marijuana.  We can all agree that CBD and hemp should be removed from scheduling entirely, and put into a different box than THC products.  What we do going forward with THC products should really be a state and local matter, and the federal government should set it up that way. 

Apolitical, random, otherwise known as gossip. 

Death of an institution.  The Denver Post has killed The Cannabist.  Sadly but truly, there is now only one person left working on the site, and she’s set to leave in a couple of months.  The original editor, Ricardo Baca, founding editor of The Cannabist and a widely-known marijuana journalist,

said he was outraged to learn what was happening to The Cannabist. He reached out to Colacioppo and the Post’s head of finance Thursday, letting them know he wants to buy it.

I attended the NCIA Quarterly Caucus meeting in Scottsdale last week, and I think I’ll stick to alternating between the NorCal and SoCal meetings, they’re much more lively, well attended and productive, if you want my honest opinion.  They’ve been having the Southwest regionals in Vegas for awhile now, but I just can’t get into the idea of Vegas much these days. 

IndoExpo had their inaugural California show last weekend, the Craneway Pavillions in Richmond are an excellent venue, although I think they waited a big on the late side to get cranking with their promotion; the show was very lightly attended on Saturday morning first thing – however, in contrast to the craziness at the Denver show in January, the lack of twelve million consumers trying to buy seeds was not a bad thing at all. 

If you’re going to be at Lift Toronto, make sure you schedule time to speak with Hazel, you can use the Talk to Us link to get our attention.   If you are going to be at NCIA San Jose, then let me know and I’ll buy you a coffee or a cocktail and we can chat!  Same great form, just tell us which show you’re attending.  As it stands right now, we are NOT going to New Orleans for MJBiz, although we do plan to be in Toronto for their summer show.  

 

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