We’re back at it this week with another set of headlines from another busy week in the cannabis business. In the U.S., bans on vape sales continue to lead the headlines in one way or another (Massachusetts is having a difficult time of it lately). And in Mexico, lawmakers seem to be getting very close to finding a pathway to a regulated marketplace after the country’s Supreme Court de facto legalized cannabis consumption last year.
Here, we’ve rounded up the 10 headlines you need to know before this week is over.
Federal: As cannabis reform maintains its place in (or at least near) the spotlight of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary race, candidates are beginning to narrow the focus of what they mean when they stake claims to these platforms. This week, Bernie Sanders unveiled a comprehensive plan to legalize cannabis at the federal level and institute guardrails to keep Big Tobacco on the sidelines. Read more
International: Mexico Senate committees released legislation Oct. 17 that would legalize adult-use cannabis, and the bill needs to be approved by the end of the month to meet a Supreme Court deadline. The bill, first reported by Marijuana Moment, follows last year’s Supreme Court ruling that Mexico’s ban on adult-use cannabis is unconstitutional, which de facto legalized consumption. Now, lawmakers are working toward a plan to regulate a marketplace for cannabis sales. The legislation is similar to a bill introduced by Interior Secretary Olga Sanchez Cordero last year when he was serving as a senator. Read more
Georgia: Gov. Brian Kemp signed a bill in April that established a regulated system for the production, processing and sale of medical cannabis oil, but now, six months later, this medical cannabis expansion plan is on hold until Kemp and other top state officials appoint members to a commission to oversee the program. House Bill 324, the legislation that legalized the production and sale of medical cannabis oil in the state, created the Georgia Access to Medical Cannabis Commission, a seven-member group charged, in part, with choosing which businesses can grow cannabis and developing licensing requirements for retailers. Read more
California: Harborside Inc. has announced that the U.S. Tax Court has issued a final decision under Tax Court Rule 155 on the income tax deficiency for Patients Mutual Assistance Collective Corporation (PMACC), the company’s 100-percent owned subsidiary and owner of the iconic Harborside Oakland cannabis dispensary. The U.S. Tax Court has ruled that PMACC owes an aggregate tax deficiency of approximately $11 million for the fiscal years 2007 through 2012. Read more
Eaze Technologies, Inc. has announced that it obtained a complete dismissal of Williams v. Eaze, Inc., a putative nationwide class action lawsuit brought under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), by successfully enforcing the arbitration agreement in its Terms of Service. In her lawsuit, Plaintiff Farrah Williams attempted to circumvent the arbitration agreement in Eaze’s Terms of Service by arguing that cannabis contracts cannot be “formed” because cannabis is illegal under federal law. The court rejected this claim. Read more
Illinois: The state’s medical cannabis program has experienced record growth since changes to the law expanded patient access. More than 87,000 patients have qualified for the program since medical cannabis dispensaries opened in November 2015, and 37,000 new patients registered in the fiscal year ending June 30, which is a 93-percent increase and exceeds the number of patients who signed up in any other fiscal year. Read more
Although Cresco Labs’ stock has fallen since announcing its acquisition deal with Origin House in April, the two parties are moving toward closing. This week, the waiting period under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976 (the HSR Act, which mandates an antitrust regulatory oversight period) expired. Read more
Massachusetts: A state judge in Massachusetts has upheld Gov. Charlie Baker’s four-month ban on all vaping sales, originally set in motion Sept. 24, but he’s also given the administration just a few days to remedy its handling of the sudden policy. The state appealed the ruling, but a judge then rejected that appeal. It would seem that the remaining option left for the state is to go through the process of treating the ban like an emergency rule and set up public hearings to vet the policy. Read more
Rhode Island: Gov. Gina Raimondo filed a lawsuit against the state’s General Assembly this week to take exclusive control of medical cannabis and hemp regulation. Raimondo is asking a Superior Court judge to rule unconstitutional new powers that lawmakers awarded themselves over the industry earlier this year in the state budget, which mandate that all new cannabis regulations be approved by the General Assembly. Read more
Maryland: Maryland’s Medical Cannabis Commission is planning two independent investigations into its most recent medical cannabis licensing process, which has been halted amid complaints and litigation. One investigation will evaluate whether the licensing review process was fair, while the other will verify the accuracy of information included in the highest ranking applications. Read more