Blogs & News Articles

CBT focuses strictly on the business of legal cannabis for medical and recreational use and aims to provide timely information—through its website, e-newsletter, mobile app, print magazine and annual conference—to help the reader make timely, informed decisions to help them run their businesses better and more profitably.
Cannabis Business Times is owned by GIE Media, based in Valley View, Ohio. CBT’s mission is to help accelerate the success of legal cannabis cultivators by providing actionable intelligence in all aspects of the business, from legislation, regulation and compliance news to analysis of industry trends, as well as expert advice on cultivation, marketing, financial topics, legal issues and more.

CBT focuses strictly on the business of legal cannabis for medical and recreational use and aims to provide timely information—through its website, e-newsletter, mobile app, print magazine and annual conference—to help the reader make timely, informed decisions to help them run their businesses better and more profitably. In 2018, Cannabis Business Times was named Magazine of the Year by the American Society of Business Publication Editors.
Late February and early March headlines prove that 2021 is picking up momentum on the cannabis reform front. Recent legislative moves in New Jersey and Virginia have piqued the industry’s attention, and North Dakota may work its way around past election losses to land a legislative victory in the near future.

We’ve rounded up some of the key cannabis headlines from the week right here.

The major headline this week took place over the previous weekend, in fact, when the Virginia legislature sent an adult-use legalization bill to Gov. Ralph Northam’s desk. But the years-long timeline would implement the law only in 2024, something that’s fetched an outcry from cannabis advocates and industry observers. Read more 
Denver may soon allow cannabis deliveries within the city, part of a broader overhaul of local regulations. The plan also includes a new batch of business licenses that would be set up specifically for social equity applicants. Read more 
North Dakota, which has seen failed attempts to legalize cannabis through the ballot box, got some good news this week in the Statehouse’s passage of an adult-use bill. Read more 
BDSA’s latest forecast puts the global cannabis market at the $56-billion mark in 2026. Read more We’ve been following New Jersey’s rocky road lately, and this week contributor Raj Chander looks at how the state plans to consider social equity policies in its newly legal adult-use cannabis market Read more 

And elsewhere on the web, here are the stories we’ve been reading this week:

NBC 12: After Virginia legislators passed an adult-use legalization measure last weekend, businesses are now preparing themselves for future licensing and sales (which are not expected to begin until 2024). Read more FOX 17: On the other side of the Virginia state line, Tennessee hasn’t been able to get any traction on cannabis reform legislation. The newly proposed Tennessee Medical Cannabis Act might change that. Read more 8 News Now: Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak announced eight appointments to the state’s Cannabis Advisory Commission this week. Read more San Diego Union-Tribune: County supervisors are working on regulations for unincorporated areas under their jurisdiction, with plans to introduce new cannabis business permits. Read more Cannabis Wire: The Bermuda legislature came close to legalizing cannabis, but the measure was shot down by the British overseas territory’s Senate. Read more 

 

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Name: Marlon Mallas

Location: Evart, Mich.

Title: General Manager, Cultivation, Lume Cannabis Co.

One word to describe your cultivation style: Innovative

Indoor, outdoor, greenhouse or a combination: Indoor


Can you share a bit of your background and how you and your company got to the present day?

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The Codes and Standards Enhancement (CASE) Initiative suggested new energy code requirements and changes to existing requirements for projects regarding greenhouses and controlled environment horticulture in California, updating the original California Energy Code (Title 24, Part 6) submitted in October 2020.

According to the proposal, the updated requirements will apply to projects regarding greenhouse building envelopes, greenhouse lighting, indoor controlled environment horticulture (CEH) lighting and indoor CEH dehumidification.

It is essential for cannabis and non-cannabis growers, LED manufacturers, engineers, distributors, energy-efficient consultants, research groups, industry trade groups, as well as facility managers, engineers and developers to be aware of the suggested changes, the proposal states.

The proposed code requirements are listed in the proposal as follows:

Horticultural Lighting Minimum Efficacy (indoor CEH lighting): 

For indoor CEH operations, luminaires with removable lamps will be required to use lamps with a photosynthetic photon efficacy (PPE) of at least 1.9 micromoles per joule.Luminaires without removable lamps shall meet a minimum luminaire PPE of 1.9 micromoles per joule.This will allow the use of efficient double-ended HPS lamps; most LED luminaires will qualify. The minimum efficacy requirements only apply to CEH spaces with more than 40 kW of aggregate horticultural lighting load. This equates to approximately (36) 1000W HPS luminaires.

Horticultural Lighting Minimum Efficacy (greenhouse lighting):

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LAS VEGAS, NV (March 4, 2021) – Cannabis Conference (August 24-26, 2021, at the Paris Las Vegas Hotel & Casino) today announces its education program, which includes 45+ sessions within four education tracks that will provide actionable takeaways about the most pressing issues plant-touching businesses currently face in the cannabis industry.

Some of the most highly anticipated sessions from this year’s program include:

Federal Cannabis Legalization in the United States: What Will It Mean?In the Black: Become Cash Positive by Avoiding These Expensive Cannabis Business MistakesPest & Disease Prevention and Mitigation StrategiesTurning Talk Into Action: How Cannabis Companies Are Developing Meaningful Social Equity PrioritiesIf Not Potency, Then What? Cultivating For a Nuanced Chemical ProfileUse Data to Boost Sales & Improve Inventory ManagementThe Business of Extraction (Including Product and Solvent Selection)Marketing Strategies That Work, Even in the Most Restrictive States

Click here to view the full education program.

“Curated with our editorial teams at Cannabis Business Times, Cannabis Dispensary and Hemp Grower magazines, along with insights from the Cannabis Conference 2021 Advisory Board, we have created content to inspire every attendee, no matter whether they’re just starting out or more advanced in their careers, to take their businesses to the next level,” said Conference Programming Director Cassie Neiden Tomaselli.

In addition to dozens of sessions on everything from cultivation to facility buildout, operations, and retail and cultivation business strategies, Cannabis Conference will also feature 100+ exhibitors on its trade show floor, including experts in: horticultural lighting, nutrients, growing media, pest control, structures, drying and storage, IT services, marketing solutions, accounting and finance, POS software, packaging and labeling, and much more.

For additional information about Cannabis Conference 2021, including registration information, a current list of exhibitors and sponsors and more, visit www.cannabisconference.com. The deadline for Cannabis Conference’s lowest pricing is March 15, so take advantage of these rates and reserve your spot today. 

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Denver’s Department of Excise and Licenses has proposed a suite of changes to the city’s cannabis rules—a possible overhaul that’s been two years in the making, according to local stakeholders

For one thing, the city may opt into a state law that allows cannabis deliveries. The city may also enshrine permanent drive-thru sales, a follow-up to last year’s response to the coronavirus pandemic and the industry’s pivot to curbside retail pickup.

The proposed set of rules landed in the city’s Finance and Governance Committee on March 2. Further debate is expected over the next few weeks. 

The immediate upshot is that, if approved, this overarching plan would see the city accepting license applications for cultivation, manufacturing and retail cannabis businesses for the first time since 2016. If that comes to pass, it would give the city of Denver a chance to highlight a new stance on social equity in the business.

“What we are recommending is six years exclusivity for all marijuana license types, for social equity applicants,” Ashley Kilroy, the city’s executive director of excise and licenses, told ABC 7. “In Denver, we have been the leader in successfully and safely regulating marijuana and we’re really looking forward to this program to position us as a leader in licensing social equity applicants.”

Looking further ahead, the proposal includes preparation this year for an expansion of the state’s hemp licensing program in 2022.

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CHICAGO and VANCOUVER, British Columbia, March 03, 2021 - PRESS RELEASE - Green Thumb Industries, a cannabis consumer packaged goods company and owner of Rise Dispensaries, today announced an exclusive partnership with cannabis-infused beverage brand Cann to manufacture and distribute its line of cannabis-infused sparkling beverages beginning in Illinois this spring. Green Thumb and Cann will expand distribution to additional markets including New Jersey, which recently legalized adult-use cannabis sales.

“The cannabis beverage category is poised for growth. Consumers are increasingly entering the market seeking alternatives to alcohol with familiar consumption experiences,” said Green Thumb Founder and CEO Ben Kovler. “Cann sits squarely in this opportunity, delivers on the consumer need and complements our brand portfolio with entry into the beverage segment. What’s even better is cannabis drinks can offer a superior experience, fewer calories and no hangover compared to alcohol. We are investing in the space and in the Cann team and we couldn’t be more excited to bring California’s #1 cannabis beverage brand to Illinois and beyond.”

Cann’s social tonics are low in sugar and calories and contain no preservatives or artificial sweeteners. Each drink is made of all-natural juice (not from concentrate), herbs, organic agave nectar and micro-doses of cannabis CBD and THC extract designed to be similar in strength to a glass of wine or a light beer. Cann is available in three creative flavors: Lemon Lavender, Grapefruit Rosemary and Blood Orange Cardamom and are sold in 6-packs of 8 ounce cans.

The brand got its start in Venice, California, in 2019 and became a quick local favorite for those in Hollywood due to its appeal to the growing number of entertainers and media personalities looking for healthier alcohol substitutes that still come with a fun social buzz.

“There are a lot of people who want to incorporate cannabis into their lives recreationally without the fear of getting too high,” said Cann co-founder Luke Anderson. “Cann lets you rewrite the ‘bad edible experience’ you had in college and change your social drinking routine at the same time.”

Trends show that cannabis beverages are gaining in popularity faster than other cannabis categories. In California, cannabis beverage category sales grew nearly four times faster than total cannabis market sales between the period of January and December 2020. Over the same time period, Cann rose from fifth in market share to first with over 600% growth in sales (BDS Analytics).

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PITTSBURGH, Pa., March 3, 2021 — PRESS RELEASE — Thar Process Inc., a developer of advanced technologies for the purification of natural products using CO2, announces 2 new advances: the first ever Isolator™ SFC 20 SFC system installation and a new media for all SFC systems: Isolator XX-HFT™. The new system processes up to 10 kg/day and the new stationary phase is especially suited to remediate Delta-9 from high CBD, CBC, CBN and even high Delta-8 mixtures. The process has a lower 'Total Cost of Ownership' compared to CPC, HPLC and Flash Chromatography techniques - per a 3rd party independent study.

NEWARK, N.J.,  March 2, 2021 – PRESS RELEASE – CannabizTeam, a cannabis-focused executive search and staffing firm, announced the opening of its new offices in Newark, New Jersey. Newark is CannabizTeam’s 10th office location in the U.S., joining recently opened offices in Denver, previously established branches in Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Dallas, Miami, Orlando and Santa Rosa, California, and the company headquarters in San Diego. 

“CannabizTeam is growing to accommodate the explosive growth of the cannabis industry and leverage talent in top cannabis markets across the country,” said Liesl Bernard, founder and CEO of CannabizTeam. “We expect to see tens of thousands of cannabis jobs created by New Jersey and its neighbors in the tristate area, and predict this developing market will further the case to legalize adult-use cannabis across the East Coast. We look forward to helping new and expanding cannabis companies alike connect with qualified talent that will up their competitive advantage and position them for success as the industry continues to evolve.” 

With the addition of the Newark offices, CannabizTeam now holds 10 offices in eight states across the U.S. Since its inception in 2016, CannabizTeam has matched thousands of top candidates from entry level to specialized C-suite leadership at the leading private and public cannabis companies in North America and Europe. Multi-state clients include TerrAscend, Justice Grown, Ascend Wellness Holdings, Jushi, LEEF Holdings, NewTropic and Benzinga.

“We engaged CannabizTeam executive search to help TerrAscend fill a CFO position and three other executive-level roles in the U.S. and Canada over the last 12 months,” said Jason Ackerman, CEO of TerrAscend, a leading North American cannabis operator with vertically integrated operations in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and California, and operating as a licensed producer in Canada. “We have been highly satisfied with CannabizTeam’s search capabilities and customer service. They evaluated a large number of candidates from inside and related industries, and the quality and depth of the candidates presented was exceptional. We are very pleased with the candidates we chose to hire as they were not only technically qualified, but they are also a great fit for our company’s culture.” 

Cannabis is officially America’s fastest-growing industry as the 2021 Leafly Jobs Report found that the U.S. cannabis industry now supports 321,000 full-time equivalent jobs, a 32% increase over the previous year. As cannabis legalization continues to spread and demand for qualified talent continues to increase, CannabizTeam plans to continue its expansion initiative to meet these needs.

To learn more about CannabizTeam, visit CannabizTeam.com

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NEW YORK, March 2, 2021 /CNW/ - Canopy Growth Corporation, a diversified cannabis, hemp, and vaporization device company, has entered the high-potential U.S. CBD beverage category with the launch of Quatreau, a premium ready-to-drink CBD-infused sparkling water. The stateside launch follows the successful 2020 rollout of Canopy Growth's CBD-infused beverages in Canada, where Quatreau is now the top-selling ready-to-drink CBD beverage. 

Quatreau sparkling water contains 20 mg of premium, U.S. grown hemp-based CBD and one of four flavors. With a manufacturer suggested retail price of $3.99 per 12-ounce can, Quatreau is a functional zero-sugar drink that delivers a natural, low calorie beverage alternative.

Product SKUs available at launch will include:

Quatreau CBD-infused Sparkling Water in Cucumber + Mint Quatreau CBD-infused Sparkling Water in Passionfruit + Guava Quatreau CBD-infused Sparkling Water in Ginger + Lime Quatreau CBD-infused Sparkling Water in Blueberry + Acai

"We have proven our beverage strategy in Canada, where we are currently the market share leader in CBD-infused ready-to-drink beverages, said Canopy Growth President and Chief Product Officer Rade Kovacevic. "Beverages are fueling growth in the CBD category and we believe this product will resonate with U.S. consumers looking for a naturally flavored, zero sugar option."

The launch of Quatreau in America coincides with an astrological event known as the Age of Aquarius—the zodiac's water bearer, which brings us to the cusp of a brand-new age. To celebrate this serendipitous event, Quatreau has partnered with iconic celebrity astrologist Susan Miller of Astrology Zone on a digital and social campaign. 

"Astrology has made a major pop culture comeback as people turn to the stars for guidance during what has been an unsettling, uncertain, and stressful time for many," said Canopy Growth Vice President of Beverages Tara Rozalowsky. "With this campaign, we're highlighting the role functional ingredients like CBD can play in helping people manage their stress, find moments of calm and prioritize wellness during this once-in-a-lifetime transitional period."

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BOULDER, Colo., March 2, 2021 – PRESS RELEASE – BDSA announced today the release of its 2020 cannabis sales data and forecast future sales by region. Global cannabis sales reached nearly $21.3 billion in 2020, an increase of 48% over 2019 sales of $14.4 billion. BDSA forecasts global cannabis sales will grow from $21.3 billion in 2020 to $55.9 billion in 2026, a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of more than 17%. 

“The cannabis industry faced numerous challenges in the past few years, none so potentially disruptive as the coronavirus pandemic in 2020,” said Micah Tapman, Chief Executive Officer, BDSA. “Our previous forecast was conservative based on the expected economic fallout from the pandemic, but the industry not only survived, it thrived and legal cannabis gained considerable ground, exceeding our expectations in several markets.”

Many mature markets in the United States saw accelerated growth in 2020 – Colorado grew by 26%, double its 13% rise in 2019, and Oregon expanded by 39%, versus 21% in 2019. Canada, the largest national market, grew by 61% in 2020 to more than $2.6 billion, boosted by the late-2019 introduction of a host of new product options under the government’s new “Cannabis 2.0” rules, which authorized sales of derivative products such as edibles.

Even so, new markets are key to future growth. Medical and adult-use markets that launched in 2019 and 2020 contributed $1.6 billion in spending in 2020, $422 million in medical and nearly $1.2 billion in adult-use. Five new U.S. markets legalized medical or adult-use cannabis during the 2020 elections: Arizona, Mississippi, New Jersey, Montana and South Dakota. BDSA expects four new medical and five new adult-use markets to commence sales in 2021.

These data reflect legal cannabis market forecasts. CBD market forecasts are also available for sale from BDSA and include CBD-dominant products (derived from marijuana or hemp) sold in dispensaries, pharmaceuticals, and CBD products in general retail (derived from hemp).

United States

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Last week, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy ended a weeks-long legislative saga that saw cannabis legalization—supported by more than two in three voters in November—finally go into effect. On Feb. 22, Murphy signed a bill to legalize and another bill clarifying penalties for underage possession, a sticking point that had stalled the development of the legal industry. 

Stopping low-level cannabis arrests and moving forward on an initiative the state’s voters approved nearly four months ago is just the start. Those fighting for a fair industry in New Jersey say there’s still a long way to go to ensure the new state market helps correct the previous decades of biased law enforcement.

Racial disparity in New Jersey prohibition

Between 2010 and 2018, Black people were 3.5 times more likely to be arrested for cannabis across the state. In certain counties, that discrepancy shoots up to over 13. And according to the ACLU, the disparity has gotten worse over time—in 2000, Black people were arrested 2.2 times as often.

“New Jersey averaging 32,000 arrests a year for low-level, nonviolent, minor possession of cannabis—and 80% of those arrested were people who look like me—is not a fluke or happenstance,” said Leo Bridgewater, Director of Veterans Outreach for Minorities 4 Medical Marijuana (M4MM) and an advocate in the state’s effort for cannabis reform.

He and others involved in New Jersey’s legalization process, who spoke to Cannabis Business Times and Cannabis Dispensary via email, weighed in on how Garden State lawmakers should proceed from here on out to create an industry that can begin to compensate for many years of racially biased law enforcement.

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On Feb. 23 the North Dakota House of Representatives approved three bills that revise its cannabis laws and introduce adult-use legalization: House Bill 1420, House Bill 1501 and House Bill 1201. 

House Bill 1420, which passed 56 to 38, would allow adults aged 21 and older to purchase or possess up to one ounce of cannabis every 14 days; however, cultivating cannabis for personal use would remain illegal.

The bill’s proposal also limits the allotted number of registered dispensaries to 18 and caps growers to seven, and calls for adult-use cannabis sales to begin on July 1, 2022.

The bill now heads to the Senate for the second round of votes. If approved, it will be sent to Gov. Doug Burgum for his final signature.

Lawmakers also approved House Bill 1501, which passed 73 to 21 and lays the foundation for a  tax structure for the adult-use cannabis market. 

As stated in the House Bill 1501’s proposal, the bill would impose a “tax of 15% upon the gross receipts of adult-use cannabis products,” and “an excise tax of 10% on the sale of usable marijuana and adult-use cannabis products by a manufacturing facility to a dispensary.”

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NEW YORK, Feb. 22, 2021 – PRESS RELEASE – LeafLink, a technology-enabled wholesale marketplace for the cannabis industry, announced a partnership with Last Prisoner Project (LPP), a nonprofit organization dedicated to cannabis-related criminal justice reform. This collaboration is LPP’s largest partnership with a tech-company and will be fortified thanks to LeafLink’s ability to feature the nonprofit directly within its marketplace.

While LPP has partnered with individual cannabis brands and retailers in the past, the new partnership with LeafLink will allow the nonprofit to tap into a platform that powers over $3.3 billion in annual orders, or 35% of U.S. wholesale cannabis commerce. By leveraging its e-commerce platform, LeafLink is setting a new standard for marketplaces and business-to-business tech companies that are looking to give back.

Accessible directly in LeafLink’s marketplace, the give-back model has the potential to activate the entire network of cannabis businesses that use the B2B platform to streamline wholesale ordering. Now, retailers who use the marketplace to discover new brands and shop for products to restock their shelves will have the ability to donate to LPP directly through LeafLink’s order confirmation page. Brands and distributors, who use the platform to streamline order management, can donate straight through the seller homepage. Thanks to the tech-enabled integration, LPP will gain exposure to LeafLink’s growing community of 7,700-plus licensed cannabis businesses.

“It is our responsibility as industry leaders to build a more equitable future for the cannabis community,” said Ryan G. Smith, co-founder and CEO of LeafLink. “As an e-commerce marketplace, we thought about how we could best leverage our technology and our unique position in the industry for social good. We’re optimistic that this partnership will fuel conversation and action around criminal justice reform within the cannabis space, while also providing an example for how other tech and B2B companies can facilitate change by tapping into their own networks.”

As the sector expands and legalization ramps up across the country, organizations and leaders are being challenged to address the underlying social inequity that exists within the cannabis industry. With the partnership, LeafLink hopes to encourage direct support of LPP’s advocacy efforts, as well as spread awareness around the need for clemency, expungement and reentry programs for individuals with cannabis convictions. LeafLink joins a list of well-known organizations and activists who support LPP, including celebrity ambassadors Jim Belushi, Damien Marley, Montel Williams and Melissa Ethridge.

“Last Prisoner Project is incredibly grateful to LeafLink for their support of our mission to release cannabis prisoners. Everybody who has the privilege of profiting from the legal cannabis industry should feel a moral imperative to help free those who are still incarcerated for cannabis,” LPP Managing Director Mary Bailey said. “Last Prisoner Project commends LeafLink for being a part of the solution and doing their part to promote a more socially conscious industry.”

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When she worked in the fields of natural products and dietary supplements, policy attorney Amber Littlejohn started doing some work in the hemp and CBD space. And not only for that reason, the career change to serve as senior policy adviser for the Minority Cannabis Business Association (MCBA) in some ways placed her in a comparable atmosphere.

The cannabis and hemp markets are similar to the natural products and dietary supplement industries, Littlejohn said, because all of them are “heavily regulated,” “emerging” and “embattled.”

Photo courtesy of Amber Littlejohn
Amber Littlejohn

“Another really significant overlap [is that] while there are big players, innovation and culture around the products are really driven by small companies,” she said. “And I wanted to make sure that as we’re growing the cannabis industry that there are adequate opportunities for small and especially small minority businesses."

Littlejohn has now been with MCBA for almost two years, first working on its federal policy program as senior policy adviser, then taking the helm as executive director this past November.

“Our leadership has done an extraordinary job of creating policies and building the reputation of the organization,” Littlejohn said of MCBA’s work. “And so, now, we really want to leverage that to be a strong resource for our community, both in providing the resources that people need to enter and succeed in the industry, as well as driving policy around the country.”

In an interview with Cannabis Business Times, Cannabis Dispensary and Hemp Grower, Littlejohn expands on the importance of strengthening small businesses and businesses owned by people of color—and how it can be done.

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Sean Pavone | Adobe Stock
Implementing an adult-use cannabis programs doesn’t happen overnight, but it’s officially on the to-do list for the Virginia state legislature. Pending Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam’s signature, Virginia would become the first southern state to legalize cannabis, but not until Jan. 1, 2024.

The state’s legislative chambers overcame differences to pass a compromise bill on Saturday—Senate Bill 1406 and House Bill 2312—to legalize cannabis possession, personal cultivation and retail sales for adults 21 and older.

RELATED: Virginia Is Moving Quickly on the Governor’s Cannabis Legalization Proposal. But What Happens Next?

The partisan bill drew three sponsors and two co-sponsors, all Democrats, in the 40-seat Senate, as well as five sponsors and 20 co-sponsors, all Democrats, in the 100-seat House. When Democrats flipped both chambers in 2019, they gained control of both the legislature and governor’s office for the first time in more than two decades.

“Equitable legalization of marijuana is an essential step towards racial justice in Virginia,” House Majority Leader Delegate Charniele Herring, primary sponsor of H.B. 2312, said in a prepared statement. “We have created a plan to start this important work, and we will continue to move forward and compromise to get this work done together.”

Northam, who supports adult-use legalization, unveiled a proposal in January that would have allowed cannabis sales to start Jan. 1, 2023—a year earlier than the legislature’s timeline. Northam has the option to approve the compromise bill, amend it or veto it.

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This week, we’re spotlighting state cannabis markets in various states of flux: hung up in court, on the precipice of sales and somewhere in the early stages of the transition from medical to adult-use. It’s an exciting time in the industry. As 2021 opens, we can see new business landscapes taking shape in nearly every corner of the U.S.

Federal reform, while far from clear, is inching closer into our sightlines, too.

Here are some of the top headlines from this past week:

Despite the entire adult-use market being held up by a recent appeals court ruling (deemed unconstitutional, in fact), South Dakota legislators are moving forward with plans to license retail businesses. It’s new territory for the cannabis landscape, and it remains unclear how this tension will resolve. Read more 
Meanwhile, in West Virginia, dispensaries are getting ready to open their doors once product is in place later this year. Read more And in Pennsylvania, a bipartisan bill has emerged that would legalize adult-use cannabis. It’s a significant step forward in a state whose governor and lieutenant governor have championed the cause. Read more In Arizona, Verano Holdings announced its acquisition of Territory Dispensary, expanding the multi-state operator’s footprint in this newly legalized adult-use market. Read more Texas Original Compassionate Cultivation CEO Morris Denton provided a glimpse into his business’s response to severe winter weather this month. “Our team is a resilient bunch,” he said, “and very purpose-driven and passionate about doing our best to get our medicine safely and quickly into the hands of our patients whom we serve throughout the state of Texas.” Read more 

And elsewhere on the web, here are the stories we’ve been reading this week:

Virginia Mercury: As of Friday morning, Virginia lawmakers were scrambling to align an approach to adult-use cannabis legalization—resolving differences over regulatory language set up for 2021—and it wasn’t quite clear whether a Saturday deadline would be met. Read more 
NJ.com: New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy has announced his picks for the Cannabis Regulatory Commission, which will oversee the recently legalize adult-use marketplace. Read more  
MLive.com: Cookies, which already had a retail site in Detroit (medical-only, for now) celebrated its grand opening in Kalamazoo, Mich., on Friday. Read more   
ABC15: While Arizona got off to a quick start with its adult-use licensing process, the medical cannabis market in rural areas of the state is suffering. Retailers have sued the state, insisting that the licensing procedure over the past few years has left an imbalanced landscape for patients to navigate. Read more  
Marketwatch: Soccer star David Beckham’s cannabis skin care company, Cellular Goods, is off to a hot start on the London Stock Exchange—only a few days after the trading platform began allowing cannabis businesses into the fold. Read more 

 

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Shannon Price | Adobe Stock
Job growth in the cannabis sector doesn’t appear to be slowing down anytime soon.

The legal cannabis industry now supports 321,000 workers in the United States, with 77,000-plus jobs created in 2020, or roughly a 32% increase across the 37 states and the District of Columbia with medical or adult-use markets, according to a report by Leafly.

While cannabis companies were not immune to layoffs and furloughs during the onset of COVID-19, as job growth experienced a lull between March and August, hiring picked back up, and many operations thrived during the pandemic. The year-over-year growth showed that the cannabis sector created jobs at a faster rate than almost any other American industry, according to Leafly.

James Yagielo, the CEO of HempStaff, a recruiting and training company based in Miami that specializes in the cannabis and hemp industries, said the 32% increase reported by Leafly did not leave him open-mouthed. 

“It was not really that surprising because it was essential business, so that really narrowed down a lot of the different industries because a lot of industries are not essential,” he said. “So, I think that may have definitely skewed the numbers in cannabis’ favor. But, additionally, even though last year was a horrendous year for most people, our recruiting numbers pretty much matched 2019. We didn’t get the increase we expected, but we didn’t really get decrease either.”

When September 2020 hit, job growth picked back up in the sector, Yagielo said.

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JENKINTOWN, Pa., Feb. 26, 2021 – PRESS RELEASE – TerraVida Holistic Center LLC, a premier, women-owned and operated medical cannabis company in Pennsylvania, is pleased to announce that it has entered into an agreement to merge with Verano Holdings Corp. (CSE: VRNO), a leading multistate cannabis operator with a portfolio that encompasses 14 U.S. states.

Verano plans to expand TerraVida’s retail footprint in Pennsylvania to six operating dispensaries, plus a license for three additional dispensaries. This includes TerraVida’s three current dispensaries—some of the state’s top performing dispensaries—located in the Philadelphia Metropolitan Area. This acquisition will escalate Verano’s access to Pennsylvania’s surging patient population—the fifth most populous state in the U.S., currently accounting for approximately 400,000 registered medical marijuana patients.

“The TerraVida team is thrilled to have the opportunity to increase our capabilities, expand the TerraVida brand and provide access to medical cannabis to patients in need throughout Pennsylvania,” said Chris Visco, co-founder and CEO of TerraVida Holistic Centers. “This new partnership with Verano will allow us to triple our dispensary footprint and give us the infrastructure to help as many people as possible while continuing to educate Pennsylvania on the benefits medical cannabis and break free of underlying stigmas—it is a very exciting time for us.”

RELATED: How TerraVida Holistic Centers opened three dispensaries in just three months to serve Pennsylvania’s new medical cannabis market.

Verano has entered into an agreement and plan of merger pursuant to which subsidiaries of Verano will merge with and into TerraVida Holistic Centers, LLC (“TerraVida”) and GVB Holding Group, LLC, which operate three of the state’s top performing medical dispensaries in Sellersville, Abington and Malvern, Pennsylvania. The merger consideration includes cash consideration of US$62,500,000, subject to adjustment, with US$15,000,000 being payable on the closing date, US$10,000,000 payable within 90 days after the closing date, and the remainder payable within 180 days after the closing date. In addition, the merger consideration includes Class A shares or Class B shares equivalent to 3,013,500 Class A shares on an as converted basis, including a minimum of 1,506,750 Class A shares.

TerraVida’s highly regarded management team will remain in place following the acquisition as Verano looks to build on the strong foundation the team members have established in Southeastern Pennsylvania.

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The South Dakota Senate approved Senate Bill 187B Wednesday, which was sponsored by Sen. Brock Greenfield.

The measure, which passed 19-16, is designed to put a system of laws in place to regulate the sale, possession and consumption of adult-use cannabis per the voter-approved Amendment A in the general election, which was challenged by Gov. Kristi Noem and ruled unconstitutional by Circuit Judge Christina Klinger on Feb. 8.

RELATED: South Dakota Judge Strikes Down Adult-Use Amendment

The bill acknowledges that Klinger deemed Amendment A as unconstitutional, but "the legislature recognizes that a majority of voters approved the legalization of the sale, possession and consumption of adult-use retail marijuana."

The majority of state senators voted in favor of enacting the legislation to ensure there are regulated and enforceable laws in place regarding the sale, possession and consumption of adult-use cannabis, in case the South Dakota Supreme Court overrules Klinger’s ruling that Amendment A was unconstitutional.

The bill has been sent to the House of Representatives but has not yet been scheduled for action.

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In early February, the West Virginia Office of Medical Cannabis (OMC) announced the successful applicants to receive a medical cannabis dispensary permit.

RELATED: Medical Cannabis Dispensary Permits Announced in West Virginia

The OMC posted the full list of dispensary permit holders on its website, which consisted of Ohio-based medical cannabis dispensary Terrasana Cannabis Co. and West Virginia-based medical cannabis dispensary Harvest Care Medical.

Terrasana applied to receive six dispensary permits at the beginning of this year and was awarded all six. The dispensary business was also granted a cultivation and processing license, said William Kedia, Terrasana Cannabis founder and CEO. 

Both dispensaries are making changes and finalizing a game plan in preparation for the expansion.

"The hiring process will not start until we start construction, just because of the timeline," Kedia said. "I don't want people waiting on us to do the project for three to five months until it's finalized. So, as we get to those time points in our game plan, we will hire appropriately and train everyone so everyone is on the same page and ready to go the minute we get the dispensaries, growing and processing facilities all open at the same time."

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