Amazon has publicized its continued support to refine the nation’s cannabis policy.

In a recent press release, the organization declared its support for the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act (CAOA), a federal draft bill that would end cannabis prohibition, as it “makes a number of important changes” the company stands by.

RELATED: Industry Experts, Stakeholders Offer Their Takes on Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act

"First, we support removing cannabis from the Controlled Substance Act,” said Brian Huseman, Amazon vice president of public policy. “Doing so will open significant new economic opportunities for millions of capable individuals while beginning to restore some of the damage done to highly affected communities.”

Huseman said the company believes Congress should eradicate non-violent cannabis convictions and grant resentencing for individuals currently convicted on such charges. 

"For far too long, criminal marijuana provisions have been unequally enforced upon people of color, perpetuating over-incarceration, poverty, health conditions and other barriers to economic opportunity,” Huseman said. “We believe it’s necessary to expunge these crimes that our society has borne on the shoulders of communities of color. And as the nation’s second-largest employer, we support expungement to ensure that all capable individuals have a fair opportunity to seek and secure employment wherever they choose. Finally, we support community reinvestment grants, which can have a positive impact in pursuit of social justice.”

In week three of “Operation Hammer Strike,” the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department (SBSD) Marijuana Enforcement Team (MET) and deputies from several other patrol stations arrested 31 suspects last week that were tied to illegal cannabis grows.

As previously reported by Cannabis Business Times, Operation Hammer Strike is “an investigation to attack the existing unlawful cannabis cultivation in San Bernardino County, Calif.”

In week one of the investigation, officials served warrants for four California cities, arrested 12 individuals, and discovered more than 10,000 illegal cannabis plants and roughly 1,335 pounds of processed cannabis. 

In week two of the operation, from Sept. 6-10, deputies served 23 search warrants throughout various Southern California cities. They found “21,002 [illegal] marijuana plants, 5,628.5 pounds of processed marijuana, nine guns [and] over $9,000 in cash.” The department also liquidated 113 greenhouses found throughout the locations, according to a press release from the SBSD headquarters.

In week three of the investigation, law enforcement served 31 search warrants after receiving “numerous complaints about large outdoor marijuana cultivations in these areas,” the SBSD headquarters said in a press release.

The department seized nearly 30,000 illegal cannabis plants, 6,000 pounds of processed cannabis, about $19,000 in cash and decimated 138 greenhouses found throughout the locations.

If there is such a thing as a perfect business plan in adult-use cannabis retail, it involves teams that are majority owned by military veterans—at least that’s the standard in Illinois. 

Among the 185 cannabis dispensary licenses recently awarded by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR), 75 were reserved for top-scoring applicants in what was intended to be a competitive licensing process.

The dilemma?

KPMG, the global accounting firm that IDFPR bestowed a no-bid contract worth $4.2 million to grade the applications, awarded 21 groups perfects scores. In turn, the 75 licenses reserved for the top-scoring applicants were to be divvied up among those 21 groups. Overall, 937 candidates submitted 4,518 applications seeking those 75 licenses, according to the Chicago Sun Times.

While there was a cap on how many licenses applicants could win, which was 10, there was no cap on how many times applicants could apply. The 21 groups with perfect scores collectively submitted more than 300 applications.

The kicker?

San Juan Capistrano, Calif., Sept. 21, 2021 – PRESS RELEASE – Packwolves, an on-demand cannabis packaging platform, announced its public launch, unveiling a collaboration with Mohave Cannabis Co., an Arizona and California-based cannabis brand with quality cultivation and premium indoor flower products. In addition to designing and manufacturing custom packaging and products, Packwolves also allows manufacturers to purchase pre-designed, child-resistant packaging for faster deployment of their cannabis products.

The company’s collaboration with Mohave Cannabis Co. came through a jointly designed custom-produced glass jar inspired by the design and feel of fine spirit bottles. The rounded square jar features embossed letters and convex inner glass which magnifies the jar's contents, providing a deeper look at the nuances of the product. The jar also features a dark, oak-pattern, child-resistant lid with an air-and-water-tight “twist and seal” feature that keeps cannabis more potent, longer than other products in the industry.

View photos of the collaboration and Packwolves' work here.

“There is frankly nothing else like this on the market,” said Curtis Devine, owner and founder of Mohave Cannabis Co. “Our collaboration with Packwolves delivers an experience that’s as curated, nuanced and sophisticated as the product itself.”

Packwolves was founded by Tom Vickers, who left product design in the advertising world to pursue his passion of helping cannabis companies grow and market themselves. The company brings a design-forward approach to the cannabis industry, helping both newcomers and established companies quickly create high-quality packaging, swag and other products.  
“With more and more states legalizing the use of cannabis, too many entrepreneurs must resort to a piecemeal approach to deploying their branded products, such as buying packaging, boxes and product stickers from various vendors on Amazon,” Vickers said. “We are confident that our distinctive, one-stop solution will be a welcome resource for many manufacturers.”

In addition to custom packaging solutions, Packwolves offers pre-designed pouches for quick deployment of products. The company also offers packaging programs for products, such as: Jar & Box, Jar & Paper Tube, Pouch & PET Insert, and Pouch & PET Insert for Pre-Rolls, among other options. They also have an expert internal design team that can aid customers in launching a brand.
In addition to pre-designed products, Packwolves offers customizable pouches, jars, folding boxes, magnetic boxes, paper tubes and shipper boxes as well as swag items such as customizable rolling trays, ashtrays and carabiners.

“Design can elevate the image of cannabis,” Vickers said. “We’re building a design-forward platform that can positively influence and educate the public about the often-stigmatized cannabis plant.”

Black-owned cannabis brand Viola has launched its own education platform to bring a “new wave of talent” to the cannabis industry, according to CEO Al Harrington.

The Harrington Institute, powered by the Cleveland School of Cannabis, another Black-owned business in the space, aims to remove a common barrier to entry for Black individuals looking to enter the cannabis industry: education.

“We just don’t have the fundamental education to understand the industry,” Harrington tells Cannabis Business Times and Cannabis Dispensary. “We see how negatively it impacted our communities for so long, [and] people just can’t really wrap their head around [the fact] that [they] can actually do this legally and make a career out of it.”

The Harrington Institute’s curriculum aims to help students learn both the technical aspects of growing, processing and selling cannabis, as well as the business side of the industry, so they can ultimately decide how they can best participate in the growing marketplace.

“I just felt like this was something that was really needed, and the fact that I could work with people who look like me was something I was really, really excited about,” Harrington says. “When I think about the opportunity to really usher in the next wave of talent in the cannabis industry, I really feel like we haven’t been tapped into it yet.”

The New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission (CRC) adopted its first set of rules for the state’s adult-use cannabis industry last month and had 30 days to begin accepting and processing business license applications—a deadline that came and went Sept. 18 without the agency taking action.

The CRC approved a new licensing platform to help regulators process applications from potential cultivators, manufacturers and retailers at a Sept. 14 meeting, according to an NJ.com report, but the statutory deadline for the agency to actually launch the application process passed Saturday without the agency releasing the applications to entrepreneurs.

A CRC source told NJ.com that although officials did not meet the deadline—and will not open the application process in the coming days—the commission plans to publish a notice in the New Jersey Register with the start date for application filing and the necessary materials that an applicant needs to submit to comply with a process outlined in the CRC’s adult-use regulations.

RELATED: First Set of Adult-Use Cannabis Rules Approved in New Jersey

New Jersey’s adult-use cannabis law requires the CRC to set a date within 180 days of adopting its final regulations for the first sales to launch, and according to NJ.com, the delay in the start of the state’s business licensing process exacerbates doubts already in place that newly-licensed adult-use operators could open their doors—let alone get plants in the ground—by early next year as planned.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom survived a statewide recall vote by a wide margin, but now the hard work of building a successful, accessible cannabis industry only continues for him and his administration. We spoke with attorney Jared Schwass on “Beyond the Show” this week about what that means—and what we should be watching in the months ahead. https://www.cannabisbusinesstimes.com/article/beyond-the-show-jared-schwass-cannabis-conference-episode-14/

The issues that Schwass highlights—tax rates and retail licensing, among others—are things that we’ve written about at length in Cannabis Business Times and Cannabis Dispensary. They are the important tentpoles of regulation that states across the U.S. are continuing ato dial in, getting closer in some cases to a more equitable industry. The recall election, in the context of the cannabis space, only serves to remind us how important it is to hold powerful politicians accountable when the health of the industry is on the line, whether it’s Newsom or anyone else.

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

Dark Heart Nursery found that upwards of 90% of California cannabis growers are contending with hop latent viroid (HpLVd). We took a close look at what that means. Read more A bipartisan group of state lawmakers introduced the Michigan Cannabis Safety Act Sept. 14 to fine-tune testing, tracking and labeling regulations in the state’s medical cannabis market. Read more South Dakota lawmakers approved the majority of regulations for the state’s medical cannabis program Sept. 13, while rejecting a handful of rules proposed Gov. Kristi Noem’s administration. Read more The Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission has appointed its executive director and unveiled plans to begin cultivation next year. Read more The FDA and CDC released advisory statements on hemp-derived products containing delta-8 THC. Read more 

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

CBS News: “The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) executive committee announced on Tuesday it will review cannabis' status as a banned substance. The announcement came two months after U.S. sprinting star Sha'Carri Richardson was disqualified from the Tokyo Olympics for using marijuana after she had learned that her mother died.” Read more BBC: “Three men who ran what police described as the biggest marijuana-growing operation ever found in Lincolnshire [in England] have been jailed.” Read more WEWS: “Ohio is watching two separate paths to adult-use legalization develop, one through the traditional legislative process and the other through an initiated statute by a group called Coalition to Regulate Marijuana like Alcohol.” Read more Petoskey News-Review: “A vote by the Gaylord City Council has settled a dispute between two organizations that have devoted resources to building a brand involving the word ‘rise’ — at least for the moment.” Read more KOB4: “Growers across the state are ramping up for the anticipated demand coming April 1 with the legalization of recreational marijuana sales [in New Mexico].” Read more ]]>
In August, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) maintained its position that CBD in any ingestible form is subject to the drug preclusion language in the federal Food Drug and Cosmetic Act via refusal letters posted regarding New Dietary Ingredient Notifications (NDIN) filed by Charlotte’s Web and Irwin Naturals, respectively. In addition to the drug preclusion position, which refers to the prohibition on an ingredient that was first studied as a drug from being a food or a dietary supplement, the FDA also expressed concern that the NDIN submissions did not adequately establish that the extracts can be safely consumed by the intended users, nor did they respond to concerns that the FDA has previously identified relative to CBD safety, including liver toxicity.

NDIN notifications are submissions intended to satisfy the FDA that the dietary ingredient—full spectrum hemp extract, in this instance—is safe for the intended use, typically based on a demonstrated history of safe use or clinical studies relevant to the ingredient. An NDIN notification must be submitted to the FDA for a dietary ingredient that was not marketed in the U.S. as a dietary supplement, prior to October 15, 1994, the date that the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act became law.

Charlotte’s Web took the unusual step of issuing a public response to the refusals, available here, with a link to the company’s also public letter to the FDA here, which responds directly to the agency’s criticisms of the data provided and alleging factual inaccuracies in its response.

For anyone wondering what the practical implications of these refusals are, consider these highlights.

Still About Safety

The FDA has relied on the drug preclusion rationale consistently since the very early CBD warning letters but has also expressed an interest in working with the industry to explore a non-drug pathway. Two and a half years since the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, the FDA’s recent refusals make clear that the agency has unresolved safety concerns.

DENVER (Sept. 17, 2021) – PRESS RELEASE  – Wana Brands will continue its partnership with The Green Solution (TGS), one of the first recreational cannabis brands in the nation, and the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment (CDPHE), to host six additional COVID-19 vaccination clinics through October.

The vaccination clinics, at key Denver metro TGS dispensaries, are part of Wana’s Summer of Quick Tour initiative to roll out its Wana Quick Fast-Acting Gummies in more markets across North America. TGS and Wana Brands partnered with the CDPHE to host COVID-19 vaccination clinics earlier this summer, helping to vaccinate participating Coloradans. Locations and times for additional pop-up clinics include:

Sunday, Sept. 19 from 4-6 p.m. 

Ohio’s medical cannabis cultivators can seek state approval to expand their operations as regulators at the same time plan to license additional dispensaries to serve the market.

The state announced Sept. 15 that it will grant expansion requests to growers that are in compliance with the program’s regulations, that are already using the maximum amount of cultivation space allowed and that demonstrate a need to expand their operations to meet demand.

Ohio has 20 licensed Level I cultivators that can grow up to 25,000 square feet of cannabis and 15 licensed level II cultivators that can grow up to 3,000 square feet, according to a Cincinnati Enquirer report.

The expansion would allow Level I cultivators to grow up to 50,000 square feet of cannabis, while Level II cultivators could grow up to 6,000 square feet.

The Ohio Department of Commerce will begin accepting and reviewing expansion requests on Oct. 1, and cultivators can only submit one expansion request during a 12-month period.

Episode 14 of Cannabis Conference’s newest podcast ‘Beyond the Show’ drops today, during which Digital Editor Eric Sandy interviews Schwass Law Firm founder Jared Schwass.

In the episode, Schwass weighs in on this week’s California’s recall election of Gov. Gavin Newsom, which failed by 63% to 36% margin, according to the New York Times, and what this means for the cannabis industry.

“The Republicans were riding the wave of the disgruntlement of Gavin Newsom in addition to the COVID response, but also—there’s a lot of disgruntled individuals in the cannabis industry, and they desire Gavin Newsom to take additional action. In my opinion, he has expressed his willingness to make the needed changes [to the regulatory rollout of Proposition 94]. I understand the cannabis industry feels like he’s been moving too slow on it. I would agree … but … I do believe we do have an ally in Gavin Newsom in the state government,” Schwass says.

Schwass also outlines some of the most recent challenges for small growers in the Emerald Triangle, including environmental disasters as well as pricing pressure and exposure to consumers.

“How I see it is that the limited number of retailers, they’re able to gate-keep the product. And I don’t think it’s necessary—I’ve heard people say, ‘Oh, you just make good product and it sells itself.’ I’ve seen fantastic product from these small growers, some of the best I’ve seen in the state, and they’re getting offered like $500 a pound for this amazing outdoor product, just because it’s outdoor. … Right now it’s very difficult for them to get their product in front of a consumer, in addition to the marketing struggles because it’s hard to compete with celebrity,” he says.

Listen to the entire 35-minute conversation, as well as previous episodes of ‘Beyond the Show’ on Spotify, Google Play, iTunes or CannabisBusinessTimes.com.

The Farmer’s Wife celebrated the grand opening of its third dispensary in Missouri’s developing medical cannabis market Aug. 20. 

The new Springfield location incorporates many of the attributes that Director of Retail David Brodsky says sets the company apart in the state: a focus on retail paired with robust branding and a wide selection of products.

The Farmer’s Wife is locally owned by a group from Southwest Missouri, with its two other retail locations in Mountain Grove and West Plains. Brodsky spent the last decade working in the cannabis industry in California and Colorado before returning home to Missouri shortly after the state legalized medical cannabis in 2018.

One of the company’s owners previously worked in the pharmaceutical market and wanted to enter the cannabis industry to provide an alternative form of relief to patients, Brodsky says.

The Farmer’s Wife submitted its licensing applications in 2019 and ultimately won three retail licenses in early 2020, with its first dispensary opening on 4/20 of this year.

LOS ANGELES | September 16, 2021 09:00 AM Eastern Daylight Time | PRESS RELEASE | engin sciences, the creator of AI-powered recruitment platform, and Würk, an industry provider of human capital management software, announced today that they have entered into a partnership, creating the first fully-integrated recruitment, employment and human capital management platform for the regulated cannabis industry.

Through the partnership, Würk’s first-of-its-kind, comprehensive software will be integrated into engin’s proprietary AI-enabled hiring platform, white labeled for the cannabis industry as FlowerHire X. Together, the companies have deployed to cannabis industry HR leaders a unified solution to handle all aspects of the hiring process, from job posting to onboarding and payment.

Launched in April 2021 and powered by engin, FlowerHire X allows cannabis operators to quickly recruit and identify best-fit candidates for hourly positions. By automating job distribution and assigning a proprietary FitScore to candidates based on both hard and soft skills, assessments, and location, FlowerHire X creates a hiring process that prioritizes candidate experience, time to hire, and employee retention.

“Due to the endless regulations placed on this industry, one-stop HR vendors will not service cannabis businesses, forcing employers to navigate multiple platforms to recruit, hire, onboard, and pay new employees,” said Sloane Barbour, founder and CEO of engin sciences and partner at FlowerHire. “The seamless integration of Würk’s technology into the engin platform will allow us to provide leaders with a unified tech and services stack that will help simplify recruiting, onboarding, payroll, and compliance into one fully integrated solution to support the fastest growing industry in the country.”

Since 2015, Würk has been helping both startups and the largest MSO’s navigate cannabis banking, taxes, payroll, and compliance, by automating the most complicated and risk-prone processes associated with HR. Würk’s platform and managed services allows employers to protect and streamline their operations, while providing an environment where people are a priority every step of the way.

OAKLAND,Calif., Sept. 16, 2021 – PRESS RELEASE – Harborside Inc., a California-focused,vertically integrated cannabis enterprise, announced that it has entered into astrategic research agreement with Utah State University to conduct a studyled by world-renowned plant physiologist Dr. Bruce Bugbee on cannabis cropsteering. This complex cultivation approach manipulates all environmentalinfluences to increase crop yield, improve product quality and save resources.

Byadjusting irrigation, lighting and climate throughout the grow cycle, proper cropsteering gives cannabis growers more control over the performance of theirharvest. Bugbee's research will study all influencing factors to plant growthincluding light intensity, CO2 levels, ambient temperatures andsubstrate moisture levels which affect the yield, cannabinoid potency andterpene composition of cannabis plants. Harborside's vice president of production,Travis Higginbotham, will work closely with Bugbee to identify relevant andpractical crop steering techniques while contributing to the science ofcannabis. The research will be conducted in Bugbee's plant physiology laboratoryat Utah State University.

"Harborsideis committed to creating a cannabis industry that can meet growing consumerdemand for the product by finding ways to increase yields without compromisingquality," Higginbotham said. "We are eager to work alongside Dr.Bugbee to increase the collective scientific understanding of growing cannabisand discovering new production practices that maximize the performance of thiscrop."

"Froma practical perspective, this study will not only impact our scientificunderstanding of cannabis but also present relevant practices that can beimplemented in commercial cannabis production to potentially boostsustainability and help the industry scale efficiently," Bugbee said."We have used the crop steering approach in collaborative research withNASA to improve the yield of food crops in highly controlledenvironments and are now applying our insight to cannabis."

Bugbeeis the founder and president of Apogee Instruments Inc. and professor of crop physiologyat Utah State. He is a fellow of the American Society of Agronomy and AmericaSociety of Horticultural Science and has authored more than 137 peer-reviewedstudies in his field.

Forthe latest news, activities and media coverage, please visit the Harborside’scorporate website at www.investharborside.com.

OTTAWA,Ontario, Sept. 16, 2021 – PRESS RELEASE – HEXO Corp. announced the company achievedits goal to become carbon neutral by September 2021, offsetting 100% of its2020 operational carbon emissions in addition to the personal emissions of its1,200 employees.*

InJune 2021, HEXO embarked on a missionto counteract its carbon footprint through a partnership with Offsetters, aVancouver-based organization that supports renewable energy and forest carbonprojects across the world. As a leading cannabis player in Canada, on the pathto becoming one of the top three global cannabis products companies, it was importantfor HEXO’s offset investments to have a global reach. At home in Canada, HEXOis helping reduce old-growth tree harvesting by supporting the GreatBear Forest Carbon Project. This landmark project balances human well-beingand ecological integrity through carbon finance and is the first carbon projectin North America on traditional territory with unextinguished aboriginal rightsand title. Globally, HEXO is supporting two other carbon offset projects—alarge-scale solar energy project in Asia and another forest conservationproject in South America.

Toachieve carbon neutrality, HEXO offset a total of 25,965 tonnes of carbon—19,610tonnes of operational carbon emissions and 6,355 tonnes of its employees’personal carbon emissions. If the top 100 Canadian companies pursued similarsustainability initiatives, it would be a significant contribution to Canada’srole in combatting climate change.

“Atthe start of the summer, we pledged that HEXO would not only become carbonneutral, but that we would also offset the personal carbon emissions generatedby every one of our employees. Today we are proud to say we have achieved ourgoal, setting a new standard in sustainability for our industry,” HEXO CEO and co-founderSébastien St-Louis said. “Consumers and investors demand greater environmentaland social integrity from companies. We are proud to share our commitment tosustainability and support our consumers’ ability to purchase products thatalign with their values.”

Inaddition to carbon emissions, HEXO is counteracting the use of plastic in itspackaging. Working alongside its primary packaging supplier Dymapak, in conjunction with Plastic Bank, HEXO has supported PlasticBank’s ethical recycling ecosystems in coastal communities, collecting andreprocessing ocean-bound plastics for re-introduction to the globalmanufacturing supply chain. In doing so, HEXO initially offset 63,000 kilogramsof plastic. By October 2021, HEXO will have supported the collection of anadditional 8,000 kg of ocean-bound plastic—making it a total equivalent of over3.55 million plastic bottles stopped from entering the world’s oceans.

Insupporting environmentalism, HEXO will continue to monitor and report on itscarbon emissions and plastic production and seek opportunities to reduce both.HEXO plans to emulate its success in the Canadian cannabis industry throughoutthe United States.

Dark Heart Nursery
A healthy cannabis plant.

Earlier this summer, the team at Dark Heart Nursery announced the findings of a formal survey of cannabis growers across California: After some 200,000 tissue tests, 90% of California facilities researched were testing positive for hop latent viroid (HpLVD).

All told, the presence of that pathogen—to that degree—could account for a $4-billion loss in cannabis crops, according to the Dark Heart team.

The tests ran across more than 100 licensed cannabis facilities, from August 2018 to July 2021. This endeavor began during the research phase that saw Dark Heart connect HpLVd to a suite of worrying symptoms known as “dudders” or “dudding” at the time. This included stunted plants, low trichome production, weak stems and so on. 

“Very early on, we knew there was this problem in the industry where plants wouldn't produce: low yields, low trichomes. We took the time to do the science, to do some RNA sequencing and figure out what was the actual cause of that. Hop latent viroid was only in the infected [plants], not in the healthy ones.” But simply identifying the pathogen was not enough. Once it was found, the Dark Heart team removed the pathogen, isolated it in a pure culture and then infected an otherwise healthy plant with it. Quickly, they noticed the familiar symptoms.

READ MORE: The 'Dudders' Case or: How Legalization Opened the Door for Cultivators to Embrace Science 

cannabis hop latent viroid

After approving an increased number of medical cannabis dispensary licenses earlier this year, the State of Ohio Board of Pharmacy will launch its licensing process to issue 73 new retail licenses, bringing the total number of dispensaries in the state to 130, according to a local News 5 Cleveland report.

The Board of Pharmacy will release its official Request for Applications (RFA) on Sept. 20, according to the news outlet, and the licensing process will be different than when Ohio regulators issued their initial 57 retail licenses.

State officials have split Ohio into 31 dispensary districts and have charted where the state’s 56 medical cannabis retailers are located, News 5 Cleveland reported. (The remaining licensees have not yet received final approval to open their doors to patients, according to the news outlet).

Using a new allocation method, the Board of Pharmacy is trying to ensure that there will be roughly 1,200 registered medical cannabis patients per retailer in each dispensary district.

The state will hold two Question and Answer sessions between when the new RFA is released on Sept. 20 and the end of October, and will accept applications from Nov. 4 through Nov. 18, according to News 5 Cleveland.

A bipartisan group of state lawmakers introduced the Michigan Cannabis Safety Act Sept. 14 to fine-tune testing, tracking and labeling regulations in the state’s medical cannabis market, according to a local WILX report.

Under Michigan’s current medical cannabis laws, caregivers, also known as unlicensed marijuana growers (UMGs), are not required to test, track or label products for their patients.

The Michigan Cannabis Safety Act, made up of House Bills 5300-5302, would update the Michigan Medical Marijuana and Michigan Medical Marijuana Facility Licensing Acts to include a new Specialty Medical Grower (SMG) license for UMGs, WILX reported.

RELATED: Michigan’s Cannabis Industry Grapples with New Regulations Surrounding Caregiver Products

Under the new license type, caregivers could still grow medical cannabis for themselves and one patient, but would be required to test, track and label their products in an effort to promote patient safety and increase caregiver accountability.

DENVER — Vicente Sederberg LLP (VS), a leading national cannabis law firm, announced Tuesday it has formed an environment, health, and safety (EHS) practice led by environmental attorneys with extensive public and private sector experience in the field. The new practice group will focus on helping marijuana and hemp businesses maintain compliance with state and local EHS rules, as well as federal regulations handed down by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and other agencies.

With the legal cannabis industry growing rapidly, regulators at every level of government are showing heightened interest in holding cannabis businesses accountable for requisite environmental permits, licenses, and regulatory compliance. States and municipalities are increasingly incorporating sustainability requirements into license applications and regulations, and federal enforcement actions have been taken against cannabis companies for violations of the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, and Resource Conservation and Recovery Act.

On Wednesday, September 22, leaders of the VS EHS practice will host a free online review of the environmental laws and regulations that most commonly impact the cannabis industry. The webinar will also cover lessons learned from recent environmental enforcement actions, and it will highlight sustainability opportunities that result in cost savings. Register now and find more details.

“EHS is an area in which cannabis companies may be highly exposed to regulatory enforcement actions,” said Michelle Bodian, a senior associate attorney and co-chair of the EHS practice group at VS. “Noncompliance can result in significant civil or criminal liability for not only the businesses, but also the individuals who operate them. With enforcement activities ramping up, it is more important than ever for operators to understand their obligations and engage relevant resources to help them navigate these nuanced issues.”

The VS EHS practice group offers cannabis businesses a variety of services across the following areas: compliance and permitting; land use and real estate; litigation and enforcement; sustainability; and environmental, social, and governance (ESG) matters. A full list of services is available.

“In most cases, noncompliance with environmental regulations is likely unintentional and stems from a lack of in- or out-of-house personnel with experience in EHS law,” said VS counsel Marc Ross, co-chair of the EHS practice group and head of the Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) practice VS launched in July. “Up until now, cannabis operators have tended to devote more attention and resources to health and safety rules aimed at protecting consumers and employees. But with significant potential for hefty fines, criminal charges, and bad publicity, the ‘E’ in EHS is equally important.”

LONG BEACH, Calif., and TORONTO, Sept. 15, 2021 – PRESS RELEASE – Glass House Brands Inc. ("Glass House" or the "Company"), one of the fastest-growing, vertically integrated cannabis and hemp companies in the U.S., announced that its subsidiary has completed its previously announced acquisition of an approximately 5.5-million-square-foot greenhouse facility in Southern California (the "SoCal Facility") for total consideration of $93 million in cash, reduced from $118 million previously, plus stock considerations payable to the original holder of the option to purchase the SoCal Facility (the "Option Holder").

SoCal Facility Highlights:

Approximately 160 acres of agricultural property located in Ventura County, California.Approximately 125 acres of ultra-high-tech and efficient KUBO Ultra-Clima greenhouses, on-site well, water treatment facilities, automated roof washing system, supplemental lights and natural gas cogeneration facilities producing power, heat and CO2.Includes six greenhouses totaling approximately 5.5 million square feet:Phase 1 of the SoCal Facility retrofit will include the conversion of two greenhouses and two packhouses totaling approximately 1.7 million square feet and is expected to be completed in Q1 2022, with initial planting expected to follow shortly thereafter, contingent on regulatory approval.Planned upgrades include:Installation of black-out curtains, ebb and flood floors, high-density gutter system, dry rooms and processing facilities.Upgraded HVAC system to further optimize climate conditions.Automated nutrient delivery and irrigation systems.The initial Phase 1 capacity is expected to conservatively produce over 180,000 dry pounds of sellable cannabis (flower, smalls and trim), representing a more than 300% increase from our current capacity.

"We are thrilled to officially close escrow after significantly reducing the price which will keep an additional $25 million of cash on our balance sheet which is essentially debt-free today," Glass House Chairman and CEO Kyle Kazan said. "We can now commence the first phase of the facility's conversion and licensing which will dramatically increase our cultivation capacity. This milestone, together with our market-leading brand portfolio, which includes our Glass House Farms flower brand which was recently ranked the No. 1 in flower brand in the state of California in July, an improvement from the No. 2 position that we finished 2020 at (per BDS Analytics), and our extensive planned retail footprint has positioned us to lead the world's largest cannabis market."

Kazan added, "Our massive Southern California facility has the scale and the tools necessary for us to combine the highest quality with the lowest cost of production along with sustainable, environmentally friendly and responsibly grown craft cannabis. I'm excited to turn over this facility to our Chief Cannabis Officer and President Graham Farrar and his team."

"The Southern California facility is an absolute unicorn and will give us the ability to produce the highest quality cannabis at the lowest possible cost. This should allow us to thrive no matter what the competitive environment looks like," Farrar said. "The market is already responding to Glass House quality, as evidenced by our No. 1 market position. This new greenhouse will allow us to take that to another level and scale. We look forward to leveraging our supply chain and retail to replicate this success across more brands and categories. The entire team has been chomping at the bit to get started. An amazing greenhouse facility, in an ideal climate, with a fantastic team, we couldn't ask for anything more."

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