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ELIOT, Maine, January 19, 2021. - PRESS RELEASE - Sweet Dirt, a Maine-based, vertically integrated cannabis company, has announced the completion of its 32,800-square-foot cannabis greenhouse. Located in Eliot, Maine, adjacent to the company’s manufacturing site and medical cannabis store, the new greenhouse - the largest cannabis greenhouse in Maine - was completed in just under one year. A ribbon-cutting ceremony and open house for state and local officials, environmental leaders and other guests is set for 10:30 a.m. ET on Thursday, Jan. 21.

With eight flower and propagation rooms, two drying rooms, and an operations support facility, the greenhouse will employ 25-30 full time cultivation, pest management and irrigation specialists and yield up to 12,000 pounds of cannabis annually. This state-of-the-art hybrid greenhouse helps to maximize efficiency by utilizing the greatest light source available (the sun) and insulative building materials to help maintain interior environmental conditions. Sweet Dirt is embarking on a mission to offset its energy use impact through the use of renewables like biodiesel, biomass, and onsite and community solar programs.

“Seeing this beautiful new greenhouse – constructed in under a year and at the same site as our former cultivation site, which was tragically destroyed in a fire in June 2019 – is so cathartic and also incredibly energizing,” said Sweet Dirt Co-Founder and Head of Cultivation Hughes Pope. “In what is now a huge blank canvas, we will soon be growing over two dozen varieties of cannabis – many of which will be heirloom or rare genetics.”

A focus on the creation of its proprietary soils and organic growing practices have earned its medical affiliates the MOFGA (Maine Organic Farmer and Gardeners Association) ‘Certified Clean Cannabis’ (C3) designation achieved by fewer than 1% of all licensed cannabis growers in Maine. The company is working towards extending MOFGA‘s C3 certification to its adult use cultivation practices.

“The buildout of this large-scale, next-generation greenhouse has been a tremendous undertaking and its completion is critical to our ability to meet market demand for clean cannabis,” says Jim Henry, chief executive officer. “We look forward to streamlining our cultivation processes in the new facility, while also staying true to our roots – growing organically and striving to do so in a sustainable way.”

LAS VEGAS, January 19, 2021 – PRESS RELEASE – GreenBroz Inc., a provider of cannabis post-harvest processing technology, has announced an exclusive partnership to market, distribute and sell RollPros' patent-pending technology featured in the Blackbird Rolling Center to the U.S. and Canadian markets.

The Blackbird Rolling Center solves the age-old problem of producing high-quality pre-rolls at scale, making it an invaluable addition to GreenBroz' line of post-harvest processing equipment.

The first machine of its kind to offer the patent-pending "tru-roll" technology, the Blackbird Rolling Center utilizes radial compaction rather than directional packing to produce the highest-quality pre-rolls with maximum efficiency.

The Blackbird Rolling Center is a fully automated and enclosed tabletop production unit capable of producing 750-plus (0.45-0.65 gram) pre-rolls per hour with a fill accuracy range of plus or minus 0.03 grams, ensuring compliance while also regulating temperature and humidity during operation.

"When we started RollPros, we set out to completely rethink the pre-roll production process and design a solution unique to the marketplace," said RollPros founder Kyle Loucks. "Using our patent-pending 'tru-roll' technology, we have implemented a radial compaction technique that produces a uniform density and consistency that is superior to anything else on the market. RollPros is proud to partner with an industry leader like GreenBroz, who will enable us to get these machines in the hands of producers as fast as possible."

All plant-touching surfaces are food-grade materials and/or surgical stainless steel and easily cleanable, reducing the risk of product contamination. Loading the Blackbird is easy and efficient. One 2,500-meter paper roll loaded on the bobbin can produce 40,000 joints, thereby saving time by eliminating the need to stop and reload.

SF, Calif.—Jan. 14, 2021—PRESS RELEASE—International cannabis lifestyle brand COOKIES gives consumers an all-new way to manage their health and wellness with the launch of a novel three-in-one capsule product line that combines mushrooms, cannabinoids and terpenes designed to expand cognitive well-being. The formulation combines mushrooms provided by Jeff Chilton of Nammex, which are certified organic, high in beta glucans, ergosterol, full spectrum, and grown to full maturity along with expertly formulated terpene blends, which are then encapsulated by the licensed manufacturer Tony Verzura at Blue River. COOKIES expands its expertise in all things cannabis into the world of fungi, focusing on synergistic natural medicines that invoke an incredibly desired effect. The non-intoxicating formulation is available on the COOKIES CBD website for consumers 21+ in all 50 states.

“While COOKIES is best known for its cannabis genetics, our team has been experimenting with mushrooms for years. It is only natural that we brought these worlds together with CAPS and this is only the beginning. As legislation continues to change in the right direction, we look forward to a day where we can include psilocybin in our formulations,” said Berner, founder and CEO of COOKIES.

The product line includes two different options: CLARITY “Daytime - Mushroom + CBG Capsules” and BED HEAD “Nighttime - Mushroom + CBN Capsules:”

CLARITY: The CLARITY capsules consist of invigorating Lion’s Mane and Cordyceps mushrooms alongside mood-lifting CBG, CBD and an effects-based terpene blend called Terpology "Energy" by Dr. Ethan Russo, which includes: α-Pinene, Limonene, β-Pinene, α-Phellandrene, Terpinolene, Nerolidol, Nerol. Perfect for any time of the day, the precise (non-intoxicating) formula is designed to sharpen mental focus and boost energy.BED HEAD: The BED HEAD capsules consist of a five-in-one blend of immunity-boosting organic mushrooms, plus CBD, CBN, along with Dr. Ethan Russo’s “Calm” Terpene blend, which includes: Linalool, Limonene, α-Phellandrene, β-Caryophyllene, Citronellol, Nerolidol, Naphthalene, Myrcene, Nerol, Citral, Valencene, Caryophyllene oxide. The relaxing, non-intoxicating formulation promotes rejuvenation and restful sleep, making it a perfect complement to any evening routine.

A growing body of research into substances produced by the natural world shows promising therapeutic applications, and CAPS by COOKIES marries the medicinal properties of mushrooms, cannabinoids and terpenes to expand cognitive well-being and provide powerful effects. Humans have used mushrooms for food and medicine for centuries, and CAPS by COOKIES is proud to continue that rich history.

CAPS by COOKIES is a focused collaboration across three passionate and dedicated industry leaders:

OAKLAND, Calif. and TORONTO, Jan. 15, 2021 /CNW/ - PRESS RELEASE - Harborside Inc., a California-focused, vertically-integrated cannabis enterprise, has announced that Greg Sutton, chief operating officer of Harborside, has stepped down from his position effective Jan. 15, 2021.

"On behalf of the whole team, I want to extend my heartfelt appreciation to Greg for his contributions and tireless efforts during his tenure with Harborside. We wish him the best in his future endeavors," said Peter Bilodeau, interim CEO of Harborside.

New Mexico’s Democrats are planning a cannabis legalization proposal as the state’s 60-day legislative session kicks off Jan. 19, according to a KOAT report.

Although the legislature has failed to pass adult-use legalization bills the past two years, voters did not reelect some more conservative Democrats who opposed the issue in the 2020 election, and lawmakers now see a path forward for policy reform efforts, KOAT reported.

Rep. Javier Martinez is leading the effort to legalize cannabis this year, and told the news outlet, “I think we're going to make this a very good bill and I think we're going to pass it.”

Democrats currently hold the majority in both chambers of New Mexico’s legislature, KOAT reported, and Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has called for adult-use cannabis legalization in the past.

Nebraska Sen. Anna Wishart introduced legislation Jan. 15 to legalize medical cannabis in the state, according to a local KETV report.

Wishart helped lead the 2020 medical cannabis ballot initiative, supported by Nebraskans for Medical Marijuana, which was ultimately rejected by the Nebraska Supreme Court for violating the state’s single subject rule. The group now plans to refocus its efforts on the 2022 election, but in the meantime, Wishart has introduced L.B. 474 to legalize medical cannabis legislatively.

RELATED: Nebraska Medical Cannabis Advocates Try Again for Legalization in 2022: Legalization Watch

“I introduced another bill, L.B. 474, to legalize medical cannabis,” Wishart told KETV. “I do this to honor the Nebraskans I have met along this long and winding journey. They deserve representatives who will show up and go the distance for positive change that improves the lives of families in our state no matter how many challenges are met along the way.”

Wishart also introduced a constitutional amendment Jan. 15 to clarify the Nebraska’s single subject rule and help eliminate uncertainty for future ballot initiative campaigns, according to the Lincoln Journal-Star.

This week, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam unveiled an adult-use cannabis legalization proposal that would allow sales to start Jan. 1, 2023. Elsewhere, in Mexico, the health ministry published rules to regulate the country’s forthcoming medical cannabis market.

Here, we’ve rounded up the top 10 headlines you need to know before this week is over.

Montana: State lawmakers have rejected the Montana Department of Revenue’s request to fund the state’s adult-use cannabis program. The department asked the House Appropriations Committee for $1.35 million to pay for the employees, office equipment and operating expenses needed to launch the program, but Rep. Bill Mercer declined the request, calling it a “huge tranche of money.” Read moreCalifornia: Gov. Gavin Newsom’s fiscal year 2021-2022 budget proposal released Jan. 8 includes a proposal to consolidate the three state licensing authorities into a single Department of Cannabis Control, a proposal that was first introduced in January 2020 but was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. If approved by the legislature, the new department will be created on July 1, 2021. Read moreNorth Dakota: After a failed attempt to place an adult-use cannabis legalization measure on North Dakota’s 2020 ballot, Legalize ND is again working to get the issue in front of North Dakota’s voters, filing a petition with the Secretary of State’s office Jan. 11. If the petition is approved, Legalize ND will have one year to collect a minimum of 26,904 signatures to qualify its initiative for the 2022 ballot. Read moreFlorida: Multistate operator Cresco Labs announced this week that it will expand into Florida’s medical cannabis market through the acquisition of Bluma Wellness, a vertically integrated cannabis operator in the state. The transaction means that Cresco will now have operations in all seven cannabis markets that fall within the top 10 most populated states in the U.S. Read moreIndiana: Sen. Karen Tallian has introduced two pieces of legislation that would legalize and regulate medical and adult-use cannabis, as well as hemp, in the state. S.B. 87 would create a Cannabis Compliance Commission to regulate cannabis and hemp in the state, while S.B. 223 would decriminalize the possession of up to two ounces of cannabis. Read moreVirginia: Gov. Ralph Northam proposed an adult-use cannabis legalization bill this week that would allow sales to launch Jan. 1, 2023. The legislation also includes expungement provisions and outlines “diverse participation” plans, which include a licensing process meant to support those identified as social equity applicants, as well as low- or no-interest loans and waived or reduced application and licensing fees for qualified applicants. Read moreIllinois: The Illinois Senate approved legislation this week aimed at improving social equity in the state’s cannabis licensing process. The bill would establish two systems for the state’s lottery for dispensary licenses—tiered and qualified—in order to issue 75 retail licenses that have been held up in legal disputes since regulators announced in September that only 21 social equity applicants would be included in the lottery. The legislation also creates a separate lottery for 75 new dispensary licenses. Read moreNew Mexico: Nicole Sena, a medical cannabis caregiver to her young daughter with a rare form of epilepsy, and Ultra Health, a medical cannabis operator in the state, have reopened their lawsuit against the New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH) to challenge the state’s plant count limit. The original lawsuit, filed in August 2016, contended the plant cap regulation promulgated by NMDOH was not in accordance with the Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act, the enabling legislation for New Mexico’s Medical Cannabis Program. Read moreKansas: Lawmakers introduced a medical cannabis legalization bill this week with the backing of the Kansas Cannabis Industry Association. The bill’s supporters say that a regulated medical cannabis market may help boost the state’s economy, and they are confident the legislation has the support it needs in the legislature if it is called up for a vote. Read moreInternational: Mexico’s health ministry published rules Jan. 12 to regulate the country’s forthcoming medical cannabis market. The move will allow pharmaceutical companies to start conducting medical research on cannabis products, and is part of broader policy reform efforts to regulate medical and adult-use cannabis in Mexico. Read more

East Fork Cultivars |
Joel Fischer, a co-owner of Oregon-based East Fork Cultivars, was known as the company’s Ambassador of Happiness. 

Ambassador of Happiness wasn’t just a nickname, or some informal moniker used around his inner circle of close friends and colleagues, but rather it was the official and legal title for Joel Matthew Fischer, a co-owner of Oregon-based East Fork Cultivars. For IRS purposes, he was literally the company’s Ambassador of Happiness.

Along with his fellow co-owners – Nathan Howard, Aaron Howard and Mason Walker – Fischer was part of a quartet known as the East Dorks on East Fork Ranch in Takilma, about 40 miles southeast of Medford, where their cannabis and hemp business launched in 2015. They own about 40,000 square feet of canopy along with 12 acres of craft hemp.

East Fork Cultivars |
Clockwise from lower left: Nathan Howard, Aaron Howard, Joel Fischer and Mason Walker, co-owners of East Fork Cultivars, enjoy time together on their ranch a few months ago in Takilma, Ore.

Also a licensed realtor, real estate investor and personal finance coach, Fischer died unexpectedly Jan. 8, at age 37, leaving his East Fork family devastated. Fischer is survived by his wife, Tricia Chin, mother, Terry Fischer, and brothers Mike Fischer and Dave Fischer.

“His death has broken me,” Nathan Howard said in a post on social media. “When I’m able to put myself back together, I hope to do so with his spirit, love and approach to life as guideposts.”

Howard described Fischer as a “magical” person who went through life with “surreal zest” and passion that is legendary among his friends and family.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has published its final rule on hemp, signaling the start of an era of stability for an industry that has been in near-constant flux since its legalization in 2018.

The final rule takes effect March 22 and replaces the USDA’s interim final rule (IFR) on hemp, which was published Oct. 31, 2019.

“With the publication of this final rule, USDA brings to a close a full and transparent rule-making process that started with a hemp listening session in March 2019,” said USDA Marketing and Regulatory Programs Under Secretary Greg Ibach in a statement. “USDA staff have taken the information you have provided through three comment periods and from your experiences over a growing season to develop regulations that meet Congressional intent while providing a fair, consistent, science-based process for states, tribes and individual producers. USDA staff will continue to conduct education and outreach to help industry achieve compliance with the requirements.”

The rule’s 300 pages outline licensing requirements, recordkeeping requirements, procedures for testing tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) concentrations, procedures for disposing of non-compliant plants and more. The THC limit for hemp remains at 0.3% despite at least hundreds—if not thousands—of comments on the IFR, as well as efforts by industry organizations, urging an increase to 1%.

In 2020, the USDA announced the delay of some requirements outlined in the IFR, including the requirement for labs to be registered by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the requirement that producers use DEA-registered law enforcement to dispose of non-compliant plants. Those delays have been further extended under the final rule until December of 2022.

States operating under the 2014 Farm Bill will continue to be allowed to do so until Jan. 1, 2022.

ECO Cannabis is operating not only for itself, but for people living in Oakland, Calif., who have been impacted by cannabis prohibition.

The vertically integrated company runs an incubation program for social equity dispensary and delivery businesses in East Oakland and purchases 50% of its product from social equity companies. Out of eight companies that ECO has been incubating, six of them have graduated. ECO also promotes diverse hiring and hires people who have been affected by the war on drugs.

Launched in January 2019, ECO has cultivation, manufacturing and retail operations. The company cultivates cannabis crops at a facility dubbed Mossrock and manufactures at another it calls Rubberrock. The two facilities, both in East Oakland, total 90,000 square feet. Its storefront is located at Telegraph Avenue in Oakland.

Employment at ECO

ECO’s employment is diverse both in terms of who works there and what they do. For instance, the company hires and promotes people who were previously incarcerated, which helps those individuals reintegrate into society, ECO CEO Kevin Ahaesy said in an email.

© Mike Rosati
Kevin Ahaesy

Adhering to an organizational structure and culture that aids those affected by cannabis prohibition goes a long way, Ahaesy said. “For example, to develop, manage and facilitate initiatives around diversity, equity inclusion, and belonging (DEIB) both internally and externally in a way that improves recruitment, hiring, retention, organizational culture, promotion, and progression for … employees … can make a remarkably positive impact on those employees’ work and life experience.”

Roughly 35 of ECO’s employees work in cultivation and manufacturing, and about 15 work in retail, Ahaesy said. When looking for employees, he said, ECO partners with “job programs that cater to those who have been formerly incarcerated and/or affected by the war on drugs. In all of our job postings we also strongly encourage those individuals, Black, Brown, indigenous, people of color, women, and LGBTQIA folks to apply.”

January 15, 2021; Phoenix, AZ—PRESS RELEASE—The passage of adult-use marijuana presents huge opportunities for businesses and entrepreneurs, but the highly regulated cannabis industry can be difficult to navigate.

MITA, Arizona’s Cannabis Trade Association, is offering a complimentary, 16-week Social Equity Applicant Mentorship Program sponsored by Copperstate Farms, Weedmaps and Scottsdale Community College designed to help social equity applicants secure one of the 26 licenses Prop. 207 mandates to be awarded to minorities.

The comprehensive course covers all aspects of the cannabis industry, the license application process and the business details to run a successful enterprise. The weekly classes start Jan. 21 and run through April. They will be archived so participants can watch on their schedule and review modules.

“The industry has a greater duty to help those who will come next especially those who are in the social equity category,” said Demitri Downing, executive director of MITA.

The Social Equity Membership Program is presented by Downing, Dr. Will Humble, former director of Arizona Public Health Association, Paul Paredes of AZ MJ Logic and Jeff Tice, a CPA who works in the cannabis industry. Each week, the program will also have a panel of experts in the topic drawn from the top cannabis industry professionals in Arizona.

Kansas lawmakers introduced a medical cannabis legalization bill Jan. 13 with the backing of the Kansas Cannabis Industry Association, according to a local KSNT report.

The bill’s supporters say that a regulated medical cannabis market may help boost the state’s economy, the news outlet reported, and they are confident the legislation has the support it needs in the legislature if it is called up for a vote.

“We don’t want to miss the economic benefits of that, but we also don’t want to miss the true benefits that have been discovered as other states have gotten into it, and that we’ve heard from people firsthand even here in Kansas that have used it in other states, and that’s the number one priority,” Kansas Cannabis Industry Association Executive Director Spencer Duncan told KSNT.

When Deseret Wellness Market President Jeremy Sumerix returned to his home state of Utah to launch a business in the state’s nascent medical cannabis market, he crafted a retail operation focused first and foremost on patient experience.

“What we stand for is patient experience, completely,” Sumerix tells Cannabis Business Times and Cannabis Dispensary. “Everything that we do is geared towards limiting wait times, expediting the process and making patients feel comfortable.”

Sumerix grew up in Utah before leaving to pursue a career. Prior to his role with Deseret Wellness, Sumerix worked for a multistate cannabis operator with a presence in New York, Florida, Illinois, Nevada and Arizona. After Utah voters approved medical cannabis in November 2018, Sumerix left that particular role to pursue a cannabis business in his home state, and his team were one of only four licensees awarded two retail locations by the state. The company’s first pharmacy opened Aug. 31 in Provo, and Deseret Wellness will open its second location in Park City during the first week of February.

“I think the thing that I’m continually the most excited about, is the state is conservative by nature,” Sumerix says. “They’re very methodical and careful in what they do. I think they’ve put together a really solid program that allows us to truly take care of our patients the right way.”

Creating the best possible patient experience is at the forefront of Deseret Wellness’ operations, Sumerix says, and the state has been very receptive to the company’s feedback on which regulations could be tweaked to improve patient access.

EDMONTON, AB, Jan. 14, 2021 /CNW/ - PRESS RELEASE - Aurora Cannabis Inc., a Canadian cannabis company, has announced it has entered into an agreement with Great North Distributors Inc., Canada's first national sales broker for legalized adult-use cannabis. Under the agreement, Great North will be the exclusive representative for Aurora's leading portfolio of brands across the Canadian cannabis retail environment.

"The agreement is designed to significantly bolster Aurora's market position in Canada. Great North brings deep experience across the spectrum of sales capabilities that will further differentiate Aurora as a leader in the growing cannabis space," said Miguel Martin, CEO of Aurora Cannabis. "We have selected Great North for their outstanding execution across regulated businesses. Combining their executional strength with Aurora's leading portfolio of brands is a recipe for success."

Great North has reach across every province in Canada, including established relationships and expertise in working with provincially-owned and operated retailers and private retailers in Canada's cannabis industry. Great North applies data analytics capabilities to the sector, providing suppliers with a powerful data-driven approach to cannabis sales.

"Adding Aurora to our portfolio of companies we proudly represent is a signal of our market leadership," said Doug Wieland, President, Canada – Southern Glazer's Wine & Spirits and Great North Distributors. "Great North has executed in the Canadian cannabis market since day one and will immediately bring value in sales execution to Aurora. Aurora has entrusted their family of brands in our team and we look forward to delivering exceptional results."

Great North will assume responsibility for Aurora's sales execution on Jan. 25, 2021.

SANTA FE, N.M., Jan. 14, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- PRESS RELEASE -- Nicole Sena, a medical cannabis caregiver to her young daughter with a rare form of epilepsy, and Ultra Health have reopened their lawsuit against the New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH) to ensure an adequate supply of medicine.

The original lawsuit, filed in August 2016, contended the plant cap regulation promulgated by NMDOH was not in accordance with the Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act, the enabling legislation for New Mexico’s Medical Cannabis Program.

In November 2018, then-District Judge David K. Thomson ruled the department’s plant cap was arbitrary, capricious, and frustrated the purpose of the Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act. Sena and Ultra Health have reopened the case due to the department’s new regulation limiting adequate supply in the program.

NMDOH was court-ordered to raise the plant cap and find a data-driven solution to provide adequate supply for patients. In fall 2019, the new cap of 1,750 plants was promulgated. Even still, the new cap has failed to have a substantial effect on adequate supply in the program.

“While it may be true that DOH was delegated the authority to regulate the system of distribution of medical marijuana in this State, it may not create its own arbitrary production number that does not have a reasonable nexus in law or fact to adequate supply for patients in the program,” Judge Thomson stated in his 60-page ruling.

The Illinois Senate approved legislation Jan. 13 aimed at improving social equity in the state’s cannabis licensing process, according to a Chicago Sun-Times report.

The bill would establish two systems for the state’s lottery for dispensary licenses—tiered and qualified—in order to issue 75 retail licenses that have been held up in legal disputes since regulators announced in September that only 21 social equity applicants would be included in the lottery.

The legislation approved by the Senate Wednesday would also create a new lottery for 75 additional dispensary licenses, the Chicago Sun-Times reported, which would be available to applicants in the first round who received high scores but did not qualify for the initial lottery to win one of the first 75 licenses.

RELATED: Illinois Lawmakers to Create 75 New Cannabis Retail Licenses

The bill now heads to the Illinois House for consideration.

Boulder, Colorado, Jan. 14, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- PRESS RELEASE -- Surna Inc. announced today that it recently signed a sales contract valued at $3.2 million.

The project in Arizona is for an approximately 53,000-square-foot facility. Surna is under contract to provide custom air handlers, heat recovery chillers and its StrataAir vertical racking air flow system for the cultivation, processing, drying and office spaces (the mechanical engineering design was done by Surna through a previous contract in October). Surna will also provide its SentryIQ environmental controls, and system start-up.

Tony McDonald, CEO, commented: “For the second time in six months, Surna is announcing its largest-ever single contract with this latest contract being nearly 15% larger than the previous record. Over the last several years Surna has invested heavily in technology R&D as well as in our engineering capabilities. The result has been an expanding portfolio of product and system offerings and enhanced engineering sophistication. With Surna’s expanded array of technology offerings, our engineering and sales teams were able to present several options to the client, giving them the opportunity to compare and contrast design approaches and choose the solution best tailored to their particular goals, budget and cultivation methods.”

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam proposed an adult-use cannabis legalization bill Jan. 13, according to The Virginian-Pilot.

The legislation, which is co-sponsored by Sens. Louise Lucas (D-Portsmouth) and Adam Ebbin (D-Alexandria), would allow sales to launch Jan. 1, 2023, and calls for the licensing of cultivators, processors, distributors/wholesalers, retailers and testing labs, the news outlet reported.

The bill imposes a possession limit of one ounce, and levies a 21% tax on adult-use cannabis sales, according to The Virginian-Pilot. Municipalities would be allowed to impose an additional 3% tax on dispensaries, the news outlet reported.

A portion of the tax revenue generated from an adult-use cannabis market will be directed to pre-kindergarten access for at-risk children, according to The Virginian-Pilot, as well as substance abuse prevention efforts in schools.

The legislation also includes provisions to automatically expunge past cannabis-related misdemeanor offenses, the news outlet reported, as well as a system for petition-based expungements for felonies.

Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, Michigan saw a significant increase in adult-use cannabis sales, according to a new report from Headset.

Michigan legalized adult-use cannabis in 2018 and had its first sale on Dec. 1, 2019. Although the state legalized recreational cannabis nearly two years ago, sales have yet to launch in the state’s most populous city, Detroit. 

Despite the pandemic and Detroit sales not yet launched, the data report from Headset, a company that provides leading insights into cannabis consumer trends, disclosed that adult-use cannabis sales in Michigan increased by 482% between January and December 2020, topping $500 million in sales.

Within eight months of the state’s first adult-use sale, Michigan’s medical and adult-use markets brought in $595 million combined, surpassing the Nevada market last year, which legalized recreational sales in January 2017.

The report revealed that traditional flower accounted for the majority of recreational sales at 47.8%, followed by vape pens at 20.6% and edibles at 14.9%.

Medical cannabis also saw a consistent increase in sales throughout the year. That market led cannabis sales in the state between January and June 2020; however, recreational sales took over the market in the second half of the year, exceeding medical by $5 million in July.