In 2015, American actor and comedian Jim Belushi founded Belushi's Farm to operate within Oregon's medical cannabis market.
The farm has grown from 48 plants in 2015 to a now 93-acre cannabis farm.
Belushi tells Hemp Grower he's been "flirting with and examining" CBD for a few years to learn about what's in the oils, distillate, isolate, what works, what doesn't work and more. Still, it wasn't until recently that he decided to segue into the market.
But it's no surprise that entering the CBD market right now is a risk as the industry struggles with oversupply issues. CBD prices have fallen considerably since 2019 after the number of acres grown skyrocketed that year, Hemp Grower previously reported.
Several farmers decreased operations and the number of licensed acres decreased from 511,442 in 2019 to 336,655 in 2020. And last year, only 70,530 acres of hemp were planted—all in an effort to fix the oversupply issue, which remains, Hemp Grower reported. PanXchange, a commodities trading platform that provides baseline prices for hemp, estimates hemp acreage will decline even further in 2021.
While California rides heavily blue during elections, a late-July poll revealed the race for the Sept. 14 gubernatorial recall election was tightening and voters in support of removing Newsom from public office more energized. At that time, 50% of likely recall voters wanted to keep Newsom and 47% wanted him gone.
But Newsom picked up steam in the weeks after and kept his seat by a landslide Tuesday night, delivering a 28-point victory with 70% of precincts reporting as of Wednesday morning to stymie a Republican-backed effort that was sponsored by those who are “no friends of cannabis or criminal justice reform,” California NORML Director Dale Gieringer said in a news release last week.
With roughly 64% of voters casting “no” ballots to the recall (with 70% of precincts reporting), Newsom claimed a victory that was more convincing that the 2018 gubernatorial election, when he sailed to office by 24 points over Republican opponent John Cox.
Less than an hour after the polls closed Tuesday night, Newsom gave a victory speech to his supporters and said:
“It appears we’re enjoying an overwhelmingly no vote tonight here in the state of California. But ‘no’ is not the only thing that was expressed tonight. I want to focus on what we said yes to as a state. We said yes to science. We said yes to vaccines. We said yes to ending this pandemic. We said yes to people’s right to vote without fear of fake fraud or voter suppression. We said yes to women’s fundamental constitutional right to decide for herself what she does with her body. We said yes to diversity. We said yes to inclusion. We said yes to pluralism. We said yes to all those things that we hold dear as Californians and I would argue as Americans—economic justice, social justices, racial justice, environmental justice, our values where California’s made so much progress. All of those things were on the ballot this evening.
SAN FRANCISCO, Sept. 15, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- PRESS RELEASE -- StandardC has announced the addition of a leading payroll and benefits provider to its growing network of banking, lending, insurance and financial services that are available to compliant cannabis businesses.
"Until now, the cannabis industry has had limited payroll and benefits solutions, leading to a host of problems ranging from the inability to process a direct deposit for their employees to the failure to timely pay payroll taxes. We are delighted that our technology and expertise have enabled this national payroll provider, in addition to multiple banks and credit unions, to meet the growing needs of the cannabis industry," said Robert Mann, CEO and co-founder of StandardC.
This payroll processing partnership adds features for the cannabis industry, including direct deposit, automated payroll tax calculation, payment, filing, accounting system integration, online employee access and self-service, labor distribution, and job costing. Other key features include HR information system, employee onboarding, recruiting / applicant tracking, job board integrations, ACA compliance, COBRA, Cal Savers data feeds, and benefits administration with carrier connections. Cannabis companies now have access to time and attendance monitoring that satisfies state wage and hour requirements and monitoring employee covid vaccine and testing status. Beyond those basics that other industries take for granted, our new partner can provide fully outsourced payroll and HR—allowing the cannabis industry to expand and scale by focusing on its core functions. Employers are facing increased federal, state, and local HR mandates, in addition to the federal, state, and local cannabis industry laws and regulations. The new partner has a dedicated cannabis consulting and service team ready to help at their standard pricing—no overcharging the cannabis industry.
StandardC helps cannabis-related businesses with far more than payroll with its proprietary universal application for banking, insurance, lending, and payroll services. "Partnering with StandardC is helping entrepreneurial companies to scale and reach their potential in the market," said Erin Gore, CEO and founder of the Garden Society. "By transforming how the cannabis industry obtains financial services while automating how financial institutions fulfill their regulatory obligations, StandardC is solving a major dilemma for many of us."
Deep sedation, slowed breathing, irregular heart rates and decreased blood pressure were some of the symptoms experienced by children who ingested a parent’s delta-8-infused gummies purchased from a vape shop, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said in a separate health advisory statement Sept. 14.
The admonitions come after months of rising consumer demand and poison control reports associated with the cannabinoid, which is naturally found in the Cannabis sativa plant. Concentrated amounts of delta-8 can be manufactured from hemp-derived cannabidiol (CBD) and then introduced to products that are sometimes marketed as “weed light” or “diet weed,” according to the CDC.
Many states have already taken action to ban or regulate delta-8 products, which gained traction from, perhaps, a legal loophole—the 2018 Farm Bill specifically defines the legal delta-9 THC concentration of 0.3% for hemp but does not define delta-8 concentrations.
But enforcing those bans can face obstacles with online marketing and mislabeled delta-8 products, which have the potential to be confused with hemp or CBD products that are not intoxicating, according to the CDC.
“The health effects of delta-8 THC have not yet been researched extensively and are not well-understood,” the CDC stated. “However, delta-8 THC is psychoactive and may have similar risks of impairment as delta-9 THC. As such, products that contain delta-8 THC but are labeled with only delta-9 THC content rather than with total THC content likely underestimate the psychoactive potential of these products for consumers.”
South Dakota lawmakers approved the majority of regulations for the state’s medical cannabis program Sept. 16, while rejecting a handful of rules proposed Gov. Kristi Noem’s administration, according to an AP News report.
The Legislature’s Rules Review Committee, which approve the proposed regulations, told the Department of Health it must revise several of its proposals, the news outlet reported.
While lawmakers signed off on most of the Department of Health’s 124 pages of draft rules, which covered topics ranging from the fees for medical cannabis cardholders to the required height of fences around cultivation facilities, they rejected proposals such as a limit on the amount of high-potency cannabis that patients can possess, as well as a defined list of qualifying conditions, AP News reported.
The approved regulations set a $75 application fee for medical cannabis cards, according to the news outlet, and offer a $20 discount for low-income patients. They also establish a $5,000 state licensing fee for medical cannabis businesses.
The Department of Health held public town halls and meetings with industry groups throughout the summer, AP News reported, and Secretary of Health Kim Malsam-Rysdon told the news outlet that the department adjusted its regulations based on 42% of comments submitted by industry groups and individuals. She said the rest of the suggested changes were rejected due to conflicts with existing state law and impacts on health and safety, or they were deemed unnecessary.
The Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission has appointed its executive director and unveiled plans to begin cultivation next year.
AL.com reported that the 14-member commission selected State Treasurer John McMillan in a unanimous voice vote to lead the newly created agency, which will license and oversee Alabama’s medical cannabis industry.
McMillan served 14 years on the State Personnel Board and is also a former commissioner of the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, according to AL.com. Alabama voters twice elected him as commissioner of the state Department of Agriculture and Industries in 2010 and 2014, and he was elected state treasurer in 2018.
McMillan plans to accept the role and resign as state treasurer, AL.com reported, which would prompt Gov. Kay Ivey to appoint a replacement to complete McMillan’s term.
“More than anything it’s just the challenge of being able to start a significant state agency that I think stands to really help a lot of people that need it as we move forward,” McMillan told the news outlet when asked why he wants the executive director role. “We’ve had some good research going on and there’s been interest in this for a number of years. It just appeals to me with my experience in state government and government agencies, you might say fixing some of them, that this is an opportunity to start something from scratch and get it right and see it bloom.”
Aligning with Viola and its commitment to excellence, the mission of the Harrington Institute is to provide equitable access to the cannabis industry by providing high quality education to its community. With cultivation in Colorado, Michigan and Oregon along with long-standing partnerships across the greater U.S. and Canada, Harrington Institute provides unique access to a vast network of industry professionals, cutting-edge information and community investment.
“Harrington Institute is something that's very important for me and something that's needed,” Viola Brands CEO Al Harrington said. “I feel like right now the cannabis industry isn't seeing all of the talent available, so we wanted to create a platform and program that educates on all verticals within the industry. It's really important to us to provide access for young entrepreneurs and people from our community looking to get into the space.”
Harrington Institute will offer the Viola Build Scholarship to students of color who have been affected by the war on drugs up to $3,000 toward tuition. While classes are available to take individually, scholarships will be prioritized to students taking the full six-course program. To create more access to education, Harrington Institute will also provide student loans that will protect the students from predatory situations. The first classes will begin on Nov. 8, 2021. Interested donors are invited to invest in this life-changing opportunity to meet the growing demand for cannabis industry professionals.
“Access to education is paramount to advancing our communities that have been overlooked, left behind and marginalized. We’re providing in-depth education so that our folks have the ability to get in the game and I'm extremely excited for what's to come,” said Tyrone Russell, president of Cleveland School of Cannabis.
To apply or find more information visit harringtoninstitute.com.]]>
Within the first 24 hours, Houseplant cannabis inventory was sold out. As the week went on, the brand notched more than 500 million media impressions.
It was an auspicious start for the business’s foray into the U.S. after two years in the Canadian marketplace.
“Launching in the U.S. was always the plan, and years of work went into making it possible, so March 11 was a very exciting day for the team,” Mikey Mohr, Houseplant co-founder and CEO, says. “We had high hopes and expectations as we had prepared for so long and poured so much creativity and enthusiasm into what we were about to share with the world, but, honestly, we were blown away by the initial response. It was so overwhelmingly positive and showed how much our thesis and our brand resonated with people—obviously we never expected the excitement to crash our website, but looking back it was such a fun ride and has pushed us to continue to deliver at a high level.”
The enthusiasm matched what Houseplant had seen in Canada before the California work began. Product moved quickly in British Columbia and Ontario, and Mohr says that the brand learned how to convert those fast-moving sales metrics into business lessons.
“We learned that patience and discipline were critical,” Mohr says. “We were the first brand to treat cannabis products with the reverence they deserve across all touchpoints. We rolled out a best in class go to market strategy from innovative award-winning packaging to breakthrough in-store displays.”
The unofficial end of summer saw a crackdown on illegal cannabis operations in Oregon and California this past week.
Over Labor Day weekend, law enforcement seized $50 million worth of cannabis at a large-scale facility in Oregon that was disguised as a legal hemp operation and confiscated 1,335 pounds of cannabis from an illegal grow in San Bernardino County, Calif.
California’s legal cannabis market, on the other hand, has provided $2.8 billion in tax revenue since adult-use sales launched in 2018. Read more
Maine’s adult-use market is also booming, with August sales surpassing $10 million—a nearly 50% increase from June. Read more
Elsewhere, Illinois regulators admitted a “clerical oversight” error on data entry that wrongfully excluded applicants from the state’s three-part lottery process that awarded 185 cannabis retail licenses in July and August. The state will now conduct a corrective lottery to award additional adult-use cannabis dispensary licenses. Read more
That is what’s at stake for Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom, who is up against a Republican-backed attempt to oust him from office during a California gubernatorial recall election Sept. 14.
In the two-part ballot process, should a simple majority of votes on the recall question answer “yes,” Newsom will be removed from office and succeeded by a candidate receiving the highest number of votes on the latter question for a replacement candidate. The current recall candidate frontrunner is Republican Larry Elder, whom some polls show drawing upward of 30% of the likely voters in a 46-candidate race.
The replacement rules require only a plurality, meaning Elder only needs to finish ahead of the other 45 candidates to win and serve out the remainder of Newsom’s four-year term—which ends Jan. 2, 2023—should Newsom be recalled. Elder will not go head-to-head against Newsom.
A conservative talk radio host, Elder would mean trouble for the state’s cannabis industry, said Jared Schwass, who practices law in the cannabis space as the founder of California-based Schwass Law Firm. Schwass was born and raised in Mendocino County.
“Larry Elder has stated that he wants to tax and regulate cannabis, which already faces overtaxation and regulation, and increase the number of cannabis-related arrests,” Schwass said. “The changes proposed by Elder would stifle growth in the cannabis industry, continue to squeeze out small businesses, which are already struggling in the industry, and return to a ‘war on drugs’ type of police enforcement.”
Data released from the Maine Office of Marijuana Policy shows the state had 133,969 total transactions in August, which generated over $10.2 million in revenue and more than $1.2 million in sales tax revenue.
August sales saw an 8.5% increase from July, which reported roughly $9.4 million in sales. Although sales didn’t increase drastically from July to August, the state had nearly a 50% increase from June, which reported over $6.4 million in sales.
Flower, concentrates and infused products made up most of Maine’s August sales. Flower products were the most popular amongst consumers, generating over $6 million in sales. Following behind was concentrates, which sold $5.8 million in sales, and then infused products at $4.9 million, according to the data.
The state’s adult-use market has reported about $26.1 million in total sales from June to August and has shown a steady month-over-month increase since it launched in October 2020.
When the team at Eastcoasterdam Gardens set out to secure funding to construct a cannabis cultivation facility in Massachusetts, Joseph Lupo, the company’s co-founder and director of cultivation, found many of the deals from potential investors demoralizing.
“They were gross,” he said. “I don’t know any other word to describe them other than gross.”
Then the COVID-19 pandemic hit and cut off the team’s in-person networking opportunities. Lupo said the only channel the company had left was its social media platforms.
“We’ve always had a presence on social media and because of that, Mainvest was really the best route for us to use what we thought was one of our best weapons: social media,” he said. “It’s an online platform, and it’s more in-tune with that type of investor—the common person.”
Mainvest launched in 2018 as a crowdfunding platform to allow small businesses to raise capital from their local communities. It launched its first cannabis offering a few weeks ago with Eastcoasterdam after realizing that the industry is plagued with predatory investors—and after seeing building momentum toward federal legalization.
Sept. 1 marked the deadline for public comment on the preliminary draft of the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act (CAOA) and industry stakeholders made sure their voices were heard.
“You’re seeing a lot of comments, which is good, trying to protect people on both sides of interests,” Adam Fayne, partner and co-chair of the cannabis practice at Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr, told Cannabis Business Times and Cannabis Dispensary. “I think everyone is behind social reformation and all the causes around expungement and decriminalization and so forth. I don’t think there’s any issue with that. I think people just have different ideas on the best path to get there.”
The U.S. Cannabis Council (USCC) and the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) submitted similar feedback on the draft legislation, which would remove cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act, tax and regulate cannabis at the federal level, and allow states to keep or administer their own oversight programs.
After the Nebraska Supreme Court struck down the group’s medical cannabis legalization measure before the 2020 election, Nebraskans for Medical Marijuana has carefully crafted two new medical cannabis initiatives that it hopes to qualify for the state’s 2022 ballot.
The group filed language for the two initiatives Sept. 8, the Lincoln Journal-Star reported, and it expects to start circulating both petitions later this month. Nebraskans for Medical Marijuana must gather 250,000 signatures by July 7, 2022, to qualify both measures for next year’s ballot.
Opponents of the group’s 2020 ballot measure argued that it included more than one question, thus violating the single-subject rule outlined in the Nebraska Constitution. After the Supreme Court overturned the initiative, Nebraskans for Medical Marijuana filed a single-sentence constitutional initiative for the 2022 ballot before again retooling its efforts and splitting the issue into two complementary initiatives.
The first would require the Nebraska Legislature to enact laws to protect doctors who recommend cannabis to their patients, as well as the patients who possess and use medical cannabis, from criminal penalty, the Lincoln Journal-Star reported.
The Montana Department of Revenue has revised its proposed advertising regulations for medical cannabis businesses after reviewing public comment it received on the draft rules.
The department released proposed regulations in July to implement House Bill 249, a law passed earlier this year to allow medical cannabis businesses to engage in some forms of electronic advertising that were previously off limits.
Many of Montana’s licensed medical cannabis providers criticized the Department of Revenue’s proposed rules, KTVH reported, arguing that the regulations were too restrictive and would ultimately limit their ability to grow their businesses.
The department announced Sept. 8 that it would amend its draft rules to clarify that a medical cannabis provider “may promote its business and market its brand but may not advertise marijuana or marijuana products except in electronic advertising,” according to KTVH.
The revised regulations would also remove several provisions that were included in the original proposal, including one that would have restricted the size of outdoor signs and required them to include disclaimers about the risks associated with cannabis use, KTVH reported. Under the updated rules, cities and counties would be responsible for regulating outdoor signage, although medical cannabis businesses would be barred from advertising on billboards.
The CAOA—and a comparable bill in the House, the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act (MORE) Act—make a lot of sense, and its sponsors deserve credit for getting them this far. The MORE Act already passed the House last year, on a bipartisan vote of 228 to 164.
But here’s the cold reality: these bills have no chance of passing without 60 votes in the Senate. And no matter how you count, there just aren’t 10 Senate Republicans willing to acknowledge the damage done by the drug war upon communities of color. That sad fact basically dooms these bills from reaching the president’s desk.
For all the credit these senators deserve for raising awareness of cannabis legalization as an issue worth prioritizing, that might be all these bills accomplish. Trying to pass cannabis reform through a standalone bill is a fool’s errand in a dysfunctional Congress.
Despite the widespread popularity of cannabis legalization, the prohibition establishment just has too many levers to pull in a Senate dominated by old white men. But that’s OK, because the next opportunity to legalize cannabis is just around the corner. If done correctly, it will be much more difficult to stop.
Here is how to legalize cannabis in one (relatively) easy step.
California’s adult-use industry reported nearly $1.4 billion in taxable cannabis sales and $333.2 million in total program tax revenue, according to the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration (CDTFA). Those record figures represent a 91-day period from April, May and June.
Yes, the legal market appears to be picking up steam, said Graham Farrar, the co-founder and president of Glass House Brands. His Santa Barbara-based operation encompasses more than a half a million square feet of sustainably grown, craft-at-scale cannabis.
And, yes, there are more and more legal cannabis consumers participating in California, he said.
Since the state launched its first adult-use sales in January 2018, the cannabis industry has provided a total program revenue of $2.8 billion, which includes $1.4 billion in cannabis excise tax, $347.4 million in cultivation tax and $1 billion in state sales tax during the course of the past 3 1/2 years.
But are the taxes too high? The answer to that is also yes, Farrar said.
The speculation comes after the New Mexico Regulation and Licensing Department (RLD) and the Cannabis Control Division (CCD) stopped approving new cannabis facilities until further regulations were finalized later this year, the NM Political Report reported.
According to the news outlet, the CCD is prohibited from accepting new applications on or after June 29, 2021 and it will not process any applications until the state finalizes regulations for similar license types.
Some producers believe that putting a pause on expanding the number of production facilities will worsen the state’s shortage issue—an issue some rural areas in New Mexico have already experienced due to a cap on the number of plants cultivators can grow, the news outlet reported.
Duke Rodriguez, the president and CEO of Ultra Health, a medical cannabis company, told the NM Political Report that data compiled from his company determined that the state could run out of cannabis days after adult-use sales launch on April 1, 2022. He said allowing existing medical cannabis producers to expand operations could only fix part of the problem.
NEW YORK, Sept. 07, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- PRESS RELEASE -- Acreage Holdings, Inc., a vertically integrated, multi-state operator of cannabis cultivation and retailing facilities in the U.S., has announced that Hurricane Ida caused extensive damage to its cultivation center located in Sewell, N.J., which was nearing the completion of its construction.
“The damage will significantly delay the opening of the Sewell cultivation center,” said Steve Goertz, Acreage’s chief financial officer. “Based on currently available information, we do not expect the damage to our operations from these events to have a material impact on our current financial condition. Production at our Sewell facility, however, is unlikely to commence in the first quarter of 2022 as previously expected."
The agreement, which was previously introduced in a news release on June 29, was executed and came into effect Aug. 31. The licensing encompasses exclusive rights to source, manufacture, distribute and market Willie's Reserve and Harvest products in Washington State. The agreement includes several USPTO registered trademarks and licensed products including,Willie's Reserve 2-Pack (Double Barrel) Ready Roll Joints (.5G)Willie's Reserve Single Pack Ready Roll Joints (1G)Willie's Reserve Core 5 pack joints (tins)Willie's Reserve (Core) 1/8 Ounce Flower JarWillie's Reserve (Core) 1/4 Ounce Flower JarWillie's Reserve (Harvest) 5 pack joints (tins)Willie's Reserve (Harvest) 1/8 Ounce RYO PouchWillie's Reserve (Harvest) 1/4 Ounce RYO PouchWillie's Reserve (Harvest) + (Core) 1G Flower Mylar
New Leaf Services, LLC, a Washington limited liability company, on behalf of itself and its direct wholly-owned subsidiaries and any sublicensees (collectively the "Licensee"), has entered into an exclusive, nontransferable license to use the Licensed Property in connection with the processing, production, distribution and sale of the Licensed Products in the State of Washington, and which License may sublicense to New Leaf Enterprises, Inc., (NLE) as bound by the same terms and conditions under this agreement as Licensee.
In concordance with standard commercial agreements regarding the use of trademarks, packaging, permits and intellectual property, NLE will be responsible for acquiring all cannabis source materials, including dried flower and other products containing cannabis, and upon receipt of a purchase order, will source the necessary Cannabis Materials and undertake production and distribution of the Licensed Products within Washington State. Full details of the agreement are subject to commercial protection and are withheld for proprietary reasons.
Co-founded by renowned singer-songwriter and cannabis pioneer Willie Nelson in 2015, the Willies Reserve brand has become widely recognized for its commitment to celebrating what is possible when enthusiasts and experts join forces to collaborate. The brand embraces the natural diversity of the plant, the range of cultivation methods, and the spectrum of effects cannabis creates.
Boris Gorodnitsky, New Leaf USA president & New Leaf Ventures Inc. director comments, "This is an exciting announcement for the entire New Leaf team today. We have worked hard to secure this agreement, and we intend to maximize the relationship to ensure our mutual success in Washington and hopefully beyond. This agreement is the result of an intelligent and considered business-focused approach to growth. Everything we have done since our initial public listing has been aimed at delivering results. Incremental growth, smart investments, and partnerships are shifting the New Leaf brand family into high gear. We are delighted to be working with the team at Willie's Reserve and look forward to growing our footprint throughout the marketplace."]]>