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The Wyoming legislature has proposed a new bill on smokable hemp to the senate judiciary committee for consideration, which could take effect July 1. 

Senate File 90 would prohibit the sale of smokable hemp to anyone under the age of 21 and prohibits using smokable hemp in public.

An individual who knowingly or intentionally smokes a product containing hemp in public is guilty of a misdemeanor and will be charged up to $50 for the first offense, up to $100 for the second and up to $500 for the third offense, the proposed legislation states.

The legislation also proposes that a person who sells, offers, gives away or delivers smokable hemp or smokable hemp products to a person under the age of 21 is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by fines up to $250 for the first offense, $500 for a second violation within 24 months and $750.00 for a third or subsequent violation committed within 24 months.

In addition, the legislation also states that the court may allow the defendant to perform community service and be granted $10 for each hour of work performed under the first and second violation and $5 per hour under the third violation. The pay will be credited to the defendant's fine and court costs.

Retailers who knowingly sell, offer, give away or distribute smokable hemp or smokable hemp products to a person under the age of 21 will be charged with the same fines but will not have the option to perform community service.

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Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers will propose regulating and taxing adult-use cannabis in his 2021-23 biennial budget, he announced in a statement Feb. 7.

Legalizing cannabis is expected to generate more than $165 million annually in the state, beginning in the second year of the biennium, according to the statement. Under the governor’s proposal, that money would increase revenue, create jobs and reduce costs associated with the state’s criminal justice system.

The proposal also includes legalizing medical cannabis, which would provide a pathway for those suffering from chronic or debilitating pain and illness to utilize the medicine they require, the statement said.

“Legalizing and taxing marijuana in Wisconsin—just like we do already with alcohol—ensures a controlled market and safe product are available for both recreational and medicinal users and can open the door for countless opportunities for us to reinvest in our communities and create a more equitable state,” Evers said. “Frankly, red and blue states across the country have moved forward with legalization and there is no reason Wisconsin should be left behind when we know it’s supported by a majority of Wisconsinites.”

In 2019, a Marquette University Law Poll found that 59% of Wisconsin voters supported adult-use legalization and 83% supported legalizing medical cannabis with a doctor’s prescription.

Under the governor’s new proposal, Wisconsin would join 15 other states, including neighboring Michigan and Illinois, in legalizing adult-use cannabis. But when Evers proposed decriminalizing adult-use cannabis and legalizing medical cannabis two years ago, it was rejected by the state’s Republican-controlled legislature. The democratic executive faces the same challenge with his most recent proposal.

This week, the West Virginia Office of Medical Cannabis announced the winners of the state’s medical cannabis dispensary licenses. Elsewhere, in California, the Office of Administrative Law approved proposed emergency regulations to allow cannabis businesses to access banking services.

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

West Virginia: The Office of Medical Cannabis (OMC) announced the winners of the state’s medical cannabis dispensary licenses this week. Patient registration opened shortly after, on Feb. 3. Read moreNew Jersey: The New Jersey Assembly Community Development and Affairs Committee has voted to advance a new adult-use compromise bill, lawmakers’ second attempt to pass an adult-use implementation bill that Gov. Phil Murphy will sign into law. Murphy refused to sign an earlier version of adult-use legislation until lawmakers added penalties for underage cannabis use, but that attempt at a “cleanup bill” fell apart when Black lawmakers voiced opposition to the proposal, arguing that the penalties outlined in the legislation would disproportionately impact minorities. Read moreIdaho: Lawmakers have voted to advance a joint resolution that would implement a constitutional ban on cannabis. The proposed constitutional amendment would ban all psychoactive drugs that are not already legal in Idaho, but the list of banned substances could be adjusted if drugs are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Read moreMinnesota: House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler reintroduced an adult-use cannabis legalization bill alongside other Democrat lawmakers Feb. 1. Winkler’s proposal would expunge past cannabis convictions; direct funds to public health awareness campaigns, youth access prevention and substance abuse treatment; provide grants, loans, technical assistance and training for businesses; require the testing and labeling of medical cannabis products; place restrictions on product packaging based on dosage size; and allow home cultivation. Read moreVirginia: An adult-use legalization bill is moving through the Virginia Legislature, with the Senate Judiciary Committee voting to advance the legislation this week. S.B. 1406, which is sponsored by Sen. Adam Ebbin and backed by Gov. Ralph Northam, would legalize the production, sale and use of cannabis for adults 21 and older. Read morePennsylvania: Gov. Tom Wolf included adult-use cannabis legalization in his state budget proposal Feb. 3. Wolf’s call for legalization is part of a broader plan to combat the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, and follows a similar legalization push he made last summer. Read moreIllinois: Rep. La Shawn Ford is renewing a push to create new cannabis retail licenses in the wake of a controversial licensing process aimed at issuing 75 dispensary licenses in the state. Ford introduced legislation Feb. 3 that would create up to 110 additional retail licenses, and expects the bill to be called in the House later this month. Read moreCalifornia: The Office of Administrative Law (OAL) approved the proposed emergency regulations to implement processes for cannabis businesses to authorize release of information to financial institutions. The adopted regulations are intended to facilitate greater access to financial services for licensed cannabis businesses that face challenges obtaining banking, insurance and other financial services commonly available to other businesses. Read moreNew Mexico: Four legalization bills have been introduced in the New Mexico Legislature to date—two in the Senate and two in the House. The New Mexico Legislature is just about halfway through its 60-day legislative session. Read moreSouth Dakota: Rep. Mike Derby and Sen. Brock Greenfield filed legislation Feb. 3 that would implement the state’s adult-use cannabis program, which voters approved in the 2020 election. H.B. 1225 includes a provision that would void the proposed laws if Amendment A, the voter-approved ballot initiative, gets overturned in a pending lawsuit. Read more

Indiana Rep. Vanessa Summers has introduced legislation to legalize adult-use cannabis in the state, according to a local WTWO/WAWV report.

The bill, H.B. 1154, would create a cannabis regulatory agency to license adult-use businesses and regulate the industry, the news outlet reported.

The legislation shares several similarities with Illinois’ Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act, according to WTWO/WAWV, including an expungement process that would allow those with past cannabis-related convictions to clear their records.

Summers’ legislation has been referred to the House Committee on Courts and Criminal Code, the news outlet reported.

In the Senate, Sen. Karen Tallian has introduced additional cannabis legalization bills, including S.B. 87 to regulate cannabis and hemp and S.B. 223 to decriminalize the possession of up to 2 ounces of cannabis.

South Dakota Rep. Mike Derby (R-Rapid City) and Sen. Brock Greenfield (R-Clark) filed legislation Feb. 3 that would implement the state’s adult-use cannabis program, which voters approved in the 2020 election, according to a KELO report.

H.B. 1225 includes a provision that would void the proposed laws if Amendment A, the voter-approved ballot initiative, gets overturned in a pending lawsuit, the news outlet reported.

Pennington County Sheriff Kevin Thom and South Dakota Highway Patrol Col. Rick Miller filed the lawsuit challenging Amendment A in November, arguing that it violates the state’s one-subject rule, as well as the amendments and revisions article of the South Dakota Constitution.

Gov. Kristi Noem then issued an executive order in January that allowed the legal challenge to proceed and asked the court to invalidate the election results.

Judge Christina Klinger heard arguments in the case last week, KELO reported.

Hawaii lawmakers are considering multiple adult-use cannabis legalization proposals this year, according to the Hawaii Tribune-Herald.

H.B. 7, sponsored by Reps. Jeanne Kapela (D-South Kona, Ka’u), Nicole Lowen (D-North Kona), Mark Nakashima (D-Hamakua, Hilo) and Richard Onishi (D-Hilo), aims to legalize the personal use, possession and sale of cannabis for adults 21 and older, the news outlet reported. The legislation would also create a system for licensing cannabis businesses, as well as levy an excise tax on adult-use sales.

Kapela, along with Reps. David Tarnas (D-North Kona/South and North Kohala) and Chris Todd (D-Hilo), have also introduced H.B. 238, a separate adult-use legalization measure that goes a step further to allocate an unspecified percentage of excise tax revenues for Hawaii’s counties, according to the Hawaii Tribune-Herald.

In the Senate, lawmakers have introduced S.B. 704, which also aims to legalize adult-use cannabis and establish a commercial marketplace with licensed businesses, which would be subject to excise taxes, the news outlet reported.

Also pending in the Senate are three cannabis decriminalization bills, according to the Hawaii Tribune-Herald. S.B. 47 would decriminalize the possession of up to 1 ounce of cannabis or up to one-eighth of cannabis concentrate, and would eliminate the penalty for transferring up to 1 ounce of cannabis or up to 5 grams of cannabis concentrate to adults 21 and older.

Maryland Senate Finance Committee Vice Chair Brian Feldman (D-Montgomery) has introduced a new adult-use cannabis legalization bill that is backed by Senate President Bill Ferguson (D-Baltimore City), according to a Maryland Matters report.

The bill, S.B. 708, is also co-sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Nancy J. King (D-Montgomery), Budget and Taxation Chair Guy J. Guzzone (D-Howard), Judicial Proceedings Committee Chair William C. Smith Jr. (D-Montgomery) and Vice Chair Jeffrey D. Waldstreicher (D-Montgomery).

The legislation would not only legalize adult-use cannabis and tax and regulate its sale, but would also direct funding to communities disproportionately impacted by prohibition, Maryland Matters reported.

Maryland’s existing medical cannabis businesses would be required to pay fees into a social equity fund, which would be used for low-interest loans to help minority businesses participate in the industry, according to the news outlet.

In addition, the legislation earmarks a portion of the tax revenue generated from adult-use sales to a Community Reinvestment and Repair Fund, which would provide housing assistance, scholarship aid, re-entry programs and other programs in communities disproportionately impacted by the war on drugs, Maryland Matters reported.

After a failed attempt to legalize adult-use cannabis last year, the New Mexico Legislature is once again taking up the issue, this time placing a greater emphasis on social equity.

RELATED: New Mexico Lawmakers Introduce Competing Adult-Use Cannabis Legalization Proposals

Four legalization bills have been introduced in the legislature to date—two in the Senate and two in the House. Lawmakers are essentially considering three different versions of legalization proposals, as one of the Senate bills is identical to the House version.

“They all have some similarities, but there’s really only one that truly centers [on] equity and social justice, and that is of critical importance to Drug Policy Alliance, but even more so to the communities in New Mexico that have been harmed by prohibitionist policies,” Emily Kaltenbach, senior director of resident states and New Mexico for Drug Policy Alliance, told Cannabis Business Times and Cannabis Dispensary.

That bill, Kaltenbach said, is House Bill 12, sponsored by Reps. Javier Martinez and Andrea Romero.

PRESS RELEASE - The Office of Administrative Law (OAL) approved the proposed emergency regulations, 2021-0122-01E, to implement processes for cannabis businesses to authorize release of information to financial institutions.

Text of the Adopted CDFA Regulations

The regulations were filed with the Secretary of State on Feb. 1, 2021, and are now in effect.

The state cannabis licensing authorities have developed two forms to implement these regulations. The same forms are being used by all three state cannabis licensing authorities, streamlining the process for licensees and financial institutions: 

Licensee Authorization for Release of Information Form - This form may be used by licensees to authorize a financial institution to receive information or to withdraw a previously provided authorization.Financial Institution Request Form - This form may be used by a financial institution to request licensee information after the licensee has provided authorization.

Completed forms should be sent via email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by mail at the following address:

Illinois Rep. La Shawn Ford (D-Chicago) is renewing a push to create new cannabis retail licenses in the wake of a controversial licensing process aimed at issuing 75 dispensary licenses in the state, according to The Chicago Sun-Times.

Ford introduced legislation Feb. 3 that would create up to 110 additional retail licenses, the news outlet reported.

The Illinois Senate approved a similar bill last month that would have created a new lottery for 75 additional dispensary licenses, but the House did not call the legislation for a vote before the lame duck session ended, The Chicago Sun-Times reported.

The awarding of the 75 original cannabis retail licenses has been delayed and held up in legal disputes since regulators announced in September that only 21 social equity applicants would be included in a lottery to win the licenses.

Ford’s bill would allow the lottery for the original 75 licenses to take place once unsuccessful applicants amend and resubmit their applications under a process outlined by Gov. J.B. Pritzker in an attempt to include more applicants in the lottery.

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf included adult-use cannabis legalization in his state budget proposal Feb. 3, according to a local WNEP report.

Wolf’s call for legalization is part of a broader plan to combat the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, and follows a similar legalization push he made last summer.

Pennsylvania’s state budget must be approved by the end of June, WNEP reported.

The Mississippi State Department of Health confirmed during a Feb. 3 meeting that regulations for the state’s medical cannabis program will be in place by a July 1 deadline outlined in the ballot initiative that legalized medical cannabis in the state, according to an AP News report.

Mississippi voters approved Initiative 65 on Election Day, allowing patients with one of 22 qualifying conditions to access medical cannabis.

The initiative sets an Aug. 15 deadline for the state to start issuing cannabis business licenses and patient ID cards, AP News reported.

The State Department of Health said it could take months beyond that time for medical cannabis products to reach patients, according to the news outlet, as cultivators get their operations up and running and product undergoes testing before hitting dispensary shelves.

Meanwhile, the Mississippi Supreme Court is set to hear oral arguments in a lawsuit filed by Madison Mayor Mary Hawkins Butler challenging the initiative process that legalized the state’s medical cannabis program.

Willie Nelson’s cannabis brand, Willie’s Reserve, has hit the Arizona market through a recently announced partnership with Hana Meds, an Arizona-based vertically integrated cannabis company.

Willie’s Reserve is a national cannabis brand inspired by cannabis activist and American music legend Willie Nelson. The brand focuses on various cannabis products like pre-rolls, flower, vape cartridges and more. 

Hana Meds is processing, packaging and distributing Willie’s Reserve pre-rolls across Hana Meds’ retail locations in Kingman and Green Valley, Ariz., and at its wholesale customer locations, Giving Tree Dispensary in Phoenix and MedMen Scottsdale, said Matt Pinchera, Hana Meds president.

“We are starting off with launching pre-rolls only, and then we’ll look at other products as it makes sense,” he said. “We definitely want to expand the product line, but right now, we’re focusing on the pre-rolls first.”

Hana Meds eventually hopes to expand the number of dispensaries the product is sold in, he said.

Courtesy of Hana Meds
Pinchera

“We are in the process of ramping up production, so, hopefully, we’ll be able to expand the wholesale customers as we expand our production capabilities,” he said. “We’ve got two dispensaries who partnered with us to launch the brand and want to make sure that we keep them in stock of a product. So, you know, we don’t want to expand too quickly. It really needs to be tied to our production increases.”

In a blockbuster deal to kick off the 2021 international cannabis M&A season, Jazz Pharmaceuticals has inked a deal to acquire GW Pharmaceuticals, manufacturer of the FDA- and DEA-approved Epidiolex, to the tune of $7.2 billion. As Bloomberg noted, GW’s stock skyrocketed about 46% Wednesday morning as the headlines hit the wires.

The transaction maintains a spotlight on the pharmaceutical side of the international cannabis market.

“Jazz Pharma’s acquisition of GW Pharma, at a significant premium, demonstrates that pharmaceutical companies are recognizing the value and future potential of cannabinoid based medicines,” said Jason Wilson, cannabis and banking expert at ETF Managers Group, the issuer of $MJ. “It is also another example that the cannabis industry is continuing to normalize and evolve beyond the traditional cultivation of flower, with potential well outside of our borders.  For investors, the acquisition of GW Pharma is another reminder that investing in cannabis touches many verticals globally, requiring a diverse approach beyond traditional cannabis cultivation companies.” 

RELATED: DEA Greenlights Epidiolex. What’s Next for CBD and the Cannabis Industry? 

So, who is Jazz Pharmaceuticals? From the team at Bloomberg: “Jazz has an array of medications for cancer and other conditions and diseases, but is best known for its high-priced narcolepsy treatment Xyrem, which had sales of $1.64 billion in 2019. However, with the drug due to lose exclusivity soon, revenue from it was expected to peak at $1.75 billion in 2020, according to analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg.” The company is based in Ireland.

The cost to Jazz will be borne by a mix of cash and debt financing. For GW Pharma shareholders, the transaction will deliver $200 in cash plus $20 in Jazz stock per share.

LAS VEGAS, NV / ACCESSWIRE / February 3, 2020 / PRESS RELEASE - Planet 13 Holdings Inc., a vertically-integrated Nevada cannabis company, has announced that the company has received all building permits and has begun construction of the Orange County Cannabis SuperStore Entertainment Complex, located at 3400 Warner Ave Suite A, Santa Ana, Calif. The start of construction is consistent with the previously released timeline, with completion expected near the middle of 2021. 

"We are pleased to announce the completion of a major milestone - the receipt of final permits and the start of construction of our first dispensary in the Golden State - the Orange County SuperStore. The combination of our exhaustive design process, attention to detail and deep focus on customer experience will make it a truly exceptional experiential space for California's discerning cannabis consumers," said Larry Scheffler, co-CEO of Planet 13. "We are excited about embarking on our first out-of-state expansion and look forward to bringing the unique Planet 13 customer experience to California."

Once complete, the 55,000 square-foot facility will be comprised of 16,500 square feet of dispensary space with an additional space reserved for ancillary stores and experience like at the Las Vegas SuperStore.

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Two New Mexico senators introduced competing adult-use cannabis legalization proposals Feb. 1, according to the Santa Fe New Mexican.

Sen. Daniel Ivey-Soto (D-Albuquerque) has sponsored S.B. 13, which would leave New Mexico’s existing medical cannabis program in place and establish a new Cannabis Regulatory Office within the state’s Regulation and Licensing Department to oversee an adult-use program, the Santa Fe New Mexican reported.

The legislation levies a 21% tax on adult-use cannabis sales, according to the news outlet, and revenues would be split evenly between the state, counties and cities.

Sen. Cliff Pirtle (R-Roswell) introduced a competing measure, S.B. 288, which would create the Cannabis Control Commission to regulate an adult-use industry in the state, the Santa Fe New Mexican reported. Dispensaries would have to be located at least one mile apart under Pirtle’s proposal, and adult-use cannabis would be taxed between 13% and 15%, depending on the rate set by each jurisdiction. The legislation would give cities and counties each 4% of the revenue, with the remaining funds directed to the state, according to the news outlet.

Additional adult-use cannabis legalization bills are expected in the coming days, the Santa Fe New Mexican reported.

The Virginia Senate Judiciary Committee has voted 9-5 to approve an adult-use cannabis legalization bill, sending it to the Finance and Appropriations Committee for consideration, according to The Center Square.

S.B. 1406, which is sponsored by Sen. Adam Ebbin (D-Alexandria) and backed by Gov. Ralph Northam, would legalize the production, sale and use of cannabis for adults 21 and older, The Center Square reported.

The bill originally allowed adult-use sales to launch Jan. 1, 2023, but changes have since postponed the market until 2024, according to the news outlet, in order to give the state more time to issue business licenses and prepare for legalization.

The legislation includes an automatic expungement process for past cannabis-related convictions, The Center Square reported. It also allows municipalities to opt out of the adult-use cannabis market if they want to prohibit sales within their borders.

Del. Steve Heretick (D-Portsmouth) has also proposed an adult-use legalization bill in that chamber, reintroducing a measure from past years.

LAS VEGAS, NV (February 3, 2021) – Cannabis Conference, the cannabis industry’s leading conference for cultivators, retailers, extraction specialists and hemp growers—will return to the Paris Las Vegas Hotel & Casino from August 24-26, 2021. Presented by award-winning media brands Cannabis Business Times, Cannabis Dispensary and Hemp Grower magazines, Cannabis Conference will bring together current and prospective cannabis business operators, university professors, consultants, technology and solutions providers and more for three dynamic days of education and expo.

“We look forward to reconvening at our annual event in-person this August and offering valuable networking opportunities that will push this rapidly evolving industry forward,” Group Publisher Jim Gilbride said. “Our team at Cannabis Conference works diligently to offer the highest level of education for attendees, coupled with the most relevant exhibitors that will help improve their day-to-day operations and bottom lines.”

Cannabis Conference’s education program will address the most pressing issues plant-touching businesses face, as well offer tangible solutions operators can implement into their own businesses. Sessions are being crafted with the assistance of Cannabis Conference’s 2021 Advisory Board, including:

Salpy Boyajian – Executive Vice President/Board Chairman, Flower One Sjoerd Broeks – Genetic Development/R&D Director, THE PHARM Debby Goldsberry – Executive Director, Magnolia Wellness and Flor; Co-Founder, Berkeley Patients Group collectiveDavid Holmes – Owner & CEO, Clade9Colin Kelley – Operating Partner, Merida Capital; Board Member, LeafLine Labs  Emily Kowalski – Director of Cultivation, LeafLine Labs Claudio Miranda – Co-Founder, Guild Enterprises Kenneth Morrow – Owner, Trichome TechnologiesAlisia Ratliff, PMP – Chief Executive Officer & Founder, Victus Capital Ventures LLC Anna Shreeve – President, Urban Paragon, Inc., Targeted Intent, Inc. and The BakerééMason Walker – Co-Owner/CEO, East Fork Cultivars Hope Wiseman – Owner, Mary & Main Dispensary

“We simply would not be able to provide the level of programming we offer without the help of our esteemed and experienced advisory board members, who are constant sounding boards about the current challenges and opportunities in the cannabis industry,” Editorial Director Noelle Skodzinski said. “Whether you are planning to enter or new to the industry, or an experienced plant-touching business, you’ll come away with valuable lessons to help you and your business succeed by attending Cannabis Conference’s educational sessions.”

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

For additional information about Cannabis Conference 2021, including registration information, a current list of exhibitors and sponsors and more, visit www.cannabisconference.com.

Minnesota House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler reintroduced an adult-use cannabis legalization bill alongside other Democrat lawmakers Feb. 1, according to a local KSTP.com report.

RELATED: Minnesota Lawmaker to Reintroduce Cannabis Legalization Bill

Lawmakers say the legislation is based on a series of public discussions that were held across the state to gather public input on legalization ahead of the 2020 legislative session, the news outlet reported, and the bill aims to address criminal justice inequities caused by prohibition.

“The failed criminalization of cannabis has resulted in a legacy of racial injustice that can no longer go unaddressed,” Winkler told KSTP.com. “Adults deserve the freedom to decide whether to use cannabis, and our state government should play an important role in addressing legitimate concerns around youth access, public health and road safety. Veterans and Minnesotans with serious illnesses like PTSD deserve better access to our medical program, which is not working well for most people. It’s time to legalize, expunge and regulate.”

Winkler’s proposal would expunge past cannabis convictions; direct funds to public health awareness campaigns, youth access prevention and substance abuse treatment; provide grants, loans, technical assistance and training for businesses; require the testing and labeling of medical cannabis products; place restrictions on product packaging based on dosage size; and allow home cultivation, according to KSTP.com.

Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly has proposed that the state should legalize medical cannabis to expand the state’s Medicaid program, according to a local KSHB report.

Kelly said the tax revenue generated from a medical cannabis program could fund Medicaid expansion for low-income residents, a priority that has been blocked in the state’s Republican-controlled legislature due to concerns about the cost, the news outlet reported.

Meanwhile, lawmakers introduced a medical cannabis legalization bill last month in the hopes that a regulated cannabis market could help boost the state’s economy.