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Montana launched its adult-use cannabis program Jan. 1, and dispensaries sold more than $1.5 million in product during the first weekend of legal sales, according an AP News report.

The 20% tax on adult-use sales generated over $313,000 in revenue for the state, the news outlet reported.

RELATED: Adult-Use Cannabis Sales Begin in Montana

The governor’s budget office estimates that there will be $130 million in adult-use cannabis sales this year and $195.5 million in 2023, according to AP News.

Montana voters approved adult-use cannabis legalization in the 2020 election. The Legislature then passed a bill in 2021 to implement the program on Jan. 1.

The Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection (DCP) will begin accepting applications for certain adult-use cannabis business licenses next month, according to a department press release.

The launch of the licensing process comes after the Social Equity Council’s final approval of technical assistance plans on Jan. 4.

“This work by the Social Equity Council is a critical step in the licensure process for the emerging adult-use cannabis market in Connecticut and will be instrumental in ensuring the equity goals established in the law are met,” DCP Commissioner Michelle H. Seagull said in a public statement.

DCP will start accepting applications for Disproportionately Impacted Area Cultivator and Retailer licenses Feb. 3. The department will then begin accepting licensing applications for Micro-cultivators Feb. 10, Delivery Services Feb. 17, Hybrid Retailers Feb. 24, Food and Beverage businesses March 3, Product Manufacturers March 10, Product Packagers March 17 and Transporters March 24.

The application period for each license type will remain open for 90 days.

The Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority (OMMA) will switch cannabis licensing software providers later this month, according to a Tulsa World report.

Regulators will begin using Thentia on Jan. 18 in an effort to provide a more user-friendly interface, reduce turnaround times and decrease the chance of errors, the news outlet reported.

Jan. 7 will be the last day for cannabis licensees to use the current software, Complia, and then the licensing system will be down for a week, from Jan. 10 through Jan. 17, while the OMMA transitions to the new software provider, according to Tulsa World.

Applications that have been started in the current system but left incomplete by Jan. 10 will not be transferred to the new system, the news outlet reported.

Licensees will receive an email from OMMA by Jan. 18 with Thentia login credentials, according to Tulsa World, and license holders will then be able to update their information directly on the website after the switch to Thentia. With the Complia system, licensees had contact OMMA to update their information.

South Dakota lawmakers will continue their debate on adult-use cannabis legalization and fine-tuning the state’s medical cannabis program when the 2022 legislative session starts Jan. 11.

More than two dozen of the 38 posted proposed bills for the session focus on cannabis, according to an AP News report.

South Dakota voters made history in the 2020 election when they approved measures to legalize both medical and adult-use cannabis, but the state’s Supreme Court overturned the adult-use initiative in November 2021.

RELATED: South Dakota Governor Allows Legal Challenge to Amendment Legalizing Adult-Use Cannabis

Lawmakers have taken steps to implement the medical cannabis program, and the state began issuing its first medical cannabis ID cards to patients in November, according to AP News.

NORWOOD, Mass., Jan. 05, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- PRESS RELEASE -- MariMed Inc., a multi-state cannabis operator, today announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Kind Therapeutics U.S.A., LLC, a vertically integrated cannabis business in Maryland. The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions, including regulatory approvals.

The transaction will result in the third state, incremental to Massachusetts and Illinois, in which MariMed will have acquired a licensed cannabis business it manages and assisted in developing. Once acquired, Kind’s financial results with be reported by the company on a consolidated basis. The Kind acquisition will further represent MariMed’s successful implementation of its strategic growth plan to consolidate the multiple state cannabis businesses it organically developed and manages.

Kind, which holds cannabis licenses for cultivation and production, as well as a provisional license for a dispensary, currently leases from Mari Holdings MD, LLC, a MariMed subsidiary, a 180,000-square-foot cultivation and processing facility in Hagerstown, which MariMed developed. Mari Holdings MD, LLC also owns and is developing a dispensary facility for Kind in Annapolis, which is expected to open in early 2022. Under MariMed’s management, Kind has been successfully manufacturing and distributing cannabis and cannabis products into Maryland’s robust wholesale cannabis industry, which has grown to 103 dispensaries. These products include MariMed’s award-winning products and brands including Nature’s Heritage craft flower, Betty’s Eddies fruit chews, and k FUSION chewable tablets. Betty’s Eddies has been a top-selling edible brand in the state.

“I am pleased to announce our agreement to acquire Kind, which operates in one of the top medical cannabis programs and markets in the country,” said Bob Fireman, Chief Executive Officer of MariMed. “This acquisition will deliver another transformational year for MariMed in 2022, building on two consecutive years of more than 100% cannabis revenue and Adjusted EBITDA growth.”

The aggregate purchase price to be paid for Kind, in a combination of cash and promissory notes, will be $20 million. In addition, the company will acquire the minority interests of one of the current owners of Kind in two subsidiaries of the company that own cannabis facilities in Maryland and Delaware for $2 million in the aggregate. Further, upon the closing of these transactions, all Kind related litigation will be dismissed with prejudice.


 

Curaleaf named Matt Darin as president, effective immediately.


 
 
 

Darin joins Curaleaf with a wealth of industry knowledge and leadership experience, according to a company release. He previously served as co-founder and COO of Grassroots Cannabis, which Curaleaf acquired in July 2020.

Darin will report to Curaleaf CEO Joe Bayern.

“I’m incredibly excited to appoint Matt as our new president under this new structure, which will help us execute with greater fluidity and will allow me to focus on strategic growth initiatives for the company,” Bayern said. “Matt has the operational excellence, leadership skills and discipline to drive our continued vision as we begin our twelfth year in business and solidify our position as the global leader in this exciting industry.”

Additionally, Curaleaf COO Neil Davidson is retiring, effective Jan. 3, but will stay on for a transition period through March 31.

“The Board and I are all incredibly grateful to Neil for his dedication, passion and his many contributions to the company,” said Boris Jordan, executive chairman at Curaleaf. “While we will miss his talent, drive and relentless pursuit of perfection, we wish him all the best in his future endeavors."]]>

PRESS RELEASE - Hawthorne Gardening Company announced the acquisitions of Luxx Lighting and True Liberty Bags into its comprehensive portfolio of products and solutions for retailers and growers. 

Hawthorne has been a long-time distributor of True Liberty’s harvest bag and liner products, while Luxx is new to Hawthorne’s line of lighting products, which includes its Gavita, Agrolux and Sun System brands. Hawthorne now is the exclusive supplier of Luxx and True Liberty brands.

“We’re committed to providing the most extensive portfolio of products and innovative solutions to best meet the unique needs of growers and our retail partners,” said Chris Hagedorn, division president of Hawthorne. “Through groundbreaking R&D, technical expertise and leading brands, we’re serving the industry at unparalleled scale. And we’re doing so by working directly with the people who have built this industry--and its culture--from the ground up.”

Luxx will extend Hawthorne’s lighting portfolio, enabling it to offer growers and retailers more options, including in emerging LED technology. True Liberty expands Hawthorne’s harvest portfolio. Hawthorne will increase marketing and sales efforts around these brands, which will further support its Hawthorne 360 Total Solution and make these products available in new  markets, particularly along the East Coast. 

Luxx Lighting, based in Los Angeles, Calif., was started in 2017 by a group of hands-on southern California growers who include founders of the Jungle Boys cannabis brand. They sought to bring their growing expertise to the lighting market, constantly testing and innovating to find what works best. Hawthorne looks forward to an ongoing relationship with Jungle Boys to support the sales and marketing of the Luxx brand. 

GATINEAU, Quebec, Jan. 05, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- PRESS RELEASE -- HEXO Corp. today announced the appointment of William Todd Montour to the company's Board of Directors following the resignation of Jason Ewart, effective immediately.

"I am pleased to welcome Will to the Board, and I am confident that his experience in cannabis operations and commercialization will be invaluable to the company as we enter our next stage of growth," said John K. Bell, Chair of the Board of Directors at HEXO. "On behalf of HEXO's Board of Directors, I would like to thank Jason for his leadership during his time at the company."

Montour co-founded Redecan, which before HEXO's recent acquisition was Canada's largest privately-owned licensed cannabis producer. Montour played a critical role in transforming Redecan from a medical supplier to a recreational cannabis powerhouse. Before joining Redecan, Montour spent 13 years supporting his family's tobacco company, the largest privately-owned Indigenous company globally.

The company is also pleased to announce the appointment of Curtis Solsvig as acting-Chief Financial Officer, effective immediately.

"We are fortunate that Curt was able to join HEXO," said Scott Cooper, CEO of HEXO. "I look forward to leveraging Curt's many years of financial leadership, particularly his experience with complex restructuring situations. The Board and I have confidence in Curt's ability to lead our financial team while HEXO searches for a permanent CFO. I would also like to thank Trent MacDonald for his dedication to the company over the years."

Louisville, Colorado, Jan. 04, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- PRESS RELEASE -- CEA Industries Inc., doing business as Surna Cultivation Technologies, today announced it has signed one of the largest contracts in its history.

“After working with Aeriz Holdings Corporation, a large, multi-state operator, on projects in Arizona and Illinois, Surna is delighted to be a part of their most recent facility in California. Today we are happy to announce a signed contract for $3.4 million with them for their 96,000-square-feet cultivation facility in Riverbank,” said Jon Kozlowski, Surna’s Vice President of Sales. “The project includes Surna’s mechanical engineering services, controls design services and HVACD equipment for the veg, flower, and wet and dry cure rooms. We are excited to work with a client for whom operating costs and efficiency gains are a priority and to have an engineering team that understands and can manage the complex engineering associated with this design.”

This project utilizes combined heat and power (CHP) for onsite power generation. CHP (also known as cogeneration) produces both electricity and thermal energy on-site, replacing or supplementing electricity provided from the local utility and fuel that would be required from a boiler, significantly improving energy efficiency. Surna is incorporating the waste heat produced by the CHP plant into its mechanical design, resulting in substantial waste reduction in parallel with energy efficiency gains. As part of the HVACD equipment order, Surna is providing fan coils, boilers, air handling units and chillers. Surna’s controls design will include the controls of the mechanical system, lighting, CO2, and irrigation.

“At Aeriz, it’s important to us to cultivate top of the line products, while managing operating costs and continuously improving. Working with Surna ensures that our cultivation climate is well-controlled, which helps us to guarantee the high quality we are known for,” said David Thomas, CEO at Aeriz. “We are also confident that Surna’s engineering expertise has improved our opportunities to continue to drive down operating costs with the incorporation of CHP into the mechanical design. Aeriz is committed to sustainability and energy efficiency, and we are thrilled that CHP will help reduce our footprint. We’re very excited about our new facility in Riverbank.”

Advocates in Wyoming are working to place two cannabis measures on the state’s 2024 ballot after originally setting their sights on the 2022 election, according to the Casper Star-Tribune.

One initiative would legalize medical cannabis, while the other would decriminalize cannabis for personal use.

Wyoming Secretary of State Ed Buchanan conditionally certified the two initiatives in August for this year’s ballot, but Apollo Pazell, chief strategist for the national Libertarian Party, which is backing the campaign, told the news outlet that organizers have fallen too far behind their signature goal to get the measures before voters in November.

Each initiative needs more than 41,000 signatures to qualify for the ballot. Pazell told the Casper Star-Tribune that the approval process for the petition took longer than expected and organizers could not start gathering signatures until the fall.

While the campaign has roughly 30% of the required number of signatures, Pazell told the news outlet that “everything seems to be on pace” to get the measures on the 2024 ballot.

New Hampshire lawmakers plan to revisit medical cannabis legislation that was previously vetoed by Gov. Chris Sununu, according to the Portland Press Herald.

The bill, blocked by Sununu in 2019, would allow the state’s nonprofit medical cannabis businesses—called treatment centers—to operate as for-profit corporations and limited liability companies.

RELATED: New Hampshire Might Allow Medical Cannabis Businesses to Transition to For-Profit Business Model

In his veto message, Sununu said that while he supports New Hampshire’s therapeutic cannabis program, he opposes the bill because it would create monopolies that would ultimately dominate the state’s marketplace if adult-use cannabis becomes legal, the Portland Press Herald reported.

Overturning Sununu’s veto requires a two-thirds majority in the Senate and the House, according to the news outlet.

Curaleaf Holdings, a vertically integrated multistate cannabis [and CBD] operator, is facing a wrongful death lawsuit, the latest in a string of lawsuits related to mislabeled products.

Curaleaf is currently facing 10 lawsuits from consumers who allegedly ingested an incorrectly labeled CBD tincture that contained "undisclosed levels of THC," according to a product recall notice issued by the Oregon Liquor and Cannabis Commission (OLCC).

The recall was issued Sept. 21 for a single batch of the mislabeled CBD product, which was produced by Cura CS LLC and sold under Curaleaf's Select brand. Curaleaf acquired Cura and its Select brand in 2019 in a $948.8-million all-stock deal.

Peter Clateman, Curaleaf chief legal officer, tells Cannabis Business Times and Hemp Grower that about 500 bottles from the batch were sold.

The OLCC expanded the recall Sept. 24 to include another Select tincture that said it contained 1,000 mg of THC on the label, but after a round of preliminary tests, the OLCC found that the product did not contain any detectable THC. According to OLCC, Curaleaf sold an estimated 630 units of the mislabeled tincture.

Curaleaf acknowledged the mislabeling of the two tinctures was caused by "human error."

Connecticut regulators have proposed new allowable levels of mold and yeast in medical cannabis after a rule change last year allowed one of the state’s labs to increase its limit, according to a CT Insider report.

The new rules would set a limit of 100,000 colony forming units per gram and would not allow any detectable levels of certain breeds of mold in the Aspergillus family, the news outlet reported.

Two labs are currently operating in Connecticut, and the proposal would allow one lab to increase its limits and the other to decrease them, according to CT Insider.

The change was sparked by patients’ complaints after the state approved a request from AltaSci Labs last year to raise its limits to 1 million colony forming units per gram when the lab’s limit had initially been 10,000 units per gram, the news outlet reported.

Northeast Laboratories, the other lab in the state, has maintained its limit of 10,000 units per gram.

Elections officials in Ohio rejected more than 87,000 signatures among the 206,943 signatures submitted in support of an initiated statute to legalize adult-use cannabis, bringing the petition effort short of its mark.  

The Coalition to Legalize Marijuana Like Alcohol announced Dec. 20 it submitted the signatures and its petitions to Secretary of State Frank LaRose, whose office, in coordination with county-level boards of elections, validated 57.9% of the signatures—leaving the group 13,062 signatures shy of the 132,877 signatures needed to send the proposal to lawmakers.  

LaRose informed the group of the shortcoming in a letter on Jan. 3, cleveland.com reported. The coalition now has until Jan. 14 to collect the additional 13,062 signatures.

Ohio-based attorney and group spokesman Tom Haren said he’s confident the coalition will gather the needed signatures ahead of next week’s deadline. 

“We’ve got a veritable army of folks who will be out gathering signatures,” Haren told cleveland.com. “We view this as a blip in the process.”

Submitting more signatures than needed is routine for petition drives, as state officials cannot certify signatures of citizens who do not write their information legibly or who are not registered to vote. 

Medical cannabis patients in Louisiana can now access smokable flower after a new law went into effect Jan. 1, according to a local WAFB report.

Gov. John Bel Edwards signed House Bill 391 into law in June to lift the state’s smoking ban.

Under the new law, physicians can recommend medical cannabis to patients in the form of flower, and dispensaries can sell up to two and a half ounces of flower every 14 days to patients 21 and older.

The Daily Advertiser reported that patients flocked to the state’s nine licensed dispensaries Jan. 3 to purchase smokable cannabis for the first time, although some were dismayed at the cost of the products.

Delta MedMar, a dispensary in West Monroe, has its flower priced between $440 and $480 an ounce, according to the news outlet, while one-eighth of an ounce ranges from $35 in Lake Charles to $80 in New Orleans.

Aurora Cannabis | auroramj.com
Chitwant Kohli was appointed director of Aurora Cannabis Inc.'s board of directors Jan. 4. 

EDMONTON,Alberta, Jan. 4, 2022 – PRESS RELEASE – Aurora Cannabis Inc., a Canadian company aimingto define the future of cannabinoids worldwide, announced the appointmentof Chitwant Kohli as director to the company’s board of directors,effective Jan. 4. This is a newly addedposition that expands the board to nine members, seven ofwhom are independent. 

Kohlijoins the board following a fulsome career as a senior financial executive withsignificant experience in finance, strategic planning, real estate andoperations. After 29 years of service at Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), where heenhanced the company’s industry leading position, Kohli retired as senior vice presidentof Enterprise Operations and Payments. In his last role at RBC, Kohli led aglobal team of 1,800 members and was responsible for operating and expandingthe Shared Services of Payments and Trade, Cash Processing, Human Resources andFinance related services. Kohli also held key executive roles including senior vicepresident of Retail Finance, where he was responsible for providing financeleadership for Canadian, U.S. and Caribbean Banking, Wealth Management,Insurance, Technology and Operations, and Global Functions.

RonaldFunk, chairman of Aurora Cannabis, stated, "It is with greatexcitement that we begin the new year by welcoming Chitwant to our board of directors.He offers a tremendous wealth of knowledge and executive leadership experiencein the banking sector which will help further accelerate Aurora's sustainable,long-term growth. With his expertise in finance and accounting, costing andprofitability, real estate, operations and performance management, Chitwantwill be instrumental to our progressive agenda, lending his deep experiencethat is needed as we progress on our business transformation plan."

Kohli possessesover eight years of board experience, including chair of the board of directorsat Exchange Bank of Canada, and board member at Trillium Health Partners,Currency Exchange International and Moneris Inc. He is a chartered professionalaccountant (CPA, CMA), holds a Master of Laws (GPLLM) and ICD.D from Universityof Toronto and a Master of Business Administration (MBA).  

Inaddition, Theresa Firestone, appointed independent director in July 2021, willtake on the role of committee chair for the Human Resources and CompensationCommittee (HRCC), effective Jan 4.

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BONITA SPRINGS, FL – PRESS RELEASE – CapStone Holdings Inc., a business incubator and investment group, welcomes former 15-year NFL veteran Charlie Batch as its Senior Vice President of Strategic Investments. Batch will help CapStone grow its investment portfolio and partnerships in the emerging medical marijuana and technology-focused industries.

Most known for his tenure as a quarterback for the Detroit Lions and Pittsburgh Steelers; post-retirement, Batch is an investor, entrepreneur, community leader and philanthropist in the Pittsburgh area.

RELATED: Former Super Bowl Champ Charlie Batch Joins Hemp Synergistics Advisory Board

A unionized medical cannabis dispensary worker in Portsmouth, R.I., was offered reinstatement with full back pay Dec. 29, more than six months after his employment was terminated at the Greenleaf Compassionate Care Center.

Ben Telford, a keyholder at the retail facility, was fired June 23, roughly two months after employees at Greenleaf Portsmouth became the first cannabis dispensary workers in the state to unionize in a 21-1 vote to join the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local Union 328, which represents roughly 11,000 Rhode Island and Massachusetts workers across various industries.

Employed by the dispensary for more than a year, Telford told Cannabis Business Times that he had been a leading unionization advocate for himself and others as a member of Greenleaf’s union bargaining committee, a role he retained following his termination.

“I’ve been a very loud voice for myself and for others on the team that worked there,” Telford said in June. “But the reason I was given the day I was terminated … was that my services were no longer required. And when I asked for further explanation, I was told that there was none needed to be given at the time, so I gathered my belongings and left for the afternoon and said goodbye to everybody.”

RELATED: Greenleaf Terminates Employee Involved With Union Negotiations in Rhode Island; Worker Strike Ensues

Telford was informed of his termination by Greenleaf’s chief of staff and director of retail operations, but he said it was his understanding that the decision came from Greenleaf CEO Seth Bock. Cannabis Business Times reached out to Bock for comment in June but never received a response.

The Maine Department of Administrative and Financial Services and a nonprofit trade organization called the Maine Cannabis Coalition have appealed a ruling that allows out-of-state businesses to operate medical cannabis dispensaries in Maine, according to the Portland Press Herald.

In August, a federal court overturned Maine’s requirement that all medical cannabis dispensaries must be owned by Maine residents.

Wellness Connection of Maine and its parent company, Delaware-based High Street Capital Partners, had sued the state over the residency requirement, arguing that the law violates the Dormant Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution, which prohibits states from passing legislation that discriminates or excessively burdens interstate commerce.

State officials argued that the Dormant Commerce Clause was irrelevant due to the federal prohibition on cannabis, but U.S. District Court Judge Nancy Torresen wrote in her ruling that because qualified nonresidents can purchase medical cannabis in Maine and take it home with them, the state’s medical cannabis industry is not entirely intrastate.

Torresen’s ruling followed Maine’s agreement to scrap the residency requirement in its adult-use cannabis program in 2020 due to separate litigation filed by Wellness Connection.

A Maryland lawmaker has pre-filed legislation that would place an adult-use cannabis legalization measure on the state’s 2022 ballot.

Del. Luke Clippinger (D-Baltimore City), chairman of the House Cannabis Referendum and Legalization Workgroup that formed last summer to study adult-use legalization in Maryland, drafted House Bill 1, which will be formally introduced when the Maryland General Assembly convenes on Jan. 12, according to a WTOP report.

RELATED: Maryland House Speaker Supports Putting Cannabis Legalization to Public Vote Next Year

If approved by three-fifths of the Maryland House and Senate, the bill would place the following referendum question in front of voters in November: Do you favor the legalization of adult-use cannabis in Maryland?

If voters approve the measure, the Legislature would then add an amendment to the state’s constitution and advance a law to allow adults 21 and older to possess and consume cannabis, WTOP reported.