Search Results for: canna business and the law

May 11 In Portland: “Don’t Go Up in Smoke” —Workplace Law for Canna-Businesses

OREGON:  As the cannabis industry expands, so do the number of workers in weed.  Managing a rapidly expanding organization can present a myriad of challenges for any new business, and business operators in the heavily-regulated licensed marijuana industry face additional complexities.  Employment law and the legal cannabis industry is the topic of  “Don’t Go Up In Smoke,” a half-day seminar exploring employment-related legal issues, including personnel management, pay practices, avoiding government investigations, and protecting your trade secrets and other confidential information.  The event, a production of the Oregon Entrepreneurs Network and sponsored by Fisher Phillips, takes place on May 11th, 11AM-4PM at The Cleaners at the Ace Hotel, 1025 SW Stark St., Portland.

Fisher Phillips attorneys from California, Oregon, and Washington, and a number of leading industry experts will explore these issues in-depth and provide practical tips for compliance:

Panelists

Alex Wheatley

Alex Wheatley

Attorney, Fisher Phillips

Alex is an attorney in the firm’s Portland office, specializing in representing businesses in the cannabis industry. He has worked with a number of growers, processors, and retailers to implement effective workplace policies and has represented businesses in the industry when they have received complaints and lawsuits. Alex gets great satisfaction helping canna-businesses comply with the law and protect themselves from exposure to lawsuits and administrative claims. Having worked with a number of employers in the industry, Alex understands the unique issues faced by such businesses and has experience solving the problems such businesses commonly face.

Ashley Preece-Sackett

Ashley Preece-Sackett

Executive Director, Ethical Cannabis Alliance (ECA)

ECA is a nonprofit and voluntary certifying body for cannabis/hemp labor and environmental best practices nationwide. Ashley holds a degree of Horticulture Science from Boise State University and is on the brink of two decades of experience in horticulture sciences. She co-founded Cascadia Labs, one of the leading cannabis analytical labs in the nation, as well as helped launch the Portland Chapter Women Grow networking group, which is still the largest-growing cannabis networking platform in the nation.

Clarence Belnavis

Clarence Belnavis

Partner, Fisher Phillips

Clarence Belnavis is a partner in the Portland and Seattle offices. He is a trial attorney with a primary emphasis in employment litigation, including disability, racial and gender discrimination, retaliation, sexual harassment, and wrongful discharge. He also represents employers in wage and hour claims, employment class actions, and traditional labor matters. Clarence routinely provides client trainings and speeches to cannabis industry groups regarding current and developing employment law issues in Washington and Oregon.

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David Rheins

Founder, Marijuana Business Association (MJBA)

The MJBA is the leading business organization in the fastest growing industry in America. The MJBA provides business intelligence, professional networking, and commercial opportunity for participants in the legal cannabis industry. David is a frequent speaker and moderator at Seattle Hempfest, CannaCon Shows, Cannabis Creative Conference, Cannabis World Congress and Business Expo, and a regular columnist for Freedom Leaf Magazine. A proven business leader with 30+ years of experience building and operating best-of-breed media and marketing organizations, David has an impressive track record as a senior executive for Rolling Stone, SPIN, I Village, Corbis, Time Warner and America Online.

Jason Geller

Jason Geller

Regional Managing Partner, Fisher Phillips

Jason Geller is the managing partner of the firm’s San Francisco office. Jason represents employers in all facets of employment law matters. Jason has extensive experience defending employers in federal and state courts, as well as in investigations by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the DFEH, United States Department of Labor (DOL) and the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). In addition to defending his clients in litigation, Jason frequently counsels employers to assist them in avoiding litigation.

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Kara Bradford

Chief Talent Officer of Viridian Staffing

Kara co-founded Viridian Staffing in 2013, the first bona fide professional, full-service staffing, recruiting and HR consulting firm in the cannabis industry. Kara’s 15-year career has spanned multiple Fortune 100 companies and start-ups in a wide variety of industries where she specialized in Talent Acquisition, Workforce Planning, Employer Branding and Organizational Design. Kara has an MBA in Human Resources & Organizational Behavior and is PRC, CIR, and CSSR Certified.

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Neil Juneja

Founder, Gleam Law

Neil Juneja is the founder of Gleam Law, a cannabis-focused law firm with offices in Seattle, Washington and Portland, Oregon and is a licensed patent attorney. The majority of his practice focuses on trademark protection of cannabis brands in state and federal law. In addition, Neil has written numerous article on cannabis law and intellectual property as well as spoken at many events including in the National Mall in Washington DC and at the Seattle Hempfest. Some of Gleam Law’s notable clients include the first Seattle recreational marijuana retailer, several world-famous musicians branding cannabis products, and many publicly traded companies working in the cannabis industry. Neil has also appeared in Newsweek, Time Magazine, and on several documentaries for his work in the cannabis legal industry.

 

Seattle City Attorney Holmes And WSLCB Member Chris Marr Keynote “Canna Business & The Law”

WASHINGTON: Sometime in July, the first recreational marijuana retail stores will open their doors in Washington State.  In anticipation hundreds of  I-502 applicants are scrambling to get all their ducks in a row, so they can attain their license in time for the market debut.

The impending deadline has put tremendous stress on these mainly small legal “canna businesses,” all of whom share the traditional pressing needs of any startup – business planning, financing, real estate, HR, branding, marketing, and sales — with the additional burden of adhering to the strict compliance regulations set by the Washington State Liquor Control Board (WSLCB).

In an effort to get all key players in one room, Marijuana Business Association (MJBA), the leading trade organization serving the emerging legal cannabis, medical marijuana and hemp industries, has teamed with Canna Law Group – the nascent industry’s leading legal firm – to present, “Canna Business and the Law: A Must Attend B2B Seminar for I-502 Licensees, and Professional Service Providers,” at the Westin Seattle, Thursday May 22nd, from 9:00-4:20.

Screenshot 2014-05-20 13.20.04Canna Business and the LawSeattle City Attorney Pete Holmes, who famously sponsored I-502, will deliver a keynote address at lunch, as will WSLCB Member Chris Marr.  Salal Credit Union, the first credit union in Western Washington to announce it would begin accepting some I-502 accounts will make news by sending its Chief Lending Officer, Bob Schweigert, to participate on the “Managing Your Marijuana Money” panel.  Patrick Vo, COO of BioTrackTHC, the official software of I-502, will be a featured panelist, as will Redmond’s #1 Pot Lottery retail winner, the Grass Is Always Greener’s Jenny Carbon. The rest of the featured participants on the day’s 5 panels reads like a Who’s Who of Washington’s legal marijuana business, including representatives from the top attorneys, CPAs, business leaders and governmental officials.

“It is the mission of the MJBA to provide the reliable business intelligence, professional community and best ethical practices necessary to create a viable, sustainable and profitable marketplace,” said MJBA CEO David Rheins. “We are honored to have both Seattle City Attorney Holmes and WSLCB Member Marr address this historic I-502 Seminar. Together their two speeches will signal the ‘ringing of the market bell’ ushering in not only a new legal industry for Washington, but a new era of economic re-invigoration and job creation for our local communities.”

Canna Law Group Practice Leader Hilary Bricken, Dope Magazine’s “Marijuana Attorney of the Year” in 2013, will deliver the breakfast keynote, and CNBC Senior Editor Al Olson will be the exclusive event’s master of ceremonies.

Tickets are $199 for MJBA members, $250 non-members, and include a continental breakfast, boxed lunch and invitation to a 4:20 Happy Hour. Buy your tickets here:

Burns & Levinson Hosts Fifth Annual State of the Cannabis Industry Conference on September 28, 2021

MASSACHUSETTS: August 31, 2021 – Burns & Levinson will host its fifth annual “State of the Cannabis Industry” conference, which will focus on critical issues in the multi-billion dollar cannabis industry, on September 28, 2021, from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. ET. The conference will be held in person at the Westin Waltham Boston, and all attendees, speakers and staff must provide proof of vaccination. A live stream option will also be available.

 

The conference will feature an interview with Commissioner Steven Hoffman, Chairman of the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission, in an exclusive one-on-one Q&A with Frank A. Segall, founder and Chair of the Cannabis Business & Law Advisory Group at Burns & Levinson.

The expert panels and Q&A sessions will tackle a wide range of issues impacting the cannabis industry, including regulatory and legislative issues, capital markets, M&A and investments, e-commerce strategies and opportunities, and trends and developments in the marketplace.

“When we launched our conference five years ago, it was the first event of its kind with a specific focus on showcasing cannabis industry pioneers and sharing their experiences and expertise with our audience. It has since grown to attract industry leaders from all segments of the cannabis industry, including major capital market sources who are helping to fuel its growth. The conference has become a best-in-class forum and networking event, and we are excited and honored to be regarded by our industry peers as one of the leading law firms in the nation at the forefront of what comes next,” said Segall.

“We love bringing people together at this conference to make connections, develop partnerships and learn from their peers and industry leaders. We are especially looking forward to gathering safely in person, after being all virtual last year,” added Scott Moskol, who founded and chairs Burns & Levinson’s Cannabis Business & Law Advisory Group with Segall.

The current conference sponsors include: CohnReznick, HUB International, Cannabis Co-Op Fund L.P., KreditForce, KindTap, Opus Consulting, Douglas Washing and Sanitizing Systems, Emerald Media Group, Needham Bank, AdaptiveHR, Agrify, Elevate Northeast, FlowerHire, Lighthouse Biz Solutions, LLC, and Young America Capital.

Burns & Levinson was the first major Boston corporate law firm to develop a cannabis business practice, and has been advising cannabis businesses, entrepreneurs and investors across the country for nearly a decade. The firm has unrivaled experience in cannabis and hemp/CBD business formation and corporate structuring, private placements, venture capital, M&A, securities, banking issues, fund formation, debt and equity financing, restructuring and receiverships, real estate acquisitions and leasing, intellectual property protection, 280E taxation issues, and cannabis litigation.

The firm is well-known for its role in the cannabis banking industry and has worked with multiple financial institutions to establish a framework that allows them to accept cannabis-derived deposits. Burns & Levinson is currently working with regulated financial institutions and non-regulated private funds to set up first-of-their-kind cannabis lending programs. The firm is also among the top law firms in the country handling M&A and high-level corporate and financing deals in the private and public markets in the cannabis market.

For more information about the conference and to register, click here. For information on sponsorship opportunities, please contact Kristen Weller at kweller@burnslev.com.

 

In Oklahoma, Outlaws Find the Wild West of Cannabis

By Tristan Jackson

Criminal outfits have flooded the country’s most free-slinging, medical market in Oklahoma – a state commonly referred to as the “wild west” of the cannabis industry. Thus, adding another obstacle for small growers. And is anyone truly surprised?

Mark Woodward, Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics (OBN) spokesman, dissected the cause of this recent uptick in crime when he said, “We didn’t really have these issues until this April. COVID affected a lot of people, the business licenses here are cheap, the land is cheap, it was just the perfect mix for these criminal operations to start popping up all over – buying up all of the land almost overnight.”

Oklahoma narcotics agents have raided three dozen grows – containing anywhere from 20,000 to 60,000 plants, in the past few months, according to Woodward. This sudden surge of criminal activity is being noticed throughout the state’s medical marijuana industry.

“The biggest thing we have to worry about is making sure the weed we buy is legal and has legit paperwork to back it up,” said Kobe Adams, part-owner of the Native Rootz Dispensary in Caddo County. “A lot of these illegal grows are just shipping their product across state lines or using illegal paperwork to sell their weed, which drives the price down for the entire market. It really floods the market for growers.”

Legal cultivators statewide already encounter numerous challenges, such as strong competition from rival businesses, as well as cumbersome and costly regulation.  Jodie Klinglesmith, a Western Oklahoma craft grower, is annoyed by what black market operators are able to avoid.

“We legal cannabis growers are following every law and regulation that pops up,” Klinglesmith said. “Meanwhile, spending hundreds, if not thousands of dollars just to make sure we all stay in compliance. For example, our seed-to-sale software, our tags, our license fees; and these are all of the things that the black market scoots around … The black market crooks are trucking product all over and selling it for cheap.”

Illegal operations are reportedly making as much as $4,000 per pound on shipments to New York, Woodward claimed. An average pound of weed in Oklahoma sells for $1,500.

The presence of the black market has also contributed to a further divide between legal players and OBN. “Every day is not a guarantee,” said Donald Gies, an Oklahoma City attorney. “You can play by the rules and still get raided.” In early August, OBN agents raided the farm of a grower represented by Gies, who claimed damages from the raid were in excess of $10 million. Agency authorities later admitted there had been a mistake, prompting Gies to warn, “If I’m the small grower, my biggest concern is not getting my plants stepped on.”

Woodward, however, is adamant his agency is supportive of the legal sector. “We really want the legal operators to know that we’re not on some kind of witch hunt to take them down,” he stressed. “We want to take down these very serious criminal organizations that harm the legal growers, and our consumers.”

Black market cannabis, meanwhile, will continue to hit growers in the pocketbook. Untested weed could also potentially infiltrate dispensaries statewide through forged paperwork. All of which has prompted Klinglesmith to simply conclude, “Black market weed just sucks.”

OLCC Continues Transformation As Oregon’s Cannabis Regulator

Commission contemplates agency’s pending name change

Legislature adds to OLCC’s responsibilities, boosts agency budget

OREGON:  In the wake of Oregon’s recently completed 2021 legislative session, the Oregon Liquor Control Commission began contemplating the strategic path the agency will take to implement new regulatory responsibilities. That was one of the matters Commissioners covered during their regularly scheduled monthly meeting on Thursday, July 15, 2021.

The Commission also approved penalties in several stipulated settlements for violations committed by recreational marijuana licensees, placed restrictions on three recreational marijuana licenses, and approved a temporary rule adjusting a Cannabis Tracking System requirement.

Oregon lawmakers approved a series of bills that will continue the transformation of the OLCC’s regulatory responsibilities from an agency focused on oversight of the alcohol industry to a regulator engaged in consumer protection of alcohol and cannabis products, control of adult intoxicants, and upholding public health and safety laws. The agency’s evolving mission is reflected in a law changing the agency’s name to the Oregon Liquor & Cannabis Commission that takes effect August 2, 2021.

The OLCC also provided technical support to legislators working to curb illegal hemp and marijuana production and bring hemp produced intoxicating products under stricter control. Currently Delta-8-THC, which is chemically extracted from hemp, can be sold to children at neighborhood convenience stores; House Bill 3000 requires the OLCC to keep THC products away from kids. HB 3000 also directs OLCC to work the Oregon Department of Agriculture and other state and local government agencies to crack down on illegal cannabis grows.

“What’s going on in southern Oregon with the cartel takeover of cannabis growing through the guise of hemp and our role in being able to enforce that is all incredibly important,” said OLCC Executive Director Steve Marks. “We and our partners are poised to begin eradicating this illegal activity, to bring stability to disrupted communities starting in Jackson and Josephine counties, and to ensure that our legal, licensed, tax-paying cannabis licensees aren’t being undermined by illegal market activity.”

The legislature approved the OLCC’s plan to modernize its licensing system and alcohol distribution and tracking infrastructure, approving funding for information technology upgrades and a new consolidated warehouse. Even before the pandemic distilled spirits sales have grown steadily year-over-year straining the existing capacity at OLCC’s two warehouses. Without the expansion the state is projected to lose $586.9 million during the next decade. The OLCC has been laying the groundwork to acquire a new warehouse for more than a year.

”Where this agency has to go, we really have to help all of our licensees,” said Marks. “The hospitality industry, alcohol and cannabis move on to post-Covid recovery. We’ve got a lot of challenges there for the industry next two years. To make sure Oregon’s economy is strong and we do our part with that with the resources given to us.”

Commissioners ratified the following violation fines and suspensions based on stipulated settlements (detailed information on specific cases can be found here on the OLCC website):

BLACK MARKET PRODUCTIONS will pay a $4,950 fine OR serve a 30-day recreational marijuana producer license suspension for one violation.

Licensee is: BM Productions, LLC; Daniel Shandy, Member.

TRYKE CITY in Brookings will pay a $5,750 fine OR serve a 23-day recreational marijuana retailer license suspension for one violation (second-level).

Licensee is: Tryke City, LLC; Bryan Grant, Member; Han Bao Liu, Member.

EXODUS WELLNESS CENTER in Portland will pay a $5,610 fine OR serve a 34-day recreational marijuana retailer license suspension for four violations.

Licensee is: Cathleen Huffine, Co-Licensee; Rick Dudley, Co-Licensee.

TELOS CONSULTING will surrender its recreational marijuana producer license for three violations, on the date the transfer of ownership of the business is completed or on October 15, 2021, whichever is earlier.

Licensees are: Telos Consulting, LLC; Yaqun Liu, Member.

The licensees of BULL MOON received a letter of reprimand for two violations. The licensees surrendered their recreational marijuana producer license to the OLCC on May 27, 2020.

Licensees are: Bull Moon, Inc.; Thomas Ertel, President/Secretary/Treasurer/Director; Tailed J, Inc., Stockholder; Thomas Ertel, President/Secretary/Treasurer/Director/Stockholder.

The licensees of SOLSGREEN received a letter of reprimand for seven violations. The licensees surrendered their recreational marijuana producer license to the OLCC on April 9, 2021.

Licensee is: P&E Green Solutions, LLC; Pedro Morales, Managing Member.

MARK SCHENK; permit holder will pay a $350 fine or serve a 14-day marijuana worker permit suspension for two violations.

The Commission approved restrictions to a recreational marijuana producer license for the applicants of

EUGENIUS. The applicant’s landlord, who will benefit or suffer financially from the proposed business, has a poor record of compliance as a recreational marijuana licensee. The license restrictions require that the landlord not have any involvement in the operation or management of the business, not act as employee or agent of the business, and not be on the licensed premises at any time.

The Commission approved restrictions to a recreational marijuana producer license for the applicants of FALAHI and a marijuana processor license for the applicants of FALAHI. The applications included one individual who has a poor record of compliance as a recreational marijuana licensee. The license restrictions requires the licensee to prohibit one individual from any involvement in the operation or management of the business, or to provide any services to the business, and not be on the licensed premises at any time. The licensee and their employees are also required to complete additional Cannabis Tracking System (CTS) training and to put in place protocols to ensure better CTS compliance.

Eaze Launches First Shoppable Cannabis Delivery App for Apple

CALIFORNIA: Eaze, the nation’s largest cannabis delivery marketplace, today announced the launch of a first-of-its-kind shoppable app for iPhone users. Available for download today via the Apple App Store, the app allows customers to complete all aspects of cannabis purchase and delivery, making it even easier and more convenient for consumers to access safe, legal products. 

The shoppable Eaze app is a major milestone for the legal cannabis market and consumers. Apple has long prohibited full e-commerce functionality, forcing customers to complete transactions through the Eaze.com website. Apple recently changed that policy, enabling Eaze to create a shopping experience that is easier, more fun, and reflects how many people actually shop today.

The Eaze app allows customers to complete all aspects of delivery seamlessly: registration, ID verification, product selection, payment, and receipt to the doorstep.

“Eaze has always been about using the latest developments in technology to make shopping for legal cannabis more accessible,” said Eaze CEO Rogelio Choy. “It’s hard to overstate how important this is to our company and the industry. It’s deeply gratifying to launch the Apple Store’s first fully-functional cannabis delivery app, making it even easier for our two million registered customers to legally consume.”

The Eaze app features:

  • On-Demand Delivery, Order Tracking, and Easy Payment: Cannabis delivered safely to the door of customers verified 21+, real-time order tracking and easy payment via debit card, bank account, or cash.
  • Amazing Deals: Shop Eaze’s selection of rotating deals for the biggest blaze for your buck.
  • Dank Selection: Shop Eaze’s highly curated selection of the best brands for the best value, including Kiva Confections, STIIIZY, Old Pal, Circles, Plus, and many more.
  • Cannabis for a Cause: Eaze always stocks BIPOC, LGBTQ+, and women-owned brands — including Leune, DREAMT, and SF Roots — so customers can spend on what matters.

“The flexibility and depth of our technical team allowed us to respond immediately to the changes in Apple’s policy, and create an app that offers our customers the ideal experience for cannabis delivery,” said Eaze Distinguished Engineer CJ Silverio.

Eaze’s app was developed in-house and geofences purchases to jurisdictions where cannabis is legal. Eaze currently delivers across California, and will begin delivery in Michigan later this month. In accordance with state and local laws, sales are limited to adults 21+ and all customer IDs are verified multiple times throughout the purchase and delivery process.

Customers can download the app today and use code “EAZE20” to get $20 off their first delivery.

Cannabis Testing Market Overview with Detailed Analysis, Competitive landscape, Forecast to 2025

DELAWARE:  The demand for Global Cannabis Testing market is anticipated to be high for the next five years. By considering this demand we provide latest Global Cannabis Testing Market Report which gives complete industry analysis, market outlook, size, growth and forecast till 2025. This report will assist in analyzing the current and future business trends, sales and revenue forecasts. 

Cannabis Testing Market size will exceed USD 2 billion by 2025; as per a new research report. Growing number laboratories providing cannabis testing services due to high demand for providing safe and high-quality products for medical use will spur the global cannabis testing market growth. For instance, the Bureau of Cannabis Control issued 26 temporary licenses for testing laboratories in California as of March 2018, although the current requirement is almost double. High demand for cannabis testing by cultivators and manufacturers will be the major factor leading to market growth in the future.

Request a Sample Report of Cannabis Testing Market

Growing investment in R&D for exploring the medical use of cannabis will positively affect the cannabis testing market. For instance, UJI Capital announced donation of USD 9 million to Harvard and Massachusetts Institute of Technology for conducting research on cannabinoids. Growing recognition of various medicinal use of cannabis coupled with increasing legalization of cannabis for medical use will positively affect the market growth.

However, absence of uniform testing standards across various countries and complicated regulatory norms will hinder the market growth. Also, high cost of testing equipment will hamper the market growth.

Industry players having a strong foothold include Anresco, Anandia Labs, CW Analytical Laboratories, CannaSafe Analytics, Eirlab, Digipath, Phytovista Laboratories, EVIO, Pure Analytics, SC Labs, Steep Hill, University of Mississippi, Battelle Memorial Institute and University of Alberta. Additionally, geographical expansion in developed as well as developing economies by these companies enable them to serve a broader customer base.

U.S. cannabis testing market size held a majority of the market share of 61.2% in the year 2018. Increasing legalization of cannabis cultivation on account of growing recognition of cannabis uses will drive cannabis testing market in the country. Also, increasing number of testing laboratories to support the growing demand of cannabis cultivators will lead to market growth.

Chromatography segment accounted for the largest market share of 62.4% in 2018. Various advantages of chromatography technique such as high sensitivity and ease of separation will boost the segmental growth. Furthermore, launch of technologically advanced equipment for performing various analytical and quality tests of cannabis will positively affect the chromatography segment growth in the future.

Potency testing segment is forecasted to expand at 13.9% CAGR during the projected timeframe. Increase in legalization of medical use of cannabis coupled with rise in number of hemp and marijuana cultivators will drive segmental growth. Additionally, stringent regulatory and government norms to ensure safety of medical cannabis will spur the potency testing segmental growth.

Cannabis testing laboratories segment accounted for USD 599.5 million in 2018. Growing demand for sample testing across various countries that legalized medical use of marijuana will foster segment growth. Also, the growing government support in terms of funding for improving cannabis testing infrastructure coupled with strict regulations to ensure patient safety and product quality will enhance market growth.

The Netherlands cannabis testing market size is forecasted to expand at 20.2% CAGR during the analysis period. The country is one of the leading producers and exporters of cannabis and hemp for medical uses, thus providing lucrative growth opportunities. Moreover, various conducive regulatory norms and high demand for medical use of cannabis across the country will further augment market growth.

New Mexico Governor Lujan Grisham Hails Legalization of Adult-Use Cannabis

Possession, growth now legal in New Mexico; adult-use sales to follow by April

NEW MEXICO:   Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and Regulation and Licensing Department Superintendent Linda Trujillo on Tuesday heralded the official effective date of the Cannabis Regulation Act, which now provides for the personal possession and growth of cannabis in New Mexico, and officially establishes the Cannabis Control Division within RLD.

“This is a landmark day, a huge step forward both for social justice and economic development in our state,” Gov. Lujan Grisham said. “We are proactively stopping the disproportionate criminalization of people of color for cannabis possession, and we are building a new industry in which all New Mexicans can participate – and that will bring millions of dollars to our local communities and our state.”

The Cannabis Regulation Act, signed into law by the governor after she called a special legislative session to secure its final approval earlier this year, legalized adult-use cannabis sales in New Mexico no later than April 1, 2022. However, several provisions of the law go into effect on June 29, 2021.

Specifically, as of June 29, people in New Mexico can legally possess up to two ounces of cannabis, 16 grams of cannabis extract and 800 milligrams of edible cannabis outside their private residence. Individuals can also grow up to six cannabis plants per person at their home, with a household limit of 12 plants.

Moving forward, the newly created Cannabis Control Division will oversee both medical and adult-use cannabis in New Mexico. The division is already working with the public to draft rules for the production of adult-use cannabis and has advised local governments of their obligations under the law.

“We are excited at the Cannabis Control Division to play such a key role in bringing adult-use cannabis sales to fruition in New Mexico,” said Superintendent Trujillo. “The economic impact of adult-use sales will be significant and we are committed to ensuring a timely, open process that allows New Mexico entrepreneurs and businesses the opportunity to enter this new industry.”

Curt’s Cannabis Corner: Connecticut Goes Green

Welcome to the next installment in the series of educational articles from technical writer Curt Robbins at Higher Learning LV and MJNews Network. This collection is intended for cannabis and hemp industry professionals who wish to gain a better understanding of the nuanced biochemistry, volatile business environment, and detailed regulation of this newly legal herb. 

This week, readers learn about Connecticut, the most recent U.S. state to legalize adult-use cannabis for its residents who are 21 and older. Many aspects of the new law are unique or rare among states that have implemented adult-use cannabis legalization to date. State officials claim that they have developed and are about to implement “the best [cannabis] bill in the country.” 

Among many other notable accomplishments, the state’s progress-minded legislation opens the door to possible cannabis lounges down the road andget thisrequires some cities to create public marijuana consumption areas. Legalization in America is becoming truly surreal. Read on to learn more.


CURT’S

CANNABIS

CORNER 

Connecticut 

Goes

Green

By Curt Robbins


On June 22, 2021, the state of Connecticut legalized adult-use cannabis via its new law SB 1201 to become the 19th U.S. state to do so (the 20th if one includes the District of Columbia). The mere fact that the state has made this leap of faith into the controversial waters of legal/regulated/taxed cannabis for its citizenry is obviously notable news (especially for those who work in the cannabis industry, the target audience of this text and video series). 

Said Governor Ned Lamont at the press conference that officially announced the new pot policy, “The states surrounding us already, or soon will, have legal adult-use markets. By allowing adults to possess cannabis [and] regulating its sale, we’re…effectively modernizing our laws and addressing inequities.” He added that he thinks the new law also is “keeping Connecticut economically competitive with [its] neighboring states.”

The new legislation is similar to many others in the nation, only with more relaxed limits on some of the numbers. Connecticut will permit 1.5 ounces of loose-leaf flower to be carried by a person and five ounces to be stored at their home or in their vehicle (as long as it is securely locked). The law even includes a provision for home cultivation (“home grow”).

Connecticut’s House Majority Leader, Jason Rojas, thinks the state’s new law is the “most comprehensive” and best in the nationand he may be right. “History will tell us if that’s true or not, but I feel confident in saying yes, right now, this is the best bill in the country and it’s going to move us in a direction of ensuring that we provide a well-regulated marketplace for adult-use cannabis for [those] who want to participate in that kind of activity.”

Some experts predict that the state could generate more than $725 million in annual sales by 2025 and collect tax revenue of $600 million during the first five years of operation. This would obviously infuse the state’s coffers with much-needed operating capital, especially on the heels of the economic downturn that resulted from the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown.   

Like California and the entire West Coast, Connecticut’s new law allows municipalities to ban cannabis businesses, basically opting out of the new legislation (a move that, often, is accomplished via modification of zoning ordinances).

But that’s not the biggest news.

More insight is gained from exactly how Connecticut (which features a population of 3.6 million and is only a quarter larger than Humboldt County, California) plans to regulate and restrict legal operators and their consumers in its adult-use cannabis market. Turns out that The Constitution State is proving to be quite progressive and perhaps, dare we say, innovative

Public Consumption Spaces

Pot Smokers at Seattle Hempfest

Connecticut has included a provision in its new adult-use cannabis law that requires municipalities in the state with populations in excess of 50,000 to create and maintain public consumption spaces. How exactly these spaces might manifest is currently pure speculation. 

Here’s the language of the bill: “If the municipality’s population is greater than fifty thousand, such regulations shall designate a place in the municipality in which public consumption of cannabis is permitted.”

Of equal significance are the areas and business types where cannabis consumption will not be tolerated. These include grocery and convenience stores, state parks, businesses holding liquor licenses, schools, child care facilities, dormitories (for both public and private institutions), dog race tracks, elevators, and restaurants (among others). 

Proving that reality sometimes matches the story telling mojo of Hollywood, zones where cannabis smoking/vaping are prohibited in Connecticut also include “the bar area of a bowling establishment.” Despite the fact that eager cannabis consumers won’t be permitted to share joints of Purple Urkle at the bowling alley bar, this language implies that willing owners/managers may legally permit pot smoking in other areas of their bowling alleys. (Is a weed-drenched East Coast reboot of 1998’s The Big Lebowski on the way?)    

For those keeping score, infractions of this smoking restriction clause of the law will involve a $250 fine.

The logic behind the rules is clear (and reasonable): Connecticut is attempting to prevent public spaces, even those that are privately owned but accessed by the public, from becoming cough-inducing smoke dens that would necessarily offend 1) those who abstain from smoking anything, 2) those who dislike the aroma of smoked cannabis, and 3) people who abhor second-hand smoke from any burned substance (a significant portion of the population). 

Social Equity Focus

Social equity and fair access have been core issues of the emerging legal cannabis industry for many years. However, states such as California and others have met a variety of impediments in this area, including infighting and bureaucratic red tape. This has prevented many governments from implementing or maintaining effective social equity programs.  

The new Connecticut law sets aside an industry-leading 50 percent of licenses for equity applicants. In addition, up to 75 percent of tax revenue collected from the legal sale of adult-use cannabis will be directed toward “equity efforts and community reinvestment.” 

Motels & Hotels

Equally progressive is Connecticut’s requirement that all motels and hotels must allow their guests to consume cannabis within the privacy of their rooms (although consumption in public areas of these facilities will remain prohibited). While a seeming victory for cannabis legalization advocates and traveling potheads, the details of this provision reveal some significant limitations. 

Sec. 89 of the law states that “No hotel, motel, or similar lodging shall prohibit the legal possession or consumption of cannabis in any nonpublic area of such hotel, motel, or similar lodging.” 

However, before doing a happy dance, readers should note that the state severely limits the number of rooms in a facility that may allow the smoking and vaping of cannabis. “The operator of a hotel, motel, or similar lodging may allow guests to smoke [or vape] in not more than twenty-five percent of the rooms,” reads the new state law.

This quirky policy, which on the surface makes little sense, may be a message from the state’s lawmakers that they wish to in the future craft legislation specific to cannabis tourism and hospitality. Many experts within the nascent cannabis industry have predicted significant market potential from tourism that caters specifically to cannabis consumers. Perhaps this provision within the new law is the state’s way of putting its foot in the proverbial door of future tourism tax revenue and overall economic benefits.   

Tenant Rights

Demonstrating that it can out-progress fellow adult-use state California and most of Canada, Connecticut’s new marijuana law prevents landlords from discriminating against applicants or current tenants based on prior cannabis convictions. Likewise, landlords and property management companies are also prohibited from drug testing tenant applicants. 

The language of the law: “Except as provided in this section, a landlord or property manager may not refuse to rent to a prospective tenant or an existing tenant, or otherwise discriminate against a prospective tenant or an existing tenant, based on a past conviction for possession of a cannabis-type substance.”

 

While Sec. 90 (b) of the law, which goes into effect July 1, 2022, prevents landlords from prohibiting the possession or consumption of cannabis, they can say no to the smoking or vaping of the herb within their building or on their grounds. This obviously limits tenants to consumption avenues such as edibles and sublingual tinctures while at home. 

Conviction Expungement

Many adult-use legal cities and states have implemented prior cannabis conviction record expungement, either integrated into their legalization at launch or added as amendments or separate bills after the fact.  

The new Connecticut pot law automatically clears cannabis convictions involving four ounces or less of cannabis, beginning January 1, 2023, for those who were charged between January 1, 2000 and September 30, 2015. Those charged before January 1, 2000 or from October 1, 2015 through June 30, 2021 may, beginning June 1, 2022, petition the court for expungement. Those convicted of cannabis amounts exceeding four ounces will be ineligible for such expungement. 

Connecticut joins adult-use states Arizona, Michigan, Montana, New York, Utah, Vermont, and Virginia, which have also automatically cleared some of their marijuana conviction records (but in many cases, similar to Connecticut, have limited their remediation to relatively minor offences).

Odor No Longer Probable Cause

Another progressive aspect of the new legislation is its stance on probable cause for police and other authorities when it comes to searches of people and vehicles. Connecticut joins states such as Arizona, Massachusetts, and Vermont that have also removed the odor of marijuana from what may be considered good and just reason for authorities to inspect a person or their car. 

The language of the law: “Any of the following circumstances shall not constitute in part or in whole probable cause or reasonable suspicion and shall not be used as a basis to support any stop or search of a person or motor vehicle: (1) The odor of cannabis or burnt cannabis.”

Private Consumption Protections

Connecticut’s SB 1201 also protects employees from discrimination by employers, but these rights aren’t unlimited.  

“No employer shall discharge from employment or take any adverse action against any employee with respect to compensation, terms, conditions, or other privileges of employment because such employee does or does not smoke, vape, aerosolize, or otherwise use cannabis products outside of the workplace.”

Under the law, employers understandably retain the right to prohibit possession and consumption of cannabis at the workplace (and may legally discipline staff members who violate such policies by consuming at work). Conversely, those hyper-progressive employers that wish to allow their employees to blast bong bowls of Bruce Banner at work are allowed to legally do so (as long as they don’t violate any other provisions of the new law in the process).    

Home Grow Provision

Despite the wave of adult-use cannabis legalization sweeping North America, many state laws prohibit personal cultivation (sometimes called “home grow”). The Connecticut law, a pleasant exception, allows adults to grow up to six plants, but they’ll have to wait until July 1, 2023 to begin doing so legally.  

Grow limits apply to not only individuals, but also households, which can “grow no more than 12 cannabis plants at any given time.” All cultivation must be restricted to “personal use” and all plants must be “secure from access by any individual other than the consumer.” The details of how citizens must secure their plants or otherwise comply with the law are currently not defined, but will be included in the forthcoming regulations. 

Consumption Lounge Possibility

While Connecticut has not included a provision that would allow cannabis consumption lounges to legally operate in the state with the implementation of SB 1201, it has opened the door to their inclusion in a potential revision to the law in a couple of years.

The state has committed to, no later than January 1, 2023, “make written recommendations concerning whether to authorize on-site consumption or events that allow for cannabis usage, including whether to establish a cannabis on-site consumption or event license.”

That’s a Wrap

The excitement surrounding the June 2021 entry of Connecticut to the ever-growing throng of adult-use legal states in the U.S. is only increased by some of its relatively progressive provisions. These include tenant protections, real social equity, and possession limits that favor consumers more than many other state laws.

Public consumption spaces, tenant rights, a provision for personal cultivation, automatic (and petitioned) conviction expungement, and relatively liberal possession limits set a positive example for states that legalize in the future. SB 1201 is an arguably above-average start to Connecticut’s coming legal adult-use cannabis market.

WATCH Curt’s Cannabis Corner The Podcast on Marijuana Channel One:

Curt’s Cannabis Corner: Cannabis Consumption Lounges.

Welcome to the next installment in the series of educational articles from technical writer Curt Robbins at Higher Learning LV and MJNews Network. This collection is intended for cannabis and hemp industry professionals who wish to gain a better understanding of the nuanced biochemistry, often confusing business environment, and dynamic regulation of this specialand newly legalherb. 

This week readers learn about the increasingly popular trend of cannabis consumption lounges. While not permitted in most of North America (including, surprisingly, the majority of adult-use legal states), some jurisdictions are beginning to warm to the idea of what might materialize as something similar to alcohol bars, except for cannabis (and probably featuring fewer angry brawls). 

How might the cannabis industry differentiate itself from established mainstream lounge business segments such as coffee shops and taverns that focus on alcohol, non-alcoholic beverages, and non-infused food? Will modern cannabis lounges borrow the speakeasy environment from a century ago? Or will they invent something entirely new?

 


CURT’S

CANNABIS

CORNER 

Cannabis

Consumption

Lounges

By Curt Robbins

 

 


In early June 2021, the state of Nevada passed AB341, legislation that permitted the tightly regulated legal operation of a limited number of cannabis consumption lounges.  While 19 U.S. states and the District of Columbia to date have adopted adult-use marijuana laws, most do not include provisions for marijuana consumption lounges. The success and impact of Nevada’s new law—particularly in entertainment- and hospitality-smart Las Vegas—won’t begin to manifest until 2022, with the legislation going into effect Oct. 1, 2021 and licensing windows opening soon after. 

Typically progressive adult-use cannabis jurisdictions, including Colorado, Oregon, and Washington, have mulled the idea of consumption lounges for years, Nevada is among the first to actually implement and regulate what is likely to become a robust network of specialized retail facilities (many of which will cater to tourists, a speciality of both Las Vegas and Reno). If successful, consumption lounges will soon be available to nearly every weed consumer in the state (two-thirds of whom reside in the Vegas metro area).

“I think this really solidifies us as the cannabis destination,” said Steve Yeager, D-Las Vegas, the sponsor of Bill AB341.

Lounges Appeal to Tourism

“Consumption lounges are so perfect for our tourism industry. The sooner we get out there, the more we’ll be looked upon as a marijuana-friendly city and state,” said Clark County Commissioner Tick Segerblom. Segerblom, a former state senator, led an earlier attempt to legalize cannabis consumption lounges in Nevada in 2017. He called the new law “a game changer.” 

“Done the right way, consumption lounges cannot only be beneficial to the public, but also to government coffers at all levels, adding jobs and additional tax revenue,” said David Farris, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Planet 13 in Las Vegas, one of the city’s most famous adult-use dispensaries. 

In California, legislation was recently approved by the state’s Assembly that would allow licensed cannabis lounges to sell non-cannabis foods and drinkssomething that is prohibited under the Golden State’s existing adult-use cannabis laws passed back in 2016. 

The bill, AB 1034, was sponsored by Assemblyman Richard Bloom on behalf of the City of West Hollywood to better address the state’s position regarding marijuana lounges and allow the on-site consumption of non-infused beverages and foods. 

“Just like in bars and restaurants, people want to be able to socialize with friends while consuming cannabis,” said Tim Wright, CEO of Shasta Management in Imperial County, California. The company plans to in May open the “largest consumption lounge in the U.S.”

Evolution of Lounge Laws

While informal cannabis lounges have appeared throughout North America for decades, they typically have been either illegal underground operations or openly operating under what basically have been loopholes in local ordinances and state laws that allowed them to operate as private clubs. 

 

Examples include the bohemian Northwest Cannabis Club in Portland (a private lounge requiring membership that is tightly regulated by the local municipal government) and the trendy Tetra Lounge in Denver. The Tetra Lounge calls itself a social lounge and notes that it offers “private consumption” of cannabis that, like the Northwest Cannabis Club, requires customers to be members to legally dispense its services.

The first state to pass formal legislation in support of cannabis consumption lounges was Alaska in 2019, which amended its existing adult-use marijuana law with an on-site use option available to all licensed dispensaries. Colorado followed with 2019 legislation (HB 1234) that permitted limited lounges called “tasting rooms.” 

“Not having on-site consumption [in Alaska was] detrimental to the tourist industry. There [was] nowhere to smoke and it made [tourists] feel alienated,” said Jake Warden of SWOT Team Solutions in Anchorage. 

“Lawmakers’ approval and the governor’s enthusiasm for signing them into law indicate the state is ready to move forward with fulfilling Amendment 64’s promise to regulate marijuana like alcohol,” said Jordan Wellington of Denver lobbying firm VS Strategies regarding Colorado’s tasting room law shortly after it was passed.

Although yet to manifest as visitable retail establishments, the recent adult-use law passed in New York (S.854-A/A.1248-A) includes provisions for cannabis consumption lounges. Also of note, but not directly related to lounges, New York’s law allows cannabis consumption in any public space that permits the use of smoked tobacco (sorry, New York peeps, but this excludes beaches and public parks).

Interestingly, New York’s law is polar opposite that of Nevada in terms of ownership restrictions. While Nevada gives preference to existing licensed adult-use dispensaries for eligibility for lounge licenses (allowing only 20 non-dispensary licenses in the entire state), New York prohibits a consumption lounge license holder from also possessing an adult-use dispensary license. (Similarly, the Empire State prevents cultivation and processing/manufacturing licenses from owning retail dispensaries.) 

Connecticut Enters Adult-Use Fray

The most recent entrant to the adult-use legalization party is Connecticut, which on June 22 passed SB 1201. Although the new law does not itself directly permit consumption lounges, it includes language regarding potential implementation of lounges in the future. 

The state has committed to, no later than January 1, 2023, “make written recommendations concerning whether to authorize on-site consumption or events that allow for cannabis usage, including whether to establish a cannabis on-site consumption or event license.”

A review of the new Connecticut law brings to light an interesting and unique element wherein the state will require cities featuring populations of greater than 50,000 residents to “designate a place in the municipality in which public consumption of cannabis is permitted.” How this comes to fruition will be very interesting to observe. (Follow this series for updates as implementation of the new Connecticut adult-use law evolves.)

While this may give proponents of consumption lounges reason to celebrate, this language was followed by more sobering regulatory realities: A declaration that such amendments to the law “may prohibit the smoking of cannabis and the use of electronic cannabis delivery systems and vapor products containing cannabis in the outdoor sections of a restaurant,” for example.

However, in the reasons to celebrate column, Sec. 89 of the legislation, which becomes effective July 1, 2022, states that “no hotel, motel, or similar lodging shall prohibit the legal possession or consumption of cannabis in any nonpublic area of such hotel, motel, or similar lodging.” Nicely done, Connecticut. 

That’s a Wrap

While 18 U.S. states to date have adopted adult-use marijuana laws, most do not include provisions for marijuana consumption lounges. The success and impact of Nevada’s new lawparticularly in entertainment- and hospitality-smart Las Vegaswon’t begin to manifest until 2022, with the legislation going into effect Oct. 1, 2021 and licensing windows opening soon after.

Will other adult-use states follow in the footsteps of Alaska, California, Colorado, Nevada, and New York by adopting formal laws that recognize and regulate marijuana consumption lounges for those 21 and over? Only time will tell if this is the beginning of a larger wave of pot lounge culture (and commerce) that’s about to sweep the United States. 


CURT’S CANNABIS CORNER THE PODCAST: Join host Curt Robbins (Higher Learning LV) , co-host David Rheins (MJBA/MJNews) industry thought leaders Alex Brough (Cannabition/Kaneh Ventures) and Alana Armstrong (Alan Aldous) as they discuss how the mainstreaming of cannabis will go well beyond public consumption lounges, to include restaurants that feature infused menus, CHABA massage therapy, pot tourism, music & marijuana events, puff and paint, and even museum experiences.