House Approves Blumenauer Amendment To Protect Cannabis Programs

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA:  As national support for federal marijuana legalization continues to climb, the U.S. House of Representatives today approved important legislation to protect state, territory, and tribal cannabis programs from federal interference.

The amendment, introduced by U.S. Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-CO), Tom McClintock (R-CA), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), and Barbara Lee (D-CA), was approved 254–163 and would ensure legal cannabis programs in Oregon and dozens of other states, territories, and tribal lands are protected from Department of Justice intervention.

“The American people are demanding a change to our outdated cannabis laws and I am glad to see my colleagues heeding their calls,” Blumenauer, founder and co-chair of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus, said. “As we work to ultimately end the senseless prohibition of cannabis and the failed war on drugs, these amendments will help ensure the protection of legal state, territory and tribal cannabis programs.”

“For far too long, our federal cannabis policies have been rooted in our discriminatory past and have continued inflicting harm on communities of color. As the public’s views toward cannabis have evolved, Congress has a responsibility to ensure that our policies follow suit and move toward restorative justice,” Lee said. “I’m proud to have worked alongside Reps. Blumenauer, McClintock, and Holmes Norton on this crucial amendment to protect the progress states, tribes, and territories have made toward ending the discriminatory war on drugs.”

A copy of the amendment approved Thursday by the House can be found here.

And here’s a video of Blumenauer speaking in support of the amendment today on the House floor.

Helix Technologies Sells Security Guarding Business

COLORADO: Helix Technologies announced today the divestiture of its security guarding business. The strategic decision to sell the guarding unit solidifies Helix’s transition into a pure play technology company focused on the cannabis industry.

The divestiture of the guarding business is expected to increase gross margins and allow management to focus on growing the Company’s scalable, high margin suite of critical technology infrastructure services. Denver-based, Veteran-owned Invicta Group purchased the business and Security ProAdvisors LLC represented Helix in the sale. Helix will use the net proceeds to pay off existing liabilities and strengthen its working capital position.

“We are incredibly proud of what we have accomplished with Helix Security. In a short time, we went from start-up–without a single client– to the undisputed leader in the Colorado security market, clearing the field of well-established, larger competitors, and leveraged that dominant position to expand into higher-margin critical technology infrastructure, and data. Now we will continue to bring that same discipline to bear – focused solely on our core technology strengths and on creating a more streamlined value proposition for investors” said Zachary L. Venegas, Helix Technologies’ Executive Chairman and CEO. “The additional working capital and narrowed focus provided by the divestiture will allow us to accelerate growth and continue shaping the cannabis technology landscape.”

Paul Ballenger, Invicta Group CEO added “This is a tremendous opportunity for us and our investors. Helix built a dominant business, and I could not be more excited to leverage our expertise to continue the rapid growth. Recent social unrest has underlined the need for this type of service, and I am excited to help our clients continue to grow while feeling safe and confident in their future.”

Aphria Announces Strategic Supply Agreement With Canndoc

Aphria now positioned within two of the largest cannabis markets outside of Canada
Agreement with Israeli leader Canndoc provides access to Israel’s largest drugstore chain
Finished product will be co-branded under Aphria and Canndoc brands

CANADA: Aphria Inc., a leading global cannabis company, today announced it has entered into a Strategic Supply Agreement with Canndoc Ltd., a subsidiary of InterCure Ltd., one of Israel’s largest and most established medical cannabis producers.

Under the terms of the Agreement, Aphria will supply Canndoc with dried bulk flower over a two-year period, with the option to extend for two additional terms of two years each, and an option for an additional year after that if the parties agree to terms.  During the first two-year term and each additional term, if applicable, the Company will provide Canndoc with 3,000 kgs. of bulk dried flower, which will be processed into finished product, co-branded under the Aphria and Canndoc brand names, and sold exclusively within the Israeli market.

“We are excited about our strategic partnership with Canndoc, a well-established Israeli leader, and the opportunity to continue to expand our medical cannabis brand internationally,” said Irwin D. Simon, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Aphria Inc. “Today’s announcement is about more than a supply agreement. It’s about the strength and quality of our medical brand, Aphria, being continuously validated by the world’s medical cannabis markets, including countries in which we have no distribution today. The Agreement represents a significant step for Aphria, and we look forward to bringing our high-quality medical cannabis products to patients in Israel.”

“We are proud to partner with Aphria, a global leader who shares with us the same quality values and commitments of meeting patients’ needs and improving their quality of life. This is another vote of confidence in Canndoc’s leadership and the Israeli market,” said Ehud Barak, former Israeli Prime Minister and Chairman of the Canndoc Board of Directors.

The strategic partnership will also include the possibility of Aphria and Canndoc collaborating on research initiatives such as clinical trials focused on the use of medical cannabis with leading hospitals and research institutions in Israel and exploring potential collaboration in the EU market.

Now strategically positioned in two of the largest cannabis markets outside of Canada, Germany, one of the most highly sought-after developed medical cannabis markets in the world, and Israel, one of the largest importers of medical cannabis in the world, the Company will continue to leverage its market leadership as it develops its medical cannabis markets internationally.

Canndoc has been pioneering Pharma-Grade cannabis for more than 13 years and has established itself as a well-respected company in the global cannabis industry. In March 2020, Canndoc entered a strategic partnership with Super-Pharm, Israel’s largest drugstore chain, allowing for Canndoc’s products to be distributed across 95 medical cannabis authorized pharmacies and sold to Israel’s growing medical cannabis patient community.

Congresswoman Barbara Lee Applauds Passage of Amendment to Protect State, Territory, and Tribal Cannabis Programs

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: Congresswoman Barbara Lee (CA-13), co-chair of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus, today applauded the passage of the Blumenauer, McClintock, Holmes Norton, Lee amendment to the Commerce, Justice, and Science Department funding bill. The measure, which would prevent the Department of Justice from using its funds to impede the implementation of cannabis programs in states, territories, and tribes, passed in a 254-163 vote. 

“For far too long, our federal cannabis policies have been rooted in our discriminatory past and have continued inflicting harm on communities of color. As the public’s views toward cannabis have evolved, Congress has a responsibility to ensure that our policies follow suit and move toward restorative justice,” said Congresswoman Barbara Lee. “I’m proud to have worked alongside Reps. Blumenauer, McClintock, and Holmes Norton on this crucial amendment to protect the progress states, tribes, and territories have made toward ending the discriminatory war on drugs.”

“The American people are demanding a change to our outdated cannabis laws and I am glad to see my colleagues heeding their calls,” said Rep. Blumenauer, founder and co-chair of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus. “As we work to ultimately end the senseless prohibition of cannabis and the failed war on drugs, these amendments will help ensure the protection of legal state, territory and tribal cannabis programs.”

FSD Pharma Announces Decision To Surrender Health Canada Licenses For Subsidiary FV Pharma Inc.

FV Pharma to shut down operations within 30 days

CANADA: FSD Pharma Inc. today announced that it has notified Health Canada of the Company’s decision to forfeit the licenses of its wholly-owned subsidiary, FV Pharma, Inc.  and suspend all activities by FV Pharma within 30 days of the notification date. FSD Pharma has begun the process of liquidating all FV Pharma assets, including the sale of the Company’s cannabis production facility in Cobourg, Ontario.

“It is now clear to us that our shareholder value is best served in closing down our medicinal grade cannabis operation in Cobourg, Ontario and reinforcing steps to advance pharmaceutical R&D efforts on our lead compound FSD201 (ultra-micronized PEA) and continuing to explore the acquisition of other compelling compounds to expand our drug development pipeline,” said Raza Bokhari, MD, Executive Co-Chairman & CEO.

“Our pharmaceutical R&D team led by Dr. Edward Brennan is actively working to submit an Investigational New Drug Application (IND) to the FDA for the use of FSD201 (ultra-micronized PEA) to treat hospitalized COVID-19 patients by down-regulating the over-expressed pro-inflammatory cytokine immune response to SARS-CoV-2 virus infection. We are hopeful to initiate the phase 2 clinical trial before the end of this year and remain cautiously optimistic that our study may improve treatment outcome for COVID-19 patients.”

The Company is not making any express or implied claims that its product has the ability to eliminate, cure or contain the COVID-19 (or SARS-2 Coronavirus) at this time.

Cage-Free Repair Kicks Off “Show Your Love” Campaign To Benefit National Expungement Week 2020

NEW YORK:  Cage-Free Repair, advocates working towards an equitable, just, and reparative cannabis industry, has launched SHOW YOUR LOVE, a campaign to raise funds for National Expungement Week and its signature expungement and record clearing/sealing events (N.E.W. 2020).  Education, awareness, and transparency are in focus for this fundraising initiative, which also includes the creation of a digital marketplace to empower consumers seeking brands that are backing the group’s legal relief efforts.

Starting August 1st, individuals can donate directly to the cause at https://cagefreerepair.wedid.it/, while businesses are invited to take part in the “fundraiser through the SHOW YOUR LOVE digital marketplace. To participate as “Creators,” businesses can connect with N.E.W. at showyourlove@nationalexpungementweek.org by August 22nd to designate products where a share of the profits go towards 2020 expungement week clinics and year-round efforts regarding such issues as criminal justice reform, voting rights, and housing and food insecurity.  “Creators” can show their followers that they are a part of the campaign by using the hashtag #ShowNEWLove.  As more and more consumers are looking for ways to practice conscious capitalism, the SHOW YOUR LOVE marketplace is an easy way to identify brands whose values align with N.E.W.’s fight for automated expungements and the repair of devastating harms caused by the War on Drugs and legal entanglements that block access to basic rights and opportunities. 

“Relief services often require fees to be paid, in some cases these fees exceed $450,” says N.E.W. co-founding organizer James Watts.  “N.E.W. is focused on raising these funds to pay these fees and better serve our communities.”

Cage-Free Repair is the 501(c)(3) non-profit arm of Cage-Free Cannabis, which helped to launch N.E.W. in 2018.  N.E.W.’s third annual week of legal relief events and wrap-around services is slated to take place online and in-person (where available) on September 19-26, 2020. Since 2018, N.E.W. has helped over 1,000 people start to clear or seal convictions on their records. More than 3,000 people have also received wrap-around services offered at N.E.W. clinics and events, including employment resources, voter registration, and health screenings. In two years, the grassroots network has generated a public benefit of over $10,000,000 to date. In the wake of COVID-19 and the growing calls for social, racial, and economic justice, the work of N.E.W. has become even more essential.

“A criminal record creates more than 48,000 barriers to a person’s life,” says Watts. “Clearing records allows for millions of Americans to once again access opportunity and our wrap-around services seek to offer support thru this process.”

Besides the marketplace, another key goal of the SHOW YOUR LOVE campaign is to increase awareness around issues of expungement and the 48,000 legal and socioeconomic barriers that exist for the disenfranchised.  Topics such as the boundaries created by having a criminal record, hurdles to expungement, the criminalization of youth and issues relating to Veterans, and the systematic abuse of Black lives will also be explored across N.E.W.’s social media channels. Transparency regarding the amount of money raised and the allocation of funds is also built into the campaign, which winds down in at the conclusion of N.E.W. 2020.

SHOW YOUR LOVE, a fundraiser for N.E.W. runs from August 1 – September 26, 2020.  To be a part of this fundraising effort, please visit https://cagefreerepair.wedid.it/ or contact showyourlove@nationalexpungementweek.org to participate in the N.E.W. digital marketplace.   For more information on N.E.W. and N.E.W. 2020 events, please visit nationalexpungementweek.org or @expungementweek on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Maine: 17 New Adult Use Conditional Licenses Issued

MAINE: How big is Maine’s new adult-use cannabis industry? According to the Maine Office of Marijuana Policy, there are 17 new adult use conditional licenses. The breakdown includes seven marijuana stores, five cultivation facilities, four products manufacturing facilities, and one testing facility.

Cannabis Nurses Network Conference 2020 With Focus On How Cannabis Has Caused A Revolution In Healthcare

Virtual Educational Session and Panels Devoted on New and Promising Cannabis-based Therapeutics

Conference expected to be in person in 2021 with Ticket in 2020 to include both Events

CALIFORNIA: Noted medical cannabis experts and health professionals will be leading educational panels and continued education programs at this year’s Cannabis Nurses Network Conference (CNNC), the annual professional development and education conference designed exclusively for Registered Nurses and wellness professionals to advance their understanding of cannabis medicine, the endocannabinoid system, and practical applications in day-to-day patient care & practice.

This year’s conference will be held virtually on September 3rd and 4th. This year’s ticket includes an in-person ticket for 2021’s CNNC conference, expected to be held in San Diego once it is safe to do so.

CNNC 2020 is an advanced, unique, and empowering 2-day education experience; the program is designed for nurses, healthcare and licensed wellness professionals who are serious about advancing their expertise in cannabis medicine. According to Cannabis Nurses Network, the speakers, education content and programming schedule for September will continue as planned, and for the in-person experience will be built upon the virtual event with even more advanced education, and additional speakers.

“We will take the “Revolution in Healthcare” theme of our conference very seriously – so we are taking this opportunity to continue with our conference, by innovating on the CNNC experience. We have moved the conference into a virtual space for the September 3rd-4th 2020, with special experiences designed to take advantage of online technology. Once large events have been given the “all clear” by the State of California, we will be rescheduling our in-person event for an appropriate time in 2021,” said CNN Founding Member, Heather Manus, RN.

Tickets to CNNC 2020 will get attendees admission to TWO full scale cannabis education conferences for medical professionals. According to CNN management, this is a great opportunity for new cannabis nurses to participate in the privacy of their own home, making connections and new friends they can join at the in-person event when it is rescheduled.

Nurse Heather Manus is founder of the Cannabis Nurses Network

TOPICS FOR 2020 VIRTUAL CNNC: ESSENTIAL EDUCATION AND EXPERT PANEL SESSIONS

CNNC 2020 offers two full days delivering accredited continuing nurse education credits (CEU) in cannabis medicine education. Healthcare professionals are encouraged to register to learn about cannabis science, research, and clinical applications related to the human endocannabinoid system and cannabinoid therapeutics from world-class experts.

This year’s topics include:

  • Cannabis and Cancer Care – Can Cannabis offer Quality of Life
  • The Emergence of Cannabis Nurses
  • New and Promising Cannabis Therapeutics
  • Overcoming Roadblocks to Effective Care
  • Pharmaceutical considerations for Nurses
  • Supporting Patient Empowerment
  • Healing with a Tender Touch
  • Nurturing Nursing Partnerships
  • Advancing Nursing Practice
  • Elevating Sports Medicine
  • New Approach to Elder Care
  • Lessons from Plant Messengers
  • Hemp Healing: Planet, Progress and People
  • Political Nature of Healthcare and Research

“Patients are using cannabis legally, with or without medical oversight. Nurses are being encouraged by the National Council State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) to seek and gain knowledge regarding Cannabis Patient Care. I believe we are witnessing a revolution in healthcare, and Nurses are among those at the forefront,” adds Nurse Manus. For more information on purchasing tickers for both the 2020 and 2021 events, please log to Cannabis Nurses Network.

FDA Issues Draft Guidance To Encourage Cannabis-Related Clinical Research

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA:  The following quote is attributed to FDA Principal Deputy Commissioner Amy Abernethy M.D., Ph.D.:

“A range of stakeholders have expressed interest in development of drugs that contain cannabis and compounds found in cannabis. Recent legislative changes have also opened new opportunities for cannabis clinical research. As that body of research progresses and grows, the FDA is working to support drug development in this area.

“It is critical that the FDA continues to do what we can to support the science needed to develop new drugs from cannabis. The FDA believes the drug approval process represents the best way to ensure that safe and effective new medicines, including any drugs that contain cannabis or cannabis-derived compounds, are available to patients in need of appropriate medical therapy.

“The agency is committed to supporting the development of these new drugs through the investigational new drug, drug review and drug approval processes – and one key element of this support involves development of guidance, like this one.”

  • The U.S. Food and Drug Administration last week issued “Cannabis and Cannabis-Derived Compounds: Quality Considerations for Clinical Research, Draft Guidance for Industry,” which describes the FDA’s current thinking on several topics relevant to clinical research related to the development of drugs containing cannabis or cannabis-derived compounds.
  • The draft guidance covers sources of cannabis for clinical research, information on quality considerations and recommendations regarding calculating tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) levels.
  • The draft guidance also introduces key FDA regulatory concepts to stakeholders who may be less familiar with the FDA and the FDA’s authorities.

Curaleaf Completes The Acquisition Of Grassroots Creating The World’s Largest Cannabis Company

Market Leading U.S. Presence Across 23 States with Over 135 Dispensary Locations and Licenses

Mitchell Kahn, Grassroots Co-Founder and CEO, Appointed to the Curaleaf Board of Directors

MASSACHUSETTS:  Curaleaf Holdings, the largest vertically integrated cannabis operator in the United States, today announced that it closed its milestone acquisition of GR Companies the largest private vertically-integrated multi-state operator in the United States, on July 23, 2020.

With completion of the acquisition of Grassroots, Curaleaf is the world’s largest cannabis company by revenue and the most diversified vertically integrated cannabis company in the United States, the world’s largest cannabis market. The transaction expands Curaleaf’s presence from 18 to 23 states, with the combined company having affiliated operations spanning over 135 dispensary licenses, 88 operational dispensary locations, over 30 processing facilities and 22 cultivation sites with 1.6 million square feet of current cultivation capacity. Curaleaf’s expanded geographic dispensary presence now offers access to medical or adult use Cannabis to more than 192 million people, or roughly two-thirds of the United States population.

“The successful acquisition of Grassroots marks Curaleaf’s expansion into new vertically integrated markets in the Midwest, firmly establishing our U.S. market leadership position. This highly complementary combination brings together two companies with a shared vision for enhancing patients’ and customers’ lives with high-quality cannabis wellness and lifestyle products. I’d like to welcome all our new Grassroots colleagues, patients and customers to the Curaleaf family as we pursue our mission of improving lives by providing clarity around cannabis and confidence around consumption,” commented Joseph Lusardi, CEO of Curaleaf. “The integration of Grassroots is expected to be immediately accretive to our financial performance, with our unprecedented scale providing significant opportunities to leverage Curaleaf’s powerful consumer brands as well as new form factor innovations across our expanded national presence.”

Completion of the transaction strategically accelerates Curaleaf’s expansion into Illinois and Pennsylvania, which are among the largest and fastest-growing cannabis markets in the United States. Upon close, Curaleaf will hold a leading licensed cannabis presence in state markets including ArizonaConnecticutFloridaIllinoisPennsylvaniaMarylandMassachusettsMaineNevadaNew JerseyNew YorkNorth Dakota, and Vermont.

The cultivation and processing assets in Illinois have been transferred and the formal approval to transfer certain retail assets is expected imminently. Maryland operations previously affiliated with Grassroots may be transferred to Curaleaf after expiration of the statutory hold period, subject to regulatory approval and compliance with restrictions on ownership or control of multiple cultivation, processor and dispensary licenses in the State.

Mitchell Kahn, Co-Founder and CEO of Grassroots, commented, “Both Grassroots and Curaleaf are driven by a similar, positive culture and we are excited to join forces, adding scale and a combined strategic vision to create a dominant position in the industry. This opportunity would not have come to fruition without the strength of our highly skilled executive team, who have built an impressive portfolio at an unprecedented pace, with facilities in highly competitive markets. We look forward to integrating our talent and resources to build a great consumer product company – one that is dedicated to producing and delivering high-quality, safe and effective cannabis products to the customer.”

Curaleaf Announces New Board Member

Upon closing of the transaction, Curaleaf has appointed Mitchell Kahn, co-founder and CEO of Grassroots, to the company’s Board of Directors effective immediately. The appointment of Mr. Kahn expands the Curaleaf Board of Directors from five to six members.

“On behalf of the Curaleaf Board of Directors and management team, we are pleased to welcome Mitch to the Board. As a co-founder of Grassroots, he brings an impressive track record for success in building the largest private, vertically integrated U.S. multi-state cannabis operator. Combined with his deep experience across commercial real estate as well as the legal field, Mitch adds significant expertise and insight that will be vital as we extend our market leadership position and drive long-term shareholder value,” said Boris Jordan, Executive Chairman of Curaleaf.

Mr. Kahn co-founded Grassroots Cannabis in 2014 and brings more than 20 years of senior executive experience. He currently serves as Principal and CEO of Frontline Real Estate Partners, for which he is also a Founder, and previously served as President and CEO of Hilco Real Estate. Mr. Kahn is a CPA, as well as an attorney who has formerly practiced real estate law. He is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin, School of Business and Northwestern University, School of Law.