Benzinga’s 2nd Annual Cannabis Capital Conference to Draw Key Players in the Burgeoning Industry

FLORIDA: North America’s leading cannabis entrepreneurs and investors will flock to beautiful Miami, Florida, Jan. 15-16, 2019, for the second annual Cannabis Capital Conference, hosted by premier financial media outlet Benzinga. This highly-anticipated event sets the standard among cannabis conferences, offering unparalleled access and seamless interaction between the entrepreneurs who are establishing highly promising companies and the investors whose capital will fuel their efforts.

Cannabis Capital Conference

Returning to present at the event once again are top investors like CNBC’s Tim Seymour, Jon Najarian and New Cannabis Ventures founder Alan Brochstein. They will speak alongside some of America’s leading CEOs, who are expertly guiding today’s standout cannabis companies to success.

“Benzinga’s Cannabis Capital Conference brings together the crème de la crème of the cannabis world,” said Neal Hamilton, vice president of marketing for Benzinga. “Benzinga has long presided as a financial media leader, offering broad coverage relative to the cannabis space. We now bring that standout expertise to a live setting where entrepreneurs and investors can network, forge deals and learn from today’s top cannabis influencers, policymakers and innovators. No other cannabis conference facilitates the level of access or the seamless interaction between cannabis investors and entrepreneurs that the Cannabis Capital Conference provides.”

Tickets for the Benzinga Cannabis Capital Conference are on sale now and can be purchased online. Investors can qualify for free passes by emailing bzcannabis@benzinga.com.

The Cannabis Capital Conference will kick off Jan. 15 with an exclusive, invitation-only cannabis executive retreat. This C-suite event will be held exclusively for cannabis operators and executives. Discussion topics will include post-legalization Canada, the next steps for legalization in the United States, 280E and more. That evening, a general admission networking event will take place for all conference participants.

On Jan. 16, the Cannabis Capital Conference will get into full swing with a full day of engaging panels, exclusive investor presentations, speed networking and more. The second day represents the perfect opportunity to make deals and learn from policy makers, influencers and trailblazers.

MPP Op-Ed: Our Neighbor to The North

On Wednesday, marijuana sales will begin nationwide in Canada, making it the second country in the world — following Uruguay — with a federally legal adult-use marijuana industry.  Each Canadian province has developed its own system for how marijuana will be sold to adults. This will include government stores, private retailers, online government sales with delivery, or a mix of those approaches.

Meanwhile, in the U.S., nine states have legalized marijuana for adults’ use (although sales are allowed in only eight of them) and 30 states have comprehensive medical marijuana laws. Two more adult-use states and two more medical states may come on board on Election Day. But all this progress exists under the cloud of federal illegality.

Businesses in the U.S. have to contend with a myriad of problems caused by federal prohibition. Even MPP — a nonprofit organization that works to end marijuana prohibition — was dumped by our bank (we now have a new one) and our retirement fund briefly planned to drop us. In addition to banking challenges, U.S. cannabis businesses typically can’t accept credit cards, products can’t ship to retailers in other states, and most alarmingly, there is still the possibility of federal prosecution.

In addition to overriding federal law context, here is a comparison between the Canadian adult-use program and common features of U.S. state legalization laws:

  • Age: In Canada, provinces set the drinking age at either 18 or 19. The age limit is mirrored for cannabis. Meanwhile, all legalization states have set the age at 21, mirroring U.S. alcohol laws.
  • Edibles: For the first year, no edibles will be allowed in Canada. Initially, reports indicate only flower will be available. In contrast, every adult-use legalization law in the U.S. allows edibles and a myriad of other products, albeit with regulations. (However in Oregon during a transitional period, existing medical businesses were initially allowed to sell flower only to adult-use consumers.)
  • Public consumption: Every U.S. state that legalized marijuana prohibits marijuana smoking in public, although some allow for on-site consumption at specific adults-only establishments. In Canada, some provinces will allow cannabis smoking in certain locations that are open to the general public, although most or all ban it in locations that appeal to children.
  • Possession limit: In Canada, adult will be allowed to possess just over an ounce of cannabis (30 grams) outside the home. Possession limits for outside the home in legalization states vary from one ounce to 2.5 ounces.
  • Home cultivation: Canada is allowing home cultivation of four plants. All of the adult-use states but Washington allow home cultivation, although in Nevada only those living at least 25 miles away from the nearest retailer may grow their own cannabis.
  • Government involvement: Due to federal illegality, thus far U.S. state government have not directly participated in selling, distributing, or growing adult-use marijuana (although two public universities in Louisiana are involved in marijuana cultivation, and Utah plans to dispense medical cannabis). In contrast, there will government distribution systems in Canada and government stores and deliveries in some provinces.
  • Import/export: At this time, Canadian law does not allow the import or export of cannabis, although it does allow hemp exports. In light of federal prohibition, all state marijuana laws are set up as intrastate programs — with retailers purchasing only from product manufacturers and growers in the same state.

Marijuana_Policy_Project_logo

The Marijuana Policy Project has been at the forefront of legalization among the states as well as decriminalization for possession of cannabis.  Our efforts have removed the threat of local prosecution for citizens in 21 states and the District of Columbia. But we cannot rest on yesterday. We have to continue to push today for a better tomorrow.  Last year, the NYPD was still arresting African American and Latino youth for marijuana possession at a rate 9 times greater than Caucasian youth.  Currently, we continue to house hundreds of thousands of people for cannabis possession, leading to devastating collateral consequences in their lives, such as job loss or denial of parental rights.

MPP plans to keep growing the number of U.S. states where marijuana is legal for adults. With sufficient funding, we believe we can more than double the number of adult-use states within just a few years. Meanwhile, we aren’t losing sight of the need to change federal law. It’s easy to get complacent when the DEA isn’t busting down cannabis business’ doors. But, recent comments from Colorado’s top federal prosecutor should remind us all that there is an urgent need to change federal law so that state-legal marijuana businesses are no longer a crime.  Most critically, we still have over a 500,000 marijuana-related arrests and convictions each year in the United States.  Canadian jails are used for a better purpose.  Visit www.mpp.orgto learn more and join our mission.

420MEDIA Trailblazers In Cannabis: Stacy Thompson, Founder Women of Cannabis Conference

mjba Business

Digital marketing agency 420MEDIA and the Marijuana Business Association (MJBA) have joined forces to create a series highlighting entrepreneurs trailblazing the cannabis scene. Each week, we profile a noteworthy business pioneer and ask each 5 questions. This week’s featured trailblazer is Stacy Thompson, Founder of the Women of Cannabis Conference.

1. Tell us about your Company

Women of Cannabis emerged because I saw a need to empower women as the industry continues to grow. With the rise of the female entrepreneurs and women leaders, it is pivotal to the cannabis industry to create and accept an environment where we step it up and stand together. The opportunity is here for women to pioneer this industry and hold higher level positions in companies. According to Marijuana Business Daily, women make up 27% of the industry, which is higher than the average other industries. When creating this event, I reached out to women I respect and admire and asked them to get involved. The most amazing thing is they are, rapidly! Together we can achieve greatness.  As an entrepreneur myself, a large problem that often stands in our way are women getting to know and meet other women in this business. I knew I had to build an open community like this. Women of Cannabis evolved into an amazing conference to start the conversation. I envision leaders building other leaders, lifting us to our fullest potential.  

WOC2

2. Why did you choose the cannabis/hemp business?

I realized the opportunity to enter a brand-new market, and as an entrepreneur I found my place in this industry. It all started when I decided to go back to using cannabis after I stopped -while my kids were tweens and went on the doctor prescribed Adderall for my ADD instead of cannabis.  I quit because of the fear of having the “drug” talk with them and me using “pot”.  When they got older, I decided to go back to using cannabis.  Once I uncovered the truth about cannabis, I couldn’t do anything but join forces with others to break the stigma about this plant. The only way we are going to do that is if we all work together. We all want the same outcome, this plant to be free for all to use.

3. What change will your firm address in the industry? Does it address an unmet need?

We are hoping to empower women to take the chance and go for it!  Creating bonds, leadership, and unity as we maneuver through the legalization and laws changing along the way.  Together we can accomplish much more, so providing a space for that is our goal.

women

4. What has been the reaction to your product/service/technology?

The reaction to the Women of Cannabis conference has been overwhelming.  I am so excited for the women that have stepped up and have agreed to be a part of the conference.  We have an amazing lineup of speakers, Dr. Dina Browner, Wanda James, Larisa Bolivar, Renee Gagnon, Kalee Hooghkirk, Sierra Riddle, Nurse Juhlzie Monteiro, Nurse Heather Sobel, Carrie McClain and more coming. We are in for a treat to have all of these women trailblazers on one stage!

5. Are there any upcoming milestones for your company?

We have had such a great response for this conference, that we have been asked to take it on the road, add more breakouts, more speakers, more days… So, we shall see what the future holds for Women of Cannabis, but I do know one thing: we are not going anywhere.

Where can readers learn more?

Please check out our website, www.womenofcannabisconference.com for more information on our speakers that will be joining us, and how you can be a part of ‘herstory’ in Vegas!

Visit us on Facebook and follow us on Instagram: @WofCanna

National Expungement Week Is October 20-27, 2018

Cannabis Equity and Reparative Justice Organizations Join Forces To Host Free Clinics Across The Country

NEW YORK: A coalition of more than 20 organizations working at the intersection of the cannabis industry, racial equity and reparative justice, will join local and community groups across the country for the inaugural National Expungement Week October 20-27, 2018.  Conceived to aid those disenfranchised by the war on drugs, N.E.W. will offer free clinics to help to remove, seal, or reclassify eligible convictions from criminal records.

N.E.W. events will be held in AtlantaBaltimoreBostonChicagoDenverDetroitLos AngelesNew HavenPhiladelphiaPrince George’s CountySan Francisco and Washington, DC.  Organizers will also provide attendees with a varied (depending upon location) range of supportive services including employment resources, voter engagement, health screenings, and more. The N.E.W. website also provides a link to an online toolkit so that interested parties can host their own record change events.

Organizers of N.E.W. events include Equity First Alliance, who recently released an open letter calling attention to patterns of inequity and injustice in the cannabis industry.  Other participating organizations include Cage-Free CannabisCage-Free RepairMassachusetts Recreational Consumer CouncilCalifornia Cannabis AdvocatesTree Femme CollectiveWe BAKEDThe Pot Lab, and Smart Pharm Research Group.

“Now that the plant is becoming legal, those who have gone to jail should be able to clear their record. The process for changing one’s record varies wildly state-by-state, but the need is universal. Considering America’s history of the war on drugs, the cannabis industry must bring justice and shared profits. As these expungement events become more common, we wanted to coordinate them to highlight the need for widespread and automated legal relief,” says Sonia Erika of Massachusetts Recreational Consumer Council and a spokesperson for Equity First Alliance.

September 25th Is National Voter Registration Day

Celebrated on the fourth Tuesday of every September – September 25 in 2018 – by thousands of volunteers, organizations, businesses, schools, and election officials from all over the country are celebrating National Voter Registration Day.

With 3,000 community and online partners, and over 10,000 volunteers working in a massive, single-day event, National Voter Registration Day seeks to reach voters who haven’t yet registered or updated their registration in the final weeks before the deadlines. Many nonprofits have felt the energy in the streets and online. This year just seems to feel different. And maybe that’s because Americans are coming to understand that midterms, while not as flashy as the general election, have MAJOR consequences on how they live their life day-to-day. At a state level, there are dozens of governors races that have direct influence on everyday concerns – how much money will be spent on education, the environment, defense? That decision is in their hands and they know it.

At the national level, hundreds of seats in the House and Senate are at the whim of the electorate who want to have a say in how their state is represented in the Federal government, what and how laws will be applied to their daily lives. In short, citizens will determine who runs their state and how their state is represented in Congress. To that end, we want to meet the electorate where they are! And their minds are on the midterm elections. So this year’s message, the one we’d like everyone to support in social media, face-to-face discussions, websites and more is: In 2018, it’s “Midterms on My Terms.”

NY Governor Cuomo Forms Workgroup To Draft Legislation for Regulated Adult-Use Marijuana Program

NEW YORK: Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today appointed a workgroup to draft legislation for a regulated adult-use marijuana program for the legislature to consider in the upcoming session based on the findings of a multi-agency study he commissioned in January. The study, led by the Department of Health, concluded that the positive impacts of a regulated marijuana market in New York State outweigh the potential negative impacts, and that areas that may be a cause for concern can be mitigated with regulation and proper use of public education that is tailored to address key populations.

“I have reviewed the multi-agency report commissioned last January and have discussed its findings with Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker,” said Governor Cuomo. “The next steps must be taken thoughtfully and deliberately. As we work to implement the report’s recommendations through legislation, we must thoroughly consider all aspects of a regulated marijuana program, including its impact on public health, criminal justice and State revenue, and mitigate any potential risks associated with it. I thank the members of the workgroup for their time and expertise as we work to craft a model program.”

Seal_of_New_YorkIn January of 2018, Governor Cuomo directed the DOH to conduct a study of a regulated marijuana program in New York State to determine the health, economic and criminal justice impacts of a regulated market and the consequences to New York State resulting from legalization in surrounding states. The DOH report, issued on July 13, concluded that the positive impact of a regulated marijuana market in New York State outweigh the potential negative aspects.

The report found that regulation of marijuana benefits public health by enabling government oversight of the production, testing, labeling, distribution, and sale of marijuana. The creation of a regulated marijuana program would enable New York State to better control licensing, ensure quality control and consumer protection, and set age and quantity restrictions. Moreover, the report found that a regulated program would reduce racial disparities in criminalization and incarceration rates and recommended sealing the criminal records of individuals with prior low-level marijuana-related offenses. The report also specifically recommended the creation of a workgroup of subject matter experts to make recommendations to the State.

The workgroup will be overseen by Counsel to the Governor Alphonso David, who will work with members to provide them with information and support and coordinate among the Executive Branch and stakeholders. It will consist of individuals with specialized knowledge, including experts in public health, public safety and economics, and the leaders of relevant state agencies.  Further the workgroup will be tasked with engaging with the leadership of both the State Senate and the State Assembly, as well as bill sponsors of medical and regulated marijuana legislation (Senator Diane Savino, Assembly Member Richard Gottfried, Senator Liz Krueger and Assembly Member Crystal Peoples Stokes), advocates, and academic experts with experience from other states including Mark Kleiman, Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute of Urban Management, and Beau Kilmer, Senior Policy Researcher at the RAND Corporation.

The workgroup will consist of the following members:

  • David Holtgrave, PhD, Dean, School of Public Health, University at Albany
  • R. Lorraine Collins, PhD, Associate Dean for Research, University at Buffalo
  • Jeff Reynolds, PhD, CEO, Family and Children’s Association of Long Island
  • Brendan Cox, former Albany Police Chief
  • Angela H. Hawken, PhD, Professor of Public Policy, NYU Marron Institute of Urban Management
  • Natasha Schüll, PhD, Associate Professor of Media, Culture, and Communication, NYU Steinhardt
  • Tracie Gardner, Associate Director at the Legal Action Center
  • Dr. Chinazo Cunningham, MS, Professor, Albert Einstein College of Medicine
  • Counsel to the Governor Alphonso David
  • Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker
  • Budget Director Robert Mujica
  • Chief Diversity Officer for New York State Lourdes Zapata
  • Office of Mental Health Commissioner Dr. Ann Sullivan
  • Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services Commissioner Arlene González-Sánchez
  • Office of Children and Family Services Acting Commissioner Sheila Poole
  • Department of Transportation Acting Commissioner Paul Karas
  • New York State Police Superintendent George P. Beach II
  • Acting Commissioner of Taxation and Finance Nonie Manion
  • New York State Agriculture & Markets Commissioner Richard A. Ball
  • Empire State Development Corporation Commissioner Howard Zemsky

The regulated adult-use marijuana program will build on Governor Cuomo’s commitment to reducing the number of nonviolent individuals who become needlessly entangled in the criminal justice system and record of expanding access to medical marijuana. Since 2012, the Governor has twice proposed legislation to ensure that possession of a small amount of marijuana, whether public or private, is treated as a violation and not as a misdemeanor, but the legislature has failed to adopt the proposal. In 2014, Governor Cuomo signed the Compassionate Care Act into law, establishing New York State’s Medical Marijuana Program. Since then, the Governor has continued to advance improvements to the program to better serve patients.

Marijuana Legalization Could Come To These 12 States This Year

By Eric Weisbrot

Despite strong efforts to maintain the criminalization of marijuana use in the United States, many individuals and lawmakers have taken a step in the direction of legalization over the last several years. Currently, there are 29 states that allow for medical marijuana use, under particular limitations, and a smaller percentage that give residents the ability to use marijuana on a recreational basis under state law. The federal government has been slow to end prohibition of the drug, but recent research shows growing support for legalization on a state level for many reasons.

One of the strongest components of marijuana legalization support revolves around the well-documented success of states that have eliminated prohibition for residents. The states that allow for recreational use of marijuana have systems in place to ensure the tax revenue and economic growth is regulated, mostly through the use of bonding and licensing requirements for dispensaries, growers, and distributors. Based on the positive outcomes legalized states have generated, there are 12 more states considering legalizing marijuana use on some level in 2018.

Michigan: In the state of Michigan, there is a current initiative to gather the 250,000 signatures needed to include a marijuana legalization bill on the ballot in the 2018 election cycle. If approved, the bill would allow for recreational use of the drug for those over the age of 21 who are also residents of the state.

Delaware: In late 2017, a legislative task force was formed in order to analyze the impact marijuana use has on state residents from a recreational standpoint. A bill was shot down in 2017, but the hope is that an opportunity remains in 2018 after the findings of the task force are made public.

New Jersey: With a Democratic-led legislature, New Jersey is poised to legalize the use of marijuana for recreational purposes in 2018. A skyrocketing criminal justice cost along with proven racial injustices in the state are the prime motivators behind passing such legislation this year.

Vermont: A bill legalizing the recreational use of marijuana was approved in Vermont in May 2017, but it was vetoed by the governor at the time. A commission tasked with studying the issues surrounding recreational marijuana use, including health concerns and driving impairment statistics, was created at that time. Based on the results of the commission’s work, legislation is set to pass in Vermont in 2018 allowing adults over the age of 21 to possess up to one ounce of marijuana and cultivation of two mature plants.

Oklahoma: During either the June or November elections, Oklahoma is set to add a bill to the ballot for medical marijuana use legalization for state residents.

Ohio: Lawmakers in Ohio failed to get a bill passed to legalize recreational marijuana use in the last three years, but a ballot proposal is intended to be included during the midterm election cycle this year.

Connecticut: Thanks to local efforts from lawmakers in Harford, Connecticut legislature is set to include a statewide ballot vote for recreational marijuana legalization in November 2018.

Rhode Island: After forming a legislative commission in 2017, Rhode Island may be one of the next states to legalize recreational marijuana use in 2018. The commission sought to research the impacts of the drug on its community, based on neighboring studies in Massachusetts and Maine.

Kentucky: A bill for the legalization of medical marijuana may be on the docket in 2018 for residents of Kentucky. Although there is little support from the current governor, advocates for the drug’s medical use may beat the odds during the midterm election cycle.

Utah: Medical marijuana may be legalized in Utah, following in the footsteps of several other states nearby. The ballot for the midterm elections should include a bill for Utah voters to weigh in on in 2018.

South Dakota: South Dakota may also be close to legalizing medical marijuana, as signatures are currently being gathered for a ballot initiative slated for 2018 election inclusion.

Missouri: Similar to South Dakota, signatures are currently being collected for a medical marijuana bill in Missouri which would allow voters to make the decision in this election cycle.


Eric Weisbrot is the Chief Marketing Officer of JW Surety Bonds. With years of experience in the surety industry under several different roles within the company, he is also a contributing author to the surety bond blog.  

Cannafest Destiny Tour Stops At First Church Of Cannabis In Indy On June 13th, 2018

INDIANA: Marijuana Business Association (MJBA) Founder David Rheins and Curved Papers Founder Michael O’Malley will be featured speakers at the weekly services of the First Church of Cannabis, spreading education and encouragement to Indianapolis’ cannabis community on Wednesday, June 13th, as part of the midwestern leg of their “Cannafest Destiny” educational tour.

The two will participate in the weekly services of The First Church of Cannabis, led by Grand Poohbah Bill Levin.   Levin and the Church first made international news back in the spring of 2015, after the group sued then Governor Mike Pence, and the State of Indiana, over the right to use cannabis as a sacrament in church services. The suit argues that cannabis consumption is protected by the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), a controversial law championed by Pence, that some have used as defense of discriminatory behavior against LGBTQ, Muslim, and other minority communities. That it could be used to protect cannabis would be ironic, given (now Vice President) Pence’s longstanding disapproval of marijuana use.

"Victory is having cannabis as our church sacrament."

“Victory is having cannabis as our church sacrament.”

It’s been a long, drawn out process, but after more than 3 years in the courts, a decision in the lawsuit will be announced by the end of June. “We are currently waiting for a verdict from our case,” Levin told MJ News Network. “The case ended on May 30th 2018, and the Judge has 30 days to render a verdict. We are obviously VERY OPTIMISTIC about the outcome.”

When asked if a victory meant that consumption of cannabis would be added to the weekly services, the Grand Poohbah assured us: “Yes. Victory is having cannabis as our church sacrament.”

And where will the sacrament, still illegal under Indiana state and federal law, come from? “We have church members in legal states who will gladly help us celebrate on this great day of religious freedom,” the Grand Poohbah assured us.

Levin and MJBA Founder David Rheins both grew up in Indianapolis and were colleagues and fellow pioneers in the independent music and publishing scene back in the 1980s.   “I’m thrilled to be back in my hometown,” said MJBA’s Rheins, “As a Hoosier who experienced first-hand the challenges facing those whose religious beliefs or lifestyle did not conform with the norm, it is an honor to be able to return with the good news that things are changing for the better. Federal Prohibition is ending, and legalization brings jobs, tax revenues and opportunity to Indiana.”

What does it mean to have the MJBA and Curved Papers address the congregation?   “I’m excited to see national businesses finally recognizing Indiana’s potential in the cannabis industry. It is an honor to welcome MJBA and Curved Papers here at The First Church of Cannabis,” Levin said.

Curved Papers supports the political activism of the cannabis community nationwide,” Michael O’Malley told MJNews. “Our Cannafest Destiny Tour with MJBA, and our licensing agreement with NORML contribute to the promotion of personal freedom and  the communication of accurate up-to-date information about the legalization movement. “

The Cannafest Destiny Tour first began in 2016, and has made stops in Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts.  The Midwestern leg of the tour will include stops in Michigan, Ohio and Indiana.

Mass Cannabis Control Commission Notice Of Public Meeting May 22

MASSACHUSETTS: In accordance with Sections 18-25 of Chapter 30A of the Massachusetts General Laws, notice is hereby given of a meeting of the Cannabis Control Commission.

The meeting will take place at 10:30AM on May 22, 2018 in the Health Policy Commission Conference Room, 50 Milk Street, 8th Floor Boston, MA.

CNB_logo_rgb_web-300x139PUBLIC MEETING AGENDA

1) Call to Order

2) Chairman’s comments & updates

3) Approval of minutes from previous meetings

4) Executive Director Update
a) Staffing
b) Weekly Update:
i) Priority Certification applications status
ii) License applications status

5) Staff recommendations on priority certification applications

6) New business that the Chairman did not anticipate at time of posting

7) Next meeting date (if known)VIEW CALENDAR

Location

50 Milk Street, 8th Floor, Boston , MA 02110

Washington State Legal Cannabis By The Numbers: February 1, 2018 – May 17, 2018

WASHINGTON: The below statistics cover activity in Leaf Data Systems for the time period between February 1, 2018 and May 17, 2018.

Leaf Data Systems 5/17/18

Leaf Data Systems 5/17/18