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“The American people are demanding a change to our outdated cannabis laws and I am glad to see my colleagues heeding their calls,” Blumenauer, founder and co-chair of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus, said.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.

Virginia Governor Northam Signs Bold New Laws To Reform Criminal Justice

House Bill 972 decriminalizes simple possession of marijuana and creates a $25 civil penalty

VIRGINIA: Governor Ralph Northam has signed into law criminal justice reform legislation that he proposed in January. The package includes measures raising the felony larceny threshold; permanently eliminating driver’s license suspensions for unpaid fines, fees, and court costs; raising the age of juvenile transfer to adult court; and reforming parole.

The Governor’s package also includes decriminalizing simple possession of marijuana and sealing the records of prior convictions. The Governor proposed that a study be completed to assess the impact of fully legalizing marijuana in the Commonwealth.

“Every Virginian deserves access to a fair and equitable criminal justice system,” said Governor Northam. “These bills combat mass incarceration, increase support for returning citizens, and ensure that those who have paid their debt to society have a meaningful second chance. I thank the General Assembly for working with us to build a more just and inclusive Commonwealth.”

Governor Northam signed the following bills:

  • House Bill 1196 and Senate Bill 1 repeal the requirement that the driver’s license of a person convicted of any violation of the law who fails or refuses to provide for immediate payment of fines or costs be suspended. The bill requires the Commissioner of the Department of Motor Vehicles to return or reinstate any person’s driver’s license that was suspended prior to July 1, 2019, solely for nonpayment of fines or costs, without a reinstatement fee.
  • House Bill 477 and Senate Bill 546 raise the age when a Commonwealth’s Attorney can transfer a juvenile to be tried as an adult without court approval from 14 to 16.
  • House Bill 909 and Senate Bill 513 end the practice of suspending driver’s licenses for non-driving related offenses, including drug offenses and theft of motor fuel.
  • House Bill 974 and Senate Bill 511 modify the current standards for writs of actual innocence. Currently, individuals may pursue writs of actual innocence under very narrow circumstances, which limits access to relief and places additional burdens on the pardon process.
  • House Bill 277 and Senate Bill 736 provide that a court may permit an inmate to earn credits against any fines and court costs imposed against him by performing community service. Under current law, credits may be earned only before or after imprisonment.

The Governor proposed two amendments:

  • House Bill 972 decriminalizes simple possession of marijuana and creates a $25 civil penalty. The bill seals the records of convictions and prohibits employers from inquiring about past convictions. The bill creates a work group to study the impact of legalization of marijuana. Governor Northam proposes to require that report by November 30, 2021.
  • House Bill 33 and Senate Bill 793, the “Fishback” bills, make individuals sentenced by juries between 1995 and 2000 eligible for parole consideration. Parole was abolished in Virginia in 1995, however juries were not instructed of this change until 2000 following a court ruling. The Governor proposes adding an “emergency clause” to the measure.

“As a lawyer, I believe in justice, and that means we must aspire to a legal system that promotes equality under the law,” said House Majority Leader Charniele Herring. “I also believe in fairness, transparency, and compassion. These new laws strengthen our criminal justice system, and I thank Governor Northam for signing them into law.”

“Virginia’s old laws often led to too many black and brown people getting harsher punishments than the majority of Virginians,” said Senator Louise Lucas. “I appreciate Governor Northam signing these new laws that will help bring equity to our criminal justice system.”

“The Governor put forward a criminal justice reform legislative package that was historic and transformative,” said Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security Brian J. Moran. “The elimination of driver’s license suspensions for unpaid fees and fines and non-driving related offenses will affect hundreds of thousands of people, and the raising of the felony threshold is a simple matter of justice and fairness. This administration continues to demonstrate its dedication to comprehensive criminal justice reform.”

Global Cannabis Sales Grow 48% To $15 Billion In 2019

COLORADO: Global cannabis sales rose 48% to $15 billion in 2019, driven by growth in sales in Canada and seven U.S. states that saw sales more than double.

Continued consumer adoption in maturing markets such as Colorado and new adult-use markets including Massachusetts contributed to 45% growth in adult-use sales to $8.9 billion. However, medical-only states and countries actually grew faster – up 54% growth to $6.2 billion. The United States saw 81% of spending in 2019, although superior growth in the rest of the world will continue balancing the market across the US, Canada, and Europe through 2024.

“These stunning growth numbers prove the negative stigma of cannabis is coming to an end in the US. What’s incredible is the realization that so much potential growth remains both domestically and globally,” said Troy Dayton, Founder and Chief Strategy Officer of The Arcview Group. “With sales jumping nearly 50% in an industry with only a handful of markets online, this report quantifies why there’s so much anticipation from producers and shrewd investors waiting for national and international markets to open up or mature. The fallout in public market valuations is not trending with the tremendous growth curve of this exploding market. That discrepancy represents a unique and time-bound opportunity for investors.”

Despite strong growth, regulatory challenges created headwinds that artificially hampered business activity in California, Canada, and numerous other markets.

“The disconnect between investor sentiment and the facts on the ground is as dramatic as anything I’ve seen since the dot.com stock crash of 2000, which happened just as the internet caught fire with consumers,” said Tom Adams, Editor-in-Chief of Arcview Market Research and Managing Director of BDS Analytics Industry Intelligence. “Five billion additional dollars were spent on legal cannabis in 2019. That’s bigger than the entire legal cannabis market was in 2015.”

Among the key points in the forecasts:

  • Sales in 2020 are forecast to increase by 38% driven by growth in established markets and continued geographic expansion, including Illinois’ recreational market opening;
  • Despite medical spending outgrowing adult-use spending in 2019, adult-use markets will be the primary drivers of global market growth through 2024;
  • More than $400 million in Massachusetts adult use sales in the first year of an adult use East Coast market;
  • Florida continues to perform strongly with over $650 million in sales despite being a medical-only market;
  • New consumers continue to enter the market at a rapid pace with the development of new products and social acceptance

For more information, please visit www.arcviewgroup.com and www.bdsanalytics.com

Indiana NORML Applauds Acting Marion County Prosecutor Ryan Mears’ Focus

INDIANA:  In a press conference, Acting Marion County Prosecutor Ryan Mears announced that the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office will no longer prosecute citizens for possessing less than an ounce of cannabis.      Indianapolis now becomes the first Hoosier city to exercise “lowest priority” status for dealing with simple possession of small amounts of cannabis.

According to , this policy shift is expected to dramatically reduce the number of marijuana possession arrests made by Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department and Marion County Sheriff’s Department law enforcement officers.   “For many years Indiana NORML has worked diligently to address the severe racial disparities in arrests and prosecutions for simple possession of cannabis and to advance civil liberties,” said Smith.  “We’ve also fought for Hoosiers’ right to use medical cannabis with a doctor’s prescription to treat chronic pain and other medical and emotional conditions, so patients can live in peace, without fear of arrest, and criminal prosecution.”

Though INORML has advocated for these changes for decades, the efforts of many of the INORML Board of Directors has intensified over the past months in many different areas.   “These efforts have included face-to-face meetings with several elected officials, including representatives of the Marion County Prosecutor’s office, the Indiana Prosecuting Attorneys’ Council, and numerous state and local officials over the last several months,” said Bill Groth, Indiana NORML Board of Directors. “We are most pleased that our efforts have finally resulted in a sound, compassionate, and permanent reassessment of law enforcement priorities as they relate to possession of cannabis.”

In the interim, the organization looks forward to working with other public officials to enact similar policies across the state to bridge the gap until the Indiana General Assembly decides to finally take direct action to resolve our detrimental and outdated cannabis laws.

Oregon State University’s Global Hemp Innovation Center Receives $1M For Genetics Research

OREGON: Oregon State University’s Global Hemp Innovation Center has received a $1 million gift to explore hemp genomics, research that can grow understanding of how hemp may be used in health and nutrition products, textiles and construction materials.

The gift to the OSU Foundation was provided by Oregon CBD, a hemp seed research and development company.

The Global Hemp Innovation Center was launched in June by OSU’s College of Agricultural Sciences and is the largest, most comprehensive hemp research center in the nation. Led by Jay Noller, the center is based in the College of Agricultural Sciences, with faculty from multiple disciplines and colleges across OSU, and has a global reach that includes partnerships in four countries.

“We have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support and interest in our work,” said Jay Noller, an OSU professor and internationally recognized hemp expert.

Noller said that while some private sector genomic studies of hemp have taken place, very little information is available publicly for research.

“There is a tremendous amount of possibility with hemp, and understanding the genetics is key,” said Seth Crawford, who with his brother Eric, co-own and manage Oregon CBD. “Philosophically, we believe the public land grant university needs to be the epicenter of that research so that all can benefit from the findings.

“We believe OSU is the right place to lead this research,” Crawford said.

Oregon CBD is a family-owned business with longtime ties to OSU that go back several generations. Seth and Eric Crawford both have several degrees from the university and prior to starting the family business Seth taught in the School of Public Policy for 13 years and contributed in 2015 to some of the Oregon Health Authority’s early cannabis policies.

“This also provides us the added satisfaction of giving back to the university that has been a part of our family since my grandfather Loren Gardner graduated in 1954,” Seth Crawford said.

The gift is the first major private donation the center has received since its launch, and is unique in that it allows scientists to publicly share data and collaborate with others engaged in the study of hemp.

“This investment accelerates our leadership and establishes OSU at the forefront in genomic research in hemp,” said Alan Sams, dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences.

Noller said genomic research tools will allow better understanding of the DNA present within different hemp varieties. He said this information will provide insights for developing specific hemp varieties for uses ranging from health and nutrition products, to the manufacture of textiles, and use in construction materials. The research also may lead to stronger, more disease resistant, higher yielding plants, and provide understanding of the genes that influence the production of chemical compounds in the plant. With this knowledge, Noller said growers might be able to better predict the levels of hemp essential oil components that are synthesized in different plant varieties.

Kelly Vining, an assistant professor and researcher in OSU’s Department of Horticulture, will lead the university’s hemp genomic research.

“Looking at the most intimate secrets of life in plants is powerful,” Vining said. “With hemp, the prospects are additionally exciting because it not only holds such interesting promise, but it is just a gnarly plant genome – the bioinformatics are challenging. We are now able to explore that promise and challenge, while also being among the first to share our findings with the world.”

‘I Can Still Do That Foundation’ & Tom Pacheco Premiere “Freida’s Secret Garden”

Shot in Humboldt County, the video uses local talent and filmmakers to promote cannabis legalization

NEW YORK: The I Can Still Do That Foundation, a New York City-based non-profit whose mission is to connect people so they can share information and empower each generation to teach the others, launched “Freida’s Secret Garden “  a pro-pot music video based on a song by legendary Woodstock singer-songwriter Tom Pacheco.

“The time to end irrational prohibition of cannabis is now,’  Dan Schneider, Executive Director of the Foundation, announced. “With 33 States now recognizing the benefits of medical cannabis and another 11 States legalizing recreational cannabis, a majority of Americans are in favor of legalization and the end of the irrational and Draconian laws which have stifled research on the potential benefits of cannabis. These laws have had a disparate impact on people of color and restoration of civil rights to those who have been adversely affected is also required to promote equity. The patchwork of irrational and inconsistent federal and state laws must end and the federal law must allow these now legal business to access the federal banking system to that black market producers of questionable products can be replaced by healthy and tested, legal cannabis and CBD products.”

“We want to thank advisor Lelehnia DuBois and her friends in the Humboldt County for helping us make the new music video,” Schneider said. “You can see the new video here in a sneak peek. Please share it with friends. We are trying to help Tom get the recognition he deserves as a legendary singer/songwriter who has written songs for Bob Dylan, The Band, Jefferson Starship, and others. He has a music publishing catalogue of more than 500 songs; “Freida’s” is just one of many great ones.

Still Do That advisor, Curved Papers Founder Michael O’Malley, said, “This song and video bring together the West Coast and East Coast hippie vibes – from Humboldt County to Woodstock – that have given rise to the contemporary cannabis legalization movement. Call it Cannafest Destiny. The fun, the healing compassion and sensible restoration of marijuana’s rightful place in society are all captured humorously in Tom’s lyric and rocking rhythm.

David Rheins, founder of the Marijuana Business Association and Still Do That Advisor agreed: “Marijuana has gone mainstream, and the mainstream media is now getting hip to the power of the plant and the amazing possibilities that legalization brings.  Through the work of artists and activists like  Tom Pacheco,  we are raising cannabis consciousness, and dispelling the dangerous myths and harmful policies of prohibition.”

Still Do That Advisor Melissa Gibson, founder of Hemp and Humanity said, “This folksy and campy musical send-up to the authentic cannabis lifestyle pays homage to the plant, place and people who have championed it for generations. As marijuana use reaches a tipping point in mainstream acceptance, and the cannabis industry has attracted big business, Tom Pacheco take us back to the root(s) of this plant and its essential spirit of connecting humans with one another. What Frieda and her happy, hippy grandson Paul know, is that cannabis has the power to heal, clothe, feed, house, fuel and sustain human’s ability to live on this earth. And that’s worth singing about.”

Still Do That Advisor Lelehnia DuBois, cannabis community advocate and Sensi Magazine publisher, who co-produced the video and played the title role of Freida added, “I come from a culture of Frieda’s. It felt like she was my own mother. It was an honor to play the role”

According to Schneider, an entertainment lawyer by trade, the Foundation plans to produce a weekly TV news series called, “High Hopes”,  to educate people on the history, legal issues, health issues, science and finance surrounding the booming legal cannabis industry.  “We may even use Tom Pacheco’s song as a theme song for our TV series,” Schneider said. “We are currently looking for partners and sponsors for the series and are particularly interested in pro-cannabis celebrities to help demystify the stigma surrounding cannabis.”

Colorado’s MedPharm Clears Significant DEA Hurdle For Federal Cannabis Research License

COLORADO: MedPharm Research, the leader in cannabis research and formulation development, was notified by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) that it had been selected to move forward as one of the first applicants to be granted a license to grow federally legal cannabis under the terms of a new policy statement issued today in the Federal Register.

“This is something we have been waiting for since we first sent in our application in September, 2016, as one of the first medical grow facilities to apply for a license,” Albert Gutierrez, CEO of MedPharm, said. “Now, finally, the DEA has seen the importance of allowing federally legal grows to get more active in medical cannabis research, and do the work that we really need to do for patients across the country. It is a real game-changer for the whole medical cannabis industry.”

In a letter to Gutierrez, the DEA stated that MedPharm will be issued a Notice of Proposed Rule-making, where the company will be asked to comment on regulations about growing cannabis for medical research. However, the DEA has not provided a timetable for when those regulations will be completed. “We at MedPharm stand ready to assist the DEA in any way we can to help expedite this process, and bring to patients the best quality, FDA-approved cannabis that they need for research and treatment as quickly as possible,” said Gutierrez.

According to the University of Mississippi News, in 1968, the Research Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy was awarded a competitive contract from the government to grow marijuana that could be standardized for research. For over 50 years, it has remained the only cultivation facility licensed by the DEA to provide federally legal cannabis for medical researchers, who have reported that cannabis from the university is of such poor quality that it is essentially useless in conducting the lab work and human trials necessary for a reliable FDA-approved medical research.

As more medical cannabis research ramped up, a growing group of medical cannabis researchers pressured the DEA to open up licensing to other facilities. Then, in August, 2016, the DEA stated that they would begin accepting applications for companies wanting licenses for legal grows, but nothing more happened until this June, when one of the applicants sued the DEA for unreasonable delays, prompting today’s response.

MedPharm is well-positioned to work with the DEA and be among the first providers of federally legal cannabis for medical research. The application for the license included outlining research objectives and creating areas where medical research cannabis is grown specifically for research purposes.

Tilray Announces Agreement To Export First Shipment Of Medical Cannabis From Portugal To Germany

CANADA: Tilray, a global pioneer in cannabis research, cultivation, production and distribution, today announced it has entered into an agreement with Cannamedical Pharma GmbH (“Cannamedical”) through its wholly-owned subsidiary Tilray Portugal Unipessoal Lda. (“Tilray Portugal”), to export a wholesale shipment of $3.3 (€3) million worth of medical cannabis from Portugal to Germany. The shipment, which is expected to be completed in fall 2019, will be Tilray’s first from its state-of-the-art EU campus in Portugal to supply patients in Germany.

 tilray

“This is a significant milestone for Tilray as we ramp up our capacity to serve international markets and generate revenue from our EU campus through the end of 2019,” says Tilray CEO Brendan Kennedy. “We believe our 2.5 million square feet of cultivation and state-of-the-art processing space in Europe is an important differentiator, which will enable us to reduce costs and improve margins while hedging against regulatory risk.”

Founded in 2016 in Cologne, Germany, Cannamedical is fully licensed and GDP-certified (Good Distribution Practice) to import and distribute high quality medical cannabis products. The privately owned company is a leading independent supplier of medical cannabis products to 2,500 pharmacies and clinical facilities across Germany.

 “We at Cannamedical Pharma are committed to helping doctors, medical specialists and pharmacists improve their patients’ quality of life,” says Cannamedical CEO David Henn. “Tilray’s product has passed our strict quality control standards, and we’re excited to have found a partner able to deliver medical cannabis products for use in Cannamedical’s own brands. We look forward to increasing access for patients in need across the country.”

Tilray has a pioneering track record as a company committed to making pharmaceutical-grade medical cannabis products available to patients in need around the world. Tilray was the first licensed medical cannabis producer to successfully export medical cannabis from North America and import medical cannabis products into the EU in 2016 and the first company to import cannabis oils into the German market in 2017.

“We are pleased to enter into an agreement with a partner who shares Tilray’s commitment to product quality and safety and patient access,” says Sascha Mielcarek, Tilray’s Managing Director, Europe. “This initial shipment will be the first of many from

Cannapreneur Partners Appoints Former American Express Senior Manager Doug Lennick To Executive Board

MASSACHUSETTS: Cannapreneur Partners, the Westborough, Mass-based holding company finding the cannabis world’s 1% outlier entrepreneurs and industry investment opportunities currently in the middle of a $150 million fundraise round open to investors, has announced the appointment of Doug Lennick to their Executive Board of Directors. 

Lennick is world-renowned for innovative approaches to developing high performance in individuals and organizations, and is an expert in creating practical applications of human behavior that have yielded great success factors for his clients and partners alike in financial services and other industries.

Lennick is a certified financial planner (CFP) and a behavioral financial advisor (BFA) and served as Executive Vice President for American Express Financial Advisors (now Ameriprise Financial), where he led an organization of 17,000 to tremendous success.  Lennick has been the author or co-author of six books translated across 13 languages and has been referenced in the best sellers Working with Emotional Intelligence and Power of Purpose.

“Michael Scott is one of the world’s best at combining entrepreneurial expertise with the passion to make a difference. I am confident Cannapreneur Partners will make a difference, and that’s why I accepted this Board position,” said Lennick.

Lennick currently serves as CEO and co-founder of think2perform, a 15+ year-old professional coaching, leadership consulting, and business development services firm that improves the decision-making skills and performance of individuals and organizations. In November 2000, Lennick was honored by Columbia University’s Center for Social and Emotional Education, and is a Fellow at the Carlson Executive Development Center, Carlson School of Management, and University of Minnesota. He is also a member of the prestigious Consortium for Research on Emotional Intelligence in Organizations.

Michael Scott, Chairman and co-founder of Cannapreneur Partners, says: “I am truly humbled and excited to have Doug, a long time mentor, not only join as a Board Director but also as a strategic, values and purpose driven advisor to our company. Doug and I both see the tremendous value the medicinal side of cannabis can bring to the world.”

Scott notes the chasm between the potential applications and deeper understanding of cannabis as a medicine and where the legal industry currently is, means the opportunity to infuse smart capital and strategic operational excellence is now.

Says Scott: “I am very confident with Doug joining the team as a thought leader we will make a significant, meaningful impact in the cannabis industry.”

Global Cannabis Business Leaders, Scientists, Technologists & Thought Leaders Gather For CannaTech Cape Town, South Africa, November 24 – 26, 2019

ISRAEL: As the global medical cannabis market continues to expand and increasing numbers of countries around the globe legalize its use, the renowned CannaTech Summit will take place for the first time on the African Continent in Cape Town, South Africa, November 24 – 26 at The Lookout, V&A Waterfront.

With estimates that the cannabis and associated products market could be worth R27 billion by 2023, this immense potential has led to a boom in regional cannabis interest and investment.

CannaTech Cape Town will bring together industry leaders from across the African Continent and around the world known for their significant and ground-breaking contributions to the global medical and recreational cannabis market in all fields including Agricultural Tech and Innovation, Business and Finance, Policy and Regulation, Science and Medicine.

“The global interest in Africa’s cannabis market and South Africa’s recent legislative acceptance of cannabis makes Cape Town the perfect destination for CannaTech. Following South Africa, several African countries, including Swaziland, Malawi, and Zimbabwe, are examining legalizing cannabis cultivation for medical or industrial applications.  We are thrilled to bring some of the world’s leading companies and investors to CapeTown to meet with their counterparts to discuss a range of business and technological issues and work with like minded professionals who understand the immense global health and business potential of medical and recreational cannabis moving forward,” said Saul Kaye, Founder and CEO of iCAN:Israel-Cannabis. “As someone born in South Africa, I am especially looking forward to establishing ties throughout the entire continental cannabis eco-system,” he added.