Weed Business Ownership Still Hidden In Haze Of Smoke

ILLINOIS:  Want a stake in the medical marijuana business but missed out on getting a coveted state license? You might not be too late.

Weed businesses that scored licenses to grow in Illinois are looking for investors.

But if the chance to get in on the ground floor of what’s already a $2.7 billion industry in the United States sounds too good to be true, insiders say the tiny number of patients so far permitted to use marijuana in Illinois is causing them sleepless nights.

They’re looking for tens of millions of dollars in financing to build marijuana farms — and to keep running while hoping the state will loosen its restrictions on who can use the drug.


Appeal: Pot-Derived Assets Should Be Protected In Bankruptcy

COLORADO:  The federal government cannot passively allow a billion-dollar marijuana industry to flourish by not prosecuting certain crimes and then later deny its participants bankruptcy protection, a new court filing says.

By refusing to allow marijuana-derived assets to be protected in bankruptcy in the same way other assets are, the government is passively prosecuting the crimes it had earlier said it would not, “a Catch-22” of the U.S. Department of Justice’s own making, according to an appeal filed by a Denver couple whose bankruptcy was dismissed because much of their income was derived from a medical marijuana business.

Attorneys for Frank and Sarah Arenas of Denver argue in a 43-page brief that a bankruptcy judge erred when he dismissed their petition in August because their assets were derived from activity that is illegal under federal law.

“The (Arenases) should not be faulted, or more importantly lose the right to a discharge of their debts, for playing by rules created by the same agency that seeks to dismiss their bankruptcy case for breaking those rules,” attorney Daniel Garfield wrote, arguing the court could simply refuse certain assets and allow the case to continue.

Hundreds Meet To Learn More About Medical Marijuana Manufacture

MINNESOTA:  Hundreds of would-be marijuana entrepreneurs crowded into an auditorium Friday morning to learn more about the Health Department‘s plans for regulating the state’s new medical cannabis industry.

More than 200 people pre-registered for the event and even more showed up at the door, packing an auditorium at the Minnesota History Center. Over the next six hours, they would be briefed on the rules, regulations, fees and expectations for the few businesses that will be responsible for producing and distributing medical marijuana when it becomes legal in Minnesota next year.

Getting into the medical marijuana business in Minnesota won’t be easy. There will be only two production facilities in the state, each with four regional distribution centers. Applying for a medical marijuana license starts with a $20,000 nonrefundable application fee and the industry will be tightly regulated.

Undeterred, attendees peppered Health Department staff with questions: Will dispensaries be required to have pharmacists on staff? (Yes.) Can manufacturers work with outside contractors on things like packaging for their produce? (Not right now, but that could change.)


Canada Is Primed To Be A Global Example For Medical Marijuana

CANADA: By unlocking the once-obscure medical marijuana market, Canada has created a fast-growing, profitable and federally regulated industry with a distinct appeal to the more daring global investor.

About a dozen producers of the drug will find themselves in the spotlight this year as they consider going public or prepare to so through share sales or reverse takeovers to capitalize on recent regulatory changes, investment bankers said.

The Canadian companies are in a race to raise money to build facilities, attract patients and grab shares in a market projected to grow to C$1.3 billion ($1.20 billion) in the next 10 years.

Despite facing considerable risks, they have the advantage of being in one of the few countries where medical marijuana is legal nationwide and where licensed operators can mass-produce it.

Clark County Nevada Selects 18 Applicants For Medical Pot Licenses

NEVADA:  Following three days of hearings and a lengthy voting process, the number has been reversed. The Clark County Commission on Friday narrowed a list of 81 applicants for medical marijuana dispensaries to 18.

Voting took three hours, but for the applicants, the process started months ago.

Over the last three days, each applicant had six minutes to convince commissioners why his or her group was deserving of a business license.

Commissioners want to spread dispensaries across seven regions in the county and place those businesses in heavily populated areas.

The last applicant chosen to move ahead in the process was a group which includes Las Vegas resident Hugh Hempel. His group hopes to open a business to be called The Clinic Nevada.

Marijuana Is New (Legal) Cash Crop in Connecticut

CONNECTICUT:  Across Connecticut, growers are cultivating marijuana for medical use in buildings with the exacting standards of pharmaceutical factories.

Employees reporting for work at some plants will be required to change into scrubs. Then, they will pass through a room that will emit blasts of air to remove contaminants brought in from the outside. Computers will control temperature and humidity in the plant-growing areas, where an air-filtration system will screen for molds and pests.

“We aren’t just growing plants in a warehouse,” said David Lipton, the founder of Advanced Grow Labs in West Haven. The company is spending $2.5 million to retrofit a portion of a 62,000-square-foot building where it is the primary tenant. “We really are like a startup pharmaceutical company.”

Canada Vending Machines Pop Out Marijuana

CANADA: The vending machines at a Vancouver storefront look ordinary — but instead of spitting out gum or snacks, for a few coins they deliver medical marijuana.

For Can$4, the brightly lit “gumball” machine drops a plastic ball filled with the so-called “Cotton Candy” variety of the drug. The “Purple Kush” option costs Can$6.

But the really good stuff, said proprietor Chuck Varabioff, is “Pink Kush,” available from another machine the size of a fridge that delivers a wide range of marijuana in plastic bags heat-sealed for hygiene.

His British Columbia Pain Society is one of about 400 pot stores — which call themselves medical marijuana dispensaries — in the western Canadian city.

They’re all part of a booming medical marijuana industry that operates in a legal gray zone since a federal court ruling recently overturned Ottawa’s latest attempt to regulate its distribution.

Marijuana Businesses May Have Trouble Finding A Bank

NEVADA:  It’s a budding business in Nevada that will bring in big time money. Even though medical marijuana is legal under Nevada law, most banks steer clear of these all-cash operations.

So where will their owners store their money, when they open shop in Clark County?

The same federal government that regulates banking transactions also says selling marijuana is a crime, so people who open medical marijuana businesses in Clark County, for the most part can’t get the banks to do any business with them.


Medical Marijuana Center In NJ Says Business Is Booming, And That’s Just To Start

NEW JERSEY:  South Jersey’s first medical marijuana facility began accepting patients in an isolated industrial park near the Atlantic County landfill in Egg Harbor Township on Oct. 28.

It’s been a booming first six months. Compassionate Care Foundation’s CEO, Bill Thomas, said it is looking to build a second indoor growing facility at its secure site, significantly increasing the volume of marijuana it can produce.

Thomas spoke in the center’s lobby, near a small memorial to Diane Riportella, an Egg Harbor Township woman who traveled to Trenton regularly to lobby state lawmakers for medical marijuana while she was dying of multiple sclerosis.

Marijuana Nonprofit Aims To Build Green Dispensary In Pittsfield, MA

MASSACHUSETTS: The limited use of medical marijuana approved by Massachusetts voters nearly one year ago will soon be a clinical reality, and one new firm with local roots is looking to become the face of this new industry in the Berkshires. [Read more…]