Ayr Wellness Enters the Cannabis-Infused Beverage Market with Proposed Acquisition of Levia

NEW YORK: Ayr Wellness Inc., a leading vertically integrated cannabis multi-state operator (“MSO”), has announced that it has entered into a binding letter of intent to acquire Cultivauna, LLC, the owner of Levia branded cannabis infused seltzers and water-soluble tinctures.

“Ayr wants something exciting to offer every cannabis consumer of today and the future cannabis customer of tomorrow. Infused beverages, done right, will be game changing to the mainstreaming of cannabis in the U.S., providing an approachable and sessionable form factor to new and existing customers. The acquisition of Levia brings Ayr into this rapidly growing segment with delicious, market-leading infused seltzer. We are excited to have Levia join Kynd premium flower and Origyn extracts in Ayr’s suite of premier national brands,” said Jonathan Sandelman, CEO of Ayr Wellness.

“With a formula that provides consistently great flavor and zero calories in an infused beverage experience, we believe Levia has enormous potential as an alcohol alternative. In just six months since its initial launch in Massachusetts, Levia has become the top selling THC beverage. As we finalize our updated national brand portfolio to address all segments and form factors, Levia will play a marquee role in each market where we operate,” Mr. Sandelman concluded.

Ayr intends to purchase 100% of the equity interests of Cultivauna, LLC. The terms of the transaction include $20 million in upfront consideration, made up of up to $10 million in cash with the remainder in stock. An earn-out payment of up to an additional $40 million will be paid in shares based on the achievement of revenue targets in 2022 and 2023.

Levia Cannabis Infused Seltzers provide for rapid onset of the effects of THC, typically 15-20 minutes, allowing for a more consistent consumption experience than many edible products. Levia is currently available in Massachusetts in three experiences and flavors:

  • “Achieve” Raspberry Lime (Sativa)
  • “Celebrate” Lemon Lime (Hybrid)
  • “Dream” Jam Berry (Indica)

Each flavor is available in 12-ounce slim cans and contains 5 mgs of THC. Levia is also available in water soluble tinctures in the same formulations.

The acquisition is subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals, as well as the execution of a binding definitive agreement. The acquisition is expected to close by the end of 2021.

Illinois Adult Use Cannabis Monthly Sales Figures 2020

ILLINOIS: The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, Office of the Secretary, issued updated sales figures for the state’s adult use cannabis sales.

Here are the Illinois full year sales figures for 2020, broken out by monthly totals.

 

Cannabis Market Is Expected To Grow At USD 39.4 Billion By 2023, At A Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) Of 30.7%

JAPAN: The cannabis market is driven by various factors such as the growing medicinal application of cannabis and the increasing legalization of cannabis. Growing medicinal application of cannabis is expected to drive the overall growth of the cannabis market.

The cannabis market size is expected to grow from USD 10.3 billion in 2018 to USD 39.4 billion by 2023, at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 30.7% during the forecast period. The cannabis market is driven by various factors such as the growing medicinal application of cannabis and the increasing legalization of cannabis. However, a complex regulatory structure for the use of cannabis can hinder the growth of the market.

Request to Fill The Form To get Sample Copy of This Report: https://www.sdki.jp/sample-request-61683

“The Final Report will cover the impact analysis of COVID-19 on this industry (Global And Regional Market).”

“The concentrates segment is expected to grow at the highest CAGR during the forecast period.”
The concentrates segment is the fastest-growing segment in the cannabis market, by product type. This is due to their ease in usage and their versatility in the method of delivery, such as dabbing, ingestible oils, and tinctures. Also, along with ingestion, concentrates can offer cleaner, smoother, and less-odiferous hits than flowers. Concentrates are being increasingly opted for over flowers, as these as more potent in nature. The potency of concentrates could also be modified as per requirement and usage, to evoke a higher consumer likeability.

“The THC-dominant segment, by compound, is projected to hold the largest market share during the forecast period.”
The THC-dominant segment is projected to hold the largest share and grow at the highest CAGR during the forecast period. The dominance of this segment is majorly attributed to the fact that THC is the psychoactive substance in cannabis products and is responsible for head high feeling. Even though high THC content is better known for its mind-altering euphoria, it has important medical benefits and is considered effective in relieving nausea, appetite loss, and insomnia.

“North America is projected to be the dominant market during the forecast period.”
The market in this region is primarily driven by the growth in the US and Canadian markets. The market in this region is driven by the increasing legalization of cannabis for both medical and recreational purposes all over North America and the increasing awareness among consumers regarding the health benefits of cannabis. The market is further fueled by the presence of major cannabis giants such as Canopy Growth Corporation, Aurora Cannabis Inc., and Medical Marijuana Inc., who are continuously investing and collaborating for the development of new products to fulfill the consumer demand.

“The Final Report will cover the impact analysis of COVID-19 on this industry (Global And Regional Market).”

OLCC Identifies Potential Consumer Harm In Some Cannabis Vape Products

Voluntary recall started because non-cannabis additives had undisclosed ingredients

Investigation continues to determine impact across Oregon’s legal cannabis industry

OREGON:  As part of an on-going consumer product safety investigation, the Oregon Liquor Control Commission has identified that marijuana products sold in Oregon’s recreational marijuana market during the last two years contained additives, squalene and squalane, that have been linked to safety concerns similar to Vitamin E Acetate when vaped and inhaled. The OLCC is working to trace products and when necessary remove them from sale. OLCC will be considering immediate action at its December 2020 Commission meeting to prohibit future use of squalene and squalane, institute a mandatory recall of affected products, and create a more stringent and transparent review process of cannabis vaping products going forward.

Recreational retail shops won’t be open until October.

The products under investigation by OLCC contained Viscosity, a non-cannabis diluent manufactured and sold by a third-party (non-OLCC marijuana licensee). Some of the product remains on the market, and the OLCC is working to trace and remove it.

Bulk Naturals LLC., dba True Terpenes, sold Viscosity that solely contained squalene, squalane, and an unidentified olive extract to OLCC recreational marijuana licensees between at least January 2018 and November 2019. Squalene is a “botanically-derived terpene” that can be derived from olives; squalane is the hydrogenated version of squalene. Following OLCC’s confirmation of the presence of squalane in Viscosity via independent laboratory analysis by ChemHistory and SC Labs, True Terpenes has complied with all of OLCC’s requests for information. Viscosity has since been reformulated, and according to True Terpenes, none of their products have contained squalene or squalane since November 2019.

As a result of its investigation the OLCC has identified recreational marijuana licensees that potentially used Viscosity in their products.  Because of their purchase of Viscosity, OLCC has requested additional information from several licensees about products they have manufactured.

One licensee – Oregrown, a vertically integrated cannabis company based in Bend – swiftly provided the requested documentation. Oregrown was the first licensee to confirm its use of the Viscosity formula under investigation, and since then has been working with the OLCC to voluntarily recall the limited amount of its remaining product containing Viscosity. OLCC has provided Oregrown with the information regarding affected items still on the market and their current location.

Oregrown utilized Viscosity in making Oregrown PAX Era D9 Elite style vaping products manufactured on or prior to August 31, 2019. Although Oregrown has reformulated its PAX product to no longer include Viscosity, the previously manufactured items containing the prior Viscosity formula remain in the market. The most recent sales from Oregrown PAX Era D9 Elite products containing this prior Viscosity formula were in October 2020.

In all, between April 2018 and October 2020, 268 OLCC licensed recreational marijuana retailers sold this item.

Consumers can verify the date of manufacture and whether an item they have purchased is subject to this recall. Any Oregrown PAX Era D9 Elite item with the label identification of “2520” and made before August 31, 2019 should be destroyed by the consumer or returned to the retailer where the item was purchased.

The OLCC has found that Oregrown was NOT aware of the contents of Viscosity and didn’t know that it contained potentially harmful ingredients. At the time that Oregrown used Viscosity, the manufacturer, True Terpenes, did not publicly disclose any of Viscosity’s ingredients due to claims of trade secret protections. Oregrown has provided all information that OLCC has requested, and its products complied with OLCC’s labeling rules at the time. OLCC expects that other licensees will act just as swiftly in order to ensure consumer safety by assisting the Commission in identifying and removing these potentially harmful products from the market.

The OLCC has been concerned about the presence of undisclosed ingredients in cannabis vaping products, and during the last year has been examining the use of non-cannabis additives. As part of this review OLCC has gathered evidence that certain additives pose potential danger to consumers.

At the same time the OLCC has suspected that these unhealthy additives had already been introduced into Oregon’s recreational marijuana system without the knowledge of licensees. The OLCC has been investigating the presence of unknown additives in cannabis vape products, which led to OLCC’s independent discovery of squalene and squalane tainted products.

OLCC recently commissioned a study that determined that when exposed to heat, squalene and squalane produce harmful chemicals. It has also been documented that inhaling squalene has been associated with exogenous lipoid pneumonia. Initial evidence about these additives also suggests a potential for consumer harm similar to that already proven about Vitamin E Acetate.

In light of these recent findings, OLCC staff will be proposing two actions at OLCC’s December 17, 2020, Commission meeting. One will be an action that would declare squalene and squalane adulterants; if approved by the Commission, any items in Oregon’s regulated market to which squalene or squalane have been added would be subject to a mandatory public health and safety recall. The second proposed action will be rules regarding cannabis vaping products that have been under development since July 2020; these rules would establish greater transparency and accountability regarding non-cannabis ingredients, like Viscosity, that are used in cannabis vaping products sold in the OLCC system.

OLCC is continuing its investigation into licensees that purchased Viscosity during the relevant time frame in order to confirm whether it was used in any other vaping products that were sold to consumers. If it is determined that other licensees used the prior formulation of Viscosity without proper disclosure on the item’s label, or have withheld information from the OLCC regarding the use of Viscosity, OLCC will pursue compliance action against those licensees as necessary. Additional health and safety recalls may be issued as more information is discovered.

Canopy Growth Announces Changes To Canadian Operations

CANADA:  Canopy Growth Corporation announced a series of Canadian operational changes designed to streamline its operations and further improve margins.

Canopy Growth will cease operations at the following sites: St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador; Fredericton, New Brunswick; Edmonton, Alberta; Bowmanville, Ontario; as well as its outdoor cannabis grow operations in Saskatchewan. Approximately 220 employees have been impacted as a result of these closures.

“As part of the end-to-end review of our operations that we outlined during our second-quarter earnings call, we have made the decision to close a number of our production facilities. These actions will be an important step towards achieving our targeted $150-$200MM of cost savings and accelerating our path to profitability. We are confident that our remaining sites will be able to produce the quantity and quality of cannabis required to meet current and future demand,” said David Klein, CEO, Canopy Growth. “This was a difficult decision but I believe it is the right one. I want to thank all of the employees impacted by this decision for their efforts in helping build Canopy Growth.”

These decisions are the partial outcome of an ongoing end-to-end review designed to improve the Company’s margins. The end-to-end review was announced during the Company’s Q2 earnings call and looks at people, process, technology, and infrastructure. The Company expects to record estimated total pre-tax charges of approximately $350-400MM in the third and fourth quarters of Fiscal 2021.

The production sites impacted represent approximately 17% of the Company’s enclosed Canadian footprint and 100% of its Canadian outdoor production footprint.

All figures reported above with respect to the third and fourth quarters of Fiscal 2021 are preliminary and are unaudited and subject to change and adjustment as the Company prepares its quarterly and annual financial statements.

 

Survey Finds Changing Cannabis Consumer & Consumption Habits

MASSACHUSETTS:  A new survey conducted by The Harris Poll on behalf of Curaleaf Holdings, Inc., a leading U.S. provider of consumer products in cannabis, finds that 42% of adults aged 21+ who have ever consumed cannabis have started or increased their consumption since the beginning of the pandemic.

According to the survey by the independent pollster, conducted online in October 2020 among nearly 2,000 U.S. adults aged 21+, the main reasons many Americans have chosen to start or increase their cannabis consumption since the pandemic began include:

  • to reduce stress and anxiety (54%; women (64%) and men (47%))
  • to relax (50%; women (50%) and men (49%))
  • to help them sleep (48%; women (52%) and men (45%))

This shift in consumption habits extends to parents of children under 18 (“parents”). In fact, more than half (52%) of parents who have ever consumed cannabis say they have started or increased their cannabis consumption since the beginning of the pandemic, compared to 33% of those who are not parents of children under 18. These moms and dads of children under 18 are also more likely to consume cannabis primarily for medical use (58% vs. 44%).

The survey also found that more than half (57%) of parents with children under 18 who have ever consumed cannabis have reduced or replaced their alcohol consumption with cannabis since the start of the pandemic.

Overall, amongst all adult cannabis consumers aged 21+, 45% say they have reduced or replaced their alcohol consumption with cannabis, and one-third (33%) of those who consume cannabis for adult use say they prefer cannabis to alcohol.

“Educating consumers around cannabis consumption is so important,” said Stacia Woodcock, PharmD and Dispensary Manager for Curaleaf in New York. “Curaleaf’s pharmacists and committed dispensary associates make it a priority to educate our patients and consumers and help them find the right products to make cannabis a part of their lives.”

The survey results come as the cannabis industry continues to become destigmatized and evolve into an increasingly mainstream role within society. Governors across the country designated the industry an “essential service” throughout the pandemic, acknowledging the important role cannabis plays serving the health and wellness needs of consumers. In November, voters in five states approved ballot measures expanding access to cannabis. Medicinal cannabis will be available in 36 states and adult-use in 15 states and Washington D.C.

“Since the start of the pandemic, we have seen an increase in new consumers at our dispensaries with more people exploring cannabis,” said Joe Bayern, President of Curaleaf. “The liberalization of the plant — and the increasing diversity among consumers who enjoy it — will continue as the general public become more interested in incorporating cannabis into their health and wellness routines.”

The survey also found similarities in cannabis consumption regardless of educational level or marital status, and across different regions of the country.

The Emerald Triangle, Sonoma & Del Norte Participate In First-Ever Research Study Of Northern California’s Cannabis Economy

HUMBOLDT COMMUNITY BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT CENTER TO ESTABLISH ECONOMIC IMPACT STUDY

THROUGH GRANT FROM THE CALIFORNIA BUREAU OF CANNABIS CONTROL

ECONOMIST ROBERT EYLER OF SONOMA STATE UNIVERSITY TO LEAD RESEARCH IN PARTNERSHIP

WITH THE CALIFORNIA CENTER FOR RURAL POLICY AT HUMBOLDT STATE UNIVERSITY

 

CALIFORNIA:  Northern California’s cannabis industry will become the focus of a pioneering study examining the economic impact of industry upon the region.  The Humboldt Community Business Development Center (HCBDC), has partnered with the California Center for Rural Policy at Humboldt State University, and Sonoma State University for a comprehensive look into the impact of cannabis farming, manufacturing, distribution, and retail sales on the overall economy of a research area which includes the legendary Emerald Triangle (Humboldt, Trinity, and Mendocino counties).  The HCBDC will develop the study through a grant from the California Bureau of Cannabis Control.

“It is widely understood that cannabis is a significant economic driver in rural northern California, yet four years into the regulation, legalization, and taxation of California’s cannabis industry we still do not have real, data-driven research and analysis on what is the true economic impact of the cannabis industry,” says Natalynne DeLapp, HCBDC Executive Director.  “This grant will provide resources to answer long-standing questions, will help establish a baseline by which to measure the economic health of the cannabis industry, and by which public policies can be evaluated for efficacy for years to come.”

A chief cash crop in the area for decades, there has never been a thorough analysis of the role of cannabis to the local economy of rural Northern California. The study which also encompasses Del Norte and Sonoma counties will begin to harvest data in early 2021 on such issues as the impact of cannabis on the private and the public sectors, cannabis prices on the licensed and unlicensed markets, job creation, and taxes and government and administrative costs.  Some of the questions this  study will seek to address include:

  • How much cannabis is produced by the North Coast cannabis community?

  • How much is the region contributing to California’s GDP?

  • How long have businesses been in the community and how much do they contribute to state and local taxes?

  • How many people are employed; how much is paid in wages?

  • How much are cannabis businesses paying in licenses, permits, and fees?

“This proposal helps policymakers, advocates, private business, and local residents understand the economics and business aspects of the cannabis business as a combination of agriculture and manufacturing with supply-chain partners to deliver goods to retail and customers,” says economics professor Robert Eyler, Dean, Sonoma State University’s School of Extended and International Education, who will be leading the study.  “This framing gets us away from the conversation of illegality and about how these businesses (similar to the wine or craft brew industries) harvest a crop that becomes a manufactured product.”

“For decades, rural northern California counties have incorporated the cannabis economy as an unplanned economic development strategy. This research will help these jurisdictions formulate long-term strategies to incorporate a significant, previously illegible, sector of their economies into a more sustainable, resilient future for their communities,” says Dominic Corva, Co-Director, Humboldt Interdisciplinary Institute for Marijuana Research (HIIMR), Humboldt State University.

Pelosi Statement On House Passage Of MORE Act To Federally Decriminalize Marijuana

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA:  Speaker Nancy Pelosi issued this statement after the House passed H.R. 3884, the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act, to decriminalize marijuana at the federal level, while taking long overdue steps to address the devastating injustices of the criminalization of marijuana and the vastly disproportionate impact it has had on communities of color:

“Today, with the bipartisan MORE Act, the House has proudly passed one of the most important criminal justice reform bills in recent history.  This momentous step helps end the devastating injustices of the criminalization of marijuana that have disproportionately impacted low income communities and communities of color, and reflects the overwhelming will of the American people — 47 states have recently reformed marijuana laws, with California at the helm of this justice effort.  
“The MORE Act builds on these advancements and finally secures justice for those negatively impacted by the brutal, unfair consequences of criminalization.  This landmark legislation will also open the doors of opportunity for all people to participate in the growing cannabis industry and provide revenue and resources to communities to grow.
“Guided by the tireless voices of advocates and young people, and the leadership of Democrats, the House has achieved an extraordinary victory for our fundamental values of justice, equality and opportunity for all.  Our Majority will fight to enact this vital legislation as we work to lift up communities of color and advance progress for all.”

Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission Approves Final Adult Use, Medical Use of Marijuana Regulations and Rescinds Colocated Regulations

MASSACHUSETTS: The Cannabis Control Commission (Commission) today approved new medical- and adult-use regulations and phased out 935 CMR 502, Colocated Adult-Use and Medical-Use Marijuana Operations, after bringing sufficient parity to the medical- and adult-use regulations.

“I’m excited that the revised medical- and adult-use regulatory revisions poise the Commission to make significant progress in our mission and statutory mandates on equity, patient access, and public health and safety,” Chairman Steven J. Hoffman said. “While we’ve made tremendous headway over the past three years, we now turn to critical work to implement new provisions, including; the increased caregiver/patient ratio, development of guidance documents, rollout of the Delivery Operator application, and a host of provisions establishing a more equitable and safe industry.”

In the coming weeks, the final regulations will be filed with the Secretary of State’s Regulation Division for promulgation and published on the Commission’s website.

Approved policies include:

Medical Use of Marijuana Program

  • Optimizing Patient access and preserving public safety by:
    • Allowing Caregivers to care for up to five Patients with a Canopy not in excess of 500 square feet;
    • Clarifying that Caregivers may seek a waiver to care for more than five Patients but cannot exceed the 500-square-foot limitation;
    • Preventing perceived risk of diversion by requiring Caregivers to create a log-of-growing and make that log available to the Commission upon request;
    • Broadening the types of physicians who can serve as the second physician making the recommendation for pediatric patients;
    • Requiring Certifying Health Care Providers (Providers) to have a plan to provide discounts to low-income Patients;
    • Allowing Patients with certain hardships to renew every two years instead of one year;
    • Permitting Patients to cultivate up to 12 flowering plants without hardship cultivation, and if more are needed, requiring hardship cultivation;
    • Allowing certain out-of-state Patients to be certified and registered as a Patient in Massachusetts; and
    • Restricting Caregivers from participating in paid advertising.

Equity Programming

  • Promoting a more inclusive and diverse industry by:
    • Waiving all Delivery application and license fees for Certified Economic Empowerment Priority Applicants (EEA) and Social Equity Program (SEP) participants in their first year of licensure under the exclusivity period;
    • Reducing annual license fees by 50%, or to $2,500, for EEAs and SEP participants upon renewal and all subsequent years for applicants;
    • Expanding SEP eligibility to certain categories of individuals and EEAs;
    • Requiring majority ownership by SEP participants in order to access license-related benefits, and potentially expanding these program benefits to microbusinesses and minority-owned, veteran-owned, and women-owned businesses; and
    • Clarifying that individuals who are EEAs, whether on their own or as part of a business entity, can apply as part of a new entity with EEA status so long as it continues to meet three or more of the six criteria, at least one of which shall be a majority-equity-ownership criterion.

Delivery

  • Increasing adult-use access and evolving the Delivery license type by:
    • Approving the Delivery Operator license type, which allows licensees to purchase wholesale Finished Marijuana Products with stringent requirements to warehouse;
    • Clarifying the statutory allowance of up to three Retail licenses and the regulatory allowance of up to a combined total of two Marijuana Courier and/or Delivery Operator licenses;
    • Extending the initial exclusivity period to three-years;
    • Allowing Third-Party Technology Platform Providers to contract with an unlimited number of Delivery Licensees;
    • Authorizing Delivery Operator Licensees to white label, or affix a product label that includes the branding (name and logo) of a specific Marijuana Establishment (ME) to a finished marijuana product that was previously produced and packaged by a licensed Product Manufacturer, Cultivator, Microbusiness, or Craft Marijuana Cooperative for sale to consumers;
    • Allowing Delivery Licensees to sell marijuana accessories and ME-branded goods and non-edible items directly to consumers; and
    • Automatically converting existing Pre-Certified “Delivery-Only” applicants to Delivery Courier Applicants.

Ownership & Control

  • Tightening stringent ownership and control measures further by:
    • Requiring EEAs to report to the Commission all changes of ownership and control and upon renewal and certifying to the Commission that the requisite ownership and control has been maintained by the requisite class of people identified on the EEA’s certification;
    • Preventing monopolies with the addition of safeguards between Third-Party Technology Platforms and Delivery Licensees by explicitly prohibiting:
      • monopolization or attempts at monopolization;
      • inducements;
      • direct or indirect investments from Third-Party Technology Platforms; and
      • restricting determinations of product and licensee placement on an app to objective, customer-oriented criteria.
    • Updating the definition of Persons or Entities with Direct Control by encompassing the equivalent of a Director in a business entity such as a Limited Liability Company, which has Managers in lieu of a Board of Directors, and setting a specific dollar amount with respect to what the Commission considers “significant contracts;” and
    • Confirming that EEAs hold majority ownership (51% or more) over the license to maintain priority status.

Product Database

  • Ensuring that the public is knowledgeable of the hallmarks of legally sourced products, preventing underage access, and lowering the risk of purchasing illicit products by adopting a requirement that Marijuana Establishments, including Delivery Operators, and MTCs comply with the Product Database requirement, just as adult-use licensees must.

Advertising and Branding

  • Modifying advertising and branding regulations by:
    • Allowing of branding sponsorships at certain events, with continued prohibitions on activities that target underage participants or entrants; and
    • Approving targeted advertising through mechanisms such as geofencing, provided they retain documentation of audience composition data related to these marketing activities.

Testing

  • Increasing testing accountability for licencees by:
    • Allowing marijuana products that fail initial contaminant screens to be:
      • Reanalyzed;
      • Remediated and retested by at least the original Independent Testing Laboratory, and a different Independent Testing Laboratory; or
      • Licensees may attempt remediation of a batch that has failed a second test prior to disposal or destruction.
    • Adding new pesticides to the list of pesticides currently required of Independent Testing Laboratory protocols; and
    • Requiring continued testing for vitamin E acetate and a secondary screen for heavy metals from finished vapes.

Video recordings of the Commission’s previous policy discussions and public hearings regarding the new regulations are available on Facebook and YouTube.

Virginia Governor Northam Releases Report On Marijuana Legalization

Community-driven report reflects recommendations of the Virginia Marijuana Legalization Work Group

VIRGINIA:  Governor Ralph Northam today released the Administration’s report on the impact of legalizing adult-use marijuana in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

The report is the final product of the Virginia Marijuana Legalization Work Group, and it results from a diverse, stakeholder-driven process that involved community leaders, healthcare professionals, policy experts, and government officials. This months-long effort was a key part of marijuana decriminalization legislation passed by the General Assembly earlier this year, and follows Governor Northam’s recent announcement that he intends to advance marijuana legalization in Virginia.

“We will advance new laws to make sure that our Commonwealth legalizes marijuana the right way,” said Governor Northam. “Virginia has studied the experience of other states and this report lays out a path forward that leads with social equity, public health, and public safety.”

The comprehensive report includes nearly 400 pages of meeting minutes and outlines various aspects of marijuana legalization in the Commonwealth, including taxation, banking, criminal justice, licensing and regulation, and consumer safety. It also provides additional details on the five key principles that Governor Northam wants to see in any final legalization bill:

  • Social equity, racial equity, and economic equity. Marijuana prohibition historically has been based in discrimination, and criminalization laws have disproportionately harmed minority communities. Legislation should focus on undoing these harms by including initiatives such as social equity license programs, access to capital, community reinvestment, and sealing or expunging records of past marijuana-related convictions.
  • Public health. Legislation should include substance abuse prevention efforts in schools and communities.
  • Protections for young people. As a pediatrician, Governor Northam will require any legislation include protections for Virginia’s youth, including age limits, mandatory ID checks, and education campaigns.
  • Upholding the Virginia Indoor Clean Air Act. Legislation should be aligned with the Virginia Indoor Clean Air Act prohibiting indoor tobacco use, which Governor Northam championed as a state Senator.
  • Data collection. Legislation should ensure Virginia collects appropriate and ongoing information on safety, health, and equity.

The Virginia Marijuana Work Group consulted with dozens of subject matter experts in compiling its recommendations, including organizations focused on ensuring social and racial equity, such as the Minority Cannabis Business Association, NoLef Turns, and Decriminalize Virginia. Health experts, including public health policy consultants and practicing physicians were extensively involved, and the team worked closely with government officials from states that have already legalized marijuana, such as Washington, Massachusetts, and Illinois.

The Work Group was led by the Secretaries of Agriculture and Forestry, Finance, Health and Human Resources, and Public Safety and Homeland Security. The group held a total of 15 public meetings between July and October 2020.

The full report is available here. Additional information about the Virginia Marijuana Work Group and its membership can be found here.