Canna Moms Are Good Moms Too

Hi. I’m Amanda, founder of Canna Mom’s Are Good Mom’s Too. A group that brings Moms, those who identify as and supporters together worldwide to educate them and spread more awareness to the cannabis plant and its medical benefits. Especially for mothers! Mothers that use the cannabis plant even with prescribed medical marijuana cards are feeling this stigma: Lazy Moms, Pot Head, can’t function high, “because a friend back in the day smoked and they were drug tripping for days”, it kills your brain cells, the list continues.

I’m a 35 year old mother living in the PNW. I suffer from Meniere’s Disease which has the worst side effects of vertigo and tinnitus. I as well have high anxiety and high ADHD. There were days my vertigo would bed rid me. Being a private daycare owner, only teacher, a wife and Mom, I can’t do that. I took two different prescribed CDC pills that aren’t actually made for either of those symptoms due to it’s a newer disease with little testing and no cure. One pill made me sick and the other a zombie. That doesn’t work either. Enter the wonderful world of finding the cannabis plant. I now can consume ONE medicine for my meniere’s, anxiety and ADHD.

Micro dosing through out the day I can stay level and not high as I could on an over the counter pill. Being able to stay level keeps me as me. Not bed ridden in a silent, completely dark room, always on the lookout for something that I should be doing, who I should be helping, feeling like I should be moving or touching something. I’ve missed moments I could have spent with my son or done a little extra for a daycare kid before cannabis, a little more for my husband. I’m happy now, calm, relaxed, can focus and be productive. I AM ME! I’m not running to the bathroom or so groggy and out of it I don’t remember certain parts. With that said, why can a man made pill or having a glass or five be okay when taken responsibility but a plant that heals more than any side effects or death rate isn’t?

Our group has over 1,300 Moms worldwide that are screaming me too! How can there be this many people, I know there are more and this still be so badly named over something that was wrongly accused over almost 100 years ago! Our group’s mission is to further education regarding this plant. To give Moms a safe place for support, call to see a friendly face, help and educate, to support and back science where needed for studying, membership groups and more.

The joy I feel everyday logging in and seeing the love all these people have for one another and everyday uplifting is beyond amazing. I want this discussion to be able to be as free and open as any medically regulated drug. Let people get the correct medical help they choose.

Congressman Boyle Introduces Bill to Remove Antiquated “Habitual Drunkard” Provision & Decriminalize Marijuana Offenses In Naturalization Process

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: Congressman Brendan F. Boyle (PA-02) introduced a bill to amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to strike out the “habitual drunkard” provision and remove marijuana offenses as grounds of inadmissibility or consideration in a good moral character determination. This commonsense bill will modernize the naturalization process and ensure marijuana related offenses do not negatively affect an applicant’s chance of becoming a prospective U.S. citizen.

“As applicants go through the Green Card and/or naturalization process, they currently encounter questions that ask, “Have you ever been a habitual drunkard?”, or for details about an applicant’s level of marijuana use”, said Boyle. “These questions are wholly unrelated to citizenship, and only serve to reinforce societal stigmas connected to alcohol and substance abuse. It is extremely troubling to see federal applications like this that continue to use a harsh and antiquated term such as “habitual drunkard”. Moreover, prospective citizens should not be penalized for relatively harmless and non-criminal offenses. This careless language only serves to reinforce societal stigmas and misunderstandings about substance abuse, and it is time we modernize the process.”

Boyle’s bill would amend the Immigration and Nationality Act by striking the “habitual drunkard” provision and exempt low-level marijuana related offenses as grounds for inadmissibility and/or deportation.

Yes, You Can Still Be Fired For Using Cannabis: Making Sense of Employment Discrimination Post-Legalization In Illinois

 

By Jaye R. Lindsay, Esq., Crossroad Legal

Like most well-intentioned laws, the sweeping legislation known as the Illinois cannabis Regulation and Tax Act (CRTA), passed in December 2019, included wide-ranging implications for employees and employers throughout the State. For one, the law effectively made it completely legal to consumer or possess cannabis for personal recreational use. But this left open the question of whether a person could be fired for testing positive for cannabis or cannabinoid compounds. Obviously, employers want to make sure they have a right to prohibit people from operating heavy equipment or showing up to work high. But how does an employer do that?

After all, unlike alcohol, THC remains in your system for days or even weeks. A person could test positive for THC weeks after use and at a time when there is no residual impact on functioning at all. Thus, it presents the challenge of balancing the need to allow employers to ensure a safe work environment and the right of the people to use a lawful substance that has many known benefits, including medicinal uses. Cannabis lawyers across the state remain divided on how to best advise clients on this issue. But it does appear, at least for the time being, that the Illinois General Assembly agrees people can be terminated for lawful use of cannabis. Here’s what you should know.

Conflicting Laws

There is now some conflict between two laws in Illinois. First, Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed into law the amendments contained in Public Act 101-0593, which allows an employer to revoke an offer of employment if it is discovered the applicant used cannabis prior to starting the job.

Compare this with newly passed amendments to CRTA, which made no changes to the existing language from the Right to Privacy in the Workplace Act. Under that law, employers in some situations are restricted from discriminating against employees based on the use of lawful products. The term “lawful products,” carries some implications, but even the law acknowledges that where legal substances are consumed off the employer’s premises and not during work hours, discrimination is prohibited.

How the Conflict of Laws Creates Tension for Employers and Employees

As one can imagine, this all presents a big problem. After all, THC can show up in tests weeks after use and long after any possible effects would have worn off. This distinguishes cannabis from alcohol and many other substances that can only be detected during active intoxication. So, how should employers handle the situation. If they allow employees to test positive for THC, they could face serious liability if someone is hurt on the job. Imagine someone operating power tools or heavy machinery while intoxicated. But if the employer terminates the employee or passes up an applicant based on past use, then a discrimination claim may be made.

Key Provisions of CRTA Attempted to Address the Problem

Under the CRTA legislation, the law is clear about what it does not do:

  • An employer can still terminate employees for using or possessing cannabis on the job
  • Nothing in the law stops an employer from having a reasonable zero tolerance policy with respect to use and possession on the job
  • Nothing in the law prohibits an employer from disciplining or terminating employees for violating their policies
  • Nothing in the law forces employers to allow employees to work under the influence
  • The law does not create a specific right of action to sue employers for failing to comply. This simply means that a plaintiff would still need to prove all the typical elements of a claim for discrimination, without special consideration under this law.

However, the law also goes on to say that an employer can consider an employee impaired if they have a “good faith belief” that the employee is showing signs of “articulable symptoms while working” and which limit or diminish that employee’s work performance. The law provides specific examples, such as effects on:

  • Speech
  • Physical dexterity
  • Agility
  • Coordination
  • Demeanor
  • Irrational or unusual behavior
  • Negligence or carelessness in operating equipment or machinery
  • Disregard for the safety of the employee or others
  • Involvement in any accident that results in serious damage to equipment or property
  • Disruption of a production or manufacturing process
  • Carelessness that results in any injury to the employee or others.

Options to Appeal an Employer’s Disciplinary Actions

The law also provides that if an employer decides to terminate or discipline an employee based on one of the good faith factors above, then the employer must provide a mechanism for the employee to contest that decision and make a reasonable dispute regarding the facts.

Early Court Decisions 

Illinois’ legalization law is still very new, so there have not been many legal challenges in the courts yet.  Other state statutes, however, have been challenged through litigation. For instance, in Whitmire v. Wal-Mart Stores Inc., 359 F. Supp. 3d 761, 791 (D. Ariz. 2019), the federal court reviewing a discrimination suit based on Arizona law held that without evidence that the employee actually “used, possessed or was impaired by marijuana at work on [a date], it is clear that Defendant discriminated against Plaintiff in violation of [the state’s Medical Marijuana Act] by suspending and then terminating Plaintiff solely based on her positive drug screen.”

What this Means for Employers and Employees in Illinois

This decision, though not legally binding on any Illinois court, does give some hope to cannabis advocates and those supporting the move to decriminalize cannabis in all its forms. It seems that employers may wish to have clearer policies that directly address the company’s no tolerance rules and how those will be enforced. Likewise, for employees who are disciplined and/or terminated for cannabis use, there is a strong chance that they could make successful claims for discrimination in the future. Of course, this analysis does not even touch upon the potential concerns relating to medicinal cannabis use and how discrimination may actually constitute a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act or other laws designed to protect the rights of those with healthcare needs.

For those facing workplace discrimination based on cannabis use, it’s always a good idea to consult with someone who understands employment law and cannabis regulation. Skilled cannabis lawyers are available throughout the state, and we will continue working to stay abreast to changes in legislation.


About the Author: Jaye R. Lindsay is an experienced trial lawyer in southern Illinois, serving the region from the firm’s offices located in O’Fallon, IL and Mount Vernon, IL. He owns Crossroad Legal, a veteran-owned and operated law firm, focusing on criminal defense and personal injury. He and his firm are ardent supporters of fundamental liberties and strong advocates of cannabis legalization and criminal justice reform. Jaye can be reached at (618) 515-5555 or by visiting the firm at www.Crossroadlegal.com.

New Jersey Governor Murphy Signs Historic Adult-Use Cannabis Reform Bills Into Law

NEW JERSEY:  Governor Phil Murphy today signed historic adult-use cannabis reform bills into law, legalizing and regulating cannabis use and possession for adults 21 years and older (A21 – “The New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory, Enforcement Assistance, and Marketplace Modernization Act”) and decriminalizing marijuana and hashish possession (A1897). The Governor also signed S3454, clarifying marijuana and cannabis use and possession penalties for individuals younger than 21 years old.

“Our current marijuana prohibition laws have failed every test of social justice, which is why for years I’ve strongly supported the legalization of adult-use cannabis. Maintaining a status quo that allows tens of thousands, disproportionately people of color, to be arrested in New Jersey each year for low-level drug offenses is unjust and indefensible,” said Governor Murphy. “This November, New Jerseyans voted overwhelmingly in support of creating a well-regulated adult-use cannabis market. Although this process has taken longer than anticipated, I believe it is ending in the right place and will ultimately serve as a national model.

“This legislation will establish an industry that brings equity and economic opportunity to our communities, while establishing minimum standards for safe products and allowing law enforcement to focus their resources on real public safety matters,” continued Governor Murphy. “Today, we’re taking a monumental step forward to reduce racial disparities in our criminal justice system, while building a promising new industry and standing on the right side of history. I’d like to thank the Legislature, advocates, faith leaders, and community leaders for their dedicated work and partnership on this critical issue.”

“At long last, New Jersey is turning the page on our previous treatment of marijuana use,” said Dianna Houenou, incoming Chair of the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission (CRC). “I am excited to get to work building on the successes of the medical program and standing up the adult-use cannabis industry. It’s an honor to be part of this historic movement in New Jersey.”

“The failed War on Drugs has systematically targeted people of color and the poor, disproportionately impacting Black and Brown communities and hurting families in New Jersey and across our nation,” said U.S Senator Cory Booker. “Today is a historic day, and I applaud Governor Murphy, the legislature, and the many advocates for racial and social justice whose leadership is ensuring that New Jersey is at the forefront of equitable marijuana legalization policy. I will continue to work with my colleagues in the Senate to end the federal marijuana prohibition so we can finally begin healing the wounds of decades of injustice.”

“This is a historic reform that will have a real-life impact on social justice, law enforcement and the state’s economy,” said Senate President Steve Sweeney. “We can now move forward to correct social injustices at the same time that marijuana is made legal for adults. This  will launch a new cannabis industry with the potential to create jobs and generate economic activity at a time when it is desperately needed. The decriminalization law is the most sweeping measure of its kind in the country and is a groundbreaking step in our continued effort to make criminal justice reforms that are fairer and more effective. This will help reduce the racial disparities and social inequities that have long plagued our criminal justice system.”

“For the last fifty years, marijuana criminalization has been used as a tool to propel mass incarceration,” said Senator Sandra Cunningham. “It has done immeasurable harm to Black and Brown communities around the country, and today we begin to right the ship here in New Jersey. I look forward to seeing the tangible impact this legislation has on our communities in the years to come.”

“I am proud to have been a driving force behind the most progressive decriminalization law in the country and I am grateful to finally see it enacted,” said Senator Teresa Ruiz. “Every day roughly 100 people in New Jersey are arrested for marijuana possession, this law is a move that offers individuals a second chance and ensures they do not become entangled in the criminal justice system. This is yet another step towards bringing justice and equity to our communities. Going forward, we must continue to look for creative solutions to reverse the generational impact the War on Drugs has had.”

“This will usher in a new era of social justice by doing away with the failed policy that criminalized the use of marijuana,” said Senator Nicholas Scutari, the leading advocate of legalizing adult-use marijuana in New Jersey over the past decade. “Too many people have been arrested, incarcerated and left with criminal records that disrupt and even destroy their lives. We don’t want the criminal justice system to be an unfair barrier to success. By implementing a regulated system that allows people age 21 and over to purchase limited amounts of marijuana for personal use we will bring marijuana out of the underground market where it can be controlled, regulated and taxed, just as alcohol has been for decades. New Jersey will now be a leader in legalizing a once stigmatized drug in ways that will help the communities hurt the most by the War on Drugs and realize the economic benefits of the new adult-use cannabis market.”

“We’re moving closer to the long-overdue need to end cannabis prohibition,” said Assemblywoman Annette Quijano. “So much time, effort, and thought have gone into this legislation. We’ve continued conversations, for what I believe, has produced a stronger piece of legislation with a focused eye toward social justice and equity. This is the beginning of a new era of economic opportunity, social justice for marijuana possession, and hope for a better future for thousands of New Jersey residents.”

“With legalization comes an unprecedented opportunity for residents to clean the slate with expungement provisions and for communities to grow their economic base with businesses,” said Assemblyman Jamel Holley. “A key component of cannabis legalization is addressing social justice concerns. The fact that Black New Jerseyans are 3 or 4 times more likely to be arrested on cannabis charges has contributed to the disenfranchisement of black communities. We have the opportunity here to also right the wrongs in our society in regards to past criminal possession of cannabis. No matter where you stand in the legalized marijuana debate, there has been a clear understanding that minorities within our urban communities have been hit hardest in the so-called War on Drugs. During this entire campaign for legalization, there has been one united vocal stance: There was harm done in the past and it must be corrected.”

“This new law includes real, enterprising opportunities for New Jersey communities that have been disproportionately impacted by cannabis prohibition, along with more defined employment opportunities and a commission that requires diversity,” said Assemblywoman Britnee Timberlake. “This will be a clear revenue generator for the State, and the social justice and diversity portion in the legislation remains imperative.”

“Undoubtedly, this is the largest regulatory undertaking the state has considered since the Casino Control Commission,” said Assemblywoman Angela McKnight. “Remaining at status quo meant continued disparity in arrests for African Americans and teens for amounts now to be considered personal use.  We are moving the state in a direction more compassionate for cannabis and in line with what is happening across the country in regards to legalization.”

“This has been a long time coming in our State,” said Assemblyman Joseph Danielsen. “who chairs the Assembly Federal Relations and Oversight Reform Committee led the discussion on the bill in today’s hearing. “Social justice for black and brown communities, which have been generationally impacted by cannabis prohibition, and equity in business are priorities in this legislation. We cannot fairly, or effectively provide regulation without ensuring these communities stay at the forefront of the conversation.”

“New Jersey voters on November 3rd issued the Legislature a mandate: to provide the infrastructure for the legalization of cannabis in New Jersey. Today, we move on that directive by presenting legislation for discussion with fellow legislation and statewide stakeholders,” said Assemblyman Benjie Wimberly. “The War on Drugs in many ways became a war on particular communities, incarcerating millions of black and brown people and affecting families irreparably for decades. Our work on refining this legislation aims to correct the economic and social justice disparities surrounding cannabis use.”

“With Governor Murphy’s signature, the decades-long practice of racist marijuana enforcement will begin to recede, in a shift that emphasizes the urgency of building the most equitable framework possible for cannabis legalization,” said Amol Sinha, Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey, which is a founding member of New Jersey United for Marijuana Reform. “With this historic reform, New Jersey also shifts our approach to youth possession and use by moving away from the punitive status quo to a framework that values public health, harm reduction, and the well-being of young people. Our state’s cannabis laws can set a new standard for what justice can look like, with the removal of criminal penalties for possession and an unprecedented portion of tax revenue dedicated to addressing the harms wrought by the drug war. Signing these laws puts in motion the next phase of this effort: to work relentlessly to transform the principles of legalization into greater racial and social justice in New Jersey. This is a new beginning – and the culmination of years of advocacy – and we must keep in mind that it is only the start.”

Under A21, the Cannabis Regulatory Commission (CRC) will promulgate regulations to govern the medical and adult-use industries and oversee the applications for licensing of cannabis businesses. The legislation further provides for the Legislature to reinvest cannabis revenues in designated “impact zones”; directs the CRC to promote diversity and inclusion in business ownership; and contains critical employment protections for people who engage in lawful behavior with respect to cannabis.

A1897 reforms criminal and civil penalties for marijuana and hashish offenses, as well as provides remedies for people currently facing certain marijuana charges. The bill prevents unlawful low-level distribution and possession offenses from being used in pretrial release, probation, and parole decisions and provides certain protections against discrimination in employment, housing, and places of public accommodation. The bill also creates a pathway to vacate active sentences for certain offenses committed before enactment of the enabling legislation.

The Governor today also signed S3454 into law, clarifying penalties for marijuana and cannabis possession and consumption for individuals younger than 21 years old. The legislation corrects inconsistencies in A21 and A1897 concerning marijuana and cannabis penalties for those underage.

“I have been working on decriminalizing adult-use marijuana for well over three years now, and I am happy to finally see it become a reality,” said Senator Ronald Rice. “This is a common-sense and just law that gives an equal playing field for folks in communities of color. Many have argued that legalizing adult-use marijuana has been for social, economic and criminal justice, however, decriminalization for me, is equally as important. I will continue to watch closely and fight to ensure communities of color are treated equally.”

“This is only one piece in the many parts of change that must be done in the name of social justice for our communities. The War on Drugs in many ways became a war on particular communities, incarcerating millions of people and affecting families irreparably for decades,” said Assemblyman Benjie Wimberly. “The action we take now to help our black and brown communities who have been disproportionately affected by current laws surrounding cannabis use is critical to trauma for future generations.”

“There have been far too many people, especially those from Black and Hispanic communities, who have been negatively impacted by the criminalization of cannabis,” said Assemblywoman Annette Quijano. “There have been long-term impacts on the lives of all people in this state, but considerably those of color. This law is the product of taking a hard look at our current laws, listening to the will of the majority of New Jerseyans and taking a common-sense approach to cannabis offenses.”

“Black New Jerseyans are up to four times more likely to be arrested on cannabis charges than White people. It is a sad fact, a further painful reminder that so people in our communities have been disenfranchised for far too long,” said Assemblyman Jamel Holley. “There have always been glaring social justice concerns and obvious inequity in the high number of arrests of minority residents. Now, finally, this is the time for it to stop.”

“It’s time for the change we seek,” said Assemblywoman Angela McKnight. “New Jersey residents are not happy with the status quo and we need to move in a direction of compassion for the communities that have long been targeted by current regulatory criteria. The call for action, for social justice reform, is resounding throughout our nation. And it begins in New Jersey today.”

“Decriminalization and expungement for those who have been disproportionately incarcerated for marijuana offenses is well overdue in New Jersey and many other states throughout this nation,” said Assemblywoman Britnee Timberlake. “A criminal marijuana charge has a detrimental effect on an individual’s opportunity to access higher education, obtain gainful employment, receive housing support, and address child custody issues.  Not all communities are impacted equally by marijuana enforcement, measures to reduce the collateral consequences of criminal records are ones of racial, social, and economic justice. This is about social justice for a people who have endured the inequities in the law for generations.”

In July 2019, Governor Murphy signed legislation (“The Jake Honig Compassionate Use Medical Cannabis Act”) to reform New Jersey’s Medicinal Marijuana Program (MMP) and expand patient access to medical marijuana, ensuring this life-changing medical treatment is affordable and accessible for those who need it most.

In December 2019, Governor Murphy signed one of the most progressive expungement reforms in the nation, giving individuals entangled in the criminal justice system the opportunity to fully participate in society. S4154 eliminated fees for expungement applications and additionally created a petition process for “clean slate” expungement for residents, as well as required the State to implement an automated clean slate expungement system. Furthermore, the bill required that low-level marijuana convictions be sealed upon the disposition of a case, preventing those convictions from being used against individuals in the future.

 

NY Governor Cuomo Announces Proposal To Legalize And Create An Equitable Adult-Use Cannabis Program As Part Of The 2021 State Of The State

Proposal to Create the new Office of Cannabis Management to Regulate State Medical and Adult-use Cannabis and Cannabinoid Hemp Programs

Equitable Market Structure to Invest in Individuals and Communities Disproportionately Impacted by Prohibition

NEW YORK: Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced a proposal to legalize and create a comprehensive system to oversee and regulate cannabis in New York as part of the 2021 State of the State. Under the Governor’s proposal, a new Office of Cannabis Management would be created to oversee the new adult-use program, as well as the State’s existing medical and cannabinoid hemp programs. Additionally, an equitable structure for the adult-use market will be created by offering licensing opportunities and assistance to entrepreneurs in communities of color who have been disproportionately impacted by the war on drugs. Once fully implemented, legalization is expected to generate more than $300 million in tax revenue.

“Not only will legalizing and regulating the adult-use cannabis market provide the opportunity to generate much-needed revenue, but it also allows us to directly support the individuals and communities that have been most harmed by decades of cannabis prohibition.”

“Despite the many challenges New York has faced amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, it has also created a number of opportunities to correct longstanding wrongs and build New York back better than ever before,” Governor Cuomo said. “Not only will legalizing and regulating the adult-use cannabis market provide the opportunity to generate much-needed revenue, but it also allows us to directly support the individuals and communities that have been most harmed by decades of cannabis prohibition.”

The Governor’s proposal builds on years of work to understand and decriminalize cannabis for adult use. In 2018, the Department of Health, under Governor Cuomo’s direction, conducted a multi-agency study which concluded that the positive impacts of legalizing adult-use cannabis far outweighed the negatives. It also found that decades of cannabis prohibition have failed to achieve public health and safety goals and have led to unjust arrests and convictions particularly in communities of color.

In 2019, Governor Cuomo signed legislation to decriminalize the penalties for unlawful possession of marijuana. The legislation also put forth a process to expunge records for certain marijuana convictions. Later that year, the Governor spearheaded a multi-state summit to discuss paths towards legalization of adult-use cannabis that would ensure public health and safety and coordinate programs regionally to minimize the cross-border movement of cannabis products.

Building on that important work, the proposal reflects national standards and emerging best practices to promote responsible use, limiting the sale of cannabis products to adults 21 and over and establishing stringent quality and safety controls including strict regulation of the packaging, labeling, advertising, and testing of all cannabis products. Cannabis regulation also offers the opportunity to invest in research and direct resources to communities that have been most impacted by cannabis prohibition.

WM Holding Company, the Leading Technology Platform to the Cannabis Industry, to List on Nasdaq Through Merger With Silver Spike Acquisition Corp.

  • WM Holding Company, LLC (“WMH” or “WM Holding”) operates Weedmaps, the leading online listings marketplace for cannabis consumers, and WM Business, a comprehensive software-as-a-service (“SaaS”) subscription offering for cannabis retailers and brands
  • The merger advances WM Holding’s mission to power a transparent and inclusive global cannabis economy and capitalize on its position as the largest technology provider in the sector
  • The estimated post transaction equity value of the combined Company is approximately $1.5 billion and provides up to $575 million of gross proceeds through the approximately $250 million of cash held-in-trust by Silver Spike Acquisition Corp. and a fully-committed common stock PIPE of $325 million
  • As a result of outsized demand, the PIPE offering was significantly oversubscribed and upsized, including investment from funds managed by AFV Partners, the Federated Hermes Kaufmann Funds and Senvest Management LLC along with a $35 million commitment from Silver Spike Capital
  • WM Holding’s executive officers will retain 100% of their equity in the combined company, which will have approximately $100 million of cash on hand after closing

CALIFORNIA: WM Holding Company, LLC and Silver Spike Acquisition Corp., a publicly-traded special purpose acquisition company, announced today a definitive agreement for a business combination that would result in WMH becoming a public company. The combined company will be led by Chris Beals, Chief Executive Officer of WMH, and is expected to remain listed on the Nasdaq Stock Market.

Company Overview

Founded in 2008, WMH operates Weedmaps, the leading online listings marketplace for cannabis consumers and businesses, and WM Business, the most comprehensive SaaS subscription offering sold to cannabis retailers and brands. The Company solely provides software and other technology solutions and is non-plant touching. WMH has grown revenue at a CAGR of 40% over the last five years and is on track to deliver $160 million in revenue and $35 million in EBITDA for 2020.

The cannabis market in the U.S. is expected to double over the next five years as the majority of U.S. adults support having legal access to cannabis. Despite these expectations of growth, cannabis users in the U.S. are still a small sub-segment of the population today, and retail density is still low across the majority of states with regulated legal cannabis markets. The regulations related to these markets are often complex and disparate across states as well as cities and counties within regulated states. Cannabis itself is a highly complex and non-shelf stable consumer product. These dynamics present a challenging and sometimes uncertain environment for consumers seeking legal cannabis products and for businesses selling to cannabis users while operating in a compliant fashion.

WMH addresses these challenges with its Weedmaps marketplace and WM Business SaaS subscription offering. Over the past 12 years, Weedmaps has grown to become the premier destination for cannabis consumers, with over 10 million monthly active users and over 18,000 business listings across every U.S. state, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico with a legal cannabis market. Clients of the Company maintain listings in 9 international countries outside of the U.S. Through the Weedmaps website and mobile apps, WMH provides consumers with information regarding cannabis retailers and brands, as well as the availability of cannabis products, facilitating product discovery and online order-ahead for pickup or delivery by participating retailers.

The Company’s cloud-based WM Business SaaS subscription offering provides cannabis retailers with an end-to-end operating system to access valuable users, grow sales and scale their businesses at a compelling return-on-spend. This “business-in-a-box” functionality ranges from integrations supporting product menus that have online order-ahead, delivery order fulfillment software, data & analytics, a point-of-sale solution and a wholesale marketplace. WMH has been investing in and optimizing its WM Business software solution to also facilitate compliance for businesses amidst the complex, disparate and constantly evolving regulations governing the cannabis industry. Underlying this compliance functionality is a proprietary and sophisticated rules engine that is a core underpinning of the WM Business SaaS platform.

Chris Beals, WMH’s Chief Executive Officer, will continue to lead the Company along with the existing management team. Silver Spike’s CEO and Chairman, Scott Gordon, will join the merged company’s Board of Directors upon completion of the transaction.

North Carolina Task Force For Racial Equity In Criminal Justice Makes Marijuana Recommendations

NORTH CAROLINA:  Attorney General Josh Stein announced that the North Carolina Task Force for Racial Equity in Criminal Justice, convened by Gov. Roy Cooper and co-chaired by Justice Anita Earls and the attorney general, adopted recommendations related to marijuana today. Those include a recommendation to decriminalize marijuana possession in small amounts and to further study potential legalization of marijuana possession, cultivation, and sale.

“You cannot talk about improving racial equity in our criminal justice system without talking about marijuana,” said Attorney General Josh Stein. “White and Black North Carolinians use marijuana at similar rates, yet Black people are disproportionately arrested and sentenced. Additionally, it is time for North Carolina to start having real conversations about a safe, measured, public health approach to potentially legalizing marijuana.”

“Data made available to the Task Force shows that 63 percent of the more than 10,000 convictions for simple possession of marijuana last year in North Carolina are people of color even though they are only 30 percent of the population and research documents that marijuana use is at roughly equal percentages among Black and white populations,” said Justice Anita Earls. “This recommendation is intended to help alleviate racial disparities in North Carolina’s criminal justice system.”

Marijuana In NC Today

Right now, possession of up to ½ ounce of marijuana is a class 3 misdemeanor, not subject to imprisonment but subject to a fine up to $200. In 2019, there were 31,287 charges and 8,520 convictions for this offense; 61 percent of those convicted were nonwhite.

Possession of more than ½ ounce up to 1.5 ounces of marijuana is a class 1 misdemeanor, subject to up to 45 days imprisonment and a $200 fine. In 2019, there were 3,422 charges and 1,909 convictions for this offense; 70 percent of those convicted were nonwhite.

Today’s recommendations:

  • The Task Force recommends legislation to decriminalize the possession of up to 1.5 ounces of marijuana by making such possession a civil offense and expunge past convictions through an automatic process.
  • The Task Force further recommends that North Carolina convene a Task Force of stakeholders, free from conflict of interest, to study the pros and cons and options for legalization of possession, cultivation and/or sale, including government or not for profit monopoly options. The study should be guided by a public safety, public health, and racial equity framework.
  • Improve drug enforcement data collection and reporting by:
    • Requiring every law enforcement agency to participate fully in the NIBRS system
    • Requiring every law enforcement agency to publish drug enforcement data on its department website in easy searchable fashion, including number of arrests and citations by drug, quantity, race, gender, and reason for search. This may necessitate providing additional resources to law enforcement agencies, especially smaller agencies.
  • Deemphasize (or make the lowest drug law enforcement priority) felony drug possession arrests for trace quantities under .25 grams in non-ABC permitted locations.
  • Deemphasize (or make the lowest drug law enforcement priority) marijuana possession arrests in non-ABC permitted locations.
  • Prosecutors should immediately deprioritize marijuana-related prosecution in non-ABC permitted locations.

Task Force Next Steps

The Task Force will release its full recommendations in a report to Gov. Roy Cooper on Dec. 15, 2020. That date has been extended from Dec. 1 due to difficulty holding meetings and conducting work as a result of the pandemic. To view today’s public meeting, please visit the North Carolina Department of Justice’s YouTube channel. Information on previous recommendations and other Task Force action is available at https://ncdoj.gov/trec/.

Texas: Pharr PD to Implement “Cite-and-Release”

Adopted policy allows officers to cite and release a person in possession of less than 2 oz. of marijuana, as allowable by state law

TEXAS: The City of Pharr Police Department will be implementing a new Cite-and-Release policy, which allows officers in the field an option to release a person with less than 2 oz of marijuana. This is a Class B misdemeanor where normally a person is arrested at the scene and transported to jail.

The policy adopted by the Pharr Police Department is governed by Article 14.06 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure, enacted as HB 2391 by the 80th Texas State Legislature in 2007, and allows for law enforcement officers to cite and release individuals who commit certain offenses. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Pharr Police Department decided to adopt the “Cite and Release” policy and implement it department-wide to minimize the number of individuals being jailed for certain low-level misdemeanor offenses, in this case, possession of less than 2 ounces of marijuana, Misdemeanor B.

There are prerequisites to this option, and include the following:
1.  The offense must be possession of marijuana.  The marijuana must weigh less than two (2) ounces, Misdemeanor B.
2.  The offense must occur in Pharr, Texas
3.  The suspect must reside in Hidalgo County, Texas.
4. The suspect must be in possession of a valid driver’s license or identification.
5.  The suspect must be 17 years of age or older.
6.  Possession of marijuana must be the only offense in which the suspect is subject to arrest.

Officers will have the discretion to arrest or release at the scene. This policy simply gives them another alternative. If released, the person will still have to be arraigned at our municipal court within 14 days of the incident and will be released on a PR bond. The Possession of Marijuana Class B case will still be completed by our detectives and sent to the District Attorney’s office as any other case.

“This gives our officers a reasonable alternative to an arrest at the scene if the requirements are met,” said Pharr Police Chief Andy Harvey. “I believe this is another step in our efforts to police in a manner that adds value to community,” he continued.

“It’s important to note that this policy does not decriminalize anything, rather can provide a more dignified option for a low-level offense,” Harvey added. “We are partnering with the Hidalgo County DA’s office and our own municipal judge to make this possible. These are critical partnerships that when working together, can make a difference in our communities,” continued Harvey.

Hidalgo County District Attorney Ricardo Rodriguez stated, “Our office supports the efforts of the Pharr Police Department, and any other law enforcement agency, to implement this policy as allowable by state law.” He continued, “It is important that our community understand that the offense is not excusable and is still punishable by law, but this adds a level of flexibility to reduce our jail population.”

Mayor Ambrosio Hernandez, M.D., praised the leadership of Chief Harvey for implementing smart policing strategies as allowable under state law that will help provide fair alternatives for low-level offenses. “The offenders will still be held responsible for the offenses committed, but this will help to expedite justice in a fair and responsive manner,” Hernandez ended.

The new Cite-and-Release policy will begin implementation this week.

The People’s Alliance Of Cannabis In Canada Brings Support, Services & Standards To The Growing Industry

CANADA: “We are concerned with setting standards for the cannabis industry in Canada that will not only demonstrate our united strength, but also give countries across the world something to emulate as they pursue federal legalization as well,” said Anne-Marie Fischer, M.Ed., the President of the newly launched People’s Alliance of Cannabis in Canada (PACC).

The People’s Alliance of Cannabis in Canada, known as PACC, launched today on the second anniversary of cannabis legalization in Canada. PACC represents the interests of professionals and consumers within the growing cannabis space across the nation. They provide support through crucial programming, develop professional standards for the industry to emulate, encourage the unification of all cannabis markets, and create a standard for education across cannabis in our country.

PACC operates and advocates for legislative change so that we create a cannabis industry where cannabis is always safely accessed, and provided by cultivators and producers who meet a set of defined professional standards.

“We came together in spring of this year because we were all frustrated about some of the things that were happening in the cannabis industry,” says Fischer, Founder and CEO of CannaWrite, “We saw that people were losing their jobs, that harassment and discrimination was a big problem, and that there were certain divides between markets that were preventing a united front for the progression of the plant.”

The People’s Alliance of Cannabis in Canada has 6 focus areas that are led by one of the founding members, and supported by an Advisory Team of cannabis professionals, advocates, and consumers that have been carefully chosen to represent their part of cannabis. These focus areas are:

Medical Cannabis

Recreational/Retail

Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour (BIPOC) in Cannabis

Hemp and Agriculture

Legacy Market

Cannabis Advocacy

Each Focus Area will work to develop professional standards, educational resources, and a path towards advocacy in their area of passion.

In addition to the Focus Areas, PACC will have several service areas that aim to provide support, benefits, and methods of recourse for disputes:

Group Medical Benefits

Legal Support

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)

Human Resources Standards/Best Practices

Harassment & Discrimination Reporting & Support

“The Founding Members of PACC all have professional backgrounds, and experiences, that we would like to see brought into this industry,” says Fischer, “By putting our skills, background, and knowledge of business, human resources, group benefits, and legal standards together, we hope that the people of cannabis feel they have somewhere to go, where they feel taken care of in all aspects of their lives”. The People’s Alliance of Cannabis in Canada will unveil its membership program, that gives professionals in cannabis access to the above services, in mid-2021.

At present, PACC is working on establishing its Advisory Team and Working Groups, at which time the organization will move forward with establishing bylaws, terms and conditions, and objectives of PACC for the remainder of this year, and the year ahead.

Joining Fischer within the Founding Board is Vice President Kelly Addison, of Kelly’s Green Lounge, Michelle Parrotta of Mimi Cannabis, Khadisha Thornhill of Afro Cannada Bud Sistas, and Stacy Bobak of Cannadent.ca. “It’s been a passionate project for us all,” says Fischer, “We’ve been working every week together to move this forward. We genuinely hope this organization is a success that is supported by many.”

To learn more about The People’s Alliance of Cannabis in Canada, visit www.peoplescannabis.ca, or follow the organization on Instagram at @peoplescannabiscanada or Facebook at www.facebook.com/peoplescannacanada

Vermont Governor Phil Scott OKs Bill Creating Regulated Cannabis Market

VERMONT: Governor Phil Scott today announced action on a range of bills, including the Legislature’s bill to create a regulated cannabis market in Vermont, which will be allowed to go into law without his signature.

Throughout the Legislature’s four-year push to create a regulated cannabis market, Governor Scott has consistently called for any legislation to include a plan and funding for expanded education and prevention programs for Vermont kids, a plan for highway safety and the ability for communities to prohibit retail cannabis businesses. Governor Scott said the Legislature has moved slowly toward his position in these areas.

“This new bill requires cities and towns to authorize these businesses before retail establishments may open. It ensures local zoning applies to cannabis cultivation and production. It dedicates 30% of the excise tax, up to $10 million per year, to education and prevention efforts. And the sales and use tax on cannabis would fund a grant program to expand after school and summer learning programs,” the Governor said. “Additionally, the FY21 budget includes language I proposed to move toward a universal after school network, which is based on a successful model from Iceland and is focused on preventing drug use and improving academic and social outcomes.”

The Governor also highlighted several new provisions to enhance safety on the roadways, including allowing testimony of trained officers and Drug Recognition Experts regarding impairment to be presumed admissible in court, and accepting saliva testing as evidence if performed.

Though these provisions addressed many of Governor Scott’s longstanding concerns, he also called for additional action from the Legislature to address remaining deficiencies in the bill.

“Their work is not done,” he said. “The Legislature needs to strengthen education and prevention – including banning marketing that appeals in any way to our kids – otherwise they are knowingly failing to learn the lessons of the public health epidemic caused by tobacco and alcohol.”

While recognizing that some social justice elements are included in the bill, Governor Scott also noted concerns from communities historically most negatively affected by cannabis enforcement that the bill did not do enough to ensure more equity in this new market. He encouraged legislators to revisit these concerns and work with his Administration and these communities to address them in January.

His letter to the Legislature outlines specific areas for consideration on racial equity, changes to the board appointment timeline and accountability structure, creation of a special fund for education programming and a ban on the sale of vaping products and marketing that appeal to kids.

“This has been a top priority for the majority in the Legislature for four years, but their work is not complete. They must ensure equity in this new policy and prevent their priority from becoming a public health problem for current and future generations. For these reasons, I am allowing this bill to become law without my signature,” concluded Governor Scott.

Click here to view the Governor’s letter to the Legislature regarding S.54.

Governor Scott also allowed S.119 to go into law without his signature, noting he agreed with the goals of the legislation but urged lawmakers to revisit the hastily drafted bill with additional input from marginalized communities and public safety officials.

Click here to view the Governor’s letter to the Legislature regarding S.119.

In addition, Governor Scott signed several other bills today:

  • S.24, An act relating to a report on racial equity and bias in the Department of Corrections, which accelerates work to develop a racial equity plan that will include data collection, employment and supervision of people under the custody of the Department of Corrections;
  • S. 124, An act relating to governmental structures protecting the public health, safety and welfare, which makes changes to law enforcement training and policy;
  • S.234, An act relating to miscellaneous judiciary procedures, which orders the expungement of all criminal records relating to the possession of cannabis in amounts that have been decriminalized; and
  • S.352, An act relating to making certain amendments to the Front-Line Employees Hazard Pay Grant Program, which updates the hazard pay program passed earlier this year.

To view a complete list of action on bills passed during the 2020 legislative session, visit https://governor.vermont.gov/governor-scotts-blog/2020-legislative-session.