NY Senator Schumer Calls On USDA To Halt Hemp Reg Implementations

Schumer: Amend Hemp Regulations And Let Budding Industry Take Flight In Upstate NY

NEW YORK:  After successfully pushing for an extended comment period to allow Upstate New York hemp farmers to share their concerns with the final rule, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today called on the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to delay the issuance of a U.S. Domestic Hemp Production Program final rule until 2022 and allow hemp growers and producers across the country and in Upstate New York to continue to operate under the 2014 Farm Bill pilot program regulations until that time. Schumer said with the economic devastation of the COVID-19 pandemic across all sectors, implementing additional regulations would crush the budding hemp industry.

“When it comes to an industry as promising as industrial hemp in Upstate New York, the feds must do everything they can to nurture its potential. Regulating this rapidly-emerging industry is a must, but the timing of new regulations is important and the current economic crisis must be considered,” said Senator Schumer. “That’s why today I’m urging USDA to delay their issuance of a final rule until 2022 so the hemp industry across the country and in Upstate New York has a chance to grow and create good-paying jobs at a time when jobs are needed the most. Delaying new regulations will help pull New York along in the recovery process as the nation deals with the impacts of the pandemic.”

Allan Gandelman, President of New York Cannabis Growers and Processors Association said, “There are over 700 registered hemp farmers across New York who would be negatively affected by the USDA’s Interim Final Rule on hemp. The costs and bureaucracy of implementing the new rules as written create unnecessary financial burdens on farmers and our state agencies. The existing hemp pilot program has been sufficient in making sure farmers are complaint with all testing and public safety protocols. We would like to see the pilot program extended until 2022 and the USDA modify the program to let hemp become a widespread agricultural commodity like Congress intended by the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill.”

Schumer explained, prior to the pandemic, the industrial hemp industry had begun to show significant growth in New York, adding a considerable number of good-paying jobs and bringing in significant revenue to the state, making it an indispensable crop in New York’s agricultural future. Operating under the full benefits of the 2018 Farm Bill, hemp farmers have reported difficulty integrating the Interim Final Rules into their operations, Specifically, Schumer said, the cost of complying with the Rules has proven to be suffocating for the emerging industry. Compliance costs for reporting alone would be $17,363.40 according to USDA calculations, and testing would add over $700 per sample.

The senator said these costs are simply too high for the budding industry to shoulder at a time when New York and the entire country is experiencing an economic crisis. Additionally, Schumer noted, implementing the Interim Final Rules now, also requires states to alter their Pilot Program budgets to meet standards, something which states slammed with COVID-related issues simply cannot spare the time and resources for.

Schumer also pointed out in light of COVID concerns, the timing and testing outlined in the Interim Final Rules would likely push farmers to rush harvests and increase the number of people working in facilities at once, leading to higher risk of COVID transmission among workers. The senator says that delaying implementation until January 2022 and allowing states to continue operating under the 2014 Farm Bill will address these issues, protecting both the hemp industry in New York and farm workers from potential COVID spread.

Senator Schumer’s letter to USDA Secretary Perdue appears below:

Dear Secretary Perdue,

I write in regard to deep concerns that USDA’s U.S. Domestic Hemp Production Program Interim Final Rules will hinder the advancement of the hemp industry and create significant compliance costs both for State Governments and producers. Despite these concerns being reflected in the numerous comments submitted on behalf of industry trade groups, businesses, and State Agriculture Departments during the extended public comment period, no significant changes were made. As you know, the 2018 Farm Bill removed federal regulatory restrictions from industrial hemp production, manufacturing, and sales with the intent of developing a new agricultural commodity for United States farmers. The timing of implementation of the Interim Final Rules, especially during the COVID crisis, will create extreme disruption in this nascent industry. I ask that you delay the issuance of a final rule until January 2022 and allow states to continue to operate under the 2014 Farm Bill pilot program authority until then.

In New York, the industrial hemp industry has started to grow significantly, with new farms and businesses emerging and existing ones expanding operations. This has brought considerably better paying jobs and revenue to Upstate New York, making industrial hemp a critical new part of the state’s agricultural future. However, as industrial hemp farmers and businesses explore the full benefits of the 2018 Farm Bill, they have experienced serious difficulty integrating the Interim Final Rules into their operations. Particularly in the current COVID climate, I see many farmers and processors in New York struggle with incorporating these changes into the existing state Pilot Programs. In a time when farmers and producers struggle with economic uncertainty, the implementation of the Interim Final Rules will create costs without the support of offsetting revenues. USDA calculated compliance costs for reporting alone of $17,363.40 with testing adding approximately an additional $714.50 per sample (see 7 CFR Part 990, 58537 and 58545).

These costs do not just impact businesses across the United States but also state budgets that must alter their Pilot Programs to meet the demands of the Interim Final Rules. With bandwidth completely consumed by COVID concerns, the state regulatory agencies cannot focus on implementation of the Interim Final Rules. At this point, only 19 states have approved plans in place and enforcement efforts will deal a significant economic blow to the industry.

Lastly, I have concerns that the Interim Final Rules will potentially create public health issues in our current COVID environment. As we move into harvest season, farmers will need to operate with as much certainty as possible but timing and testing requirements will likely create bottlenecks that will push farmers to rush harvests. The potential for greater numbers of people working in facilities to meet the rush may create opportunities for COVID to spread among farm workers.

The Interim Final Rules provide a first step in developing regulations for the hemp industry. The critiques from the comment period will provide USDA with areas to consider revisions that further encourage economic opportunity for farmers and producers. However, COVID creates hurdles for states and producers to comply with the Interim Final Rules. Under the circumstances, the Interim Final Rules will harm the very businesses we hoped to help with this new agricultural commodity. We can easily remedy this situation by delaying implementation until January 2022 and allow states to continue under the 2014 Farm Bill until then. This will allow USDA to address some of the more pressing regulatory critiques while giving states and producers additional time to come into compliance.

Once again, I appreciate your efforts to help establish guidelines to develop a thriving American hemp industry. Thank you for your attention to this important matter and please let me know if I can be of any assistance.

Sincerely,

Acreage Announces Sale Of Maryland Dispensary

NEW YORK: Acreage Holdings, Inc., a vertically integrated, multi-state operator of cannabis licenses and assets in the U.S., today announced it has entered into a definitive agreement with an undisclosed buyer, pursuant to which the Buyer, when permitted by state law, will purchase all of the issued and outstanding membership interests of Maryland Medicinal Research & Caring, LLC. MMRC is licensed to operate a medical cannabis dispensary in Baltimore, Maryland.

The terms of the deal were not disclosed.  Due to regulatory restrictions regarding license transfers, the Buyer, upon approval by the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission, will enter into a managed services agreement with MMRC until the requisite time has elapsed before Acreage and the Buyer can close the transaction under the definitive agreement.  Closing of the transaction is contingent upon regulatory approvals.

“The sale of our Maryland dispensary is another step forward in our refocused strategy to accelerate our pathway to profitability,” said Bill Van Faasen, Interim Chief Executive Officer of Acreage. “It follows our divestiture in North Dakota, plus other cost-cutting measures completed earlier this year.  We are moving forward with our refocused plan as quickly as possible and we will continue to update shareholders on our progress as new events transpire.”

Governor Cuomo Announces He Will Visit States That Have Legalized Cannabis Programs to Help Inform His Efforts to Pass Legislation as Part of Budget

Builds on Regional Cannabis Regulation and Vaping Initiatives Previously Announced With Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Massachusetts

Governor Cuomo: “I’m going to visit Massachusetts, Illinois and California or Colorado, which are three states that have legalized it and have different versions, and bring my team to meet with them, discuss what they’ve done, what’s worked, what hasn’t worked.”

Screenshot 2020-02-25 09.14.01NEW YORK: Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced that he will visit states that have legalized cannabis programs to learn more about their programs to help inform his efforts to pass similar legislation in the state budget this year. This builds on the regional cannabis regulation and vaping initiatives previously announced with Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Massachusetts to establish a set of core principles on issues related to market regulation and empowerment; public health; public safety and enforcement; and vaping best practices.

VIDEO of the Governor’s announcement is available on YouTube here and in TV quality (h.264, mp4) format here.

AUDIO is available here.

A rush transcript of the Governor’s remarks are available below:

Governor Cuomo: One other point on marijuana, which is another issue that is in this budget. I said yesterday it is a major priority. I also want to make sure that it is done correctly, and you look at states that have legalized marijuana, many of them have generated more questions. One of those issues that everybody has goals, we want a goal of social equity, we want to make sure young people can’t get it, et cetera. We want to make sure there are advantages to communities that have been oppressed. But, then you look at the aftermath and many of those goals haven’t been met, right?

So, I’m going to visit Massachusetts, Illinois and California or Colorado, which are three states that have legalized it and have different versions, and bring my team to meet with them, discuss what they’ve done, what’s worked, what hasn’t worked. Has the social equity piece worked? Has the law enforcement piece worked? So that we have the best bill and the best system when we pass it, and I want to pass it by April 1. […]

The conclusion is we want to coordinate our laws the best we can. In other words, you don’t want New York competing with New Jersey, you don’t want New York competing with Connecticut. You don’t want people driving to New Jersey, because they can get more in New Jersey, or a higher percentage in New Jersey, or they have a different age in New Jersey, or a lower tax rate. So, it’s regional coordination. But then if you look at what has happened in states that have done it, about 11 states have legalized marijuana. Everybody talks about the goals, we want a social equity component, we want to make sure it’s policed. They have all these goals, but many of the programs once they’ve been implemented and they went back and looked, they didn’t meet those goals.

You know, our political debate now is all about “I have a plan.” Yeah, everybody has a plan, but can you actually get it done and does it turn out the way you planned it, right? That’s the big question, and that’s where government usually gets into trouble. So, I want to make sure we learn from them. We have the regional coordination piece. We are the first state that has really been looking through that lens. I now literally want to go to California, Illinois, Massachusetts, sit with them, what was your plan, how did it work out, what did you learn, what can we incorporate.

Cresco Labs Announces Closing Of Acquisition In New York State

Acquisition Adds One of Only 10 Vertically Integrated Cannabis Business Licenses Issued by the State of New York

ILLINOIS: Cresco Labs, one of the largest vertically integrated multi-state cannabis operators in the United States, today announced that it has closed its acquisition of 100% of the membership interests of Gloucester Street Capital, the parent entity of Valley Agriceuticals, via a merger between Gloucester and a subsidiary of Cresco Labs. As a result of this acquisition, Cresco Labs now holds one of the 10 vertically integrated cannabis business licenses granted in the State of New York by the New York State Department of Health. Each license gives the operator the right to operate one cultivation facility and four dispensaries in New York. The New York market is projected to grow to $500 million by 20221.

“New York is one of the most influential consumer markets in the world and we expect the state to act as a cornerstone in Cresco Labs’ plan to continue building the most strategic and valuable geographic footprint in the U.S. cannabis industry,” said Charles Bachtell, CEO and Co-founder of Cresco Labs. “Since recently receiving regulatory approval for this transaction, Valley Ag has opened two new dispensaries in Williamsburg, Brooklyn and Huntington, Long Island. As a result, Cresco Labs enters the New York market with four strategically located dispensaries. These assets position us well to immediately generate meaningful revenue from this market. As we fully implement the world-class branding, marketing and distribution expertise that has helped us to develop leading positions in some of the most attractive cannabis markets in the country, we expect to steadily increase our share of a market that is projected to grow to $500 million by 2022.”

“Cresco Labs has an incredible vision for the future of the cannabis industry, and they were the obvious choice to partner with based on their superior management team, focus on compliance and experience working across hyper-regulated industries,” said Gloucester Street Capital CEO Stephen Ashekian. “I believe their strategic decision making, commitment to social equity and priority for putting the patients first will make them a leader in the New York market.”

In addition to the new dispensaries in Williamsburg, Brooklyn and Huntington, Long Island, Cresco Labs also has operating dispensaries in Bardonia and New Hartford.

Currently a medical-use only market, New York has approximately 107,000 certified patients and 2,500 registered practitioners. The State’s medical cannabis program has 15 qualifying conditions including chronic pain, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and opioid replacement.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Daytrip Expands CBD Sparkling Water Line To New York And New Jersey Markets

Daytrip to introduce THC sparkling water line by end of year

NEW YORK:  Daytrip, the leading cannabis lifestyle brand announced today its expansion into the New York and New Jersey area. After an initial launch in June 2019 across California, Washington, Oregon and Michigan, Daytrip is staking its claim in the metropolitan area as the premier CBD beverage.

Daytrip’s product line will now be available in several retailers across the metropolitan area including Fairway Market, Food Emporium, ShopRite, Westside Market and many others, available in four natural fruit flavors: Cherry, Coconut Pineapple, Lemon Lime and Tangerine.

“The initial reaction to our launch in June has been overwhelmingly positive, and we’re pleased to deliver on our customer’s desires and formally introduce Daytrip to New York and New Jersey, where the demand for natural, premium quality CBD is strong” said Shawn Biega, CEO Daytrip. “Our sparkling water line is only the beginning. In short order, we plan to introduce a series of food & beverage consumables to the CBD market and establish ourselves as a true leader in the space.”

“As the CBD market continues to evolve at a rapid pace, now is the ideal time to introduce Daytrip to an incredibly important market for our future success,” said Joey Cannata, President Daytrip. “What people love about our product is that there’s no sugar, no sweeteners — just a natural flavor that fits in with the spontaneous adventurous lifestyle we see in New York City and New Jersey.”

By the end of the year, Daytrip plans to introduce a THC infused sparkling water line in California, as well as other food & beverage products driven by Daytrip’s proprietary Foliole Nexus Technology that enhances the bioavailability to the CBD ingredient aiding with absorption for a more instant effect.

Each Daytrip beverage contains five calories and includes 10 mg of CBD per can, retailing at $4.99 in the general market and $59.00/12 pk on the first order, available at wearedaytrip.com.

The product is currently available online at www.wearedaytrip.com, as well as distributors across New York, New Jersey, California, Oregon, Michigan and Washington. For more information please visit www.wearedaytrip.com and follow us on Instagram @wearedaytrip.

 

Tikum Olam Launches Tikun Hemp

NEW YORK:  Tikun Olam, the global pioneer in cannabis science and medicine, announces the launch of Tikun Hemp™, its first hemp-based product line, available exclusively in the United States. Tikun Hemp offerings include broad-spectrum CBD tinctures, topicals and softgel capsules, all shipped directly to consumers via the Tikun Hemp website.

“Tikun’s mission is in its name to “repair the world,” says Bernie Sucher, CEO of Tikun Olam USA. “We bring to our Tikun Hemp products nearly two decades of cannabinoid knowledge and R&D, including identifying the anti-inflammatory properties of CBD and ongoing clinical trials and research. We are very pleased to share this knowledge and expertise directly with Americans nationwide through Tikun Hemp.”

The world’s first licensed cannabis company, Tikun Olam is the recognized leader in cannabis research and developed the world’s first-ever, high-CBD, low-THC, cannabis varietal Avidekel™ to treat adult and child patients alike with broad-spectrum cannabinoids without a psychoactive effect. Tikun Hemp is the first hemp-based product to bear the trusted Tikun name.

Tikun Hemp is grown in full compliance with the 2018 US Farm Bill and is certified by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. All Tikun Hemp products are triple-tested, gluten-free, non-GMO and completely THC-free, and shipped directly to consumers in 47 states. As part of its rigorous control processes, Tikun Hemp products are tested in no less than three key stages of the supply chain to ensure safe and quality broad-spectrum CBD products.

“Broad-spectrum” means all the naturally occurring compounds, including terpenes, found in the cannabis plant, except for THC. Studies have shown that using the whole plant preserves natural compounds that creates an “entourage effect,” increasing the therapeutic benefits.

“Our Tikun Hemp products are built on the back of our groundbreaking  medical cannabis research, and like our cannabis products are rigorously tested throughout the process to ensure they are safe and effective,” says Chris Gallant, Tikun SVP, Consumer.  “We are incredibly excited to be able to put the trusted Tikun name behind a THC-free product that can be available to people across the United States.”

Tikun Olam (“repair the world” in Hebrew) is the world’s leading cannabis brand and pioneer of modern medical cannabis. Its products have been used since 2010 to treat over 20,000 patients for symptoms of medical conditions including cancer, PTSD, AIDS, epilepsy, Crohn’s Disease/colitis, multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, chronic pain and neuropathy. Tikun cannabis products are available in the United States and Puerto Rico in accordance with local law; visit tikunolamusa.com for more information.

May 15th In NYC: CannaStocks2019 Q1 Investor Conference

CaptureCannaStocks2019 Q1 Investor Conference takes place today (May 15, 2019) in New York City. 

For Investment Professionals, Accredited Investors, and Financial Media

8AM-6PM – Reservations required. Send an INQUIRY to bruce@cannastocks2019.com

OTC Markets Group, 300 Vesey Street, NYC 10282

Featuring: Presentations, Q-and-A, and Panels with select OTC Markets Group leaders in the Cannabis sector. Themes to be explored: innovation, consolidation, international expansion, specialization, legalities, and advertising. 

Companies presenting: KushCo Holdings, Acreage Holdings, MariMed, Emerald Bioscience, OrganiGram Holdings, Sproutly, Emerald Health Therapeutics, Supreme Cannabis Company, Canopy Rivers, 1933 Industries, AXIM Biotechnologies, GSRX Industries, and New Frontier Data will provide an industry overview about current market trends. Investors unable to attend can watch a video webcast of the conference.


To pre-register for the webcast, click HERE:
https://protect-us.mimecast.com/s/_tFRCmZEyPCjvvoruG4-KO?domain=tinyurl.com

There is no charge for access to the webcast. Those unable to view the webcast on May 15 will find it archived and for later viewing on the Virtual Investor Conferences website.

Don’t Rain On My NYC Cannabis Parade

By Stu Zakim

It was a cold rainy Saturday May 4 in NYC as the 49th annual NYC Cannabis Parade and Rally began its roster of speakers before heading from Herald Square to Union Square Park. Emcee Leo Bridgewater encouraged the crowd, many under umbrellas, to embrace the chant “What do we want? JUSTICE. When do we want it ? NOW, as speakers addressed the social injustice issues that have plagued the marijuana industry.

mjbacurvednycparade

As the parade began, the skies opened again, but, as the marchers, escorted by NYC’s finest, felt nothing as they focused on the mission at hand – drawing attention to the fight for Cannabis legalization in NYC and NJ. And, yet, as if karma, upon arrival at Union Square, the clouds disappeared, the sun came out and the rally kicked off in front of a crowd that easily topped 5000.

The crowd was addressed by a number of speakers, including local NYC officials like recently-elected New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams and Assembly Member Richard Gottfried (District 75, Manhattan) as well as Cannabis industry leaders like Joy Beckerman, Michael O’Malley of Curved Papers and others.

RainNYC
The musical lineup featured some amazing performances from  Clip Payne’s 420 Funk Mob (including members of Parliament-Funkadelic), Brooklyn’s High & Mighty Brass Band, the CCB Reggae All Stars (formerly the High Times Cannabis Cup Band), rappers Cambatta and SCRIBE the Verbalist, and the East Village’s SoulCake.

nyccannabisparadeband

The NYC Cannabis Parade & Rally’s coalition partners included Empire State NORML, Women Grow NYC, Drug Policy Project, Students for Sensible Drug Policy, Cannabis Cultural Association, Start SMART New York, New Jersey Cannabusiness Association, High NY, Revel, LatinoJustice, Hemp Industry Association, Patients Out of Time, Marijuana Business AssociationGreen Party of New York State, A Rebel Minded Society, Freedom Leaf, Honeysuckle, Infuzes and Good Deed Entertainment.

The Event sponsors are Dutch company Sensi SeedsEtain Health, one of New York’s medical cannabis providers with dispensaries in Manhattan (142 E. 39 St.), Yonkers and Kingston; hemp supplier Tonic; grow-box manufacturer SunBud SolutionsCannaGather; Presto DoctorCurved Papers; and TribeTokes.

stuandfriends

The day ended with a massive 420 smoke out at 4:20; it was a very successful event.

Acreage Announces Grand Openings Of Two The Botanist Dispensaries In February

Acreage-HoldingsNEW YORK: Acreage Holdings has announced the opening of three The Botanist branded cannabis dispensaries in New York and Ohio.  The new locations are in the following cities:

The Botanist 

30133 Euclid Avenue   

Wickliffe, OH 

February 6

The Botanist 

138-72 Queens Blvd. 

Jamaica, NY 

February 20

With these new dispensary openings, Acreage now owns or has management services agreements in place for 23 dispensaries that are currently open, in 11 states including seven The Botanist branded dispensaries.