Cannabis Client Alert - Week of August 2, 2021

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In this week’s edition:

  • Congress passes spending bill that provides some protections to banks servicing state-legal cannabis businesses
  • Illinois announces 55 winners of lottery licenses to operate adult-use cannabis retail outlets in the state
  • California’s merger of regulatory agencies is complete and Nicole Elliott will lead the new, unified Department of Cannabis Control
  • And more…

Federal

House Approves Cannabis Banking and Employment in Spending Bill - Congress passed a spending bill that (i) contains provisions providing protections for banks that service legal cannabis businesses, (ii) asks federal agencies to reconsider policies for firing employees who use cannabis, and (iii) allows for the legalization of cannabis sales in Washington, DC. The bill specifies that “none of the funds made available in this Act may be used to penalize a financial institution solely because the institution provides financial services to a [state-legal cannabis] entity.”

In a Federal Register filing, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services said that "untreated and inappropriately treated pain may translate to increased costs to the Medicare program/ - A proposed rule from the agency also noted that "additional risks in untreated pain include individuals using illicit drugs such as cannabis."

States

CA - California has merged its three cannabis regulatory agencies into a single Department of Cannabis Control, to be led by Nicole Elliott, senior advisor on cannabis to Gov. Gavin Newsom. “The formation of the Department is the culmination of 18 months of effort, but it is just the beginning of our efforts to improve the cannabis regulatory structure,” said Elliott.

ID - Idaho officials have cleared advocates to collect signatures for a measure that would legalize possession of limited amounts of cannabis for adults 21 and older in the state.

IL - Illinois has reported 55 winners of cannabis lottery licenses. Winners will be able to operate cannabis retail stores in the state, but will need to wait for a judge to rule on litigation concerning the lottery process before they can begin sales.

MS - A Mississippi Senate committee is expected to have a new medical cannabis bill for the state next week to replace the voter-approved Initiative 65, which was overturned by the state’s Supreme Court.

MO - The State of Missouri has stated that cannabis sales events will not be permitted, pitting the state’s cannabis industry against regulators.

NY - The New York Office of Cannabis Management (OCM), which will oversee the rollout of adult-use cannabis in the state, is in the process of appointing board members. Once the board is in place, the OCM can begin the process of promulgating adult-use regulations.

RI - Rhode Island’s lottery to award licenses to new medical cannabis facilities is delayed due to ongoing litigation from a failed lottery applicant.

Hemp/CBD

Cornell Study Finds that Environmental Stress does not cause “Hot” Hemp Crops - A new study found that stress on hemp plants does not cause an increase in THC levels. “With this research, growers should feel some comfort that stresses do not seem to have a strong effect on changing the ratio of CBD to THC,” said Larry Smart, senior author of the study and a professor of horticulture at the Cornell College of Agriculture and Life Sciences’ School of Integrative Plant Science.

International

Ecuador’s Flower Industry Shifts to Hemp - After a pandemic-related decline in flower sales, the country of Ecuador is repurposing some rose flower farms to cultivate hemp. Ecuador legalized the production, marketing and export of hemp in late 2019.

Guernsey to Permit Medical Cannabis Cultivation - Guernsey, second largest of the Channel Islands, will permit medical cannabis cultivation subject to licensing and permitting by the island’s cannabis agency.

Israel - A bill to decriminalize cannabis failed to pass last week and the coalition that introduced it will have to wait six months before it bringing it up for a vote again.

Business

British American Tobacco Recognizes Cannabis as “Part of the Future” - BAT has stated that it is looking beyond nicotine products for future growth, following an investment in Canadian cannabis operator Organigram and a new deal to research CBD and cannabis products.

Medical/Health

NORML updates its Review of 450 Studies Assessing the Therapeutic Efficacy of Cannabis and Cannabinoids - The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) updated its “Clinical Applications for Cannabis & Cannabinoids” report, which reviews more than 450 studies on the safety and efficacy of cannabis and cannabinoids, including CBD.

Study Examines Whether Cannabis Could Have Anti-Inflammatory Properties - A study examines whether cannabis, via the endocannabinoid system, could act as an anti-inflammatory agent against chronic inflammation.

Hemp Is an Effective Weight Loss Aid, Study Suggests - Research funded by a grant from the National Institutes of Health suggests that a proprietary hemp compound can be an effective supplement to promote weight loss.

CBD Shown to Reduce Cravings in Animals for Cocaine and Alcohol Use - The same study also found that cannabidiol may alleviate withdrawal symptoms in nicotine-dependent rats.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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