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Humboldt County announces more than $2 million in grant funding for cannabis farmers

Humboldt County announces more than $2 million in grant funding for cannabis farmers

humboldt county gives out cannabis grant to farmers
Many Humboldt County growers are struggling this season as the price of cannabis falls in California.

Humboldt County announced more than $2 million in grant funding available through Project Trellis, the county’s cannabis micro-grant, marketing and local equity program, to help the local cannabis community enter into the commercial cannabis marketplace. Those eligible can apply for up to $10,000 “per service” in accordance with Humboldt County’s eligibility requirements for Project Trellis.

“All applications and supporting documents will be reviewed by Economic Development staff to ensure the applicant meets eligibility criteria. Some projects may receive a lower amount than what was requested, based on the availability of funds or needs of service,” a news release from the county stated.

“A typical approval process can take 60 or more days from when the application is received. Upon approval, the applicant will receive a notice of award, contract, fund request form and a W9 form.”

Project Trellis was built as a three-tier program to redirect cannabis tax revenue back into the local economy. In September 2019, the county sought proposals for cannabis branding and marketing.

The goal of the program is to “implement the recommendations set forth in the Humboldt County Cannabis Equity Assessment” and “to further equity among those impacted by the criminalization of cannabis, by providing services to individuals in Humboldt County’s cannabis community, particularly small growers who were adversely affected by the criminalization of cannabis.”

While $2 million may seem like a big chunk of change, Humboldt County Growers Alliance executive director Natalynne DeLapp said the county’s “independent cannabis farmers are in crisis.”

“It is great that the county developed Project Trellis…and (has) secured nearly $5 million in funding from the state to support communities most impacted by the War on Drugs in entering the regulated cannabis market, but now it is time to get serious,” she said. “…Perhaps 200 of Humboldt County’s 900-plus cultivation operators, who can prove the War on Drugs has negatively impacted them, could receive up to $10,000 in fee waivers for professional services like fee waivers, technical assistance or installing solar or water storage systems.”

Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission meets for the first time

Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission meets for the first time

Alabama medical cannabis commission meets for the first time
A Dothan area oncologist was elected as the chairman of the Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission.

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — The members of the newly formed Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission on Thursday met in a formal session for the first time for an organizational meeting in Alabama’s historic 1859 Capitol Building.

“You truly have a lot of work cut out for you,” Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey told the commission members. “It will be up to you, those who have been appointed by many elected leaders around the state, to establish a criteria for medical cannabis production in Alabama.”

“I can’t urge you strongly enough to keep transparency and efficacy foremost in your mind,” Ivey told the members of the new commission. “The task before you is providing legal use for medical cannabis,” Ivey said. “We simply have to get this right.”

The Alabama Legislature shocked many observers, on both sides of the marijuana debate; when legislators elected to jettison the hotly debated gambling bill and pass medical marijuana legalization in the 2021 legislative session instead. Sen. Tim Melson, R-Florence, had carried the legislation three years in a row, with it finally passing after an 11-hour debate on the floor of the Alabama House of Representatives in May.

The members of the commission voted to make Dr. Steven Stokes the chairman of the commission. Rex Vaughn was voted in as co-chair of the Commission. Stokes then s appointed a subcommittee tasked with searching for an executive director of the commission.

“We have a long way to go and a short time to get there,” Stokes told the commission, quoting from the southern classic: ‘Smokey and the Bandit. The Commission must have a program in place to certify physicians to recommend medical marijuana in place by Jan 1, 2022. Stokes assigned a subcommittee to work on this task.

“We are going to have to meet at least once a month,” Stokes said. Meetings will be “the second Thursday of each month at least through the first of the year until we get organized and up and going.”

“Patient wants this,” Stokes said. “They campaigned for this; but there are also a lot of people who have a problem with this. They are concerned that this would be a gateway for more drug abuse.”“For a cancer patient there is a great benefit,” Stokes, an oncologist from Dothan, said. “But at least half of the homeless have an addiction problem. We don’t want to increase substance addictions.”

Online cannabis marketplace Leafly to go public

Online cannabis marketplace Leafly to go public

cannabis company Leafly is going public

In a historic year for Washington companies going public, Seattle-based Leafly, an online cannabis marketplace, will push the 2021 total even higher.

The company announced Monday it will go public through a special merger with New York-based Merida Merger Corp (Nasdaq: MCMJ). The transaction is expected to value Leafly at $385 million and add approximately $161 million of additional proceeds to the company.

The combined company will adopt Leafly’s name, and is expected to trade on Nasdaq with the ticker symbol “LFLY.” The company said it will list its shares once the merger is complete, likely sometime this fall.

According to PitchBook, 15 companies in Washington have gone public in 2021 so far, five more than last year’s total, and the most the state has seen in the last five years.

“Online retail shopping is in our DNA,” said Yoko Miyashita, CEO of Leafly, in an interview. “What you see is … this realization from consumers that say ‘Oh, (cannabis) is like any other retail product I can order online.”

Leafly earned $36 million in revenue last year, up from $30 million in 2019, according to its investor presentation. This year, revenue is expected to increase to $43 million, and grow roughly 50% annually through 2024.

Still, the company does not expect to be profitable until 2024, predicting it will lose at least $15 million in net income from 2021 to 2023.

The company makes money mostly through subscription fees it charges cannabis retailers who list their menus on Leafly’s platform. Customers place orders with retailers through the online site, but still have to go to the cannabis shop in person to pick up their product. Leafly does not take a commission from each transaction but does make money off ad sales from retailers.

The company said it has 4,600 paying retail subscribers, with approximately 55% of North American retail cannabis licensees on its platform and 125 million annual visitors.

Miyashita said cannabis retailers are “constrained” in their ability to advertise on major social media networks because of federal prohibition laws. Leafly’s platform, giving retailers and consumers an opportunity to reach each other, is “huge,” she said. “We have one of the largest audiences in cannabis.”

Some Chicago cannabis license lottery winners are selling to the highest bidders

Some Chicago cannabis license lottery winners are selling to the highest bidders

Chicago cannabis license winners already selling off licenses

State law doesn’t prohibit the new licensees from unloading for millions of dollars and potentially “giving it away to the white boys again,” one critic said.

The applicants waited for more than a year for a chance to jump into Illinois’ booming weed industry.

But now that they have won lucrative cannabis licenses to open marijuana dispensaries, craft grow operations or other related businesses, some could sell the licenses before ever opening up — potentially collecting millions in the process.

With the state’s troubled cannabis licensing process careening toward a conclusion, corporatized weed firms and other cash-rich buyers are now expected to go after the new licenses — many of which are slated to go to so-called social equity applicants, a designation created to boost diversity in the lily-white weed industry.

Rickey Hendon, a former state senator who won a dispensary license in last week’s lottery, acknowledged he and other companies are now entertaining a host of proposals to sell to owners with deeper pockets. A court order in a pending lawsuit has, however, blocked the formal issuance of the pot shop permits for now.

“Of course some of the smaller companies are listening to all kinds of offers,” said Hendon, who became a de-facto spokesman for social equity candidates after they were shut out of the initial licensing process a year ago. “I’m listening to all kinds of offers.”

Hendon, who said he is merely exploring his options, believes a cannabis license could fetch between $3 million and $15 million, depending on which statewide region it allows a buyer to set up shop.

An industry source, however, estimated that each of the 185 new pot shop permits is likely worth much less, between $1 million and $3 million. The source pegged the going rate at $4-$5 million for each of the 40 new craft cultivation licenses, which were announced last month along with other permits to infuse and transport cannabis products.

But critics say the potential massive selloff goes against the spirit of the legalization law and the recent trailer bill Hendon helped write, both of which went to painstaking lengths to give people of color ownership in the highly profitable industry. What’s more, some fear predatory forces will attempt to take advantage of social equity firms trying to turn a quick profit.

Edie Moore, a fierce proponent of diversifying the industry who serves as the executive director of Chicago NORML, a marijuana advocacy group, couldn’t hold back her frustrations about the prospect of social equity firms now dumping cannabis licenses so many in the state fought hard to get to them.

“I’m not upset for people who want to get a payday. But I thought that they had got into this business to be in this business, not to just make a quick buck,” said Moore, who helped write the latest pot law and has already won a dispensary permit.

“That’s what we were fighting for,” she added. “For people to build generational wealth on owning and building and creating something within their communities, not giving it away to the white boys again.”

Historical First: Ohio Cannabis Legalization Bill Introduced by Lawmakers

Historical First: Ohio Cannabis Legalization Bill Introduced by Lawmakers

ohio cannabis legalization bill introduced

Ohio lawmakers on Friday formally introduced a bill to legalize marijuana possession, production and sales—the first effort of its kind in the state legislature. This comes as activists are pursuing a separate ballot initiative that would effectively force the legislature to consider similar cannabis reforms.

Reps. Casey Weinstein (D) and Terrence Upchurch (D) filed the legislation, weeks after circulating a co-sponsorship memo to colleagues to build support for the measure.

The 180-page bill would legalize possession of up to five ounces of cannabis for adults 21 and older and allow them to cultivate up to 12 plants for personal use. It also includes provisions to expunge prior convictions for possession and cultivation activities that are being made legal under the measure.

A 10 percent excise tax would be imposed on marijuana sales, with revenue first going toward the cost of implementation and then being divided among municipalities with at least one cannabis shop (15 percent), counties with at least one shop (15 percent), K-12 education (35 percent) and infrastructure (35 percent).

“It’s time to lead Ohio forward,” Weinstein said in a press release. “This is a big step for criminal justice reform, for our veterans, for economic opportunity, and for our individual liberties.”

The state Department of Commerce would be responsible for overseeing the program and issuing cannabis business licenses.

 

Individual municipalities could restrict the type and number of marijuana that operate in their area. The bill specifically states that the state’s existing medical marijuana program would not be impacted by the establishment of an adult-use market.

“This bill is much needed in Ohio, and it’s time for Ohio to become a national leader in marijuana decriminalization and legalization,” Upchurch said. “This bill is more than just about legalization, it’s about economic and workforce development, it’s about decriminalization, and it’s about healthcare! The time is now, and I look forward to getting this done in a bipartisan fashion.”

Gov. Mike DeWine (R) is likely to oppose the effort given his record, but activists have effectively demonstrated through local initiatives that voters in the state broadly support enacting a cannabis policy change.

A newly formed organization called the the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol (CTRMLA) is also actively collecting signatures for a statewide ballot measure that would separately force lawmakers to consider taking up legalization legislation once a certain signature gathering threshold is met.

Denver grants first cannabis delivery license

Denver grants first cannabis delivery license

colorado cannabis delivery
Ever had one of those lazy days where you don’t want to get off the couch, even to buy cannabis? Soon, you won’t have to.
Strawberry Fields, a marijuana cultivation company with five Colorado dispensaries, including one at 3453 S. Yosemite St., was awarded Denver’s first cannabis delivery license Tuesday.

“I think it’s going to open up a lot of different avenues and outlets, more availability for our (medical cannabis) patients and consumers,” said Ethan Shean, chief retail operations officer for Strawberry Fields.

The service will not be immediately available, however.

Retail cannabis outlets must contract with companies that have obtained a cannabis transportation license, and none of those have been issued, although city officials told BusinessDen those applications could be approved within the next couple weeks.

Shean said the ability to deliver products will help Strawberry Fields connect with homebound medical cannabis patients and to people who have limited transportation.

“That is part of the inclusion that we want,” Shean said. “The customers and the patients who may not have access to come to one of our locations could be patients who rely on public transportation. We want to be accessible and convenient.”

Strawberry Fields opened in 2010 as a medical dispensary before adding recreational sales when it became legal in Colorado. The company is in communication with a few people who have applied for cannabis transportation licenses, Shean said.

State law governs how much cannabis can purchased per day, which is up to one ounce of “flower” per person or eight grams of concentrate with more than 800 milligrams of THC.

The city of Denver will only allow people who qualify as a “social equity applicant” to apply for medical and retail cannabis transportation licenses until July 1, 2024. Transporters can contract with multiple cannabis stores for their services. Deliveries must take place between 8 a.m. and midnight.

Existing retail and medical cannabis stores must contract with transportation licensees until July 1, 2024. After that, licensed dispensaries will be able to conduct deliveries themselves.

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