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More states impose cannabis potency laws

More states impose cannabis potency laws

states are imposing cannabis potency restrictions and taxes

In addition to THC limits, some states are likely to adopt potency-related taxes.

Many states have already established or are planning to establish new laws for the legal cannabis industry based on the level of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in products.

In 2020, Illinois imposed a potency-related tax for all marijuana sales, followed by New York this past March. According to ABC News, Vermont plans to limit the amount of THC in products when the state opens up its legal cannabis market in 2022, with the percentage of THC in any amount of recreational pot set at 30% for flower-form marijuana and 60% for concentrates.

Virginia’s new legalization law aims to give the state’s future Cannabis Control Authority the power to establish THC limits in recreational products and put a cap on THC in medical marijuana. Currently, in states where it’s legal, marijuana is taxed on the established sale price or weight. But with the new laws in Illinois and New York, more states are likely to follow their lead and adopt potency-related taxes on recreational sales.

‘Recriminalization’ at play?

While these changes in state laws are aimed at discouraging the production and sale of highly concentrated cannabis products, the idea of calculating taxes based on potency is getting some pushback. According to the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), this is a type of “recriminalization” of sorts. “[The] consumer demand for [high-potency] [cannabis] products is not going to go away, and recriminalizing them will only push this consumer base to seek out similar products in the unregulated illicit market,” said Paul Armentano, deputy director of NORML.

According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime’s World Drug Report 2021, cannabis potency has quadrupled over the past two decades, while the percentage of adolescents who perceived the drug as harmful fell by as much as 40%.

Clearly, many states are taking this increase in cannabis potency as a serious issue. In fact, some states have already begun limiting the amount of THC milligrams contained in a single serving and packaged cannabis products, while others have prohibited the use of high-potency cannabis altogether. Whether these practices help effectively reduce the production, sale or harmful use of products containing high THC levels remains to be seen.

Denver gives first cannabis transporter license to felon who trafficked plant

Denver gives first cannabis transporter license to felon who trafficked plant

first cannabis transport license issued in Colorado

Two days after Denver issued its first-ever cannabis delivery license to a dispensary, the first transporter license was granted to a company whose co-founder suffered legal consequences for trafficking the substance decades ago.

Ari and Karina Cohen, co-founders of the cannabis transportation company Doobba, were awarded the license Thursday.

Applicants who qualify for Denver’s social equity designation are the only ones who can apply for cannabis transporter permits until July 1, 2024. After that, licensed cannabis stores can conduct their own delivery services.

Established cannabis stores must obtain a delivery license and they must contract with a transportation license holder until the July sunset date.

Ari qualified as a social equity transporter because he was convicted of a cannabis-related felony about 30 years ago, Karina confirmed.

“Our business model is to partner with very specific dispensaries,” she said. “Our biggest thing in this whole journey is to end cannabis prohibition.”

Colorado law specifies social equity applicants must meet one of three criteria as well as have at least a 51 percent ownership of the company.

The applicant must have lived in the state for at least 15 years between 1980 and 2010 in a census tract designated as an opportunity zone or disproportionate impacted area; or they, a parent, guardian, sibling, spouse or child were arrested, convicted or subject to civil asset forfeiture related to a cannabis investigation; or the applicant’s yearly income the year prior did not exceed 50 percent of the state’s median income.

She said Doobba has been talking to at least three cannabis companies about partnering with them for delivery services, and the company will start with two drivers.

Cohen said she’s not sure when her company will finalize a contract with a dispensary, but that she hopes to do so within the next couple of weeks.

She also said Doobba intends to help other social equity applicants navigate the licensing process because “it can be confusing.”

“Ari and I both have a lot of business acumen, and we want to pay it forward and help others stand up and be successful,” Cohen said.

Strawberry Fields received the first delivery permit for a licensed cannabis business on Tuesday, and representatives said they have been in talks with Doobba.

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.

California opens new marijuana agency 5 years after legalization

California opens new marijuana agency 5 years after legalization

california department of cannabis control

Five years after California legalized recreational marijuana, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a law aimed at simplifying how the state regulates the growing industry.

The new law creates a single Department of Cannabis Control, consolidating enforcement, licensing and environmental oversight that had fallen under three different departments.

Industry representatives praised the change, which Newsom first proposed in January 2020.

We “are excited to see the consolidation,” said Lindsay Robinson, the executive director of the California Cannabis Industry Association, representing over 400 licensed businesses across the state. “We see this as a big win for the industry.”

The Department of Cannabis Control will now take over responsibilities from the Bureau of Cannabis Control under the Department of Consumer Affairs, CalCannabis under the Department of Food and Agriculture and the Manufactured Cannabis Safety Branch under the Department of Health.

Cannabis companies had often expressed difficulty navigating three different agencies with varying protocols and processes, according to Robinson.

“I think that having all of this housed under one agency is going to help with communication, it’s going to help with transparency and hopefully with process time for applications too,” Robinson said.

The department will also manage California’s track-and-trace system, following the movement of cannabis and cannabis products through the legal supply chain.

The Newsom administration wants to make it less likely someone will choose to operate in the illicit market, Christina Dempsey, the Acting Deputy Director for the DCC, told The Sacramento Bee by email.

Robinson called the licensing of California’s cannabis industry when voters approved recreational cannabis use in 2016 a “behemoth project” from the start.

Michigan Governor Signs Legislation to Regulate Delta-8 THC

Michigan Governor Signs Legislation to Regulate Delta-8 THC

michigan delta 8 law has been passed

MICHIGAN — Today Gov. Whitmer signed legislation that will regulate, and cover delta-8 THC derived starting October 11, 2021.

This bill will update definitions regarding cannabis plant products making sure all intoxicating substances will be safety-tested and tracked through the MRA’s statewide monitoring system Michigan Executive Office of the Governor.

“This package of bills continues to show Michigan is the model for the nation in regard to protecting its residents and making sure that those who consume marijuana products do so in a safe manner,” said Gov. Whitmer. “I am glad to see Michigan continuing to lead on the implementation and regulation of a safe, secure marijuana industry, which has already brought tens of millions of dollars in new tax revenue to the state, as well as thousands of well-paying jobs.”

“The team at the MRA has always been committed to transparency and forward thinking and this was once again the case regarding delta-8,” said MRA Executive Director Andrew Brisbo. “We were proud to work with legislators and industry stakeholders to pro-actively address this issue and move an untested, unlicensed intoxicating synthetic product into our licensed and regulated system.”

“The voters of Michigan chose to legalize and regulate marijuana in the interests of justice and public health,” said Rep. Yousef Rabhi, D-Ann Arbor. “We know that banning these substances is not the best way to keep the public safe. But we also know that these psychoactive compounds are currently being sold with no public health standards to anyone, regardless of age. Instead of allowing these new hemp derivatives like Delta 8 to circumvent our world-class regulated system, this new law will apply the same rigorous testing and commercial standards that currently protect consumer safety in the legal marijuana marketplace.”

“I appreciate the support of Governor Whitmer and my legislative partner Representative Rabhi in helping Michigan take an important step in streamlining regulations for the safety of cannabis businesses and people around our state,” said Rep. Jim Lilly, R-Park Twp. “By mirroring Michigan’s existing liquor dram shop law and clearly defining the requirements for a proper injury lawsuit, we are bringing clarity to a previously murky area of our cannabis laws. I am extremely excited to see the Governor not only sign these bills, but also sign bills to protect Michigander’s from unregulated and untested Delta-8 hemp products. This legislation does the right thing by taking these products out of the unregulated marketplace and bringing them under the purview of a well-functioning Marijuana Regulatory Agency.”

$1.19 billion worth of marijuana seized in California bust

$1.19 billion worth of marijuana seized in California bust

california cannabis bust

Authorities in Southern California have seized more than 16 tons of marijuana worth an estimated $1.19 billion, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department officials said Wednesday. The 10-day sting is the largest eradication of illegal marijuana cultivations in the history of the department. 

The operation, which began on June 8, resulted in 22 felony arrests, 109 misdemeanor arrests, and 19 arrests from water theft enforcement teams, officials said. More than 200 locations were served with search warrants. Nearly 375,000 marijuana plants and 33,480 pounds of harvested marijuana were seized, along with 65 vehicles, 180 animals and $28,000.

Officials say they believe international cartels are behind the illegal large-scale marijuana farms.

“We’re talking about the cartels,” Lancaster, California, Mayor Rex Parris said at a Wednesday press conference. “We are not talking about mom and pop people selling marijuana that they grew in their backyard. This is the cartels. We are very very close to driving down the freeway and seeing bodies hanging from the overpasses. That is what’s coming.” 

While California legalized the recreational use of marijuana in 2018, illegal grows of the crop have been on the rise in the state. Detectives from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Narcotic Bureau identified over 500 illegal marijuana cultivations in 2021, increasing from the 150 identified in 2020, according to a June statement. Detectives found that the average size per cultivation at farms increased to 15 greenhouses, up from eight per farm in the year prior.

“What we want to do is send a clear and loud message to the cartels and anyone doing an illegal operation in the high desert: Your days are over and we’re coming for you,” said Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva.

Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger said the impacts of illegal marijuana cultivation by cartels include water theft, human trafficking, pollution and threats to safety and security.

“This illegal activity is impacting the quality of life for residents and businesses and if left unaddressed will have long lasting and devastating affects in the region,” Barger said.

 

She called on the district attorney to prosecute those arrested in the operation. Villanueva said that he will share the district attorney’s prosecution decision publicly once it’s made available.

“This is an issue that is plaguing, and will continue to plague, if we do not make it very uncomfortable and one way to make it uncomfortable is to prosecute,” Barger said.

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