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New Jersey Regulators Ban Nearly All Edible Cannabis Products

New Jersey Regulators Ban Nearly All Edible Cannabis Products

New Jersey regulators ban cannabis edibles

Nearly a year after passing a constitutional amendment to legalize cannabis, New Jersey has yet to open a single retail cannabis store. While the industry has yet to take off, that isn’t stopping regulators from preemptively banning one of the most popular cannabis products.

When it comes to the cannabis products that consumers want, flower remains king. Vaporizer pens and concentrates for dabbing have been slowly catching up with flower as consumers seek a quicker way to get the desired effects of cannabis without burning the plant itself.

However, cannabis edibles have also been gaining popularity. Avoiding the need for any sort of inhalation at all, edibles are great for consumers who don’t want to vape or smoke, but still want the effects of cannabis.

Cannabis beverages have seen the greatest growth since the beginning of 2020, when cannabis sales skyrocketed across the country due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Cannabis capsule products have also grown noticeably in popularity, showing that consumers are seeking a way to consume cannabis without, well, consuming traditional cannabis.

With such growth in the edible cannabis market, it would seem obvious to any potential industry that is about to open that edibles will be a high-demand product. Higher demand means higher profits, which is what any state is seeking when legalizing cannabis.

Unless you’re New Jersey.

Ban on almost all cannabis edibles

Despite having no functional legal cannabis industry to base their decision, regulators in charge of New Jersey’s recreational cannabis have decided to ban all forms of edible cannabis products except for lozenges. This means traditional products consumers would likely be familiar with — cookies, brownies, gummies, beverages — are all prohibited.

The reasoning behind the ban is the same used by many states when they first legalize; the children. Concern over edible products that might appeal to children is a consistent issue in the legal cannabis industry.

While other states passed new regulations requiring child-proof packaging and prohibiting edibles from being designed in a manner that would be appealing to kids (i.e. gummy bears, star-shaped cookies, etc.), New Jersey has decided to take a much more restrictive approach.

According to the new set of regulations passed by New Jersey cannabis regulators, “ingestible forms of cannabis… shall only include syrups, pills, tablets, capsules, and chewable forms.”

A growing and thriving grey market

Just because regulators are dragging their feet in getting a functional legal cannabis industry up and running doesn’t mean that the people aren’t already taking advantage of the new law. Seemingly taking a tip from the Washington D.C. playbook, New Jersey has begun to develop a thriving grey market industry.

While there is nowhere to legally buy or sell cannabis directly, there’s a workaround. Similar to how D.C.’s grey market operates, New Jersey currently has a gift/donation system in place to skirt the current regulations.

In this grey market, a consumer may find a delivery service online. One the website one might see several different cannabis products, or “packages” as they might be called. However that isn’t technically what the consumer is buying.

Instead, the cannabis product is simply a “gift” that is included with the purchase of another item on the website. This might be a sweatshirt, a t-shirt, or even something as small as a sticker. The price of the sticker may be around $40, which conveniently is the same price as an eighth of cannabis.

Within a couple hours, a delivery driver will be at the door with the sticker and the included gift, and bam you just “bought” legal cannabis in New Jersey. But just like D.C.’s grey market, the grey market in New Jersey is completely unregulated.

Although a legal cannabis company has to follow strict regulations on manufacturing and packaging, an unregulated market like that which is blooming in New Jersey has no such restrictions. So while regulators may think they are making progress by banning various forms of edible cannabis products, these new rules will be all but ignored by those operating in the grey market already.

In other words, the new regulations can’t possibly have any sort of impact until there is an actual legal industry to enforce them. As regulators take their time getting the legal cannabis industry up and operational in New Jersey, the grey market will continue to thrive only making it more complicated to get legitimate businesses licensed and running.

If you are interested in learning more about the New Jersey cannabis industry, need assistance with licensing, planning and implementation of your business plan, Greener Consulting Group can help you stay on top of the latest regulatory changes, fees and best practices for getting ahead of the competition when the industry takes off.

U.S. House Approves Bill to Ease Cannabis Banking

U.S. House Approves Bill to Ease Cannabis Banking

The U.S. House of Representatives late Tuesday night approved a bill that would let banks to do business with cannabis companies without fear of penalty, giving traction to the least-disputed reform sought by the growing industry. 

The so-called SAFE Banking Act would be a boon for marijuana companies, which have so-far been stymied by the necessity to deal in cash because of federal restrictions. That has meant they have extra security costs and logistical problems, even as marijuana increasingly becomes legal. Some three dozen states now allow medical or recreational use, according to New Frontier Data, a cannabis research firm.

The measure, which has been passed by the House before with bipartisan support, was this time approved by voice vote as part of the National Defense Authorization Act.

Representative Ed Perlmutter, a Colorado Democrat, who had re-introduced the bill, has said that allowing cannabis businesses to access the banking system would bring more money into the economy and offer the opportunity to create good-paying jobs. The American cannabis industry had $20.3 billion in legal sales in 2020, according New Frontier Data.

The bill’s prospects are unclear in the Senate.

Yet it’s still a far cry from the wish-list of legal reforms that the industry seeks, including all-out legalization, and relief from tax burdens.

The U.S. Cannabis Council, a trade group that represents companies in the industry, called the current rules that require marijuana firms to be all-cash a security hazard.

“Over $17 billion in legal cannabis was sold in the United States last year, overwhelmingly through cash transactions. Forcing legitimate, well-regulated cannabis businesses to conduct most of their business in cash is anachronistic and a clear threat to public safety,” the council’s chief executive Steven Hawkins said in a statement before the bill passed.

BTIG analyst Camilo Lyon said in a research note this week that the SAFE Act’s inclusion with the defense authorization might enhance its prospects.

“Discussions with our D.C. contacts suggest it has an easier pathway of getting through the Senate, largely because no senator wants to be viewed as holding up the massive 1,700 page must-pass NDAA simply because of SAFE banking,” Lyon wrote.

New Jersey Cannabis Commission Approves New Grow Site, More Waiting on Approval

New Jersey Cannabis Commission Approves New Grow Site, More Waiting on Approval

New Jersey’s cannabis regulators on Tuesday moved to streamline the licensing of new weed businesses and approved another marijuana grow site — but it did not announce the recipients of some two dozen businesses that have sat in limbo for nearly two years.

The state’s Cannabis Regulatory Commission met on Tuesday evening to approve the transfer of an existing medical marijuana license, a new marijuana grow site and a system to help it process applications for new cannabis businesses.

All signal the state is gearing up for legal cannabis sales.

The commission unveiled its initial rules to guide the legal weed industry last month. That set the clock ticking down to launch sales to those 21 and older — according to the law, they must start within six months of the commission adopting its regulations.

But the commission gave no word on the 2019 request for applications to operate new medical marijuana facilities. Some 150 entities saw a review of applications paused in late 2019 due to a lawsuit. But a court ruled earlier this year that the commission could resume its evaluation and award those 24 licenses.

So far, the commission has not issued any of the new licenses. Jeff Brown, the commission’s executive director, has said licenses will come soon, but regulators have not given a date by when they will announce the new licenses.

“It is not lost on us that everyone is eager to get that moving forward, as are we,” Dianna Houenou, the commission’s chair, said during the meeting. She said the commission was working quickly to score them, but emphasized the need to “double” and “triple” check each.

Still, frustration dominated the meeting.

Olympic Anti-Doping Group Will Review Cannabis Ban

Olympic Anti-Doping Group Will Review Cannabis Ban

Olympic anti-doping group with evaluate the cannabis ban

The World Anti-Doping Agency will review its ban on cannabis, in what the agency says is a response to “requests from a number of stakeholders” in international athletics. But it’s not clear when, or if, a change to the controversial policy might take effect: cannabis will remain forbidden for the 2022 athletic season.

The news comes after WADA’s ban on cannabis prevented U.S. sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson from competing in the Tokyo Olympics, despite her victory in the 100-meter race at the U.S. Olympic trials.

WADA’s executive committee has approved a plan to organize “a scientific review of the status of cannabis” that will start next year, the group said. But it reiterated that cannabis remains on its list of prohibited substances — a new version of which is due to come out by Oct. 1.

Richardson was hit with a 30-day suspension this summer after she tested positive for THC, the active ingredient in marijuana. The decision triggered an outpouring of support for Richardson, at a time when dozens of U.S. states have legalized marijuana to some degree.

The ban also prompted widespread confusion over why marijuana might be considered a performance-enhancing drug.

“I didn’t think the evidence base for marijuana would be particularly strong,” Dr. Michael Joyner of the Mayo Clinic told NPR in July. “But as I looked at the papers yesterday, I was surprised at how weak it is.”

Is Weed Legal in Italy? Yes and No.

Is Weed Legal in Italy? Yes and No.

is weed legal in Italy?
Like a lot of European countries, Italy has a complex history with cannabis.

Since 1990, Italy has had a relatively relaxed stance on cannabis use and possession. It was that year that the country passed a Consolidated Law which basically decriminalized cannabis use, but kept possession illegal. This made the question, is weed legal in Italy, seemingly less clear.

As confusing as this adjustment was, it wasn’t until 2014 that the Italian government clarified their position on cannabis. Law 79 was introduced, which essentially granted the Italian Medicines Agency (AIFA) the power to authorize off-label use of medicinal products (under certain conditions) if warranted by public interest (including for financial reasons) even where a valid therapeutic alternative was available.

Included in those medicinal products is cannabis. However the new law only legalized medical marijuana and clarified punishments for non-medical cannabis possession. First-time offenders for cannabis possession would just get a warning, while a follow-up offense leads to suspension of a driver’s license for one to three months.

After legalizing medical cannabis production in Italy, only the Ministry of Defence were permitted to grow it. As a result, the military-owned Institute of Pharmaceuticals in Florence is the only place that cultivates cannabis for medicinal use. Astonishing as it may seem, the Italian military are responsible for growing cannabis!

So you’re probably still asking, “is weed legal in Italy?” The short answer would appear to still be no. But in 2016, there we some big changes.

Italian hemp legalization

While hemp is actually native to certain regions in Europe, few countries have really regulated its production. In 2016, Italy decided to do just that.

In the United States, the Farm Bill was passed in 2018, which legalized industrial hemp on the federal level. The government defined industrial hemp as any part of the cannabis plant containing less than .3% THC, the main psychoactive compound in cannabis.

When Italy passed their hemp production law in 2016, they set the limit at .6% THC. This created a new booming grey market industry of hemp flower in Italy.

In shops across the country, jars of hemp flower are sold as “collectibles” that are meant to be used for “technical purposes”, not to be consumed by humans (wink, wink). While the hemp flower being sold was not psychoactive due to its low THC levels, many still sought the hemp flower for its high CBD levels which provide some therapeutic effects.

In the same year that Italy legalized hemp production, the country’s parliament threw out the idea of allowing the cultivation of 5 cannabis plants for personal use. This idea was quickly shot down by Catholic lawmakers and right-wing politicians.

However just recently in September of 2021, Italy decided to move forward with a slightly adjusted version of this idea.

Is weed legal in Italy?

As of today, cannabis possession and consumption is more or less legal. This reform decriminalizes the cultivation of four cannabis plants at home. Since consumption is already decriminalized, private possession has more or less been decriminalized as a result.

However, the parliament also increased the penalties for trafficking and distribution. In other words, the sale of cannabis in Italy still remains illegal (except for hemp flower). This is why the question, is weed legal in Italy, is tough to answer.

Italians won’t be buying recreational cannabis in dispensaries any time soon, however it is likely that a strong grey market will develop with the new lax restrictions.

To use Washington D.C. as an example; the District of Columbia legalized cannabis recreationally in 2014, however a rider in the bill prohibited any district funds from being used to implement a retail industry. In other words, it was legal to grow and possess cannabis, but there was nowhere to buy or sell it recreationally.

This created a grey market in which consumers would “gift” cannabis to each other in exchange for a “donation”, skirting around the law prohibiting the sale of cannabis. If we can assume anything following the rise in popularity of hemp flower, it is that there will likely be a similar grey market that develops in Italy.

California cannabis regulators issue new, consolidated industry rules

California cannabis regulators issue new, consolidated industry rules

California department of cannabis control

The newly merged California Department of Cannabis Control (DCC) on Wednesday released a 197-page draft of cannabis industry regulations, including allowing broader sales of branded merchandise and sharing product samples among those in the supply chain.

The release of the new draft regulations kicks off a new public comment period before the rules are expected to be formally adopted around the end of September. 

The DCC is a brand-new state agency in California, created in July from the original framework of three separate bureaucracies that oversaw legal marijuana businesses in the state. Combining the regulations from the three former regulators was one of the new agency’s first tasks.

The new rules are expected to be finalized and adopted around the end of the month.

Among the highlights in the changing rules:

  • New parameters for how industry trade-sample sharing can work, allowing manufacturers, growers and distributors to share product samples free of charge with others in the legal supply chain.

  • New and more narrowly tailored definitions for marijuana company owners and those who own a financial stake in a business.

  • Allowances for non-vertically integrated cannabis companies to sell branded merchandise from other licensed businesses.

Contact Greener Consulting Group for assistance with adjusting to the new agency and regulatory changes.

 

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