Ohio State Auditor May 'Pause' Medical Marijuana Licensing Process Amid Security Concerns

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A letter from the Ohio Department of Commerce today invites State Auditor Dave Yost to pause the state’s medical marijuana program while concerns over the digital security of license applications is vetted.

Yost’s press secretary told Cannabis Business Times that the office is “formulating a response.” (Yost was out of the office this afternoon, attending a funeral for fallen police officers. A full response to the letter is expected sometime next week.

As part of its oversight responsibility, the Ohio Department of Commerce is now sifting through license applications for medical marijuana processors and testing facilities, but it’s the 24 cultivation licenses awarded late last year that have drawn intense scrutiny and prompted today’s letter.

Earlier this week, Yost identified what he called a “critical flaw” in the state’s cultivation license scoring system—namely, that administrators could, in theory, access and manipulate applicants’ results. The security gap was enough for Yost to call into question the integrity of the state Department of Commerce license distribution. 

In working to correct that error, the Department of Commerce stumbled on “inadvertent data input errors in the financial data plan scoring of the cultivator applications,” according to Director Jacqueline Williams. The department confirmed that the error was significant enough to push at least one company (PharmaCann, LLC) out of the 12 winning slots for large-scale growers and deny it a license that it should have rightfully earned. 

PharmaCann’s owners have already filed a separate lawsuit against the state of Ohio, alleging that diversity requirements in the cultivation license scoring process distorted the results and forced PharmaCann out of a license. 

Given the uncertainty surrounding Ohio’s licensing process, the Department of Commerce will follow Yost’s lead, sometime next week, in either pausing the program or pushing forward.

Elsewhere, Jimmy Gould, chairman and CEO of CannAscend, is moving forward on a proposed constitutional amendment that would allow adults 21 and older to grow and use marijuana. (CannAscend was unsuccessful in its own bid for a large-scale cultivation license in Ohio.)

Top photo courtesy of Adobe Stock

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Source: Cannabis Business Times

U.S. House Introduces Bill to Protect Legal Cannabis States While Berkeley, Calif., Becomes ‘Sanctuary City’: Week In Review

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In the past week, a top White House official has decided to leave his position to lead the Office of National Drug Control Policy; travel writer and television host Rick Steves briefed Congress on marijuana policy; a bipartisan bill was introduced in the U.S. House to protect legal cannabis states; Berkeley, Calif., became a “sanctuary city” for cannabis; Arizona introduced a decriminalization bill; the Utah House passed a bill allowing terminally ill patients the ability to try medical marijuana and more.

  • The push to legalize recreational marijuana in Michigan got a boost when a deadline for opposition groups to challenge petition signatures passed and no one stepped up. Now, the secretary of state will review a 500-signature sample of the 362,102 signatures that were turned in by the Committee to Regulate Marijuana like Alcohol in November to determine whether there are enough valid signatures from registered voters to qualify for the Nov. 6 general election ballot. Read more
  • White House Deputy Chief of Staff Jim Carroll is expected to leave his position to helm the Office of National Drug Control Policy. He could become the administration’s drug czar as early as Feb. 16. Read more
  • Legislation introduced by Arizona Rep. Paul Mosley (R- District 5) to reduce possession of 3.5 grams of marijuana or less from a felony to a misdemeanor is receiving positive feedback and support from both major parties. Rep. David Stringer (R- District 1) and Rep. Kirsten Engel (D- District 10) are among other major proponents of this bill, and they have obtained 36 co-sponsors, including 18 Democrats and 18 Republicans, to support it. Read more
  • The Utah House of Representatives passed a bill allowing terminally ill patients the ability to try medical marijuana. House Bill 195, sponsored by Rep. Brad Daw (R-Orem), passed on a 40-26 vote and now goes to the Senate. Read more
  • Travel writer and TV host Rick Steves addressed marijuana prohibition to a gathering of members of Congress and their staff on Feb. 13. Steves said he is motivated to speak in favor of legalization because of its impact on civil liberties. Read more
  • Attorney Bob Hoban offered oral arguments on Feb. 15 in support of his plaintiff clients in Hemp Industries Association v. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). The crux of the lawsuit is the DEA’s stance toward industrial hemp and whether it conflicts with language in the 2014 U.S. Farm Bill. Read more
  • The Virginia Senate passed a bill that would allow someone charged with possession of marijuana for the first time to later pay $150 to have the charge expunged. Sen. Adam Ebbin (D-Alexandria) said he opposed the bill because it did nothing to stop the racially disparate criminal enforcement of marijuana laws, and Sen. Tommy Norment acknowledged his measure was not a decriminalization bill but said it “makes a substantial step forward.” Read more
  • Cannabis users and providers in Berkeley, Calif., got an added layer of protection Feb. 13 when the city declared itself a sanctuary city for marijuana. The Berkeley City Council voted unanimously to prohibit city agencies and employees from turning over information on legal cannabis activities and assisting in enforcing federal marijuana laws. Read more
  • Oral arguments were provided in federal court Feb. 14 in response to the federal government’s motion to dismiss Washington v. Sessions, a civil lawsuit that challenges the constitutionality of the Controlled Substances Act and its definition of cannabis as a Schedule I substance. Its lead plaintiffs are 12-year-old Alexis Bortell, whose family moved from Texas to Colorado to treat her epilepsy with medical cannabis, and former NFL player Marvin Washington, who has advocated for football players’ access to medical cannabis. No decision has been reached as of Feb. 16. Read more
  • A bipartisan bill was offered in the U.S. House Feb. 15 seeking to circumvent attempts by Attorney General Jeff Sessions to encourage stricter enforcement of federal marijuana laws in states where cannabis is legal. Reps. Lou Correa (D-Calif.) and Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) introduced the “Sensible Enforcement Of Cannabis Act,” which would mirror an Obama-era memo that relaxed enforcement of federal marijuana laws in states where the drug is legal. Sessions rescinded the memo last month. Read more

Top image: © Seth Ryan | Adobe Stock

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Source: Cannabis Business Times

Oregon Marijuana Prices Plummet As More Producers Appear

The retail and wholesale prices of pot in Oregon are falling with the proliferation of producers and recreational marijuana shops, according to an analysis by a state economist.

“The biggest thing is just competition,” said Josh Lehner, an economist with the Oregon Office of Economic Analysis in Salem. “As we get more stores, as we get more growers, (as we get) more processors, it becomes a price competition. Prices start to fall, particularly when supply is outpacing demand or supply is ramping up faster than ­demand is growing.”

Pot prices in Oregon are ­falling up to 20 percent a year, Lehner said. And he expects the prices to continue to drop.

As prices plummet, marijuana stores are competing to offer the best deals, said Greg Adrianse, the owner of New Millennium, a pot shop at 2893 Oak St.

“Everybody wants to get those customers in, and if the customers can get a better deal elsewhere, they are going to go there,” he said.

Marijuana prices listed online by pot shops in ­Eugene and Springfield vary greatly, with differences in potency, quality and availability all likely affecting the sale price. [Read more at The Register-Guard]

The post Oregon Marijuana Prices Plummet As More Producers Appear appeared first on Cannabis Business Executive – Cannabis and Marijuana industry news.

Source: Cannabis Business Executive

World Medical Cannabis Conference & Expo Returns to Pittsburgh

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PITTSBURGH – Compassionate Certification Centers, a physician-owned national medical cannabis healthcare network, announces the return of the World Medical Cannabis Conference & Expo, April 12-14, 2018, at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, according to a press release.

Nearly 6,000 attendees are expected at the large-scale expo, including hundreds of exhibitors and high-profile medical, financial, sports and cannabis industry speakers.

For tickets or information, call 1-888-316-9085 or visit www.compassionatecertificationcenters.com.

The multi-faceted conference will showcase the latest in cannabis education, research, technology, cultivation, dispensary management, industrial hemp, CBD products, licensing and ancillary business that support the industry.

Keynote presentations include the Suit Against Sessions where plaintiffs U.S. Army Combat Veteran Jose Belen and Super Bowl winner Marvin Washington will discuss their federal lawsuit against Jeff Sessions in favor of the legal cannabis industry. 

Medical Cannabis in Sports will be discussed with former professional athletes, including: NFL player and Super Bowl winner Marvin Washington; NFL player Eben Britton; NHL player Riley Cote; and undefeated UFL Middleweight champion Frank Shamrock.

New this year will be onsite Pennsylvania medical cannabis evaluations and continuing education courses. Healthcare providers, certified public accountants and attorneys will be able to receive CME, CPE and CLE credits.

Organizers aim to unite businesses and entrepreneurs from all industry sectors with more than 30 in-depth educational courses and hands-on workshops.

The public is also invited to attend an evening riverboat cruise and fundraiser for the Disabled American Veterans and Make A Wish foundations on Friday, April 13, from 6:30–9:30 p.m. Separate registration required. 

Expo host Compassionate Certification Centers is a Pittsburgh-based company specializing in medical certifications, evaluations and continued treatment guidance with locations throughout Pennsylvania.

Photos courtesy of Compassionate Certification Centers

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Source: Cannabis Business Times

Tilray Signs Letter of Intent with National Access Cannabis to Supply Province of Manitoba

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TORONTO–(BUSINESS WIRE)– Tilray, a cannabis cultivator, processor and distributor, has announced that it has signed a Letter of Intent (LOI) with National Access Cannabis Corp. (NAC) to supply the province of Manitoba with high-quality cannabis products in anticipation of adult-use legalization later this year. The province of Manitoba announced this morning that it has selected NAC to operate retail stores for the adult-use cannabis market pending federal legalization anticipated later this year, according to a press release.

“This LOI is another major milestone for us as we aim to build the world’s most trusted cannabis company,” said Brendan Kennedy, Tilray chief executive officer. “We are proud that NAC has trusted us to supply Manitoba with high quality products.” 

It is anticipated that a Tilray subsidiary will supply NAC with up to 3,000 kg of cannabis and up to 4,000 liters of cannabis oil per year for a period of five years across a variety of brands. These brands, which will be brought to Manitoba under the terms outlined in the LOI, include both trusted brands from other legal cannabis markets and new brands created for Canadian consumers. Tilray-branded medical products will continue to be sold exclusively via mail order through the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations (ACMPR), and through pharmacies in other jurisdictions.

The LOI secures a safe, regulated supply of cannabis products for Manitoba from Tilray, an internationally-recognized federally-licensed producer trusted for its commitment to quality, compliance and responsibility. Tilray was the first cannabis company to be Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) certified in accordance with the European Union standards, which has enabled the company to secure supply agreements and authorizations to dispense its products in hospitals, pharmacies and clinical trials in eight countries spanning four continents.

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Source: Cannabis Business Times

Sun Life Financial to Add Medical Marijuana Option to Group Benefits Plans

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TORONTO — Sun Life Financial Inc. is adding medical marijuana as an option for its group benefits plans, marking an industry shift and the latest sign of growing public acceptance of cannabis.

The Toronto-based insurer’s chief executive Dean Connor said the move was influenced by rising interest from Sun Life’s employer clients.

“Medical marijuana has become a very important part of their treatment program and pain management program,” said Connor, referencing patients who have cancer, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, or those requiring palliative care.

Sun Life provides health benefits coverage to more than three million Canadians and their families, or one in six Canadians. This comes as the country moves to legalize cannabis for recreational use later this year and as the number of registered medical marijuana patients grows.

Read more

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Source: Cannabis Business Times

Bipartisan Bill Offered in House to Protect Marijuana Users in Legal Cannabis States

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A bipartisan bill was offered in the House on Thursday seeking to circumvent attempts by Attorney General Jeff Sessions to encourage stricter enforcement of federal marijuana laws in states where the drug is legal.

Reps. Lou Correa (D-Calif.) and Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) introduced the “Sensible Enforcement Of Cannabis Act,” which would mirror a Obama-era memo that relaxed enforcement of federal marijuana laws in states where the drug is legal. Sessions rescinded the memo last month.

The lawmakers say their legislation would protect people from being prosecuted for legal medical and recreational marijuana use.

“To date, eight states have legalized recreational cannabis, and twenty-nine states and the District of Columbia, representing more than half of the American population, have enacted legislation to permit the use of cannabis,” Correa said in a statement.

Read more

Top image: © mseisenhut | Adobe Stock

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Source: Cannabis Business Times

Marijuana Decriminalization Bill Proposed by Legalization Opponents in New Jersey

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Two New Jersey legislators opposed to legalizing recreational marijuana introduced a bipartisan bill on Thursday that would decriminalize the possession of small amounts of cannabis and address concerns about racially discriminatory arrests.

The measure, proposed by State Sen. Ronald Rice, a Democrat who chairs the Legislative Black Caucus, and State Sen. Robert Singer, a Republican from Ocean County, would reduce the penalty for possession of 10 grams or less of marijuana to a $100 civil fine for the first violation, $200 for the second, and $500 for subsequent offenses.

“There are more blacks in jail than any other ethnic group for the personal use of marijuana, and that’s a social justice issue,” said Rice, who represents Newark and the surrounding area.  He said the measure would allow the inmates to petition the court to be released and have their criminal records expunged. Those arrested for simple possession would no longer face up to six months in jail and would not face the threat of having a criminal record.

But the bill could divert attention from Gov. Murphy’s campaign promise to legalize marijuana at a time when public opinion polls show popular support in the state for legalization has dipped.

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Top image: © erllre | Adobe Stock

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Source: Cannabis Business Times

Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission Mulls Governor's Order To 'Go Slow' With Draft Regulations

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Marijuana advocates in Massachusetts say Gov. Charlie Baker is putting extraordinary pressure on the Cannabis Control Commission to force them to step back from some of their draft regulations.

The commission is proposing, in addition to cannabis retail stores, the licensing of businesses where customers could purchase and consume marijuana products. Baker’s call to “go slow” comes as the commission is set to finalize those regulations.

The commission surprised many late last year when they adopted proposed regulations that went beyond simply allowing retail cannabis stores to open. The prospects of “cannabis cafes,” “marijuana movie theaters” and “stoned yoga classes” were welcomed by cannabis advocates.

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Top photo courtesy of Adobe Stock

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Source: Cannabis Business Times

Back to the Drawing Board for Bill to Stop Enforcement of Marijuana Laws in St. Louis

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The idea that some people might drive from Illinois or Missouri suburbs to deal drugs in St. Louis is one of the reasons Joe Vacarro is uncomfortable with a marijuana bill before the City Board of Aldermen.

Vaccaro is chairman of the board’s 10-member legislative committee, which held a public hearing on Board Bill 180 this week. The bill would direct St. Louis police not to spend their time or energy enforcing laws on the use, growth or sale of marijuana.

RELATED: Alderwoman Files Bill to ‘Effectively Legalize’ Marijuana in St. Louis

“It would be very convenient for people (from other places) to do their marijuana sales in the city,” said Vacarro, 62, who represents Ward 23 in southwest St. Louis. “You don’t have to be a resident.”

Vaccaro also is concerned about issues raised by City Counselor Julian Bush, who said the bill, if adopted as an ordinance, could get city employees, including police, into legal trouble.

“It’s a crime for a police officer to refuse to execute a warrant, and this ordinance directs them not to execute a warrant and punishes them if they do,” Bush said.

Read more

Top image: © digidreamgrafix | Adobe Stock

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Source: Cannabis Business Times