House Committee Considers Effort to Protect Cannabis Business

Last month the House Appropriations Committee approved an amendment to the 2020 Federal Spending Bill that would prohibit the Justice Department from interfering with cannabis businesses operating within their respective state laws. This week the US House Rules Committee is similarity reviewing the amendment approved by the Appropriations Committee. The amendment was put forth by Rep. Earl Blumenauer, an Oregon Democrat, and Tom McClintock, a California Republican. In addition, another amendment would prevent the Justice Department from interfering with Veterans Affairs doctors who recommend medical cannabis to patients in states with MMJ programs. In January Attorney General Bill Barr, during his…

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Illinois Becomes 11th U.S. State to Legalize Recreational Cannabis

The state of Illinois today finalized a bill to legalize cannabis. Bill HB 1438, which allows adults 21 and older to consume and posses cannabis, was approved in a bipartisan 66 to 47 vote. The only hurdle remaining is a signature from Governer JB Protzker. Gov. Pritzker has announced he intends to sign the bill. “The state of Illinois just made history, legalizing adult-use cannabis with the most equity-centric approach in the nation. This will have a transformational impact on our state, creating opportunity in the communities that need it most and giving so many a second chance.” Pritzker said.…

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FDA Hearing Exploring Fate of CBD Regulation

Today the FDA is holding a hearing to determine how the regulatory body will manage the rules and restrictions surrounding CBD. Attending the hearing will be a number of cannabis advocates, including manufacturers, consumer, health care providers and other analytics to provide a sweeping overview of the impacts that CBD and the many products derived from it, can play in the open marketplace. Recently estimates on Wall Street state that the current $1 billion CBD industry could grow to $16 billion by 2025, depending in the level of regulation. Last year the FDA and the DEA both approved for the…

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Merger Mania Making Waves in Cannabis Sector

The cannabis market is rife with activity - big activity. Since the New Year, a number of massive mergers & acquisitions have taken place, stretching from East to West and North to South. These consolidations have drawn the eye of Wall Street as economies of scale and vertical integration tempt further capital flow into the sector. Of course such deals create winners and losers, often at the expense of the little guy. Yet it also represents a maturation taking place in an industry that has long lingered in the shadows of adolescent economic potential. As consolidation, normalization and scale continue…

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Makers of Oreo Cookies Considering CBD-Infused Products

The makers of Oreo cookies are considering integrating CBD into their products. If that’s not a recipe for letting out the kid inside, then what is? Oreos are produced by Mondelez, based in Europe, that also makes famed snack brands Chips Ahoy!, Wheat Thins, Ritz Crackers and many others. "We’ve been looking at it," CEO Dirk Van de Put told CNBC in an interview Wednesday. "We’re getting ready but obviously we want to stay within what is legal and play it the right way.” Don’t get too excited, however, as it seems this CBD infusion will not impact its current…

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MA-Based Curaleaf Holdings Acquires OR-Based Cura Cannabis for $1.1 Billion

Portland, Oregon-based Cura Cannabis, one of the nation’s largest producers and distributors of cannabis products, was acquired by Curaleaf Holdings today for a record all-stock valuation of $1.1 Billion. This is the largest acquisition deal in the history of the U.S. legal cannabis industry…thus far. Curaleaf Holdings, based in Massachusetts, reported $87.8 million in revenue in 2018 compared to $117 million in revenue from Cura. The combined company market value is over $6.5 Billion as of May 1, 2019. “The transformational acquisition of Cura and the Select brand is another step in our journey to create the most accessible cannabis…

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Cannabis Investor Donates $9 Million For Research at Harvard and MIT
In the subdued light of microscope room, Amanda Vernon reviews an image of cells in a mouse brain with Professor Myriam Heiman. (Robin Lubbock/WBUR)

Cannabis Investor Donates $9 Million For Research at Harvard and MIT

A New York-based cannabis investor, Bob Broderick, gifted a $9 million endowment to aid in cannabis research at MIT and Harvard. Broderick, who has made tens of millions of dollars investing in the legal marijuana industry in Canada, is hoping this donation will kickstart cannabis research at two of America’s leading universities. The donation is the largest private sum thus far for the study of cannabis. "I saw an opportunity to take a kind of a leadership position in getting these two great cultural institutions involved in the discussion of cannabis in the country," Broderick told WBUR in Boston.  …

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Senator Mitch McConnell Seeking to Fix Broken Hemp Regulations

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles hosted a hemp forum on April 8, 2019 at the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville. Senator McConnell and Commissioner Quarles invited U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Greg Ibach and Risk Management Agency (RMA) Administrator Martin Barbre to update and hear directly from Kentucky hemp farmers, processors and manufacturers regarding the implementation of the 2018 Farm Bill provisions that legalized the production of hemp. USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue, said, “I’d like to thank Senate Majority Leader McConnell and Commissioner Quarles for…

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CVS and Walgreens Now Selling CBD Products in Over 2,300 Stores
A CBD prodcut end-cap at a CVS in Denver, CO is almost completely sold out of product as of April 1, 2019. Credit: coNectar

CVS and Walgreens Now Selling CBD Products in Over 2,300 Stores

Both CVS and Walgreens are now selling CBD products. Despite some conflicting directives from the FDA on CBD-infused products, both national pharmacy/grocery chains are marching ahead with the sales of cannabidiol (CBD) consumer goods. The non-psychoactive component to the cannabis plant, CBD is known to relieve many ailments including anxiety, inflammation and even more acute conditions such as epilepsy and tumor growth. Earlier in 2018, the FDA and the DEA approved the first CBD-infused drug, Epidiolex, which treats certain aggressive types of epilepsy that impact children. Since the December 2018 passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, and the resulting legalization…

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Cannabis Banking Bill Approved By House Committee

In a landmark development, the House Financial Services Committee voted 45-15 today to approve legislation paving the way for banks to do business with cannabis companies. With 10 states currently providing legal recreational access to cannabis and a total of 37 states allowing medicinal cannabis, firms operating in the space have been stymied by federal law preventing banks form doing business with them. The banking bill "addresses an urgent public safety concern for legitimate businesses that currently have no recourse but to operate with just cash," said Chairwoman Maxine Waters (D-CA). Key to the bill is limiting the power of…

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