Mexican Senate Committees approve Cannabis Bill… but Deadline Extended

CANNABIS CULTURE – On March 4, 2020, three Mexican Senate Committees approved in a joint session, generally, the cannabis bill – last version circulated on February 28, 2020 (the “Bill”). The Committees’ approval places such Bill on its way to Senate’s general vote.During the meeting, specific reservations were brought by Senators who voted in favor of the bill. Such reservations (i.e. exceptions for potential minor changes) relate to recreational user rights, obstacles for the emergence of the hemp industry, and barriers for market entry affecting farmer communities, among other subjects. The controversial provisions that poise obstacles for the hemp industry from the absence of a clear distinction between cannabis and hemp regulation, which may deter the birth and development of such industry.

Notwithstanding the foregoing, assuming the Bill’s legislative process is successful and eventually concludes with the publication of the new law, the agency tasked with regulating the market and issuing available licenses (Instituto Mexicano del Cannabis, or Mexican Cannabis Institute) is set to be operating allegedly by January of 2021.

It is important to highlight that restrictive provisions, such as the 49% limit on foreign investment and the ban on vertical integration, still remain in the Bill. All in

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NECANN Launches FREE Cannabis and Hemp Virtual Seminar Series

SHARED CONTENT –With conventions on hold nationwide NECANN and its partners are creating online networking and education programs.

The New England Cannabis Convention today announced it has launched a free series of Cannabis and Hemp virtual seminars in partnership with NECANN Boston convention exhibitors and sponsors.

The weekly series of free webinars, virtual meetings, instructional videos and educational content is designed to help fill the current void in cannabis industry networking opportunities created by the cancellation or postponement of business meetings, trade shows and conventions nationwide as a result of the COVID-19 public health crisis.

“Our network of NECANN exhibitors, sponsors, attendees and followers have been incredibly responsive to this,” said Marc Shepard, President and Co-Founder of NECANN. “We are all in this together as an industry and as a nation. It’s unclear exactly when large-scale events and conventions will be able to resume in full. That’s why we are working together as the NECANN community to stay connected through high-quality virtual seminars and other networking and education opportunities.”

The first NECANN Cannabis and Hemp Virtual Seminar Series program was a webinar with Nic Easley of 3C Consulting on the actions cannabis business operators should be taking to maintain essential operations, ensure safe patient access

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Emerald Harvest Opens Doors, Makes Sanitizer to Fight Pandemic

CANNABIS CULTURE – Emerald Harvest, the global hydroponics nutrient manufacturer, has joined the battle against COVID-19 with several initiatives aimed at aiding the community, local government and national health organizations.

CEO Rob Higgins is offering the company’s facilities and capabilities to the World Health Organization, the Center for Disease Control and the government of California for storage, supply staging or medical use.

“We have space in California that we are making available in anticipation of any potential need,” Higgins said. “We also have a state-of-the-art mixing and bottling facility that we can set up to help where we can.” Emerald Harvest’s production equipment includes deionized water systems, UV water treatment, an on-site lab and analysis capability. “We deal with chemicals and hygiene procedures every day. If someone needs our capabilities, we can help.”

Emerald Harvest recently acquired a new 20,000-square-foot warehouse to accommodate higher production. The company’s distributor, Hawthorne Gardening (a division of Scotts Miracle-Gro Company), has offered to remove all inventory from this warehouse to free up usable space.

Located in Santa Rosa, Emerald Harvest is no stranger to community assistance during public emergencies. California has recently borne the brunt of devastating wildfires.

“We are simply doing what we

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Coronavirus and Cannabis Dealmaking

Nobody could have predicted the situation that the cannabis industry now finds itself in. Just a few months ago, it looked like there were challenging financial issues for many cannabis businesses across the country. Now, many states that have imposed coronavirus lockdowns have declared cannabis businesses to be essential so that they can stay open, leading to massive spikes in sales at the retail level.

If the increase in cannabis sales continues (just my two cents, but I think it will during lockdowns) then increased demand is likely to benefit the whole supply chain, necessitating lots of deals on a short-term basis. There are some important considerations for cannabis companies making deals in the time of COVID-19.

First, given the need for speed with cannabis dealmaking right now, it may be tempting to enter into handshake deals. As I wrote a while back, this is never a good idea and can lead to huge disputes. In such a volatile market, where laws, enforcement priorities, and consumer demands can change immediately, handshake deals are even worse.

Second, parties to any kind of contract need to consider the possibility that the coronavirus situation gets worse. We’ve written about force majeure provisions

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Is Cannabis Positioned to ‘Weather The Storm’ of COVID-19? Yes, Data and Tax Experts Declared at a Webinar This Week

Cannabis may be “uniquely positioned to weather the storm” of COVID-19, tax and data experts declared during a webinar Wednesday for 500 cannabis businesspeople.

The businesspeople, primarily owner/operators, investors and ancillary service providers, also heard the experts label the cannabis industry “recession proof” during the event, which focused on cannabis-business planning and strategies during this era of coronavirus – the “giant elephant in the room,” as one host called it.

Certainly the cannabis industry faces ongoing challenges, from the added complexities of ra cash-based business to the denial of deductions under tax code Section 280E. And the coronavirus crisis seems to be one more.

– Read the entire article at Forbes.

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Coronavirus Could Accelerate US Cannabis Legalization

As the economic damage from the coronavirus pandemic piles up, U.S. cities and states are set to face significant lost revenue given the loss of business activity.

But, as DataTrek Research’s Jessica Rabe writes in a note, “there’s a simple and effective solution for states and cities to help cover their huge budget shortfalls after the COVID-19 pandemic subsides: legalize recreational sales of marijuana.”

New York, the epicenter of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., might see a revenue drop of $4 billion to $7 billion compared to what it was expecting, according to the state comptroller. With a budget of $87.9 billion, that’s significant.

– Read the entire article at Yahoo News.

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Utah Lawmakers Amend Medical Cannabis Laws To Grant Access To More Patients

More patients in Utah will have access to the state’s new medical marijuana program thanks to new changes to the law finalized on Wednesday.

The state’s Department of Health announced that under legislation by the Utah legislature and signed into law by Republican Gov. Gary Herbert, “qualifying patients who do not have a medical cannabis card but have a ‘recommendation letter’ from their medical provider may purchase medical cannabis until December 31, 2020.”

“A patient who purchases medical cannabis using a recommendation letter must purchase all of their medical cannabis from the same pharmacy until they obtain a medical cannabis card from the Utah Department of Health,” said Richard Oborn, the health department’s cannabis policy director.

The Utah Department of Health outlined four requirements for a patient to obtain medical marijuana with a recommendation letter: the patient must live in Utah; the patient’s recommendation letter must be presented at the medical cannabis pharmacy, and it must come from a licensed medical professional—which can include a medical doctor, osteopathic physician, advanced practice registered nurse, or physician assistant—in the states where the patient has been diagnosed with the qualifying condition; the pharmacy must in turn receive confirmation from the patient’s medical provider

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European CBD Sales: Securing a Novel Food Authorization

Last year, the European Union reclassified extracts of Cannabis sativa L. and derived products containing cannabinoids, including CBD, as a “Novel Food” under the EU Novel Food Catalogue. The reclassification was based on the lack of demonstrated history of human consumption of these extracts and of any product to which they might be added.

Indeed, pursuant to Regulation (EU) No 2015/2283 (the “Regulation”), a “novel food” is any food that was not significantly used for human consumption within the European Union before May 15, 1997. As such, a novel food must be approved by the European Commission (the “Commission”) and the European Food Safety Authority (“EFSA”), which is the Food and Drug Administration’s European counterpart, before it can be lawfully marketed.

Novel food includes newly developed food, innovative food, food produced through new technology and processes as well as food traditionally consumed outside of the European Union.

As of today, the EFSA has received no less than 45 novel food applications for CBD-infused products, coming from the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Czech Republic, Slovenia, Switzerland and the United States.

It’s worth pointing out that the Novel Food Application process is time consuming and expensive. Every successful Novel Food Application

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Production Staff at Weedmd Could Be First in Cannabis Industry to Unionize

Production workers at a Southwestern Ontario cannabis company could be the first in Canada’s marijuana industry to unionize, a move one union official hopes will create a “ripple effect” across the sector.

Employees at WeedMD, a London-headquartered company with more than 200 workers at its operations in Strathroy, Aylmer and Bowmanville, have been signing union cards with the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) union over the past three weeks, national representative Kevin Shimmin said Wednesday.

Representing 250,000 workers across Canada, UFCW wants to begin negotiating a contract with the company next week, Shimmin said.

– Read the entire article at London Free Press.

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