MA: Over $440,000 in Legal Marijuana Purchased in First Day of Legal Sales With Just Two Outlets Open

With just two outlets open, there was over $440,000 worth of marijuana and marijuana products purchased legally in Massachusetts on Tuesday, the first day of legal sales.

According to the state’s Cannabis Control Commission, over 10,000 individual marijuana-related items (whether it be dried flower, tincture or some other product) were sold during the first day of legal sales. The total value of these products is over $440,000, resulting in over $88,000 in tax revenue for the state (which taxes marijuana at 20%).

These sales came from just two marijuana outlets, located in Leicester and Northampton. Additional outlets are expected to open in the coming weeks and months.

The start of legal sales on Tuesday comes a little over two years after voters approved an initiative to legalize marijuana in 2016. The initiative allows those 21 and older to possess and grow marijuana, and allows them to purchase the plant at a licensed marijuana retail outlet.

The post MA: Over $440,000 in Legal Marijuana Purchased in First Day of Legal Sales With Just Two Outlets Open appeared first on TheJointBlog.

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Connecticut: Incoming Governor Says Marijuana Legalization Will be a Priority Next Year

Connecticut’s incoming Governor Ned Lamont (D) said on Monday that he plans to make marijuana legalization a top priority in 2019.

“It’s going to be one of the priorities we got,” said Lamont when asked about marijuana legalization. “It’s something I would support, and I don’t want the black market controlling marijuana distribution in our state. I think that’s a lousy way to go. Canada, Massachusetts, others are doing it”.

Lamont noted that “That’s going to lead to some enforcement things. In the meantime, we enforce Connecticut laws.”

Earlier this year Connecticut’s Joint Committee on Appropriations voted 27 to 24 to pass House Bill 5394, which would have legalized marijuana for everyone 21 and older. Unfortunately the measure failed to advance further before the legislative session ended, but it gave a clear sign that lawmakers are willing to give the issue serious consideration.

If Connecticut does legalize marijuana next year, they would become the 11th state to do so, following Michigan who passed a legalization initiative during this month’s election.

The post Connecticut: Incoming Governor Says Marijuana Legalization Will be a Priority Next Year appeared first on TheJointBlog.

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New Jersey Governor Signs Hemp Bill Into Law

New Jersey legislation to create a hemp pilot program has been signed into law by New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy.

Assembly Bill 1330, signed into law today by Governor Murphy, “directs the Department of Agriculture to create an industrial hemp agricultural pilot program that promotes the study and cultivation of hemp to the maximum extent permitted by federal law.” The measure was passed by the Assembly in June, unanimously (67 to 0), and was passed by the Senate in September, 33 to 2.

The law states that “The department may partner with any qualified institution of higher education to administer the program; however, any person participating in the program must demonstrate to the satisfaction of the Secretary of Agriculture that the person has complied with all federal requirements related to the cultivation of industrial hemp.”

The department is also required “to adopt rules and regulations to administer the program. These include creating requirements for the licensing or contracting of growers participating in the program, prescribing hemp testing procedures to ensure compliance with federal law, creating a fee structure for administration of the program, and certifying germinating seeds and hemp cultivars if necessary. Any rule or regulation adopted by the department must comply with federal law.”

Assembly Bill 1330 notes that “Industrial hemp is used in a wide variety of products including textiles, construction materials, and foodstuffs. The demand for these goods is growing at the State and national level and hemp can be a viable agricultural crop in the State. The ability to grow hemp on an industrial scale would allow farmers to diversify their products by adding a lucrative cash crop and researching cultivation methods of industrial hemp would greatly aid farmers seeking to grow hemp for the first time.”

For more information on Assembly Bill 1330, including its full text, click here.

The post New Jersey Governor Signs Hemp Bill Into Law appeared first on TheJointBlog.

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Gov. John Hickenlooper issues health warning on marijuana cultivated by Colorado Wellness Centers

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper [cq comment=”cq”]issued an executive order along with a health and safety advisory Wednesday warning people not to use marijuana cultivated by Colorado Wellness Centers [cq comment=”cq”]because the company used unapproved pesticides.

The post Gov. John Hickenlooper issues health warning on marijuana cultivated by Colorado Wellness Centers appeared first on The Cannabist.

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Five Key Documents Necessary to Understand Industrial Hemp Law

On Thursday, November 30, I’ll be speaking at a presentation hosted by the Seminar Group titled, “The Business of Marijuana in Washington State.” In preparation for this event, I’ve put together a list of materials that I think are vital to understanding the law on hemp-derived CBD (Hemp-CBD). Below is a list of statutes, cases, and other authority that frames the legal status of Hemp-CBD.

The Agricultural Act Of 2014 Section 7606 (the 2014 Farm Bill). Any analysis of US policy regarding hemp must the begin with the 2014 Farm Bill. Section 7606 of the 2014 Farm Bill is the starting point of the country’s rapidly expanding Hemp-CBD industry. The 2014 Farm Bill allows states to implement agricultural pilot programs overseeing the cultivation of industrial hemp. Industrial hemp is defined as the cannabis plant with less than .3% THC on a dry weight basis. States that have implemented an agricultural pilot programs are then authorized to issue licenses or permits to individuals and entities who can then cultivate industrial hemp. The 2014 Farm Bill requires a research component. What constitutes research is not defined within the “four corners” of the 2014 Farm Bill. Some states, such as Colorado, Kentucky, and Oregon, have interpreted the 2014 Farm Bill liberally, allowing the commercial sale and distribution of industrial hemp and industrial hemp products, such as hemp-CBD.

Statement of Principles on Industrial Hemp (the Statement). In 2016, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), issued the Statement. The stated goal of this guidance document is to provide clarity as to how federal law applies to activities associated with industrial hemp, grown pursuant to the 2014 Farm Bill. The DEA interpreted the 2014 Farm Bill taken narrowly as the Statement indicates that the general commercial sale of industrial hemp is not permitted except for “marketing research” conducted by institutions of higher education or state departments of agriculture. The DEA also interprets the 2014 Farm Bill to prohibit the interstate transfer of industrial hemp. The DEA has not enforced the Statement robustly. For the most part, the commercial sale of industrial hemp and Hemp-CBD and the interstate transfer of industrial have been unimpeded by the DEA.

The Agricultural Appropriation Act of 2018, Section 537. One of the major reasons that the DEA has not followed up on the Statement, is that Congress has exercised its “power of the purse” to prevent the DEA from using federal funds to prevent the interstate transfer of industrial hemp or the commercial sale of industrial hemp. This was first enacted in 2017 and recently was renewed to run through December 9, 2018.

Hemp Indus. Ass’n v. U.S. Drug Enf’t Admin., 720 Fed. Appx. 886 (9th Cir. 2018). This case, decided by the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, was brought by the Hemp Industry Association in response to the DEA’s “marijuana extract rule.”

The rule established a new drug code specifically for marijuana extracts and defined a marijuana extract as any extract containing cannabinoids derived from the cannabis plant. On its face, the rule makes no distinction between industrial hemp and marijuana. Shortly after issuing the rule, the DEA issued a clarifying statement that said that the rule only applied to derivative of marijuana, and that it would not make any extracts that were otherwise legal under US law illegal.

HIA was unsuccessful in the sense that the Ninth Circuit upheld the rule, dismissing the HIA’s challenges on procedural grounds. However, the DEA’s rule was left largely toothless by the time the Court issued its memorandum as the DEA had already walked back the rule through its clarification. Additionally, the Court stated that the 2014 Farm Bill preempted the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), meaning that when the CSA and 2014 Farm Bill conflict, the 2014 Farm Bill prevails. This preemption interpretation does not set precedent, as the memorandum is non-binding. It does, however, give credence to the argument that the 2014 Farm Bill preempts the CSA.

Hemp Farming Act of 2018. The Hemp Farming Act of 2018 was introduced by Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell. Mitch McConnell hails from the state of Kentucky, which has become a major player in industrial hemp. The Hemp Farming Act is much more detailed than the 2014 2014 Farm Bill. It explicitly removes industrial hemp and derivatives from industrial hemp, including CBD, from the CSA. It also provides a more robust regulatory framework’s for states to implement industrial hemp programs.

The Hemp Farming Act was adopted in its entirety in the Senate version of the 2018 Farm Bill. The house version of the 2018 Farm Bill did not include the Hemp Farming Act. Before the 2018 Farm Bill can be enacted into federal law, both houses of Congress must agree on the language of the Bill. Recently, McConnell guaranteed that the hemp provisions included in the Senate Bill would make the final cut. If that’s true, then as early as next year we will see a much more thoughtful (and discernible!) federal policy on industrial hemp.

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