420 with CNW – Congress to Consider Several Cannabis Amendments this Week

The House Rules Committee of Congress is set to hear almost a dozen amendments related to marijuana this week. This crucial committee will decide which of those amendments are cleared for a vote by the whole House. The amendments are being considered this week because those that pass will form part of the appropriations bill for funding sections of the federal government in the next fiscal year.

Rep. Tom McClintock (R-CA) and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) have reintroduced an amendment intended to prevent the Department of Justice from using its budget to get in the way of states which have enacted their own marijuana laws. An existing spending rider only covers medical marijuana, but the proposed amendment takes this further and seeks to protect state-level recreational marijuana as well. This new amendment is similar to another which failed by just nine votes in 2015.

Another amendment before the committee was introduced by Rep. Stacy Plaskett (D-VI). This measure is intended to correct the inadvertent omission of the U.S. Virgin Islands from the list of states and territories whose medical marijuana programs are protected from Justice Department interference by a spending rider.

Rep. Blumenauer didn’t stop at the amendment he co-authored with McClintock. He also brought several other amendments on his own. One amendment seeks to bar the Department of Justice from interfering in the tribal medical marijuana programs even if the states in which those tribal communities are found haven’t enacted medical cannabis laws. Three other amendments filed by the legislator also protect tribal marijuana programs in various ways.

Two other amendments by Blumenauer touch on the Department of Veteran Affairs. One protects VA workers from being penalized for filing paperwork in compliance with state laws regarding medical marijuana. Another aims at protecting VA doctors from being penalized for any marijuana-related work they do in states where medical marijuana is legal.

The Rules Committee will also consider a measure tabled by Rep. Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) seeking to divert $30 million from the funding allocated to the DEA. This money should go towards the Comprehensive Opioid Abuse Program. In this way, the DEA will fall in line with the current thinking that drug addiction is a public health concern rather than a crime.

Rep. Jerry McNerney (D-CA) has also tabled an amendment containing a spending proposal for the FDA to undertake a process through which CBD (cannabidiol) will become legal as an additive in food supplements and conventional foods.

It is interesting to note that many of the amendments seem to be geared at introducing marijuana policy reforms using the appropriations process. The success of the spending rider placed on the DOJ years ago appears to have provided an example that advocates want to use to initiate incremental changes to the existing marijuana policies.

Analysts wonder what major cannabis industry entities like Net Element Inc. (NASDAQ: NETE) and Nabis Holdings (CSE: NAB) (OTC: INNPF) (FRA: 71P) think about this change in strategy.

About CNW420

CNW420 spotlights the latest developments in the rapidly evolving cannabis industry through the release of two informative articles each business day. Our concise, informative content serves as a gateway for investors interested in the legalized cannabis sector and provides updates on how regulatory developments may impact financial markets. Articles are released each business day at 4:20 a.m. and 4:20 p.m. Eastern – our tribute to the time synonymous with cannabis culture. If marijuana and the burgeoning industry surrounding it are on your radar, CNW420 is for you! Check back daily to stay up-to-date on the latest milestones in the fast -changing world of cannabis.

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Acquisitions Reveal the Steadily Changing Shape of the Cannabis Sector

CannabisNewsWire Editorial Coverage: The cannabis sector continues its steady shift toward big business, big money and a focus on the value add of immaterial assets.

TransCanna Holdings Inc. (CSE: TCAN) (FRA: TH8) (TCAN Profile) has made several key acquisitions, creating a large operation with various licenses and recognized brands. HEXO Corp. (TSX: HEXO) (NYSE American: HEXO) has taken a similar path with the acquisition of Newstrike. Canopy Growth Corporation (TSX: WEED) (NYSE: CGC) is building a positive public profile through releasing educational tools. Aphria Inc. (TSX: APHA) (NYSE: APHA) has expanded the hunt for cultivation licenses to Germany. Meanwhile, companies such as Charlotte’s Web Holdings Inc. (TSX: CWEB) (OTCQX: CWBHF) keep releasing new products into the market.

  • Cannabis companies are increasingly engaging in multimillion-dollar acquisitions.
  • These support a consolidation of the industry as it moves from scattered creativity to efficient large businesses.
  • The trend built in part on intangible assets, including brands and licenses.

To view an infographic of this editorial, click here.

A Very Different Business

The image of the cannabis industry varies hugely depending upon one’s point of view. To proponents, the market is a radical and transformative sector that’s bringing the world together. For opponents, it is one more vice threatening public morals. For many in the middle ground, it’s a space where hippies and stoners can thrive, though not one that encourages the buzz and dynamism of mainstream business.

In reality, the cannabis sector fits none of these images. The industry is emerging from its early, tentative steps into legality to become a significant business sector much like any other, with all the apparatus of modern capitalism and a focus on intangible assets such as intellectual property. All of this is reflected in the sector’s recent burst of mergers and acquisitions.

Big Money Deals

The most eye-catching aspect of mergers and acquisitions in the cannabis sector is the amount of money that goes into them. Take just two recent examples from a single company, TransCanna Holdings Inc. (CSE: TCAN) (FRA: TH8). In the past few months, the Vancouver-based cannabis company has made announcements on two major deals. First came the acquisition of a 196,000-square-foot vertically integrated cannabis facility for a total purchase price of $15 million. Then came a letter of intent relating to Californian company Lyfted Farms outlining TransCanna’s plans to acquire Lyfted’s business and assets for $5.5 million.

By the standards of some businesses, these might not seem like huge deals. But when a company is investing $20 million on expansion in the space of a couple of months, that certainly says something. That TransCanna can make these deals is a show not only of the strength of the company but also the strength of the industry.

The idea that there’s a lot of money in cannabis might not be surprising to anyone who’s seen TV depictions of the drug trade. Dramas such as Narcos show a world of high earners with big stacks of cash. But as sociologists such as Sudhir Venkatesh have shown, the reality for most people working in the illegal drug trade is vastly different. They earn less than minimum wage in jobs that are dangerous and uncertain.

The financial growth of the legal cannabis industry has therefore been a positive move for everyone from company leaders to their lowest-paid employees. The legalized trade is pulling money out of the black-market economy and allowing those at the top to earn big bucks while also providing employees with a decent wage. Far from weakening the power of legal providers, paying employees properly is leaving them with enough money to go around buying up competitors, as TransCanna is doing.

Success has also brought funds from outside. From private individuals to big alcohol and tobacco companies, investors are pouring money into pot, allowing businesses to expand while keeping their employees happy. There are living wages at the bottom and big money at the top.

Tidying Up the Market

The growth of the legal cannabis industry started with a scattershot approach. TransCanna is just one of many companies that have grown into the market from relatively small beginnings. Some began with entrepreneurs seeing a new industry within which to operate. Others were experienced cannabis cultivators moving from the illegal to the legal market. Still others were pharmaceutical companies dipping their toes into a new medicine and, from there, into the recreational industry.

As a result, the cannabis industry is cluttered with diverse and disconnected businesses. But now it’s moving on from this scatter-gun approach to a period of consolidation.

This doesn’t mean that the variety created in that early surge is being lost. When larger companies buy up smaller ones, it’s often with the aim of continuing the individual brands and styles the smaller companies have created. For example, TransCanna has announced the acquisition of GoodFellas, which will allow it to take control of the Daily Cannabis Goods brand. TransCanna CEO Jim Pakulis has talked not in terms of absorbing the Daily brand into TransCanna’s existing identity but in terms of maintaining Daily and expanding its sales.

The consolidation of multiple brands and businesses into a smaller number reflects a dialectic process that’s common in new business areas. First comes a burst of creativity. With few precedents and no big players dominating the market, entrepreneurs and creatives have free rein. Some of their experiments fail, but the ones that succeed get consumers interested and fill the market with ideas.

While this creates plenty of exciting idea and products, it’s also inefficient. In the phase that follows, bigger companies step in or emerge from among the smaller ones. Consolidation creates efficiency, providing more reliable products for consumers and better value for companies.

The contrasting approaches of small innovative companies and larger efficient ones together create excellent value. That’s the point the cannabis industry is now approaching and that TranCanna’s acquisitions are a part of.

The Power of the Immaterial

In the illegal market, all that mattered for cannabis sellers was the product. But in the legal market, things work differently. When a company can use the full apparatus of marketing, intangible assets such as intellectual property become important. That’s why GoodFellas is valuable to a company such as TransCanna — not just for its cannabis but for the Daily brand that’s attached to it.

And while intangible assets are normally talked about in terms of brand and IP, there’s another sort of asset that gets much less publicity and that the cannabis industry is bringing to investors’ attention: legal licenses.

Licenses of various sorts are important for a wide range of industries, from food production to mining. But they have a particular prominence in the cannabis industry because tight regulation has created a scarcity of licenses. When TransCanna subsidiary TCM Distribution Inc. gained cannabis manufacturing and distribution permits from the City of Adelanto, California, it was an important step in the company’s growth within the state. And when a deal like TransCanna’s acquisition of Lyfted is announced, the target’s cannabis licenses are often mentioned. These licenses are a crucial asset and one that investors are concerned about. Without the licenses, the business can’t function.

The prominence of licenses is a new feature of investment for those going into cannabis. But it could be a feature that helps investors recognize these assets in other companies. Cannabis companies are increasingly about immaterial assets, and immaterial assets are increasingly about licenses as well as IP.

Keeping Profiles High

In such an atmosphere, cannabis companies are working hard on keeping their profiles high while building up their portfolios of products.

Canadian cannabis company HEXO Corp. (TSX: HEXO) (NYSE American: HEXO) has, like TransCanna, been using acquisitions to build up its business. Originally a medical cannabis provider, HEXO joined the recreational market when Canada changed its laws last year. Since then, it has completed an acquisition of Newstrike, the parent company of Up Cannabis Inc, a licensed producer and distributor. It’s a deal that fits with the importance of immaterial assets. Licensing is important in Canada, both for production and distribution, and acquiring a company that is already licensed is the easiest way to expand a company’s footprint in the country.

Good publicity is another of the intangible assets that come with a good company, and few have achieved more publicity within the sector than Canopy Growth Corporation (TSX: WEED) (NYSE: CGC). When the company received a multibillion-dollar investment from Constellation Brands, it was the first time the sector had received such a big input of cash from outside, so the move drew substantial attention. Now the company is raising its profile in a different way, demonstrating its responsible attitude through the release of digital cannabis education tools.

Aphria Inc. (TSX: APHA) (NYSE: APHA) has taken the hunt for intangible assets global, with the acquisition of five cultivation licenses in Germany. With the North American cannabis industry increasingly well established, Europe is the next big frontier, and Aphria is racing in ahead of many of its competitors.

All this work on intangibles would be useless without physical products to go with it, and product innovation continues at a high pace. Charlotte’s Web Holdings Inc. (TSX: CWEB) (OTCQX: CWBHF) has recently announced the release of hemp-extract CBD gummies designed help with calm and sleep. CBD products are an increasingly important subsector of the market, and products of this kind have potentially wide reach.

The cannabis industry is changing, with big money, consolidation and growing intangible assets, but it remains grounded in a strong consumer desire for cannabis.

For more information on TransCanna Holdings, visit TransCanna Holdings Inc. (CSE: TCAN) (FRA: TH8)

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420 with CNW – Maine Relaxes Residency Requirements for Recreational Marijuana Companies

The Veterans and Legal Affairs Committee of Maine’s Assembly has voted 7-2 approving the draft rules for the legalization of recreational marijuana in the state. The approved rules relax the residency requirements included with the purpose of keeping out-of-state companies from moving in and controlling the recreational market at the expense of local companies.

The committee removed language that limited out-of-state players from having majority stake in recreational marijuana companies which operate within Maine. In its place, the committee left a provision to the effect that Mainers who have resided in the state for at least four years will have 51 percent ownership of any company to be licensed to conduct business in the recreational marijuana arena. This means that the local ownership can be several individuals or entities as long as their combined stake adds up to 51 percent in the company.

Erik Gundersen, the head of the Office of Marijuana Policy, said his office wants to see the tools which will make it possible for the letter and the spirit of the law to be implemented. He added that the law should be made by Mainers, within Maine and for the benefit of Mainers.

The Maine Office of Marijuana Policy was instrumental in including language which specifically sought to lock out large corporations from using out-of-state management contracts to dominate the local recreational cannabis market in the fashion of what is happening in Massachusetts and even in the medical marijuana program of Maine.

However, not everyone was thrilled with that proposal to lock out out-of-state companies. Some people said that the provision would be counterproductive because it would hurt the interests of Mainers in the long run since the capital and technical expertise of out-of-state operators was needed to kick-start the recreational marijuana industry. They cited the example of manufacturing equipment which costs millions and would be out of reach for most local investors.

Wellness Connection of Maine, the biggest medical marijuana company in the state, had even threatened to sue the regulator if the original text of the bill was retained in the final language of the law. The company felt that the provision about out-of-state companies was targeting it since it has complex management contracts with out-of-state operators.

The time at which marijuana companies should close their doors also generated a lot of debate in the committee. The original bill stipulated that retail outlets should close at 9pm, but this was changed to 10pm to avoid sending people to black market players. Law enforcement agencies had pushed for the 9pm closing time.

The committee decided that local authorities shouldn’t have the right to set their own operating hours for cannabis businesses. However, cannabis businesses could apply to open for extended hours and the regulator would consider their request on a case-by-case basis.

Now that the bill has been cleared by the committee, advocates hope that the entire House will vote on it before the legislative session ends on June 19.

Marijuana industry analysts hope that the cannabis industry, including players like Wildflower Brands Inc. (CSE: SUN) (OTCQB: WLDFF) and VPR Brands LP (OTC: VPRB), will be happy that a robust debate was conducted and the strongest arguments won the day during the committee session.

About CNW420

CNW420 spotlights the latest developments in the rapidly evolving cannabis industry through the release of two informative articles each business day. Our concise, informative content serves as a gateway for investors interested in the legalized cannabis sector and provides updates on how regulatory developments may impact financial markets. Articles are released each business day at 4:20 a.m. and 4:20 p.m. Eastern – our tribute to the time synonymous with cannabis culture. If marijuana and the burgeoning industry surrounding it are on your radar, CNW420 is for you! Check back daily to stay up-to-date on the latest milestones in the fast -changing world of cannabis.

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420 with CNW – New York Legislators Could Vote on Cannabis Legalization This Week

As the countdown to the end of this legislative session in New York State enters the final stages, plans to legalize recreational marijuana have been revived with the possibility of a vote on the matter this week.

While momentum to get recreational weed legal appeared to fade once lawmakers in New Jersey announced that they were giving up on trying to use legislative means to end prohibition, advocates in the Empire State are brimming with optimism that lawmakers may have reached a deal and the bill will pass.

Democrats in both the Assembly and Senate held conferences last week in a bid to discuss the fine print of the legislation. Sources close to those who attended these meetings reported that the conferences went well and that the bill may have enough support to sail through.

On Saturday last week, the staff of the legislative leaders in Senate and the Assembly met those from Gov. Cuomo’s office to talk about the final language of the bill which will be put before lawmakers within the last days of the legislative session.

Earlier on Wednesday last week, the senate version of the legalization bill was given the “same as” status indicating that its language was identical to the language of the version in the Assembly. This is an indicator that both chambers agreed on the wording of the bill, and that is an early indicator of possible success when a vote is called.

The speaker of the Assembly, Carl Heastie (D), revealed on Friday that the Democrats hadn’t yet decided on whether to bring the matter to the floor of the House but added that the bill had support among the Democratic members of the chamber. Despite the optimism, analysts think that the bill is still short by two votes in the state Senate.

Sensing that the bill may soon be up for a vote, key state officials have been urging legislators and the governor to include a given list of provisions in the final text of the bill.

Letitia James (D), the State Attorney General wrote that the bill should include provisions to expunge all previous convictions for non-violent marijuana crimes.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) also pushed for expungement and added that the bill legalizing recreational marijuana should aim at empowering local businesses rather than big corporations.

The district attorneys of Albany County and Manhattan jointly wrote an op-ed urging lawmakers to end what they called “staggering inequities” and also promote public safety by enacting the bill to legalize recreational marijuana.

The legislative session will end on Wednesday, so lawmakers have a narrow window within which to schedule a vote in both chambers.

Industry watchers have been wondering whether marijuana industry players like SinglePoint Inc. (OTCQB: SING) and Redfund Capital Corp. (CSE: LOAN) (OTCQB: PNNRF) (FRA: O3X4) experience as much tension when a major decision is due as what the people of New York State are experiencing in these final days of the legislative session.

About CNW420

CNW420 spotlights the latest developments in the rapidly evolving cannabis industry through the release of two informative articles each business day. Our concise, informative content serves as a gateway for investors interested in the legalized cannabis sector and provides updates on how regulatory developments may impact financial markets. Articles are released each business day at 4:20 a.m. and 4:20 p.m. Eastern – our tribute to the time synonymous with cannabis culture. If marijuana and the burgeoning industry surrounding it are on your radar, CNW420 is for you! Check back daily to stay up-to-date on the latest milestones in the fast -changing world of cannabis.

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Searching for the Next Super Nova

CannabisNewsWire Editorial Coverage: Skepticism has been squashed and all apprehension eliminated. There’s no longer any question about either the viability or the profitability of the newly respected cannabis sector. Huge money has already been made in the nascent industry, and the only real question left is: where’s the next super nova?

Quarter-over-quarter sales growth is one of the indicators used to target explosive upside potential. Similar growth patterns were exhibited by many of the cannabis behemoths prior to parabolic price increases. In what may be an equally telling indicator, Wildflower Brands Inc. (CSE: SUN) (OTCQB: WLDFF) (WLDFF Profile) revenues have now increased 11 consecutive quarters, quarter on quarter, ever since the company started selling its hemp-based CBD products. Similar quarterly sales spikes and strategic acquisitions foreshadowed dramatic price increases in some of the largest names in the cannabis universe. Last October Medmen Enterprises Inc. (CSE: MMEN) (OTCQX: MMNFF) soared 60% in one week when the company announced a deal to buy PharmCann. Florida-based Trulieve Cannabis Corp. (OTC: TCNNF) (CSE: TRUL) went public last September through a reverse merger in Canada and soared 200% after a strong 2018 Q2. Already up big on Canadian exchanges, Cronos Group Inc. (NASDAQ: CRON) (TSX: CRON) became the first pure-play marijuana stock to list on NASDAQ around $7 and just bounced off $23 a share. Last year, Tilray Inc. (NASDAQ: TLRY) became the first cannabis company to IPO on the NASDAQ at $17 per share and by September skyrocketed to $300. Despite price surges and fluctuations in the big cannabis names, there’s bound to be more money made in the sector; the run is far from over.

  • Cannabis run is far from over, new winners emerging
  • Branding, marketing and retail reach signals of success
  • Quarter-over-quarter revenue increase helps identify future potential

To view an infographic of this editorial, click here.

Good Times Have Just Begun

Legal cannabis is a recent global phenomenon, and the emergent market appears to be nowhere near reaching its potential. The worldwide legal marijuana market, valued at just $9.3 billion in 2016, is expected to blow past $146 billion within the next six years.

According to a United Nations report, cannabis is the most widely consumed drug on the planet. Approximately 270 million global consumers use cannabis, equivalent to about 4% of the world’s population and a mere pittance in market penetration. As marijuana muscles into the mainstream, usage among all age groups is on the upswing. However, among the most coveted 18-to-34-year-old demographic, there’s an explosion of acceptance as they mature in a world where cannabis is common.

Millennials are about three times and Gen Z about four times more likely to use cannabis than aging Boomers. Forward-leaning cannabis companies are full throttle in product and brand development to corral this coveted demographic and capture market share, now and for decades to come. As public perceptions change and legalization expands, the number of users is certain to skyrocket in an essentially untapped market. A global transition is underway, and the good times for cannabis have just begun. Growth trajectory is virtually vertical, presenting a once-in-a-generation investment opportunity.

Retail Reach

Founded in 2012 as a private company, Wildflower Brands Inc. (CSE: SUN) (OTCQB: WLDFF) went public in 2014 and has been on a tear ever since. Wildflower is an integrated health-and-wellness company creating distinct brands that incorporate the synergistic effects of plants and their extracts. The company’s latest quarterly sales set records, up 78% over the previous quarter, validating corporate strategy, the popularity of its products, and the continued expansion of market share. Intent on supercharging revenue and earnings even further, Wildflower is about to finalize the acquisition of a preeminent cannabis retailer in Vancouver that also owns multiple cannabis licenses.

Wildflower’s latest press release is further evidence of the company’s rapid growth and global reach. The company reported third-quarter sales were up by 78% over the second quarter, the 11th consecutive quarter of revenue growth, since Wildflower Brands began selling products. On top of these stellar results the company is further expanding its retail footprint and product distribution with the accretive acquisition of Vancouver-based City Cannabis Corp.

City Cannabis is a premier cannabis retailer holding two of the three City of Vancouver licenses to sell cannabis and os the only company with multiple licenses in British Columbia. With margins of 50%, City Cannabis had revenues of $1.8 million for the reporting period that began with the opening of its two stores in early January. The combined quarterly revenues of Wildflower Brands and City Cannabis equates to an impressive $4.3 million. Wildflower expects to close on the City Cannabis deal before the end of June, and the acquisition will immediately be accretive to Wildflower’s earnings upon closing.

Bringing City Cannabis and Wildflower together will result in revenue operations in three U.S. states and two Canadian provinces with a combined North American target market of more than 75 million people. The positive net income generated by City Cannabis comes from just two operating properties, even though the company holds an additional seven leases at various stages of permitting approvals.

Commenting on the financials, Wildflower CEO William MacLean stated, “We are pleased with the financial results of both Wildflower and City Cannabis. Sales through every Wildflower distribution channel are up, and sales at City’s licensed retail outlets continue to grow month over month. The positive net income is particularly impressive with City Cannabis carrying a total of nine leases, which are at various stages of the permitting process.”

Grow, Grow, Grow

Already an established presence in California, Wildflower owns 14 cannabis licenses for recreational and medical cannabis cultivation, manufacturing, retail distribution and delivery. The company’s expansion into Canada with the acquisition of City Cannabis bolsters Wildflower’s global growth strategy, which is includes strategic distribution deals already in place in the European Union and South Africa. In addition to capturing revenues from retail operations, the City acquisition gives Wildflower another channel to market its enormously popular products and launch into the over-the-counter market with its CBD formulations and accessories.

Wildflower continues to capture ever-greater market share with innovation, retail expansion and a growing family of popular brands. The company’s strategic partnerships, acquisitions and organic growth are all bolstered by its marketing genius to lock in more loyal consumers. Grabbing national and celebrity attention, Wildflower used ingenious product placement during the 2019 Oscars by including its CBD+ Healing Stick in each of the gift bags of the stars.

The company has also employed an innovative pop-up store approach in SoHo, New York, to introduce Wildflower Wellness products. Wildflower identified a compatible high-profile retail venue and struck a deal with the outlet, then marketed its products in the upscale establishment for a limited time period, raising market uptake and visibility.

Big Names

Medmen Enterprises Inc. (CSE: MMEN) (OTCQX: MMNFF) is a cannabis retailer with operations across the United States and flagship stores in Los Angeles, Las Vegas and New York. Company objectives are to capitalize on first-mover advantage by opening stores in top markets and building brand awareness and customer acquisition. The company is also intent on expanding retail footprint and creating an omnichannel consumer experience.

Trulieve Cannabis Corp (OTC: TCNNF) (CSE: TRUL) is a vertically integrated, seed-to-sale company and is the first and largest fully licensed medical-cannabis company in Florida. Trulieve cultivates and produces all of its products in-house and distributes those products to Trulieve-branded stores (dispensaries) throughout the state, as well as directly to patients via home delivery. Trulieve also operates in California, Massachusetts and Connecticut.

Cronos Group Inc. (NASDAQ: CRON) (TSX: CRON) is a global cannabinoid company with international production and distribution across five continents. Cronos Group is committed to building disruptive intellectual property by advancing cannabis research, technology and product development. The company is committed to responsibly elevate the consumer experience and is building an iconic brand portfolio.

Tilray Inc. (NASDAQ: TLRY) is a global pioneer in the research, cultivation, production and distribution of cannabis and cannabinoids. The company currently serves tens of thousands of patients and consumers in 12 countries spanning 5 continents. Tilray was the first licensed producer of medical cannabis in the world to have its facility Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) certified in accordance with European Medicine Agency (EMA) standards.

The cannabis markets have already produced some amazing profits, but all indications are the industry is only at the beginning of an amazing ascent. There’s little doubt that a plethora of new winners will be created in the burgeoning sector. When searching for the next super nova, Wildflower Brands is certainly one to watch.

For more information on Wildflower Brands, visit Wildflower Brands Inc. (CSE: SUN) (OTCQB: WLDFF)

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420 with CNW – Mississippi Medical Cannabis Ballot Measure Close to Attaining Signature Target

Activists in Mississippi have revealed that they are about to reach the required number of voter signatures in order to see an initiative about medical marijuana included on the ballot in 2020.

Once the organizers submit that list of signatures, the Secretary of State will go through it and certify that each of the signatures belongs to a valid voter in the state. The organizers have emphasized that they will not stop once they reach the minimum number of signatures required. Instead, they will keep gathering more until the submission deadline in September is reached. The extra signatures will serve as an insurance policy just in case some of the signatures collected are deemed invalid. So far, about two-thirds of the required number of signatures have already been collected.

State law requires that if the petition is to be included on the ballot, it must be supported by at least 86,185 registered voters across the state. Additionally, the law also sets minimum numbers of signatures that have to be collected from each of the Congressional Districts in Mississippi.

The initiative for which signatures are being collected seeks to create a law under which patients suffering from debilitating conditions can consult their doctors and obtain a recommendation to use medical marijuana.

22 qualifying conditions, including PTSD, cancer, chronic pain and epilepsy have been suggested as conditions for which patients can use medical marijuana. Patients who get recommendations from their doctors and are registered by the state will be eligible to buy a maximum of 2.5 ounces of medical cannabis within a two-week window.

Currently, the state only allows a limited number of patient categories to use CBD oil to manage their health conditions. This oil has to be purchased from a few highly regulated suppliers whose products have been subjected to rigorous testing at the National Center for Natural Products Research.

The NCNPR is based at the University of Mississippi where the only federally approved manufacturing facility for research-grade cannabis is based.

If the medical marijuana initiative makes it onto the ballot and gets the approval of voters, the Department of Health will be responsible for establishing and regulating a more robust system through which patients can access medical marijuana.

The steps taken to get medical marijuana on the ballot in Mississippi follow the regional trend which has seen several states make marijuana law reforms. Texas has decriminalized marijuana possession and passed a bill to expand its medical cannabis program. Similarly, Alabama’s legislature recently passed a bill to legalize medical marijuana while Georgia also expanded its medical marijuana program.

According to analysts, the positive changes in this region of the U.S. could signal to industry players like MustGrow Biologics Corp. and Marijuana Company of America Inc. (OTCQB: MCOA) that the entire country may soon embrace marijuana policy reform.

About CNW420

CNW420 spotlights the latest developments in the rapidly evolving cannabis industry through the release of two informative articles each business day. Our concise, informative content serves as a gateway for investors interested in the legalized cannabis sector and provides updates on how regulatory developments may impact financial markets. Articles are released each business day at 4:20 a.m. and 4:20 p.m. Eastern – our tribute to the time synonymous with cannabis culture. If marijuana and the burgeoning industry surrounding it are on your radar, CNW420 is for you! Check back daily to stay up-to-date on the latest milestones in the fast -changing world of cannabis.

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420 with CNW – Group Claims Federal Government Broke the Law in Cannabis Scheduling Evaluation

The Competitive Enterprises Institute, a libertarian think tank, has claimed in a formal filing that the federal government erred in the way it handled the scientific evaluation of cannabis’ therapeutic value, and the government must therefore take steps to fix the errors it made.

Their request for correction was sent to the Department of Health and Human Services (U.S. HHS). HHS had written to the DEA in 2015 and the DEA relied on that letter from HHS in determining that marijuana be classified as a Schedule 1 drug in the U.S.

According to CEI (Competitive Enterprises Institute), the letter sent by HHS lacked a very important element which is required by federal law. The federal Information Quality Act demands that such “highly influential scientific assessment” as the contents of the HHS letter to the DEA be subjected to a peer review evaluation before the information therein can be relied upon when making regulatory decisions.

No such peer review was conducted, and the CEI is demanding that HHS withdraws its letter to the Drug Enforcement Administration until the requisite peer review exercise has been done as stipulated in the law.

The DEA leaned heavily on the contents of the letter written by HHS to the effect that “marijuana has no recognized medical use in the U.S., has a high potential for abuse and doesn’t have an acceptable level of safety even when used under medical supervision.” Based on this information, the DEA rejected an application which had been made to have marijuana rescheduled in 2016.

In its letter to HHS, CEI points out that various medical associations and a huge fraction of the public in the U.S. have formed a largely different conclusion about marijuana. By law, HHS now has a maximum of 120 days within which to respond to the concerns raised by the Competitive Enterprises Institute.

Devin Watkins, an attorney for CEI, says that the federal government’s policy is likely to change if a reassessment of the matter is conducted. This is especially likely given that 33 states across the country have legalized marijuana for medical use.

The attorney added that the reassessment would be significant in ensuring that government agencies don’t brand uninformed opinions as scientific positions upon which public policies are made. Independent experts can shine a torch on the opinion of an agency and correct it if a mistake has been made.

Industry observers suspect that the entire cannabis industry, including players like Lexaria Bioscience Corp. (CSE: LXX) (OTCQX: LXRP) and Hemptown USA, are likely to follow keenly how HHS responds to the letter written by CEI.

About CNW420

CNW420 spotlights the latest developments in the rapidly evolving cannabis industry through the release of two informative articles each business day. Our concise, informative content serves as a gateway for investors interested in the legalized cannabis sector and provides updates on how regulatory developments may impact financial markets. Articles are released each business day at 4:20 a.m. and 4:20 p.m. Eastern – our tribute to the time synonymous with cannabis culture. If marijuana and the burgeoning industry surrounding it are on your radar, CNW420 is for you! Check back daily to stay up-to-date on the latest milestones in the fast -changing world of cannabis.

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