You’ve made it to Tuesday. Deep breaths, you’ve got this.
Today, we’ve got some more news out of New York (when do we not have that…) and we break down some interesting new research about cannabis and safety.
A 7.5-minute read from JB and JR
FEDERAL JUDGE CLEARS THE WAY FOR NY
Judge’s decision will likely spur a wave of new licenses
What happened: A federal judge rejected one of the latest challenges to New York’s social equity-focused cannabis licensing program, reports The Associated Press.
The move will pave the way for New York to issue potentially hundreds of licenses — which will go a long way toward eroding the state’s persistent illicit market, years after legalization was signed into law.
What’s in the decision? Northern District of New York Judge Anne Nardacci said that more harm would come from impeding the state’s rollout of the legal cannabis market rather than ruling in favor of the plaintiffs.
What she said: “The balance of equities tips in the Defendants’ favor,” she wrote in the decision. “Defendants have laid out the significant harm Plaintiffs’ requested injunction would cause to New York’s adult use cannabis industry.”
Back up: Cultivated readers are well aware of the myriad legal challenges to New York’s Conditional Adult Use Retail Dispensary (CAURD) license program, which is designed to give those harmed by the War on Drugs preferential access to the state’s legal cannabis market.
Two other challenges have led to injunctions and various blockages for the New York’s cannabis program, though both were eventually settled out of court and the plaintiffs were allowed to move forward with their licenses.
This is the first case to our knowledge where the judge ruled in the state’s favor.
Read more: New York farmers may have to throw away 250,000 pounds of cannabis due to the bottleneck in legal stores, MarketWatch reports.
“I’m not satisfied, I want more enforcement,” New York Governor Kathy Hochul said on Monday. “I am looking at leadership; I’m looking at opportunities to make major changes.”
“We lost nine months because greedy out-of-state people in the cannabis industry shut us down,” the governor continued. “That’s been frustrating as well. We’re going to work through this.”
Q1 Cannabis Bankers’ Quarterly
What’s happening?: The American Cannabis Bankers Association in partnership with Shield Compliance is hosting their Q1 Cannabis Bankers’ Quarterly webinar series next Tuesday, February 13.
Who’s speaking?: In addition to Tony Repanich, the President and CEO of Shield Compliance, Cultivated’s own Jeremy Berke and Politico’s Federal Cannabis Policy Reporter Natalie Fertig are on the agenda.
Who should attend?: The webinar is designed for bankers already serving this industry, as well as those professionals who follow the industry closely.
The agenda: The webinar will explore the prospects for federal cannabis reform in the 2024 election year and offer valuable insights for banking this evolving industry and gaining a competitive advantage.
GERMANY GOES GREEN
Germany’s set to legalize cannabis by April 1
Driving the news: German lawmakers from a range of parties struck a deal on a cannabis legalization plan, which is set to be voted on this month.
The Traffic Light Coalition, formed by the Greens, the Social Democrat Party, and the Liberals announced the deal last week.
While it’s not yet a done deal, it’s the surest sign we have that Germany is on the cusp of becoming the third European Union country, after Malta and Luxembourg, to legalize cannabis federally — and the second Group of Seven country.
What’s in the deal: The bill would legalize cannabis for personal use and possession, as well as home cultivation. The bill does not set up a regulated, commercial cannabis market as that would violate European Union treaty agreements, Forbes reports.
Instead, it would set up a cannabis social club model that would allow cannabis to be sold and distributed to members. Lawmakers intend to introduce companion legislation that would outline a plan toward commercial sales.
What happens next: Experts expect the law will pass the Bundestag by the week of February 19, if all goes well.
Germany’s ban on personal cannabis consumption will be lifted April 1 and cannabis clubs could start operating by July 1.
States that prohibit cannabis use may encourage people to use unregulated products
Driving the news: States that prohibit cannabis use may unintentionally encourage consumers to use unregulated products, including those containing Delta-8 THC, according to a new study partially funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Why it matters: Delta-8 is a minor cannabinoid — the chemicals found in the cannabis plant — that’s often synthesized from non-THC containing hemp. Because Delta-8 can impair consumers (read: get them high) it is often sprayed on to raw hemp “flower” or infused in edibles.
But these products aren’t legal, and definitely aren’t FDA approved, meaning they could be dangerous for consumers. And some consumers might be duped, thinking they are buying a non-psychoactive product based on the label.
Back up: The 2018 Farm Bill legalized hemp, which is legally defined as the cannabis plant containing less than 0.3% of THC, the main compound responsible for the high.
But the bill didn’t create a specific framework for selling hemp to consumers, so many companies are deliberately pushing the boundaries of what’s allowed by selling Delta 8-THC, especially in states where cannabis is illegal.
Our take: We here at Cultivated live in legal jurisdictions and prefer to do our consuming via safe, regulated, and tested products — we stay away from Delta-8.
But this study shows that in the absence of regulated products, consumers will opt for the riskier stuff.
It’s yet another data point that legalization and regulation, not prohibition and prosecution, is the way forward for cannabis policy.
Insiders expect the DEA’s announcement on moving cannabis to Schedule III to come in March, according to Green Market Report.
Cannabis use alone isn’t associated with a higher risk of car accidents — and in fact, self-reported use is associated with lower odds of a crash, according to an analysis of emergency department statistics published in the journal Accident Analysis & Prevention.
The Irish government has delayed discussing a bill that would legalize cannabis for nine months.
Minnesota lawmakers are asking regulators to fix the raw cannabis flower ‘loophole’ that allows some cannabis to be sold as hemp-derived THCa in stores ahead of the state’s licensing process, reports MinnPost.