Is DC cannabis going legit?

Plus, Ohio's market taking shape

Thursday, June 6, 2024

Good morning.

Happy Thursday, everybody. At 11:30 AM today, Jeremy will be moderating a fireside chat with Chelsea Davis, the Assistant Secretary for Cannabis at the New York State Executive Chamber, at the Cannabis World Congress and Business Expo in NYC.

Say hi after the panel if you’re around the show — it’s always great to catch up with our readers!

-JB & JR

This newsletter is 715 words or about an 5-minute read. 

💡What’s the big deal?

DC might finally get a legit market

What happened: A House committee released draft text of a must-pass spending bill that, if passed, would finally pave the way for legal cannabis sales in Washington DC. 

Since 2013, each version of the House Appropriations Financial Services and General Government (FSGG) Subcommittee’s spending bill contained language that prevented Washington DC from allowing legitimate recreational cannabis sales in the state. 

That language, proposed by Rep. Andy Harris since 2013, isn’t in the new draft text, reports The Washingtonian

Zoom out: DC voters first legalized cannabis in 2014. But DC isn’t a state — meaning it’s up to Congress to develop regulations around cannabis sales.

The city has developed a robust cannabis “grey” market over the intervening 10 years, where residents purchase cannabis through “gifting” loopholes — that T-shirt is $150 bucks and oh yeah here’s a bag of weed — or laughably easy to acquire medical cards. 

If Harris’s language isn’t reinserted into the bill, DC could start to develop a real market. 

And more: The subcommittee also inserted language into the spending bill that would bar federal regulators from penalizing financial institutions that bank with cannabis companies.

It’s basically a light version of the SAFER Banking Act, which would allow cannabis companies to access the financial system like any other industry. 

Rep. Dave Joyce, who sponsored the SAFER Act, also leads the subcommittee — the House Appropriations Financial Services and General Government (FSGG) Subcommittee. 

And, a group of Democratic Senators are lobbying the committee to include language around giving cannabis businesses access to federal Small Business Administration loans and other resources. 


💬 Quote of the day

“People want to ask why folks of color don’t stand up to be in these positions as elected officials, as progressive prosecutors, as leading the industry,” The Drug Policy Alliance Executive Director Kassandra Frederique said. “It’s because we get set up and then they cut our heads off in public. And that is what is happening to the OCM.”

Frederique was discussing New York Gov. Kathy Hochul’s investigation into the state’s Office of Cannabis Management, and OCM director Chris Alexander stepping down. 

Quick hits

Newly-legal Ohio could have up to 124 commercial cannabis stores, reports The Business of Cannabis, as the state works to roll out dual-class licenses where existing medical operators can quickly transition to adult-use sales. 

Louisiana lawmakers passed two hemp and cannabis related bills, reports The Louisiana Illuminator. The first would ban intoxicating hemp products from gas stations, though stop short of dismantling the entire hemp industry. The second bill revoked medical cannabis growing rights from two universities in the state and handed them to two companies, Good Day Farm and Ilera Holistic Healthcare. 

States that legalize cannabis see an uptick in college enrollment, according to a new study published in the journal Economic Inquiry. States that legalized cannabis see a 4.6-9% increase in college students, in both men and women. 

A new bill proposed by New York State Assembly Member Rep. Donna Lupardo would allow licensed cannabis sellers to set up shop at events, and sell cannabis legally offsite. Read the bill text here.

Read Green Thumb Industry CEO Ben Kovler’s letter toBoston Beer Company founder James Koch about why he thinks the companies should merge.

😂 One fun thing

Vice President Kamala Harris discussed rescheduling, and said that “people shouldn’t have to go to jail for smoking weed,” on Jimmy Kimmel Live

📰 What we’re reading

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