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Longest-serving cannabis advocate in Congress has some thoughts

Plus, the DEA Administer and IRS Commission talk cannabis (sort of)

May 8, 2024

Good morning.

If you thought COVID was over, you were incorrect. Our Editor-in-Chief Jeremy is way under the weather. So we’re sending him good thoughts, and perhaps some chicken soup. 🥣

But, you’re in capable hands as I take over the writing for the next day or two.


This newsletter is 663 words or about a 4 minute read. 

💡What’s the big deal?

Congressman Blumenauer lays out the best cannabis path forward

Driving the news: In an annual memo to “Cannabis Stakeholders,” leading Congressional cannabis advocate Oregon Democrat Earl Blumenauer detailed a path forward for the federal government to take on cannabis reform. The 5-page memo is an important read for anyone who follows this industry. 

Cliffs Notes: In the memo, Blumenauer detailed what rescheduling cannabis to Schedule III means for cannabis — including tax reform for cannabis companies, acknowledgement of cannabis for medical use, and expanded access to cannabis research. He also detailed paths forward for both Congress and the Administration, including passing and signing both SAFER and MORE. For the Administration specifically, there are several important reforms the Biden/Harris White House could implement to protect veterans. 

Why it matters: Unlike previous years, the Blumenauer memo comes on the heels of real movement on the federal level. As noted here and elsewhere, rescheduling is the first, positive cannabis reform measure in nearly half a century. As Blumenauer noted in the “From” line of the memo, he’s the “Congressional Cannabis Caucus Founder and Co-Chair (and 50+ year advocate for ending the failed war on drugs) Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR)”. 

What’s next: As in previous years, cannabis reform advocates could print out this memo and use it as a guide to the coming year (and years) of advocacy. 


🗨️ Quote of the day

As we noted in yesterday’s newsletter, DEA Administrator Anne Milgram was in front of a Congressional hearing yesterday. We watched, so you wouldn’t have to. But fear not, the cannabis news she made was…nonexistent.

But, because she’s the DEA Administrator, and she was asked about rescheduling, we bring you today’s quote of the day

“Since DEA is ultimately the decider of scheduling and rescheduling, and the DEA administrator is in that role, it would be inappropriate for me to make comments about this process or parts of that process.”

If you want to watch the entire thing, enjoy CSPAN!

Quick hits

It wasn’t just the DEA Administrator that was on Capitol Hill yesterday, IRS Commissioner Daniel Werfel was too, and he noted that cannabis banking reform would “make the agency’s job easier…” We’re not sure making the IRS’s job easier is a winning argument, but whatever it takes to get SAFER Banking passed, we’re down for. 

There was a trifecta of NY-focused items worthy of Quick Hits today: an OpEd penned by Dutchie’s gov-rel head about marketing and advertising rules (Times Union), the “ridiculously bleak” picture for New York cannabis growers (NY Upstate), and this from the NY Times Ashley Southall about the number of unlicensed cannabis sellers in NY: 

When cannabis is legalized, it can be regulated and taxed. And it’s the taxation part that allowed Leoni Parkship in Michigan to purchase a new park

😜 One fun thing

Boomer humor from the Dallas Morning News editorial cartoon… 

📈 Earnings round-up

Yesterday, it was Ascend Wellness’ turn to report earnings. More coming everyday this week.

Vireo (Good Growth) also announced earnings, with revenue and profit up, and expenses slightly down for the three months ending March 31.  

Here’s what else is on tap this week so you can prepare: 

🚀 Deals, launches, and partnerships

Canopy USA — the US version of Canada’s Canopy Growth — exercised their options to acquire Jetty Extracts and Wana Brands. The deal was waiting for some US regulatory reform to happen, and with rescheduling, the plan is being put into motion.

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