Between the impatience around rescheduling and the latest push from Congress to crack down on (potentially) CCP-tied cannabis operations, the Department of Justice is very, very busy on the cannabis file.
A busy cannabis week is officially kicked off!
A 6-minute read from JB and JR
CHINESE COMMUNIST PARTY & CANNABIS?
Lawmakers seek answers from US DOJ
Driving the news: Keen-eyed readers of Cultivated Daily have noticed several stories of illicit cannabis operations in Maine that have caught the attention of law enforcement.
These illicit grows have been linked to Chinese immigrants and appear to be part of a growing network of Chinese-backed operations. And a bi-partisan group of US lawmakers want answers from the Department of Justice.
What else? The bi-partisan group of 50 lawmakers sent a letter to the DOJ seeking answers about what’s going on. The letter came from Republicans and Democrats, some from legal cannabis states and some from prohibition states. The Politico story has the full details.
The cannabis hot seat: The DOJ is very busy answering letters from lawmakers about cannabis. They’re on the cannabis hot seat. Recall that last week, a group of 12 Democratic lawmakers sought answers on where the DEA was on the rescheduling decision, and also advocated for descheduling altogether. Now, the DOJ will have to answer to lawmakers on Chinese government-backed cannabis operations.
Strange bedfellows: Several lawmakers on the latest letter to the DOJ are squarely against legalization, like US Representative Pete Sessions (R-Texas). But his letter to the DOJ could perhaps help the legal cannabis industry in the US by having the DOJ crack down on coordinated, unregulated cannabis operations.
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ACCESSING MEDICINE IN NJ
Patients getting a break in New Jersey
What’s happening? It has become a truism in the cannabis industry that when adult-use cannabis becomes legal, the number of registered medical cannabis patients goes down. The latest case is New Jersey, where patient registration is down 12% from just before legalization, according to a Gothamist and data from the State of New Jersey.
Easing the patient journey: Regulators in New Jersey are now doing what they can to keep patients enrolled in the medical cannabis program. Already, patients need not pay taxes on their medication, and dispensaries often have deals for patients in addition to special dispensary hours.
Now, the state will eliminate re-registration fees on the medical cannabis card and lower the registration fee from $50 to $10.
Why it matters: Dispensaries that offer both medical and adult-use cannabis generally like/love medical cannabis patients. Patients are often regular, repeat customers who can be fiercely loyal. So having the regulators in New Jersey do what they can to keep patients in the medical cannabis stream is good for current and future patients, but also good for the industry that services those patients.
Pennsylvanian’s broad support for legalization
New polling: A new poll by Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania suggests that a big majority of Pennsylvania voters are in favor of legalization to the tune of 63%.
Good timing: The timing of the pro-cannabis poll being released this week fortuitous. Later today, a Pennsylvania House subcommittee charged with charting a course toward legalization will meet, according to Marijuana Moment.
The legal squeeze: Pennsylvania is feeling the legal cannabis squeeze. Pennsylvania is bordered by New York (a legal market) to the north and Delaware (soon to be legal) and Maryland (legal) to the southeast. Plus, Ohio is in the process of getting its legal cannabis house together and even neighbor West Virginia is taking steps toward legalization. (And if you want to get super technical, Pennsylvania also ‘borders’ Canada, albeit mid-lake.)
So Pennsylvania is feeling the pressure to keep cannabis consumers in-state, while reaping the cannabis tax reward for doing so.
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