Rescheduling rescheduling?

Plus, “O-H-I-O!"

Wednesday, June 26, 2024

Good morning. 

Jay is road-tripping and Jeremy is enjoying married life, so I (Charlie) have the reins for today! 

Meaning I will take this opportunity to update you on my beloved home state of Ohio, as well as the DEA’s rescheduling drama. 

Let’s get to it.


This newsletter is 1126 words or about a 7-minute read. 

💡What’s the big deal?

GOP doesn’t want DEA to reschedule

What happened: A GOP-controlled congressional committee introduced a spending bill for fiscal year 2025 that includes provisions to block rescheduling and to authorize enhanced penalties for cannabis sales near schools and parks. 

This bill is part of the appropriations for Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies and is due for subcommittee markup.

Back up: Since 2014, federal appropriations bills have included a rider preventing the Department of Justice from interfering with state medical cannabis programs. 

Recent discussions and proposals at the federal level have considered rescheduling to facilitate medical research and reduce penalties. 

However, the new provisions in this bill seek to halt these efforts by prohibiting the use of federal funds to reschedule cannabis. In addition, certain states already enforce zoning laws to keep cannabis businesses away from schools, but the federal provision could impose stricter penalties.

Why does it matter: The inclusion of these provisions in a major spending bill reflects significant ideological divides in Congress regarding cannabis reform. 

This divide comes at a time when more states are legalizing and public support for reform is at an all-time high. The bill’s provisions could significantly influence the ongoing national debate over cannabis legalization and the federal government’s stance on cannabis policy.

What’s next: The bill will undergo markup in the subcommittee and possibly face amendments either in committee or on the House floor. Given the controversial nature of the new provisions, they are likely to be challenged by reform advocates. 

The Democrat-controlled Senate may not include these provisions in their version of the bill, which could lead to significant changes or removal of the contentious sections during the legislative process. (For reference about how this process works, see: I’m Just a Bill.)


💬 Quotable

“The majority of pre-trial detainees and those convicted of drug trafficking in Brazil are first-time offenders, who carried small amounts of illicit substance with them, caught in routine police operations, unarmed and with no evidence of any relationship with organized crime,” Ilona Szabo, president of Igarape Institute, a think tank focusing on public security, said

Brazil's Supreme Court voted to decriminalize the possession of marijuana for personal use, a decision aimed at potentially reducing the country's significant prison population. 

Although selling drugs remains illegal, the court still needs to determine the specific quantity of cannabis that constitutes personal use and when this ruling will take effect. 

This move marks Brazil as one of the last countries in Latin America to decriminalize, reflecting a shift toward treating drug policy more as a public health issue than a matter of security and incarceration.

Ohio’s transition from medical to adult-use

What’s going on: Ohio approved 31 provisional licenses for medical cannabis retailers on June 21, but no Ohio dispensaries have received their Certificates of Operation to begin selling adult-use cannabis since applications opened June 7. 

However, 62 medical dispensaries were informed they qualify for the adult-use market, and 31 dispensaries have received provisional licenses, but the actual launch of recreational sales has not yet begun.

The process for Ohio medical dispensaries to transition to adult-use involves updating facilities and systems to comply with dual-use operations. 

Why it matters: While the issuance of provisional licenses two weeks after application acceptance suggests a commitment to expediting the market transition, the uncertainty that comes with a lack of a concrete launch date for recreational sales may impact planning and operations for businesses involved.

The staggered rollout highlights logistical and regulatory challenges within the state’s framework that affects the timely availability of recreational cannabis. 

What’s next: The rollout of adult-use cannabis sales in Ohio will occur on a store-by-store basis, depending on each dispensary’s readiness to meet the new operational standards rather than a single unified launch day. 

The Ohio Department of Commerce and the Division of Cannabis Control (DCC) anticipate a swift approval process for those dispensaries already in compliance with medical marijuana standards. 

The deadline for issuing certificates of operation is September 7, as mandated by state law.

Recreational sales could potentially start as early as this week for those who are ready. 


Quick hits

DeSantis says what?
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis claims Amendment 3 would prioritize cannabis rights above constitutional rights — the 1st and 2nd Amendments — and has described past legalization efforts in states like Colorado as failures. Read more

Hawaii expunges
Hawaii Governor Josh Green signed HB 1595 to initiate a pilot program in Hawaii County to expunge non-conviction marijuana arrest records, focusing on a single county approach due to budgetary constraints following recent natural disasters. Read more

CCC in shambles
The Massachusetts Office of the Inspector General urged the state legislature to address governance issues at the Cannabis Control Commission (CCC), noting a lack of clarity in leadership roles and organizational structure. Read more or read the full letter here

Green Spring loses
An Arkansas judge upheld the decision to revoke the license of Green Springs Medical Marijuana Dispensary in Hot Springs for selling expired medical cannabis products. The dispensary allegedly sold over 200 grams of products past their quality-assurance testing dates. Read more

📈 Deals, launches, partnerships

Canadian cannabis producer Organigram Holdings invested €14 million in German cannabis company Sanity Group to expand its European presence and strengthen its position in the global cannabis market

Curaleaf Holdings, Inc. launched a new line of hemp-derived THC products under its Select and Zero Proof brands. These products will be available via their online storefront, starting June 26, with distribution also including delivery services like DoorDash.

📊 Earnings round-up

Aurora Cannabis Inc. reported its most successful fiscal year for 2024, achieving a 21% increase in net revenue, a positive annualized adjusted EBITDA of $12.8 million for the first time, ending the year with a strong cash position of about $180 million, and the company fully repaid its convertible debt.

🏃‍♂️People moves

RIV Capital Inc. appointed David Vautrin, previously at Harbour Community in New York and CannaRoyalty, as Chief Retail Officer to oversee retail and wholesale operations, with plans to manage the broader retail footprint following a business combination with Cansortium Inc., announced in a press release in MG Magazine.

📰 What we’re reading

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