Impatience is the theme of the week.
We have had an impatient governor in New York complain about the slow cannabis roll-out. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and Congressman Jerry Nadler spoke about their rescheduling impatience over the weekend.
And today, we learn of a (kind) dozen US senators who are pressing the DOJ and the DEA for some answers…now!
All that, and much more in today’s packed newsletter.
An 9.5-minute read from JB
SENATORS PUSH FOR DESCHEDULING
12 Democratic Senators push for descheduling
But they’re pushing even further. They want the DEA to de-schedule cannabis entirely.
The latest: Twelve Democratic Senators sent a letter to the Attorney General Merrick Garland the DEA Administrator Anne Milgram this week pushing/begging for scheduling reform. You can read the full letter (and the pages and pages and pages of footnotes) here.
The kind dozen: The letter was authored by: Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), John Fetterman (D-PA), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Ron Wyden (D-OR), John Hickenlooper (D-CO), Peter Welch (D-VT), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), and Alex Padilla (D-CA).
What’s next? There appears to be a growing level of impatience among cannabis supporters in Congress about the DEA’s decisionmaking timeline. Hence this letter.
But also don’t underestimate the drama-building technique of sending a strongly-worded letter. When the DEA does come to a decision in the next three-to-six months, these twelve senators, along with President Biden, will inevitably try to take credit for pushing for cannabis reform.
And more: Biden has touted his campaign promise to work on reforming cannabis laws repeatedly on the campaign trail. And, according to NBC News, he had hoped to announce the DEA’s rescheduling decision in November of last year and make it a campaign issue.
Evidently, he, and the rest of us, are all still waiting.
A Washington State House committee approved a bill to legalize home cultivation of cannabis and gutted legislation that would’ve raised the age for high-potency cannabis products to 25.
The push to decriminalize cannabis possession in Dallas is heating up: Community groups, including Somos Texas and Ground Game Texas, are seeking 20,000 signatures to get the Dallas Freedom Act, which would remove penalties associated with possession, on the November 2024 ballot.
LAWSUITS GALORE IN NY
Just when you thought New York couldn’t get any slower
What’s new? This latest lawsuit was filed by seven women-owned businesses that qualify under the social equity provisions in New York. The case was filed in the State Supreme Court in Albany, according to Green Market Report.
The context: The process in New York has been painfully slow. What started out as a path forward to provide a first-mover advantage to what the state has deemed justice-involved individuals in New York through the Conditional Adult Use Retail Dispensary, or CAURD program, was halted and slowed down by a bunch of lawsuits.
But many CAURD licensees were ready to open and were promised first access to the market, as was the initial intent of the state’s approach. These plaintiffs feel the current process is New York’s shifting-the-goalpost moment. And they want relief.
What’s next? A court hearing was slated for Tuesday afternoon, according to Green Market Report. So, expect updates in this newsletter on Thursday. What you can also expect is that the pace of New York will continue to be…slow.
🇮🇱 CANNABIS TRADE WAR 🇨🇦
A brewing trade dispute between Canada and Israel over cannabis
Blame Canada: Israeli trade regulators are concerned that Canadian cannabis companies are dumping tons of cannabis into Israel and hurting the local cannabis industry, Marijuana Business Daily reports.
Big guns: It turns out that some of the largest publicly-traded Canadian cannabis companies, including Auxly, Cronos, Organigram, SNDL, Tilray, and Village Farms export large quantities of cannabis to Israel. Twenty-one metric tons, in fact.
So, Israel’s Trade Levies Unit commissioner is opening an investigation into this alleged dumping of product.
Export only: Canada is the largest country in the world with federally legal cannabis.
Producers in Canada do ship cannabis for medical and research use to other countries. But, so far, Health Canada has not allowed for import of cannabis from anywhere else, much to the chagrin of the rest of the cannabis world.
Notably, that includes Jamaica, Colombia, and Australia.
What’s next: The anti-dumping investigation will continue.
Our guess is that while “dumping” may be a very strong word for what’s happening, clearly there is a trade imbalance if the trade only goes one way.
That said, it’s hard to believe that cannabis will be the trigger point for a full-blown trade war between Canada and Israel. Whatever happens with the investigation, export-only is a bad look for Canada.
THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE HOME
Kansas lawmakers debating medical cannabis
What’s happening: One of the states most behind the curve when it comes to medical cannabis is Kansas. Right now, there is no legal access to cannabis for Kansans.
But there is an effort to change that. And with that effort comes opposition.
The opposition: One of the most powerful Republicans in the state of Kansas is Senate President Ty Masterson. In a recent interview with KNST, Masterson laid out his opposition to the bill advocates are looking to pass. And the rationale for opposition is as you might expect: concerns about law enforcement, young peoples’ access to cannabis, increased gang activity, etc.
Won’t you be my neighbor: Opposition to any access to cannabis is probably causing celebrations for adult-use dispensaries on Kansas borders in Colorado, Oklahoma, and Missouri.
Because as Cultivated readers know, dispensaries on the borders of prohibition states tend to rake in the dough from border-crossing cannabis folks.
Cannabis tech firm Dutchie raised $100 million at a $400 million valuation, reports the trade publication Reforming Retail. The round was led by Josh Kushner’s Thrive Capital and includes repeat investors. In 2021, Dutchie raised a Series D at a $3.75 billion valuation — this latest round marks a 90% discount.
Is MedMen going into receivership after the stock went to zero? Reddit sleuths may have the answer. (Note: Our editorial team has not yet corroborated this, so a word of caution applies as with any social media).
Nick Jikomes, formerly Leafly’s director of science and innovation, is leaving the company to work full time on his Mind & Matter podcast. In a LinkedIn post announcing his move, he said he hopes to expand Mind & Matters offerings for more podcasts and longform written content.
Here’s a cool job opportunity for you weed nerds: Research Analyst at Washington’s Liquor and Cannabis Board (LCB).
LCB’s Research Manager Sarah Okey shared a pretty inspiring piece about LCB’s work on Medium, stating: Our mission is to enhance public safety and health by conducting, analyzing, and reporting research that is non-biased. We are committed to sharing science-backed information…and are focused on the products, policy, and regulation of alcohol, cannabis, tobacco, and vapor.