This week in the cannabis industry, the House Judiciary Committee approved a bill that would dramatically broaden the country’s access to cannabis for research purposes. Across the border in Canada, Aurora Cannabis agreed to purchase Uruguay-focused ICC Labs Inc. in an all-stock deal valued at approximately $290 million.
Here, we’ve rounded up the 10 headlines you need to know before this week is over.
- Federal: Jimmy Buffett will license his “Coral Reefer” brand to Surterra, a medical marijuana company whose board has since last month been chaired by William “Beau” Wrigley, Jr.—the former CEO of the Wrigley confectionery firm. Georgia-based Surterra is currently licensed in Florida and Texas, and plans to build out cultivation space in the former state while conducting research trials on cannabinoid treatment for issues such as pain and post-traumatic stress disorder. Read more
- Charlotte’s Web Holdings Inc. is the latest U.S. cannabis firm to launch an IPO on the Canadian Securities Exchange. The CBD company, known formerly as Stanley Brothers Inc., began trading Aug. 30 at C$7, and the stock price has nearly doubled in its first two weeks on the market. Read more
- The hemp-derived CBD market is expected to hit $591 million this year, and, according to a new Brightfield Group report, it may grow 40 times this size—to $22 billion by 2022—if the 2018 Farm Bill passes. The rapid growth will be supported by an anticipated explosion in distribution channels for these products in the next few years; chain retailers are expected to enter the market as soon as 2019. Read more
- The House Judiciary Committee approved a bill that would dramatically broaden the country’s access to cannabis for research purposes, allowing more federal licenses for research institutions to grow cannabis. A full House floor vote is not yet scheduled, but the committee action is a significant headline in a Republican-controlled legislature. Read more
- California: A police crackdown on local unlicensed marijuana businesses has ended with misdemeanor charges against more than 500 people in Los Angeles, the city attorney’s office said. Though the number of defendants is staggering and will make a dent in unlicensed operations in the city, the larger aim of the crackdown is to try to level the playing field for the marijuana businesses that are following the rules, City Attorney Mike Feuer said. Read more
- Cannabis farmers are suing Calaveras County after it voted in January to ban commercial marijuana cultivation. The decision was made 20 months after granting temporary licenses to medical marijuana grows and has upset local marijuana cultivators who feel like the rug was pulled out from under them. Read more
- Oregon: One of Oregon’s largest cannabis-producing counties likely isn’t going to be able to unravel the state’s permissive marijuana laws, after all. A U.S. magistrate judge has recommended dismissal of a lawsuit Josephine County filed against the state of Oregon, finding the county has no standing to sue the state, and hasn’t proved it’s been injured by laws allowing growth and consumption of recreational and medical cannabis. Read more
- Utah: In November, voters will decide the fate of medical marijuana in Utah, and a state lawmaker is addressing the controversial proposition with a new bill. Rep. Brian King says no matter what happens with Proposition 2, the state legislature needs to deal with it, and his bill would do that after voters weigh in. Read more
- Massachusetts: An organization representing Massachusetts marijuana growers is considering a lawsuit to compel the Cannabis Control Commission to review the statutorily-required agreements between marijuana businesses and their host towns, something the CCC has resisted doing under the impression it does not have the authority to do so. Peter Bernard, president of the Massachusetts Grower Advocacy Council, told the State House News Service on Sept. 11 that his outfit planned to discuss its proposed suit with its attorney and is leaning towards taking the issue to court. Read more
- Canada: Aurora Cannabis Inc. has agreed to purchase Uruguay-focused ICC Labs Inc. in an all-stock deal valued at approximately $290 million, as cannabis producers look to South America for growth beyond Oct. 17 when recreational marijuana use becomes legal in Canada. Under the friendly deal, ICC shareholders will receive 0.2448 of an Aurora share for each ICC (ICC.V) share, making the deal worth $1.95 per share. Read more
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