This week, lawmakers announced that the House will vote on the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act, bipartisan legislation that would allow the cannabis industry to access banking services. Elsewhere, the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) awarded $3 million in the form of nine research grants to study whether CBD can relieve pain.
Here, we’ve rounded up the 10 headlines you need to know before this week is over.
- Federal: The U.S. House of Representatives will vote later this month on the SAFE Banking Act, bipartisan legislation that would allow cannabis businesses to access the federal banking system. The bill, which was introduced in the House in February by Reps. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO), Denny Heck (D-WA), Steve Stivers (R-OH) and Warren Davidson (R-OH), was approved by the House Financial Services Committee in March, and a Senate version of the legislation was introduced by Sens. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Cory Gardner (R-CO) in April, although the bill has yet to pass out of a Senate committee. Read more
- Vertically integrated multistate cannabis operator Cresco Labs has expanded its reach in Nevada and Arizona—and entered Utah’s nascent medical cannabis market—through the acquisition of assets from Tryke Companies, LLC, a vertically integrated seed-to-sale cannabis company that held Reef Dispensary locations and licensed cultivation and processing operations across the three markets. The purchase consideration for the acquisition is approximately $252.5 million for Tryke’s operating assets, plus $30 million for the company’s real estate assets. Read more
- The NCCIH, part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), has announced that it has awarded nine research grants worth $3 million in total to study whether CBD can relieve pain. THC research is excluded. Read more
- Hawaii: The state is cracking down on CBD products sold outside licensed medical cannabis dispensaries and removing them from commercial shelves after Hawaii health officials reported the state’s first case of vaping-related lung illness. “We are very concerned about the safety of CBD products on the market,” Hawaii Department of Health Director Bruce Anderson told lawmakers in the wake of headlines. Read more
- Colorado: Regulators are considering how to distribute new social equity cannabis business licenses, which are set to launch in 2020. The new licenses, reserved for low-income demographics, allow licensees to use established cannabis companies’ facilities to research and manufacture their own cannabis products. Read more
- Ohio: Ohio’s medical cannabis patients say cost is the greatest obstacle to purchasing products in the state, followed by the distance to the nearest dispensary, according to a survey conducted by Ohio State University’s Drug Enforcement Policy Center and an advocacy group called Harm Reduction Ohio. More than 600 of Ohio’s roughly 52,000 registered medical cannabis patients participated in the online survey, and nearly half indicated that they are “very dissatisfied” with the program, while less than 4 percent said they are “very satisfied.” Read more
- Illinois: Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot has proposed banning adult-use cannabis sales in most of the downtown area as part of a new zoning plan. The rest of the city would be split into seven “cannabis zones,” where licensed dispensaries could set up shop when adult-use sales launch on Jan. 1. Read more
- Alaska: The Alaska Marijuana Control Board is seeking public comment on proposed rules that would allow limited investment in cannabis testing facilities from outside the state, reversing an earlier policy that prohibited such investments. The Marijuana Control Board originally stipulated that only Alaska residents could own or invest in testing facilities, in part to keep the state’s cannabis industry in the hands of Alaskans, but the state’s small population and the industry’s lack of banking and loan services have limited the capital available for testing facilities, prompting a change in rules. Read more
- California: By the end of October, if all goes according to plan in California’s often-unpredictable cannabis market, all licensed cannabis businesses will finally be enrolled in the state’s track-and-trace system. Statewide, the state has issued more than 6,700 cannabis business licenses, and getting each one of those businesses on the same page has been a feat. Read more
- Canada: British Columbia’s Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch (LCRB) has banned the promotion of cannabis in the province’s licensed establishments, including restaurants, bars and even events that have special permits. A policy directive announcing this guidance was sent to all LCRB staff, licensees, industry associations, local governments, First Nations and law enforcement. Read more