CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — Despite legislation from 2017 that allowed cannabis to be legal for medical use on July 1 of this year, West Virginia officials say they're still years away from the first sale. That's — at least in part — because of a hangup with finding a banking solution to get around federal law. State health officials say they also have to implement permitting and licensing for patients and those who want to start businesses within the industry.
LOS ANGELES - The parking lot outside a stark-looking dispensary on a busy Los Angeles street is almost full on a weekday afternoon. Inside, jars of weed line the shelves behind a counter and colorful signs show prices. But if everything looks normal, it isn’t.
The dispensary is part of a booming black market.
“The black market is a huge problem,” said Patricia Heer, an attorney and founder of Cannabis Law Digest. “In some states, it’s between 70 and 80 percent of sales.”
Dillard's Inc. has jumped on the cannabidiol bandwagon with a line of wellness and beauty products infused with the hemp-derived extract.
The department-store chain based in Little Rock now carries a wide range of items from the brand CBD For Life, according to a news release from the brand's parent, iAnthus Capital Holdings Inc. CBD For Life uses 99-percent pure extract of cannabidiol, a nonpsychoactive chemical compound, the release said. The company says its CBD is derived from the stems and stalks of industrial hemp.
TORONTO, July 15, 2019 /CNW/ - PRESS RELEASE - Flower One Holdings Inc. officially welcomes Kellen O'Keefe to the team as chief strategy officer. O'Keefe hails most recently from MedMen Enterprises, a cannabis retailer and brand. As the senior vice president of business development of MedMen, he was instrumental in capitalizing the business as well as sourcing, accessing and executing the company's M&A transactions. This news follows Flower One's announcement last week of its ninth brand partnership deal in seven months, which showcased the company's ongoing ability to bring cannabis brands to new markets through its large-scale product fulfillment and distribution.
"We are excited to welcome Kellen O'Keefe to our team and look forward to benefiting from his deep knowledge of the U.S. cannabis landscape," said Ken Villazor, president and CEO of Flower One. "Kellen brings a decade-long passion for driving the industry forward, not to mention a large, well-connected network. Having just announced our ninth brand partnership, we're looking forward to leveraging Kellen's proven expertise in business development as we continue to grow our Brand Partner network in Nevada and beyond."
"I'm thrilled to be joining the well-rounded, all-star team at Flower One," said O'Keefe. "I believe Flower One's execution is second to none. The company has proven its ability to not only leverage its extensive commercial agriculture experience, but also insert best-in-class processing and manufacturing. From a seed-to-shelf perspective, Flower One has established an industry-first, turnkey solution for cannabis brands seeking access to consistent and reliable high-quality cannabis."
Leveraging his knowledge of cannabis, strategic partnerships and brand development, O'Keefe will oversee Flower One's market strategies, including ongoing investor relations and the growth and development of the company's Brand Partner program. O'Keefe will also lend strategic marketing advice and implement best practices to ensure the company continues to be well-positioned in the eyes of the industry, public markets and investor audiences. Prior to cannabis, Kellen was co-creator of Oakley's groundbreaking experiential program "Learn to Ride," where he created and produced branded content, influencer and multimedia campaigns for a number of his former advertising clients including but not limited to Anheuser-Busch, Audi, Chipotle, Crown Imports, Wheels Up, T-Mobile, Starbucks and Virgin.
O'Keefe will be representing Flower One this summer, speaking at several of the nation's most notable cannabis events, including:
An appellate court has sided with a Florida medical cannabis business, once again delivering a blow to the law directing the state’s medical cannabis market. Tampa-based Florigrown sued the state after it was denied a medical cannabis business license. In 2016, Florida voters approved medical cannabis legalization; state legislators then drafted a bill to implement that measure.
The Florigrown lawsuit and its attendant judicial rulings thus far reveal the tension between what the voters approved and what the legislators approved. The two foundational problems: Florida’s vertical integration mandate and the cap on the total number of medical cannabis businesses licenses. In the 2016 voter-approved initiative, the language includes the crucial conjunction “or”: “’Medical Marijuana Treatment Center’ (MMTC) means an entity that acquires, cultivates, possesses, processes (including development of related products such as food, tinctures, aerosols, oils, or ointments), transfers, transports, sells, distributes, dispenses, or administers marijuana, products containing marijuana, related supplies, or educational materials to qualifying patients or their caregivers and is registered by the Department.” (Emphasis ours.)
The law passed by the state legislature rolled those licensed activities into one vertically integrated MMTC license and placed a cap on the number of licenses, based on the number of registered medical cannabis patients.
Last year, a Leon County Circuit Court judge supported Florigrown’s argument and issued a temporary injunction demanding that the state begin issuing more medical cannabis business licenses. The state appealed, and here we are.
As Matthew Ginder, senior counsel in the cannabis practice of Greenspoon Marder, says, the appellate court “agreed with the trial court that there’s a substantial likelihood of success on the merits that those provisions are essentially unconstitutional.”
The state has an opportunity to appeal this ruling, as well, though Gov. Ron DeSantis has said publicly that he does not wish to continue appealing civil cases involving medical cannabis that had been pursued by his predecessor, Gov. Rick Scott. (Whether that will hold remains to be seen.)
In this case, the Florida House of Representatives has attempted to insert itself into the litigation—seeking to protect its own legislation’s integrity. What emerges, then, is a contradiction between how the state’s judicial branch and legislative branch are viewing this case. In the middle, DeSantis’ executive branch (which includes the Department of Health) could play the role of arbiter. The administration could appeal this case once more, or it could pass the regulatory mandate onto the Department of Health and begin rewriting the script on how Florida’s medical cannabis market is structured.
“You have more weight behind the argument that this licensing structure doesn’t withstand scrutiny,” Ginder says. “On the other hand, there is an existing industry in Florida that’s composed of companies that have expended a significant amount of resources to build out their infrastructure based on laws they were expecting to be there. They have an interest in operating under laws that don’t open up the floodgates. As you can imagine, the governor has to weigh all these interests and has to make a decision on how he wants to proceed.”
Cannabis Business Times’ interactive legislative map is another tool to help cultivators quickly navigate state cannabis laws and find news relevant to their markets. View More