Monday could be the day when the Legislature takes a historic vote to legalize marijuana for adult recreational use in New Jersey.
Or it could be the day when Democratic leaders concede defeat in convincing enough colleagues to get on board, setting the legalization effort back months and raising doubts about the fate of one of Gov. Phil Murphy’s central campaign promises.
The sweeping, 175-page bill would allow possession of small amounts of cannabis by adults over 21 and clear the records of those with marijuana-related convictions. It also would lay the framework for regulating and taxing a new billion-dollar industry.
But with Republicans largely unified against the measure and several rank-and-file Democrats opposed or wavering, it appears just as likely that legislative leaders scrap the vote for lack of support.
Lobbying effort underway
Which way it goes depends on how successful Murphy, Senate President Stephen Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin, all Democrats, are in enticing lawmakers to cast a “yes” vote.
They have plenty of inducements at their disposal, from appointments to money for lawmakers’ districts. But many legislators have firm beliefs on the topic of marijuana and may be difficult to sway.
Pennsylvanians over the age of 21 would be able to legally use recreational cannabis under a bill expected to be introduced soon in the Pennsylvania state Senate.
But the bill has a long way to go — and a lot of Republican opposition to overcome — before it can land on Gov. Tom Wolf’s desk.
Senators Daylin Leach, D-Montgomery, and Sen. Sharif Street, D-Philadelphia, announced the bill Monday in a memo to their colleagues, where they said that legalizing recreational cannabis would remedy the injustices of the War on Drugs and generate revenue for Pennsylvania’s communities and public schools.
“Cannabis is still widely available to purchase illegally, and yet we disproportionately arrest, prosecute, monitor, and incarcerate thousands of nonviolent Pennsylvanians who are poor and people of color,” the memo reads. “Cannabis prohibition is an immoral and expensive failure of public policy.”
They’ve introduced similar bills in the past with no luck. This time around, though, they’re operating in a different climate.
Wolf said last year that it was time for Pennsylvania to take a “serious look” at legalizing marijuana. The same month, public polls showed that 59 percent of Pennsylvanians support legalization — up from 22 percent in 2006.
Lt. Gov John Fetterman is currently conducting a statewide listening tour, where he’s stopping in all of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties to hear people sound off on the issue. And there’s a legalization effort underway in the House, thanks to a bill introduced by Rep. Jake Wheatly, D-Allegheny.
Street said on Monday that the lawmakers made social justice, inclusion, and economic development their priorities in crafting the new bill. Here are three things to know about it.
Illinois State Treasurer Michael Frerichs wants regulations changed so banks can work with legal marijuana companies. | Sun-Times file photo
Illinois State Treasurer Michael Frerichs called Monday for changes to rules that prohibit banks from providing basic services to the legal cannabis industry like writing checks, depositing money and taking out loans.
Frerichs said “outdated” regulations have forced the Illinois medical marijuana industry to operate on a cash-only basis. The issue is among many complications faced by companies as the drug becomes legal in states across the country but not at the federal level. That means it remains illegal for banks to do business with the cannabis industry because marijuana is still considered an illegal controlled substance by the federal government.
“We have an industry that handles money hiding in the shadows because banking rules, which were established decades ago, have not kept up with changes in behavior and in law,” Frerichs said.
As a result, he said, the medical marijuana industry in Illinois — which had revenue of $136 million in 2018 — is ripe for theft, fraud and tax evasion. Illinois legalized the use of marijuana for certain medical conditions in 2015. This year, state lawmakers are also considering legislation supported by Gov. J.B. Pritzker to legalize adult use of recreational marijuana.
“As residents of this state, we needlessly invite risk to people and property as $136 million in cash is shuffled from place to place in duffel bags in the front seat — or trunk — of cars,” Frerichs said.
Patients of Minnesota’s medical marijuana program say it is unaffordable and inaccessible.
More than half of the patients who signed up for the program in 2017 did not re-enroll the next year.
Producers are losing millions even with the high prices, saying tax structure hurts them.
Patients who can’t afford it either buy marijuana illegally or take addictive opioids that are covered by insurance.
The high costs have not turned big profits for the state’s two producers, who have lost millions in their first years in business. LeafLine Labs and Minnesota Medical Solutions say they cannot lower their prices until regulatory burdens are struck from the law. Minnesota’s medical marijuana law, passed in 2014, is widely seen as one of the most restrictive in the country. The plant form of marijuana is banned, leaving only pills and oils for the patients with one of 13 severe conditions who qualify. “We’ve done the best that we can within the framework of the legislation that we were given,” said Michelle Larson, former director of the Office of Medical Cannabis within the Department of Health. “It’s expensive, we know that. … There are legislative issues that have not been addressed, and we know constituents have brought them up.” As the debate over full legalization continues at the Capitol, some argue that lawmakers should focus on a medical program that has struggled since its launch.
THE COSTS START EARLY
The costs pile up before patients even enter the program. First, they must find a doctor who will certify their condition. Then comes the enrollment fee, which is $200 unless the patient is on medical assistance, in which they could pay a reduced fee of $50. Patients must repeat these steps each year. If sticker shock has not set in yet, it might when patients walk into one of the state’s eight medical marijuana dispensaries. To read more…
The well-loved Italian frozen dessert is now in cannabis form. Gelato is a gourmet mix of Sunset Sherbet and Thin Mint Girl Scout Cookies. It has a medley of fruity, cookie, mint, and lavender flavors. This THC-packed strain is said to help with fibromyalgia, nausea, insomnia, and lack of appetite. Gelato provides a boost of energy and euphoric lift. Gelato’s potency is delightful and its delicious flavor-profile is the cherry on top.
White Cookies was developed by crossing White Widow and Girl Scout Cookies. It smells like a blend of lemon and pine, and has a buttery cookie flavor. The strong body high it produces works well to dissolve the tension of stress, mood issues, anxiety, and nausea. Despite a high THC-content, it won’t make you jumpy. White Widow relaxes, but also sparks creativity. This just might be your new yummy go-to wake and bake strain.
Swap your cup of coffee for the delectable Chocolope. Seductive cocoa and coffee notes intertwine beautifully with sweet hints of melon. This name is a portmanteau of its parents: Chocolate Thai and Cannalope. Despite its funny (but still tasty) sounding name, Chocolopes mood enhancing and energizing effects are no joke. It is effective at curbing stress, depression, and PTSD. It perks you up in ways that coffee can’t: No jitters, just a lucid and euphoric high.
Hazlet, New Jersey (February 26, 2019)—PRESS RELEASE—Foothill Capital Management, a specialized asset management firm focused on emerging, innovative and fast-growing markets, has announced the launch of the Cannabis Growth Fund (Ticker: CANNX).
The Fund, one of the first open-end mutual funds to invest primarily in companies related to the cannabis industry, seeks to provide investors access to the quickly growing industry.
“We are excited to provide investors and advisors who serve them with access to an exciting, growing industry,” said Eric Banhazl, chairman of Foothill Capital Management. “There has been an extraordinary level of attention due to its wide application in the medicinal, consumer and recreational arenas. We believe that the cannabis industry is in its infancy stages and that the potential growth runway represents a compelling investment opportunity.”
“The Cannabis Growth Fund offers investors professional portfolio management, which we believe is important in a rapidly changing industry,” stated Korey Bauer, portfolio manager of the Cannabis Growth Fund. “We believe active management is critical when investing in an industry that has frequent and evolving developments in regulation, applications and acquisition activity.”
The Fund plans to invest primarily in exchange listed equity securities of companies in the cannabis industry. These companies are located around the globe and engaged exclusively in legal activities under national and local laws, including U.S. federal and state law, as applicable. Many companies that the Fund seeks to hold legally participate in activities including agriculture technology, biotechnology, cultivation and retail, products and extracts, industrial hemp, and ancillary products and services that complement the cannabis industry. In addition, the manager has the flexibility to invest in options in an attempt to enhance the Fund’s return and reduce volatility.
Before the twentieth century, cannabis was used as a sort of medicine to treat asthma, coughs, migraines, and insomnia. However, due to the psychoactive effects of tetrahydrocannabinol, or the THC-derivative, cannabis became illegal and was removed from the list of registered medicines.
Now, cannabis is rapidly emerging around the globe as countries begin to reverse the laws and legalize its medicinal use again. While most countries are exploring opportunities within the medical cannabis sector, the proliferation of recreational cannabis is rapidly spreading throughout the western hemisphere of the world.
Currently, the U.S. and Canada dominate the recreational sector, however, countries in Latin America are also looking to legalize cannabis for adult-use. The series of countries moving towards legalization is also part of the cause of this explosive market, as demand pours in from around the world.
According to data compiled by Zion Market Research, the global legal marijuana market was valued at approximately USD 16.71 Billion in 2017 and is expected to generate revenue of USD 62.96 Billion by 2024. Additionally, the market is expected to exhibit a CAGR of 21% during the forecast period from 2018 to 2024. Biome Grow Inc. (OTC: BIOIF) (CSE: BIO), General Cannabis Corp. (OTC: CANN), Emblem Corp. (OTC: EMMBF) (TSX-V: EMC), The Supreme Cannabis Company (OTC: SPRWF) (TSX-V: FIRE), Terra Tech Corp. (OTC: TRTC)
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Recently, Canada became the second country and first G-7 nation to legalize cannabis entirely, joining Uruguay in an exclusive club. Canada’slegalization has also encouraged other countries to follow in its steps and enter into the cannabis marketplace. Despite only two countries having legalized cannabis entirely, there are still multiple nations that have adopted medical cannabis legislation such as the United Kingdom, Italy, Germany, Colombia, Brazil, and Australia.
Nevertheless, the global industry still remains within its infancy stage, and countries like Canada and the U.S. are helping the industry grow. “Canada has just become the first major economy to legalize adult-use cannabis federally, giving domestic players a first-mover advantage to supply and serve international markets,” said the Canadian branch of PricewaterhouseCoopers, “Canadian licensed producers (LPs) have a unique opportunity to establish a global leadership role in the industry at a time when many jurisdictions are considering legalizing cannabis.
In fact, Canadian businesses have the opportunity to influence foreign policy development thanks to this country’s leadership position on cannabis. Already, most of the prominent Canadian companies have invested in countries with strong medicinal markets – including Australia, Israel and Germany – and some have set their sights on investments in Columbia, Jamaica and South Africa (primarily through Lesotho), to name just a few locations.”
Biome Grow Inc. (OTCQB: BIOIF) (CSE: BIO) also listed on the Canadian Securities Exchange under the ticker (CSE: BIO). Earlier last month, the Company announced, “a Memorandum of Understanding (“MOU” or the “Agreement”) providing Biome with preferential access to a high quality and low cost supply of Cannabidiol (“CBD”) concentrate from CBD Acres Manufacturer Inc. (“CBD Acres”).
The MOU is for a period of five years pursuant to which Biome may acquire up to 20,000 kilograms per year of sun-grown, hemp-based CBD extract from CBD Acres using its unique Nano lipid, solventless extraction process.
CBD Acres is founded by Canadian hemp farming pioneer, Mark Gobuty, who is also the founder of the Peace Naturals Project, Canada’s first Marijuana for Medical Purposes Regulations licensed cannabis grower. CBD Acres is currently working with 4,500 acres of hemp farmland in Canada, including 1,000 acres of organic grow, which it expects to produce volumes that are equivalent to a 180 million square foot indoor cannabis production facility under the Canadian Cannabis Act.
‘Through this Agreement Biome is demonstrating a cannabis company can offer significant quantities of high-quality product at industry disrupting economics with a made in Canada product. This can also be accomplished without spending substantial capital to build internal production facilities. Moreover, Biome will now be in a position to supply both its domestic and international customers with affordable medicinal and therapeutic products based on CBD in the volumes that are required.’
‘CBD Acres is thrilled to have the visibility of a long-term partner for its bulk products business entering the market in the second half of 2019, and more importantly a strategic partner focused on commercialization in key medical-CBD markets, allowing CBD Acres to focus on growing and extraction innovation as well as its consumer products business,’ said CBD Acres CEO Mark Gobuty.
Biome is considered a “related party” to CBD Acres as such term is defined in Multilateral Instrument 61-101 – Protection of Minority Security Holders in Special Transactions (“MI 61-101”) on the basis that Jacob Capital Management Inc., a significant shareholder in the capital of the Company, is also a significant shareholder in the capital of CBD Acres. However, due to the service-type nature of the arrangement with no commitment or obligation for Biome to utilize the service provided by CBD Acres or to acquire an asset or assets from CBD Acres, the MOU is not considered to be a “related party transaction” as defined under MI 61-101.”