News Nuggets – April 2019

Bay Area

Antioch’s First Dispensary Approved by Planning Commission

On March 6, the Antioch Planning Commission approved the city’s first dispensary in one of the two zones approved for cannabis businesses. Located at a former Goodwill store, a company called One Plant plans on selling cannabis products in a 2,500-foot designated area within a 17,000 square-foot warehouse. “There’s always been a stigma to the cannabis industry, so we try to alleviate that stigma by keeping our operational protocols in line with what the community wants,” Chris Hester, owner of One Plant, said at the meeting. “We are usually not disturbing industrial business parks with our operations.” The team behind One Plant believes that they could attract 300 to 400 customers per day. The company plans on hiring two armed guards and worked closely with the Antioch Police Department to develop trust. The company also plans on offering a corresponding delivery service. The dispensary must now receive approval from city council.

Mountain View City Council Upholds Cannabis Ordinance

Despite a heated protest from parents and residents who rejected the idea of allowing cannabis businesses, the Mountain View City Council on March 5 kept most of the language in Ordinance No. 10.18 intact. Over 130 people spoke out and mostly opposed allowing cannabis businesses in the city, and the hearing lasted four and a half hours. “Given the fact that marijuana has garnered almost twice as many votes as every single one of you councilmembers, every time it has been on the ballot, I seriously think you should consider your course of action,” Mountain View resident Andrew Gasperini warned at the city council meeting. However, the council did approve extended buffer zones around schools as asked. The city will keep its four planned retail cannabis businesses. Only Mayor Lisa Matichak and Margaret Abe-Koga voted to ban retail shops, while the remaining five councilmembers opposed the ban.


Boulder Company Receives U.S. Patent for Cannabis Product

Boulder-based JC Pharma, Inc. was recently granted a patent for Cannatol Rx, its intranasal cannabis product that is used to treat epileptic seizures and self-harm behavior in seconds for children with autism. Jason Cranford, the founder of JC Pharma and the Flowering H.O.P.E. Foundation, believes that his company’s patent-pending product is a great solution for those with medical needs. “Many on the severe end of the autism spectrum have intermittent overactive seizure-like brain activity. We documented several embodiment examples in our patent describing the elimination of self-injurious behavior and seizures in kids after intranasal administration of our formulation. We already have some pre-clinical in vitro data showing a neuroprotective mechanism, and our next big step is to seek funding and approval for human clinical trials,” said Cranford in the press release. The Cannatol Rx product line consists of botanicals that are made from hemp grown at Colorado farms and processed inJC Pharma, Inc. labs.

Bipartisan Cannabis Consumption Bill Introduced

A newly introduced bipartisan bill might solve the issue of the lack of cannabis consumption lounges by creating guidelines for hospitality business owners in Colorado. House Bill 19-1230 will allow cannabis in hospitality businesses, meaning cannabis would be able to be consumed on-site and also at sites where cannabis can be purchased and consumed within the hospitality establishment. “For the first time in a social setting, consumers will have the ability to make the safer choice when it comes to legal recreational products. Not only will this bill clarify the legality of economically important cannabis tourism operations in the state, but as a result, Colorado will continue to pave the way for the rest of the world to look toward and build upon,” Michael Eymer, founder of Colorado Cannabis Tours, said in a statement. It is hoped that Gov. Jared Polis will view this issue positively and sign off on the bill. If passed, HB19-1230 would go into effect Jan. 1, 2020.

Los Angeles

Judge Issues Restraining Orders to Seven Cannabis Businesses

San Bernardino authorities recently approved 16 cannabis businesses, but on Feb. 27, San Bernardino Superior Court Judge Janet M. Frangie issued restraining orders on seven of the businesses, which are allegedly in violation of city law and out of compliance. The temporary restraining orders provide an opportunity for the businesses to contest the allegations. The businesses are Organtix Orchards, AM-PM Mgmt. Inc., Orange Show Cultivators, two locations of Nibble This LLC, Blunt Brothers and Accessible Options. The ruling was a response to a lawsuit with allegations of unfair practices filed by Washington LLC, which was denied a license. “I do have a concern for the nonparties here who think they have a permit, think they’ve been approved and . . . they start doing things when, ultimately, if [Washington LLC] is successful, they now have been damaged in going forward and getting other things they need to do to open,” Judge Frangie said. “That concerns me.”

Los Angeles Mayor to Launch Major Crackdown on Illegal Dispensaries

Mayor Eric Garcetti announced on March 27 that he has plans to launch a sweeping crackdown on illegal dispensaries that are scattered throughout Los Angeles. Garcetti explained the urgency for the bill, saying that legal dispensaries “ . . . can’t get undercut every single day by everybody else that’s out there.” The crackdown isn’t finalized, as it would require tens of millions of dollars to fund law enforcement efforts. “It really comes down to how much overtime, how many officers we can have,” Garcetti added. With California’s steep taxes on cannabis, illegal shops can sell it for about half the price of legal dispensaries, once the tax has been added on. According to the Associated Press, some estimates claim that 80 percent of Los Angeles’ dispensaries are illegally operating. In addition, and supporting the mayor’s efforts, the Los Angeles City Council authorized the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power to shut off utilities for illegal dispensaries and cannabis businesses.


Saginaw County Facility to House 37,500 Plants

Announced on March 9, Great Lakes Natural Remedies (GLNR), an enormous multifaceted medical cannabis facility at Spaulding Township in Saginaw County, will be opening soon and will house 37,500 plants. The company obtained 25 stacked Class C licenses, two processing licenses and one provisioning license, which allows the company to grow such a large amount of plants. Most members of the community greeted the business warmly. “Spaulding Manufacturing showcased some of their equipment, and representatives GLNR, which is scheduled to open in full swing this spring 2019, were available to answer resident questions,” a recent Spaulding Township release reads. The employees behind GLNR will be growing, processing and selling cannabis products in their own provisioning center within the same facility. The company has spent $10 million to revamp the existing facility and update equipment.

Michigan Adds Cerebral Palsy to List of Qualifying Conditions

On March 11, a panel under The Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) added cerebral palsy to Michigan’s list of qualifying conditions for medical cannabis. The illness was added to the roster of debilitating conditions listed under the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act of 2008. “The Medical Marihuana Review Panel made their recommendations to the department after receiving citizen comments in February related to the petitions to add these conditions to the list of debilitating medical conditions identified in the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act,” a LARA release states. The decision followed a series of petitions and comments that the department received, asking to add cerebral palsy and other conditions to the list. Not all additions made the cut, however. The LARA panel unanimously voted to reject chronic aggressive behavior as a qualifying condition.


Bill Introduced to Legalize Off-job Cannabis Consumption

On March 19, Oregon NORML and The Oregon Justice League filed The Legalization Justice Act of 2020, which aims to protect workers who consume cannabis off-the-clock. It would direct the state to petition the federal government to allow cannabis sales across state lines. The ballot measure was led by chief petitioners Madeline Martinez, Leia Flynn and Angela Bacca. “This is about equal rights, because whenever you pick a certain group and treat them differently that is discrimination,” Executive Director of Oregon NORML Martinez stated. “Patients, renters, the poor, people of color and women are still marginalized for their cannabis use, despite legalization.” The legislation would also allow patients with chronic illnesses or diseases like Crohn’s disease, cancer or HIV/AIDS to obtain lifetime medical cards that do not expire under the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program.

OLCC’s Board of Commissioners Appoints New Member

Kiauna Floyd has joined the Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC) as a commissioner representing the Third Congressional District, according to a March 1 announcement. Her duties began on March 21, and she will be regularly attending monthly meetings with the commission. Her district spans Multonomah County and northeastern Clackamas County. The OLCC leadership was pleased to hear the announcement. “We’re looking forward to having Kiauna serve with us on the Commission,” said Paul Rosenbaum, OLCC chairperson. “Kiauna is a dynamic and bright individual that brings to us a first-hand knowledge and understanding of restaurant operations that is essential in support of our mission of supporting business and protecting public safety.” The OLCC issues and revokes licenses under Oregon’s recreational cannabis industry, as well as the alcohol industry, and is the state’s third largest state agency in terms of revenue.

San Diego

San Diego City Council Approves Amendment to Protect Minors

On March 5, the San Diego City Council unanimously approved the Social Host Ordinance, an amendment to Chapter 5, Article 6, Division 00 of the San Diego Municipal Code, in its first reading to prohibit environments for gatherings where minors can consume cannabis or consume alcoholic beverages. On March 19, it was approved by the council again in its second reading. “Adding marijuana to the Social Host Ordinance will provide a deterrent to conduct that is putting our children at risk, and which the San Diego Police Department and City Attorney’s Office are prepared to address through education, arrest and prosecution,” stated City Attorney Mara Elliot. Cannabis is a popular substance that is abused by minors in San Diego, which is why the amendment was introduced.

San Diego Officials Consider Cannabis Lounges

Officials in San Diego are beginning to consider allowing cannabis consumption lounges, similar to other California cities like San Francisco, Eureka, Palm Springs and West Hollywood, which allow these types of businesses. On March 7, proposals regarding cannabis consumption lounges were heard by San Diego’s Economic Development and Intergovernmental Relations Committee. The item on the Information Agenda is listed as an “Informational Report – San Diego Cannabis Industry Update.” At the meeting, Dallin Young, a board member for Association for Cannabis Professionals, spoke in support of legalizing cannabis consumption lounges in San Diego. “When we have a cool place like this where people can gather and participate in the legal market, that’s ultimately going to take people away from the illicit market and bring revenue back to the city,” said Young. The topic was discussed in order to give the committee more information, and no official action was taken by the committee.


Data Shows Correlation Between Legal Cannabis and Major Munchies

A study titled “Recreational Marijuana Laws and Junk Food Consumption: Evidence Using Border Analysis and Retail Sales Data” by Michele Baggio and Alberto Chong, found that states where recreational cannabis is legal have seen a surge in junk food sales. The study, which was released on the Social Science Research Network, found that in some counties in Colorado, Washington and Oregon, after cannabis was legalized, monthly ice cream sales increased by 3.1 percent, with increases of 4.1 percent for cookies and 5.3 percent for chips. The junk food sales data used in the study comes from Nielsen Scanner Database. Assistant Professor for the Department of Economics at the University of Connecticut, Michele Baggio, elaborated more about the study to CULTURE. “Marijuana and junk food are [complementary], as in counties located in RML (Recreational Marijuana Legalized) states monthly sales of high-calorie food increase.” Washington wasn’t an exception, as the study showed that junk food sales saw a significant increase following recreational cannabis legalization.

Washington State Governor Could Be 46th President

Washington’s Gov. Jay Inslee announced that he’s running for president in 2020. Inslee is running on a climate-focused, green platform, but how does he stack up when he comes to cannabis? “Since Washington State voters made marijuana legal in 2012, Gov. Jay Inslee has supported these efforts. It has been clear that legalization has not increased usage among young people,” Deputy Director of Communications for Gov. Inslee, Tara Lee, told CULTURE. “From what he has seen from successful implementation in Washington State, that it should be made legal nationally.” On Gov. Jay Inslee’s presidential campaign website, he included cannabis legislation in a list of positive accomplishments in Washington. “We have led the country in our implementation of Washington’s recreational marijuana market, including the launch of Jay’s Marijuana Justice Initiative that offers pardons to thousands of individuals with misdemeanor marijuana convictions,” the site reads. Inslee’s history of support for Washington’s legal cannabis revolution makes a promising presidential candidate.


Alaska Becomes First State to License On-site Cannabis Consumption

While individual cities like San Francisco, California and Denver, Colorado allow smoking or vaping in certain cannabis lounges or dispensaries, Alaska is the first state to implement a statewide policy allowing consumption on-site. Alaska Lt. Gov. Kevin Meyer signed regulations on March 12, allowing licensed cannabis stores to apply for on-site cannabis consumption. “When these rules go into effect, Alaska will be the first state to finalize and approve statewide rules for on-site consumption,” said NORML Executive Director Erik Altieri. “We expect more to follow suit in the not too distant future. Allowing social consumption is sensible from a business perspective, particularly for states with large amounts of tourists who otherwise have no place to legally consume, but it also has an important social justice component.” Licensed retail businesses can apply for an on-site use endorsement beginning on April 11.

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