Lawmakers Introduce House Bill to Extend Federal Aid to Cannabis Industry, Stay-at-Home Orders Keep 4/20 Sales Down: Week in Review

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This week, Reps. Earl Blumenauer and Ed Perlmutter introduced the Emergency Cannabis Small Business Health and Safety Act to extend federal COVID-19 relief efforts to cannabis businesses. Elsewhere, the industry’s biggest sales day of the year saw a dip in sales due to states’ stay-at-home orders.

Here, we’ve rounded up the 10 headlines you need to know before this week is over.

  • Federal: The SAFE Banking Act may be back on the table in the coming weeks as members of Congress look to include a revised version of the proposal in the next COVID-19 stimulus bill. U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter, the SAFE Banking Act’s primary sponsor, is leading the charge to include its provisions in a forthcoming stimulus package. Read more
  • While dispensaries certainly saw a relative spike in purchases this past Monday for 4/20, the effects of the coronavirus outbreak and many states’ stay-at-home orders flattened the industry’s own demand curve a bit. According to Headset data, it appears that customers spread out their purchases across the entire week leading up to April 20. Read more
  • U.S. Reps. Earl Blumenauer and Ed Perlmutter have introduced the Emergency Cannabis Small Business Health and Safety Act, legislation that would extend federal COVID-19 relief efforts to the cannabis industry. The bill would grant state-legal cannabis businesses access to the resources offered through federal COVID-19 emergency response packages, and would prohibit additional federal relief funding provided through the Small Business Administration (SBA) from excluding both cannabis businesses and businesses that provide services to the industry. Read more
  • Arkansas: The state’s medical cannabis sales have surpassed $63 million since the first dispensary opened in May 2019. As of April 16, Arkansans have spent $63.37 million on medical cannabis and have purchased over 10,000 pounds of products. Read more
  • Alaska: The Alaska Marijuana Control Board has adopted emergency regulations to allow the state’s cannabis dispensaries to offer curbside pickup services to their customers in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In order to offer this service to customers, Alaska’s dispensaries must request an operating plan change to their license, provide written verification that their municipality allows the change and obtain written approval from the Marijuana Control Board. Read more
  • California: Cannabis retail applicants are suing Los Angeles, arguing that the city’s controversial process to award its latest round of dispensary licenses was “flawed.” The Social Equity Owners and Workers Association and one of its members filed the lawsuit to force the city to vet all the dispensary applications it received last fall under its first-come, first-served process, which has been met with backlash. Read more
  • California regulators have announced $30 million in grants for local jurisdictions to fund social equity initiatives in the state’s cannabis program. The grants can be used for small business support services such as technical assistance, reduced or waived licensing fees, recruitment assistance, workforce training and retention, and emergency preparedness to aid cannabis entrepreneurs from communities disproportionately impacted by prohibition. Read more
  • Oregon: In response to last year’s vaping crisis, the Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC) has given the go-ahead for random testing of cannabis products for the presence of undisclosed ingredients and additives. OLCC staff recommended the testing approach in the wake of the 2019 EVALI respiratory illness outbreak and approved the permanent rule at its regular monthly meeting on April 16. Read more
  • International: Mexico’s Supreme Court has extended an April 30 deadline for lawmakers to draft legislation to legalize and regulate cannabis for medical, adult and industrial uses. Lawmakers now have until Dec. 15, the end of the next legislative session, to approve legislation to end cannabis prohibition. Read more
  • Elsewhere, in Lebanon, Parliament has legalized cannabis cultivation for medical purposes, eyeing it as a potentially lucrative export for the economy, which is facing an impending financial crisis. “We have moral and social reservations but today there is the need to help the economy by any means,” said Alain Aoun, a senior MP in the Free Patriotic Movement. Read more
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