This week, we took a look at the National Association of Cannabis Businesses’ (NACB) recommendation that the governors of seven Northeastern and seven Midwestern states adopt a regional cannabis legalization strategy as they reopen following the COVID-19 pandemic as a way to generate a new source of revenue as the states face budget deficits in the wake of the coronavirus crisis. Elsewhere, in Canada, Tilray announced an “optimization plan” for its Canadian adult-use facilities, which includes the closure of the company’s High Park Gardens greenhouse facility in Leamington, Ontario.
Here, we’ve rounded up the 10 headlines you need to know before this week is over.
- Federal: The NACB is urging the governors of seven Northeastern and seven Midwestern states to adopt a regional cannabis legalization strategy as the states reopen following the COVID-19 pandemic in a move that Mark Gorman, the association’s executive vice president and COO, says will provide states with a new source of revenue as they face budget deficits in the wake of the coronavirus crisis. The organization, which creates national standards for the cannabis industry, sent letters to the governors of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Massachusetts in the Northeast, as well as to the governors of Illinois, Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Kentucky in the Midwest, highlighting the benefits that a coordinated regional approach to adult-use legalization could create for industry stakeholders, such as the adoption of standards regarding quality controlled manufacturing, as well as responsible advertising and marketing programs. Read more
- Minnesota: The state’s Red Lake Nation has voted to approve a referendum that legalizes the production, regulation and distribution of medical cannabis. The tribal nation is the first in the state to legalize medical cannabis, as well as the first entity in Minnesota to allow the sale of cannabis flower, which is prohibited in the state’s medical cannabis program. Read more
- Oklahoma: Gov. Kevin Stitt has vetoed a bill to amend certain aspects of the state’s medical cannabis program, and while the bill had bipartisan support in the Oklahoma Legislature, lawmakers have opted not to override the veto. House Bill 3228, sponsored by Rep. Jon Echols (R-Oklahoma City), would have authorized medical cannabis dispensaries to deliver products to patients, prohibited the Oklahoma State Department of Health from sharing patient and caregiver records with other state agencies without a court order, and allowed dispensaries to remain in the same location if a school is built within 1,000 feet after the dispensary has already opened. Read more
- West Virginia: West Virginia lawmakers approved the state’s Medical Cannabis Act in 2017, but according to comments this week from Department of Health and Human Resources Secretary Bill Crouch, medical cannabis sales aren’t expected to launch until spring 2021. Crouch said May 27 during a media briefing at the state capitol that officials have expedited the market’s launch “as much as possible” and that product will likely be available next year. Read more
- Arkansas: Arkansas True Grass, one of two groups supporting proposed constitutional amendments to legalize adult-use cannabis in the state, is abandoning efforts to place its initiative on the 2020 ballot, instead focusing on qualifying the measure in 2022, as the group has been unable to continue gathering signatures for its petition due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Arkansans for Cannabis Reform, a group looking to bring a competing adult-use cannabis legalization measure to this year’s ballot, plans to continue its efforts and has collected more than 20,000 of the required 90,000 signatures ahead of the July 3 deadline. Read more
- Louisiana: The Louisiana Senate approved legislation May 27 to expand the state’s medical cannabis program. The Louisiana House approved the bill May 15, but since the Senate passed several amendments to the legislation, it must now go back to the House for final consideration. Read more
- Canada: Manitoba plans to open its cannabis retail application to all prospective applicants June 1 in an effort to license additional dispensaries. The province will also introduce a new “controlled-access” license for cannabis retailers, as well as continue to offer age-restricted licenses for those looking to open standalone stores. Read more
- Aphria has announced that it will transfer its stock exchange listing from the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) to The Nasdaq Global Select Market (Nasdaq), effective Friday, June 5, 2020, after the market close. The company expects its common stock will begin trading as a Nasdaq-listed security at market open on Monday, June 8, 2020, and will continue to be listed under the ticker symbol “APHA.” Read more
- Tilray announced this week that the company will close its wholly-owned subsidiary, High Park Gardens, a cannabis greenhouse located in Leamington, Ontario. The announcement comes as part of Tilray’s “optimization plan” for its adult-use cannabis facilities in Canada. Read more
- Aurora Cannabis has completed the previously announced acquisition of Reliva, LLC, a company that sells hemp-derived CBD products in the United States, for approximately US$40 million of Aurora common shares. “The partnership between Aurora and Reliva is expected to create a market leading international cannabinoid platform that we believe can deliver robust revenue and profitable growth,” Michael Singer, Executive Chairman and Interim CEO of Aurora, said in a public statement. Read more