Newly Released Memo Advises DEA to Change Cannabis Research Regulations, Minnesota Lawmaker Introduces Adult-Use Legalization Bill: Week in Review

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This week, a recently released 2018 memo advises the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to change its program regulating the legal production of cannabis for research purposes in order to comply with international drug laws. Elsewhere, in Minnesota, the state’s House Majority Leader introduced an adult-use cannabis legalization bill after months of discussion on how to approach legalization in the state.

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

  • Federal: The DEA’s program regulating the legal federal production of cannabis for research purposes has been non-compliant with international drug laws for decades, according to an advisory from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel (OLC). A recently released 2018 memo from the OLC advises the DEA to “change its current practices and the policy it announced in 2016 to comply with the Single Convention.” Read more
  • Ethos Cannabis, a Pennsylvania-based multistate cannabis operator, announced May 5 that it has signed definitive agreements to acquire the rights to 4Front Ventures’ dispensary locations in Pennsylvania and Maryland, which currently operate under the Mission brand. The acquisition furthers Ethos’ goal of developing a strong presence in the Mid-Atlantic, East Coast and Midwest cannabis markets, according to President and CFO David Clapper. Read more
  • Hightimes Holding Corp. will see former Green Growth Brands Executive Peter Horvath step in as CEO at a critical time for the company, following the departure of former CEO Stormy Simon. Long the publisher of High Times, the holding corporation is in the midst of a strategic move into the retail segment of the legal cannabis industry with the acquisition of two dispensaries (in Los Angeles and Las Vegas) and a pending deal for 13 more in California. Read more
  • California: Regulators have released proposed rules for the OCal Program, a statewide certification program focused on comparable-to-organic standards for cannabis. CDFA is required by state law to establish an organic certification program for cannabis by Jan. 1, 2021, and public comment on the proposed regulations will be accepted through July 7, 2020. Read more
  • Ohio: The state has officially secured the testing equipment it needs to tell the difference between marijuana and hemp. Up until recently, most of Ohio’s crime labs, if not all, could only detect the presence of THC, but not the concentration, which is key in determining whether the cannabis in question is hemp or marijuana. Read more
  • Illinois: The Department of Financial and Professional Regulation announced May 4 that adult-use cannabis sales surpassed $37 million in April. The state’s dispensaries sold 818,954 items for total sales of $37,260,497.89. Read more
  • Oklahoma: The state collected $9.8 million in medical cannabis tax revenue in April, which breaks the previous record of $7.8 million that was set in March. Oklahomans spent roughly $61.4 million on medical cannabis in April, which equates to nearly $217 per registered patient. Read more
  • Minnesota: House Democratic Majority Leader Ryan Winkler (DFL-Golden Valley) introduced an adult-use cannabis legalization bill May 5 after months of public discussions on how to approach legalization in the state. The legislation would create a regulatory structure with the goal of establishing a craft market with micro-businesses, and also includes a home grow provision. Read more
  • Georgia: The Georgia Access to Medical Cannabis Commission has appointed Andrew Turnage, the leader of the state boards that oversee cosmetology and nursing, as its executive director. The commission is responsible for establishing rules to regulate Georgia’s medical cannabis program, and Turnage’s appointment comes more than a year after Gov. Brian Kemp signed the program into law in April 2019. Read more
  • International: The New Zealand government has published legislation to legalize adult-use cannabis ahead of a nationwide vote on the proposal this September. The Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill would broadly legalize cannabis use and sales for adults 20 and older, and would allow adults to grow two plants or up to four total plants per household for personal use, among other provisions. Read more


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