Title: Senator Cory Gardner Lifts Some of His “Cole Memo” Blockade After “Positive Conversations” with DOJ
Author: Marijuana Times
Date: 21 February 2018
Last week I discussed Colorado Senator Cory Gardner (R) and his blockade of Department of Justice appointments on The Marijuana Times Show. Senator Gardner initiated his blockade after Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced his action to rescind the famous “Cole Memo” and its protections of state-legal marijuana programs. Now, Senator Gardner says he is partially lifting his blockade as a sort of show of good faith after conversations with the DOJ.
“Since the Department of Justice rescinded the Cole memo, I have been working with the Department’s leadership, including Deputy Assistant Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and the Acting United States Attorney for Colorado on a path forward that respects states’ rights and clarifies the DOJ’s priorities regarding marijuana enforcement,” said Senator Cory Gardner in a press release. “Because we have had positive conversations, I have decided to lift my holds on the Assistant Attorney General for National Security, United States Attorneys, and United States Marshals as an act of good faith. My holds on all other DOJ nominees will remain in place as discussions continue.
Oregon Officials Struggle To ID Which Cannabis Sites Are Legal
Oregon Retailers of Cannabis Association – Latest Updates
Update on the 2018 Legislative Session
We’d mentioned last month that we were about to head into another short legislative session here in Oregon, and short has been right! We’re already almost halfway through, and we’re only in the third week. And since there’s been no designated committee to handle cannabis-specific issues, we’re now up against the huge deluge of industries and interests competing for time and bandwidth on committee agendas during the few dozen days all year that bills have any shot at all of becoming law.
There’s also been a high-profile resignation in the Oregon Senate of one of the folks who served on the ‘Joint Committee’ recently, and (even though we’re happy about the turnover) it’s almost certainly causing a reduction in throughput for the chamber.
On the whole, it doesn’t look like there’s going to be very much ‘heavy lifting’ during this session for cannabis. As we’ll explore in a bit, most of the big ideas folks had been pursuing were sidelined pretty early on. This tends to happen during any short session, where all but the least controversial ideas pass into law – and even then, many don’t make it if an opponent throws a sufficient tantrum.
That’s certainly what we’ve seen when it comes to any groundbreaking cannabis legislation… though many of the concepts being discussed make for excellent guideposts for the legislature to follow in 2019, and do move the cause forward observably. Here’s a closer look at some of the concepts and pieces of legislation from this session.
- HB 4110 – Sampling at OLCC Licensed Events
Summary: Allows Oregon Liquor Control Commission to issue temporary special events license to qualified marijuana processor, producer, retailer or wholesaler.
Status: After some initially positive feedback and a public hearing scheduled for last week, the blowback from many – particularly the public health lobby – was swift and mighty. It was enough to stop it from getting out of committee this go-around, even if every concern they voice is objectively false.
As a result, key stakeholders of the bill have decided to pull the bill rather than have our industry expend political capitol on a fight we can’t win. It’s bad optics to have a busy hearing room full of public health experts denigrating cannabis. It’s a tough call, but a smart move to get us closer to passing something better later.
- SB 1544 – Fixes to H.B. 2198 (Medical), Technical Fixes
Summary: Changes possession limit on immature marijuana plants for persons designated to produce marijuana for registry identification cardholders and persons responsible for medical marijuana grow sites. Exempts certain processing of marijuana for medical purposes from testing requirements, other technical fixes.
Status: Public Hearing was held on 2/13 in the Senate Committee on Rules, where it was largely supported by almost all in attendance, though additional amendments are still forthcoming. We should see a version of the bill move out of committee some time next week – or else the chances of a version getting through start to drop pretty quickly.
- HB 4019 – Public Corporations for Secured Cash Storage
Summary: Directs a public corporation to establish offices, facilities and business locations throughout state at which corporation receives, handles, stores and dispenses cash and other valuable property.
Status: There was actually a Public Hearing on this bill last Monday, February 19th in the House Committee on Revenue. However, with a subsequent referral to Ways and Means, that makes it unlikely to pass into law this year. It’s also unclear how much opposition would come down from banks about this bill.
This wouldn’t quite be a state bank – and for our purposes, would still fall rather short of being a complete fix – but it could help many for the next few years. It’s a heavy lift for a short session but we’ll see what comes of it and keep you posted.
Future Legislative and Policy Concepts:
-Reduced taxes on cannabis sales (tied to federal 280E reform)
-Broader sampling reform for all levels of the supply chain
-Permit localities to license and regulate social consumption venues
-Enact employment protections for off-hours cannabis use [like Maine]
-Allow interstate compacts for exporting excess cannabis
-Increase dose and concentration sizes for edibles to 10mg per dose and 100mg per package (from 5mg/50mg)
[These are some of the concepts we are discussing as we meet with legislators and staff during session; none are likely to move this year. Our legislative priorities are determined by our members. Show up to our monthly member meetings in order to help actively drive those conversations forward!]
There haven’t been loads of other concepts discussed that would have a significant impact on businesses like ours, but we will be sure to stay tuned to the goings-on at the capitol so we can weigh in should something arise.
Especially since we will be joined by State Representative, our monthly meeting this coming Monday [2/26/18] would be a great place and time to bring any questions or concerns that you may have with any current or future pieces of legislation.
BDS Analytics’ Report on Oregon Retail Sales Data
We’re pleased to be able to once again offer in our newsletter a report on Monthly Sales Data in Oregon from long-time ORCA members and leading market research firm BDS Analytics that lends some serious insight for retailers, producers, and processors.
(Click through to access the full page report)
BDS Analytics gets their data directly from cannabis retailers with whom they’ve partnered, and they use statistical modeling to get a highly accurate picture of what’s happening in the statewide market. What they’ve put together here is a great high-level summary of the Oregon market and an excellent overview of category and pricing data that we’re able to share more broadly.
This, of course, is just a snapshot of what they can offer businesses in terms of data, analytics, and insight. Specific brand-level and product-level sales data is updated monthly and available on a subscription basis for producers and processors, and they’re currently reporting in OR, CA, WA, and CO. Contact BDS Analytics’ staff in Oregon to learn more about how they can help.
Title: Bills directing cannabis growing in Utah, giving access to dying patients, to go before full Senate
Author: Deseret News
Date: 21 February 2018
Vice President of the Epilepsy Association of Utah Doug Rice of West Jordan speaks to his daughter Ashley Rice, who has epilepsy, during discussion of HB 197, which relates to medical cannabis, in the House chambers at the State Capitol in Salt Lake City on Friday, Feb. 9, 2018. Doug said without medical cannabis and just on pharmaceuticals, Ashley has upwards of two dozen seizures a day. However, with the epilepsy medication and medical cannabis she is on now, she has about three to five seizures a day. Doug said while he completely supports medical cannabis, but he said he is apprehensive about the bills and doesn’t believe they go far enough. “They’re really, really small steps,” he said about the bills. “There’s some positive things to them, but the negatives in these bills out way the positives.”
Title: West Virginia Marijuana Legalization Bill Filed By Congressional Candidate
Author: Marijuana Moment
Date: 20 February 2018
An Army veteran who already successfully pushed West Virginia to allow medical cannabis is now campaigning for Congress, and full marijuana legalization is part of his platform.
Richard Ojeda, currently a state senator who sponsored medical marijuana legislation enacted last year, filed a broader legalization bill on Monday.
The legislation, if enacted, would allow adults over 21 years of age to possess up to four ounces of marijuana at home and two ounces in public. They could also grow four mature cannabis plants and four seedlings.
The proposal is similar to the noncommercial marijuana legalization law recently enacted in Vermont, which also does not allow sales.
Ojeda, a Democrat, is running for Congress in West Virginia’s 3rd congressional district. Incumbent Congressman Evan Jenkins (R) is running for U.S. Senate, so the seat is opening up.