Brooklyn Judge Vows Not to Send People Back to Prison for Smoking Marijuana

Noting that marijuana has become increasingly accepted by society, a federal judge in Brooklyn made an unusual promise on Thursday: He pledged he would no longer reimprison people simply for smoking pot.

In a written opinion that was part legal document, part mea culpa, the judge, Jack B. Weinstein, 96, acknowledged that for too long, he had been sending people sentenced to supervised release back into custody for smoking pot even though the drug has been legalized by many states and some cities, like New York, have recently decided not to arrest those who use it. Under supervised release, inmates are freed after finishing their prison time, but are monitored by probation officers.

“Like many federal trial judges, I have been terminating supervision for ‘violations’ by individuals with long-term marijuana habits who are otherwise rehabilitated,” Judge Weinstein wrote. “No useful purpose is served through the continuation of supervised release for many defendants whose only illegal conduct is following the now largely socially acceptable habit of marijuana use.”

Supervised release, administered in courts across the country by the federal probation agency, was created in 1984 to help rehabilitate people who have finished prison terms. But certain violations can lead to reimprisonment: among them, using drugs, getting caught with weapons or associating with other known criminals.

Because marijuana is still illegal under federal law, those on supervised release who use the drug — or even refuse to be tested for it — are required to be sent back into custody. But in his order, Judge Weinstein said that locking people up again just for smoking pot — especially at a moment when laws and attitudes are changing — was not only a waste of time and money, but also had an implicit racial bias.

“In this court, the majority of supervisees who face a violation charge for marijuana use are African- Americans,” the judge explained. “Since an African-American is eight times more likely to be arrested for marijuana use, his or her chance of a supervised release violation for marijuana is much greater than a white person’s.”

Though Judge Weinstein said his new approach to supervised release would be carried out in all his future cases, his opinion was issued specifically in regard to Tyran Trotter, a 22-year-old Queens man who pleaded guilty in 2016 to distributing heroin. Mr. Trotter was sentenced in the case to two years in prison and to three years of supervised release.

Last year, after Mr. Trotter had served his time in prison, probation officials said he had violated the terms of his release by using marijuana and failing to comply with their orders to get treatment. The officials recommended that he be sent back to prison for another four months and be placed on two more years of supervised release.

But instead, Judge Weinstein refused to send Mr. Trotter back to prison and ended his stint of supervised release, essentially forgiving him of any violations. Mr. Trotter, the judge explained, had “stayed out of trouble” after being freed and was “trying to lead a productive life.” But he had a “chronic problem” that was getting in his way: an addiction to marijuana.

“Many people from all walks of life now use marijuana without fear of adverse legal consequences,” Judge Weinstein wrote. But the criminal-justice system, he went on, “can trap some defendants, particularly substances abusers, in a cycle where they oscillate between supervised release and prison.”

Both the probation agency and the United States attorney’s office in Brooklyn, which prosecuted Mr. Trotter, declined to comment on the ruling. But most federal judges seem to believe that designating drug use as a violation of supervised release “is not desirable,” Judge Weinstein wrote. He cited a survey from 2014 in which 85 percent of federal judges said that they should not be required to send people on supervised release back to prison for possessing an illegal drug. According to the study, 74 percent of the judges said the same about people who failed three drug tests in a year.

Federal courts have split over the issue. In 2010, a federal judge in Michigan found that using marijuana — even for legal medical reasons — was enough to reimprison people on supervised release. (A federal judge in Virginia found the same in 2016.) But in 2016 and then last year, two judges in Washington, D.C., decided to end terms of supervised release rather than send the defendants back to prison for using marijuana.

Judge Weinstein, who has sat in Federal District Court in Brooklyn for more than 50 years, has long been known for his progressive leanings and iconoclastic temperament. Last summer, he publicly called for more female lawyers to have speaking roles in court. A few months later, he said he wanted to personally investigate the problem of perjury by the police.

Just a few weeks ago, he took on the United States Supreme Court, saying that its justices had gone too far in curbing the public’s power to hold the police accountable for misconduct and abuse.

To read more visit: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/05/nyregion/brooklyn-judge-vows-not-to-send-people-back-to-prison-for-smoking-marijuana.html?rref=collection%2Ftimestopic%2FMarijuana%20and%20Medical%20Marijuana&action=click&contentCollection=timestopics&region=stream&module=stream_unit&version=latest&contentPlacement=1&pgtype=collection

Snoop Dogg invests $10 million in British weed company with Patrick Stewart

Oxford Cannabinoid Technologies invests in research in pain and inflammation therapies, cancer treatments, and remedies for gastrointestinal diseases

Snoop Dogg has made a $10 million investment in a new medical cannabis research firm in the UK, through his venture capital firm Casa Verde.

It’s one of the largest investments into Oxford Cannabinoid Technologies, which has been seeking out funding for a research partnership and laboratory in Europe, Green Rush Daily reports.

Casa Verde Capital focuses on the “ancillary” cannabis industry, outside of the actual distribution of the plant, including health and wellness companies, financial services, media, agtech, and laboratory technology.

Its investment in OCT will support the company’s research in pain and inflammation therapies, cancer treatments, and remedies for gastrointestinal diseases.

Sir Patrick Stewart has also become a patron for the company, adding in a statement (via Metro): “I am proud to become a patron of OCT. It’s wonderful that OCT have got together the funding that means that Britain will lead the way in what is, in my view, one of the world’s most exciting fields of medical research. The possibilities seem to me to be virtually limitless.”

The actor has spoken in the past about using medical marijuana in the treatment of severe arthritis, advocating for UK-based research on cannabis-based medicines.

He will serve on OCT’s Advisory Board, with further appointments set to be announced.

To read more visit: https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/music/news/snoop-dogg-uk-weed-company-investment-patrick-stewart-patron-oxford-cannabinoid-technologies-a8428271.html

Pain control: “no evidence” cannabis improves outcomes

Study throws into doubt claims for medical marijuana. Paul Biegler reports.

Depending on who you listen to, medical cannabis is either a rising star in the world of therapeutics or an over-vaunted pariah that should never have exited the grubby world of the illicit street corner deal.

In October 2016, the Australian federal government legalised medicinal cannabis, paving the way for individual statesto legislate its use for a range of conditions including intractable epilepsy, pain and nausea in cancer, and limb spasticity in multiple sclerosis.

Sensing opportunity, a number of companies are jostling for early position in what is estimated to be a 100 million dollar a year medical cannabis market. A recent exposé by current affairs programme Four Corners called it a “green rush”, replete with “marijuana moguls”.

The science, however, is decidedly patchy, plagued by poor quality studies and the challenge of giving standard doses of a drug with over 400 chemical ingredients – 60 of which are the cannabinoids implicated in pain relief, and others having opposing effects.

One recent review found “reasonable evidence” of benefit for nausea in chemotherapy. Another in children and adolescents found “increasing evidence of benefit for epilepsy”, but insufficient evidence to support use for spasticity and neuropathic pain, a burning sensation caused by oversensitive nerves.

A new study, led by Gabrielle Campbell from the Australia’s National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre (NDARC) at the University of New South Wales in Sydney is unlikely to induce cheer in either stockholders of medical cannabis companies, or patients desperate for relief.

Published in the journal Lancet Public Health, the research examined cannabis use over four years in a nationwide cohort of 1514 Australian adults with chronic non-cancer pain. Most had back or neck pain, neuropathic pain, or arthritis, and the median duration was 10 years. All were using some form of opioid drug, such as oxycodone or morphine, to control symptoms.

The researchers tracked cannabis use with interviews and self-report questionnaires, categorising participants as non-users, infrequent users, or daily/near-daily users.

The results were underwhelming.

At the four year mark, just under a quarter had used cannabis as a painkiller. Those who did, however, reported more severe pain and greater disruption to their daily lives. Users also clocked higher anxiety and were less likely to think they could carry on in spite of pain.

Further, the researchers found cannabis use bore no relation in time with changes in pain scores or level of functioning. Nor did cannabis lead to reduced dosage or discontinuation of opioid drugs.

“Cannabis use was common in people with chronic non-cancer pain who had been prescribed opioids, but we found no evidence that cannabis use improved patient outcomes,” the authors concluded.

The researchers did, however, find something perplexing. Cannabis users often felt better, and on average rated the drug seven out of 10 effective, despite a lack of objective improvement in their reported pain scores.

“It is really difficult to disentangle the reasons for this,” says Campbell. “One hypothesis is that it may improve sleep and subjective wellbeing.”

It’s worth noting the study took place mostly before medical cannabis was legalised, so the drug was often obtained illicitly and smoked. This potentially limits the relevance of findings for medical cannabis.

“Some of the medicinal formulations have higher concentrations of CBD [cannabidiol] … and also they may have higher doses or higher quality,” says Michael Farrell, director of NDARC and a co-investigator on the study.

Nonetheless, the negative findings raise questions about the pace of legislation to increase access to medical cannabis.

“We think that the Therapeutic Goods Administration has taken a balanced approach and it is important to try and promote access for those who feel it is important for them, but to continue to keep a careful eye on it and look at the evidence,” says Farrell.

“What is important here is that we try to moderate expectations people have around handling pain.”

To read more visit: https://cosmosmagazine.com/biology/pain-control-no-evidence-cannabis-improves-outcomes

Russia Not Happy With Canada For Legalizing Recreational Marijuana

Russia claims legalizing recreational marijuana in Canada would be a breach of international laws.

The legalization of cannabis in Canada is something many people around the world have been eagerly anticipating. Russian officials, on the other hand, don’t like it one bit. In fact, Moscow warns that legalizing marijuana would be a breach of “international legal obligations” voted for by Canadian delegates. But is Canada really violating international treaties?

Cannabis In Russia

Russia is one of the only G7 countries to amplify cannabis prohibition over the last two decades. In 2006, the country updated the amount of cannabis one could possess before they can be charged with a crime.

Before the change, 20 grams of cannabis or 5 grams of hash fell within the criminal threshold. In a step backward, the numbers changed to 6 grams of cannabis and 2 grams of hash, further restricting the possession of marijuana.

According to a statement from Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, “Russia strictly abides by these principles and intends to consistently introduce them in practice within the boundaries of the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs and other relevant international venues.”

Now, Russians are calling on other G7 countries like the United States to change Canada’s mind. So far, Canadian officials haven’t expressed concern over the apparent breach of international law.

Is There Really A Breach?

Over the last half-century, Canada has signed off on several dated international laws. The laws included a few that prohibited the production and supply of specific drugs, including cannabis. Now, their past endorsements are creating international conflicts.

“We expect Canada’s partners in the G7 to respond to its ‘high-handedness’ because this alliance has repeatedly declared its adherence to the domination of international law in relations between states,” the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in the official statement.

“Canada is aware that there will be international opposition from some countries,” Hannah Hetzer, senior international policy manager for the Drug Policy Alliance told Newsweek.

However, the introduction to those laws says that the health and welfare of mankind must also be taken into account. So Canada’s decision could be considered an exemption to those international drug laws.

In fact, Canadian officials have looked at legalization as a solution to health and welfare issues. According to an announcement from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Canada’s cannabis act addresses that “it’s been too easy for our kids to get marijuana – and for criminals to reap the profits. Today, we change that.”

Despite opposition from Jeff Sessions, Russia and even the United Nations, Canada seems to be moving forward with the federal legalization of marijuana. The laws are expected to officially take place on October 17th.

To read more visit: https://greenrushdaily.com/russia-not-happy-with-canada-for-legalizing-recreational-marijuana/

Choom™ (CHOOF) Announces Addition to the Executive Team

Choom™ (CSE: CHOO)( OTCQB: CHOOF) (the “Company” or “Choom”), a fully-integrated cannabis company, is pleased to announce the appointment of Kyp Rowe to the Management team in the role of Director of Operations. Mr. Rowe will be a key member of the Choom team, leading our premium craft cannabis cultivation strategy to support our retail roll-out for the recreational market in Canada.

“Bringing Kyp onboard significantly strengthens our team as we continue to develop prepare for when the Canadian recreational cannabis market commences on October 17, 2018, states Chris Bogart, President and CEO of Choom. “Kyp brings over 20 years of domestic and international premium cultivation and genetic development expertise to Choom, having operated award-winning production facilities overseas and throughout North America. The appointment of Kyp is lends further strength to Choom building one of the leading recreational cannabis brands, based on premium, hand-crafted products that we believe will resonate strongly with the market.”

With over 20 years of international cannabis and mixed agriculture experience, Mr. Rowe brings a unique set of skills from seed to sale. He was most recently with Sante Veritas Therapeutics, an ACMPR applicant in British Columbia, where he helped bring them to the final stages of licensing. A graduate of UBC, he also spent 8 years as Vineyard Manager and Cellar Master at a winery in the Okanagan, where he oversaw the implementation of a fully certified organic vineyard, producing wines which won multiple national and international wine competitions. He has managed a European breeding facility that produced cannabis seeds for worldwide distribution, as well as overseeing a large-scale award-winning cannabis production farm.

With his deep experience in the cannabis space, Mr. Rowe will be instrumental in helping Choom navigate the pending landscape of legalized recreational use for adult consumers.

SAY HELLO TO CHOOMTM


The Choom brand is inspired by Hawaii’s “Choom Gang”- a group of buddies in Honolulu during the 1970’s who loved to smoke weed—or as the locals called it, choom. Evoking the spirit of the original Choom Gang, our brand is synonymous with cultivating good times with good friends. We are focused on delivering an elevated customer experience through our curated retail environments, high-grade handcrafted cannabis supply, and a diversity of brands for the Canadian recreational consumer.

 

Cautionary Statement:

NEITHER THE CANADIAN SECURITIES EXCHANGE NOR ITS REGULATIONS SERVICES PROVIDER HAVE REVIEWED OR ACCEPT RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE ADEQUACY OR ACCURACY OF THIS RELEASE.

Forward-looking information                 
This news release contains forward-looking information relating to the Company’s proposed activities and other statements that are not historical facts. Forward-looking information relates to management’s future outlook and anticipated events or results, and include statements or information regarding the future plans or prospects of the Company. Although management of the Company has attempted to identify important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those contained in forward looking information, there may be other factors that cause results not to be as anticipated, estimated or intended. These factors include risks and uncertainties associated with the results of diligence investigations, developments in the cannabis sector, delays resulting from or inability to obtain required regulatory approvals and ability to access sufficient capital from internal and external sources, reliance on key personnel, regulatory risks and delays and other risks and uncertainties discussed in the management discussion and analysis section of the Company’s interim and most recent annual financial statement or other reports and filings, including the Company’s Listing Statement, made with the applicable Canadian securities regulators. There can be no assurance that such information will prove to be accurate, as actual results and future events could differ materially from those anticipated in such statements. Accordingly, readers should not place undue reliance on forward looking information.

To read more visit: https://marijuanastocks.com/choom-choof-announces-addition-to-the-executive-team/

Stylus Research Identifies Five Trends to Watch in the Legal #Cannabis Era

“What is most surprising about the cannabis market is the disconnect between the new reality and enduring misconceptions around who’s using it and why.” Marian Berelowitz, US senior editor at Stylus

New York – June 19, 2018 (Investorideas.com Newswire) The legal cannabis era is here. As the ‘green rush’ to capitalize on it builds momentum in North America, innovation research and advisory company Stylus highlights five emerging trends shaping the future of cannabis culture and consumption.

1. Cannabis Versus Cocktails

Cannabis has the potential to match alcohol as the recreational product of choice in the US. Use among US college students is already climbing, while drinking is declining. It plays a similar role to alcohol, lending itself to party-goers, parents and others looking to unwind – even serving as a host gift in lieu of wine. It’s especially appealing to those eager to avoid hangovers or alcohol’s calorie count.

2. ‘Canna-Curious’ Hubs

Commercialized cannabis is maturing into an opportunity expected to be worth $57bn globally by 2027, according to Arcview Group. Catering to an influx of newly intrigued consumers, brands are demystifying cannabis via strategies such as subscription boxes, cannabis socials for product sampling, and even Tinder-like apps. The next stage in educating consumers and cultivating fans will be cannabis tourism. California-based Flow Kana is turning a defunct winery into an experience center that will offer educational tours of its cannabis farm, along with tastings.

3. Female Focus

A ‘by and for’ women’s sector is booming in the industry. Women are among the fastest-growing cohorts of cannabis consumers – spending by females on cannabis deliver app Eaze increased by 20% in 2017, and increasingly prolific as cannabis entrepreneurs. As a result, products that skew towards feminine tastes – from menstrual-relief products to sleek pipes and jewelry that doubles as a sophisticated roach clip – are proliferating. Women are defining the future of cannabis.

4. Medical-Grade Marijuana

Cannabis hasn’t yet been widely integrated into the mainstream medical community, but that will change. We’ll see an upswing in education available for healthcare providers and patients, and an evolution of products geared to patient use – enabling users to more precisely control dosing, for instance. Legalization is bringing more biotech and other start-ups into the space, all likely to advance understanding of how cannabis can aid patients and help adapt it to clinical use.

5. New Pet Essential

As several key medical benefits of cannabidiol (CBD, the non-psychoactive compound of cannabis) – including relief from anxiety and joint pain – appear to help animals as much as humans, CBD-infused products for pets are booming. The potential here is enormous, given that Americans now spend nearly $70bn annually on their pets, and younger owners in particular are embracing alternative remedies to ensure optimal animal health.

About Stylus

Stylus is a global innovation research and advisory company that identifies and connects the most important global and cross-industry trends. Our insights are used by more than 500 of the world’s leading consumer brands, businesses and agencies to understand the attitudes and behaviors of their consumers, the products and services they’re using, and how they engage with the world around them. Our team of 150 industry experts work across five continents, analyzing more than 20 consumer-facing industries. We operate out of New York, Miami, London, São Paulo, Melbourne, Singapore, Tokyo and South Korea. www.stylus.com.

Natasha Fish
PR Manager, Stylus

To read more visit: http://www.investorideas.com/news/2018/cannabis/06196Stylus.asp

Still want to ride the cannabis boom? Six bets to play the green gold rush

The growing menu of cannabis stocks may be enticing for investors seeking to profit from the green gold rush, but betting on winners is not easy.

Cannabis companies have been in the spotlight during the run-up to the legalization of recreational pot in Canada. With the passage of Bill C-45 in the Senate, the sale of marijuana now has the green light, although it will be fall before consumers can buy cannabis products.

Risks for investors still abound in this young industry. There is uncertainty as to whether producers can meet delivery targets, or whether there could be a cannabis glut. It is unclear whether restrictions on cannabis advertising will make it difficult for the legal product to compete against the black market.

And it hasn’t been determined how much dilution shareholders face because of bought-deal financings, whereby the underwriting syndicate buys the entire stock offering and resells the shares to their clients.

Given the potential landmines among pot plays, we asked three cannabis-focused fund managers for some of their top picks.

Greg Taylor, portfolio manager at Purpose Investments Inc., Toronto

Fund: Purpose Marijuana Opportunities Fund with ETF series (MJJ-NEO)

The pick: Hydropothecary Corp. (THCX-X)

52-week range: $1.10 to $5.42 a share

The Gatineau, Que.-based medical cannabis producer is “one of the leaders in the space, but seems to be getting overlooked,” says Mr. Taylor. “Its stock trades at a discount to its peers, and about half of the valuation of Canopy Growth Corp.”

In April, Hydropothecary signed a five-year deal with Société des alcools du Québec to supply more than 200,000 kilograms of cannabis products for recreational use, thus becoming Quebec’s preferred supplier. The firm, which has a strong management team, is expanding its greenhouse capacity, investing in extraction technologies, and plans to grow globally, he says. “They are working on research and development projects for extraction into oils and infusion into beverages.”

Hydropothecary, whose cost of production is less than $1 per gram, also benefits from cheaper power in Quebec. The firm is an unlikely takeover candidate but could partner with a major beverage or drug-industry player, he adds.

The pickCannTrust Holdings Inc. (TRST-TSX)

52-week range: $5.86 to $10.58 a share

The Vaughan, Ont.-based cannabis producer is well-positioned as a play on medical marijuana that could “explode in demand,” Mr. Taylor suggests. It sells higher-margin cannabis oils and has introduced innovations, such as vegan-based capsules.

CannTrust has credibility in its niche because it was founded and is controlled by former pharmacists, and has partnered with Apotex Inc., Canada’s largest generic drug maker, which exports to more than 115 countries, he adds. But CannTrust, which has indoor-grow and greenhouse facilities, also plans to expand into recreational cannabis and is developing pet products, too, he says. “They are thinking out of the box.”

The firm, which has reported three consecutive quarters of profit, recently raised $100-million from a bought-deal to meet its growth needs. CannTrust, whose stock trades at a big discount to peers such as Canopy Growth Corp., could be a takeover target for a pharmaceutical giant, he says.

Charles Taerk, president of Faircourt Asset Management Inc., Toronto

Fund: Ninepoint UIT Alternative Health Fund

The pickAphria Inc. (APH-TSX)

52-week range: $5.14 to $24.75 a share

Shares of the Leamington, Ont.-based medical cannabis producer, which are off sharply from their January peak, are compelling on a relative-value basis, says Mr. Taerk.

Aphria’s recent acquisition of Nuuvera Corp. was controversial because of cross-ownership, but it is helping global expansion, he says. Aphria, a low-cost producer, now has access to more than 13,000 pharmacies in Germany. The firm, whose current production capacity is second only to Canopy Growth Corp., has also posted 10 consecutive quarters of positive earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA), he notes. It has a strong management team led by Vic Neufeld, formerly CEO of Jamieson Laboratories Ltd., he adds.

Aphria is building a $55-million extraction facility for cannabis concentrates to be used in everything from edibles to infused beverages, and has also partnered with Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits for product distribution, he adds.

The pickOrganigram Holdings Inc. (OGI-X)

52-week range: $2.04 to $5.93 a share

Organigram is one of the top five Canadian licensed medical marijuana producers in terms of current production capacity, but its stock trades at a significant discount to its bigger peers, says Mr. Taerk.

Based in Moncton, N.B., it doesn’t have the profile of Ontario players but benefits from lower power rates and cheaper land costs, he adds. Organigram lost its organic certification in 2016 after some batches tested for pesticides, but new management led by chief executive officer Greg Engel “has turned the ship around,” he says. The company will be getting its certification back, but only a small part of its business will be organic, Mr. Taerk notes.

Organigram’s cost-per-gram averaged $1.22 during the latest quarter, which is low for an indoor grower, he says. Organigram, which is doing a “nice job of creating a brand strategy” for recreational cannabis, is also a potential takeover target or could merge with other regional players, he adds.

Bruce Campbell, president of StoneCastle Investment Management Inc., Kelowna, B.C.

Funds: Cannabis Growth Opportunity Corp. (CGOC-CN) and StoneCastle Cannabis Growth Fund

The pick: Valens GroWorks Corp. (VGW-CN)

52-week range: 75 cents to $3.50 a share.

Toronto-base Valens, which aims to be a vertically integrated cannabis products provider, is attractive as a multi-licensed company with various revenue streams, says Mr. Campbell. “But their big business is going to end up being in extraction.”

The company, whose production facilities are in Kelowna, B.C., holds a dealer’s licence to produce and sell its higher-margin cannabis oils, and has an agreement with Canopy Growth Corp. to distribute its products through its CraftGrow program. Valens has applied for a cultivation licence, but also signed a deal recently with Speakeasy Cannabis Club Ltd., which will also supply it with cannabis. Valens, which has a licence to offer cannabis-testing services, has teamed up with U.S. scientific instruments maker Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. to do so.

Valens could be a takeover target for players wanting extraction expertise or could even merge with smaller firms to build a regional powerhouse, he says.

The pick: Friday Night Inc. (TGIF-CN)

52-week range: 17 cents to $1.40 a share

This Chilliwack, B.C.-based company, which is involved in growing and distributing medical and recreational marijuana in the United States, operates three distinct business lines, says Mr. Campbell. Its business is focused on Nevada, a medical-marijuana state that legalized recreational cannabis in 2016. Friday Night is a potential takeover target for a player that wants a foothold in that state, or it could be an acquirer, too, he says.

Alternative Medicine Association, its licensed producer, is building a new cultivation facility in Las Vegas to expand capacity, and recently bought an adjacent building for cannabis extraction. Its Infused MFG unit produces cannabidiol (CBD)-infused products ranging from pet products to lip balms and cream.

And its Spire Secure Logistics unit, which gets a recurring revenue stream from selling security services to the cannabis industry, will see demand grow as the industry matures, he predicts.

To read more visit: https://www.theglobeandmail.com/investing/globe-advisor/article-still-want-to-ride-the-cannabis-boom-six-bets-to-play-the-green-gold/

U.S. Tax Court Rejects Cannabis Businesses, but Bankers Want in on Legal Weed

As financial institutions pressure lawmakers to allow state-legal canna-businesses access to banking services, a new judicial ruling complicates the industry’s cash issues even further.

The fight for cannabis legalization in America is gaining new ground every day. At the local, state, and even national level, the U.S. is soaked in green rush growth and medical marijuana advancements. But in the financial sphere, strict adherence to federal regulations and a long-standing stigma have continually prevented any significant progress on the problems of marijuana-related banking and taxation.

Complicating those issues even further, a ruling from a U.S. tax court judge released this week will make it more difficult for legal weed businesses to square up with Uncle Samcome tax season.

According to Marijuana Business Daily, Judge Richard Morrison ruled against now-closed Colorado medical marijuana dispensary Altermeds after the pot shop owners had attempted to file standard business tax deductions on the non-cannabis products that they sold, namely rolling papers, pipes, and other smoking accessories.

Tax officials have long denied deductions from cannabis businesses under Code 280E, which restricts any illegal business from writing off standard expenses in tax filings. Altermeds’ owners argued that pipes were not included under the definition of illicit items covered in 280E, but Judge Morrison disagreed, writing in his decision that he considered paraphernalia as part of the marijuana business.

For state-legal weed businesses around the country, the deduction denial is yet another strain on an already tenuous relationship with finances and banking. Despite repeated efforts from cannabis advocates and lawmakers, federal law restricts banking institutionsfrom working with marijuana businesses, leaving growers and dispensary owners around the country counting their payroll, taxes, and profits in cash.

Just last week, the House Appropriations Committee rejected an amendment to the 2019 budget that would have allowed banks to work with weed companies without worrying about losing federal insurance. But while U.S. judges and legislators have been slow to act on securing financial stability for state-legal ganjapreneurs, banking professionals have begun to see the light.

According to MJBizDaily, a number of influential finance industry lobbying groups, including the Independent Community Bankers of America and the American Bankers Association, have lent official support to cannabis finance reform. With millions upon millions of dollars in assets currently locked out of federally-insured institutions, bankers are beginning to see the huge potential profits behind legal pot.

Back in Colorado, however, the former owners of Altermeds will now have to cough up nearly $470,000 in back taxes and penalties.

As the proliferation of marijuana reform laws continues to spark the creation of new cannabis businesses across the country, reconciling the costly differences between state law and federal financial regulations will be instrumental in bringing the once-controversial plant fully into the American mainstream.

To read more visit: https://merryjane.com/news/us-tax-court-rejects-cannabis-businesses-but-bankers-want-in-on-legal-weed

MedMen Acquires One Of Florida’s Thirteen Marijuana Licenses

A major shakeup for the landscape of Florida’s legal marijuana business.

In the state of Florida, acquiring a marijuana business license is no small feat—there are only thirteen such licenses available to prospective businesses. However, once one acquires said licensing, it opens up a vast amount of opportunities to open an array of dispensaries throughout the state. This makes such an opportunity appealing to a marijuana company with the necessary capital and resources to open up a slew of medical dispensaries in the area.

That’s why, it should come as no surprise that, today, one the country’s biggest cultivators, producers, and retailers of cannabis, MedMen, has managed to acquire one of Florida’s thirteen precious MMJ licenses.

MedMen Acquires One Of Florida’s Thirteen Marijuana Licenses

According to the company’s press release, MedMen is set to acquire all dispensary and growing assets from the Florida-based cultivation company, Treadwell Nursery, which was one of the first eight businesses to acquire an MMJ license from the state.

As it stands, MedMen will inherent Treadwell Nursery’s five-acre grow facility situated in Eustis, Florida, as well as the 25 dispensaries formerly owned and run by the company. MedMen Co-founder and CEO Adam Bierman said in the press release that his brand has been eyeing an expansion in Florida for nearly a decade.

“For nearly a decade we have been positioning ourselves to capitalize on enormous market opportunities like this,” said  Bierman. “This acquisition is right in line with our strategy of establishing a presence early on in high potential markets with limited licenses and large populations. Florida is the third most populous state in the country with a medical marijuana market estimated to reach $1 billion in annual sales by 2020. MedMen has built the best-in-class brand, and we continue to invest in premium assets that solidify our dominant position in the most important cannabis markets in the world.”

The acquisition of Treadwell Nursey’s dispensaries more than doubles MedMen’s amount of cultivation and retail facilities—before the blockbuster deal, the company owned an operated 18 such provisions throughout New York, Nevada, and California.

According to the release, MedMen purchased Treadwell’s assets for $53 million, before the necessary capital adjustments. The transaction will become official after 90 days, after it official closes, and both parties have the right to terminate the agreement beforehand, provided the necessary regulatory approvals are somehow failed to be met.

MedMen recently went public in Canada with a billion dollar valuation. The company already has dispensaries in several states. Now, MedMen has the right to run 25 dispensaries in the sunshine state.

To read more visit: https://greenrushdaily.com/medmen-acquires-one-floridas-thirteen-marijuana-licenses/

REEFER GLADNESS: ‘A lot of people are going to get very, very rich’

MISSISSAUGA–In many ways, they are modern-day prospectors.

Like the Yukon Gold Rush, 1920s stock speculators and dotcom bubble investors. They are strivers seeking to fulfill their dreams via cannabis — and cash.

This weekend saw the second O’Cannabiz Conference and Expo at the International Centre in Mississauga.

Organizers said the event doubled its size from last year with more than 200 exhibitors and 130 speakers. Growth has been so explosive, the event had to be moved from the downtown Toronto Sheraton.

Leslie Gerard of Terracube — a company based in Victoria that makes portable labs and greenhouses — was asked by The Toronto Sun if she expected to get rich.

Her reply mirrored scores of other participants The Sun talked to.

“Rich? Hells, yeah,” she smiled.

The event could have been called Everything to Do With Reef. Exhibitors gave away candy, chocolate and some even had bowls of Doritos. Wink! Wink!

There were companies selling lab equipment, oil dispensing machines, security, insuring your crop, pipes, bongs, transport for your cannabis, graphic design for your cannabis company, hydroponic companies, manufacturers and farmers.

Hannah Rubin, 25, originally from Stamford, CT, calls herself a “Trumpugee,” but she was at the event because she’s a “ganjapreneur.”

“I moved to Canada because I knew cannabis legalization was coming and because it was federally driven it would be easier here,” she said, adding she hopes to export her “high-end cannabis lifestyle products” to Germany, Switzerland, Israel and beyond.

“It makes it easier to ship overseas. It’s not so much a gold rush as a green rush,” the operator of the Half Baked Bus said.

Hannah Rubin, founder of the Half Baked Bus during the O’Cannabiz conference at the International Centre on Friday June 8, 2018. (Dave Abel/Toronto Sun) Dave Abel / Dave Abel/Toronto Sun

Participants stretched across a wide swath of demographics. There were the golf-shirt wearing salesmen types, neo-hippies, old hippies, seniors and entrepreneurs of all shapes and sizes.

And they all had a story to tell.

Shane Stubbs master grower for Beleave joked that he can finally tell his parents what he does for a living. His company has a greenhouse in the Niagara region and is poised to launch a slew of new products.

Stubbs calls the cannabis he grows “craft” or “old school.”

“You can tell the difference between Grey Goose vodka and the cheap stuff, it’s the same with our product,” he said.

CBD and THC Cannabis product and legal marijuana manufacturing items on display during the O’Cannabiz conference at the International Centre on Friday June 8, 2018. (Dave Abel/Toronto Sun) Dave Abel / Dave Abel/Toronto Sun

“When you light one of our joints, you’ll remember that joint. It will take the older generation — 40-50 — back, they remember blueberry and skunk.”

Besides the obvious, there were also exhibits for financial services and lawyers tailored specifically for the canna-biz.

Lawyer Fiona Brown of Aird Berlis law firm said her practice has 20 attorneys working on the cannabis file.

“We do all areas of the law that touch on cannabis, regulations, licenses … we’ve been active in the space for quite some time,” she said.

CBD and THC Cannabis product and legal marijuana manufacturing items on display during the O’Cannabiz conference at the International Centre on Friday June 8, 2018. (Dave Abel/Toronto Sun) Dave Abel / Dave Abel/Toronto Sun

Many of the participants had the aura of converts to a great cause that could also make them rich. Almost as if your Tory voting dad suddenly realized cannabis oil was the trick to a better golf game.

One vendor — dressed sharply in Friday casual — said: “I don’t sleep and took some of this stuff last night… crashed and slept like a baby.”

And the medical marijuana aspect was a big thrust of the day’s doings. Wink! Wink!

Kayla Rochkin of CannTrust claims the company — based north of Toronto — already has 43,000 medical marijuana patients across Canada. The company even produces a vegan cannabis.

“Our company was founded by a pharmacist (Eric Paul) and we’ve gone for really deep standardization and helping physicians understand what to prescribe,” Rochkin said, adding “so they can trust it will be the same every time.”

CBD and THC Cannabis product and legal marijuana manufacturing items on display during the O’Cannabiz conference at the International Centre on Friday June 8, 2018. (Dave Abel/Toronto Sun) Dave Abel / Dave Abel/Toronto Sun

However, she wouldn’t compare the standardization to McDonald’s and agreed, Heineken beer was a better rule of thumb.

And then there are the altruists.

GrowLegally teaches medical marijuana patients how to grow and harvest their own cannabis, along with providing education and advocacy. They also match clinics with growers.

But mostly, it’s the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

“A lot of people,” opined one executive who didn’t want to be named, “are going to get very, very rich. It’s like the birth of a whole new economy.”

To read more visit: http://torontosun.com/cannabis/cannabis-business/cannabis-investing/reefer-gladness-a-lot-of-people-are-going-to-get-very-very-rich