House Democrats and Republicans co-publish memo on cannabis

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JOINT MEMO

House Democrats and Republicans co-publish memo on cannabis

House Democrats and Republicans have co-published a joint memo ahead of a congressional subcommittee meeting on marijuana on Tuesday, laying out key background details on the issue, reports Marijuana Moment

Three of the main issues noted include: 

  • Decriminalizing cannabis at the federal level would benefit multiple communities.
  • Reforms are needed in several sectors, including criminal justice, financial services, regulatory policy and taxation. 
  • The federal government should establish protocols to regulate cannabis as it does alcohol. 

The memo states: “This hearing will be a bipartisan examination of the many benefits of decriminalization at the federal level, including: criminal justice reform, which will largely benefit communities of color, as well as the justice system more broadly; access for veterans through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA); and the ability for the legal cannabis industry to access financial services.” 


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LESSONS FROM CALI

New York runs the risk of allowing the illicit market to flourish

Politico reports that lax enforcement has allowed illicit cannabis sales to flourish — with little incentive to go mainstream. 

Despite California legalizing cannabis six years ago, illegal sellers and growers continue to thrive there, and Politico highlights the situation is not dissimilar in New York as the state

legalized adult-use cannabis more than a year ago but is yet to issue a single dispensary license. This has resulted in the sale of cannabis everywhere from bodegas to street corners. 

Owen Martinetti of the Cannabis Association of New York, is calling for stronger civil enforcement. He told the publication: “Everybody seems to be selling cannabis, and until there’s enforcement, there’s really no concern of a penalty. If there’s already competition and it’s not enforced, it kinda begs the question, are [the regulated stores] really set up for success?”


BLACK MARKET

Ontario legal retailers losing money to illicit market

The Toronto Sun reports that licensed producers in Ontario saw their share of sales revenue fall to 60.8% in April 2022 from 74.2% in July 2019. 

A report from the firm Ernst and Young, commissioned by the Cannabis Council of Canada, questions the industry’s viability if the government doesn’t help it find solutions – suggesting the reduction and harmonization of provincial and federal excise duty rates and a programme to educate the public on the risks of unregulated products. 

The report states: “The legal industry has adapted in a number of ways to remain competitive. Producers have rationalized operations to gain efficiencies and lowered their prices to attract consumers. But that’s left many struggling for profitability, with some pushed to the brink of bankruptcy. Price compression hasn’t had nearly the same effect on government revenues since most taxes on cannabis are based on volume, not price.”


LEGAL ACTION

CBD companies accuse payment provider of withholding cash worth tens of thousands of pounds

Half a dozen CBD companies are engaged in a dispute with a payments provider which they have accused of withholding an estimated £65k of money, writes BusinessCann.

The companies, trading in the UK, told the publication that Zotto is routinely sending less money into their bank accounts than they are owed. 

A number of the companies have now submitted complaints to the FCA and Financial Ombudsman, however, BusinessCann highlights that while some of the companies were found to be fully compliant, others appeared to be selling products which could not be found on the FSA’s Novel Foods public list. 

Jas Nottay, Director of the Cannabis Trades Association and Managing Director of Hope CBD, told the publication that his company is now owed around £10k. 

“As Managing Director of Hope CBD, I find it highly disturbing that there are companies operating in this manner towards what is already a very delicate industry. It is within Hope CBD’s interest to now instruct a legal team to take action against Zotto.”

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