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Jeff Smith, Legal & Regulatory Reporter

Jeff is an award-winning business journalist who has worked as a reporter and editor for daily newspapers in Colorado, Maine, New Mexico and Alabama. He also has worked as a journalist overseas in Asia and West Africa. His stories have appeared in National Geographic online and The New York Times, among other publications.

AFC Gamma expands Justice Cannabis loan to $75 million

October 4, 2021 · Updated October 5, 2021

Marijuana industry finance company AFC Gamma significantly boosted a loan to Chicago-based Justice Cannabis Co., increasing it from the $22 million figure announced in May to $75.4 million. Justice Cannabis plans to use the additional capital to further develop cultivation and processing operations in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, purchase assets and refinance existing debt. Florida-based […]

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SPAC, Beau Wrigley’s Parallel scrap $1.9 billion marijuana deal to take firm public

October 1, 2021

Chewing gum heir William “Beau” Wrigley Jr.’s marijuana multistate company Parallel and music mogul “Scooter” Braun’s Ceres Acquisition Corp. mutually called off their $1.9 billion blockbuster merger, gumming up Wrigley’s plans to take his MSO public. The companies didn’t provide a reason for terminating the merger, which would have allowed the resulting company to go public […]

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Canadian cannabis producers speed entry into US via high-stakes wagers

October 1, 2021

Canadian cannabis companies have picked up the pace to position themselves in the fast-growing markets south of the border – with a number of the deals essentially a wager that the United States will soon legalize marijuana. The recent deals add up to hundreds of millions of dollars and include: Options to acquire equity in […]

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Key US House panel approves marijuana legalization – again

September 30, 2021

The U.S. House Judiciary Committee on Thursday advanced the sweeping social justice-focused marijuana legalization bill known as the MORE Act in a first step toward passage in the full House. But the Senate remains the high hurdle. The Judiciary Committee approved the legislation in a 26-15 vote, with 24 Democrats joined by two Republicans voting […]

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Pennsylvania lawmakers to again consider adult-use cannabis measure

September 29, 2021 · Updated October 20, 2021

Pennsylvania Democrats, as expected, are trying again to legalize adult-use cannabis through legislation. State Reps. Jake Wheatley and Dan Frankel on Tuesday introduced House Bill 2050, which would create a recreational marijuana market with limited licensing, a social equity emphasis and a retail sales tax rate that would begin at 6% and gradually go up to […]

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$50 million minority-owned cannabis facility breaks ground in Detroit

September 28, 2021

Former NBA All-Star Chris Webber broke ground on a $50 million cannabis operations and training center in Detroit’s trendy Corktown neighborhood. Players Only, a Black-owned business that Webber co-founded with entrepreneur Lavetta Willis, will focus on cannabis cultivation and retail, brand partnerships and content development. Cookies U, part of California-based Cookies’ social impact program, will […]

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Mississippi legislative group reaches agreement on medical marijuana plan

September 24, 2021

A Mississippi legislative group agreed on a proposed medical marijuana program that would be more limited than what voters overwhelmingly approved at the ballot box last November. The proposed measure, for example, would enable local governments to opt out of cultivation, processing and retail sales in their jurisdictions, according to the Associated Press. But residents […]

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US House passes cannabis banking reform as part of defense legislation

September 23, 2021 · Updated September 24, 2021

The U.S. House of Representatives passed a defense budget bill Thursday evening that includes landmark legislation to make it easier for banks to serve marijuana businesses, but it appears a long shot that the U.S. Senate will follow suit and approve some form of the SAFE Banking Act.

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US House endorses cannabis banking reform as part of defense bill

September 22, 2021

The U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday night adopted by a voice vote a cannabis banking amendment as part of this year’s defense budget bill. The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2022 still must be passed by the full House, but the approval of the so-called SAFE Banking Act amendment clears the way for […]

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Amazon expands on support for federal marijuana reform, workplace equity

September 21, 2021

E-commerce giant Amazon has stepped up its efforts to support federal marijuana reform and provide a more equitable workplace in terms of MJ policy. In a blog post Tuesday, the company’s human resource chief noted two recent developments: Amazon’s endorsement of the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act proposed by U.S. Sens. Chuck Schumer of New […]

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