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Jeff Smith

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.

Maine edges closer to starting $300 million adult-use cannabis market, though opt-outs and license caps linger

Maine is inching toward launching a projected $300 million-a-year recreational marijuana market perhaps by the fall, nearly four years after residents voted to legalize adult use. Former Gov. Paul LePage, an adult-use cannabis opponent, stifled early efforts to implement the program. And now the coronavirus crisis is further delaying the program’s rollout, particularly decisions by […]

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California cannabis market a challenge, but it’s not all doom and gloom

Experts agree the California recreational marijuana market is extremely challenging because of high tax rates, huge illicit production and consumption as well as an uncertain economy amid the coronavirus pandemic. But while much of this is unfair to legal marijuana business owners, one also must keep things in perspective: California is a new market with […]

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Marijuana edibles maker Dixie Brands changing name to avoid causing ‘pain’

Denver-based marijuana edibles producer Dixie Brands said it will change its name in a move to separate itself from the historic context of the word “Dixie” and to “stand shoulder to shoulder with the Black community.” The 10-year-old Denver-based company, which has operations in six states, announced the move on its website and social media. […]

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Iowa governor signs bill expanding medical marijuana THC formula

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds signed into law a bill that replaces the 3% THC cap with a per-patient limit of 4.5 grams of THC for a 90-day period, but it’s unclear how much the move will boost the state’s heavily regulated medical cannabis market. The provision is a much weaker version of a measure that […]

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Ways to shake up cannabis firms and keep as many workers as possible

The coronavirus pandemic has caused the cannabis industry to focus on operational efficiency rather than rapid growth, a shift that has resulted in layoffs in California and other locations across the country. But panelists at the MJBizConNEXT Direct conference on Monday also talked about ways operational disruptions can be cushioned by the creative restructuring of […]

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Cresco CEO: How marijuana firms can ‘slingshot’ out of recession, pandemic

If cannabis companies can survive this “giant curveball” and economic downtown, those businesses can “slingshot out of it” in better shape and with more opportunities than before the coronavirus. That was one of the central messages delivered Monday by Charlie Bachtell, co-founder and CEO of Chicago-based Cresco Labs, while offering business tips during an appearance […]

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Acreage completes New Jersey medical cannabis acquisition

Multistate marijuana operator Acreage Holdings said it has closed on a deal to acquire a New Jersey medical cannabis operation for $10 million, plus the assumption of debt. The acquisition, announced last year, gives Acreage a firm foothold in a marijuana market positioned for potential adult-use legalization. New Jersey residents will vote on an adult-use […]

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Cresco cannabis dispensary workers in Chicago area vote to unionize

Employees at Cresco Labs’ Illinois marijuana dispensary in Lakeview have voted to unionize, one of the industry’s first unionization elections since the coronavirus pandemic. Workers voted 16-4 to be represented by the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 881, according to Moises Zavala, the local’s organizing director. Cresco, a multistate operator based in Chicago, employs […]

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DOJ whistleblower: Attorney General Barr’s treatment of cannabis industry tantamount to ‘harassment’

A career U.S. Justice Department attorney testified Wednesday that antitrust investigations of 10 cannabis mergers since March 2019 were “not even close to meeting established criteria” for such reviews and agreed they amounted to industry “harassment” by Attorney General William Barr. John Elias told a U.S. House Judiciary Committee hearing that antitrust employees were told […]

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High Times’ cannabis retail bid complicated by web of owners, social equity partners

The owner of pioneering High Times magazine is scrambling to close a marijuana retail acquisition in California that includes a tangle of owners and entities, several social equity partners and properties not yet built out. Los Angeles-based High Times Holding is trying to complete the $67.5 million deal with Harvest Health & Recreation by putting […]

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A day too late: US appellate court tosses marijuana tax bill challenge

One day is critical when it comes to filing court appeals, especially if you don’t use an approved delivery service. That’s what two California marijuana companies learned when the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, based in San Francisco, threw out their challenge of a nearly $2 million combined tax bill. Organic Cannabis Foundation and […]

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Montana group submits signatures for adult-use cannabis initiative

A group behind legalizing recreational marijuana in Montana said it is submitting for verification roughly 52,000 signatures – more than double the required amount – to qualify a November ballot initiative that would regulate and tax adult-use MJ sales in the state. New Approach Montana started collecting signatures May 9, observing strict public health protocols, […]

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