Marijuana Business This Week: A look at upcoming stories and events in the cannabis industry

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(Marijuana Business This Week is a new feature that will run on Mondays at It will provide a look ahead at notable stories and events in the cannabis industry in the coming week.) 

YEA OR NAY?: New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy campaigned on a platform in which the legalization of recreational marijuana was a key plank. More than a year after taking office, his objective is either closer than ever to becoming reality – or in danger of further lengthy delays.

The outcome could be determined as soon as today, Monday.

After legislation was approved March 18 by two key legislative committees, the way was paved for a floor vote by the full Senate and Assembly.

But in the days leading up to Monday’s legislative session, Murphy conceded the measure was short of the votes needed to pass.

“It’s Monday or never, as Elvis Presley used to say,” Murphy told reporters Thursday when asked what happens if the bill doesn’t pass.

Murphy and fellow Democratic leaders, including Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin and Senate President Steve Sweeney, support the measure.

But a number of Democrats and a vast majority of state Republicans remain opposed to legalizing recreational cannabis for people 21 and older.

In the past week, the governor, legislative leaders and other supporters have been working the phones to try to get the necessary votes.

They got a boost Friday, when the mayors of New Jersey’s two largest cities, Newark’s Ras Baraka and Jersey City’s Steven Fulop, announced they were throwing their support behind the legalization bill based on assurances from state leaders they will continue to seek full automatic expungement.

SAFE HARBOR: Among the bills scheduled for markup Tuesday by the U.S. House Committee on Financial Services is the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act, which would provide federal protection for banks serving state-legal marijuana businesses.

The legislation, which has been dormant in Congress for several years, received its first committee hearing last month under the new Democratic-controlled House of Representatives. It would prevent federal banking regulators from punishing banks for working with cannabis-related businesses that are complying with state laws.

According to the National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA), the bill also would require the Financial Institution Examination Council to develop guidance to help credit unions and banks understand how to lawfully serve cannabis businesses.

The bipartisan legislation has 138 co-sponsors in the House.

COLUMBUS DAY FOR MMJ: The first marijuana dispensary in Ohio’s capital city is scheduled to open this week.

Terrasana plans to open four medical marijuana dispensaries in the weeks ahead, according to Columbus TV station WCMH. The first will open Tuesday.

Dr. William Kedia, owner and chief medical officer, said Terrasana will offer single units of marijuana flower for about $40 per unit. That’s about 20% less than the opening prices at other dispensaries that have opened around the state, WCMH reported.

CRONOS EARNINGS: Cronos Group, a global cannabis company based in Canada, is set to announce fourth-quarter earnings Tuesday. The vertically integrated firm reported revenue of 3.8 million Canadian dollars ($2.9 million) for the third quarter ended Sept. 30, compared with CA$1.3 million for the same quarter in 2017.

Shortly after releasing its third-quarter results, the Toronto company entered into an agreement with Altria Group for the tobacco giant to take a CA$2.4 billion stake in Cronos. The deal closed March 8.

CANNTRUST REPORTS: Also announcing earnings this week is Vaughn, Ontario-based cannabis producer CannTrust Holdings. The company will report its fourth-quarter and full-year 2018 earnings Thursday. Earlier this month, CannTrust filed plans to raise up to CA$700 million for projects including potential acquisitions.

HEMP INVESTOR FORUM: The inaugural Hemp Industry Daily Investor Forum on Thursday will serve as the kickoff for the NoCo Hemp Expo the following two days at the Crowne Plaza Denver Airport Convention Center.

The investor forum, which runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. MT, will provide a market overview aimed at investors and include: legal analysis; a two-part series with investment experts on deal flow and investment opportunities in hemp; two company spotlights (one public and the other private) with analysis on evaluating offers to invest in your company; and a panel of hemp executives talking about needs for future hemp investment. The day concludes with a general Q&A to answer investor questions about the sector.

All sessions will be moderated by Hemp Industry Daily Editor Kristen Nichols. Hemp Industry Daily is a sister publication of Marijuana Business Daily.

MEET THE DIRECTOR: Jill Hunsaker Ryan, executive director of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, is the featured guest at a meeting of Cannabis Clinicians Colorado at 6:30 p.m. MT Tuesday in the Plaza Building (Room M203) on the campus of the Auraria Higher Education Center in Denver. The monthly meetings examine current issues in the state’s medical marijuana sector. Tickets are free for CCC members, $15 for nonmembers.

CAUCUSING IN PHILLY: The NCIA is bringing its Cannabis Caucus series to Philadelphia’s Independence Visitor Center on Tuesday. The event, which begins at 6 p.m. ET, is an opportunity for members and their guests to connect, learn about regional issues from guest speakers and get the latest news about NCIA’s federal policy work. Limited nonmember tickets are available upon request.