Marijuana Business This Week: German medical cannabis contracts, CBD self-regulation, MMJ group’s bank account closed & more

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Here are some notable stories and events to watch for in the coming days:

MAKING IT OFFICIAL: Contracts between Germany’s Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices and the three companies it tentatively selected to cultivate and distribute its medical cannabis could be formalized as early as Wednesday after a mandatory 10-day appeals process expires.

Ontario, Canada-based Wayland Group – through its joint venture with Berlin-based Demecan – and the German subsidiaries of Canadian companies Aphria and Aurora Cannabis were chosen earlier this month to provide product for what is one of the largest medical cannabis markets in the world. Each was evaluated based on a points system focused on infrastructure, quality standards, security plans and price.

The 10-day standstill period for public contracts enabled unsuccessful bidders to challenge the decision before the final contracts are signed.

CBD STANDARDS: CBD manufacturers face an April 15 deadline to weigh in on how the industry should self-regulate.

The U.S. Hemp Authority is revising its guidelines for CBD producers interested in getting a seal that ensures a product is safe.

The Kentucky-based organization’s guidelines are the best-known attempt by hemp entrepreneurs to establish farming and manufacturing controls in advance of future federal regulation.

But the Authority’s first round of seal designations invited some pushback from hemp entrepreneurs who argued the standards were incomplete and too expensive to meet.

Authority board members say the standards will be revised annually, and they have invited the industry to suggest changes for 2020 seals. The revised standards are set to take effect this fall.

ACCOUNT CLOSED: Tuesday is the day SunTrust Banks said it would close the account of the Medical Marijuana Business Association of Florida (MBAF), the Tallahassee-based medical cannabis advocacy organization.

The MBAF has been banking with SunTrust since 2014.

SunTrust told the organization of its intentions late last month, citing the best interests of its customers and the bank itself. Banks are reluctant to handle money from cannabis-related organizations because the plant remains illegal under federal law.

MBAF founder Jeff Sharkey has acknowledged discussions with SunTrust since it was told of the closing, according to Capital News Service. But recent reports indicated the association was continuing to shop for another bank.

ALASKA VOTE: The Alaska Legislature is scheduled to vote Wednesday on Republican Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s controversial appointment of Vivian Stiver to the state’s Marijuana Control Board.

The Alaska Marijuana Industry Association has urged its members to oppose her appointment. Some cannabis business owners say Stiver, a marijuana critic who fought commercial cannabis in Fairbanks, is a prohibitionist who would stifle the industry’s progress.

Stiver has repeatedly rejected those claims in committee hearings ahead of Wednesday’s scheduled vote. She said she would be fair to marijuana businesses and bring balance to the board.

CAPITAL IDEA: The Senate Finance Committee in Colorado’s General Assembly is slated to hold a hearing Thursday on a bill that would open the state’s $1.5 billion-a-year recreational and medical marijuana industry to new sources of public and private capital. The legislation passed the House last month.

Current law prohibits publicly traded companies from holding a Colorado marijuana license and limits out-of-state owners to 15 people.

A number of industry officials support the bill, saying greater investment flexibility is critical to attracting the capital necessary for growth and keeping Colorado’s cannabis industry competitive in product development, employee benefits and more.

Lawmakers passed a similar bill last year, but then-Gov. John Hickenlooper, now a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020, vetoed it.

Current Colorado Gov. Jared Polis, also a Democrat, has indicated he supports the new measure, according to Democratic Rep. Matt Gray, one of the bill’s co-sponsors.

OREGON PREPARES: A vote could take place as soon as this week in the Oregon Senate that would empower the governor to enter into agreements with other states for the interstate transfer of marijuana.

Unlike a previous version of the bill, the new legislation specifies it would not become operational until federal law is amended to allow for the interstate transfer of marijuana or the U.S. Department of Justice issues an opinion or memorandum allowing or tolerating it, the Associated Press reported.

The state Senate Judiciary Committee last week approved the bill, which was rewritten in an amendment. It now goes to the Senate, where a floor vote was awaiting scheduling.

EARNINGS: Aphria is scheduled to release financial results for its fiscal third quarter and nine months ended Feb. 28 before the market opens Monday.

Headquartered in Leamington, Ontario, the company currently maintains a presence in more than 10 countries across five continents.

Aphria pledged in February to improve its management practices after an independent investigation found some of its directors had conflicts of interest related to its 2018 acquisition of LATAM Holdings.

Also set to announce Monday is Organigram Holdings, parent company of Organigram, a licensed producer of cannabis and derivative products in Canada.

Moncton, New Brunswick-based Organigram Holdings earlier this month announced the appointment of former PwC Canada executive James Cavanagh as its new chief of staff.

POLICY SUMMIT: The second annual National Cannabis Policy Summit takes place at 9 a.m. ET Friday at the Newseum in Washington DC.

The event brings together activists and leaders from government, business, health care, veterans groups and civil rights organizations to discuss cannabis policy challenges and opportunities.

Among the panel sessions scheduled for the daylong event include “Fake News: The Role and Responsibilities of Journalists in Reversing the Narrative of the War on Drugs” and “Leveling the Playing Field: Is the Cannabis Industry a Second Chance for Victims of the Failed War on Drugs?”

Ethan Nadelmann, the founder and former executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, will deliver the opening remarks, and U.S. Rep. Jamie Raskin, a Maryland Democrat, will give the keynote address. Raskin has co-sponsored several cannabis-related bills, including the SAFE Banking Act of 2019 and Marijuana Justice Act of 2018.

The summit is free and open to the public. Registration is required for entry and seating is on a first-come, first-served basis. For more information, visit

EXPIRING LICENSE SCORECARD: There are 916 temporary cultivation licenses set to expire this week in California, according to an analysis of state license data by Marijuana Business Daily.

As of last week, 2,386 licenses had expired thus far in 2019.

These temporary business licenses – under which most of the legal MJ supply chain has operated since the beginning of 2018 – are expiring because the state has yet to finish processing annual or provisional licenses to replace the temporary permits.

Senate Bill 67, which would extend the life span of temporary permits, was approved April 4 by the full Senate and has been sent to the state Assembly.