Marijuana Business This Week: Honing IL legalization language, taking reservations in Massachusetts, hempseeds enter space & more

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

LEARNING THE LANGUAGE: Substantial language to incorporate into a bill legalizing adult-use marijuana in Illinois could come as early as Tuesday, according to one of its key proponents.

In early April, an Illinois Senate panel advanced a placeholder legalization bill that lawmakers could amend later.

State Sen. Heather Steans, a Chicago Democrat, told Capitol News Illinois she hoped to file the adult-use language “by the end of April or very early May, if not April 30. … Very soon, when we are done with the two-week break here.”

Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker supports recreational use among adults, and his proposed budget for the upcoming fiscal year includes $170 million in new revenue from licensing cultivators and dispensaries.

According to Capitol News Illinois, Steans said several “working groups” have been meeting to deal with different aspects of the legislation.

These include proposals for setting aside half or more of the new licenses for people who live in predominantly black, Hispanic and Native American neighborhoods, which supporters argue have suffered disproportionately from the federal government’s war on drugs.

‘UP IN THE AIR’: Members of the planning board in Monterey, Massachusetts, acknowledge they are uncomfortable moving forward on regulations for the recreational marijuana industry without input from residents, so they are once again imploring the citizenry to make their feelings known at the town’s annual meeting Saturday.

According to The Berkshire Eagle, the board has held several well-advertised hearings that were sparsely attended – making their efforts at forming regulations that much more difficult.

Planning board member Patricia Salomon told the newspaper that without a mandate from residents, the board was hesitant to make such decisions as defining zoning regulations for dispensaries.

At the town meeting – and three days later in Monterey’s annual election – those residents that heed the call will be asked whether the town should approve a ban on all facets of recreational marijuana, including retail sales, manufacturing and cultivation.

“It’s very much up in the air,” Salomon told the Eagle. “We’ve had little input from the public, and we just felt it’s really not important what the planning board thinks – it’s important what the town thinks.”

RESERVATIONS ONLY: The first recreational marijuana shop in Worcester, Massachusetts, is set to open Wednesday, but with strings attached.

Good Chemistry’s retail outlet in the city’s Canal District is requiring customers to preregister online for an appointment. The dispensary’s reservation system, it said, will go live 48 hours before opening.

And, during its first seven days of operation, Good Chemistry is limiting the number of appointments for what it hopes will make for an “optimal patient and customer experience.”

Good Chemistry opened as the city’s first medical marijuana dispensary in August.

HEMP IN SPACE: Traditionally lacking cannabinoid research is about to literally skyrocket.

Researchers from Lexington, Kentucky-based Space Tango on Tuesday are scheduled to send hempseeds on a mission to the International Space Station aboard a SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft. The launch is set for Florida’s Cape Canaveral.

Atalo Holdings, a Winchester, Kentucky, hemp producer, is partnering with Space Tango, a private research firm that will study how hemp germinates in microgravity.

The research could help scientists better understand how the plant produces and develops cannabinoids.

Space Tango said the microgravity-germinated seeds will be grown on Earth to evaluate various factors and nonproprietary data that’s generated from the study.

The results will be shared with the public to help inform and accelerate biomedical applications related to CBD.

EARNINGS: Vertically integrated cannabis health and wellness company Aleafia Health is expected to report its 2018 financial results Monday.

Toronto-based Aleafia Health has four primary business units: marijuana cultivation and products, health and wellness clinics, cannabis education and consumer experience.

In March, shareholders of Ontario-based cannabis producer Emblem approved a 173 million Canadian dollar ($128 million) buyout from Aleafia Health.

Also set to report its 2018 financials Monday is Origin House, a North American cannabis products and brands company based in Ottawa, Canada.

Origin House operates across key markets in Canada and the United States.

In California, the company delivers more than 130 branded cannabis products to licensed dispensaries. Origin House’s brand development platform is operated out of five licensed facilities located across the Golden State.

Chicago-based Cresco Labs earlier this month agreed to acquire Origin House in a deal valued at $823 million (CA$1.1 billion).

Vivo Cannabis, a Canadian provider of marijuana products and services for the medical and adult-use markets, is expected to issue fiscal fourth-quarter and full-year 2018 results before the markets open Tuesday.

Napanee, Ontario-based Vivo last August acquired Canna Farms, a cannabis company headquartered in Hope, British Columbia, that was the province’s first licensed producer.

Last week, Canna Farms received local municipal approval for its Phase 5 expansion, which consists of 10,000 square feet of cultivation space.

Also Tuesday, Planet 13 Holdings, a vertically integrated cannabis company in Nevada, plans to release its financial results for the fourth quarter and full year ended Dec. 31.

In November 2018, the company opened what’s been billed as the largest retail dispensary in the world, located immediately adjacent to the Las Vegas Strip.

BUSINESS AS USUAL: Now that Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy has said he does not plan to introduce legislation this session to eliminate the board that regulates Alaska’s marijuana industry, the group will meet as scheduled Wednesday through Friday in Anchorage.

Items on the agenda, according to the Associated Press, include routine licensing matters and “on-site consumption clean-up.”

The board previously approved regulations allowing for on-site use of marijuana at authorized retail locations, but officials indicated revisions may be needed to provide greater clarity.

A proposal on whether cannabis shops that want to offer on-site consumption of edibles – but not allow smoking, among other things – also will be addressed, Erika McConnell, director of the Alcohol and Marijuana Control Office, wrote in an email to AP.

EXPIRING LICENSE SCORECARD: California has 515 cultivation licenses set to expire April 29-30, bringing the total number from April 8-30 to 3,605, according to an analysis of state license data by Marijuana Business Daily.

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