Marijuana Business This Week: Nevada license hearing, hemp lending guidance, SC mulls medical cannabis & more

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

ASCENT LICENSE HEARING: Representatives of Canadian cannabis company Ascent Industries Corp. are scheduled to appear Wednesday before the Clark County Department of Business License to argue why its permits in Nevada should not be permanently suspended, revoked or non-renewed.

Sweet Cannabis, Ascent’s wholly owned subsidiary operating in Las Vegas, was found by the department to be in violation of its Master Marijuana License, the company said.

Specifically, the department cited three violations:
  • A Sweet Cannabis-hosted cannabis consumption event in the H-1 Zone Resort Corridor in Las Vegas.
  • Recordkeeping and inventory errors.
  • A parent company license suspension by the Canadian federal agency Health Canada.

Sweet Cannabis can appeal the department’s decision if chooses and may also file a petition for judicial review by the District Court, Ascent said.

HEMP LENDING: The U.S. Farm Credit Administration (FCA) plans to issue guidance to Farm Credit System member institutions as soon as this week about lending to hemp farmers.

The agency, which regulates a network of financial institutions that lend money to farmers and ranchers, acknowledges there is “extreme interest” in hemp loans.

But FCA Chair Dallas Tonsager has warned lenders to make sure they understand the market.

The FCA was among four federal banking agencies to receive memos last week from U.S. Sens. Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, and Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat, to open financial services to the hemp industry because the plant is no longer a controlled substance.

ILLINOIS RULES REVIEW: The Illinois Joint Committee on Administrative Rules is scheduled to convene Tuesday to review the proposed rules for the state’s Industrial Hemp Act.

Bill Bodine, associate director for state legislation at the Illinois Farm Bureau, told Quincy TV station KHQA he’s hopeful the licensing process will be in place for the 2019 growing season. He added the state would like to have the rules to apply for an industrial hemp license finished by June 1.

COMPASSIONATE DEBATE: The South Carolina General Assembly is debating a bill that would legalize the commercial cultivation and sale of medical marijuana. Under the measure, doctors could authorize MMJ for people suffering from a list of debilitating illnesses, from epilepsy to post-traumatic stress disorder.

The Compassionate Care Act is scheduled to be debated this week by the Senate Medical Affairs Committee, the Greenville News reported.

Under the bill, patients could purchase up to 2 ounces of marijuana or an equivalent derivative every two weeks. It would be sold at one of more than 100 dispensaries across the state.

The measure would also grant 15 cultivation licenses.

GREEN THUMB EARNINGS: Green Thumb Industries, a multistate marijuana business, will report fourth-quarter and fiscal year 2018 earnings Tuesday after the markets close.

Based in Chicago, GTI manufactures and sells branded cannabis products including flower, concentrates, edibles and topicals. The company also owns and operates a national chain of retail cannabis stores called Rise.

Green Thumb in February acquired For Success Holding Co., the owner of luxury cannabis brand Beboe. Beboe’s products are available in about 125 dispensaries across Colorado and California.

DOVER DEMS DISCUSS: The Dover Democratic Committee will host a public issues forum Tuesday on the legalization of adult-use cannabis in New Hampshire.

New Hampshire House Bill 481 is the most recent in a string of efforts to legalize cannabis in the state.

Unlike earlier attempts, HB 481 initially passed in the House of Representatives on Feb. 27 and received a favorable recommendation by the Ways and Means Committee.

The bill went back to the full House for a second vote Thursday, when it was approved 200-163.

The measure now heads to the Senate, where it will be scheduled for a public hearing. But even if it gets out of the full Legislature, Republican Gov. Chris Sununu has vowed to veto any marijuana legalization bill.

Speakers at the forum will include:

  • Joe Hannon, a former state representative
  • Matt Simon, New England political director of the Marijuana Policy Project
  • Eben Sumner, hemp entrepreneur and co-owner of Casco Bay Hemp in Maine

Dan Pontoh of the New Hampshire branch of the American Civil Liberties Union will moderate the event.

EXPIRING LICENSES SCORECARD: Marijuana Business This Week (MBTW) today launches a weekly running tally of California cultivation licenses set to expire barring emergency action by the state.

This week’s scorecard has 814 licenses up for expiration during the coming week, according to an analysis of state license data by Marijuana Business Daily.

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

A potential fix is on the way in Senate Bill 67, which would extend the life span of temporary permits.

SB 67 was approved Thursday by the full Senate and is now going to the Assembly. But even with approval there, state officials say the earliest the measure could become law would be next month.