Marijuana Business This Week: MMJ showdown in CA county, Nevada oversight overhaul, MO big-money fundraiser & more

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

FIGHT FOR LIFE: Friday is supposed to mark the final day for medical cannabis sales in Kern County, California, pending the possible disposition of last-gasp legal challenges brought by dispensary owners.

The County Board of Supervisors on March 18 denied all final appeals of the eight remaining medical marijuana dispensaries seeking to stay open past the mandated May 24 closing deadline.

After banning marijuana sales in November 2017, the county allowed about 30 dispensaries to remain open during a yearlong amortization period that was extended by six months at the end of last year, The Bakersfield Californian reported. No dispensary has been allowed to open since May 2016.

Dispensary owners who appeared before the board argued they needed more time to recoup costs associated with investments in their businesses.

REDEFINING NEVADA OVERSIGHT: The Nevada Assembly Committee on Judiciary will likely debate a bill this week that would create a board to oversee the marijuana industry in the state, committee chair Steve Yeager, a Democrat, told the Las Vegas Sun.

Assembly Bill 533 would create the Cannabis Compliance Board and a Cannabis Advisory Commission, according to the Sun.

The measure also would set guidelines for issuing licenses for cannabis consumption lounges, among other provisions.

The Cannabis Compliance Board would comprise five people, with the governor empowered to appoint members to four-year terms. Representation from five backgrounds would include physician, cannabis industry member, accountant, lawyer and law enforcement.

Meanwhile, the Cannabis Advisory Commission would have 12 members – including the state attorney general and executive director of the Department of Taxation – and would advise the Compliance Board on regulations and guidelines.

The measure was introduced on behalf of the office of Gov. Steve Sisolak, a Democrat, who in January said he wanted to create a marijuana regulatory system modeled after the state’s Gaming Control Board.

LICENSE FREEZE SOUGHT: Also in Nevada, a judge is slated to hear arguments Friday on a bid by dozens of companies to freeze a second wave of licenses for entry into the state’s adult-use cannabis market.

A number of companies accused state tax officials of failing to disclose how they chose winners and losers last December from 462 applicants for 61 new cannabis dispensary and processing licenses.

Among the allegations is that the lack of transparency made the process “ripe for corruption.”

MMJ LOBBYIST EVENT TO BENEFIT MISSOURI GOV: A lobbyist for a medical cannabis trade group is co-hosting a fundraiser for Missouri Gov. Mike Parson this week as officials finalize rules for the state’s MMJ program, which is scheduled to launch next year.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch obtained a copy of an invitation to the fundraiser at which guests are asked to spend between $2,600 and $25,000. Proceeds go to the Republican governor’s campaign and political action committees.

Co-host Steve Tilley lobbies for the Missouri Medical Cannabis Trade Association and represents Florida-based BioTrackTHC, a marijuana software company that sought but did not win a potentially lucrative state contract, the Post-Dispatch reported. An attorney for the company has filed a challenge with the state.

MAINERS SPEAK OUT: Maine’s Office of Marijuana Policy (OMP) is scheduled to hold its first public hearing Thursday at which individuals can provide public feedback about the state’s proposed rules for adult use.

The OMP is seeking to establish a regulatory framework to govern recreational marijuana use in the state, and the hearing in Portland is an initial step.

According to the state’s website, the Marijuana Legalization Act also includes rulemaking in areas including tracking marijuana plants and product, enforcement and compliance, health and safety data, labeling and packaging and licensing and fees.

OPT-IN VOTE: Elsewhere in Maine, the Auburn City Council is set to vote Monday on an ordinance that would allow the city to have recreational and medical marijuana businesses within its borders.

According to the Sun Journal, Auburn is among the first few municipalities in Maine to draft an ordinance covering medical as well as recreational.

Assistant City Manager Phil Crowell said if the council opts in and passes the first reading, a final reading and public hearing would occur June 3.

VYING FOR FINAL FOUR: Monday is the deadline for companies to apply for license consideration to operate one of four retail marijuana facilities in Springfield, Massachusetts.

The proposals will receive rankings based on factors that include project design, location, public health and safety and diversity plans, MassLive.com reported.

The City Council approved an ordinance last year that allows up to 15 retail shops in Springfield. However, it decided to limit the first phase to a maximum of four.

MJ companies picked during the initial phase will be the first to negotiate host community agreements with the city, according to MassLive.com.

EARNINGS ROUNDUP: Vertically integrated company 48North Cannabis Corp. of Canada said it planned to announce its third-quarter 2019 financial results Monday.

The Toronto-based firm, which is focused on the health and wellness market through cultivation and extraction, operates two indoor-licensed cannabis production sites in Ontario with more than 86,000 square feet of production capacity.

48North announced late last week it had received Health Canada approval to operate a 100-acre farm providing organic, sun-grown cannabis.

MOVING MARKETS: Organigram Holdings, the parent company of Organigram, a Canadian producer of cannabis and cannabis-derived products, said it will begin trading on the Nasdaq Global Select Market on Tuesday under the ticker symbol OGI.

Organigram’s common shares will continue to list and trade on the TSX Venture Exchange, also as OGI.

The Moncton, New Brunswick-based company’s shares will trade on the over-the-counter markets as OGRMF until market close Monday.

EXPIRING LICENSE SCORECARD: There are 125 cultivation licenses set to expire this week in California, according to an analysis of state license data by Marijuana Business Daily.

 

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