Week in Review: UN delays cannabis vote, marijuana events keep eye on coronavirus, another MJ business founder steps down

This week’s United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) meeting in Vienna indicated the division among nations over the World Health Organization’s cannabis scheduling recommendations.

The CND pushed back a vote to December and declined to immediately take up voting on recommendations that would have far-reaching implications for the global cannabis industry.

MJBizDaily takeaway: The delay shows how difficult it is to reach agreements on cannabis policy across national borders.

“Medical cannabis is more mainstream than ever in places like Canada and the USA. However, internationally the challenge ahead for access becomes clear,” Michael Krawitz, executive director of Veterans for Medical Cannabis Access, told Marijuana Business Daily.

Mexican Senate commissions OK a bill legalizing rec use

Three Mexican Senate commissions worked in tandem to pass legislation to legalize all forms of cannabis.

MJBizDaily takeaway: This is another step toward Mexico kicking off the globe’s biggest recreational cannabis program by population.

Experts suggest the measure could see revisions along the way, but a final approval is expected since the ruling party has the necessary majorities. The country’s Supreme Court has set an April 30 deadline for approval.

Coronavirus fallout hits cannabis industry trade events

More cannabis industry-related conferences have been canceled or postponed because of coronavirus worries, including the huge South by Southwest (SXSW) event in Austin, Texas, which included a cannabis business track that included speakers from Marijuana Business Daily.

MJBizDaily takeaway: The cannabis industry depends heavily on trade shows and industry conferences to get the word out about their products and cultivate relationships with vendors and buyers.

The sudden cancellation of SXSW could spur more cannabis event organizers to cancel or postpone their own gatherings.

For more of Marijuana Business Daily’s ongoing coverage of the coronavirus pandemic and its effects on the cannabis industry, click here.

Cresco co-founder resigns as president

Cresco Labs co-founder Joe Caltabiano resigned as president of the Chicago-based multistate operator company.

MJBizDaily takeaway: Caltabiano is the third high-profile founder of a well-known U.S. cannabis company to step down recently, underscoring the transformation of the cannabis industry’s development and the need for top companies to install experienced business leaders.

Andy Williams announced in late February he was leaving Denver-based Medicine Man Technologies, a vertically integrated marijuana company he founded in 2014.

In January, Adam Bierman, the flamboyant co-founder of once-thriving cannabis retailer MedMen Enterprises, resigned as chief executive and surrendered his voting control.

Feds subpoena records from marijuana firms

The U.S. attorney’s office in California issued a grand jury subpoena for records related to 30 cannabis companies, including the parent of Weedmaps.

MJBizDaily takeaway: This is a reminder that marijuana remains federally illegal, which has proved easier for some cannabis businesses to ignore in the past few years.

Industry watchers point out that it’s important to remember that if cannabis businesses want to avoid federal interference or prosecution, then they need to do everything possible to remain compliant with all state laws.

Cannabis giants launch plan to invest in US industrial hemp supply chain

Two former Canopy Growth executives joined forces with a hemp industry leader to create a new business they hope will shake up the U.S. hemp market.

Operating as a special purpose acquisition company, Collective Growth Corp. will raise money through a March 17 initial public offering on the Nasdaq. The firm will move rapidly within the coming weeks to “develop a supply chain that uses the entirety of the plant for high value,” said Bruce Linton, the chief executive of the new company and Canopy’s former co-CEO.

MJBizDaily takeaway: After this week’s news that Canopy Growth is shutting down two cultivation sites and laid off 500 employees, and the company’s thus far unfulfilled hemp processing promises in New York, hemp insiders are both leery and curious about the executives’ track records – and the special purpose acquisition firm (SPAC) they created and its intentions.

Laura Hamilton can be reached at [email protected]

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