24 D.C. social equity licenses conditionally approved; MD goes after hemp derived market; SAFE Banking Act stalled again


Catch the Smoke: July 24, 2023

Please send all tips, comments and feedback to info@outlawreport.com.

D.C. powers ahead with expansion 

Another 24 businesses were publicly listed and approved for conditional social equity licenses for cultivation and manufacturing licenses in the ABCA Board July 19 meeting. Their conditional licenses will allow them a year to meet full requirements and secure a location. 

  • June sales of medical cannabis dropped for the second month in a row, according to ABCA monthly metric report. June sales were a little over $40,000 less than May – a much smaller reduction than May’s almost $300,000 drop in sales. 

Adult-use cannabis cripples MD CBD market

The legalization of an adult use market meant the end of prohibition to many in Maryland, but the bill that opened that market in essence closed the hemp and CBD market. Businesses that are not cannabis license holders cannot sell weed products including hemp-derived options. This includes Delta-8-THC, Delta-9-THC, Delta-10-THC and any other cannabinoid with a total THC concentration greater than 0.5 mg per serving or 2.5 mg of THC per package. People breaking this new law will be charged with a misdemeanor and will be subject to a fine of up to $5,000. “A person who sells any product that contains non-naturally occurring cannabinoids is guilty of a misdemeanor and will be subject to a fine of up to $10,000.”

  • Gov. Moore announced the appointment of Audrey L. Johnson as Acting Executive Director of the Office of Social Equity and Courtney Davis as Deputy Director. ​Both will help administer resources and support for historically disadvantaged individuals and businesses seeking to enter the adult-use cannabis market.

  • Baltimore hosted the Lucky Leaf EXPO this weekend.

  • A Maryland public defender is pushing forward with the decriminalization of cannabis beyond just the new legal market. 

Virginia continues to squeeze its hemp market

The hemp-derived product market in Virginia is feeling the effects of the new laws that smother the CBD and hemp market with new lower THC levels. One business owner told ABC 8 News that they saw a $40,000 drop in sales due to dozens of new products sitting in cases that can no longer be sold.

New York trying to get it together, announces weed farmers markets

New York regulators have approved more than 200 social equity retail licenses and okayed growers to sell marijuana at farmers markets and other venues beyond dispensaries. The approvals come amid the rocky rollout of adult-use sales in New York and aim to increase retail locations and jump-start a supply chain with limited sales outlets. Another 212 retail dispensary licenses were also approved bringing the total number of licenses to 463 though not all of those businesses are open and serving customers. 

In other news

Runner’s cannabis high 

A new study found that people who smoke marijuana before running report feeling more positive emotions, less pain, and a greater sense of “runner’s high.” The results showed that participants who smoked marijuana before running had a more enjoyable and less painful experience. They also reported feeling more positive emotions, such as tranquility and enjoyment.

Businesses grow more accepting of cannabis

As more states legalize marijuana, businesses are increasingly adapting by reducing or eliminating employee drug testing for cannabis. This is due to a combination of factors, including changing state laws, employee protection mandates, and the growing acceptance of cannabis use in the workplace.

Supermodel arrested

Gigi Hadid was arrested in the Cayman Islands on suspicion of drug possession after a small amount of weed was found on her. The supermodel was released on bail. 

Weed use reduces mental health treatment

A new study found that states with legalized recreational cannabis saw a 37% decrease in the number of adults seeking treatment for mental health issues. The study’s authors believe that this decrease may be due to the fact that cannabis can help to alleviate symptoms of anxiety and depression.

Climate change is smothering the weed industry

Severe weather events, such as hurricanes and heatwaves, are disrupting cannabis operations in the United States. In the wake of Hurricane Ian, more than 100 marijuana businesses were forced to close due to flooding, structural damage, and power outages. Cannabis companies are now considering environmental factors more when making business decisions, such as facility location and proximity to water sources. Cannabis businesses recently impacted by flooding in Vermont won’t qualify for federal aid. 

Bill could force social media companies to report to DEA

Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) is opposing a bill that would require social media companies and other communications service providers to report instances of suspected drug sales, manufacturing, or possession to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Wyden argues that the bill would perpetuate the discriminatory consequences of the war on drugs by forcing tech companies to broadly surveil people and lead to “meritless” referrals to the DEA.

Extended comment

The Justice Department extended the public comment period on its marijuana pardon certification process until August 15. The department is seeking feedback on whether collecting additional information under the extended timeline is necessary for the proper performance of its functions.

SAFE Banking act hits another delay

Yet again, the SAFE Banking Act will be kicked down the road. There will not be a vote on the bill before Congress leaves this week. This is despite state cannabis associations rallying to urge the vote, but their political power is no match for the political deadlock weighing the bill down. 

This week, don’t miss

Just Cannabusiness Knowledge Café

The D.C. Department of Small & Local Business Development hosts the third café on the subject of Cannabis and Business Plans at Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library. (July 26 – 25; free)


Featured Business Member: