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Slow rate of D.C. licenses applications signals possible market reluctance, VA candy man arrested for alleged weed distribution

Catch the Smoke: Sept. 25, 2023

D.C. medical licenses continue to trickle in

The first 30-days of the second medical license expansion application period in D.C. has been underwhelming. ABCA seems to be approving applications on a rolling basis though they did not announce that. They approved another four manufacturers and four cultivators last week, including an approval for DC Xtracts LLC in NE. 

Xtracts is the only new business with an official approval not a conditional approval. The other 13 businesses approved this month were approved for conditional licenses which means they must provide further info including locations and ANCs approval before they could open. There are 24 cultivation licenses, 20 manufacturer and two courier licenses available for non-social equity applicants. 

Only six manufacturers have applied and been awarded licenses and only four cultivation centers. There is another month for applicants to apply, but this certainly doesn’t show a rush to apply for cannabis licenses in the D.C. market. There have been four other social equity licenses awarded, but as of yet those will not be applied to the license cap though. There could be more approvals this Wednesday at 10:30 A.M. 

Did you miss our data breakdown of Aug. medical cannabis sales in D.C.? Read here.  

Also starting today, non-DC residents may choose from five valid periods when registering for a temporary medical cannabis patient registration from three days to a year. 

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Unlicensed operators aka D.C. I-71 gifting shops will be able to apply for licenses starting Nov. 1 through Jan. 29. There is a virtual information session at 10 A.M. on Oct. 10. Register here.  

Unrealistic timeline criticized for MD social equity licenses

Maryland is getting ready to launch its own cannabis license period for its adult-use market. The first round will be exclusively for social equity applicants. But, critics say that the state’s timeline, a month of applications opening on Nov. 13 and then less than a month to approve those licenses, enter them into a lottery and begin to distribute them, is way too short. Unlike D.C., Maryland is accepting all types of licenses that month from growers to dispensaries. 

  • Note: starting Oct. 1, some waiting periods for expungement of crimes including certain cannabis related convictions will be halved. 

Virginia continues to hit hemp bizs with astronomical fines

Three Virginia businesses have been fined this month for violating new more strict hemp laws, according to documents released by the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to The Outlaw Report. Potomac Vape Inc. in Woodbridge, VA was fined over $400,000 for selling unlabeled hemp products without proper licenses that were also over the state’s new limits.

Another six businesses received fines in August ranging from $224,000 to $3,000 though most violations offered a reduction to $10,000 if resolutions were found. The state is definitely taking its new restrictions seriously, 16 businesses have been fined in total. The state also created a toolkit for parents to talk about weed with their kids. 

Candy man gets arrested 

A few months after self-titled CE-Bro was featured on Good Day D.C., Fresh, Highs & Lows’ Matthew Powers seems to have been arrested last week for alleged money laundering and distribution of cannabis, psilocybin and LSD. The candy store, with three locations, distributed exotic snacks. He was arrested along with three other Virginians, according to a press release for Fairfax county police department. His fellow alleged compatriots were not offered bonds, and two others were charged with money laundering. This continues to signal a seeming shift in investigations focusing on money laundering as well as alleged drug distribution.  

West of the border

Cookies hooks its claws into West Virginia. The same place a police K9 trained to sniff out cannabis in Maryland, where he’s now useless, is headed

East Coast Round Up

Questions arise in New York about the social equity fund investor, Chicago Atlantic. This comes after strict regulations were passed limiting who can invest in cannabis businesses in the state.

New York also wiped 40 comments online from people who commented publicly in a meeting about the state’s dumpster fire launch of a cannabis industry that has left many businesses bankrupt. They are supposedly posting the whole video soon, but smells fishy. 

NYC is still trying to crack down on the reported 1,500 unlicensed retailers in the city which could total as much as $484 million untaxed cannabis products. 

Leafly sued New York to challenge the ban on third-banning advertising and marketing services. 

Maine is considering new changes to its cannabis market, industry members say that the changes will increase red tape without helping the industry. 

Maine also found last week that nearly half of the state’s regulated cannabis potentially  contain pesticides and molds. 

As the federal government gears up to attempt to solve cannabis banking, a record number of U.S. financial institutions are serving state-legal weed companies, according to the U.S. Treasury Department. 

Square is getting into the Canadian weed market. 

The Coalition for Cannabis Policy, Education, and Regulation (CPEAR), funded by the alcohol and tobacco companies, suggested that there be a nation-wide track-and-trace system as well as tax stamps to help distinguish between regulated and unregulated cannabis products.

Culture Corner

NCAA panel formally recommended removing weed from the banned substance list for college athletes. 

Method Man officially launched his cannabis brand in New York City. 

Wealthy countries spent over $1 billion on the global war on drugs, which is not working if we do say so ourselves.

From the Swamp

OK, Capitol Hill was chaos last week let’s get into it. Note that literally none of this will matter if the government shuts down due to congress’s inability to pass a spending bill in four days: 

  • The Senate Banking Committee will vote on the now renamed SAFER Banking Act this Wednesday. Ask a Pol reported that Banking Chair Sherrod Brown said it will “we’ll pass it decisively.” 

  • Everyone is parading their participation from Cory Booker to Jacky Rosen

  • There were seven new sponsors last week for SAFE Banking which doesn’t matter much. The new bill that will be voted on in committee has 12 bipartisan senators backing it. 

  • Changes in the SAFER bill from SAFE include: 

    • Requiring federal banking regulators to work with state banking regulators to form rules to increase access to banking for cannabis customers. 

    • The specific inclusion  of Tribal communities in federal reports on lack of banking access. 

    • The removal of the term “diversity and inclusion,” which has to be politically motivated. 

  • A bill to seriously reform the nation’s cannabis industry and drug war by decriminalizing cannabis on a federal level and tackling major criminal justice reforms was reintroduced. The MORE Act is unlikely to go anywhere.

  • Descheduling drama continues, with the same Senator, Steve Daines, who supports banking reform releasing a measure that would block the FDA from legalizing cannabis without congressional approval. 

  • Sen. Chuck Schumer circulated a petition to demand federal cannabis legalization which seems like a virtue signaling action with little to no real implications. 

  • A bill to prevent prior marijuana use as grounds for denying federal employment or security clearance passed the House. The CURE Act also allows for someone who has previously been denied a security clearance or a federal job opportunity based on marijuana use the chance to have that denial reviewed.


A new study found that use of psilocybin is associated with consistent reduction in depression, alcohol use and anxiety. Rep. Robert Garcia introduced a bill to prohibit the federal government from spending money on preventing state’s from passing laws to legalize mushrooms.  

Don't miss

Concept to Commerce: Social Equity License Prep

Explore Maryland Cannabis hosts a series “Concept to Commerce: 2023 License Prep” designed to empower aspiring cannabis entrepreneurs, social equity applicants, and small business owners in Maryland. (Oct. 19; $49-99)

Please submit your upcoming cannabis event here

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