420 with CNW – New Mexico Makes Sweeping Changes to its Medical Cannabis Law

Ever since the Compassionate Use Act was signed into law in 2007, no major changes had been made to it until last week when Gov. Michele Grisham appended her signature to Senate Bill 406. This bill, now a law, makes numerous changes to the medical cannabis law of New Mexico.

One major change that will take effect on June 14 has to do with medical cannabis in schools. Under the updated law, medical cannabis will be administered on school premises under specific circumstances. For this to happen, parents of kids on medical cannabis will present to the school a detailed treatment plan designed by a medical professional.

However, schools will still reserve the right to accept or outlaw medical marijuana if the school district thinks that their federal funding may be at risk.

The new changes to the law will also allow patients who have a license to grow their own medical marijuana to take their produce to a manufacturer for processing into edibles, concentrates or any other form desired by the patient. This will, of course, be at the expense of the patient.

Previously, only Non-Profit producers of medical marijuana could take it to manufacturers for processing.

Medical cannabis users from other states also have a reason to smile after the governor signed this bill. Out-of-state medical cannabis users will now be able to take part in the medical marijuana program of New Mexico. Previously, only residents could benefit from this program.

The validity period of medical cannabis cards issued by New Mexico has also been extended from one year to three years. This will save the time and expenses associated with renewing a card each year.

It has also been hard for patients to find a place outside their homes where they can consume medical cannabis. The new law intends to put an end to this since it contains provisions for the licensing of consumption areas. The only condition here is that those consumption areas have to be approved by the New Mexico Department of Health.

The law has provisions that cement the protections accorded to patients using medical cannabis. For example, a patient will not be fired from a job just because he or she uses medical cannabis. However, this protection doesn’t save you from being fired if you are under the influence while at your job. Similarly, a parent will not be denied visitation or custody rights on account of being a user of medical cannabis.

The entire cannabis industry, including Supreme Cannabis Company Inc. (TSX.V: FIRE) (OTCQX: SPRWF) and The Flowr Corporation (TSX.V: FLWR) (OTC: FLWPF), welcomes the updates which have been made to the cannabis law in New Mexico in order to bring the law in line with the evolving needs of the patients using medical marijuana.

About CNW420

CNW420 spotlights the latest developments in the rapidly evolving cannabis industry through the release of two informative articles each business day. Our concise, informative content serves as a gateway for investors interested in the legalized cannabis sector and provides updates on how regulatory developments may impact financial markets. Articles are released each business day at 4:20 a.m. and 4:20 p.m. Eastern – our tribute to the time synonymous with cannabis culture. If marijuana and the burgeoning industry surrounding it are on your radar, CNW420 is for you! Check back daily to stay up-to-date on the latest milestones in the fast -changing world of cannabis.

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420 with CNW – Congressional Committee Approves Marijuana Banking Bill

On Thursday last week (March 28), the House Financial Services Committee voted to pass a bill that will make it easier for cannabis businesses to access banking services. The bill will now be scheduled for consideration by the entire House after it passed at the committee level when 45 legislators voted in favor while 15 voted against the bill.

Marijuana advocates see this committee action as a sign that the Democrats who dominate the House are finally making good on their support for cannabis law reform.

The bill seeks to make it possible for marijuana businesses to get access to banking services without any fear of federal action against them. Some of these businesses are working with some banks, but the majority of the financial services providers are reluctant to accept cannabis businesses as clients for fear of violating federal money laundering or illicit drug laws.

The SAFE Act was passed after being debated for several days in which a number of amendments were considered and either passed or rejected when a vote on them was called.

For example, one amendment sought to compel the federal government to conduct research on inclusion and diversity in the cannabis industry so that the damage caused by the war on drugs on minorities can be corrected.

Another amendment that was included in the bill added insurance companies to the list of entities that would be protected by the SAFE Act. It should be remembered that cannabis businesses have also been finding it hard to access insurance services that are vital for any business. If the bill becomes law, then marijuana companies will be able to access insurance services in the same way that other legitimate businesses can.

Another amendment added will compel the Government Accountability Office to study the reports banks are required to file about the marijuana businesses they have as clients. This examination is intended to find out how effective those reports are in helping the authorities to unearth illegal activity.

Those reporting requirements have previously been mentioned as one of the major reasons why it is very expensive for cannabis businesses to access banking services even when some banks are willing to accept these businesses as clients.

One proposed amendment tabled by a Republican legislator wanted to delay the implementation of the SAFE Act until the federal government rescheduled marijuana. Sensing that the amendment wouldn’t pass, the mover withdrew it before it could be voted on.

Many of the amendments that were rejected were mainly proposed by Republicans who wanted to cleverly water down the impact of the proposed law or even render it unenforceable. But the Democrats used their majority on the committee to sidestep all those traps.

Supreme Cannabis Company Inc. (TSX.V: FIRE) (OTCQX: SPRWF) and The Flowr Corporation (TSX.V: FLWR) (OTC: FLWPF) are glad that Congress is finally acting to enact laws that bring U.S. cannabis businesses into the fold of all other legitimate businesses across the country.

About CNW420

CNW420 spotlights the latest developments in the rapidly evolving cannabis industry through the release of two informative articles each business day. Our concise, informative content serves as a gateway for investors interested in the legalized cannabis sector and provides updates on how regulatory developments may impact financial markets. Articles are released each business day at 4:20 a.m. and 4:20 p.m. Eastern – our tribute to the time synonymous with cannabis culture. If marijuana and the burgeoning industry surrounding it are on your radar, CNW420 is for you! Check back daily to stay up-to-date on the latest milestones in the fast -changing world of cannabis.

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420 with CNW – Illinois Legislators Move to Ease Banking for Cannabis Businesses

As Illinois gears up to legalize recreational weed, a couple of bills have been tabled to protect state-chartered banks that decide to accept cannabis businesses as clients.

Under federal law, any money from cannabis businesses is regarded as drug money and banks that accept such money may be prosecuted by the federal authorities.

Consequently, most banks have been reluctant to do business with marijuana companies even if the allure of the huge sums of money that can be made from the cannabis industry is strong.

The past years have seen medical cannabis companies struggling to find a bank that is willing to take them on, and this is the situation that the newly introduced bills seek to fix.

Last year, medical cannabis sales generated approximately 136.5 million, and that figure is likely to grow to $224 million by 2022 once recreational sales begin. This is a huge amount of money to be lying around in sacks or safes within cannabis business premises.

More practical problems like how to pay employees and clients get worse once businesses don’t have access to banking services. For example, Ascend Illinois, one of the leading medical cannabis firms in the state, narrates how they had to take several days to drive cash to different vendors and employees around the state when the bank they were using withdrew its services.

Such a scenario creates a huge attraction to criminals who would want to lay their hands on such a huge amount of cash.

It is also hard for state authorities to track whether the cannabis companies are meeting their tax obligations if there is no paper trail to follow in order to verify the volume of sales each month.

The passing of state laws to shield local banks from federal prosecution can help to remove some of the concerns that the banks may have.

While it is true that no bank or credit union has so far been targeted by the feds for doing business with cannabis companies, a state law would protect the banks in the event that a change in policy at the federal level exposes the banks to risks.

For example, President Obama’s administration had passed a policy not to prosecute banks that do business with cannabis firms in states that legalized marijuana. However, President Trump’s administration rescinded that policy, effectively making it possible for federal law enforcement agencies to go after banks that accept marijuana businesses.

Such fluctuations in federal policy are what the bills introduced by state Sen. Tol Hutchinson and state Rep. Jehan Gordon-Booth want to shield local banks against.

The sponsors of those two bills believe that just as the states have taken the lead in seeing marijuana legalized, they too must play a leading role in ensuring that banking laws are reformed to accommodate those cannabis businesses. The Flowr Corporation (TSX.V: FLWR) (OTC: FLWPF) and The Green Organic Dutchman (TSX: TGOD) (OTCQX: TGODF) wish that such laws were passed much earlier so that legitimate cannabis businesses stop being treated like second-class entities.

About CannabisNewsWire

CannabisNewsWire (CNW) is an information service that provides (1) access to our news aggregation and syndication servers, (2) CannabisNewsBreaks that summarize corporate news and information, (3) enhanced press release services, (4) social media distribution and optimization services, and (5) a full array of corporate communication solutions. As a multifaceted financial news and content distribution company with an extensive team of contributing journalists and writers, CNW is uniquely positioned to best serve private and public companies that desire to reach a wide audience of investors, consumers, journalists and the general public. CNW has an ever-growing distribution network of more than 5,000 key syndication outlets across the country. By cutting through the overload of information in today’s market, CNW brings its clients unparalleled visibility, recognition and brand awareness. CNW is where news, content and information converge.

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420 with CNW – The DEA Seeks Equipment to Distinguish Hemp from Marijuana

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency has published a notice asking interested parties to express interest in supplying it with equipment that can be used to determine whether a given cannabis plant is marijuana or federally legal hemp.

The notice that was issued last week indicated that such equipment was necessary since the 2018 Farm Bill made it federally legal to grow hemp but federal laws still consider marijuana to be an illegal substance/plant.

Note that hemp and marijuana are all cannabis plants, so one can only tell them apart by subjecting samples to tests for their THC content. U.S. federal law sets the maximum THC limit for hemp at 0.3 percent. Any cannabis plant with a higher THC content is marijuana, according to the current legal definition of those two plants.

The DEA wants to identify a supplier who has field kits that can help the agents of the law enforcement agency to tell those two plants apart.

The DEA is interested in procuring portable yet rugged equipment which will stand up to the harsh field conditions where rapid tests will be needed before a decision is taken to arrest possible offenders or impound a given consignment.

The agency also wants to buy the latest versions or models of such a product, and the number of units purchased will depend on how the equipment performs during its evaluation and what the needs of the agency will be at that time.

Why would the DEA need such equipment when the 2018 Farm Bill shifted matters of hemp to the Department of Agriculture?

It is true that the DEA falls under the Justice Department and they would ordinarily no longer be interested in matters to do with hemp. However, the DEA still has a mandate to enforce marijuana laws around the country, so the agency anticipates that it will encounter difficulties while trying to decide whether a given plant is hemp or marijuana. The test kits can help to clear the air when such a distinction is required.

The DEA has set a deadline of March 15 for interested companies to give it the information it needs to decide the details of the procurement process.

Meanwhile, pressure is mounting on the DEA to expedite the process of approving the companies that had applied to manufacture research-grade cannabis. Only Mississippi University is currently licensed to grow and process marijuana for research purposes, and its shortcomings have created the need for additional cultivators/manufacturers.

The Flowr Corporation (TSX.V: FLWR) (OTC: FLWPF) and The Green Organic Dutchman (TSX: TGOD) (OTCQX: TGODF) applaud the foresight of the DEA in seeking testing equipment long before conflicts arise regarding what a given plant is during the law enforcement activities of the federal agency.

About CannabisNewsWire

CannabisNewsWire (CNW) is an information service that provides (1) access to our news aggregation and syndication servers, (2) CannabisNewsBreaks that summarize corporate news and information, (3) enhanced press release services, (4) social media distribution and optimization services, and (5) a full array of corporate communication solutions. As a multifaceted financial news and content distribution company with an extensive team of contributing journalists and writers, CNW is uniquely positioned to best serve private and public companies that desire to reach a wide audience of investors, consumers, journalists and the general public. CNW has an ever-growing distribution network of more than 5,000 key syndication outlets across the country. By cutting through the overload of information in today’s market, CNW brings its clients unparalleled visibility, recognition and brand awareness. CNW is where news, content and information converge.

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420 with CNW – Iowa Poll Shows Widespread Support for Expanding Medical Cannabis Program

A recent poll sponsored by Mediacom and Des Moines Register has found that more than three-quarters (78 percent) of Iowans want to see the medical cannabis program expanded in order to ease access to this new program.

Iowan adults voiced their support for suggestions that more qualifying conditions should be included in the law that established the medical cannabis program. The proposed expansion would also include increasing the number of shops from which medical marijuana can be bought.

Iowa’s medical cannabis program was launched last year in December with just five dispensaries and one manufacturer allowed to operate within the state. The dispensaries sell cannabis oils, capsules and creams. So far, only 1,200 Iowa patients have received the nod to use medical cannabis in the state.

The Iowa Poll also showed a record level of support for the legalization of recreational cannabis. The poll conducted early this month found that there was an equal proportion of Iowans who wanted to see an end to prohibition and those who opposed it.

The figures stood at 48 percent in favor of legalization while another 48 percent didn’t want recreational cannabis allowed in the state. Four percent of the participants in the poll were not sure whether prohibition should be ended or not.

The Iowa Poll has been tracking the sentiments of Iowans about cannabis legalization since 2010. This year’s poll shows a huge jump in support from the 39 percent who expressed support for legalization last year to the 48 percent expressing the same sentiment this year.

This poll results have come out at a time when Iowa lawmakers are considering proposals to expand the medical cannabis program.

One of the changes that is being considered by the senate committee is a proposal to allow medical professionals to recommend the use of medical cannabis for any condition that they think can be alleviated or treated using marijuana. This would be a major change from the current position where the medical marijuana law provides a list of the conditions for which a patient can apply for a medical marijuana card.

Another change that is being considered is to allow nurse practitioners to certify patients as well. Under the current law, only physicians can certify patients who wish to join the medical cannabis program.

The sole manufacturer (MedPharm) has also been lobbying to have the legislators lift the three percent THC cap on medical cannabis products. This restriction may be harder to change since legislators are wary of “opening the door” to cannabis addiction and abuse if THC levels are allowed to get higher.

Supreme Cannabis Company Inc. (TSX.V: FIRE) (OTCQX: SPRWF) and The Flowr Corporation (TSX.V: FLWR) (OTC: FLWPF) applaud the legislators in Iowa for being willing to modify the medical cannabis program so soon after its launch.

About CannabisNewsWire

CannabisNewsWire (CNW) is an information service that provides (1) access to our news aggregation and syndication servers, (2) CannabisNewsBreaks that summarize corporate news and information, (3) enhanced press release services, (4) social media distribution and optimization services, and (5) a full array of corporate communication solutions. As a multifaceted financial news and content distribution company with an extensive team of contributing journalists and writers, CNW is uniquely positioned to best serve private and public companies that desire to reach a wide audience of investors, consumers, journalists and the general public. CNW has an ever-growing distribution network of more than 5,000 key syndication outlets across the country. By cutting through the overload of information in today’s market, CNW brings its clients unparalleled visibility, recognition and brand awareness. CNW is where news, content and information converge.

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420 with CNW – Consolidation Starts Taking Shape in the US Cannabis Industry

Like any emerging industry, the cannabis industry has reached that time when consolidation starts taking place. Several reasons have made such a step inevitable.

First, way too many businesses rush to get licences in each state that legalizes recreational or medical marijuana. Not all those businesses that open are likely to succeed, so it is only logical that the ones not doing well get gobbled up by those that are having a better run in the market.

Secondly, too many companies in a restricted marketplace trigger a rush to the bottom. The different pricing models adopted to get an edge in the market exert pressure on the profit margins of all the companies involved. Before long, many start falling by the wayside, and the stronger ones acquire those that are failing or struggling.

Thirdly, the risk of oversupply also creates fertile ground for consolidation. Most cannabis businesses are forced to be vertically integrated because of the clash between federal law and state-level laws. Many therefore end up growing cannabis that they are unable sell, and these stockpiles lock up a lot of valuable capital. The entities that command a bigger share of the retail space often end up acquiring those with excess supply.

These forces are already exerting their impact upon the nascent cannabis industry in the U.S. Last year, MedMen Enterprises announced that it was acquiring PharmaCann in a deal worth $682 million. However, this deal still has a few more months before they put ink to paper.

In the meantime, iAnthus Capital Holdings last week closed on a deal to acquire MPX Bioceutical. This acquisition is worth more than $630 million. This makes it the largest marijuana deal in the U.S. so far. The MedMen deal will eclipse it when it is finally concluded, but that is still months away.

With the stroke of a pen, iAnthus Capital Holdings has increased its footprint from just six states to 11 after the acquisition of MPX Bioceutical. The number of licensed dispensaries has also grown from 19 to 63, all without the hassles and costs associated with processing new applications in all those jurisdictions.

The deal also now gives iAnthus a combined grow space of 210,000 square feet. The company targets to expand this to 600,000 square feet so that all the stores/dispensaries can be amply supplied in the coming years.

The cannabis industry, including The Flowr Corporation (TSX.V: FLWR) (OTC: FLWPF) and The Green Organic Dutchman (TSX: TGOD) (OTCQX: TGODF) welcome any consolidation that helps to deepen and stabilize the cannabis industry.

About CannabisNewsWire

CannabisNewsWire (CNW) is an information service that provides (1) access to our news aggregation and syndication servers, (2) CannabisNewsBreaks that summarize corporate news and information, (3) enhanced press release services, (4) social media distribution and optimization services, and (5) a full array of corporate communication solutions. As a multifaceted financial news and content distribution company with an extensive team of contributing journalists and writers, CNW is uniquely positioned to best serve private and public companies that desire to reach a wide audience of investors, consumers, journalists and the general public. CNW has an ever-growing distribution network of more than 5,000 key syndication outlets across the country. By cutting through the overload of information in today’s market, CNW brings its clients unparalleled visibility, recognition and brand awareness. CNW is where news, content and information converge.

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420 with CNW – Baltimore to Stop Prosecuting People for Marijuana Possession

The chief prosecutor in the city of Baltimore has announced that people will no longer be prosecuted for possessing marijuana. This announcement comes as a wave legalization is sweeping across the nation, and marijuana is no longer seen as the evil substance that it once was thought to be.

Marilyn Mosby, state attorney for Baltimore, revealed that her office will immediately stop prosecuting cases of marijuana possession. This decision will apply regardless of how much marijuana someone has been found with, or what the criminal history of that person is.

Mosby added that no serious person can ever claim that devoting the city’s scarce law enforcement resources to prosecuting marijuana possession cases is a good way to use taxpayers’ money.

Baltimore has the unenviable record of being the major city across the country with the highest homicide rates, with most of those homicides going unsolved. Mosby wants to focus a lot more on solving those violent crimes instead of being bogged down by marijuana possession cases.

The chief prosecutor admitted that the city’s law enforcement agencies take a huge hit in terms of their public image each time murders go unsolved and yet they are seen vigilantly going after people possessing marijuana.

She gave the example of what a mother whose son has just died because of gun violence. Such a mother cannot condone the allocation of resources to prosecuting marijuana possession cases instead of using those very resources to investigate and bring violent crime down.

However, there may be a showdown brewing between the city prosecutor and the men and women of the police department over this change in policy. Gary Tuggle, the Police Commissioner of Baltimore, insisted that his department will continue making marijuana possession arrests until the legislature changes the law about the matter.

This potential standoff is a tricky one to resolve because each side may have valid arguments to support it. For example, the prosecutor sees that it doesn’t make sense to keep fighting something that is hardly harmful to the public, while the police is doing its work of enforcing the laws as passed by the legislature.

The question is, what will happen once suspects are arrested by the police and the prosecutor refuses to sanction any charges against those individuals?

The best way out is for these two sister departments to find a middle ground on this issue so that ordinary people aren’t caught in the crosshairs as the elephants fight. Such a stalemate isn’t in the best interest of the marijuana industry, especially The Green Organic Dutchman (TSX: TGOD) (OTCQX: TGODF) and The Flowr Corporation (TSX.V: FLWR) (OTC: FLWPF).

About CannabisNewsWire

CannabisNewsWire (CNW) is an information service that provides (1) access to our news aggregation and syndication servers, (2) CannabisNewsBreaks that summarize corporate news and information, (3) enhanced press release services, (4) social media distribution and optimization services, and (5) a full array of corporate communication solutions. As a multifaceted financial news and content distribution company with an extensive team of contributing journalists and writers, CNW is uniquely positioned to best serve private and public companies that desire to reach a wide audience of investors, consumers, journalists and the general public. CNW has an ever-growing distribution network of more than 5,000 key syndication outlets across the country. By cutting through the overload of information in today’s market, CNW brings its clients unparalleled visibility, recognition and brand awareness. CNW is where news, content and information converge.

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