another legalization bill • & more…


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Exclusive: Smart Approaches to Marijuana expands its Hill team.

The largest anti-legalization group in the US is doubling down on federal lobbying.

SAM has hired Tripp and Jenn Baird of Off Hill Strategies; Tripp previously worked for conservative think tank Heritage Foundation and Heritage Action.

And they’ve hired Luke Albee, former chief of staff to Virginia Senator Mark Warner (2009 to 2015) and Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy (1993 to 2004). Albee will, according to SAM, focus on “outreach to Democratic members of the Senate, focusing on opposing the SAFE Banking Act.”

Canadian cannabis businesses create “micro-booms in some local economies.”

In regions home to major cannabis businesses, local economies are seeing windfalls, according to the 2019 RE/MAX Cannabis Survey.

For example, in Smiths Falls, Ontario, after Canopy Growth (employs 1,300) set up shop in a former Hershey’s factory, home sales increased by 27.1% year-over-year, and average prices increased 10.5%

Aphria (employs 1,000) settled in Leamington, Ontario, and the effects are noticeable there, too. September 2019 home sales rose 7.82% and average prices experienced a 9.10 year-over-year hike.

Meanwhile, while 44% said they’d like to live near a cannabis shop, 31% said living near a cannabis retailer “would deter them from purchasing a home.”

UCSF Tobacco Center adds 20 to focus group studying cannabis and tobacco.

As laws are relaxing around medical and adult-use cannabis, policies around opioids and tobacco are becoming more strict.

“The effects of these diverging trends are not clear, in part due to dramatic differences in local policies. Our work assesses whether localities make consistent choices with respect to substance use policies, and which policies are associated with reduced substance use at the population level,” an announcement noted.

Ontario looks to privatize adult use cannabis wholesale.

Until now, the government-run Ontario Cannabis Store has been the cannabis middleman between cultivators and retailers in the nation’s most populous province. Even when the province opened to private retail shops, instead of government-run online sales only, earlier this year, it held on to the wholesale piece of the supply chain. But those days are likely coming to an end.

Yesterday, the Ontario Cannabis Store tweeted, “We are taking steps to engage with federally licensed producers and authorized retail stores on their perspectives in increasing private sector participation in the delivery of recreational cannabis to stores across Ontario.”

Throughout this month, OCS will meet with its partner cannabis businesses in the province, and then the OCS will, according to the announcement, “provide the government with recommendations to ensure sufficient distribution capacity is in place to distribute legal cannabis across the province in the future as the illegal market is displaced.”

The president and CEO of the OCS, Cal Bricker, said in a statement, “While centralized distribution services have served existing retailers, and are preparing to support additional retail stores and the launch of edibles, beverages, extracts and topicals, the OCS is taking prudent steps to consult the industry on opportunities to increase their involvement in participating in the storage and transportation of cannabis products to retail stores.”

Pennsylvania senators introduce legalization bill.

Yesterday, Senators Daylin Leach and Sharif Street announced SB350, a bill that would legalize cannabis for adults 21 and older. The proposal includes sales, home grow, and delivery.

Read Cannabis Wire’s previous coverage of Pennsylvania’s path to legalization here and here.

Industry moves:

• Canopy finalizes its Beckley acquisition…

The background: In early 2018, the Beckley Foundation, a prominent drug policy think-tank in the UK, and Canopy Growth announced the formation of Beckley Canopy Therapeutics (BCT). And, at the start of 2019, BCT formed a joint venture with Canopy called Spectrum Biomedical UK. In short, this was a significant foot in the door to medical cannabis in the UK (and Europe) for Canopy Growth.

Now: BCT and Spectrum Biomedical will be owned by Canopy completely, and will be under the umbrella of Canopy’s medical arm, Spectrum Therapeutics. Also, Paul Steckler, previously with pharmaceutical companies like Pfizer, and Steven Wooding, previously an executive at Johnson & Johnson’s pharma arm Janssen, will become co-managing directors of Canopy’s Europe operations.

… and sells its stake in AusCann.

Canopy sold its 13.2 percent stake in the Australian cannabis company for C$6.3 million. Canopy’s global senior director of clinical science, Marcel Bonn-Miller, will stay on AusCann’s board. The divestment, said Canopy CEO Mark Zekulin, “will allow us to sharpen our focus on our wholly-owned operations in the market, while continuing to collaborate with our partners at AusCann.”

• Eaze rolls out Eaze Hospitality, starting in California.

Eaze Hospitality is a partnership between Eaze and Recreational Embassy, which focuses on cannabis and luxury hospitality. The waterfront Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows in Santa Monica will have, according to the announcement, “in-room menus that feature low-dose and non-inhalation hemp and cannabis products.”

The hotel’s director of sales and marketing, Rebecca Huetter, said in a statement that “Hotels should have a safe, legal and thoughtful approach to meet the needs of the modern luxury hotel customer,” adding that this allows them to “provide the contemporary level of hotel amenities our guests have come to expect.”

• 4Front creates a new role: chief human performance officer.

The role will be filled by Alicia Mandel, who previously held a similar role with the U.S. Olympic Committee.

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