Legislative Alert – Results from the Assembly and Senate Appropriations Suspense File Hearing – May 25, 2018

john-jennings-430220-unsplash.jpg
Photo by John Jennings on Unsplash

Today, the California Assembly and Senate Appropriations Committees decided the fate of hundreds of bills in the current legislative cycle. The Appropriations Committee in general is considered a significant hurdle in the legislative process, and bills that are passed from these Committees live to fight another day. The bills that are held on the Suspense File are, for most intents and purposes, dead for the remainder of the legislative session. While there is a process to reintroduce a proposal that is held in the Appropriations Committee (called a “gut and amend”), this process is rarely used and usually comes at great political cost to the organization or interest group that uses this option.

Here’s an update on the most commonly tracked bills in the industry that were heard in Committee today:

AB 1793 (Bonta) which seeks to streamline the judicial process of expunging or reducing criminal convictions and sentences due to Proposition 64 passed out of Committee and now heads to the Assembly Floor.

AB 1863 (Jones-Sawyer) which would allow cannabis businesses to deduct businesses expenses passed out of Committee and now heads to the Assembly Floor.

AB 2058 (Chau) which requires law enforcement agencies to submit annual reports with the number of cannabis-related DUI arrests to the Department of Motor Vehicles passed out of Committee and is now headed to the Assembly Floor.

AB 2069 (Bonta) which would have prohibit employers from discriminating against employees who are treating a known physical or mental disability or medical condition with medical cannabis and has a medical marijuana ID card was held in the Appropriations Committee.

AB 2520 (Cooper) which would have created the California Illegal Cannabis Task Force to review and analyze existing statutes to determine if they adequately address illegal cannabis cultivation, manufacturing, distribution, sales, and diversion of cannabis to other states was held in Committee.

AB 2525 (Wood) which required the Department of Fish and Wildlife and Department of Parks and Recreation to survey public lands and surface water sources during outdoor cannabis cultivation season to find unlawful cultivation activity was held in Committee.

AB 2641 (Wood) which would allow the Bureau of Cannabis Control to issue a temporary retailer license for cultivators and manufacturers to sell their products at events was passed out of the Committee with amendments and is now headed to the Assembly Floor.

AB 3157 (Lackey) which would have temporarily suspend the cultivation tax and lower the cannabis excise tax from 15% to 11% until 2021 was held in Committee.

SB 930 (Hertzberg) which would create a statewide-chartered banking system to allow California banks to offer basic services to cannabis businesses was passed out of Committee and now heads to the Senate Floor.

SB 1409 (Wilk) which would delete the requirement that industrial hemp seed cultivars be certified on or before January 1, 2013, in order to be included on the list of approved hemp seed cultivars and would also remove the definition “industrial hemp” from the California Uniform Controlled Substances Act passed out of Committee and now heads to the Senate Floor.


Questions about any of the bills mentioned above? Contact us at info@thecannabisfile.com or here.

Weekly Roundup – May 11, 2018

pac-bac-475743-unsplash
Photo by pac bac on Unsplash
  • Tax revenues collected by the state in the first quarter of FY 2018 are far below January estimates
  • A bill to temporarily suspend the cannabis cultivation tax and reduce the excise tax passes its second legislative committee
  • A New York based medical marijuana manufacturer expands its presence into California
  • The Bureau of Cannabis Control Cannabis Advisory Committee holds its next meeting in Oakland

Cannabis Taxes Collected in Q1 of FY2018 Lower than Expected

On Tuesday, the Legislative Analyst Office (LAO) released a cannabis tax updated that showed California collected $34 million in excise tax in the first quarter of 2018. The Governor’s January budget assumed that the state would collect about $175 million in the first two quarters of 2018, far more than what the state has seen so far. For some in the industry, the lower than expected tax revenues reflects the clumsy rollout of a statewide legal system. Primary among the concerns by many in the industry has been 1) the slow process from reviewing and approving licenses at the state level; 2) the high-cost of complying with state regulations; 3) the widespread prohibition of cannabis business activities in many of the state’s cities and counties and; 4) the high tax burden that incentivizes consumers to buy in the illicit market.

Later today, the Governor will release his May Revise with updated estimates and potential funding and policy changes that may directly impact the industry. I will provide a brief recap of the Governor’s May Revision this week.

Does a Temporary Tax Reduction Have Legs?

On Tuesday, the Assembly Business and Professions Committee voted unanimously to temporarily suspend the cannabis cultivation tax and reduce the excise tax for three years. Supporters of AB 3157 say that California’s high tax rate makes it almost impossible for legal operators to compete against illicit operations that do not pay licensing fees or state and local taxes. Opponents of the bill say that the temporary tax reduction is premature, and the real problem lies at the local level where more than half of the state’s local jurisdictions have refused to allow cannabis business activity. In addition, education and mental health groups believe that the tax reduction will reduce much need funding to support youth drug prevention and equity programs in communities that were impacted the most by the war on drugs.

The Committee did express concern over the state’s ability to repay the outstanding loan of $135 million that was provided to state agencies to fund enforcement and oversight. As written in Proposition 64, taxes collected must be first used to cover he administrative costs of state agencies to implement cannabis laws. The next stop for AB 3157 is the Assembly Appropriations Committee. Stay tuned.

New York is Coming to California

Earlier this week, Etain, a women-owned and managed New York based medical cannabis company announced that they have joined forces with delivery company West Sacramento Management and Daily Green to produce and deliver products beginning this month. As one of ten medical dispensaries in Manhattan, Etain’s expansion into the Golden State follows approval in their home state to offer a water-soluble marijuana powder to medical patients. Approval for the water-soluble solution comes after New York regulators search for ways to jumpstart the state’s medical marijuana program in which growth has stalled since its approval in early 2016. Etain’s move to California is another in a series of investments by non-California businesses and investors. Recently, CannaRoyalty, a Canadian-based cannabis company announced several acquisitions of distribution assets throughout Northern California. The recent moves by both of these companies could signal more to come.

The State’s Cannabis Control Advisory Committee Meets in Oakland

Next Thursday, May 17, the Bureau of Cannabis Control’s Advisory Committee meets in Oakland California to discuss possible action on recommendations to modify the state’s licensing application, manufacturing and microbusiness requirements. The discussion will also include potential pathways on how to proceed with approved recommendations that require statutory change. Click here to review the agenda.


Questions about the budget, legislative or regulatory process? Contact us here or by email at info@thecannabisfile.com.

The Top 5 Cannabis Related Bills Currently in the California Legislature

Capitol Pic

In the 2018 California Legislative Session, at least 40 bills have been introduced that are cannabis related. Here are the top five bills that are currently being tracked by the industry.

Temporary Events

AB 2020 (Quirk) expands where cannabis events could be held, as long as the local governing entity approves. Current law limits cannabis events to the state’s 23 county fairgrounds or 52 active district agricultural associations, and many in the industry argue that these limits have stifled economic opportunities for both cannabis businesses and the local governments that support commercial cannabis activities in their communities. A Similar bill, AB 2641 (Wood) would also allow the Bureau of Cannabis Control to issue a temporary retailer license for cultivators and manufacturers to sell their products at events. Both bills were heard and passed out of their first policy committee and are now awaiting a hearing in the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

Workplace Protections

AB 2069 (Bonta) would prohibit employers from discriminating against employees who are treating a known physical or mental disability or medical condition with medical cannabis and has a medical marijuana ID card. The bill does not prevent employers from disciplining or even firing employees that are under the influence while at work, but does provide a level of protection for employees that use marijuana outside of work and test positive for cannabis. The bill faces significant opposition from employers, including the California Chamber of Commerce. Their argument is that the bill will place additional burdens on the employer and hinder their ability to effectively manage the workplace. The bill passed out of the first policy committee and is currently awaiting a hearing in the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

Temporary Tax Reduction

AB 3157 (Lackey) would temporarily suspend the cultivation tax and lower the cannabis excise tax from 15% to 11% until 2021. In March, we covered the potential impacts of what a reduction would mean for local enforcement and oversight and the industry. The bill passed its first legislative hurdle on a unanimous 8 – 0 bi-partisan vote. The bill now heads to its second policy committee and will be heard on May 8, 2018, at 9:30a.m. in the Assembly Business and Professions Committee.

Statewide Banking Solution

SB 930 (Hertzberg) would create a statewide-chartered banking system to allow California banks to offer basic services to cannabis businesses. This bill, sponsored by Board of Equalization Board Member and State Treasurer candidate, Fiona Ma has received significant support early in the legislative process and passed from both the Senate Banking and Financial Institutions and the Senate Governance and Finance on a 7 – 0 and 6 – 1 vote, respectively. The bill now heads to the Senate Appropriations Committee where it will most likely be heard in May.

Local Deliveries

SB 1302 (Lara) would prohibit cities and counties, including chartered cities from banning cannabis deliveries in their jurisdiction. This bill is an attempt to enforce the intent of Proposition 64 which was to create a statewide legal adult-use system. However, in the first few months since legalization, at least 75% of the state’s cities and counties ban the deliver of both medical and recreational cannabis in their area. The bill has strong support from the industry, and faces stiff opposition from cities and counties. The bill faces its first legislative test on May 2, 2018, at 9:30a.m. in the Senate Governance and Finance Committee.


Do you have questions about legislation in California? Please contact us at info@thecannabisfile.com or here.

Would a Local Supermajority Vote Requirement For Fees and Taxes Hurt the Promise of California’s Statewide Legal Cannabis System?

thought-catalog-545969-unsplash.jpg
Photo by Thought Catalog

A proposed November ballot initiative currently in the signature gathering phase could push many local governments further towards the prohibition of cannabis business activities in their area.

The Tax Fairness, Transparency and Accountability Act of 2018 would require all local fees and taxes to be approved by a two-thirds vote.

The initiative, sponsored by the California Business Roundtable argues that one of the main purposes of the measure is to overturn the “loophole” created by Cannabis Coalition v. City of Upland.

The case involved a 2014 initiative in Upland, CA that would repeal the city’s prohibition on medical marijuana dispensaries, create regulations permitting medical dispensaries, and would imposed a $75,000 annual licensing and inspection fee to cover Upland’s administrative costs.

The proponents of the initiative requested that the measure be considered at a special election, but the City of Upland believed that the annual licensing and inspection fee was actually a tax and therefore, belonged on the general election ballot as required by Proposition 218 passed in 1996.

The coalition challenged the City and initially the lower court sided with Upland. The California Appeals Court reversed the lower court’s decision and the California Supreme Court upheld the Appeal Court’s reversal.

In the majority’s opinion, the Supreme Court ruled that nothing in the State’s Constitution prohibited or restricted citizens’ to place a measure on the ballot to approve fees or taxes. What was left uncertain in the opinion, however was whether or not citizens’ initiatives are subject to the Prop. 218 two-thirds vote threshold required for local government sponsored initiatives. And that’s where the currently proposed initiative comes into play.

The sponsors of the current initiative, the California Business Roundtable, made of some of the state’s largest companies including Wells Fargo, Albertsons, KB Home, Blackstone Group, Chevron and others, argues that the proposed ballot initiative will close this loophole by ensuring all fee and tax proposals meet the high two-thirds threshold.

This measure, however, could have much broader impacts that stated or anticipated. Since the passage of Proposition 64 in 2016, one of the main sticking points in many local jurisdictions has centered around the ability of local governments to collect an fair and appropriate amount of fees and taxes to support local law enforcement and programs with cannabis generated tax revenue. Recently, the O.C. Register released a database that showed that fewer than one in three California cities allows any cannabis business activity in their area.

If a two-thirds vote requirement is required to implement local cannabis-related fees and taxes to cover enforcement and oversight administration, where’s the incentive for local governments to adopt cannabis friendly business policies? The “carrot” included in Prop. 64, was the ability for cities and counties to raise revenues to fund local priorities. With a higher-vote threshold, it’s not hard to imagine many of the local jurisdictions that are still on the fence will decide to sit on their hands and not approve cannabis business activity in their area. Without easy access to licensed retailers statewide, consumers will continue to be forced into to buy their products from the illicit market.

As of this article, the proposed initiative had gathered 25% of the signatures needed to qualify for the November ballot. The coalition has until July 25, 2018, to gather all 585,407 valid signatures to qualify.


Questions about the initiative process? Contact us here or at info@thecannabisfile.com.

Is the “Partisan” Divide Over Cannabis Crumbling?

mahdis-mousavi-327389-unsplash.jpg
Photo by mahdis mousavi

Over the past week, the Democrat vs. Republican divide on cannabis appeared to weaken as a prominent Republican made an announcement signaling a level of support for medical and legal adult-use of cannabis.

Last Wednesday, former House Speaker John Boehner announced that he had joined the board of a national cannabis business, and shared that his views on cannabis have evolved over the years to support legal use of medical marijuana. The announcement by was 180 degree turn from a few years ago when Boehner took a hardline stance against legalization. While some say Boehner’s change of heart is merely a reflection of his opportunity to cash-in on a growing industry, others believe that his evolved stance reflects the changing attitudes of Americans and marijuana.

Aside from the various and significant medical benefits of cannabis, one of the direct benefits of legalizing marijuana use is the opportunity to create good paying jobs for people, especially in rural areas.

In a review of Colorado’s legal cannabis industry by New Frontier Data, a cannabis research firm, over 18,000 new jobs were created in the first  three years of legalized use. Of those, nearly 13,000 were full-time positions directly involved in the cannabis sector, and the remaining were created in auxiliary services such accountants, construction, legal, real estate, and other business services.

In California, two studies from the University of Pacific found that the potential for strong economic output and job creation in Sacramento and rural Calaveras County are significant. In their analysis, both Sacramento and Calaveras County were expected to create several thousand new jobs for two regions that have seen relatively stagnant job growth over the last decade. While these reports focused on two specific areas in California, their general assumptions could be applied to many of the rural counties and cities across the state.

Moving forward, as city councils and boards of supervisors debate whether or not to allow cannabis businesses in their jurisdiction, the positive economic impact and job creation potential has to be a part of the discussion.


Questions on how to get involved with your local city council or board of supervisors? Contact us here or at info@thecannabisfile.com.

How Has California’s Legal Cannabis Market Performed in the First Quarter of 2018?

carlos-muza-84523-unsplash
Photo by Carlos Muza

On Tuesday, the Sacramento Bee reported that in the first few months of legalized adult-use, gross retail sales of cannabis is about 13% or $44 million lower than original state estimates. While this may seem disconcerting to some, there are several key caveats to the data.

First, licensing agencies are currently in the process of reviewing and approving temporary and annual licenses for businesses across the supply chain. In the 2017-18 California State Budget, the Legislature approved several million dollars and hundreds of positions to staff the three main licensing agencies and various support departments. Despite this influx of resources, the state is currently in the process of hiring the necessary staff to process the thousands of applications received since January 1. As the state hires additional staff, the industry can expect to see more licenses approved and a potential increase in overall amount of retail sales.

Second, many in the industry cite the high regulatory fees and tax rates as a serious impediment for businesses that seek to enter into the legal market. As we covered here, several California legislators have called for an immediate and temporary reduction in the cultivation and excise tax rate with the intent of leveling the playing field for business in the legal market. The California Growers Association estimates that with tax rates averaging between 40% – 60%, legal retailers find it extremely difficult to compete with the illicit market. AB 3157, which attempts to provide some relief by suspending the cultivation tax and lowering the excise tax from 15% to 11% for three years, is up for its first committee hearing April 23, in the Assembly Revenue and Taxation Committee.

Finally, the refusal of local governments in many parts of the state to allow cannabis businesses to operate has created what some have called a “pot desert.” On Tuesday, the OC Register unveiled a database that showed that nearly one in seven California cities had approved the retail sale of cannabis within their boundaries. The data also showed that in certain parts of the state, consumers are required to travel fifty miles or more to purchase from a licensed or recreational retailer. This inability for consumers to purchase cannabis products from licensed retailers close to home frustrates efforts to create a truly statewide legal adult-use system.

Despite the seemingly lower than expected economic activity in the newly legal cannabis market, there is reason to be optimistic for the foreseeable future. Stayed tuned for future updates on the status of the California’s cannabis industry.


Questions about any of the topics covered in this post? Contact us here or at info@thecannabisfile.com.

Is Your Temporary License About To Expire? How To Avoid a Costly Interruption In Your Business Operations.

g-crescoli-468248-unsplash.jpg
Photo by G. Crescoli

Is your temporary cannabis business license about to expire? Today, California’s Bureau of Cannabis Control (BCC) and the Department of Public Health (DPH) sent a reminder that temporary licenses for cannabis event organizers, distributors, manufacturers, microbusinesses, retailers, and testing laboratories that were issued effective January 1, 2018, are set to expire at the end of April.

The law does allow for a temporary license to be extended for 90 days, but only if an application for an annual license has been submitted before the temporary license expires.

If your temporary license is about to expire, take the necessary steps now to ensure that you do not lose your ability to operate. A business that does not receive an extension or an annual license before their temporary license expires is not allowed to operate in the legal market.

One difference between the temporary and annual license application process is the requirement that a Live Scan fingerprinting be conducted for each person who qualifies as an “owner” of the business. An owner is defined as a person with an aggregate interest of 20% or more in a cannabis business and must have their fingerprints scanned an included in the application process.

This also serves as a great reminder to ensure those businesses in your supply chain are also fully licensed. One of the major threats to the long-term stability and success of your business is to have links in the supply chain that are not properly licensed, as the product supplied by these entities is considered “illegal” and subject to forfeiture by local and state authorities.


Questions?

If you have any questions related to applying for an annual license or learning more about who qualifies as an owner, contact us here or at info@thecannabisfile.com.

Legislative Alert – April 2, 2018

 

Capitol

As the California Legislature returns from Spring Recess, policy committees will begin hearing bills to meet the April 27, deadline to report all bills with a fiscal impact to the Appropriations Committee. Here’s a list of bills that have been scheduled for a hearing over the next few weeks.

AB 1741 (Bonta) Cannabis: taxation: electronic funds transfer. This bill, until January 1, 2022, would allow cannabis businesses to pay their taxes with cash. Currently, the Department of Tax and Fee Administration (CDTFA) requires all tax amounts owed over $10,000 to be remitted electronically, or the taxpayer can request a hardship exemption. Without a current solution to provide stable bank services to the industry, taxes will mostly likely continue to be paid primarily in cash. This bill requires a two-thirds vote by the Legislature.

This bill is scheduled to be heard in the Assembly Revenue and Taxation Committee on April 16, at 2:30p.m.

AB 2058 (Chau) Vehicles: driving under the influence: statistics. This bill requires law enforcement agencies to submit annual reports with the number of cannabis-related DUI arrests to the Department of Motor Vehicles. One of the key concerns by public safety groups in all states that have legalized recreational adult-use is that DUI incidents go up after legalization. AB 2058 appears to be an effort to gather the data to really see if that’s the case.

This bill is scheduled to be heard in the Assembly Transportation Committee on April 9, at 2:30p.m.

AB 2641 (Wood) Temporary Events. This bill would authorize the Bureau of Cannabis Control (BCC) to issue a temporary event license, and would allow cultivators and manufacturers to directly market and sell their products at special events. This bill has industry support and requires a two-thirds vote of the Legislature.

This bill is scheduled to be heard in the Assembly Business and Professions Committee on April 10, at 9:30a.m.

AB 2810 (Levine) Sun-Grown Cannabis Commission. This bill creates the Sun-Grown Cannabis Commission that will be comprised of six outdoor cannabis cultivators, two cannabis cultivators that have an “Outdoor” or “Mixed-light Tier 1” license, and one public member that is appointed by the Secretary of Food and Ag. The Commission would have powers to conduct research, assess and address the impact of local and state regulations on cannabis products.

This bill is scheduled to be heard in the Assembly Agriculture Committee on April 11, at 1:30p.m.

SB 930 (Hertzberg) Financial institutions: cannabis. This bill creates the Cannabis Limited Charter Banking Law, that would allow banks to offer basic financial services to the cannabis industry. Click here to read our initial analysis of the bill.

This bill is scheduled to be heard in the Senate Banking and Financial Institutions Committee on April 18, at 1:30p.m.

SB 1409 (Wilk) Industrial hemp. This bill would delete the requirement that industrial hemp seed cultivars be certified on or before January 1, 2013, in order to be included on the list of approved hemp seed cultivars. The bill would also remove the definition “industrial hemp” from the California Uniform Controlled Substances Act as a fiber or oilseed crop, and delete the requirement that industrial hemp be grown as a fiber or oilseed crop, or both. This update of hemp seed cultivation law could help spur the use of hemp for CBD products.

This bill is scheduled to be heard in the Senate Agriculture Committee on April 3, at 9:30a.m.


Questions about legislation? Contact us at info@thecannabisfile.com or here.

 

Weekly Roundup – March 30, 2018

cris-dinoto-319209-unsplash.jpg
Photo by Cris DiNoto on Unsplash
  • California’s tax collector issues a reminder on how to collect excise tax for retailers.
  • California’s three licensing agencies release an online search tool to find licensed cannabis business across the state.
  • Former NFL player partners with a Southern California lab to develop and distribute cannabis products.
  • Canadian cannabis company acquires California heavyweight distributor, RVR to expand it’s presence in the state.

Taxes, please.

On Monday, the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration (CDTFA) issued a reminder for retailers on how to collect the cannabis excise tax from their customers. With the first quarter of the fiscal year closing March 31, quarterly return must be filed by April 30. Click here to view the Department’s prepayment and quarterly reporting due dates.

The Administration is eagerly waiting to see how much the state collects in taxes generated from legal cannabis sales. In January, Governor Brown released his constitutionally-mandated budget proposal, and estimates the state will generate approximately $600 million in new cannabis taxes in FY 2018-19. When the Legislative Analyst Office (LAO) analyzed the fiscal impacts of Proposition 64, they conservatively estimated that state and local governments would collection in the high hundreds of millions of dollars to over a $1 billion in annual tax revenue. The state will have a clearer picture when the Governor’s May Revision is released in mid-April. Stay tuned.

Where are all the licensed cannabis businesses in California?

On Wednesday, California’s Bureau of Cannabis Control (BCC) announced an online tool to find state licensed cannabis businesses. According to the Bureau, California’s three licensing agencies (BCC, Department of Food and Agriculture, and Department of Public Health) have issued a combined 5,300+ licenses to date. One of the major complaints among many in the industry is that the state has been slow to grant licenses for major parts of the supply chain creating a major bottle neck. It now appears that the state is making progress on that front. The Bureau also released a list of licensed event organizer entities. Below are the links to the search tools for the three agencies and the list of event organizers:

Bureau of Cannabis Control

Department of Food and Agriculture

Department of Public Health

List of Licensed Event Organizers

Former NFL superstar launches cannabis business in Southern California

Former NFL star and Heisman Trophy winner, Ricky Williams has teamed up with a laboratory in El Cajon, California to develop herbal-based wellness products to be distributed throughout Southern California. Williams spent over a decade of his life as a professional football player, and knows the constant stream of aches, pains, and injuries that come from battering his opponents on Sunday. Williams was also a controversial figure in the NFL for his early embrace of cannabis as alternative pain relieving method to traditional pain killers.

Williams’ business, Real Wellness offers a unique line of products that combines CBD and THC with herbal extracts such as arnica, lavender, and turmeric. The news of Williams’ entry into the cannabis market follows recent news that fellow NFL player and Hall of Famer, Joe Montana has also benefitted from the pain relieving properties in cannabis. In is post-professional football life, Montana has been a vocal advocate in support of the pain reducing properties of cannabis, and has invested in cannabis technology company, Herb, to educate the public and athletes on cannabis.

Studies have shown that professional football players are four times more likely to abuse painkiller medication as average Americans. Recently, the NFL Commission, Roger Goodell made comments that while the league does not support recreational use, the league is open to allowing players to use cannabis for pain management. The league is currently studying the issue. More to be seen.

Canadian cannabis company expands in California

On Tuesday, the Canadian cannabis company, CannaRoyalty announced that they had acquired West Sacramento based distributor, River Distribution (RVR). The move consolidates RVR with Alta Supply, an Oakland based distributor creating what is poised to be the leading distribution company in Northern California, if not the state. According to CannaRoyalty, Alta Supply and River Distribution generated a combined ~$30 million in revenues in fiscal year 2017. The acquisition of both companies by a Canadian firm is part of a larger investment by Canadian-based companies investing in California’s legal market. What can we expect next from the Canadians? We will see.


Questions about any of these topics? Contact us here or at info@thecannabisfile.com

 

Is the Rohrabacher–Blumenauer Amendment the new “Cole Memo”?

Last week, Congress passed and the President signed a $1.3 trillion spending package that will keep the government funded through the end of September.

jomar-271602-unsplash.jpg
Photo by Jomar on Unsplash

The deal included increased spending for the military, space exploration, and opioid addiction and research programs. The spending plan also included a provision, commonly known as the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer Amendment (RBA) that prohibits the U.S. Department of Justice from using federal funds to prosecute medical marijuana businesses in states that have medical cannabis laws.

With the repeal of the “Cole Memo” by Attorney Jeff Sessions in January, the RBA stands as one of the last protections state’s have against federal interference in their medical marijuana markets. Unfortunately, the RBA is only temporary and does not address states that have legalized recreational adult-use.

Several attempts to settle the issue once and for all have been introduced with bi-partisan support, but have failed each time in the House of Representatives. Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX), Chairman of the House Rules Committee, has killed a number of bills that would bring the federal policy in line with states that have adopted marijuana policies.

Under the current Administration and with Republican control of Congress, it seems unlikely that a permanent federal solution is near. However, the industry can breathe a slight breath of relief between now and September.


Questions about the federal spending package and its impact on the cannabis industry? Reach out to us at info@thecannabisfile.com or click here.