The first Democrat-led cannabis bill in the new Congress?
So far, three cannabis-related bills have been introduced in the new Congress, and they’re all from the GOP. Now, it looks like the first bill from a Democrat is forthcoming, and it will likely be the VA Medicinal Cannabis Research Act of 2023 from Senator Jon Tester. (Tester has previously introduced the Act.)
Cannabis Wire spotted the bill on the agenda for a U.S. Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs hearing that was scheduled for last week but ultimately postponed. Tester is the chair of the committee.
FDA selects contractor for cannabis data collection efforts.
Back in December, we reported that the FDA had published a “sources sought” notice for an entity that could help it collect data on cannabis-derived products, writing that “both the availability of and demand for cannabis-derived products (CDPs) have surged, prompting the FDA’s Cannabis Product Committee (CPC) to identify critical needs to address the Agency’s evidence gaps.”
Cannabis Wire spotted a new notice last week from the FDA that it “intends to negotiate on a sole source basis with S-3 Research LLC to provide services in support of the project.” The FDA also noted that it received only three responses to its December notice, of which only this entity “was determined to be the possible source for this requirement.”
“Additionally,” the FDA continued, “the nature of this requirement is deemed urgent due to unusual and compelling circumstances. Following competitive procedures would result in unacceptable delays concerning this project.”
Scotts Miracle-Gro CEO calls industry a “bloodbath.” But doubles down.
During the company’s Q1 2023 earnings call last week, CEO Jim Hagedorn talked about how tough the current moment is for the cannabis industry, but also doubled down on the company’s investments in the space.
On RIV and New York, he said: “From a regulatory perspective, New York has tripped over itself in developing and implementing rules which has prevented the market from reaching its near-term potential. But let me make this clear. New York will become a monster market, and we’ll see it through. There is progress and value in our investment with RIV.”
On the broader industry, which he later called a “bloodbath,” he said: “One final point on the cannabis industry. When it does recover, and it will, growers will be ready to invest in capex. We will be there to support the turnaround. Consolidation is happening in the industry, and we see opportunities for high-value, no-cash partnerships to further strengthen Hawthorne’s ability to provide value-added and innovative solutions to growers.”
Chris Hagedorn, who is on RIV’s board, said about New York: “New York, yeah, look, it’s—right now, I think anyone who walks down the street in Manhattan and steps into a corner bodega sees that there’s a thriving illicit market there. That is not something we expect to persist over the course of many years. When the legal market there becomes the standard, which it will, we believe RIV and Etain are positioned to be really—just to be—not—I wouldn’t say dominant in the state, but to take more than their fair share of the market just because of the resources they have at their disposal. So, it’s something we remain really enthusiastic about. Has the last year had discouraging moments? Of course, it has. And anyone who’s been involved in the cannabis industry, I think, knows that and has experienced it. But the commitment on our side, certainly on my side, remains pretty firm. And I think the upside that we’ve seen, it’s pushed out a little bit, but the end thesis is still in place.”