What’s next for Germany’s adult use bill?
During a meeting this week of the EU’s Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council (EPSCO) in Brussels, Germany’s Health Minister Karl Lauterbach provided some updates on a forthcoming adult use bill.
To refresh: as Cannabis Wire reported in October, Lauterbach said he would float a 12-page paper on the “key issues” related to the “controlled sale of recreational cannabis to adults” by the European Commission before it is turned into draft legislation.
His comments provide the most meaningful updates since then.
In short, he got “very good feedback” from the Commission, and will provide a revised proposal “in the next few weeks,” according to German news channel n-tv.
He didn’t provide any updates on the changes, other than that the new plan better “conforms to European law.”
A new social impact transparency program rolls out in Denver.
Denver cannabis regulators have announced that they will launch a new program called Cannabis Cares on April 3.
Going forward, each cannabis business licensee that submits a new or renewal application is required to submit a “social impact plan” that will be made public. The licensees will have the option to select activities that fall under one of five areas, which are, according to the announcement, community engagement, social equity, diversity and inclusion, sustainability, and contracting with minority-owned businesses.
Licensees will be able to earn “badges” that they can then display to consumers.
Acreage makes its case in NY. How will regulators respond?
When it comes to allowing existing medical cannabis operators into the adult use market, New York regulators have taken a novel approach.
Most states (including neighboring Connecticut and New Jersey) allow these existing medical cannabis operators to start adult use sales first. But in New York, as Cannabis Wire has reported, existing medical cannabis licensees, of which there are fewer than a dozen, known as registered organizations (ROs), have been told to wait their turn.
Regulators have committed to ensuring that the first shops that open are operated by “justice-involved” individuals, or related non-profits. So far, that has been the case, with four shops open (and another opening this week). Depending on who you ask, this pace is a byproduct of getting it right, or, this is an unacceptable delay.
Under adult use rules proposed in November, which are currently being revised according to public comment, these companies will have to pony up an initial $5 million to join the adult use industry, with other fees to follow, and those that want to sell adult use cannabis will have to wait three years after the first adult use sales transaction takes place. One reason is that these operators would be the only vertically integrated licensees in the adult use market if they choose to join it (all current medical cannabis licensees are vertically integrated).
So, with this context, it’s of little surprise that these licensees, which are some of the biggest cannabis companies in the country, have been pushing back.
An overt push came on Tuesday with the release of a new report commissioned by Acreage, which operates The Botanist medical cannabis shops in New York. The report makes the case that the state’s current approach will ultimately allow illegal operators to thrive and lead to the loss of jobs and tax revenue.
“The state tried to initiate an inclusive cannabis market based on restorative justice for those historically impacted by the War on Drugs; unfortunately, the delayed licensing rollout put the state’s legal industry in a precarious position as illicit actors fill the vacuum and serve consumers,” said Bryan Murray, EVP of Government Relations for Acreage, in a statement.
“New York is expected to be one of the largest cannabis markets in the U.S. There is room for all players, and New York has a full bench of players ready to play the game. Why won’t they let us help them win?”
It remains to be seen whether regulators make any changes to the language related to ROs in the revised adult use rules, but we’ll be watching.