New Jersey regulators renew Curaleaf’s license.
Well, that was fast. Just days after rejecting the renewal of Curaleaf’s adult use licenses in the state, as Cannabis Wire reported in this newsletter, the Cannabis Regulatory Commission reversed course.
The CRC held an emergency meeting on Monday to renew Curaleaf’s licenses, but with conditions.
By the next CRC meeting, Curaleaf must “provide the board” with “evidence of good faith efforts” to “negotiate a collective bargaining agreement at each facility,” must “produce any records, documents, and the like requested by the board that concern its intentions to modify their New Jersey operations,” and must provide information “regarding its good faith efforts to hire” employees and contractors that meet certain criteria.
Commissioner Krista Nash requested to make a statement after the vote.
“Last week’s CRC meeting appears to have been a wake-up call for many cannabis companies doing business in New Jersey. Apparently, some companies did not understand or appreciate their obligations as it concerns labor relations with their employees and their representatives. If the meeting served to remind companies of that obligation, then the CRC has done its job. Let me make this very clear: it is time that we favor people over profits,” she said.
She continued: “In my opinion, Curaleaf, in several of its locations, had not complied with the mandatory labor provisions set forth in the law, and that alone was reason to deny their application for renewal. I base my opinion on several factors, including public testimony from workers and the union, stating that the company has not been compliant with the law. At this juncture, the cannabis industry in this state is at a crossroads. Either we hold true to the law and protect the hard-working men and women of New Jersey who want their wages and working conditions, or we can reward bad behavior and ignore these mandates for the sake of money and profits.”
She concluded: “The conditions contained in these resolutions presented today offer Curaleaf a second chance to course-correct. I hesitate but will support giving this opportunity if only for the sake of the workers. In my role as a commissioner, I will always choose to protect the workers of New Jersey, and I am hopeful that Curaleaf will do the same with this conditional approval.”
Shortly after the CRC meeting, Curaleaf chair Boris Jordan put out a statement calling the decision a “victory for Curaleaf,” adding that the company “will continue working collaboratively with the CRC Board and its staff to ensure our good standing in the State of New Jersey.”
Small Business Tax Equity Act would solve IRS headaches for cannabis industry.
Yesterday, Congressman Earl Blumenauer, co-chair of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus, introduced the Small Business Tax Equity Act which could solve the IRS 280E issues by creating a carve out for cannabis businesses that are state-legal and compliant.
Plant-touching cannabis companies cannot deduct the same business expenses as other businesses because cannabis remains a federal Schedule I substance.
“State-legal cannabis businesses are denied equal treatment under 280E. They cannot fully deduct the cost of doing business which means they pay two or three times as much as a similar non-cannabis business,” Blumenauer said in a statement.
“This grotesquely unfair treatment incentivizes people to cut corners. If Congress wants to get serious about supporting small businesses and ending the illicit cannabis market, it is commonsense that we allow legal cannabis operations to deduct business expenses, just like any other industry.”
The bill drew support from the Minority Cannabis Business Association, the National Cannabis Roundtable, the National Cannabis Industry Association, and NORML.
Nat’l regulators group calls for Congress to act on hemp loopholes.
The Cannabis Regulators Association (CANNRA) sent a letter to Congressional leaders calling for a regulatory framework for hemp-derived cannabinoid products like delta-8 THC.
The letter specifically calls out how the 2018 Farm Bill, while “drafted with a focus on agricultural commodities and non-intoxicating hemp products,” ultimately “created a thriving market for intoxicating cannabinoid products that fit within the definition of ‘hemp.'”
CANNRA said that state cannabis regulators have noted three types of loopholes that are being exploited: the “0.3% loophole,” the “THCA loophole,” and the “derivatives loophole.”
CANNRA provided 10 considerations for members of Congress as the 2023 Farm Bill discussions pick up:
• “Explicitly separating regulation of conventional agricultural and industrial hemp (e.g., food, fiber, seed, grain) from regulation of cannabinoid hemp products, and clarifying the definition of hemp in the Farm Bill to state that the 0.3% THC threshold only applies to plants, not to finished products
• Having federal regulations that set a floor, while allowing states to implement more restrictive regulations without being preempted by federal law;
• Identifying appropriate limits for THC and other cannabinoids in finished products, including approaches that address full-spectrum products (which can contain high amounts of THC), approaches to determine a threshold for THC at which a majority of people will not be intoxicated, and approaches to prevent the sale of any potentially intoxicating cannabinoid product to minors;
• Addressing “total THC” (including THCA) in hemp regulations generally, rather than just in the context of pre-harvest crop testing;
• Implementing labeling requirements that inform consumers of the cannabinoid composition of the products they purchase, including the total milligrams of THC in the serving size and product;
• Implementing manufacturing and testing requirements on all cannabinoid hemp products to ensure that products are free from contaminants and potentially harmful byproducts;
• Regulating intermediate and finished-product manufacturers, including safe harbor for crude or in-process hemp extracts that exceed 0.3% THC in the manufacturing process but are ultimately processed into federally compliant finished products;
• Regulating the manufacture and sale of semisynthetic “derivative” products (e.g. products derived chemically from materials sourced from hemp) in a way that ensures consumer safety;
• Developing a regulatory approach to address the manufacture of any synthetic (e.g., cannabinoids made chemically) and biosynthetic (e.g., cannabinoids derived from genetically modified yeast or algae) cannabinoids or products to ensure consumer safety;
• Engaging essential federal agencies that should have regulatory oversight over cannabinoid hemp products, including not only the US Department of Agriculture, but also the Food and Drug Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency, and if a tax mechanism is being considered, the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax & Trade Bureau.”
+ More: Gillian Shauer, CANNRA’s executive director, spoke at a virtual event hosted by the Council for Federal Cannabis Regulation last month, as Cannabis Wire reported.
Shauer called intoxicating hemp products the “biggest threat to the regulated market experiment that we’ve seen.” Shauer called for federal engagement on the topic, specifically to set some “minimum standards that could create that harmony.”
“There is a void of federal engagement in this space on the regulatory landscape. And state regulators need federal engagement to help with harmonization because cannabis and hemp laws are increasingly being made through state legislatures,” Shauer said.
“Consumer safety is one of the biggest challenges that regulators face in this space, and trying to figure out how best to protect consumers with this new avenue through which we’re seeing cannabinoid products.”