This is just a glimpse. Want to receive every issue of Cannabis Wire Daily, our newsletter that is sent to subscribers each weekday morning, and unlimited access to cannabiswire.com?
NIH proposes a cannabis center.
The National Institutes of Health published an RFA last week for the creation of a Resource Center for Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research.
The rationale for the Center, according to the RFA, is that “despite widespread availability and established pharmaceutical potential, there are still significant barriers to conducting research.”
The NIH’s National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health has convened researchers in recent years to better identify some of those barriers, and they include, according to the RFA: “Schedule 1 Status designation for cannabis, challenges in obtaining and maintaining Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) registrations, issues related to Investigational New Drug (IND) applications, limited and inconsistently documented studies, lack of validated measures, the increasing diversity of cannabis products, and lack of medical education on cannabis for health care providers.”
The Center will be required to have three pillars: Regulatory Guidance, Research Standards, and Research Support.
Under Regulatory Guidance, for example, is to “organize regular meetings with DEA/FDA to receive updates regarding regulatory information relevant to researchers.” And under Research Standards is to “identify and disseminate information on high-quality cannabis research products and provide guidance on matching specific cannabis product vendors to the research objectives of investigators.” Research Support will involve disbursing seed funding to researchers, among other priorities.
The Center will receive an initial $1.4 million from the main NIH entities participating in this effort, which are: National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), National Institute on Aging (NIA), and National Cancer Institute (NCI).
Event recap, “Charting the Course: Cannabis Nightlife & Tourism Dominance.”
Cannabis Wire’s second event, with Councilmember Gale Brewer and Tom Harris, executive director of the Times Square Alliance, forecast how regulations could shape the next phase of the cannabis industry in New York, with a focus on New York’s designation as a global nightlife and tourism capital.
Interestingly, alcohol came up a few times. On one hand, Harris pointed toward an industry that has gone before cannabis that can give a blueprint.
“I sort of have paralleled this to alcohol. And I can see places for cannabis the same as bars, where you go in, you can buy, you can consume, and it should be regulated sort of the same way. So I can definitely see this evolving to that point,” Harris said.
Brewer gave an update on unlicensed shops in New York City, and also highlighted the consistent blame game between the city and the state. The city seems to point fingers at the state, the state points at the city.
“Liquor has a long history of regulation with state liquor authority. They don’t mess around,” Brewer said. “They have rules and regulations and people follow them. I’ve never heard of somebody saying anything, but, ‘oh, I better pay attention to the SLA.’ Who’s in charge of these shops?” Brewer said, referencing unlicensed sellers that regulators can’t seem to shut down.
Consumption lounges will present some regulatory challenges. First, should they be open 24 hours a day? Should the lounges allow more smoking than has been allowed in New York City in decades?
“I think that we would be open for what the demand was for the establishment,” Harris said, noting that he’s not in favor of a 24-hour model. “We certainly wouldn’t say no right away. In general, we don’t say no to anything. We say, ‘How can it work? What are the legalities of it?'”
Brewer said that if a cannabis consumption space was as “quiet as the good bars are, there’s lots of bars that have wonderful neighborhood support there.”
What about New Year’s Eve in Times Square?
“As far as smoking in the pedestrian plazas, which is a part of the event, it’s banned. So you would have to make sure that you were on the Seventh Avenue side and not the Broadway Side in the bow tie,” Harris said, referring a densely populated area of Times Square.
“Otherwise, technically, it would be a violation. But I mean, look, it’s, you know, it’s a free country.”
And, what about a cannabis company that might want to get a lot of free advertising among the sea of Planet Fitness blow ups? Dress warmly.
“They would have to get there early in order to get on the cameras. And I don’t know that — you know, there would have to be a lot of stick-to-itiveness and desire to be there for the entire day to do something like that,” Harris said.
Sanity Group gets in on Swiss pilot projects.
In 2021, Switzerland embarked upon an adult use pilot project, or, more specifically, a project within which several pilots would take place in select localities, such as Zurich and Geneva, to inform potential nationwide regulation of adult use.
Late last week, German cannabis company Sanity Group, which counts British American Tobacco among its investors, announced that its pilot in conjunction with the Swiss Institute for Addiction and Health Research received final approval from the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH), which is overseeing the pilots.
Further, their pilot, titled Grashaus Projects BL, will be the first to include a standalone cannabis shop. Up to 4,000 adults will be able to participate in the study, which will focus on “whether the structured and controlled sale of high-quality, organically grown cannabis by trained sales personnel in cannabis shops can shift consumption towards a reduction in the harm caused, a reduction in illegal use and the associated problems, and improvements from a health (physical), psychological and social perspective – overall a higher quality of life,” according to the FOPH’s description.
While Sanity Group is funding the pilot, the cannabis supply will come from its partner SwissExtract.
The first shop will open in Allschwil, and another is planned for Liestal.
More details emerge on Alabama’s new licensing plans.
Since June, the Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission has swung and missed twice on licensing rounds that were later voided, as we’ve reported in this newsletter.
A quick recap: In the first round, in June, 24 licenses were awarded. Then, those were tossed due to scoring issues. New licenses were awarded in August, and then tossed after the Commission decided in September to reevaluate the licensing process. In the middle of all that, the Commission was sued a couple of times, including by multistate operator Verano, which got a license in June but not in August. Then, earlier this month, AMCC voted to start again with revised rules around licensing.
This brings us to late last week, when AMCC met to dig in on what’s next and posted an announcement on its site about next steps. Here’s what we know:
First, the AMCC has “rescinded its previous medical cannabis business license awards and denials,” which means that the 90 applicants can try again. However, “the new procedures retain the previous score results, while also providing applicants with an opportunity to make a presentation to the Commission regarding matters identified in their application and their score results.”
The public presentations are scheduled as follows:
Nov. 27: Cultivator and State Testing Laboratory Applicants
Nov. 28: Secure Transporter and Processor Applicants
Nov. 29: Dispensary Applicants
Dec. 4 – 8: Integrated Facility Applicants
During the meeting, AMCC chair Rex Vaughn reiterated that AMCC has “full discretion” when it comes to awarding licenses, regardless of recommendations by a third party (in this case, AMCC worked with the University of South Alabama on scoring).
Licenses are set to be awarded on Dec. 1, with the exception of integrated facilities, which will be awarded on Dec. 12.