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Spotted: Philip Morris chimes in on Germany’s cannabis bill.
In the course of covering this week’s hearing in the health committee of Germany’s parliament, we spotted a noteworthy name in the submitted opinions on the draft adult use bill: Philip Morris GmbH.
Their focus, at least for this particular submission, was straightforward and more related to their tobacco products than to cannabis: they want German lawmakers to consider “smoking” and “vaping” to be two distinct things.
In effect, this would mean that people would have more leeway when it comes to where they vape.
New York judge sides with hemp companies.
In August, a group of hemp companies sued regulators over emergency regs adopted in July that set the ratio of allowable CBD to THC in a hemp product at 15:1, with a limit of 10 mg of THC per package.
Yesterday, in the case of North Fork Distribution, Inc. et al v. New York State Cannabis Control Board et al, an Albany County Supreme Court judge sided with the hemp companies, and found that “the balances of the equities tips in favor of petitioners” who would lose their livelihoods as a result of these regulations.
“Now there is no easy answer. Both sides have merit. And different judges may weigh these two compelling interests differently. Equity does not operate with mathematical precision. Rather, equity, like beauty, rests in the eye of the beholder,” Justice Thomas Marcelle wrote in his decision.
“The court hoped respondents would have acted with deliberate speed in issuing permanent regulations,” he continued. “But they have not done so. Consequently, the court must exercise its discretion.”
Ultimately, he ordered that regulators “are restrained, prohibited and enjoined from enforcing” the emergency regulations.
CRS report explores economic impact of recreational cannabis legalization.
A new Congressional Research Report titled “Recreational Marijuana and Economic Development” tries to lay out the economic benefits of legalization, as both advocates and some members of Congress have made these arguments. It’s not easy, though, due to the nascent nature of the industry, and federal barriers.
But while data are spotty, the report notes how the federal government could start collecting more, and better, data.
“There are limited federal data sources concerning marijuana’s potential economic impact. Should Congress wish to collect more information on recreational marijuana’s potential impacts on economic development, it could consider directing [Bureau of Labor Statistics] (BLS) or [Bureau of Economic Analysis] (BEA), or other agencies to develop and collect metrics related to marijuana,” the authors wrote. “Obtaining such information from nonpartisan sources could help provide context for any potential legislative pursuits.”
The report also notes that cannabis-related job growth has been uneven across states, with some states with older programs experiencing some of the greatest losses. Going forward, the industry may face challenges, including potential declines in growth over time. The COVID-19 pandemic has also had an impact on the cannabis industry, with some evidence suggesting short-term increased cannabis use during the pandemic.
If Congress moves to change the federal scheduling of cannabis, the report notes, Congress will likely need to address policy areas like taxation, and access to financial services, in order to fully understand and leverage its potential economic benefits.
On the tax question, there’s much to weigh. For example, high taxes could push consumers to the illicit market, “in turn jeopardizing recreational marijuana’s economic potential.” Still, higher taxes could also dissuade potential cannabis consumers, particularly those who are unlikely to source from the unregulated market, from ever consuming at all, “which may be a policy goal for some lawmakers.”
“In this way, public health and economic development goals for recreational marijuana could, to some extent, be at odds,” the authors concluded.
ATACH hosts stakeholder call on rescheduling.
Yesterday, ATACH hosted a “Briefing for Market Analysts on Marijuana Scheduling Action.”
The conversation included: Charlie Bachtell, CEO of Cresco Labs and co-chair of ATACH’s Capital Markets Council; Adam Goers, SVP of corporate affairs at Columbia Care and the co-chair of the Coalition for Cannabis Scheduling Reform; Andrew Kline of Perkins Coie; and Howard Sklamberg, the former FDA Deputy Commissioner for Global Regulatory Operations and Compliance.
Unsurprisingly, the conversation focused overwhelmingly on how Schedule III, which the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services recommended in August, would remove the 280E tax burden on the industry.
“Schedule III fixes 280E. I think we should put that on a bumper sticker somewhere. Schedule II does not. So for us, in the coalition, for this industry, it’s Schedule III or bust,” Kline said, summing up most of the sentiments around 280E during the call.
Later, Sklamberg touched upon one particular anxiety among industry stakeholders with regard to how rescheduling might affect state programs.
“I do not think that people should be worried at all about any kind of increased FDA enforcement role with respect to state cannabis programs based on the change in schedule to Schedule III. And I can’t be more emphatic about that,” he said.
And, finally, the timeframe question. It’s all tea leaf reading, but how long might the DEA take to decide on DHHS’ recommendation?
“I would be really shocked if it took DEA longer than the second quarter of next year to come up with its final rule,” he added.