Lawsuits Challenging Hemp Laws Reflect New Cannabis Rift and More

In the days of the Armada, a fleet of warships, the scuttlebutt was the rumor or gossip that would spread throughout the ship. Today, Armada Law Corp presents The Scuttlebutt, a daily summery of news articles that people within the cannabis, hemp and plant medicine industries are chatting about along with links to the full articles.

In today’s news:

California’s Marijuana Market Remains Mired in Challenges

#californiacannabis – “While another 120 or so have also opened in other parts of the state – making the retail scene more of a net gain than a loss – a lot of businesses continue to struggle and many Los Angeles retailers, in particular, are looking to sell and exit, Jain said.

“The same listings in L.A. that were advertised for $3.5 million 18 months ago are now being listed for $1.5 million,” Jain said, referring to some dispensaries for sale. “For the first time in California, we’re seeing a wave of people voluntarily closing stores.”

By contrast, retailers that have set up shop in relatively unsaturated local areas – such as Fresno – appear to be doing quite well. But almost half of all of California’s marijuana shops are in just seven cities:

  • Los Angeles
  • San Francisco
  • Oakland
  • San Diego
  • Sacramento
  • Santa Rosa
  • Palm Springs

It’s this oversaturation that makes it hard for many retailers to survive…”

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California’s Cannabis Industry Struggles with Excessive Taxes, Local Control & Rising Illicit Market

#californiacannabis – “In a recent event held at Meadowlands in Mendocino County, the California Department of Cannabis Control (DCC) Director, Nicole Elliott, and Deputy Director of Compliance, Jeff Merriman, engaged with licensees and industry leaders to discuss crucial issues affecting the state’s cannabis industry….

California’s cannabis industry faces various challenges, including the dominance of the illicit market, business failures, and a decline in legal sales. Excessive taxes and local control requirements have exacerbated these issues. To achieve the goals set forth by Proposition 64 and create a thriving legal cannabis market, immediate changes are required. By implementing tax reforms and reevaluating local control regulations, California can foster a transparent, regulated, and equitable cannabis industry that benefits consumers, businesses, and the overall economy.”

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Switzerland To Establish First Legal Cannabis Dispensaries In Europe Amid Pilot Project

#cannabisindustry – “Switzerland’s health authority has been granted approval to establish the first legal adult-use cannabis dispensaries in Europe amid a pilot project.

Germany-based cannabis company Sanity Group and the Swiss Institute for Addiction and Health Research (ISGF) obtained this week the final approval from the Federal Office of Public Health (BAG) to launch a cannabis pilot study in Basel-Landschaft (Baselland). This approval comes after receiving the green light from the Ethics Committee Northwest and Central Switzerland last year.

The study, known as the “Grashaus Projects,” is scheduled to start later this year. Its primary goal is to gain a deeper understanding of the consequences of regulated cannabis availability. The knowledge gained from this study will play a pivotal role in shaping potential cannabis regulations in Switzerland.”

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From The Big Apple To The Silver State: Essential Cannabis Policy Enacted Across The Country

#cannabisindustry – “New York’s inaugural cannabis hearing on October 30th will address challenges in the state’s legal cannabis market since 2021. Chair of Senate Subcommittee on Cannabis State Senator Jeremy Cooney (D-Rochester) will lead the live-streamed event, focusing on legal obstacles, staffing issues and licensing delays. As reported by the Legislative Gazette, the hearing will highlight economic and health benefits, aiming to enhance transparency and fairness for all stakeholders.

Additionally, New York’s Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) is working to debunk the false idea of cannabis contamination with fentanyl. Its fact sheet, “Cannabis and Fentanyl: Facts and Unknowns,” clarified that there is no substantiated evidence supporting fentanyl-laced marijuana, aiming to combat the spread of misinformation and encourage an informed public discourse, reported Marijuana Moment.”

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New US House Speaker Mike Johnson has opposed marijuana reform

#cannabispolitics – “Hard-right conservative Mike Johnson, chosen by House Republicans on Wednesday to be the chamber’s new speaker, has been a staunch opponent of marijuana reform in Congress.

The elevation of the socially conservative Louisiana Republican  might bode ill for long-awaited marijuana-reform bills such as the SAFER Banking Act, which passed a key committee in the Democratic-controlled Senate in September….”

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Southern Oregon county sees drop in illegal water use for cannabis growth, state official says

#cannabisindustry – “State funding from last year has helped combat illicit cannabis grows in Southern Oregon. That includes enforcement of illegal water use by the Oregon Water Resources Department.

Scott Prose, assistant watermaster for the department’s southwest region, spoke to the Jackson County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday. He said there has been a drop in water violations on cannabis grows this year.

“The education, the work you guys have done, just code enforcement, just the collaboration, all of that is adding up in my opinion to a pretty big decrease, which is great,” Prose said.

So far, Prose’s department has visited 146 cannabis sites in Jackson County. Thirty one of those were found to be in violation of water laws. Prose said the drop is most significant among legal cannabis growers, which he attributed to better education.”

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Lawsuits Challenging Hemp Laws Reflect New Cannabis Rift

#cannabispolitics – “A spate of recent lawsuits challenging policies meant to restrict or regulate intoxicating products derived from federally legal hemp reveals the extent to which the hemp industry has embraced psychoactive wares and come into competition with the marijuana sector, experts told Law360.

Pending litigation in Virginia, Arkansas, Texas and Maryland brought by a broad swath of hemp product purveyors alleges state policies cracking down on hemp products that mirror marijuana’s psychoactive effects run afoul of the 2018 federal farm bill, which legalized hemp and its derivatives nationwide.

That landmark 2018 legislation legalized nonintoxicating cannabis, which it redefined as hemp. It set a standard that hemp must contain less than 0.3% delta-9-THC, the main compound understood to give marijuana users a high. But it did not mention other THC isomers, which can be derived from hemp-extracted CBD and can mirror some of delta-9’s psychoactive effects.

It is these intoxicating products — whose cannabinoid profiles vary but tend to primarily include the isomer delta-8-THC — that have put both large and small hemp operators in the crosshairs of state policymakers and brought the sector into competition with the marijuana industry.

“It amounts to a turf war between the hemp side of the cannabis equation and the marijuana side,” said Rod Kight, an attorney who represents hemp companies and has written extensively on the legality of hemp-derived intoxicants.”

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(We doubt it was the mushrooms!

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