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Cannabis Briefs for February 26, 2019

February 26, 2019

•The Napa Valley Cannabis Association is planning a ballot initiative to allow cannabis cultivation, which has been delayed by the county Board of Supervisors’ repeated extension of an emergency moratorium on the issue. The measure would open up unincorporated county land to marijuana growing but prohibit retail activity there; city councils would be left to decide both issues within their borders. These efforts are part of a wider push to position Napa as an elite cannabis region, similar to its place in the wine world.

•New Illinois governor J.B. Pritzker is looking to legalize adult-use cannabis in the state. Pritzker has previously promised to legalize and the Democrat-controlled state legislature expects legislation this year, which estimates say would net $170 million in tax revenues by the state’s fiscal 2020. Illinois, which legalized medical sales in 2013, is already home to 16 growers and 55 medical dispensaries.

•Canada’s recreational market sold C$55 million ($42m) worth of cannabis in December, its second full month of legal sales. Sales grew 3.7% from November, when Canadians spent C$53 million ($40m), and have reached a total of $152 million ($115m) since sales began October 17. Analysts estimate the market could eventually be worth C$5 billion ($3.8b) as it matures. Meanwhile, regulatory proposals for edible and drinkable cannabis products—which are expected to go legal in Canada later this year—were recently released. There’s widespread dissatisfaction over the vague, broadly worded restrictions that limit all edible products to a single serving of THC (10 mg) and disallow packaging that is “appealing to youths” or advertises dessert or confectionary flavors. As yet, the Health Canada agency has not established an office to approve package designs, leaving producers unsure how to interpret and implement the rules.

•Canopy Growth recently announced plans to partner with Alimentation Couche-Tard—the parent company of Circle K, among other convenience stores—to open one of its signature Tweed brand retail locations in London, Ontario. Ontario’s first 25 private retail licenses were selected by lottery last month, with winners prohibited from transferring ownership for a year (one licensee has already been disqualified for attempting to do so).

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