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Cannabis Briefs for July 30, 2019

July 30, 2019

•Senator Kamala Harris and Representative Jerry Nadler have unveiled a new bill that would decriminalize cannabis at the federal level, remove it from the controlled substances list, and set up an “Opportunity Trust Fund” to offer grants for community reinvestment and small business loans. The trust fund would raise money through a 5% sales tax on cannabis products. Called the “Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act” (MORE), the bill would also expunge prior convictions, prohibit the denial of any federal public benefit for current or past cannabis use, and prevent immigrants from being deported or denied citizenship based on minor marijuana offenses.

•British tobacco giant Imperial Brands has invested C$123 million ($93m) in Auxly Cannabis, taking a 19.9% share in the Canadian company. The deal will give Imperial one seat on Auxly’s five-person board and allow Auxly to use the vaping technology developed by Imperial subsidiary Nerudia. Currently, Auxly is primarily a cannabis cultivator but will use this investment to pivot to developing vape pens and other products that do not directly use dried flowers.

•British Columbia-based craft cannabis supplier Pasha Brands has aligned with Southern Glazer’s subsidiary Great North for distribution across Canada. Pasha has a network of craft producers under its umbrella, and also owns cultivator and processor Medcann Health Products. It recently unveiled the BC Craft Supply Co. brand, which is expected to have an annual supply of approximately 50,000 kilograms of cannabis per 100 micro-cultivators in its supply chain. Commenting on the partnership, Great North executive vice president and general manager Doug Wieland, said, “We believe that the next big move in Canada’s cannabis sector will be toward craft products.”

•CannTrust has terminated CEO Peter Aceto and accepted the resignation of chairman Eric Paul as part of its investigation into unlicensed growing activities at the company. Aceto will be replaced on an interim basis by Robert Marcovitch, who has been leading the Special Committee investigating CannTrust’s regulatory breach. Marcovitch was most recently president and CEO of winter sports equipment maker K2. Replacing Marcovitch as Special Committee chair is fellow committee member Mark Dawber.

•Massachusetts-based Curaleaf has revamped the marketing of its CBD product line, Curaleaf Hemp, following an admonitory letter from the FDA. Among other things, the company has removed its Curaleaf Hemp blog, as well as other statements and social media posts found to be non-compliant with current regulations, and discontinued some products targeted by the FDA. In its letter, the FDA took issue with Curaleaf’s marketing of CBD products as dietary supplements, as is prohibited by current regulations, and its marketing of unapproved new animal drugs, such as “Bido CBD For Pets.”

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