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Cannabis Briefs for April 14, 2020

April 14, 2020

•The NFL has moderated its stance against cannabis. Under the recently ratified labor agreement between the league and players union, players who test positive for cannabis will no longer be suspended, and testing will be limited to the first two weeks of training camp—down from a four-month window from April-August. While testing positive no longer guarantees a suspension, players may still be fined several weeks’ salary and directed to a mandatory treatment program. Refusing testing can eventually result in suspension. Players suspended under the old rules must still petition commissioner Roger Goodell in order to be reinstated.

•Virginia has decriminalized cannabis, following governor Ralph Northam’s signature of legislation. The new law reduces the penalty for possession of up to an ounce of cannabis to a $25 fine. Much like New York, the fallout from Covid-19 seems to have sucked up much of the air that would have gone to actual legalization in the state, but it remains a priority for the new Democratic party majorities in the state legislature.

•Nevada-based cannabis company Planet 13, known for its massive Las Vegas dispensary, has terminated a proposed deal that would have seen it expand into California. Announced last June, the planned $10 million acquisition of California’s Newtonian Principles was abandoned “due to unmet conditions in the definitive agreement,” Planet 13 said in a statement. Planet 13 co-CEO Larry Scheffler said the company has offered to renegotiate the deal “to fairly reflect the delays in closing the definitive agreement and the new macro environment,” and added that the company’s strong balance sheet and cashflow will continue to enable expansion opportunities moving forward.

•Canadian cannabis producer Organigram is laying off approximately 400 staff members as a result of Covid-19. The cuts amount to 45% of Organigram’s workforce. In a release, the company said that the majority of the furloughs were offered on a voluntary basis, though it had also eliminated administrative and support roles it deemed non-essential. The company believes it still has enough staff to handle current demand.

•Ontario has reversed its decision to close recreational cannabis shops in the province. While not fully reopening, the stores will be allowed to complete deliveries and offer curbside pickup. Customers must call ahead or order online for curbside pickup and are limited to a maximum 30 grams per person. In the order reinstating these sales, the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario encouraged retailers to promote a safe distance between customers waiting in line.

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