Weekly Community “High”Lights: August 29

As the new week begins, the cannabis world has been fairly quiet. After the DEA’s proclaim to reduce the production of abused opioids, the industry has seemed to go back into consolidation mode. Though some states saw the benefits of long-time advocacy other still struggle in their current markets. The cannabis stock markets have been on an uphill grind for some time, however. With help from various beverage companies, medical cannabis company Tilray is up more than 28% after releasing quarterly sales. It would prove the cannabis industry is moving up in our society’s culture and, after the quarter sales that nearly doubled from last years, it’s not stopping any time soon.


Cannabis Approved As Opioid Alternative


Early this week, Illinois governor, Bruce Rauner, signed into law a new bill in an attempt to curb the opioid epidemic. The bill will make cannabis an option as a painkiller replacement, opposed to opioids. In addition, the law will also remove some of the challenging steps of the medical application process.

According to Chicago Tribune, “no longer will any applicants have to be fingerprinted and undergo criminal background checks. And those who complete an online application with a doctor’s authorization will get a provisional registration to buy medical cannabis while they wait for state officials to make a final review of their request.” Governor Rauner shared the following statements with the Tribune on the matter:

“We’ve got to do everything we can to stop this vicious epidemic,” the governor said as he signed the bill into law on Chicago’s West Side on Tuesday. “… We are creating an alternative to opioid addiction. … It’s clear that medical marijuana treats pain effectively, and is less addictive and disruptive than opioids.”


The new law will take effect immediately.


MMJ in Schools


With so much of the medical research being pushed by children that consume the plant for medical reasons, one has to wonder how they go about taking it. Previously in the state of California, one would have to remove their child from school or give them their cannabis dose off of school grounds. That changes this week as long-conversated legislation passed to “allow child patients to consume medical cannabis on some school grounds.

According to the reporting source, CBS Sacramento, the state will still require the consumption methods be non-smoking or vaping form, such as capsules or oils. The bill is giving schools the option to opt-in to the policy but does not mandate any school to do so.


California’s Current Legislative Situation


For some time since recreational legalization, California has struggled with compliance from its market. I was primed to be the largest legal market in the country and, while that fact still remains, those buying at legal-to-buy shops is much lower than expected. The booming black market has been a challenge for the state to get a handle on as it undermines the legislation put in place as well as financially crippling sops that follow state regulations. The looming cost of shop upkeep and state testing for your products has caused even a few to shut their doors.

In an attempt to curb these issues, federal and state officials launched an effort to seek out these illegal businesses and cultivation sites. The most recent has found that 9 out of every 10 raided illicit farms had products containing lethal pesticides. It may come as a shock to many consumers but, state-compliant shops can’t compete with the illicit ones considering the charge much less for untested products. The recent discovery is a terrifying realization, however.


“This isn’t about the marijuana, it’s about the damage that’s being done,” he said in an interview before a news conference to announce the findings. “What is happening here is illegal under anybody’s law.”

-McGregor Scott,  U.S. Eastern District Attorney of California


The crackdown did lead to 95 unlicensed grow sites being shut down but, the product that they have produced can be difficult to track down. With more than half of the state shopping in illicit shops, it’s alarming to know what they could possibly be consuming along with that cannabis.


First Cannabis Company To Unionize


Seattle Pi reports that cannabis retailer “Have a Heart” and workers union United Food and Commercial Workers have signed the state’s first collective bargaining agreement. Have a Heart, a cannabis dispensary operating in numerous states will be the very first in the state to start a union. Some do show concerns, however, as unions can overcomplicate internal business. The president of UFCW21 doesn’t feel any issue with the agreement thus far.


“This relationship is quite unusual, in a very positive sense,” said Todd Crosby, UFCW 21 president, in a statement. “It’s rare for an employer and their employees to reach a first contract so quickly and one that is so promising for current and future employees. These partnerships strengthen individuals, families and communities – and lead to superior service for customers.”


UFCW21 has actually been working with the cannabis industry since 2010 in California, giving them plenty of previous knowledge to take on another state’s market.