Thursday 8 February 2019 – State By State Digest: Federal, Arkansas, Florida, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania



Judge: “Accidental” Cannabis Use Still a Fireable Offense for Federal Agencies

A federal judge has set a binding precedent by ruling that intent does not matter when it comes to cannabis consumption — accidentally consuming cannabis is still a fireable offense.

House Financial Services Committee Will Hear Cannabis Banking Bill Next Week

Banking bill may be first cannabis reform legislation to benefit from a new U.S. House power dynamic.

With a new Democratic majority in the U.S. House, the movement of cannabis bills in committee is expected to be smoother. The first sign of a more receptive Congress in 2019 will come when the House Financial Services Committee takes up a draft of the SAFE Banking Act, expected Feb. 13. The news was first reported by Politco reporter Zachary Warmbrodt.

The bill, sponsored by Reps. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO) and Denny Heck (D-WA), would allow banks and credit unions to work freely with state-legal cannabis businesses (even as the plant remains illegal on the federal level). On the surface, the goal is twofold: Facilitate business development in the industry and allow regulators to clear a significant hurdle en route to broader cannabis reform legislation.



AR licenses 32 dispensaries; medical cannabis sales possible around April

The 32 businesses that an Arkansas panel approved to sell medical marijuana in the state have been formally awarded their licenses, with sales expected to start as soon as April.

Here’s the latest on the situation:The businesses received their licenses after paying a $15,000 licensing fee and posting a $100,000 performance bond. Four dispensaries are being allowed to operate in each of eight regions across the state.

AR licenses 32 dispensaries; medical cannabis sales possible around April



Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried has filled the Director of Cannabis job

Holly Bell, a consultant for the cannabis and hemp industry in Nashville since August, is expected to be named as Florida’s first Director of Cannabis with the state Agriculture Commissioner’s office. 

An official announcement is expected for later today, according to a report from the website Florida Politics. The website notes that it relied on unnamed sources and Bell’s professional website that said she is “currently on permanent assignment as the Director of Cannabis for the state of Florida.” Her professional bio has since been edited. 

Earlier today, Fried’s office issued a media advisory of a “major announcement related to cannabis in Florida” at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Capitol in Tallahassee. We’ve reached out to Bell for comment. 

Per Bell’s resume (available here), as part of her consulting work, most recently she specialized in the “Cannabis/HEMP, Entertainment and Finance Industries.” Prior to that, she was a director of business development at Safe Harbor Services in Denver, Colorado, a service-based program that connects cannabis-related businesses with financial institutions, and was a practice management consultant at ProEquities Broker Dealer in Birmingham, Alabama.


Bill introduced to make CBD food products legal in Maine

Cannabidiol, or CBD, is a hemp-derived product that is not a federally approved food additive.

The state has ordered all stores that sell edible CBD products to remove them from their shelves.

“I’m interested in solutions so I just want to move forward. It doesn’t matter how we got here, it matters where we go.”

Representative Craig Hickman, introduced a bill to clarify that the production and sale of CBD food products be allowed under Maine law.–505377901.html


Boston Considering Proposal to Prefer Local Residents for Cannabis Licenses

Rule changes proposed by a Boston City Councilor include provisions to ease access by minorities and those previously charged with cannabis crimes.

Boston Considering Proposal to Prefer Local Residents for Cannabis Licenses



Michigan Caregiver-Sourced Medical Cannabis Products Recalled

The recalls follow a state decision to allow dispensaries to purchase untested cannabis from caregivers.

More than 50 pounds of medical cannabis products have been recalled in Michigan this year, and state regulators reported that the majority of those batches were sourced from caregivers. The Detroit Newsfirst reported on this trend.

Nebraska Medical Cannabis Backers File Formal Papers For Campaign

Backers of an effort to legalize medical cannabis in Nebraska have filed formal paperwork for a statewide ballot campaign.

Nebraskans for Sensible Marijuana Laws submitted their proposed constitutional amendment Tuesday to the Nebraska Secretary of State’s office.

State Sens. Anna Wishart and Adam Morfeld, of Lincoln, are co-chairing the effort to place the issue on the 2020 ballot.

Wishart has introduced a bill that would allow lawmakers to legalize the drug for medicinal purposes, but it faces stiff opposition from state and local law enforcement, Gov. Pete Ricketts and prominent Nebraskans including former Husker football coach Tom Osborne.

Nebraska Medical Cannabis Backers File Formal Papers For Campaign


Arbiters award 4Front Advisors $8.7M in dispute with Nevada cannabis firms

4Front Advisors, part of the Arizona-based multistate marijuana firm 4Front Holdings, won an $8.7 million arbitration award against Nevada-based CWNevada and NuVeda for breach of contract in failing to pay fees for services provided.

Kris Krane, 4Front Holdings’ co-founder and president, toldMarijuana Business Dailythe award validates 4Front Advisors’ work in helping the two companies secure cannabis licenses.

Krane noted that in the early days of the cannabis industry – when capital was extremely hard to raise – consultants often helped clients win licenses and get operational for a small fee and then a percentage of the licensees’ future revenues for a period of time.


New Hampshire marijuana bill gets public hearing

New Hampshire lawmakers considering whether to legalize recreational marijuana heard Tuesday from supporters arguing such a move is long overdue and opponents urging them to resist pressure from surrounding states.

Ten states have legalized recreational marijuana — including the three bordering New Hampshire — while New York, New Jersey and others are considering it this year. Past efforts have failed in New Hampshire, but Democrats, who added legalization to their party platform last year, now control both the House and Senate. And the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Renny Cushing, pointed to movement in other states as a reason his bill should pass.

New Hampshire marijuana bill gets public hearing


NY Times  Reports….For months, the top-selling item at Fat Cat Kitchen was a cookie packed with chocolate chunks, dusted with salt flakes and infused with the stylish cannabis derivative cannabidiol, or CBD.

But as of last week, customers won’t find the cookie on the Manhattan restaurant and bakery’s menu.

On Friday, a health inspector sealed up the restaurant’s supply of CBD-infused baked goods in a plastic bag and told Fat Cat Kitchen to stop selling them as part of a citywide embargo on food products containing CBD.

The Department of Health and Mental Hygiene confirmed on Tuesday that it was ordering restaurants under its jurisdiction not to sell food products containing CBD.

In a statement, the health department said that New York City eateries were not “permitted to add anything to food or drink that is not approved as safe to eat.” That included CBD, which had not been “deemed safe as a food additive,” the department said. The crackdown was first reported byEater.



Ohio Medical Marijuana Dispensaries with Certificates of Operation

Ohio Medical Marijuana Dispensaries with Certificates of Operation


Pennsylvania Legalization Proposal Focuses On Social Justice

The bill proposes using 50 percent of the revenue generated to reduce student loan debt in the state.

Pennsylvania Legalization Proposal Focuses On Social Justice