Jamaica Opens Largest Extraction Facility, New York Passes Marijuana, & Green Thumb Targeted by Feds

In #NewYork, #adult-use #cannabis sales are #legalized, following extensive negotiations between the #governor and state lawmakers over details of the legislation. The #Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act advanced swiftly after a deal was reached, passing both the #senate and assembly one day before being signed by #Democrat Governor Andrew #Cuomo. Under the 128-page bill, adults 21 and older would be allowed to purchase and possess up to 3 ounces of cannabis, and #cultivate as many as 6 #plants for personal use. The legislation also includes provisions for #delivery and social #consumption sites, the ability for jurisdictions to opt out of retail sales, as well as a 13 percent #tax on marijuana products. The number of business permits will be determined by a new marijuana regulatory body established to oversee the program, with priority licensing for the state’s 10 existing #MMJ operators, and a ban on vertical integration for all those except microbusinesses. Social #equity measures have also been incorporated, such as automatic record expungements for those with past marijuana-related convictions, low-interest #loans for qualifying #business applicants, and tax reinvestment into communities most impacted by the war on drugs. Though the governor compromised on some aspects of the bill, like home cultivation, he succeeded in other areas, like impaired driving remaining a misdemeanor violation. The recently approved policy is expected to significantly aid in New York’s economic recovery following coronavirus-prompted lockdowns, by creating additional tax revenue and a projected 60 thousand new jobs. Recreational cannabis sales could begin as soon as March of 2022 in what industry experts predict could eventually be a 2.5 #billion #dollar market.

In #Illinois, Green Thumb Industries is reportedly targeted by #federal investigators over possible corruption regarding their #political #donations and other actions taken in pursuit of #cannabis business permits. The story was first published by the #Chicago Tribune, who cited unverified sources alleging the existence of the probe by federal authorities. Despite the claim, no criminal charges against the multistate operator or its executives have been filed so far. Chicago-based Green Thumb, which has become one of the top cannabis companies in the country since its founding in 2014, currently owns 56 retail locations across 15 states and has an estimated #market cap of 5 #billion dollars. GTI and their affiliates have made campaign donations to #politicians and organizations not only in Illinois, but in various other states including #Ohio, New #Jersey, #Connecticut, and #Maryland. CEO Ben Klover responded to the accusations, saying the unfounded allegations undermine the actions GTI has taken to compliantly grow their #business. The company maintains there is no evidence of any federal investigation and is demanding an immediate retraction of the Chicago Tribune article.

In other #international #news, vertically-integrated #Jamaican #biotech company Outlier BioPharma plans to open one of the largest #cannabis extraction labs in the #Caribbean. The plant, which is expected to commence operations later this month in #Kingston, will have capabilities to extract full-#spectrum #marijuana oil, as well as other botanicals, in compliance with #FDA and #GMP-certified standards, for export to the #global market. While Outlier, which received the island nation’s 50th #MMJ #business license in late 2019, is primarily focused on providing marijuana #cultivation, extraction, and production outsourcing solutions to international cannabis companies, they also operate a flagship dispensary in Montego Bay. Though the store opened in the tourism neighborhood of Whitter #Village less than a month before #COVID-19 restricted travel into the country, strong support from the #local #community has kept the shop afloat and able to maintain a nearly 30-person staff. However, the business’s plans for cannabis-focused #nightlife, #farm, and #beach #tours has been put on hold. According to Outlier’s managing director Brian Thelwell, the company is engaged in a number of partnerships to pursue cannabis innovation, research, and development opportunities.
And that’s all the news we have for you for now.

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William Bradley

William Bradley

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