Vol. 6, No. 42 -- June 28, 2019 - Edited by Dr Lloyd Covens
CANNABIS ARRIVES IN LONDON- While not the first cannabis conference in Europe, the June 24-25 inaugural "Cannabis Europa" drove new focus on the international MMJ/RMJ movement. Predicting nearly $150Mil. in new investment to launch his country's medical MJ initiative, keynote speaker Joseph Muscat, Malta's prime minister, joined 70 other speakers at the global confab. (Photo by Amber Wick, West420 NewsWeekly)
Unknowns Shape Spring CBD Plantings-- USDA Guidance Soon
For both returning farmers—and the new hemp farmers in Wisconsin, So. Carolina, Pennsylvania, New Mexico, Kansas, Illinois and Michigan—unresolved issues on crop insurance, banking/loan challenges, and a major learning curve for farmers have all brought great uncertainty. But the difficult choice between reaching for a bigger pay-day from CBD versus waiting for all the new USDA policies to be confirmed-- means thousands are likely to go ahead with a 2019 gamble.
Moving up an expected set of national rules for hemp growing, the U.S. Department of Agriculture expects to issue an "interim final rule" for policies surrounding the planting, testing and disposal(over non-eligible) of industrial hemp. "No final products" will be addressed in the rulemaking, which is set to issue formal rules based upon passage of the 2018 Farm Bill. In Florida, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the new hemp bill into law, making the possession of CBD legal statewide, and allowing the department of agriculture to begin setting rules for the 2020 hemp growing season. On signing, DeSantis vowed he would not allow Florida to become a RMJ state while still governor. But the 2016 statewide vote to approve medical MJ in the state passed with more than 72 percent approval. A full RMJ measure is expected to be on Florida's ballot for the November, 2020 general election. In California, Assembly bill 228 is heading to the full Senate floor, where a yes vote is anticipated. The bill overrides the state's Health department which last year said that CBD could not be combined in foods, beverages or cosmetics until some regulatory approval at the FDA occurred.
At this time, more than 95% of the hemp growing attention is aimed at CBD growing, according to hemp expert and farmer Veronica Carpio, of Grow Hemp Colorado. Carpio was hopeful that the post Farm Bill environment would also hasten the rollout of US-based industrial hemp for fiber (ie., hempcrete, plastics, textiles) and fully-FDA approved hemp seed(hemp cake) for nutritional non-CBD hemp grain and seed. Carpio, who produced her own certified VCStar hemp seed, is afraid that many farmers may be feeling pressured by “genetics and clone” companies who see 2019 as a watershed for growth. “These farmers are trying to survive and feed their families,” Carpio adds.
“This hemp industry has grown organically,” says Portland hemp veteran Jon Thomas of JMT Enterprises, but now “the government is trying to step in and set rules for a crop they don’t fully understand.” As overgrowth of cannabis in Oregon explodes (reports say the state has more than 6.5million pounds of un-sold MJ), Thomas sees hundreds of former marijuana growers moving into the hemp sector. Confusion over CBD status at the Food and Drug Administration has left many hemp hopefuls confused on not allowing CBD in foods, beverages and cosmetics. “We have a bad situation where the Farm Bill has called hemp-CBD totally legal,” notes Thomas, but the FDA has thrown cold-water on full implementation for a myriad of consumer products for human and animal consumption, and pain and skincare topicals.
With such confusion, business planners and investors cannot reliably get a handle on the expected per-pound price for high-quality CBD biomass this fall. Pricing estimates from the Fall, 2018 harvest generally reported sales of $27 to $33 per pound, and certain higher sales reports of $45-$50 pound for early 2019. Compared to break-even for growing cotton, corn or soybeans—farmers can look at the potential for CBD-hemp at 1000 to 2000 plants (yielding 1 pound each) at easily generating gross revenues of $35,000 to $85,000 per acre. But the impact of unknown demand conditions—plus the inability to predict the growth of new hemp processing centers—may shake up eventual sales outcomes this fall. One estimate sees the buyers moving to buying farmer product based on the percentage of CBD, with pricing running $2 to $4 for each percent. Banking and credit union support for hemp despositors remain steady, but there is still no official loan help from the U.S. Farm Credit Administration.
ABOVE: NEAR-TERM CLINICAL TRIALS ON MJ/CBD MEDICAL IMPACTS-- Ongoing major studies into cannabis impacts of various medical conditions reveals a major push for additional cancer data. A variety of related studies for spasticity, epilepsy and Parkinsons are all active, as are increased attention to anxiety, addiction and depression. Source: ClinicalTrials.gov
CANNABIS NEWS BRIEFS... With the official signature of Governor J.B. Pritzker, Illinois became the 11th state passing legalization for adult cannabis consumption. With an expected eventual annual tax haul of $700Mil.-- and the hope to free 300,000 from negative low-level drug offenses-- the Illinois RMj expansion will kick off next Jan., 1, 2020. It is expected that the first 150 retail, grow and lab licensing will flow first to existing MMJ firms. Then for mid-2020, the state hopes to issue new licensees, including a planned 20% of new authorizations going to minority, women, veterans and disadvantaged communities-- helped by a $30 million fund to assist in funding. Interestingly, Illinois is the first state to base its retail taxation on the form and percentage of THC. For flower up to 34% the statewide tax will be ten percent; for infused products, the statewide haul will be 20%; and for concentrates and vape products above 35%, the statewide tax will be 25%.
Getting support from progressive Congressional members from blue states -- but now comes some welcome news from the nation's sheriffs. From their June 24 from their national meeting in Louisville, Ky, the resolution “ the National Sheriffs’ Association supports the reclassification of marijuana as a Schedule II drug under the Controlled Substances Act in order to remove those impediments and allow greater research.” But the support for re-scheduling from the sheriffs brought little other support for cannabis in general. Of the 467 surveyed officers, 65% said legalizing cannabis led to more local crime. Another 84 percent claimed that legalized MJ led to more impaired driving, either with alcohol or by itself. Further, more than 3 of 4 sheriffs said that legalization led to a need for more overall law enforcement personnel to deal with increased crime.
Link-of-the-Week-- The list of possible makers of synthetic cannabinoids gets longer as Cardiod Therapuetics (working with giant NORAMCO) hopes to introduce commercial versions of CBDs as early as this fall. Accordin to the CFN article, other synthetic lab designers like Willow BioSciences and FSD Pharma are on track to develop non-plant CBD alternatives as well. See article at: https://www.cannabisfn.com/synthetic-cannabinoids-the-harbinger-of-cannabis-pharmaceuticals/
Oregon's over-abundant amount of legal cannabis is bringing action by its senior federal representatives in followup to the state's recently-passed "compact" legislation lawaimed at opening up state-to-state MJ commerce. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) introduced federal legislation that would protect interstate cannabis commerce from federal interference if the activity is in compliance with state laws and interstate compacts. Legal adult consumers and patients who travel between these states transporting limited amounts of cannabis would also be protected from federal prosecution. “Like any other agricultural product, cannabis production should be able to take place in states with optimal climate conditions and exported to other legal markets across the country. This legislation is a bold step toward making that a reality,” said Aaron Smith, executive director of the National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA).
Second Half: Major MJ/Hemp Shows & Expos June 29-July 3- BETHESDA-Intl Cannabinoids Research Jul 22-24: SAN JOSE – 6th NCIA Business Summit Aug. 2-3: MIAMI -- US Cannabis Expos Aug 3-4: PORTLAND – 3rd IndoExpo Conference Aug 14-16: DENVER - 6th CBOutLook & UnLocking 1090 Aug 16-18: SEATTLE – 28th HempFest Sep 4-7: TORONTO- 2nd MJBizCon/Global Sep 4-6: PORTLAND Cannabis Science Conference Sep 6-7 - NASHVILLE -- SouthEast Hemp Expo Sep 15-16: VANCOUVER - ICBC: Intl Biz Conference Sep 25-28: LOS ANGELES: Cannabis World Congress Oct 8-9: LONG BEACH- Calif. Cannabis Indus Assn/NCIA Oct. 10-11 SAN FRANCISCO - New West Summit Oct 23-26: BOSTON- Cannabis World Congress- Expo Nov 1-4: CHARLOTTE (NC)– 6th Hemp Industry Assn Nov 20-22: CALGARY: Canada Hemp Trade Alliance Dec 5-6: SAN DIEGO: CANNABINOID-Natural Products Dec. 11-13 LAS VEGAS – MJ BIZ National Show Dec. 14-15 SONOMA, CA – Emerald Cup
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