Even as marijuana remains a Schedule I controlled substance on the federal level this week has seen yet more shows of support from governmental bodies and officers. Here’s the news you need for the week:
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1. The IRS is offering tax guidance to cannabis businesses
Marijuana businesses just got a show of support from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The agency’s Commissioner of Small Business/Self Employed Examination, De Lon Harris, says the IRS has been putting some time into “the tax implications for the rapidly growing cannabis/marijuana industry.”
As a way of supporting what they believe to be an inevitable force in the American economy, the IRS is offering tips to help cannabis businesses find their way through a complex financial system. Despite it being illegal on a federal level, it is legal in all but 14 states — and this is the agency’s “opportunity to promote voluntary compliance, not only through audits but also through outreach and education.”
2. Two former government officials have joined a major marijuana industry group
The National Cannabis Roundtable (NCR) has announced two new members to its board: former Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) and former Deputy Attorney General James Cole. Both will be working with the NCR to push for federal marijuana reform. Cory Gardner advocated for marijuana during his time in the U.S. Senate (2015-2021), and sponsored reform legislation until losing his seat in the 2020 election.
When he served in the Department of Justice, James Cole issued a memo advising federal prosecutors to avoid prosecuting those who were acting in compliance with state laws — even if those violated federal marijuana laws. These two appointees mark a growing trend of bipartisan marijuana industry involvement.
3. Three major cannabis industry acquisitions occurred in a single week
This week, three major acquisition deals were announced in the cannabis industry. Ayr Wellness Inc. is acquiring PA Natural Medicine, LLC for $80 million, giving them dispensaries in three major Pennsylvania markets. Curaleaf Holdings Inc. acquired the 66-acre Los Sueños Farms in Colorado for $67 million, giving them the biggest outdoor growing operation in the state.
Finally, The Parent Company acquired Coastal Holding Company, LLC for $65.2 million, giving them more delivery and retail outlets.
4. North Carolina just sold its first bottle of liquor on a Sunday since Prohibition
In North Carolina this past Sunday, Oct. 3, a historic transaction occurred: a bottle of liquor sold to a customer made this the first Sunday seeing a legal liquor sale in 101 years. North Carolina has had a complicated relationship with its Prohibition past, being the first state in the union to pass alcohol Prohibition.
As of now, all ABC stores still must remain closed on Sundays, but distilleries within the state are now allowed to sell. The transaction was made by Jonathan Blitz, who owns Mystic Farm & Distilling Company, at noon on Sunday — and though it was the first in over a century, it certainly won’t be the last.
5. Minnesota upholds the conviction of a person arrested for CBD vape liquid
In the still-prohibitive state of Minnesota, there is plenty of reason to proceed with caution when dealing with CBD. An individual arrested for carrying CBD vape oil, which contains less than 0.3% THC — the legal threshold for CBD in the state — has had their ruling upheld by the court. Minnesota’s Court of Appeals claims that the 0.3% THC threshold “does not apply to a liquid mixture containing [THC],” but instead applies only to leafy plant matter.
6. Kansas is seeing a wave of marijuana activism
In Kansas, marijuana of any type, for any use, is still illegal. That’s why many advocates have decided to form the Kansas Cannabis Chamber of Commerce. Even with medical cannabis reforms falling short of passing the state Legislature this year, there is a reason for hope in Kansas.
Governor Laura Kelly (R) has signed a bill making cannabis oils legal with up to 5% THC content, though only for limited patients. Kansas has proved a particularly tough battleground for advocates. The new Chamber of Commerce’s president, Heather Steppy, noted that there are plenty of nuances in Kansas when it comes to cannabis — and this is a fact her organization hopes to change.