Weekly News in Cannabis - February 15thWith an operational government, HR420 is introduced, Canada begins importing from Colombia, and Greece looks to capitalize on hemp. Read this week's top cannabis headlines!
“420” Bill to Federally Legalize Cannabis Officially Introduced
Federal Bill 420, introduced by Oregon’s Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden on Friday, sets the basis for cannabis legalization and tax regulation similarly to alcohol. The Bill along with Wyden’s Regulation and Marijuana Act is a recent addition to a legislative package H.R. 420, introduced last month by Oregon Democrat Rep. Earl Blumenauer.
The Bill package aims to reform existing cannabis policies. Among other measures, is the Responsibly Addressing the Marijuana Policy Gap Act and the Small Business Tax Equity Act. The first is set to stop civil asset forfeiture as well as federal criminal penalties for State law complying businesses and individuals.
Moreover, it is set to delete some marijuana convictions, eliminating part of the collateral damage caused during the “War on Drugs.” Finally, the second Act, on Small Business Tax Equity, is set to repeal tax provisions depriving cannabis-related businesses of the right to tax deductions that companies in other industries use.
New Bill to Allow Cannabis Businesses to Open Bank Accounts
A new bill was introduced on Wednesday by Congressional Democrats aiming to reform regulations regarding cannabis industries and financial institutions, specifically violations on drug laws and federal money laundering. Although already 33 States have legalized cannabis for medical and/or recreational use, the substance remains prohibited on a national level, complicating the regulation and of cannabis businesses, who are unable to open bank accounts under the existing legislation.
In the hearing on February 13th the House Financial Services Committee, participated with a subcommittee led by Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA). Nonetheless, as the Democrats are the majority in the House of Representatives, and their priorities include reforming laws on federal marijuana, it is quite certain according to Marijuana Moment, that the marijuana banking Bill is set to a full committee vote. The issue first addressed six years ago by the House Democrats, was turned down several times by the GOP.
First Ever Export of Colombian Medical Cannabis to Ship to Canada
A Colombian marijuana company is authorized to export cannabis products to Canada for scientific purposes legally. The move indicates that Colombian grown cannabis is of “top quality.” Ecomedics S.A.S., operating as Clever Leaves and backed by the investment firm Northern Swan, based in the U.S., is already set with the necessary approvals. While the shipping is going to take place in mid-February, the results are set for March.
CEO of Clever Leaves, Andres Fajardo, reported to Marijuana Business Daily: “Natural conditions in Colombia paired with a professional team is the key.” He also added that the tests might reveal possibilities to achieve the same cannabis quality in Colombia as in Canada, yet with lower costs. A news release indicates that Clever Leaves has obtained six authorizations by Health Canada, to ship dry cannabis flowers for research purposes, covering six plant variants (chemovars) that have distinct chemical compositions.
Despite Revenue Increase, Aurora Cannabis Loses Over $230M in Q2
Although cannabis sales by weight had a six-fold increase, and net revenues reached $54.2 million, Aurora Cannabis Inc., an Edmonton-based company lost $237.7 million at the end of the first half of its fiscal year. It’s average dried cannabis net price was $6.23 per gram and for cannabis extracts $10 per gram.
The company says that the previous year its profit per share reached $7.7 million, that is two cents per share. While Thomson Reuters Eikon analyst polls showed that Aurora was to lose six cents per share, specifically $62.05 million, this year’s loss, that can be attributed to common shareholders, was equal to 25 cents per diluted share.
In the meantime, net revenues increased from $11.7 million within the 2017’s second quarter. The increase led by $21.6 million consumer sales in Canada after the legalization of recreational cannabis in October and medical marijuana sales of $26 million both Canadian and International.
Hemp Money to Revitalize the Stagnant Greek Economy
New laws legalizing the production of industrial cannabis and its use for medical purposes have created new business ambitions in Greece. The country had already started the legalization process in 2016 when a joint decision of the Ministry of Finance and Health legalized the cultivation and production of industrial cannabis. In late 2018 private companies were granted licenses for medicinal marijuana growing. The Ministry of Economy and Development announced that they would issue another twelve permits by the end of this year.
The licenses given to BIOPROCANN S.A., a Corinth-based company and BIOMECANN S.A. from Larissa, are expected to generate 117 jobs, while the two investments reach € 22 million ($26 million). According to government officials, the licenses to be issued by the end of 2019 are expected to create approximately 770 jobs and €185 million ($214 million) in capital investment.