CannaBeat is a curated biweekly selection of top news stories impacting business, research, and culture in the cannabis industry, crafted by Emerge Law Group.
Emerge’s Hot Take
Regulators and Advocates Discuss Next Steps for Marijuana Interstate Commerce
It’s been almost 30 years since California legalized medical cannabis, and since then 40 states and the District of Columbia have some form of cannabis legalization (medical, recreational, or both). The Federal government continues to slowly work its way through which approach to take – full decriminalization versus legalization; and then in the meantime work on social equity and providing banking access. Certain states are making moves to prepare for the next step of the industry – interstate commerce. Each of the three West Coast states – California, Oregon, and Washington – have enacted legislation to allow for interstate commerce contingent on the U.S. government legalizing cannabis or allowing for such transactions without federal interference.
The restriction on the cannabis market to stay within state lines has been especially hard on the west coast states that are known for their cannabis and cannabis products. General Counsel for the Department of Cannabis Control in California said “that restricting marijuana markets within state lines is economically unattainable.” He further describes how the situation is analogous to other industries,
“If the Michigan auto industry could only sell cars to people in Michigan, or Florida orange growers could only sell oranges to people in Florida or if the California wine industry could only sell wine to California, I’m not sure that each of those would be a viable legal industry.”
It’s likely that the aforementioned products would not be known as absolute staples in their specific industry if restricted in such a way that most consumers didn’t have access to the specific products from that region. It could be argued that the Emerald Triangle is known as a place for top shelf artisanal cannabis because prior to legalization the product was able to reach a broader consumer market. The Federal government is dragging their feet on this issue but States are not waiting, and rather working to bring the industry in to the next phase, the next era of the legal cannabis market.
Other Noteworthy News
U.S. Senate Committee Holds Marijuana Banking Hearing
"A key U.S. Senate committee convened on Thursday to discuss marijuana banking issues and bipartisan legislation that seeks to resolve the industry’s unique financial challenges. Members of the Senate Banking Committee didn’t take any votes at the hearing, which was titled “Examining Cannabis Banking Challenges of Small Businesses and Workers,” but a focal point was the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act. ens. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Steve Daines (R-MT) refiled the measure last month, and they were among those who testified at the committee hearing. Other witnesses included representatives of the Cannabis Regulators of Color Coalition (CRCC), United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), Dama Financial and Smart Approaches To Marijuana (SAM). “The cannabis landscape looks far different than it did a few short years ago,” Banking Committee Chairman Sherrod Brown (D-OH) said in opening remarks. “Cannabis has been legalized or decriminalized in almost every state. States and localities have established licensing and social equity programs to ensure that small businesses and communities impacted by the War on Drugs are part of the growing legal cannabis industry.” …
Minnesota Legislature Reaches Deal on Legalized Recreational Cannabis, Vote Likely in Final Days of Session
"Key negotiators working on legislation to legalize recreational cannabis for adults 21 and older in Minnesota reached a final deal Tuesday, teeing up a vote in the House and Senate in the last few days of the session. "This has been a huge team effort through the legislature and the state of Minnesota," said Sen. Lindsey Port, DFL-Burnsville, who is carrying the bill in that chamber. "Hopefully, we have a final conference committee report for you in the next day or two. Representative Stephenson and I remain absolutely committed to getting this bill passed this year." The legislation is the culmination of 30 committees, hours of testimony and several changes to the bill over the course of this legislative session. The final deal will legalize weed for recreational use, but also allow for new state-licensed businesses that will grow, manufacture and sell at retail dispensaries marijuana products. Port said the deal is "locked," after Tuesday's conference committee with no additional changes. When the compromise bill gets to the floor, it's an up-or-down vote. No further amendments can be added."
Up In Smoke: USPTO Leaves Cannabis-Related Trademark Applications in Ashes
"After years of uncertainty, the USPTO has finally provided insight on how it views applications for cannabis-related marks, suggesting that the use of such marks will be heavily scrutinized. In 2016, National Concession Group, Inc. (NCG) filed an application to register the mark “BAKKED” (Serial No. 87168058) and this stylized drop design mark. (Serial No. 87183434) for goods and services related to glass jars and essential oil dispensers. In support, NCG submitted a specimen displaying the respective marks on a device called “The Dabaratus,” which is commonly used for dispersing cannabis oil. The examiner refused registration because the identified goods (The Dabaratus) were prohibited under Section 863 of the Controlled Substance Act (CSA), and thus could not be used in commerce as required by Sections 1 and 45 of the Trademark Act. On appeal to the TTAB, NCG argued that in addition to dispersing cannabis oil, the device could also be used for dispersing essential oils and, therefore, did not constitute paraphernalia under the CSA. Alternatively, NCG argued that even if it is considered paraphernalia under the CSA, the item was lawful under Colorado state law and registration was proper under Sections 863(f)(1) and 863(f)(2) of the CSA…"
Emerald Cup 2023 Makes Jubilant Return to NorCal
"The diverse California cannabis culture is deeply rooted in legacy and tradition. For generations, cultivators, breeders, and product makers throughout the state have worked to continually raise the bar for what the plant can do. Nowhere is this more evident than at the Emerald Cup. A celebration of innovation, community, and of course, great weed, the Emerald Cup honors the best and brightest from across the California industry. From sun-grown flower to edibles, concentrates to pre-rolls, retailers to social justice warriors—and everything in between—the Emerald Cup is often referred to as the “Academy Awards of Cannabis” thanks to its revered status and highly sought-after trophies. Now in its 19th year, the storied cannabis contest held its awards last weekend overlooking the San Francisco Bay at the Craneway Pavilion in Richmond. Emerald Cup 2023 was one for the ages, featuring a red-carpet entry, live music, the always fun Guild Extracts boat offering multiple cruises throughout the all-night soiree, and of course, the awards show itself. Hundreds of contestants, judges, sponsors, press, and other esteemed guests gathered from dusk ‘til dawn for a night of jubilant revelry—and a nonstop sesh."
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CannaBeat by Emerge Law Group
CannaBeat is a weekly brief on news, business, and culture in the cannabis industry curated by members of Emerge Law Group's distinguished Cannabis Industry Group.