National News Briefs April

arizona marijuna


Picture courtesy of Lloyd Covens

Ought to be Against the Law

FBI Crime Data of local MJ arrest trends, (above) may reflect the growing acceptance of consumer use through the eyes of law enforcement.  The map reporting 2016 data, underscores a commitment to pressing ahead with cannabis-related arrests.  Interestingly, Kentucky and Alabama joined other “liberal  MJ” states like California, Minnesota, and Washington in backing off local enforcement.  To find more hardcore continuance of local arrests against MJ possession, one could venture to South Dakota, Idaho, Texas, New York-New Jersey, Oklahoma and Nevada. No conclusions are available for Florida and Illinois where incomplete data cut any reports. In transition could be new state legal areas like Michigan and Nevada and MMJ vote in Missouri, Oklahoma, New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia.

Coming to a Store Near You

Moving beyond just topicals, regional drugstore Vitamin Shoppe will begin selling CBD soft gels, liquid drops and specialty ingestibles in 14 states, DC and Puerto Rico. Vitamin Shoppe will stock Irwin Naturals’ full-spectrum soft gels and Garden of Life “Dr. Formulated Broad Spectrum” CBD extract gels and liquid drops. “The customer relationship is the cornerstone of The Vitamin Shoppe’s reinvention, and our customers have told us loud and clear they want CBD,” said CEO Sharon Leite.   “Our goal at The Vitamin Shoppe is to be first to market with innovative, high-quality products, as well as provide our customers the education, guidance, and services essential to helping them live their best life, however they define it. These new product offerings are another example towards us fulfilling that promise,” Leite said.  Earlier this quarter,  CVS,  Walgreens  and Rite Aid plan carry CBD-infused products in some states. For now, they all plan to carry only creams, lip balms or other items but not any ingestible products.

California Grow License Update

More than 6000 California growers may face the prospect of continuing their now-legal cultivation sites as unlicensed operations by May 1st.  A bureaucratic snafu at the state’s agricultural division may not leave enough time for extension of temporary licenses originally issued last year.   Despite an effort at the Assembly to pass a fix, Senate bill 67– which would amend the California Business and Professions code– is not likely to gain a lower house hearing until after April 22 when lawmakers return to Sacramento.  Hundreds of growers — who felt they have done everything they were asked by state regulators– are upset with the “legal-limbo” they are now likely to face if they continue growing MJ, even as the outdoor Spring planting season kicks in.  An estimated 3000 growers may have already lost legal authority to grow as of mid-April.

Governors Wise Up

Following years of not allowing any legal sales of CBD even though an use of CBD was approved, Georgia’s Governor Brian Kemp signed the new MMJ authorization bill this week.  The new MMJ bill will now allow up to 5% THC to be combined in medical patient products and will allow six companies to begin growing and setting up patient access in the Peach State. …  Meanwhile, new Democratic Kansas Governor Laura Kelly signed a comprehensive industrial hemp growing bill.  Verifying the 2018 Farm Bill, the Kansas measure removes hemp from the controlled substances list, accepts the 0.03 THC barrier, and pushes hemp CBD into the “not legal” category.  Less than a year ago, the Kansas attorney general and other local officials were working hard to remove all CBD products off all Kansas retailer shelves.

Real Real Estate Values

A study from Clever Real Estate has tracked home values in newly-authorized adult-use states.  On average, post-legal passage, home values have risen an average of $6.340 based on data collected from 2017 to 2019.   For the Denver market, the study (access at reports a gain of 7.7% in market value, also noting that the average gain decreased as the home moved further away from a local dispensary.


If movement on a federal bill for cannabis banking access continues its forward momentum, it will be time to brush off those, “still-unchanged”, assumptions kicking around the banking and credit community.  Just to keep you in that very careful, very regulated, mindset, you need to see the Lauren Kohr (CAMS: Certified Anti-Money Laundering specialist) very in-depth, 19-page treatment, “Weeding Through the Challenges of Banking MJ,”  Find it here:

–Based in Denver, Dr. Lloyd Covens, DBA is a seasoned cannabis industry journalist and the publisher of West420 NewsWeekly. Writing his doctorate on diffusion of innovations, Covens has been an expert journalist/researcher for 20 years chronicling new technology, global television and renewable energy advancements. He has reported on developments in the cannabis and hemp industry with weekly reports since 2014 covering the western U.S. for legal medical cannabis, recreational sales and hemp production. Covens is also the creator of the annual CO Hemp CBD Conference held in Pueblo, Colorado.

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