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Thursday, September 21, 2023

NBA and Players Union Come to Agreement on Cannabis Policies


In this week’s cannabis news round-up, the National Basketball Association (NBA) and the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) have reached a historic agreement on cannabis policies. Maryland’s adult-use cannabis market reports over $10 million in sales during its opening weekend. New York secures a $150 million investment for a cannabis social equity investment fund, and the only licensed hemp farm in the British Isles closes after a dispute with the UK government.

NBA signs cannabis deal
PHOTO Douglasedson

NBA and Players Union Reach Ground-breaking Agreement on Cannabis Policies

The NBA and NBPA have finalized a new bargaining agreement that marks a significant shift in the league’s stance on cannabis. After two months of negotiations, cannabis has been removed from the list of banned substances for NBA players—with some conditions.

Under the new agreement, players are allowed to have a stake in CBD product companies, both controlling and non-controlling. However, ownership in cannabis companies is limited to less than 50% of the business.

The agreement also addresses player endorsements and states that players can promote or endorse brands, products, or services related to CBD. However, endorsements of cannabis companies are still prohibited.

In addition, the agreement establishes penalties for players convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol or controlled substances, as well as those involved in the felony distribution of cannabis.

Maryland state flag in front of the capitol state house in Annapolis, MD
Maryland state flag in front of the capitol state house in Annapolis, MD. PHOTO Glynnis Jones

Maryland Reports Over $10 Million in Cannabis Sales During Opening Weekend of Adult-Use Market

Maryland’s adult-use cannabis market had a successful start, generating over $10 million in sales during its opening weekend, according to the Maryland Cannabis Administration (MCA). Combined recreational and medical cannabis sales totaled $10,429,736 from Friday to Sunday, more than doubling the medical cannabis sales of $3,985,527 during the same holiday weekend last year.

On the first day of adult-use sales alone, Saturday saw $4,518,377 in cannabis purchases. Most sales ($3,558,947) came from recreational cannabis, while medical cannabis sales reached $959,430 for the day.

In a video statement, Governor Wes Moore acknowledged the historical impact of cannabis policy and emphasized the need to address the failures of the War on Drugs. He highlighted the importance of a more equitable and inclusive approach to the industry.

Nearly 100 existing medical cannabis dispensaries in Maryland have received dual licensing approval to serve adult consumers. The MCA also announced that it had collected over $15 million in licensing conversion fees, which will be allocated to community reinvestment funds. An additional $45 million will be distributed over the next 18 months to support community initiatives.

PHOTO 11photo

New York Secures $150M Investment for Cannabis Social Equity Investment Fund

New York has achieved a significant milestone with a $150 million investment from Chicago Atlantic Admin, LLC for the state’s Social Equity Investment Fund. This fund is part of a public-private partnership to develop cannabis dispensaries for social-equity entrepreneurs, fostering inclusivity in the industry.

With this investment, the total funds available for the Cannabis Social Equity Investment Fund reach the maximum allowed amount of $200 million under New York’s adult-use cannabis legalization law. The remaining $50 million will come from taxes on adult-use cannabis products, ensuring that the funds are generated within the industry.

In a statement, Governor Kathy Hochul expressed her satisfaction with the investment, stating that it “reinforces New York’s commitment to building partnerships that benefit New Yorkers and setting right the wrongs of the past.”

The Cannabis Social Equity Investment Fund will provide financial assistance to individuals holding a cannabis retail dispensary license to help cover the expenses of establishing their businesses. This support includes identifying and leasing suitable retail locations, as well as designing, constructing, and outfitting the spaces.

The initiative, introduced by Governor Hochul and enacted by the state’s legislature, aims to aid individuals disproportionately impacted by the state’s Rockefeller Drug Laws who meet the licensing requirements of the Office of Cannabis Management.

PHOTO johnalexandr

Licensed Hemp Farm in the British Isles Closes After UK Government Dispute

The only licensed hemp farm in the British Isles has been forced to shut down following a disagreement with the United Kingdom’s government over the legality of its products. Jersey Hemp, which cultivated hemp and extracted CBD on-site, expressed disappointment with the Home Office’s declaration that its products were illegal.

Despite working with the UK Food Standards Agency to comply with regulations, the farm faced restrictions on exporting its products to the UK due to trace amounts of THC. This development led to layoffs, halted operations, and potential legal action against both governments.

Jersey Hemp had invested three years in ensuring compliance with UK standards, making the closure a devastating blow. The dispute highlights the challenges faced by hemp and CBD businesses within legal frameworks. The UK government requires import licenses and compliance with controlled drugs regulations, which posed significant obstacles for the farm. Although CBD in its pure form is not considered a controlled drug, products containing THC or other controlled cannabinoids are subject to regulations.

The closure prompted discussions between Jersey Hemp and the British government regarding exports, while the Jersey authorities offered subsequent support. Ministers responsible for economic development, tourism, sport, culture, health, and social services reaffirmed their commitment to supporting the cannabis cultivation industry. They emphasized that licensed cultivators in Jersey must comply with the legislation of the jurisdictions where they export their products. The outcome of these discussions remains uncertain, and legal action against both governments is being considered.

FAQs

  • What is the new agreement between the NBA and NBPA regarding cannabis?

    The NBA and NBPA have reached an agreement to remove cannabis from the list of banned substances for NBA players. However, there are still limitations on ownership in cannabis companies and endorsements of cannabis companies.

  • How successful was Maryland’s adult-use cannabis market during its opening weekend?

    Maryland’s adult-use cannabis market reported over $10 million in sales during its opening weekend, with combined recreational and medical cannabis sales exceeding last year’s medical cannabis sales for the same holiday weekend.

  • What is the purpose of New York’s Cannabis Social Equity Investment Fund?

    New York’s Cannabis Social Equity Investment Fund aims to foster inclusivity in the cannabis industry by providing financial assistance to social-equity entrepreneurs for the establishment of cannabis dispensaries.

  • Why did the licensed hemp farm in the British Isles close?

    The licensed hemp farm in the British Isles closed after a dispute with the UK government over the legality of its products. The farm faced restrictions on exporting its products to the UK due to trace amounts of THC, leading to layoffs and halted operations.

Dr. Jen Chalmers
Dr. Jen Chalmers
Dr. Jen Chalmers is an accomplished writer and cannabis enthusiast. With a Ph.D. in Botany and years of experience as a researcher, she brings a scientific perspective to her captivating articles on cannabis news, recipes, and the fascinating world of psychedelics.

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