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Oregon Cannabis and Coronavirus: The New Rules

On March 23, Oregon Governor Kate Brown signed Executive Order No. 20-12 (the “Order”), which mandates that Oregonians stay home and observe social distancing and community mitigation measures to slow the spread of COVID-19.

The Order, in part, expressly prohibits the operation of certain non-essential businesses, such as amusement parks, barber shops and gyms. The Order, however, does not mention cannabis businesses, such as retailers, processors, producers, and wholesalers. This means that these cannabis businesses are authorized to remain open so long as they “designate an employee or officer to establish, implement, and enforce social distancing policies, consistent with guidance from the Oregon Health Authority [“OHA”].”

OHA GUIDANCE

Based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) Guidelines, the OHA released guidance to which Oregon employers must adhere to continue their business activities.

In addition to encouraging staff to telework when feasible and implementing social distancing measures, such as increasing physical space between workers at the worksite and staggering work schedules, cannabis employers must:

Be familiar with the signs and symptoms of COVID-19 and know what to do if staff becomes symptomatic at the worksite. Develop workplace plans to account for liberal leave and telework policies, when feasible.

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Majority Of Americans Agree: Pot Shops Are Essential

A new poll shows that a majority of Americans believe that cannabis dispensaries should be considered essential services that are allowed to remain open during lockdowns ordered to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus. The online poll, conducted by YouGov on March 25, found that 53% of U.S. adults believe that cannabis dispensaries should be considered essential services.

The poll asked 5,369 U.S. adults one question: “Do you believe medical marijuana dispensaries should or should not be considered essential services?” In addition to the 53% who said that medical marijuana dispensaries should be considered essential, 26% said that the businesses should not be and 21% said that they didn’t know.

With jurisdictions around the globe enacting stay-at-home orders to help contain the spread of the coronavirus, cannabis activists in several locales have argued that dispensaries provide legitimate health care services that should be permitted to remain open, just like pharmacies and doctor’s offices. On Wednesday, Steph Sherer, the founder and president of Americans for Safe Access, noted in a press release that “18 states have now declared cannabis businesses essential.” 

Breaking Down The Demographics

Regionally, the YouGov poll showed the strongest support for keeping medical marijuana retailers open in

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New Software Ensures Cannabis Advertising Complies With Regulations

Cannabis technology platform Fyllo announced on Monday that it is launching a new software tool that helps companies ensure that advertising and other creative content is compliant with applicable regulations. The new tool, known as Compass, allows brands in the cannabis industry to quickly verify compliance using Fyllo’s proprietary Compliance Recognition Technology.

With Compass, brands can drag and drop any digital asset such as advertisements, social media posts, and website content for analysis. The tool then uses advanced artificial intelligence, image recognition, and language processing to analyze text and imagery to detect non-compliant content.

Legal cannabis companies operate in one of the most tightly regulated industries in the world, rife with rules governing issues such as labeling, advertising, and claims of medical benefits that can vary by country, state, or even municipality. This lack of consistency from jurisdiction to jurisdiction makes it difficult to produce compliant creative content, particularly for brands attempting to establish a footprint at the regional or national level.

“Building a successful cannabis business means having to deal with numerous regulatory hurdles and roadblocks,” said Chad Bronstein, the CEO and founder of Fyllo. “Each state government and local municipality has its own stringent rules on advertising, which

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The Best Weed Reads To Build Your Cannabis Library

As we mentally prepare for a full month of COVID-19 quarantine ahead, cannabis and books are two go-to saviors (best enjoyed together) from social media screen time and the barrage of bad news. Whether you’re an industry insider reeling from conference cancellations, an entrepreneur looking to get into the business, or just want to learn more about legalization, I’ve curated a coronavirus cannabis reading list from my own library to help tackle tough times. From two classics authored by pioneering activists to an Emily Post Institute-approved guide on marijuana manners, these ten texts will take a casual cannabis consumer to an expert-level enthusiast.

Note: Books are listed alphabetically, not ranked. Now stay home and stay high.

– Read the entire article at Forbes.

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People Are Still Using Cannabis During the Pandemic. How Are They Getting It?

“We’re considered an ‘essential service,’” one dealer told BuzzFeed News. “Which is a mixed blessing because I have to pay for my divorce and rent but I’m immunocompromised.”

What better way to deal with a global, economy-shattering, life-altering, seemingly endless pandemic than tucking in at home (as the government has asked you to do for a few weeks now), watching something soothing (may I recommend Tiger King?), and rolling a joint, using some CBD drops, eating an edible, or whatever else is your preferred method of cannabis relaxation? But, of course, it’s not clear how much access to cannabis we’ll have as the shutdown goes on.

In response to a BuzzFeed News callout, hundreds of people across the country and in Canada told us how they were getting their cannabis products, how supply has changed, how their dealers have changed the process of buying, and whether they’re worried about future supply as the quarantine goes on. We also received a number of replies from dealers in different cities who either are ramping up sales due to high demand or have stopped selling entirely because they can’t do so safely. (In fact, thanks to me tweeting repeatedly about this story and

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U.S. Charges Venezuelan President With Cocaine Trafficking

The U.S. Justice Department charged Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro and several other government officials of drug trafficking last week, accusing them of conspiring with Colombian insurgents to smuggle tons of cocaine to the United States. The charges were announced by U.S. Attorney General William Barr at a video press conference in Washington, D.C. on Thursday.

Maduro and the current and former government officials were indicted on charges of conspiring with the Colombian leftist rebel group FARC to use Venezuela as a base for conducting drug trafficking operations that sent cocaine to the U.S. through Central America, Mexico, and the Caribbean. The FARC rebels then used proceeds from the drug smuggling to finance its civil war with the Colombian government.

The officials indicted more than a dozen other defendants along with Maduro. They include Diosdado Cabello, a former president of the National Assembly and the second-most powerful politician in Venezuela; Hugo Carvajal, a former director of military intelligence who is believed to be on the run in Spain; and Clíver Antonio Alcalá, a former general in the Venezuelan armed forces. Two senior FARC leaders were also charged. All of the defendants face charges of drug trafficking, narco-terrorism, and weapons violations.

“Maduro

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Illinois House Rep Asks For Urgent Passing of Cannabis Home Delivery Legalization

The COVID-19 pandemic could accelerate the legalization of marijuana deliveries in Illinois.

Sonya Harper, a Democratic state House representative from Chicago, had already introduced a bill last month that would open the door for both medical and recreational cannabis customers to receive their products via delivery.  

Harper’s legislation would remove language from the existing state statute “prohibiting dispensing organizations from transporting cannabis to residences or other locations where purchasers may be for delivery,” while providing “that dispensing organizations may deliver cannabis or cannabis-infused products to purchasers if specified requirements are met.”

The bill was referred to the state House rules committee on February 18, but Harper is now pushing Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker to enact her proposal in response to the coronavirus outbreak. “I would be happy to see if the governor maybe could make a special executive order allowing that, or us being able to get that legislation through maybe quicker than normal this year to provide for that,” said Harper, as quoted by the Chicago Sun-Times.

Changing Laws to Promote Public Health

Earlier this month, the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation announced new rules allowing marijuana dispensaries to conduct curbside sales for the duration of March

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Join Us Online For The Cannabis Cup Oklahoma: People’s Choice Edition

The Cannabis Cup, High Times’ signature competition, has gone virtual. And now, it’s coming to Oklahoma. 

In what will be the first ever competition open to the public in the Sooner State, the “High Times Cannabis Cup Oklahoma: People’s Choice Edition” will look to award the best marijuana products from Tulsa to Lawton, Oklahoma City to Muskogee. 

The competition will be open to only medical products, which must be grown and produced in Oklahoma at a facility licensed under the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority, which was created by a measure passed by voters in the state in 2018 that legalized medical cannabis. It will also feature the largest pool of judges in the competition’s history. 

The coronavirus pandemic has forced the Cannabis Cup to go virtual. Last week, High Times announced that its inaugural Hemp Cup will be the first High Times competition to go online. The event was originally scheduled to take place last weekend in Austin, Texas, but instead will be held on April 4 via Facebook Live. The Oklahoma competition is being carefully planned to include minimal human interaction, while also encouraging maximum participation throughout the state.

The Cannabis Cup in Oklahoma will kick off in early

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Cannabis, Coronavirus and Federal Disaster Assistance

Coronavirus has been great for cannabis sales. In most states with approved cannabis programs, both medical and adult use marijuana sales have been designated “essential services” by state and local governments. With this support, the supply chain has weathered the COVID-19 pandemic better than many industries. Still, the pandemic continues unabated and cannabis businesses are far from secure.

Over the past month, the federal government has attempted to throttle the sputtering economy with varying forms of stimulus. Some of the efforts have been undertaken by the Federal Reserve (slashing the federal funds rate; debt purchase commitments) and some by the Internal Revenue Service (pushing out deadlines). But Congress and the President have taken matters further. In this post, I’ll summarize the three “phases” of Congressional stimulus, and their implications for cannabis businesses.

Before diving in, it’s important to draw a bright line between forms of cannabis defined as “hemp” and “marijuana” under federal law. In the 2018 Farm Bill, hemp was removed from the definition of “marijuana” under the federal Controlled Substances Act. Although heavily regulated, hemp is no longer controlled in the classic sense. For this reason, qualified hemp businesses should be entitled to the same stimulus relief

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Cannabis Firms Enact New Safety Protocols During Coronavirus Outbreak

In many jurisdictions with legal marijuana, businesses in the cannabis industry have been deemed essential services and permitted to remain open during shutdowns ordered to help slow the spread of the coronavirus. And while most companies appreciate being able to stay in operation during troubling economic times, doing so presents its own challenges to keep employees and customers safe.

At Harborside Inc., the company’s six stores in California and Oregon remain open to serve patients and adult-use customers and its cultivation facility in Salinas, California is still in operation. But it hasn’t been business as usual. The company now offers curbside or drive-through pickup at all four of its California stores, and enhanced sanitation protocols have been initiated.

“The health and safety of our customers and employees has always been our priority, and we know how important this is now more than ever,” said Harborside interim CEO Peter Bilodeau in a press release. “We are committed to the important role that Harborside plays in providing our communities with essential cannabis products during this critical time, and to doing our part to slow the spread of this virus.”

Harborside has implemented a number of new measures in its stores, including limiting

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