Oregon marijuana company fined $5,300 over butane explosion

Oregon regulators fined Higher Level Concentrates $5,300 for workplace safety violations following a butane-extraction explosion last year that landed one man in a Portland burn ward.

The Oregonian reported that Oregon OSHA fined the extraction company, which is based in in Astoria, for failure to:

  • Ventilate the building
  • Have an adequate electrical system
  • Obtain city permits


MJBizCon
The accident occurred last October, when, according to a lawsuit, William “Chris” West was handling butane…

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Oregon signals more inspections of marijuana cultivation sites

An adviser to Oregon’s Gov. Kate Brown said state inspections of cannabis cultivation sites will become more frequent now that additional facilities have been licensed.


MJBizCon
Speaking with local officials in southwestern Oregon, Jeff Rhoades didn’t offer any details about how inspections would be increased, the Grants Pass Daily Courier reported.

According to the newspaper, only 13 cultivation sites were inspected last year in Josephine County – where Grants Pass is the county seat – out…

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Oregon vineyard owners sue to halt nearby cannabis cultivation

Oregon vineyard owners in the heart of the state’s wine region filed a lawsuit asking a judge to ban a neighbor from cultivating marijuana, complaining that the smell of cannabis could drift over and taint their grapes.

The suit could foreshadow a larger issue: Will expanding cannabis cultivation, particularly in states such as California and Oregon, cause conflicts with the already-established wine industry?


MJBizCon
The Oregonian reported that Momtazi Vineyard – in Yamhill County, southeast…

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Oregon OKs bill to protect rec marijuana industry from feds

To protect the state’s recreational marijuana industry from a federal crackdown, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown signed a bill that prevents rec retail businesses from storing private data about customers’ identities or purchases.

The new law is designed to shield adult-use marijuana consumers by barring retailers from sharing or keeping their personal data. Oregon marijuana retailers have 30 days to destroy the data, according to The Oregonian.


MJBizCon
Senate Bill 863 sped through the state Legislature…

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Oregon issues first recall for tainted recreational marijuana

The Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC) announced its first recall of pesticide-tainted recreational cannabis, a situation that underscores the need for reliable record keeping and clear communication about contaminated products.

The commission said in a news release that samples of Blue Magoo cannabis grown by Emerald Wave Estate tested positive for excess levels of pyrethrins, a chrysanthemum-based insecticide that also can be made synthetically.


Spring 2017 MJBizCon
The tainted cannabis was shipped to a…

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Pacific Northwest marijuana investment network set to launch

Cannabis-related companies in Alaska, Oregon and Washington seeking capital may find some investors through the Cannabis Investment Network, an organization launching this week that aims to connect marijuana firms with financial backers.

Cannabis Investment Network (CIN) is hoping to serve smaller-scale firms that are looking to raise from $500,000 to $3 million, according to a news release. The self-described “angel group” will function more as a conduit to connect investors with potential investments, instead of…

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Recreational marijuana home delivery kicks off in Oregon

Oregon’s recreational marijuana businesses are leading the way in the U.S. rec industry with a new service: delivery of adult-use cannabis to a customer’s home.

According to Portland TV station WCSH 6, rec marijuana customers can now order from licensed dealers and have product delivered to their home.

Legal deliveries of adult-use cannabis are a new phenomenon. Medical cannabis deliveries, by contrast, are permitted in certain places in the United States.


Spring 2017 MJBizCon
Oregon’s Liquor Control…

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Report: Oregon marijuana industry has $1.2B economic impact

Oregon’s cannabis industry has produced an economic impact of more than $1 billion, according to a new report.

The report, by economist and marijuana business insider Beau Whitney, found that the Oregon cannabis market created more than 12,500 jobs with an average wage of $12.13 an hour, which translates into roughly $1.2 billion in economic activity for the state.

The job figure is only for plant-touching companies, such as retailers and growers, and doesn’t include ancillary marijuana…

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OR lawmakers aim to pre-empt any marijuana crackdown by feds

Oregon state legislators are trying to head the federal government off at the pass.

To keep the federal government from potentially seizing cannabis consumers’ personal data, a bipartisan committee of Oregon lawmakers proposed legislation that would require marijuana businesses to destroy customer information within 48 hours after receiving it.


Spring 2017 MJBizCon
The measure will receive its first hearing Tuesday, the Associated Press reported. The full legislature must approve the bill before it can be signed into law by Oregon’s Democratic governor.

The…

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Lawsuit: Ex-OR official bilked investors in marijuana business

In what is shaping up to be a cautionary tale for would-be cannabis industry investors, a former county commissioner from Oregon is being sued for allegedly scamming financial backers out of more than $200,000 to ostensibly fund a marijuana business.

Former Jackson County Commissioner Doug Breidenthal is the target of the suit, which seeks $529,000 in damages, the Mail Tribune reported.

According to the suit, Breidenthal bilked three people out of a total of $229,000, which he told them was to finance a cannabis retail shop in Medford,…

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White House’s words won’t deter rec marijuana states

By John Schroyer

Despite ominous overtones from the White House, the eight states that have legalized recreational cannabis are proceeding full-bore, whether it’s with existing infrastructures or plans to establish new markets.

Governors and attorneys general responded in unison: They’ll honor voters’ wishes, and conduct business as usual while awaiting specific policies.

The cannabis industry’s future was called into question Thursday when President Donald Trump’s press secretary, Sean Spicer, said “greater enforcement” could…

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Week in Review: Seniors + MMJ, Oregon faces changes & Cannabis Caucus debuts

By Omar Sacirbey, Bart Schaneman and John Schroyer

A medical marijuana company in New York lands a nursing home deal, Oregon may align the state’s MMJ and recreational programs under one regulator, and the Cannabis Caucus officially launches.

Here’s a closer look at some notable developments in the marijuana industry over the past week.

Cannabis in nursing homes

Etain Health of New York made waves when it announced it landed an agreement to supply MMJ products to a Bronx nursing home.

Under the deal, Etain will help health personnel become…

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Oregon mulls putting medical, rec cannabis under one regulator

Oregon lawmakers are considering putting the state’s medical and adult-use marijuana programs under the oversight of one regulatory agency.

The move would put Oregon in the same company as its neighbor to the north, Washington state.


Spring 2017 MJBizCon
According to the Blue Mountain Eagle, the co-chairwomen of the legislature’s Joint Committee on Marijuana Regulation have offered bills that would transfer regulation of MMJ to the Oregon Liquor Control Commission – which currently oversees recreational sales – from the Oregon Health Authority (OHA).

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OR regulator warns rec cannabis businesses for lax record keeping

Recreational marijuana businesses in Oregon that do not use the state’s seed-to-sale tracking system could lose their licenses or face fines.

Steve Marks, executive director of the Oregon Liquor Control Commission, delivered that warning Thursday to cannabis cultivators and retailers, noting that roughly 20% of the state’s 900 license holders are not keeping their seed-to-sale tracking records up to date, according to the Bend Bulletin.

The “most egregious” violations, Marks wrote in a compliance notice:

  • Failure to record batches of…

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Marijuana extraction firm faces $9 million suit for role in blast

An $8.9 million lawsuit filed by an Oregon construction worker who was badly burned in a butane hash oil processing explosion highlights the personal and financial risks faced by marijuana extraction companies – especially those that perform solvent-based extraction – and the need for industry safety standards.

Jacob Magley is suing Higher Level Concentrates, a cannabis processing company in Astoria, Oregon, as well as 10 other businesses and three individuals for violating workplace safety laws that led to the October blast that put…

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Week in Review: Marijuana industry trademarks, cannabis banking & Oregon rec sales

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By Omar Sacirbey, John Schroyer and Bart Schaneman 

A prominent marijuana pipe maker sues to defend its trademark, another state seeks Trump’s guidance on MJ banking, and adult-use cannabis sales continue to drop in Oregon.

Here’s a closer look at some notable developments in the marijuana industry over the past week.

Trademark rights

Roor might be the Gucci of marijuana paraphernalia.

Both the German glass pipe maker and the iconic Italian handbag label purvey high-end products, are counterfeited ruthlessly and have sought aggressively to…

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OR rec cannabis sales keep falling amid supply, regulatory issues

Oregon’s embattled recreational marijuana industry posted its second straight monthly sales drop in December, hit by a supply shortage and problems related to product testing.


Trump Report
Despite strong consumer demand, data from the Oregon Department of Revenue showed tax collections totaled $5.6 million last month, down 13% from November and a 28% dip from a high of $7.8 million in October, according to the Statesmen Journal.

For all of 2016, however, tax collections totaled $60 million – well above the $43 million that state officials…

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Oregon received nearly 2K rec cannabis applications last year

The agency that governs Oregon’s recreational marijuana industry was swamped with nearly 2,000 adult-use business license applications in 2016, far above the 800-1,200 it expected.

The Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC) received 1,907 total applications last year, the Portland Business Journal reported Monday. Of those applications from retailers, growers and other types of businesses, 762 have already been approved by the department to begin operating.


Trump Special Report
While adult-use sales in Oregon began in October 2015, with medical retailers…

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Deadline looms for Oregon dispensaries

The clock is ticking for Oregon medical cannabis dispensaries that want to continue selling to recreational customers.

On Jan. 1, all storefronts serving the adult-use market must have a recreational marijuana business license from the Oregon Liquor Control Commission.


Marijuana Business License Directory
Oregon officially launched recreational sales last year by allowing existing dispensaries to sell cannabis to customers without a patient card until the state could get its adult-use program fully up and running.

Now that Oregon is licensing rec-specific businesses,…

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Portland, Oregon, approves marijuana delivery services

Hoping to attract smaller, new businesses to the local cannabis market, the City Council in Portland, Oregon, has approved an ordinance that creates a new class of license for delivery-only marijuana businesses.


Marijuana Business License Directory
These new marijuana delivery services would be prohibited from selling marijuana from storefront locations. They also could accept and deliver orders only during certain hours and would be prohibited from delivering beyond city limits, KATU News reported.

Many small businesses and aspiring entrepreneurs have not been able to break…

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Oregonians to banks: Cannabis clients are OK

How can banks in Oregon improve their reputation? Serve cannabis clients.

That’s the finding of a survey by Portland-based LT Public Relations and DHM Research that suggests financial institutions could better their public standing by providing financial services to marijuana businesses.

Most banks in Oregon and nationwide reject cannabis clients, arguing that it will hurt their reputation to offer services to businesses that break federal law. Serving marijuana companies also could land banks and other financial institutions in legal hot…

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Marijuana rule changes afoot in Portland and rest of Oregon

Marijuana businesses in Portland as well as other Oregon cities soon could see some relief with new and pending rules from city and state regulators.

The Oregon Health Authority issued revised testing regulations this week that essentially require marijuana growers to go through the same tests, but with less frequency, for potency, solvents and pesticides, The Oregonian reported. The aim is to get more flowers, oils and marijuana-infused edibles on depleted store shelves.

The new rules take effect immediately and are designed to help rectify…

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Report: City’s slow license process could add to Oregon MJ woes

A new report asserts that regulators in Portland, Oregon, have been slow to approve hundreds of cannabis retail applications for licenses, a situation that could further disrupt the state’s already troubled marijuana industry.

“Based on data from the Office of Neighborhood Involvement on the City of Portland’s website, it appears that only 5.4% of all applications submitted in 2016 have been licensed by the city,” said Beau Whitney, the report’s author and an economist who heads Whitney Economics.

“This is having a profound effect…

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Head of Oregon’s embattled testing program to retire

The head of the Oregon Environment Laboratory Accreditation Program, which is in charge of accrediting testing labs including those used for marijuana, will retire early next year because of job-related health reasons.

Administrator Gary Ward said his health had deteriorated because of stress stemming from an overwhelming number of lab accreditation requests that overtaxed an agency that is in understaffed by its own leadership and the Oregon Health Authority, the Statesman Journal reported.


Marijuana Business License Directory
The lack of accredited labs in Oregon has been…

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Week in Review: New life in Montana, rule tweaks in Oregon & obstacles in New England

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By Bart Schaneman and Omar Sacirbey 

Montana’s medical marijuana industry is reactivated, Oregon adjusts its testing regulations, and New England’s adult-use industry encounters obstacles.

Here’s a closer look at some notable developments in the marijuana industry over the past week.

Back from the dead

Medical marijuana dispensaries in Montana will be flipping their closed signs to open after a state judge gave the industry a new lease on life.

“We’re elated,” said Bob Devine, who owns a dispensary in Bozeman and is president of…

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Testing rules sinking Oregon marijuana sales, report shows

Marijuana sales in Oregon have been sliding since the state implemented stringent new testing rules on Oct. 1, dropping 8.5% to $29.5 million that month.

The October decline marked the first time since May that the market posted sales below $30 million, according to a new report.

The report, by Colorado-based BDS Analytics, shows the impact of the new testing rules, which the state tweaked on Dec. 2 in a bid to offset supply shortages that arose after the regulations were introduced.


Marijuana Business License Directory
The sales decline worsened in November, BDS said, based…

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Oregon eases cannabis testing rules, but is it enough?

Oregon regulators have eased marijuana testing rules that retailers and other industry professionals say held up supply, forced prices upward and drove some businesses to close.

But some industry professionals say the revised rules don’t address the main problem areas.

Among the changes outlined Friday in two pages of revised rules – which are temporary and valid through May 30, 2017 – the Oregon Health Authority said it would permit cannabis businesses to have larger and more varied sample sizes tested at one time, the Bend Bulletin…

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15 Oregon towns vote to reverse rec cannabis bans; new taxes set

Fifteen Oregon localities have voted to opt back in to allowing recreational marijuana, overturning bans on cannabis sales or MJ businesses, election results show.

According to the Oregonian, voters in 60 communities considered ballot initiatives that basically asked residents to determine whether recreational or medical cannabis should be permitted.

The newspaper said most cities and counties approved bans although some rejected them. In 2014, when Oregon voters legalized recreational cannabis, about 100 towns and counties declined to…

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OR issues health alert for 3 cannabis strains with pesticides

Oregon has issued its second health alert for cannabis contaminated with pesticides, flagging marijuana flower being sold at three dispensaries around the state.

Oregon has maintained a strict policy about pesticide use on marijuana. And, according to the Oregonian, the Oregon Health Authority has now found three strains of flower were contaminated.


Conference Deadline Approaching
 
Some 30 customers bought “Dutch Treat” from Oct. 15-26 at the Flowr of Lyfe recreational store in Eugene. It was found to contain the insecticide spinosad. The two other strains, Pleeze…

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Up to 12 Oregon Rec Shops May Be Fully Operational

Oregon’s marijuana industry has begun a new chapter.

At least 26 recreational cannabis retailers in the state have now been fully licensed, the Associated Press reported. And up to a dozen of those were in a position to begin adult-use sales this past Saturday, the official start of Oregon’s full recreational marijuana market.

Although medical marijuana dispensaries in Oregon have been allowed to sell limited amounts of cannabis to recreational users since October 2015, adult-use customers have been allowed to purchase only up to a…

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Oregon MJ Regulators Ease Industry Rules Ahead of Deadline

Oregon marijuana regulators on Friday announced temporary rules that will make it easier for MJ companies to comply with new rules governing testing, packaging and labeling of recreational and medical cannabis products.

Stricter rules were set to kick in on Saturday, Oct. 1. But delays in the state’s processing of regulatory applications had threatened to throw the market into turmoil, cannabis industry insiders had warned. The delays raised the prospect that retailers would be forced to remove unapproved products from their shelves, the…

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Slow Launch Expected for Oregon’s Full Recreational Marijuana Market

Oregonoutline

By John Schroyer

Oregon retailers anticipating the day when they can sell a full ounce of cannabis to adult-use customers, versus just a quarter-ounce, may be disappointed it probably won’t be on Oct. 1.

In fact, it may take months for scores of businesses that have applied for recreational marijuana permits to become fully licensed. Full licensing is expected to trigger an increase in adult-use sales across the industry, because MJ businesses will be able to sell larger amounts of rec products to customers.

Regulators are one of the…

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Prominent Travel Writer: ‘Get Ready’ for Age of MJ Tourism

One of the most well-known travel writers in the world, Arthur Frommer, predicted recently that cannabis tourism is going to become big business after the November election, when up to five more states could legalize recreational use.

If accurate, marijuana tourism would present additional opportunities for entrepreneurs looking to capitalize on the legalization of marijuana.

“The prospects seem strong that marijuana is now about to be added to beer and wine as a permissible product to order,” Frommer wrote in a column last week, the…

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Oregon Lab Accreditation Problems Could Delay Rec Cannabis Rollout

The full rollout of Oregon’s much-anticipated recreational cannabis industry next month could be delayed owing to problems with the accreditation of marijuana testing labs.

The Register-Guard reported that the Oregon Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program, or ORELAP, is overworked and understaffed. That means the agency may not be able to accredit enough labs to satisfy required testing for rec products in time for the industry to begin full adult-use sales.

In addition to cannabis, ORELAP oversees water and other health…

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Marley Natural Expanding Across State Lines

A cannabis company sporting a legendary name is expanding into multiple states, joining a limited number of marijuana businesses that have crossed state lines.

Marley Natural, which is backed by Seattle-based Privateer Holdings, first launched in California in February and is now available in Oregon, in dispensaries in Portland and Eugene. Further expansion across the state is on the way.

A Marley Natural spokesman said in an email the company plans to have cannabis products on shelves in Washington State this fall. It also has “team…

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Week in Review: Growth Potential in New York, Oregon Rec Market Red Hot & MI Stumbles

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By John Schroyer

New York’s health department recommends doubling the size of the state’s medical marijuana industry, Oregon recreational applications flood in as adult-use sales skyrocket, and Michigan’s MJ legal limbo may persist a few more years.

Here’s a closer look at some notable developments in the marijuana industry over the past week.

Doubling Down

In a rare move for a state agency, the New York State Department of Health this week issued a report recommending – among other things – that the number of MMJ business licenses

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Oregon Rec Marijuana Sales Pass $100M Mark Through July

Oregon’s recreational marijuana sales have passed the $100 million mark, and that’s just between January and the end of July.

Although rec sales began at medical dispensaries last October, the state didn’t begin taxing those sales until January, at 25%. The 2016 sales figures for the first seven months are in line with the $180 million-$220 million in retail sales the Marijuana Business Factbook 2016 projects for the entire year.

The total sales figure at the end of July is an estimated $102 million, according to the Oregonian.

Sales…

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Oregon Receives Over 1,300 Rec Business Applications

The Oregon Liquor Control Commission, which is overseeing the coming recreational marijuana industry in the northwestern state, has received over 1,300 applications from companies that are hoping to obtain business licenses.

And the number keeps going up, according to the Oregonian.

To date, the OLCC has issued about 200 licenses, the paper reported Thursday afternoon, nearly all of them cultivators. The agency expects it will take until the end of the year to get through all of them, given that the state has no cap on the number of rec…

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Oregon Marijuana Businesswoman Fined $40k for Fraud

An Oregon medical cannabis dispensary owner has been fined $40,000 by state regulators after they concluded she defrauded investors.

The Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services last week found that Tisha Siler, the CEO of Cannacea, was guilty of investment fraud, the Oregonian reported. The allegations, first reported last month, could be the first-ever case of a licensed cannabis businessperson being penalized for such a crime.

The agency found that Siler lied to investors when she claimed that state regulators had…

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Flood of Investment Money Flowing to Oregon Cannabis Firms After Residency Change

cannabis investments

By John Schroyer

Out-of-state investors are pumping millions of dollars into Oregon’s marijuana industry now that a restrictive residency requirement has been abolished, giving local cannabis businesses a sorely needed pipeline of money to tap as they grow.

In March, Oregon’s governor signed a law eliminating a rule that required every legal marijuana business to be at least 51% owned by an Oregon resident who lived in the state for at least two years.

As a result, cannabis companies are now free to raise money from out-of-state investors…

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Many Oregon Localities to Vote Again on Rec

Oregon already has a recreational marijuana industry, but that’s only true in about half of the physical state. Most of eastern Oregon, and a good bit of the western half, chose to ban rec businesses after the 2014 election, but the topic will be back on the ballot this year in several dozen local communities.

That will give the rec industry in Oregon yet another chance to expand even more, and give a lot of existing medical dispensaries the chance to serve customers that they’re currently not allowed to sell to, according to Oregon…

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Week in Review: Florida CBD, Cannabis Legal Battles & Ominous Clouds in AZ, MA

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By John Schroyer and Omar Sacirbey

Florida’s long-awaited CBD industry approaches the launchpad, cannabis lawsuits make headlines, and recent polling numbers cast a dark cloud over recreational marijuana legalization in two states.

Here’s a closer look at some notable developments in the marijuana industry over the past week.

Florida, Finally

First to seed doesn’t necessarily mean first to sell.

Consider Florida, where in February Surterra Therapeutics in the southwestern part of the state became the first approved licensee to receive…

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Insecticide Maker Sued Over Cannabis

A class action lawsuit has been filed in Oregon against the Midwestern manufacturer of an insecticide that was purported to be all-natural – but allegedly wasn’t – and was used on cannabis that was supposedly organic.

Benjamin Efran has filed suit in Multnomah County Court against All In Enterprises over Guardian Mite Spray. It was advertised to contain only “cinnamon oil, lemon grass oil, citric acid, yeast extract, sunflower lecithin, and water,” but was found to also have ivermectin, a chemical pesticide, according to…

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Oregon MJ Company CEO Focus of Sexual Harassment Suit

A co-founder and former employee of one of Oregon’s largest wholesale cannabis distribution firms has filed a lawsuit against the company’s CEO, alleging the executive “groped and smelled her” and that complaining about the harassment led to her dismissal.

Whitney Hobbs, a co-founder of Highly Distributed, filed the suit in Multnomah County Circuit Court on Monday, the Willamette Week reported. Hobbs alleges that CEO Christopher Malott tried to push her into a sexual relationship, and that for months she endured “physical and…

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$60M in Oregon Rec Cannabis Sales From January Thru May

Oregon rang up nearly $60 million in recreational cannabis sales between Jan. 1 and May 30, and that number will likely get even bigger later this year now that edibles and concentrates have been added to the lineup for adult-use customers.

Although adult-use sales formally began last October, when existing medical marijuana dispensaries were allowed to begin serving rec customers, sales taxes for rec cannabis only kicked in after the start of the year. The total sales figure is based on state tax collections.

From the start of the year…

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Week in Review: IL Expanding Medical Cannabis, OR Milestone & CA MMJ Revamp

marijuana news

By Omar Sacirbey and John Schroyer

Illinois moves to give its medical marijuana industry a boost, Oregon marks a milestone in its adult-use cannabis industry, and California lawmakers embark on a revamp of the state’s MMJ market.

Here’s a closer look at several notable developments in the marijuana industry over the past week.

A Shot in the Arm

Illinois is expanding the list of approved conditions for MMJ use – and making it easier for docs to help patients get access to medical…

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OR Market for Edibles, Infused Products Opens

Thursday is a big day for the cannabis industry in Oregon, where medical marijuana dispensaries for the first time can now sell edibles and other THC-infused products legally to anyone 21 years of age or older.

According to Oregon’s new medical marijuana provisions, each infused product’s package can contain up to 15 milligrams of THC; but customers will not be allowed to buy more than one package at a time, The Oregonian reported.

Regulators eventually will limit the amount of THC that…

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Oregon Edibles Makers Kick Off Awareness Campaign: “Try 5”

A coalition of edibles manufacturers in Oregon, concerned with a lack of general public knowledge on the potency of their products, have launched a public safety campaign to urge first-time users to take it easy on the dosage when trying such products.

The campaign’s slogan? “Try 5,” the Oregonian reported.

In other words, edibles makers are suggesting newbies begin with a five milligram dose, similar to what was suggested by a campaign in Colorado in 2014 that used the motto, “Start…

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Oregon Issues First Batch of Rec Marijuana Grow Licenses

Oregon regulators awarded the first eight marijuana grower licenses under the state’s new recreational cannabis program.

The winners include former Portland Trail Blazer forward Antonio Harvey, the owner of a trendy Portland restaurant and lounge, as well as veteran marijuana growers.

The licensees are:

  • Harold Frazier, Dale Fox, Maiden Azalea LLC (New Breed Seed) –  Outdoor, Lane County
  • Far Out Farms, LLC (Far Out Farms) – Mixed, Tillamook County
  • Preston Greene (Yerba Buena) – Mixed,…

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Keef Cola, Kiva Confections Form Expansion Partnership

Colorado-based CanCore Concepts, owner of the popular edibles brand Keef Cola, and California-based Kiva Confections, maker of cannabis-infused chocolates, have struck a new type of licensing deal that will give each company access to the other’s home market.

Under the agreement, both companies will not only distribute but also manufacture each others’ products on their home turf.

That means Keef sodas and other edibles will be sold in the roughly 850 California medical marijuana…

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