Cannabis news and notes: Boardroom changes, trouble on Tribal land, expungement in Michigan

Sep 25, 2020

According to a new report in Benzinga, it’s been another week of comings and goings in the cannabis industry. For starters, cannabis brand Culta appointed Jonathan Lassiter, vice president of sales for its retail channel. He’ll oversee direct-to-consumer sales at a single store, which is located at 215 Key Highway in Baltimore.

Lassiter is a sales veteran, having spent 17 years working for musical chain store Guitar Center, one of the few places where they allow you to play Stairway to Heaven. He oversaw 12 retail locations in Virginia, Maryland, and Washington D.C. Combined, they were worth more than $50 million, according to a press release.

"We're excited to welcome Jonathan to the team, as we continue with our mission to provide our medical patients with exceptional products and customer service," said Mackie Barch, president and co-founder of CULTA a statement. "Jonathan's expertise is a key asset to growing our retail business."

"I am extremely excited to join such a talented and diverse core of business leaders to help to continue to make CULTA best-in-class within the industry," said Lassiter in a statement.

Meanwhile, Uncle Bud's, a hemp and CBD brand, named NHL player Seth Jones as the company’s brand ambassador. According to Benzinga, the Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman wanted to "democratize the powerful benefits of Hemp and CBD.”

Jones was one of several celebrities who endorsed the brand. The list includes basketball Hall of Famer Earvin "Magic" Johnson, actress Jane Fonda and recording artist Toni Braxton.

Finally, 4Front Ventures Corp. (CSE: FFNT)(OTCQX: FFNTF) president Kris Krane joined the Adult Use Cannabis Health Advisory Committee in Illinois. The goal of the group is to inform the public about legalized cannabis better.

According to Benzinga, Krane is honored to serve "along with many distinguished members of the public health, education, treatment, and cannabis communities."

Hemp cultivation shut down on Tribal land

According to a High Times report, the Navajo Nation is dealing with allegations that marijuana cultivation occurred with immigrant labor on their Tribal land. Navajo leaders are in a fight with an entrepreneur who is growing 400 acres of hemp and cannabis on their land. Dineh Benally, a Navajo member and the entrepreneur in question, has “formed a partnership with a Las Vegas company that says it develops hemp and cannabis businesses on Native American lands,” according to the Arizona Republic.

Navajo leaders took Benally to court to stop the cultivation. They won a temporary restraining order against her last week.

“Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez said the order grants tribal law enforcement officers authority to stop hemp production. Navajo Nation police have begun asking some workers on the hemp farms — people law enforcement officials claim are immigrant workers from Asia — to leave tribal land,” the Arizona Republic reported, according to High Times. “The ruling appears to provide a brief break in the dispute that came to a head this summer over the legality of Benally’s operation, which he claims has also provided employment for more than 200 members of the tribal nation. The hemp farms are located around Shiprock on the Navajo Nation, which encompasses northeastern Arizona, northwest New Mexico and a sliver of southeastern Utah.”

Michigan Senate passes expungement bill

The Michigan State Senate passed a significant expungement bill that would clear the records of thousands of people weighed down with cannabis crimes according to a report in MLive this week. “Clean Slate” legislation, as it is called, will simplify the expungement process for anyone who hasn’t committed another crime in the intervening years since they were first convicted.

The bill passed the House last November and will be sent back to the House for final approval of the Senate's change.

“Michigan’s clean slate legislation will change the lives of hundreds of thousands of people in the state and their families, while improving the health and safety of communities,” Robert Rooks, Vice President of Alliance for Safety and Justice, said in a statement according to MLive.

However, not everyone was happy with the bill. Sen. Ed McBroom, a Republican, voted against the bill because it didn’t include a path for expungement for those convicted of a DUI.

“I find that to be exceptionally unjust and unfair,” McBroom said on the Senate floor, according to MLive. “We’re saying you’re a leper if you’ve got a DUI from alcohol, but everything else we can forgive.”

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