It’s been an exciting day for news as most of the country’s and the world’s eyes are focused on the Capitol building in Washington DC. What was supposed to be a relatively calm, if not argumentative event turned into a violent, seditious act as a group of people stormed Congress. In the meantime, the cannabis industry continued on. Here’s today’s top stories.
Aurora Cannabis co-founder Terry Booth tapped to be CEO of US-based Australis (Marijuana Business Daily)
MJBizDaily writes: “Eleven months after stepping down as CEO of the Canadian marijuana giant he co-founded, former Aurora Cannabis chief executive Terry Booth said he plans to return to the marijuana industry to head up a U.S.-based cannabis investment firm that is an Aurora spinoff.
Booth’s widely publicized exit from Aurora – and now his new job heading up Australis Capital – is similar to the high-profile departure from the cannabis industry and eventual return of former Canopy Growth CEO and co-founder Bruce Linton.”
Governor Cuomo Announces Proposal to Legalize and Create an Equitable Adult-use Cannabis Program as Part of the 2021 State of the State (New York State)
From Gov. Cuomo’s Office: “Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced a proposal to legalize and create a comprehensive system to oversee and regulate cannabis in New York as part of the 2021 State of the State. Under the Governor's proposal, a new Office of Cannabis Management would be created to oversee the new adult-use program, as well as the State's existing medical and cannabinoid hemp programs. Additionally, an equitable structure for the adult-use market will be created by offering licensing opportunities and assistance to entrepreneurs in communities of color who have been disproportionately impacted by the war on drugs. Once fully implemented, legalization is expected to generate more than $300 million in tax revenue.
"Despite the many challenges New York has faced amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, it has also created a number of opportunities to correct longstanding wrongs and build New York back better than ever before," Governor Cuomo said. "Not only will legalizing and regulating the adult-use cannabis market provide the opportunity to generate much-needed revenue, but it also allows us to directly support the individuals and communities that have been most harmed by decades of cannabis prohibition."”
Cannabis stocks stage strong premarket rally on hopes the pro-reform Democrats may take the Senate (MarketWatch)
MarketWatch writes: “Cannabis stocks rallied in premarket trade Wednesday, on hopes the Democrats may take the Senate after Raphael Warnock won one of two Senate runoffs in Georgia early Wednesday, according to the Associated Press, bringing Democrats a seat closer to a Senate majority. With 97% of the expected vote total reported, Democratic challenger Jon Ossoff was leading Republican Sen. David Perdue by just 0.22 percentage points, according to data aggregated by the Associated Press. Democrats are expected to pursue a more cannabis reform agenda under President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, who have been more supportive of opening the banking sector and other needed services to the industry, which has been hampered by the tricky regulatory backdrop that has allowed the black market to continue to flourish. "We go from speculating what President-elect Biden could have done for cannabis reform via Executive Order (or by directives/"memos" from his incoming Attorney General) and if the Senate would have held a vote on the SAFE act (banking reform) would have even taken a vote, to a new world, in which the question is more about the timing and scope of much broader reform for the cannabis industry," Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Pablo Zuanic wrote in a note to clients.”
2021 Could Usher in a Golden Age of Cannabis Marketing (AdWeek)
AdWeek writes: “If there were ever any doubts that the cannabis industry could thrive during the pandemic—there were, believe it or not—let the following results show just how wrong the skeptics were and how high the category flew this year.
Americans spent nearly $18 billion on legal weed in 2020, a 67% jump from the previous year, according to research from Leafly. Buyers broke records during the initial lockdown-related green rush in March and again around popular holidays like 4/20 and Green Wednesday. In nine states, including Arkansas, Illinois, Florida and North Dakota, sales more than doubled year over year, Leafly reported.”
South Dakota State Bar Says Lawyers Cannot Serve Cannabis Industry (Ganjpreneur)
Ganjapreneur writes: “The State Bar of South Dakota ethics committee said in the latest issue of the Bar newsletter that attorneys in the state may not provide legal services to cannabis industry clients, KELO reports. The guidance comes after voters approved both medical and adult-use cannabis legalization in the state in November.
The opinion cites the South Dakota Bar Rules of Professional Conduct which directs lawyers not to “counsel a client to engage, or assist a client, in conduct the lawyer knows is criminal or fraudulent. However, the rules do allow attorneys to “discuss the legal consequences of any proposed course of conduct with a client and may counsel or assist a client to make a good faith effort to determine the validity, scope, meaning or application of the law.””