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Hero technologies receives license and permit approval to establish Cannabis operations

DOVER - Hero Technologies, a cannabis company focused on a "seed-to-sale" vertical integration strategy, today announced that, subject to certain minimal conditions, it has received license and permit approval from Vassar Township, Michigan, to build a local cannabis growing facility.

The company was approved subject to certain conditions; however, approval requires only resubmission, not an additional planning commission meeting. Vassar Township Planning Commission meetings are only once per month. The company's application was sufficient to avert another one month wait to receive Commission approval. All conditions have been satisfied by the company. Blackbox management sent requested revisions to Vassar Township on Monday, November 14th. Relevant conditions included revisions to the drawings to reflect a future processing facility and changes to the lighting plan.

In a parallel development, the company expects to close on its previously agreed-upon purchase of a 10-acre parcel in Vassar within the next 10 days.

Hero Technologies' subsidiary, BlackBox Systems and Technologies LLC, previously received pre-qualification approval from the state of Michigan for Adult (recreational) and Medicinal Use cannabis licenses.

"We are grateful to the Vassar Township Planning Commission for its thorough and expeditious review of our license and permit application," said Hero Technologies' CEO Gina Serkasevich. "Now that we have the necessary local approvals, we look forward to closing on our 10-acre property in Vassar as soon as possible, transforming the site into a state-of-the art cannabis production facility, and capitalizing on the strong cannabis market in Michigan."

Michigan's legal marijuana market has grown rapidly since the state legalized adult recreational use in 2020. According the Michigan Marijuana Regulatory Agency, sales of legal cannabis in the state were approximately $1.8 billion in 2021 and should approach $2.8 billion in 2022.

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Canadian woman unable to cross the border for rolling a joint 40 years ago

'My own country had pardoned me but that didn’t matter. They told the federal government of the United States of America not to forget'

Robyn Jones* was 17 years old when she was charged with a cannabis offence that would follow her for the rest of her life.

In 1981, Jones was sitting at a picnic table in the smoking section outside of a bar and restaurant in Barrie, Ont., picking out the sticks and stems of an ounce she’d recently purchased. She had just started rolling a joint when a police officer rolled up. 

It was her first brush with the law, and it resulted in Jones being fined around $250, money she had to borrow from her brother to prevent her parents from finding out. 

Seven years later, she applied for and was granted a record suspension, or pardon, from the RCMP. She avoided any further interaction with the law and mostly forgot about it, until 33 years later, when she attempted to enter the U.S.

Jones recalls being “super happy” after she received the pardon, confident that the charge was now behind her.

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Judge blocks licenses for some Cannabis dispensaries in New York

The move affects 63 of the 150 licenses that the state planned to issue.

A federal judge has temporarily barred the state of New York from issuing the first batch of retail licenses for recreational cannabis in five regions pending resolution of a lawsuit filed by a Michigan-based company challenging the program’s selection requirements.

The decision on Thursday from the Federal District Court in Syracuse spells trouble for the state’s plan to begin recreational cannabis sales as soon as this year.

The judge, Gary L. Sharpe, said the state could not issue conditional licenses to operate dispensaries in Brooklyn, Central New York, the Finger Lakes, the Mid-Hudson area and Western New York while the case is pending. His decision affects 63 of the 150 licenses that the state planned to issue to businesses and individuals who met a narrow criteria.

The case, brought by Variscite NY One, argues that requirements that applicants have a cannabis-related conviction under New York state law and significant ties to the state violate constitutional protections of interstate commerce.

New York legalized cannabis for nonmedical use by adults 21 and over in March 2021. Lawmakers set out to build a market that included people convicted of crimes or otherwise harmed by decades of policies targeting those who grew, sold and used cannabis.

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Appleton voters show overwhelming support for legalizing Marijuana

APPLETON - While the tight races for U.S. Senate and governor drew the most attention on Election Night, a result of an Appleton referendum is hard to ignore on Wednesday.

The city's advisory referendum on whether marijuana should be legalized for adults had overwhelming support.

Appleton voters show overwhelming support for legalizing marijuana on the 2022 ballot Nov. 9, 2022. (WLUK)

The advisory referendum passed 69% to 31%.

But it only means voters support legalizing the drug for those 21 and over, and think it should be taxed and regulated like alcohol.

“I think it shows what we’ve known statewide that a majority of Wisconsinites want to see marijuana legalized," said Democratic State Rep. Lee Snodgrass.

Snodgrass says Republicans should consider the polling results when a legalization bill is on the table.

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Local medical Marijuana suppliers react to IM 27 failing

VERMILLION - South Dakota’s Initiated Measure (IM) 27 would have legalized recreational marijuana for people 21 and older, but South Dakotans voted against the measure in the November election.

Local medical marijuana suppliers said recreational marijuana is beneficial and the latest election creates more barriers for South Dakotans. 

Adam Tuschen is the CEO for Dakota Herb. They provide medical cannabis for patients in South Dakota. He said the lack of support for IM 27 was unfortunate.

“From an industry standpoint, I think it would’ve definitely driven the industry forward,” he said. “There would’ve been a lot more attraction from folks to visit our stores and use our products if it would’ve been recreational, so we’re losing a lot of foot traffic there which leads to revenue.”

He said he’s hopeful the positive track record of medical marijuana can help get recreational cannabis back on the ballot in a few years. Josh Wood is the COO of Dakota Natural Growers. He said the laws restricting cannabis hurt people who are in need of help. 

“There are scenarios where veterans, people that have made the ultimate sacrifice for people to do things like vote, really don’t have access to a product that’s very natural,” he said. “It grows all around our state and just because of the way regulations are written at the federal and state level, they may not have access to cannabis as a potential tool to make them feel better.”   

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No Pennies-on-Dollar tax settlements for the Cannabis Industry

Section 280 takes the profit out of the cannabis business by disallowing “deductions” and creating huge income tax liabilities.

But if 280E tax debt isn’t also forgiven, the current cannabis industry won’t survive against newcomers, says Greenspoon Marder’s Nicholas J. Richards.

Recent downturns in cannabis sales and loss of capital investments have revealed the industry’s dirty little secret—IRC Section 280E tax debt.

Section 280E prevents cannabis businesses from reducing their taxable income by their business expenses. Enacted in 1982, 280E takes the profit out of the cannabis business by disallowing “deductions” and creating huge income tax liabilities. It is used to prevent cannabis companies from settling their taxes for pennies on the dollar. It also is perhaps the government’s most powerful tool in its war on drugs where, today, it seems the IRS is the only federal agency still in the fight.

The reality of the cannabis industry is tax debt, and every cannabis company must understand how to manage it. Our federal tax system recognizes that taxpayers, including companies, are only required to pay back taxes according to their reasonable collection potential or their ability to pay. The determination is based on a formula that allows basic living expenses for individuals and business expenses for companies. The formula is then used to determine whether a taxpayer qualifies for a collection alternative: offer in compromise, installment agreements, or currently not collectible).

When a tax liability is assessed, the collection statute of limitations gives the IRS 10 years to collect from the taxpayer. During that time, taxpayers may be allowed to pay in installments for pennies on the dollar through an offer in compromise. However, with 10 years to collect, such offers are seldom granted in the first few years. Instead, the IRS will provide a payment plan according to the taxpayer’s ability to pay, and some taxpayers make it through years before paying at all.

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Amendment 3 passes in Missouri, legalizing Cannabis

Despite Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft’s recent opposition to Missouri’s ballot initiative, voters believe otherwise.

Residents of The Show Me State approved Amendment 3 to legalize recreational cannabis on Nov. 8. The Missouri Constitution will now be amended to allow for cannabis sales, possession, consumption, delivery, and manufacturing. Additionally, it automatically allows anyone convicted of a non-violent cannabis crime or offense to be release from incarceration, or to clear their records via expungement.

The amendment will also implement a 6% tax on cannabis, which will be allocated to fund veteran healthcare, drug treatments, and the public defender system. (Local governments may implement a sales taxes of up to 3%.)

The campaign to legalize was led by Legal MO 2022, which raised $5.6 million to help make legalization a reality in Missouri. According to the campaign, projections show that annual cannabis sales revenue could reach up to $40.8 million, with local governments seeing at least $13.8 million.

Residents may also have up to six cannabis flowering plants, six non-flowering plants, and six clones (under 14 inches tall), as long as they register as a cultivator with the state. Plants are allowed as long as they are located inside a residence, or a locked space. If it’s found in public view, growers can receive up to a $250 fee, and the confiscation of their plants.

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A Judge accepts the Biden administration's dubious argument for banning Gun possession by Marijuana users

Even people who use cannabis for medical purposes risk severe penalties for daring to exercise their Second Amendment rights.

President Joe Biden, who recently issued a mass pardon for low-level marijuana offenders, says cannabis consumption should not be treated as a crime. His administration nevertheless defends the federal ban on gun possession by marijuana users, arguing that Second Amendment rights are limited to "law-abiding citizens."

Last week, a federal judge agreed, dismissing a challenge to that rule by medical marijuana patients in Florida. The reasoning underlying that decision shows that the constitutional right to armed self-defense, which the Supreme Court has repeatedly upheld, is still subject to legislators' arbitrary whims and irrational prejudices.

Florida is one of 37 states that allow medical use of marijuana, most of which also have legalized recreational use—a policy supported by two-thirds of Americans. Under federal law, by contrast, marijuana remains illegal for all purposes except government-approved research, and simple possession is punishable by a fine of $1,000 or more and up to a year in jail.

For marijuana users who own guns, the potential penalties are much more severe. They include up to 15 years in prison for illegal firearm possession, up to 15 years for "trafficking in firearms" by obtaining a gun, and up to 10 years for failing to report cannabis consumption on the form required for gun purchases from federally licensed dealers.

The plaintiffs in the Florida lawsuit included Nikki Fried, a Democrat who runs the state's Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services; two patients who participate in Florida's medical marijuana program; and a gun owner who says he would like to do so but does not want to surrender his right to arms. They argued that the ban on gun possession by cannabis consumers violates the Second Amendment.

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What happens to Cannabis bills if Republicans take House and Senate?

"The Risk of a Post-Election Funk”

“We would be less optimistic about SAFE Plus in the lame duck if the Republicans were to take both chambers,” said Cantor Fitzgerald's Pablo Zuanic. “We will wait for Wednesday morning to have more definitive views.”

Zuanic, who is worried that SAFE Plus may not be a high priority for the Senate leadership in the lame-duck session. “Republicans taking control of both chambers of Congress (as the latest polls signal) could lead to a 'post-election funk' among Democrats."

There is a scenario, says Zuanie, that Sen. McConnell (future Senate Leader, probably) may press Republican Senators to withhold support for SAFE Plus until the 118th Congress.

"True, with cannabis stocks not pricing favorable reform news (MSOS ETF at 11) and 2023 around the corner, the downside may be limited. SAFE Plus with hemp/CBD features (HR 841?) passed by a Republican Congress could be the type of incremental reform the industry needs, but then we are talking 2023-2024, and not lame duck," Zuanic said.

Beyond that, "we would be skeptical about more comprehensive reform in the 118th Congress with Republicans potentially controlling both chambers, although we should not overlook efforts by Representatives Mace (SC) and Joyce (HO)," with proposals like the States Reform Act and the PREPARES Act, respectively, according to the industry report.

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Colorado has collected more than $2.2 billion in marijuana taxes since legalization

Colorado voters approved Amendment 64 on Election Day 10 years ago.

DENVER - This week marks 10 years since Colorado voters approved Amendment 64, clearing the way for marijuana legalization in the state and prompting more than a dozen other states to follow suit.

In the decade of legalization, Colorado reports $13.4 billion in legal marijuana sales, resulting in $2.2 billion in taxes collected. 

"I think it’s just been an unqualified success," said Brian Vicente, one of the co-directors of the campaign to pass Amendment 64. 

He and his co-director Mason Tvert said the amendment delivered on its goals.

"The win in Colorado really inspired a lot of discussion and got a lot of elected leaders both in the U.S. and abroad examining their cannabis policies," Tvert said. 

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Here’s why legalized Marijuana won’t end the war on due process

Satellite images showed greenhouses on Graham’s property in the Emerald Triangle, a region known for cannabis cultivation, and the Humboldt County Planning and Building Department just assumed he was growing marijuana without paying the county its cut. Based on nothing else, the government declared Graham guilty of cultivating cannabis without a permit—a civil offense in a state with legalized marijuana.

Code enforcers obtained no search warrant and made no site visit. They jumped straight to the penalty phase with an abatement order that gave Graham 10 days to tear down the greenhouses and fill in a nearby rainwater-catchment pond.

Graham asked for a hearing on the charges, but the county ignored the request and started assessing $10,000 fines per day until the tab reached $900,000.

To turn up the pressure even more, the county published its untrue charges in the local newspaper, smearing Graham just weeks after he opened his restaurant.

He was shell-shocked, but he had a strong defense: innocence.

Graham did not have cannabis in his greenhouses, which code enforcers would have seen if they had looked inside. Rather, he was growing vegetables for his restaurant, and the pond is for wildfire control. As a captain and former chief of the Whale Gulch Volunteer Fire Company, he uses part of his land for public service.

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Everywhere Cannabis Legalization is on the ballot this election

It’s time to vote, and will it be cannabis or can’tabis?

This year, five more states are considering legalizing marijuana, potentially adding to Washington, DC, 19 states and two territories where it is already legal. That number increases when you look at where medical cannabis is legal: Washington, DC, 37 states and three territories.


The five states where voters will be deciding in the midterm elections this November are Arkansas, Maryland, Missouri, North Dakota and South Dakota, reports the Washington Post.

Back in 2018, voters rejected the ballot measure in North Dakota, so the issue is arising again. Similarly, in 2016, Arizonans rejected legalization – but approved it in the next election cycle.

Legalized recreational marijuana use is something that most Americans want. Two-thirds of the population, according to a CBS poll cited by the Post, want it to be legalized both federally and in our state.

But even after polls close in November, decisions may not always be safe or firm. For instance, in South Dakota in 2020, 54 percent of voters approved both medical and recreational legalization. But the state’s Supreme Court nullified the vote since it addressed two issues at once. Instead of fighting, proponents simply put better wording on this year’s ballot.

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Most polled Virginians don’t think driving high is really dangerous

Just 26 per cent of drivers surveyed said they believed driving high is an “extremely dangerous” activity.

A survey from Virginia shows that residents don’t think marijuana is as risky as other drugs when it comes to driving.

The Virginia Cannabis Control Authority (CCA) reported that the poll results were “troubling” and that it would be working towards addressing these issues at the start of the new year.

The survey was done by consulting firm Stratacomm, which collected more than 700 responses from various residents of Virginia over the age of 16.

Approximately 14 per cent of Virginians said they had driven high a few times over the past year. Additionally, just 26 per cent of polled drivers said they believed driving high is an “extremely dangerous” activity.

The data shows that texting (60 per cent) and drinking (49 per cent) are considered riskier when getting behind the wheel.

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Pro-Marijuana group says state officials may have broken laws

SIOUX FALLS - The group that pushed forward South Dakota’s medical marijuana measure in 2020 is officially sitting out of the 2022 election and not actively promoting any measure.

But it’s taking a closer look at the actions from opponents of Initiated Measure 27 and other pro-marijuana measures.

New Approach South Dakota is sending a number of information requests to government offices across the state, to officials they say may have broken state laws by speaking out against marijuana measures. Some of those officials include Sioux Falls Mayor Paul TenHaken, Minnehaha County Sheriff Mike Milstead, Rapid City Mayor Steve Allender, and more.

“The decision to do this and call this out was not an easy one. We’re submitting public record requests for multiple political officials throughout the state. And the decision to do that was not easy. These are dealing with a very powerful political establishment in the state.” New Approach SD Deputy Director Ned Horsted said.

Under SDCL 12-27-20, any government official or employee of the state is permitted to speak their opinion of a candidate or ballot measure in their personal capacity. That same law states that no government agency or official can influence the election of any candidate or ballot measure in their official capacity. Additionally, South Dakota Constitutional Law 11-11 states that the making of a profit directly or indirectly not authorized by law is deemed a felony.

“However under the South Dakota Constitution, they are not allowed to use taxpayer resources to promote a political agenda.” Horsted said.

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Blocking cannabis law for political reasons will do ‘more harm than good’, says Thai Panel

The bill was sent for review after coalition partner Democratic Party said the bill would promote the recreational use of the drug.

BANGKOK – A farmers’ representative and a businessman called on the House to speed up the legislation of a cannabis control law so businesses know what they can and cannot do.
The statement came on Monday from Prapat Panyachatraksa, president of the National Farmers’ Council, and Ong-art Panyachatraksa, owner of the Organic Phet Lanna Farma and a partner of the RG420 Cannabis Store on Khao San Road in Bangkok.

The two were referring to the September 14 House resolution to indefinitely defer the second reading of the cannabis bill and return it to the special House committee that had vetted the draft.

“I understand the delay was caused by politicking,” said Prapat, who is a member and adviser to the ad hoc panel.

The bill was engineered by coalition partner Bhumjaithai Party, which had promised to legalise marijuana while campaigning for the 2019 general election.

The House voted 198:136 to return the bill to the ad hoc panel for review after Democrat Party, also a coalition partner, said the bill would promote the recreational use of marijuana. Democrat MPs also cited concerns that children and youth would abuse cannabis as a drug. The Rural Doctors Society was among groups that voiced such concersn.

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City councilor wants Edmonton to be world’s cannabis capital

An Edmonton city councillor wants the city to become the cannabis capital of the world.

Coun. Michael Janz says after four years of legalization, he wants to see Edmonton become a pot tourism destination in Canada.

“I think we already have all the ingredients here in Edmonton and Alberta,” said Janz, the councillor for Ward papastew. “We’ve got some of the best post-secondaries, we’ve got a great (agriculture) tech sector.

“We already have people innovating in this space… but we as a city can get out of the way.”

With 164 stores, Edmonton has the highest number of retailers per capita.

Janz says city council is currently reviewing zoning bylaws around cannabis. He’s hoping to see rules change so consumers can have more options.

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Germany’s move to legalize Marijuana will spark a wildfire in Europe

“Germany has long been the leader in medical cannabis reform and all the other countries in EU will follow with similar versions once completed,” said Mike Sassano, CEO of Somai Pharmaceuticals.

Germany, the largest economy in Europe, is making plans to legalize and regulate recreational cannabis. On Wednesday, the health minister, Mr. Karl Lauterbach, presented a plan for cannabis legalization to the German cabinet. This move will make Germany among the first countries in Europe to legalize recreational cannabis, said German Chancellor Olaf Scholz. Currently, Malta is the only country in Europe that has made this bold move.

Legalizing cannabis for recreational use was captured in the coalition government’s manifesto. The coalition government is made up of three parties: Social Democrats (SPD), the Greens and liberal Free Democrats.

How things are unfolding is therefore not surprising. How long the process will take is however not clear. While the Finance Minister Christian Lindner (FDP) believes that this should happen by 2023, the Federal Drug and Addiction Commissioner Burkhard Blienert suggested that it will not be possible to have the law in place before the end of 2024.

According to Lauterbach’s plan, about 4 million Germans used cannabis in 2021. This signifies the existence of a vibrant illicit market which by all means presents a significant public health risk.

The plan presented by Lauterbach made a number of provisions for adult-use cannabis in Germany. Adults will be allowed to use and possess 20 to 30 grams of cannabis. Private cultivation of cannabis will be restricted to 2-3 plants per household, according to reports from the local media. In addition, marijuana-related cases that are ongoing but no longer illegal due to the new laws will be dropped. The coalition government plans to introduce a special tax for marijuana consumption alongside the usual sales tax. The plan also includes rolling out country-wide cannabis education and drug abuse prevention programs.

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Many Ohio doctors find Medical Marijuana is effective for cancer and pain

COLUMBUS - Most Ohio doctors who can recommend medical marijuana say they were satisfied with the drug’s effectiveness in treating patients with pain, cancer, fibromyalgia and post-traumatic stress disorder, according to a new State Medical Board of Ohio survey.

The survey found 59.4% of participants were satisfied with marijuana’s effects on pain that is either chronic and severe or intractable, 53.5% were satisfied with its effectiveness for cancer patients, 50.8% were satisfied for fibromyalgia patients and 50.3% for post-traumatic stress disorder patients.

Yet among the 21 other conditions for which medical marijuana can be used under state law, none had a physician satisfaction rate over 50%.

The State Medical Board surveyed the doctors, who all have certificates to recommend medical marijuana in Ohio, between July 1 and Aug. 31. Of the 648 licensed physicians with certificates to recommend marijuana, 583 physicians completed the online surveys. Not all physicians answered every question.

The survey also asked doctors about telehealth, how they diagnose patients, among other questions.

The questions about medical conditions had to do with the doctors’ observations, and not necessarily a review of patients’ records, nor clinical trials of marijuana.

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Pardon? Fine. Legalize it? Now!

On Oct. 6, President Joe Biden pardoned thousands of people in federal prison on charges of possession of marijuana and announced that his administration would review whether marijuana should still be considered a Schedule I substance.

There is no doubt that this action by the president will benefit the lives of thousands of Americans. However, there are still thousands of people in state prison for possession of marijuana and in federal prison for the distribution and sale of marijuana. Until marijuana is legalized or decriminalized in the United States, people will continue to be sent to jail for use of a substance that is legal for recreational use in 19 states.

One important reason that marijuana should be decriminalized is that, by some metrics, marijuana is safer than alcohol, a drug commonly used by Americans. It is considered impossible to overdose on marijuana. It is also extremely difficult to develop an addiction, although it is possible to have a dependence on it. Additionally, over 60% of Americans support the legalization of marijuana for recreational use and 90% support its legalization for medical use. 

Besides the attitudes of the vast majority of Americans as well as the safety of marijuana, there are economic reasons why the U.S. should legalize the drug federally. If marijuana were legalized at the federal level, people who currently purchase weed from unregulated sources would purchase it from licensed cannabis dispensaries. Shifting demand away from unlicensed sellers would allow the government to benefit from taxation of marijuana. Currently, recreational marijuana is legal in 19 states and the District of Columbia. In 2021, those states reported a combined $3.7 billion in revenue.

Regulation would allow for consumption of safer marijuana and knowledge about what is in the product. Purchasing marijuana illegally increases the possibility of potency inconsistencies, mold and pesticides. Legalization would allow customers to know what is in their marijuana, including tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) percentages, allowing users to be aware of the potency of their marijuana. Regulation will help keep people safe from the dangers of using too much marijuana in a short period of time. Though marijuana overdoses haven’t been observed to be lethal, they can still cause serious adverse mental and physical effects.

Legalization of marijuana also leads to greater participation in the labor market and higher rates of employment, as more people are employed to work in this new industry. Legalization of marijuana federally would allow all states in the country to reap the benefits that many states have already seen. Additionally, legalizing marijuana would reduce law enforcement and incarceration costs, freeing up those dollars for other priorities. 

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Marijuana regulator plans to 'expose,' stop illicit product amid industry complaints

Michigan's Cannabis Regulatory Agency plans to zero in on illicit marijuana in the regulated market in the coming weeks after hearing consistent "industrywide" concerns about the proliferation of unlicensed product in Michigan.

The agency's acting director, Brian Hanna, told reporters Tuesday that the agency is planning actions that will expose bad actors and serve as a warning to other regulated businesses.

Among the issues the agency plans to focus on are proper tagging and registering of marijuana products in the statewide system and proper maintenance of required cameras — both requirements that, if abandoned, allow for a proliferation of illegal weed in regulated facilities and snarl state efforts to identify it.

"If there's anybody cutting corners or cheating, we want to expose that and take a strong enforcement approach on that," Hanna said.

Hanna, who led investigations for five years at the department, took over the reins of the agency a little more than a month ago, after the agency's founding executive director, Andrew Brisbo, left to lead the Bureau of Construction Codes within the state Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs.

Speaking to reporters Tuesday in Lansing, Hanna said his focus over the first 90 days as acting director is to engage stakeholders to better understand what's working in the industry and what isn't, and to crack down on illicit cannabis products in the market, including marijuna that is grown and processed in other states.

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